On April 12, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Energy Budget” with testimony from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The wide-ranging discussion covered the Administration’s request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which would see a 70% reduction from Fiscal Year 2018; the Yucca Mountain project and legacy cleanup responsibilities; pipeline safety; encouraging innovation in the private sector; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; resiliency in the electric grid; fusion energy research; cybersecurity infrastructure; fuel security; and Small Refinery Waivers.
Analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that roughly 18% of U.S. energy generation is supplied by renewable sources. The details can be found in the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, Bloomberg’s dive into the country’s energy mix and evaluation of how various renewable energy industries are faring.
On February 7, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts has installed more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity through 78,646 projects across the state. The achievement represents the culmination of various projects that make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency and help the Commonwealth meet greenhouse gas reduction requirements set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act.
On November 1, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $3.7 million in grants to increase the adoption of cost-saving clean energy technologies by Massachusetts low-income residents as part of the Commonwealth’s Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program (ACRE).
The same technology underlying the efficiency of bitcoin transactions and largely responsible for the online currency’s success could be the key to developing a smarter energy grid. Blockchain, a shared, encrypted ledger maintained by a network of computers, gives bitcoin transactions their unique peer-to-peer quality, making the entire system decentralized without a central repository or single administrator. While the electricity grid still relies on centralized plants generating power sent over long distances, blockchain technology could help modernize the system, making it easier for smaller, distributed networks to connect to the grid and exchange power locally.
The Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), the nation’s foremost clean energy advocacy group, recognized our own Tom Burton as one of eight clean energy industry leaders at NECEC’s 10th Annual Green Tie Gala on October 26 in Boston. Tom and the seven other awardees received special “Decade of Influence” Green Tie Gala Awards for their work advancing the clean energy economy over the past decade. Joining Tom in receiving this esteemed honor:
- Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
- Ian Bowles, Co-Founder and Managing Director, WindSail Capital Group
- Steve Cowell, President, E4TheFuture
- Tim Healy, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EnerNOC
- Emily Reichert, CEO, Greentown Labs
- George P. Sakellaris, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ameresco
- Mitch Tyson, Tyson Associates, NECEC Board Chair
We are proud to have served as a sponsor for this event, which was comprised of 400+ attendees. We congratulate Tom and the seven other clean energy trailblazers on this wonderful accomplishment!
On October 13, former Nevada Senator Harry Reid and current Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval hosted the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, NV. Each year, the 3-day summit brings together leaders of industry, government, and advocacy organizations in an effort to shape the United States’ energy policy agenda and facilitate the country’s progress towards a clean energy economy.
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.