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.

BCSE at MACRUC 2018

BCSE at MACRUC 2018

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy joined state utility commissioners and others at the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) 2018 Annual Education Conference from June 24-27 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

BCSE sponsored MP Photography to take photos of guests (and their families) at the MACRUC President’s Installation dinner on June 26.

The photos will be available after June 29 to download for free and print packages will also be available for purchase. 

View or download your photos here!

Department of Defense Invests in Making Energy Savings and Increasing Resilience

June 20, 2018 | Jennifer Schafer-Soderman, Executive Director, Federal Performance Contracting Coalition |

The Senate’s recent passage of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included important energy resiliency measures that support the Department of Defense (DOD)’s increased use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs) to modernize and upgrade U.S. military facilities.

The specification to use these energy efficiency and energy financing tools will not only enable the DOD to meet its energy resilience requirements but will also allow it to address its infrastructure maintenance backlog. The use of these financing tools leverages private sector investment to meet our country’s defense goals.

 | ESPCs have achieved over $20 billion in guaranteed energy savings across the federal government.

In an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) or Utility Energy Savings Contract (UESC), the private sector works with the government customer to develop a project, but then the private company implements that project, measures and verifies savings every year, and guarantees that the savings will accrue. The private sector is repaid out of these guaranteed utility bill savings allowing for no added expenditures by the federal government.

About the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC)

The FPCC is a group of 14 Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) advocating for increased federal use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts by the federal government. The FPCC activities focus primarily on barrier removal and ensuring "more, faster, bigger and better" ESPC projects in the federal ESPC marketplace. The FPCC is the primary organization representing ESPC industry and our members represent over 90% of federal ESPCs. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy is the administrator of the FPCC. For more information, please visit: http://federalperformancecontracting.com.

BCSE Technology Brief: States Take the Lead on Renewable Natural Gas

The policy landscape is changing for renewable natural gas, and market opportunities for the domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy source are expanding as well. Under the leadership of one of BCSE’s partner organizations, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, states are advancing policies that promote the use of renewable natural gas (RNG). These policies are needed to create market certainty, which is necessary to drive greater development, deployment and utilization of RNG.

Thirty-seven states and DC have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) programs, which can be met in part by producing renewable electricity from RNG. Many states and regions are also adopting policies that facilitate the use of RNG for transportation fuel. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is the California regulation that requires a 10% reduction in transportation fuel carbon intensity by 2020. Governors of CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PN, RI, and VT signed a 2009 memorandum of understanding committing to develop a regional low carbon fuel standard. Many states are considering new policies to create new markets for RNG, such as California’s Senate Bill 1440, which would establish a biomethane procurement goal for gas corporations.

As the policy landscape continues to evolve, states and the federal government should continue to support policies that promote the use of renewable natural gas, and result in longer term market certainty for this renewable energy and ultra low-carbon fuel.

RNG has many applications that make it a valuable and flexible resource. It can be blended with or substitute for conventional natural gas in vehicles as well as in commercial, industrial and residential end-use applications. RNG can be used to power your home or business’ natural gas appliances. It can also be converted to Compressed Natural Gas (R-CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (R-LNG) to fuel natural gas vehicles; many cities have transitioned their diesel bus fleets to natural gas engines fueled by renewable natural gas.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency requiring transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. Renewable Natural Gas meets the highest standards of RFS2 for lifecycle GHG emissions reduction, and currently comprises greater than 95% of all the cellulosic biofuel under the RFS program.

Many are familiar with natural gas, and with renewable resources, but what exactly is renewable natural gas?

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG, Biomethane) is an ultra-low carbon alternative to traditional natural gas. When organic waste breaks down naturally, it emits methane gas, also called biogas, a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. Renewable natural gas is biogas that has been upgraded to transportation fuel grade specifications or natural gas pipeline quality standards such that it may blend with, or substitute for, geologic natural gas. Large amounts of biogas (the raw, freshly emitted and untreated gas) can be collected at local landfills, wastewater treatment plants, commercial food waste facilities and agricultural digesters (dairies, etc.).

For more information on RNG, please see the RNG Coalition website at www.rngcoalition.com

 

Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States (June 1, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2018

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

Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States

Washington, DC – BCSE President Lisa Jacobson issued the following statement on the progress of clean energy and climate action in the United States today:

“A surge of climate action is taking place in the United States, lead by American leaders in cities, states, the private sector, universities and other parts of society.  This action is taking place across these diverse cross-sections of America because there are economic, environmental and public health benefits.

“We are decoupling economic growth from emissions reductions.  Costs are falling in a broad range of clean energy technologies that have made significant emissions reductions possible – and we are not seeing corresponding increases in costs for American businesses and households.

“We believe these trends will continue because of the wide-spread benefits of climate action and preparedness to the U.S. economy.  Investments and deployment of clean energy are already well underway in the United States – with an increasingly diverse set of solutions from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors emerging as the growth sectors of the U.S. energy landscape. “

The latest edition of Sustainable Energy in America Factbook chronicles the latest in this clean energy transformation as of 2017, including:

  • 93% of new power capacity built in the U.S. over the past 25 years has come from natural gas and renewable energy, including hydropower.
  • Natural gas and renewable energy accounted for 50% of all electricity generation in 2017, up from 31% in 2008.
  • The energy productivity of the U.S. economy grew 2.5% in 2017 as economic growth continued its long-term trend of decoupling from energy use. Energy productivity has increased 17.3% since 2008.
  • The U.S. power sector is driving the economy’s de-carbonization as its emissions fell 4.2% in 2017. Power sector emissions now sit 28% below their 2005 peak.
  • American consumers devoted less than 4% of their total annual household spending on energy in 2017.

Download the press release.

A Door Opener to the Governor’s Office: Resilience

May 30, 2018 | By: Laura Tierney, Business Council for Sustainable Energy | 

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy is hosting a series of meetings with energy thought leaders on resilience and reliability, to help the coalition understand the diversity of definitions, approaches and opportunities around these two concepts that are critical to the power sector and policy-makers alike. The BCSE Clean Energy Blog will share our coalition’s reflections on some of the ideas that emerge from these discussions, and the first of these conversations was held with Sue Gander, Director and Dan Lauf, Energy Program Director at the National Governors Association (NGA)'s Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy and Transportation Division.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards opens NGA's 2017 Summer Meeting plenary session, Preparing for the Extreme: Building Resilient Communities, with remarks on how governors can collectively advocate for increased support to states for their flood response and preparation plans.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead speaks to the session’s guests, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and 100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz, during the 2017 NGA Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

Resilience – The ability to withstand disasters better, respond and recover more quickly

and excel under new conditions

The take-away advice for clean energy companies that can improve a state government’s response time to a natural disaster or electricity black-out?  Approach a Governor’s office with both concrete policy actions and ideas around technology solutions that can enhance resilience, for the best impact.

Governors increasingly care about resilience. Why? There are a broad array of risks and threats that each state’s Governor’s office plan for – that include but are not limited to a range of natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, tsunamis and wildfires, and risks specific to the power sector – electricity outages, broad blackouts and cybersecurity threats to the grid.

For a state to provide “energy assurance” to its residents, an important planning step is broad intra-government coordination among various state agencies and external coordination with utilities and other private sector players.  A goal of this planning is to create a reliable energy system that can “keep the lights on” in an emergency.

Some interesting facts that emerged from the discussion:

  • Each state has different vulnerabilities and capacity needs, and NGA is beta-testing a State Resilience Assessment & Planning Tool (SRAP) to help states conduct a self-assessment, and it includes an energy and infrastructure focus.
  • State planning includes personnel preparedness, facility hardening, mitigation options and the role of advanced metering infrastructure (AMIs) and distributed energy resources (DERs) such as storage, solar and microgrids.
  • Improving the resilience of emergency operation centers is an important step – and clean energy technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) or solar can play a role to help “harden” these centers.
  • Some states, such as Colorado and Oregon, have a “Resilience Officer” that sits in the Governor’s office.
  • A resilient state strategy includes looking at how states get “smarter.” This includes the integration of information communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of things (IoT) to planning and how this can improve the quality of life, mobility, safety, resiliency, economic viability and sustainability of residents and businesses. The emphasis is on outcomes.


This post is the first in a series on resilience and reliability. 

BCSE Privacy Policy

Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

The security and privacy of your information is very important to us. The following policies outline the ways the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) collects, stores, and utilizes personally identifiable information about you. It applies to data obtained through our website and any additional vendors or contractors managed by the BCSE. We may periodically update this privacy policy as we add new services, so we recommend that you periodically revisit this document to ensure that you understand and agree to our terms.

Data We Collect About You

We collect information from you when you visit our website, register for a BCSE webinar or event, fill out a form to download a report. or join the BCSE as a member. This information typically includes your name, email address, job title, employer/affiliation and sector, but it could also include mailing address, telephone number, social media handles. These details are not shared externally with third parties.

Consent to Receive Communications & How to Unsubscribe

By participating in any of our in-person or online events or registering to download the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook or other BCSE publications, you agree to receive relevant communications from us. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any of our emails and follow the steps to be removed from our contact list.

Disclosure of Your Information to Third Parties

We will not sell, lease, or give away your personally identifiable information to third parties except as described above, and  for vendors or contractors directly involved in the operations of the BCSE, or as explicitly authorized by you.

Security Practices

We use appropriate technical, organizational, and administrative procedures to safeguard your information. Please be advised that no method of transmission over the Internet or electronic storage of data is failsafe. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time. Our email and social media communications routinely contain links to external websites outside the BCSE’s control or ownership, such as news websites. We cannot control the security of information collected by these external websites and advise users to read the privacy policies of each website they visit.

Cookies Policy

By accessing our website or software provided by our third-party vendors, you consent to accept cookies, (including other identifiers). These include pieces of text that are stored on your computer or device. The BCSE uses cookies and Google Analytics to improve your navigation on a platforms, minimize the need for you to reenter information previously entered on our forms, personalize your messages, and collect statistical information to improve site navigation and provide content of greatest interest to users.

Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability

YOUR USE OF THIS SITE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND ALL INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PROGRAMS, AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS,” WITH NO WARRANTIES OR GUARANTEES WHATSOEVER.  THE BCSE DISCLAIMS, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, ALL WARRANTIES AND GUARANTEES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY, WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS AND NON-INFRINGEMENT OF INTELLECTUAL OR OTHER PROPERTY RIGHTS.  THE BCSE PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OR GUARANTEE THAT THIS WEB SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, SECURE, OR FREE FROM ERRORS. IF YOU DOWNLOAD OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN ANYTHING FROM THIS WEB SITE, YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES THAT MAY RESULT. IF ANY JURISDICTION DOES NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF WARRANTIES, THIS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

IN NO EVENT WILL BCSE  BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY TYPE RELATED TO USE OF THIS WEB SITE, INCLUDING ANY OTHER SITE ON IT. THIS LIMITATION OF LIABILITY INCLUDES LOST PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, SOFTWARE PROGRAMS OR DATA, EVEN IF WE WERE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY APPLIES TO ANY CAUSE OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORIES.

Updates to this Privacy Policy

We regularly review and, if appropriate, will periodically update this privacy policy as our services and use of personal data evolves. If we make changes to the way we use your personal data we will contact you to ask for your consent.

This policy is effective and was last modified as of May 29, 2018.

BCSE Statement on Administration’s Executive Order on Efficient Federal Operations Encouraging Use of Performance Contracts to Achieve Energy Goals (May 21, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                

May 21, 2018                                                                                                                       

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

BCSE Statement on Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Efficient Federal Operations Encouraging Use of Performance Contracts to Achieve Energy Goals

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s President, Lisa Jacobson released the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order titled “Efficient Government Operations.”

“The release of the Executive Order focused on Efficient Government Operations is important to continue to achieve annual building energy and water reductions at federal facilities.  Importantly, the Council strongly supports the Executive Order’s recognition of performance contracting, through Energy Savings Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Savings Contracts, in achieving the goals.

“The BCSE also commends the continued existence and duties of a Federal Environmental Executive, a steering committee, and Chief Sustainability officers at agencies as well as continued tracking of efforts related to this Executive Order.”

Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (USECs), collectively known as performance contracts, enable government agencies to procure energy savings and facility infrastructure improvements with no up-front capital costs or appropriations. Through performance contracts, private sector companies finance and install new energy efficient equipment in federal buildings, reducing energy and operating costs and addressing maintenance backlogs. In exchange for a pre-determined price, the chosen ESCO guarantees future energy savings, which are used to pay for the energy efficiency upgrades with excess savings accruing to the federal government. In fact, payment to the ESCO is contingent upon realizing that guaranteed annual savings stream.

Download the press release.