Open Letter to Presidential Campaigns

October 2, 2012

President Barack Obama
Obama for America Campaign
P.O. Box 803638
Chicago, IL 60680

Governor Mitt Romney
Romney for President Campaign
P.O. Box 149756
Boston, MA 02114

Dear President Obama and Governor Romney:

As members of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national non-partisan network and clean energy information hub with 240 local chambers of commerce participating from 47 states across the nation, we are committed to helping American businesses seize economic opportunities in the rapidly growing clean energy sector.

Homegrown clean energy innovations—from smarter electric grids and more efficient buildings to cleaner cars and technologies to harness renewable energy—are already helping American businesses save money, attract investment, and put hardworking Americans back to work.

During this campaign season, we urge you to support and advance clean energy as a truly non-partisan effort, and to make clean energy growth a top priority in supporting American business and innovation. One simple first step would be to recognize energy efficiency as a high priority resource, as past administrations have done. We look forward to hearing what you have to say on this issue during the upcoming Presidential debates.

Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy is growing rapidly, as local chambers of commerce across the country join together in support of clean energy as an economic development opportunity. Our 240 participating chambers represent more than 234,000 local businesses in nearly every sector of the economy. From Colorado and Nevada to Ohio and North Carolina, our local chamber members believe that America must lead the clean energy race.

With our largest economic competitors worldwide investing heavily in clean energy, we recognize that America is at a crossroads. In 2011, global clean energy investments rose to a record $280 billion,[i] according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And in an exciting development, last year the U.S. reclaimed the lead in clean energy investment, after trailing China since 2009, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.[ii]

We are now faced with a choice. We can continue to lead the world in clean energy innovation—strengthening our local economies with new jobs in manufacturing, construction, and cleantech development along the way—or we can cede our global technological leadership to other countries eager to dominate emerging energy markets.

In our communities, we have seen time and time again that clean and efficient energy makes smart business sense. In Cleveland, with the help of their local chamber, businesses saved a collective $1.5 million in 2011 thanks to energy efficiency retrofits and new technologies.[iii] In Asheville, North Carolina, manufacturers are finding new market opportunities producing components for electric vehicle charging stations. And in Iowa, the growing wind industry supported nearly 7000 jobs last year[iv]—jobs we stand to lose if our government leaders fail to stand behind this key, innovative industry.[v]

A strong clean-energy economy also offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve our national security through U.S. business leadership. We can either continue to send one billion dollars per day overseas to pay for U.S. oil imports, supporting nations that are too often unfriendly to our own country; or we can move toward energy independence by investing in energy efficiency, new technologies, and safe, renewable energy produced right here at home.

Voters understand this. And recent Zogby polling conducted for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute finds more than 81 percent of voters in a dozen swing states believe it’s important for the next President to make growing and developing advanced energy to power America’s economy a top priority. The poll defined advanced energy as energy products, technologies, and services that are secure, clean, and affordable over the long term.

From the automobile and space shuttle to the personal computer and cell phone, American business has led the world in finding innovative solutions and developing groundbreaking technologies. We now have the historic opportunity to lead on clean energy innovation, strengthen our national security, and aid our economic recovery.

We urge you to take a stand and prioritize clean energy as an economic development solution. In partnership with American businesses, local chambers, and state and local governments, your Administration has the opportunity to steer us toward a more secure and prosperous energy future.

Sincerely,

Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE)

CICE Advisory Council Members:

Jim A. Heeter, President & CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (MO)
Steve Clark, President & CEO, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce (AR)
Steve Falk, President & CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (CA)
Rob Clapper, President & CEO, Prince William Chamber of Commerce (VA)
Aaron Nelson, President & CEO, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce (NC)
Christy Gillenwater, President & CEO, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce (IN)
John Threadgill, President & CEO, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce (TN)
Marc Jordan, President & CEO, North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce (SC)
Clif Harald, Interim President & CEO, Boulder Chamber of Commerce (CO)
Susan Graf, Former President & CEO, Boulder Chamber of Commerce (CO)
Nicole Stika, Director, Energy Programs, COSE – Council of Smaller Enterprises, Cleveland (OH)
Terrence Smith, Director of Government Affairs, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce (MA)
Clayton Poff, Director of Resource Efficiency, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce (TN)
Curtis Northcutt, Manager for Communications and Government Affairs, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, (AR)


[i]Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Clean energy investment in 2011 revised up to record $280bn,” June 11, 2012, http://www.bnef.com/PressReleases/view/222. Full report available here: http://fs-unep-centre.org/sites/default/files/publications/globaltrendsreport2012final.pdf
 
[ii]The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2011 Edition,” April 11, 2012, http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/reports/whos-winning-the-clean-energy-race-2011-edition-85899381106.
 
[iii]Cleveland’s Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), “Seven Steps to Energy Efficiency and Savings,” September 2012, http://www.cose.org/sitecore/shell/Controls/Rich%20Text%20Editor/~/media/Files/ENERGY/COSE_Energy_Choice_Brochure.ashx
 
[iv]American Wind Energy Association, “Wind Energy Facts: Iowa,” August 2012, http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/factsheets/upload/2Q-12-Iowa.pdf.
 
[v]Global wind manufacturing leader Siemens Energy announced in September that it would lay off 945 workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Florida. This comes as other manufacturers have announced hundreds of layoffs around the country, due to uncertainty surrounding whether Congress will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind. Chambers for Innovation issued a letter to Congressional leaders calling for an extension of the wind PTC on September 20, 2012: http://www.chambersforinnovation.com/local-chambers-of-commerce-urge-congress-to-extend-critical-wind-tax-credit/.