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BCSE In Action

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BCSE 2017 Winter Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 23

President’s View: Clean Energy Wins for America by Lowering Energy Costs, Spurring Economic Growth and Creating Jobs

2O3B0014 (445x640).jpgThe BCSE was proud to release the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook this month in partnership with analytic firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  The fifth issue of the Factbook makes clear that energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy are the growth sectors of the US energy economy and, for over two decades, are where utilities, corporations and households are placing their investment dollars.  This long-term and structural trend has re-shaped the US energy landscape. US clean energy industries are supporting over 3 million jobs around the country, and businesses and consumers are benefiting from low energy prices. Specifically, did you know that in 2016 households spent the lowest amount of their share of income on energy expenses on record? This is a remarkable fact and is coupled with the US being one of the most attractive markets for businesses to invest based on its low energy prices.  BCSE members will be telling the story of this clean energy transformation and its benefits for the US economy to policymakers at state, federal and international levels.  To learn more, please see the 2017 Factbook website.

BCSE Offers Federal Energy Infrastructure Priorities

iStock-525481930.jpgWith infrastructure issues playing a prominent role on the Presidential campaign trail, the Trump Administration and Congress will be looking to develop a federal infrastructure proposal this Congress. This brings with it a significant opportunity to upgrade the nation’s energy system while creating jobs and making natural gas infrastructure and the electric grid stronger and more resilient. Fundamental to the conversation on infrastructure is the recognition that the energy sector not only serves as critical infrastructure, but also powers all other critical infrastructure sectors. As such, spurring energy system investments and improving regulatory frameworks to consider needed infrastructure projects should be top of mind.

BCSE has released an infrastructure principles paper to kick start the discussions.  Read the full paper here.

Active Hill Schedule To Center on Infrastructure and Appropriations in 2017

BCSE Federal Policy Committee members have been meeting regularly with policy makers in Washington, in anticipation of 2017 administrative and congressional action on BCSE priority issues such as energy budgets, tax reform, infrastructure legislation, and energy policy. The initial focus has been on meeting with staff of members of the House and Senate appropriations committees, tax writing committees, and energy committees. The Federal Policy Committee has been sharing the BCSE infrastructure paper, and since its release on February 8, the Committee has been widely distributing the 2017 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook as part of our congressional meetings and in briefings for congressional staff. Two Factbook briefings were held on the same day, for staff of the House and Senate Energy Committees and other briefings are in the planning stages for the House Natural Resources Committee, the House Natural Gas Caucus, the Sustainable Energy and Efficiency Caucus, and others.

The Federal Policy Committee has been reaching out to stakeholders, as well, to share findings from the Factbook and to discuss infrastructure priorities.  President Trump has pledged a bold infrastructure plan, but details have not been announced. The Council has met with representatives of the Trump Transition Team and the Federal Policy Committee and State Policy Committee held a joint meeting with energy officials around the county, and staff from the National Association of State Energy Officials, to explore shared infrastructure priorities and opportunities for collaboration.

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Much work remains to be done as details take shape in Washington about tax reform, infrastructure and appropriations legislation.  The Senate schedule will be consumed for the time being with confirmation of cabinet secretaries, while in the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee is holding oversight hearings on the Federal Power Act and the Clean Air Act to educate members about these statutes. Meanwhile, the Ways and Means Energy Tax Working Group, chaired by Congressman Tom Reed of New York, is working to develop a technology-neutral approach to energy taxes.  The Federal Policy Committee will continue to meet with members to share information and deepen relationships in order to serve as a resource throughout this process.

BCSE Promotes Clean Energy Message in States

While there is some uncertainty about the path forward for sustainable energy at the federal level, many states remain committed to clean energy targets and energy savings measures. The BCSE State Education Project acts as a resource to these states by providing information and resources to policymakers and stakeholders. For the third year, BCSE’s outreach focuses on Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. As these states work to identify and achieve their own clean energy goals, BCSE has met with policymakers and held briefings to share the clean energy business perspective and provide an opportunity for BCSE members to share unique perspectives from each sector.

In order to ensure that BCSE provides up to date resources to state policymakers and partners, the Council worked with Bloomberg New Energy Finance to update the State Clean Energy Factsheets (available here: MNNVPAVA) at the beginning of 2017. These Factsheets have proved a helpful resource for BCSE members and policymakers alike; staff at various state agencies have remarked on the usefulness of the Factsheet, and members have used the Factsheet in independent meetings. The State Education Project will continue through at least April of this year, and will continue to be a resource for state governments as they craft their energy agendas.

Clean Energy Industry Reception for Utility Commissioners Draws Record Support

Utility commissioners from across the country networked with clean energy industry representatives at the clean energy industry reception, co-hosted by BCSE and held during the Winter Committee meetings of the National Association Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Washington, DC in February.

Commissioners from the following states were in attendance: Arkansas, CAMPUT (the national Canadian utility regulators organization), Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington.

Twelve clean energy organizations helped sponsor the reception, which is a record number since clean energy industries first banded together to support the NARUC effort several years ago.  BCSE helped organize the collaborative effort, which was co-sponsored by the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA), the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA),the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), CERES, Community Solar Access, the Energy Storage Association (ESA), Grid Wise Alliance, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

In addition to the Sunday night reception, on the Tuesday of the NARUC meeting, BCSE presented information about the 2017 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook to members of the NARUC Energy Resources and Environment (ERE) Committee. The Council has been invited back to provide a more detailed Factbook briefing during the ERE Committee monthly call in March.

Industry Groups Highlight the More than 3 Million Clean Energy Jobs

clean_energy_jobs_thunderclap copy (2).pngLast week, BCSE joined national business groups representing the range and breadth of clean energy companies in the United States in a social media campaign showing that clean energy supports more than 3 million American jobs. That’s equal to the employment of retail stores across the country, and double the number of jobs involved in construction of buildings. This is based on 2016 data recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy and includes:

  • Nearly 2 million workers making buildings, appliances and other products more energy efficient, saving money for families and businesses
  • More than 600,000 workers involved with clean power generation, including biomass, biogas, fuel cells, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, natural gas, solar, waste-to-energy, and wind
  • 100,000 workers in advanced grid technologies, including energy storage, and another 100,000 workers in biofuels
  • In addition, advanced transportation, including hybrid, electric, and fuel cell vehicles, support 200,000 more jobs

By multiple measures this campaign was a success, reaching nearly 2 million individuals, with the Twitter hashtag #CleanEnergyJobs appearing in Washington, D.C. trends multiple times on February 22. Nearly 1000 people participated, including policymakers, companies, and other influencers, while Green Career Advisor, a recruiting firm, noted it saw a spike in traffic due to the initiative.

The press release for the campaign was covered by no less than 166 news websites, (representing an audience of an estimated 11 million), including Renewable Energy World and CleanTechnica. A big thank you goes out to all the partners in the campaign including Advanced Energy Economy, ACORE, AJW Inc., the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, Energy Storage Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

US Business Stays at Table on Climate Talks

With the new Administration and Secretary of State now in place, the Council is working to convey its continued commitment to international action on climate and clean energy.   BCSE will attend the upcoming inter-sessional meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany from May 8-18.  Maintaining a presence and engagement at the UNFCCC and in the Paris Agreement is important to US clean energy industries in order to both protect US business interests and grow economic opportunities. The global market for renewable energy and energy smart technologies, where $287 billon in new investment occurred in 2016, will continue to expand as countries begin to implement their national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement.  American companies are already invested and deploying clean energy technologies in many of these countries, and having a “seat at the table” is a top priority to ensure continued access.

8th Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, China: June 6-8

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The 8th Clean Energy Ministerial and 2nd Mission Innovation Ministerial will be held in Beijing, China.  The annual meeting of energy ministers and other high-level delegates from the 24 member countries and the European Union will provide an opportunity to leverage high-level political will and private sector leadership to drive ambitious, real-world clean energy policies and actions.

The vision for the ministerial is to:

  • Demonstrate and celebrate the “Revolution Now” of rapidly decreasing costs and increasing deployment of clean energy technologies and the national and global value propositions of economic opportunity, health and welfare, and energy security of the transition to modern, clean, and efficient energy.
  • Deepen and broaden government participation and leadership in the CEM forum to drive greater progress in the global clean energy transformation.
  • Strengthen action-oriented partnerships and collaborations with international organizations, business and industry, foundations, and others with aligned interests to raise the overall impact of all efforts.
  • Launch new, high-impact CEM campaigns that tap into globally relevant and timely clean energy areas and that encourage concrete commitments from all CEM member governments, the private sector, and other partners.

This year’s summit will include a Clean Energy Technology Exhibition, Innovation Theater, Public-Private Action Summit and side events.   For more information please visit the CEM8 website.