BCSE Coalition Expands in 2018, Welcomes New Associate Members Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, EPDM Roofing Association and SolGreen® Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 12, 2018

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

BCSE Coalition Expands in 2018, Welcomes New Associate Members Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, EPDM Roofing Association and SolGreen® Solutions

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), a broad-based energy industry coalition, welcomes EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) and SolGreen® Solutions as new members in 2018.

“The strength of the Council is its diversity of technology solutions and thought leadership, working together to advance deployment of clean energy solutions.  These new members are exciting new additions to our business coalition,” commented BCSE President Lisa Jacobson.  “We will continue our work in 2018 to advocate for policies that grow markets for clean energy, which will include discussions on modernizing the electricity grid, infrastructure, and financing for sustainable and resilient energy sector investment. We think that ERA, CRES and SolGreen® bring important perspectives to the table on these topics.”

“CRES is excited to add a new dimension to the BCSE and to work together to find solutions and opportunities for both ends of the political spectrum to support the continued growth of clean energy in America,” shared Heather Reams, Managing Director, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). “We especially look forward to working with the BCSE on the 2nd annual National Clean Energy Week, September 24-28, 2018.”

“EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is pleased to join the BCSE, one of the nation’s leading advocacy groups for comprehensive public policy addressing resilient energy, community and building design,” announced Jared Blum, Executive Director, ERA. “The Council has a long history of working constructively with state and federal governments, and international organizations and other countries, and ERA looks forward to its engagement.”

“As a small but growing business, SolGreen® is energized to join the policy discussion with the BCSE to showcase how our products can provide accessible off-grid clean energy to power the everyday amenities we all depend on in the public spaces we enjoy. We align with the Council in our effort to build modern, safe and resilient communities,” commented Matthew Portis, President and CEO, SolGreen®.

About the BCSE’s New Members

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions was founded to engage Republican policymakers and the public about commonsense, conservative solutions to address our nation’s need for abundant, reliable energy while preserving our environment. Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit advocacy organization. CRES is based in Washington, DC.

EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) represents the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers. Through ERA, the EPDM roofing industry speaks with a focused voice to provide technical and research support, offer dependable roofing solutions and communicate the longstanding attributes, consistency and value of EPDM roofing materials. ERA is headquartered in Washington, DC.

SolGreen® Solutions develops clean energy solutions in the form of commercial products that address the need for accessible clean power in communities. SolGreen’s mission is to revolutionize clean technology and commercial design- making lives easier, communities safer and our planet more sustainable. Their core product, the Evodia Solar Table, is a maintenance-free outdoor charging station and canopied table that provides off-grid clean energy to power everyday amenities like GFE& USB device charging, Wi-Fi access, LED lighting, and software to keep us connected in the public spaces we enjoy. SolGreen is based in Fairfax County, VA and is a certified minority business enterprise (MBE).

BCSE Response to FERC Decision on Grid Resiliency Pricing Proposal (January 8, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2018

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

BCSE Response to FERC Decision on Grid Resiliency Pricing Proposal

Washington, DC – In response to the order released today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to the grid resiliency pricing proposal, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President Lisa Jacobson made the following statement.

“The Council appreciates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) review of the grid resiliency pricing proposal and looks forward to working with FERC, the Department of Energy and grid operators on FERC’s new proceeding to evaluate grid reliability and resiliency needs.

“Resiliency and reliability issues are paramount to the electric sector.  The portfolio of currently available clean energy technologies and services in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors – working with energy storage, demand response and micro-grids, among other technologies and services – is meeting the needs of the grid affordably and reliably today and can meet the needs of an evolving electric grid into the future.

“The members of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy offer their expertise to this new FERC effort.”

Clean Energy Coalition Urges Congress to Act on Budget Caps & Full Year FY2018 Spending Bill (December 22, 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 22, 2017

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

Clean Energy Coalition Urges Congress to Act on Budget Caps & Full Year FY2018 Spending Bill
Sees Opportunities in Disaster Relief Supplemental to Rebuild Cleaner, Smarter and to
Foster Better Preparedness and Resilience

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President Lisa Jacobson issued the following statement regarding passage of the short-term spending bill that will fund government programs through January 19, 2018.

“Clean energy businesses are pleased that Congress has moved this week to avert a government shutdown and funding will continue through mid-January 2018. The Council is also pleased to see Congress considering a separate supplemental appropriations bill for disaster relief in areas affected by the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires.

“Congress needs to move quickly when it returns to Washington in January to increase budget caps and fund the government at levels that ensure that critical energy programs will continue. Without an increase in the caps and adequate funding, the security, reliability, and diversity of our nation’s energy supply will be at risk.

“At particular risk if the budget caps are not increased are valuable programs at the Departments of Energy and State, and the Environmental Protection Agency that provide direct economic benefits to clean energy technology providers and American consumers. clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization activities funded through the Department of Energy have lowered costs for consumers and have made the United States one of the most attractive markets in the world for companies whose operations entail significant energy-related costs. Likewise, programs funded at the Department of State are helping to shape markets in both developing and developed countries for American clean energy technologies. Environmental Protection Agency programs are providing technical assistance and information about cleaner and more efficient technologies and are also helping to make the electric grid reliable and secure, providing value to consumers and businesses alike.

“Furthermore, the Council believes the additional funding for disaster relief and recovery can be used in strategic ways that rebuild the electric grid and built environment with technologies that improve efficiency, resilience and provide cleaner sources of power generation, while fostering better preparedness for future events.”

Please see the Council’s letter to Congress on the federal budget caps (November 29. 2017).

                                                                       

 

Tax Reform Will Be a Tipping Point for Clean Energy

In terms of investment, growth and jobs, the current stakes for tax reform couldn’t be higher for American energy producers. Clean energy generation and storage is now a $200 billion industry that supports more than 3 million jobs and hundreds of millions of consumers across the United States. With conferees now named and set to meet on the greatest tax reform package of a generation, it’s clear that our nation stands on the cusp of a major tipping point for clean energy policy.

How the House and Senate members of the conference committee come together on a few key areas will determine if clean energy continues to surge, or if the rug is pulled out from this dynamic sector and the United States falls further behind China. At issue is tax parity among energy generation technologies and whether tax reform will actually simplify the code for investors and businesses.

There is much to celebrate already. Businesses large and small are eagerly awaiting a dramatic reduction in the corporate tax rate and the allowance for 100 percent expensing. These provisions will ensure that U.S.-based firms are more competitive internationally and will fast-track domestic investment. Businesses in every sector of the economy will have more flexibility and agility in competitive global markets. And by immediately writing off the full cost of new equipment, businesses can make additional investments sooner, improve operations, and invest in employees and workplace training.

These benefits hold true for the clean energy sector, but are undermined by the Senate bill’s new tax on businesses working in multiple countries and the retention of the corporate alternative minimum tax. As currently drafted, the base erosion anti-abuse tax provisions in the Senate bill would add more complexity to the existing tax system and potentially subject many planned renewable energy projects to a new 100 percent tax. Further, it weakens the current tax equity financing framework and shuffles the principal mechanism for monetizing credits. Its retroactive application undercuts commitments made in good faith by investors and developers, and will dramatically reduce American clean energy investment and job creation in the wake. While these provisions were put in the bill to prevent companies from paying fewer U.S. taxes, as written the BEAT provisions will stunt job growth in a sector that is otherwise growing 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.

And instead of having businesses do their taxes twice and pay the higher of the two, the corporate AMT should be repealed as proposed in the House bill. Without a fix, the AMT provisions in the Senate measure will nullify the value in other parts of tax reform that are critical to spurring innovation and economic growth.

Mature markets don’t need help from Uncle Sam, but Congress shouldn’t unravel deals based on a bipartisan agreement in 2015 that scheduled the phase-out of tax credits for the solar and wind industry. Unfortunately, the House bill would dissolve this agreement by cutting the value of the remaining tax credits going forward, and applying these changes retroactively. Maintaining the 2015 agreement in these areas will ensure near-term certainty for businesses, communities and investors that back these energy projects. In just a few years, these credits will sunset as planned.

The House took a significant step forward in leveling the tax credit playing field for solar, qualified fuel cell, wind, microturbine, combined heat and power, and thermal energy. Tax credits were also extended for residential energy efficiency property and modified for advanced nuclear power facilities. These additional clean energy tax credits—and their planned sunset schedules — create parity among energy generation technologies in the short- and long-run and should be included in the final tax bill.

Congress has a once-in-a-generation chance to use tax reform as a tool for long-term growth and better competition in the energy sector. As tax reform legislation moves forward, CRES Forum encourages the conferees to assure that the workers and businesses which comprise America’s clean energy sector can continue to lift to the U.S. economy as well as an American-made energy future.

About the Author

Charles Hernick is director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to educating the public and influencing the national conversation about clean energy.

This post originally published on Morning Consult on December 12. 

Energy and Sustainable Transportation Opportunities in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s vision is to become “a laboratory for the world’s economy deep decarbonization process, working with civil society, the private sector, academia, and the international community…” With this vision come enormous business opportunities for American clean energy technologies and low-carbon transportation solutions. Earlier this year Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) members and GHG Engineering, LLC, met with the Embassy of Costa Rica to discuss these potential opportunities.

Here are some facts that reflect Costa Rica’s accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities for decarbonization in both the power generation and the transportation sectors.

This Central American country, somewhat smaller than Switzerland and roughly twice the size of Vermont, has achieved notable sustainable development goals in the electric generation sector by historically generating most of its electricity from renewable sources. In 2015 and 2016 Costa Rica generated about 98% of its electricity (10,700 GW-h, 2015) from hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and biomass energy resources.

In 2007, Costa Rica pledged to be carbon neutral by 2021. It is also a country that has a transportation sector that is close to 100% dependent on (imported) fossil fuels, creating a an almost impossible hurdle to meeting this goal of carbon neutrality by 2021. However, Costa Rica has recently recognized that realistically it will take decades not years to accomplish carbon neutrality.

In 2015 Costa Rica consumed close to 307 million gallons of gasoline, approximately 8% more than in 2014, driven by an increased number of automobile imports. The approximate carbon emissions from 2015 gasoline consumption equates to about 2.73 million metric tonnes CO2e. As of 2016, Costa Rica had about 915,000 automobiles. Of significance is that the diesel related CO2e emissions for the same period were about 1.3 times that of gasoline. Diesel is mostly used by light and heavy trucks, and public transportation buses.

The energy contained in the gasoline consumed by Costa Rica in 2015 equates to about 10,150 GW- h which is about the same amount of electricity generated by entire power sector. However, because of the increased efficiency of electrical vehicles, GHG Engineering has estimated that to electrify Costa Rica’s 2016 automobile fleet, about 3,000 GW-h/year of new generation would be needed. To supply this additional electricity, approximately 500 land based wind turbines (2 MW each) would be needed and such an installation is estimated to require 150 km2 of land or about 0.3 % of Costa Rica’s territory. The equivalent solar facility would occupy an estimated 50 km2. All these figures should be considered preliminary estimates.

Solar energy as a percentage of the electrical generation mix is less than 0.2%, which is considered very low for a country like Costa Rica. The National Institute of Electricity reported that the 2015 residential (not utility scale) solar electricity generation potential of Costa Rica was about 0.220 GW-h/year which is nil compared to the total electrical energy consumption. Therefore, it would appear that there is a significant solar electrical power generation potential in Costa Rica that is untapped.

One of the takeaways from the meeting at the Embassy of Costa Rica was the need to better understand Costa Rica’s transportation sector in terms of factors including energy consumption, infrastructure, transportation modes, and the regulatory environment. It was also discussed that an effective and sustainable transportation sector is vital to the country’s economic growth.

The author believes that to achieve carbon neutrality within the next decades Costa Rica will need to approach decarbonization of its transportation sector (and other sectors) by developing and implementing a plausible low carbon development plan (LCDP). This means that Costa Rica’s aspiration of carbon neutrality by 2021 will most likely not be achieved in the next four years. But it can be achieved within a few decades through careful planning and unwavering stakeholder support.

In very broad terms, a low carbon development plan (LCDP) is a multi-stakeholder and multisector undertaking that defines and evaluates different plausible economic development scenarios that can significantly reduce a country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while decoupling emissions and energy demand from long term economic growth and population well-being.

A complete LCDP typically includes the analysis of the transportation, household, power generation, industrial, and agricultural sectors. A LCDP links all these economic sectors and is often developed for planning horizons spanning 20, 30 and/or 50 years. To be successful, a transportation focused LCDP will require political will and tenacity, intensive stakeholder participation, and viable funding mechanisms, among others. This will be a difficult undertaking but certainly not insurmountable.

About the Author

John A. Mosheim, P.E.,CEM, GHG Engineering, LLC

GHG Engineering is an engineering consulting firm specializing in water conservation, greenhouse gas emissions management, and sustainability. The ideas and comments expressed in the blog are the author’s alone, and should not be construed as anything else. Additionally, the author bears the responsibility for any potential inaccuracies. John can be reached at jam[at]ghgengineering.com with any comments.

Business Council for Sustainable Energy Presses Congress on Energy Tax Provisions (December 11, 2017)

Business Council for Sustainable Energy presses Congress on energy tax provisions

Published on December 11, 2017 by Chris Galford, Daily Energy Insider

With Congress making tax reform a top priority of year’s end, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) recently called on legislators to include sweeping energy tax measures.

© Shutterstock

In a letter, the BCSE called for structuring of the tax could that would provide benefits to all qualifying technologies based on the energy, as well as environmental and public benefits they provide. Further, they said that without a transition period on proposed changes to existing tax laws, there could be a disruption of the market and job losses. Unpredictability, they noted, is bad for investment and bad for jobs.

Neither branch of Congress escaped their attention, either.

“Regarding specific comments on the pending tax reform legislation, we note that the Senate version of the bill does not have an energy title, but includes provisions that would impose severe and negative impacts on energy financing and deployment for certain energy sources,” the BCSE wrote. “The House version includes energy provisions that change the tax treatment of a range of energy technologies – some favorably and some in an extremely problematic manner.”

Additionally, the House legislation does not provide clarification of eligibility for energy storage or waste heat to power investment tax credits. Neither measure supports a restoration of production tax credit for biogas, biomass, hydropower and similar sources, either. That bill would also strike electric vehicle credits and eliminate the issuance of tax credit bonds after Dec. 31, 2017.

On the Senate side, they were concerned by a lack of incorporation and preservation efforts toward a slew of technologies. They also took umbrage at a new tax known as the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) that hit renewable tax credits on multinational companies with a 100 percent tax. Further, the BCSE stated that without repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax provisions, reductions in the corporate tax rate would hinder corporations’ ability to claim production tax credits.

Morning Energy: More Views on Tax Conference (December 8, 2017)

More Views on Tax Conference

December 8, 2017
By Anthony Adragna, Morning Energy, Politico

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released a letter Thursday outlining its priorities and suggestions for the final compromise version of the tax bill. It finds flaws in both versions with some in the House’s “extremely problematic” for how the treat a variety of energy technologies. “We urge Congress to address these issues during the conference on the tax reform legislation or in a year-end extenders bill,” it suggests.

Energy pressures mount on conferees (December 8, 2017)

TAX POLICY: Energy pressures mount on conferees

Geof Koss, E&E News

Published: Friday, December 8, 2017

House and Senate tax conferees are facing renewed pressure to fix provisions in the Senate bill that they say would harm clean energy and fossil fuel development alike.

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions yesterday launched a five-figure targeted social media ad campaign aimed at lawmakers and their aides highlighting concerns over base erosion anti-abuse tax (BEAT) and corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) provisions.

The BEAT language, the group warned top GOP leaders this week, “will undermine tax equity financing, which is the principal mechanism for monetizing credits.”

“Its retroactive application undermines commitments made in good faith by investors and developers, and will dramatically reduce American wind and solar energy investment and job creation.”

Echoing the concerns of other industry groups, the corporate AMT “would nullify the value of tax credits retained in other parts of the tax reform bill that are critical to innovation and economic growth, such as the research and development tax credit,” CRES wrote.

Those concerns were also highlighted by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a broad coalition representing efficiency, renewable and natural gas interests, which also outlined fears over the House’s treatment of the wind and investment tax credits, among other energy provisions E&E Daily, Nov. 3).

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who filed an amendment to ameliorate the BEAT provision’s effects on renewable power investment, said yesterday he was unable to get a score on the proposal in time for inclusion in the Senate bill.

“This is not just wind and solar, it’s refined coal, there’s a number of businesses very concerned about this and a number of jobs at stake,” he told E&E News yesterday. “We’ll continue to work with the conferees on it.”

Efforts to fix the BEAT section come as Republicans are weighing whether to raise the corporate rate to 22 percent from 20 percent — a possibility that is meeting with strong pushback from outside conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of leadership who is also a conferee, said hurdles to fixing the BEAT problem involve the cost and competition from other sectors.

“Where do you draw the line?” he asked E&E News yesterday. “Because there’s a lot of folks obviously who would want that treatment.”

House members weighed in yesterday on the AMT, as well. In a letter, 26 GOP members of the Congressional Coal Caucus urged top House and Senate tax writers to repeal the provision to prevent a “devastating” tax increase on coal companies.

Caucus Chairman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and company argued that “an industry President Trump promised to help” would suffer “far-reaching consequences” if its taxes go up.

Murray Energy Corp. CEO and boisterous Trump supporter Robert Murray recently denounced the Senate tax plan for its impact on his business, which he said will go bankrupt without federal intervention.

“Undoubtedly, the Senate’s so-called ‘tax reform’ will cause even more coal companies to file for bankruptcy and more coal mining families to lose their jobs, healthcare, and retirement security,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday named Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) as Democratic conferees.

Puerto Rico concerns

House Democrats yesterday slammed both the House and Senate tax bills for adding to Puerto Rico’s fiscal woes.

“Congressional Republicans are turning their backs on our fellow citizens,” said Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), who said the island where she was born is being “treated like a foreign country.”

In a letter to House and Senate GOP leaders, Velázquez and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week detailed their concerns.

They noted the House bill would impose a 20 percent excise tax on products manufactured in Puerto Rico, threatening 200,000 jobs.

Additionally, the Senate bill would impose a 12.5 percent tax on income derived from intellectual property held in foreign jurisdictions, as the U.S. tax code treats the island, according to the letter.

“The bills remove any existing incentives for multinational companies to invest in Puerto Rico; and therefore disregarding a central tenant of tax reform-encouraging domestic investment and employment,” the members wrote.

“The tax proposals impose excessive tax liabilities on companies that have proven their dedication to investing in their local operations and employees.”

Democrats want a “special exemption [to] be created to recognize the special situation Puerto Rico is in as a United States territory as it relates to international tax reform. Such changes should account for the unique tax structures in the U.S. territories.”

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has previously said that he supports tax breaks to help Puerto Rico recover, but not in the context of broader tax reform.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called it “ironic” that the House was voting yesterday on a two-week continuing resolution to give Republicans more time to complete tax negotiations.

“This Republican tax bill only makes this worse,” he said of Puerto Rico’s recovery.

Reporter Dylan Brown contributed.

Twitter: @geofkoss Email: gkoss@eenews.net

BCSE Calls on Congress to Act on Urgent Energy Tax Measures to Preserve and Expand Investment and Jobs (December 7, 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 7, 2017                

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

BCSE Calls on Congress to Act on Urgent Energy Tax Measures to Preserve and Expand Investment and Jobs

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) released a letter today urging action this year on critical energy tax provisions. including recommendations for the tax reform legislation conference committee.

“The Council appreciates the historic effort to reform the US tax system with the aim of boosting employment and economic prosperity for consumers and businesses.  Energy tax measures should be structured such that benefits are provided to all qualifying technologies in accordance with the energy, environmental and other public benefits they generate.  The tax code should not pick winners and losers, but should allow all fuel sources to compete on an even playing field.

“Further, consistent and predictable tax policy is fundamental to investment and job creation. Therefore, should changes be made to existing tax laws, adequate transition is needed to avoid market disruptions and job losses.

“Regarding specific comments on the pending tax reform legislation, we note that the Senate version of the bill does not have an energy title, but includes provisions that would impose severe and negative impacts on energy financing and deployment for certain energy sources.  The House version includes energy provisions that change the tax treatment of a range of energy technologies – some favorably and some in an extremely problematic manner.  We call on Congress to urgently address these issues.”

To see the full letter with specific comments on measures in the House and Senate versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, go here.

Business Council for Sustainable Energy urges Congress to increase fiscal year 2018 budget caps (December 1, 2018)

Business Council for Sustainable Energy urges Congress to increase fiscal year 2018 budget caps

By Kevin Randolph
Published on December 01, 2017

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) sent a letter to Congress this week, urging them to reach an agreement that increases the fiscal year 2018 budget caps and ensures adequate funding for energy programs.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 set caps on discretionary spending through, which were adjusted in following years. Without further action by Congress, the caps will be reduced in fiscal year 2018 through an enforcement mechanism known as sequestration.

“If the caps are left unchanged, billions of dollars will be sequestered from non-defense programs, including critical energy programs, at the Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of State,” BCSE President Lisa Jacobson said. “We know this has been a challenging year for the budget, but without an increase in the caps and adequate funding, the security, reliability, and diversity of our nation’s energy supply will be at risk.”

The letter cites clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization initiatives funded through the Department of Energy. It also highlights the role the Department of State plays in shaping markets for existing clean energy technologies, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in providing technical assistance and information about new technologies and practices to support their adoption.

“As Congress moves forward with appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2018, the Council requests that you consider the value that energy programs at the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and State Department, provide to the reliability and security of the nation’s energy system, as well as to consumers and businesses,” Jacobson said.