Efficiency First Call for Action

Wed, 2010-02-03 12:55

Here is an interesting update from Washington on the state of green energy and energy efficiency programs coming out of Washington. Thank you Patrick Roche, from the National SAVE Energy Coalition, for the following summary: 1. President’s Budget Demonstrates Cap-and-Trade Commitment – The President’s $3.8 trillion proposed budget for 2010, released yesterday, urges Congress to pass a “comprehensive market-based climate change policy,” essentially a cap-and-trade program. The proposal continues that the policy should reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. These are the same reductions stipulated in the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House in summer of 2009. The President’s budget does not fill in specifics about how much money the program should generate or to which specific programs the revenue should go. Rather, it states that the climate bill should be deficit neutral and fund a range of priorities, including clean energy investment and funding to protect consumers from price increases. In his State of the Union address last Wednesday, the President specifically mentioned climate and energy legislation as his second priority, after small business tax cuts. Including cap-and-trade in his 2010 budget affirms the President’s commitment to the legislation. “And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future - because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.” – President Obama, State of the Union, January 20, 2010 2. Clean Energy Week in D.C. – Collaboration between businesses, NGOs, and environmental groups continues to grow, as evidenced by the Clean Energy Week occurring in Washington, D.C. this week. Numerous groups have coordinated their efforts to fill the week with events focusing on the passage of climate and clean energy legislation. Their targeted cooperation will be a powerful display of the wide-ranging support for such legislation to Senators and Congressmen. A key event takes place today and tomorrow, the Clean Energy Business Advocacy day. Organized by We Can Lead, the National SAVE Energy Coalition is happy to report that we helped a number of our members from Pennsylvania attend. We would also like to note that a host of other members from around the country expressed interest in attending; however, funding was only available for ~13 key states. We really appreciate everyone’s involvement and support, even if you couldn’t go. If you’ll be in D.C. this week, you can check out the full list of events at http://www.cleanenergyweek.org/. 3. Home Star Webinar – Last Friday, the National SAVE Energy Coalition, Efficiency First, BPI, and RESNET hosted a webinar on the Home Star proposed legislation. We were incredibly pleased with the turnout – over 1,300 businesses registered and over 850 attended! The webinar provided a brief overview of the multi-billion dollar proposal for the first ever federal incentive for efficiency retrofits and then focused on how the efficiency community can rally together to help ensure passage. The recording is now available at http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star/. Once a bill is released, we plan to organize a campaign of calling, emailing, and visiting Senate and Congressional offices. We are glad to report that participants overall were ready and willing to contact their representatives in support of Home Star, as indicated by a survey at the end of the webinar. Of course, we recognize that it was frustrating that we did not discuss many details of the legislation. We had anticipated the bill being released well before the webinar, but unfortunately it was delayed. Please know that we understand that your businesses needs know the nitty-gritty details of the legislation, because they will affect important business decisions. That’s why we have promised to hold a comprehensive webinar on Home Star within 48 hours of the release of a final bill. Many of you asked great questions which simply cannot be answered at this time, but we plan to cover them on the next webinar. Resources for Action – We have state-specific information on our Take Action page to help you get in touch with your Senator. These include pre-written emails, faxes, and phone call talking points. Please get familiar with these. We plan to launch a wave of calls and emails in support of Home Star and climate and energy legislation and we’d love to have you participate. We also have recordings of our 3 climate and energy webinars on our Resources page. They cover an overview of the final House bill, emissions allowance allocations in the proposed Senate climate bill, and discussions of cap-and-trade basics and how the program would generate funding and revenue for your business.