Northeast Clean Energy Council Takes its Mission for a Clean Energy Future to COP26 as Official Observer NGO

It’s not hyperbole to say the world hangs in the balance over the issues being discussed at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, aka COP26. And NECEC’s current and incoming leadership will be at the event as official observers, lending expertise and insight built up during 15 years of leading the charge on making clean energy and a diverse cleantech economy a reality. The work we do--and that includes every member organization and every startup that’s participated in our accelerator programs--has global significance.

The U.N. has deemed our planet's climate distress to be “a code red for humanity.” Over the next decade we must transform not just our energy sector, but reshape our entire economy to a more climate friendly model. We also must figure out a way to do it in a way that diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice are core tenets in how we bring about these changes. It’s an enormous task with the highest possible stakes involved, but we remain resolutely optimistic the Northeast will be an international model for how to do it. We have everything in place to be a global leader on these issues.

That experience and optimism is what current NECEC President Peter Rothstein and incoming President Joe Curtatone will be bringing to COP26. They will be taking part in sessions on decarbonizing transportation, leveraging universities as hotbeds for climate innovation and offshore wind. They will be pressing international leaders to understand the importance of grid modernization, decarbonized buildings, solar + storage and green hydrogen. The solutions are ready to roll if our leaders are willing to commit. We will update people with their insights and experience from COP26 across multiple channels.

NECEC leadership will be involved as speakers and discussants in COP26 events and activities as described below.

Sunday, Nov 7, 2021
Decarbonizing Transportation
World Climate Summit, Day 1
Hilton Glasgow, 1 William St, Glasgow G3 8HT, United Kingdom
Day 1 Program:
Streaming, free registration at 
Session 2A: 11:30-12:30 GMT

Decarbonising the Transport Sector - Pioneering Approaches to E-mobility
Getting to zero emissions in the transport sector by 2050, as part of the global strategy to fight the global warming plague, requires strong and rapid action. How can Countries, Cities/Regions and Companies (the 3Cs) join hands and kickstart the decarbonisation of the transport sector? What are the feasible solutions that the 3Cs can adopt to reach zero emission-mobility by 2050? This session will showcase best practices that can foster the adoption of the right combinations of solutions through collaborative approaches.


    • Peter Rothstein, President, NECEC, (Moderator)
    • Ralf Pfitzner, Global Head of Sustainability, Volkswagen Group (keynote)
    • Matt Greener, Group Head of Fleet Asset Management @ Arriva
    • Dyan Crowther, CEO, HS1
    • Joe Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville, MA, and President-Elect, NECEC

Monday, Nov 8, 2021
Attending most of World Climate Summit, Day 2, 9:00-19:00 GMT
Day 2 Program:

Peter Rothstein Speaking at Second Nature event
US Climate Action Center in the Blue Zone
9:30-10:00 GMT / 4:30-5:00am EST
Timothy Carter, Second Nature:
We’ll have a panel on 9:30a (UK time) on 11/8 at the US Climate Action Center in the Blue Zone (different from USG pavilion) with pairs of a University speaker with a non-HEI speaker to explore complementarity between sectors.

America Is All In sent an overview with maps of the venue and the specific pavilion:

Accelerating Cross Sector Climate Action through the Assets of Higher Education:

Successful cross-sector climate action is driven by understanding the complementarity between the participating sectors. Local government strengths for accelerating action are different from business strengths, which are different from health care, or cultural institutions. This session will examine the complementarity that Higher Education Institutions can bring to create climate solutions by exploring what some of these higher education's strengths are, and what projects could happen if they are matched with those from other sectors. Leaders from both higher education and other sectors will discuss the opportunities and constraints of this complementary approach.  The pairs of speakers are:

9:40 - 9:55 Pair 1: Technical Research informing and Regional Standards

          • Esther Obonyo - Pennsylvania State University
          • Lynda Hopkins - Sonoma County

9:55 - 10:10 Pair 2: Campus as a testbed for Cleantech industry

          • Suzanne Huminski - Southern Connecticut State University
          • Peter Rothstein - NECEC

10:10 - 10:25 Pair 3: Community Colleges cultivating BIPOC youth climate leadership

          • Mak Poretesano - Portland Community College
          • (TBD) - Pacific Climate Warriors

Event taking place in the US Climate Action Center, in the Blue Zone (badged). The full agenda for the US Climate Action Center is here, including link to register for session streaming: 

Tuesday, Nov 9, 2021

EEI & National Grid plc: An Afternoon and Evening at Blair Estate November 9th, NECEC participating in side-event hosted by National Grid and Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

Critical and small gathering conversations focused on equity and community investment in the net zero transition, with perspectives from US public sector, the evolving clean energy sector, members of the U.S. Congressional and Administration officials attending COP26. The evening will offer a unique opportunity for informal dialogue with senior officials from the U.S. government and other leading business executives and non-state actors.

Offshore Wind: Critical to Achieving US Climate Goals

COP26 U.S. Climate Action Center Events Tufts Proposal
Proposed as panel, 10am on Nov 10th. Panel led by Tufts Fletcher; NECEC as Speakers

The U.S. Climate Action Center at COP26 is a pavilion for U.S. subnational and non-federal leaders to showcase climate ambition.  It will be separate from but complementary to the federal U.S. Center.  America Is All In will help elevate and centralize virtual and outside programming focused on U.S. climate action during and surrounding COP26.

Tufts University, The Fletcher School
Event Title: Offshore Wind: Critical to Achieving US Climate Goals

For the US to meet its climate challenges, states and local entities, along with the federal government, will need to develop policies and collaborate on plans to implement clean energy to scale. Nowhere is this opportunity timelier than in the development of Offshore Wind (OSW) where states have already implemented procurements and transmission organizations are addressing grid infrastructure.

The development of OSW—a federal goal of 30GW deployed by 2030—provides states from Maine to Virginia, those in the Gulf and on the west coast a clear path forward to reduce fossil fuel generation, to create jobs, and build supply chains. The Tufts University team proposes an event focused on OSW that addresses the opportunities and challenges in the early stages of developing this critical resource. This event would focus on how OSW will enable the east coast states – New York and New England in particular – to achieve their own pathways to GHG reduction. These states are committed to very strong GHG reduction, and OSW is necessary to achieving these targets. The role of states in assisting the federal government in achieving its GHG reduction goals, must not be underestimated: by considering the challenges that these states face in terms of siting, grid infrastructure, procurement policies, jobs and equity issues, this session will identify potential solutions and next steps.

Wednesday November 10 and Thursday November 11:

Blue Zone discussions:
NECEC leadership will be primarily attending the Blue Zone venue as many countries will be presenting their updated climate targets, needs for funding, proposals for partnerships, etc. These days are expected to involve:

      • Opportunities for NECEC’s leadership to engage in conversations with major country delegations and with other NGO’s;
      • Exploring and growing relationships to be active members of critical networks to collaborate in scaling sectors such as clean transportation, decarbonized buildings, offshore wind, solar + storage, modernized grid, decarbonized building materials, long-duration energy storage, green hydrogen, fusion and other solution areas; and
      • Engaging with public and private climate investment entities, including those who seek exposure and investment opportunities in the US through becoming part of a regional ecosystem such as NECEC’s.