Leaders in the News

XL Hybrids, a developer of hybrid electric powertrains for commercial vans and trucks, was recently named an Energy Innovation Pioneer by IHS Energy. The recognition goes to companies and entrepreneurs who are developing technologies and business plans that are transforming the energy future. The fuel-saving hybrid electric powertrain can be installed in both new and existing vehicles in four hours, and XL Hybrids has sold hundreds of vans to companies such as Coca-Cola and FedEx, providing a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Additionally, XL Hybrids was recently recognized by Fast Company in its 2014 roundup of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. In naming the company to its list, the publication commended XL Hybrids for “siphoning gas-guzzlers off the road.” Fast Company also placed XL Hybrids within the top three in the energy sector in offering game-changing solutions. For more information on XL Hybrids and its technology, please visit www.xlhybrids.com.

Washington Update

In Washington this month, House and Senate committees have continued consideration of President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget request. The House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee; the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and the House Science Space and Technology Committee have all held hearings on different aspects of the budget request within the last few weeks. The House Appropriations Committee is hoping to finish hearings by mid-April and begin voting bills out of committee soon thereafter.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee is discussing a bill that would extend a number of key short-term tax provisions ranging from a research and development tax credit to the renewable energy production tax credit. While enacting these tax provision extensions is a top priority for Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), the bill mark-up has been postponed beyond early April due to a number of unresolved political issues.

New energy-related legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate. On March 24, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced legislation that would increase funding for carbon capture and storage projects, allocating $2 billion in Department of Energy loans and tax credits. In addition, on March 26, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission more authority to protect the electric grid from physical, cyber, electromagnetic pulse, and other threats.

The weekly Energy & Environment Update from ML Strategies provides an overview of what’s happening on and off Capitol Hill and around the world that may impact energy and environmental policies and industry players.Read the Update here.

Innovator Profile

In line with President Obama’s commitment to maintain US leadership in clean energy innovation, the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy awarded $17 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding to help small businesses develop technologies that could improve energy efficiency, reduce the cost of installing clean energy technologies, and generate electricity for renewable energy resources. Located in 13 states, the projects being funded include technologies such as “wind turbine blades that are easier to transport and use less energy, an electrochromic window technology that can achieve a 30% reduction in energy use, and a solar energy system that reduces installation costs and generates power in less time.” For details, please see a full list of the SBIR projects and additional information on the SBIR program.