In brief

Chamber makes use of clean energy a priority

FLINT — While clean energy progress remains slow at the national level, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce has emerged as one of the top local chambers in the country driving economic development around clean energy, according to a first-of-its-kind report released by Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE).

With 10 in-depth case studies of chambers located throughout the country, Local Chambers as Change Agents: Creating Economic Vitality through Clean Energy and Innovation provides the first comprehensive look into the role of the Flint & Genesee Chamber and other local chambers in attracting investment, supporting business growth, and diversifying their local economies around clean energy and energy efficiency.

As highlighted in the new report, the new E3 Innovation Network, created in 2011 by the Flint & Genesee Chamber, is driving the supply and demand for innovative energy solutions in Genesee County. Built on a practical, no-frills model, the E3 Innovation Network brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, from big energy users like facilities and fleet-holders to clean the innovators and entrepreneurs. With 150 participants to date, the chamber-led network is facilitating new sales opportunities for Flint businesses through its quarterly meetings, networking, and online resources.

“Our E3 Innovation Network is helping to diversify our local economy, and repurpose our infrastructure and workforce for the clean energy economy. It has contributed to our successful transition and resurgence in manufacturing and other sectors,” said Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “The Flint & Genesee Chamber is proud to be recognized for our efforts to revitalize the local economy around growing clean energy industries.”

Also highlighted in the report is the Chamber’s work to spur electric vehicle demand and support local manufacturers within electric vehicle supply chains. In 2011, the Chamber partnered with the statewide Clean Energy Coalition to study Michigan’s electricvehicle infrastructure needs. Genesee County welcomed the nation’s first solar-powered charging station for the Chevy Volt in June 2011. — G.G.

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