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BCSE In Action

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BCSE 2015 Fall Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 18

President's View - Clean Energy Industries Lead on US Climate Action

On October 19, the White House held its 3rd ever Summit on Climate Change. The first two were held in the 1980s and 1990s, when the US was just beginning to forge its thinking on national climate change policy. These early Summits focused mostly on climate science and policy options to lower emissions, with limited focus on private sector action. The 2015 event was dramatically different. The 2015 Summit centered on the significant emission reduction and climate change related pledges of 81 companies, including a number of BCSE members: Calpine, ENER-G Rudox, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, Kingspan Insulated Panels, PG&E, Qualcomm, and Schneider-Electric. The 81 companies together total more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion.

As BCSE and its members understand, the US energy sector is undergoing a transformation and is using its affordable, reliable and abundant energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy resources to lower emissions and expand new industries and create millions of jobs.

It is clear, the US business community is calling for action on climate change and pledging to act within its own processes, operations and supply chains to contribute. It may not be surprising to some to see these trends incorporated into the decisions made in Board rooms and in the C suites of leading US firms. But what is noteworthy is to see the public connection being made by these companies between the value of the increased use of clean energy and energy efficiency and the need for a new wave of corporate leadership to reduce emissions to address climate change.

I was proud to be a part of the 2015 Climate Summit and see the actions of BCSE members at center stage.

New Leadership and Fresh Outlook in Congress

House Republicans have embraced Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the new Speaker of the House with a vote that occurred on the House Floor on Thursday, October 29. The change in House Leadership is making way for a fresh start in the House of Representatives which is reflected in a surprise move this week on a two-year budget agreement. The two-year deal would raise spending caps and raise the debt limit until March of 2017. The hope is to enact the budget deal by November 3 in order to avert a potential federal default next week and a government shutdown later this year.

With Paul Ryan moving over to the Leadership post, questions remain over who will assume his role as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. BCSE is ramping up with a broad swath of meetings in both the House and the Senate to convey the urgent need to quickly enact clean energy tax extenders legislation. The Council is making a special appeal to “rank and file” members to contact House and Senate Leadership to encourage action. The Council has also been sharing updated BCSE-BNEF State Factsheets with the Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia Delegations. For further information or to join BCSE on the Hill, contact Ruth McCormick ([email protected]).

The House of Representatives also voted to reauthorize the EXIM Bank this week. EXIM Bank reauthorization is an issue which the Council has weighed in on over recent months. While the Senate earlier enacted EXIM Bank reauthorization as part of a Highway bill, final action is not expected by both House of Congress until December.

580 Companies and Organizations Urge Congress to Pass a Clean Energy Extenders Bill

The BCSE was pleased to help organize a coalition letter that was sent to Congress on October 5 urging a multi-year extension of expired and expiring tax incentives benefiting clean energy technologies as soon as possible this year.

The letter noted that businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies. Allowing the lapsed clean energy tax provisions to languish undermines investor confidence and jeopardizes continued economic and environmental benefits. The letter highlighted that clean energy tax measures have bi-partisan support and have a proven track record of helping scale up production, increase private sector investment and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies.

BCSE is working with the Administration, congressional leadership and many industry and stakeholder partners to ensure that a clean energy tax extenders package gets signed into law this year.

State Action: Promoting Clean Energy Solutions for Clean Power Plan Compliance

Following the release of EPA’s final Clean Power Plan this summer, many states have launched robust stakeholder outreach processes, working to gather input on the design and implementation of their individual state plans for compliance under the rule. BCSE has been taking its message on the road – calling for states to utilize the portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy solutions in their state compliance planning. BCSE has participated in a number of stakeholder and Clean Power Plan related meetings this fall in: Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Henrico, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Carson City, Nevada.

In addition, BCSE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released updated State Energy Factsheets for Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia that demonstrate the states’ current progress towards achieving their final Clean Power Plan emissions targets.

These factsheets have been valuable tools during BCSE’s continued outreach to state officials in each of these four states around their development of state plans for compliance to the rule. According to the findings of these factsheets, expansion of natural gas and renewable energy and additional opportunities in energy efficiency, along with the flexibility to develop their own pollution reduction plans, put each of these states well on the path to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and achieving their emissions reduction targets under the rule.

Some preliminary recommendations BCSE has offered to states regarding the design of their state plan include:

  • States should consider participation in the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). The program is still under development and BCSE is working with EPA and states to ensure that the CEIP provides a clear signal for action and does not delay investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy during the 2016 to 2020 time period.
  • States should adopt a “trade ready” approach, and should consider market-based elements to ensure cost-effective compliance.
  • States should consider the full portfolio of clean energy technologies and resources for compliance planning. This includes rate-payer and non-rate payer programs and actions, including third party delivered energy efficiency.
  • Further, if states allocate allowances or auction allowances under their plans, they should provide allowance value to clean energy technologies and resources to spur investment and provide clean energy market signals.

The Council and its members are committed to helping states adapt clean energy solutions to each state’s unique requirements and plan to schedule outreach meetings into 2016 for BCSE members and identify other opportunities to provide input to states’ planning processes.

Kick up Your Boots and Your Heels with BCSE at NARUC

BCSE encourages all members participating in the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) meeting in Austin next month, to join us at events the Council is sponsoring: BCSE is co-sponsoring a joint Clean Energy Industry reception on Sunday night, November 8 at Google Fiber Space in Austin. Additional co-sponsors for the event include CERES, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Energy Storage Association (ESA), and Google. The event will feature a light Mexican Buffet and local musicians. To register please click here.

Additionally, BCSE will host a breakfast event on Tuesday, November 10. The informal roundtable discussion will focus on clean energy, ICT solutions, and the role of PUCs in complying with the Clean Power Plan. To date, Commissioners Gladys Brown (Pennsylvania); Joseph Fiordaliso (New Jersey); Anne Hoskins (Maryland); Bill Kenney (Missouri); and Chair Brien Sheahan (Illinois) have indicated their plans to join the breakfast.

The discussion is intended to be informal with no prepared remarks, but should present an opportunity for BCSE members and commissioners to share their perspectives and learn from each other.

Catch the Clean Energy Train on the Road Through Paris

Over 150 country climate plans have been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in advance of the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), set to take place in Paris, France from November 30 – December 11. All eyes have been focused on the “road to Paris” for the past several years, with the aim of achieving a new international agreement on climate change with legal force. The foundation of the new agreement is the commitments of national government to reduce emissions, provide financing and support adaptation measures over the next decade.

What this new agreement and national commitments offer is the “road from Paris.” They establish a forward-looking, low-carbon pathway that includes the transformation of the energy sector. The COP21 in Paris is rightfully framed as the first stop of this low-carbon transformation, and hopefully the “train” will pull out of the station with ambition and broad support. BCSE’s commercially-available clean energy technologies have expertise and solutions that are ready to deliver GHG emissions reductions – so all should hop on board.

The BCSE delegation to the COP 21 will talk about their clean energy solutions and the policies and investment frameworks that are needed to deploy these technologies affordably and reliably. Come visit the BCSE booth at the USA Pavilion at La Galerie of Low-Carbon Solutions, from December 2-9 and check out one of our side events in the blue zone: Transformation in the Energy Sector and Achieving INDCs (12/2), Building the Global Clean Energy Economy (12/3 at US Center), or A Key to Energizing Efficient, Productive & Smart Cities and Grids (12/4). Also, be sure to check out these initiatives, which the BCSE is a proud supporter of We Mean Business (www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org) and Earth to Paris (www.earthtoparis.org).

For more information on the BCSE Delegation to COP 21, please contact Laura Tierney at ([email protected]).