Paul Bertram Named Distinguished Member by the Construction Specifications Institute for Work on Energy Efficiency

Former BCSE Board Member Paul Bertram was recently recognized with the Distinguished Members award by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). The award was presented last month in Providence, Rhode Island, at the CONSTRUCT and CSI Annual Convention. This is the highest award given by CSI and is conferred on individuals who have performed distinguished services to the construction industry in fields of activity related to the purpose of the Institute. BCSE was proud to support Mr. Bertram’s nomination. Since the first award in 1954, only 49 members have earned this illustrious honor. Mr. Bertram is the 50th recipient of this award.

Throughout Mr. Bertram’s career he has demonstrated excellence and commitment in the field of energy and building efficiency. He was an observer and speaker at the UNFCCC COP21 climate meeting in Paris and worked tirelessly for the advancement of energy efficiency policies in the US and abroad.


Mr. Bertram retired from full time work last year, but

continues to work to influence energy efficiency policy, including through the NYSERDA Retrofit program. As a Vietnam veteran, Mr. Bertram also works to lower the veteran suicide rate by supporting Guardian Angles Medical Service Dogs, a program that uses service dogs to assist veterans with PTSD.

The Council extends its congratulations to Mr. Bertram on this well-deserved award!

National Clean Energy Week marks a turning point for America’s energy future (September 25, 2017)

National Clean Energy Week marks a turning point for America’s energy future

By Charles Hernick, Lisa Jacobson and Dylan Reed

Op-Ed in The Hill, September 25, 2017

The national debate on energy has hit a turning point. This week, dozens of clean energy companies and trade associations have come together in a new way to show the power of clean energy to our economy.

The inaugural celebration of National Clean Energy Week is dedicated to advancing support for our nation’s energy sector through increased collaboration between leaders in government and industry.

America’s clean energy sector is growing several times faster than the national economy and is producing more than a third of America’s energy. In fact, some states, such as Washington, Illinois, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Vermont count on these sources for more than half of their energy needs.

The clean energy sector supports more than 3 million workers across all 50 states. All told, the sector represents a $200 billion industry; and it’s growing larger every day.

Public support for clean energy across ideological boundaries has also grown over the past few years. 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.

And this support is bipartisan; a solid majority of Republicans favor taking steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including 65 percent of young Republicans. Clean energy has transcended partisan politics.

Even though clean energy is now firmly regarded as part of our nation’s “all of the above” approach, public awareness of specific achievements remains low, and funding for research, development and deployment of next-generation faces steep budget cuts.

The clean energy market landscape has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Clean energy companies now compete in mature markets for finite market-share. And emerging technologies in clean energy may be America’s next comparative advantage for export to the world.

National Clean Energy Week, a non-partisan effort to highlight the benefits of clean energy led by 13 national trade associations, business councils, and clean energy advocacy groups. Hundreds of organizations will participate through positive messaging and events across the country for policy makers, industry leaders, and concerned citizens to share and learn about the latest in clean energy.

It remains true that aspects of energy and environmental policy generate strong opinions on all sides — and that’s fine. Like the rest of America, the NCEW Steering Committee enjoys a diversity of perspectives. But we stand united on the issue of advancing clean energy solutions to provide America with a path forward that strengthens our national security, grows our economy, and protects our environment.

National Clean Energy Week has now arrived at a critical moment. Congress is debating tax reform, and it is important that the technology, science, and research driving energy innovation is not lost in the shuffle.

The Department of Energy and our nation’s laboratories must be appropriately funded so it can work effectively with the private sector to keep up the rapid pace of development of clean energy resources and maintain America’s technological edge and global competitiveness.

Our capacity for safe and reliable energy generation from clean sources is driving an energy renaissance that is creating jobs, strengthening our national security capabilities, and preserving the quality of our natural environment.

We are proud to support National Clean Energy Week as an opportunity to recognize recent progress, highlight our potential, and promote the further proliferation of these innovations that are powering American forward.

Charles Hernick, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum. Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy. Dylan Reed, Senior Associate, Federal and State Policy, Advanced Energy Economy.

CEBN Members: Help Shape the Future of Our Organization

CEBN Members: Help Shape the Future of Our Organization

September 6, 2017 │ Lynn Abramson
Executive Director, CEBN

Current and Prospective CEBN Members: Take Our Member Questionnaire Now!
.
The questionnaire takes 10 minutes to complete and will directly impact the priorities of our organization. If you’re not yet a member, you can begin our questionnaire to join and immediately share your priorities with us!
.
Get started by completing the question below:

***

More Information
On September 6, the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) launched a member-driven effort to develop our new strategic plan. If you’re a current member or interested in joining, here’s what you need to know:
.
The CEBN is a group of over 3,000 business leaders across the U.S. and some internationally, representing every aspect of the clean energy economy. Many are C-suite executives of small- to medium-size energy businesses. We work to promote opportunities for renewable energy, efficiency, natural gas, and other clean energy and transportation technologies. We inform and engage businesses in these sectors in relevant policy issues, promote greater public and policymaker awareness and understanding of clean energy technologies, and provide resources to help members address common business challenges.
.
This is an exciting time for the CEBN. In May 2017, we spun out of our former home at The Pew Charitable Trusts to become an independent initiative of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), giving the clean energy industry a stronger, more unified voice. Our new structure will enable us to provide new types of resources for businesses and engage our members more directly in shaping the priorities of the organization.
.
As the CEBN grows and evolves, we must ask ourselves: What policy and business challenges are impacting the clean energy industry, and our members specifically? What unique resources can the CEBN provide to address these challenges? How do our members’ priorities align with the BCSE’s? What should be the top priorities for our organization?
.
We kicked off our member-based planning effort on Wednesday, September 6 at 2:00 pm ET with a webinar outlining the process and the ways members can participate. The slides and recording are now available for download.
.
Please respond to our questionnaire by September 21 to share your policy and business priorities and ideas for our organization. The questionnaire takes 10 minutes to complete and will directly influence the future of the CEBN. You can get started by answering the first question at the top of this page.
.
Additionally, we have formed a Strategic Planning Committee to discuss overarching questions about the future of the organization, and a series of six Advisory Committees diving more deeply into the policy and business interests of particular subsets of our membership. If you would like to join one of these committees, please click here to see a complete schedule of upcoming calls and instructions for registration.
.
Input from our CEBN members is crucial to the future success of our organization. We look forward to working together to advance the clean energy industry!

pic for CEBN strategic planning blog post.png
.
Follow @l_abramson on Twitter to hear more from Lynn.
Follow @CleanEnergyBiz on Twitter to keep up with the CEBN.

###

The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) is one of the largest and most diverse clean energy organizations in the country, with more than 3,000 members across all 50 U.S. states. Started in 2009 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the CEBN is now an initiative of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, where it serves as a grassroots arm to inform and engage clean energy business leaders in policy issues affecting their industry. Please visit www.cebn.org to learn more about the network or to join.

Ayotte Wants GOP to Move from Climate Debate to Collaboration

By Iulia Gheorghiu, Morning Consult
August 31, 2017
.
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said both political parties should move past polarizing debates on climate change and focus instead on working together to develop energy technologies such as battery storage and grid modernization.
.
Speaking before Tropical Storm Harvey battered the U.S. Gulf Coast and fueled debate over the role of man-made carbon emissions in climate change and natural disasters, Ayotte — who last month joined the conservative-leaning Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions — said lawmakers can have more productive discussions about advancing technologies to ensure energy security.
.
“The focus really needs to be on collaboration, and that’s where CRES’s focus is among Republicans and across the aisle — rather than continuing a discussion where really it becomes a polarized discussion and a political football,” Ayotte said in an interview last week.
.
Her remarks are in line with a broader trend among some Republicans who are beginning to approach clean energy based on its economic merits, like the potential to lower costs. For example, six Republican and 19 Democratic senators, including those from coal-heavy states, are supporting a carbon capture bill introduced in July by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). A month earlier a grid modernization measure introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) garnered support from ranking member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
.
Ayotte, who lost her Senate re-election bid last year, said she joined CRES in July after leaving Congress in January because of its focus on opportunities for collaboration among Republicans, similar to her creation of a GOP environmental working group in the Senate.
.
But a former Department of Energy official said that even energy technologies can be a political minefield, especially when states or lawmakers have opposing economic interests.
.
“Anything that is close to technology can certainly be politicized,” Cherry Murray, a Harvard University physics professor who directed the DOE Office of Science until January, said in an interview Wednesday. “Science, except if it happens to be climate science, is not very political.”
.
Based on her experience at the Energy Department, Murray said federal funding for energy technology often has uneven support, depending on state priorities: States such as Idaho with nuclear labs are more likely to back nuclear power and research, while coal states typically support carbon capture research and credits.
.
CRES and other groups, such as the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Clean Energy Business Network, plan to host a “clean energy week” in Washington at the end of September, with a focus on framing clean energy as a market-friendly option, and less of an emphasis on clean energy’s links to climate change.
.
“It’s really a matter of diversifying America’s energy supplies, investing in a broad fleet of technologies and making ourselves internationally competitive as we transition to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy,” Lynn Abramson, executive director of the Clean Energy Business Network, said in a Wednesday interview, adding that the DOE’s recent grid study also focused on promoting energy diversity.
.
Ayotte said she prefers talking about where the political parties can work together on clean energy, rather than focusing on polarizing debates such as President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
.
“We can re-litigate Paris all we want, but it seems to me we should be more focused on what can we do that is good policy here in the United States to advance clean energy” and develop new technologies to improve the grid and energy storage, Ayotte said.
.
The former senator said she doesn’t agree with everything put forward by the Trump administration, such as the proposed elimination of programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Ayotte gained notoriety while in office when she supported the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, one of the rules the Trump administration has targeted for elimination. But addressing those issues will be less productive than moving forward to find common ground, she said.
.
The Senate has followed a similar tack on technology issues, ignoring the White House budget plans for research cuts; Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) boasted in July that the Senate energy and water development bill set aside more money than ever for ARPA-E.
.
While the House has been less supportive, arguing technology research should be led by industry, it has also tried to find ways to work together: A House Climate Solutions Caucus has tripled in size to 52 members since its inception in January, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
.
“A lot of the Republicans who are on there, they’re just kind of, what I would say, dipping their toe in the water on the climate issue,” Steve Valk, a spokesman for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which promotes and works closely with the caucus, said in an interview last week.

Renewables Groups Collaborate in Launching Clean Energy Week

By Ernie Smith, Associations Now
August 21, 2017
.
The bipartisan event, which organizers hope to make annual, will try to make the business case for renewables—and build support for them among legislators.
.
Next month, a variety of organizations focused on sustainable energy are going to make their voices heard in Washington, DC.
.
As part of National Clean Energy Week, taking place September 25-29, at least 10 major trade groups—covering technologies such as wind energy, biomass, hydropower, nuclear energy, and solar power—plan to hold a series of events in the District and beyond to advocate for the economic value of alternative energy sources. Most events will be held in DC that week, but related events over the next two months will be in Sea Island, Georgia; Baltimore; Minneapolis; Las Vegas; and Des Moines, Iowa.
.
In a news release, Todd Foley, the senior vice president of policy and governmental affairs for the American Council on Renewable Energy, noted that the goal of the campaign was to keep the concept in front of legislators and continue to build support for renewables—something he said has seen a “huge increase” within the private sector over the past six years.
.
“We can and should continue to do more to support policies that increase investment in cost-competitive renewable energy generation—to harness the nation’s abundant domestic energy resources, drive economic development, and help achieve environmental objectives,” Foley said in a news release.
.
According to Axios, the week will include both lobbying events and receptions, plus a mini demo fair, and while its budget is somewhat small, the organizers want to take it annual.
.
While Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, which is helping to put together the event, has ties to a larger conservative group, the forum’s policy and advocacy director, Charles Hernick, told the outlet that the goal was simply to draw attention to renewable technology in a bipartisan fashion.
.
“We don’t want this to be political,” Hernick told the website. “We obviously live in a very political world, but we need to be able to separate the technologies and the solutions from the politics of the day. We need to separate one administration from the next.”
.
Other major supporters of the event include Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association, the Biomass Power Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Clean Energy Business Network, the National Hydropower Association, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

BCSE Statement in Response to the Release of the DOE Report on Electricity Markets and Grid Reliability (August 24, 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2017
Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

BCSE Statement in Response to the Release of the DOE Report on Electricity Markets and Grid Reliability

Washington, DC – Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, offered the following statement in response to the release of the Department of Energy’s study on the electricity markets and grid reliability.

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) appreciates the Department of Energy’s focus on issues related to ensuring a safe, secure, affordable, reliable and resilient electricity system. The power sector fuels the U.S. economy and is critical to future economic growth and jobs.

“The U.S. electric system is experiencing significant changes and is using a diverse set of energy resources, technologies and services. As these changes are occurring, energy productivity is increasing and wholesale and retail power prices have been declining in most parts of the country. Further, consumers are spending the lowest amount of their household budget on energy costs since the early 1960s (see 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook).

“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 current needs of the grid affordably and reliably today and can meet the needs of an evolving electric grid into the future. The transformation to a more diverse electric system that is occurring is not jeopardizing grid reliability and resiliency.

“Recognizing that different regions or markets may require different solutions, the BCSE believes that market rules that allow for competition of resources and that value the evolving needs of the grid are fundamental to maintaining grid performance, ensuring resiliency and can avoid costly market distortions.

“The U.S. federal government, and the Department of Energy specifically, plays a vital role in educating states and regions on critical market design issues and policy best practices.

“The BCSE looks forward to working with the Department of Energy and other government bodies on the policy frameworks that are necessary to ensure grid reliability.”

Download the press release here.

Morning Energy: Support Urged for International Climate Work (August 24, 2017)

Support Urged for International Climate Work

August 24, 2017
By Anthony Adragna, Morning Energy, Politico

As Congress attempts to figure out what to do about the appropriations process, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy sent a letter to Senate leaders urging continued support for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Panel on Climate Change, as well as the Green Climate Fund. “Preserving the U.S. financial contributions to these international programs and institutions not only protects the opportunity for U.S. governmental leadership but also protects and promotes the business interests of American companies,” Lisa Jacobson, the group’s president, wrote.

Clean energy advocates to ‘amp up the message’ of economic benefits (August 18, 2017)

Clean energy advocates to 'amp up the message' of economic benefits
August 18, 2017
By Garrett Hering, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Citing the need to broaden political support for clean energy resources and raise awareness about their economic advantages ahead of looming congressional funding decisions, a coalition of 10 national trade groups and advocacy organizations today announced a week long lobbying and public relations offensive centered on Capitol Hill.

"National Clean Energy Week," from Sept. 25-29, aims to "amp up the message" that renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage and other low-carbon fuels, including natural gas and nuclear power, together represent "an energy revolution that is part of the mainstream economy," said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and a member of the event's steering committee, in an interview.

"It's extremely well-timed," she added, pointing to upcoming votes in Congress on slashing renewable energy and energy efficiency funding in the Department of Energy budget and other legislation affecting energy policy. "I am not sure that most members of Congress realize what's going on with renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas. ... What they don't get is the economic story behind it, that we are what's growing and contributing in new ways in every district."

"We are looking for a common denominator," added Charles Hernick, director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, on "how to better engage Republicans and moderates." While climate change and the environmental benefits of clean energy are "absolutely" part of the dialogue of National Clean Energy Week, which includes a symposium and host of lobbying events, "We are focusing on job creation, economic benefits and energy security," he said.

The first confirmed speaker is U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., according to the group, who recently called on the Senate to extend production tax credits for the troubled Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant and the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion projects.

Other organizations behind the week-long lobbying and public awareness initiative include the American Wind Energy Association, theSolar Energy Industries Association, the National Hydropower Association, Advanced Energy Economy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Clean Energy Businesses Call for Continued Support of International Programs (August 23, 2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2017
Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Clean Energy Businesses Call for Continued Support of International Programs

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) sent a letter to Senate leaders today urging continued U.S. support of international programs.

The letter conveys support for the appropriation of $10 million in the FY2018 State and Foreign Operations Bill towards U.S. contributions to international programs, multi-lateral funds and institutions, specifically the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in addition to continued support for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

BCSE President Lisa Jacobson said,

“As an accredited business observer to the UNFCCC for over twenty years, the Council can attest to the role this inter-governmental process has played in shaping markets in both developing and developed countries for existing clean energy technologies. The IPCC’s work also provides critical scientific assessment that assists both countries and companies alike in their planning.

“Preserving the U.S. financial contributions to these international programs and institutions not only protects the opportunity for U.S. governmental leadership but also protects and promotes the business interests of American companies.

“These business interests include but are not limited to the defense of intellectual property rights, the creation of an open and transparent system of accounting, the ability to define and use market-based mechanisms and the ability to access financial mechanisms to fund projects overseas.”

For a copy of the letter go here.

Download the press release here.

 

 

Utilities urges Trump team to support clean energy in trade talks (August 16, 2017)

Utilities urges Trump team to support clean energy in trade talks
By: John Siciliano, Washington Examiner
Aug 16, 2017

A coalition of electric utilities is urging Trump trade negotiators to keep tariffs low in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada to benefit commercial clean energy technologies.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of energy trade groups and companies from all segments of the utility industry, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late Tuesday, insisting that NAFTA negotiators protect the positive changes made to the energy system over the past 25 years and ensure they are "not disrupted."

Specifically, the coalition wants the Trump administration to ensure that the zero tariff for products produced in North America is maintained, "as clean energy products benefit from this current system," the letter read.

The group also wants the Trump team to "promote U.S. codes and standards for clean energy products and work towards harmonization as appropriate," the coalition said.

In addition, any new agreement must acknowledge the role that information technology plays in the broader economy, including the energy industry "and to afford the necessary consumer protections and provisions to protect [intellectual property] in the digital economy," the letter stated.

"We would also like to see a recognition of the advancements made in energy productivity over that same time period recognized in any calculus of a trade balance," the letter read.

"Giving attention to items such as a zero tariff for goods produced in North America, promoting U.S. codes and standards, and updating language to reflect the growing impact of information technology on all sectors, will ensure that NAFTA supports the continued growth of clean energy and the benefits it provides to the U.S. economy," said Lisa Jacobson, the council's president, in a separate statement.

The group also used the letter to offer its energy expertise NAFTA team as it began the first round of trade talks with Mexico and Canada Wednesday. The talks are scheduled to last through the weekend.