Recently, local chamber leaders from across the nation engaged in a lively discussion with high-level bipartisan experts about what recent election results will mean for clean energy and economic development in 2015.
The upshot: Advancing energy efficiency is not only good for the bottom line, as a growing number of chamber leaders have recently discovered, it appears to be the way of the future for both business and all levels of government.
“I think you will see a variety of states that will move on energy efficiency in significant ways” in the years ahead, said former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr., the founder and director of Colorado State University’s Center for New Energy Economy.
There is also likely to be a push for energy efficiency on the federal level, said Daniel Martini, senior legislative assistant and counsel to Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) on energy, environment and natural resources. “We see strong bipartisan opportunities to promote energy efficiency nationwide,” Martini said, adding that the federal government is the largest building-owner in the country. He also mentioned that the Department of Defense energy efficiency projects on military bases should continue to garner bipartisan support.
Fortune 500 companies, such as Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and United Technologies, are increasing their focus on efficiency, said Erin L. Lane, vice president of Cascade Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based governmental affairs consulting firm. And the savings are significant. For example, Walmart’s commitment to make a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020 is expected to save the world’s largest employer more than $1 billion annually.
Addressing chamber and business leaders, Lane added, “You have to think about your bottom line; and energy efficiency, in particular, certainly affects the bottom line.”
The discussion, organized by Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) was moderated by Angelique Espinoza, director of public affairs and public policy, at the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
In recent years, many local chambers have recognized energy efficiency as the cheapest and fastest solution to meet the growing energy needs of America’s entrepreneurs—and launched projects that help their businesses save money.
Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy will convene its next briefing, the 2015 Clean Energy Investment Forecast Call, in early 2015.