Access to Clean Energy is Already in the Palm of Your Hand
September 27, 2018

By Todd Meyers

The Daily Caller

 

During National Clean Energy Week, much of the focus will be on how to increase the supply of renewable energy from sources like wind and solar. Some will use the week to advocate for subsidies for politically favored industries. The first step, however, should be to look to the market to make the most of the energy we have — technologies that allow us to do more with less — and give people the option of choosing renewables voluntarily rather than using government mandates.

But accessing renewable energy is as close as the palm of our hand. Thanks to smartphones and personal technology, we have more access to renewable energy and conservation than ever before.

Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the inventor of microfinance, one said, “When I see a problem, I don’t wait for government, I start a business.” That’s the thinking behind Smartphone Environmentalism; it means we can take action now. Thanks to smartphones, we now have a wide diversity of options, whether your priority is saving money or cutting your carbon footprint.

The easiest way to access renewables is to buy it on the open market. Companies like the Bonneville Environmental Foundation sell renewable energy credits (REC) for the energy you use. Although the electrons don’t go to your house, a REC is like putting money in a bank. You don’t get the same cash out of an ATM that you put in, but the balance of money — or renewables — increases each time you deposit.

For those who want a more tangible connection to renewable energy, there are new options. Drift is an energy supplier in New York that connects buyers with renewable power producers in a local market. Each month they can show you exactly where the energy you used came from — whether hydro, solar, nuclear, etc.

Some believe government regulation is needed to provide renewable energy, but Drift and other innovations, like the Brooklyn Microgrid, are a success in New York because the market is deregulated.

Although Drift’s offices are located in Seattle, a city with a deeply green reputation, they don’t offer their product in Washington state because regulation precludes it. The opportunities being created by technology and markets are outstripping the ability of politicians to keep up.

Although much of the clean energy focus is on renewables, the cleanest kilowatt-hour is the one you don’t use. Conservation has played a tremendous role in reducing CO2 emissions over the past decade. Since 2010, the economy has seen double-digit growth, but retail sales of electricity have actually declined by two percent.

There are a growing number of smartphone tools that let us save energy and money.

As I type this, I can see that my house is using 460 watts of energy and that my washing machine was running earlier. A phone app and monitor called Sense allows me to track my electricity use in real time. I installed a small box in my electrical panel that connects it to my home’s wifi system. I can track when and how much I use electricity, daily, monthly, or yearly. I can set my own conservation goals and Sense will warn me when I am using more than expected.

Tracking home electricity use, however, is not for everyone. I’m an energy analyst, and even I don’t monitor my use every day. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) can help.

The Nest thermostat uses AI to help keep your house comfortable, using parameters that you set, and you don’t have to monitor it daily. It can tell when you are out of the house and find ways to save you money. Now, Nest is partnering with energy providers to cut your energy use at peak demand, when energy costs are highest. Using its Rush Hour Rewards program, you can agree to let your Nest adjust the temperature setting during peak demand and it does the work. You can receive a savings of up to $60 during the summer.

The best way to reduce our energy use and help the environment is to take the power out of the hands of politicians who often value what sounds good versus what is effective at helping the environment and put it into — quite literally — the hands of people, using smartphones. By offering a diversity of options, people can act without waiting for government.

This National Clean Energy Week, you can buy 100 percent renewables. You can conserve energy. You can save money and reduce environmental impact. Thanks to the smartphones and personal technology, we have more options than ever, every week of the year.

Todd Myers is the Environmental Director at the Washington Policy Center in Seattle, and serves on the board of the American Conservation Coalition, a national organization promoting conservative environmental policy.


Conservative principles are not incompatible with climate concerns
September 27, 2018

By Danielle Butcher

The Hill

 

Economic and national security issues have long been understood as pillars of the conservative ideology. To the dismay of those across the aisle, this focus occasionally makes it difficult to engage in productive conversations that lean toward the social side of policy — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Although it may be true that there is a certain conservative attention on the economy and national defense, that focus does not mean conservatives must exclusively address topics within their scope. Those who wish to participate in bipartisan discussions should view this direct concern as an opportunity to open dialogues addressing challenges such as climate in an unconventional, yet powerful way.

While many will claim that conservatives are apathetic to environmental issues, records tell a different story. In fact, traditionally, conservatives have led on environmental issues, enacting smart, effective policy to protect our nation’s natural beauty and to responsibly manage our precious resources.

From establishing the National Park Service over 100 years ago to current legislation like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, Republicans have proven their past and present commitment to sound environmental policy. The general narrative, however, does not reflect this leadership — no doubt in part due to the GOP’s longstanding refusal to embrace clean energies.

Perhaps GOP skepticism was warranted, or at least understandable, at the outset of renewable energies development. After all, early stage wind subsidies and bailouts to solar companies such as Solyndra have been far from conservative, and renewables have only recently broken through as a truly competitive force in the marketplace. However, as these technologies have continued to develop and the private sector has continued to innovate, challenges including battery storage and grid reliability have become more and more obsolete. Wind subsidies fell by 80 percent in just three years. Despite the fallen subsidies, wind power capacity has seen a 1,700 percent increase since 2001. The expansion is rapid, and renewable energy is now creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.

The same challenges that caused conservatives to raise their noses to clean energy can now be applauded as prime examples of what conservatives like to see in the economy: breakthrough innovations, market-driven competition, and consumer choice. Obvious economic benefits aside, renewable energy is also able to offer a unique approach to energy independence, and maybe more importantly, national security. Indeed, the green energy we see today is in no way the same technologies we saw break into the scene 20 years ago.

Self-sufficiency is one of many things to highlight about renewables, which should be of particular interest to the right. In few other sectors do we have the opportunity to pursue American independence the way we do through a diverse and reliable energy portfolio. A superb example of clean energy development that is scalable enough to power the nation is nuclear energy, which is the largest carbon-free fuel source and accounts for almost 10 percent of the country’s energy consumption. If we better leverage nuclear by opening up energy markets, promoting research and development, breaking down barriers, and investing in waste storage, this number could drastically increase. Not only is this energy emissions-free, but it is also domestic, American made energy that will leverage our independence.

As an ideology that prioritizes national security, clean energy should be seen as a major key in lowering emissions and maintaining our strong military presence. While the connection is not immediately apparent, it is important to remember the threat that global climate trends present to our national defense. According to the Department of Defense, nearly half of U.S. military sites are threatened by major changes linked to climate change. Storms, droughts, famines, flooding, and sea level rise all provide unpredictable environments for military operations, and their impacts are often costly — at the american taxpayer’s expense. These changes pose immediate risks, and will cause broad impacts on the way the United States’ military is able to prepare for and carry out their missions. Threats of climate change also cost millions to taxpayers across the country. For example, the California National Guard, a branch meant to be part-time, has worked almost around the clock fighting massive forest fires and saving Californians from them in recent years. California droughts can be attributed to changes in climate and weather patterns.

Domestic threats aside, internationally climate changes may influence humanitarian crises, destabilize developing countries, disrupt trade, and enable political violence. The effects of climate trends are widespread and not always immediately identifiable — but no less real.

While only 40 percent of Americans may believe that global climate change is a threat to their country, experts tend to disagree: Retired Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, who served as deputy executive secretary to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Les Aspin, says national security and climate change aren’t two separate issues. “Defense plans did include climate change,” he says of his time at the Pentagon.

Climate scientists agree by majority that human influence is rapidly affecting our atmosphere. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has found that several greenhouse gases are responsible for climate trends, and humans emit them in a variety of ways — most notably from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, production plants, and electricity generation.

Cheney, now CEO of the American Security Project has also noted the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review published in February “address[es] climate change as a long term threat that will create other threats to our stability here in this country, and will create instability worldwide.”

As the U.S. military views climate change to be one of our largest global threats, conservatives should view this as a circumstance in which they are able to embrace a solution they once shunned. Through innovation and competition, the clean energy market has grown into a force of the future — one that will inevitably play a crucial role in securing American independence. This National Clean Energy Week, it’s time for conservatives to once again be champions for our environment.

Danielle Butcher is the chief operating officer for the American Conservation Coalition.

Commentary: Maryland’s clean energy industry has made great strides
September 27, 2018

 

National Clean Energy Week, happening now, provides a good opportunity to shine a light on our state’s significant achievements. The growth of Maryland’s clean energy sector is creating well-paying job opportunities, increasing the resiliency of our grid and facilitating rate stability – and improving our air quality, which benefits human and environmental health.

A look at recent data indicates that implementing clean energy policies over the past few decades, combined with public and private investments to adopt clean energy products, services and technologies, are benefiting Marylanders in many ways.

 

Providing jobs 

First, the energy economy is providing jobs. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that between 2013 and 2017, total employment in this sector increased by 10,961 jobs. That led to an increase in overall annual earnings of all workers in the energy sector from $8.067 billion to approximately $10.418 billion, with weekly earnings seeing a similar exponential increase.

The U.S. Department of Energy “2017 U. S. Energy and Employment Report” identified more than 26,000 jobs benefitting Marylanders related to electric power generation, transmission, distribution and storage. According to the report, Maryland has more than 67,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sector; this includes construction, HVAC, lighting, insulation and advanced materials. More than 26,000 more Maryland jobs are a result of developments in electric vehicles and other non-fossil fuel driven transportation technologies.

 

Improving the grid 

We’re also improving our electricity grid. When the power is out, our economy stalls, our communities are less safe and we are less comfortable in our homes or workplace. Consumers benefit from an efficient, reliable and secure power grid that uses innovative energy technologies. Distributed energy resources and storage options can promote resiliency and minimize losses through rapid disaster response.

Maryland ranks 4th in the nation for grid modernization, according to The GridWise Alliance, an industry association that examines state by state efforts to support modernization of the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution system to maintain a reliable and secure energy infrastructure network. But there is more to be done to ensure our state benefits from an efficient, resilient and secure power grid well into the future.

 

More affordable 

In addition, evolving renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, demand management and storage technologies are becoming more affordable to adopt.

There are currently more than 975 megawatts of solar generation assets deployed in the state which annually generate more than 1300 gigawatts of clean affordable power available to Maryland ratepayers. Solar energy technology is becoming accessible to a broader spectrum of ratepayers, regardless of income and geography with the implementation of community solar and various energy subscriber power purchase models.

Offshore and land-based wind generation, on line now and anticipated for development in the future, is also creating jobs and related business development as the associated supply chain and need for services expand.

Clean energy benefits in our homes and offices are helping consumers improve residential and commercial building efficiency, resulting in lower utility bills and operational costs.

Enhanced building performance can also lead to improved indoor air quality. With buildings consuming nearly half of all energy produced in the United States, advancement in technology and materials, building codes, and financial rebates and incentives will provide a wide range of options for both building retrofits and new construction projects.

Other innovations include biomass energy projects, which are reducing the need for landfills and could help to address other waste management challenges as well as electric vehicles and transportation solutions that literally driving changes in one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Reducing energy use, pollution

Overall, Maryland is reducing our energy use and impacts of unhealthy air pollutants. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently ranked Maryland in the top 10 states in an evaluation of progress on efficiency policies and programs that save energy while benefiting the environment and promoting growth.

All this good news for the economy and energy innovation is are also good for the environment and human health.

We encourage all Marylanders to learn more about how you use energy, make smart choices about your power supply, and support policies and investments to continue making Maryland a leader in the evolving clean energy economy.

As part of National Clean Energy Week, we invite you to listen to a podcast series, which highlights clean energy technologies critical to Maryland’s economy and energy infrastructure at www.mptypodcast.com.

 

I. Katherine Magruder is Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center,[email protected]; Liz Burdock is President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind,  [email protected]; David Murray is Executive Director of MDV-SEIA representing the solar energy industry in the region, [email protected].

A Better Method for the Federal Government to Support Puerto Rican Recovery and Resiliency
September 27, 2018

By Thomas King

RealClear Energy

 

This is National Clean Energy Week and one year from the tragedy of Hurricane Maria whose destructive effects are still in plain view. This is the perfect time to address smart policy that can accelerate Puerto Rico’s recovery while replacing dirty, aging, and expensive oil-fired power plants with sustainable and economical sources.

Puerto Rico is up and operating, but urgently needs to move to renew and transform its energy infrastructure to spur economic growth. Real progress is accelerating in distributed generation at local level, but these transformative achievements cannot move the needle in the short term. Puerto Rico requires $billions and it must start now – but the government and related entities who provide services are bankrupt, facilities remain devastated, planned privatization (while positive) adds uncertainty, and the return to the capital markets is beyond the visible horizon.

Potential investors and lenders to Puerto Rican Government-related entities, and projects that rely on payments from these entities, face significant challenges in raising and committing capital. Private investors are uneasy about unpredictable losses due to lack of credit associated with Puerto Rican entities and political risks, such as government interference, discriminatory changes in regulations, contract frustration, and performance obstructions.

Dozens of critical projects in energy, water, waste, transportation, housing, and more representing $billions in investment are sitting on the sidelines without any ability to move forward. Among them are over 1,600MW of contracts for renewable power generation dating back to 2011. All are sited, many are fully permitted, and several have interconnection agreements. All could be expeditiously renegotiated to reflect the steep reduction in the cost of renewable generation and brought online within 12-18 months if there was a clear path to financing – there is not.

A clear requirement exists for the federal government to play a catalytic role through transitional financial support. But, existing domestic federal programs are not sufficient to address the enormity and immediacy of the challenge. The crisis in Puerto Rico calls for the adoption of an altogether different structure for financial support that is also familiar to federal agencies.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) already offers political risk insurance (“PRI”) to cover similar risks of loss faced by investors and lenders in Puerto Rico today.  OPIC-supported PRI facilities can attract capital with long-term risk-mitigation coverage backed by the U.S. government’s Full Faith and Credit.

OPIC cannot insure or lend to borrowers or projects in the U.S. as its name implies. The result is that the U.S. Government will provide better risk management incentives to American companies to invest in, for example, Haiti, than in Puerto Rico. Within the U.S., Puerto Rico is indeed a unique case, but does that sound right to anyone?

I propose we address this discrepancy with the establishment of Puerto Rico Risk Insurance (“PRRI”) modeled on OPIC PRI cover.

PRRI coverage and eligibility would be broadly consistent with guidelines used in OPIC programs. Key terms would include: 1) up to $250 million per project for up to 20 years, 2) non-cancellable coverage and guaranteed rates for entire term of the insurance contract, 3) must demonstrate positive economic development impact and comply with federal policies, and 4) government of Puerto Rico and/or related entity must acknowledge and consent.

PRRI has advantages over other methods of transitional financial support including: 1) covering equity as well as debt while aligning interests, 2) covering risks of loss from contracts for services or goods where no debt exists, 3) avoiding the moral hazards for lenders and borrowers implicit in loan guarantees, 4) claims avoidance through advocacy by various U.S. government agencies, 5) providing greater operational and capital management flexibility to insured parties, and 6) incentivizing investors to relinquish coverage early when counterparty credit stabilizes (i.e., federal government risk exposure will tend to be in place for shorter periods).

Three things should begin immediately: 1) Congress should begin actively reviewing methods and means for additional transitional financial support for Puerto Rico including Puerto Rico Risk Insurance, 2) the Government and key institutions of Puerto Rico should similarly review and provide guidance on the most effective means of support, and 3) project developers, lenders, and investors should coalesce and make their requirements and preferences clear to members of both governments.

With some thoughtful, effective support, Puerto Rico will become a model of the resilient, distributed energy infrastructure system of the 21st century – the type of system that National Clean Energy Week is all about.

Thomas King is the President & Founding Director of the Fundación Borincana is a newly formed Puerto Rican not-for-profit focused on energy infrastructure.

Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch to headline clean energy conference
September 25, 2018

WisPolitics

Contact: Scott Coenen
608-210-3401
[email protected]

 

MADISON, Wis. (September 24, 2018) – The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WisCEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating policymakers and the public on the economic benefits of renewable energy and promoting conservative energy solutions, is hosting an Advancing Wisconsin’s Clean Energy Economy Conference on Thursday, September 27, at the Madison Concourse Hotel. During the event, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, the keynote speaker, will present a formal proclamation that the state of Wisconsin is participating in National Clean Energy Week, which runs Sept. 24-28.

“The costs of renewable energy technologies like solar, wind and bioenergy continue to rapidly decline, and Wisconsin’s transition to these affordable and reliable energy sources is creating thousands of jobs across the state, improving grid security, and saving ratepayers money,” said Scott Coenen, executive director of WisCEF. “We must shift our thinking on how best to move forward, leveraging the market-driven transition to clean energy that is already occurring, to ensure Wisconsin’s dominance as an energy leader and attract further jobs and investment. WisCEF is thrilled to host this conversation among state leaders and those invested in Wisconsin’s energy future to examine the vast economic benefits that clean energy can provide our state.”

The event is open to the public and features representatives from the Clean Energy Business Network and CRES Forum, along with Public Service Commission Chairman Lon Roberts, who will deliver opening remarks. During Kleefisch’s keynote address, she is expected to announce the importance of Wisconsin’s participation in National Clean Energy Week, focusing on the administration’s goal of advancing support for our nation’s energy sector through new methods of market development, policy changes and technological innovations.

See more: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/advancing-wisconsins-clean-energy-economy-policy-breakfast-tickets-49756496019

Cutting Red Tape and Opening the Market to New Energy Resources
September 25, 2018

by Charles Hernick

Inside Sources

 

The future is here — if we clear the way for it. That message is loud and clear during National Clean Energy Week, taking place in Washington and with events around the country.

Right now, groundbreaking advancements in energy technology have opened the door to new solutions for our nation’s growing energy demands. Wind, solar, geothermal and advanced nuclear are not merely experiments anymore, they are increasingly practical options for widespread use. Energy storage options are available and ready to deploy. And energy productivity from an economic standpoint is higher than ever thanks to energy efficiency.

Congress must pave the way for these technologies to compete in the marketplace by removing the red tape that hinders innovation and systematically favors traditional energy options.

The key to unlocking the full potential of America’s clean energy revolution is to update regulations to keep up with our fast-paced economy and the rapid growth of technology. We can’t afford to be behind the curve; we have to anticipate where innovation is headed next. It’s no surprise that our current laws are geared toward traditional industries. But leaving these regulations in place stifles innovation in the energy sectors.

We need to shrink the bureaucracy, beginning with Congress passing legislation that would establish more discipline and accountability in the environmental review process to reduce the time of permitting for advanced energy projects. The Council on Environmental Quality has taken steps to speed up permitting, but Congress needs to assure that that everyone is on the same page.

Better coordination of permitting and oversight at the federal, state and local levels can accelerate deployment of advanced energy projects in the United States. These projects help modernize the power grid, encouraging investment in innovative and flexible technologies that bring jobs to all parts of the country, while building a more dynamic and responsive electric power system.

Clean and affordable energy depends on an efficient mechanism for moving bulk energy from generation to local distribution and effectively matching supply and demand. Unfortunately, transmission planning has not kept up with our changing energy requirements. The current legislation surrounding our power grid favors larger investments over the operational benefits of adopting new technology. Too many times, the smart- and often local-option for updating our grids is passed over in favor of traditional transmission methods. Without solid infrastructure to get energy into homes, many of the benefits of clean energy technology will be lost.

All options should be on the table — and that includes non-transmission alternatives. By taking advantage of technology advancements like advanced power flow control, dynamic line rating, advanced conductors, and topology control we can ensure that a reliable energy transmission framework is in place.

We need increased transparency into how these technologies fare against traditional investments in the energy market. Congress should assure that data are collected to shed light on how often new technologies and non-wire alternatives are used. This data would help improve decision making and improve overall energy transmission.

But modernizing the electric power system is not just a “hardware” issue. Utilities face challenges when trying to adapt additional energy capabilities into their operations. They need access to cloud-based software solutions that can be updated with ease as energy processes evolve. Existing rules make it burdensome for utilities to invest in cutting-edge software simply because of how costs are accounted for. Congress should fine tune legislation in this area as well so that utilities can use secure and manage advanced software to modernize their businesses.

Finally, more flexibility needs to be designed into the energy system. Electricity coverage in many states relies on long-term contracts with power plants that require decades to pay back. The grid planning and procurement processes involved in these contracts favor — in many cases — high-emissions energy sources, and don’t allow energy storage or energy efficiency options to compete. This is problematic because in many states, companies are unable to meet their sustainability goals due to the restrictive policies in place, which exclude opportunities for clean energy. Congress should assure local governments have the tools they need to cater to large energy consumers who desire emissions-free energy sources for millions of consumers.

Fortunately, these problems are solvable. Indeed, the options proposed by CRES Forum with Advanced Energy Economy present a host of opportunities for members of Congress to take the lead on the development of clean energy and energy innovation. Legislation that makes room for advanced and sustainable energy solutions during resource planning provides ratepayers with a healthy mix of electricity from renewable and traditional energy sources. These changes would save money for homeowners and businesses.

Opening the market to new energy resources boosts job creation in developing energy sectors nationwide. Taken together, these and other changes could open the door for clean energy and strengthen the economy while achieving critical environmental goals.

Kelly Ayotte: Push for clean energy begins in New Hampshire
September 23, 2018


Concord Monitor

Across the country, elected leaders at every level of government are preparing for critically important elections in November that will set our state and nation on a path toward addressing the challenges facing America. It’s now incumbent upon officials of both parties to talk about their experience and outline a vision for our future that will earn our vote.

Few solutions carry the potential to address our present day economic, national security and environmental needs than those grounded in the generation and storage of clean, abundant and affordable forms of domestically sourced energy. And there’s no better place and time to talk about it than in New Hampshire during National Clean Energy Week.

Energy generation and storage impacts everyone. It powers our homes, sustains our businesses and fuels our transportation. Energy employs our neighbors, affects the prices of consumer products and plays a major role in not only our financial system but our national security as well. The more energy we can source, generate, store and transport domestically, the less reliant we become on foreign nations.

Our state is home to the most bountiful mountains, rivers and forests in America, so it makes sense that I will kick off National Clean Energy Week in Concord at the New Hampshire Energy Summit. This year’s event will include an update on innovative energy projects that are under development in the region along with a discussion on local energy markets and public policy. New Hampshire’s renewable portfolio standard requires 25 percent of electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy sources by 2025. Thanks in large measure to the leadership at the State House and involvement by local activists, the Granite State is on target to meet this goal.

In 2017, 20 percent of electricity generation in our state came from renewables. According to data made available from the RGGI, about one-fifth of New Hampshire’s net electricity generation comes from renewable resources, with biomass facilities providing half of that renewable power and hydroelectric and wind facilities generating most of the rest. Solar power is also derived from distributed solar generation capacity, such as rooftop solar panels, which totaled about 70 megawatts of installed capacity at the beginning of this year.

Diversified methods of electricity generation not only help to drive local job creation and economic development, they also ensure that the quality of our air and water remains pristine for future generations. This approach in New Hampshire should serve as an example to national lawmakers of what can be accomplished by listening to the demands of constituents, forging consensus and working across party lines.

National Clean Energy Week was first organized in 2017 to facilitate collaboration and pragmatic solutions between energy advocates and partisans when it comes to energy policy. This year’s second annual celebration once again brings together a steering committee comprised of clean-energy groups promoting innovative policy approaches to growing our nation’s solar, wind, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass and energy storage and distribution footprint. Additionally, more than 100 other groups labeled as participating organizations, including clean technology incubators and energy advocates based in all 50 states across the country, will also take part in the week.

It would have been easy for many of these groups, some of which have diametrically opposing points of view on regulation and subsidies, to balk at joining forces. Instead, they will join together with Cabinet secretaries, Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate, and two-dozen bipartisan governors to recognize the potential for progress through new policies and technological innovation. After all, it should not be too difficult a task seeing that this is exactly the kind of action voters are looking for from leaders today.

According to a recent poll sponsored by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, 75 percent of voters favor the federal government playing a role in the advancement of newer, cleaner and more reliable energy sources. The midterm election season is the perfect time for leaders of both parties to offer tangible policy objectives that modernize our electric grid and lead to a range of economic, national security and environmental benefits.

National Clean Energy Week will help to advance the cause of clean energy development within government and inside communities across America. I’m proud to be kicking off this venture in New Hampshire because the success of this effort is contingent upon the active participation of those who are willing to set aside partisanship and personal gain to champion what is clearly a benefit for all.

(Kelly Ayotte is a former U.S. senator from New Hampshire. She serves as a senior adviser to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions.)

Elevating Clean Energy Policy and Advocacy During Midterm Elections
August 31, 2018

Morning Consult

By Charles Hernick, &

 

Across the country, politicians at every level of government are shifting into high gear in anticipation of the high-stakes midterm elections in November.

As political prognosticators continue to hypothesize on potential outcomes, it’s easy to lose sight of key issues and commonsense solutions that are currently being legislated on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures throughout America. Beyond discussing their record and experiences, candidates who will be on the ballot this November have a responsibility to outline their vision for where they want to take their states and the nation as a whole.

National Clean Energy Week offers an unparalleled opportunity for state and federal officials to discuss their policy records and how clean energy is yielding tangible results when it comes to job creation, technical innovation and lower emissions by energy producers.

In 2017, the inaugural celebration of NCEW included a broad coalition representing various domestic energy sectors. From renewable energy, carbon capture and energy efficiency advocates to proponents of energy storage, natural gas and nuclear energy, NCEW served as a high-profile convener of industry priorities. Adding more voices to the discussion complements the ongoing transformation of the U.S. energy sector, which has continued to accelerate throughout 2017 and into 2018, in spite of new headwinds including policy uncertainties.

As we embark upon our second-annual NCEW celebration, which will take place Sept. 24-28, the current energy landscape is cause for optimism. Perhaps the most noteworthy accomplishment over the last year according to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s 2018 Factbook was that domestic energy productivity and gross domestic product growth both increased, demonstrating that the U.S. economy can grow at a reasonable rate, even as total energy consumption actually declines.

This was buttressed by an uptick in renewable energy generation from 15 percent to 18 percent of America’s total electricity, thanks to continued deployment. All told, the industry has climbed to $200 billion in size while supporting more than 3 million jobs across the United States.

That’s great news for clean energy industries, our nation’s energy security and the environment, but it is also benefiting consumers on an unprecedented scale. In 2017, consumers devoted a smaller share of their spending toward electricity than at any time ever recorded, while the total share of household expenses dedicated to overall energy costs remained near an all-time low. Power and natural gas prices stayed reasonable across the country, and contract prices for wind and solar continued to drop steadily as the marketplace for these resources matures.

There is every reason to believe these trends will continue throughout 2018 and beyond as utilities and independent developers continue to invest in infrastructure to improve grid operations and support the growth of clean energy. Yet, there remains much work to do.

We are hopeful that this year’s dialogue will continue to raise awareness about the need for more long-term policy support for smaller clean energy sectors, including biomass, biogas, waste-to-energy, geothermal, hydropower and energy storage. The midterm elections will occur at a time of unprecedented public support for clean energy across ideological boundaries.

According to a recent poll sponsored by the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, 75 percent of voters now favor the federal government playing a role in the advancement of newer, cleaner and more reliable energy sources. The midterm election season is a suitable time for members of Congress and state leaders to take a stand in support of the economic and job creation potential of clean, affordable means of energy production.

In addition to events in Washington, D.C., a number of state and local governments, trade associations, business councils, advocacy groups and businesses will once again convene this fall inside their own communities. We expect hundreds of organizations to participate this year and bring positive messaging and events across the country for policymakers, industry leaders and concerned citizens to share and learn about the latest in clean energy.

Together, we will harness the power of free market and government collaboration to move America forward. That is a midterm election message that America’s governors and leaders in Congress can get behind.

 

Charles Hernick is director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum; Lisa Jacobson is president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy; and Dylan Reed is head of congressional affairs at Advanced Energy Economy.

Clean Energy Is Growing the Economy and Driving Down Emissions
February 15, 2018

The Hill
By Charles Hernick and Lisa Jacobson

The economic expansion since 2009 is historic not just for its duration, but for the role that
America’s energy sector has played in creating jobs and reducing carbon emissions. Over the
past 12 months this trend has solidified and brought our domestic energy sector to its cleanest
place in history.

While the energy jobs of our forefathers still exist, the most dynamic growth is now occurring in
clean energy generation, according to the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,
released this week. This includes natural gas, solar, wind, hydropower, biofuels, and waste-to-
energy — and energy efficiency. Together, these sectors support 3 million jobs nationwide.
The strength of job creation in clean energy generation comes partly from the wide-ranging skill
base required to convert the power of the sun, wind, water, and waste into kilowatts needed to
power our homes. Clean energy production creates jobs at many stages in the process — not
just manufacturing. Additional jobs can be found in system design, project development,
installation, operation and management — and the information technology that ties it all
together.

The development of clean energy generation projects also drives jobs for other industries that
tend to be inherently local. For example, an effective natural gas plant or commercial-scale
solar, wind, or hydropower project is a major undertaking requiring steel infrastructure,
landscaping, civil engineering and substantial manpower to lay transmission lines or pipelines.
Biomass projects require close coordination with local paper companies and foresters. Even
rooftop solar projects require highly skilled labor…

This fast-paced transformation of the energy sector continues to drive our economy’s de-
carbonization. Emissions from this sector ebbed 4.2 percent in 2017, this time on the back of
declining load and greater renewable generation instead of switching from coal to natural gas.
As a result, power-sector emissions are now 28 percent below their 2005 peak.

The message of these groundbreaking statistics is simple and straightforward. A growing
economy does not have to be at odds with lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, thanks
to thoughtful policy, entrepreneurial spirit, and hard work by more and more Americans
employed by the clean energy sector we are turning the corner towards a sustainable energy
economy capable of improving job creation alongside with environmental quality.

Charles Hernick is the director of Policy and Advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy
Solutions Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to educating the public and
influencing the national conversation about clean energy. @charleshernick

Lisa Jacobson is the president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of
companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy
sectors. @LJacobsonEnergy

The Daily Caller: Clean Energy Week Marks Turning Point In National Energy Discussion
October 18, 2017

Washington, D.C. — In case you missed it, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Senior Advisor and former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte penned an op-ed for The Daily Caller on National Clean Energy Week’s role in promoting bipartisanship in the national debate about clean energy solutions.

Below is a compilation of relevant excerpts from the full op-ed here.

Clean Energy Week Marks Turning Point In National Energy Discussion
By Former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
The Daily Caller

“Our nation is reaching a consensus on the importance of clean energy. Across America, mayors, state legislatures, governors, and even elected members of Congress from both parties, extol the economic, national security and environment benefits associated with accelerated clean energy development. Nowhere was this sentiment more prevalent than during the recent inaugural celebration of National Clean Energy Week.

“Republicans control the levers of power in Washington and a sizeable majority of state capitals. Their electoral successes hinged on the promises of job creation, streamlining government regulations, and a platform of rolling back excessive government overreach during the Obama era. Democrats, who continue to occupy high-profile governorships, including in New York and California, along with 48 seats in the U.S. Senate, contextualize America’s energy debate through the lens of climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. There is merit on both sides, but all too often they talk past one another, each using rhetoric for political point scoring as opposed to looking for opportunities to find common ground.

“National Clean Energy Week was organized to facilitate collaboration and pragmatic solutions between energy advocates and partisans when it comes to energy policy. This year’s inaugural celebration brought together a steering committee comprised of thirteen clean energy groups promoting innovative policy approaches to growing our nation’s solar, wind, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass and energy storage and distribution footprint. More than 40 other groups labeled as participating organizations included clean technology incubators and energy advocates based in more than 25 states across the country also took part in recognizing the week.

“It would have been easy for many of these groups, some of which have diametrically opposing points of view on regulation and subsidies, to balk at joining forces. Instead they brought together Cabinet secretaries, Democratic and Republican Members of Congress and nine governors to recognize the potential for progress through new methods of market development, policy change, and technological innovation. After all, it should not be too difficult a task seeing that this is exactly the kind of action voters desire…

“It’s important that we take advantage of the bipartisan agreement that exists among voters on energy issues and make the most of it. National Clean Energy Week helped to advance the cause of clean energy development within government and across America, and it’s clear that it will continue to drive conversation for years to come. The effort, however, will only be as successful as the sum of its parts, so I encourage all participants to continue their efforts to seek out and forge new opportunities for collaboration.”

To read the full op-ed on The Daily Caller’s website, click here.

Millennial Clean Energy Advocates Co-Author NCEW Op-ed Featured on Red Alert Politics
September 29, 2017

In celebration of National Clean Energy Week (NCEW), The American Conservation Coalition’s Benji Backer and DEPLOY/US’ Catrina Rorke teamed up to pen an op-ed that was featured in Red Alert Politics.

The piece, “National Clean Energy Week: How young conservatives are leading the fight,” addresses the nationwide effort to promote clean energy solutions from the perspective of two millennial energy policy advocates. Backer and Rorke focus on tying the disruptive nature of millennial consumer habits to the pace of change in the energy sector. Additionally, they highlight increasing interest in this policy arena and praise NCEW’s role in facilitating a robust dialogue to open more change in America’s energy markets.

Click here to read their op-ed.

** What They Are Saying **
September 28, 2017

National Clean Energy Week is successfully bringing together bipartisan state and federal elected leaders, Trump Administration officials, national energy advocates and media pundits to collaborate and exchange ideas in support of clean energy development. Together we striving to maximize our energy potential to achieve America’s economic, environmental and national security goals in the 21st century.

Here’s What They Are Saying…

 

Trump Administration Officials

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: “America’s innovation is what makes us different – our technology. And that’s one of the things that this administration is truly committed to is having a diverse portfolio of energy – not just to be energy independent, but hopefully in the very near future to be energy dominant…We need a true, all of the above approach for creating abundant, clean and affordable energy – not just for America, but for the world.”

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: “We all want the same thing. We want clean, efficient energy that’s abundant and cost-efficient, but in order to get there… the government should be the good guy that small businesses and innovative people want to come to… and we should learn how to work with you to give you a little more flexibility.”

 

Governors

Governor Butch Otter (ID): “Idaho is a national leader in clean energy, with our rivers supplying half of our net electricity generation, the fourth-largest hydroelectricity share in the nation…[A]s America celebrates National Clean Energy Week, I encourage…all municipalities and individuals to implement the cleanest, lowest-emitting energy technologies available.”

Governor Matthew Mead (WY): “[T]he State of Wyoming supports an all-inclusive energy portfolio because affordable energy is the backbone of a strong economy; and…is committed to developing innovative solutions for clean and reliable forms of energy, including by advancing technologies that capture CO2 from power plants and create value-added products.”

Governor Brian Sandoval (NV): “[T]he clean energy sector is a growing part of the economy and has been a driver of economic growth in Nevada and the number of jobs in the clean energy sector grew by 5.9 percent last year and by 21.4 percent since 2012, with more than 25,800 people currently employed in the clean energy sector… we must harness the power of Nevada entrepreneurs and small businesses and ensure government collaboration to assert American energy leadership and dominance in the global marketplace and assure low-cost reliable energy at home.”

Governor Christopher Sununu (NH): “[A]cross New Hampshire clean and readily abundant forms of energy are powering more homes and businesses than ever before…clean energy is an important part of New Hampshire’s energy future.”
Governor Phil Scott (VT): “Vermont is committed to renewable energy that benefits our economy and environment; and…Vermont’s growing energy economy has created jobs while reducing consumer demand for high-cost, high-carbon ‘peak energy’ by creating and supporting clean, alternative energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe (VA)
: “[I]n 2014, there were only 17 megawatts of solar installed in the Commonwealth, and today, Virginia has more than 2,600 megawatts installed or under development; and…  from 2014 to 2016, revenue from the energy efficiency industry has increased four-fold from $300 million to $1.2 billion… clean energy is part of Virginia’s energy future.”

 

Members of Congress

Senator Lindsey Graham: “Energy independence is a good thing. Job creation in America is a necessary thing and being better stewards of God’s creation is a worthy thing. How do you do this?… Here’s the deal, to the environmental community, you need a guy like me and I need somebody like you…It takes coalitions, it takes the oil and gas companies to buy in and a lot of them have, it takes people on the environmental side to be reasonable, it takes leadership from the Senate and the House and it’s going to take presidential leadership…I look forward to working with you… Future generations will look upon us with a smile if we pull this off.”

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers: “I’m excited about technological innovation and American ingenuity that enables us to develop new and cutting-edge ways of clean energy production… The people I have the honor of representing in Eastern Washington heavily rely on clean renewable, reliable and affordable energy created from hydropower. Hydropower helped build the Pacific Northwest…By unleashing American innovation, we can continue to support hydropower so that it can continue to support us.”

Congressman Derek Kilmer: “Happy Clean Energy Week…I am particularly excited to be a part of this event in part because it is a bipartisan event and I know that oftentimes the conversations around energy, climate and the environment can get kind of partisan, but as you all know that hasn’t always been the case…In my view, if we can put aside some of the political debates about the causes of climate change, it actually gives us an opportunity to deal with some of the real world impacts we’re seeing.”

Congressman Ryan Costello: “We, as members of Congress, rely on those who advocate and propose policies to educate and inform the public as well as us…I think all of you are doing a great job at that.”

Senator John Barrasso: “America needs an all-of-the-above approach for energy.In Wyoming and across the country, clean energy sources like nuclear power and carbon capture technologies create jobs and grow the economy. Our committee will continue to work, on a bipartisan basis, to help support that innovation.”

Senator Chris Coons: “Proud to support the first-ever #CleanEnergyWeek & federally sponsored investments in energy innovation.”
Congressman Dave Reichert: “Environmental stewardship and economic growth can go hand in hand.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte: “I’m really glad to be here for the first National Clean Energy Week and it will be the first of many because this is so important to our country.”

 

The Media

Bloomberg BNA: “Perry also spoke about the potential of deploying national lab innovations in Puerto Rico during a panel discussion at a Sept. 26 National Clean Energy Week event in Washington, D.C…’That’s the type of innovation that’s going on at our national labs. Hopefully, we can expedite that,’ he said.”

POLITICO Morning Energy: “National Clean Energy Week kicks off: A veritable who’s who and VIPs of the clean energy world are in town this week to tout the benefits of clean energy technologies and try to rally support in Congress and the administration for the sector’s continued growth. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry launch the festivities in earnest on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Axios Generate: Graham appeared at a National Clean Energy Week event to lay out the rationale for creating a carbon fee…Graham emphasized that a carbon fee would be a pro-nuclear stance, and hinted at some of his behind-the-scenes activities as he explores potential legislation. “’I am talking to some power companies. We have got to make it good business for them. Nuclear power is far more valuable in a lower-carbon economy.’”


Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy
: “Industry rolls out Clean Energy Week: Industry trade groups are starting Clean Energy Week on Monday to highlight the country’s need for everything from solar to natural gas and nuclear power plants.”

Casper Star-Tribune: “Wyoming’s governor, Matt Mead, touted carbon capture recently in a proclamation for Clean Energy Week. The governor called for an “all-inclusive energy portfolio,” stumping for both fossil fuels and renewables. Wyoming has one of the largest proposed wind farms in the country currently under construction and is widely acknowledged as one of the best high-wind areas in the U.S.”

Daily Energy Insider: A panel of electric power experts agreed during a congressional hearing Tuesday that a diversification of power sources will benefit hurricane-stricken Texas and Puerto Rico, where electric power has been out for more than a week and where it may be months still before power is restored….The hearing, which coincided with National Clean Energy Week, was aimed at exploring how advanced energy technologies are giving consumers greater control over their electricity use, according to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).