Before the next legislative session kicks off Monday, a group of local chamber of commerce CEOS from all over the country are talking with legislators in Washington, D.C. today and Thursday about the importance of supporting clean energy technology.
Chambers for Innovation is a collection of regional and local chambers all over the country that believe green technology is a key ingredient in job growth for their communities.
Aaron Nelson, president and CEO of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina is among the group talking with legislators. “This is small and large chambers from rural and urban centers, from red states and blue states,” Nelson said. “There are about a dozen of us who will be in D.C.”
That dozen is just a small collection expressing the voice of the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, which claims 260 local chambers as members in 47 states.
Nelson said he got involved because he saw how clean energy advances were growing jobs in his community. “It’s along a broad spectrum,” he said. “From companies doing mega solar projects to individual small business owners installing it for themselves.”
An auto mechanic in Chapel Hill installed solar and eliminated his electricity bill. Aside from reduced expenses, the solar installation gained him some notoriety. Business is up there and the mechanic had to hire four new employees. “It’s growing jobs through the clean energy sector,” Nelson said.
That auto mechanic used the federal tax credit to help pay for his solar photovoltaic installation, which is something Nelson hopes policy makers will continue.
The mechanic is an example of indirect job growth, but Nelson said he regularly sees examples of direct growth. New companies are emerging in the clean energy sector and existing companies, like plumber, are getting new business from residents who are making energy efficiency changes and doing things like installing tankless water heaters for their homes or solar thermal water heaters for their pools.
“We think there is real economic opportunity here for major job growth,” Nelson said. “And we just want to remind policy makers that their continued support of policies that encourage clean technology is what will grow those jobs,” Nelson said.