Founder of SunEdison Highlights Job Creation and Economic Development Opportunities Possible through Renewable Energy

On March 31, at Southface’s 12th annual Visionary Dinner, co-hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Jigar Shah, Chief Executive Officer of the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change, spoke to a who’s who of regional business leaders on building profitable renewable energy businesses in the post-carbon economy.

Appointed CEO of the Carbon War Room by founder Sir Richard Branson (also the founder of the Virgin Group), Jigar Shah lit up the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom with his keynote presentation, titled “Opportunities Dressed Up as a Crisis: Finding Growth in the 21st Century.”

Explained Shah, “The sooner we eliminate inefficient policies, the faster we can restore economic prosperity, enhance national security, restore natural systems, and especially in Atlanta, relieve serious constraints on energy and water.” His presentation emphasized the following:


1.     Georgia’s and Atlanta’s government leaders must act now to implement policies that promote economies of scale for renewable energy sources, or risk being shut out of lucrative new business development opportunities.

2.     Carbon emissions can be cut by almost 50 percent, without burden, through improved market structures and enhanced policies. Renewable energy solutions represent a huge wealth- and job-creation engine; a win for both government and the private sector.

3.     Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, billions have been invested in developing cost-effective technologies to address energy efficiency, low carbon energy, efficient transportation, solar, biofuels, and more. These technologies, many of which currently lie dormant, offer tremendous market potential for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Said Dennis Creech, executive director of Southface, “The opportunities Jigar Shah has presented to us are remarkable, yet accessible today. Let this evening be a call-to-action for all of us to begin today to build Georgia’s next generation of wealth and jobs through smart energy programs, well-considered policies, and new business partnerships and initiatives.”

In support of Shah’s presentation, Sir Richard Branson remarked, “Protecting our natural resources and reducing carbon emissions offer the most exciting new frontier for entrepreneurs. An opportunity of a lifetime, renewable energies can create jobs, foster economic development and truly benefit everyone, from customers, to businesses, to governments and most importantly, our wonderful planet. Together we can create a new approach to wealth that also puts a value on our natural assets.”

About the Carbon War Room

The Carbon War Room’s mission is to harness the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change. Entrepreneurial leadership is the key to creating a post-carbon economy. The War Room’s unique approach focuses on bringing together successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, policy experts, researchers, and thought leaders to focus on market-driven solutions. Its approach involves identifying the barriers preventing a market-based scale up of climate change solutions, which include technology, information and policy gaps, principal-agent problems, and lack of common standards. For more information, please visit

About Southface

Since 1978, Southface has encouraged responsible solutions for environmental living. Driven by the Southeast’s growing need to save energy and water and preserve our natural resources, Southface has successfully fostered unique partnerships with business, government and nonprofit organizations. Southface educational programs, research and technical assistance reach design and construction professionals, homeowners, government officials and others to promote sustainable homes, workplaces and communities. For more information, please visit Southface at