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BCSE In Action

July 30, 2012

BCSE Summer Newsletter Focuses on Council's
Accomplishments and Future Plans

BCSE Quarterly Connection, Vol. 5

Table of Contents

President's View
BCSE Commemorates 20 Year Anniversary with Events at Rio+20 Sustainability Conference and on Capitol Hill

The BCSE was established in the same year as the 1992 Earth Summit and many of its founders attended that historic event to promote commercially available technologies as solutions to environmental, energy and sustainability challenges.  In recognition of the Council's 20 year anniversary, BCSE led a delegation of business leaders to the Rio+20 conference in June to announce new public-private partnerships, share best practices in project finance and policy and to demonstrate the commitment of the business community to a more sustainable energy future.

BCSE focused much of its action in Rio on promoting the UN Secretary General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which is a call to action to double the rate of energy efficiency, double renewable energy generation and expand energy access globally by 2030.

In addition, in recognition of its anniversary, BCSE launched a state of the industry education briefing series on Capitol Hill in May.  The briefing was held in collaboration with the House of Representatives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, and featured remarks by Caucus Co-Chairmen Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), as well as a moderated panel discussion.  

The event provided an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries by highlighting the commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, new innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, the opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and how Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.  Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Juancho Eekhout of San Diego Gas & Electric, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls, and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines provided company perspectives as panelists.

As we move into the fall, BCSE will be continuing our state of the industry series and other events to celebrate the organization's 20 years of advocacy.  The second briefing in the series will be held on Tuesday, July 31 and will focus on energy efficiency markets. Program and registration information can be found here.

More details on all the Council’s activities can be found below.

Sincerely,

Lisa Jacobson
President 

Council Urges Congress Not to Wait to Act on Tax Extenders

BCSE submitted testimony to the House and Senate tax writing committees for two hearings held during the month of June urging Congress to quickly extend expiring and expired clean energy tax measures.  While many Members of Congress are exploring the possibility of comprehensive tax reform, the Council said that the expiring and expired clean energy tax measures should be extended until Congress enacts comprehensive tax reform that includes a place for clean energy.  In its testimony, BCSE pledged its support to work with Congress if and when they consider comprehensive tax reform.  Since the June hearings, BCSE has been in contact with all Members of the House and Senate tax writing committees to share the Council’s testimony. 

In addition, BCSE sent a letter to all Members of the House of Representatives urging the extension of the clean energy tax measures as part of a larger tax measure which the House is expected to consider at the end of July.  The BCSE also encourages equitable business tax treatment that may have an impact on clean energy development.  In its letter, BCSE stressed the critical role clean energy tax policy has had in helping the United States achieve vital economic and energy security objectives, stating that tax policy has been as effective as any state or federal energy policy mechanism in helping to ensure an adequate, reliable, safe, clean supply of energy resources.

The Senate Finance Committee has been working on a possible mark up of a tax extenders bill before Congress recesses in August, while the House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislation to extend expiring tax measures by the end of July.  However, with the current political dynamic leading up to the November election, timing for action on tax extenders legislation is unclear.

Board Members Discuss Joint Effort with State Energy Officials 

Members of the BCSE Board of Directors met on July 11 with members of the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to discuss possible collaboration on cross-cutting issues. NASEO is an organization of the governor-designated energy officials from each state and territory. The organization works to improve the effectiveness and quality of state energy programs and policies, provide policy input and analysis, share successes among the states, and be a repository of information on energy issues of particular concern to the states.

BCSE and NASEO will work together to identify short-term, action-oriented goals to be shared with the Department of Energy and to look into the possibility of developing a white paper by the end of the year.  The white paper would include realistic clean energy deployment objectives and steps the agency could take to ensure success. 

BCSE Continues Highlighting Clean Energy Solutions with Utility Commissioners

The Council continued its involvement with the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) (June 24-27 in Hershey, Pennsylvania) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners  (NARUC) (July 22-25, 2012, Portland, Oregon) by holding a series of Clean Energy Industry breakfasts to discuss with utility commissioners the issues they are facing in their respective states and to offer the BCSE’s commercially available clean energy technologies as possible solutions.  

The MACRUC breakfasts included the participation of commissioners from New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and the District of Columbia.  The NARUC breakfast included the participation of commissioners across several Western states, as well as remarks from Commissioner Rebecca Wagner of Nevada and Dr. Audrey Lee, Policy Advisor to President Peevey of the California Public Utility Commission, regarding some of the clean energy issues before their commissions and the broader energy landscape within their jurisdictions. 

Additionally, BCSE sponsored a photographer at the President’s Installation Dinner at MACRUC, which provided the Council the unique opportunity to greet dinner participants and tell them more about the BCSE’s coalition of energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas.

Clean Energy Key for Sustainable Development 

Just before the Rio+20 Conference on June 13-22 in Brazil, Bloomberg New Energy Finance revised its global clean energy investment numbers for 2011, increasing the total to $280 billion and demonstrating that the conversation on energy is shifting around the world.  Rio+20 provided a platform for the BCSE and clean energy industries to demonstrate their contributions to this shift. 

For sustainable development, Rio+20 produced a non-binding, high-level outcome in The Future We Want. Many agree that the real outcomes from the conference stemmed from civil society & business actors at the conference.

Partnerships were announced under the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative to advance energy efficiency in buildings and the role of information communication technologies to deliver energy to all.  As part of this effort, the Council pledged a voluntary Rio+20 commitment, U.S. Clean Energy Businesses to Advocate for Policies and Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, for 2012 – 2015.  BCSE members spoke about global trends, projects on-the-ground and enabling environments that are needed to accelerate clean energy deployment in side events on June 19 and June 20.

Looking ahead, the Council is making its plans for the next round of international climate change negotiations at COP 18 in Doha, Qatar.

BCSE Comments on Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants

The Council recently submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants.  BCSE’s comments focused on how the Council’s three sectors – energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas – will be cost-effective compliance options.

The Council also applauded the Agency for adopting an output-based approach whereby the emissions limit is set based on units of pollution relative to the useful output of both heat and electricity.  Building on this recognition of energy efficiency, noted the Council’s comments, will afford EPA an opportunity in the carbon pollution standard to encourage clean and efficient combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat recovery and should provide 100 percent credit to account for all of the useful thermal output from a combined heat and power or waste heat recovery system. 

Throughout its comments, the BCSE urged the EPA to keep the regulation of existing sources in mind in finalizing the Carbon Pollution Standard for new sources and in devising the federal guidelines that states must follow in their plans to cover existing power plants.  The Council stated its support for an approach establishes the minimum stringency states must meet but allows states the flexibility to achieve greater reductions.