Right in the name of our organization is one of E2’s most important principles. The word entrepreneurs stands for the inventors, investors, overworked and dedicated people that so often drive growth and innovation in our economy through the businesses they open and the ventures they support. All of the issues E2 members are coming to Washington for the Spring Advocacy Trip on April 18-20 to talk to lawmakers about figure strongly into the theme of encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation and smart investments.
The topline issue E2 members will be advocating on in Washington is targeted spending focused on encouraging energy innovation through federal energy research and development as well as deployment of solar, wind, battery, geothermal and several other technologies. In his Fiscal Year 2017 budget request President Obama outlined an aggressive push to double clean energy spending over the next five years – which matches what American negotiators agreed to as part of U.S. involvement in Mission Innovation.
Mission Innovation is an international initiative among the top 20 nations in clean energy funding which challenges those nations to double spending on research and development efforts over the next five years. The reasoning behind this push is simple: most breakthroughs in technology occur from increased funding into research and development and then support for deployment efforts as those technologies enter markets. In order to match the scope of the climate crisis, it is widely acknowledged that greater breakthroughs in clean energy are needed, and Mission Innovation may be one piece in ensuring these breakthroughs are discovered. E2 members are an essential voice in speaking to members of Congress about the need for this kind of R&D and deployment – and how scientific breakthroughs in these technologies can build on an already booming clean energy market.
This concept is not revolutionary. Federal research funded by the Department of Defense in the 1960’s was the foundation of the internet. Targeted research dollars from Federal agencies helped to develop touch screen technology. More recently the Department of Energy made strategic investments that have helped to dramatically drive down the cost and increase the efficiency of solar, wind and other renewables.
Making the case for these strategic investments E2 members will be able to bring their own business stories to bear in meetings with lawmakers in Congress and the Obama Administration. They will also have brand new E2 jobs reports with detailed information on the who, what, where and why of clean energy jobs creation. These reports go into the industries that employ clean energy workers and where they are employed and from that location – the policies that have helped to support that growth. The first of these is the Clean Jobs America report with topline employment numbers for the clean energy economy across the United States. The second and third reports are closer looks – down to the county level – in twelve Midwestern states and New York state and where and which clean jobs are located there. With these reports in hand, E2 members will be able to speak in great detail to lawmakers about the kinds of polices that are driving the clean energy economy.
Two of those policies E2 members are very familiar with, and we will be speaking on to members as well. The first is the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Though Congress has already voted to halt implementation of the CPP – a measure which was vetoed by President Obama – members of both the House and Senate still need to hear from E2 members about the measurable benefits to their businesses from a policy which drives down carbon emissions and encourages ramping up of renewables and energy efficiency.
The second of these two policies is the Paris climate agreement, a historic pact among 180 nations setting global limits on carbon emissions from developed nations and providing assistance to developing nations that are not large emitters. These developing nations, and the markets opened in them for renewables and energy efficiency will provide enormous export opportunities for American businesses, and that is in addition to the market signal already produced from the agreement for investment in these kinds of businesses. This is an argument that needs to be heard from E2 members, and it will be in April.
In April E2 members are going to bring – yet again – the message to Washington that polices that protect the environment grow business.
Grant Carlisle is E2’s Director of Advocacy.