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BCSE In Action

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BCSE 2015 Winter Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 15

President’s View: Sustainable Energy is Powering a Growing US Economy

As we start 2015, we can see that America is on the path to a more sustainable energy sector. Our energy productivity is rising along with economic growth due largely to advances in energy efficiency. Renewable energy build is increasing and new natural gas infrastructure continues to come online. We are also seeing the benefits of clean energy extend beyond the energy sector. Energy-intensive industries are onshoring production to the United States to take advantage of low energy costs. These are strong positive signs for America’s economy and environment and the Council’s coalition of energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas industries are working to build on this momentum this year.

With the release of the 2015 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook this month, the rapid shift to a greater use of energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas is becoming more evident. The transformation that is underway is driven by technology cost reductions, innovation and policy.

The Council is working across federal, state and international levels to promote new policies and business models that will further accelerate clean energy production and use. Whether it be federal energy and tax policy, state implementation of the Clean Power Plan or the new U.N. climate change agreement, BCSE will be at the forefront, offering a constructive business voice and explaining the commercial impact of policy options.

Across the board, clean energy market growth relies on stable and predictable policies. With policy clarity, clean energy can continue to provide affordable, reliable power to businesses and households, while helping to fuel broader economic prosperity.


Energy Bill Planned for 114th Congress

While an energy bill – the controversial and divisive Keystone pipeline bill – has been the first major bill out of the box in the 114th Congress, it may not be the last energy bill in this Congress.

Incoming chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and her House counterpart on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton (R-MI), have both indicated an interest in working on a comprehensive energy bill in the coming months.

While the Keystone bill has long been a lightning rod issue for both Republicans and Democrats, members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, including the new Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), have expressed hope that once the Keystone bill is dispensed with the Committee would be able to work on a bipartisan basis to move energy legislation forward.

The Senate bill would contain four titles as outlined in Senator Murkowski’s Energy 2020 Vision released in the last Congress: 1) Strengthen supply; 2) Infrastructure; 3) Energy efficiency; and 4) Accountability. Senator Murkowski will be meeting with members of the Senate Energy Committee to hear their ideas and priorities and develop a bill with a title for each of the four areas. Her overarching position is that ‘energy is good’ and that it should be abundant, affordable, clean and diverse.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to also move forward with plans to develop an energy bill.

BCSE will be meeting with members of both House and Senate energy committees in the coming weeks to share information about the 2015 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook and to ensure that clean energy is given a place in any energy bill that is developed.


Utility Commissioners at BCSE Clean Energy Industry Reception in Washington, DC

BCSE has joined forces with other clean energy organizations – including the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Ceres, Energy Storage Association (ESA), and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), along with the law firm Covington and Burling LLP, to host a reception for utility commissioners, commission staff and stakeholders during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) winter committee meetings in Washington, DC February 15-18. The February 17th reception was held at the Covington & Burling LLP offices at the new DC City Center.

BCSE actively engages with utility commissioners at their major meetings in an effort to showcase the commercially-available clean energy technologies within the Council’s business coalition and to highlight market rules, practices, and policies that should be addressed to expand the use of a wide range of clean energy technologies.

BCSE also presented information about the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook at a meeting of the NARUC Gas Staff Subcommittee on February 15.


COP 21: The Need for Ambition, Investment & Innovation

2015 is a pivotal year for the international discussion on climate change. A new agreement is anticipated by December in Paris, France, and in the coming months its design and structure will be determined.

At the COP 20 in Lima, Peru in December 2014, the Council released its vision on how an ambitious agreement will drive low-carbon investment and innovation – “A Framework for a 2015 Climate Change Agreement and Accelerated Clean Energy Deployment.” The Council believes that how the inter-governmental dialogue engages the private sector will be an important factor in the scale of its success to come to an ambitious and durable agreement.

The Council and its members are invested in seeing a successful outcome at COP 21 on November 30-December 1, 2015 in Paris, and is co-hosting a business dialogue with the French Embassy in Washington, DC to identify best practices and new ideas on how to best engage companies and CEOs in Paris – both in terms of logistics and substantive contributions. Countries will meet in Bonn, Germany in June, and the Council will be there to engage in discussions on technology, markets and how the clean energy industries can help raise the ambition of countries by delivering real greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Finance is also a critical part of this international dialogue – and gaining Congressional support for the U.S. contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other climate and clean energy initiatives are important to building trust and consensus among countries. BCSE clean energy companies also stand to benefit from financing and project opportunities as the GCF begins its operations later this year.

Last, but not least – the United States will formally submit its pledge of climate action by April, and it is expected to look much like what was articulated in last November’s agreement with China, which features U.S. plans to reduce GHG emissions by 26-28% relative to 2005 levels and China promising to peak its carbon emissions around 2030.