Times Bulletin: Alternative Energy in Van Wert, Ohio

Two years ago, 152 massive windmills at the Blue Creek Wind Farm started spinning, adding $5 million a year into our regional economy through landowner lease payments and local property taxes. The wind farm instantly solidified the agricultural and wind energy partnership here in Van Wert County, allowing our farmers to harvest a new crop of electricity from the wind that seems to blow over their fields almost endlessly.

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Putting the US on a Path to Clean Energy, One City at a Time

Local chambers of commerce have shaped the economic vitality of cities and towns for more than a century. Every day, businesses large and small turn to local chambers for guidance and support. Economic development organizations collaborate and sometimes merge with their local chambers, tapping into their unique knowledge of their communities’ strengths, challenges and needs.

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Local Chambers Help Renewable Energy Standards Survive Legislative Assaults

When state legislatures opened their doors earlier this year, state renewable energy laws were in the crosshairs, targeted for repeal in at least half a dozen states, including Kansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota and West Virginia. With legislative sessions now completed, renewable energy laws have survived intact — and, in three states, Colorado, Minnesota and Nevada — actually grew stronger.

While that alone is great news for the promise of renewable energy, what is truly remarkable is how an unexpected group of supporters — local chambers of commerce — rallied to support renewable energy.

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How “Energy Doctors” can Help Small Businesses

By Nicole Stika, Director of Energy Programs for the Council of Smaller Enterprises in Cleveland, Ohio

Several years ago, when Cleveland’s Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) first started to offer energy assessments for our business members, we anticipated lines out the door. Well, perhaps not lines, but we thought that business owners would be eager to learn how they could cut their utility bills.

Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case. It seems that people did not want to know what was wrong with their business or how they could improve it if they didn’t have the means to pay for it. Several owners told us it was like going to the doctor without having the insurance or other means to fix all your ailments.

As we mark the 50th Anniversary of National Small Business Week, I’m delighted to report that COSE has now formalized a three-point “energy doctor” solution to help businesses capture significant savings on their utilities bills that can then be plowed into marketing or other investments designed to get that next customer in the door.

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Local Chambers as Change Agents: Creating Economic Vitality through Clean Energy and Innovation

By Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy

The geography of traditional energy sources — coal, oil, natural gas — was set long before humans walked the planet. Even the most determined and business hungry community cannot will itself into becoming a natural gas or oil hub.

In contrast, though, smart forward-thinking communities can establish themselves as clean energy hubs and start to attract significant new investment and job creation. In this economic environment, it comes as no surprise that across the country, from coast to coast, communities are setting their sites on becoming clean energy hubs.

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