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Environment Ohio, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Development's Office of Energy Efficiency, has released new wind maps and data compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The data show that Ohio could generate more than 10% of its electricity from the state's wind resources, with total installed wind potential estimated at 66,000 MW.

"These maps demonstrate that a new, more energy-independent future could be in store for Ohio," says Amy Gomberg, environmental advocate with Environment Ohio. "Even if we only tap into a small portion of our wind potential, we could generate at least 10 to 20 percent of Ohio's electricity from wind, powering millions of Ohio homes and realizing significant environmental and economic benefits."

According to Environment Ohio, data from previous studies demonstrated only moderate wind potential for Ohio because they measured the wind speeds at a height of 50 meters. The new maps and data measured Ohio's wind speeds at 100 meters because the wind industry is increasingly siting turbines at this height, where better wind resources are available.

"Independent studies have estimated that tens of thousands of jobs could be created in Ohio to manufacture wind-related equipment, although this employment potential is much more likely to be realized if there's also a substantial local market in Ohio for installing wind turbines," says Richard Stuebi, BP fellow for energy and environmental advancement at The Cleveland Foundation. "The new NREL wind maps show that a very large potential for Ohio-based wind energy does in fact exist, and this will encourage both wind developers and manufacturers to explore Ohio more vigorously."

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