updated 3/16/2005 9:16:19 AM ET 2005-03-16T14:16:19

New York’s rust belt could yield a greener economy that produces and consumes more renewable energy from soybeans to hydrogen, according to an economic report released by the state comptroller.

The report said thousands more jobs would be created in manufacturing and energy related industries if New York steps up its commitment to generating more electricity through renewable sources. The report is the latest to call for New York to expand solar, wind and hydro power, as well as develop crops including corn and soybeans that can be processed into fuel.

Comptroller Alan Hevesi said 43,000 jobs would be created if, by 2013, the state increased to 25 percent the share of electricity used in New York through nontraditional, renewable resources. That commitment, he said, would spawn new businesses to provide the raw materials for the nontraditional fuel.

Renewable resources now account for about 20 percent of the state’s electricity use, he said.

There are about 170 companies in the state in the renewable energy industry now, but that could quickly expand, particularly in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Long Island, because university research is already under way there, he said.

Matthew Maguire of the state Business Council said the state shouldn’t be subsidizing businesses even if it promises jobs. Tax-subsidized jobs aren’t as stable or as beneficial for a community as jobs created by companies drawing their profits from beyond the state.

“We support renewable energy, but we think it should unfold at its own pace in a free market,” Maguire said. “We are deeply concerned New York state’s economy is already too reliant on taxpayer-financed jobs.”

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