Some companies that have hired lobbyists are looking for research and development help.
Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, a Maine-based company, wants to use boat building technology to develop wind blades that could work on the Eastern Seaboard, where air currents can top 100 miles an hour. That requires a different kind of blade than one that works in Colorado or West Virginia, said Thomas Goldberg, the company's lobbyist.
Because the blades are more than 200 feet long, he said, the tip of the blade would spin much faster than the hub. Blades need a redesign to ensure they do not tear apart in the East Coast environment, Goldberg said.
"You have to have something that is significantly more robust," said Goldberg, who is with the American Technology Specialists lobbying firm.
The company wants money for R&D. Tax credits that recently passed are not as helpful, Goldberg said, because no investment banks are lending for renewable projects.
At the federal level, there is limited cash available and many businesses asking, Goldberg acknowledged. Members of Congress are asking sophisticated follow-up questions, such as requesting that a company provide more information on its product plan and assessments of its competitors' engineering designs.
"The number of people who want to come forward and claim that they can do this is increasing," Goldberg said. "You make your case on the merits."
Tracking bills, regulations
Lobbyists also are representing companies that say they are ready to go commercially with energy products but need help tracking congressional and Obama administration regulatory moves.
ADA Environmental Solutions, based in a Denver suburb, makes a product that reduces the mercury emitted by burning coal. The process uses activated carbon, similar to how water filters work, said President and CEO Mike Durham.
The company, which hired a lobbyist this month, is building a $400 million plant in Louisiana. It wants to build five more in other cities to meet demand from coal plants because 16 states have passed mercury-control regulations, Durham said.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when bills in Congress would require mercury control at all power plants," Durham said.
In addition, Durham said, the company may want to compete for DOE grants for research on sequestering carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Cleaning coal of its greenhouse gas byproduct is a widely discussed idea but at this point unavailable at a commercial scale.
"The country has to invest in the technology," Durham said, "if they want to rely on this very secure fuel and reduce carbon emissions."
Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500