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BCSE In Action

BCSE 2017 Spring Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 24

President’s View: BCSE Marks 25th Anniversary with New Clean Energy Business Network Partnership

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Twenty-seventeen has had an exciting start. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy kicked off its 25th Anniversary this year with our annual Clean Energy Forum in March that featured participation by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources.  Senator Murkowski praised the Council and noted that the partnership of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy industries has stood the test of time and influenced significant federal policy decisions. The Council recently announced a new partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Business Network. Starting in May, the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) has become part of the Council – adding an established network of over 3,000 small and medium sized business leaders spanning all 50 states representing all aspects of the clean energy economy.  This partnership will give the clean energy industry a stronger, more unified voice in our nation’s capital and throughout the country.

Thomas Wathen, Vice President, Environment Americas Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said, “Pew is proud to have partnered with these entrepreneurs and seen first-hand how influential their efforts to promote the benefits of clean energy businesses have become. Moving the network to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will foster greater opportunities for CEBN members by expanding the size, reach, and strategic capabilities of both business organizations.”

Lynn Abramson, who has managed the CEBN at Pew since July 2013, is serving as Executive Director of the Clean Energy Business Network. Over the coming months, the CEBN will launch a survey and dialogues with BCSE and CEBN members to assess their policy priorities, current and prospective new services of interest, and opportunities to promote more networking. This will inform the development of a new strategic plan and governance structure for the CEBN that enables greater member engagement.

BCSE Reaffirms Commitment to International Action on Climate Change

istock_000007233892xsmall.jpgThe Council was an early voice in the symphony of statements by corporate America urging the Administration to stay-in the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in an April letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and in a May letter to President Trump and other Cabinet Secretaries and Senate leaders.  The Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement leaves American companies with a diminished voice in the inter-governmental process, especially in key areas such as transparency, market development and protection of intellectual property rights.

American companies are leaders in the global clean energy marketplace, a marketplace whose growth is fueled by a combination of falling technology costs, key policies and the global commitment to take action on climate change.  Leadership by the U.S. government in the UNFCCC to date has created a framework that is inclusive of all countries, mandates transparent reporting of actions and protects the innovation and investments of American companies. International engagement has also benefited the economic interests of American businesses and the US economy.

The Council and its members remain resolute in their commitment to taking action on climate change, and will continue to work with the inter-governmental process as well as other national and sub-national governments to advance policies that accelerate the deployment of American clean energy technologies and business solutions that at the heart of the modern infrastructure of the global, low-carbon economy.

BCSE Members Make Case to Restore Critical Federal Investments

capitol_day_213x160_resize.pngBCSE is engaging with other clean energy stakeholders to challenge deep budget cuts as the FY2018 appropriations bills move through Congress.  As anticipated, the Administration’s budget, which was released in late May, proposed significant cuts to programs of interest to members of the BCSE, including cuts at DOE, EPA and international climate finance programs.  The Council submitted congressional testimony to highlight the value of these programs to taxpayers and is meeting with key appropriators regularly to make the case for continued support.

The Department of Energy faces steep cuts in the offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, including the elimination of the ARPA-E, State Energy, Weatherization Assistance, and Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Loan programs.  Cuts to EPA include the elimination of the EnergySTAR and voluntary climate programs among others.

The Council believes significant cuts to, or elimination of, key DOE and EPA programs could undermine job creation and the goal to modernize the country’s aging energy infrastructure.

Market Access, Grid Infrastructure and Reliability Top BCSE Agenda for Outreach with Utility Commissioners

BCSE members are reaching out to utility commissioners to discuss market access, grid reliability, pipeline safety, and transmission issues. Utility commissioners from the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia are scheduled to attend two BCSE breakfast sessions at the June 25-28 Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) in Hershey, Pennsylvania to discuss these issues in the PJM region. In addition to these small group breakfast meetings, the Council will sponsor a photographer at the MACRUC President’s Installation dinner on Tuesday evening. From July 16-19, the Council will participate in the Summer Policy Summit of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in San Diego. The Council will join with other clean energy industry organizations to host a clean energy industry reception on Sunday evening.

The reception will be held in a dining room overlooking the San Diego marina. Reception cosponsors include: AWEA, SEIA, AEE, Gridwise Alliance, AEMA, NEMA, CalSEIA,  ACORE , CERES and BCSE. The Council will also hold a breakfast session with commissioners and BCSE members on Tuesday of that week.  For further information, or to get involved in BCSE’s NARUC activities, please contact Ruth McCormick.

Clean Energy Businesses and States Jointly Address Infrastructure Priorities

The BCSE’s Federal Policy Committee has been collaborating with state organizations to identify areas of mutual interest on infrastructure needs and joint outreach to Congress. The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to mark up their first cut at infrastructure legislation before the July recess. The Council’s top infrastructure priorities include BCSE’s budget priorities as well as issues around permit streamlining and financing energy efficiency in buildings. Even with electric and natural gas utilities spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually on infrastructure, a large funding gap still exists.  To address this gap, the public and private sectors must work together to update market rules and to establish modern policy frameworks. Competitive market structures that facilitate long-term planning and infrastructure investment and maintaining support for energy efficiency must also be included.

Federal Policy Committee members have been meeting regularly with House Energy and Power Subcommittee members to discuss the Council’s infrastructure priorities. In addition, key congressional staff have been invited to join BCSE’s upcoming Federal Policy Committee meetings throughout the mark up process.

Making the Business Case for Energy Efficiency at 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8)

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BCSE will have a delegation of clean energy executives at the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), June 6-8, in Beijing China. The BCSE will host a side event “Making the Business Case for Investing in Energy Efficiency, Productivity and Management” on June 6 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm at the China National Convention Center Room 208AB, featuring executives from the Alliance to Save Energy, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, Philips Lighting, Schneider Electric, United Technologies Corporation and the U.S. Green Building Council.  The CEM8 brings together energy ministers from 24 countries, and the United States will be represented by Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Key States Drive Clean Energy Deployment and Emissions Reductions

As new energy policies are under consideration in state legislatures, the Council and its members have met with high level policymakers and administration staff in Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The focus of the discussions has been to share data from the 2017 Factbook and State Factsheets as well as discuss policy best practices.  As these states conclude various Clean Power Plan processes, they remain committed to crafting their own clean energy goals. Minnesota’s legislature will consider a 50% by 2030 RPS in the 2018 session; Nevada’s legislature has passed two pieces of legislation that re-establishes a net metering scheme and increases the RPS to 50% by 2030; Pennsylvania is seeing a lot of support for Commercial PACE in this session and its PUC has initiated a proceeding on alternative ratemaking; and Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe recently initiated a regulatory process to curb carbon emissions from power plants, with a view toward creating trading ready RECs.

In its state outreach, the BCSE has met with state energy offices, governors’ staffs, and public utility commission staff and commissioners. Energy officials in these states have come to rely on the Factbook and Factsheet data provided, and now view BCSE members as resources for clean energy technology information for their energy and carbon reduction goals.

As BCSE’s Clean Power Plan-centered project comes to a close, the Council will continue to engage with these four states and maintain the relationships that have been built over the last three years. BCSE updates on state-specific clean energy activities will continue.