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March 17, 2016

BCSE Blog: Energy Industry Leaders: 2016 Factbook Points to a New Era for American Energy

Energy industry executives from the natural gas, renewables and efficiency industries underscore the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook’s finding that the clean energy transformation is well underway, and that permanent changes are afoot in the American energy sector.

The Council has hosted a series of public briefings in Washington, DC and New York City in February, and tomorrow, March 18, will host an inaugural West Coast release of the Factbook from 10:30 – 12:00 noon at the offices of Bloomberg LP. Download the Factbook for free at www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.

Here’s what Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BSCE) members had to say about the 2016 edition of the Factbook:

Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy:

“2015 clearly marked a turning point for American energy. As we consider the world in a post-Paris Agreement on climate change, we should acknowledge that the United States has also entered a new era for low-carbon energy. The Factbook demonstrates that our country has the tools and the capacity to transform the energy sector, with the co-benefits of carbon reductions, cost savings and most importantly, economic growth. Our job in 2016 is to continue to build on the progress that the Factbook demonstrates we have already made.”

Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy:

“The 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook details a fundamental and important shift in our country being driven by energy efficiency. Historically, growth in the U.S. economy was tied to a concomitant growth in energy demand. But, thanks to rapid improvements in our energy productivity – the amount of GDP created for each unit of energy consumed – we have broken that tie. We witnessed a 10 percent growth in our economy since 2007 even as energy consumption fell by 2.4 percent. The decoupling of economic growth and energy consumption represents more than just a positive step in the march toward a clean energy future; it signals a fundamental change for the better in the way our economy operates. The Factbook provides these and other important insights and data on our changing energy landscape and we look forward to sharing it widely to help inform policymakers and the public about the important role energy efficiency is playing in making our economy stronger, more productive and more resilient.”

Dave McCurdy, President and CEO, American Gas Association:

“There’s a movement happening at the state level to upgrade our natural gas infrastructure and extend natural gas service to more consumers. The 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook says that natural gas utilities invested $9.7 billion dollars in our nation’s distribution infrastructure in 2014, a 94 percent increase compared to the previous decade. More homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and the numbers continue to increase because of the unparalleled value and comfort that natural gas offers.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association:

“Wind power is two-thirds cheaper than it was six years ago, and after installing 8.5 gigawatts of clean wind energy last year we’re going to keep this American success story going. Now that there’s long-term policy certainty in place, and with states and utilities increasingly looking to lock in low-cost, wind energy to reach their Clean Power Plan carbon reductions, now is a great time to invest in American wind power. Wind energy is well on its way to reliably supplying 20 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030.”

Bob Cleaves, President of Biomass Power Association:

“The year 2015 marked a dramatic increase in public and government recognition of the necessity of renewable energy. Technologies like biomass are an important part of the nation's energy system as they can provide renewable power 27/4 (around the clock). The Factbook shows that capacity for biomass, biogas and waste-to-energy reached a total of 13.5GW in 2015, 15% above 2008. These technologies have levelized costs comparable to those of other renewables, but they have not enjoyed the same policy support as other renewable energy technologies, which impacts deployment. We hope to see more government support in the coming years to preserve the existing asset base as well as add to the nation's biomass fleet.”

Owen Smith, Director of Energy Policy & Strategy, Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability, Ingersoll Rand:

“Each year, the Factbook provides insights about how America produces and consumes energy, and it has been a key resource for policymakers and other industry experts. We’ve seen energy efficiency and energy services continue to contribute materially to a rapidly evolving energy sector, as energy efficiency achievements have risen 17 percent annually since 2007 and exceeded 25 gigawatt hours in 2015. On top of these impressive accomplishments, the Factbook also points to substantial growth opportunities ahead for sustainable energy.”

Mark Wagner, Vice President, Government Relations, Johnson Controls:

"The 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook documents how energy efficiency is playing a key role in the changing American energy landscape. Energy demand has remained flat, yet we have seen a growth in our national gross domestic product (GDP). We are seeing a historic disconnect between energy consumption and economic growth. The majority of the improvements in energy intensity are due to energy efficiency improvements, not structural changes in the economy. What is remarkable is from the data in the Factbook we can see that policy works - and that those policies at the federal and state level are driving national investment in energy efficiency technologies and programs.”

Rhone Resch, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association:

“This BCSE’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook makes it clear that our nation is experiencing an energy renaissance and I am proud of the central role solar is playing. The use of solar will quadruple in the next five years and that will inject more than $100 billion into the U.S. economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That combination is the perfect recipe for America’s new clean energy era.”

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy commissioned Bloomberg New Energy Finance to research and write the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in order to provide policy makers, journalists and industry professionals with up-to-date, accurate market information. The complete report and associated materials are available at: https://www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.html.

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