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      Entrepeneurs brainstorm ways to capitalize on green energy growth

      Multi-billion dollar environmental industry creating thousands of jobs.

      Environmental entrepreneurs met at Northwestern Michigan College's Great Lakes Campus in Traverse City today to discuss how local businesses can take advantage of opportunities for growth in the advanced energy industry.

      The industry's priorities are to use energy efficiently and reduce environmental costs.

      A main focus of the discussion centered on how local communities are utilizing economic development opportunities and addressing climate change, which is having an influence at the state level as well.

      Business leaders believe this industry is creating thousands of jobs in Michigan.

      "We see in Michigan that advanced energy already is a multi-billion dollar industry and creating tens of thousands of jobs," Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council President Dan Scripps said. "We think we are only at the beginning stages. So we're already here but but there's a lot of room to grow and theres there's a lot of room for for businesses to take advantage of those opportunities to spur economic development across the region and across the state."

      The roundtable discussion with these business leaders also included Grand Traverse County's Clean Power Plan, which intends to expand Michigan's clean energy sector.

      Traverse City's Chamber of Commerce says it's one of the national leaders in helping businesses take advantage of advanced energy.

      "(We) see more and more businesses that are either diversifying into this space or really sort of growing by leaps and (bounds) and you see that here in Traverse City," Scripps said. "But you see it across the state and that's great news for Michigan."