BCSE 2021 Recommendations for Energy and Climate Change Policy

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations representing energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy, offers the following goals, principles, recommendations and opportunities for clean energy in federal energy and climate change policies.

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Our Goals

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) is a coalition of companies and trade associations representing a broad portfolio of commercially available clean energy technologies, with a focus on energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy.

BCSE serves as a leading clean energy industry voice on energy and environmental issues, with a mission to promote policies that deploy clean energy technologies, products and services.

Since its founding in 1992, the Council has worked alongside multiple administrations, has engaged with federal, state and local policymakers and has represented clean energy industries as part of several international climate dialogues.

Throughout that time, BCSE’s goals remain the same:

SUPPORT POLICIES that scale up the development and deployment of clean technologies that:

REDUCE pollution and greenhouse gas emissions

IMPROVE our energy system — increasing reliability and resilience, and lowering risks
and costs for customers and communities

These goals are ever more important as policymakers consider the right suite of policies to rebuild and boost the economy and create jobs in response to COVID-19.

Policy Principles

We recognize policy proposals that aspire to a 100 percent clean energy economy, with net zero carbon emissions in the near future. We urge that these policies be inclusive of all energy and technology options, with the following principles in mind:

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Leverage and integrate the diverse portfolio of high-value energy efficiency, advanced natural gas and renewable energy technologies to protect and strengthen critical infrastructure in the face of COVID-19, to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to enhance U.S. community resilience to disasters.

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Incorporate customers’ priorities including sustainability, affordability, efficiency, safety, resilience and reliability.

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Ground climate and energy policy in sound science that strives to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

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Support a diverse and inclusive clean energy jobs expansion.

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Harness digitalization and performance-based metrics that track outcomes and that allow for flexibility in the technologies and pathways adopted. We have the opportunity to use innovative digital and software technologies to reduce and manage energy consumption, track and measure greenhouse gases, and develop more resilient energy infrastructure.

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Send clear, strong and durable market signals for investment and action in clean energy sectors, providing short-term and longer-term goals in line with investment cycles.

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Leverage public and private sector actions and investment at the local, state and regional levels.

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Be flexible to adapt policy over time as technologies and infrastructure change.

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Clean Energy Sector Growth and Jobs

Clean energy sectors are growing and providing millions of jobs and economic benefits to communities.

The nation’s clean energy sectors are the growth sectors of the U.S. energy economy and support over 3 million jobs across the country.

According to BCSE and BloombergNEF's Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, over the past decade, the energy productivity of the U.S. economy has increased by 17 percent. This means we can grow the economy and create jobs while using less energy. This progress is due in large part to energy efficiency investment and policy.

Natural gas and renewable energy combined have grown to meet over half (56 percent) of the U.S. power generation mix.

While the impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in substantial job losses across all sectors, clean energy sectors continue to provide significant employment and economic benefits to communities throughout the country.

Looking forward, clean energy industries will create millions of new jobs.

These workers must have the broad set of skills reflected in the spectrum of clean energy professions, from engineer to manufacturer, from electrician to customer service representative and from project developer to financier.

This new and growing workforce must reflect the diversity of our country, and employers must provide inclusive work environments.

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BCSE Recommendations

In assessing energy and climate change policy options, BCSE offers the following recommendations:

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Enact market-based measures and complementary energy policies that signal rapid investment in economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reductions, building on what is already in place at the regional, state and local levels.

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Establish economy-wide policies that account for the externalities associated with greenhouse gas emissions. These policies should embrace technology-neutral, market-based frameworks, with a view to carbon neutrality.

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Adopt an ambitious national infrastructure innovation program to support clean energy deployment and enhanced resilience. This can be accomplished through grants, loans and incentives as well as public-private partnerships that position the United States as a global leader in clean energy technology. These technologies can be deployed at home and offer significant export opportunities.

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Offer financing and tax incentives that leverage private and municipal investments and that lower energy costs and net savings for consumers over time.

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Provide workforce development support and resources to coordinate local, state, regional and federal efforts to cultivate and recruit the next decade of clean energy professionals.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Laura Tierney at bcse[at]bcse.org.