Chambers Engage on Multiple Fronts to Support Ohio's Clean Energy Economy

Chamber leaders & community stakeholders discussed investment opportunities provided by wind, solar, & energy efficiency & the need for reasonable regulations with Ohio Rep. Craig Riedel & other legislators.

Chamber leaders & community stakeholders discussed investment opportunities provided by wind, solar, & energy efficiency & the need for reasonable regulations with Ohio Rep. Craig Riedel & other legislators.

The Ohio Legislature recently concluded the busiest portion of its work session, adopting budgets for state government, as well as far-reaching energy legislation. Throughout the session, chambers of commerce actively engaged legislators and state government leaders about the opportunities provided by clean energy for their local economies and communities.

In particular, chamber leaders, economic development officials, and community stakeholders traveled to Columbus to meet with legislators and deliver testimony before House and Senate committees about the investment opportunities provided by renewable and energy efficiency projects and about the importance of reasonable regulations, as well. Additionally, chamber leaders hosted the Toledo Blade for a wind farm tour, co-signed a letter to the governor and legislative leadership, and hosted an energy briefing call with Senator Dolan, all to represent the economic benefits of clean energy.

"For future growth, Ohio needs to take full advantage of this fast-growing sector that's delivered more than 112,000 new jobs and billions in investment to our state," wrote chamber leaders in a letter to state officials, which also warned against implementing "roadblocks or burdensome development regulations."

Legislators heard the concerns of chamber leaders, resulting in two positive outcomes within Ohio's controversial and extensively negotiated House Bill 6:

  • First, removal of a harmful township referendum amendment for wind farms, which would have set a dangerous precedent in that it could have been applied to any type of energy development. (The Ohio Chamber of Commerce also supported the removal of this amendment.)

  • Second, the legislation preserved significant portions of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a long-term, market-based investment signal to help finance utility-scale wind and solar energy projects. Early drafts of HB 6 eliminated the RPS, but the final version partially retained it, lowering targets from 12.5 to 8.5 percent and requiring utilities to meet these targets one year earlier.

What now? There's a possibility House Bill 6 may not become law. Presently, a referendum to repeal the law is seeking to get on the ballot in 2020, as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

What's Next? Legislation expected this fall could adjust burdensome wind turbine setback regulations that stand in the way of new projects. Senator Matt Dolan has championed this issue, which draws support from across the state and was considered, although not passed, in the 2017-2018 legislative session.

If you would like more information about any of the above or about how your chamber can be involved in clean energy development or energy efficiency programs, please contact Tom Bullock, tom@chambersforinnovation.com, or Susan Munroe, susan@chambersforinnovation.com.

Chamber leaders, such as Logan O'Neill of the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber, were interviewed by the media about the fast-growing clean energy sector & how it has stimulated regional economies

Chamber leaders, such as Logan O'Neill of the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber, were interviewed by the media about the fast-growing clean energy sector & how it has stimulated regional economies

Why would six North Carolina Chambers of Commerce send an urgent letter to the State General Assembly?

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Six North Carolina Chamber directors, representing hundreds of businesses in rural regions, emphasized in a letter to legislators that wind and solar energy projects deliver extraordinary economic benefits to their communities including new jobs, new tax revenues and landowner lease payments.

"Many of our communities have struggled to attract new jobs, business opportunities and major investments for decades. In recent years, however, we've welcomed new economic development opportunities and businesses, including wind and solar energy project developers, service providers, manufacturing companies, research and educational institutions, engineering, architects, construction firms and contractors, and other businesses engaged in the renewable energy sector."

Their primary request to legislators- support policies that allow the renewable industry to thrive in the northeastern part of North Carolina, thereby sending a clear signal to companies and investors that the state is open for business.


See the complete letter here. If you would like more information about North Carolina Chambers of Commerce and their interest in renewable energy, please contact susan@chambersforinnovation.com

SunEnergy1's Summit Farm Solar together with two other area solar farms in Currituck County, NC generate $225,244 annually in new, local tax revenue.

SunEnergy1's Summit Farm Solar together with two other area solar farms in Currituck County, NC generate $225,244 annually in new, local tax revenue.

Amazon Wind Farm US East operated by Avangrid Renewables is now the largest taxpayer in both Pasquotank and Perquimans counties in NC bringing in $640,000 in annual tax revenue.

Amazon Wind Farm US East operated by Avangrid Renewables is now the largest taxpayer in both Pasquotank and Perquimans counties in NC bringing in $640,000 in annual tax revenue.

Local Chambers respond to House Speaker DeLeo's Call to be Part of the Solution

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STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 11, 2019

Responding to the House speaker's call for the business community to involve itself in the debate over the needs of the state's transportation system, two dozen business groups have banded together to promote a statewide agenda for transportation.

The Massachusetts Business Coalition on Transportation (MBCT) said its formation comes as traffic and congestion get worse and riders demand more reliable public transportation service. The group was also formed in response to "the business community's dissatisfaction with the current pace of improvements to our state's transportation systems and services."

Jim Rooney

Jim Rooney

Tim Murray

Tim Murray

Wendy Northcross

Wendy Northcross

The coalition, which includes about two dozen organizations, will be chaired by Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Murray, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross and Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council CEO Richard Sullivan.

"Transportation, and particularly public transportation, is a critical component to Greater Boston's, and indeed the state's, talent and workforce strategy, housing crisis strategy, economic opportunity efforts, climate resiliency, and our commitment to improving the overall quality of life for the people who live and work in Massachusetts," Rooney said. "It's time for a united voice from the business community that can be a powerful driver of progress."

Business groups have increasingly decried the Boston area's public transportation woes as a hindrance to business growth. Traffic and congestion on the roads make for long and frustrating commutes by car, and the unpredictable nature of public transportation frequently makes workers late to their jobs.

In February, A Better City released a report detailing a $8.4 billion shortfall in revenues needed to ensure state roads, bridges and MBTA infrastructure are in a state of good repair over the next 10 years.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has been beating the drum to get chambers of commerce and other business groups more involved in discussions around transportation infrastructure and financing, and has said he is open to tax hikes or just about any other prescription to address the state's critical transit needs.

The MBCT said its work will build off of the work of the Commission on the Future of Transportation launched by Gov. Charlie Baker and that its "conversations around new revenues for transportation initiatives will be coordinated with the efforts of Senate President Karen Spilka's working group charged with examining the state's revenue sources."

Murray, the former Worcester mayor and lieutenant governor, said the MBCT's goal is "to provide pathways including possible funding mechanisms on how to create a state-of-the-art transportation system across Massachusetts."

The group said its members feel a responsibility to engage with government and to help identify possible solutions to transportation issues, "particularly when it comes to issues like public/private partnerships, workforce scheduling and applications of technology as well as sharing expertise on complex issues of financing, governance and management, contracting, and project delivery."

In its announcement, the MBCT said it has already met twice to formulate its mission and to discuss transportation policy as it works to set a more concrete agenda.

By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

https://www.statehousenews.com/email/a/2019643?key=56fb26

Metro South Chamber Was an Early Leader in the Electric Vehicle Revolution

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Now the City of Brockton is:

  • Recognized by MA Department of Environmental Protection

  • Adding its 14th EV to the municipal fleet

We wanted to make sure our community is always part of the innovative wave of the future,. We organized a ride and drive event with our partner to share the excitement of this new technology. Our city council member participated in the ride and drive event,embraced electric vehicles, and the rest is history. The city of Brockton is now adding its 14th electric car to its municipal fleet.

- Chris Cooney, President and CEO of the Metro South Chamber of Commerce

 
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Chris Cooney, President and CEO of the Metro South Chamber of Commerce, embraced Electric Vehicles (EVs) early. He partnered with Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy to introduce EVs to his community and businesses through a ride-and-drive event back in 2015.

Massachusetts DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg joined Mayor Bill Carpenter at Brockton City Hall last week to celebrate Brockton's leadership. See the Video and News Article

DEP's statewide program provides up to $7,500 per vehicle to purchase or lease plug-in electric vehicles, and up to $7,500 for charging stations. Suuberg said Brockton has received $120,000 in total under the EV Incentive Program (for municipalities).

If you would like to learn more about MA's incentives for EVs and charging stations please contact us at info@chambersforinnovation.com.

See other stories about Local Chambers and Electric Vehicles:

Chamber Executives Line Up to Drive New EVs

Chambers Learn About Rebates for EVs

Local NC Chamber Innovates w EV Charging Stations

Orlando Chamber Drives Toward the Future

Dearborn Chamber Makes Energy Connection Henry Ford Would Appreciate


Wind Tour with Toledo Blade, Ohio Governor's Office, Local Chamber, County Officials and More

A perfect, windy day to see a turbine up-close at EDP Renewables Timber Roads II in Paulding County.  From the top:  Jerry Zielke, Paulding County Economic Development Inc. Director;  LuAnne Cook, Office of the Governor NW Regional Liaison;  Mikayla Pieper, Paulding Chamber of Commerce Executive Director;  Erin Bowser, EDP Renewables;  Susan Munroe, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.

A perfect, windy day to see a turbine up-close at EDP Renewables Timber Roads II in Paulding County.

From the top:

Jerry Zielke, Paulding County Economic Development Inc. Director;

LuAnne Cook, Office of the Governor NW Regional Liaison;

Mikayla Pieper, Paulding Chamber of Commerce Executive Director;

Erin Bowser, EDP Renewables;

Susan Munroe, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.

How much can clean energy development grow a region's economy? Quite a lot, as a Toledo Blade newspaper reporter and the Ohio Governor's regional representative got to find out in a day-long tour earlier this month by the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy in partnership with the Paulding Chamber of Commerce, school district superintendents, and economic development officials.

The day-long tour spotlighted a region of Ohio where several wind farms are already constructed and have been operating for several years. It provided a close look at how economic activity from wind power reaches far beyond the boundaries of wind farms into businesses, school districts, local governments, and community philanthropies. The wind farms benefit communities throughout Ohio that are located along the wind supply chain.

One of the most intriguing stops during the tour for Toledo Blade Reporter, Tom Henry, was an up-close look at Vantage's Nacelle Wind Power Generator Simulator.

"One of the highlights of the visit there was an $80,000, micro-sized wind turbine simulator that could help train future operators, or at least whet their appetites for mechanical science and physics," says Henry. The technician training program is right on time - since one of the top new jobs in the county is a wind turbine technician with an average salary of $54.360 according to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. 

Vantage Career Center offers a job training pathway for wind turbine technicians, a top job opportunity in the country with an average salary of $54,360

Vantage Career Center offers a job training pathway for wind turbine technicians, a top job opportunity in the country with an average salary of $54,360

Another highlight of the tour included a visit to the new $4.5 million community center built by the Lincolnview School District with revenue from wind investments. Lincolnview is receiving $400,000 annually for 20 years from wind revenue. Superintendent Jeff  Snyder noted that these steady payments allow the school district to plan for the long-term and to fund ambitious projects like the community center.

Lincolnview School District Community Center; built with revenue from wind investments.

Lincolnview School District Community Center; built with revenue from wind investments.

In between stops, the tour also highlighted businesses receiving spin-off economic activity from wind farm construction and maintenance--including a hotel, cement plan, auto dealership, trucking company, and more.

See the Toledo Blade story and video here

Blackstone Valley Chamber Tackles Workforce Skills Gap and Sustainability with Innovative Educational Programming

Blackstone Valley Chamber Tackles Workforce Skills Gap and Sustainability with Innovative Educational Programming

Located in the historic Linwood Mill, which is geothermal, the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce (BVCC) is definitely walking the walk when it comes to innovation and clean energy.

MA Chambers Get High-Powered Briefing from Energy Secretary Matt Beaton and State Senator Marc Pacheco

MA Chambers Get High-Powered Briefing from Energy Secretary Matt Beaton and State Senator Marc Pacheco

Lots of information was shared on the recent briefing call with MA policymakers, here's a re-cap:

Leading legislator makes major offshore wind announcement to packed house at Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut offshore wind breakfast

Leading legislator makes major offshore wind announcement to packed house at Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut offshore wind breakfast

Senator Paul Formica (R-20) chose a packed-house business leader breakfast hosted recently by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut to make a major announcement on offshore wind development: the Energy and Technology Committee recently agreed to work on legislation to add 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. 

4th Annual Champions of Clean Energy Awards Brings Together Chambers of Commerce From Across North Carolina

4th Annual Champions of Clean Energy Awards Brings Together Chambers of Commerce From Across North Carolina

On Tuesday, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy and Conservatives for Clean Energy co-hosted the 4th Annual Champions of Clean Energy Awards Luncheon where the Currituck Chamber of Commerce was recognized with a Clean Energy Champion award for their continued commitment to expanding solar and wind energy projects across Northeastern North Carolina.

Lawsuit Aims To Attract More Wind Investment and Development To Ohio

Lawsuit Aims To Attract More Wind Investment and Development To Ohio

This week, a group of farmers in Paulding County (OH) and a wind industry association filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio alleging that the General Assembly violated the state's constitution when it mandated a dramatic increase in the distance wind turbines must be located from property lines. The suit alleges that the mandate is unconstitutional because it was included in an "unrelated budget bill, which is against the "single subject" rule. Read News Article Here

NC Legislators and Chambers Tour Key Manufacturing Facility. Could NC become a Hub for Offshore Wind Components?

NC Legislators and Chambers Tour Key Manufacturing Facility. Could NC become a Hub for Offshore Wind Components?

Earlier this month, Josh Bass, President of the Currituck Chamber of Commerce, traveled from the far northeast corner of the state to Huntersville, NC, to tour the SAERTEX manufacturing facility and participate in a strategy session.  The SAERTEX facility leads the world in the production of the high-tech and light-weight materials used to produce turbine blades. 

Lancaster County Chamber CEO Talks About PA’s Energy Development & Lancaster’s Solar Leadership

Lancaster County Chamber CEO Talks About PA’s Energy Development & Lancaster’s Solar Leadership

Thomas Baldridge, President and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, speaks out in a new video about how a community and state historically known for oil, coal, and shale development is now embracing clean energy.

Local Chambers From Red, BLue & Purple States Speak at Global Climate Summit

Local Chambers From Red, BLue & Purple States Speak at Global Climate Summit

The day before Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, local chamber CEOs from red and purple states gathered at the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco to talk about their work in ensuring resilient communities.

Middlesex Chamber’s Innovative Financing Program to Boost Local Jobs, Profits and Investment

Middlesex Chamber’s Innovative Financing Program to Boost Local Jobs, Profits and Investment

Businesses everywhere are looking to save money when it comes to energy costs. In response, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Connecticut Green Bank to help member businesses afford energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades. Together they are promoting a clean energy financing tool called Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE. This innovative solution provides long-term, low interest financing to help local building owners take control of their energy costs. With 100% financing, no upfront cost required, and terms of up to 25 years available through C-PACE, energy upgrades are more affordable and accessible than ever.