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Feds pump $4 billion into green business loans

Eco-friendly office building
Eco-friendly office building
Tom Chance

At the end of last year, President Barack Obama said he wanted the government to lead by example and implement plans to nearly triple renewable energy sources for electricity by 2020, with the goal of reducing pollution, boosting sustainable power generated from wind and solar and energy independence as part of the administration’s broader climate plan.

This week the White House took another step toward promoting green options that conserve, reduce or capture greenhouse gas emissions by announcing on Tuesday $4 billion in federal loan guarantees for projects that “advance electric grid integration with renewable sources, create more compatible biofuels, and turn waste into energy,” according to a report in The Hill.

Similar loans have not been offered since 2011, but first a 30-day comment period and meetings with the Energy Department will have to take place.

“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at a policy forum hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology.

“We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today,” added Moniz.

Obama has stated he will use executive power to advance climate action in the face of obstinate GOP lawmakers.

Furthermore, studies show that businesses recognize the economic benefits of going green, including better public relations, cost savings, tax credits and a healthier work place.

In addition, a survey released this week shows that employees overwhelmingly want to work for environmentally responsible companies.

According to a Friday report in Treehugger, the research was conducted by Harris Polls and commissioned by Ricoh Americas, which garnered feedback from 948 employees about their company’s sustainable practices.

A whopping 44 percent said they would rather be unemployed than work for a business that is complacent about its part in harming the environment and 67 percent said they would report such a company’s actions.

“People do not want to be associated with a company that is knowingly damaging the environment,” said Jason Dizzine, director or technology marketing at Ricoh.

Not surprisingly, 35 percent of employees felt the companies they worked for would knowingly advance poor practices to increase profits.

However, many states aren’t waiting for the federal government to help them increase energy efficient business and environmental stewardship. Washington has long been known for its environmental commitments.

Seattle just announced its 5th annual G0Green Conference for April 29-30. It brings together business owners to participate in how-tos and practical solutions for sustainable options across the regional business community.

President Obama recognizes that renewable energy is a vital key to a strong economy, an independent and sustainable future that is being increasingly recognized by all but the most self-serving industries and ideologically driven lawmakers.