April 30, 2012
BCSE Newsletter Highlights Council's
Recent and Upcoming Actions in 2012
BCSE Quarterly Connection, Vol. 4
The BCSE launched its 20th Anniversary program during its successful Clean Energy Forum in late March. The annual two-day event was a time for members to strategize on key issues impacting clean energy industries, to network with other business leaders, and to advocate for federal policy priorities. The 2012 forum featured high level speakers from the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army's Energy Initiatives Task Force and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the forum included outreach meetings with key Congressional leadership staff in the House and Senate and two expert panels to advance dialogue on critical issues for our members. The first panel focused on clean energy and comprehensive tax reform and the second on the impact of clean energy and climate change regulations on clean energy market growth.
The Council's next anniversary event will be held on May 9 in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building (2168 RHOB) from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. The event, Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends, will be a congressional briefing sponsored by the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and will feature presentations from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Sempra Energy, Solar Turbines and Johnson Controls.
Future anniversary activities include events during the Rio+20 Sustainability Conference in June, as well as the continuation of the congressional briefing series over the summer. The broad range of anniversary activities underway are only possible with the generous support of the BCSE's anniversary sponsors: the American Gas Association, Johnson Controls, NAIMA, PIMA and Sempra Energy. Please see more information on the anniversary program and suggested sponsorship packages and consider becoming a sponsor today.
The BCSE State Policy Committee will host several breakfast meetings with utility commissioners over the summer months. Two breakfast meetings are planned with a small, targeted group of utility commissioners during the 17th Annual Education Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) on Monday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 26 in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania. Another breakfast will be held on Tuesday, July 24 at the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (NARUC) summer committee meetings in Portland, Oregon. The BCSE also anticipates participating in the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners, in Sun River, Oregon, June 10-12.
BCSE members and staff will speak to utility commissioners about the benefits of a diverse portfolio of energy resources that includes energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas.
Given the focus on reliability and clean air regulations at NARUC this year, the Council will address commissioners' concerns by serving as a technology resource and making the case that continued investments in clean generation, transmission infrastructure, energy efficiency, demand response and supply-side efficiency, along with policy mechanisms, will spur the developments needed to further strengthen the grid and ensure reliability.
For more information, please contact Colbie Holderness.
The BCSE initiated an effort to collect the signatures of over 500 businesses and trade associations on a March 2012 letter to all members of the U.S. Senate. The letter called for "Yes" votes on an amendment offered by Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that would extend critical clean energy tax measures. The letter also encouraged Senators to vote against an amendment offered by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would eliminate certain energy tax subsidies. Both amendments were offered to the Senate Surface Transportation bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, S. 1813.
The BCSE and other clean energy business interests have made the consistent case for further stable, long term extensions to ensure investment and job creation. As the letter stated, "By extending key clean energy tax incentives, Senator Stabenow's amendment would spur investment, create jobs, and diversify the country's energy portfolio to power the U.S. economy." The BCSE worked in collaboration with BCSE members and other partners in collecting the signatures on the letter.
The Stabenow amendment needed a 60 vote threshold to pass, but ultimately failed on a vote of 49 to 49. The DeMint amendment to repeal energy tax subsidies failed on a vote of 26 to 72.
The BCSE continues its outreach on the Hill in meetings with members of the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee and other Hill offices to encourage Congress to extend the expiring and expired clean energy tax incentives while looking for a longer term solution and stable tax policy as Congress considers comprehensive tax reform in the next Congress.
For further information, please contact Ruth McCormick.
A key to the successful deployment of BCSE's clean energy solutions is partnerships between actors in the private, public and civil society sectors. On the road to the Rio+20 Conference in June, the Council is working to create opportunities to facilitate these partnerships.
At EE Global in March, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Co-Chair of Sustainable Energy for All, addressed a joint BCSE, UN Foundation and ASE roundtable discussion with energy efficiency industry leaders on the upcoming opportunities to make significant energy efficiency gains world-wide. Strong interest emerged to push forward a collaborative initiative on energy efficiency in the built environment, including building codes, innovative financing and other key policies needed to facilitate private sector investments. Carrying forward this momentum, the Council is participating in efforts to help shape this global partnership in advance of Rio.
Please contact the Council for more information on Rio+20. The BCSE deadline for registration is May 4. Remember to look for on-the-ground reports and tweets from Rio from BCSE President Lisa Jacobson.
On the international climate change front, the Council will also be covering the inter-sessional meeting in Bonn, Germany, May 13-25. As the first session after a successful COP in Durban, continued progress is hoped for in the standing up of the climate technology center and network, as well as the Green Climate Fund.
For more information, please contact Laura Tierney.
Building on significant progress made over the past two years in cooperation with BCSE members and allies, the Council submitted comments to the EPA in February on reconsideration of a final rule limiting mercury emissions from large industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers. The policies encouraged by BCSE and its members will help drive energy efficiency and the development of ultra-efficient natural gas-fired combined heat and power systems, a significant success for the environment and clean energy businesses. Looking ahead, the Council is working with its members to analyze and respond to the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants. Those comments are due in June and present the BCSE with an opportunity to bring its members together and make policy recommendations that will help reduce emissions at low cost and spur further clean energy development.
Clean Air issues and their impact on markets for clean energy technologies and services took center stage the second day of the Council's 2012 Clean Energy Forum. Sarah Dunham, Director of the EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs, joined BCSE members in a discussion of her office's role in guiding EPA's policies to better capture the multiple environmental, public health, and economic development benefits clean energy technologies provide in reducing harmful emissions. For example, on the horizon, EPA will be releasing a roadmap for states looking to better incorporate and take advantage of a broad array of clean energy policies as part of their strategies for complying with federal clean air regulations. Following Director Dunham's remarks, BCSE members participated in a strategic discussion with a panel of clean air experts. The conversation focused on the risks and opportunities emerging for clean energy industries from the suite of EPA rules already proposed or to be proposed in the coming year and helped inform and provide further direction for the work of the Clean Air Subcommittee over the coming months.
For more information, please contact Jack Thirolf.