August 05, 2021

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Help Small Businesses Become More Energy Efficient

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to help small business owners make energy efficiency upgrades to their businesses and reduce their energy costs. The Main Street Energy Efficiency Act would establish a Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant program to provide funds to small businesses for energy efficiency projects, particularly in underserved, rural, and economically disadvantaged communities. It would also help support the almost 12,000 energy efficiency workers across the state of Nevada and could allow businesses to put the money they’ll save on upgrades back into the local economy. This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

“As Nevada recovers from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, this grant program would help small businesses become more sustainable and make much-needed energy efficiency upgrades without having to shoulder the costs themselves,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ll continue to focus on commonsense solutions that help combat climate change and allow our small businesses to focus on providing good-paying jobs and stimulating our economy.”

“The Main Street Efficiency Act gives us the ability to make vital, lasting financial investments in our nation’s small businesses, while also tackling the climate crisis head on. It’s commonsense: allowing small businesses to participate in energy saving and demand response programs at little to no cost is good for those businesses, good for local jobs, and good for our planet. By saving on energy costs, these businesses can invest in their workforce – and by reducing their carbon footprints, these businesses are investing in the health and safety of their communities,” said Representative Welch.

“The Main Street Efficiency Act allows our nation’s small businesses to focus on building back after a difficult year rather than worrying about just keeping the lights on,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Paula Glover. “I’m especially excited about the progress this bill makes toward closing the ‘efficiency gap,’ which can leave communities of color and low-income communities with high energy burdens and limited ability to afford energy efficiency improvements. By helping small businesses and minority-owned businesses make energy efficiency upgrades, the Main Street Efficiency Act ensures they build back stronger with permanent energy cost savings and a healthier, more environmentally-friendly space.” 

The Main Street Efficiency Act would authorize $6 billion to help offset costs for implementing energy efficiency upgrades. Grants would be provided by the Department of Energy to fund energy efficiency solutions within a small business. The Main Street Efficiency Act is a direct investment in the long-term growth of America’s small businesses, will permanently reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and directly increases business and workforce development opportunities.

Senator Cortez Masto has led efforts in the Senate to invest in energy efficiency, having introduced the bipartisan Renew America’s Schools Act to provide crucial support to America’s schools to make infrastructure upgrades, like new ventilation systems, that improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Se has also consistently called for support for Nevada’s small businesses, including expanded eligibility for small businesses to be able to access relief under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.