Author: Tracey Woods     Published: 2/19/2019  American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)


On February 26th  27th and 28th, 2019 the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) will host its first Capitol Hill Day and Energy Policy Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The Summit is a biennial event that brings together legislators, policymakers, energy industry leaders, and Black and Brown community stakeholders.  The objectives of this gathering are to provide a platform for discussion on current and emerging energy policies and to advocate for equitable outcomes for communities of color.

The Energy Policy Summit is the brainchild of David Owens, the former Chairman of the Legislative Issues and Public Policy (LIPP) Committee on the AABE Board, and a former Sr. Vice President at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).   Owens realized that there needed to be a forum at the Federal level for the deliberation of energy policy with a focus on impacts on under served communities.  These communities tend to be overwhelmingly Black and Brown.

There will be twelve sessions spanning one and one-half days focusing on energy issues with significant consequence.  In keeping with its mission, AABE is determined to ensure that communities of color are engaged in these discussion and subsequent decisions.  The specific sessions include:

  • The Future of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure
    • Leaders from the US Dept. of Energy have consistently framed the context for the summit by discussing the state of America’s energy security, and the administration’s energy policy objectives.
  • Regulatory Perspective: FERC in the 116th Congress
    • With an increasingly changing energy landscape, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the next several years will confront issues impacting LNG export expansion, generation capacity, advancements in storage technology, and transmission security. This session will examine the FERC’s priorities; review key decisions over the previous two years; and identify potential critical junctures for regulated entities.
  • Policy Examination—Low to Zero by the Year… An Examination of the Nation’s Commitment to Climate Change and Environmental Responsibility
    • With states and cities passing aggressive carbon emission goals— energy producers, generators, providers, consumers, and others, are under increased requirements to adopt low-to-zero emission fuel sources. Hear industry experts discuss the application of policy at the operations level, including how policies impact consumer energy costs, energy efficiency, and issues of climate change.
  • Energy as a National Security Asset: Advancing an All-the-Above Strategy
    • In 2018, the Administration proffered a strategy to protect the nation’s diverse energy resources as an issue of national security. Representatives from leading energy trade associations will discuss the proposal, impacts on climate change, and the future of energy production, generation, and use.
  • The Future of Transportation, Vehicle Electrification, and Transportation Infrastructure
    • Industry and policy experts discuss the mechanics of developing the nation’s transportation future, covering vehicle manufacturing, infrastructure development, equitable access, and the role of federal policymakers.

Policy Examination—Understanding the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)

  • Enacted in 1978 to encourage competitive generation and energy diversification, PURPA has been an effective tool in developing renewable markets. However, many see the law as outdated and counterintuitive to today’s markets and consumer benefit, requiring long-term contracts impacting costs. Proponents of change additionally argue the one-mile rule, important to small generation incentives, allows for significant abuse. Hear policy and industry experts discuss PURPA’s purpose, practical impacts, and the future of PURPA in the 116th Congress and beyond.
  • Addressing Issues of Energy Equity
    • Residential “EE” receives relatively little attention compared to major projects like the retrofit of the Empire State Building in New York City. While it seems like a small thing to make one home energy-efficient, the aggregated potential for energy savings in homes is enormous. In fact, household energy use represents almost 25 percent of total energy consumption in the United States, according to the American Council on Energy Efficiency. Single family homes account for about 80 percent of residential energy consumption, 15 percent is used in multi-family homes, and five percent in mobile homes. If we could fully deploy conventional energy efficiency in the residential sector, according to McKinsey and Company, we could achieve a 28 percent cut in annual energy consumption in the residential sector, thereby saving consumers $2.2 billion on their energy bills. That is a win all around, for American households as well as for job creation and the environmental impact of reducing carbon emissions and other pollution. So what are the barriers that prevent this from happening?
  • Emerged and Emerging Energy Technologies—A Review of Grid, Battery, Exploration, Nuclear and Other Energy Innovations
  • Trade Policy and the Energy Industry—Identifying Policy Connections
    • Discovering direct and indirect connections between energy and trade—Is the energy industry insulated from international trade conflicts?
  • State Round-Up—Energy and Power in the Various States: A Legislative and Regulatory Review
    • A review of legislation, regulations, and ballot initiatives in the various states—and perspectives through 2020
  • Washington Round Up—Energy and Power and the 116th Congress
    • US House & US Senate Committee Representative and Staffer discuss energy priorities and prospects for advancement, passage, and implementation
  • Minorities in Energy—A Roundtable Discussion and Report on An Act to Promote a 21st Century Energy and Manufacturing Workforce
    • An Act to Promote 21st Century Energy and Manufacturing Workforce, authored by Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, House Energy & Commerce Committee, “directs the Secretary to prioritize education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs in order to increase the number of skilled workers trained to work in energy and manufacturing-related fields when considering awards for existing grant programs.” This discussion will detail developments to date and next steps.