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BCSE In Action

BCSE 2017 Fall Newsletter
Quarterly Connection, Vol. 25

2017 Factbook on the Road

BCSE made two high-profile presentations on the Sustainable Energy in American Factbook in recent weeks – underscoring the strong value of this resource to industry and policymakers.

  • On September 16, BCSE President Lisa Jacobson shared the Factbook data at the MN Energy Expo sponsored by MN ASHRAE and the MN Association of Energy Engineers members.
  • As part of National Clean Energy Week, the Factbook was presented at a lunch address to participants at the Washington, DC Symposium.

President's View: Resiliency is the Word of the Day Post 2017 Storms

2O3B0014 (445x640).jpgAs the estimates come in the hundreds of billions of dollars in recovery and rebuilding costs from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, the resiliency of the US energy system, and especially our power system and buildings, becomes a high priority. I was particularly struck by a statement of the City Manager Key West who commented that he rode out hurricane Irma safely in the Key West City Hall, which was built to one of the strongest hurricane-resistant building codes in the country. It has also been noted that Texas’ wind farms were up and running soon after Harvey and combined heat and power and microgrids were also recognized for their value after the storms. The portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy offers enhanced reliability to essential infrastructure with readily-available and affordable technologies. At all levels of government, communities must take heed of the experiences in these storm-impacted areas and plan for a more resilient future.

To start, the federal government should continue to fund its preparedness planning support to states and localities as well as its investment in research, development and deployment of the broad range of clean energy technologies. Congress and the Administration should also push the conversation on improving and enhancing the resiliency of the country’s infrastructure higher on the agenda. BCSE members are making the case that the energy sector is critical infrastructure – and that it serves other critical infrastructure systems – in its issues paper released in January. The 2017 storm season showed how interlinked these systems are and how much our communities and businesses rely on them. Looking forward, the good news is that we have technologies that can provide the resiliency we need by further integration and deployment of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy.

View on COP 23: US Clean Energy Sectors Committed to Climate Action

cop23 logo.pngBCSE members are showing their commitment to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and a significant group will join the BCSE delegation to the upcoming COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, November 6-17. The Council’s work in Bonn will showcase how the expertise and technologies of American clean energy companies are helping cities, states and countries to meet local and national emissions reduction targets, diversify energy portfolios and increase infrastructure resilience. These companies are working with other countries on the implementation of the first round of nationally determined contributions (NDCS). A series of public and private events will be held at COP 23 to connect BCSE members to key country policymakers and other business and civil society leaders that are driving momentum on climate action and raising ambition. To get involved please contact Laura Tierney (ltierney@bcse.org).

Keep the North American Energy Economy Strong

As the United States, Canada and Mexico embarked upon the re-negotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in late summer, the Council highlighted in a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) the current strength of the regional energy economy, and a call to protect the advancements made in this economy of both clean energy and energy productivity over the past twenty-five years. The negotiations will be taking place every three weeks, rotating between the countries, with an eye towards agreement on a NAFTA version 2.0 in December. BCSE will continue to monitor the negotiations, especially as they relate to energy issues.

Energy and Funding Bills Top Agenda for BCSE Hill Outreach

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The Federal Policy Committee has held an aggressive set of meetings over the summer to touch base on the Council’s energy and funding priorities with members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. The working remains intense on appropriations outreach, but with the shift in Congress to focus on tax reform this fall, BCSE will deepen its engagement with the tax writing committees in the House and Senate.

Senators appear to share BCSE’s concerns over the issue of possible impoundment, which would result in federal agencies spending appropriated dollars at the very low funding levels set out in the President’s Budget request rather than at levels intended by Congress. The Senate Appropriations Committee staff – on both sides of the aisle – are committed to providing oversight and have extended an open door invitation to BCSE members to reach out to them in the event there are concerns over the way the Department of Energy, or other agencies, are spending – or choosing not to spend – appropriated dollars.

In the coming weeks the Federal Policy Committee will focus on meetings with House and Senate tax writing committees to discuss possible tax reform legislation and with a number of House and Senate Leadership offices – such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and others – during our October 5 membership meeting to discuss end-of-year business including appropriations, tax reform and energy.

Summer NARUC Outreach Attracts Utility Commissioners From Coast to Coast

Over the summer months, the Council continued outreach to utility commissioners to discuss market access, grid reliability, pipeline safety, transmission and other issues, with events at the Mid-Atlantic Public Utility Commissioners Conference (MACRUC) and the summer annual conference for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Seven commissioners, including Betty Anne Kane (DC), Dallas Winslow (Chair of the DE PUC), Joseph Fiordaliso (NJ), Diane Burman (NY), Gladys Brown (Chair of the PA PUC), Richard Mroz (Chair of the NJ BPU) and Anthony O’Donnell (MD) joined two breakfast meetings at MACRUC in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to share concerns about issues in their states and to learn from BCSE members. As a result of the events, Chair Winslow has suggested BCSE work with him on some additional energy efficiency education at a future MACRUC meeting.

BCSE’s efforts continued with the July NARUC events in San Diego. This included a luncheon with five commissioners - from Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island and the Chief of Staff from the California PUC. Commissioners shared updates on clean energy and sustainability initiatives in their states while BCSE members spoke about the work they are doing. BCSE also organized a very well attended clean energy industry reception with ten partnering organizations as co-sponsors of the event.

In addition to our NARUC work, the Council has been involved over the summer in a number of state specific actions, including submitting comments to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on its proposed emissions trading regulations, and issuing a press statement and letter to key policymakers in support of extension of California’s cap and trade program.

BCSE Engages On Renewable Fuel Standard

This August, the Council participated in EPA’s regulatory process on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with written comments and testimony at the August 1 hearing on the Draft 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard. Along with BCSE members such as the American Biogas Council, Ameresco, Waste Management and others, BCSE’s comments focused on the importance of biogas and renewable natural gas as contributors to America’s diverse energy portfolio. BCSE also highlighted benefit of the RFS for promoting American security and energy independence by placing value on the development of American fuels. The Council encouraged EPA to employ the most accurate methodologies for calculating the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). This includes using current market data that capture the full range of benefits provided by biogas and RNG. The Council cautioned against policies that would rely only on historical data that might not accurately represent the bright future ahead for renewable fuels. BCSE was pleased to join its members and partners in this effort and welcomes suggestions on ways to engage further.

News from the Clean Energy Business Network

It has been four months since the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) moved from The Pew Charitable Trusts to become an independent initiative of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).  The CEBN is now fully operational and has launched a member-driven strategic planning effort to shape the priorities for the organization over the next two years.

Consider joining the CEBN today, and promoting this resource to your staff, business partners, suppliers, and other colleagues! The CEBN makes it easy for business leaders around the nation to stay informed and engaged in energy policy issues, works to increase public and policymaker awareness of clean energy solutions, and offers resources to help members address common business challenges. Learn more about this new addition to the BCSE family.