Clean Energy: A Hot Topic at Annual Ohio Chamber Conference

“Igniting Chambers for the Future” was the theme of the meeting of Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio last month—and clean energy was one hot topic.

Sen. Portman’s Office kicked off the lunchtime speakers by talking about the economic benefits of energy efficiency and the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.

“This bill helps give employers more tools to save money,” Sen. Portman’s General Counsel Stephen White told chamber leaders. “It incentivizes private sector ideas while making the U.S. government adopt energy-saving measures.”

Chamber leaders also demonstrated interest in state policies that support clean energy development. When asked in an informal survey if they agreed with Gov. Kasich’s recent comment that it is “unacceptable” for Ohio to maintain a freeze on renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, 90 percent of chamber leaders said yes.

Table-to-table speed-meeting sessions followed in which Van Wert Chamber CEO Susan Munroe shared the many ways that wind energy has benefited her community.

“Wind development brings $7 million in new tax revenue—100 percent of which stays in Van Wert,” Munroe said. “Wind development brings $2 million a year to our schools, and $4 million cash crop to local farmers.”

On day two, leaders gathered for a special Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy session to learn more about the economic opportunities of clean energy.

“Energy efficiency has an immediate return on investment,” said Nicole Stika, Senior Director Energy Services for the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE). “As soon as you flip the switch, you see savings.” COSE, part of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, offers programs to help chambers and members save on energy upgrades and costs.