Financing and Deploying Clean Energy Policy Memos

These policy memos were completed as part of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment’s online Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate program, which trains and connects rising leaders to catalyze the transition to a clean economy. The application for the certificate’s 2022-23 cohort closed on March 13, 2022. You can read what the application entailed, and what the program seeks to do, here.

We invite policy-makers and stakeholders to consider the ideas in these memos and respond. Views expressed in the memos are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the positions of their employers.

Joe Indvik

Joe Indvik

Policy Memo: Establishing a National Energy Benchmarking Standard for Commercial Buildings

To capture the energy efficiency opportunity across the U.S. economy, the House Energy and Commerce Committee should introduce a bill to establish a national energy benchmarking standard for commercial buildings. Building on the success of local ordinances, the proposed bill would create a national requirement while giving state and local...
Don't let the sun go down on price reliability, our author urges

(Photo by Don and Suzan Weller, via Flickr Creative Commons.) As the sun sets over Waterford, CT, an expert proposes a price floor in wholesale electricity markets. 

Policy Memo: How We Pay For Free Electricity

As New England states progress towards decarbonization goals, the electricity spot market will see offers from solar and wind generators that incur no marginal cost. That can harm reliability and put some operators hastily out of business. To retain existing resources and the stability they bring, we need to set...
A power plant in Ohio (photo by Neal Wellons via Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo by Neal Wellons via Flickr Creative Commons.) This power plant in Painesville, Ohio could come in for big changes if citizens there follow the author's advice. 

Policy Memo: Quick Wins Are Possible Via Community Choice Aggregation For Clean Energy

Community choice aggregation is an enabling policy, currently available in at least nine states, that lets even the smallest cities cost-effectively transition to clean energy. It gives a municipality’s residents and businesses the chance to take advantage of cost-competitive (and, more and more, money-saving) clean energy by creating negotiating leverage.
Think of the power you could set free (affordably)!

(Courtesy Governor Phil Murphy's Flickr account.) A new capacity market framework for PJM could make offshore wind from this segment of New Jersey more competitive more quickly. 

Policy Memo: Federal Support on Capacity Can Boost Regional Wind Goals

Now, to advance the buildout of renewable energy, FERC should set a process and timeframe for adopting a new market structure. That structure should be adaptable and transparent, advance state offshore wind policy goals, meet consumer clean energy and equity goals, and maintain reliability.
YPCCC-Maine

Policy Memo: Bring Batteries for a Virtual Power Plant and a Virtuous Cycle

Battery storage systems and virtual power plants offer an opportunity for individual ratepayers to improve energy reliability and contribute to Maine’s clean energy goals. Maine has several options for protecting and incentivizing ratepayers, especially low-income ratepayers, to own battery storage systems and join virtual power plant programs.
Utility Solar in Spotsylvania County VA

(Photo by Hugh Kenny, Piedmont Environmental Council.) A solar array in Virginia stands for the kinds of investment that could crowd in with a properly targeted federal carbon price. 

Policy Memo: Lower Price, Higher Potential

Climate scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report warned that without immediate large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will cause devastating economic and human losses. Policymakers must come together to implement a comprehensive climate change strategy in the United States.
A (very) old technology for transmission still holds in parts of South Carolina and other states.

(Photo by overWHAMmed, from Flickr Creative Commons). This transmission line in Pelzer, SC, testifies to the market potential for investment in new high-voltage lines. 

Policy Memo: Senators, Jolt Capital Via a Transmission Investment Tax Credit

Can transmission of clean energy become more competitive and more ambitious with a federal tax credit? The author, a sustainable finance professional, argues on a bipartisan basis that it can and that transmission tax credits will tap a multibillion-dollar pipeline of ready projects.
Targets for job creation lift at the local level in Ithaca, NY

(Courtesy of Jo Zimny Photos via Flickr Creative Commons.) Ithaca took its buildings off fossil fuel. It aims to take its job base in the same direction. 

Policy Memo: Making Buildings Carbon-Free to Make Real a Green New Deal

At the local level, a Green New Deal can crowd in private capital. In this update of a Financing and Deploying Clean Energy policy memo, the sustainability director for Ithaca, NY explains the holistic economic and energy-justice strategy driving the city's project to decarbonize all its buildings.
Transmission reform isn't a moonshot, but it needs federal action. (Photo by Ben Paulos.)

The current Congress has power to kick-start grid upgrades. Does it want to use that power to the fullest? 

Accelerating American Decarbonization Along the Regulatory Route: A Policy Memo

The author, an energy professional and Illinois resident, argues for transmission investment as a lynchpin of infrastructure investment. She makes the case that other infrastructure goals need robust clean-energy transmission to become real.
A row of typical United Kingdom houses

(Courtesy Billy Wilson, via Flickr Creative Commons.) The author argues that Octopus Energy needs to reach out to occupants of homes like these to make good on its post-carbon promises. 

Making 100% Clean Electricity Doable: A Strategy Memo to Octopus Energy

According to this consultant, Octopus Energy must build measurable positive momentum towards the customer-centric (and just) energy transition it implies in its branding. It should invest capital toward changes in marketing and customer support. By doing so, this memo suggests, Octopus can deliver more fully on its promise.
Climate attitudes in Colorado, courtesy the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

With the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications showing this range of climate concern, should Colorado operate under one electricity provider? 

Decarbonizing the Rockies: A Policy Memo on Colorado's Electricity Market

Participants in CBEY's Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate program learn technology, finance, policy and climate science. Policy savvy locks in when they write real memos to real players. In this example, a professional in Colorado's community-solar industry encourages a state Senator to work on fostering competition in the state's...
It's morning in America

Could hydrogen signal a dawn in all sorts of clean infrastructure? 

H to Grow: Scaling Up Hydrogen to Lift American Prosperity and Justice

If the United States builds an investment theme around hydrogen, our author argues, a path to prosperity will widen. In this op-ed adopted from Yale's Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate course, an expert argues for building investment around a potentially plentiful and carbon-free source.
Let's get this turning

The EU needs to open financing channels to more providers to support the intent of the Green Deal.(Photo from Qvinnovindar.)

Walking the Walk: A Memo Outlining Incentives for Women-Powered Energy Storage in the European Union

Why should "prosumers" - individuals who make electricity for others to purchase- encounter brakes on their output in European Union policy? In this memo, which the author wrote first in the Financing and Deploying Clean Energy program, the case emerges for releasing female prosumers' entrepreneurial energy. A linked interview with...
What isn't in these numbers?

Delivering clean energy should mean delivering equitable health effects, says a researcher. 

Policy Memo: An Environmental Justice Analysis Can Accelerate Carbon Progress in Pennsylvania

The case for joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which Pennsylvania's governor embraced in 2019, asserts that trading carbon credits can marshal market discipline to achieve policy goals for broad decarbonization. In this example from the policy-memo segment of our online Financing and Deploying Clean Energy program, our writer argues...
Cory Connolly

Cory Connolly

Policy Memo: Saving Money in Michigan With Residential PACE Financing

Michigan can unlock energy-saving upgrades for homeowners by passing residential property assessed clean energy legislation. The legislation should guarantee energy savings and protect consumers by including a method for determining eligible energy-saving measures; restrictions to R- financing amounts and underwriting criteria; and robust consumer protection provisions.
Martha Danly

Martha Danly

Policy Memo: In Support of Pennsylvania Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf proposed Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation in the fall 2019 legislative season. By voting to join RGGI, Pennsylvania can reduce electricity rates, improve the state and regional economy, and make the state a leader in the global effort to combat climate change.