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BCSE In Action

BCSE Quarterly Connection: April 2018

In this issue:

President’s View: Clean Energy Industries Provide Significant Resilience and Reliability to the US Energy System

With increased focus on managing physical and cyber risks to the energy system, grid reliability and resilient buildings and infrastructure are paramount.  In 2018, BCSE will initiate a strategic dialogue on resilient and reliable energy infrastructure to define the role that clean energy technologies play in providing these essential services and to identify measures that can be taken to drive investment and deployment.  Whether it be federal infrastructure proposals under consideration by the Trump Administration and Congress, proceedings under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or state or city level actions, the Council will work with its broad-based membership to help policymakers improve grid reliability and preparedness in the public and private sectors.  This new strategic dialogue will provide an important engagement platform for Council members to share expertise as well as develop and implement advocacy strategies.

2018 Factbook Shows Gains in Clean Energy Deployment and Jobs, Low Energy Prices and Declining Emissions

BCSE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance released the sixth edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in mid-February with bold headlines. Specifically, the 2018 Factbook showed that expanded deployment of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy generated economic benefits without requiring increases in energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. Further, continued declining technology and fuel costs resulted in households spending the smallest proportion of their annual budgets on energy and electricity costs since the early 1960s. The Factbook data affirms that growth of sustainable energy industries contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation, and the expansion of the American economy. BCSE and its members have been sharing the Factbook findings with a wide range of policymaker audiences in Washington, DC, including Trump Administration officials and congressional leaders as well as state policymakers though NARUC and NASEO forums. BCSE has also taken the Factbook on the road and has held briefings in Minneapolis and Oklahoma City. Looking ahead, BCSE is planning outreach events in New York City and Sacramento this spring. A full list of outreach activities can be found here.

Talanoa Dialogue: Clean Energy Actions for Climate Ambition

The BCSE is taking part in a new initiative under the UN Climate Change process – the Talanoa Dialogue. The dialogue is aimed at enhancing the long-term ambition of countries to tackle climate change. Under the leadership of the Delegation of Fiji, the current President of the UN climate negotiations, governments and civil society will embrace the practice of “Talanoa,” sharing stories, building empathy and making wise decisions for the collective good. The Talanoa asks countries and stakeholders around the world to consider three questions related to climate action, “Where are we? Where do we want to go? and How do we get there?”

The Council’s written submission highlights the progress of the U.S. energy transformation and the policy, financing and partnership tools that have enabled this shift to cleaner and more efficient energy resources.  It showcases how U.S. companies have made significant progress on their climate commitments and are leading the way with innovative new projects.  In telling this story, the Council’s aim is for countries to see that the technology tools and policy experiences already exist to help reduce emissions in the energy sector, and that greater ambition can be pursued when policy actions embrace a broad portfolio of clean energy solutions and include partnership and consultation with the private sector.

For more information and to see other submissions, visit www.talanoadialogue.com.

The Council will attend the Bonn Climate Change Conference, April 30 – May 10th, and the first in-person Talanoa Dialogue workshop will be held on May 6.

Save the Date: Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, CA, September 12-14

The Council plans to lead a delegation to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which will convene sub-national actors – representatives of cities, states, regions, business, civil society, academia and other stakeholders – from around the world on September 12-14 in San Francisco, California. The purpose of GCAS is to showcase climate action and inspire deeper commitments from national governments, and each other, in support of the Paris Agreement.

The Summit is hosted by California Governor Jerry Brown, and co-chaired by Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra.  In preparation for the California Summit, the We Are Still Coalition will launch an action campaign for current and new signatories to join on April 22.

Congress Gives Boost to Critical Energy and Environmental Programs in 2018 Spending Package

BCSE saw positive results from its advocacy efforts to secure funding and specific program level support for clean energy initiatives at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill that passed Congress at the end of March. The bill provided more limited State Department allocations to international climate change bodies and prohibits funding for the Green Climate Fund, but continues its Energy Bureau efforts.

The funding package rejected the deep cuts proposed in the Administration’s FY 2018 budget request, and instead provides:

  • An increase of nearly $1.5 billion in Department of Energy clean energy programs compared to the prior fiscal year
  • Increased funding for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (+14%), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (+16%), Office of Science (+16%), and Office of Fossil Energy (+10%)
  • Continued support for DOE’s CHP Technical Assistance Partnership Program
  • Stable funding for the Environmental Protection Agency

BCSE now turns attention to the FY 2019 Appropriations bill. BCSE has submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will do the same for the House Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.

BCSE has also been meeting with members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to discuss our funding priorities and to share information from the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook and the Clean Energy Business Network’s Faces Behind the Facts, which tells the stories of business leaders working across renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas industries. The Faces project also features examples of how federal programs have helped launch successful business ventures and provide solutions that work for American consumers and taxpayers.  The companion documents demonstrate how U.S., federal investments have helped pave the way for technology improvements and cost declines in the energy sector.

The full Omnibus bill text can be found here. The Senate summary of the bill can be found here, and the House summary can be found here.

Utility Commissioners and Staff Share Interest in Clean Energy Market Trends

A panel of BCSE members has been providing information to utility commissioners and staff about clean energy market trends from the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. BCSE was invited to present information from the Factbook to the NARUC Natural Gas Staff Subcommittee at their Winter Policy Summit in Washington, DC in February and again in early April during one of its monthly conference calls. BCSE has also been invited to update commissioners on the Energy Resources and Environment Committee during a conference call in May.

In addition to sharing the facts, BCSE joined other clean energy industries to co-host a February reception for commissioners, staff, and other attendees at the NARUC Winter Policy Summit in Washington, DC. Other receptions and events are being planned for the mid-Atlantic regional meeting in June and the NARUC Summer Policy Summit in Phoenix in July.  For more information about how you can participate in these events, please contact Ruth in the Council’s offices.

BCSE Engages as EPA Moves on Multiple Regulatory Fronts

As part of the 2018 Clean Energy Forum, BCSE hosted Bill Wehrum, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA. Mr. Wehrum outlined areas of focus for the Air Office, including proposed rules to repeal and replace the Clean Power Plan, revisiting New Source Review Program regulations, and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Since that meeting, EPA has also indicated it will reopen the midterm evaluation of Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards. BCSE will engage in some form on each of these topics, and looks forward to its Clean Air Subcommittee meeting on April 12 where the Council’s EPA outreach will be discussed. BCSE’s most recent comments on the proposed replacement of the CPP are available here.