BCSE President Lisa Jacobson describes these suggested actions as “immediately impactful steps” that the incoming Biden-Harris administration that can take “towards the restoration of a vibrant clean energy economy in the United States.” The BCSE also supports the President-elect’s focus on driving economic recovery through investments in infrastructure, electricity and buildings sectors to advance clean energy and build a more equitable America.
Highlighted in these recommendations are actions in these areas:
Executive Orders to Improve the Efficiency, Resilience and Sustainability of the Federal Government
Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 with Increased Funding for Clean Energy RDD&D
Strengthening Agency Work and Filling Staff Vacancies
Clean Air Act Authority to Regulate Carbon
Building Codes and Manufactured Housing Standard in Federal Housing Programs
Reducing Market Barriers to Clean Energy Deployment
International Leadership on Clean Energy Deployment and Climate Change
Infrastructure Siting, Permitting, and Regulatory Reforms to Speed Clean Energy Deployment
These recommendations were crafted with the urgency of addressing the COVID-19 health pandemic and the recovery of the U.S. economy in mind. Achieving the Build Back Better objectives will be an ongoing process and will require sustained action by the public and private sectors for years to come. The BCSE and its members are ready to partner with the incoming administration to deploy clean energy solutions towards addressing challenges of COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.
On December 12, the world will take a collective pause to recognize the anniversary of the signing the historic international accord on climate change in 2015, the Paris Agreement, and to strengthen the call to “go further, faster” with more ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at a virtual Climate Ambition Summit hosted by the U.N, the United Kingdom, France, Chile and Italy.
In joining this moment of reflection, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) reaffirms our support of the Paris Agreement and its goals to keep to keep global warming to well below 2 ̊C, as our members provide the technology solution and systems to help put our economy on this low-carbon pathway. Multilateral action and cooperation matter to our collective ability to effectively mitigate climate change and enhance our resilience to its impacts. As such, the BCSE wholeheartedly welcomes the return of the United States to the agreement under the Biden-Harris administration.
Lisa Jacobson, BCSE President, adds that “the Paris Agreement is a driver of global and domestic action on climate change, and particularly in the energy sector. It provides an important public sector signal to private sector markets to get on board with the transition to clean energy that is well underway.”
Achieving Multiple Benefits
Coinciding with this moment is the international mobilization of trillions of dollars towards economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This creates a new and necessary opportunity to better align our economic development pathways with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“As the U.S. Congress, the incoming Biden administration and world leaders design policy measures to stimulate their national economies, the BCSE calls for climate change, sustainability and equity to be kept front and center in order to make sure that these strategies facilitate a recovery that is effective and the benefits long-lasting,” commented Jacobson.
This triumvirate of economic, social and climate benefits can be achieved through designing innovative and holistic policy solutions, allocation of significant levels of funding into research, development and deployment of clean energy, and the purposeful restoration and creation of new jobs in clean energy sectors.
Going Further, Faster
Deployment of clean energy at the pace and scale that is needed requires cooperation not only between countries but between governments and the private sector. It also requires a “big tent” approach that includes a broad portfolio of clean energy technologies be embedded in policies and research and development (R&D) investments.
In a conversation about the need for diverse coalitions to address climate change, Clay Nesler, interim President of the Alliance to Save Energy and Vice President for Global Energy and Sustainability at Johnson Controls emphasized that “the power of business and civil society coalitions, working together to educate the public and governments cannot be underestimated as an effective driver of political will for climate action.”
An example of this type of partnership in action is the “Three Percent Club” for energy efficiency which was launched last year and now includes 16 member countries, 12 founding partners, 6 program partners, 29 institutional partners and 26 industry partners.
With public financial flows pouring into economic recovery efforts, nearly $11 trillion already by G-20 countries, and only a small percentage of that towards a “green recovery,” a critical opportunity is now before national governments to create an equitable, low-carbon and long-lasting recovery.
Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Signify, noted that the European Union (EU) is leading the way,“with the launch of the European Green Deal, the EU is committing a large part of its regular budget and an additional economic recovery budget to align with its goal to be climate neutral by 2050. This is a great example of how public finance is allocated and can be leveraged to incentivize greater climate action. The EU’s Renovation Wave, will create local jobs, improve the health and quality of our buildings and the air we breathe."
October 23, 2018 | Authors: The following is a viewpoint by Maria Stamas, Western Director of Energy Affordability with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Andrew McAllister, a Commissioner of the California Energy Commission|
Many of us don't spend much time thinking about how energy efficiency helps ensure our appliances aren't wasting energy and that keeping our showers warm doesn't cause our energy bills to soar. Modern technology ensures we usually don't have to think about these things. However, many families feel the pinch once the monthly utility bills arrive, and one in five households reduce or forego other necessities such as food and medicine to afford those energy payments.
These facts are especially pertinent in October, which also is known as Energy Awareness Month.
In a state that continues to face a housing affordability crisis, with a fast-rising homelessness population, energy efficiency is a frequently-overlooked strategy to help California families stay on top of their bills. Deep energy efficiency savings — on the order of an easily achievable 20 to 30 percent per property — also help maintain and preserve affordable rental homes for low-income Californians.
For example, nonprofits that manage affordable housing must operate their properties close to the margin to maintain affordability, so rising energy and water costs can lead to deferred maintenance. Left unchecked, rising energy costs can compromise the quality and long-term affordability of rental homes for low-income Californians and can even lead to health risks for these families.
Enormous potential benefits
According to a new report from Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), these deep energy savings are also cost-effective. If the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approves funding for all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities focused on low-income, multifamily homes — like apartments and townhomes — the potential benefits are enormous, amounting to 4 times as much savings per household than current program performance. From now through 2030, Californians' utility bill savings would add up to as much as $200 million. For low-income families juggling rent payments alongside energy costs, these savings can make a world of difference.
For years, many of California's energy efficiency programs have been geared toward commercial, government and institutional buildings, and to Californians in single-family homes. These programs have often excluded residents in multifamily housing, where at least one in three eligible Californians resides.
Before and during his recent Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Jerry Brown signed numerous bills into law which, together, will extend California's leadership in the fight against climate change by reducing emissions from our buildings and transforming our energy supply systems to be fully renewable. Yet as we continue to lead, we need to guarantee that every single Californian can benefit from the clean energy economy.
Fighting climate change, pollution
A recent poll commissioned by EEFA revealed robust support for these ideas. California voters care about efficiency for numerous reasons, most notably to fight climate change and reduce the health impacts of pollution in our neighborhoods. Respondents voiced strong commitment to ensuring that renters and low-income Californians get the same energy efficiency program support as homeowners.
The majority of those polled said they would be willing to tack on an extra 50 cents or one dollar to each monthly power bill to help low-income and working-class families make their homes more efficient. This open-minded, forward-thinking mentality is part of what makes Californians who we are.
Energy efficiency creates a diverse array of solid, non-exportable jobs. The energy efficiency industry already employs 310,000 Californians, more than double those in the fossil fuel industry. Redoubling our efforts on low-income multifamily buildings would create an additional 84,000 year-long jobs or 6,000 long-term jobs. Imagine the benefits of having skilled workers from low-income areas improving the buildings in those same communities.
As we push to slash the energy use of our existing buildings by "decarbonizing" them — along with everything else in our economy — we cannot overlook low-income families. With slimmer energy expenses, Californians can save money that can be dedicated toward housing and other essentials. This October, as we recognize the often-forgotten role energy plays in the California Dream, let's also think big about how we can forge a clean economy that is inclusive enough to help us reach our most ambitious goals.
This article was originally published on Utility Dive on October 15, 2018 and has been re-posted with permission.
On October 5, 2018 a growing network of advocates, companies, government agencies, utilities and others will showcase the benefits of efficiency during the third annual Energy Efficiency Day.
What can you do for Energy Efficiency Day?
Make the Switch to LEDs – Replace 5-10 incandescent bulbs at home or at the office.
Update/Maintain your HVAC – Replace outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with more efficient models. Install smart thermostats or upgrade to zoned energy controls. Maintain HVAC by cleaning/changing filters and getting regular “tune-ups.”
Use a power strip for electronics – Unplug it or turn it off when devices are not in use. At your business, provide power strips or automatic shut-down options.