SEATTLE - It may be the Copenhagen climate summit of the Pacific
Northwest. Today (Friday), business leaders from Washington and Oregon
have been invited by the White House, to let top government
policymakers know exactly what they will need in order to jumpstart
more clean energy and green jobs efforts in the region.
The "Clean Energy Economy Forum" is being held at McKinstry Industries
in Seattle, a company known for green building design and development
of energy efficiency technology. McKinstry CEO Dean Allen says other
companies would be making similar strides - except they've been waiting
for clear state and federal initiatives and guidelines.
"There's tremendous passion available in the Northwest, and capital as
well, that can be deployed. What we're looking for is some certainty in
the policy arena that allows us and our customers to know where to
invest our time and energy and resources, so that we can move the
needle on energy efficiency and climate change."
According to Allen, 70 percent of the energy produced in the United
States is used in buildings - and half of it is wasted through
inefficient systems or construction. He says the knowledge already
exists to improve those numbers, which could also improve the economy.
"This buys us a lot of time - for technology to catch up, for
longer-term solutions to be vetted and put in place. It creates great
opportunities for working folks to get out and make a difference, and
earn a living."
Governors Gregoire and Kulongoski will attend the forum, along with
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, both
U.S. Senators from Washington, and U. S. Department of Energy officials.
The forum will include a tour of McKinstry's new Innovation Center. It
is being built to house small companies and start-ups in clean energy
fields to prompt collaboration. The Center officially opens next year.