On a recent road trip, Tyler Steele spotted something he'd like to see more of. "Outside of Cleveland, I saw three semis, each about 75 feet long with giant wind turbine parts," he said. "I don't know where they were going, but it was a good feeling that these were coming out of Ohio." As the owner of Greenovate, a Columbus company that supplies sustainable building products, along with other services such as project management and consulting for residential and commercial clients, Steele may be more attuned to the turbine parts. But, he said, it was noticeable. "It's a small example but it was very visible, very tangible," he said. "Seeing these things, it helps create a confidence in the green market. That's something that hopefully we'll see with these recovery dollars." By recovery dollars, Steele was talking about $96.1 million allotted to Ohio's State Energy Program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money comes from the federal stimulus package and will be distributed through the Ohio Department of Development. The goal of the program is to strengthen the Ohio economy by building investment in advanced energy – whether that means retrofitting an empty auto parts plant to make turbine blades or simply replacing drafty windows in homes to make them more energy-efficient. Steele said he was skeptical of the program because there was room for companies and organizations to swoop in and grab some of the dollars – whether they support the green mission or not. "This is how we go about our lives and we're not new to this," he said, "so to hear that they were going to be throwing a bunch of money around – I questioned it." Steele said he will not apply for any of the money, but he supports the idea behind the program because it could push the manufacturing, building and energy markets in a green direction, rather than gently nudge them along...
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