The Clean Energy Business Network, the “small-business voice for the clean energy economy,” takes a three-tier approach to support its 3,300-plus member organizations:
- Policy Support:Work to keep companies informed and offer resources to help amplify their voices on key policy issues.
- Market and Technology Education:Provide platforms for members to share information about new technologies, business models, and services with other providers within the clean energy space and externally.
- Business Development:Create opportunities for clean energy companies to increase their visibility and identify potential paths for additional funding or business partnerships at federal, state, and local levels.
For its dedication to growing the clean energy economy “one small business at a time,” the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) recently won Gold as The Cleanie Awards® 2019 Nonprofit of the Year.
The CEBN, founded a decade ago as part of The Pew Charitable Trusts, is about to celebrate its third anniversary as an independent nonprofit. Now teamed up under the umbrella of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), CEBN’s membership includes organizations in all 50 states and about 350 congressional districts. The CEBN community touches every aspect of the clean energy economy.
“One of our strengths is the geographic and technological diversity of our network,” said Lynn Abramson, president of the CEBN. “What distinguishes us in being a messenger to the public and to policymakers is that we can showcase this is not a niche industry, and that the clean energy economy is here and it’s present in communities across the nation.”
While the CEBN also includes larger companies, the advocacy group uniquely distinguishes itself by focusing on small businesses. It provides comprehensive support across policy, education, and business development in what’s often an underserved class in clean energy.
It’s encouraging that in the past decade energy consumption has remained relatively steady even as the economy’s grown, according to the “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook”produced annually by CEBN’s parent organization (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s due in large part to increased energy efficiency. However, there’s still work to do as evidenced by a slight uptick in emissions in 2018. Two areas in which the CEBN is keeping a close eye: the industrial and transportation sectors.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress in the utilities sector,” Abramson said. “But we keep seeing emissions rising in the industrial and transportation sectors. So we need to see more technology and policy solutions for us to continue to make progress in those areas.”
As noted, the clean energy economy isn’t present in only big urban areas. Its impact is felt across the country. To help demonstrate its pervasiveness, the CEBN produces “Faces Behind the Facts,” a companion to the “Factbook” which profiles business leaders in the industry.
“The clean energy economy’s not just present in Silicon Valley,” Abramson said. “People you run into at the grocery store might be working in clean energy. Sharing their stories and normalizing their technologies is part of how we’re going to increase adoption.”