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We’re at The Beginning of The Next American Business Revolution

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 04/11/2024

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I'm All About Innovation and Innovators So I Love This Story.

In his new book “Clean Economy Now: Stories from the Front Lines of an American Business Revolution" Bob Keefe the Executive Director of E2 a national nonpartisan business group of 10,000 business leaders which has been around for 25 years, describes his recent travels across the country. 

 

He wanted to witness first-hand all the clean energy projects in motion because of the significant private sector investment and job creation that’s happened incredibly fast over the past 20 months since The Inflation Reduction Act.

 

Bob checked in on my show live from the Annual Society of Environmental Journalists, at the University of Pennsylvania co-hosted by the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, in collaboration with the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

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He joined me live just minutes after the recent earthquake we had in the northeast rattled my radio studio in Greenwich CT.

 

Though the quake did hit parts of PA, and Bob and I had some fun talking about earthquakes in general since Bob is from L.A., Bob said he didn’t really feel it, but what he mentioned he was feeling is an economic earthquake.

 

It's an economic revolution like we haven't seen says Bob. And he’s making sure we are all paying attention.

 

“I truly believe that we are at the advent of an American economic revolution, the likes of which we have not seen in this country in generations, maybe if ever. And let me tell you why I say that.

 

“Right now, my organization is tracking clean energy job projects around the, or clean energy projects around the country since the passage of the landmark IRA, the Inflation Reduction Act and some other policies 20 months ago. And what we know is this, there are more than 300 major factories and other projects, clean energy projects, coming out of the ground across America right now. $118 billion worth of private sector investment. That's companies that are putting money into these projects. “

“These aren't government grants or loans. These are companies investing in America. A hundred thousand jobs have been already announced just in those past 20 months. When in this country have we ever seen 300 factories and other major projects coming out of the ground? When have we seen this kind of investment?”


“We have foreign companies that are investing in the United States and creating jobs here now versus taking American jobs and doing stuff overseas. And it's not just creating all this economic growth, it's putting America on competitive again with the rest of the world.”

 

“We understand that we can't have a good economy without a good environment, and we can't have a good environment without a good economy. “

 

Bob points out that In New York alone there have been about a dozen major projects that E2 has tracked. $800 million worth of private sector investment in New York from companies, 3,000 plus jobs created.

Bob and I talked about the offshore wind farm, the nation's first commercial offshore wind farm that just opened off Montauk, New York. Twelve turbines are going to provide enough juice for about 70,000 homes said Bob. And Bob mentioned there's another company that's building a converter station to essentially take offshore wind energy and convert it and get it onto the grid into people’s homes.

 

Bob and I discussed many specific projects, besides the offshore wind farms including solar panel factories, battery technology and the potential of hydrogen as a clean fuel. I was captivated by what’s happening and I think you will be too.

 

There’s company called Air Products is now going to clean hydrogen and they’re building one of the first factories in Messina, New York. In Connecticut, there's a company called Mott Corporation that's building filtration systems for use in things like this hydrogen. And mentioned there's another company called NEL, N-E-L, that relocated here from the Netherlands who are building something called electrolyzers that are going to be used by hydrogen plants like the one being built in Messina to produce hydrogen. Right now he said, there are something like 30 or 40, battery factories being built in America and about 60 solar factories popping up all around the country.

 

And l this is happening in places that Bob points out, you would not expect it to happen.

 

“As part of the book, I started off in a place called Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Well, Kings Mountain is home to an old lithium mine that was first established in the 1950s. At one time, it supplied lithium for the Manhattan Project, right? We all know what that is. Well, we have a company now that's restarting that mine because to supply batteries to manufacturers throughout the Southeast and other places. “

 

Drive down the street to Dalton, Georgia. And Dalton, Georgia used to be the carpet capital of the world, maybe it still is. Well right now a company called Q-Cells is building what will be the biggest, one of the biggest solar panel factories in the Western Hemisphere. Wow. In little old Dalton, Georgia. You know go a little further down the street in Georgia to Savannah and Kia and Hyundai are building one of the biggest electric vehicle factories on the planet. This is incredible stuff happening. “

 

I learned that Georgia is the number one state for clean energy projects right now. And that North Carolina has more investments in clean energy projects than any state. But big things are also happening in Alabama, Louisiana, New York, and I Connecticut.”

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger did the foreword to Bobs book.

 

“When I think about how far America has come in building a cleaner economy, I can't help but smile. It's hard to imagine we can fail, but make no mistake, we can If we do, it won't be a failure of innovation, of business. It will be a failure by us to come together to keep this great progress going. It will be a failure by us, collective us, to put aside our ideologies and political divisions and our complacency. It will be a failure for us too.”

“If we do fail, it won't be a failure of innovation, or of business. It will be a failure by us to come together to keep this great progress going. It will be a failure by us, the collective us, to put aside our ideologies and political divisions and our complacency. “

 

Enjoy this fascinating interview about the current American Economic revolution in this podcast of my live conversation with Bob Keefe, Executive Director of E2, a national nonpartisan business group of 10,000 business leaders, on The Debbie Nigro Show.