It seems as though everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about green energy and going green. Given the alarming figures being cited on an increasingly regular basis regarding the rapid depletion of the world’s identifiable fossil based fuel sources, coupled with mounting evidence that alternative methods of energy generation are indeed better for our global environment, the popularity of this trend is certainly understandable. But what does it mean for you as a business owner here in Nevada? Are there identifiable opportunities for Nevada businesses generally to work with this seemingly new breed of local business?
First, it might be helpful to start with a general overview of what exactly constitutes green energy, or clean energy, as it is also known. Typically speaking, these terms refer to energy that is generated through renewable sources such as solar, wind and biomass (which is an energy source comprised of materials from living or recently living organisms, such as wood, waste, (hydrogen) gas and alcohol fuels), just to name a few. Therefore, green energy companies would be in the business of generating, transmitting, or otherwise working to supply clean energy to end users. The matrix of identifiable green energy companies can be extremely broad, as there are many elements to the production, transmission and supply of clean energy.
Some examples of goods and business services that a new start-up green energy company might need are:
– Day-to-day business operational services such as digital printing and copy services, packing and shipping services, warehousing, leasing and property management, and vehicle services.
– Professional services such as legal, accounting and insurance.
– Technology services such as computer hardware and software, office phones, cell phones and PDAs, website development and maintenance, and IT consulting generally.
– Sales and marketing services such as preparation of marketing and advertising materials, public relations, event or trade show participation assistance and travel service assistance.
– Wage and benefit services such as assistance with payroll preparation, benefits and workers compensation.
As with any emerging industry, the key to developing a successful business is through educating the potential customer base. Often times, start-up companies can initially be rather small in scale, so it might be worthwhile to consider offering significant discounts on the services being provided at first, with a sliding scale for increases once certain benchmarks are met. Another creative way to align your business with an emerging clean energy company would be to sponsor a marketing event designed to educate the public about the clean energy goods and/or services that the new company would be providing. This sponsorship could be as simple as agreeing to host an open-house in your businesses location or perhaps donating your companies’ primary goods and/or services in connection with the event.
There is certainly an economic incentive for existing Nevada businesses to explore ways to creatively align themselves with these green energy companies. According to the Congressional Research Service, “Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5),” over $40 billion of the $787 billion recovery plan is allocated for clean energy. Additionally, new and modified clean energy tax incentives under the Act are estimated at $20 billion plus.
What might be most interesting for local businesses to learn, if they haven’t already, is that Nevada has been ahead of the curve in this national trend focusing on clean energy development. Existing local businesses such as American Patriot Solar Community and Bombard Renewable Energy (a division of Bombard Electric, which was founded here in Nevada back in 1982), have a proven track record of working with local businesses within the community. Additionally, the development of the Nevada Solar One project in Boulder City by Acciona Solar Power, which went online in June 2007, brought with it the creation of over 800 construction jobs during building and approximately 30 permanent operation jobs.
With the continued anticipated influx of both national and international alternative energy players to the Nevada business scene, as well as the continued creation of home grown Nevada clean energy businesses, existing local businesses may be able to revive their balance sheets by providing complimentary services to these organizations and their representatives. In order for local business owners to best position their companies to provide these necessary ancillary goods and services, the first step will be taking the initiative to establish a working relationship with these green energy companies and learning more about what they do – and how local businesses can help.