Congrats to the Red Sox for the huge World Series victory last week and fun parade on Saturday. And also a shout out to the 48,000 runners in yesterday’s ING NYC marathon, which was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Sandy. Now that the fall sports season (field hockey, soccer and most football, outside playoffs) is now over, this week we launch in the Fall lacrosse season here which will keep us hopping… Each of my kids has two lax tournaments this weekend. Still wondering how I’m going to get to all those places.
And the same goes for EPA, who has an action-packed week this week with public listening meetings to solicit ideas and input about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. EPA has a full week starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston. Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday at EPA HQ in DC, as well as Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday. Of course, Boston and Philly were added to this week after their original dates were delayed by the government shutdown. We have resources that can (and will) be commenting at many of these sites. Headlining will be my colleague Scott Segal, who takes his 3 minutes at the DC session.
Second major agenda item this week is the energy ministerial meeting in Washington on Carbon Capture and Storage technologies hosted by Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz. See more specifics below, but expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project in Mississippi and I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow ended up down there. For background on Kemper, look here.
In Congress, the House is out until after Veteran’s Day next week, while the Senate is in session and has a hearing tomorrow on methane emissions in Senate Environment featuring EPA and industry experts.
Also tomorrow, voters hit the polls in New Jersey, NYC and Virginia. Gov. Christie seems to be headed to a solid victory, while the Virginia Governor’s race… well after being flooded with ads in the DC TV markets for months, let’s just say I can’t wait for tomorrow. But my enviro friends are excited because former UVa climate scientist Michael Mann is a mainstay of McAuliffe ads.
For you C-SPAN junkies, keep your eyes peeled on Thursday morning at 9:30 when Joe Desmond of BrightSource will be on Washington Journal to discuss solar energy policies as well as some of the exciting projects reaching the finish line, including BSE’s Ivanpah project.
Finally, keep on the lookout for decisions on Keystone and the RFS, both of which should see action before the end of the year and as soon as next week. As well, in advance of upcoming UN Climate meetings which start next week in Poland, continue to look for the type of news/advocacy banter on climate issues like yesterday’s IPCC “leak”, which seems to seems to show “widespread and consequential” impacts. Of course there is much more to the story that often gets left in the footnotes according to my friend and respected science writer Andy Revkin. Moral of Story: Just don’t believe most of the stuff you hear about climate change as we get close to a UN meeting. BTW, Poland gets 88% of Its electricity from coal, nearly 2/3 of it from Russia. Call with questions.
c. (202) 997-5932
IN THE NEWS
Coal Ash Decision Tells EPA to Set Date for Decision – A Federal district court ruled late last week that EPA has 60 days to propose a deadline for finishing its long-suffering coal ash rules. EPA has to submit a proposed schedule to review and revise Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle D regulations on coal ash, along with a legal justification. Environmentalists and public health groups that sued the agency over its delay in finishing a rule proposed in 2010. The rule has been stuck in limbo because of the sticky wicket that regulating coal ash would cause among the many consumer and industrial re-uses and the legal morass that changing its status could cause. My colleague Lisa Jaeger, a former EPA GC, says this is a split decision though and that it will be likely be a focus of attention in the future
GSA Offers Path for SFI-Certified Wood in Federal Construction – Late last week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a recommendation to the U.S. Department of Energy that federal agencies have the option to use either the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating tools or Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes when choosing a third-party green building certification system. The recommendation is a very positive outcome, putting Green Globes on par with LEED in federal use of green building rating systems. GSA policy for many years had been to use only LEED, which awards its certified wood credit only for products certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Green Globes, on the other hand, recognizes Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Canadian Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and FSC standards in awarding points for certified wood. This opens the door to greater use of SFI-certified wood in federal building construction and renovation. SFI supports policies that expand adoption of green building and consider use of other globally accepted, credible certification standards like SFI. This GSA announcement was triggered by a requirement in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that GSA issue a recommendation to DOE every five years on how the federal government can best use certification systems to measure the design and performance of the federal government’s construction and major renovation projects.
EIA: Drilling Efficiency Key Driver of Oil, NatGas – I have seen this chart before, but EIA just released a new one that I thought would be valuable. The Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) analyzes drilling efficiency using the average number of wells a rig can drill over a period of time as well as a measure of how productive each new well is expected to be. (See Charts) Increases in drilling efficiency have contributed to the breakdown of traditional methods that seek to estimate oil and natural gas production based principally on rig counts. The DPR focuses on the expected values for all rigs and wells in a play allows for a useful and relevant analysis of how the rig count seen today contributes to the overall change in oil and natural gas production. EIA estimates drilling efficiency (the number of wells drilled per rig each month) by tracking the number of rigs in a play as well as the number of new wells started each month. Using an appropriate lag for each region based on changes in the rig count relative to changes in new-well counts, this measure of drilling efficiency can be used to estimate how many new wells were started and should start producing in the coming months.
Deepwater Focuses on Completing RI Project – In what will likely be the first offshore wind project to complete construction, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski says the offshore wind developer has moved well beyond the early stages of development and is now squarely focusing on completing the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I. He says construction activities will begin in late 2014, beginning with the “transmission piece of the project,” which includes a 21-mile, medium-voltage submarine cable connecting the offshore wind farm to the mainland. Although details have yet to be finalized, Deepwater says the subcable will make landfall in Narragansett, R.I. The jacket foundations will begin arriving in spring 2015, with Siemens delivering five 6 MW direct-drive turbines that summer, with grid completion expected in the fall. That time frame would make Deepwater’s Block Island Wind Farm among the first, if not the first, offshore wind farm in the U.S. National Grid has agreed to buy the project’s output, making Deepwater one of two U.S. offshore wind developers to secure a power purchase agreement.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
EPA GHG Listening Sessions– EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country this week with meetings everyday, starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston. Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday. For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.
World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., today through Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel. This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF, will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS. The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology. The Ministerial meeting on Thursday will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute. The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.
Panel to Discussion Geoengineering – From 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, the Civil Society Meeting on Geoengineering will convene a half-day of moderated discussion on the fast evolving topic of geoengineering. This invite-only meeting will be open to a range of civil society actors in Washington, DC. The goal is to prompt an open conversation that fosters a broad and ongoing dialogue about this important emerging issue. AU and JHU are sponsors and will host at JHU’s SAIS Nitze building. Joe Romm and our friend Kate Sheppard will sit on a panel with Wil Burns of JHU and Simon Nicholson Of AU.
Eni CEO to Address Impacts of Energy Revolution – Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum today at 5:30 p.m. featuring Paolo Scaroni, CEO of the Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni. Scaroni will focus on geopolitical impacts of the new energy issues in countries around the world.
Senate Energy Panel to Look at Methane for Oil, Gas Operations – The Senate Environment Committee panel on Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Witnesses will include EPA’s Sarah Durham, UT-Austin’s David Allen, Texas A&M’s Daniel Hill, Southwestern Energy‘s Mark Boling, Devon’s Darren Smith and NRDC’s Vignesh Gowrishankar.
JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The event will be an enviro group’s focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking. Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.
CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics. Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.
WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum tomorrow at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination. Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.
AU Forum to Look at Energy, Enviro Health – The American University Washington College of Law will hold a symposium on Wednesday that will explore the balance between effectively meeting the demands of a growing population and the importance of promoting sustainable and environmentally compatible measures to protect the health of future generations. The first panel (9:30 – 10:30 am) is entitled “Big Energy: Costs and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracking.” It will be moderated by our friend Amanda Leiter.
Groups to Open E85 Flex Fuel Station – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, Maryland Clean Cities Coalition, and Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties, LLC will hold the Grand Opening of W Express’s Potomac Sunoco’s 11th Flex Fuel (E85) Station Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Festivities will begin with a press event, speakers, and ribbon-cutting, followed by a retailer educational question and answer session. This exciting and well-publicized event will feature E85 fuel-fuel sold to drivers of FlexFuel vehicles at a reduced price on November 6. Invited speakers include several senior level Federal and State officials. Moderated by the Maryland Energy Administration’s Abby Hopper, invited speakers include representatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the state Assembly, the Montgomery County Council, and other Government and Industry Officials. MAPP, as the distributor of E85, has partnered with the Maryland Clean Cities Program; GWRCCC; Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board; FlexFuel Awareness Campaign; Growth Energy; Sustainable Energy Strategies, Inc.; the Clean Fuels Development Coalition; Protec Fuels; and local auto dealers to celebrate the opening of this station.
RESCHEDULED: Senate Energy to Look Columbia River Treaty – On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on recommendations for the Columbia River Treaty. The hearing, originally rescheduled because of the government shutdown, will be held at 9:30 a.m. and webcast live on the committee’s website.
CSIS to Host IEA Energy Efficiency Expert – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday featuring Phillipe Benoit, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the IEA. Benoit will discuss the IEA’s recently released inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report 2013. The report provides a practical basis for understanding energy efficiency market activities, a review of the methodological and practical challenges associated with measuring the market and its components, and statistical analysis of energy efficiency and its impact on energy demand. It also highlights a specific technology sector in which there is significant energy efficiency market activity, in this instance appliances and ICT. The energy efficiency market is diffuse, varied and involves all energy-consuming sectors of the economy. A comprehensive overview of market activity is complicated by the challenges associated with quantifying the components of the market and the paucity of comparable reported data. This report underscores how vital high-quality and timely energy efficiency data is to understanding this market. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.
GU Forum to Look at Hydropower Impacts – Georgetown University will host a seminar on Thursday on campus in the Reiss Science Building, Room 112, looking at fish, hydropower, the Columbia, and The Mekong’ with guest speaker Mark Giordano, PhD from STIA, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. GU Professor Anne Rosenwald hosts the event.
Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power. Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market. The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like. SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.
Forum to Discuss Russia, NatGas – On Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University’s Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative will host Rawi Abdelal, the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School. Abdelal will discuss Russia, Europe and the gas revolution, looking at firms and geopolitics in the age of shale.
UN Climate Meetings Set for Next Week – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Climate negotiations will be held from November 11 – 22 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.
Local Solar Conference Set – MDV-SEIA will hold its 7th annual Solar Focus Conference on Monday-Tuesday, November 11-12th at the Marriott at Metro Center. To mark the milestone, they will have an exciting lineup of speakers and panels. This year’s theme is “The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar.” It will highlight the unprecedented, exponential growth of distributed solar in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The event begins with a Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, and Keynote Address and then leads into a full day of educational panels on the 12th. Panels will cover the federal policy outlook and federal opportunities, state by state market opportunities, solutions for managing SREC volatility, energy storage & its potential to transform the solar sector, tax equity, overcoming development barriers in Maryland and D.C., and many others.
USEA to Host Afghan Power Execs – On Tuesday, November 12th at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association will host representatives from Afghanistan’s national power utility and respective government ministries to present on the status of the Afghanistan power sector. The delegation includes senior executives from Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Energy and Water, and Mines and Petroleum.
Manchin to Headline NJ Innovation Forum – National Journal LIVE will host a forum on innovation, technology and our energy future on Wednesday, November 13th at 8:00 a.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Pavilion Room. Recent energy debates in Washington have focused mostly on government policies, including climate and clean energy standards, that could help increase the use of American resources, shift to cleaner sources of energy and help reduce air emissions. Buried in these debates is the importance of research and development of new energy technologies for both fossil fuels and renewables. National Journal will explore the importance of R&D in America’s new energy landscape and what the right role for the federal government will be to trigger new energy technologies. Our friend Amy Harder moderates a panel featuring Sen. Joe Manchin, BPC expert Margot Anderson and Janet Peace of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
Cadillac, WAPA to Hold Ride/Drive – The Washington Auto Press Assn (WAPA) will hold the November luncheon for a luncheon Cadillac and its luxury brand’s sedans at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. Wednesday, November 13th at 11:00 a.m. Drives available starting at 11:00am, followed by lunch at 12:00pm and more driving. Vurpillat, Cadillac’s Global Director of Marketing will discuss the CTS (including Vsport), XTS (including Vsport) and the award-winning ATS. Under Vurpillat, Cadillac has successfully launched a number of new vehicles in the past eight years starting with the CTS and SRX, and now the new XTS luxury sedan and ATS luxury sports sedan. In addition to his work in the U.S., Jim is focused on Cadillac’s growth emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim held a number of positions at General Motors ranging from managing major brand partnerships and sponsorships; to advertising campaigns; to market research.
RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas. The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels. At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.
Lindzen to Discuss Science at Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on science progress on Wednesday November 13 at 4:00 p.m. featuring Richard S. Lindzen, Emeritus Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato. For many fields of science, there is little doubt that the period 1830-1965 was a golden age. There is also little doubt that changes in the support structure for science since the late 60’s have powerful elements that serve to inhibit major developments. Dr. Lindzen will discuss these changes from the personal perspective of a climate scientist, and place them in the historical perspective of other areas of study.
Forum to Look at Shale, Asia – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday November 13th to look at growing abundance of domestic shale gas and Its impacts on Asia. This opportunity presents new questions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens such as the cost and business factors that make U.S. LNG competitive in global markets and the potential geostrategic consequences of this resource for the economies and countries across Asia. Bill Loveless, Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy at Platts and host of Platts Energy Week TV will moderate the panel including Dominion’s Bill Allen, Jane Nakano of CSIS, API’s Robin Rorick and Kate Williams of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.
CSIS to Look at Energy Picture – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday, November 14th at 1:30 p.m. looking at the changing North American energy markets and implications for policies and regulations. North American oil and gas production is growing at rates unforeseen a decade ago. With this new production comes the realization the traditional framework of energy scarcity no longer applies. Are the current policies flexible enough to manage these new energy dynamics? How do policymakers, regulators, and industry manage the new circumstances to safely and prudently allow for the continued development of these resources? Frank Verrastro and David Manning of the Government of Alberta will present.
NRC to Take Comment on Waste – On Thursday, November 14th at 2:00 p.m., NRC will provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comments on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule.
NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th. Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation. Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley.
BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation. Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on the BPC/NARUC websites.
Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants. Both rules were finalized in 2012. The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.