More than 150 people came out last month for a Currituck Chamber of Commerce open house at a new 2,000-acre farm solar farm. The event was co-hosted by the nearby Elizabeth City Chamber, home to the state’s first wind farm.
When Ohio State Senator Cliff Hite (R) knocked on the door of one of his constituents asking what he thought of neighboring wind turbines that had recently been constructed in his neighborhood, the man said: “They’re money for my county, and they’re progress.”
That was more than a decade ago. And ever since, that opinion has been growing in Sen. Hite’s district in Northwest Ohio—fueled by the leadership of local chambers of commerce and economic development leaders who have witnessed the economic benefits to their communities.
“New Bedford should absolutely be the national cluster for offshore wind” as a center of operations and workforce training, said Derek Santos, Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. “There should be no reason why folks aren’t trained in New Bedford for projects all over the eastern coast of the United States.”
“It is really exciting to be on the cutting edge of renewable energy and to be involved with Apex [Clean Energy.]” That’s what Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce Board President Peter Pearl recently said about a proposed wind farm that is planned as Virginia’s first onshore wind farm.
More than half of all local chamber leaders in Massachusetts and Connecticut pursued clean energy in 2016 by meeting with lawmakers, engaging in new energy efficiency and solar energy programs, and educating themselves and their member businesses about the growing economic development opportunities in clean energy.
With North Carolina’s clean energy industry having brought in $6.4 billion in revenue and more than 34,000 jobs in 2016 according to a new report, it’s no wonder a growing number of local chambers of commerce were out front on the economic development opportunities of this booming industry last year. Here are five highlights.
Massachusetts legislators are calling energy storage facilities like the one that broke ground in Sterling, Mass., last month a “game changer” in the effort to modernize the electric grid.
Energy storage, or the capture of energy produced through solar or wind power that will be used at a later time, is a key component of a 21st century energy systems. The Sterling facility will be the largest energy storage installation of its kind in New England.
When Amazon announced last month that it would build a second wind farm in northwest Ohio, Jon Cross, president and CEO of the Hardin County Chamber & Business Alliance and Director of Economic Development, eloquently put the opportunity in perspective:
"Big projects don’t “always have to happen in big cities,” Cross said. “They can happen in small communities like ours, courthouse communities that are an important engine of Ohio’s economy.”