Local chambers of commerce in North Carolina have first-hand experience with the benefits that come from the rising demand for, and investments in, clean energy.
So when Amazon was named as a 2017 Clean Energy Champion at this year’s annual Clean Energy Awards event hosted by Conservatives for Clean Energy and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, it was welcome news for one of the chambers that has already benefited from North Carolina’s first wind farm: Amazon Wind Farm US East.
“This hugely successful project has brought major economic benefits to northeastern North Carolina,” said Win Dale, Executive Director of the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce. “And we hope that we’ll see other wind projects in various stages of development in the area come to fruition to benefit a region that so greatly needs these types of investments.”
The Amazon Wind Farm, which became operational in February, is a $440 million project that employed 500 people during peak construction and has a permanent crew of 17 on-site technicians. Landowner payments and taxes will inject $1.1 million into the local economy each year.
Other business award winners included:
- Google, which owns and operates a $1.2 billion data center in Caldwell County and purchases power from a solar project in Rutherford County;
- Sierra Nevada, whose Mills River brewery uses 100 percent renewable energy;
- Weyerhaeuser, the state’s largest private property owner, which leases land to the Amazon Wind Farm and plans to lease additional property for wind projects under development in Chowan and Tyrell Counties; and
- New Sarum Brewing in Salisbury for its focus on energy efficiency.
“The nation’s leading companies have made access to renewable energy a key factor when deciding on site-selection and where to invest,” said Jennifer Behr, Senior Organizer for Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.
“To stay competitive with the rest of the country for these businesses and jobs, we must meet this growing corporate demand for renewable energy by having strong pro-business and pro-renewable policies,” she said.
Rep. Bob Steinburg Award
Rep. Bob Steinburg (R-1) also received the 2017 Clean Energy Legislative Champion award.
“Rep. Steinburg is one of the most outspoken advocates for renewable energy and the economic benefits that accompany it,” said Behr.
In a briefing call with local chambers across the state last month, Rep. Steinburg talked about the importance of keeping up with the growing clean energy market.
“We need to take the long-range view,” he said. “Where is [renewable energy] going to place us for economic development over next 10 to 20 years? I hope we continue to move forward and embrace renewable energy in our state.”
For more information about how your chamber can engage in the economic development opportunities in clean energy, contact Jennifer Behr at Jennifer@ChambersforInnovation.com.
Pictured at top: Jennifer Behr, CICE, and Cheri Chastain, Sierra Nevada.