Today, clean energy is being wielded like a political baseball bat. Environmentalists are using it to beat up Gov. Chris Christie. Tea partiers are using it to beat up President Obama. Instead, we should be using it to hit economic homeruns.

Political veterans from different parties don’t agree on much. But on this issue, they can agree: a real clean energy plan is right for New Jersey.  The New Jersey Business Council for Clean Energy — a constructive, business-oriented group advocating common-sense energy policy welcomes business-friendly policies that set clear market signals for investment and that create paths of innovation to grow our state’s economy and create good jobs. Forward-looking energy policies send a signal to established firms and entrepreneurs alike: New Jersey gets it. And we are open for business.

Clean energy is a $260 billion global business that is growing fast, and New Jersey is well-positioned to get a big piece of it. Jobs and economic growth are on the line and early leaders in this emerging field stand to win big. Our state’s business community understands what’s at stake. Already, more than 125 businesses have signed up for the clean energy council. Members include construction companies, renewable energy start-ups, law firms and engineering practices.

New Jersey’s  clean energy sector ranks No. 8 among the states, according to the Brookings Institution. It provides good jobs: workers in the clean economy make an average salary of more than $43,000. New Jersey  already is a national leader on the solar front, second only to California in terms of installed solar power capacity.

With our established clean energy sector, top-notch research institutions, a history of forward-looking energy policies and easy access to the most populous region in the United States, New Jersey is well-positioned to be a leader in the emerging clean energy market. We would be foolish to pass up
this chance. And we would be foolish to let partisan battles stunt our state’s economic growth.  We need to be finding common ground, in order to support an industry that is vital to New Jersey’s economy — not just now, but for decades to come.

New Jersey needs to be positioning itself as a world leader in the development, manufacturing, sales and installation of clean energy and efficiency technologies. The hope is that the people of New Jersey — of all political persuasions — can see the value in building a clean energy future for our state.

New Jersey has no oil to drill for or coal to mine.  Every year, we send other states and nations hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for our power and fuel needs. But thanks to clean energy and efficiency
technology, we can now be serious players on the energy front. A clean-energy plan — featuring advanced energy-saving technologies and sustainable energy alternatives that can never run out — will boost our state’s economy, create jobs and build a solid platform for future growth. That kind of economic success is something both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

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