Chambers Catalyzing the Clean Energy Economy

While the national clean energy economy continues to develop at a relatively slow-pace, local chambers of commerce have emerged as a key catalyst for clean energy in communities across America. According to a new report from Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, hundreds of local chambers are playing a leading role in attracting investment and supporting the growth of the emerging clean economy.

According to the report, Local Chambers as Change Agents: Creating Economic Vitality through Clean Energy and Innovation, ten chambers of commerce are having a particularly significant impact and serve as models for other chambers seeking to develop the clean energy economy in their communities. While the approach of each chamber is different, the results are impressive.

In South Carolina, the state’s first grid-connected wind turbine was introduced with the help of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. In Chicago, smart grid legislation that will update the city’s outdated electrical grid was enacted with the help of the Chicagoland Chamber.  In Cleveland, Ohio, the local chamber helped companies realize more than $13.4 million in savings last year through energy efficiency projects, while the Merrimack Valley Chamber in Massachusetts set 46 companies on the path to a combined $30 million in savings through lower energy bills. Chambers in Asheville, North Carolina and Salt Lake City, Utah have helped manufacturing and shipping companies save more than 10 million gallons of fuel.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is proud to also be recognized as a model chamber advancing clean energy for our role in leading business advocacy efforts for California High-Speed Rail – a project that will create thousands of jobs and usher in a new era of mobility for California. Our chamber was also one of the first business organizations to support California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and continues to champion incentives such as the local Clean Technology Payroll Tax Incentive and the recently renewed federal Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Clean energy is an important economic development tool in San Francisco and our nation. Our city is home to more than 225 clean technology companies and our region continues to capture the majority of North America’s clean tech investment. According to a report from University of California, Berkeley, America can create up to 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income above $1,100 and boost GDP up to $111 billion through comprehensive clean energy and climate policies.

As Congress continues to catch-up with much of the nation when it comes to implementing clean energy policies, local chambers are trailblazing the path forward. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is incredibly proud to have helped pave the way for our city’s accomplishments and to join with our chamber colleagues across the country in accelerating the clean energy economy nationwide. Together, we can win the global clean energy race.