PLAINVILLE - U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, along with other leaders in green energy, stopped in to Crowley Ford Monday to highlight the importance of the Green Bank and stress how investing more efficient energy can generate long-term benefits.
Esty, who was joined by Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank Bryan Garcia, began her tour of the dealership at 225 New Britain Ave. by looking over energy efficient vehicles.
Esty, D-5th District, was first shown a C-Max, fully electric car that Crowley was selling and then a hybrid model. They then stopped at an outdoor charging station where anyone who drives an electric car can charge up for free. Crowley said his charger can fully charge a vehicle in eight hours but that people usually stop in before they are totally out of power and leave after 10 minutes. He noted that he has another charger at his Nissan dealership that can fully charge a car in just over an hour.
“I give electricity to people, but I got it for nothing from God,” said Ken Crowley.
“With a little investment from the Green Bank,” Esty added.
Crowley noted how he had installed 36,000 square feet of solar panels on his roof as well as LED lighting. He also pointed out how he burns waste oil for fuel in the winter.
When asked by Esty how he got into green energy, Crowley said he has always been interested in energy efficiency and got his start by purchasing a geothermal system for his home.
Esty then mentioned the Green Bank Act, which she and Sen. Chris Murphy introduced in June with the goal of “creating American jobs, fighting climate change and incentivizing large-scale private investment in clean energy projects” nationwide.
“This bill is a gateway to a much bigger and better tomorrow,” said Crowley. “It seems too good to be true, but it works. My investments are already paying for themselves. One of my buildings needed a roof, so I thought why not get the solar roof? They will also protect it by keeping the sun off.”
“Connecticut was the first state to have a green bank, and now there are six,” explained Esty. “In Connecticut, it has been extremely successful, and it has helped many people like Ken Crowley save money, which allows him to hire more people and improve his bottom line. If we can get this bill passed, it would provide $10 billion in initial funding and $50 billion over the course of a few years.”
Esty said the challenge is going to be getting more Republicans on board but that she is in talks with legislators in New York, which was the second state to create a green bank.
“Not only do these investments improve the bottom line, but they also lead to an improved quality of life,” said Esty. “Even if President Trump doesn’t want to be part of the Paris Climate talks, business and community leaders can recognize the trend toward clean energy - which the U.S. should be a leader in. Right now China is putting 10 times as much money into research and development of green energy, and they and India surpassed us for the first time last year. The Indians and the Chinese are not tree huggers - they understand the market.”
Garcia noted that Connecticut’s green energy investments have grown ten-fold since five years ago, before the introduction of the Green Bank.
“It is government and businesses partnering to create jobs, reduce emissions and help develop our infrastructure,” said Garcia.
Finally, Esty told Crowley that she would be recognizing Crowley before the legislature. He was recently one of six dealers honored world-wide by Ford.
The company presented him with a painting, which now stands on his sales floor, showing some of Crowley’s local charitable efforts. These include speaking at the commencement at Bristol Tech, holding a golf tournament that raised $1.1 million to benefit juvenile diabetes research and supporting Nico’s Lemonade Stand, which last year raised nearly $15,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.