Jan 27, 2017
“Despite being busy, we found a lot of business owners eager to learn there’s ambitious policy in the works,” said Sonny Mehta, Field Director for Renew Oregon. “There’s something about Oregon businesses. They intrinsically understand clean energy is good for the economy and more Oregonians with good-paying jobs will boost everyone’s bottom line. It didn’t take a lot of convincing.”
Whether a company is looking to install renewable energy, like solar, weatherize their location for better heating and cooling, or upgrade to more energy efficient equipment, businesses understand Clean Energy Jobs isn’t just good for the environment -- it helps their bottom line.
Some businesses are already experiencing how clean energy upgrades can increase the efficiency of operations; Rogue Creamery in Central Point has invested in solar panels to power equipment and significantly decrease energy costs. More than half their electricity is created locally, with zero-emissions. Businesses want to do more but owners have to spread spending and investments around wisely.
The Clean Energy Jobs bill will help lower the price of improvements by making investment funds available to small business and homeowners for clean energy improvements.
“As a small business owner, who has poured myself into making the dream of this business come true, I can tell you that every penny counts,” says Annie Pollard, co-owner of 7 Devils Brewing in Coos Bay.
Pollard purchased some solar panels for the brewery, and wants to purchase more to offset refrigeration costs. She and many others support Clean Energy Jobs because they know it will make it more feasible to make changes like the additional solar panels Pollard envisions for her business.
From Rocking C Ranch in Elkton, to Hot Lips Pizza in Portland, Sea Level Bakery in Cannon Beach and Lemelson Vineyards in Carlton, support for Clean Energy Jobs spans across the state and business sectors.
More than 48,000 Oregonians already work in the clean economy. Many of them at small businesses -- installing solar panels or energy-efficient irrigation systems or helping homeowners make their energy dollars go further. The clean energy economy employs all kinds of Oregonians -- like construction workers, engineers, designers, manufacturing workers, salespeople, administrators and custodians. It’s a career sector growing at 11% per year, faster than the state average. Just imagine what more investment can do!
Clean Energy Jobs would cap and price pollution, and direct the proceeds generated toward helping communities across the state to invest in the clean energy economy. $700 million in proceeds will be generated through the bill -- annually. Small businesses will be among those who can utilize these proceeds to help invest in projects that reduce costs, and use the money saved to hire new workers, pass savings onto consumers, expand their business or increase profit.
And who will install the solar panels, drip irrigation systems and other energy efficient updates these businesses will seek out? Oregon workers. Through increasing the demand for clean energy and energy efficiency projects, Clean Energy Jobs will increase the demand for jobs to make these projects come to life. These jobs are home-grown, family-wage paying positions -- jobs that can’t be outsourced because they’re done right here at home.
“We, as small business owners, understand climate change is a risk and growing clean energy comes with economic reward,” said Dawn Griffin of Pro Time Lawn Seed in Portland. “It’s a win-win. A cap-and-invest policy, like Clean Energy Jobs, is built for businesses to thrive because it’s flexible, lowest-cost and carries the re-investment piece. Small businesses could use some help paying for energy efficiency upgrades and installing clean energy.”
Renew Oregon’s field team embarked on a canvassing mission throughout the state to tell business owners about the bill and see what they thought of it.
“It’s wonderful to see such broad support for Clean Energy Jobs. Across Oregon industries and geographic locations, business owners recognize the variety of ways a just and robust Clean Energy Jobs bill can help them thrive,” says Nakisha Nathan, Climate Justice Organizer for Sierra Club Oregon Chapter, who helped gather business endorsements.
From Estacada to Eugene, Coos Bay to Clackamas, small business owners all over Oregon support Clean Energy Jobs, and want to see it signed into law in 2018.