Job losses have been commonplace over the past couple of years whilst the United States suffered a deep and lasting recession, one not seen since the great depression of the 1930s. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and that light it is a bright shade of green. The US Green Chamber of Commerce (USGCC) outlines how record investment in renewables combined with some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the country, are breathing life back into our flailing economy.
Governments the world over have been pouring funds (stimulus or otherwise) into emerging industries to help pull themselves out of the economic doldrums and drive a clean energy future which they hope will spur new innovations, best practice and most importantly, jobs.
Given the current state of our country’s finances, highlighted by current debt ceiling arguments and the worst recession since the great depression, we are now starting to see glimpses of what the economy might look like post recovery. But as we contemplate how a transition to a proposed ‘green economy’ will happen we need to appreciate why we need to make such a major economic reform in the first place
Statistics show that through 2008/09 the economy shrank in five quarters. Two of those quarters saw it shrink more than 5% and it’s only when economic stimulus spending kicked in that we saw it end in Q3 2009 18 months later.
The aftershock however is still being felt and with only 18,000 jobs added in June and unemployment currently at 9.2 %, the countries job market is crying out for a true game changer. Economists and industry analysts have long argued that the most pressing issue facing the US at the moment is the millions of unemployed.
So how can investing in the renewable energy sector be that conduit for change our country craves?
In simple terms it decreases the barriers that impede businesses to move towards a clean energy future by providing the initial cash outlay they struggle to gather together. For example, the economic stimulus package designed by the current Obama administration saw $25 billion in funding directed to renewable energy opportunities. This was a shrewd investment on a number of levels. First, it invested in technology and projects that will reap long term dividends for the country and second, it fostered immediate economic activity in the sector, and finally it both created and saved millions of green jobs through designing, building and maintaining renewable energy projects.
One of the biggest champions of this investment has been the state of Indiana. Through the Indiana Economic Development Corp (formally the Indiana Department of Commerce), Indiana is looking to become a new leader in green investments and show that it’s not just New York and California leading the way.
This is no accident nor has it been a case of jumping on the green investment bandwagon. Indiana’s clean energy jobs grew by nearly 18 percent between 1998 and 2007, ranking the state first in the industrial Midwest in overall job growth in the clean energy industry.
One of the big winners of Indiana’s green focus is that of WindStream Technologies, Inc (makers of highly efficient and low-cost micro-wind turbines for urban and off-grid environments) who were enticed to move from California in 2009 to the state through an attractive incentive package from IEDC, worth up to $1.5 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $84,500 in training grants based on the 260 jobs WindStream planned to create.
WindStream is just one example of how providing funding for green projects not only spurs economic growth but provides complimentary benefits that will deliver on the economic priorities of the local area (eg jobs).
The reality is that dynamic and competitive industries are essential for any future economic drivers and job creators so it’s essential that government continues to support the emerging renewables sector and support the small start-up companies that will no doubt become large industry leaders in a clean energy future.
Small business makes a vital contribution to economic activity and accounted for 65 percent (or 9.8 million) of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009. If we can identify new business opportunities now and support them through the trials and tribulations of the early years of operation, then significant savings can be realized and benefits can potentially be shared around the globe – consumer to business to government and beyond.
The US Green Chamber of Commerce strongly encourages its members to take advantage of all the funding opportunities that exist. It is in your best interest to take early action, make cost savings and exploit the commercial opportunities that are being created by climate change.
We can help you and your business discover how to make the most of the numerous opportunities available as the US moves towards a new green economy. So get in contact with the USGCC today to find out more about who we are and what we offer.