Arizona business leaders call for federal investments in clean energy and jobs to grow Arizona’s economy
Today, Arizona business and technology leaders convened for a press conference sponsored by the Arizona Technology Council, calling on U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to make passing the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) the first priority in the new year. Voting in favor of the act would be a historic step forward in cutting carbon pollution by at least 50 percent by 2030, creating homegrown good-paying jobs, and accelerating Arizona’s clean energy economy. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure in mid-November and a vote in the U.S. Senate is expected within the next month.
“As an organization representing more than 10,000 technology companies with a presence right here in the state, we cannot overstate the immense potential of clean energy investments to create jobs and economic growth that benefit businesses and citizens across Arizona,” said Steven G. Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “The bill before the Senate is not just crucial for achieving climate stability, but also for making unprecedented investments in working communities and 21st century technology that can make Arizona a central hub for advanced technology businesses and high-quality jobs. This is the road map to a sustainable, bright future for Arizonans, and we’re counting on Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly to vote yes on the Build Back Better Act so we can get there.”
Speakers urged Congress to tackle the climate crisis and pass a budget that meets the climate test by setting the United States on a path to a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. That’s the same goal scientists say is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. More than 1 in 3 Americans suffered from the impacts of climate change this summer, and the climate crisis is making extreme weather events such as heat waves, wildfires, and droughts more dangerous.
“Array’s success is a testament to the fact that the solar energy industry and the renewable energy space in general are already seeing enormous growth in states like Arizona,” said Erica Brinker, Chief Marketing Officer of Array Technologies. “But with the investments proposed in the Build Back Better Act, we have the opportunity to not only see this boom reach its full potential, but to make sure Arizona cements its place as a leader in this job growth and economic expansion. We need our senators to seize this opportunity and pass this bill to fight climate change and put more people to work in the state of Arizona.”
The clean energy investments in the BBBA will not only help fight climate change but spur massive economic growth in Arizona. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing faster than the economy as a whole. As of 2021, there were 56,504 Arizonans working in clean energy. Senators Sinema and Kelly have a chance to bolster this growth by supporting a budget that will grow the state’s clean energy economy.
“The runaway success of renewable initiatives at the state and municipal level across the country illustrate that investments in clean energy technology and infrastructure do a lot more than just protect the environment,” said Annette Finsterbusch, Chief Executive Officer of EnPower, Inc. “Commitments to the growth of the clean economy will pay major dividends in the form of job growth, fuel savings for consumers and municipalities, air that is safer to breathe, and stimulate the economy at large.”
Congress is currently considering a budget that will create local jobs and drive economic growth through local investments in building and buying clean, electric trucks, buses, and cars; charging infrastructure; electric transit; solar, wind and other clean energy sources; supply chain manufacturing for clean energy, and more.
“Look at the numbers and you’ll see that jobs in clean energy are safer, provide higher salaries, and give more substantial benefits to families than the economy at large,” said Robert J. Freitas, President of Sundial Energy in Tucson. “With the added muscle contained in the Build Back Better Act, Arizona is poised to be a preeminent player in the renewable energy space, and that means more of these high-quality, family-sustaining jobs in communities across the state. But to really take hold of this opportunity, we need leaders like Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema to champion Arizona’s clean energy economy and get the BBBA passed as soon as possible.”
A video of the press conference can be found below and HERE.
Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/tech-events to view all of the Council’s upcoming virtual tech networking opportunities, engaging virtual tech events and in-person tech events.