For the seventh consecutive year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Massachusetts the most energy-efficient state in the United States. The council’s 11th annual report, released September 28, 2017 in the wake of recent extreme weather events, highlighted the importance of energy-efficiency as a tool to help communities recover from storms and economic shocks. While many states, such as Idaho, Florida, and Virginia made vast improvements over last year, Massachusetts continued to pave the way for sustainability through continued leadership in energy-efficient transportation policies and utility-sector energy efficiency programs.
This year is proving to be the year of investing in innovative energy technology. Mercom Capital Group reports that in the first half of 2017, over $1 billion in venture capital and private equity funding has been invested in battery storage, smart grid and energy efficiency companies worldwide, exceeding the first-half funding benchmarks in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, surveyed the combined venture capital funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) and mergers & acquisitions across 89 companies in three separate sectors – Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency. Total investments in these areas amounted to $1.03 billion across the first half of 2017, a marked 25% jump from $807 million in the first half of 2016.
This month’s Washington Update offers an extensive overview of the major legislation that has recently been introduced on Capitol Hill, as well as the big takeaways from this month’s congressional hearings related to energy policy. We also examine the ramifications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and highlight the Department of Energy’s latest funding announcements for three research and development projects.
On June 2nd, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) issued record requests for proposals from qualified developers to build renewable energy projects that will generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity a year. The two requests combined total the largest renewable RFP issued in any state. Alliance for Clean Energy New York estimates that the solicitation “will drive between 600 and 1,600 megawatts of new capacity depending on the mix of technologies ultimately developed.”
From April 26th-28th, San Francisco hosted the 2017 Ceres Conference. Ceres is a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. The annual conference brings together more than 600 investor and company leaders and advocates who are catalyzing the biggest breakthroughs on sustainability.
This year’s jam-packed agenda spanned a variety of topics surrounding the energy industry, but two key themes emerged: (1) that there is a growing need for standardized data to measure the impact of investments made in energy, and (2) that sustainable energy is playing an increasingly central role in the investment decisions for stakeholders across sectors and across the political landscape – in other words, the push for clean energy isn’t going anywhere. Continue Reading Recap: The 2017 Ceres Conference on Sustainability
This month’s Washington Update provides insight into a number of energy-related developments at the federal level, including President Trump’s recently proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Senate’s failed efforts to turn back the Obama administration’s methane rule, and several pieces of legislation related to energy efficiency.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced the “Clean Energy for America Act,” which aims to create a new technology neutral system for federal tax credits for clean energy, clean fuel, and energy efficiency projects. The bill would offer performance-based tax incentives for efficient homes and office buildings, and would significantly reduce carbon pollution over the next decade. Senator Wyden, also a member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, received support from 21 Democrat co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). To learn more about the Clean Energy for America Act, read on!
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced a set of six new programs seeking to increase affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs in the Commonwealth. These new programs build upon the efforts of the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Working Group, which just released its Final Report, and mark the final component of the Administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) Initiative. To learn more about these new programs, read on!
Tom Burton, Member of the firm’s Corporate & Securities Section and Founder and Chair of the firm’s Energy Technology Practice, will publish bi-weekly installments providing key takeaways from the four sections of AEE’s webinar including: Industry Growth; Advanced Energy Jobs; Growth Trends; and Policy. This is the fourth installment of the series. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Throughout AEE’s webinar, panelists broke down the trends within growth of the advanced energy markets and presented the key takeaways from the AEE report. Most notably, building efficiency is the largest segment of advanced energy revenue in the U.S., reaching almost $70 billion in 2016. This represents more than a third of advanced energy in the U.S., and is up 64% since 2011. Panelist Kevin Self noted that buildings consume about 41% of U.S. energy, so energy efficiency remains the most cost effective way to control spending. Other notable growth trends include:
- Wind has remained steady, producing roughly $14 billion in revenues in both 2015 and 2016. This a good pattern compared to earlier fluctuations due to uncertainty with production tax credits. The extension and renewal of this tax credit creates the ability for the wind industry to develop at a steadier place.
- Solar continues to boom, reaching $25 billion in U.S. revenue last year—up 30% since 2015 and tripling since 2011. Panelist Paul Kaleta emphasized that solar energy is firmly at the forefront of energy transformation in the U.S., and is now economically competitive with fossil fuels.
- Energy storage is up 54% in 2016, at nearly half a million dollars in revenue.
- Electric vehicles also exhibited strong growth at 48%, with U.S. Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) revenue at $7.8 billion in 2016. Panelist Zachary Kahn also advised that we can expect to see the use of electric buses grow exponentially in the U.S. over the next 5-10 years.
As the 115th Congress gets underway, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, better known as Portman-Shaheen. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Portman-Shaheen was introduced in the previous three congresses with bipartisan support. The bill is aimed at using low-cost tools to make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country’s largest energy user – the federal government – more efficient.
The bill is focused on Buildings, Manufacturers, and the Federal Government: