Recently in the Energy/Environment Category


Women Impacting Public Policy joined a recent White House Business Council Meeting to share how various policies are affecting women business owners across the country. The meeting included several White House staff along with top officials from the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration.

 

At the meeting, WIPP stressed the importance of capital access as the critical issue for women business owners looking to start and grow their companies, and highlighted WIPP's 2013 Annual Survey finding that it takes an average of two attempts for women business owners to secure funding.

 

Commerce Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, Mark Doms, agreed that the economy would be best served by giving business owners more access to capital. The Commerce Department's new strategic plan, America is Open for Business, reflects that priority by stressing innovation and investment.  

 

SBA Associate Administrator for Capital Access Ann Marie Mehlum concurred, saying her office will continue to identify opportunities to expand access while strengthening SBA's already available capital access programs. She went on to highlight the 7(a) loan program, which supported more than $15 billion in small business loans in FY13.

 

The meeting closed with a discussion of how trade can be used to fuel growth for businesses of all sizes. The Administration agreed there is a need for streamlining and simplification in exporting as well as engaging the women's business community on the value of selling goods and services abroad. Both of those priorities are at the front of WIPP's ExportNOW program that encourages women entrepreneurs to grow beyond our borders.

 

These meetings are open dialogues with policymakers, giving WIPP's advocacy team the opportunity to share ideas and concerns raised by WIPP's members.

Even in the face of unnecessary headwinds created by things like a government shutdown or the still-present threat of a debt-limit default in February (despite the respite offered by the budget compromise), the economic recovery witnessed in recent years is real and encouraging. And near the center of this recovery has been the emergence of a natural gas boom the likes of which few could have predicted, but the breadth of this impact could be greater with policies in place like those that enable American producers to access global markets.


As business owners, one area that should be addressed concerns the need to move liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects forward in a timely manner. The United States has a great economic incentive to pursue increasing LNG experts, and the ability to do so. 

A recent economy in every market scenario examined. In fact, multiple studies show that increasing the exports would work wonders for our domestic economic outlook, and that our reserves can easily meet the elevated demand resulting from access to global markets. 

The economic benefits resulting from increasing LNG exports would be felt far beyond the energy sector. According to a recent ICF International study, the United States could add up to 452, 300 jobs between 2016 and 2035 by increasing LNG production, with total annual GDP growth expanding from $15.6 to $73.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2035.

We would like more clarity on why the DOE is delaying LNG exports. It's certainly not because of a lack of means or capacity to produce. 

The United States ranks #1 in the world in recoverable shale gas reserves. We have ample resources to meet domestic needs and export LNG for decades to come, and we have the political will - from Oregon to Texas to Maryland - to do just that.

Unfortunately, nearly all of these projects - and the permits that they require prior to starting to export - have been sitting in the queue, waiting for approval from the Department of Energy. Applications to export LNG to non-FTA countries have also been in queue before the DOE for months - and in many cases, even years, with no evident timetable for their approval or even their review. What's more, even among those few permits that have been approved, actual construction and competition is no guarantee thanks to the myriad hurdles that export terminals must clear, including, but not limited to environmental review, FERC permits, state siting, potential lawsuits, and financing. LNG export facilities take several years to finance, approve, and finally construct.

While we can all agree that a thorough review process is vital to any infrastructure project, it is clear to us that the delays currently being witnessed relative to the LNG exports are plainly contrary to our national economic interest. And as this delay continues, we run the very real risk of watching the window of opportunity close when it comes to LNG exports.

Market conditions in the United States and globally currently favor America's entrance into the export market. Domestic prices are low, while international prices are high. But this is not a permanent dynamic. Prices can shift. And more over, the United States is not the only nation that hope to export LNG. In fact, as recently as last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Canada to discuss Japan's significant need for imported natural gas. Canada would be more than happy to fill that need - particularly if they face no competition from American companies. 

Export is an important initiative for WIPP, and certainly for its members who are in the energy sector. They feel that it is essential that the DOE acts quickly to spur action on the pending applications. We need to urge the DOE to approve all pending applications for LNG export and let the market determine viability.

The U.S. has a rare opportunity to impact the global energy landscape while narrowing our trade deficit and adding domestic jobs and growth. Let's see if we can cut through the red tape that is holding up needed investment. 

by Barbara Kasoff, President, WIPP

A Bright Spot in Our Economy: Energy

3:19 PM November 21, 2013

As you know, I like to focus on issues and opportunities that our WIPP membership has an interest in and is thinking about.  This is an important topic for women entrepreneurs to be informed about for the growth of our economy and our companies, and it also suggests careful consideration should be taken of the growing opportunity for export in this industry.   

 Energy and the environment is a topic that repeatedly comes to the forefront in our surveys and discussions.   As our economy continues to recover from the recent recession, we need to focus on investing both publicly and privately in our country's productive capacities. One of these capacities is the energy industry. The shale oil and gas boom has given the United States an unexpected opportunity not only to become energy independent, but also to export energy to other countries and create thousands of domestic jobs.

Economic opportunity like this does not come along every day - and it is quite literally serving as the fuel that drives our economic recovery.

 In the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI)'s new U.S. Investment Heroes report<http://www.progressivepolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013.09-Carew-Mandel_US-Investment-Heroes-of-2013.pdf>, eight of the top 25 U.S. Investment Heroes of this year were energy companies. It is estimated that those eight companies invested a combined total amount of $56 billion over the last year in plants, property, and equipment in the U.S.

Energy production is a bright spot for United States investment. The PPI study, among others, shows that energy will continue to be a driver of U.S. economic growth and job creation. Therefore, we should urge policies - including sensible regulatory reform and an efficient, pro-growth tax code - that support and foster further growth and development in the energy sector.

By James Rivera, SBA Official

 

Many communities are still feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy, including power outages and flooding. The importance of listening to instructions and safety information from your local officials and FEMA cannot be understated.

 

Federal response teams are already providing assistance to affected communities. SBA is closely coordinating with our federal partners to share information in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

 

- For the latest on the Federal government's response to Sandy, you can read FEMA's blog or follow updates on Twitter.

- If you need emergency shelter, you can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross web site, or check your local media outlets. You should also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. Finally, you can download the FEMA smartphone app or text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Standard rates apply.

- If you are not in an affected area, please consider donating blood, because numerous blood drives have been canceled as a result of the storm. To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

SBA plays an important role in disaster recovery efforts for businesses and homeowners. As disaster assessments and declarations are made, various SBA disaster recovery loan programs become available to eligible applicants. We will continue to highlight these programs as communities turn to longer-term recovery efforts.

 

For more information about SBA's disaster assistance programs, visit www.sba.gov/disaster or call our disaster assistance center at 1-800-659-2955.

 

#WIPP

 

I attended the "Better City, Better Life" themed World Expo in Shanghai earlier this month but didn't learn much about sustainability because of my terrific client, Nancy Goshow, co-founder and managing partner of Goshow Architects in NYC. She gave a webinar yesterday for WIPP's Entrepreneurs, Energy and Environment (E3) series titled Creating a Business Value and Culture of Sustainability. Nancy packed so much information into the 30-minute webinar that I would highly recommend people to go listen to it online. You can find archived podcasts of this and other past training sessions on EntrepreneursAndEnergy.com in the Resources section.

Goshow Architects is dedicated to sustainable design for the public sector and is known for its diverse range of green projects in the New York metropolitan area. These are now starting to expand internationally.

 Most of us have, by now, started recycling programs and changed our light bulbs. Many have even quit using paper products. (Even me--who HATES to do dishes!). In this webinar, Nancy not only told us HOW to be a sustainable business, but more importantly for what I want to write about here -- how to create a culture of sustainability in our workplace.

 Nancy outlined points on creating that culture.

- Inspire stakeholders toward a greater greener future
- Engage by delegation and collaboration (two heads are better than one)
- Create a Green Task Force supported by a green study group
- Foster communication up and down within your organization
- Require accountability and flexibility from all participants
- Ask all stakeholders to be open and on the watch for new ideas
- Promote & Maintain an ongoing sustainability conversation with all stakeholders

She also discussed the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits. Goshow Architects has reached their goal for the triple bottom line this year:

- People: We are a diverse firm of architects working collaboratively
- Planet: On a variety of High performance green buildings
- Society:  For public sector government agencies serving the public good
- Profit: We are a very busy firm and we are profitable

 She said sustainability has given Goshow a future focused strategically for success in the 21st century. However, their success has not only been on green design for their projects, but because of the diversity of their people and projects. I'll be writing more about diversity in the future, and I love to see the importance of diversity tied in with sustainability.

 

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