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Big tech should look to all areas of Ohio

A big tech company is making another big announcement about investing in central Ohio. Good news. But even better news is Ohioans and their public officials are starting to figure out what that really means.

Upon Google’s announcement it would be investing another $2.3 billion into its data centers in New Albany, Lancaster and Columbus, WBNS-TV noted the data centers consume immense amounts of electricity without creating a large number of jobs, once construction is finished.

“Every sector of our economy is going to rely on some form of digital interface with cloud computing. The home of that right now in the Midwest is central Ohio,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said, according to the WBNS report. “We just need to keep up with the infrastructure. It creates huge energy demands, water demands. We have to do this in a sustainable way.”

After appearing to understand the need to ride this wave sustainably, Husted turned right around and told WBNS it will not be possible to make up for the demand on the grid with solar and wind energy. Fossil fuels and nuclear power will be necessary.

Google said it wants its data centers to be on carbon-free energy by 2030. One has to wonder whether they and Husted understand how near that is.

But so far as working toward energy efficiency and clean technologies, one also has to wonder whether Google would take a page from a smaller player’s book. Surely SAI.TECH’s Organization of Clean Energy and Climate, and its Computing Heat Recycle Center Education Program could teach the folks at Google a thing or two.

So far, the tech investment boom has branched very little from that “Columbus Cloud Region” of which the politicians are so proud. It’s time they look to other corners of the state where big ideas are hatching, too.

Rather than simply leaning on AEP and the other friends they know a little too well, in Columbus, it’s time to look elsewhere for ideas that will help move all of Ohio forward, cleanly.

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