Business Forward Reports: New York Business Leaders on Clean Energy

Business leaders across New York urge the support for inclusive clean energy.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last month, Business Forward asked business leaders across New York to tell us what their state should do to become a leader in clean energy production. More than 1,100 signed a letter to New York policymakers demanding the state do more to increase clean energy production and create clean energy jobs. Another 300 provided specific recommendations. The business leaders wrote:

“The $50 billion New Yorkers spend on coal, gas and oil each year create jobs in places including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, and Louisiana. Wind and solar can help us keep that money — and create new jobs — here.”

Click here to read the full letter, including a list of signatories. Click here for a report on their commentary.

“These New York business leaders believe the state should provide financial incentives – for producers and energy users – to help make homegrown, New York-produced clean energy a reality, and stop importing $50 billion in coal, oil, and gas,” said Jim Doyle, Business Forward President. “New York is a leader on just about everything else, but the state is way behind on clean energy.”

Suggestions from New York business leaders covered a range of topics, including: tax credits and financing, infrastructure investment, public education, ending subsides for fossil fuels, banning fracking, and taxing carbon. Responses came from across the state.

“Climate change is one of the reasons customers turn to us, since we design and install solar energy systems on Long Island,” wrote Dan Sabia, CEO of Built Well Solar in Wantagh, New York. “We are doing our part to reduce the carbon footprint here and wish world leaders would do more legislatively to make solar energy more popular and support the extension of the federal investment tax credit to keep solar energy affordable for homeowners and business owners.”

Most of the comments made by these business leaders are addressed by the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act and its companion bill to generate massive investment in clean infrastructure, just transition for workers, and energy rebates for low and middle-income New Yorkers through the creation of a polluter fee. This legislation would mandate an economy-wide shift to renewable energy – a shift that could be particularly beneficial to counties and communities that need help most.

In April, the New York State Assembly passed the CCPA for the third consecutive session, by a margin of 99 to 31. But the measure has consistently stalled in the New York Senate. That could change quickly, as six Democratic state senators who worked with Republicans to block the CCPA lost their primary elections last week. Click here to read Business Forward’s issue brief on the CCPA.

“Voters sent a strong message to lawmakers in Albany last Tuesday: they think New York should lead on clean energy,” said Doyle. “That vote mirrors what we hear from New York Business leaders at our briefings.”

Three out of 10 comments focused on financing clean energy purchases or clean energy. Tax incentives were the most common suggestion. One out of five comments focused on building New York’s clean energy infrastructure, and one in 10 focused on ending subsidies for coal and other fossil fuels. One in 20 called for state officials to raise awareness about the promise of clean energy jobs (particularly in rural areas), the availability of low and no-cost residential options, and how recent investments are driving clean energy prices down, increasing demand, and encouraging further investment.

“Addressing clean energy is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the environment, and solving respiratory health issues for millions of Americans,” explained Melinda McKnight, Vice President, Energy Conservation Specialists, LLC, from Port Ewen.

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ABOUT BUSINESS FORWARD
Business Forward is making it easier for more than 100,000 business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economy. Business Forward is active in over 125 cities and works with more than 600 mayors, governors, members of Congress, and senior Administration officials.

Business leaders who have participated in our briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the JOBS Act, the Clean Power Plan, the Toxic Substances Control Act, three trade agreements, and the President’s budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through phone calls, op-eds, and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one.