A small group of thoughtful committed citizens changing the world

 

By: Anne Lapera

VAEIC Policy Internship

With the implementation of the new 111d regulations and President Obama’a call for a 30% reduction in emissions many states are at a crossroad. Section 111d of the Clean Air Act “requires EPA to develop regulations for categories of sources which cause or significantly contribute to air pollution which may endanger public health or welfare”(EPA).  For my internship, I am working with Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition (VAEIC) to help Virginia develop an energy plan that is both economically and environmentally beneficial.  VAEIC is comprised of passionate energy stakeholders and business leaders who promote open markets for clean and secure advanced energy technologies. The goal of the organization is to ensure the creation of jobs and position Virginia as a leader in talent and innovation in the advanced energy sector. VAEIC engages leaders in clean advanced energy technology with an economic interest in Virginia and a sustainable future in a business and political coalition to transform Virginia’s energy landscape.

Currently, we are working to make the VA Energy Plan a guideline for promoting open markets for clean advanced energy technologies, allowing for job creation, economic boosts, and a sustainable energy future. The plan has five sections including renewables, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, 111(d), and research and workforce. Each section provides recommendations regarding the specific topic as it applies to the state of Virginia. Each section is written and reviewed by several stakeholders. Each section goes through several rounds of drafting and research. Each section also contains well-documented and cited research to support the recommendations made. My work has focused on the renewables and 111(d) sections. The renewables section suggests specific recommendations regarding the types and percentages of renewable energy that should be used by VA. In addition, the 111d section includes a cost benefit analysis and health impacts in regards to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. My specific tasks including researching information for these sections, editing, and formatting. I also have several other tasks including communications and membership outreach as well as blogging.

There are many tasks and moving parts that contribute to making this policy effective. As an intern, I not only research and edit policies, but also study the economic and social climate both on the federal and state scales. I’ve also been involved in the communications and marketing aspects of this work. So far, I’ve had a comprehensive view of the complexities of environmental policy. We actively research energy policy and commercial issues, analyzing economics and clean energy policy, and write effective policy recommendations. By understanding both the needs and capabilities of Virginia, we can provide support and structure for a successful and beneficial clean energy market.

I am excited to continue to learn techniques to make policies that are both beneficial and effective. I feel empowered by being able to use the skills I learned in the classroom at Bard Center for Environmental Policy to impact the lives of others and the state of our natural environment. There are several social, economic, and technical factors that must be considered when creating effective policy. To develop policy that can persuade people to change their ideas, to change the current economic climate, and socio-economic choices a Virginian makes, there are many components that must be considered. It is extremely beneficial to see the real-life execution of the skills we have been learning. Physically seeing how economics, law, and science all impact policy helps to connect what we’ve learned in the classroom with real-world applications.

I think one of the most valuable aspects of this internship is they ability to not only study but also to participate in creating effective policy. It takes developed and practiced skill to incorporate the many factors that effect environmental policy. I am learning, that particularly in the energy market, there are many limitations in science, technology, and socio-economic dynamics that determine the types of technologies that should be used.

In addition to this important skill, I am looking forward to developing my communication skills with our stakeholders and politicians, as well as the marketing and more technical aspects of business. The ability to successfully engage and communicate with perspective stakeholders and other members of the political community is also an essential part of successful policy making. Being able to work efficiently with others allow for sharing ideas and important information about the social, political, and scientific components needed to construct policy.

About annelapera