This past June, the Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan, a set of proposed guidelines and state targets aimed at cutting the national carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent from a 2005 baseline. These are the first ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of our nation’s total; we already limit other pollutants like mercury, soot, and arsenic. This is consistent with the President’s commitment that we act on our obligation to protect our children and future generations from the impacts of climate change. This commitment to our future generations is one of the strongest motivators of Latinos’ overwhelming support for government action to combat climate change; we are deeply concerned about the threat of climate change on our children and grandchildren’s wellbeing. Latinos understand that we don’t have to sacrifice the health and wellbeing of our communities in order to meet our energy needs.
But it is not just up to the power plants. We need businesses from all sectors to take initiative and lead the innovation for more sustainable practices for business and daily life. Four of Voces’ business leaders are trailblazing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, two of the main tools of the EPA state plans. We are proud to highlight them and their contributions as we kickoff this very timely process.
Dr. Jennifer Rosa Holmgren is the CEO of LanzaTech, a biochemical company that transforms belching smoke stack gases into clean fuels and useful chemicals. Both a carbon recycling company and a biofuel company, LanzaTech uses microbes to convert waste carbon monoxide and dioxide gases at steel mills into clean fuel and chemicals for nylon, rubber or other plastics. Baosteel, one of China’s largest steel manufacturers, financed LanzaTech’s first facility in China and plans are underway for further commercial facilities to be completed in 2015.
In 2013, under Jennifer’s leadership, LanzaTech was cited by Forbes as “one of America’s most promising companies”, was ranked second in Biofuels Digest’s annual list of the “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy”, fourth among the “30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals” and one of the top 100 clean technology companies in the world by CleanTech.
Guillermo Garcia is the Co-Founder and CEO of GSG Consulting Firm, which specializes in engineering, environmental and construction management services. Created in 1992 as an environmental services company, GSG Consultants, Inc. has since developed into a dynamic and diverse firm, working on projects from highway construction to health center renovation. It is a leading minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprise (MBE/DBE), working to help their clients manage risk, reduce design and construction costs, and protect human health and the environment by delivering strategic, sustainable, and technically sound services.
Mr. Garcia has over 25 years of experience in the industry, having worked extensively with the City of Chicago’s Public School system (CPS), Public Building Commission (PBC) and Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). He also currently sits as the Chairman of the Board for the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), and in 2010 Voces Verdes awarded him the Green Business Leader of the Year at the Business Expo of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He continues to promote private sector engagement in climate change issues, hosting a energy efficiency business roundtable in Chicago last year.
Edwin Luevanos is the Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Energy, LLC, a “one stop shop” energy consulting firm delivering energy savings solutions for commercial businesses in Florida and Washington, D.C., with services such as energy audits and energy monitoring. From lighting upgrades to solar energy, Citizen Energy works with building owners and managers, their tenants, industry partners and the next generation workforce, to increase adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy, help reduce energy demand and carbon emissions, and save organizations money.
Citizen Energy is not only focused on helping businesses and organizations, but is also developing new services to help low income apartment renters gain access to community renewable energy. Prior to joining Citizen Energy, Mr. Luevanos worked at the U.S. Department of Energy. Mr. Luevanos is dedicated to improving our environment and the public welfare, and is an advocate for innovative, market driven solutions to clean energy transformation and limiting carbon pollution. He recently testified in support of new limits to carbon pollution from power plants and the Clean Power Plan at the EPA this past April.
Robert Alvarez, Lieutenant Colonel, USA (retired) is the Chairman and CEO of JBAR Enterprises, LLC, and served in the United States Army until 2000. After retirement Mr. Alvarez was President of Commercial Sales and Marketing firm achieving over $50 million dollars in commercial property development and sales.
Ray Ortega is the president of the Joint Base Activity Resource (JBAR) Enterprise LLC is a “green and sustainability” focused enterprise, specializing inproviding energy efficiency solutions to both government and commercial businesses. They focus on retrofits that allow clients to reduce the ongoing energy demands from daily operations as well as providing renewable energy solutions enabling clients to replace recurring O&M cost with viable green energy power. It is also notably a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, founded by retired officers and business executives. Their team of industry experts and business minds was gathered with the intent of addressing multiple facets of sustainable and renewable energy products, as well as implementing energy conservation programs.
Businesses working in the green industry and clean energy are ahead of the curve. The clean energy sector is growing and the proposed standards are expected to create thousands of jobs in energy efficiency and clean energy as states invest in these sectors to lower carbon emissions. Our country has barely scratched the surface of our clean renewable energy potential; for example, Georgia is currently using less than 1 percent of its possible renewable sources, which means massive opportunities for expansion within the industry sector. These businesses recognize the importance of energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, making us think, how can I #ActOnClimate too? Click to sign our petition to demonstrate your support for the EPA’s landmark decision to reel in carbon emissions.