Local PA Chambers Eye Economic Opportunities in Clean Energy

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, may conjure images of covered bridges and farmland but thanks to its chamber of commerce—which has twice been voted the nation’s top chamber—it is firmly focused on 21st century-style prosperity.

The 2,150-member Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently hosted a gathering on the economic opportunities of clean energy in partnership with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.

“We need to think long-term about diversifying energy sources to include clean energy,” said Tom Baldrige, President and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Some three-dozen chamber and member company representatives attended the event. They learned about growing corporate demand for clean energy and the opportunity to attract new employers and investments through energy efficiency and renewables, such as wind and solar power.

Exelon and other Pennsylvania utilities and businesses are already moving forward with plans to diversify their energy supply: one of the goals of the Clean Power Plan, which also provides states with flexibility on how best to do so.

When asked at the chamber event if they agreed that any state plan should include cost-effective, market-based mechanisms to help businesses meet the state’s energy plan, respondents resoundingly said yes.

Pew Charitable Trusts named Pennsylvania as a “rising leader” in renewable energy investment in late 2014 after the state attracted $3.5 billion in private investments in renewables and energy efficiency. Over the coming decade, it is expected to generate another $17.7 billion in clean energy investments.