To the editor:
When executives from leading Massachusetts clean technology companies gather on Beacon Hill tomorrow for the New England Clean Energy Council's (NECEC's) inaugural Clean Energy Day, their message to legislators will emphasize three key points: Jobs, Jobs and Jobs.
As CEO of a growing clean energy business poised for growth and hiring, I hope our elected officials are listening.
The business leaders and entrepreneurs that make up NECEC are betting on Massachusetts as the place to capture the next big economic opportunity. With business-friendly state leadership and strong clean energy policies, we can create high-paying jobs and stimulate economic development in our state and throughout the New England region.
Clean energy companies in Massachusetts already employ 64,000 people, and that number is growing. The industry added more than 4,000 jobs in 2010, a growth rate of almost 7 percent, and that rate will likely double in 2011. Whether providing energy services, like my own company, or pushing disruptive technologies for electric vehicle batteries, solar thermal, smart grid or wind, clean energy firms are growing and expanding in Massachusetts every day.
Need more convincing? Just ask the professional investment community. Massachusetts has attracted the second-largest concentration of clean energy venture capital in the country (watch out, Silicon Valley). These are not players driven by emotion — these are sophisticated financial analysts who take their investments very seriously and are laser-focused on results. They're betting big sums on Massachusetts companies because we offer smart business models paired with cutting-edge technology. Businesses offering that combination typically deliver on investments — and create jobs.
To their credit, Massachusetts state officials have shown leadership in this area. Bipartisan passage of the Green Communities Act in 2008 positioned us to improve our economy (and the environment) by increasing the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy. This has saved Massachusetts families and businesses billions of dollars, lowered electric bills in our state, and spurred innovation and investment in new energy technologies.
The resulting jobs have also been a boon for the state. Today, the estimated median annual wage in Massachusetts' clean economy is more than $1,000 higher than it is for all other jobs across the state.
Despite the huge opportunities in the clean energy economy, opponents remain. They will try to stave off clean energy development with unfounded claims about the Green Communities Act and related costs, while ignoring the value of clean energy investment and its robust return.
As a business person, I believe clean energy is, and must be, our future. It's where the opportunity is, and it's where the jobs are.
In partnership with our state leaders, clean energy business leaders like NECEC are working to secure those economic benefits for Massachusetts and for future generations. State elected officials should be paying attention to this and offering support.
CEO, Groom Energy