October 22, 2018

Energy policy

Will Small Business Support Obama on Alternative Energy?

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Looks like President Obama could have an unexpected ally in his push for alternative forms of energy: small business.

That, at least, is the conclusion of a study of 800 small business owners and their attitudes towards clean-energy policies conducted by several groups, including Small Business Majority, a small-business advocacy organization.

The study found that most small-business owners support having a clean-energy policy and think the right moves can jumpstart the economy and create jobs.


Specifically, 50 percent back clean energy and climate legislation that would “limit pollution, invest in clean-energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean-energy sources” and “put a price on carbon emissions from energy sources like coal and oil, so companies would have to pay if they release these emissions into the air.” And 61 percent feel that moving the country to adopt new, alternative forms of energy is a viable way to restart economic growth.

That’s in spite of the fact that nearly two-thirds think a new energy and climate policy would increase their costs–quite something, considering the really small size of most of the respondents, 79 percent of whom have five or fewer employees.

Still, the majority also would be more likely to support new legislation if they received government incentives to help reduce the costs of introducing energy-efficiency improvements. For example, 62 percent would support a bill if it included interest-free loans for upgrades. Fifty-two percent would be more likely to back legislation if they received grants or subsidies for energy improvements and if they had access to free training or consultation on how to profit from the emerging clean-energy industry.

Of course, other studies have come up with notably different conclusions. Early this year, for example, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that 66 percent of small-business owners and managers oppose a federal cap-and-trade system.

But if Small Business Majority is correct, then, if he plays his cards right, Obama might wind up with significant small-business support at a time when he’s going to need it badly.