Experts Only Podcast #107: The 2022 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook with Lisa Jacobson & Ethan Zindler

[President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy & Head of Americas, BloombergNEF]

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Transcript

Jon Powers:

Welcome Back to Experts Only. I’m your host Jon Powers. I’m the co-founder of CleanCapital and served as President Obama’s chief sustainability officer. On this podcast, we explore solutions to climate change by talking to industry leaders about the intersection of energy innovation, and finance. You can get more episodes at cleancapital.com.

Jon Powers:

Welcome back to Experts Only. Today we are really holding forth an annual tradition of talking to Lisa Jacobson and Ethan Zindler about the BCSE Sustainable Energy in America, 2022 Factbook. This is put out every year by BloombergNEF, which Ethan represents and in the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, which Lisa leads. And the Factbook is the go-to guide on what is going on for data in our industry. It really highlights the trends from everything to solar and wind installations, to jobs, to Evs, to electric vehicles, energy efficiency, carbon trends, there’s so much amazing data in there. Those facts are driven specifically to help us tell a story of what our industry’s doing.

Jon Powers:

So what you’re going to find from this year’s Factbook is sort of, despite COVID in the pandemic, 2021 was an unbelievable record breaking year in the energy transition and the deployment of renewable energies, deployment of storage and sustainability overall. You can get the Factbook at bcse.org, that’s B-C-S-E.org, and you can always get more episodes at cleancapital.com. I hope you enjoy the conversation. Lisa and Ethan thanks so much for joining me again at Experts Only.

Ethan Zindler:

Thanks for having us.

Lisa Jacobson:

Yeah, it’s great to be with you Jon.

Jon Powers:

I love the fact this is becoming an annual tradition and really the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook is becoming… I was just mentioning this before we started talking, the go-to database for information about the growing momentum behind our industry. Can you talk for a second about really how you guys came up with this idea and sort of the history of the Factbook?

Lisa Jacobson:

Sure. And again, Jon, it is great to be with you and Ethan it is always great to be with you. Funny you should mention that because this is actually the 10th issue of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. And as I was preparing for our release just last week, I was looking through some old photos and not only has the industry changed, we’ve all changed, but of course we look better and second grades and all that. We started this as we were thinking about our 20th anniversary as an organization.

Lisa Jacobson:

Actually, this is our 30th anniversary for the BCSC this year. And we were sitting around our board table and we had invited Ethan Zindler to come and talk to us about some of the trends he was seeing in the sectors we represent. And we realized we were on the cusp of a very fast moving change. And we really wanted to have a set of data that would put all of our industries together and track our progress all together, not just individual sector, market reports, but let’s have a place where that information can be brought together in one place. It could probably be more up to date than other sources and it would be objective. So that was our goal and that’s what we’ve been doing each year since.

Jon Powers:

Ethan can you talk for a second about sort of the growth of Bloomberg New Energy Finance now, BloombergNEF, and why the Business Council for Sustainable Energy has done such a great job of telling the story behind these trends. You guys really do house that data? So for folks that aren’t aware of the work that you’re doing, just talk for a second about the work you do.

Ethan Zindler:

Sure. First Jon, thanks for having us again, this has been a nice annual tradition. So we really appreciate that. And second, thanks of course, Lisa and to the business council for supporting this project, what BloombergNEF is, we’re a division of Bloomberg that provides research on the transition to a lower curve and economy, a bit large with a real emphasis on energy. There’s about 250 of us in about 17,000 person company, but we’re just focused on these issues. So it has been a great natural fit in terms of working with Lisa. And what we like to think of as the goal of this Factbook is to try to bring some facts to the conversation, particularly here in Washington, where sometimes those are lacking about the state of the energy transition. And as we always like to say that if you don’t know, for instance, the price of solar within the last six months, then you don’t know the price of solar and the same can be true as you know about batteries and wind turbines and other things as well. So the idea is really bringing key, current actionable data to policy makers.

Jon Powers:

And Lisa, your organization really brings some unique messengers to Washington to help tell the story of these trends and help drive policy. Can you just paint a picture of what the Business Council for Sustainable Energy is and who some of your members are?

Lisa Jacobson:

Sure. So we’re a very broad based energy trade association. And our core sectors of focus have been largely around commercially available technologies. So energy efficiency, natural gas, renewable energy. But when you look at the industries we work with today, and it very much mirrors the marketplace, that these are highly integrated industries and they span all segments of the economy and they represent not only commercially available, like I mentioned, but also deep decarbonization technologies. So certainly many in the sustainable transportation space, hydrogen, carbon capture utilization and storage and things that are really optimizing our energy system.

Lisa Jacobson:

So it’s a very diverse group, but they’re united around the vision that we can have a sustainable energy future. And for them that means affordable, reliable, clean energy, and we can do it and meet our near term and long term greenhouse gas emissions goals. And while we’re doing it, we’re going to create even more jobs than we have. We have over 3 million jobs in the U.S. right now represented by efficiency, renewables, natural gas and clean generation. We know that those sectors are expanding and we know that the job opportunities will expand with them.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. I think that’s a story that needs to be told over and over again. Because folks underestimate the number of jobs the clean energy industry has. And when you’re talking about 3 million jobs, the impact of that is, or not just in Washington, but all across places like rural America, where folks are working on wind farms or doing energy efficiency projects or putting solar in places like Western New York. I want to talk through some of the really exciting trends that sort of came out of this Factbook around emissions and the changes of the grid, electric vehicles and investing. Overall, I think the Factbook really provides just valuable year over year data. And I think that despite the pandemic, 2021 was really a record breaking year on many different levels. I’m going to start off with a negative one and then we’ll get into the positive ones. Does that good?

Jon Powers:

And the negative one I’m going to go out and I’m actually going to pull a quote from Ethan from last year’s interview, because you actually forecasted this right on. And you said, looking out from 2020, it’s going to be… I’m going to use your words here, “super weird.” And we all know that you’re super weird, but missions fell almost 10% in that period because of the mass of ships of the economy and you called it and said, if we don’t end up seeing a year over year, increase in CO2 emissions next round, that something bigger is happening, some more negative trend is happening. What we saw that increase, I think it’s around 5% year over year, this time around. Can you talk about sort of what drove that this time? And is that something that people should be wildly concerned about or is that a more natural trend because the economy got rolling again?

Ethan Zindler:

It’s really about economy that just started to come back to life and posted some pretty strong growth last year. 5.8% was the year on year uptick of total CO2 emissions. But leading the way in terms of driving, that was the transportation sector. And that was really reflection of the fact that many of us stayed home in 2020 if we could, and air travel fell very dramatically in 2020. Both commuting and air travel rebounded, let’s be clear, not all the way back to where they were, but definitely rebounded in 2021. And that definitely drove emissions back up.

Ethan Zindler:

The other thing is actually though power sec CO2 emissions rose a bit. Interestingly enough, while we saw a record amount of generation produced from renewables overall, we saw a bit of a decline in production from hydro plants. And we definitely saw rebound in production from coal fire power plants, natural gas prices rose last year and that really shifted some of the dynamics in the market. Our view is that’s not a long term trend, but that was certainly something we saw last year. And then one last thing I would just know very importantly, is that at the end of the day, we’re still about four and half percent lower in terms of CO2 emissions from where we were in 2019. So I think that over two very-

Jon Powers:

That’s a great story.

Ethan Zindler:

… weird years.

Jon Powers:

Right. What’s driving the hydro trend.

Ethan Zindler:

So this is maybe one of the offshoots of climate change is that dry conditions in the West resulted in lower total output from hydro last year probably will come back. But nonetheless there are issues related to climate change and impact that it can have on either production.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. So let’s focus on the grid for a second, because as you both know, we are witnessing, a once in a generational shift to a clean energy grid and a grid that’s having to shift in almost state by state and how it’s approaching its business models. But some of the broader trends of what’s coming onto that grid are really exciting. Developers built a record 37 gigawatts of win in solar last year, even despite COVID. What do you see specifically in those two sectors first, in the wind and solar sector going forward? And then we can sort of talk about some of the other sectors as well.

Lisa Jacobson:

Maybe I’ll start at the highest level and let Ethan come in with some of the more detail, but what I see underpinning a great deal of that is demand. Demand from large corporates, demand from households, demands from communities that want clean energy and they also want resilient energy. And we would be remiss talking about this topic in this week and not acknowledging the security benefits of clean energy. So demand is strong, even in two very odd years. We could talk a little bit more about why that demand is so strong, especially from the corporate sector, but just at the highest level, I think it really is an absorption of the commitment to sustainability by large companies and the accountability and investor interest in the areas of environment, social and governance investing among others.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. Could we talk about that demand for a second? Because I think one of the really interesting things in the Factbook points out is now, there’s over 351 companies that have pledged a 100% clean energy goals. That is pretty monumental and almost changing by the quarter as more come on. Lisa, how are your members thinking about that and then thinking about executing on it?

Lisa Jacobson:

Well, they take it very seriously and they take it in multiple ways, but the clearest ways for themselves, they’ve adopted these kinds of objectives as a company. And then they are deepening that and they’re working within their supply chains to ensure that their supply chain has also adopted those objectives. And they’ve really shifted from first initial kind of similar to the way our national policies have been evolving. It started say 10, 15 years ago with incremental goals. And now they’re really focused either on science based targets and or net zero targets. And they’re both short term and long term. So they’re like, what are we going to do in the next 10 or 15 years? And then what are we going to do to meet the challenges of what the scientific community says we need to do by 2050? So it is deepening. It is serious. And now there’s many more accountability mechanisms in particular in the investment community to hold them to action, not just proclamations.

Jon Powers:

Right. So taking the supply chain piece for a second, Ethan, I’m sorry, Ethan pointed to me.

Ethan Zindler:

Well, I just want to add one quick thing on corporate procurement and maybe a slightly more technical thing, but I think it relates to a little bit back also to be so of saying around actually security issues and reliability. We did see a record volume of power purchase agreements signed by large corporate buyers last year. Those are long term contracts that are typically over 10 years long, in which the buyer used to buy power at essentially a fixed, but it’s maybe slightly rising price over a future number of years. And those contracts are frankly in many cases, I think probably looking better and better, now that we’ve seen natural gas prices rise and seeing the kind of volatility that you can see in the wholesale power markets overall.

Ethan Zindler:

One added benefit that we’ve talked about sort of theoretically in the past was, you get a rid of the volatility lock in a price and it was kind of theoretical because actually all power was cheap as of a couple years ago or even last year. That’s changed and so these contracts are looking better and better now.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, absolutely. Look at someone who just paid almost $430 at the pump this morning, it’s going to be a wild ride here for the next at least short term window. I want to take the supply chain piece for a second Ethan and take it in a different direction and looking at the growth we’re seeing for solar, for wind. The supply chains for those industries and all industries right now are under pressure. A lot of pressure for specifically for steel or for panels on the solar side, coming from some specific places in Asia, that’s causing a lot of anxiety of the industry. How do you see those supply chain challenges playing out into next year’s Factbook?

Ethan Zindler:

A good question. In the short run, we have seen an uptake in the price of solar modules and anecdotally in the price around batteries as well. I think the good news, particularly in the case of solar is the equipment out represents the minority of the final cost of building a solar project. And so the ultimate impact has been sort of muted in terms of the more fundamental question about just actually getting access to stuff. Our view is we don’t think that’s going to be a major problem overall but a lot of these short term bottleneck things are in fact that short term and that there’s also a heck of a lot of particularly solar and batteries to agree, heck of a lot of additional manufacturing capacity that’s being built. Sadly, a lot of it’s not taking place in the United States, but nonetheless there is a certain motive for exporters of that equipment to want to get it here. And suddenly the U.S. has become one of the major demand markets for solar. Frankly, we weren’t 10 years ago, we’re definitely near the top tier now.

Jon Powers:

It’ll be interesting to see if we get direct pay if that affects U.S. manufacturing when more folks will almost need that, to be able to take that credit. Start to drive some of that demand here at home.

Ethan Zindler:

Yeah. I think that’s something that certainly manufacturers are looking for is a little bit more market certainty. And I think that policy, as you say, direct pay so that people can take the value of these tax credits in cash and faster, essentially that could help. I will say this, I do think that there is some really greater confidence on the part of manufacturers that this is going to be a real market anyway, because you just look at the volumes last year 37 gigawatts, demands a lot and about two thirds of that was solar. So there’s some growing confidence there, but we still haven’t seen the kind of major manufacturing scale of domestically that I think a lot of people would like to see over the long term.

Jon Powers:

And batteries as well, we are seeing supply chain challenges and batteries overall and I think the demand for batteries as you guys point out, it’s 422 gigawatts of battery storage capacity was added to the grid in 2021. That’s that’s incredible. And the hunger for investing in battery batteries is one and then two is Lisa you pointed out the resiliency and energy security piece that batteries is bringing into the conversation will just accelerate the demand here. I think of that space as well. So last time we talked, it was right after the super bowl, Will Ferrell did an EV commercial, when he was making fun of the Swedes. Is that what it was? I can’t remember exactly how the ad played out, but the whole trend of electric vehicles this year has been an incredible shift where you have Ford, GM, other car manufacturers who really were almost in a backseat on this, letting Tesla take the run are really starting to step forward.

Jon Powers:

As you guys pointed out, U.S. sales hit, they’re closing it on a million units a year, about over 650,000 units in 2021. And with the infrastructure money now being poured into electric vehicle infrastructure, really for the first time at the federal level, how do you see the electric vehicle demand changing over the next year?

Ethan Zindler:

Lisa do you want to go first on that one or do you want me to jump in?

Lisa Jacobson:

Well, I can speak more from just kind of my vantage point working with the companies and working with policymakers, but Ethan can give you the data. Yeah, I think there’s a see change underway. Just the amount of questions you get about what is an electric vehicle? How do I get one? We all getting this on the street, you’re talking to your neighbors and you know what’s driving it. And I remember thinking about this for other industries, if they are spending money on these commercials, that’s what’s going to impact things. Think about how many, I don’t want to use brands, but okay, iPhone or Samsung phone commercials you see on a given day. If you watch TV, you probably see at least 10 and then you put cars in there and then you put the proportion of electric vehicles or other clean energy vehicles in the mix and the public is absorbing it.

Lisa Jacobson:

And that’s the pivot moment when there’s more offerings when you go to look for a car, it’s in the mainstream chatter and then there’s this little bit of wow factor. What really is that? Can it work for me? Is it better than what I have and look at that. That shiny object effect is coming into a clear focus, but not just for the Tesla owner. Right?

Jon Powers:

Right.

Lisa Jacobson:

That is a market that is a luxury market and that’s not going to bring us to where we need to be to get the kind of penetration and purchasing from consumers. We have to have a much broader suite of offerings and we’re getting there. I think Ethan wants to happen now, too.

Ethan Zindler:

Yeah. I would just echo that. Look, the buying of a car is not a fully economically rational process for consumers. There’s a lot of emotion-

Jon Powers:

For sure.

Ethan Zindler:

… involved in that to be clear and to sort of echo

Jon Powers:

As someone who drives a minivan, that’s a.

Ethan Zindler:

That feels actually pretty rational actually or actually maybe there was some emotion involved, but I don’t really want to know what it was.

Jon Powers:

There was lots of emotion involved that day. There’s probably some tears.

Ethan Zindler:

But I guess if you look at that 650,000 or so EVs that were sold last year, half were Teslas. And then if you look at the other half I’m looking at…

Jon Powers:

Half but those were Teslas.

Ethan Zindler:

Half were Teslas. And then a couple of the other names on the list are Volvo and BMW. And so the point being, right now, a lot of that is the luxury segment of the market and or people who are committed to wanting to go electric. And that’s great. The economics of buying an EV already makes sense for anybody who wants to sit down and do a total cost of ownership analysis and understand that the price of filling your tank-

Jon Powers:

Actually today.

Ethan Zindler:

… is more expensive. And those economics are just getting way better. Right now gasoline’s over six bucks in some parts of the country. Right?

Jon Powers:

Right.

Ethan Zindler:

So the question I think we are curious about, and really I was just debating with my team is, what’s the point at which consumers are going to make decisions to buy EVs based on economics? Or what’s the point at which economics and sort of emotional decision making intersects? And maybe we’ve reached that point, because there’s nothing more in your face as you noted. There’s no energy metric more in your face than the price of gasoline. Nothing comes close and we’ve seen people take to the streets in France and elsewhere and protest. It will really motivate people. If it can motivate people to riot and protest then maybe it might motivate people to figure out how much they’re going to save by buying an EV over the course of the lifetime and make that decision this year. We were quite bullish about EVs anyway, we thought the market is going to double in the U.S. anyway, and now gasoline prices have gone through the roof. So it’s quite possible that we’ll be wrong on the low side.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. There’s a series of macro trends, as you said Lisa, the cultural shift and you’re seeing that the ads, the price of gasoline, because what’s going on in Russia, which will not change dramatically for a while. But as well as the money going into the infrastructure, people will no longer question where they’re going to be charging these things. And I think when people are now can get an F-150 that’s electric, they may be having second conversations about it. And then Lisa looking at the companies you work with, they’re massive fleets, those shifts are underway as well. Can you talk about some of the things you’re seeing from your members?

Lisa Jacobson:

Right. We talked about renewable energy commitments, but as there’s energy efficiency commitments, there’s electric fleet commitments and those all increased in 2021 as well. So I think what I hear mostly though, because given the configuration of our members is the integration between buildings, the grid and transportation.

Jon Powers:

Interesting.

Lisa Jacobson:

And then how they’re all going to be optimized because a lot of our members, whether they be a large ESCO or a utility or commercial building owners, they all realize that they’re going to need to provide these kind of services and that they’re going to need to be able to do it in an efficient and integrated way. So there’s a lot of conversation about how to get that done.

Jon Powers:

Exciting. The last big trend I want to hit on and then sort of open it up is the investing space. Clean capital obviously is in the investing space and we see this every day in the market where it is getting significantly more competitive, because there’s so much capital flowing because of some of the ESG demands. But also because this is a proven asset class now in terms of clean energy and it’s really starting to take off. We saw record number of capital moving into the space and just to quote a 105 billion in new capital, went into a new U.S. energy assets last year. You think you talk about what that looks like over the previous year and then what you think we may be looking at next year.

Ethan Zindler:

Yeah. So it was just an amazing year. BloombergNEF, we got our start are probably best known for tracking investment figures all the way back to 2005 and 2006. And I’ve been around long enough to remember the heydays of venture capital. I think you work too Jon in 2007 through nine and this just blew everything away in terms of the total volume. So three quarters of a trillion dollars roughly globally, just for clean energy assets, that’s stuff, that’s projects that generate power or batteries hardware basically. That does not include another 150 billion or so in money that was raised over for venture private equity and venture capital and very importantly over the stock market via IPOs and what are called stack, these special purpose offerings. So it was just a lot of money raised last year.

Ethan Zindler:

And I think our view is not everybody’s going to make the kind of returns that they expect that’s just realistic, but in the grand scheme of things, of course, as somebody who wants to see these technologies continue to make progress and the cost to come down. I think it’s fantastic there’s been enough money raised to test new technologies at some scale that we haven’t been able to do to scale up. There’s a number of new EV equipment makers that want to make new cars. We’re going to see whether they can pull that off. There’s just going to be a lot of experimentation that has been funded and not everyone’s going to make money, but the good news is I think out of that kind of chaos, we’re probably going to continue to make real progress.

Ethan Zindler:

And then if you add onto that, the fact the federal government has basically put $80 billion on the table in research and development funding over the next 10 years or so you really have a position where the U.S. can take a very forward look in terms of trying to develop these technologies. I think it’s a very exciting time as a result of all that

Jon Powers:

I’m going to forecast. I’m going to ask you to look back almost 10 years ago. I don’t know if you can pull number, but before I ask that question, we know to solve climate crisis and keep ourselves under two degrees, we’ve got to have almost a trillion dollars a year invested into clean energy. We are closing it on that, as you mentioned, it was around three quarters of a trillion this time around not to mention, the other sort of venture side of it which is, as you mentioned, if you want to talk about climate tech, we could talk about all day, because that is the hottest market out there. There is people shifting from FinTech and other assets into it. But if we looked back a decade when you first started doing this, paint a picture of what it looked like then to where we are today and if you don’t have the exact numbers in front of you, sorry, feel free to just paint a picture.

Ethan Zindler:

No, I thank you for both the articulate and somewhat long question, which gave me the chance to process live. The answer is we were at about 200 billion globally in 2000 and about that in 2010. So we’ve more than tripled overall. Again, we just think about the asset financing side of things globally. almost quadruple. So we’ve come a long way but there’s still definitely much further to go. Just to take the example in terms of the money is one thing to count, the other thing it’s stuff that gets built. So again, we counted about 37 gigawatts of wind and solar that got built in the U.S. If you want to get to an actual zero carbon power sector by 2035, which is what the Biden administration’s aiming for, that build level is got to double. And that’s not about doubling the amount of money because the cost of the equipment gets cheaper, but it is about doubling the amount of stuff you put in the ground.

Jon Powers:

Right. Lisa, if you’re a reader getting this Factbook for the first time or you’ve read it… Let me change the question. If you’ll have read it in the past, what surprises you most about the 2022 Factbook as you’re reading it?

Lisa Jacobson:

One of the benchmark stats that we have relates to proportional consumer spending on a household basis on energy costs. Obviously this year, the year we are in right now, 2022, we are facing inflation across the board and elevated energy costs that won’t be factored in to this, but I still think the benchmark is extremely significant. It basically shows that over the last 15 years, we’ve basically been paying less than 5% proportionally of our household budgets on energy costs. And that is much lower than in other countries. We obviously know our industrial power prices, wholesale power prices are lower than in many other competing countries and that’s good for our economic competitiveness, but also on a household basis. We are keeping our energy costs slow and that’s fundamental to the energy transition. I think that’s why we’ve been able to achieve what we have with the energy transition and the emissions reductions to date.

Lisa Jacobson:

So it’s both a good news story, but maybe a cautionary tale as well, because we’ve got in some cases quadruple what we’ve done over the last decade to meet our targets. But if we can’t keep it affordable, it’s not going to happen. So in this moment of crisis that we’re in with energy market disruptions, how are we going to manage that? I don’t necessarily have the answer because we’re living it in real time, but I think it’s been fundamental that generally speaking on a national basis, energy costs have remained relatively low and that’s enabled us to continue to enable the public, to allow us to make the energy transition we’ve been making.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. I think we’re going to see some significant shifts this year, between obviously as you mentioned, energy pricing that is changing dynamically begin to see the trickle of the infrastructure money coming out. And if all goes well, maybe a climate bill even passed in Congress to give us things like tax credits. So when we have this conversation a year from now in 2023, God forbid, we’re not in World War III at that point. What does the Factbook look like a year out and I’ll hold you to this a year from now. So just questioning, maybe I’ll start with you Lisa.

Lisa Jacobson:

I will pick up on what you said. I will be the optimist here for at least the next year, those tax credits and the climate and clean energy and energy efficiency tax provisions that were included in the build back better proposal. Those are fundamental because I think that’s the best chance we have is kind of a national energy strategy. That’s been what our national energy policy has been. It has been these clean energy tax credits for over a decade. They have bipartisan support and there are other mechanisms we could adopt, but I think that’s the most likely one. And so I think it’s incumbent upon the administration in Congress to get that done.

Jon Powers:

I couldn’t agree with you more. Ethan?

Ethan Zindler:

I wouldn’t agree. The only future policy announcement I make, because I do think we’ll probably see some kind of extension of the tax credits. I hope it’s not just a modest middle of the night, December 31st, got to get it done one year kind of deal like we’ve seen a number of times in the past. I’m hoping it’s part of some real legislation that thinks longer term, lets hope for that. I think the other thing that I’m just generally intrigued by is that on the whole sales side of things, natural gas prices are up and natural gas prices within the power sector just define and drive a whole lot of different things. And last year they helped, we saw the most surprising thing back to your earlier question to me was just how much coal rebounded in 2021, although to be clear, the production was still up below 2019 levels.

Ethan Zindler:

But I think we’ll see that continue. We think coal will continue to go down. We think that renewables, all that stuff that’s gotten built over the course of last year, including a lot of it in the fourth quarter of last year makes more contributions into this year, that puts pressure on the market, including on coal. I think that’s all a good thing overall.

Ethan Zindler:

So we think there’ll be continued decarbonization of the power sector, but it’s a very different environment now if you have higher gas prices than what we were three or four years ago, overall. The last thing just overall, I would just say is that it is interesting to see energy issues smack down to the middle of the political discussion in a way that we had not seen before. And that’s because prices are up. And so how this all reverberates through the midterm elections, how this plays out, how consumers react to $6 gasoline in some cases, these are really big questions and I don’t know the answer, but I think it’s a huge wild card that we’ve not had to deal with before in the sector.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. Ethan, I couldn’t agree anything more. And Lisa, I want to ask you with that being in the front burner of everyone’s conversation right now, not expected to change dramatically anytime soon. Do you think that will drive any movement out of Joe mansion and others in Congress to try to get something done here to affect it, to making look like they’re making progress?

Lisa Jacobson:

I certainly would never claim to speak for Senator of the mansion or…

Jon Powers:

Sure, let me take mansion off the table from Washington.

Lisa Jacobson:

One observation, even though I think this would apply to his leadership of the Senate Energy Committee, I think he knows in his gut what he wants. I think he knows what his lane is in terms of the policies that he appreciates in the sector and that he would support. And I think that’s generally consistent with what we’ve been talking about these climate and energy provisions. We’re in a moment of crisis though. So everything is kind of upended and certain in terms of how Congress will be able to function. Very good news, just yesterday, they passed in the house, down the Biden’s Appropriations bill. So that means that appropriations for the current year are hopefully now done. So Congress can focus on other things, but we certainly have been making the case and I believe that the leadership generally on both sides believes this, that for the most part, clean energy is very beneficial to our national security.

Lisa Jacobson:

And that we have, as Ethan was saying earlier, energy efficiency, that’s how you mitigate these volatile pricing situations and looking at other opportunities at the utility scale level to manage cost and clean energy offers that, is critical. And then we’re doing it in a way which is kind of a very market based way through the tax code. So I think there’s a lot there that still makes a tremendous amount of sense. We just not need to be able to get Congress in the administration at a crisis moment to be able to focus on just passing these things.

Ethan Zindler:

I’ll just add one really dumb observation, which is just that it did seem like the build bag better conversation was over and it was unclear kind of what was going to happen. And we hadn’t really heard all that much. And then all of a sudden we’ve had the rusher thing, the gas prices and oil prices have gone through the roof and suddenly mentions very motivated to do something. And I think that overall is probably a good thing. And in terms of politically, obviously are horrible in terms of stuff happening in the world, but they did seem like nothing was happening and now there’s conversations going on. And again, I’m not close to it.

Jon Powers:

Absolutely.

Ethan Zindler:

It could be I didn’t know what was going on all along, but now people are talking about actual legislation and making proposals, which feels like a little bit of progress.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. I think the momentum is starting to shift and I feel like to really, for us to make the argument, the facts are critical and the Sustainable Energy in America in 2022 Factbook is something all of us that care about this industry should read and understand. You can get it bcsc.org and make sure you download it, but we should all be making the case right now for the policies we care about to, if we’re going to really drive it forward there’s really no better time. Thank you, Lisa and Ethan for all your hard work every year, putting this out and I hope to be back next year, helping to tell the story.

Lisa Jacobson:

Thank you.

Ethan Zindler:

Jon. Thanks.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. And thank you for the teams at BloombergNEF and BCSC for helping to put this together and our producer Colleen Young, for the show. You can always get more episodes cleancapital.com. Again, you can get the Factbook at bcsc.org. You should also sign it to be a member if you’re not. And I wanted to thank you so much. And look forward to continue with the conversation.