Black History in the making “The Hightowers Petroleum Company Story

Authored By: Hightower Pertroleum Company Publidhed : February 13, 2019

OUR HISTORY:  Over 58 Years of Business Excellence Stephen “Steve” Hightower founded Hightowers Petroleum Co. in 1984, continuing a family legacy of entrepreneurism that began in 1957 with the establishment of the family’s cornerstone business. From those humble beginnings and through persistence, drive and determination, Steve methodically began to grow his wholesale fuel distribution business into an energy solutions enterprise that today is recognized throughout North America for its customer service, integrity, creative fuel distribution model and expert handling of complex upstream and downstream issues.

“Our success as a business was, is and will always be dependent on delivering the RIGHT energy solutions for every single ONE of our customers.”

Steve Hightower, President & CEO,

Hightowers Petroleum Co.


No matter your industry or fleet size, increasing efficiency and productivity are universal priorities. Busy fleet managers, over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers and members of your sales team have enough responsibilities without having to devote extra time to routine fleet-related administrative tasks.

We capture Level-3 transactional data which provides the highest level of transaction analysis and detail available.

Hightowers Petroleum Co. offers two benefits-loaded retail card solutions that can be customized to suit your specific company’s fueling needs. Fleet managers will appreciate the wide range of useful transaction and tracking features, while drivers will welcome the simplicity associated with not having to submit paper receipts and detailed expense reports for reimbursement.

HPC Fleet Solutions, Mastercard Fleet Card, Wex Card Program, Hightowers Petroleum Co. 3577 Commerce Drive, Middletown, OH 45005, 513-423-4272

Save money on fuel management expenses, establish a never-fail fueling policy, gain tighter control of spending, and enjoy a rebate (high volume users) with our WEX card program.

  • Assign cards to driver or vehicle
  • Get 24-hour, AAA emergency roadside assistance
  • Control card level authorization
  • Set dollar limits, per transaction
  • Block merchant category
  • Simplify Fuel Purchase
  • Eliminate unauthorized use

Detailed Reporting

  • • Driver ID/vehicle pin number
  • • Total gallons
  • • Price per gallon
  • • Odometer readings
  • • And, much more
  • One Consolidated Invoice
  • • Includes all transactional data
  • Best-in-Class Support
  • • Via nation’s top transport fleet card provider

Eliminate “red tape,” endless piles of receipts and reduce administrative costs with our smart fleet and procurement Card solutions… guaranteed to simplify your fleet’s management and life.

  • Unique data interface seamlessly ties into your fleet management software
  • Delivers highly-customizable purchasing and information management
  • Wide acceptance of a variety of merchandise and services
  • Fuel only options
  • Comprehensive vehicle telematics, including fuel purchases, vehicle maintenance and drivers’ travel expenses
  • Procurement only (P-Card) offerings:
  • Automatically reconcile statements
  • Ensure financial integrity with purchase control


Universal Acceptance

  • • 10,000+ truck stops
  • • 200,000+ gas stations

BusinessLink MasterCard® cards are issued by AMSouth® Bank. Comdata® is an authorized representative of AMSouth® Bank. Comdata®


Here are just a few recognitions Hightowers Petroleum Co. has received.

Trees Or Solar Panels? Environmentalists Question Georgetown’s Solar Farm

Author: Jacob Fenston  Published WAMU


Georgetown University is planning to built and buy energy from a solar farm in Charles County under an arrangement with Origis Energy. ehpien / Flickr

Georgetown University has a bold plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions: by later this year, it will get nearly half its electricity from solar power. However, building the new solar farm in Charles County, Maryland to power the university will require clear cutting 210 acres of forested land.

“I’m very much in favor of solar, but the solar needs to be properly sited,” says Bonnie Bick, a self-described forest activist, and the political chair of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club. She wants Georgetown to reconsider the solar project, and find a location that wouldn’t involve removing hundreds of trees.

The site in question is in Nanjemoy, Maryland, on a peninsula that juts into the Potomac River. The area is covered with forests and dotted with a few active farms.

Georgetown officials defend the project.

“The proposed offsite solar project would reduce greenhouse emissions equivalent to planting more than 429,000 trees, which is the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 30,000 acres of forest,” said a university spokesperson in a statement, declining an interview.

Georgetown is contracting with the solar company Origis Energy for the project. Origis will build the solar farm and sell the energy to the university under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Edwin Moses, who is overseeing the project for Origis, says the math is clear, in terms of carbon emissions and climate change. The solar project will produce 32 megawatts of energy, roughly equal to the electricity needed to power 4,400 homes. That clean energy will displace electricity produced by burning fossil fuels.

“Origis is extremely confident the tradeoff is a good one,” says Moses.

In D.C. and Maryland, 18 percent of electricity comes from coal, 38 percent comes from natural gas, and most of the rest comes from nuclear, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Renewables account for less than 5 percent of the region’s energy mix.

But Bonnie Bick says the project creates a false choice between clean energy and trees.

“The question is not forest or solar, it’s where is the proper place to install solar?” Bick says.

She suggests that Origis and Georgetown could find a better location, one that isn’t covered with forest. Forests, after all, have value beyond just sequestering carbon — they’re also valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The Nanjemoy Peninsula is designated an “important bird area” by the Audubon Society because it contains “a large block of contiguous forest.” The peninsula is 81 percent forest, 11 percent agricultural land and 4 percent wetland. It is home to a “highly diverse assemblage” of birds that need large, connected forests to successfully breed, according to the Audubon Society.

“We maximize our benefit with solar when it is placed on a property of low value, such as a capped landfill,” says Bick. Another suggestion: couldn’t Georgetown put panels all over its campus?

Edwin Moses says that smaller, scattered solar installations are much more expensive. He says the site in Charles County is a good one. The land in question is zoned for agriculture, and has been periodically logged in past years. “The land is already subject to timbering,” says Moses.

The Maryland Public Service Commission has already approved the solar project. The Maryland Department of Environment scheduled a hearing for Feb. 27 in Charles County, after local activists raised concerns.


September 18, 2017 – Georgetown and Origis Energy USA today announced a power purchase agreement to develop a 32.5-megawatt offsite solar power system that will provide almost 50 percent of campus electricity needs and help the university fulfill its sustainability mission.

The project reinforces Georgetown’s June 2017 announcement with other leading American universities reaffirming support of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the transition to a clean energy economy.

It also significantly contributes to Georgetown’s ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations.

Once the solar power system, developed, built and owned by Origis Energy, is constructed in La Plata, Maryland, it will provide for nearly half of Georgetown’s electricity load for campus operations.


“This strategic partnership with Origis supports Georgetown’s carbon footprint reduction goals while providing long-term energy price stability,” said Robin Morey, vice president for planning and facilities management.

Pending approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission and local permitting, the off-site solar facility will be located on 518 acres in Charles County, Maryland.

The Origis Energy design calls for the use of approximately 105,000 solar panel modules and will interconnect to the South Maryland Electric Cooperative transmission system.


The project will create approximately 200 jobs during construction, which is anticipated to start in early 2019 and be completed by summer 2019.

It is also expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 28 million pounds of coal or planting over 600,000 trees – the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 30,000 acres of forest.

“Our team is humbled to support Georgetown University’s pursuit of environmental excellence and leadership,” said Johan Vanhee, managing director of business development for Origis Energy. “We commend the university’s solar energy leadership in the nation’s capital and its mission to contribute to renewable energy intelligence globally.”

Throughout the term of the solar project’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Origis Energy will support undergraduate scholarships for students with demonstrated financial need.


The scholarship initiative is part of the Origis Energy Foundation project to create philanthropic programs suited to the needs of the communities in which the company’s solar installations are constructed.

“We are grateful to the Origis Energy Foundation for its generous support of our academic mission, which includes admitting the most qualified students regardless of their ability to pay,” Morey says.

Since the late 1970s, Georgetown’s financial aid policies meet the full need of eligible students – regardless of their ability to pay – through a combination of grants, scholarships, employment and loans.


The new power purchase agreement follows a spring 2017 agreement with Community Renewable Energy (CRE) to install the largest rooftop solar system installation in the District of Columbia to date.

The on-site solar panels, in construction on six buildings this academic year, also will increase the university’s sustainability efforts and reduce costs as well as serve low-income residents in the city.

CRE will own the panels, environmental attributes and any incentives the system may provide, while Georgetown will use the power at a guaranteed price.

A portion of the revenue generated by that solar project will create a “community investment fund” to support clean energy projects in low-income areas of the District.


Powering tomorrow: grid modernization

A combination of factors usher in a new power landscape

Everywhere you look, there are unique dynamics at work. Infrastructures, components and equipment are aging. Weather events and natural disasters cause billions of dollars of infrastructure damage. Cyber threats are on the rise. Renewables’ share of generated power grows yearly. Customers expect to interact with utilities for more control of their electricity use thanks to the prevalence of connected devices. State and federal governments continue to introduce new energy legislation. All the while, an aging workforce across many industries is creating recruitment difficulties.

Every power challenge is unique, with its own set of complex variables. As these factors converge, complications amplify to a point with only one viable option: utilities must modernize to keep pace with change.

How utilities can manage change on the horizon

The future of power generation is responding to the fundamental shift in how consumers use power and how utilities provide it. Renewables like wind and solar are increasingly responsible for greater shares of generated power. Smart grid technologies deliver real-time and up-to-the-minute information. Batteries now provide more than reserve power, with load shifting and the sale of power back to utilities becoming real cost saving and revenue enhancement options.

These shifts in generation and consumption mean utilities must work to modernize operations. And those who embrace new technologies and connected devices stand to see efficiency gains and improved profitability.

Data and analytics garnered from intelligent technologies and connected devices are laying the groundwork. However, new system components often introduce unforeseen compatibility and management issues. So utilities not only need modern solutions – they need modern solutions that work with what they’ve already got.


There is a growing need for more sensors throughout the grid to advance grid reliability which is driving the demand for new communicating sensing solutions with higher accuracy and seamless installation on to the existing grid.

Bennett Wallace, General Manager, Energy Automation Solutions

A foundation that supports change

Utilities are being asked to do more than ever, with less than ever. Managing more power sources with less budget, serving more people with fewer people and doing it all more efficiently and sustainably with less margin for error.

To help address these challenges, utilities benefit from a partner with a proven track record of creating smart, adaptable power systems. At Eaton, every product and service we offer is built on a foundation of intelligence, experience and security.

Scalable intelligence

With a firm grasp on power and the challenges ahead, Eaton is ready to take on your most complex system issues with a host of modernization technologies that yield a more resilient and secure grid through advanced intelligence. Look to Eaton for more residential and commercial connected devices, including Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions for factories and businesses to increase efficiency and scalability, while saving time and money.

Manufacturer-agnostic know-how

Modernizing your system doesn’t mean starting over. You’ve put time and resources into your infrastructure, so it’s essential to work with a provider who understands the complexities of other manufacturers’ equipment. Eaton devices and software solutions integrate with your existing infrastructure to mitigate risk and reduce costs with turnkey solutions that provide everything — from generation to transmission and distribution to the “on” switch.

Cyber-secure technology

As connected tech expands, so do security risks. Today’s customers look to suppliers who provide products that comply with the industry’s latest cybersecurity standards. Eaton responded with the first research and testing facilities approved to participate in UL’s Data Acceptance Program for cybersecurity and maintains technologies that meet the UL 2900 Standard for Software Cybersecurity for Network-Connectable Products.

The power of three: how we solve complex grid challenges

Whether you’re looking to automate your system, incorporate new IoT-enabled equipment or manage and service your entire infrastructure, we can help. We’re the single point of contact to design, build, manage and maintain your grid modernization project — and we’re at our best when complex challenges arise. From complete system overhauls to consulting on individual aspects of grid improvement, Eaton solves intricate problems across the entire utility landscape.

Automation and control solutions

Many devices on the market enable utilities to improve reliability and reduce costs. However, energy generation is an ever-changing landscape; power providers must turn to advanced adaptive automation solutions to deliver value. But when adding devices to the system gets complicated, how can you decide what works for your infrastructure and implement new solutions effectively?

Eaton proactively determines your best solution and offers controls to empower intelligent decisions — saving you time and money. With the most advanced power engineering software solutions and services across the globe, we:

Workers in power station control room
  • Find flexible metering solutions for every department — from billing to engineering — for uniform support across all service territories
  • Increase productivity, optimize asset efficiency and enable applications and analytics for the future with smart apparatus, including enterprise-level software and secure communications
  • Reduce maintenance costs, maximize cybersecurity and assist with NERC CIP compliance by managing all system activities remotely with industry-leading software

With technologies that enable customers to transform, protect, connect and build an electrical foundation, Eaton’s automation and control solutions help you optimize asset efficiency, improve system reliability and reduce costs.



With 125 billion connected devices projected to occupy the grid by 2030 and a 600% rise in IoT cyberattacks from 2016 to 2017 alone, providing power isn’t enough. It must be offered reliably, safely and securely. That’s why cybersecurity is at the core of our power platforms. Eaton products are built to meet stringent third-party safety standards, such as UL’s Data Acceptance Program for cybersecurity and its 2900 Standard for Software Cybersecurity for Network-Connectable Products.

When installing equipment, there’s no room for error. We make certain our products and software fit your system — no matter the devices you already have installed — and offer recommendations on Eaton devices to maximize productivity and ROI. Through equipment built to withstand harsh environments and maximize service life, we:

Turnkey substation high voltage components
  • Reduce setup costs, labor and commissioning time of new, replacement and existing substations with ultra-flexible modular solutions, life extension and modernization solutions
  • Simplify system configuration and adapt to changing assets with scalable microgrid and energy resources controls
  • Turn grid-support and backup devices into revenue centers via collaborations with tech powerhouses like Microsoft and others

No matter your specific needs, we have the intelligent devices, dependable monitoring and safety equipment to help – along with the people to back it up.


Turnkey solutions & engineering services

When modernizing your utility system, your plan is as essential as the devices you install. That’s why our Engineering services teamtakes a 360º approach – reviewing risks, technical requirements and deliverables – to ensure projects are on time and on budget.  And thanks to our zero-incident safety culture and comprehensive safety policy (that includes input from everyone from division safety managers to customers), environmental health and safety is top-of-mind every step of the way.

With more than 1,500 experts trained on leading manufacturers’ equipment across 60 locations in Canada and the U.S., Eaton optimizes systems that are safer, more reliable and powerfully efficient. Through our breadth of services, we:

  • Facilitate savings, resilience and energy independence through microgrid and distributed energy resources that assimilate generation sources on a common grid
  • Simplify engineering and design for safer, more reliable and cost-efficient turnkey projects with engineer/procure/construct (EPC) engineers who are experts in upgrades and designs for grid modernization, substation design/build, hydroelectric plant systems and controls, mission-critical facilities and many others
  • Provide unparalleled expertise in the latest tech trends and innovations with system engineers who are heavily involved in industry activities, seminars, workshops and technical societies

Our engineering services team diagnoses complex problems, identifies ways to improve performance and transforms concepts into practical, efficient solutions. As the single point of contact who manages complex grid upgrades, Eaton alleviates concerns from start to finish and maintains a 24/7 on-call service team that’s focused on solving the most complex issues whenever, wherever they arise.


We’re here for your most complex grid modernization challenges

When challenges get complex, we shine. Eaton has a long-standing track record of service and solving tough challenges with a team of pioneers driven to reimagine and reshape critical categories in the utility industry. Our leading-edge products and solutions change the outlook of utilities and improve their customers’ lives. We harness the latest advances in smart connected devices and optical sensors to offer new levels of performance today while addressing build capacity for tomorrow. So whether you need a point solution, help managing renewables, smooth IoT integration, or someone to consult and collaborate with at scale, put our extensive expertise and expansive portfolio to work.

More for you

We can help you prepare the grid of the future

Our Electrical Engneering Services and Systems team provides tailored solutions for grid modernization to help you with every stage of a power system’s life cycle. And, our portfolio of services and solutions will align with your operational goals to keep your power system safe, cyber secure, efficient, reliable and ready for IoT.

Puerto Rico proposes largest solar, storage buildout in US with 20-year draft resource plan

Dive Brief:

  • The publicly-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) released on Jan. 23 a draft of its 2019 integrated resource plan (IRP), adding cleaner energy resources to the island’s grid over the next 20 years.
  • The utility’s plan to add over 2,220 MW of solar and 1,080 MW of battery storage would also phase out its use of coal and bunker oil, expensive energy fuels the island imports. PREPA plans to build three liquified natural gas import terminals, despite legislative efforts in Puerto Rico to move to 100% renewables last year.
  • PREPA, which had more than $9 billion of debt before the 2017 Hurricane Maria knocked out power for the island, noted in the IRP the potential privatization of its generation assets. PREPA’s $9 billion debt consolidation deal last summer was expected to clear the way for its privatization.

Dive Insight:

The draft includes scenarios for the largest build-out of solar and battery storage in the country, according to the environmental advocacy group Sierra Club.

Puerto Rico’s IRP identifies microgrids that “could be owned by the utility or private entities,” including eight self-sufficient zones of resiliency, called MiniGrids, ensuring local resources can serve loads during and after major storms.

PREPA worked with Siemens’s network planning subsidiary, Siemens Power Technologies International, to forecast various scenarios in its IRP.

Siemens investigated nearly 80 long-term capacity expansion plans, of which a final set of 32 plans were recommended.
Credit: PREPA


Placing an emphasis on the first five years, the plans include a maximum amount of renewable generation integration along with distributed resources and hardening the transmission and distribution grid to successfully segregate it into MiniGrids.

“This is essential in order to mitigate, manage and enable timely recovery from a major storm, while shifting the traditional generation from largely heavy fuel oil and distillate fuels to cleaner natural gas,” the IRP states.

PREPA’s draft IRP shows the potential of investing in utility storage with a mix of two-, four- and six-hour lithium-ion batteries.

Siemens reviewed the potential of customers going completely off the grid, anticipating that residents would need solar and at least a 6-hour battery to fully self-supply.

The island’s Sierra Club chapter and other Puerto Rico activists continue to resist plans to privatize the utility, in order to maintain the residents’ control of the public utility’s actions. Environmental and consumer advocates have also worked to transition the island to more affordable, cleaner alternatives than fossil fuels, and are pushing back on the development of any new gas facilities, according to Sierra Club.

The utility is expected to file its finalized IRP by Feb. 12.

President Trump Signs 2018 Farm Bill, Legalizing Hemp

Cannabis Business Times
President Trump Signs 2018 Farm Bill, Legalizing Hemp

President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill Thursday afternoon, signaling the official nationwide legalization of industrial hemp—a moment long-awaited by the cannabis industry.

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell inserted language from his Hemp Farming Act of 2018 into the Farm Bill to federally legalize the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp, which is defined as cannabis that contains less than 0.3-percent THC. Congress passed the $867-billion agricultural legislation Dec. 12, effectively removing hemp from the list of controlled substances and allowing states to regulate its production, commerce and research with approval from the USDA.

“The 2018 Farm Bill is an 807-page document. Hemp is discussed only a few times throughout this document; however, the impact on the industry is epic,” said Dr. Jenelle Kim, co-founder and lead formulator at JBK Wellness Labs. “Ultimately, the Farm Bill will end the era of hemp prohibition and would deem that hemp is an agricultural commodity and is removed from the Controlled Substances Act where it is no longer mistaken as a controlled substance, like marijuana.”

“Business can be a great agent of social change.”

-Patrick Rea, CEO and co-founder of Canopy Boulder

The Drug Enforcement Administration will no longer be able to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products, Kim added, which will open the doors for banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms to do business with hemp companies.

“The Farm Bill is a monumental first step for the hemp industry and a big win for U.S. agriculture,” said Jonathan Vaught, CEO and co-founder of Colorado-based biotech company Front Range Biosciences. “It allows farmers to legally grow hemp throughout the country, fueling job growth domestically and keeping the United States competitive in the global market. Allowing hemp production sets the stage for this fledgling industry to flourish as raw materials from hemp—oils, grain and fiber—can be used in a wide array of products like dietary supplements, super foods, clinically-approved drugs and fiber as a building material. The Farm Bill is also a major win for the cannabis industry as it further demonstrates the utility of cannabis as a crop.”

The cannabis industry now looks ahead to increased investment, research, cultivation and sales in a hemp market that Brightfield Group estimates will reach $22 billion by 2022.

“Business can be a great agent of social change,” said Patrick Rea, CEO and co-founder of Canopy Boulder, a seed-stage business accelerator and venture fund for the cannabis industry. “This is an example of a highly in-demand market that needed the government to engage in order to unlock its potential. Time will tell how administrative agencies like the USDA and FDA will regulate hemp products, but we can expect heightened business and investor interest in the space.”

Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing hemp in All 50 States

Author: Eric Sandy and Melissa Schille Published: December 17, 2018

Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing hemp

Industry stakeholders anticipate increased investment into the industry, as well as massive growth in hemp research, cultivation and sales.

Congress federally legalized hemp with the Dec. 12 passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, opening a market that Brightfield Group estimates will reach $22 billion by 2022.

The $867 billion agriculture law cleared the Senate Dec. 11 with a 87-13 vote before gaining approval in the House Dec. 12 with a 369-47 vote. The bill has been sent to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

The Farm Bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and allows farmers to pursue federal hemp cultivation permits, while individual states can regulate the industry within their borders as they see fit. Already, 40 states have established hemp cultivation “pilot programs” for industrial and commercial purposes, although the plant has been strictly regulated.

“This is absolutely world history! What the Congress did … is going to change the future for this industry and the world,” said Dr. Bomi Joseph, founder of Peak Health Center.

Hemp cultivation became illegal in the U.S. in 1937, under provisions in the Marihuana Tax Act, which was drafted by prohibitionist Harry Anslinger. In the intervening eight decades, American culture has steadily warmed to the idea of reviving the agricultural commodity and its many commercial uses.

“With the Farm Bill of 2018 …, the restrictions around growing industrial hemp could be lifted by the end of the year,” said Ari Sherman, president of Evo Hemp. “This bill will also help clarify that resin products derived from hemp, like cannabinoids, will be legal on a federal level. Many people will benefit from this bill, including farmers, manufactures, retailers and consumers. Small family farmers will be able to make a sufficient amount of income off a small amount of land. This bill will open up advertising opportunities for hemp product manufactures. Retailers will be given more freedom in the variety of hemp products that they carry. Last, consumers will be given access to all domestically grown hemp-based products.”

“It is excellent to finally have definitive rules governing the sale of CBD products in the United States,” added Sasha Kadey, CMO of Greenlane. “There are huge demands for these products as many Americans find great benefit in their use. A clear, legal path to bring these products to market with all the appropriate checks and balances that ultimately result in consumer safety is a huge win for consumers, law-abiding businesses and the U.S. Economy.”

The legislation will supersede the recently expired 2014 Farm Bill, which had granted states the ability to create those hemp production pilot programs. The manufacture and sale of hemp-derived CBD, however, was strictly regulated and sometimes left out of states’ medical cannabis market frameworks.

Now, with hemp set to be treated as an agricultural product, the U.S. FDA or state departments of agriculture will provide oversight of the plant’s cultivation. Further along the supply chain, industry observers eagerly anticipate guidance on hemp-derived CBD.

“While the Farm Bill presents exciting opportunities for U.S. agriculture and the hemp industry, it is still unclear what the final status of CBD will be,” said Jordan Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Zodaka, a cannabis payment platform. “[I am] curious to see how the progress of CBD-specific legislation is affected by this milestone.”

In July, the California Department of Public Health issued a state policy prohibiting hemp-derived CBD in food products, which aligned with the FDA’s stance. Policies are now likely to shift, as federal and state regulators embrace hemp legalization—and cannabis companies will have new opportunities, as well.

Hemp is primarily a cheap source of CBD, which as become a hot commodity, and the passage of the Farm Bill ensures that people who farm and create products with CBD are protected from prosecution, Joseph said. “A lot more investment is going to pour in for new food products based on hemp.”

U.S. hemp companies may now be able to list on U.S. stock exchanges, as well, added Khurram Malik, CEO of Biome Grow. Previously, they have been limited to Canadian exchanges when looking to go public.

“It’s a pivotal moment we’ve been preparing for, and a hallmark in the history of hemp,” said Matt Oscamou, co-founder of Weller, a manufacturer of CBD-infused snacks. “CBD awareness has picked up over the last several months, and the bill answers some of the questions that retailers and consumers have been continuously asking. Ultimately, this legislation gives the market a unique opportunity to grow by decriminalizing hemp and hemp CBD, thus removing a road block to institutional capital.”

The federal legalization of hemp will also undoubtedly attract investors and businesses from outside the U.S.

“We’re hoping that this bill can help us expand our supply chain by looking for hemp farmers in the U.S. for our CBD products to supplement our current hemp imports from Europe,” said Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “In the next few years, hemp will once again become the valued commodity it once was just a few generations ago. As a company, we’re utilizing hemp as a source for CBD, but we look forward to the U.S. taking advantage of hemp’s many other industrial uses, such as a source of building and construction materials, material for bio-composite purposes, clean biofuels, as well as a viable source of nutrition.”

More retailers will likely start integrating CBD products into their stores, as well, making them available for consumers who have been eager to try CBD, but who may not have been educated on the products or able to find a trusted brand.

“The Farm Bill is just the first step, but it’s undoubtedly a big one,” Oscamou added. “We’re looking forward to leading the way with true innovation in this emerging category, utilizing FDA-compliant processes to ensure consumers know exactly what they’re getting every time their daily stresses rear up.”

Hemp legalization will also lend support to what is already becoming a multi-billion-dollar American agriculture industry, according to Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc., a U.S.-based hemp cultivator.

“As an example, we project that a massive back-to-the land movement will be in full force by mid-summer of 2019 … because the back-to-the land population will now have a solid economic basis in industrial hemp to rely on,” Perlowin said. “This will be an incredible boon for the American small family farm. Our strategy has been to partner with farmers across the country in states where hemp cultivation and manufacturing is legal, to provide them with the infrastructure needed to make a profit off this incredible crop.”

“While how long it has taken is disappointing, it is exciting to see hemp back in the fold as a main cash crop opportunity for American farmers,” added Jeffrey M. Zucker, co-founder and president of Green Lion Partners. “Hemp is an environmentally friendly, sustainable resource that is incredibly versatile. In addition to this being a win for farmers, it is a boon for Americans as a whole to receive expanded access to hemp products.”

And cultivating hemp can also help eliminate contaminants in the soil, Joseph added.

“Hemp is very useful for ‘phyto-remediation,’” he said. “Hemp has the highest ability to ‘bioaccumulate’ and degrade harmful contaminants in soil, water and air. Toxic heavy metals and organic pollutants are great targets for hemp phyto-remediation … Hemp will absorb [pollutants] voraciously, neutralize them and break them down into harmless components. This is a very exciting environmental benefit to hemp cultivation that is hardly mentioned.”

Hemp research will likely also ramp up as restrictions on the plant are loosened.

“The health and wellness industries are in for a major overhaul with the massive research and development and exploration into CBD, CBG, CBN and 113 other cannabinoids, as well as some 300 terpenes found in the industrial hemp plant,” Perlowin said.

“Hemp is incredibly versatile, and for so long it’s had a bad reputation because of the stigma around marijuana,” added Derek Riedle, publisher of Civilized. “For decades, the government hasn’t been able to distinguish between the two plants—it’s like having a twin brother who breaks the rules, but you get in trouble, too. Now that the realities of cannabis are coming to light, we will finally be able to unleash the full potential of hemp here in the U.S.”

And with a federally legal industrial hemp industry across the U.S., the passage of the Farm Bill could also represent a step toward the federal legalization of marijuana, according to Dan Anglin, DEO of CannAmerica.

“This news is substantial for all of America’s hemp and CBD companies, and as a veteran of the more complicated THC-marijuana industry, I’m encouraged about what this could mean for the federal future of marijuana and cannabis products in the U.S.A

Vertical Farming/Hemp Farming

Ralph talks to Dickson Despommier about “vertical farming,” how to raise farm crops in tall inner-city buildings.  And hemp lobbyist, Eric Steenstra, tells us about his ongoing efforts to convince Congress to make hemp farming legal.

about his ongoing efforts to convince Congress to make hemp farming legal.

dr dickerson


Dr. Dickson Despommier is a microbiologist, an ecologist, and emeritus professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University. For twenty-seven years, he conducted research on cellular and molecular parasitism and held lectures and courses on Parasitic Disease, Medical Ecology and Ecology. From one of these courses, he founded the root for his idea of raising crops in tall buildings; vertical farming. In 2010, he published his widely received book: The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century.

Eric Steenstra


For the past decade, Eric Steenstra has been the Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, a non-profit trade association representing businesses, farmers, researchers and investors working with industrial hemp.  In 2000, Mr. Steenstra pioneered the cofounding of Vote Hemp of which he remains President.  Under his leadership, Vote Hemp has become the nation’s foremost hemp lobbying organization, working towards full re-commercialization of industrial hemp.

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Asheville’s Blake Butler new executive director of N.C. Industrial Hemp Association

Author:  Community Bulletint:  Published:   

Blake Butler

Press release from the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association:

The Board of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association (NCIHA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Blake Butler as Executive Director. Butler, a partner in Adapt Public Relations in Asheville, will fill the duties on a part-time basis until the end of the year and then transition to full-time beginning January 1, 2019.

North Carolina finished 2017 with more growers, acres, and processors than any other state in its first year of hemp production. With possible federal legalization of hemp on the horizon, it’s critical that North Carolina positions itself in this emerging industry.

Said NCIHA President Marty Clemons, “Blake joins us at a time of great transition for the industrial hemp industry and the NCIHA. We are confident he is the voice we need as we all work together to add more value for Association members and make North Carolina the industry gold standard.”

The NCIHA is a 501(c)(6) trade organization with over 1,000 members that represents all the stakeholders helping to build a thriving hemp industry in North Carolina. It was also responsible for the lobbying effort behind the passage of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in 2015.

With experience in politics, media, and public relations, Butler brings a diversity of experience to this position. Additionally, he is the co-founder of HempX, which has organized hemp educational events and workshops in multiple Southern states since 2015.

“Bob Crumley, Jeff Cartonia and some of the early adopters have done an incredible job in growing this organization,” said Butler. “I plan to build on that success and continue to work with hemp farmers, entrepreneurs, and businesses across the state.”

The Association will move its offices to Asheville, with plans to open an additional office in Raleigh early next year. To learn more about the NCIHA and how to become a member, visit

Is the Utility-Scale Solar Industry in a Finance Bubble?


“It can’t run red-hot forever.” Industry experts voice questions and concerns about dirt-cheap, shorter-term PPAs.

Residual value used to be “the gravy” on top of existing PPA returns. It’s now being treated as a primary revenue stream.

Residual value used to be “the gravy” on top of existing PPA returns. It’s now being treated as a primary revenue stream.

The utility-scale solar market has gotten “frothy” in the last year and a half.

A flood of new investors, like pension funds and insurance companies, now view solar as a stable asset. That “wall of money” going after a smaller pool of projects has created a market so competitive that many sponsors are willing to accept lower-than-average returns. Power-purchase agreement prices have also fallen to new lows, and contract terms have gotten shorter.

Industry financial experts say, taken together, those trends have led to a mispricing of risk for what Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables has called “dirt-cheap, shorter-term PPAs.” Now, sponsors are looking at a market with tight returns and potentially risky exposure to a project’s post-PPA residual value.

The phenomenon has some in the industry concerned about a renewables pricing bubble — where a reliance on future modeled electricity pricing may shock the market.

“There’s no shortage of uncertainty about what residual value will look like. What has become a more relevant trend is the extent to which asset owners’ returns are reliant on residual value as opposed to the revenue they generate during the power-purchase agreement term,” said Cory Honeyman, director of solar research at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. “That is a risk factor that has not been covered to the extent that it should within the market.”

While nearly everyone GTM spoke to agreed there’s some reason for concern, the extent of those feelings varied. Some see these themes as big and important unknowns. Others say they’re a consideration, but ultimately just a part of the industry’s push for continued growth.

“A Wild West situation”

According to WoodMac’s latest solar project finance report, the number of active asset owners in the utility-scale solar market has steadily increased in recent years. Sixty-eight new sponsors entered the market in 2017, the highest number ever, according to WoodMac’s tracking (the firm has not released a number for new entrants in 2018, but expects it to be comparable or higher).

At the same time, Keith Martin, an attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright specializing in tax and project finance, said 2018 brought a “general pullback” on projects from developers, due to tax reform and tariff uncertainty.

“You had this wall of money looking for projects and not finding many of them,” he said.

That’s led to stiff competition for the projects that do exist.

“Here’s the analogy that sits in my head when I think about this: It’s kind of like a Wild West situation. Everyone is out there fending for themselves. You have all these investors that are like, ‘How do I get my hands on the next solar project?’ Everyone is bringing their knives out, whatever they came to the fight with,” said Richard Matsui, CEO at kWh Analytics, a firm that specializes in risk management for solar investments. “The aggressive guys win the deal right now.”

What “aggressive” means for newer investors — which often have lower costs of capital — is a willingness to accept lower returns, which puts pressure on everyone else in the market to shift their standards as well.

“We’re in part of a cycle where people tend to overpay for things, ultimately,” said Chris Archer, who leads the team at Macquarie Capital that invests in clean energy.

“The volume of capital that’s come into that market…has really raised the risk profile.”

Who that risk impacts the most depends on a project’s financing — and who’s left holding the bag at the end of its functional life.

From “gravy” to a main dish

That risk stems in part from changing expectations for power-purchase agreements.

“The number of projects with long-term busbar PPAs has not been growing as rapidly as the capital side has been growing,” said Matsui. “In fact, PPAs are getting shorter.”

Shortened PPAs mean that a project has a tighter window to hit its required returns, which usually range from 6 to 8 percent. What’s more, PPA prices are dropping to new lows, with a handful of deals now signed at less than $25 per megawatt-hour.

To cope with the impacts of those trends, the WoodMac report notes, project sponsors are increasingly relying on over half of their returns coming from the post-PPA period, otherwise known as residual value. That forces sponsors to take a gamble on merchant power price forecasts that extend 15 to 20 years in the future.

WoodMac’s Honeyman said residual value used to be “the gravy” on top of existing returns. It’s now being treated as a primary revenue stream.

Davis said investors are “pricing operating assets to perfection” to make sure projects pencil out economically.

“Everything has got to line up in order to achieve…somewhat modest returns, which doesn’t give you a lot of room for problems,” he said.

And the market, which is still maturing, is likely to change in the next two decades.

“Personally, I think these assumptions that are being made are far more aggressive than what the investors think they are getting from a risk standpoint,” Davis added.

Today’s gambles

Project finance experts say the market dynamics have pushed project sponsors to bank on returns that may be overly reliant on forward electricity price curves which may not come to pass.

Katherine Ryzhaya, chief commercial officer at solar developer Lightsource BP, said that, because merchant prices may not meet expectations, her team is more careful in dealing with projects that may rely on residual value.

She said Lightsource has continued to focus on 20- and 25-year deals. “That’s still our view that those are the better deals, rather than putting all our chips in the merchant market.”

“Our general market view is that the merchant curves are aggressive,” she added. “Do we [cut] merchant exposure here for our internal models? Yes, we do. And we’ll give a more substantive [cut] to projects that have longer merchant exposure.”

Several firms create the electricity price forecasts that developers and investors use, including Wood Mackenzie (the parent company of Greentech Media). WoodMac’s current model shows prices remaining mostly flat through the 2020s; the firm projects price growth in the 2030s.

But Robert Whaley, a principal analyst in North American power and renewables for WoodMac, said those curves rely on the assumption of a carbon price starting in the late 2020s. That, along with WoodMac’s gas price assumption, is the most significant variable in its pricing model. But if Congress doesn’t pass a carbon price in the next decade — and tangible federal momentum is currently severely lacking — Whaley said prices over the next 20 years remain “much flatter.”

Because of those variables, Whaley said the firm provides several high and low cases, with a price spread.

“It’s quite wide, looking at all the variables. That’s why we try to provide sensitivities so people can get a sense of how volatile these forward projections are,” he said. “The model itself is based in reality as much as we can make it.”

But Whaley also noted that developers seem so eager to get into the market before the projected price growth kicks off that they may be willing to take a loss on near-term contracts to crowd out the competition.

“They’re making some gambles today off of project price growth in the future,” he said. “Obviously, it’s risky, because of all the variables we talked about.”

Though Whaley presented the price curves as a range that’s subject to change, many said the sponsors that use the price projections are relying on growth.

“The market is behaving as if that’s gospel truth,” said Matsui at kWh Analytics.

The fallout

When working in tandem, the themes now shaping the market have created challenges and uncertainty for utility-scale solar. But Davis suggests any potential “bubble” may just be par for the course.

“Potentially, there is a bubble, and you can say that about many markets over time,” he said. “If you look at the renewables sector, you’ve had…a favorable regulatory environment in terms of incentives. You’ve had a declining cost curve that has been supportive of continued penetration in the markets. You’re starting to see a little bit of an evolution toward becoming more merchant-like.”

Some view the current environment as more of a maturation of the industry than an atmosphere of pressure that could lead to a burst bubble. But however one characterizes the current environment, several in the industry say growing pains are coming.

“I would expect, somewhere along the line, some fallout in the industry,” said Davis. “It’s just like an engine: It can’t run-red hot forever.”

Looking ahead, Davis said industry players “need to instill some discipline back into the market.”

Ryzhaya at Lightsource agreed that the market will need to find a way to modulate. She said it needs a strong market signal from investors that the lower cost of capital will also go to longer PPAs. At the same time, she said it’s up to the entire industry to innovate for a new array of counterparties and to get comfortable with the current risk profile for projects.

“It seems that, hopefully, it is a temporary phenomenon, but it also seems like developers whose business model it is to sell into the froth are doing that at extraordinary levels,” said Ryzhaya. “Developers and long-term capital providers need to find a balance between shorter-term contracts and merchant exposure.”

Archer at Macquarie said that in the long-term, the conditions don’t necessarily equate to a threat to the industry, but they do mean change.

“It’s like anything: It’ll take some kind of shock to sort it out,” he said. “There was a bubble in U.S. housing in 2004. It took until 2008 for it to actually burst.”

New Jersey advances first community solar pilot to power 45K homes

Dive Brief:

  • The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) last Thursday approved rules for a three-year community solar program, the state’s first and a key component of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda.
  • The pilot will set aside 40% of the overall program’s capacity to serve low- and moderate-income customers, to ensure wider access to solar power. The pilot’s initial annual capacity is limited at 75 MW for the first year and at least 75 MW each for the second and third years.
  • BPU staff developed the pilot, which will inform a permanent program, to be flexible. The application for the program is currently being developed, with regulators expected to consider it at a meeting in the near future.

Dive Insight:

New Jersey, one of the many states advancing toward clean energy goals, is looking to solar initiatives to bring affordable renewable energy to more customers.

The state had more than 100,000 total solar panel installations by the end of 2018, according to the BPU, but encouraging broader access to solar power is key to Murphy’s stated goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. Despite initiatives to lower the cost of solar panels in the state, many lower-income residents cannot afford them.

“The point of this pilot program is to take the first step toward ensuring that we change this dynamic,” Joseph Fiordaliso, president of the BPU, said in a statement.

Customers will be allowed to sign up for a monthly subscription or to purchase ownership of a share of the community solar program, receiving a credit on their utility bill. The options allow renters to also participate in the pilot.

The program could roughly cover the electric usage of 45,000 residences, according to the BPU. New Jersey has the capacity to serve more than 400,000 subscribers through community solar, GTM Research estimated in a 2018 report.

The state approved a new community solar program in 2018, adding it to a number of states, largely along the coasts, that are enabling the growth of shared solar through policy initiatives.

Opportunities for U.S. community solar based on statewide policies, passed legislation and the design of programs addressing underserved communities.


AABE Energy Policy Summit

 Location:    United States Capitol Washington D.C.,   February 26, 2019 08:00 AM – February 26, 2019 08:00 PM

Join us for the Inaugural American Association of Blacks in Energy (Association) Hill Day Fly-In, February 26, 2019, in Washington, DC.

Since the Association’s founding, we have taken the lead in informing and educating policy makers on energy issues, including impacts on diverse communities. As members, and as industry participants in companies throughout the country, the Inaugural Fly-In will provide you an opportunity to meet with your Representatives, Senators, and Congressional staff.

We will begin the day hearing from experts about the Association’s policy priorities and receiving training to ensure your Hill meetings are successful. We will then move to Capitol Hill to meet legislators representing your states and districts— as their constituents, and an essential part of energy’s future. Please see the Hill Day FAQ link below.

There are a number of issues important to our communities and additional investments in the industry. Join us as we discuss energy’s role in the national economy and our communities at home.

 AABE Hill Day Fly-In & Energy Policy Summit February 26, 2019


Join us for the Inaugural American Association of Blacks in Energy (Association) Hill Day Fly-In, February 26, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Since the Association’s founding we have taken the lead in informing and educating policy makers on energy issues, including impacts on diverse communities. As members, and as industry participants in companies throughout the country, the Inaugural Fly-In will provide you an opportunity to meet with your Representatives, Senators, and Congressional staff.

We will begin the day hearing from experts about the Association’s policy priorities, and receiving training to ensure your Hill meetings are successful. We will then move to Capitol Hill to meet legislators representing your states and districts— as their constituents, and an essential part of energy’s future.

There are a number of issues important to our communities and additional investments in the industry. Join us as we discuss energy’s role in the national economy and our communities at home.

Hill Day FAQ 

Register Today at

Felicia Kelly

STEM4US Cybersecurity Education Capitol Hill Day & Washington, DC Fly-In?

Author: Talib I. Karim Published: February 5, 2019

Set for tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 6th, this day-long event offers you a rare opportunity to meet and build relations with Members of Congress (both House and Senate) and their senior aides.

And what’s our goal?

Simple, we are urging Congress and the President to keep the federal government open and add to the deal, $1.5 Billion in cybersecurity training grants.  This money would be used by schools like HBCUs, community colleges, and high schools to train over 300,000cybersecurity workers in the next five years.

Below is the schedule for the Cybersecurity Education Capitol Hill Day.  For more details on the proposed cybersecurity education grant program, visit:

Also, put your hands together for the STEM4US! Cybersecurity Training Consortium, the business and education leaders that are funding this HUGE project.  Check out the list of supporters below and visit their websites.

Don’t forget to RSVP by midnight! by clicking the box below or email me at

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for the historic Cybersecurity Education Capitol Hill Day!

Talib I. Karim, STEM4US

Preliminary Fly-In Schedule

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Meet and Greet, Breakfast – STEM4US! Offices (1629 K Street, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC)

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Introductions, Brief Overview & Training to Prep for Meetings

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Travel to Capitol Hill

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing on Technology innovation in the United States. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Meetings with House and Senate Members and Staffers

  • 11:00-11:30 AM: – Award Presentation to Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities – 104 Hart Senate Office Building

  • 11:30-12:00 PM: – Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee – 311 Hart Senate Office Building

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch Break

1:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Meetings with House and Senate Members and Staffers

  • 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: – Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), House Appropriations Committee – 2463 Rayburn House Office Building

  • 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM: – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), House Appropriations Committee – 2470 Rayburn House Office Building

  • 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM: – Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Education & Labor Chairman (Senior Staffer – Christian Haynes) – 2176 Rayburn House Office Building

  • 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM: – Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), House Appropriations Committee – 2442 Rayburn House Office Building

  • 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Democratic Candidate for President – 359 Dirksen Senate Office Building

  • 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM: – Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Senate Armed Services Committee – 311 Hart Senate Office Building

  • 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM: – Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member – 2184 Rayburn House Office Building

  • 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), House Homeland Security Chairman (Senior Staffer – Alicia Smith) – H2-176 Ford House Office Building

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Dinner Recognizing Cybersecurity Education Champions – Farmers & Distillers – 600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

HONOREE – Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairwoman, House Crime, Homeland Security Subcommittee

DC’s Historic Homeowner Grant Program

Author: DC Office of Planning  Published:February 5, 2019

Part I applications for 2019 now being accepted.

Click to download a Part I application.

The Historic Preservation Office is now accepting Part I applications for the Historic Homeowner Grant Program. The submission deadline is February 11, 2019.

The grants are available to low- and moderate-income households living in specific historic districts. Grants may be up to a maximum of $25,000, except in the Anacostia Historic District where the maximum is $35,000.

Part I applications will be reviewed for eligibility and receive a Part II application to complete. Completed Part II applications will be reviewed by the grant committee in early spring. Grants awarded will be on track for restoration projects to begin construction in June 2019.

Three historic districts are now eligible for the first time, including Emerald Street, Kingman Park, and Wardman Flats. The following historic districts are still eligible: Anacostia, Blagden Alley/Naylor Court, Capitol Hill, Fourteenth Street, LeDroit Park, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon Square, Mount Vernon Triangle, Shaw, Strivers’ Section, U Street, and Takoma Park. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis with preference given to major structural repairs and work that restores important and prominently visible architectural features. Click the “Gallery of Homes” link (below) to see examples of past grant projects. Such features include windows, doors, roofs, porches, and ornaments, and historic materials like brick, wood and slate.

The grant application is a two-part process. In Part I, homeowners provide photographs of their house and a general description of the repairs and restorations they propose to make. In Part II, homeowners will receive a detailed scope of work from HPO with instructions to solicit price proposals from general contractors. Homeowners must also submit complete household financial information in Part II. A grant committee appointed by the Director of the Office of Planning and the Chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board will select grant recipients.

The grants were created by the Targeted Historic Preservation Assistance Amendment Act of 2006.

Questions regarding the program should be directed to Brendan Meyer at (202) 741-5248 or

Contact TTY:

What Regulators Need to Know About Electric Vehicles webinar

Author: Madelynn Conrad: Published January 31,2019 AEE


Webinar Overview:

With the electric vehicle market experiencing explosive growth, utility regulators are beginning to grapple with vehicle charging and charging infrastructure. What they decide on matters such as rate design and role of utilities will have an effect on how quickly the EV market takes off, how well charging infrastructure meets EV manufacturers’, drivers’, and fleet owners’ needs, and how much of a resource EVs become for the grid and all electricity consumers. This webinar draws on AEE’s paper, EVs 101: A Regulatory Plan for America’s Electric Transportation Future, to lay out AEE’s approach while industry experts provide perspectives on the questions confronting regulators as they prepare to integrate transportation into the electric power system.


Panelists include:

·      Matt Stanberry, VP, Market Development, AEE

·      Chris King, Chief Policy Officer, Siemens Digital Grid

·      Eric McCarthy, SVP, Government Relations, Public Policy & Legal Affairs, Proterra

Grants and Award Opportunities for Winter 2019

Childhood Obesity Prevention Grants

More than $400,000 in grants will be awarded to cities that will support and expand childhood obesity prevention programs.

  • Sponsor: American Beverage Association
  • Award Categories: First place in small, medium and large city will be $100,000, $120,000, and $150,000, respectively. Second place awards of $25,000 will also be made in each category
  • Application Period: August 2018

USCM Contact: Crystal Swann (202) 861-6707

Leadership in the Arts

Honors elected officials and artists that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts.
  • Sponsor: Americans for the Arts & The U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • Award Categories: One large city mayor & one small city mayor
  • Application Period: December 2018

USCM Contact: Tom McClimon (202) 861-6729

DollarWise Innovation Grants

Through these grants, DollarWise seeks to recognize and fund local financial education efforts that are both innovative and replicable by other communities. For fiscal year 2017, DollarWise will award one Innovation Grant to a city that integrates financial education into an English as a Second Language (ESL) initiative; one grant to a city that incorporates financial education into its public housing program; and one grant to a prisoner re-entry program.
  • Sponsor: Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Award Categories: Three $10,000 awards
  • Application Period: December 2017

Contact: James Kirby (202) 861-6759

DollarWise Summer Youth Grants

Each year, through its Summer Youth Campaign, Dollarwise encourages mayors to incorporate a financial education component into their cities’ summer youth employment and year-round youth programs. Cities may use these grants to provide incentives for youth to develop responsible financial habits, to establish evaluation techniques for the financial education component of their summer programming, or other innovative ideas. DollarWise will provide two Youth Campaign Grants; one to a summer job program; the other to a year-round youth program.
  • Sponsor: Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Award Categories: Two $10,000 awards
  • Application Period: December 2017

Contact: James Kirby (202) 861-6759

Mayors and Business Leaders Center on Inclusive and Compassionate Cities

Conference of Mayors President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.  The six-acre site includes 800 six-foot monuments that symbolize thousands of racial terror lynching victims in the United States.

About the Center

In the troubling days following the violent and deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville in August 2017, more than 325 mayors signed a Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry, a 10-point pledge to work toward inclusive and compassionate cities drafted by the Conference in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League.

It was the mayors’ immediate and compelling call for action that quickly led the United States Conference of Mayors to commit to the establishment of a Center that would support mayors’ efforts to make cities across the nation more equitable, more inclusive, and more compassionate.  Conference of Mayors President Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia (SC), announced plans to establish the Center in his inaugural address in Columbia on May 7, 2018 and again on June 9 in his President’s Address at the organization’s 86th annual meeting in Boston.  The Center was formally launched by Mayor Benjamin in Montgomery (AL) in a November 13-14 Conference of Mayors event that included a discussion session with Brian Stevenson, the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Early support from Walmart, followed by the Coca-Cola Company and Comcast, was critical to the establishment of the Center.  Their support sends a message to city leaders and business leaders that two of the world’s most successful and influential companies recognize the importance of direct action to confront bias and hate with compassion and inclusion.  The Conference of Mayors recognizes that the leadership of the business community will contribute to the success of individual mayors’ efforts, and to the overall success of the Center itself.

A Conference of Mayors delegation of mayors in Montgomery, AL for the launch of the Center for Inclusive and Compassionate Cities, with Bryan Stevenson (front row, center), founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which created the National Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as Montgomery’s Legacy Museum that displays the history of slavery and racism in America.

A joint effort by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

US Conference of  Mayors 87th  2019 Winter Meeting January 23 – 24  2019 Washington, D.C.

Mayor of Salt Lake City and Chair of the Alliance for a Sustainable Future Jackie Biskupski speaks in San Francisco surrounded by members of the Alliance.

The federal government’s leadership role in addressing climate change has greatly diminished, from the announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to the example set by recent domestic actions to freeze vehicle standards and rollback power sector targets. This is unfortunate and has real consequences, coinciding with several years of increasing average global temperatures, record flooding, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires. The need for action is growing increasingly urgent as the impacts are felt in urban, suburban, and rural America.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future to provide a platform for the public and private sectors to accelerate carbon reduction programs and sustainable development, as well as strengthen partnerships toward mutual sustainability and climate goals.

Department of Energy FY 2019 Appropriations and Renewable Energy

This bill provides FY2019 appropriations for 3 of the 12 regular FY2019 appropriations bills,
this review focuses on the Department of Energy Appropriations Act, 2019.
• Congressional appropriations for the four renewables (geothermal, solar, water, wind) is
$527.5 million:
o An increase of 1.5% over FY2018
o 66% greater than the President’s 2019 Budget Request at $175 million, (Table 1).
Table 1:
• In general, the Congress gave a 14% increase to the Department of Energy’s Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Program for FY2019 $2.379 billion (Table 2),
compared to the actual spend in 2018 $2.04 billion.
Power FY 2018
FY 2019
FY 2019
$ mill $ mill $ mill
Solar 241.6 67.0 246.5
Wind 92.0 33.0 92.0
Water 105.0 45.0 105.0
Geothermal 80.9 30.0 84.0
Totals 519.5 175.0 527.5
FY2019 Appropriations
HR5895 Division A – Title III Department of Energy Programs
Table 2: FY2019 Appropriations (HR 5895 – Public Law 115-244 9/21/2018)
Departmental Programs $
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program (EERE) 2.379 billion
Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response 120 million
Electricity Delivery 156 million
Nuclear Energy 1.326 billion
Fossil Energy Research and Development 740 million
North-east Home Heating Oil Reserve 10 million
Energy Information Administration 125 million
Science 6.585 billion
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 369.9 million
Advance Technology Vehicles 5 million
Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program 33 million
Below is the relevant part of the public conference report from H.R. 5895 describing specific
directions from Congress to the Department of Energy programs

Renewable Energy Transition – Measuring Progress

By |December 3, 2018|Energy

The Conference of Mayors adopted clean air policies in 2017 and 2018 to support cities
transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and success depends on developing enough
renewable power production capacity and renewable energy generation. The Energy Information
Administration (EIA) reports that renewables provided 17% of electricity generation in 2016: 20%
from nuclear and 63% from fossil. A review of trends in energy generation capacity and energy
generation suggests renewables are on the rise and fossil is fading, but in the fossil category natural
gas continues to rise. These trends have implications for cities transitioning to 100% renewable
Changes in Power Production Capacity – 2011 to 2018
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) data reported changes in utility scale power
production units measured in gigawatts (GW) from 2011 to 2018.
• The fossil fuels had a net loss of 37.8 GW of production capacity.
• Natural gas nameplate capacity grew by 53 GW
• Coal and oil declined a combined 90.8 GW
• For every I natural gas GW capacity increase there is a 1.7 reduction in coal and oil GW
Power production capacity growth indicates preferential investment in renewables.
• Nameplate power production capacity for three renewables (geothermal, solar and wind)
grew a combined 82.9 GW from 2011 to 2018.
• For every 1 renewable GW capacity increase there is a 0.9 GW reduction in coal and oil
GW capacity.
• For every 1 natural gas GW capacity increase there is a 1.4 GW capacity increase in
renewables power production capacity.
Net Energy Generation by Source – 2006 to 2016
An analysis of EIA data on net energy generation (measured in megawatt hours MWh, etc.)1 from
2006 to 2016 indicates dynamic shifts are occurring.
• Fossil energy generation has declined by 8 percent from 2006 to 2016
o But natural gas increased energy generation by 561 TWh to 1,378 TWh in 2016.
• Wind and solar, the standout renewable energy generators, increased 235 TWh to 609
TWh of clean energy in 2016.
• Effective capacity limits like intermittency handicaps renewables. A 1 MW wind
generator, due to effective capacity factors, can generate only 62 percent of the net
energy generated by a 1 MW natural gas plant.
• Net energy generation by renewables is growing at 40 percent of the rate of growth of
natural gas energy generation
11 Watt-hour, kilowatt hour KWh, megawatt hour MWh, gigawatt hour GWh, terawatt hour TWh.
Renewable Energy Transition: Measuring Progress
The Conference of Mayors adopted policies in 2017 and 2018 to support city efforts to transition
to 100 percent renewable energy. Public benefits of such a transition include cleaner air and a
reduction in climate stressing carbon emissions. Local governments have been actively pursuing a
transition for practical reasons as well – it diversifies energy sources and rebalances production
capabilities geographically offering both redundancy and resiliency. Recent research by the
Conference of Mayors in partnership with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions indicates
a broad array of local renewable energy activity. This report examines two measures of progress
toward 100 percent renewable energy in our cities: growth in design capacity (how much power
production is installed), and net energy generation trends (how much electricity is produced).
These measurements signal positive progress – preferential investment in renewable technology
production capacity and growth in renewable energy generation share.
Many cities are participating in the renewables transition process directly and often indirectly as
they interface with a variety of energy technologies. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) reports 18 utility scale- wind and 118 solar in new build or expansion projects between
January and May of 2018. The comparable 2017 period included 43 wind and 216 solar projects.
Collectively, thousands of local projects initiated in the last 10 years have had an impact, and
renewables are gaining on conventional sources in design capacity and net electricity generation.
Electricity capacity and generation information published by FERC2 and the U.S. Energy
Information Administration (EIA)3 are reviewed to measure national trends in capacity additions
and net electricity generated by different fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum) and different sources
(geothermal, wind, solar). Together, this information provides a snapshot assessment of the level
and trajectory of the transition to clean energy.
Installed Capacity by Energy Source Demonstrates Gains in Renewables Investing
Installed capacity (also referred to as design capacity or nameplate capacity) is the intended fullload sustained output of a power plant. Simply put, a 20 MW electric generating facility has a
‘design capacity’ to produce 20 MW of electricity on a continual 24/365 basis. Installed generating
capacity was reviewed using several time periods of FERC data and estimates published for 2016
by the EIA, (Table 1 and Table 2).
2 FERC releases information on installed capacity by energy source on a frequent basis, and the information is used
by the Commission in exercising its authority. Cities are interested in the same information and what the
Commission thinks about that information. 3 EIA releases estimates of installed capacity based on surveys and other reporting requirements of generators of 1
MW or more. EIA also publishes information on net generation by energy source. Cities are interested in these data
for the same reasons as interest in FERC information.

SEIA, HBCU Coalition Join in National Effort to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry’s Workforce

Published: Washinton Post: Wednesday, Sep 19 2018

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a goal of making the solar workforce and solar communities more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU-CDAC) have begun a new effort to increase recruitment of African-American students into the industry.

SEIA and the HBCU-CDAC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin a comprehensive effort to help the solar industry recruit and employ more students from the nation’s 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This will include hosting a national jobs fair, individual jobs fairs at the HBCU schools and bringing solar companies to campuses for recruitment.

“Diversity and inclusion is one of our highest priorities and, while we’ve made progress, we still have a long way to go to make the solar industry more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities we serve,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Those of us in solar joined this industry because we want to make the world better for all, which is why we’re excited to partner with CDAC, tap into the talent at HBCUs, and bring more of these students into our growing industry.”

As an outcome of the partnership, SEIA and CDAC will work with participating HBCUs to create a database of students pursuing clean energy degrees, or those interested in working in solar, that will be accessible by SEIA companies. Both organizations will work with campus representatives to foster resume exchanges and coordinate interviews among participating companies.

“As a national community economic development intermediary offering programs and activities that target HBCUs and their host communities, we are delighted to partner with SEIA in exposing HBCU students as well as their faculty and staff to opportunities in solar and clean energy,” said Ron Butler, CDAC’s CEO. “With an ultimate goal of community empowerment and economic relevancy, we see diversity and inclusion in this growing industry from all aspects including workforce and enterprise development.”

CDAC’s COO Henry Golatt commented that “clean energy both now and in the foreseeable future is integral to our national economy and security. CDAC’s goal in this regard is to ensure HBCUs are not only at the table but adequately engaged.”

The new recruitment effort is one of SEIA’s many efforts to foster diversity and inclusion. This includes a best practices guide for promoting diversity in the solar workforce, as well as its Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which provides networking, training and other development opportunities. In November, SEIA is hosting its latest summit, in Chicago, to discuss how to increase women’s leadership in the industry.

In addition, Hopper recently joined a group of 450 chief executives committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, signing the pledge for CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. The pledge contains three commitments: making the organization’s workplace a trusting place to have complex conversations around diversity and inclusion, implementing unconscious bias education, and sharing best practices and challenges with others.

SEIA’s work on diversity will continue at the industry’s biggest event of the year, Solar Power International (Sept. 24-26). There, the organization is convening 10 separate workshops to encourage diversity, including conversations to bring more capital into underserved communities, how to make solar more accessible to low-income and low-credit Americans, along with sessions focusing on community outreach, multiple women’s networking events and a job fair.

To see the complete schedule and register for the conference, go to


About SEIA®: 

Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000-member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at

About the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition: 

The HBCU Community Development Action Coalition promotes, supports, and advocates for historically black colleges and minority serving institutions (MSIs), community development corporations (CDCs), and the community economic development industry whose work creates wealth, builds healthy and sustainable communities, and achieves lasting economic viability. HBCU CDAC fulfills its mission of service to its members working in disinvested urban and rural communities through education, resource development, advocacy, networking, and training. To learn more about CDAC and the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative,