How Clean Energy Can Help Ohio Small Businesses

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Victoria Calderón Nunes —Co-founder of AVANZA Business Solutions.
Victoria Calderón Nunes —Co-founder of AVANZA Business Solutions.

As a small business owner, I know that innovation is vital to Ohio’s economy. Businesses don’t get ahead by reinventing the wheel – they succeed by seizing opportunities to find better solutions to old problems. Innovation is the core behind each business’ success, and it’s key to Ohio’s economic success as well. And in Ohio, one of the best ways to encourage innovation and economic leadership is by committing to a clean energy economy.

From wind to solar, clean energy offers numerous options for ambitious entrepreneurs to be at the forefront of growing industries and new technologies. Plus, the business of improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses – through simple steps like improving insulation and replacing drafty windows – is ripe for opening doors to entrepreneurship.

If you’re skeptical about the economic benefits of clean energy for small businesses, consider the numbers. A clean energy economy promises to create up to 56,000 additional Ohio jobs by 2030 and 87,000 new jobs by 2050, and the overall benefit to Ohio’s economy is slated to be around $9.5 billion by 2030. This growth means a stronger local economy and more spending at small businesses like mine.

The economic benefits of clean energy aren’t just from job growth; they’re also from energy savings. By increasing energy efficiency, we can reduce energy costs and lower electricity bills. Lower electricity bills are good for small businesses like mine because they mean business owners can invest more in their businesses. They’ll also put more money in the hands of consumers so they can spend locally at small businesses. In total, clean energy is slated to save families an estimated $5.3 billion on energy bills in 2030.

Considering these economic benefits, it’s no surprise that Small Business Majority’s polling found 66 percent of Ohio small business owners believe it is important that the government continues to invest in clean energy. Nationally, 87 percent of small business owners believe improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses.

But the benefits of a clean energy economy won’t just come from cost savings and economic growth. They’ll also come from mitigating the potentially devastating economic impact of climate change. Small Business Majority’s polling found 57 percent of small businesses believe climate change and extreme weather events are urgent problems that can disrupt the economy and harm small businesses – and the numbers indicate they’re right to be worried. In 2012 alone, climate change-related extreme weather took $139 billion out of the economy, and these types of events are only expected to increase. Transitioning from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy can help us tackle the economic consequences of climate change.

From small solar companies that can hire new workers to coffee shops like mine that see an uptick in business from local economic growth, the benefits of clean energy to small businesses are clear. And by committing to clean energy now, we can position Ohio as a leader in new energy industries so that we’re primed to maximize our economic benefits. That’s why I signed Small Business Majority’s letter pledging to support clean energy. I’m hopeful our leaders will join me in supporting clean energy and work together to create a stronger economy for Ohio.

Click here for more information about the Small Business Majority’s initiatives.