AEE and its State and Regional Partners gathered in Boston for a three-day conference earlier this month. We convene our state and regional partners semi-annually to learn from each other and plan policy initiatives that can help the industry grow.
The conference kicked off with welcoming remarks by AEE CEO Graham Richard, who pulled out news clips from just the past week touting the growth and success of our industry. “Advanced energy is in the news because advanced energy is on the move,” said Richard.
Luncheon keynote speaker was Ian Bowles, former Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts. Now managing director of WindSail Capital, an investment fund providing growth capital to advanced energy companies, Bowles talked about passing six groundbreaking laws under Gov. Deval Patrick. Among other things, these laws gave Massachusetts the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission limit in the nation and elevated the Bay State to the top of ACEEE’s energy efficiency rankings, for now three years in a row. When pursuing similar policies in their states, Bowles urged AEE’s partners to take advantage of unexpected opportunities, and not to allow their uniquely powerful business voice get diluted. “Practice the art of the possible,” said Bowles. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the simply excellent.”
The group also heard from AEE member companies, including EtaGen, OwnEnergy, OPower, EnerNOC, Retroficiency, and Conservation Services Group, about policies in electricity generation and demand-side management that could accelerate business growth. AEE and state partner leaders led other sessions on topics looming on the policy horizon. Opportunities for advanced energy under EPA’s rulemaking on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants was addressed by AEE’s Director of Industry Analysis Matt Stanberry, Patrick Whitty of Illinois’s Clean Energy Trust, and Commissioner Ken Kimmel of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Chair Elect of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), who made a case for joining RGGI as a way for states to meet EPA’s emission reduction goals.
A session on innovative energy finance mechanisms was led by AEE Vice President and Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council Executive Director Dan Scripps and Arkansas Advanced Energy Association Policy Director Ken Smith. AEE Senior Vice President Lisa Frantzis and Janet Besser, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the New England Clean Energy Council discussed new business models for electric utilities. Frantzis gave a progress report on the four 21st Century Electricity System CEO Forums held in collaboration with MIT’s Industrial Performance Center. Besser reported on the robust stakeholder process launched by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to examine grid modernization.
Working with our partners, AEE staff also led discussions on communications strategies, distributed generation priorities and opportunities, and organizational growth and development.
Attendees got a chance to tour AEE member company EnerNOC’s network operations center, from which the company manages demand response for customers across the country and around the world. We also attended the Green Tie Gala, New England Clean Energy Council’s annual event, where we heard remarks from keynote speaker Chris Laurens, VP Future Energy Technologies at Shell, and Gov. Deval Patrick, who was inducted into NECEC’s “Hall of Fame” for making Massachusetts a national leader. (Video of Gov. Patrick’s remarks here.)
Advanced energy is big business - with big benefits. Earlier this year AEE released a report on the size and scope of this $1.1 trillion industry. Download that report below.