Just finished the last lacrosse trip of the summer this weekend up in Long Island. Thank goodness that is over. Tryouts for next year start mid-August and field hockey and football are already underway. Someday it will slow down.
We now are one-week out from the August work period and the energy news/activity is buzzing. Let’s start with last week, including major activities on the RFS, a natural gas blowout in the Gulf, the President’s comments on Keystone, a giant lawsuit over pipeline environmental issues, claims of “new” EPA reports about natgas drilling and another result in the Deepwater Horizon case. We have resources on nearly all of these subjects should you need them.
This upcoming week, the business rolls on: in the House, a series of votes will occur on energy legislation this week including the REINS Act, which would require major regulations get Congress’s approval and the Energy Consumers Relief Act, which would require DOE to review EPA rules costing more than $1 billion. While in the Senate, they may take up the energy efficiency legislation, Shaheen-Portman, before leaving later this week. It is not clear that it will make though with other items on the agenda in front of it and a litany of amendments ready to clog up the works. Also this week on Thursday and Friday, the Texas EnviroSuperconference kicks off in Austin and is usually packed with good info. The big hearings this week include DOE Secretary Moniz hitting the House and Senate on Nuclear Waste plans and Senate Finance looking at Energy Tax issues.
Finally, if you are looking for a fine mix of politics and food during this week’s run up to August, slide over to the National Press Club on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. when the Newsmakers Committee will host 20 chefs to heads of state from around the world. After meeting with President Obama at the White House on Thursday morning, the group will also visit with the State Department Chef Corps to discuss the confluence of culinary diplomacy, a mixture of cuisine and diplomacy. They also will meet U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon in New York City. The chefs are members of the Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC), the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society. It was founded in 1977 by Gilles Bragard, who will be at the Newsmaker. White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford hosts her international counterparts from Germany, Sweden, Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Israel, Italy, Poland and Great Britain, among others.
And one side note, last week Monday was a little crazy because I was trying to get the update out while also participating in NuStar Asphalt Paulsboro Refinery’s 23rd Annual MDA Golf Tournament in Atlantic City. Despite those few bumps and a conference call, we managed a 58, tying for first (we ended up 3rd after matching cards). More importantly, the event raised more than $240,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Over the life of the tournament, Paulsboro Refinery employees, with support from their loyal customers, vendors, industrial neighbors and MDA staff, have raised over $1.6 million to help MDA provide lifesaving research, maintain medical clinics, and provide accessible summer camp experiences to local individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases. Congrats for the all the great work.
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IN THE NEWS
WM Blog Highlights Trash to Gas For Vehicles – Recently, Waste Management’s Dan LeFevers participated on a panel at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, an annual conference that showcases the latest alternative fuel vehicles and fueling technologies. Our of his discussion at the Conference, LeFevers penned a blog, Running on Rubbish, on using renewable natural gas to fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles or capturing gas from landfills, food waste digesters and other similar sources to ultimately fuel vehicles. LeFevers highlighted WM’s Altamont facility, the world’s largest plant to convert landfill gas to ultra low-carbon liquefied natural gas. He also pointed to CEO David Steiner’s leadership with the Energy Security Leadership Council of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a non-profit organization that seeks to reduce America’s dependency on oil and advocates for federal policies that can help large companies and fleet owners transition towards alternative fuels.
Report Says EVs Will be Most Affordable Vehicles With Decade – A new Electrification Coalition (EC) PricewaterhouseCoopers report says sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are strong, with combined purchases of models like the Nissan LEAF, GM Volt and Tesla Model S during their first 30 months on the market more than doubling the pace set by conventional hybrids when those vehicles made their U.S. debut in 2000. The study, “State of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Market,” also finds that certain PEV models are already capturing a high percentage of market share in their respective classes, including the Tesla Model S, which has registered an 8.4% stake in the luxury market in the first six months of 2013. Additionally, the paper highlights consumer satisfaction surveys indicating that PEVs are outperforming their marketplace competitors on almost all counts, and expects that battery prices will fall about 50 percent to an industry average of $300-325 per kilowatt hour by 2020. The report is the first in the “EV Market Outlook” series that will provide new analysis on battery costs, sales, infrastructure, and other topics. Key findings of the paper include 1) More than 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the US since January 2011; 2) Compared to hybrids’ first years on the U.S. market, twice as many plug-in electric vehicles have been sold; 3) The uptake rate of plug-in electric vehicles is nearly three times what it was for hybrids over their first three years on the market and 4) Battery costs should drop by about half by 2020, an industry average price of $300-325 per kilowatt hour.
Brattle Points to All Benefits of Building Transmission – A new study commissioned by WIRES and authored by economists at The Brattle Group finds that new high voltage transmission investments offer numerous potential benefits that have too often been disregarded as remote, intangible, or hard to estimate. The report, released today, urges planners and policy makers to consider the full range of potential economic, reliability, environmental, and public policy benefits of new and upgraded transmission when evaluating which projects will serve customers and the economy best. For the first time, transmission planners and policy makers now have a catalogue of benefits and techniques for evaluation that they can employ in devising optimal regional development plans. The study, The Benefits of Electric Transmission: Identifying and Analyzing the Value of Investments, is a comprehensive analysis that documents all potential economic, reliability, operational, and public policy benefits from expanding or upgrading the high voltage grid, the evolving experience and existing practices of planners in RTO and non-RTO regions when determining those benefits and the beneficiaries of new transmission capacity and how planners and policy makers can employ more systematic procedures and analysis to arrive at better transmission (and non-transmission) solutions.
Klaber to Leave MSC – After nearly four years of leading the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), CEO Kathryn Klaber, is leaving the group. Klaber will stay on to further engage MSC member companies and their employees on key policy issues for the industry, to evaluate the need for public outreach and education in the northeastern states without shale development, to advise on key benchmarks to complement the MSC’s robust Recommended Practices, and to continue to serve as a recognized industry leader and spokesperson. Ms. Klaber will be representing the MSC in key forums in Australia and London in the coming months as well as hosting the MSC’s third annual Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia on September 25-26.
GOING ON THIS WEEK
USEA to Look at Cybersecurity Issues – U.S. Energy Association will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. featuring senior representatives from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, who will provide an overview of cybersecurity protection trends for energy delivery systems and the current legislative and regulatory landscape. Topics will include DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program, Cybersecurity standards for electric utilities and insight into what the future of cybersecurity looks like for critical infrastructure, including upcoming trends, projects, and standards development work.
Enviros to Discuss Climate, Jobs – Green For All, NRDC and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will hold an event tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 441 Cannon to look at climate change and jobs. As the nation grapples with the effects of climate change through local severe weather events such as wildfires, “superstorms”, droughts, floods, and extreme heat, this briefing will discuss the job creation potential and economic opportunities that reducing climate pollution creates for American workers and businesses. The economic benefits are not often a centerpiece of the climate change debate. However, climate actions such as implementing limits on carbon pollution from power plants, expanding clean energy projects, or building resilient infrastructure presents huge opportunities to boost our nation’s economy, while preventing illness and protecting public health. Speakers will include Shamar Bibbins of Green For All, NRDC’s Dan Lashof and Danielle Deane of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Senate Energy to Tackle Nuclear Waste Issue – The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to receive testimony on S. 1240, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013. I’m sure that will go over well with the Majority Leader. The main witness is Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. A second panel will feature NCSL’s Sally Young Jameson of Maryland, Southwest Area National Congress of American Indians VP Joe Garcia, NARUC electricity Committee Chair David Boyd, Chuck Smith of the Energy Communities Alliance, NEI’s Marvin Fertel, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and UCS Nuclear Safety Project Director David Lochbaum.
USEA to Present on CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery, Geologic Storage in Midwest – Also tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host Neeraj Gupta, Senior Research Leader, Energy and Environment, Battelle, will provide a briefing on CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery and Geologic Storage in the Midwestern USA. Significant work is being done in the Midwestern US to develop carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies – a key option for managing CO2 emissions to mitigate climate challenge in this fossil fuel dependent region. Several small-scale projects across the region along with geologic characterization and mapping have validated the potential for wide-spread deployment of these technologies. However, much remains to be done on demonstrating the viability of commercial-scale operations needed to address emissions from large point sources in a cost effective and safe manner. A key milestone was recently achieved when the Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (www.mrcsp.org) team led by Battelle initiated its large-scale CO2 injection program in Michigan with the overall goal of injecting, monitoring, and modeling at least 1 million tons of CO2 in multiple oil-bearing fields operated by Core Energy, LLC. Dr. Gupta will present an overview of this effort, with emphasis on project development, geologic setup, monitoring, and infrastructure aspects.
Energy Happy Hour Set – OurEnergyPolicy.org will partner with DC Energy Drinks to sponsor this month’s Energy Professionals Happy Hour at Top of the Hill (near the Capitol South Metro Station) tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The entire top floor has been reserved for the group and will provide appetizers for the group to enjoy. $5 happy hour specials will run until 9pm. Feel free to bring your colleagues and share this invitation with other interested energy folk. D.C. Energy Drinks is an informal gathering of energy professionals in the D.C. metro area.
BioTech Conference Set – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Advanced Biofuels USA will co-host the Office’s sixth annual conference, “Biomass 2013: How the Advanced Bioindustry is Reshaping American Energy” at the Washington, DC Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday. Biomass 2013 will bring together hundreds of diverse stakeholders involved with various steps throughout the bioenergy supply chain to promote new partnerships, acknowledge recent progress and achievements, and explore new opportunities and challenges on the horizon. This year’s conference will also focus on initiatives in sustainability, exciting new trends in bioenergy, new directions for BETO, and possible future funding opportunities, with a forum for stakeholder input.
Resources to Vote on Energy Legislation – The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to vote on legislation to authorize the development of non-Federal hydropower and issuance of leases of power privileges at projects constructed pursuant to the authority of the Water Conservation and Utilization Act, as well as legislation to regulate oil and gas operations and promote American energy security, development, and job creation.
House Approps to Mark up Interior, EPA Spending – The full House Appropriations Committee will meet to markup the FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.
WAPA to Host Chevy Leaders – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host Chevrolet Impala Marketing Director Russ Clark and other Chevrolet leaders Wednesday at Noon in the Press Club to discuss some of the exciting new products from Chevrolet, including the all-new 2014 Impala, the Chevy Cruze Diesel and the 2014 Chevy Silverado.
Forum to Look at Private-Public Partnerships at National Labs – The U.S. House Science and National Laboratories Caucus will host a panel of experts on Wednesday at Noon in B-340 Rayburn to discuss the interaction between the private sector and the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories. The National Labs are federally funded research and development centers with the unique mission of working to advance science and technology for the benefit of the country. To this end, the National Laboratories often partner with private sector companies to help with the innovation, testing, and scaling process. In this presentation, representatives from Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Underwriters Laboratories will discuss the ways in which these groups work together, highlighting examples of effective utilization of these partnerships in the areas of renewable fuels and electric vehicle technologies.
Moniz to Detail Nuclear Waste Strategy – Following the Senate action tomorrow, the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at oversight on DOE’s strategy for the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The hearing will provide members an opportunity to hear directly from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the DOE’s new strategy for nuclear waste management and disposal. Following the Obama administration’s effort to terminate the Yucca Mountain repository, DOE has proposed a different direction for the nation’s nuclear waste. The proposal is a product of the findings of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, on which Moniz served. The commission’s recommendations included interim storage until a new geologic repository can be built which DOE now estimates opening in 2048.
Senate Finance to Discuss Energy Tax Reform – The Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to examine principles for energy tax reform. Witnesses will include Pew Group’s Phyllis Cuttino, former DOE official Dan Reicher of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy at Stanford, Will Coleman of OnRamp Capital and ACCF’s Margo Thorning.
Hastings, Energy Experts to Discuss Energy Policy – Arent Fox LLP and the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute will hold a Public Policy Forum 2013 on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. featuring House Resources Chairman Doc Hastings where he will discuss the outlook for energy policy changes in the 113th Congress. Chairman Hastings will be followed by an energy policy panel discussion composed of key congressional energy staff. Former Sen. Robert Bennett and former Rep. Philip S. English, both Arent Fox Government Relations practice members, will provide opening remarks. There will also be a welcome from Edward Montgomery, Dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Chairman Hastings will provide a 30-minute overview of the country’s energy policies and insight into potential legislative action, and he will answer questions from the audience for another 30 minutes. Following Chairman Hastings’ presentation, Arent Fox counsel Jack Coleman will moderate an hour-long discussion on energy policy by a panel composed of key congressional energy staff. The panel will answer questions from the audience. Members of the panel will be announced at a later date.
Wellinghoff to Address Texas Enviro Superconference – The 25th edition of the annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. The Wednesday evening session will be a power primer, featuring FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. Co-presented by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, the conference routinely draws in excess of 500 attendees from both the public and private sectors. Because the conference consistently sells out, we encourage you to register early. There will be no walk-in registration. Other speakers include EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry, TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw, and Environmental Law Institute President John Cruden, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors.
House Resources to Look at Surface Mining – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on Friday at 9:00 a.m. on efforts to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to stop the ongoing waste by the Department of the Interior of taxpayer resources and implement the final rule on excess spoil, mining waste, and buffers for perennial and intermittent streams, and for other purposes.
Energy Forum Set for August – The American Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C. on August 5-7th and will focus on federal energy priorities, funding, programs, and contracts.
BPC Forum to Look at CyberSecurity – The Bipartisan Policy Center – along with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host a workshop on August 6th in the Grand Hyatt Washington to educate stakeholders, the media, and the public on the nature of cyber security challenges facing the electric sector; to highlight initiatives by industry and federal and state governments to address these challenges; and to identify additional efforts needed to protect the grid. Recently, BPC convened the Electric Grid Cyber Security Initiative, a joint effort of BPC’s Energy and Homeland Security Projects, to develop recommendations for how government and industry can protect the North American electric grid from cyberattacks. Speakers will include former CIA Director Michael Hayden, Ed Goetz of Exelon, DOE’s Senior Cyber Policy Advisor Michael E. Smith and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul Stockton.
World Bank Expert Release Africa Climate Report – Johns Hopkins University will host World Bank experts on Wednesday, August 7th at Noon in its Washington DC Center to issue a report on regional climate impacts. The report focuses on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and South Asia. Building on the 2012 report, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 Degree C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” this new scientific analysis examines the likely impacts of present day, 2 degrees C and 4 degrees C warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations. It finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea-level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further negative implications for the poorest. Speakers will include World Bank Climate policy experts Jane Ebinger and Kanta Kmari Rigaud.
DOE Solar Seminar Continues – The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, in coordination with the Solar Outreach Partnership, will host the final webinar in the Solar Action Webinar Series on Wednesday August 7th at 2:00 p.m. on the successes from the rooftop solar challenge. he webinar will showcase the latest developments in solar net metering and interconnection. The discussion will include an overview of recent successes in efforts to streamline interconnection and net metering application processes and several case studies and lessons learned.
NRDC’s Lashoff to Address Climate Regs for Power Plants – ICF International will hold an Energy Breakfast on August 8th featuring NRDC’s Dan Lashoff discussing NSPS for power plants.
CoalGen, Generation Hub Conferences Set for Charlotte – Pennwell’s GenerationHub hosts its first conference (GenForum) on August 11-12th at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina. Genforum comes right before Pennwell’s much larger CoalGen conference Aug.13-15, also at the convention center. Genforum will feature discussions on everything from coal, natural gas, nuclear power to renewable energy. There are 14 speakers lined up – including my B&G colleague Jeff Holmstead.
NY Official Will Address Wind Finance Forum – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Seminar will be held on September 9th and 10th in New York City. NYSERDA chairman Richard L. Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York and recently confirmed chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will be a keynote speaker for the Kauffman will share his insights on the current state of U.S. energy, and reveal his vision for state-level energy solutions.
Transmission Summit Set – Infocast hold its 5th Annual Transmission Summit on September 23-25th in San Diego, CA. This timely annual Summit will once again gather leading utility executives, regulators, independent transmission developers, financiers and thought leaders to provide their insights and the clearest window into leading utility merchant transmission executives’ plans for new projects, partnerships and business strategies. Speakers will include FERC Shiv Mani, DOE’s Lauren Azar, Texas PUC Chair Donna Nelson and Arizona Corporate Commissioner Gary Pierce, among others.
Industry execs, Venture Caps Head to REFF-West – The 6th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum – West (REFF-West) will be held on September 16-17th at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, CA. The event will feature leaders in the industry, as well as the investment bankers, venture capitalists, renewable energy developers and manufacturers, and policy leaders who are leading the deployment of renewable energy in the Western U.S. Speakers will include SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and Stanford University Global Climate and Energy Project Director Sally Benson and many others.