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Business Support for Clean Energy Grows in NY

Cutting New York's greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 is estimated to create up to 160,000 new jobs per year. (adage/pixabay)
Cutting New York's greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 is estimated to create up to 160,000 new jobs per year. (adage/pixabay)
December 6, 2018

NEW YORK – Clean energy is good for the climate, good for the economy and good for business, according to a growing number of New York business leaders.

A bill known as the "Climate and Community Protection Act" would commit New York to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

It has passed the State Assembly three times, but never made it through the Senate.

But that may change in the coming session. And while business leaders and environmental groups don't always see eye-to-eye, Jon Powers, cofounder and president of the financial technology company CleanCapital, points out that as solar and wind power have become more affordable and reliable, more businesses are investing in clean energy technology.

"You've got major players requiring clean energy for their own operations, and folks like us who are working with folks all over the country – and also here in New York – to help develop these projects that, from an investor's standpoint, are really great, strong investments," he states.

According to recent reports, New York spends $50 billion a year bringing gas, oil and coal into the state. Powers says developing renewable energy would keep that money here.

Conor Bambrick, air and energy director at Environmental Advocates of New York, says passing the Climate and Community Protection Act would send a strong signal to businesses that the state is committed to transitioning to a clean energy economy.

"And businesses that are working in that area are going to know that New York is a safe place to invest, and that in turn is going to bring jobs and new innovation to New York," he states.

Bambrick says if passed, the bill would be the most aggressive climate and clean energy law in the country.

Powers adds that his experience serving as chief sustainability officer for the nation during the Obama administration showed that committing time and resources to meeting clean energy goals pays off.

"The players with the best strategies and the best plans get the most out of their economic opportunities for clean energy,” he points out. “And legislation like this can help to drive those positive changes we need to continue to grow the industry."

Reports indicate that cutting greenhouse gas emission in half by 2030 would create and estimated 145,000 to 160,000 new jobs per year in New York.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY