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    Fast and Furious

    EESI Executive Director Carol Werner walks in such a hurry that she once got stopped by the Capitol Hill police for walking so fast in the hallways of Congress! But nothing will slow Carol down because she is acutely aware of the urgency of the challenge we face to effectively address climate change and build a sustainable energy future. 

    She is traveling fast, in part, because she knows almost a third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. EESI has been a leading partner in the successful Plug-in Partners Campaign led by Austin Energy to convince automakers that there is a viable market for flex-fuel, plug-in hybrid vehicles. EESI focused on showing Congressional offices how plug-in hybrid vehicles could revolutionize the transportation sector and suggested policy options to help bring them to market. And our hard work, and that of coalition partners, paid off - both House and Senate Energy bills include provisions for plug-in hybrids - demonstration programs, tax incentives for consumers and manufacturers, and research & development of high-capacity batteries. EESI and the campaign have shown how plug-in vehicles are a true "win-win."


    Carol Receives National Stewardship Award 

    [Carol Werner] The National Defense Council Foundation (NDCF) has given EESI Executive Director Carol Werner its first ever National Stewardship Award for outstanding service. In making the award, NDCF President Milt Copulos said, "Carol is someone who has always had a positive influence on process and a real impact in developing policies that not only protect our environment but also move the nation forward."


    Briefings at Work 

    EESI Associate recently asked a Member of Congress about their motivation to introduce legislation supporting a technology for a renewable resource that isn't particularly strong in that Member's state. The Member replied that he had gone to an EESI Congressional briefing on the technology and "got inspired." While we know our briefings make a difference, it is always nice to see specific examples. A former senior Senate staffer recently told our board, "EESI is the most effective group inside the beltway."


    Small Business Committees Bring Energy and Climate to the Forefront

    After EESI's briefing last year on the role of small business in passing California's landmark climate legislation AB 32, EESI and its partner, Center for Small Business and the Environment (CSBE), conferred with small business committee staff on the interrelationship of climate change, energy, and small business. These discussions led to committee hearings and legislative proposals, including bills addressing workforce education, small business investment and the incorporation of small business considerations into the House and Senate energy bills and the farm bill. 

    Byron Kennard, Executive Director of CSBE, has been leading the charge to gain recognition of the potential for small business collaboration on climate change and sustainable energy use. Byron says, "EESI has an unrivalled ability to transmit new information and knowledge directly to policy-makers in Congress. That's why we partnered with EESI to assert the interests of small business which, heretofore, have been almost entirely neglected by environmental and energy policy-makers. Now, thanks to EESI briefings, both the House Small Business Committee and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship are actively engaged in promoting small business's key role in environmental protection and in combating global warming."

    EESI and CSBE are now focusing attention on the hundreds of small-scale solutions to global warming that currently exist, which are successful, profitable and replicable. Rather than a nonexistent "silver bullet," the project will spotlight "silver buckshot" - small businesses, in aggregate, making a big impact.


    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), is preparing a searchable database containing resources to assist planners interested in incorporating energy efficiency and climate change strategies into the planning process. Lively discussion among a diverse group of stakeholders during our June 2007 Partner Dialogue meeting in Washington, DC helped augment our research to identify online management tools, existing plans, case studies, research papers, and communities already hard at work on these important topics. The database is scheduled to be available by the end of the year on the project website: In addition, the partnership is beginning to work on a comprehensive planning and climate change manual.


    EESI Convenes a Wood-based Energy Discussion Series

    EESI is bringing together a diverse group of foresters, academics, NGOs, and civic officials, as well as those involved in the production of wood-based energy products, for a series of discussions on sustainable [cc96]  forest management and the future of wood-based energy. Our goal is to help address climate change and assist sustainable forestry practices and accelerate development of asustainable wood-based energy industry. These discussions will help define needed research and determine the principal opportunities and barriers to widespread adoption of wood-based energy. The discussion series will provide a stakeholder forum for sharing information and ideas, exploring problems and solutions, and building general consensus on the needs and conditions of our forests and the industry. For more information or to participate contact EESI at bioenergy [at], (202) 662-1885.


    EESI Fights for Geothermal Energy and Hydropower Funding Once Again

    [cc97] The President's FY 08 budget request zeroed out core geothermal and incremental hydropower programs and cut many critical energy efficiency programs. EESI raised awareness about these cuts and worked to restore these critical programs through our budget and technology briefings and our widely distributed budget analysis. 

    EESI worked with House and Senate Congressional offices on letters urging appropriators to restore funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in FY 08, including geothermal energy and incremental hydropower. Subsequently, the House appropriated $44.2 million for geothermal energy, a nearly nine-fold increase over the $5.0 million enacted in FY 2007 and the Senate appropriated $25.0 million for geothermal energy. The House appropriated $22.0 million for hydropower, well above the $0.5 million enacted in 2006, while the Senate appropriated $2.0 million for hydropower. The final funding levels still have not been resolved.


    EESI Farm Bill Recommendations - Used on Capitol Hill and Beyond

    The Farm Bill reauthorization process has been a major focus of EESI this year, including the release of our updated Farm Bill policy whitepaper, The 2007 Farm Bill: Policy Recommendations for Integrated Renewable Energy Production, holding numerous meetings with staff in the Senate and the House, responding to inquiries, tracking the energy titles in the bills as they made their way through Congress and working on numerous provisions with many other organizations in our agriculture network. We are happy to say that a number of program ideas from EESI's white paper were included in Senate and/or House proposals including: programs to help develop an ag/energy workforce; increasing use of bioenergy power in current renewable energy facilities like ethanol plants; preprocessing, harvesting and storage grants; Small Business Bioproduct Marketing and Certification Grants; authorization of the Fuels for Schools Program; an expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency grant/loan program; expanded procurement of biobased products; research and technology [grasses] development for woody-biomass; a biorefinery program focused on loan guarantees; and an expanded bioenergy program focusing on diversified feedstocks (excluding corn starch).

    The Clean Air Council (PA) saw our whitepaper and asked if we could help review a farm policy proposal by Gov. Rendell (PA) and make suggestions concerning its energy provisions. They needed a full update on the Farm Bill Energy Title because they were new to the issue. Our assistance and comments helped them make recommendations to the Governor's office. The results generated this comment, "This is very helpful. I have forwarded to Secretary McGinty and Secretary Diberadins and we will likely make some changes to our document based on your feedback. I appreciate your time to review and comment."


    EESI Helps Newsweek with Story on Green Malls and Clean Transportation

    When Newsweek magazine needed information on "clean" transportation, they turned to EESI for help. Kevin Hand, from the Newsweek graphics department in New York asked: 

    "We are working on an internet interactive graphic as well as a graphic for our magazine on "Green Malls. In these new malls, such as one being developed in Chicago, there will be installed options for energy savings such as outlets for electric cars, preferred parking for hybrids and indoor bicycle parking. We would like to find out just how much energy might be saved in those three choices instead of using a car if someone were to travel 5 miles to the mall in each instance. Would you be able to supply this type of information?"  [bike]

    So our Transportation Policy Analyst, Shefali Ranganthan, set to work. Shefali's challenge was to find a common fuel to compare these modes of transportation. When we sent Kevin our results, his response was "Wow! Shefali, this is brilliant!" However, he thought comparing mega-joules per mile was too complicated for the average reader, so he asked us to translate each into gasoline usage. 

    The Results - To travel 5 miles, the comparison is (for gas and mega-joules):

    27 mpg or 29.4 mega-joules (MJ) for a gasoline car (Camry as proxy)
    55 mpg or 14.3 MJ for a hybrid car (Prius)
    135 mpg equivalent or 7.09 MJ for an electric car (Tesla roadster)
    no gasoline or 0.97 MJ (human energy) for a bicycle


    New Staff at EESI

    EESI would like to welcome several new staff members. 
    * Jesse Caputo our new Agriculture and Energy Fellow, is an enthusiastic practitioner of forest science and natural resource management with a MS in Forest Resources. He is deeply engaged in our woody biomass discussion series. In addition to his academic work, Jesse worked as the manager of the U. Mass. at Amherst forest system, administering timber harvests, overseeing an overhaul of the management plans, and acting as the principal liaison between the public and the University Forests Committee. 
    * Deirdre Nicholson is EESI's new Executive Assistant. She has a degree in History and has always been interested in environmental issues, including working for her college's recycling program. Prior positions include working for a structural engineering firm and working at the US Navy Museum in Washington, DC on a special exhibit. 
    * Jan Mueller is EESI's new Transportation, Energy & Smart Growth Policy Analyst. He has a MS in Resource Ecology and Management as well as a Masters of Landscape Architecture: Land Use Planning & Design. Prior positions include several years with the National Wildlife Federation office in VT (where he worked on the last transportation bill), consulting and electoral work.


    Briefings and Events

    [briefing] EESI's Congressional briefing schedule for 2007 has been rigorous - with 35 briefings this year! We have had great attendance for all of our briefings, exhibiting the strength of interest in our issues on the Hill and among other organizations, businesses, and media sources. CSPAN broadcast our briefing, Climate Change: What Americans Think live, in which Professor Jon Krosnick explained the results of his recent polling work on perceptions of climate change and climate change solutions. Copies can be ordered (enter C-SPAN ID# 197951, Public Perspectives of Global Climate Change).

    We also put a great deal of hard work into this year's 10th Annual Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Expo and Forum,presented by the Sustainable Energy Coalition (of which EESI is a Steering Committee member) and the House and Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses. Exhibitors from a cross-section of the renewable energy and efficiency industries displayed information about their technologies and answered questions. The policy forum stressed the urgency of addressing climate change and how renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are real and available NOW to mitigate severe climate change. Before a packed room of Congressional staffers, agency officials, industry, media and others, virtually every speaker reiterated the critical need for Congress to extend the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS), the solar investment tax credit (ITC), and efficiency tax credits. Keynote speakers Dr. John Holdren, Heinz Professor, Harvard University; Director, Wood's Hole Research Center; and Chair, AAAS, and John Hieftje, Mayor of the City of Ann Arbor, MI book-ended a day that featured Members of Congress and top executives of major renewable energy and energy efficiency companies.

    EESI's recent Congressional briefings and events:

    • Findings from the IPCC Working Group II Report: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability - April 18, 2007
    • Climate Change: What Americans Think - May 4, 2007
    • How Does Transportation Fit into Cap and Trade? - May 11, 2007, presented in cooperation with the 2020 Vision Education Fund and the offices of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
    • Congressional Fuel Cell Expo 2007--Fuel Cells: Powering the Present...Securing the Future - May 15, 2007, presented in conjunction with the US Fuel Cell Council
    • High-Performance Green Buildings: A Look at Their Benefits and the Role of Federal Policy - May 21, 2007
    • World Environment Day 2007: Melting Ice - A Hot Topic? - June 5, 2007, presented in conjunction with the Royal Norwegian Embassy
    • The Low Carbon Fuel Standard: A Climate Policy Solution for Transportation - June 5, 2007
    • The Role of Advanced Hydropower and Ocean Energy in Upcoming Energy Legislation - June 8, 2007
    • The 10th Annual Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Expo and Forum - June 14, 2007, presented by the House and Senate Renewable Energy & Energy EfficiencyCaucuses in cooperation with the Sustainable Energy Coalition
    • Harvesting the Farm Bill for Energy Security and Climate - June 15, 2007, presented in cooperation with the 2020 Vision Education Fund, and the offices of Sen. Richard Lugar and Sen. Joe Biden
    • Can a National Renewable Portfolio Standard Increase Energy Security, Reduce Emissions and Lower Costs? - July 11, 2007
    • Why is Concentrating Solar Power Good for America? - September 6, 2007
    • The Clean Water Act turns 35! The Next 35 Years of Clean Water: What will the Future Hold? presented in cooperation with the Water Environment Federation - September 19, 2007
    • Ecosystem Thresholds and Climate Tipping Points: Implications for Policymakers - September 20, 2007
    • What Does the Stern Review Mean for the UN Climate Change Meeting in Bali? - September 21, 2007
    • National and International Perspectives on Energy and Climate Policy: A Roundtable Discussion - September 25, 2007
    • The Daily Transit Pass: One of the Most Powerful Weapons to Combat Global Climate Change - September 26, 2007
    • Solar Decathlon Showcases Green Homes for Today: How Energy Bill Provisions Can Support High-Performance Homes - October 17, 2007
    • Loan Guarantee Provisions in the 2007 Energy Bills: Does Nuclear Power Pose Significant Taxpayer Risk and Liability? - October 30, 2007
    • Can States Meet the Proposed 15% National Renewable Portfolio Standard? - November 1, 2007
    • Opportunities for Bioenergy Production in Every State - October 31, 2007
    • Green Collar Jobs: Why Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency are Economic Powerhouses - November 8, 2007