All signs point to monumental growth in local economic development and jobs in Connecticut’s clean energy sector.
“Connecticut is committed to moving forward with cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable sources of energy while creating jobs and supporting local economic development,” Robert Klee, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, told local chamber executives in a briefing call this month. “Clean energy is important for energy affordability, job growth, and regional competitiveness.”
The call was co-hosted by the Middlesex Chamber, the Connecticut River Valley Chamber, and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy. It attracted chamber executives representing more than 10,000 member businesses.
“Local chambers in Connecticut want to help their member businesses take advantage of the growing economic development opportunities in clean energy,” said Connecticut River Valley Chamber President Mary Ellen Dombrowski. “This briefing was a great opportunity for local chambers and businesses to learn first-hand about important statewide programs designed to boost savings, investment and jobs in this field.”
Highlights shared by Klee and Bill Dornbos, Director of the Connecticut Acadia Center, include:
- Job growth: There were more than 52,000 clean energy jobs in 2016. An estimated 33,000 of these jobs were in energy efficiency, a 100% increase from 2015. The solar industry saw 11 percent more jobs since 2015.
- Energy savings: Local business owners save $40 million a year through energy efficiency programs offered by Energize Connecticut. The program has also created approximately 33,000 local jobs in construction, HVAC, lighting, precision manufacturing, and related industries.
- Solar growth: Connecticut is one of the fastest growing of the smaller states in the solar industry, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. There are nearly 150 solar companies in the state. Several large-scale retailers have also installed solar, including Ikea, Staples, Khol’s, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.
- Low-cost financing available for local businesses: Nearly $100 million in financing has been awarded to local businesses during the past four years through the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program. CPACE is designed to help local business-owners increase their bottom lines and lower their energy costs by transitioning to clean energy.
- Grant opportunities for manufacturers: Approximately $800,000 in funding is available to subsidize manufacturers making efficiency upgrades through the program, Energy on the Line. Manufacturers are eligible for up to $50,000 in grant funding and technical support.
Klee also said that Connecticut is expected to release a Comprehensive Energy Strategy that will outline a three- to five-year roadmap for the state’s energy use and reduction in March.
For more information, contact Jessica Bergman, New England Programs and Engagement Director, at Jessica@chambersforinnovation.com.