E2: Congress must now turn to clean energy to repower America

Reaction from U.S. clean energy business execs and E2

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2020) - Today, congressional leadership announced a $2 trillion economic stimulus package as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Following is a statement from Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs):
"Congress threw a critical lifeline to America's workers that will help struggling families pay their bills and make badly needed loans available for businesses to stay afloat and protect jobs.

"Now attention must turn to repowering America's economy. And if federal and state lawmakers want to get America back to work, one of the most proven ways is with policies that expand America's fastest-growing job sector - clean energy - and support the nearly 3.4 million workers employed in every state and county across the country."
During the 2009 economic meltdown, the $90 billion invested in clean energy through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) sent jobs in the industry soaring from a few hundred thousand to 3.4 million at the start of 2020; helped lead to a tripling of solar and wind energy; provided seed capital for companies like Tesla; and broadened the economic recovery as it saved consumers and businesses billions of dollars through energy efficiency programs It also helped reduce carbon emissions and improve our environment.

Unfortunately, the clean energy economy and workers have already been badly hit across the country by the COVID disaster. E2 members reflect on some of that impact:
"We were having our best year on record when this happened. We had spent over $880,000 on materials from China that have been stuck overseas due to factory shutdowns, and we are really feeling the pain. Now they are closing schools and we are losing staff due to self-quarantine. I suspect it is only going to get worse."

-- Troy Van Beek, co-founder of solar company Ideal Energy near Des Moines, Iowa

"We have 300 direct employees. Right now, nearly all our utility clients have directed us to stop all site work, grinding our entire business to a halt. If the shutdown continues, we will be forced to furlough or lay off much of our workforce."

-- Lloyd Kass, vice president of energy efficiency company Lime Energy in Newark, N.J

"We have terminated the employment of approximately 25 percent of our personnel. We have had over $10 million of projects halt moving forward," impacting the jobs of at least 150 people.

-- Greg Smith, founder of energy efficiency company Energy Optimizers USA in Dayton, Ohio

"As I talk to banks, I hear that they are in a panic situation that I haven't seen since 2008."

-- Michael Rucker, CEO of wind energy development company Scout Clean Energy near Denver, Colo.
For more information or for interview requests, please contact Michael Timberlake at 913-645-9103 or mtimberlake@e2.org.

Additional Resources:
• For more examples and reactions from clean energy business leaders across America, see E2's factsheet on the COVID-19 crisis and the Clean Energy Economy here.
• For a list of policy recommendations to jump start the economy through clean energy, read E2's March 20 letter to Congressional Leadership here.
E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

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