Today, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Rural Development, Energy, and Supply Chains held a hearing focused on how Congress can best support small domestic energy producers. During the hearing, Ranking Member Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03) highlighted the need for federal policies that support small businesses operating in both the traditional and alternative energy industries.
“How do we reconcile the urgent need to support working-class Americans who rely on fossil fuels to get to work everyday with the imperative to transition to cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy?,” said Ranking Member Gluesenkamp Perez. “The answer, I believe, lies in the power of our small businesses and entrepreneurs. These individuals are at the forefront of innovation, driving progress in the field of domestic energy production. They have the vision, drive, and ingenuity to create new and better solutions to the challenges we face.”
U.S. small businesses play a vital role in domestic energy production, comprising a significant percentage of firms in each major energy production industry. These small energy businesses contribute to economic growth, job creation, innovation, and environmental sustainability. In the energy sector, small businesses are involved in various activities such as exploration, production, transportation, distribution, and service.
While fossil fuels still make up the vast majority of energy production in the U.S., the renewable energy industry, made up of sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biofuels has been growing in recent years to make up significant portions of domestic energy production. Businesses that produce clean energy are overwhelmingly small. In 2019, more than 90 percent of the U.S. solar industry was comprised of small businesses.
During the hearing, witnesses and members stressed the need for domestic energy production policies that can help offset costs for families while also investing in renewable energy alternatives to help support small businesses.
“Since the Inflation Reduction Act passed, manufacturing has started its long-awaited return to West Virginia. In the past year, 5 major facilities have been announced and are under construction,” said Dan Conant, Founder & President of Solar Holler in Shepherdstown, WV. “We have clean steel, electric school buses, and next generation grid-level batteries. Collectively, these facilities are employing more than 2,900 people–and breathing new life and energy into entire towns. These investments were made possible by both the incentives themselves, as well as the long-term certainty the IRA provided.”
“As we ramp up production of alternative energy sources, small clean energy firms are creating hundreds of thousands of local, good-paying jobs. As these firms flourish, they drive renewal and prosperity in many rural and working-class communities across the country,” said Ranking Member Gluesenkamp Perez. “That’s why I am supportive of efforts to ensure that small firms have the resources, funding, and infrastructure necessary to succeed in this transition.”