Friends,

The Olympics ended yesterday with a flurry, and the games were a success.  The games delivered many excellent moments without many of the problems that critics expected or worried about.  The US won lots of gold medals in many of the non-traditional Winter Olympic events (the new “X” Games- type events), but we also still won several medals in the Bobsled/luge/skeleton events and several great downhill skiing medals.

Other than the US Speedskating performance (which is usually a strong suit of USA, perhaps most disappointing were the final play of the Olympic hockey tournament.  While the preliminary rounds were fabulous, the medal games were pretty boring, grinding games.  Nothing against the Canadians, who smothered both the US in the semi and Sweden in the final, but it just wasn’t very exciting hockey.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of a late Stanley Cup Final game, with four lines of the best players, the league’s best “shut-down” defensemen and great goaltending.  A definite recipe for success.  Another big item note to be overlooked in the final was Sweden’s loss of great puck-possession centers Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sendin, as well big body presence of Johan Franzen.  As well, the IOC once again stuck it foot in its mouth by preventing  Caps star center Nicklas Backstrom from playing because of a game day allergy-medicine drug-test failure.    Something has to be done about this continued overreach, which cost Backstrom his Silver medal.   Anyway, now back to the NHL reality and a two-month run to the playoffs starting tomorrow.  2016 Summer games are next in Rio de Janeiro and 23rd Winter games in 2018 will be in PyeongChang, South Korea.

While it still is getting colder again in most of the country, remember that players are reporting to spring training and games start this weekend.  Finally, I hope you watched the World Golf Championship Accenture Matchplay tournament.  In the final, which went into extra holes, there was some of the most unbelievable shotmaking from terrible lies ever by French unknown Victor Dubuisson.  Even the commentators, former professional golf ears themselves had never seen such incredible play under pressure.  Jason Day eventually won on the 23rd hole.

Following on last week’s rumors, long-time Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell will not seek reelection.  Dingell is the longest serving lawmaker in congressional history and was one of the most powerful members of Congress ever.  Dingell replaced his father in the House some 58 years ago and served 29 terms helping to pass — if not write — the most iconic pieces of legislation of the last six decades, from the Civil Rights Act and Medicare to the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and, in 2010, the Affordable Care Act.  See the local, excellent coverage from our friends at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

Today, besides the nation’s governors being in town for a conference, the Supreme Court tackles oral arguments regarding EPA’s first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.  The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Administrator, says the case is narrow and wont much of an impact ability to regulate carbon emissions.

Also launching today, the ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit launches with comments from Waste Management Recycle America head Bill Caesar today.  Tomorrow, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta are on the agenda.

Also tomorrow at 3:30, the University of Delaware and Rockefeller Brothers will announce a major initiative at an offshore wind conference in Boston.   The project is expected to push offshore wind throughout the east coast, connecting critical information on cutting-edge technologies, financing and collaboration opportunities.  More on this tomorrow.

Next week is CERA Week in Houston, so get ready for that big event.  Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Southern Plant Signs Loan Guarantee for Nukes – Following a speech at the National Press Club last week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz then traveled to Georgia to join Southern Company leaders in a ceremony that announced Georgia Power has secured approximately $3.46 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE.  The ceremony was at the site of the Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the nuclear expansion project. The nuclear loan guarantees are expected to provide Georgia Power customers approximately $225 million to $250 million of present-value benefits.  The two new nuclear units are under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga., where two existing nuclear units have been in operation since the late 1980s.

What is Southern Building at Vogtle – The new units will use state-of-the-art AP1000 technology and are among the first new nuclear units being built in the U.S. in 30 years. The addition of the new units will make Plant Vogtle the only four-unit nuclear facility in the country.   Under the terms of the agreement, total guaranteed borrowings will be the lesser of 70% of the company’s eligible projected costs or approximately $3.46 billion and will be funded by the Federal Financing Bank. Georgia Power received an initial draw of $1 billion and future draws may occur as often as quarterly. The loan guarantees apply to borrowings related to the construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4, and any guaranteed borrowings will be full recourse to Georgia Power and secured by a first priority lien on the company’s 45.7% ownership interest in the two new units.  Along with Georgia Power’s portion of the two 1,100-megawatt reactors, the remaining ownership is split among Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power’s share of costs is currently projected at approximately $6.8 billion, which includes approximately $2 billion of financing costs to be collected during construction.

What the Construction Means to Georgia – The construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 represents a multi-billion dollar capital investment in Georgia. It is the largest job-producing project in the state, employing approximately 5,000 people during peak construction and creating 800 permanent jobs when the plant begins operating. Georgia Power is in a position to provide customers approximately $2 billion in potential benefits in the form of savings related to recovery of financing costs during construction, DOE loan guarantees, production tax credits, lower-than-forecast interest rates and lower-than-forecast commodity costs. Once complete, the new facility will produce enough clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power 500,000 Georgia homes and businesses.

When Will Vogtle Be Done – Vogtle units 3 and 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Positive progress continues on the facility and major milestones are being met. Procurement of all major components is complete and fabrication and delivery of these components are on track to meet project needs.

Study: Wind Turbines Effective For 25 Years – A new study by the Imperial College Business School in the U.K. says that wind turbines can last about 25 years before requiring an upgrade, going against a common claim that wind turbines have short life spans. Based on an examination of wind turbines in the U.K., researchers carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

Freight Railroads, DOT Announce Rail Safety Initiative – The nation’s major freight railroads U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out a rail operations safety initiative that will institute new voluntary operating practices for moving crude oil by rail.  The announcement follows consultations between railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The announcement today covers steps related to crude by rail operations. Additional issues relating to the safe transport of crude oil, such as tank car standards and proper shipper classification of crude oil, are being addressed separately.

Railroads will Take Key Steps – Under the industry’s voluntary efforts, railroads will take the following steps: 1) Increased Track Inspections – Effective March 25, railroads will perform at least one additional internal-rail inspection each year above those required by new FRA regulations on main line routes over which trains moving 20 or more carloads of crude oil travel.  Railroads will also conduct at least two high-tech track geometry inspections each year on main line routes over which trains with 20 or more loaded cars of crude oil are moving.  Current federal regulations do not require comprehensive track geometry inspections.  2) Braking Systems – No later than April 1, railroads will equip all trains with 20 or more carloads of crude oil with either distributed power or two-way telemetry end-of-train devices. These technologies allow train crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train in order to stop the train faster. 3) Use of Rail Traffic Routing Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin using the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS) to aid in the determination of the safest and most secure rail routes for trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil. 4) Lower Speeds – No later than July 1, railroads will operate trains with 20 or more tank cars carrying crude oil that include at least one older DOT-111 car no faster than 40 miles-per-hour in the federally designated 46 high-threat-urban areas (HTUA) as established by DHS regulations.  In the meantime, railroads will continue to operate trains with 20 or more carloads of hazardous materials, including crude oil, at the industry self-imposed speed limit of 50 miles per hour.  5) Community Relations – Railroads will continue to work with communities through which crude oil trains move to address location-specific concerns that communities may have.  6) Increased Trackside Safety Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin installing additional wayside wheel bearing detectors if they are not already in place every 40 miles along tracks with trains carrying 20 or more crude oil cars, as other safety factors allow.  7) Increased Emergency Response Training and Tuition Assistance – Railroads have committed by July 1 to provide $5 million to develop specialized crude by rail training and tuition assistance program for local first responders.  8) Emergency Response Capability Planning – Railroads will by July 1 develop an inventory of emergency response resources for responding to the release of large amounts of crude oil along routes over which trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil operate.  This inventory will include locations for the staging of emergency response equipment and, where appropriate, contacts for the notification of communities.  When the inventory is completed, railroads will provide DOT with information on the deployment of the resources and make the information available upon request to appropriate emergency responders.

API Says Import Crude Lowest in 17 Years – Late last week, API said the United States imported less crude oil in January than at any time since the late 1990s, among many other things as it released it January statistics.  They said crude oil imports of 7.5 million barrels per day marked a 5.2% decline year-on-year and the lowest level in 17 years, attributing the decline to higher domestic crude oil production.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Steyer to Speak at Climate Leadership Conference – Leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofits will share innovative ways to address climate change through policy and business solutions at the 2014 Climate Leadership Conference today through Wednesday in San Diego.  Climate philanthropist Tom Steyer, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, and Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann will be among more than 75 speakers. For more information, contact press@climateleadershipconference.org.

Podesta, Moniz, WM’s Caesar to Headline ARPA-E Event  ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit, will be held today through Wednesday at National Harbor, MD. Now in its fifth year, the Summit will attract influential thought leaders to discuss new and effective energy technology advancements to secure the nation’s global technology leadership.  The premier event dedicated to transformative energy solutions, the Summit will bring together a range of public and private sector leaders to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and build relationships to help move technologies into the marketplace. Additionally, the Technology Showcase includes several hundred carefully selected transformational technologies—many of which are demonstrated publicly for the first time during the Summit.  Speaker will include Waste Management Recycle America Bill Caesar, President, WM and WM Organic Growth, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta, among others.

Forum to Focus on Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation   Today at noon, Johns Hopkins University MS Program in Energy Policy and Climate Program will present a forum next Monday at Noon featuring Bruce S. Schlein, Director of Corporate Sustainability at Citi.  Schlein will lead a discussion on aggregating and standardizing energy efficiency and distributed generation to get to scale.  Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation (EE/DG) in the built environment hold significant promise for delivering energy savings, local jobs, and environmental benefits. Sufficient scale is needed for EE/DG to realize its full potential, and reaching scale vis-à-vis finance requires aggregation and standardization to bridge to the capital markets. This session reviews various finance and policy mechanisms, and their strengths and weaknesses by property asset class.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Court GHG Panel –Following today arguments, the environmental Law Institute and DC Bar Association will host a debrief of the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument on EPA’s GHG Rulemakings at noon.  After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rulemakings (Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012)), several states and industry groups appealed to the Supreme Court.  Depending on how the Court treats the breadth of this question, the Court’s decision could have little or significant effects on EPA’s requirement that certain stationary industrial sources obtain prevention of significant deterioration or Title V operating permits for greenhouse gas emissions.  ELI and distinguished panelists, many of whom participated in the case, will discuss and dissect the previous day’s oral argument and the implications of the potential outcomes for clients and policy moving forward.  Andy Oldham, the Deputy Solicitor General of Texas and Vickie Patton of the Environmental Defense Fund will be among the speakers.

Breitling CEO to Discuss NatGas Drilling at Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February luncheon panel at the University Club tomorrow at Noon featuring Chris Faulkner, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breitling Energy Corporation.  Faulkner will discuss “The Fracking Truth – How to Safely Manage the Process and the Impact on the U.S. and the World.”

GWU Energy Security Policy Forum Set – GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs will host a Security Policy Forum on Tuesday, February 25th looking at energy security in the 21st Century.  The forum will feature David Goldwyn, former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and GW Institute for Security and Conflict Studies Director Charles Glaser.

Marshall Forum to Look at Energy Policy – The George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Club on policy priorities for U.S. energy policy.  The panel will feature Marshall CEO Bill O’Keefe, Manhattan Institute fellow Mark Mills and Chamber Energy expert Steve Eule.  Energy issues remain at the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda. President Obama credited his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy for moving the U.S. “closer to energy independence than we have been in decades” in his State of the Union address.  The continued expansion of domestic energy production raises environmental, economic, and international trade questions.  Other key energy decisions facing the nation will impact economic and environmental policy, including regulations on coal-fired power plants, the Keystone XL, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), tax and other preferences to support renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels, and leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration.  Recently, the Marshall Institute released a new report, A Framework for a New U.S. Energy Policy, detailing principles to guide the development of energy policy in the years to come.

CSIS to look at China, Energy — The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Xiaojie Xu, head of the World Energy Division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Xu will present the World Energy China Outlook. The outlook, an annual report, examines world energy trends from China’s perspective, addresses energy development in China (and the global repercussions thereof), and provides energy policy recommendations for the Chinese government. This year’s outlook addresses a variety of topics including unconventional gas production in China, renewable energy development, and the increasing need for a ‘social license’ for energy projects. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Consumers to Rollout Auto Issue at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Association will hold a forum at The National Press Club tomorrow  at noon, where Consumer Reports will announce their Top Picks for 2014 and offer their insights into today’s most pressing automotive consumer and industry questions. Each spring, consumers and auto industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Auto issue for its Top Picks in cars and trucks.  From best and worst in fuel economy, safety and overall value to special tips to get the most car for the money in this economy, the issue provides the ratings, recommendations, and advice that will influence consumer purchases.  Which manufacturers are making the best cars? Consumer Reports auto issue also features its annual car brand report card that take an in-depth look at which brands offer the most for consumers combining scoring for test performance, reliability and safety across their entire product line.

Offshore Wind Conference in Boston Set – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts Wednesday and Thursday at the Hynes Conference Center.  Speakers will include AWC technical expert Bill Wall, as well as 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.   The University of Delaware is also expected to make a major announcement about a new center on Tuesday afternoon.

House Resources to look at Energy Jobs for Vets – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on American energy jobs and opportunities for veterans.

CSIS to Discuss Unconventional Shale – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:30a.m. to discuss the domestic economic implications of the U.S. oil and gas revolution.  CSIS will host Trevor Houser, Partner at the Rhodium Group, and Mohsen Bonakdarpour, Managing Director for Consulting Group of IHS Economics. As unconventionals production moves out of its nascence and our knowledge of the resource base improves, various impacts slowly begin to unfold. Perhaps most importantly, the economic story slowly comes to light–job growth, the effects on industry (both energy intensive and otherwise) and trade balances. Trevor Houser and Mohsen Bonakdarpour will discuss their respective reports on the topic followed by a period for Q&A. David Pumphrey, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

GWU Forum looks at Climate, Sustainability George Washington University’s Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) will hold a discussion on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. climate and sustainable development in Myanmar.  The presentation will provide a review of the historical, an overview of contemporary and a preview of potential outcomes of the inextricable linkage of climate and social, economic and human development as well as some policy, technical, management and institutional response measures. It will make the case for temporal and spatial inter-connectedness as well as the need to go beyond sustainability and include resiliency. The challenge in Myanmar as well as in other ASEAN countries is the fierce urgency of how to be more sustainable and resilient in crafting development policies, strategies and actions. The opportunity for transformational institutional, capacity building, technology, economic instruments, and management response options will be discussed.  Nay Htun of Stony Brook University will speak.

Forum to Address Building Resilience – EESI will host a briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. I the Senate Visitor Center Room 203 looking at the emerging public-policy issue of resiliency. There is a growing, bipartisan call for urgent action to improve the resiliency of cities, communities and critical systems. Thousands of homes, buildings and other infrastructure have been damaged or completely destroyed by powerful hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in recent years. The severe drought in the Southwest is wreaking havoc in other ways and prompting widespread restrictions on water use.  Is it possible to have “strong” and “green” buildings that withstand hurricane-force winds, conserve energy and water, and remain operational during a power outage? If model building codes help ensure minimum levels of quality, health, safety and energy efficiency in new homes and buildings, why are there so many communities without basic building codes? How can we improve our existing buildings? In this briefing, experts in architecture and building science, risk management, and energy policy will address these and other questions as well as related pending legislation, community initiatives, and tangible strategies and solutions for improving the resilience of our buildings. Speakers will include Debra Ballen of Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Cooper Martin of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Ryan Meres of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and Jake Oster, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for VT Rep. Peter Welch.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov. Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on Thursday and Friday 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 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.

Smart Grid Forum Set – On Friday, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will hold the first in a series of sector-specific Trade Talks at its headquarters in Arlington, VA. Attendees will learn how to expand their business in the global electricity transmission and distribution market, which is forecast to reach nearly $500 billion over the next seven years. USTDA’s Trade Talk: Smart Grid will feature briefings from technical experts and U.S. Government officials, as well as industry case studies and an open forum discussion.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

CERA Week Set – March 3-7th will be CERA week in Houston.  CERAWeek 2014, presented by IHS Energy, will focus on the accelerating pace of change in energy markets, technologies, and geopolitics—and the emerging competitive playing field. The competitive landscape is evolving rapidly, affecting countries, companies, sources of supply, fuels for end-use markets, investment, logistics, human capital, and technological innovation. Companies face considerable risk as they seek to invest to support long-term growth.  Again, CERAWeek has a crazy list of speakers including Valero CEO Bill Klesse, Duke CEO Lynn Good, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Energy Sect Ernie Moniz, EIA’s Adam Sieminski, Sen Energy ranking member Lisa Murkowski, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew MacKenzie, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler and many, many more.

Forum to Look at Shale Gas in Azerbaijan – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host on Tuesday March 4th featuring Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice-President for Investment and Marketing of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), to discuss the development of the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea. Stage 2 of the development, agreed upon by the project consortium in December 2013, forms the foundation for plans to develop and expand pipeline capacity through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, establishing what many are calling a new Southern Gas Corridor in Europe. Dr. Baylarbayov, who played an integral role in concluding the final investment decision on the next stage of development and the pipeline discussions, will discuss the future of Azerbaijani gas and the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor. Elizabeth Urbanas, Director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Robin West, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide comments. Edward Chow, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

BHP CEO to Discuss Future Energy Needs – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation on Thursday March 6th at 10:00 a.m. with Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, to discuss how the world can meet the demand for resources as 1.7 billion people gain access to electricity over the next 20 years and energy demand grows by 30%. With a portfolio spanning steel making materials, metals, energy and fertilizer BHP Billiton is the world’s largest diversified resources company and the only firm to produce oil, gas, coal and uranium as well as the metals used in renewables like copper. Headquartered in Australia, the company has operations in 26 countries and a workforce of approximately 128,000 people.  Andrew Mackenzie was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton in May 2013. He has had over 30 years’ experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals and has held a number of senior roles at BP and Rio Tinto.

DOT Rail Meeting Expected to Touch New Agreement – The Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) will hold its semi- annual public meeting on March 6 in Washington, D.C. Established by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of the Department of Transportation in 2007, RETAC serves as a forum for government, industry and others to discuss emerging issues in the transportation by rail of biofuels, conventional hydrocarbons and coal. Its 25 voting members span across large and small railroads, coal producers, electric utilities, the biofuels industry, the petroleum industry and the private railcar industry.  Following last week announcement by AAR and DOT, there will Likely be more interest in this meeting.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual gala on March 13th at the National Press Club.

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.

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for March 19 and 20th in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Head to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on March 20th at the National Press Club , featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.