NECEC Hosts 2016 Annual Meeting

Clean energy policy, innovation, and business leadership were front and center themes at our  Annual Meeting this week, which brought together nearly 100 NECEC  Members and Sponsors for a half-day of discussion and insight into the year ahead for clean energy in the Northeast.

Hosted by NECEC Sponsor Foley Hoag LLP, the group of clean energy business leaders heard about NECEC’s extensive work over the last year to prove how the Northeast US is leading the nation and the world in clean energy development, demonstrating how to address climate change while growing the economy.

The meeting included three stellar panels featuring some of the top minds in our region’s clean energy industry. NECEC Government Relations Executive Dan Bosley moderated a panel discussion on Clean Energy in a Trump Administration. featuring Cheryl Wilson of Bloomberg Intelligence, Arvin Ganesan of Advanced Energy Economy, Dave Wilby of Wilby Public Affairs, and Mark Horan of Rasky Baerlein. The panel overwhelmingly expressed optimism for the potential of clean energy under President Trump despite concerning rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Dave Wilby argued that there are “certainly plenty of reasons for optimism… especially here in the Northeast.” The panelists agreed that economics are trending in favor of clean energy over carbon-emitting fuels.

“I don’t think any one elected official can get in the way of markets,” noted AEE’s Arvin Ganesan. “The cost advantage that advanced energy has cannot be replaced.” The panelists also agreed that unraveling existing policies friendly to clean energy would be more difficult and take longer than Trump expects. For example, pulling out of the Paris climate agreement could take nearly four years to accomplish, the entire length of President Trump’s term.

Bloomberg’s Cheryl Wilson emphasized that it is unlikely there will be any changes to the clean energy friendly Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC). With a phase out schedule already in place, it would be “strange for Congress to step in.”

As the panel concluded, Wilby left attendees with one final sentiment: state energy policy is more important than ever. “It is up to all of us to engage,” he said, encouraging NECEC member companies to become more involved with NECEC under the new administration.

The following two panels discussed NECEC’s main areas of focus as the leading, multi-sector regional organization for clean energy businesses: Policy and Innovation. NECEC Executive Vice President Janet Gail Besser moderated a panel entitled “Next Generation Distributed Generation Incentives and Greening the Energy Mix,”  featuring Commissioner Carol Grant of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, Ted Ko of Stem, Matt Morrissey of Deepwater Wind, and Mark Sylvia of BlueWave Capital. Then, NECEC President Peter Rothstein led a lively discussion with Daniel Hullah of GE Ventures and two members of NECEC’s Innovation Team: Catarina Madeira, Director of Cleantech Navigate Northeast, and Kathryn Elmes, Director of Cleantech Open Northeast, on How Partnerships Can Fill Funding & Support Gaps for Clean Energy Innovation.

After a successful year in clean energy, NECEC looks towards 2017 eager to build on the takeaways of the Annual Meeting. If the ideas expressed and the passion demonstrated during the afternoon are any indication, the voice of clean energy in the Northeast will continue to grow in the year ahead.

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Sean Davenport

Sean is NECEC's Operations and Communications Associate.