The Gathering Place for Leaders in Energy & Sustainability

In late August, Johnson Controls joined agencies of the federal government and other sustainable energy industry partners in Denver, CO for Energy Exchange 2019, the Department of Energy’s premier event attracting over 2,600 attendees. 

The event offered over 100 training sessions on energy topics including federal and state policy, resiliency, technology, financing and management.  Energy Exchange also provided a great networking opportunity to learn the latest in energy efficient products and solutions.

Johnson Controls is highly involved at Energy Exchange because it is the gathering place each year where we can meet and network with many of our federal government customers and industry partners.  And, the training sessions are extremely valuable.

Mark Wagner, Vice President for Government Relations at Johnson Controls, and BCSE’s Chairman, organized the Policies and Strategies track (T01) at Energy Exchange with eight different training sessions.  The sessions included leading officials from the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Colorado Energy Office. 

Please mark your calendars and join us for Energy Exchange 2020 in Atlanta, August 11, 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Wagner is the Vice President for Government Relations at Johnson Controls and the Chairman of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy's Board of Directors.

Program Manager Position

About the BCSE

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) is a coalition of companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors, which also includes independent electric power producers, investor-owned utilities, public power, commercial end-users and environmental market service providers.  Founded in 1992, the Council advocates for policies at state, national and international levels that increases the use of commercially available clean energy technologies, products and services.  The coalition's diverse business membership is united around the revitalization of our economy and creation of a secure and sustainable energy future for America.

About the Program Manager Position

BCSE seeks a Program Manager to support the organization’s communications efforts, assist with event planning and policy research, and support office operations.  This is a full-time position based in the organization’s Washington, DC offices. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Maintain day to day social media presence and manage social media accounts
  • Manage BCSE quarterly newsletter publication
  • Assist with website maintenance and content
  • Prepare and help execute BCSE events – including e-communications, registration, catering, etc.
  • Manage BCSE Database – entry and upkeep
  • Conduct research and analysis on legislative and regulatory policies impacting clean energy sectors
  • Support the BCSE’s Clean Air and Climate Policy Committee
  • Various administrative tasks as necessary

Qualifications

Qualified candidates should have experience in the communications and/or energy and environment fields with an interest in supporting the expansion of markets and demand for clean energy. Candidates should also have experience or interest in the enactment of energy and climate change policy that recognizes the benefits of a broad portfolio of clean energy technologies and services.

Candidates should also have:

  • Strong research and professional writing skills – including attention to detail, grammar and organization of thoughts
  • Ability to communicate well with colleagues, members and partners, and can work well both independently and as part of a small team
  • Experience with planning and managing events
  • Demonstrated social media savvy and understanding of its value to an organization
  • Familiarity with WordPress and/or HTML, Constant Contact or other e-marketing and event platforms
  • A willingness to chip in and eagerness to learn about all aspects of the operations of a clean energy business coalition
  • An undergraduate degree and at least two years working experience in related fields  

BCSE Issue Areas

The BCSE advocates for policies that will advance the growth and deployment of clean energy in the United States and abroad, and is a policy-focused organization, driven by the interests of its members. Currently, the Council is working on policy topics that include clean air and climate change, energy, finance and appropriations, infrastructure, resilience and tax policy at the state and federal government levels.  At the international level, the Council works on multi-lateral cooperative efforts on clean energy and climate change, including technology promotion, investment/finance and trade.

Application Process

Please send a cover letter and résumé to Lisa Jacobson (ljacobson@bcse.org). Interviews will begin in September.

Fuel Cells for Resilience

Stationary fuel cell systems are uniquely addressing the vital need for resilience and supporting policy across the United States that includes microgrids, existing and new legislation in California to mitigate and manage wildfires, and expanding policy in the Northeast for clean, resilient energy that can be sited in space constrained areas. There are over 500 MW of fuel cell systems generating power and heat across the U.S. and these systems keep generating power and heat when the grid goes down. 

Resilience Features of Fuel Cell Systems

In the event of a grid outage or de-energization[1] event (Public Safety Power Shutoff[2] - when the grid is turned off to prevent a wildfire), fuel cells maintain continuous power to the site. A fuel cell system can smoothly transition from the grid to fully power the load during an outage, without interruption to the end user, and to seamlessly re-connect to the grid when its power is restored. Because fuel cell systems are generally sized for the base load at a site, they can provide full power but during these events they are preferred as backup power due to their long-duration (any length over 24 hours) backup generation.

In communities with constrained transmission, fuel cell systems can be sited to provide baseload power.  These communities can include disadvantaged or rural locations.  

Additionally, fuel cells displace traditional emergency backup generators that emit criteria air pollutants and GHG, including diesel generators. This feature is especially critical given that so many communities suffer from poor air quality and faces major challenges in achieving clean air for the many citizens that live and work within these areas, including in economically disadvantaged communities that are often disproportionately burdened by air pollution. By providing always-on, zero criteria pollutant emission power, fuel cells can increase adoption of intermittent renewable wind and solar resources.

How a Fuel Cell System Provides Long-Duration, Resilient Power

Fuel cells have a modular design allows the system to continue operating even while individual components are being repaired or replaced.  The time to build, uptime, and recovery time that are all faster than the electric utility grid network can achieve.  Fuel cell systems also operate with leading power density, producing the largest quantity of zero emissions electricity in proportion to their equipment footprint compared to any technology currently on the market. 

When paired with storage, wind, solar, demand response, or other technologies, fuel cell systems can serve as the foundation for microgrids that integrate numerous distributed energy resources and controls. Microgrids that use fuel cell systems as baseload power are able to immediately disconnect from the grid and island (operate autonomously) from the larger grid when conditions demand (e.g., grid outage).

The fuel cell installation inherently operates as an energy management system, with critical loads for backup power already identified and immediately followed when there is an outage.  Community microgrids anchored by fuel cell systems deliver long-duration generation for emergency service centers, telecommunications and critical services such as hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores. In fact, the City of Hartford installed a fuel cell-powered microgrid to provide continuous power to these facilities that are co-located on the same block.[3]

Maintaining Connection in the Face of Unpredictable Events

Fuel cell resiliency has been demonstrated during hundreds of real-world disaster and grid interruption events.  To wit, over 60 fuel cell systems maintained power to telecommunication sites during widespread outages caused by Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast and the Bahamas in 2012.[4]   Fuel cells have been installed on the utility side of the meter to ride through outages in Connecticut, Delaware, Long Island.  Millions of customers lost power in the four storms that buffeted the East Coast from March 2-22 in 2018, including those served by the electric grid in the vicinity of nine fuel cell microgrid sites.  Despite the combined 26 electric utility outages, all nine fuel cell microgrids maintained power throughout these events. Other fuel cell systems in the Northeast have powered critical communications and emergency shelters in the aftermath of these storms. Fuel cells have also supplied critical load power to a healthcare facility during triple-digit temperature heat waves that triggered outages for 57,000 customers in Southern California in 2018.

Additionally, fuel cells withstood the 6.0 magnitude Napa earthquake in 2014, the Sonoma fires in 2018 and the recent July 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes, continuously providing power to customers and essential services. During the July 2019 blackout in New York and New Jersey, Home Depot stores across New York maintained power with fuel cell based microgrids.[5]  Whether an outage is natural or human-caused, fuel cells are today providing valuable resilience for communities, commercial and industrial energy consumers.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Individual Photos, from top to bottom: a) Fuel Cell System at the Marcus Garvey Village Microgrid, Brooklyn, New York; b) Fuel Cell Powered Microgrid for Town of Woodbridge, Connecticut; and c) Fuel Cells Providing Long-Duration Backup Power after 2018 Sonoma, California Fire. Top banner photo (order: b,a,c).

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/deenergization/

[2] https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/public-safety-power-shutoff-faq.page

[3] Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=2gMv-Diaxow

[4] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ab1feee4b0bef0179a1563/t/54e5e838e4b0072e73714e4b/1424353336299/Northeast-Resiliency-White-Paper-February-2015.pdf

[5] https://www.bloomenergy.com/blog/fuel-cell-powered-microgrids-keep-home-depot-stores-open-through-new-york-power-outages

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katrina Fritz is the Executive Director, California Stationary Fuel Cell Collaborative.

ERA, USGBC Leading Industry Charge for Retrofits for Resilience

A Summer Reading List Recommendation:

As we settle into the lazy days of summer and are on the cusp of hurricane season, I offer an insightful addition to your summer reading list - Retrofit Magazine’s Special Report: How to Make Buildings More Resilient (July/August 2019 issue). 

In the Special Report, the call is made for the architectural and buildings industries to “lead the charge” in making our buildings and infrastructure more resilient in the face of growing physical and cyber threats. I am proud that two BCSE members, EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) are doing just that and contributed to this report (see below for links to their articles).  The report focuses on how organizations like these are offering insight and assistance to building practitioners and to the broader policy-making community on how to make homes and buildings safer and more resilient. 

The BCSE represents many technology solutions and industries, including energy efficiency, the building envelope, on-site generation and more, that can immediately strengthen the resilience of our building stock. As the report highlights, relatively modest investments in roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can capture the “resilience dividend” for communities today.

There are great opportunities for us  ̶  businesses, governments and communities  ̶  to work together to capture these multiple benefits that investing in resilience delivers, from the ability to remain operational during extreme weather to significant cost savings to families, businesses and communities.

Read more in these articles from the July/August Special Report: ERA: Strengthening the Roofing Industry by Louisa Hart and USGBC: Green Buildings as Climate Solution by Sarah Stanley.

About the Author: Lisa Jacobson is the President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).

Congressional Momentum Moves Us Forward on Key Issues

Our infrastructure and climate change challenges will require a range of federal policy tools to reduce emissions and drive investment in resilient infrastructure.  The good news is that we can address these problems simultaneously and do not need to wait to take action. By enabling the right policy frameworks and tools, the deployment of readily available, cost-effective technologies in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors can happen immediately to address critical issues related to infrastructure modernization and climate change. These policy tools - at both the federal and state government levels - can be structured to drive further and faster investment in clean energy resources.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy is pleased to see that both the House and Senate are taking steps to tackle infrastructure modernization in a way that will begin to address climate change. 

The leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is taking a comprehensive approach by introducing the first comprehensive piece of infrastructure legislation in the 116th Congress. The Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act or LIFT America Act (H.R. 2741) would authorize funding for the implementation of clean energy infrastructure, including provisions for grid modernization, efficiency upgrades, energy supply infrastructure, and research and development.  Committee leaders have also recently outlined a process to develop bipartisan, market-based and economy-wide legislation to address climate change. 

Under the leadership of Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently reported several pieces of legislation to promote clean energy, including:

 

It is expected that the Senate will package a number of energy storage bills into a larger bill in the fall.  Those pieces of legislation could include S. 1593 the Promoting Grid Storage Act, introduced by Senators Smith (D-MN) and Collins (R-ME), which would enable state & local governments, utilities, municipal power, and co-ops to apply for competitive grants from the Department of Energy to support their efforts to incorporate storage into long-term planning and grid operations; S. 1602 the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act introduced by Senators Collins (R-ME); and S. 2048 the Joint Long-Term Storage Act introduced by Senator King (D-ME) and McSally (R-AZ), which are complementary to S. 1593.

Bipartisan highway re-authorization legislation, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, introduced by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WVA) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), was reported by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee before the August Recess.  The bill contains a first-time ever title on climate change  which recognizes that climate change can no longer be ignored in decisions about infrastructure.  Among other things the legislation would:

  • Establish a grant program to strategically deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors that will be accessible to all drivers of electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, and natural gas vehicles;
  • Incorporate the USE IT Act, S.383, which would support carbon utilization and direct air capture research.

 

There is much to be done and the Council is eager to work with the House and Senate in a bipartisan fashion to enact policies that carry forward the momentum on clean energy.  These bipartisan pieces of legislation begin to address the nation’s infrastructure and climate challenges. 

Ruth McCormick is the Director of Federal and State Affairs for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

Rep. Pallone addresses proposed goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 at House subcommittee hearing (July 26, 2019)

Rep. Pallone addresses proposed goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 at House subcommittee hearing

Published on July 26, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski, Daily Energy Insider

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce outlined a process to develop legislation to address climate change this week.

 “Our plan is based on the science. International scientific experts tell us we must invest in clean technologies and initiate an aggressive, economy-wide effort now to achieve this goal. So yesterday we outlined a process for reaching that goal – and that process begins today with this hearing where we will examine the challenges and opportunities that exist for reducing greenhouse gas pollution from the major sectors of our economy,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) said at a subcommittee hearing entitled, Building America’s Clean Future: Pathways to Decarbonize the Economy.

Pallone is spearheading the plan along with Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Paul Tonko (R-NY).

Pallone cited recent reports by U.S. scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the threats of carbon pollution.

“We are already experiencing record flooding, sea level rise, intense wildfires, extended drought, and severe weather events that experts projected would come with increased warming. These events are taking a terrible toll on our communities, and we must act. Transforming our economy is no easy task. There will be costs associated with a transformation of this scope, but the costs of inaction are extremely high and rising,” Pallone said.

He applauded the commitment of 28 global companies, representing a combined market capitalization of $1.2 trillion, who committed to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

“As we will hear from our witnesses, this transformation is challenging, but not impossible. We have many technologies available today that, with wider deployment, can lower carbon and other harmful pollutants in the near term. Some sectors will present greater challenges and will require new technologies and significant investment to reach net zero. We want to reward innovation and the businesses that invest in clean technologies,” Tonko added.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) commended the effort.

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy supports a policy approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is economy-wide, incorporates market-based mechanisms and embraces the full suite of clean energy technologies. Options for a comprehensive policy approach to climate change include carbon pricing measures as well as complementary energy, infrastructure and transportation policies that both reduce emissions and improve our nation’s resilience to climate change,” BCSE President Lisa Jacobson said.

House Committee Calls for Zero Greenhouse Gas Pollution by 2050 (July 24, 2019)

House Committee Calls for Zero Greenhouse Gas Pollution by 2050

Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce plan to introduce comprehensive legislation later this year to deal with climate change.

July 24, 2019
By Randy Showstack, EoS - Earth and Space Science News

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce announced on 23 July that it has adopted an ambitious goal for the United States to achieve a 100% clean economy with zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050.

“The climate crisis is here, and it requires serious federal leadership that’s up for the challenge.” “Communities across the country are suffering from historic flooding, raging wildfires, increasingly severe storms, extreme heat, and persistent droughts,” said committee chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), who appeared at a Tuesday briefing on Capitol Hill to announce the goal. “The climate crisis is here, and it requires serious federal leadership that’s up for the challenge.”

Beginning today, the committee is holding a new series of hearings about climate change, with the initial hearing focusing on pathways to decarbonize the U.S. economy, according to Pallone. Upcoming hearings will focus on reducing industrial and transportation emissions and modernizing the electrical grid, among other topics. The committee also plans to hold stakeholder meetings, call for bipartisan and bicameral support, and introduce climate legislation later this year.

“If we don’t get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Pallone said in explaining the target year, the consequences are “going to be catastrophic.” A 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that limiting global warming this century to 1.5°C would require net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide to be reduced to zero by about 2050.

Pallone compared the committee’s plan to the Green New Deal resolution that was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). He said that the Green New Deal resolution contains many good ideas but added that the committee is trying to develop legislation. “What we are really trying to do here is come up with a united front that is driven by the scientific community,” he said. The ideas that come from the Green New Deal “are things that we certainly want to hear. But the idea is that there would be specific legislation, a comprehensive package.”

The Green New Deal states that reaching net-zero carbon dioxide emissions “should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization.” Other countries, including France, Germany, and Japan, use 2050 as the target date. “We just think that [the 2050] target is more realistic,” Pallone said. “We could develop certain [goals] that have to be met by 2030 or 2040 as well, as part of this 2050 goal.”

 

An Ambitious Goal

“Is 2050 ambitious? Absolutely,” said Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), chair of the Energy Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. He said that moving forward with the committee’s initiative is not only about resolving issues related to the environment and environmental injustice. It’s also a chance “to embrace opportunity” with innovative solutions, he said. “Whoever does that first will be the nation that will be the kingpin in the international economy.”

For many years, “the House ignored climate change, the climate crisis … Because of that, we now have to catch up.”

Tonko said that the country “cannot afford another delay” and that dealing with climate change “demands urgency.” For many years, “the House ignored climate change, the climate crisis,” he said. “Because of that, we now have to catch up.”

He added that Congress needs to be working to address climate change now “so that when there is a force within the White House that accepts the concept of climate change, we can move forward aggressively and resolve the people’s concerns.”

The newly announced plan received support from a number of conservation groups. Sara Chieffo, vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, told Eos that she is excited about the committee’s goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. “We see the Green New Deal as a very important addition to the conversation” about climate change, Chieffo said. The committee’s plan, she said, is about how we “actually make these visionary goals into legislation” and how we do that in an inclusive way so that all stakeholders are heard.

Business Council for Sustainable Energy president Lisa Jacobson said that her group “supports a policy approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is economy-wide, incorporates market-based mechanisms, and embraces the full suite of clean energy technologies.” Options for such an approach “include carbon pricing measures as well as complementary energy, infrastructure, and transportation policies that both reduce emissions and improve our nation’s resilience to climate change.”

“We’ve got to do something by 2050 that gets us to zero carbon emissions. If the president wants to go along with it, fine. If not, we’ll see what happens after the next election.” “I would like to get some of the Republicans on board here, and I’d like to get the president to sign all or some of this legislation that we’re developing” in the committee, Pallone told Eos in an interview. However, he said of the president, “you’re talking about someone who denies that climate change is even human induced and who wants to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

“We’ve got to do something by 2050 that gets us to zero carbon emissions,” Pallone added. “If the president wants to go along with it, fine. If not, we’ll see what happens after the next election.”

—Randy Showstack (@RandyShowstack), Staff Writer

 

Business Council for Sustainable Energy seeks clean energy solutions for FEMA disaster funding (July 17, 2019)

Business Council for Sustainable Energy seeks clean energy solutions for FEMA disaster funding

Published on July 17, 2019 by Chris Galford, Daily Energy Insider

Though encouraged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) adoption of the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) is urging the agency to adopt clean energy infrastructure solutions as part of its broader disaster planning framework.

This request comes as FEMA works to implement the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, which was established under the DRRA. With the various development considerations the new program requires, BCSE wants to see the agency’s perception of preemptive disaster efforts widen to include measures beyond transportation, water, and waste.

“We are pleased to see FEMA move to implement the BRIC program and we encourage its use to help communities across the U.S. to deploy innovative energy programs and infrastructure that is clean and resilient, using readily available renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas, and energy storage technologies,” BCSE President Lisa Jacobson said. “As FEMA implements the BRIC program, and as the Agency funds projects through the program, the Agency should recognize that the energy system is critical infrastructure and that systems in the transportation, water, waste and the built environment overlap significantly with energy.”

BCSE Statement on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Process to Develop Comprehensive Climate Change Legislation (July 23, 2019)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2019

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

BCSE Statement on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Process to Develop Comprehensive Climate Change Legislation

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) commends the leadership of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for outlining a process to develop bipartisan, market-based and economy-wide legislation to address climate change.  In response, BCSE President Lisa Jacobson commented:

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy supports a policy approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is economy-wide, incorporates market-based mechanisms and embraces the full suite of clean energy technologies.  Options for a comprehensive policy approach to climate change include carbon pricing measures as well as complementary energy, infrastructure and transportation policies that both reduce emissions and improve our nation’s resilience to climate change.

“The Council looks forward to working with Chairman Pallone, Congressman Rush and Congressman Tonko as well as the full membership of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as they undertake hearings and develop comprehensive climate change legislation.  Recent hearings and Committee action have demonstrated growing bipartisan interest by committee members that will provide the foundation for this new effort.”

The Council’s Climate Change Policy Principles document is available here.

Download the press release.                                                                                                                                       

BCSE Urges FEMA to Include Clean, Resilient Energy Infrastructure for Disaster Mitigation (July 15, 2019)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 15, 2019
Contact:  Laura Tierney
Email:   ltierney@bcse.org
Office:   202.785.0507

BCSE Urges FEMA to Include Clean, Resilient Energy Infrastructure for Disaster Mitigation

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) submitted comments today to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding the development and implementation of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program under the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA), P L. 115-254. 

BCSE President Lisa Jacobson made the following statement:

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy worked with its business and trade association members and other partners to advocate for enactment of the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA) during the 115th Congress, including the authorization of the six percent set aside of disaster relief funds, which is now to become Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. 

“We are pleased to see FEMA move to implement the BRIC program and we encourage its use to help communities across the U.S. to deploy innovative energy programs and infrastructure that is clean and resilient, using readily available renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas and energy storage technologies.

“As FEMA implements the BRIC program, and as the Agency funds projects through the program, the Agency should recognize that the energy system is critical infrastructure and that systems in the transportation, water, waste and the built environment overlap significantly with energy.”

Please find here the BCSE’s complete comments to FEMA and examples of the types of projects the Council urges FEMA to consider as it develops guidance for project eligibility under the BRIC program. 

Download this press release.