Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Clean Energy Standards Will Give Boost to Small Business Community

This week the Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan - new rules establishing the first-ever carbon emissions standards for power plants. This is good news for entrepreneurs, the majority of whom support the EPA limiting carbon pollution, because they will strengthen our economy and small businesses by driving investment in clean energy technologies, encouraging innovation, lowering energy costs and mitigating the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

In fact, the CPP is slated to generate a whopping $155 billion in electricity savings between 2020 and 2030, and it has the potential to create a quarter million jobs by 2040. These benefits will help small businesses save money on energy costs while also putting more money in the hands of consumers that they can spend at small businesses.

And standards like these are strongly supported by entrepreneurs. Small Business Majority's scientific opinion polling found 87 percent of small business owners across the country believe improving clean energy innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses through job creation and potential cost savings. What's more, as part of Small Business Majority's national sign-on campaign, more than 100 small business owners from across the country have signed onto a letter urging lawmakers to support the CPP because they believe clean energy policies like these can spur innovation and create jobs.

Another benefit of the CPP is that it will encourage private investment in new energy technologies, providing entrepreneurs the resources and capital to innovate and grow their businesses. We're already seeing these results from clean energy policies - for instance, California has benefitted from $27 billion in private venture capital investments since the passage of clean energy legislation in 2006. As the CPP rules take effect, we'll continue to see these types of investments flowing into communities across the country.

John Deuel, owner of GreenQuest, LLC, a sustainability consulting business based in Virginia, is an example of an entrepreneur who's already tapping the economic benefits of the clean energy industry and helping his small business clients do the same.

"I help businesses streamline their operations to become more energy efficient and reduce waste, which helps improve the environment and reduce their operating costs," said Deuel. "There are huge improvements for many businesses to make in this area, and making simple changes - through steps like installing rainwater harvesting cisterns or motion sensitive lights - can help small businesses save money while also helping create new jobs."

Another reason small business owners support the CPP is that it has the potential to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change and extreme weather. Small Business Majority's opinion polling in three states found climate change and the extreme weather it can create has been so devastating that one in five entrepreneurs surveyed had to lay off employees because of it. And nearly six in 10 small employers agree climate change and extreme weather are problems that can disrupt the economy and hurt small employers.

Given this high level of concern among small business owners regarding extreme weather, it's hardly surprising that they broadly support carbon emission limits. Our polling found more than half of all small businesses support the EPA limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants, and 76 percent are in favor of requiring new power plants to reduce carbon pollution.

Small business owners support the new carbon emissions standards because they can strengthen our economy by promoting innovation, lowering energy costs, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and helping mitigate extreme weather events. We hope states will move forward with implementing the new EPA standards soon. It's the best thing for small businesses and our economy.

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