During its recent Energy Outlook Conference in Washington DC, NASEO and Ceres offered state energy officials a rare opportunity to connect with consumer brands and investors to discuss renewable energy and energy efficiency and the implications for state energy policies.
The response was overwhelming. Over two dozen representatives from 18 states, including Oklahoma, Utah, Minnesota, Michigan, and Missouri, packed the room. Unlike our national representatives in Washington, these state officials—representing red, blue, and purple states alike—managed to reach some key areas of agreement.
The conversation was rich, pointed and issue-oriented. Here are some highlights.
General Mills and eBay discussed their corporate commitments to clean energy and the importance of supportive state policies in encouraging such investments. Impax Asset Management, Calvert Investments and Hannon Armstrong—all members of Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)—detailed their efforts to expand clean energy investments, and polices that will help them do more, such as third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), state renewable portfolio standards and the EPA’s proposal for reducing carbon emissions from power plants.
“As investors in a wide range of companies—from utilities to consumer goods companies—we’re always dismayed to hear the antiquated argument that policies intended to reduce pollution are bad for business,” said Stu Dalheim, a vice president at Calvert Investments. “In fact, we believe the standards EPA has proposed for power plant carbon emissions provide an opportunity to scale policies that work and catalyze corporate clean energy efforts.”
State officials, in response, talked about their efforts to diversify and decarbonize their energy portfolios. Governors and state energy officials from around the country have made the development and implementation of state energy plans a priority, especially in light of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Many states are grappling with their own efforts to expand renewable energy, attract investment and create jobs.
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