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Finkenauer Seeks to Expand Opportunity for Small Businesses in the Green Economy

Washington, September 11, 2019

Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Chairwoman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development Agriculture and Trade held a hearing focused on supporting small businesses in the clean energy sector. Small companies have been driving growth in this fast-growing sector, with an estimated 70% of employees in the industry working for a small business.

“Small businesses play a vital role in the clean energy economy,” said Chairwoman Finkenauer. “From our farmers growing corn and soybeans for biofuels to our manufacturers creating parts for wind turbines to our utility workers or workers installing energy efficiency equipment, nearly every state has seen an increase in clean energy jobs. 

Clean energy jobs totaled more than 3.26 million at the end of 2018, and nearly every state in the U.S has seen an increase. Clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel jobs nearly three to one, and the gap is expected to widen moving forward. Small businesses have played a substantial role in the prolific growth the clean energy economy has experienced. The innovation of small firms is propelling the clean energy economy in areas like construction, agriculture, and renewable energy. 

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned witnesses on the obstacles and opportunities that small businesses encounter in the clean energy sector and what Congress can do to better support businesses in this growing industry. 

“We need lawmakers to stand beside our nation’s small businesses in providing the opportunity to rise and compete in the growth sectors of the U.S. energy economy,” said Dr. Lynn Abramson, President of the Clean Energy Business Network. “The clean energy economy has already arrived—and it will increasingly power our future. As we weigh national energy policy decisions, Congress should embrace this opportunity, accelerate it, and ensure that the energy technologies of the future are made here in America.”

“The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry is delivering clean energy today,” said Tom Brooks, General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel, LLC in Farley, IA. “The carbon reductions are measurable, helping state and regional programs to meet environmental goals as well as building the rural economy. What the biodiesel industry needs is stable continuity in existing federal policies.”

“Small businesses are not only creating the jobs to do this work, but can also reap these same cost and environmental health benefits if they make energy efficiency updates themselves,” said Michael Williams Deputy Director at the Blue Green Alliance. “There are currently over 2.3 million jobs in the energy efficiency sector, and roughly 70 percent of these are in small businesses”

“As we look to tackle the unprecedented challenges that come with climate change and unpredictable weather, it is more important than ever before to continue our support of clean energy,” said Chairwoman Finkenauer.  “As we’ve heard today, small businesses are at the forefront of the clean energy economy, promoting new technologies in both renewable energy and energy efficiency. “From the field to the factory floor, small businesses are playing a key role.”

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