I know many of you are probably just as disappointed as me today after that Super Bowl last night. What an incredible surprise that Seattle dominated the game as much as they did. Perhaps the best stat: it is the second consecutive Super Bowl that the 2nd half kickoff was returned for a TD. And even the Super Bowl commercials seemed to come up a little short, except, as a teenager of the 80s, I though the Radio Shack ad was pretty awesome. I actually could identify every one of the characters (perhaps I shouldn’t admit that). I also did think Bruno Mars actually was very good (although I’m still wondering if Anthony Kiedis owns a shirt), but perhaps it was just because the game was so bad. At least the Caps-Red Wings national TV game earlier in the day was super exciting, with the Caps taking it 6-5 in OT.
The Winter Olympics start on Friday and the international debate over sports, social issues and security rages on. Some exciting games’ stories will be new events in team figure skating, track star LoLo Jones trading her track spikes for Bobsled ice spikes and excitement of international hockey tournaments featuring many of the world’s best players. As for Security and Social issues, expect a steady stream of reporting even if no controversies occur.
While the Friday afternoon Keystone decision took a lot of the air out of everything, we now move to the next stage of waiting. Enough said…by everybody on this issue. As for something actually much more important, it looks as if this week (as soon as tomorrow), Max Baucus will be confirmed to be the next Ambassador to China, leave the Senate and set off Senate Committee Leadership switch that will move Mary Landrieu to the top spot on Senate Energy, a position she has long coveted (and I’m sure Senate Leaders and environmentalists are a little concerned about).
Lots of good events this week (see below) including a House Energy hearing on TSCA featuring our friend Charlie Drevna, a House Science Committee hearing on Texas and EPA, a Senate EPW hearing on the WV spill and an ELI debate on Thursday focused on regulating emissions outside the facility fenceline under Clean Air Act that features B&G’s Jeff Holmstead and Scott Segal.
Finally, while it was cold and snowy in most of the country, our friends at Waste Management were enjoying beautiful weather in Scottsdale at the WM Phoenix Open, won by Kevin Stadler (his first PGA tour Victory) in a shootout with Bubba Watson over the last few holes. More importantly, GreenBiz partnered with Waste Management last Thursday to bring together environmental experts and industry pioneers to look at recent innovations that can open new avenues for sustainability. See the replay here, including a great opening from our friend Barry Caldwell of WM. Call with questions.
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IN THE NEWS
Groups Rollout New Energy Coalition to Track GHG Regs – Executives from a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy launched a new coalition late last week to ensure the Administration’s greenhouse gas regulatory agenda does not harm American jobs and the economy. The event will be at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce featured comments from Chamber Energy Institute Head Karen Harbert, NAM head Jay Timmons, ACCCE CEO Mike Duncan, Mining Assn head Hal Quinn, Portland Cement Assn CEO Greg Scott, Chris Jahn of the Fertilizer Institute and AGA CEO Dave McCurdy. The coalition to date includes more than 40 members and will be co-chaired by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce. Thursday’s conversation will feature perspectives from a variety of industries and stakeholders who will be impacted by the regulations.
Segal on Why Coalition is Necessary, Timely – ERCC Director Scott Segal say the coalition is important and timely, and is glad to be a part of it.
Manufacturer led: While the proposed and soon to be proposed EPA carbon rules are addressed to the power sector, this coalition is led by manufacturing interests who can testify first hand to the essential fact that affordable and reliable power are essential to economic recovery and job creation.
GHG Regs Increase Energy Prices: There is no doubt that carbon regulations will increase energy prices. Simple math: power plants that capture carbon cost at least 75 percent more than those that do not. In the past, EPA has held that technologies which increase cost structure by 25 percent are not “adequately demonstrated,” the legal test under the Act. President Obama was not wrong in 2008 when he said the under certain carbon controls “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Income Inequality Matters on Energy: The President was clear about addressing income inequality in the State of the Union address and other speeches. And yet, the White House-directed effort of impose inflexible carbon caps results in very regressive impacts on those in society least able to afford it. A March 2009 report presented by the National Community Action Foundation, the National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth found that under most carbon controls, “there will be a proportional shift among the consumer groups based on fuel and location.” Bills paid by the consumers with significant coal resources “will rapidly become the most expensive. Electric bills make up the majority of low-income household expenditures today.”
Cold Weather Shows Urgency for Reliability:The current cold snap offers a bleak warning to those that would back coal out of the mix entirely, clearly the goal of many in the activist community. As cold weather continues to bear down on much of the country, the very coal-powered facilities targeted for closure under last year’s EPA rule on toxics have been running at full capacity. Without coal in the marketplace – in other words, if the polar vortex had occurred as soon as next year – inflexible EPA rules might well have caused rolling blackouts at the most dangerous time for families to be without power. Meanwhile, even with coal accounting for the largest current amount of generation, natural gas prices on the spot market have skyrocketed; imagine the consumer impact if when a cold snap occurs after the EPA carbon rules for the existing plants are in place.
NREL Study Shows Increased Reliability From Wind – Running counter to some past perceptions about wind power, a new National Renewable Energy Laboratory study, in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute and the University of Colorado, found that wind power increases grid reliability and brings economic benefits via wind facilities’ active power control. “The study’s key takeaway is that wind energy can act in an equal or superior manner to conventional generation when providing active power control, supporting the system frequency response, and improving reliability,” said Erik Ela, NREL analyst. Analysts studied multiple power system simulations, control simulations, and field tests at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center to determine how if wind could provide ancillary services in wholesale electricity markets, how wind farms affect system frequency in the Western U.S. grid system, and if using wind farms to actively provide power control to the grid affects turbine performance and structural integrity. The study adds wind energy can not only support the grid by ramping power output up and down to enhance system reliability, but that using wind farms to provide active power control is economically beneficial, all with negligible damage to the turbines themselves.
DC Think Tanks Rank High on Go To List – Several DC-based think tanks rank high on The Global Go-To Think Tank Index, published by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the International Relations Program of the University of Pennsylvania. The index is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the TTCSP. It has become the gold standard for think tanks around the world and is widely cited by governments, donors, journals and policymakers as the foremost profile and performance of think tanks in every region of the world.
Top Rankings: The Brookings Institution ranked top of the Global Think Tank list for the 6th consecutive year, while DC’s Carnegie Endowment for Peace (3rd), Center for Strategic and International Studies – CSIS (4th), Woodrow Wilson Center (10th), Heritage (17th), Cato (18th) and AEI (24th all hit the top 25. NY’s Council on Foreign Relations (7th) and California’s Rand (8th) each landed in the top 10.
AZ Republic: Feds Looking at Solar Project – With the last couple mentions of solar in our update, our friend Ryan Randazzo at the Arizona Republic reminded me of the interesting reporting they are doing on the Solana Generating Station, the largest solar power plant in Arizona, a few miles west of Gila Bend. Ryan is reporting that U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are investigating subsidiaries of Abengoa, the Spanish company that built the project Randazzo reports that the company faces complaints from more than 20 subcontractors who say they were not paid promptly for roughly $40 million of work building the plant. The Solana Generating Station was completed last year and sells electricity to Arizona Public Service Co., using the proceeds to pay off a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee.
Heritage Says Coal Jobs Will Hurt States – In recent research, The Heritage Foundation found that in 10 years, employment would fall by 600,000 jobs as a result of higher energy costs. Manufacturing could lose up to 270,000 jobs and the overall gross domestic product would decrease by $2.23 trillion if the Obama Administration follows through with its war on coal. Breaking down the economic impact at the state level, as the Heritage paper does, shows that much of the country will suffer and America’s manufacturing base will take a huge hit. In fact, manufacturing job losses account for 50% or more of total job losses in seven of the 10 hardest hit states. Most affected states include West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky, but also states like Alabama, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan.
Letter: 22 Sens Raise Concerns About EPA Reg Costs – On Friday, a bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to consider the enormous costs to American ratepayers as his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crafts its carbon standard for existing coal-fueled power plants, a draft of which is expected in June. The letter highlights the significant threats the new regulations pose to American families’ livelihoods, while achieving no foreseeable benefit or gain in addressing global climate change: “The goal will nonetheless cost consumers in the form of increased prices for energy and anything made, grown, or transported using energy. These new costs will result in less disposable income in families’ pockets. That means less money to spend on groceries, doctors’ visits, and education. In short, low cost energy is critical to human health and welfare.” New data from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) shows that rising energy costs are indeed disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable and poorest U.S. families. Consider that in Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) home state of Missouri, 200,000 families live well below the poverty line yet spend 66 percent of their income on energy costs. Likewise in Senator Joe Manchin’s home state of West Virginia, 80,000 families live well below the poverty line and spend a staggering 70% of their meager income on energy costs.
Bay Nominated for FERC – Again passing over current commissioners, the President nominated Norman Bay to be the next FERC chair. Bay is the Director of the Office of Enforcement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a position he has held since 2009. Prior to this, Mr. Bay was a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico.
AWEA Sees Drop In Capacity – Our friend and know NY Ranger-fan Mark Del Franco at North American Windpower reports as many predicted, the fallout from policy uncertainty led to a big drop in new installed wind capacity in the U.S. last year. AWEA released its U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report which showed that 1.084 GW of wind will come online in 2013, a 92% decrease from the 13.131 GW of new capacity installed during the record-breaking year of 2012. AWEA also said there were more U.S. wind power megawatts under construction than ever in history: Over 12,000 MW (or, 12 GW) of new generating capacity were under construction in 2013, with a record-breaking 10.9 GW starting construction activity during the fourth quarter. The report notes the wind projects under construction could power the equivalent of 3.5 million American homes, or all the households in Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Maisano Media Seminar Postponed to February 25 – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I was supposed to be conducting a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have had events arise that will cause it to be postponed until Tuesday February 25th. We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management. Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade. We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.
BGov Transportation Forum to Feature LaHood, Rendell – Bloomberg Government and Building America’s Future will hold a conversation tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. about the transportation challenges in Washington and across the country. Speakers will include Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Victor Mendez, Acting Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation. Panelists will include former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, former PA Gov. Ed Rendell and former VA DOT Secretary Sean Connaughton.
Senate Environment Panel to Look at WV Spill – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s water panel will hold a hearing on last month’s West Virginia chemical spill. The hearing will focus on the safety and security of drinking water supplies, as well as legislation introduced by WV Sen. Joe Manchin and Chair Barbara Boxer. Witnesses will include West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, WVDEP Secretary Randy Huffman, NRDC’s Erik Olson, Brent Fewell of United Water, Putnam, WV Public Service District GM Michael W. McNulty and International Liquid Terminals Association rep Peter Weaver.
House Energy Panel to Look at TSCA – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment and the Economy panel will hold a hearing tomorrow on chemical testing and the reporting and retention of information under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Witnesses will include American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles Drevna, Beth Bosley of Boron Specialties, Jerry Paulson of the American Academy of Pediatrics and NRDC scientist Jennifer Sass, among others.
Forum to Look at State of Chesapeake Bay – The Environmental Law Society will hold a forum at American University’s Washington College of Law tomorrow at Noon to look at the state of the Chesapeake Bay. In 2010, the EPA embarked on an aggressive cleanup effort aimed at limiting the amount of nutrient pollution that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The farming industry challenged the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act to require “pollution diets” in addition to procedural challenges. Panelists will comment on the litigation, the EPA’s expanding role in managing watershed and pollution diets, and the implications of a positive ruling on the implementation of similar plans in the Mississippi Delta
Forum to Look at Wind, Smart Grid –The Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies program will hold a Forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on wind power, smart grid and the evolution of the U.S. electricity system. Elizabeth Wilson, associate professor of energy, environmental policy and law at the University of Minnesota, will present.
Rogers, Binz Headline Brookings Utility Forum – The Brookings Energy Security Initiative will host Brookings Trustee and former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and ESI Nonresident Senior Fellows Mike Chesser and Ron Binz tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the future of the electric utility industry, including regulatory challenges, implications for customers and impact on utility strategy. The existing utility business model is under threat globally. Major transformative trends in the U.S., Europe, Australia and elsewhere are affecting the relationship between utilities and customers, creating opportunities for a wide array of new, non-utility players. Some call this “disintermediation” or “edge power,” where services such as data analytics, distributed generation, storage, demand response, energy efficiency, and financing are provided by non-utility entities along the value chain from generation to customer end-use. How are utilities reacting and what future utility business models could emerge?
NASEO Policy Outlook Conference Set for DC – The National Assn of state Energy Officials will hold its 2014 Energy Policy Outlook Conference at the Fairmont on tomorrow through Friday. The conference will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future. The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States. Our energy system is being stressed in order to meet complex operational demands, such as grid integration, shifts in resources and energy flows, cybersecurity, and an infusion of digital technologies across every sector of the economy.
ACORE Forum to Look at Alcohol Fuels – The American Council on Renewable Energy will hold a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at the Alcohol Fuels Alliance. Last November, at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced with senior representatives from the US, China and Brazil the creation of the Joint Alcohol Fuels Alliance (JAFA) with the goal of advancing cooperation among alcohol fuel producing and consuming countries in all matters related to alcohol fuel blending. The creation of JAFA followed the recommendation of the US Energy Security Council’s report “Fuel Choices for American Prosperity” advocating stronger multinational collaboration among the major alcohol fuel blenders – the US, China and Brazil.
Press Club Congressional Dinner Set – The Washington Press Club Foundation holds its 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on Wednesday in the evening at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s Grand Ballroom Concourse.
House Science to Discuss Texas, EPA Battle – The House Science Committee weighs into EPA-Texas battle this week with a hearing Wednesday on the science of the EPA’s effort. Witnesses will include Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter, TCEQ Chair Bryan Shaw, Chairman, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Farm Bureau President Ken Dierschke, EDF’s Elena Craft, and SMU Maguire Energy Institute Associate Director Bernard Weinstein.
ELI Panel to Look at 2014 Enviro Agenda – The Environmental Law Institute will hold an ELI Research Seminar Wednesday at Noon to discuss of what effects the next Obama Administration will have on environmental law, policy, and practice in 2014. Four expert practitioners will have an “inside-baseball” discussion about upcoming policies and regulatory agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Interior, among other regulatory agencies. Panelists will include former EPA GC Scott Fulton, former White House CEQ expert Gary Guzy, former FERC enforcement expert Sheila Slocum Hollis and Bill Meadows of the Wilderness Society.
RFF to Discuss Unconventional Ideas For Resources – Resources For the Future (RFF) will hold its February First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. Demographers emphasize that the population growth rate has steadily declined over the last four decades and is expected to continue declining at a rapid rate. What does this demographic phenomenon signify for demands on natural resources and ecological systems? What other factors may concurrently come into play? This moderated panel discussion will draw on the emerging insight that humankind may be in the era of the “Anthropocene,” prompting us to reconsider interrelationships among people, resources, ecology, and the way public policies shape these linkages. The State Department’s Jack Bobo will discuss some of the key demographic trends. UMBC Professor Erle Ellis, who has developed the still more recent concept of the “anthrome,” will discuss implications for ecological systems, including whether the potential to conserve biodiversity may, paradoxically, be increased by rapid urbanization and more intensive use of agricultural land. Roger Sedjo and Joel Darmstadter will emphasize the joint influence of markets and policy intervention, particularly in the cases of forests, agriculture, and energy.
Brookings to Focus on Energy, Security – On Wednesday, the Energy Security Initiative (ESI) at Brookings will host a forum on energy and security strategies featuring former State Dept official David Goldwyn, Chevron’s Jan Kalicki, Phillip Van Niekerk and Charles McPherson. They will share their views on the new edition of the Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy, a policy primer focusing on all aspects of energy policy. The panel will address topics such as energy governance and transparency and new developments in African energy. Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of ESI, will provide introductory remarks and then moderate a discussion..
POLITICO Forum to Discuss 2014 Energy Issues – POLITICO will host an in-depth look at the landscape for energy policy in 2014 and the implications for Congress and the administration on Thursday at 8:00 am at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Special Guests will include Sens. John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehouse as well as Reps. Joe Barton, Diana DeGette, Gene Green and John Shimkus.
Brookings to Look at China, Clean Energy – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. , the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host a panel discussion to evaluate China’s changing energy priorities and policies, their implications for U.S.-China energy cooperation and the growing demand and prospects for China’s energy future. Speakers will include Charles Ebinger of Brookings, WRI’s Sarah Forbes, Tufts University’s Kelly Sims Gallagher and CSIS expert Jane Nakano.
Sustainable Energy Factbook Released – Bloomberg New Energy Finance & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will release the 2014 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook on Thursday, February 6th at Noon. Over the past five years, the US economy has continued its shift to the increased production and consumption of lower-carbon energy. Join Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy for the release of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook to find out more about what happened in this complex US energy transformation in 2013 and the reasons why. In 2013, some clean energy technologies solidified their market shares and gained traction while others were stymied by stalled policy activity that could have propelled further growth. The second edition of the Factbook will detail this and other trends while offering fresh analysis of the “state of sustainable energy” in the United States. The Factbook includes new data on 1) Clean energy investment and deployment levels in the states; 2) Energy efficiency, biomass, biogas, and waste-to-energy industries ; 3) Smart technologies that aim to improve productivity and lower costs for consumers and businesses; and 4) Emerging trends such as “resilient” energy infrastructure and distributed generation. The Factbook is an objective and quantitative report that provides up-to-date (through year-end 2013), accurate market intelligence about the broad range of industries – energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas – that are contributing to the country’s rapid shifts in energy production, distribution and use. These sectors are no longer sources of “alternative” energy, but are quickly embedding themselves into the mainstream fabric of the US energy economy.
Segal, Holmstead Featured in ELI Debate on GHG Issues – The Environmental Law Institute will host a debate on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. regulating emissions outside the facility fenceline under Clean Air Act Section 111. Whether U.S. EPA and states can regulate emissions outside the facility fenceline is a critical factor in shaping the regulatory response to climate change using Clean Air Act Section 111. There has been much rhetoric about the ability of states and EPA to create regulatory tools such as a emissions trading of greenhouse gasses, but policy experts and professionals need a more definitive answer. To address this topic, ELI announces its second seminar in a debate format. Loosely following an academic debate structure, two expert teams will argue the resolution, ask questions of the other side, and identify points of agreement and disagreement. Following the debate, the discussion will open to audience questions. We hope this format will help to crystallize issues and separate fact from rhetoric. Debaters in the AFFIRMATIVE include Megan Ceronsky of EDF and NRDC’s David Doniger while debaters in the NEGATIVE will include Bracewell’s Jeffrey Holmstead and Scott Segal.
Panel to Look Russia, Arctic – George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) will hold a forum on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. on Russian’s Arctic strategies. The purpose of Russia’s Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North is to offer a comprehensive assessment of Russia’s strategy in the Arctic including climate change, territorial disputes, military prestige, economic resources, and regional development. It investigates the multiple facets making Arctic questions a revelatory prism through which to view Russia’s current changes and future challenges, and attempts to assemble them into a coherent whole. Panelists include Heather Conley of CSIS, Caitlyn Antrim of the Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans and Timothy Heleniak of the American Geographical Society.
NARUC Winter Meetings Set – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will host its Winter Meetings on February 9th through 12th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Five U.S. senators and two cabinet secretaries will address a gathering of State utility regulators. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas will speak during the morning general session on Tuesday, February 11th. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver a keynote address at the Opening General Session Monday, February 10th. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will speak at the closing session on Wednesday, February 12th. Dan Utech, director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House, will join Secretary Moniz. Also, EPA Air office head Janet McCabe will participate in a panel discussion on Tuesday. Other speakers include EPRI CEO Mike Howard, Edison Electric Institute Executive Vice President of Business Operations David Owens, NRDC Energy Program Co-Director Ralph Cavanagh, and many more. The cross-cutting agenda will feature discussions on net-neutrality, climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, gas pipeline safety, telecommunications legislative policy, and distributed generation and the smart grid, among other topics.
NARUC, FERC to Discuss Resources – In addition to the NARUC Winter meeting, the NARUC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sunday Morning Collaborative will discuss resource adequacy issues on Sunday, February 9th. FERC commissioners will also join the NARUC Committees on Electricity and Energy Resources and the Environment for a joint meeting Tuesday, February 11th.
CSIS to Look at Oil Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will a conference next Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. to examine the impact of surging domestic crude oil production on the potential for changing current policy restricting crude oil exports. As the price differential between domestic and international crudes remains wide, producers have become more vocal about their desire for a less restrictive export system. Recently, leading producer appeals have been joined by calls for reform from Washington, including from Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Lisa Murkowski, and Senate Democratic ENR Committee member Mary Landrieu. As the debate about crude oil exports heats up, many questions remain. Why have crude exports become an issue, and what are the consequences of inaction? The panelists will present their assessments of the market impact restricting or allowing crude exports. They include our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy and several others
Cato to Hold Event on Oil Exports – The Cato Institute will hold a forum next Monday at 10:00 a.m. on oil exports featuring former Rep. James Bacchus, International Trade Attorney Scott Lincicome and Mark Perry, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan–Flint. Cato’s Daniel Ikenson will moderate. , Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute. A once-in-a-generation supply shock is transforming global energy markets, lowering crude oil and natural gas prices, and quickly making the United States the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. But energy politics threatens to short-circuit this American economic boom. Of immediate concern are federal regulations — in particular, discretionary export-licensing systems for natural gas and crude oil — that were implemented during the 1970s, an era of energy scarcity. By restricting exports and subjecting approvals to the whims of politicians, the current licensing systems distort energy prices and deter investment and employment in these promising sectors of the U.S. economy. They also irritate global trading partners, likely violate U.S. trade treaty obligations, and undermine other U.S. policy objectives.
Good Job, Green Jobs Conference Set – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold Its Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington at the Washington Hilton Hotel next Monday and Tuesday. It is the event where jobs and the environment meet, and it will feature keynote speakers, informative workshops, and opportunities to network with people from around the country making a difference in their communities tackling climate change and creating jobs. This year’s Conference is focused on repairing the systems Americans rely on every day. Whether getting us back and forth to work, supplying our power, keeping us safe from storms and floods, communicating with police and fire during emergencies, or ensuring the institutions where our children learn are safe and healthy, we need to repair these systems today to create quality, family-sustaining jobs, to address the threat of climate change, and to ensure the health and safety of our workplaces and our communities. Speakers will include Gina McCarthy, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jeff Merkley, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumpka, NRDC’s Frances Beinecke, Sierra Club’s Michael Brune and Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers, among others.
Forum to Look at Conservative, Environmental Issues – The R Street Institute will Hold a half-day forum on Monday, February 10th at The Loft on Conservative Environmentalism. Twenty-five years after President Reagan left office, conservatives find themselves in an often bitter fight with the left over environmental policy. From green energy to the Keystone pipeline to public land management, the right and the left are frequently at odds over the best approach to secure both wise environmental stewardship and strong economic growth. At this half-day conference, two panels will examine these questions. The first will discuss President Reagan’s environmental legacy, including the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, and Reagan’s public lands designations. It will draw out the president’s guiding principles and examine the positive and negative aspects of each policy. The second panel will discuss free-market solutions to today’s issues, including energy research, stormwater runoff, the state of the Coastal Barrier Resources System, and the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil spill. How should federal and state officials think about these problems? The conference will end with a lunch keynote by environmental policy expert and Reagan historian Steven Hayward.
Market Experts to Tackle Crude Exports Question – CSIS’s North American Oil and Gas Infrastructure Working Group will hold a forum on Monday, February 10th at 9:30 a.m. looking at crude oil export market drivers and near-term implications. This session will examine the impact of surging domestic crude oil production on the potential for changing current policy restricting crude oil exports. As the price differential between domestic and international crudes remains wide, producers have become more vocal about their desire for a less restrictive export system. Recently, leading producer appeals have been joined by calls for reform from Washington, including from Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Lisa Murkowski, and Senate Democratic ENR Committee member Mary Landrieu. As the debate about crude oil exports heats up, many questions remain. Why have crude exports become an issue, and what are the consequences of inaction? The panelists will present their assessments of the market impact restricting or allowing crude exports. A discussion will follow with speakers Roger Diwan of IHS Energy Insight, Citi Research’s Ed Morse, Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners and Michael Cohen of Barclays.
Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston. More on this in the upcoming weeks. While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.
Markey to Speak at Film Festival on Uranium – The Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Goethe-Institute are hosting the International Uranium Film Festival in Washington DC on Monday and Tuesday. Climate change, energy security and demographics continue to determine the global development agenda well into the twenty-first century. At the same time, the nuclear industry portrays nuclear as a viable and secure solution to those challenges, and mining companies are constantly looking for new uranium deposits. Yet, nuclear accidents do happen, and when they do, have most devastating effects on local and regional populations. The featured movies will highlight some of those personal stories and will include the film Nuclear Savage, footage never seen before in the US. The International Uranium Film Festival is the first festival of its kind that addresses the problems and challenges related to nuclear and radioactive issues. After premiering in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, the festival has traveled to major cities around the world, including São Paulo, Recife, Salvador & Fortaleza in Brazil; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal; Berlin and Munich in Germany; and ten major cities in India including New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The festival is now – for the first time – coming to Washington DC. Screenings will take place on three consecutive nights, followed by a panel discussion featuring film directors and policy experts, including Sen. Ed Markey.
Forum to Look at Solar Jobs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a forum on Tuesday February 11th at 2:30 p.m. looking at the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2013, which found record growth in the U.S. solar industry. The Census, which is based on over 75,000 phone calls and emails to solar industry employers, determined that the solar industry grew at ten times the national average last year, creating 24,000 new jobs. Survey respondents cited declining equipment costs as the primary driver behind the industry’s remarkable growth and were optimistic about creating new jobs in 2014. Since the start of the annual Census in 2010, U.S. solar industry employment has increased 53 percent and now employs more than 142,000 Americans. Speakers will include Rep. Anna Eshoo, Andrea Luecke of the Solar Foundation, Amit Ronen of the GW Solar Institute and DOE’s Jason Walsh.
Moniz, The Fray to Open Ivanpah Solar Project – NRG Energy, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel will hold a grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on February 12th and February 13th in Las Vegas. Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, which is located in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border, uses 347,000 sunfacing mirrors to produce 392 Megawatts of electricity – enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 California homes. The event will feature a first look at Ivanpah during the two-day event. There will be a dinner on Wednesday followed by tour, ribbon cutting and lunch on Thursday. U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz will be the keynote speaker and there will be an appearance by Grammy-nominated band The Fray. Images used in the lyric video for “Love Don’t Die,” the first song released from the Fray’s album, Helios, were shot at Ivanpah.
GreenBiz Forum Set for AZ – The GreenBiz Forum 2014 will be held on February 18-20th at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Arizona. Presented in partnership with The Sustainability Consortium and ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, the sixth annual GreenBiz Forum defines the trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business now. The Forum is framed by the annual State of Green Business report, the seventh annual edition of GreenBiz’s acclaimed accounting of key sustainability metrics and trends.
RFA Conference to Tackle Challenges to Ethanol – The Renewable Fuels Association will hold the 19th annual National Ethanol Conference at the JW Marriott in Orlando, Florida on February 17th through 19th. Among the number of issues panels and forum, on Tuesday, February 18th, Led Zeppelin 2, a premier Led Zeppelin cover band, will play at the event.
CSIS to Tackle NatGas Supply, Demand Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Tuesday February 18th offering a reassessment of gas supply and demand prospects as well as a discussion of the path forward. More efficient drilling, new technologies, and a deeper geological understanding have not only increased access to domestic gas resources but have also allowed for the development of an updated profile of the resource itself. The rapidly evolving nature of U.S. unconventional gas development has rendered resource estimates made only a few years ago already out of date. At the same time, opportunities for new demand growth have also increased. Yet challenges to realizing the full potential of this resource remain.
Moniz to Address Press Club Luncheon – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at the National Press Club Luncheon on Wednesday, February 19th at 12:30 p.m. Moniz, the former MIT faculty member and this years designated SOTU “survivor” is wrestling with the challenges posed by unprecedented domestic supplies of energy and the demands in some quarters to push for more exports. He will address that and many other topics.
Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20th, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.
Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture. Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities. The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley. USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
Interior Sects, former WY Gov Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on February 27th and 28th in Boulder. People from different disciplines and backgrounds will discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future. Speakers will include Jeff Bingaman, former Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and U.S. Senator from New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Designate Michael Connor, former Governor of Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, former Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Ken Salazar.
CA Clean Energy Roundtable Set – The Environmental Markets Association and PG&E will hold the first Thought Leader Round Table of 2014 on Friday, February 28th in San Francisco at the offices of PG&E. EMA’s Regional Round Tables are designed to promote open discussions between industry professionals and regulatory officials. With 30-50 attendees at each of the Round Tables, presenters and attendees come away with a new knowledge and understanding of issues and potential solutions.
AWC Speakers to Address Offshore Wind Conference in Boston – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Mass on February 26th and 27th at the Hynes Conference Center. Speakers will include AWC exec Bob Mitchell and AWC funder John Breckenridge of Bregal Energy. Other speakers are Interior’s Tommy Beaudreau and DOE’s Dan Poneman and Peter Davidson, as well as Jim Gordon of Cape Wind, Jeff Grybowski of Deepwater and Abby Hopper of the Maryland Energy Administration.
CERA Week Set – March 3-7th will be CERA week in Houston.
Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel. Against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production. The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. And Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane and former President of Shell John Hofmeister.