BCSE Statement on Congressional Funding of Critical DOE RD&D Programs in 2019 Spending Bill (September 13, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email:  ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Congress Funds Critical DOE RD&D Programs in 2019 Spending Bill

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, made the following statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2019 “Minibus” spending bill passed this week by Congress. The minibus includes funding for energy and water programs, including clean energy programs at the Department of Energy (DOE).

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) wishes to express our appreciation for the steps Congress has taken to enact the first minibus, which includes funding for DOE clean energy programs. We urge the President to quickly sign the legislation to ensure it becomes law before the current fiscal year ends on September 30.

“The market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE’s world class research, both pure and applied. Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets.

“Passage of this critical funding bill was made possible because Congress had earlier enacted a 2-year budget which raised the budget caps for both domestic and defense programs, giving certainty to congressional appropriators. A new budget agreement will be necessary in the next Congress and we hope the new Congress will continue the positive momentum by enacting another long-term budget agreement early next year.”

Senator McCain’s Early Climate Leadership Brought Lasting Results

August 31, 2018 | A Tribute by Jared Blum, Board Chair, Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and BCSE Board Member | 

Amidst the numerous laudatory eulogies and public statements being written about the life and career of Senator John McCain, it is easy to downplay his lasting impact on the climate change issue. Indeed, some dispute this impact, claiming he eventually abandoned support for a “cap and trade” solution to CO2 emissions and did not make climate change a top policy priority during his 2008 presidential campaign.

But as a Republican who reached across the aisle to his colleague Senator Lieberman and others to become a lead sponsor of the first major bipartisan Senate legislation to confront the global warming issue, he established a benchmark for prescience on this topic that none of his Republican Senate colleagues are able to match today. In addition, as those of us who worked on public policy dealing with renewable energy, energy efficiency and CO2 reduction were seeking to make the business case for pursuing those goals as a national priority, Senator McCain’s initiatives through hearings, proposed legislation and public commentary gave a credible underpinning for mainstream business and policymakers to take another look at this topic. For example, petroleum-based industries, though still opposing any kind of regulatory emission controls, recognized that, with someone of Senator McCain‘s prestige voicing concern about climate change, the issue would not go away. Energy efficiency industries were more prominently recognized for their critical role in reducing CO2 emissions, and those industries began to add that argument to the economic calculations of their products’ benefits. States, even those run by Republican governors, took another look at their own role in reducing CO2 emissions and began upgrading building codes and related regulatory approaches.

Business organizations such as the Business Council for Sustainable Energy became a growing force in educating international and national forums about existing technologies that could aid in CO2 reduction. Other groups, such as the American Chemistry Council, American Gas Association, and National Solid Waste Management Association, started to take a closer look at their own industry's CO2 emissions profile and begin an inventory of methods to reduce that profile.

Many of the topics that EESI views today as critical to understanding the challenge of climate change had their genesis in the 1990s and in the early years of the new century. Whether it’s the increasingly important role of renewable energy in freeing us from fossil fuel constraints and emissions or the significant challenge a disrupted climate poses to national security, the well-attended Congressional briefings that EESI has orchestrated over the last three decades have continued to examine the topics that were a focus of Senator McCain’s concerns about climate change when he chaired the Senate Commerce Committee.

McCain’s efforts to draw attention to this issue have helped carry us to the place we are today: the United States has reduced its energy usage and CO2 emissions while at the same time increasing its economic productivity. As did the Senator, the U.S. national defense establishment understands the threat of climate change. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, recently enacted by Congress, calls climate change "a direct threat to the national security of the United States." And so the momentum towards clean, sustainable energy is pushing forward irrespective of the political paralysis caused by uncompromising ideology.

So as we say goodbye and thank you to this great American hero, those of us who continue to fight the climate change battle will remember Senator John McCain's leadership and accomplishments in this war as well.

Note: This article has been re-posted from the EESI website with the author's permission.

Power Up: BCSE Mobilizes to Attend Global Climate Action Summit

August 30, 2018 | By Laura Tierney, BCSE | 

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will be traveling to San Francisco, California to participate in the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit, September 12-14.

As a long-time business observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Council is pleased to be a part of the first-ever international Summit focused on the contributions of sub-national actors – that businesses, civil society, investors, and local, city, and state governments – to tackle climate change.

The invite-only Summit will be held September 12 – 14 at the Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco.  Alongside the Summit that week will be hundreds of affiliate events held throughout the Bay Area, many of which are open to the public.  

The BCSE is hosting an affiliate event on September 13, Powering Action for Climate Ambition: Clean Energy Business Solutions, from 9:15 am – 10:15 am PT at the Union Square – Harry M. Smith Conference Room, 414 Mason St. 8th Floor, Suite 800. This event will showcase the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook findings and feature a round-table discussion with experts in the energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy industries on their climate actions and commitments. This event is open to the public, but space is limited. Please register here.

Following the BCSE event, from 10:30 – 11:30 am PT, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a discussion on Taming Transportation Energy Use in the Face of Transformation, and from 12:00 – 2:00 pm PT the Alliance will team up with the World Resources Institute to chair Spurring a Building Efficiency Movement in Support of Global Climate Action. Space is limited.

BCSE members will be participating in both the Summit and other affiliate events throughout the week.  Additional details  are available here on the BCSE website.

About the Summit

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.  For more information, visit: www.globalclimateactionsummit.org.

BCSE Supports Clear and Stable Policies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

August 29, 2018 | By: Carolyn Sloan, Business Council for Sustainable Energy | 

Last week EPA released its new proposed greenhouse gas regulation – the Affordable Clean Energy rule. This is the Trump administration’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan with a narrower regulation aimed only at heat rate improvements at coal plants. Read here for a summary of the ACE rule and how it differs from the Clean Power Plan.

The Council believes the ACE rule does not go far enough to curb the power sector’s emissions in part because it does not take into account the full range of readily available technologies proven to reduce emissions at ever decreasing costs. The Council’s core sectors of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy have been proven to provide the broad portfolio of technologies necessary to achieve rapid emissions reductions while simultaneously growing the economy.

The findings of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook show that total US GHG emissions are at a 26-year low, while the economy has grown 15% in the last ten years and primary energy consumption has declined 1%. US power sector emissions are on a steep decline, ending 2017 at 28% below their 2005 peak.  The broad portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy have enabled these dramatic reductions in emissions, while keeping energy costs low and creating over 3 million jobs across the country.

The Council has long supported federal, market-based mechanisms to promote a cleaner, more sustainable energy sector. Clear and stable policies are critical to meaningful emissions reduction and progress toward the scientific goals that must be met to avoid the work effects of climate change. The Council supports the following priorities in any greenhouse gas reduction policy:

  • Inclusion of targets and standards that are in line with scientific analysis that indicates the level of ambition needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change
  • Inclusion of clear and sustained market signals that spur emissions reductions through investment in the full portfolio of clean energy technologies, including energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, and natural gas, as well as carbon capture utilization and storage applications, among others
  • Utilization of market-based regulatory approaches that reduce costs and encourage competition and over performance
  • Inclusion of provisions that enable states, localities, and the private sector to go beyond regulatory targets
  • Inclusion of provisions that enable states to link emissions reduction programs through regional markets
  • Recognition and rewards for early action and investment in clean energy technologies
  • A federal policy that is complementary to existing state and regional climate policies

As the EPA and others move forward on developing policies to reduce emissions and combat climate change, the Council will continue to advocate for these policy principles on behalf of the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

Statement in Response to Release of EPA’s Proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule (August 21, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2018
Contact: Laura Tierney
Email:  ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Statement in Response to Release of EPA’s Proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule
EPA Should Provide Clear and Sustained Market Signals to Reduce Emissions through Investment in Readily-Available and Cost-Effective Clean Energy Technologies

Washington, DC – In response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recently published proposed rule to replace the Clean Power Plan, Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), made the following comments:

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy has long supported a federal, economy-wide approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sharp declines in US power sector emissions in the last decade have demonstrated that there are many cost-effective technologies readily available to reduce emissions. While the Council urges federal legislative action, it believes that Environmental Protection Agency has the obligation to respond to sound science and court mandates. The proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, falls short of that obligation.”

BCSE will review the proposal and urge the Environmental Protection Agency to focus its rule on the following critical elements:

  • Inclusion of targets and standards that are in line with scientific analysis that indicates the level of ambition needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change
  • Inclusion of clear and sustained market signals that spur emissions reductions through investment in the full portfolio of clean energy technologies, including energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, and natural gas, as well as carbon capture utilization and storage applications, among others
  • Utilization of market-based regulatory approaches that reduce costs and encourage competition and innovation
  • Inclusion of provisions that enable states, localities, and the private sector to go beyond regulatory targets and standards
  • Inclusion of provisions that enable states to link emissions reduction programs through regional markets

“The findings of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook show that the US economy can grow while also reducing emissions; total US greenhouse gas emissions are at a 26-year low, while the economy has grown 15% in the last ten years and primary energy consumption has declined 1%. US power sector emissions are on a steep decline, ending 2017 at 28% below their 2005 peak. The broad portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy have enabled these dramatic reductions in emissions, while keeping energy costs low and creating over 3 million jobs across the country. EPA’s regulatory approach to address greenhouse gas emissions should accelerate these trends.”

BCSE Foundation

Mission

The BCSE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports education, research and public engagement on policies that promote clean, efficient, and sustainable energy products, technologies and services.

Areas of Focus

The Foundation focuses on the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy industries, which are the growth sectors of the energy economy.  It engages at the state and local, national and international policy levels. 

The Foundation's outreach is to a diverse audience that includes policy-makers, media, industry, non-governmental organizations, academics and thought leaders on energy and environmental issues.

Areas of Expertise

The Foundation brings a distinct business perspective to research topics and educational outreach to explore economically viable pathways for greater adoption and deployment of clean energy technologies and solutions. 

More specifically, it's areas of expertise include:

Board of Directors

The BCSE Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, current members include:

  • Kathryn Clay, Ph.D., President, International Liquid Terminals Association, Chair
  • Jared Blum, Executive Director, ERA - EPDM Roofing Association, Vice-Chair
  • Jim Wolf, President, Global Policy Associates, Treasurer
  • Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Secretary
  • Dave Muchow, Counsel
  • Linda Church-Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association
  • John DiStasio, President, Large Public Power Council
  • Rob Gramlich, President, Grid Strategies LLC
  • Yvonne McIntyre, Vice President, Federal Legislative Affairs, Calpine
  • Mark Wagner, Vice President, Government Relations, Johnson Controls

Additional Information

The BCSE Foundation's website is currently under construction.

©2018 BCSE Foundation

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 (ltierney@bcse.org).

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 (ltierney@bcse.org) 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.

Clean Energy Businesses Urge Maximum Funding Levels in FY2019 DOE Appropriations Bill (July 19, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                           

July 19, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Clean Energy Businesses Urge Maximum Funding Levels in FY2019 DOE Appropriations Bill
Report language should be included to ensure funds are obligated and spent as directed by Congress

Washington, DC –Clean energy businesses made the case for funding Department of Energy clean energy programs in a letter released this week to House and Senate conferees on the so-called “minibus” legislation, which includes funding for Energy and Water Development programs, Veterans Affairs and Military Construction and the Legislative Branch.   

Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy made the following statement upon release of the letter:

“BCSE industries in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas sectors have long partnered with the federal government on research and development and have worked together to bring clean energy innovation to the market.

“Renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas deliver more jobs, increased economic growth, greater energy productivity and fewer emissions for the United States (2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook). This market dynamism and success is the result of a long-time bipartisan consensus of world class research, both pure and applied, successfully linked with industry.

“To ensure that DOE clean energy programs continue to build upon this existing partnership and market growth, we urge Congress to accept the maximum funding levels for DOE clean energy programs in conference negotiations and to include clear and direct report language to ensure that funds are obligated and spent as directed by Congress.”

Examples of innovation can be found in a project entitled Faces Behind the Facts produced by the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN), BCSE’s partner organization of 3,000+ business leaders from small to medium-sized companies across the U.S.  Faces Behind the Facts tells the story of clean energy business leaders across America.  Many of whom have benefitted from federal programs to launch their business ventures and provide solutions that work for American consumers and taxpayers.

###

Elevating Clean Energy Policy and Advocacy During Midterm Elections (July 13, 2018)

Elevating Clean Energy Policy and Advocacy During Midterm Election

BY CHARLES HERNICK , LISA JACOBSON & DYLAN REED

July 13, 2018

Op-Ed published July 13, 2018 in Morning Consult

Across the country, politicians at every level of government are shifting into high gear in anticipation of the high-stakes midterm elections in November.

As political prognosticators continue to hypothesize on potential outcomes, it’s easy to lose sight of key issues and commonsense solutions that are currently being legislated on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures throughout America. Beyond discussing their record and experiences, candidates who will be on the ballot this November have a responsibility to outline their vision for where they want to take their states and the nation as a whole.

National Clean Energy Week offers an unparalleled opportunity for state and federal officials to discuss their policy records and how clean energy is yielding tangible results when it comes to job creation, technical innovation and lower emissions by energy producers.

In 2017, the inaugural celebration of NCEW included a broad coalition representing various domestic energy sectors. From renewable energy, carbon capture and energy efficiency advocates to proponents of energy storage, natural gas and nuclear energy, NCEW served as a high-profile convener of industry priorities. Adding more voices to the discussion complements the ongoing transformation of the U.S. energy sector, which has continued to accelerate throughout 2017 and into 2018, in spite of new headwinds including policy uncertainties.

As we embark upon our second-annual NCEW celebration, which will take place Sept. 24-28, the current energy landscape is cause for optimism. Perhaps the most noteworthy accomplishment over the last year according to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s 2018 Factbook was that domestic energy productivity and gross domestic product growth both increased, demonstrating that the U.S. economy can grow at a reasonable rate, even as total energy consumption actually declines.

This was buttressed by an uptick in renewable energy generation from 15 percent to 18 percent of America’s total electricity, thanks to continued deployment. All told, the industry has climbed to $200 billion in size while supporting more than 3 million jobs across the United States.

That’s great news for clean energy industries, our nation’s energy security and the environment, but it is also benefiting consumers on an unprecedented scale. In 2017, consumers devoted a smaller share of their spending toward electricity than at any time ever recorded, while the total share of household expenses dedicated to overall energy costs remained near an all-time low. Power and natural gas prices stayed reasonable across the country, and contract prices for wind and solar continued to drop steadily as the marketplace for these resources matures.

There is every reason to believe these trends will continue throughout 2018 and beyond as utilities and independent developers continue to invest in infrastructure to improve grid operations and support the growth of clean energy. Yet, there remains much work to do.

We are hopeful that this year’s dialogue will continue to raise awareness about the need for more long-term policy support for smaller clean energy sectors, including biomass, biogas, waste-to-energy, geothermal, hydropower and energy storage. The midterm elections will occur at a time of unprecedented public support for clean energy across ideological boundaries.

According to a recent poll sponsored by the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, 75 percent of voters now favor the federal government playing a role in the advancement of newer, cleaner and more reliable energy sources. The midterm election season is a suitable time for members of Congress and state leaders to take a stand in support of the economic and job creation potential of clean, affordable means of energy production.

In addition to events in Washington, D.C., a number of state and local governments, trade associations, business councils, advocacy groups and businesses will once again convene this fall inside their own communities. We expect hundreds of organizations to participate this year and bring positive messaging and events across the country for policymakers, industry leaders and concerned citizens to share and learn about the latest in clean energy.

Together, we will harness the power of free market and government collaboration to move America forward. That is a midterm election message that America’s governors and leaders in Congress can get behind.

Charles Hernick is director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum; Lisa Jacobson is president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy; and Dylan Reed is head of congressional affairs at Advanced Energy Economy.

Securing a Sustainable Energy Future

June 28, 2018 | Gary Freburger, President of Process Automation, Schneider Electric |

Schneider Electric is a member of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

As governments and global organizations continue to pass measures that address climate strategy and promote more sustainable operations and lower carbon emissions, the oil and gas (O&G) industry is embracing new digital technology to improve the environmental safety and sustainability of their operations.

At the same time, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has accelerated the convergence of information in the sector. New technologies, including things like augmented reality, big data analytics and other cutting-edge tools, are hastening the industrial transformation. By connecting workflows, bridging informational and operational silos, and enabling smarter decision making, these digital tools are empowering process manufacturers, particularly refineries, to drive improvements to the efficiency, reliability and safety of their assets and operations while simultaneously maximizing return on investment and strengthening their overall competitive edge.

However, with this change comes risk: The higher levels of connectivity needed to access valuable operating data widens the attack surface for would-be cyber criminals and malicious actors, and it’s putting our industrial control and safety systems at risk. The process industry has historically been conservative and risk averse when it comes to change, but we need a new model when we’re talking about cybersecurity. While industrial control systems vendors and their customers can (and should) take immediate measures to improve our collective cybersecurity culture, including implementing and always following best practices, complying with industry standards, and creating a mechanism for collaboration between industry stakeholders (suppliers, end users, third-party providers, integrators, etc.), the government should also participate to provoke the positive change that ensures the safety and security of our most critical, volatile infrastructure.

At this week’s World Gas Conference, I discussed measures Schneider Electric believes the industry and government must take to secure a sustainable O&G future as part of a panel, “The new operational landscape: managing cyber and physical disruption,” on Thursday, June 29 at 10:20 – 11:40 am. Those actions include:

  • Industry Cooperation: Members of the industry – both suppliers of technology, such as Schneider Electric, and the users, owners and operators of the technology – should be involved in conversations about cybersecurity regulation. This ensures government officials are hearing regularly from O&G organizations to understand their challenges first-hand and then work together to overcome them.
  • Cybersecurity Standards: With new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity standards, government agencies should be careful not to publish or create standards/requirements that overlap with measures that are already in place as part of the existing NIST framework.
  • Financial Incentives: We support the notion of the government providing financial incentives, such as tax breaks, to owners and operators of critical facilities who are committed to continually patching and upgrading their control and safety systems, as well as to educating, training and arming their workforce as the first line of defense against cyber-attack. We believe these types of incentives will influence ICS providers and end users to work together to drive a necessary culture shift. It is a key component of a holistic, cross-industry collaborative effort to protect our most critical industries and the communities they serve.

 

Together, all stakeholders across the O&G industry, including the government, must combine efforts to strengthen technology and standards, educate and train the workforce, and drive new levels of collaboration and transparency to secure our infrastructure while innovating for a sustainable future.