Local chambers of commerce across the US say their member businesses are benefiting from clean energy — and their leaders are speaking out about how clean energy emerging is an economic driver in a video series from Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE).
The video series comes as the US Chamber of Commerce is fighting the Clean Power Plan in court. The US Chamber, which is one of the groups suing to stop the carbon pollution rules, has said the Clean Power Plan is bad for business and represents a “massive executive power grab.”
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires existing coal-burning power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. On June 2 the court will hear oral arguments on the emissions rule.
Major companies including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — also among the country’s biggest users of electricity — have filed legal briefs endorsing the Clean Power Plan.
“Local chambers know that Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, GM, Walmart, and many other large companies are increasingly demanding renewable energy,” said Diane Doucette, co-founder and executive director of CICE. “And businesses of all sizes are finding opportunities for growth in the clean energy field. Chambers all over the country are working with their cities and states to attract clean energy investments to their communities.”
The featured CEOs in the video series say clean energy can help businesses save money, attract employees to their regions, and provide critical economic development opportunities. Others say they want to ensure their communities can draw on reliable new sources of energy in the face of population growth, rising electricity prices, and a changing energy landscape.
Last year CICE, a national network of nearly 400 local chambers of commerce, endorsed the Clean Power Plan.
Despite the US Chamber’s legal battles with the carbon emissions rules, Doucette told Environmental Leader that “some chambers of commerce have opposed the mandates in the Clean Power Plan — but not most.”
“Most local chambers support clean energy sources, to varying degrees,” Doucette said. “Even the US Chamber supports energy efficiency and renewable energy. It’s how the new energy sources are regulated and incentivized (i.e., mandates, regulations, subsidies) that elicits different opinions. It’s like clean food — everyone wants clean food and then businesses struggle and debate over how to ensure clean food and what regulations and subsidies work best. If some businesses are in principle opposed to regulations, they will fight against them. It doesn’t mean they are against clean food.”