Friday, September 3, 2010

How to Impact Green Legislative Policy

SARTA   (Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance) sponsors a leadership series to give local entrepreneurs and students of emerging technologies an understanding of how green business works.

The desired outcome is to speak with state energy agencies and venture capitalists about solving real problems with new energy efficient products and saving people money.

The topic of the Leadership Series Clean Tech Track, held at Drexel University on September 2 was, “How to Influence and Impact Clean Tech Regulatory and Legislative Policy.” Drexel offers eleven doctoral and master's programs, including in all things entrepreneurially green.

The September 2 discussion included instructors
 Michael Faust, CEO and President of the Northern California World Trade Center; Will Gonzalez, Owner, Gonzalez Public Affairs; Jan E. Schori, Of Council, Downey Brand, 
and Jan Smutny-Jones, Executive Director, Independent Energy Producers Association (IEP).

Places on the Internet to start getting informed include high-priced and free publications. Possible sources with a mixture of both are: 

Don’t forget about using Google Alerts with specific keywords and TweetFeeds to get information about the energy movers and shakers of the moment.


“Get in Early, Tell Your Story, Keep it Simple”


High on the list of questions was how to go about identifying the leaders in any community once there’s a real product in hand. The advice was to:

  • Know the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Informally introduce yourself to local elected officials
  • Describe your product in non-technical terms in a way that addresses the WIFM (what’s in it for me?)
  • Query both groups about whom they consider local community leaders
  • Contact those people and talk to them

The district director of any federal or state legislator can be of tremendous assistance in identifying local leaders and subject matter experts, advised Michael Faust.


Policy Highlights


There were many other tidbits including the fact that Southern California is probably more fertile ground right now for green products since they are dependent on coal to meet a large percentage of their energy needs.  Talk with Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power if you have a solution to that particular problem.

With the coming of electric vehicles, there will be tremendous drain on “the grid” which has a whole other crop of officials grinding their teeth. Bundling home audits with grid pricing, suggested Jan Schori, may be one innovative way to package a solution in this area.

Lastly, the speakers recommended to thoughtfully attend conferences with a game plan.

Don’t feel badly if you can’t contribute money to a politician’s fund because in the long run, it won’t do that much good, said lobbyist Will Gonzalez.

And finally, even if AB32 gets clobbered with a yes vote on 23, there’s enough legislation in place to keep energy regulations going. On the other hand, said Schori, a yes vote will send a message to venture capitalists that California is turning away from its commitment to clean energy, which will not be a good.

I wanted to end this discussion on a high note. Be sure to check out the upcoming SARTA Clean Tech Showcase, Tuesday, October 26 at Sacramento State, the region's largest event highlighting the clean tech sector's innovators, investors, educators and companies. And contact Lenore Weiss if you need a great writer to communicate a strong message that will get your customer’s attention.

Lenore Weiss

Posted via email from TechTableTalk: "It's Not Over Your Head"

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