Washington, D.C.— Today, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development, held a hearing on the opportunities the clean energy economy presents for the small business sector.
“This year, we’ve already experienced unprecedented climate events across the country that remind us that the climate crisis is a threat to human lives and economic prosperity everywhere. We have an urgent imperative to protect our planet and create a more sustainable economy, but it is also an opportunity to benefit small businesses and create millions of good-paying jobs,” said Chairman Crow. “Without adequate investment in workforce development, we risk grounding the clean energy economy before it has the chance to fully take off. I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide solutions that benefit small businesses, workers, and the planet.”
The clean energy economy is comprised of approximately 35,000 firms that employ over 3 million workers. Small businesses dominate the sector, with 89.5 percent of clean energy businesses having fewer than 100 employees. With Congress and the Biden administration prioritizing fighting climate change and helping firms go green, experts predict the clean energy sector will continue to grow in the coming years.
The hearing allowed members to examine how the continued transition to clean energy can benefit small businesses and their employees and what Congress can do to incentivize the adoption of renewable sources of energy.
“The energy efficiency and clean energy industry has not received the support necessary to expand and diversify to meet critical goals of inclusion, equity, and diversity,” said Leticia Colon De Mejias Chief Executive Officer of Energy Efficiencies Solutions and Co-chair for the Building Performance Association. “We must take deliberate actions at the federal level to expose Americans to industry job opportunities. We could do this by providing federal support to energy efficiency and clean energy companies – which as mentioned earlier are largely small businesses – to hire and train new employees.”
“We believe that there is a significant need for additional funding, support, and resources for workforce development programs throughout the country, with a particular focus on the trades. We are strong supporters and advocates of existing programs managed by local and national trade unions,” said James Hasselbeck, Director of Operations at ReVision Energy, Inc. in South Portland, ME. “ReVision Energy has worked closely with union contractors, primarily IBEW members, for over a decade on the installation of large-scale solar energy projects. Organized labor’s focus on worker benefits, safety and career training is admirable and a critically important part of any workforce development programs.”
“Investing in clean energy supports small businesses because it helps sustain local economies, and because energy efficiency upgrades save businesses money on their utility bills every month,” said Samuel Gilchrist, Western Campaigns Director at Natural Resources Defense Council. “By supporting incentives for businesses to upgrade to more efficient mechanical systems, you are putting money back into the pockets of small business owners.”