CRES has been a proud member of the Steering Committee for National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) since its inception in 2017. Although we pivoted to an all-virtual format in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s NCEW Policy Makers Symposium was the biggest ever. In fact, the online-only format gave the event organizers a chance to expand beyond the beltway, reaching audiences coast to coast. We also expanded the scope of the event, growing from one day to five, featuring over 30 hours of clean energy content.
A replay of the entire week is currently still available on demand at www.nationalcleanenergyweek.org, where you’ll find a broad spectrum of political ideas represented. As a leading advocate for conservative approaches to renewable energy and climate policy, we wanted to call special attention to some of the right-of-center elected officials who took the time to speak at the event.
We’re pleased to say that Republicans members of the U.S. Senate put that larger platform to good use and demonstrated in their remarks what bipartisan solutions are all about.
“While some in the Congress and on the national stage would have us prioritize politics over policy and ideology over innovation, we must not let them win,” explained Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). “Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between can and should unite around clean energy solutions. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.”
Senator Gardner is not just paying lip service—recently, the Lugar Center and Georgetown University ranked him as the 3rd most bipartisan senator. And his signature legislative achievement this year required tremendous bipartisanship: The Great American Outdoors Act, the most significant conservation legislation in nearly half a century. He remains a genuine conservative, having helped form the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, a bicameral group focused on addressing environmental problems through market-based solutions. He recently received our endorsement for re-election.
Meanwhile, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) used her speech to draw attention to one of the most important emerging technologies in clean energy, energy storage. Energy storage is considered the “Holy Grail” for the energy sector because it allows for stockpiling power when business and consumers need it most. Last year, Senator Collins introduced the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, legislation to help advance energy storage technologies and make our nation’s grid more reliable and resilient, which passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in September 2019.
“Next generation energy storage technology is the holy grail that will allow us to integrate more renewables and clean energy technology. That in turn will help to reduce emissions, improve resiliency, and fight climate change,” said Senator Collins, who also earned a CRES endorsement for re-election.
Meanwhile, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) made headlines with her speech at this year’s NCEW, as she told the audience “not to give up hope” on the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a sweeping legislative package that modernize American energy policy for the first time in more than a decade. CRES recognized Senator Murkowski in 2018 as one of our Clean Energy Champions.
Finally, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) spoke at the Policy Makers Symposium about his own banner year in clean energy advocacy. Already a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, he launched the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus almost exactly twelve months ago. This summer, he really earned his bona fides by introducing the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which will help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. It’s the first piece of legislation to take inspiration from our “voluntary framework” concept.
We were so proud of the wonderful contributions made by the GOP during NCEW, and more importantly, on Capitol Hill throughout the year. Be sure to check out our companion blog post highlighting some of the House Republicans who spoke at the Policy Maker Symposium this year.
We’re already looking forward to #NCEW21!