Washington’s Newest Think Tank Focuses on Green Power

Matthew Stepp is executive director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation, part of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. February 2014
National Journal
Mike Magner
March 2, 2014, 9:07 a.m.

As a met­eor­o­logy stu­dent at a Pennsylvania col­lege, Mat­thew Stepp didn’t as­pire to be a TV weather­man but he loved the re­search on the forces of nature. “I was al­ways a sci­ence nerd,” he said.

He went on to earn a mas­ter’s de­gree in sci­ence, tech­no­logy, and pub­lic policy at the Rochester In­sti­tute of Tech­no­logy, and just five years after gradu­ation, Stepp, 29, has be­come the lead­er of Wash­ing­ton’s new­est think tank, the Cen­ter for Clean En­ergy In­nov­a­tion.

Housed at the In­form­a­tion Tech­no­logy and In­nov­a­tion Found­a­tion, the cen­ter is unique among re­search or­gan­iz­a­tions in the cap­it­al. “We’re the only one dir­ectly fo­cused on en­ergy-in­nov­a­tion policy,” Stepp said.

The goal is to ad­dress cli­mate change by ad­voc­at­ing for gov­ern­ment policies that en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment of low-car­bon tech­no­lo­gies. In do­ing so, the cen­ter will be “tech­no­logy-neut­ral,” Stepp said, mean­ing it will look for ways to gen­er­ally pro­mote in­nov­a­tion in the en­ergy world.

“We want to see the same kind of tech­no­logy de­vel­op­ment for clean en­ergy as we saw with frack­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to the ad­vance­ments in drilling tech­niques that led to the cur­rent U.S. oil and gas boom.

Among the sub­jects the cen­ter will ad­dress are Amer­ic­an re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­grams, tax policy, trade is­sues, sci­ence and math edu­ca­tion, and ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing. It plans to put out its first re­port in late March or early April of­fer­ing poli­cy­makers an agenda for ac­tion on clean-en­ergy de­vel­op­ment, Stepp said.

Stepp, a Phil­adelphia nat­ive, fin­ished his mas­ter’s in 2009 and landed a fel­low­ship at the Na­tion­al Academy of Sci­ences as­sist­ing the Trans­port­a­tion Re­search Board. He later moved to the Break­through In­sti­tute, where he worked on green-en­ergy is­sues, be­fore mov­ing to the In­form­a­tion Tech­no­logy and In­nov­a­tion Found­a­tion in 2010 as an en­ergy policy ana­lyst.

What We're Following See More »
FIRST CHANGE IN FOUR DECADES
Congress Passes Chemical Regulations Overhaul
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."

Source:
NO MORE INDEPENDENT VOTERS?
GOP Could Double Number of Early Primaries
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."

Source:
LEVERAGE
Kasich Tells His Delegates to Remain Pledged to Him
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."

Source:
EFFECTIVE NEXT MONTH
House GOP Changes Rules for Spending Measures
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.

Source:
LOST BY HALF A PERCENTAGE POINT
Sanders Wants a Recount in Kentucky
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.

Source:
×