Labor, Environmental Leaders Laud Success of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Investments at Grand Rapids Roundtable

Local labor and environmental leaders came together today to discuss how Michigan’s workers and the environment are benefitting from renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the state.

November 6, 2013

Leaders Call to Build on Current Policies and Ensure Future Investments

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (November 6, 2013) – On the heels of the governor’s report on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan, local labor and environmental leaders came together today to discuss how Michigan’s workers and the environment are benefitting from renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the state.

“Renewable energy investments in Michigan are helping to build a stronger, more sustainable economy and significantly helping to combat the effects of climate change,” said Tom Bowes, Education and Outreach Director for the Electrical Training Center. “We must recognize the importance of these investments by finding more ways to implement them.”

In addition to state policies that are incentivizing these kinds of investments, leaders also focused on how priorities in President Obama’s climate action plan will spur investments in the clean economy, including appliance and energy efficiency improvements, limiting carbon pollution from new power plants and upgrading our nation’s infrastructure systems.

“Improving energy efficiency is one of the ways that we can improve our overall energy infrastructure,” Mike Schulte, Staff Representative, Communications Workers of America. “Modernizing the electrical grid to be more flexible and resilient is a foundational step toward improving energy efficiency.”

Overall, Michigan’s renewable energy standard has resulted in $1.79 billion in investment through 2012.

“Whether it’s our members who make buildings more efficient for example, the members of SMART are working to make Michigan’s economy and environment stronger,” said Jim Shaw, Business Manager for SMART Local 7. “These investments hold enormous potential to grow the economy while building a cleaner, more efficient and competitive economy in Michigan and across the country.”

Currently, Michigan’s clean economy employs over 76,000 workers, making up 2 percent of Michigan’s total workforce.

“Every dollar spent making our buildings more energy efficient yields two dollars in savings,” said Mark Mangione, Business Manager for United Association Local 174. “By investing in energy efficiency improvements, we can take advantage of significant energy savings and job creation in manufacturing, construction and other sectors.”

Participants expressed that expanding clean, renewable energy have enormous potential to create good jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign sources of energy—building a cleaner, more efficient and more competitive American economy.

“Addressing climate change by utilizing clean energy investments is not only important for health and our environment, but important for our economy, for our energy future, and even for public safety and community resilience,” said Tiffany Hartung, Chapter Conservation Program Manager at the Sierra Club.

Leaders urged that renewable energy and energy efficiency investments must continue to be a priority today and into the future.

“These are the kinds of investments that will mean increased competitiveness and more job creation as we stake our claim as leaders in the global clean energy economy,” said Sean Egan, Business Manager/Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 275.

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Labor, Environmental Leaders Laud Success of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Investments at Troy Roundtable

Leaders Call for Policies that Double Down on Future Investments

TROY, MI (November 7, 2013) – On the heels of the governor’s report on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan, local labor and environmental leaders came together today to discuss how Michigan’s workers and the environment are benefitting from renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the state.

“Michigan’s manufacturing sector is undergoing a resurgence in part with the help of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Michael Bolton, Director, United Steelworkers District 2. “We must continue to build on our global leadership in clean energy innovation.”

In addition to state policies that are incentivizing these kinds of investments, leaders also focused on how priorities in President Obama’s climate action plan are spurring investments in the clean economy.

“These are the family-sustaining, proven effective investments that will continue to create economic growth over the long term,” said Bob Donaldson, Business Manager/Financial Secretary Treasurer, SMART Local #292. “Making the transformation to cleaner sources of energy will ensure that we maintain our global leadership in clean energy innovation.”

“President Obama’s commonsense Climate Action Plan is a comprehensive solution that reduces carbon pollution, invests in our communities, and strengthens our economy,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Director, Sierra Club. “It will spur our economy to innovate and move to cleaner, renewable sources of energy and help the American economy become more energy efficient in the years to come.”

“We can lift up schools as models of the clean, green, resilient environments we need at the heart of our efforts to rebuild a nation that is better able to address, prepare for and recover from the effects of climate change and that means making them energy efficient,” said David Hecker, President, American Federation of Teachers Michigan.

Michigan’s renewable energy standard has resulted in $1.79 billion in investment through 2012.

“Programs at the Electrical Training Center are preparing workers for installing and maintaining energy efficient power systems and their applications, and more importantly state and federal programs are helping to create the demand for jobs in these industries,” said Tom Bowes, Education and Outreach Director, Electrical Training Center.

Currently, Michigan’s clean economy employs over 76,000 workers making up 2 percent of Michigan’s total workforce.

“These initiatives draw on the massive American skilled labor force, creating good jobs that work for the 21st century and save consumers money,” said Mike Schulte, Staff Representative for the Communications Workers of America. “With our help, energy efficiency programs and renewable energy goals can continue to create in-state, good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

Participants expressed that expanding clean, renewable energy has enormous potential to create good jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign sources of energy—building a cleaner, more efficient and more competitive American economy.

“Incentivizing energy efficiency improvements is something we can all agree on,” said Jim Shaw, Business Representative, SMART Local 7. “Encouraging the development of these markets will mean increased competitiveness and more job creation as we stake our claim as leaders in the global clean energy economy.”

For example, between 2003 and 2010, the solar industry was one of the fastest growing segments of Michigan’s economy, increasing at a rate of 15.8 percent each year.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency investments are more of a part of the global economy than ever,” said Frank Szollosi, Regional Outreach Coordinator, National Wildlife Federation. “If we make the clean energy technology right here in Michigan, then local communities and workers are receiving more of the economic benefits than if we imported the technology.”