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BCSE Quarterly Connection: Summer 2018

BCSE Quarterly Connection: Summer 2018

In this issue:

President’s View: New Federal Climate Policies Emerge

July has seen a resurgence of attention to federal climate change policy and carbon pricing – with energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy technologies at the center of the solution set.  With the introduction of a carbon tax bill in the House of Representatives, the Market Choice Act, by Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and the launch of coalitions focused on elevating federal policy responses to both greenhouse gas reduction and enhancing resilience from natural disasters, new political coalitions are emerging.  This provides significant opportunities for the Council to shape policies to ensure that initiatives cost-effectively reduce emissions and help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change using the broad portfolio of clean energy technologies.  BCSE has long supported federal legislative action on an economy-wide, market-based approach to address climate change.  As new industries and stakeholders are coming to the table with ideas on policy and non-policy drivers to accelerate action, the Council’s history of crafting market-based programs is ready to share its expertise in this new round of action.

BCSE Communications Network Shares Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Communications

These days there are almost too many ways to connect with your clients, contacts and target audiences. Here are a few tips to consider doing what you already do, but just a little bit better, courtesy of the BCSE Communications Network.

  • E-mail subject lines with 29-39 characters get the best click through numbers; 4-15 characters get best open rate.
  • A/B test your content – try different times or subject lines for e-mails and different graphics and text for paid advertisements on social media.
  • Video. Video. Plus, a little humor every now and then on social media will boost your likes.
  • Make sure your website has a privacy policy and notification about cookies.
  • Get consent from your contacts to e-mail them, especially if they live in Europe.

The BCSE Communications Network has been spending its summer diving deep into a range of topics, including expanding digital media reach, effective emails campaigns, and managing data & privacy policies.  The above tips have emerged from this lunch & learn series, which will continue in the Fall.  For more information, please contact Laura Tierney ([email protected]).

Hear the Chorus of Climate Action at Upcoming Global Climate Action Summit

San Francisco, California, will be hosting upwards of 50,000 people the week of September 10 at the Global Climate Action Summit.  The Summit will be accompanied by over 350 affiliate events that week, held by leaders from cities, states, businesses, and other stakeholders.  This includes events by the BCSE, the Alliance to Save Energy, PG&E Corporation, the U.S. Green Building Council, WRI’s Building Efficiency Accelerator and many more.  Details on these events will be made public by mid to late August.

The aim of the summit is to demonstrate a commitment to climate action by sub-national actors, and to pressure national governments to do more on climate change. The Summit, from September 12-14 is co-chaired by California Governor Jerry Brown, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Mahindra Group’s Anand Mahindra and China’s Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua.  The Summit will focus on five cross-cutting challenge areas: healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments.  Find out the latest on the Summit website or contact Laura Tierney ([email protected]) for more information.

BCSE Resilience and Reliability Dialogue Highlights Need for Education and Better Quantification of Benefits

Starting in May, the Council launched a strategic initiative on resilience and reliability.  The purpose of the initiative is to capture the breadth and scope of these important market drivers for BCSE industries and to share information gaps and policy ideas with decision-makers at the federal, state and local level. A member-only Thought Leaders Series began this spring with guest speakers from the National League of Cities, the National Governors Association, MIT, the Department of Energy as well as leading land management and national security experts.

Key take aways from these discussions have been that resilience and reliability are intertwined, but have distinct aspects.  Further, the conversations have highlighted the need for policymakers to be educated on the economic and human health benefits of pre-disaster and post-disaster resilience investments, and that better tools to quantify the

benefits are needed.  As this effort progresses, BCSE will release a coalition brief of this topic and will continue to advocate for federal legislation to enhance resilience and reliability.

Congress Considers Disaster Recovery Reform as 2018 Hurricane & Wildfire Seasons Begin

The partnership with BCSE and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has been positive as the two organizations continue working together to advocate in support of disaster recovery reform and resilience provisions in various pieces of legislation.  BCSE and NASEO, along with BCSE members such as the US Green Building Council (USGBC), have been working to add the Senate version of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), S.3041, as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, HR 4. The provisions in the DRRA represent a national focus on pre-disaster mitigation and response measures that - for the first time - will ensure the United States will be better prepared for disasters by advancing electric grids, power supplies and building stock that are reliable, more resilient, agile, cost effective, cyber-secure, and environmentally sound.

NARUC Events Provide Opportunity for Partnerships with Clean Energy Stakeholder Groups

BCSE members met with utility commissioners from the mid-Atlantic region at breakfast sessions held during the  June meeting of the Mid Atlantic Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Members of the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) and GridWise Alliance joined the Council to share information and updates on our work, while commissioners from Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the U.S. Virgin Islands addressed pressing topics from their states. In addition to the breakfast sessions, BCSE continued its very popular sponsorship of a photographer at the MACRUC President’s Installation Dinner. BCSE also co-sponsored a clean energy industry reception at the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (NARUC) meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in July along with AEE, ACORE, AWEA, CERES, GridWise Alliance, and SEIA.

Clean Air Subcommittee Tracks Carbon Pricing, EPA Developments

Over the past several weeks, the BCSE Clean Air Subcommittee has held meetings to learn more about the landscape of carbon pricing policies at the state level and what’s being proposed at the federal level. Dan Delurey, President of the Wedgemere Group, gave an overview of both the state policy landscape and the various groups working on carbon pricing. These include the Climate Leadership Council, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and others. Catrina Rorke of the Climate Leadership Council will speak at the next Clean Air meeting on August 6 about their carbon price proposal. The Council is also reviewing its climate change policy statement, with an eye toward updating the principles to reflect members’ current priorities.

BCSE and its members also continue to follow several regulations expected to be acted on by EPA in the coming weeks and months. As Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler begins his leadership of the EPA, many expect that the EPA’s agenda will remain largely unchanged, but that his approach will be different and more transparent than his predecessor. The administration’s proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan is expected in the late summer or early fall, and the revised Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards could come as early as this week.

Conference Negotiations over Spending Bills and Farm Bill Programs Address Clean Energy

House and Senate conference negotiations continue over a three bill “minibus” that includes the Energy and Water Development, Veterans Affairs, Military Construction and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills. Congress is hopeful the “minibus” will be signed into law before the end of the current fiscal year in September. Appropriators were able to address a shortfall for veterans’ health care which made progress on the rest of the bill possible.  BCSE has weighed in with conferees regarding our funding priorities for the Department of Energy in the three bill “minibus.” BCSE has also weighed in on a second, four bill “minibus,” which includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other agencies. That bill is expected to be passed by the Senate before the August Recess and go to conference in September. Funding levels for BCSE priorities in both “mini-buses” are positive.
 
In addition to the funding bills, the House and Senate are going to conference to reauthorize the Farm Bill this summer. BCSE has been advocating in support of rural energy programs and for the continuation of modest, cost-effective investment.  Farm Bill energy title programs provide the means for agriculture-based entrepreneurs to launch initiatives to generate jobs and economic development – from wind, geothermal, hydro and solar power, to biogas and advanced biofuels, to biopower, bio-based products, renewable chemicals, and energy efficiency.  The energy title has enabled farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to become more self-sufficient, and bring high-value products to market.

New Member Spotlight:
Capital Power

BCSE recently welcomed a new member to the coalition: Capital Power. Capital Power Corporation is an independent power generation company based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Capital Power develops, acquires, and operates power generation from a variety of energy sources, including natural gas and wind, in Canada and the United States.

Clean Energy Business Network's Faces Behind the Facts

 The Clean Energy Business Network released 5 new profiles in July for the ongoing Faces Behind the Facts series, which tells the stories of business leaders behind the trends in the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. Learn how BioJoe and Beth Renwick grew one of the southeast’s leading biodiesel companies out of their garage, Matthew Goss went from pit crew member to energy consultant, and Jim Newman became the “Dean of Green.” See these fresh new faces.

Featured Event: National Clean Energy Week

Washington, DC - September 24-28
The BCSE is pleased to announce this year’s National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) will take place in Washington, DC, during the week of September 24. The second annual NCEW will include a full day symposium, associated dinners, a young professionals reception, and more.

For additional details and the full schedule, please visit www.nationalcleanenergyweek.org.

Spring 2018 Quarterly Connection

BCSE Quarterly Connection: April 2018

In this issue:

President’s View: Clean Energy Industries Provide Significant Resilience and Reliability to the US Energy System

With increased focus on managing physical and cyber risks to the energy system, grid reliability and resilient buildings and infrastructure are paramount.  In 2018, BCSE will initiate a strategic dialogue on resilient and reliable energy infrastructure to define the role that clean energy technologies play in providing these essential services and to identify measures that can be taken to drive investment and deployment.  Whether it be federal infrastructure proposals under consideration by the Trump Administration and Congress, proceedings under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or state or city level actions, the Council will work with its broad-based membership to help policymakers improve grid reliability and preparedness in the public and private sectors.  This new strategic dialogue will provide an important engagement platform for Council members to share expertise as well as develop and implement advocacy strategies.

2018 Factbook Shows Gains in Clean Energy Deployment and Jobs, Low Energy Prices and Declining Emissions

BCSE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance released the sixth edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in mid-February with bold headlines. Specifically, the 2018 Factbook showed that expanded deployment of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy generated economic benefits without requiring increases in energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. Further, continued declining technology and fuel costs resulted in households spending the smallest proportion of their annual budgets on energy and electricity costs since the early 1960s. The Factbook data affirms that growth of sustainable energy industries contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation, and the expansion of the American economy. BCSE and its members have been sharing the Factbook findings with a wide range of policymaker audiences in Washington, DC, including Trump Administration officials and congressional leaders as well as state policymakers though NARUC and NASEO forums. BCSE has also taken the Factbook on the road and has held briefings in Minneapolis and Oklahoma City. Looking ahead, BCSE is planning outreach events in New York City and Sacramento this spring. A full list of outreach activities can be found here.

Talanoa Dialogue: Clean Energy Actions for Climate Ambition

The BCSE is taking part in a new initiative under the UN Climate Change process – the Talanoa Dialogue. The dialogue is aimed at enhancing the long-term ambition of countries to tackle climate change. Under the leadership of the Delegation of Fiji, the current President of the UN climate negotiations, governments and civil society will embrace the practice of “Talanoa,” sharing stories, building empathy and making wise decisions for the collective good. The Talanoa asks countries and stakeholders around the world to consider three questions related to climate action, “Where are we? Where do we want to go? and How do we get there?”

The Council’s written submission highlights the progress of the U.S. energy transformation and the policy, financing and partnership tools that have enabled this shift to cleaner and more efficient energy resources.  It showcases how U.S. companies have made significant progress on their climate commitments and are leading the way with innovative new projects.  In telling this story, the Council’s aim is for countries to see that the technology tools and policy experiences already exist to help reduce emissions in the energy sector, and that greater ambition can be pursued when policy actions embrace a broad portfolio of clean energy solutions and include partnership and consultation with the private sector.

For more information and to see other submissions, visit www.talanoadialogue.com.

The Council will attend the Bonn Climate Change Conference, April 30 – May 10th, and the first in-person Talanoa Dialogue workshop will be held on May 6.

Save the Date: Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, CA, September 12-14

The Council plans to lead a delegation to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which will convene sub-national actors – representatives of cities, states, regions, business, civil society, academia and other stakeholders – from around the world on September 12-14 in San Francisco, California. The purpose of GCAS is to showcase climate action and inspire deeper commitments from national governments, and each other, in support of the Paris Agreement.

The Summit is hosted by California Governor Jerry Brown, and co-chaired by Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra.  In preparation for the California Summit, the We Are Still Coalition will launch an action campaign for current and new signatories to join on April 22.

Congress Gives Boost to Critical Energy and Environmental Programs in 2018 Spending Package

BCSE saw positive results from its advocacy efforts to secure funding and specific program level support for clean energy initiatives at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that passed Congress at the end of March. The bill provided more limited State Department allocations to international climate change bodies and prohibits funding for the Green Climate Fund, but continues its Energy Bureau efforts.

The funding package rejected the deep cuts proposed in the Administration’s FY 2018 budget request, and instead provides:

  • An increase of nearly $1.5 billion in Department of Energy clean energy programs compared to the prior fiscal year
  • Increased funding for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (+14%), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (+16%), Office of Science (+16%), and Office of Fossil Energy (+10%)
  • Continued support for DOE’s CHP Technical Assistance Partnership Program
  • Stable funding for the Environmental Protection Agency

BCSE now turns attention to the FY 2019 Appropriations bill. BCSE has submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will do the same for the House Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.

BCSE has also been meeting with members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to discuss our funding priorities and to share information from the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook and the Clean Energy Business Network’s Faces Behind the Facts, which tells the stories of business leaders working across renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas industries. The Faces project also features examples of how federal programs have helped launch successful business ventures and provide solutions that work for American consumers and taxpayers.  The companion documents demonstrate how U.S., federal investments have helped pave the way for technology improvements and cost declines in the energy sector.

The full Omnibus bill text can be found here. The Senate summary of the bill can be found here, and the House summary can be found here.

Utility Commissioners and Staff Share Interest in Clean Energy Market Trends

A panel of BCSE members has been providing information to utility commissioners and staff about clean energy market trends from the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. BCSE was invited to present information from the Factbook to the NARUC Natural Gas Staff Subcommittee at their Winter Policy Summit in Washington, DC in February and again in early April during one of its monthly conference calls. BCSE has also been invited to update commissioners on the Energy Resources and Environment Committee during a conference call in May.

In addition to sharing the facts, BCSE joined other clean energy industries to co-host a February reception for commissioners, staff, and other attendees at the NARUC Winter Policy Summit in Washington, DC. Other receptions and events are being planned for the mid-Atlantic regional meeting in June and the NARUC Summer Policy Summit in Phoenix in July.  For more information about how you can participate in these events, please contact Ruth in the Council’s offices.

BCSE Engages as EPA Moves on Multiple Regulatory Fronts

As part of the 2018 Clean Energy Forum, BCSE hosted Bill Wehrum, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA. Mr. Wehrum outlined areas of focus for the Air Office, including proposed rules to repeal and replace the Clean Power Plan, revisiting New Source Review Program regulations, and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Since that meeting, EPA has also indicated it will reopen the midterm evaluation of Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards. BCSE will engage in some form on each of these topics, and looks forward to its Clean Air Subcommittee meeting on April 12 where the Council’s EPA outreach will be discussed. BCSE’s most recent comments on the proposed replacement of the CPP are available here.

BCSE Quarterly Connection: December 2017

BCSE Quarterly Connection: December 2017

In this issue:

President’s View: Critical End of Year Tax and Budget Decisions Will Impact Clean Energy Industries

As we move into December, all eyes are on Congress and the Trump Administration as they race to complete legislation in areas that directly impact clean energy industries. First, and foremost, is tax reform. The all-out push to enact the most significant tax overhaul in 30 years is underway and, if passed, will include energy and non-energy related provisions that will set the course on interest rates, expensing, deductions, and credits, among other significant business issues.  BCSE members have been urging Congress and the administration to retain the solar and wind tax laws as adopted in the PATH Act of 2015 and to reinstate the lapsed tax credits for non-wind Production Tax Credit technologies (biogas, biomass, waste to energy, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic) and non-solar Investment Tax Credit-eligible technologies (fuel cells, combined heat and power, small wind, and geothermal) as well as for energy efficiency and sustainable transportation.  If Congress does not address these issues in the tax reform legislation, BCSE is urging Congress to move on an extenders bill before year’s end.  The budget allocations for all federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2018 also need to be agreed upon, and face challenges without the adoption of a new budget agreement that removes pre-established spending caps.  BCSE called upon Congress to act immediately to resolve the pending issues and to adopt budgets for the Department of Energy, the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency that will provide appropriate funding for programs that work to ensure a safe, secure, reliable, clean and diverse energy system.

A Transformational Year for the CEBN

This year has been transformational for the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN).  The network moved from The Pew Charitable Trusts to its new home in the BCSE in May.  Over the past half-year, the CEBN has rebranded its identity inside the beltway and across the nation, rolled out exciting new content and services for members, and completed a member-driven strategic planning effort to guide the future of the organization.  Read more about 2017 accomplishments and see a sneak peak of what’s in store for 2018 here.

BCSE Members Voice Concern over Energy Pricing Proposals Under Consideration by FERC

In response to direction from the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been asked to consider adopting new and dramatic energy pricing structures for a select group of electricity generators – under an expedited timeline – on grid reliability and resiliency grounds. The Council has long supported updating market rules to better assess and value ancillary and other services to enhance the performance and security of the electric grid. However, the proposal is based on the unsubstantiated view that the US is experiencing a current reliability threat and, based on this premise, the proposal recommends actions without full consideration of the issues involved or the current mechanisms in place at state and regional levels to manage these issues.  BCSE submitted its views to FERC in October and awaits a possible mid-December response from FERC on this proposed rulemaking.

Clean Energy Industry Reception at NARUC is a Home Run at Camden Yards

The Designated Hitter’s Lounge at Camden Yards was the venue for the clean energy industry reception BCSE and seven other clean energy organizations hosted during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners meeting on November 12.  There was a great view of the ball park as a live three-piece band played throughout the reception.  Utility commissioners, commission staff and other NARUC meeting attendees look forward to the clean energy industry reception as a consistent event at the NARUC meetings.  In addition to the reception, BCSE hosted a breakfast event during the NARUC meeting at which Florida Utility Commissioner Ronald Brise spoke about his state’s efforts to prepare for and respond to the 2017 hurricanes.

Sue Gander with the National Governors Association also spoke at the BCSE breakfast and Council members had an opportunity to talk about the work they are doing on resiliency. This is the type of event that was envisioned when the BCSE State and Regional Policy Committee committed to working collaboratively with the Federal Policy Committee to identify opportunities to engage with policy makers to identify and advocate for federal efforts and funding to rebuild areas affected by the 2017 disasters with clean, resilient, and energy efficient infrastructure.

For more information on BCSE’s 2017 NARUC activities, see here.

Business Climate Action Shines at COP 23 in Germany

Despite the uncertainty about the U.S. government’s position at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November in Bonn, Germany, the BCSE’s delegation of clean energy companies served as bright ambassadors of U.S. climate action and the power that the transformation of the energy sector can bring.  Hosted by the island nation of Fiji, the conference was guided by the spirit of “Bula Vinaka” or warm welcome. COP 23 marked the beginning of the Talanoa Dialogue, which will take stock of global progress towards the long-term vision of the Paris Agreement.

The Council’s delegation and activities at COP 23 demonstrated the important contributions of the private sector in the surging wave of climate action by sub-national actors. A business showcase at the U.S. Climate Action Center included a BCSE-led discussion on energy technology and systems solutions that are delivering emissions reductions and helping create low-carbon pathways.

Additional highlights from the COP 23 include:

  • Celebration of the Council’s 25th Anniversary with the presentation of BCSE Distinguished Leadership Awards to Christiana Figueres, Jukka Uosukainen and Jonathan Pershing.
  • Sharing of industry views on climate resilience and mitigation at a press event featuring Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, Jupiter Oxygen, Mars, Inc., Jupiter Oxygen Corporation and US Green Building Council. Watch the video.
  • Release of Powering Ambition: Clean Energy Solutions for COP 23, a paper that shows how falling technology costs can enable countries to do more.

Additional details on the BCSE’s delegation and full range of events at COP 23 can be found here: www.bcse.org/cop23.

BCSE Commits to Work with Virginia as It Considers Joining RGGI

On November 16, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board unanimously approved a regulation that will enable the Commonwealth to join the Regional Greenhouse Grass Initiative (RGGI). It will now go through a period of executive review by other agencies before being published in the Virginia register. This marks an important milestone in a process that began in May 2016, when Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 57, asking an advisory committee to recommend executive actions he could take to reduce carbon emissions in Virginia.

BCSE reiterated its support for the carbon trading regulation at a meeting with Governor McAuliffe and his staff in Bonn, Germany, during COP 23. The Governor expressed confidence that the regulation would continue to move forward when Governor-Elect Ralph Northam assumes office in January, and hopefulness that the Virginia General Assembly, in which democrats picked up 15 seats, will be supportive of this regulation and other clean energy efforts.

The result of the Executive Order 57 process was Executive Directive 11, which instructed the VA Department of Environmental Quality to formulate a regulation that would enable the state to join a regional emissions trading scheme. BCSE’s comments in support of this process are available here.

When the proposed emissions trading regulation is published in January, BCSE will comment, and will be soliciting the input of interested members in the coming weeks.

Help Tell America’s Clean Energy Story: Support the 2018 Factbook

BCSE, in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, is preparing for a mid-February release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. In its sixth year, the Factbook is a one of a kind resource that shows year on year as well as long term trends in economics and market developments for energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the US.  The 2018 issue will be especially important.  There is a pressing need to have policy considerations focused on the facts, and there is a threat that some of the dynamics and trends in the sector could be misconstrued or manipulated. The 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook will provide an invaluable tool to communicate the progress made on clean energy and the broader dynamics in US energy markets. Please support this project and become a sponsor today.

BCSE Quarterly Connection: Fall

BCSE 2017 Fall Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 25

2017 Factbook on the Road

BCSE made two high-profile presentations on the Sustainable Energy in American Factbook in recent weeks – underscoring the strong value of this resource to industry and policymakers.

  • On September 16, BCSE President Lisa Jacobson shared the Factbook data at the MN Energy Expo sponsored by MN ASHRAE and the MN Association of Energy Engineers members.
  • As part of National Clean Energy Week, the Factbook was presented at a lunch address to participants at the Washington, DC Symposium.

President's View: Resiliency is the Word of the Day Post 2017 Storms

2O3B0014 (445x640).jpgAs the estimates come in the hundreds of billions of dollars in recovery and rebuilding costs from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, the resiliency of the US energy system, and especially our power system and buildings, becomes a high priority. I was particularly struck by a statement of the City Manager Key West who commented that he rode out hurricane Irma safely in the Key West City Hall, which was built to one of the strongest hurricane-resistant building codes in the country. It has also been noted that Texas’ wind farms were up and running soon after Harvey and combined heat and power and microgrids were also recognized for their value after the storms. The portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy offers enhanced reliability to essential infrastructure with readily-available and affordable technologies. At all levels of government, communities must take heed of the experiences in these storm-impacted areas and plan for a more resilient future.

To start, the federal government should continue to fund its preparedness planning support to states and localities as well as its investment in research, development and deployment of the broad range of clean energy technologies. Congress and the Administration should also push the conversation on improving and enhancing the resiliency of the country’s infrastructure higher on the agenda. BCSE members are making the case that the energy sector is critical infrastructure – and that it serves other critical infrastructure systems – in its issues paper released in January. The 2017 storm season showed how interlinked these systems are and how much our communities and businesses rely on them. Looking forward, the good news is that we have technologies that can provide the resiliency we need by further integration and deployment of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy.

View on COP 23: US Clean Energy Sectors Committed to Climate Action

cop23 logo.pngBCSE members are showing their commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and a significant group will join the BCSE delegation to the upcoming COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, November 6-17. The Council’s work in Bonn will showcase how the expertise and technologies of American clean energy companies are helping cities, states and countries to meet local and national emissions reduction targets, diversify energy portfolios and increase infrastructure resilience. These companies are working with other countries on the implementation of the first round of nationally determined contributions (NDCS). A series of public and private events will be held at COP 23 to connect BCSE members to key country policymakers and other business and civil society leaders that are driving momentum on climate action and raising ambition. To get involved please contact Laura Tierney ([email protected]).

Keep the North American Energy Economy Strong

As the United States, Canada and Mexico embarked upon the re-negotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in late summer, the Council highlighted in a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) the current strength of the regional energy economy, and a call to protect the advancements made in this economy of both clean energy and energy productivity over the past twenty-five years. The negotiations will be taking place every three weeks, rotating between the countries, with an eye towards agreement on a NAFTA version 2.0 in December. BCSE will continue to monitor the negotiations, especially as they relate to energy issues.

Energy and Funding Bills Top Agenda for BCSE Hill Outreach

cap hill purple_resize.jpg

The Federal Policy Committee has held an aggressive set of meetings over the summer to touch base on the Council’s energy and funding priorities with members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. The working remains intense on appropriations outreach, but with the shift in Congress to focus on tax reform this fall, BCSE will deepen its engagement with the tax writing committees in the House and Senate.

Senators appear to share BCSE’s concerns over the issue of possible impoundment, which would result in federal agencies spending appropriated dollars at the very low funding levels set out in the President’s Budget request rather than at levels intended by Congress. The Senate Appropriations Committee staff – on both sides of the aisle – are committed to providing oversight and have extended an open door invitation to BCSE members to reach out to them in the event there are concerns over the way the Department of Energy, or other agencies, are spending – or choosing not to spend – appropriated dollars.

In the coming weeks the Federal Policy Committee will focus on meetings with House and Senate tax writing committees to discuss possible tax reform legislation and with a number of House and Senate Leadership offices – such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and others – during our October 5 membership meeting to discuss end-of-year business including appropriations, tax reform and energy.

Summer NARUC Outreach Attracts Utility Commissioners From Coast to Coast

Over the summer months, the Council continued outreach to utility commissioners to discuss market access, grid reliability, pipeline safety, transmission and other issues, with events at the Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Conference (MACRUC) and the summer annual conference for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Seven commissioners, including Betty Anne Kane (DC), Dallas Winslow (Chair of the DE PUC), Joseph Fiordaliso (NJ), Diane Burman (NY), Gladys Brown (Chair of the PA PUC), Richard Mroz (Chair of the NJ BPU) and Anthony O’Donnell (MD) joined two breakfast meetings at MACRUC in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to share concerns about issues in their states and to learn from BCSE members. As a result of the events, Chair Winslow has suggested BCSE work with him on some additional energy efficiency education at a future MACRUC meeting.

BCSE’s efforts continued with the July NARUC events in San Diego. This included a luncheon with five commissioners - from Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island and the Chief of Staff from the California PUC. Commissioners shared updates on clean energy and sustainability initiatives in their states while BCSE members spoke about the work they are doing. BCSE also organized a very well attended clean energy industry reception with ten partnering organizations as co-sponsors of the event.

In addition to our NARUC work, the Council has been involved over the summer in a number of state specific actions, including submitting comments to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on its proposed emissions trading regulations, and issuing a press statement and letter to key policymakers in support of extension of California’s cap and trade program.

BCSE Engages On Renewable Fuel Standard

This August, the Council participated in EPA’s regulatory process on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with written comments and testimony at the August 1 hearing on the Draft 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard. Along with BCSE members such as the American Biogas Council, Ameresco, Waste Management and others, BCSE’s comments focused on the importance of biogas and renewable natural gas as contributors to America’s diverse energy portfolio. BCSE also highlighted benefit of the RFS for promoting American security and energy independence by placing value on the development of American fuels. The Council encouraged EPA to employ the most accurate methodologies for calculating the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). This includes using current market data that capture the full range of benefits provided by biogas and RNG. The Council cautioned against policies that would rely only on historical data that might not accurately represent the bright future ahead for renewable fuels. BCSE was pleased to join its members and partners in this effort and welcomes suggestions on ways to engage further.

News from the Clean Energy Business Network

It has been four months since the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) moved from The Pew Charitable Trusts to become an independent initiative of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).  The CEBN is now fully operational and has launched a member-driven strategic planning effort to shape the priorities for the organization over the next two years.

Consider joining the CEBN today, and promoting this resource to your staff, business partners, suppliers, and other colleagues! The CEBN makes it easy for business leaders around the nation to stay informed and engaged in energy policy issues, works to increase public and policymaker awareness of clean energy solutions, and offers resources to help members address common business challenges. Learn more about this new addition to the BCSE family.