Solar Panels in Massachusetts
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Joanne Rathe via Boston Globe

New England Chambers of Commerce Leading on Clean Energy

Diane Doucette of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy shares five ways area businesses reaped the benefits of clean energy in 2016.

In order to engage and amplify a broad range of voices supporting clean energy, Barr supports groups that help businesses take advantage of the economic benefits of growing the clean energy economy. We recently invited Diane Doucette, executive director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, to share highlights of business and chamber activity in two states in our region.


Local chambers of commerce are the engines of economic growth for their communities, shaping the economic vitality of cities and towns. Every day, businesses large and small turn to local chambers for guidance and support. Many of these local chambers are helping businesses and communities meet shared challenges in our energy landscape: volatile energy prices, global competition in manufacturing, technology development, and aging electric grids. Time and again, clean energy has proven to be a practical and profitable solution for these chambers and their member companies.

Market-based clean energy solutions allow businesses to find the most cost-effective measures to spur innovation, encourage investment, and advance clean energy. Here in New England, business leaders understand this. In 2016, more than half of all local chamber leaders in Massachusetts and Connecticut alone pursued clean energy opportunities, engaging in energy efficiency and solar energy programs, and educating themselves and their members about the growing economic opportunities in clean energy.

Here are five highlights from 2016 from Massachusetts and Connecticut members of the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy network:

Chambers Help Businesses Achieve Efficiency Savings

Chambers for Innovation Main Street

Piloted at the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber in Massachusetts, a new chamber initiative led to almost 300 new businesses signing up for efficiency audits through the ratepayer-funded Mass Save program. More than 250 have already received an assessment and more than 100 have committed to upgrades.

Said Chamber President Greg Reibman: “Reducing our carbon footprint is not just good for our planet, it can be good for the bottom line. I’m proud of our businesses here for the way they’ve embraced this initiative.” More here.

Chambers Connect Businesses with Policymakers to Explore Growing Offshore Wind Investments and Jobs

Block Island Wind Farm Sunrise

More than 50 local chamber executives and their member companies spoke with Massachusetts State Senator Pacheco and Representative Golden to discuss the Act to Promote Energy Diversity, also known as the 2016 Omnibus Energy bill. Of particular interest was how the legislation positions the Bay State to attract new investment and jobs associated with offshore wind. More here.

Chambers Launch Solar Program to Help Businesses Become Energy Independent

Solar

A new solar program, housed at the Metro South Chamber, has attracted commitments from more than a dozen other chambers to encourage their member businesses to purchase solar energy. More than 200 businesses have already shown interest. More here.

Chambers Connect Businesses to Policymakers to Express Strong Interest in Clean Energy

Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy

Twenty-six local chambers of commerce, covering half of all local chambers in Connecticut, gathered for a conversation about clean energy with Governor Dannel P. Malloy, the Connecticut Green Bank, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“We see clean energy as a great economic development opportunity that helps us retain and attract businesses,” said Rich Brown, vice president of the MetroHartford Alliance and event co-host. More here.

Chamber Executives Line Up to Test Electric Vehicles

Chambers for Innovation

New England Chamber Executives got behind the wheel of a new Nissan electric vehicle at the 2016 New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives meeting in New Hampshire. A growing number of local chambers are now looking into leasing electric vehicles or getting a charging station to encourage more traffic to their businesses. More here.

About Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy
A national network of local chambers of commerce focused on clean energy (primarily energy efficiency, renewable energy, and innovative financing mechanisms), Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy works at the national level and in states to educate, connect, and empower local business leaders to support clean energy policies and to participate in clean energy projects. It has about 1,000 local chambers in itsnetwork, representing hundreds of thousands of business from every state in the nation. With Barr Foundation support, it has deepened its support for New England chambers. In addition to its national network of chamber leaders, it supports chamber networks in states where local chamber leadership wishes to partner. To learn more about Chamber’s national network and how chambers are out front on Clean Energy in 2017, read its “Chambers in Action” series.

Find more Chambers in Action

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Diane Doucette

Diane Doucette

Guest Author · Executive Director, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy