On March 5, BCSE President Lisa Jacobson was invited to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) at a Hearing to Examine the Electricity Sector in a Changing Climate.
In the first climate change-related hearing held by the Committee since 2012, and the first hearing under the leadership of new Ranking Member Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa presented the Council’s view on the rapidly changing energy landscape in America and showcased the findings of the 2019 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. Committee Chairman Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) closed the hearing with a pledge to continue to foster a bipartisan dialogue around climate change that is focused on the technology solutions of today and tomorrow, and that the SENR Committee will be “leading and leaning in” on this discussion.
In her exchange with Senators on the Committee, Ms. Jacobson highlighted:
On research, development and deployment: The importance of the continued appropriation of federal funds to support research, development and deployment through various offices of the Department of Energy, including the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Office of Fossil Fuels, Office of Electricity and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).
On complementary energy policies: The need for federal policies to align with actions already underway at the state and local levels and by the private sector; and to align policies with private sector investment cycles. Other potential policy areas of relevance to deployment of clean energy include improvements to electric and natural gas infrastructure, grid modernization, cyber security, promotion of the use of building codes and standards and streamlining of siting and permitting processes. Lisa also highlighted the value and cost-effectiveness of utilization of energy savings performance contracts in public buildings.
On climate policy: Ms. Jacobson remarked on the potential of market-based mechanisms to address greenhouse gas emissions. For additional detail please see the Council’s Climate Change Policy Principles.
On tax policy: It has been an important driver that directs investment in clean energy. In the short-term a need to restore expired tax credits for energy efficiency and the non-wind Production Tax Credit technologies (hydropower, waste to energy, biomass, biogas and geothermal). In response to Senator Wyden (D-OR)’s mention of his proposed tax legislation, Clean Energy for America Act, BCSE welcomed the opportunity to comment on this proposal.
The witness panel, included the following experts:
- The Honorable Joseph T. Kelliher, Executive Vice President, Federal Regulatory Affairs, NextEra Energy (see testimony)
- Kenneth Medlock, James A. Baker, III and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy Research and Economics, Senior Director, Center for Energy Studies, Rice University (see testimony)
- Ethan Schutt, Chief of Staff, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (see testimony)
- Susan F. Tierney, Senior Advisor, Analysis Group, Inc. (see testimony)