Table Of Contents
1. State of the Union - EESI's Reaction
The energy goals President Bush included in his 2007 State of the Union speech on January 23rd drew considerable attention. We fielded numerous calls from press, nonprofits, and others, so we thought we would share some of our perspectives. In his address, President Bush called for a reduction of 20 percent in the amount of gasoline consumed in the United States and said this goal would largely be accomplished by setting a mandatory fuels standard of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- nearly five times the current target of 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012.
While EESI commends the setting of such an aggressive goal, which can help dramatically stimulate the development of new technologies and feedstocks for the production of renewable fuels (biofuels), we do have serious concerns about the President's proposal to broaden the Renewable Fuel Standard enacted by Congress to an Alternative Fuel Standard that would encompass a broad range of other fuels including methanol, butanol, hydrogen, coal-to-liquid and others -- which may be derived from fossil fuels. The President referenced the need to confront climate change as well as address oil imports and national security. However, the additional fuels the President suggested including could increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions, rather than reduce them. EESI hopes that Congress will work with the President to achieve this important and aggressive goal -- but to do so through maintaining a truly Renewable Fuel Standard.
2. FY 2008 Budget - Promoting Maximum "Clean Energy" Impact
Again this year, EESI worked with Congressional leaders to develop a letter to the President urging him to fully fund energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs as in his FY 2008 Budget. The December 8th letter was signed by 80 Members of the House, "thanks in large part to EESI's calls." Working with our partners at the Sustainable Energy Coalition, we also helped develop a December 27th letter to Congressional leaders, signed by more than 100 businesses and organizations, urging a shift of program priorities and funding levels to EE/RE. As is our routine, when the President proposed his FY 2008 budget in early February, EESI staff analyzed budget impacts and released highlights of budgets for Agriculture & Energy, Transportation, and EE/RE. Our annual budget analyses are widely used by the press, Congressional offices and the policy community.
3. Flexible-Fuel Plug-In Hybrid Update
EESI organized a Congressional event to commemorate the first anniversary of the launch of the National Plug-in Partners Campaign, which attracted more than 90 people. Speakers included Sen. Hatch (R-UT), Rep. Inslee (D-WA), and Austin Mayor Will Winn. Sen. Hatch used this opportunity to announce that he is working with Senators Obama and Cantwell to develop bi-partisan legislation to advance plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Campaign is making headway. Several automakers have declared their intention to produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; in fact, General Motors announced their intent t o have the Chevrolet Volt in production in 2010. EESI continues to work with Members of Congress and other policymakers on various plug-in policies and incentives.
4. Idling Reduction
EESI is conducting a joint project with Utah Clean Cities and the Utah-based National Energy Foundation to develop a school bus idle reduction program. An idle reduction focus group was held January 30 to formally solicit input on the direction of the project. The focus group gathered ideas and perspectives from 20 participants, including state directors of public transportation, fleet managers, bus drivers, students, engine manufacturers and more. The partnership will be developing a training program for school bus drivers under a contract with DOE.
5. Planning Our Way to a New Energy Future
EESI's project, Planning Our Way to a New Energy Future, in partnership with the American Planning Association (APA), held a "Scoping Symposium" on March 1-2. A select group of national planning and energy experts traveled to Chicago for a 2-day meeting to share their wisdom with APA and EESI on the project. Attendees weathered snow delays for this stimulating discussion designed to identify strategic points of intervention to better integrate energy into planning practice. Participants provided exciting ideas, raised thought-provoking issues, and shared dozens of examples of successful projects or beginning efforts across the country. Group members were thrilled about the project's potential for breaking through "silo" thinking and bringing constituencies together to better address community energy needs. They also provided direction for the best practices manual and other outcomes of this 3-year project.
6. Bring those voices forth - Senate Committee calls for comments
Building on the success of last year’s energy-themed conferences on climate, natural gas, coal, etc., the Senate Energy Committee scheduled a similar all-day session to examine the use of biofuels in America’s transportation sector. The February 1st forum was open to the public and the press; however, presenters were by invitation only. EESI sent a notice to our agriculture/energy network, urging members to submit testimony to share their perspective on needed policies to grow the biofuels industry. Several of our network members responded and subsequently two were asked to testify before the Committee. One respondent, Jo James, with the Biomass Coordinating Council for South Carolina, thanked us, saying he would not have received this information without us. A member of the organization made a presentation to the Committee. Another presenter, Mayor George Fitch of Warrenton, Virginia replied to our alert by calling us to ask a number of questions about the Loan Guarantee program, feedstocks, technologies, federal programs and grants. He shared his plans to build a biorefinery in Warrenton to provide residents with green power. Recently, theWashington Post wrote a front-page story on his "Green Initiative," the centerpiece of which is a biomass plant using a variety of urban, agriculture and forest wastes to co-produce electricity and ethanol to make Warrenton energy independent. EESI’s efforts helped these voices be heard in the Congress!
7. EESI Briefing Catalyzes Congressional Hearings
EESI's Congressional briefing, Small Business Takes Active Role in Supporting California's Global Warming Legislation, AB 32: Signals National Implications, held on November 1, attracted nearly 100 attendees. This briefing was held in conjunction with the Center for Small Business and the Environment (CSBE) and was particularly important because of the tremendous precedent set by the passage of California's AB 32, the nation's first statewide cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With this briefing, we wanted to bring the notion to Congress that small business in the aggregate is big business, and that because the small business lobby is so powerful nationally, it is crucial to engage small business in the climate/energy policy debate. Small business is critical both politically and substantively. This briefing generated significant interest from leading policymakers. CSBE and EESI met with staffs for Senator Boxer and the chair and ranking Members of both the House and Senate Small Business Committees about how to include small business in their policy proposals. This spring, the Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing on this important topic.
8. EESI Events, Forums and Congressional Briefings – 2007
- Distributed Generation--Policy Options for an Energy Bill- Cosponsored with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Distributed Energy Caucus- March 27, 2007
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: FY 2008 Budget Review - March 22, 2007
- Biofuels and Tortillas: A US-Mexican Tale of Chances and Challenges - March 16, 2007
- Climate Policy: Carbon Taxes, Carbon Cap-and-Trade, and R&D as Means of Reducing CO2 Emissions - March 14, 2007
- Bioenergy in the Farm Bill: Policy Options for Conservation - March 8, 2007
- Geothermal Energy: Latest Developments for this “Hot” Contributor to U.S. Energy Production - March 1, 2007
- Biofuels: from Basics to Barriers, a Staff-only Briefing* (At the request of the House Agriculture Committee) - February 26, 2007
- An Inconvenient Truth: Film Presentation and Discussion, a Member and Staff-only Event* (At the request of the House Climate Change Caucus) - February 16, 2007
- State Energy and Low-Income Energy Programs- Cosponsored with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, Northeast-Midwest House Coalition, and the Renewable Energy and the Energy Efficiency Caucus- February 13, 2007
- Cellulosic Ethanol: Not Just Any Liquid Fuel (two sessions, one in the House and one in the Senate) - February 12, 2007
- Reducing Greenhouses Gases from Transportation: California Strategies under AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act - January 24, 2007
- National Plug-in Partners Anniversary Celebration - January 23, 2007
- Public Transportation and the Reduction of US Petroleum Consumption - January 9, 2007
9. EESI Offers Audio Recordings
In its evolving efforts to provide quality, easy-to-access information to as broad an audience as possible, EESI has begun posting audio recordings of our most recent briefings on our website. These recordings are free for anyone to download. While we still have DVDs available for some of our past briefings, audio recordings offer a quicker, more cost-effective way for us to share the proceedings.
10. A Report on Energy in China
Energy trends in China will have enormous economic and environmental implications for both China and the world. China is the third largest energy producer and the second largest energy consumer in the world. EESI is drafting a paper to examine energy usage trends and policies concerning energy efficiency and development of renewable energy sources in China. The paper includes:
- a summary of production and consumption of energy from fossil fuels;
- a review of the growth of China’s motor vehicle fleet;
- a review of the country’s existing energy policy and the 11th Five-Year Plan;
- discussion of the role that renewable energy sources may play in China’s future; and
- the expected benefits to be obtained from increased efficiency and a less energy-intensive economy.
China will likely continue increasing its energy consumption, with a heavy reliance on coal to sustain its current 9.5 percent annual growth.
11. Other Recent EESI Materials
China paper - pending
Annotated Climate Science Bibliography
Key Climate Facts 11/22/06
"Energy Smart" Smart Growth Case Studies
Burlington, Vermont - 12/29/06
Seattle, Washington - 12/29/06
- $385 Million for Awarded to Biorefineries 2/28/07
- FY 08 Agriculture and Biomass Budget 2/6/07
- FY 08 Transportation Budget Highlights 2/6/07
- FY 08 DOE EE/RE Budget Highlights 2/6/07
- FY 08 EPA Budget Highlights 2/6/07
- State of the Union Address 1/25/07
- Bioenergy Funding Opportunity 1/18/07
- USDA Forest Service Woody Biomass Program 1/10/07
- Senate Energy Requests Information on Biofuels 1/5/07
- USDA Forest Service Woody Biomass Program 1/10/07
- Senate Energy Requests Information on Biofuels 1/5/07
12. EESI on the Road
- November 10, Carol Werner spoke at American University on energy policy.
- Nov. 21, Shefali Ranganathan spoke about our flexible-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicle campaign to the DC Electric Vehicle Association.
- December 1, Carol spoke at a Smart Growth conference of 800 people in Worchester, MA on "Energy Smart" Smart Growth. Carol was invited by Sonia Hamel, Special Assistant, Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development and a key organizer for RGGI - the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a joint cap-and-trade program for the power sectors in New York and New England.
- Dec. 4-6, Carol participated in an invitation-only strategy gathering at Wingspread, WI to discuss climate change.
- January 16-17 Jetta Wong gave an impromptu presentation on our Biomass Incentives Project at the Energy Foundation Biofuels Meeting.
- Jan. 28-31, Carol made two presentations, one on state incentives and the other on Farm Bill Reauthorization & Energy Title history at the Harvesting Clean Energy (HEC) Conference in Idaho (more than 600 attendees from across the Pacific Northwest). She also helped lead a workshop on Farm Bill advocacy. EESI is a regular advisor to the HCE Network and participates in monthly conference calls.
- Jan. 29, Fred Beck made a presentation at the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, providing an update on Congressional leaders' plans for addressing climate.
- February 8, Carol participated as a "Respondent" at a USDA meeting on their Greenhouse Impact Report in Baltimore.
- Feb. 27, Jetta spoke about Biofuels in the 110th Congress at a meeting of The Nature Conservancy's External Affairs Conference.
- Feb. 28, Carol spoke at the Governors Ethanol Coalition (GEC) meeting in Washington DC. She is a member of the GEC Cellulosic Ethanol Working Group
- March 3, Shefali made a presentation to 25 Clean Cities Coalitions from across the country at their Transportation Energy Independence Days meeting. She spoke about the status of the National Plug-In Partners Campaign, EESI’s school bus idle reduction project with the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, and legislative activities on the Hill, including recently introduced plug-in hybrid legislation, upcoming appropriations and rescissions.
- Mar. 5-7, Carol provided two biomass presentations at the annual PowerGen Conference in Las Vegas.
- Mar. 13, Leanne Lamusga spoke at the "Alternative Spring Breakthrough" event to members of The Great Warming Coalition and interested law students on student climate activism.
- Mar. 26, Carol gave an energy/climate legislative overview for the National Council for Science and the Environment.
- Mar. 29, Carol spoke to the National Governors Association staff group regarding energy policy.
13. EESI as Advisor
You probably know that EESI educates Members of Congress, their staff and other policymakers. You also may know that EESI has a broad and extensive network of contacts across diverse constituencies and is a leader in many coalitions. But what you might not know are some of the other groups that come to EESI for input and advice. Here are just a few examples:
Environmental Grantmakers, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, and the Health and Environment Funders' Network collaborated on a Green Chemistry briefing and invited EESI's Executive Director Carol Werner to be a speaker on biofuels. Carol was recommended by several individuals because of her policy expertise and knowledge of clean energy technologies. Prior to the meeting, the organizers sought contributions and review from EESI's Agriculture and Energy Policy Analyst, Jetta Wong, in preparing a briefing document on biofuels for attendees.
ð Foreign Government Officials
Over the years, EESI has been invited to be part of small meetings with high-ranking foreign officials, including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and Canada. This February, Carol was part of a small breakfast meeting hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador on the occasion of their Foreign Minister's visit to Washington, DC. The Foreign Minister wanted to speak with key individuals on climate change in order to listen and learn more about the US situation and how to help move climate policy and negotiations forward. Carol represented one of three nonprofits in attendance; four senior Congressional staff members also were there. Similarly, in January, Carol attended a small dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Sweden during their Foreign Minister's visit - again to discuss climate change. This month, she met with a senior Finnish official, again about climate change.
ð Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
EESI actively participates in several regional coalitions, taking part in monthly conference calls and regular meetings including those of Harvesting Clean Energy (a Northwest-based organization), Great Plains Institute and Northeast Regional Biomass brown bag meetings. These discussions offer EESI the opportunity to gather ideas, information and perspectives to incorporate into policy approaches as well as share useful information regarding activity on the national/federal level. For example, on a recent Harvesting Clean Energy call, a discussion about specific E10 (10 percent ethanol) labeling led EESI to provide information about a similar Kansas labeling regulation, which significantly increased consumption of ethanol. A good illustration of how we assist our networks. EESI also participates in the Sustainable Energy Coalition and the US Climate Action Network.
ð The Press
Increasingly, a wide range of media recognize our expertise on various topics related to energy policy and renewable energy technologies. Over the past few months, we have fielded dozens of press calls and received press coverage regarding cellulosic ethanol, small business and climate change, plug-in hybrid vehicles, the State of the Union address, and more. Case in point, RenewableEnergyAccess.com, a recognized and trusted source for renewable energy news on the internet, once again invited EESI to write a "Biomass: Year in Review" article. In addition, EESI's Jetta Wong is now serving as the biofuels "expert" for the publication, periodically responding to questions from readers. And just this week, Carol did interviews with Scripps Howard and Voice of America.
14. EESI Reaches Around the World ... and close to home
In addition to the thousands of US contacts EESI regularly keeps informed, people from across the globe turn to us for information and help. For instance, Oslo, Norway-based Upstream Journal called to ask questions about Climate Change and Renewable Energy. EESI Policy Analyst Jetta Wong spoke with Tom Liskey about a host of topics involving renewable energy technologies and economic development in rural communities.
Bashir Babura Sabo, a Research Officer with the Jigawa Research Institute in Nigeria wrote requesting all of EESI's publications and said, "I heard about EESI from a friend who is an environmentalist, he directed me to EESI's website. Being an environmental manager, is a good opportunity to be receiving your articles and journals, keep the very good work you are doing."
A six member delegation of Chinese bureaucrats from the Beijing Bureau for Agriculture requested a meeting with EESI to discuss renewable energy in agriculture. Jetta spent a morning with the delegation, presenting information and responding to questions about solar and biomass technologies.
Closer to home, EESI also met with a delegation of farmers from Illinois and Iowa about farm bill and biofuels issues. In addition, when EESI staffer Jetta Wong was looking for information on fireplace chimneys and energy audits for herWashington, DC home, one respondent added, "Several of our staff recognized your name since we subscribe to EESI list-servs and have attended several events." They asked to meet so they could exchange information with her. Small world!
11. EESI Welcomes...
New EESI Associates:
Center for Small Business and the Environment
Mary De Voe
Michael Diamond/Friendship Psychiatric Assoc.
Stephanie Fuerstner Gillis
Home Family Foundation
Henry P. Kendall Foundation
National Hydropower Association
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Schmitz-Fromherz Family Fund
Doug and Betsey Schwab and Family Foundation
Charles Spear Charitable Trust
New Advisory Board members:
James Barrett, Redefining Progress
Kenneth Connolly, ML Strategies, former Minority Staff Director for the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee
Milt Copulos, National Defense Council Foundation
John Justis, former Earth and Ocean Science Specialist, Congressional Research Service
Shelly Fidler, VanNess Feldman Attorneys
EESI relies on support from people like you to continue our valuable work in energy, climate change, agriculture, transportation and smart growth. Your support is essential in helping us make a difference! A tax-deductible contribution to EESI will help free America from its "addiction to oil" and reduce global warming with clean renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. And you can feel confident that your contribution will be well-spent. Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator, has given EESI its top rating of 4-Stars, indicating that EESI excels at efficiently and effectively managing its finances to ensure that your contributions have the greatest impact possible. See their rating here.