BCSE Quarterly Connection: December 2017
In this issue:
- President’s View: Critical End of Year Tax and Budget Decisions Will Impact Clean Energy Industries
- A Transformational Year for the CEBN
- BCSE Voices Concern Over Energy Pricing Proposals
- Clean Energy Industry Reception at NARUC is a Home Run at Camden Yards
- Business Climate Action Shines at COP 23 in Germany
- BCSE Commits to Work with Virginia as It Considers Joining RGGI
- Help Tell America’s Clean Energy Story: Support the 2018 Factbook
President’s View: Critical End of Year Tax and Budget Decisions Will Impact Clean Energy Industries
As we move into December, all eyes are on Congress and the Trump Administration as they race to complete legislation in areas that directly impact clean energy industries. First, and foremost, is tax reform. The all-out push to enact the most significant tax overhaul in 30 years is underway and, if passed, will include energy and non-energy related provisions that will set the course on interest rates, expensing, deductions, and credits, among other significant business issues. BCSE members have been urging Congress and the administration to retain the solar and wind tax laws as adopted in the PATH Act of 2015 and to reinstate the lapsed tax credits for non-wind Production Tax Credit technologies (biogas, biomass, waste to energy, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic) and non-solar Investment Tax Credit-eligible technologies (fuel cells, combined heat and power, small wind, and geothermal) as well as for energy efficiency and sustainable transportation. If Congress does not address these issues in the tax reform legislation, BCSE is urging Congress to move on an extenders bill before year’s end. The budget allocations for all federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2018 also need to be agreed upon, and face challenges without the adoption of a new budget agreement that removes pre-established spending caps. BCSE called upon Congress to act immediately to resolve the pending issues and to adopt budgets for the Department of Energy, the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency that will provide appropriate funding for programs that work to ensure a safe, secure, reliable, clean and diverse energy system.
A Transformational Year for the CEBN
This year has been transformational for the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN). The network moved from The Pew Charitable Trusts to its new home in the BCSE in May. Over the past half-year, the CEBN has rebranded its identity inside the beltway and across the nation, rolled out exciting new content and services for members, and completed a member-driven strategic planning effort to guide the future of the organization. Read more about 2017 accomplishments and see a sneak peak of what’s in store for 2018 here.
BCSE Members Voice Concern over Energy Pricing Proposals Under Consideration by FERC
In response to direction from the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been asked to consider adopting new and dramatic energy pricing structures for a select group of electricity generators – under an expedited timeline – on grid reliability and resiliency grounds. The Council has long supported updating market rules to better assess and value ancillary and other services to enhance the performance and security of the electric grid. However, the proposal is based on the unsubstantiated view that the US is experiencing a current reliability threat and, based on this premise, the proposal recommends actions without full consideration of the issues involved or the current mechanisms in place at state and regional levels to manage these issues. BCSE submitted its views to FERC in October and awaits a possible mid-December response from FERC on this proposed rulemaking.
Clean Energy Industry Reception at NARUC is a Home Run at Camden Yards
The Designated Hitter’s Lounge at Camden Yards was the venue for the clean energy industry reception BCSE and seven other clean energy organizations hosted during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners meeting on November 12. There was a great view of the ball park as a live three-piece band played throughout the reception. Utility commissioners, commission staff and other NARUC meeting attendees look forward to the clean energy industry reception as a consistent event at the NARUC meetings. In addition to the reception, BCSE hosted a breakfast event during the NARUC meeting at which Florida Utility Commissioner Ronald Brise spoke about his state’s efforts to prepare for and respond to the 2017 hurricanes.
Sue Gander with the National Governors Association also spoke at the BCSE breakfast and Council members had an opportunity to talk about the work they are doing on resiliency. This is the type of event that was envisioned when the BCSE State and Regional Policy Committee committed to working collaboratively with the Federal Policy Committee to identify opportunities to engage with policy makers to identify and advocate for federal efforts and funding to rebuild areas affected by the 2017 disasters with clean, resilient, and energy efficient infrastructure.
For more information on BCSE’s 2017 NARUC activities, see here.
Business Climate Action Shines at COP 23 in Germany
Despite the uncertainty about the U.S. government’s position at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November in Bonn, Germany, the BCSE’s delegation of clean energy companies served as bright ambassadors of U.S. climate action and the power that the transformation of the energy sector can bring. Hosted by the island nation of Fiji, the conference was guided by the spirit of “Bula Vinaka” or warm welcome. COP 23 marked the beginning of the Talanoa Dialogue, which will take stock of global progress towards the long-term vision of the Paris Agreement.
The Council’s delegation and activities at COP 23 demonstrated the important contributions of the private sector in the surging wave of climate action by sub-national actors. A business showcase at the U.S. Climate Action Center included a BCSE-led discussion on energy technology and systems solutions that are delivering emissions reductions and helping create low-carbon pathways.
Additional highlights from the COP 23 include:
- Celebration of the Council’s 25th Anniversary with the presentation of BCSE Distinguished Leadership Awards to Christiana Figueres, Jukka Uosukainen and Jonathan Pershing.
- Sharing of industry views on climate resilience and mitigation at a press event featuring Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, Jupiter Oxygen, Mars, Inc., Jupiter Oxygen Corporation and US Green Building Council. Watch the video.
- Release of Powering Ambition: Clean Energy Solutions for COP 23, a paper that shows how falling technology costs can enable countries to do more.
Additional details on the BCSE’s delegation and full range of events at COP 23 can be found here: www.bcse.org/cop23.
BCSE Commits to Work with Virginia as It Considers Joining RGGI
On November 16, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board unanimously approved a regulation that will enable the Commonwealth to join the Regional Greenhouse Grass Initiative (RGGI). It will now go through a period of executive review by other agencies before being published in the Virginia register. This marks an important milestone in a process that began in May 2016, when Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 57, asking an advisory committee to recommend executive actions he could take to reduce carbon emissions in Virginia.
BCSE reiterated its support for the carbon trading regulation at a meeting with Governor McAuliffe and his staff in Bonn, Germany, during COP 23. The Governor expressed confidence that the regulation would continue to move forward when Governor-Elect Ralph Northam assumes office in January, and hopefulness that the Virginia General Assembly, in which democrats picked up 15 seats, will be supportive of this regulation and other clean energy efforts.
The result of the Executive Order 57 process was Executive Directive 11, which instructed the VA Department of Environmental Quality to formulate a regulation that would enable the state to join a regional emissions trading scheme. BCSE’s comments in support of this process are available here.
When the proposed emissions trading regulation is published in January, BCSE will comment, and will be soliciting the input of interested members in the coming weeks.
Help Tell America’s Clean Energy Story: Support the 2018 Factbook
BCSE, in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, is preparing for a mid-February release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. In its sixth year, the Factbook is a one of a kind resource that shows year on year as well as long term trends in economics and market developments for energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the US. The 2018 issue will be especially important. There is a pressing need to have policy considerations focused on the facts, and there is a threat that some of the dynamics and trends in the sector could be misconstrued or manipulated. The 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook will provide an invaluable tool to communicate the progress made on clean energy and the broader dynamics in US energy markets. Please support this project and become a sponsor today.