Get to Know the Policy Team at NCCETC

Each month, we will feature a team at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) to get to know them better! This month, we talked to the Policy Team.

NCCETC’s Policy Team researches and publishes the 50 States Reports, and updates and administers the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) and DSIRE Insight. The team conducts objective research and analysis and provides education and technical assistance on energy policy issues nationwide. They work to track developments in energy policy and examine the impacts of these on clean energy technologies.

Why is this important to the clean energy industry?

Energy policy is the way the government addresses energy, encompassing laws, regulations, judicial opinions, incentives and strategic objectives at the federal, regional, state local and utility levels. Policy has a huge impact on the market for clean energy technologies, often influencing demand, market access and compensation. Smart policies can accelerate the realization of clean energy benefits, including energy independence and resiliency, financial savings, local economic development, and improved environmental quality. 

Understanding the policy landscape is critical for clean energy businesses to identify market opportunities and limitations. Policymakers, while familiar with their own state’s laws and regulations, often look to other states when considering policy changes. These services are directed toward clean energy businesses, investors, advocates, utilities, policymakers and researchers.

However, policy is constantly changing and can be difficult to understand without spending hours pouring through legislation and regulatory dockets. Our policy experts at the NCCETC provide information on energy policies across the country through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), which is publicly available. This helps homeowners and businesses, the clean energy industry, utilities, policymakers and others understand the nation’s policy landscape.

Q&A with the Policy Team

Q: What can the policy team offer companies and organizations?

A: The policy team provides objective energy policy research and analysis to companies and organizations. The team offers publicly available information on federal, state, and utility policies and incentives for renewable energy and efficiency through DSIRE, as well as in-depth policy tracking through its DSIRE Insight services. DSIRE Insight reports and subscriptions track and summarize all proposed legislation and active regulatory proceedings related to distributed solar, energy storage, grid modernization, rate design and utility business model reform, and electric vehicles. The policy team also offers custom consulting on energy policy topics, such as evaluating the policy landscape across states that a clean energy business is looking to enter.

Q: What’s new on the horizon for policies, technologies, and Center policy work?

A: The policy team has been keeping up with a swath of new bills introduced in state legislatures across the country, already seeing a number of major policy changes adopted. The team continues to closely track policy activity nationwide related to solar, energy storage, grid modernization, and electric vehicles. The team is also working to add energy storage into DSIRE, adding storage incentives and state targets so far.

Meet the team

Autumn Proudlove, Senior Manager of Policy Research

Bio: Autumn Proudlove is the Senior Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC, where she leads the Center’s energy policy research and analysis activities outside of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). Autumn leads the Center’s DSIRE Insight policy research services, including the 50 States of Solar, 50 States of Grid Modernization, and 50 States of Electric Vehicles quarterly policy tracking reports. Autumn also contributes to DSIRE and previously served as principal investigator for the Center’s work on the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership. Autumn received her Master’s degree in Energy Regulation and Law, summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School and her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Economics, from Dartmouth College. 

Q: What type of expertise do you provide/focus on?

A: My primary areas of expertise include distributed energy resources (solar, energy storage, electric vehicles, etc.) policy, grid modernization, utility business model reform, and utility rate design. 

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Currently, I’m keeping up with our biweekly DSIRE Insight legislative and regulatory tracking. The first few months of the year always bring a new wave of legislative activity, so our team has been busy tracking clean energy bills across the country. I’m also working on updating our databases of utility avoided cost rates and state action related to implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Soon, we will begin working on our Q1 2020 50 States reports!

Brian Lips, Senior Project Manager of DSIRE

Bio: Brian Lips is a Senior Energy Policy Project Coordinator for the NCCETC. He manages the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). In addition to coordinating and overseeing the project’s research, and website, Brian also authors DSIRE’s content for about a dozen states. Brian has assisted the N.C. Department of Revenue with the state’s tax credit for renewable energy property and has spoken in Special Committee sessions of the N.C. General Assembly regarding third-party sales of electricity. Brian joined the Center in 2006 and served in various capacities with the DSIRE project before becoming the manager of the project in 2013. Brian received a degree in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, with a focus in Energy and Environmental Science.

Q: What type of expertise do you provide/focus on?

A: I have 14 years of experience researching energy policy. I have a special focus on tax credits, renewable portfolio standards, distributed solar, grid modernization, and electric vehicle policy

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Mostly just the day-to-day grind of solar, grid modernization, and EV policy tracking. I am also working to finalize the energy storage data in DSIRE.

David Sarkisian, Policy Analyst

Bio: David Sarkisian is a Senior Policy Analyst at the NCCETC. David authors content for the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, covering roughly a third of the states, and also tracks policy actions in these states for the 50 States reports and DSIRE Insight policy tracking products. Since fall 2019, David has served as the Principal Investigator of the Community Solar for the Southeast project, a United States Department of Energy grant project which provides technical assistance for the development of community solar projects at municipal and cooperative utilities in the Southeastern United States. David joined the Center in 2015. David received a law degree and a master’s degree in environmental science from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2015, and received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University in 2011. David is an inactive member of the Indiana State Bar.

Q: What type of expertise do you provide/focus on?

A: I currently manage the Community Solar for the Southeast project, and assist with policy tracking work in the areas of distributed solar, grid modernization, and electric vehicles. I have also compiled white papers for the Center on land use issues connected to solar photovoltaic development.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Policy tracking, finishing up Community Solar for the Southeast projects and reporting requirements.