Following the introduction of a new resolution by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Representatives John K. Delaney (Md.-06) and Ben Lujan (N.M.-03), dozens of business leaders from across the country shared their views this week on the need for strong clean energy standards
At Business Forward briefings across the county, small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and executives have said that businesses are already feeling the effects of climate change. From 2010 to 2014, the United States experienced nearly 50 climate-related disasters that each cost more than $1 billion. These storms forced stores and businesses to close, disrupted supply and delivery chains, and kept potential customers home.
Hundreds of business leaders who work with Business Forward have explained that transitioning to a clean energy economy can help curb climate change. They join more than 30 Senators and 100 Members of the House in supporting the Cardin-Delaney-Lujan resolution calling for powering the country with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030. Supporters explain that this goal would spur investment in clean technology by creating market certainty for new energy products, which would then, in turn, reduce costs and improve access to clean energy.
Here’s what some business leaders are saying about clean energy standards:
“The approach we take to global clean energy standards is an individual and corporate obligation and responsibility. These standards insure justice and equity for all humans, because we preserve and protect manufacturing, agriculture and services, which fulfill the needs of our customers. In other words, it will impact our ability to make a living,” said Regina Colston, CEO of ColstonConsultants in Hunstville, Ala.
“It would be difficult to argue that decarbonization of the global energy supply chain not only provides environmental benefits, but also economic, social and security improvements across both leading industrial economies and emerging developing nations. The United States should be a leader in this movement. It is in nothing but our interest to show the world that we are capable of decarbonizing and that our leadership will spawn greater implementation of existing technologies, investment in new technologies and greater access to clean energy on a global scale,” said Phillip Kopp, CEO of Conectric Networks, LLC in San Diego. “As a participant in the new energy economy, the 50 by 30 Resolution would certainly stimulate Conectric’s potential domestically, create new jobs and provide us with a strong platform to demonstrate our technologies globally.”
“Small businesses have been working to develop cleaner energy technologies for years in efforts to rescue our health, security, environment, and values. To support these efforts, we need to establish an ambitious goal, like 50 by 30, and then strive desperately to meet, if not surpass it,” said Kristen Aramthanapon, Chief Technologist at Sylvatex in San Francisco.
“Climate change is happening now, but so is the low-carbon energy revolution. With solar photovoltaic costs expected to fall below fossil fuel costs, the technology is now not only climate-positive, but it is also the most cost-effective solution in many cases. This is a powerful combination and the low-carbon transition will receive a much-needed boost from stronger clean energy standards. This in turn is crucial to building resilience against future economic and climatic stresses, both in the US and globally,” said Jalel Sager, Director of New Sun Road in Emeryville, Calif.
“H.Res 637 challenges us as a nation to meet the goal of 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030. We have made a good start as one-third of all new electric power in the U.S. last year came from solar,” said Brigette Hunley, President of BHC, a clean energy and technology consulting group in Fairfield, Calif. “This is creating jobs and opportunities in the innovation economy as utilities and tech companies create solutions together. This initiative will help guide our economy into a safer and more energy secure future.”
“The corporate community must get beyond the language of profit margin and stock value. If we continue to impose our man-made energy and pollution problems on nature, nature will solve the problem by making us extinct. That will be bad for business. Now is the time to embrace stronger clean energy standards,” said Barry Katz, Urban Planning at catsba in West Hollywood, Calif.
“In order to make the transition to a clean energy economy, the private sector and regulators must work together to develop innovative, technologically sophisticated, customer-centric electric utilities. Clean energy standards will catalyze faster evolution toward that future,” said Peter L. Corsell, Managing Partner at Twenty First Century Utilities in Miami Beach, Fla.
“My company demonstrates that it is possible to cut costs and protect the environment at the same time. We produce the most advanced electrostatic filtering technology for lubricants, which helps our clients cut costs, increase productivity by extending the life of their lubricants, and reduce their carbon footprint. Stronger clean energy standards like 50×30 would support more companies like mine that are developing the technologies the nation needs to thrive in the clean economy,” said Theo Chalgren, President of the Orbitron Companies, Inc., in Tampa, Fla.
“As EcoTech Visions continues to grow, the clean energy standard would further support our organization’s efforts in turning blue collar jobs to green collar jobs. Elected officials and candidates who understand the importance of the 50 by 30 initiative will help to stop the devastation of climate change, create jobs, and ultimately, save our planet and people,” said Pandwe A. Gibson, Ph.D, CEO and Executive Director at EcoTech Visions in Miami.
“Having been in the renewable energy industry since 1975, our company has witnessed the sinusoidal wave of legislative policy over the decades and the impact it has had on the industry. Ambitious, stronger clean energy standards would fuel innovation among clean energy technology companies. It is time that we as a country realize the need to evolve our energy infrastructure and demonstrate the economic vitality that will result from a sustainable, long-term commitment to clean energy,” said Andrew East, Executive Vice President of Alternate Energy Technologies in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
“I am passionate about curbing the effects of climate change as both a business owner and an explorer,” said Patrick Sheppard, the President of Vaporgenics, Inc. in Saint Petersburg, Fla. “My company has developed a proprietary, thermally fueled heat engine that provides the linear power to bring air conditioning compressors and well pumps to life. Stronger clean energy standards would encourage more companies to invest in clean energy technology that will reduce carbon emissions to protect our economy and our environment.”
“Energy has always been one of the most important resources in the world. The next step we must take to ensure earth’s survival and its progress is to switch over fully to clean energy technologies, and setting strong clean energy standards is the most expedient way to set the stage for the clean energy revolution,” said Esteban Castro, President of Canopus Energy Savings Inc. in Miami.
“As a tour operator, our itineraries have been disrupted by severe weather and that has resulted in a loss of revenue and repeat travelers. We may no longer offer holidays to certain destinations if there continues to be significantly unstable weather. The tourism industry is on the front lines of climate change challenges, but soon it could affect many more businesses. That’s why I’m glad Congress is supporting stronger clean energy standards. We must curb climate change now to protect our environment and protect our small businesses,” said Mary Novak-Beatty, Vice President of Marketing at Mayflower Tours in Downers Grove, Ill.
“Restaurants consume 228 percent more electricity than any other building per square foot, so there’s significant potential to becoming more energy efficient. At my LEED-certified Denny’s location, we have saved $20,000 in utility costs per year and within three years we broke even on the upfront cost above what it would have cost for a standard build-out,” said Joey Terrell, President of RTE 66 Corporation–Denny’s of Joliet, Ill. “This is the way of the future—becoming more energy efficient and saving money at the same time. The goal of powering the nation by 50 percent clean energy in 2030 is essential to achieving a more prosperous future.”
“Clean energy should be part of every business’s cost reduction and risk management strategy. Self-supplying some or all of a company’s electricity requirements with solar energy will help save money and hedge future energy prices. Stronger clean energy standards like 50 percent by 2030 will help get us all to a more stable place economically,” said Will Kenworthy, Vice President, Regional Operations – Midwest at Microgrid Energy in Chicago.
“A national energy standard requiring over 50 percent clean and carbon-free energy will further support the development of our nation’s clean energy economy, create new business opportunities, and foster innovation within the private sector. Similar policies enacted at the state level have been extremely successful in creating jobs while lowering energy costs. This standard makes sense for our nation’s citizens, economy, and environment,” said William S. Haas, Principal, Inova Energy Group in Chicago.
“Businesses today have to be prepared for the impacts of climate change on our operations,” said TJ Kanczuzewski, president of Inovateus Solar, a leading Midwest solar developer, integrator and supplier based in South Bend, Ind. “Setting stronger goals to use 50 percent clean energy by 2030 would encourage more clean technology companies like mine to develop more innovative products. Every megawatt of commercial- and utility-scale solar that we deploy not only helps mitigate the effects of climate change, it also creates jobs, reduces pollution, and accelerates our country’s transition to a clean energy economy and building a brilliant tomorrow.”
“Today’s economy is built on an electronic foundation that depends on efficient, safe, flexible direct current power systems. Fortunately, this is already the currency of renewables and stored energy. We have the opportunity—right now—to optimize our electrical infrastructure for this new reality by creating thoughtful dc power standards that will help our economy scale as fast as it needs to,” said Paul Savage, CEO of Nextek Power Systems, Inc. in Detroit.
“Accio Energy supports the 2030 clean energy standard because it will increase market confidence for renewable energy technologies like Accio Energy’s EHD wind systems, allowing us to create good U.S. manufacturing jobs and export opportunities,” Dawn White, President & CTO of Accio Energy, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“Eutectics mobilizes capital for the public good through our community-based Clean Energy Financing Hubs, which are, in many ways, the ideal public-private partnerships. These Hubs are possible because of strong local leadership combined with a national commitment to addressing climate change through bold renewable energy and energy efficiency standards,” said Jeremy Kalin, CEO and President of Eutectics™ in Minneapolis. “By investing in clean energy now, we are catalyzing a virtuous cycle that will pay dividends economically and environmentally for years to come.”
“The United States must remain the world leader in renewable energy product development,” said Peter Tierney, CEO of World Technology Corp. – an exporter of US renewable energy products based in New York. “Striving to meet a goal of using 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 will help keep US manufacturers on the innovative edge of renewable energy products, which will benefit U.S. workers for years to come.”
“Constructing more energy efficient buildings is a smart investment to help cut down on carbon emissions. We also must develop and invest in more energy efficiency technologies. If policymakers set strong clean energy standards, like 50 by 30, it will help drive the transition to a clean economy where more people will save money and be protected from the terrible effects of climate change,” said Asif Syed, a partner with STE Engineers in New York, N.Y. and Princeton N.J.
“There is no doubt in my mind that carbon emissions are damaging to our environment. The question is just how damaging. Unlike showing the impact of smoking, where one can track and compare the health of 100 smokers to 100 nonsmokers, we only have 1 Earth to work with which makes proving the connection more difficult. NASA climate analysis shows that the Earth’s mean surface temperature is at the highest level in over 130 years. The Administration’s goal of transitioning the economy to 50 percent clean energy by 2030 will require creating new technologies, which will not only benefit the environment, but also raise our standard of living,” said Scott Buehrer, Vice President of Sales, Bionix Medical Technologies in Toledo, Ohio.
“America has and must always lead the world in innovation. Focusing on developing more clean energy technologies will ensure an opportunity to avoid catastrophic and costly severe weather events. We as Americans must support stronger clean energy endeavors, regardless of change being difficult. History supports best those who chose the more difficult path to assure a better future,” said Ronald L. Anderson, President, Anderal Technologies in Hermitage, Pa.
“In my experience building and leading startups, I’ve seen the value of setting strong goals to catalyze innovation. Congress’s ambitious goal of powering the country with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030 is the leadership we finally need to build the future clean energy economy,” said Ketaki Desai, Executive Director of LindenPointe Development Corporation in Hermitage, Pa.
“Investing in more clean energy is not only an ethical choice, but it is also a sound business decision. The less exposure we have to erratic energy markets across our vendor base, the more efficient and cost effective we will be. Transitioning to 50 percent clean energy by 2030 will get the United States where we need to be as a leader in the world economy,” said Jaime Salm, Creative Director and Managing Partner at MIO in Philadelphia.
“Aiming for 50 percent clean energy by 2030 is precisely the type of milestone needed to elevate the United States to world leader status in curbing climate change while boosting our economy in a sustainable way,” said Ronald Gdovic, CEO of WindStax Wind Power Systems in Pittsburgh, Pa. “Our industry offers workers excellent job opportunities in manufacturing, installing, and providing service across a broad spectrum of skill sets. Distributed power generation, for example, is one of the exciting and growing new fields in the energy sector beyond just cheaper solar panels.”
“Energy plays a vital part in our life, for safety, for mobility, and for growth. The United States has the capability to produce clean energy and can set standards for it, which will preserve our climate for decades to come to increase our prosperity, create new jobs, and grow our economy,” said Sabiha Sultan, CEO of Design Tech in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“As an entrepreneur and executive of a multi-national business organization, energy costs and environmental regulations can come at high short-term expenses. Yet our moral standards are well set on leaving a clean environment for future generations. I support reforms and initiatives, such as 50 by 30, that improve the incentive structure that encourage businesses to make bold clean energy production and consumption behavioral changes for long-term sustainability,” said Juan Pablo Alcantar, Director of the AEM Mexican Entrepreneur Association USA in San Antonio, Texas.
“As a CEO of a renewable energy company, and a father of two young children, I would like to see us as a country lead in this effort to address the most telling issue of our times,” said Chris D’Couto, President and CEO of Neah Power Systems, Inc., Bothell, Wash. “Our country has come together in the past when there was scientific consensus, the ozone layer for example, to solve such real generational problems. This is a unique opportunity for us to be at the forefront of a new industry with high quality jobs and innovative technology. Establishing strong clean energy standards is the perfect strategy for moving beyond partisan bickering to create a proud legacy for our children and our grandchildren.”
“Quality beer enjoys a synergistic relationship with a clean and healthy planet. We are dedicated to protecting our environment, but we know that one small brewery cannot do this alone. We are excited that Congress is leading our united efforts toward a clean energy economy with the 50 by 30 resolution. This will ensure a stable climate for our farmers and create clean energy jobs in our community, so that we may continue to employee the brewing team that makes world class beer for our friends in Wisconsin,” said Deborah Carey, Founder and President of New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus, Wisc.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Fitzgerald