Speaking at a chamber-sponsored roundtable in Raleigh last month, the director of the North Carolina Military Business Center offered suggestions for local businesses to tap into the growing demands by the Department of Defense and military bases across the country for clean energy solutions.
The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce organized the roundtable, which was co-sponsored by the Cary Chamber, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.
The event marked the second in a series of chamber-sponsored events in the Research Triangle of North Carolina on how the Department of Defense’s increased demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency for bases and on the battlefield can present new customers for businesses in North Carolina and nationwide.
“The military is the single largest user of energy in the United States,” retired Air Force General Ronald Keys told the roundtable. “The way North Carolina does it is a real showcase for the rest of the country.”
More than 35 representatives from area businesses participated in the discussion, which was led by Michael Haley of the Greater Raleigh chamber. Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State — each of the Research Triangles Tier One research universities – also sent representatives to the roundtable.
“In the federal space,” said Sean Moser of the North Carolina Military Business Center, “teaming up is where it’s at.” He suggested that local businesses near military bases join together to present a bid to base leaders and that businesses already working with municipal customers could also have an easier time marketing a product to a military base.
The Military Business Center is an economic development initiative of the North Carolina Community College System. Since 2005, it has assisted companies in the state secure almost 2000 contracts with the military worth billions of dollars.
Local chambers in North Carolina are planning additional conversations across the region on business opportunities presented by advanced energy technologies including smart grid, portable solar and kinetic energy and biofuels for aircraft and naval vessels. The chambers plan to distribute summaries of the discussions to other North Carolina chambers.