California Engagement Program
California Engagement Program
California is one of the largest markets in the world, with a GDP that would be ninth among nations, and has a corresponding large market for energy services. California is also second only to the federal government in the magnitude of public resources it invests annually in energy. Of particular importance are two initiatives that are raising substantial dollars that can support advanced energy in the state. In November, voters passed Proposition 39, which will raise approximately $500 million annually for the next five years for energy efficiency and clean energy projects for schools and other public buildings. Also in November, California implemented a major component of its AB 32 greenhouse gas program with the auction of carbon credits under the cap and trade program. The auction of 2013 credits raised over $200 million, and auctions for later-year credits are expected to raise additional revenues. In both cases, given California’s severely challenged state budget, temptations will exist to divert these funds to non-energy purposes. Now more than ever, a unified and credible advanced energy industry voice is needed to keep California focused on its energy goals. Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will be that voice.
The California Engagement Program aims to provide policymakers and the media with well-informed industry perspective and intelligence on achieving California’s energy goals cost-effectively. It focuses on the following three categories of activities:
Advanced energy industry analysis
Regulatory and legislative advocacy
Public and media relations
AEE is currently selecting a core group of members to participate on the California Steering Committee. This committee will help shape California program activities and represent industry perspectives for the overall effort. AEE is currently ramping up this program and is meeting with member companies to identify existing needs and concerns in California. Specific program areas are outlined below.
ADVANCED ENERGY INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
AEE is currently compiling the perspectives of a broad group of advanced energy leaders and stakeholders on the most critical elements of California policy topics, ranging from market design and regulatory barriers to the allocation of public resources. Areas of study include:
Analyzing the effectiveness of existing energy-related state budgetary and regulatory programs intended to expand the advanced energy industry
Determining how new streams of public resources could enable in-state industry growth and offset existing program costs
Identifying strategies to increase the availability of low-cost capital, leverage existing public funding sources and attract private capital
Surfacing existing regulatory barriers and identifying opportunities for enabling better market function
Defining the genuinely addressable global market that can be served by California industry, as an alternative to the current focus on the in-state market
As part of this effort, AEE released a study presenting corporate leaders’ perceptions of the state’s nation-leading policies and recommendations for action to accelerate the growth of an advanced energy economy in California. The study, “California’s Advanced Energy Economy: Advanced Energy Business Leaders’ Perspectives and Recommendations on California’s Energy Policies,” was based on a series of interviews with 30 CEOs and other senior executives of advanced energy companies located in California or doing significant business in the state. The report was published by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, AEE’s educational and charitable affiliate, and conducted by Analysis Group, a leading research consultancy.
In addition, AEE published “Advanced Energy in California,” showcasing the breadth and diversity of the state’s industry. Thanks to its abundant natural resources, forward-leaning energy policies, educated populace, and culture of innovation, many advanced energy companies call California home. Advanced energy has taken hold in California across a number of industry segments, including transportation, fuel production, fuel delivery, buildings, industry, electricity generation, and electricity delivery and management. Advanced Energy Economy Institute estimates that there are well over 1,800 advanced energy companies doing business in California.
AEE will also establish a Capital Innovation Council made up of advanced energy business leaders with expertise in finance. The council will advise the California steering committee on opportunities to lower the cost of capital and increase the availability of capital for various segments of the industry.
REGULATORY & LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY
Through AEE’s advocacy efforts, members will build relationships with legislators, regulators and the Administration. AEE will provide a platform for leaders across the advanced energy industry to deliver a business perspective supported by rigorous analysis. This will include strategic meetings with the Governor’s office, roundtable discussions with the California Air Resources Board members and legislative forums to help educate lawmakers on issues most relevant to the advanced energy industry. Key to this process is the fact that AEE is leveraging the strength and experience of the entire industry to present a unified front.
PUBLIC & MEDIA RELATIONS
AEE will invest in a strategic and targeted media outreach campaign around the economic benefits associated with cost-effective implementation of the state’s energy priorities. The effort will showcase public benefits tied to advanced energy throughout the state and the progress being made in meeting California’s energy goals. Activities will include developing a speakers’ bureau and launching an editorial board tour in an effort to educate key editors, reporters and opinion leaders on how California’s policy goals can be reached most effectively. This activity will focus on targeted media markets and legislative districts in the state.
While the PR strategy around AEE’s policy activities in California will be targeted in nature, AEE has a parallel effort underway to help educate opinion leaders more broadly about the nation’s advanced energy sector. In the coming months, AEE will bring its Positive Energy campaign to California. The campaign is an effort to represent a unified industry voice in the public arena, establishing a positive image for advanced energy as an industry contributing to economic growth. After successful pilots in Ohio and Arkansas, AEE is now ramping up its efforts to focus on the major media markets around the country, including California.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about this initiative.