Monday, January 11, 2010

Greater Youngstown Green Manufacturing

What will the new economy look like? Congressman Tim Ryan and US Senator Sherrod Brown proposed a vision that makes the TechBelt an American center for green innovation. An article in today's Akron Beacon Journal about the wind power industry provides a glimpse of the emerging geography:

Green Energy Technologies LLC is not producing utility-size wind turbines but smaller units aimed at commercial and industrial customers.

The privately held firm based in Bath Township is selling what it calls the WindCube, a wind turbine that will produce power on site, not just electricity to be added to a grid like the large twirling turbines. ...

... The WindCube — with its 61 components — will be built by Roth Bros. Inc., a Youngstown energy-management company that has invested $2 million in what Cironi is doing. Parker-Hannifin Corp. in Cleveland will produce the generator and electrical system.

From Cleveland to Morgantown (West Virginia), your alternative energy idea can be manufactured in the Mahoning Valley. That's not to say innovation can't happen in Youngstown, but that industrial know-how is already clustered in the area. This is an example of how regional approaches to economic development can benefit all member communities.

The kind of talent needed to produce these goods is already in short supply. Research and development is geographically mobile, but ample supplies of manufacturing expertise (along with the necessary infrastructure) are not. I think this is a harbinger of more geographically concentrated global supply chains providing the TechBelt with a comparative advantage. Also, it doesn't hurt that Ryan and Brown are funneling substantial public investment in clean technology back home.

1 comment: