NASEO / ASERTTI State Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference Focuses on Modernizing U.S. Buildings and Energy Infrastructure

Over 200 attendees participated in this year’s NASEO/ASERTTI State Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference from February 7 – 10, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  The theme of promoting economic development and technology innovation set the stage for the informative presentations and dynamic discussions that revolved around modernizing U.S. buildings and energy infrastructure generally.  The speakers combined with representatives from the states, private sector, and nonprofits provided the ideal opportunity to build coordination across sectors related to financing, technology advancement, economic development, and policy. 

Paul TonkaCongressman Paul Tonko provided the keynote address on the opening day, offering a national energy legislative and appropriations outlook for 2012.  His remarks centered on the importance of allowing physics, rather than politics, to guide energy policy.  Congressman Tonko discussed the need for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and a thriving middle class to build this economy and reignite the American Dream—noting that manufacturing is a critical component of this effort.  He expressed his strong support for and commitment to continuing to work with NASEO and others to increase funding for the State Energy Program (SEP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).  David Terry, NASEO and ASERTTI Executive Director, and Frank Murray, CEO and President of NYSERDA, presented Congressman Tonko with an award to commemorate his longstanding dedication to the State and Territory Energy Offices.

Thursday’s keynote address featured Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).   Admiral McGinn highlighted the intrinsic relationship between energy and national security.  He remarked that the U.S. needs a cleaner and more affordable means for powering the economy, which can be achieved through the right technology, policy, and financial investments.  He went on to say that state governments will drive the policy initiatives that will lead to a smarter energy mix.  Admiral McGinn suggested that the three things the country needs to move towards a smarter energy future include: 1) government support for renewable energy, which will also be good for economic development; 2) incentives to help small businesses scale-up; and 3) education for consumers that goes beyond simply the recognition of energy related to utility bills and the price of gas at the pump.

WarnerFormer Senator John Warner presented the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) new emphasis on energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy and fuels with Phyllis Cuttino from the Pew Charitable Trusts.  Senator Warner illustrated the military’s direct link to energy, noting that one of their principal missions is to protect the sea lanes where oil imports come through.  He highlighted the energy innovations of the armed forces, including technologies such as portable solar mats that power electronics and other devices.  Senator Warner also explained the DoD’s leadership in developing critical technologies that are later commercialized, and suggested the states work closely with the military to coordinate on technology innovation.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy; the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Partnership Division provided timely and informational updates in both the general sessions and within the topical committees.

The sessions focusing on green banks and financing mechanisms, reducing imported petroleum use, improving utility customer engagement, integrating offshore wind, advancing bio innovations, and upgrading public facilities sessions clearly demonstrated the overall theme of the conference.  

A financing roundtable, held during the pre-conference meetings, shared state best practices and discussed the challenges related to attracting private capital, leveraging public-private partnerships, and utilizing qualified energy conservation bonds. 

NASEO and ASERTTI would like to extend special thanks to the conference sponsors: Gold Sponsors – ConEdison Solutions and SRA; Silver Sponsors – ICF and Johnson Controls; and Bronze Sponsors – Abundant Power, AHRI, Constellation Energy, Edison Electric Institute, Solar Energy Industries Association, and Southern States Energy Board. 

Conference presentations are available on the NASEO website.  

Advanced Energy Releases Version 2.0 of Its Charging Station Installation Handbook for Electrical Contractors and Inspectors

Advanced Energy recently released Version 2.0 of its Charging Station Installation Handbook for Electrical Contractors and Inspectors. The updated version includes specific information on applicable codes and standards in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Developed as a best practices guide intended to ensure uniformity in how charging stations are installed across the United States, this handbook includes overviews, guidelines and checklists to help contractors and inspectors deal with the influx of requests for charging station installations.

Brookhaven National Laboratory Joins Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory announced today its membership in the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC). Since its founding in March 2010, SGCC has attracted many member organizations to listen, educate and collaborate for modernized, intelligent electrical systems.  Brookhaven National Laboratory joins a balanced membership of stakeholders that includes leaders from the business community, utilities, regulators and advocacy groups. SGCC activities include funding independent research on consumer smart grid issues, providing forums for members to share and self-educate and collaborating to develop industry best practices.

CEC Awards Almost $2 Million for Research Projects

The California Energy Commission recently awarded $1,983,355 for two research projects, one targeting sustainable communities, while the other focuses on workforce training for smart grid jobs.  Funding for both projects comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.  The University of California at Los Angeles will receive $1.9 million to develop the California Center for Sustainable Communities that would research the potential energy savings from better community design, integrated land use, and transportation practices.  The Commission also approved $83,355 to California State University, Sacramento to develop a workforce training and development program for the clean energy jobs needed to support California's smart grid. The Commission's funding leverages Sacramento State's $749,992 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

LIPA and HBO Partner for Energy Efficiency Upgrades at Hauppauge Facility

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has partnered with Home Box Office (HBO) to help fund energy efficiency measures in their expansion of an existing Communications Center facility by participating in LIPA’s Commercial Efficiency Program. By employing LIPA’s Whole Building Comprehensive approach, it is estimated that HBO will save 1,300,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) for a reduction of $200,000 per year in electric energy costs. In addition, HBO received significant LIPA rebates to help offset the cost of the project.  The efficiency measures installed by HBO will reduce LIPA’s peak demand by 276 kilowatts (kW), which is enough to power approximately 144 average-sized Long Island homes, and represents energy cost savings that exceed NYS Energy Conservation Code by 19%.

NYSDOT, NYSERDA Invest $1.1 Million in Research to Cut Energy Use in Transportation Sector

Ten organizations and universities have been chosen by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to receive funding to advance research on energy-saving technologies designed to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in New York State.  The NYSDOT has funded $700,000 and NYSERDA has funded $400,000 toward these transportation-related initiatives, which leveraged an additional $1.3 million in recipient cost-sharing. The goal of the program is to reduce energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all facets of transportation in the state. 


Legislation Introduced to Spur Innovations in Energy Efficiency

Congressman Charles F. Bass (NH-02) introduced bipartisan legislation this week to save taxpayer money in the long term and spur innovations in energy efficiency technology by targeting the federal government's energy usage and by providing more opportunities for private industry to utilize energy efficient technologies and systems. Bass' legislation, the Smart Energy Act (H.R. 4017), would specifically:

  • Require federal agencies to utilize a variety of methods to save energy across the entire government.  Provisions include increased use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) by federal agencies, which spur technological investments by contracting with private entities to upgrade a building’s energy efficiency.  ESPCs use the cost savings generated from reducing energy usage to fund the efficiency improvements instead of the standard appropriations process.  In addition, the legislation will expand the usage of demand response programs, require computer power savings techniques, continue the work to consolidate federal data centers, and provide an efficient method to collect data and track progress. 
  • Establish a strategic plan to double the production of electricity production by 2020 through the use of combined heat and power and waste heat recovery.  Maximizing energy already created for both its thermal and electric generation capabilities is a core definition of efficiency.
  • Expand existing funding mechanisms to ensure advanced energy efficiency systems and technologies are on a level playing field with other programs aimed at reducing our dependency on foreign sources of energy.

The text of the Smart Energy Act can be found here.

DOE’s AMO to Hold Manufacturing Demonstration Facilities (MDF) Workshop in March

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) will be hosting a workshop Thursday, March 8, 2012 in Chicago, IL to discuss with stakeholders some of the key foundational aspects for a new group of Manufacturing Demonstration Facilities (MDF) currently in their planning stages. The MDFs are intended to create a public-private collaborative, shared infrastructure around targeted technical areas that will facilitate the development and exploitation of energy efficient, rapid, flexible manufacturing technologies. Work at the MDFs will also serve to promote broad and rapid dissemination of advanced manufacturing technologies as a path to help restore the U.S. to global leadership in manufacturing and create new high-paying jobs for Americans.  The workshop will provide critical information on the AMO program vision, the program objectives, and opportunities associated with the development of proposals to respond to an anticipated Funding Opportunity Announcement for “Manufacturing Demonstration Facilities.”  The workshop will include overview presentations by government personnel, an information session to respond to questions from participants, and a networking session to facilitate interaction among the session participants.  Get more information and register at

Research Commercialization Introductory Online Course

The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) is offering a Research Commercialization Introductory Course, an online course designed to help science and engineering researchers better understand how research commercialization works.  The Research Commercialization Course is recommended for all science, engineering and medical researchers in public or private research institutions (e.g., grad students, post-docs, and faculty).  Areas covered in the course include intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, licensing agreements, employment agreements, consulting agreements, tech transfer, creating and funding companies, and federally funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs.  Each lecture is a live 90-minute online class with Q&A.  The first lecture is February 27, 2012.  Click here to register or go to:

ARPA-E Releases Request for Information on Draft $150 Million Open Funding Opportunity Announcement

ARPA-E released a Request for Information (RFI) concerning a draft Open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). ARPA-E intends to formally issue a revised version of this Open FOA in early March 2012. The Open FOA is expected to support transformational and disruptive high-impact energy R&D projects related to renewable power, bioenergy, transportation, conventional generation, the electrical grid, and building efficiency, among other technology areas.  The RFI provides instructions for submitting comments on the draft Open FOA, which must be received by 5 PM Eastern Time on February 29, 2012 at

ARPA-E Issues Electrofuels Request for Information

ARPA-E issued a Request for Information (RFI) focused on accelerating the development of transformative market-ready non-photosynthetic biofuel technologies. ARPA-E’s Electrofuels program has successfully supported several technologies on the lab-scale that allow microorganisms to combine chemical or electrical energy with carbon to create liquid transportation fuels. Now, ARPA-E is seeking input from industry, academia, and other interested stakeholders on the steps and challenges necessary to scale-up and apply these and related technologies in a commercial-scale facility. More information is available in the RFI.  Please note that in accordance with the terms of the RFI, responses must be received by April 30, 2012 at


DOE to Launch New Energy Innovation Hub Focused on Advanced Batteries and Energy Storage

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced plans to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub for advanced research on batteries and energy storage with an investment of up to $120 million over five years. The hub, which will be funded at up to $20 million in fiscal year 2012, will focus on accelerating research and development of electrochemical energy storage for transportation and the electric grid.  The interdisciplinary research and development through the new Energy Innovation Hub will help advance cutting-edge energy storage and battery technologies that can be used to improve the reliability and the efficiency of the electrical grid, to better integrate clean, renewable energy technologies as part of the electrical system, and for use in electric and hybrid vehicles that will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.  Letters of Intent to apply are due on March 1, 2012 with full applications due on May 31, 2012.  Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form partnerships when submitting their proposals.  The award selection is expected this summer.  The full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available HERE.

DOE Announces Over $12 Million to Spur Solar Energy Innovation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced over $12 million to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace through the DOE’s SunShot Incubator program. The funding will accelerate American innovation in solar energy and manufacturing by supporting advancements in hardware, reductions in soft costs, and the development of pilot manufacturing and production projects.  Applications are due on April 9, 2012. For more information and application requirements for the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

Program Year 2012 Weatherization Formula Grants

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement to solicit grant applications for the Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons for Program Year 2012; establish grant guidance and management information for the Weatherization Assistance Program as outlined in the Weatherization Program Notice (WPN) 12-1, Program Year 2012 Weatherization Grant Guidance; and provide allocations as outlined in WPN 12-2, Program Year 2012 Grantee Allocations.

Energy Department and Department of Commerce Announce $1.3 Million for Clean Energy Workforce

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program recently announced up to $1.3 million for training programs to provide commercial building professionals with critical skills needed to optimize building efficiency, reduce waste, and save money. By offering valuable workforce training, these programs will help to reach the Better Buildings Initiative goal of improving energy efficiency nationwide in commercial and industrial buildings by 20 percent by 2020, reducing energy costs by nearly $40 billion and creating American jobs.  Applications are due on March 30, 2012. For detailed information and application requirements, see the entry HERE.


DOE Webinar: Energy Efficient Lighting for Industrial, Commercial and Public Sectors Repeat Performance
February 22, 2012 – 1:00 PM EST

Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy
July 10-11, 2012 – Washington, D.C.