Mintz Levin is a proud sponsor of the New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) Fourth Annual Achievement Awards. These awards recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women leaders in the fields of energy and the environment. Each year, the NEWIEE Achievement Awards honor women who have achieved professional excellence within their area of specialty and have actively encouraged and mentored other women in related professional areas. The Gala this year is from 6-9 pm at the Lenox Hotel, fittingly designated by Condé Nast as one of the Greenest Luxury Hotels in America.
The keynote speaker will be Karen Gordon Mills, Former Administrator, Small Business Administration. NEWIEE Achievement Awardees are: Alicia Barton, Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center; Janet Gail Besser, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, New England Clean Energy Council and Elin Swanson Katz, Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut. Patricia Stanton, Senior Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, Conservation Services Group will receive the NEWIEE Leadership Award. Click here to purchase tickets or become a sponsor!
With the reintroduction of energy efficiency legislation and a first move on comprehensive tax reform, energy issues received significant attention in Washington last week. They will continue to garner consideration this week as President Obama unveils his fiscal year 2015 budget request and Congress takes up several energy measures.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a revised version of their energy efficiency legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014, (S. 2074) February 27. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Hoeven (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) cosponsored the measure. The updated package incorporates ten amendments on issues ranging from energy efficient federal data centers to water heaters; besides the amendments, the remainder of the text remains largely the same. The senators have been working behind the scenes for months to revive the bill, which collapsed on the Senate floor last year amid fights over amendments; they hope to show Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that it has enough broad support to overcome procedural hurdles. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) has promised that his committee will consider the legislation if it clears the Senate. Continue Reading
The Houston-based SURGE Accelerator connects energy-oriented startups with industry leaders and mentors in order to solve the world’s energy problems using technology. The mentor-driven, venture accelerator puts energy tech startups through an intensive 12-week program and provides each company with $30,000 in exchange for a share of equity. The program ends with their demo day, known as SURGE Day, for the startups to present to more than 600 investors and customers, which previously have included corporations such as Shell, Halliburton, and Austin Ventures. Start-up ventures from the two previous SURGE Accelerator programs have successfully raised $25 million in funding as well as created over 150 jobs. This year, 11 new energy-technology companies, ranging from an electricity pricing software company to a subsurface imaging software company, have been accepted as members of the SURGE Accelerator’s third class.
The current startup ecosystem is increasingly attractive to budding entrepreneurs due to the prevalence of accelerator programs like the SURGE Accelerator. Launching a startup is becoming cheaper than ever before because technology is less expensive and because there are many organizations and programs dedicated to mentoring and fostering these businesses. The biggest decision entrepreneurs and startup investors have to make is determining whether the startup is going to take off at some point in the near future or whether it will fizzle out. Accelerator programs teach startup organizations skills to achieve benchmarks, to scale their businesses, and to raise capital that will help increase the likelihood of getting a greater return on their investment in an entrepreneurial venture while connecting the founders to expert mentors and strategic potential customers.
Energy issues will take center stage this week as the Supreme Court addresses the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas regulations and Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) reintroduce their energy efficiency package.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for an uncommon 90 minutes February 24 in a case over the Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of its greenhouse gas emissions regulations. The case, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, hinges on whether the agency’s decision to regulate mobile emissions triggers regulations under the agency’s prevention of significant deterioration permitting program, which requires permits for new stationary facilities and those undergoing major modifications, and, if so, whether the agency was legally justified in its efforts to narrow the regulated scope.
Justices seemed to lean toward deferring to the agency to do what it considered best under the statute, but appeared split on whether the agency’s course of action was the best choice. The court’s decision is not expected to undermine the agency’s overall authority to regulate greenhouse gases, but the lawsuit could provide an opportunity for the court to issue guidance on how federal agencies should interpret federal statutes. Continue Reading
The fifth annual Energy Innovation Summit organized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be held on February 24-26, 2014 in Washington, D.C.. If you are unable to attend in person, please make sure to follow the Energy Department (@Energy) and ARPA-E (@ARPAE) on Twitter for the latest news and events from the Summit.
Every year, the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit assembles the nation’s most innovative minds to connect, share best practices during interactive panel sessions, see the latest technological advancements across a wide variety of energy sectors; hear keynotes from industry leaders and luminaries on the future of energy technologies; and attend practical seminars on core concepts and skills for transitioning cutting-edge technologies into successful commercial products. The event brings together thought leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and facilitate relationships to help move technologies into the marketplace. For more information regarding specific keynote speeches, panel sessions and networking events, please visit the following website: 2014 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Agenda. Continue Reading
With Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) confirmation as ambassador to China, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mary Landrieu (D-CA) assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources Committees, respectively, last week. Also part of the committee leadership shuffle include Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) succeeding Senator Landrieu as chair of the Small Business Committee and Senator John Tester (D-MT) succeeding Senator Cantwell as head of the Indian Affairs Committee; the Senate approved the moves February 13. As the senators take some time to organize their staffs and legislative agendas, Senator Landrieu has already pledged to promote domestic energy production, while Senator Wyden has said that he hopes to begin work on the tax extenders package as a precursor to addressing comprehensive tax reform at a later date.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced last week that they would formally reintroduce their energy efficiency package (S. 1392) the week of February 24, with Senate action likely to follow in March. The measure will include ten bipartisan amendments in an effort to garner additional support. House leadership has taken an interest in similar bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2126) from Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV).
On February 21st and 22nd, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will host its 9th annual Energy Conference, bringing together thought-leaders in energy from technology, policy, industry, and finance to formulate powerful, productive ideas in the face of a rapidly changing industry. This year’s MIT Energy Conference will focus on engaging the audience by “Defining Challenges and Advancing Solutions” in the energy space. Building upon MIT’s tradition of merging entrepreneurial risk-taking with technological innovation and scientific breakthrough, the MIT Energy Conference will act as a platform to showcase promising technology, policy approaches, and innovative business models that have the potential to achieve critical scale and make a significant impact on the global energy landscape.
MIT will host a variety of panels over the two-day conference to discuss topics including Biofuels in Transportation, Clean Tech Finance, Expanding the Solar Frontier, Fitting the Grid to Renewables, From Lab Space to Marketplace, Nuclear-Renewables Partnership, Policy and Economics of Carbon, and the Natural Gas Boom. In addition to the industry leaders that will sit as panel members and moderators, the Conference will host three distinguished keynote speakers: Ken Salazar, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior; Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; and Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS. Continue Reading
With Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) confirmation February 6 to be the next Ambassador to China, the committee leadership shuffle begins. In advance of the moves, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) are beginning to outline their agendas as they prepare to lead the Senate Finance and Energy committees, respectively. Senator Wyden announced last week that he would focus on tax extenders as a catalyst into comprehensive tax reform. Senator Landrieu, a domestic energy development advocate, said that the turnover is likely to be settled during the Senate Democratic Caucus weekly meeting February 11, and that she looks forward to working with members of the committee for several weeks before finalizing her agenda. The senator has been a vocal supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, for lifting the crude oil export ban, for building liquefied natural gas export terminals, and for moving quickly on permitting energy infrastructure projects in general. Senator Landrieu will relinquish her current chairmanship of the Small Business Committee in the move, and is looking forward to working with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who will remain as the Energy Committee’s ranking member.
In other news, the Senate approved February 4 the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642), sending the farm bill to the president for signature. The five-year reauthorization includes an energy title that protects programs on conservation, biofuels, and forestry.
For more on the latest energy and clean technology regulatory and legislative developments please see ML Strategies’ most recent Energy and Environment Update.
President Obama used his annual State of the Union address January 28 to call for a year of action on a broad array of issues, highlighting energy efforts and his climate action plan amongst 12 executive actions he hopes to undertake this year to increase “opportunit[ies] for all.”
Noting that the United States has made more significant reductions in total greenhouse gas emissions over the last eight years than any other country, President Obama promised to move forward with greenhouse gas emissions standards for power plants, and act more urgently to address climate change than ever before, with or without the help of Congress. He clearly stated his position on climate change, saying, “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” At the same time, the president reaffirmed his commitment to an all of the above energy strategy, and vowed to continue work with the fossil fuel industry to “sustain production” and create jobs. He also announced that the administration would set new fuel efficiency standards for trucks soon, and that he would form a partnership with states and cities to reduce carbon pollution through investments in clean energy and efficiency.
While the administration has authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, it will need Congress’ cooperation to move on a number of energy proposals, including Continue Reading
Sean McLernon of Law360 recently published an article identifying President Barack Obama’s support for natural gas during his State of the Union address on Tuesday as well as his administration’s implicit commitment to hydraulic fracturing as a tool to lower carbon pollution. After being interview by Law360 on the subject matter, Mintz Levin’s Paul Dickerson commented that:
It’s important for our policymakers to be pragmatic. For me, the State of the Union address showed that the Obama administration — and certainly President Obama himself — has recognized that this is a unique moment in time. Despite some of our economic challenges, the energy industry has innovated and brought new technologies to the oil patch and allowed our nation to move away from being a net importer of fossil fuels. That is a big moment.”
For more information, please read the full article on Law 360: Obama’s Natural Gas Support Signals Bright Fracking Future.