All posts by shashi

The U.S. Clean Energy Economy: A Decade of Growth, a First Quarter Disrupted

The second Powering Forward webinar, hosted by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Clean Energy Business Network and E2, compared the findings of the 2020 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook to the current and projected impacts on the clean energy economy due to COVID-19.

The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, released in February 2020, catalogues the long-term trends across the clean energy industries in the United States. The Factbook is used by policymakers, media outlets and the industry to understand the changes underway in the energy sector through facts and data visualizations.

Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas for BloombergNEF and a lead author on the Factbook, joined the Powering Forward webinar to explain the findings.

Ten Years of Growing Momentum for the Clean Energy Industry

It is clear from the Factbook that a clean energy transformation is well underway. The past decade (2010 – 2019), was characterized by rising energy productivity (a comparative measure of economic growth divided by energy consumption), up 17.6% since 2010.

There has also been a dramatic increase in the use of renewable energy and natural gas for power generation, from 34% in 2010 to 53% in 2019 and historically low household spending on energy.  Power sector emissions fell nearly 25% over that decade, with overall emissions falling in the U.S. by 4.1%.

In the “Decade of Clean Energy,” the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors were the growth sectors of the U.S. energy economy. These categories accounted for the majority of new capacity build in recent years and employed nearly 3.4 million Americans (per the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report).

COVID-19 Impacts on Clean Energy Growth

The booming clean energy economy of the 2010s was not spared from the disruptive forces of the public health, social and economic trials of the COVID-19 pandemic towards the end of the first quarter in 2020.  Stay-at-home orders for non-essential workers, designed to curb the transmission of the coronavirus, shut down factories, office buildings and curbed mass transit systems.  As a result, BloombergNEF estimates that overall electricity demand across the continental United States is down 6% (residential demand is up, but commercial/industrial demand is down).

Designation of “essential business” applied to many in the power sector, including utilities and their network of technologies and services needed to keep the “lights on” and critical systems online and operating (first responders and hospitals).  But many segments of the clean energy sector, especially small businesses, directly experienced job losses, supply chain disruptions, project delays and more. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented number of job losses, with over 33 million Americans filing for unemployment in the seven weeks ending on May 2. 

A recent analysis by B&W Research for E2, E4TheFuture and the American Council on Renewable Energy, and released on May 13, found that nearly 600,000 clean energy workers have lost their jobs since March.  That figure represents 17.8% of the industry’s workforce.  By comparison, at the end of 2019, clean energy was on a solid upward growth trajectory of 10.4% (from 2015 to 2019), well above the national rate of employment growth at 6.1%.  It is estimated that these job losses will soon be revised to nearly 850,000 jobs.

Powering Forward for a Return to Clean Energy Job Growth

As the disruptions caused by COVID-19 continue, Congress is working on legislation to provide relief to the effects of the pandemic and to keep the economy afloat.  Both the BCSE and the CEBN are working to identify policy priorities and recommendations for economic stimulus legislation that will help the United States to “build back better,” to a position of increased resilience and sustainability, based on the foundation of a strong clean energy economy.

To learn more, watch the recording of the May 20 webinar and download the presentation here.

Earth Day Reflections: Powering Forward Together with Sustainable Energy

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, we know more about how the private sector and the public sector can work together to be good stewards and responsible citizens of this shared Earth.

As we recognize the 50th celebration of Earth Day, it is important to note that the awareness of the impact of human actions on the environment, from the local level to the international, has grown exponentially. The complexity of addressing global issues such as climate change and now the COVID-19 pandemic are immense, and a lot of work remains to be done. But today we are better equipped – with technologies and systems, institutions, and policies – to tackle these challenges, and clean energy has an essential role to play.

In 1992, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) was established by executives from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the United States in advance of the first United Nations’ Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Since that moment, the BCSE has brought the business voice of clean energy to that and subsequent Earth Summits, and to the annual conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For nearly the past three decades, it has brought that same business voice to the halls of Congress, the White House and to state houses and offices – to talk about how a cleaner, diversified energy portfolio can deliver both economic and environmental benefits.

The progress of clean energy in the United States has been tremendous over the past fifty years. The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook has chronicled this transformation in U.S. markets, and the 2020 edition takes a close look at the #CleanEnergyDecade of the 2010s. Its findings underscore that we do not have to sacrifice economic growth when choosing clean energy. Clean energy is cost-competitive. It delivers with enhanced reliability, security and resilience.

By working together and optimizing the benefits of public-private partnerships, we are encouraged that we can power forward together to bring even more clean energy into our economy, and to build a more resilient and sustainable future for us all.


Join the BCSE and the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) for the launch of a new webinar series, Powering Forward, on Friday, April 24 at 2:00 pm ET.  The first edition will focus on the Federal Emergency Management Association's Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program and will be co-hosted with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). Register here.

New Report: Wind Industry Tops 100 GW in 2019, Capacity to Power 32 Million Homes

The Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019, released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), is a key report that captures and quantifies the clean energy transformation underway in the United States. For readers of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, the findings of AWEA’s annual report provide additional dimensions and analysis of the progress of wind power in the United States.

Today, as the country is facing the public health, social, and economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to recognize that energy is essential infrastructure. It is the backbone that enables communities to support first responders, hospitals, homes and critical buildings.

“Affordable, reliable energy is not a luxury - it’s a necessity,” Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO

To borrow a term from today’s reality of remote work operations, the AWEA report “zooms” in on an important segment of the renewable energy sector in America, and complements the 2020 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which “zooms” out and takes a broader look at the U.S. clean energy portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and presents a progress report over the past decade.  Both are excellent resources to gain a clearer picture the U.S. electricity mix, and to understand the valuable contributions of clean energy.

Top take-aways from the Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 include:

  • Wind is now America’s #1 renewable energy source, providing 7 percent of all U.S. electricity.  The U.S. has enough installed wind capacity to power 32 million homes.
  • Wind power tops 100 gigawatts - U.S. wind power experienced its third-strongest year on record in 2019, increasing capacity ­­over 9 percent to 105,583 MW.
  • Iowa and Kansas both generate over 40% of their electricity production from wind power. Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Maine all rely on wind to generate 20% or more of their electricity.
  • In 2019, wind power delivered over $1.6 billion a year in state and local tax payments and landowner lease payments.
  • Today, the U.S. wind industry employs a record 120,000 people across all 50 states. This marks an increase of 6,000 more jobs than 2018.
  • Wind power is one of the few industries creating new American manufacturing jobs. As of 2019, over 530 U.S. factories across 43 states build wind turbine components, employing over 26,000 Americans.
  • Wind is now the most affordable source of new electricity throughout much of the country.

For more information, see AWEA’s press release and infographic from the report (available for purchase here).

The Energy Piece of the Infrastructure Puzzle

The federal government has an essential role to play to ensure that our nation’s infrastructure is safe, secure and modern.  The Council believes that there is broad bipartisan support to make the necessary upgrades to all the components of American infrastructure, which include transportation systems, water and wastewater treatment plants and systems, the electric grid and natural gas pipelines, the built environment in our cities and much more.

Revived investment in U.S. infrastructure will deliver multiple benefits, from increased competitiveness of the U.S. economy, to increased national security, enhanced resilience to extreme weather events and thousands of potential new jobs.

To help elaborate the importance the energy sector to American infrastructure, the Council has prepared a set of principles to offer the federal government as it considers new legislation to strengthen and improve American infrastructure. A few key concepts are highlighted below.

Energy Infrastructure is Critical

The U.S. energy system is a critical component of the nation’s infrastructure.  Any federal investments made to modernize infrastructure needs to prioritize energy systems – because the delivery of safe, secure and reliable power, heat and fuels is an essential and fundamental input for operations in all sectors.

The next-generation energy system will be bi-directional and much more integrated with the built environment, which will increasingly enable customers to interact with it.

This will require smart infrastructure solutions—backed by improved cybersecurity protocols—that facilitate the collection of data via sensors along distribution networks, advanced analytics, and the incorporation of communications technologies to optimize performance, preempt problems, and allow for rapid response.

The next-generation energy system will also need to integrate demand-response protocols for increased electric grid efficiency, as well as utility-scale and distributed renewable and clean energy technologies, which will require upgrades and expansion to the grid system.

Energy storage will also play a larger role in the power, buildings, and transportation sectors.

Lighting systems represent 20 percent of U.S. energy use and upgrading outdoor lighting systems can result in significant cost savings while providing other security, connectivity, and efficiency services.

Through more strategic and systemic approaches to modernization, the U.S. can integrate complementary assets, advance new market structures, and accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies.

New and Renovated Buildings Should Embrace Efficiency, Resilience and Connectivity

To ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars, federal funding for the construction and renovation of schools, hospitals, state and local buildings, and other projects should require energy-efficient and resilient building construction practices, as well as performance metrics. These measures will ensure that wasteful energy systems are phased out and replaced with cost-effective technologies and practices.

The built environment is home to the latest in market trends for the integration of energy technologies, including smarter systems, incorporation of distributed generation, advances in heating and cooling and supporting the electrification of vehicles.

Holistic Approach Needed for Infrastructure Investments

Investment decisions should reflect overarching objectives including resource efficiency, consumer savings, environmental performance, resiliency, and sustainability. Projects also should optimize design, construction, and operation for resilience, and incorporate—to the extent possible—the use of third-parties to ensure that projects meet their performance objectives.

Tools to partner with local governments – which are responsible for the implementation of a significant portion of infrastructure investments – should be embraced. These could include competitive grant programs and other authorization measures that will create market-based incentives that will guide investment dollars to the right place and will better leverage private capital flows.

Investing in the Future

As the U.S. economy becomes more digitally driven, energy infrastructure that is reliable, affordable, smart, and resilient becomes even more critical.  The extensive power grid and natural gas system in the U.S. have fueled the nation’s economic growth and ensured its global competitiveness to date.  The Council offers its views in BCSE Principles on Federal Infrastructure Policies to help keep this positive progress going in the right direction.

The Business of Clean Energy Comes in All Sizes

Today, May 1, marks the two-year anniversary of the partnership between the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN).  In fact, the CEBN, which is the voice of the small business clean energy economy, was formed ten years ago by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Council is so pleased that this established network is now part of its business coalition and is proud of the successes the organizations have achieved together.

A Look at Two Years of Partnership

Policy Support Market and Technology Info Business Development About the CEBN Basic Member Demographics Premium Members Faces Behind the Facts March Fly-in Funding Database CEBN Power Circuit FY2020 Appropriations FERC Comments FY2018 Appropriations Tax Farm Bill Join

The Power of a Collective of Individual Voices

The value of this partnership? Priceless. Small and medium-sized businesses are an important part of the American clean energy economy. CEBN members, over 3,000 individuals strong, represent technology providers, investors and clean energy change-makers in your community, and from across the country. 

The BCSE works with the CEBN’s members to advocate on Capitol Hill for policies that grow the clean energy market in America, create new jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy. The CEBN brings the individual’s story – that of the business owner or worker that installs solar, turns waste heat into a resource, improves the efficiency of an HVAC system or creates a renewable biofuel – to the national discussion in Washington, DC, through its outreach, policy advocacy and Faces Behind the Facts project.  Together, the BCSE and CEBN have worked successful to secure funding for clean energy research, development & deployment, and policies that provide tax incentives or recognize the energy sector as an important part of infrastructure at the national level.

Growing the Clean Energy Economy “One Small Business at a Time”

The benefit of the CEBN goes far beyond its notable policy impact in Washington, DC.  Some of its most distinguishable value-adds are the services it provides to small- and medium-sized businesses. By joining the Network at premium levels – you will benefit from access to business development tools, such as a searchable business-to-business directory to find candidates for contractors, pipeline investment, supply chain providers or installers; an aggregated database of federal, state and private-sector funding opportunities; and platforms to promote your technology, services or thought leadership to a diverse audience of businesses from across the country. Members also receive resource-rich weekly newsletters that tap into the pulse of clean energy policy, markets and headline news. 

Jump on the Band Wagon

The BCSE encourages you to jump on the clean energy band wagon, all are welcome – from those that represent or work at a small or medium-sized business, to dedicated individuals that are part of the clean energy economy at any size of company.

The CEBN offers a tiered-membership system that includes a free basic level in addition to premium business network and executive circle tiers, ensuring that there is a price-point that will work for all.  Join today or at the very least sign up for the free CEBN newsletter at or follow CEBN on Twitter @CleanEnergyBiz to learn more.  We look forward to working with you.

An Economic Force to be Reckoned With – Sustainable Energy in the United States

The recently released Advanced Energy Now 2019 Market Report, produced by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), reports that total revenue for advanced energy worldwide reached a record $1.6 trillion in 2018, with nearly $238 billion generated in the United States. 

To help understand what the size of these numbers mean, AEE offers a helpful context by comparing the energy sector with industries that the everyday consumer is more familiar with. For example, the global revenue for advanced energy is equal to that of global tourism. 

And in the U.S., advanced energy is now nearly equal in revenue to aerospace manufacturing, and twice the revenue of the biotech industry. 

These numbers demonstrate that sustainable energy sectors including energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas are an economic force to be reckoned with, both here in the U.S. and around the world.

AEE and Navigant have been tracking revenue for seven different business segments since 2011, enabling them to highlight compounded annual growth rates (CAGR) for these segments, which include building efficiency, electricity generation, electricity delivery and management, fuel delivery, fuel production, industry and transportation.  These rates of growth also demonstrate expansion of investment and consumer demand for clean energy solutions.  Since 2011, U.S. advanced energy revenue has grown at a compound annual rate of 8%.  In 2018, the year-on-year growth rate was 11%, nearly 4 times that of the U.S. gross domestic product.

To highlight a few headlines from the report on the U.S. market:

  • Building efficiency was the largest segment of U.S. advanced energy revenue with a total of $83.1 billion, up 10% over 2017, and 11% CAGR since 2011. This industry segment accounts for improved building envelope, appliance and electronics, and lighting as well as managing energy use with demand response and other enabling information technologies.
  • Advanced transportation experienced the largest increase ($7.9 billion) and the fastest growth (34%) of any U.S. advanced energy segment in 2018, reaching $31.3 billion. Revenue from sales of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) rose 75% to $18 billion.
  • In advanced electricity generation, revenue from solar photovoltaics was up 8% in 2018 to $24.2 billion. With a continuing drop in unit prices, installations of solar PV increased 14%. Revenue from wind installations was up 23% ($14 billion), after dip of 19% ($11.4 billion) in 2017. Combined cycle gas turbines also had relatively strong years in 2017 and 2018 – $12.9 billion and $13.2 billion respectively, up from $8 billion in 2016.
  • In electricity delivery and management, notable growth occurred in EV charging infrastructure, with revenue up 23% to $280 million. Energy storage revenue was up 18%, reaching $701 million, after even faster growth in 2016 (54%) and 2017 (39%).

Here at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy we know that these clean energy sectors are the growth sectors of the economy, the job-creators and the backbone of our energy economy.  We concur with AEE’s definition that “advanced energy is not static but dynamic, as innovation and competition produce better energy technologies, products, and services over time.”  Watch this space as the evolution of the energy sector is well underway.

Power Up: BCSE Mobilizes to Attend Global Climate Action Summit

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will be traveling to San Francisco, California to participate in the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit, September 12-14.

As a long-time business observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Council is pleased to be a part of the first-ever international Summit focused on the contributions of sub-national actors – that businesses, civil society, investors, and local, city, and state governments – to tackle climate change.

The invite-only Summit will be held September 12 – 14 at the Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco.  Alongside the Summit that week will be hundreds of affiliate events held throughout the Bay Area, many of which are open to the public.  

The BCSE is hosting an affiliate event on September 13, Powering Action for Climate Ambition: Clean Energy Business Solutions, from 9:15 am – 10:15 am PT at the Union Square – Harry M. Smith Conference Room, 414 Mason St. 8th Floor, Suite 800. This event will showcase the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook findings and feature a round-table discussion with experts in the energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy industries on their climate actions and commitments. This event is open to the public, but space is limited. Please register here.

Following the BCSE event, from 10:30 – 11:30 am PT, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a discussion on Taming Transportation Energy Use in the Face of Transformation, and from 12:00 – 2:00 pm PT the Alliance will team up with the World Resources Institute to chair Spurring a Building Efficiency Movement in Support of Global Climate Action. Space is limited.

BCSE members will be participating in both the Summit and other affiliate events throughout the week.  Additional details  are available here on the BCSE website.

About the Author: Laura Tierney is the Director of International Programs at the BCSE.

About the Summit

The aim of the Summit is to demonstrate a commitment to climate action by sub-national actors, and to pressure national governments to do more on climate change. The Summit, from September 12-14 is co-chaired by California Governor Jerry Brown, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Mahindra Group’s Anand Mahindra and China’s Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua.  The Summit will focus on five cross-cutting challenge areas: healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments.  For more information, visit:

A Door Opener to the Governor’s Office: Resilience

May 30, 2018 | By: Laura Tierney, Business Council for Sustainable Energy | 

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy is hosting a series of meetings with energy thought leaders on resilience and reliability, to help the coalition understand the diversity of definitions, approaches and opportunities around these two concepts that are critical to the power sector and policy-makers alike. The BCSE Clean Energy Blog will share our coalition’s reflections on some of the ideas that emerge from these discussions, and the first of these conversations was held with Sue Gander, Director and Dan Lauf, Energy Program Director at the National Governors Association (NGA)'s Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy and Transportation Division.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards opens NGA's 2017 Summer Meeting plenary session, Preparing for the Extreme: Building Resilient Communities, with remarks on how governors can collectively advocate for increased support to states for their flood response and preparation plans.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead speaks to the session’s guests, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and 100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz, during the 2017 NGA Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

Resilience – The ability to withstand disasters better, respond and recover more quickly

and excel under new conditions

The take-away advice for clean energy companies that can improve a state government’s response time to a natural disaster or electricity black-out?  Approach a Governor’s office with both concrete policy actions and ideas around technology solutions that can enhance resilience, for the best impact.

Governors increasingly care about resilience. Why? There are a broad array of risks and threats that each state’s Governor’s office plan for – that include but are not limited to a range of natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, tsunamis and wildfires, and risks specific to the power sector – electricity outages, broad blackouts and cybersecurity threats to the grid.

For a state to provide “energy assurance” to its residents, an important planning step is broad intra-government coordination among various state agencies and external coordination with utilities and other private sector players.  A goal of this planning is to create a reliable energy system that can “keep the lights on” in an emergency.

Some interesting facts that emerged from the discussion:

  • Each state has different vulnerabilities and capacity needs, and NGA is beta-testing a State Resilience Assessment & Planning Tool (SRAP) to help states conduct a self-assessment, and it includes an energy and infrastructure focus.
  • State planning includes personnel preparedness, facility hardening, mitigation options and the role of advanced metering infrastructure (AMIs) and distributed energy resources (DERs) such as storage, solar and microgrids.
  • Improving the resilience of emergency operation centers is an important step – and clean energy technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) or solar can play a role to help “harden” these centers.
  • Some states, such as Colorado and Oregon, have a “Resilience Officer” that sits in the Governor’s office.
  • A resilient state strategy includes looking at how states get “smarter.” This includes the integration of information communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of things (IoT) to planning and how this can improve the quality of life, mobility, safety, resiliency, economic viability and sustainability of residents and businesses. The emphasis is on outcomes.

This post is the first in a series on resilience and reliability. 

Clean Energy in Action: First Solar To Expand U.S. Manufacturing

May 21, 2018 | Laura Tierney, Business Council for Sustainable Energy |

A rendering of planned facility in Lake township, Ohio.

First Solar’s recent announcement of its plans to add 500 additional high-quality manufacturing jobs in northwest Ohio at a new greenfield facility and to spend over $400 million in its construction is a powerful example of the jobs and economic benefit that clean energy is bringing to American communities.

| Over 250,000 Americans are employed in the solar industry[i]

The new jobs will include a combination of professional engineers and manufacturing technicians.  Panels produced by First Solar are used in commercial, industrial and utility-scale applications.

First Solar will construct a new Series 6 thin film photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing facility with an annualized manufacturing capacity of 1.2 GW in Lake Township, Ohio, next to its existing facility in Perrysburg Township. The expansion will triple First Solar’s domestic production capacity. Construction will begin in mid-2018, and is expected to be fully operational by late 2019.

| First Solar is the largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer  in the United States

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit

Photo Captions
Top: A rendering of planned facility in Lake Township, Ohio.
Bottom: First Solar' Series 6 Production Floor

[i] National Solar Jobs Census 2017, The Solar Foundation

Let’s Talanoa: How Clean Energy Can Power Ambition

May 4, 2018 | Author: Laura Tierney, Director, International Programs, Business Council for Sustainable Energy

This weekend in Germany, at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, countries and stakeholders are putting the Talanoa Dialogue into action, sitting together to share stories of climate action, inspiration and ideas for pathways forward.  Here is how I would tell the story of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and its members, and bring the “power” of clean energy to the dialogue:

I encourage you all to think of the clean energy sector, as a partner to “power the ambition” of countries. This “powering” is built upon public-private partnership, and on the practical experience of governments working with companies that have the low-carbon technology and technical expertise, who know what works for successful deployment of clean energy solutions.

How do we turn partnering with the private sector into action for ambition?  We build upon the demonstrated successes – and we look to the momentum that has been surging over the past ten years.  We create a positive feedback loop – when we deploy more clean energy, more low-carbon solutions, when we see what success delivers and what can be achieved, we can then strive to do more together.

Based on our experience in the United States, we can provide insight into key dimensions of what we know to be true – that by growing the market for clean energy, we are also growing our economy, creating jobs, providing affordable and reliable energy, reducing emissions and strengthening our resilience to a changing climate.

There is a vibrant and hopeful story of energy sector transformation underway in the United States, which is documented by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.   I encourage you to download this resource and continue to read more about this story.

The Council’s written submission to the Talanoa Dialogue highlights the progress of the U.S. energy transformation and the policy, financing and partnership tools that have enabled this shift to cleaner and more efficient energy resources.  It showcases how U.S. companies have made significant progress on their climate commitments and are leading the way with innovative new projects. It emphasizes the need to embrace a broad portfolio of clean energy solutions and include partnership and consultation with the private sector.