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Come clean: Push is on for meaningful, smart energy legislation

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Can clean energy get its due in Washington? A group of more than 100 related organizations is doing its best to make it so.

If you're looking for an education on what clean energy could mean for your business or for your community over the next 10 years, this is the week to accelerate your research. That's because roughly 100 organizations representing renewable energy development, energy efficiency programs and environmental groups have declared it to be Clean Energy Week.

What this means, primarily, is a big public push for clean energy policy, such as the type outlined in the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last summer. The bill is up for consideration by the Senate, but it's not the only one vying for attention. There are actually more than 30 different pieces of legislation that exist or are up for consideration that have something to do with clean tech or clean energy policy. And there's a whole lot of lobbying going on in Washington this week on behalf of those various laws.

The arguments in support of such policy from the clean energy advocates are pretty much what you would expect: That clean energy is not only good for the environment, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion over the next decade, but that it could create upwards of 1.9 million jobs.

Pretty much any quote you pick from the organization's press release fits the bill in support of these themes, but I especially like this one from Reed Hundt, co-chairman of the Coalition for the Green Bank (a clean energy financing/funding mechanism) and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

"As the president made clear in his State of the Union address, a focus on green jobs is the immediate focus for the clean energy sector, and in fact by promoting the double whammy of clean energy generation and transmission along with energy efficiency, literally millions of fine new jobs can be created over the next several years."

Hmmm. Probably the most useful link for both you and I on the Clean Energy Week web site, is the listing to all the local and national partners who are focused on clean energy issues. Let's see how much noise they can generate in Washington this week and whether or not clean energy can steal a few headlines from healthcare reform.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure