Friends,

What a crazy couple of days we just had: 1) for you Math nerds – Pi (3.14159…) Day on Friday (brought in a tasty Apple pie); 2) for you history/literature buffs – the Ides of March on Saturday, 3) for the religious and Rainbow-haired sports fans – John 3:16 Day on Sunday; and finally today — St. Patrick’s Day, mixing a little Green with the White.  The White?  Yes, about 8 inches of snow, forcing the federal government and local schools to close again.  What to do?  How about move right to our NCAA hoops brackets…

Yes, that is right.  As of 7:00 pm or so last night, I may have received a dozen or so emails inviting me to join into the NCAA Hoop bracketology.  While I don’t promise to know all, here are a few good facts to keep in mind when picking:

1) Have a strategy that includes some surprise picks.  If you are right, that’s how you score points. There will always be upsets and Cinderellas that will shock the pool.  Keep in mind, the lowest seed ever to make a final four is an #11.

2) Pick the right #1 seeds since 14 times since NCAA expansion in 1985, 52% of the time #1 seeds have won the entire tournament.  Only once (4% of the time) have all four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four, with only three times (12% of the time) no #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four.

3) Pay attention to coaches’ names: Since 1989, the national title has been won by a coach with an “I” in his last name 18 times. Not since 1997 (Lute Olson with Arizona) has a coach won the title without having an “I” in his first or last name. Maybe that is a sign as well since AZ is the overall #1 seed.

4) Winners are often always winners: Duke (.750) has the best winning percentage for teams playing a minimum of 20 tournament games. Others in the tournament: UCLA (.725), North Carolina (.722), Florida (.714), Kentucky (.707), Kansas (.699), Michigan State (.683) and Michigan (.672).  Picking those teams should yield some points.

5) So who to pick:  Play- in game winners: #11 – Iowa over Tennessee, #12 – NC St over Xavier, #16 – Cal Poly over TX Southern; #16 – Mt. St. Marys over Albany (that would be a better lax game).  Surprises to watch for in Round One: Dayton, Toledo, Stephen F. Austin, Harvard, Manhattan, Mercer (watch out Duke), Western Michigan.   Final Four:   South: I like the Steve Alford-led UCLA Bruins; West: Wisc should give them a game but I like Arizona; East: Mich St (too good to overlook at #4 Seed) Midwest: This one is totally up in air, but I like either Michigan or Louisville; Just don’t see WSU Shockers becoming first since ’76 IU Hoosiers to run the table.  Champs: Arizona.

At least we have a slower week this week as Congress heads home to the spring break district work period. That will give us plenty of time to get our picks done and our snow shoveled, as well as spending a good part of Thursday and Friday watching Round 1.  While it is a slow week, the Methanol Policy Forum is tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Hyatt and will feature our friend and former EPA expert Joe Cannon, former Senate Energy Chair Bennett Johnston, former NSA chief Bob MacFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister.  As well, the INGAA Foundation event slated for this morning will be rescheduled for tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the Press Club. Don Santa and ANGA’s Marty Durbin will discuss a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035.

Finally, Congrats to my Bracewell environmental section colleagues Rich Alonso, Sandra Snyder and Tim Wilkins, who won a major victory on Friday when EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board said it wouldn’t review the air quality permit for the LaPaloma natural gas power plant in Texas after the Sierra Club raised questions about the plant’s GHG permit.   Another victory for the good guys…Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Landrieu, Others Push Administration on Helium Legislation Implementation – In her first official move as Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Mary Landrieu is leading a bipartisan, bicameral inquiry with House Resources Chair Doc Hastings and ranking members Lisa Murkowski and Peter DeFazio into the US Helium program and its implementation under last year’s Helium Stewardship Act.  The legislation aimed to create more competition, increase reliability for end-users of helium, and bring in better returns for US taxpayers from sales of crude helium from the Federal Helium Reserve. In the letter to GAO, Landrieu, Murkowski, Hastings and DeFazio expressed concern about BLM’s implementation of those provisions to date–including the ability of helium purchasers to get crude helium refined (a.k.a. “tolled”).  Without the availability of tolling, it is unlikely the legislation will achieve its goal of getting more parties into the market and increasing supply reliability for end-users.  The congressional leaders are asking that GAO investigate the BLM’s plans for helium sales, enforcement of the tolling conditions developed in the Act and other general helium sales oversight.  BLM is scheduled to have a large sale of crude helium from the Reserve in August of 2014 and Congressional leaders are concerned that BLM’s current inattention to these provisions may be undercutting the interests of the government, the fair market and competition envisioned by last year’s legislation.  You can find the letter here.  Please contact my colleague Salo Zelermyer at 202-828-1718 who can help you with background and resources on the issue.

House Doctors’ Letter Raise Concerns about Health Benefits of EPA Rule – Eleven doctors in the House of Representatives signed a letter to EPA on health benefits and the EPA power plant rules.  Essentially, the letter questions whether unilateral carbon rules will produce health benefits given the global nature of the emission and the tendency of EPA to double count conventional air pollution benefits in any event.  Further, the letter reflects upon the threats to public health created by the rules because of adverse impacts on the economy, energy prices, and electric reliability.  It asks for EPA to prove of its case to the doctors.  I can forward a copy of the letter should you want to see it.

Hamilton College Says No to Activists on Divestment – Another liberal northeast college has told activists urging them to divest from fossil fuels to go pound frack sand.  After Harvard, Brown and Middlebury each told protesters no thanks to divesting their endowments from fossil fuels, New York’s liberal Hamilton College made a similar statement this week.  In a letter,  Hamilton College Trustee Investment Committee Chair Henry Bedford said that “divestment would likely entail a financial risk to the endowment, both short- and long-term. There are also other concerns, from questions about the real value of such an act to the belief that it is likely better to have a voice in corporate conversations about responsible behavior than to withdraw from them. We are sensitive too, to the widely noted difficulty of reconciling an institutional boycott of a segment of an industry with the continued use by individuals and communities of the products and services offered by that segment. But the fundamental question has to do with our responsibility to steward funds entrusted to us in support of the College’s mission, which is education…We believe it would be a violation of trust to shape our investment strategies to achieve ends other than academic.”

EPA Send HF Rule to White House – EPA sent its proposal rulemaking for hydraulic fracturing disclosure to the Office of Management and Budget for review.  The proposal will require manufacturers, producers and distributors of products used in fracturing fluids to detail their potential health and environmental hazards.   In the plan, EPA is seeking feedback on the “design and scope” of the reporting requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act that would be included in the proposed rule. EPA to finalize the proposed rulemaking by August.  Many in industry say they are already disclosing many chemicals through state regulations and FracFocus.

Spring Brings Talk DST, Cherry Blossoms, Gas Prices – Two things we know for sure, if it’s spring, there will be talk in Washington about Daylight Savings Time and cherry Blossoms, as well as conversations about the price of gasoline.  Understanding Daylight Savings Time and Cherry Blossoms is pretty simple, but what impacts the price of gasoline is much more complicated.   There have been many stories in the press recently about factors impacting gasoline prices, many of which discuss refinery turnarounds.  In light of these stories, our friends at AFPM sat down with Chief Industry Analyst Joanne Shore to discuss seasonal factors that impact gasoline prices, and how crude oil supply and refinery turnarounds affect the price at the pump.   Watch all of the videos on our AFPM News channel, under “Fuels.”

WAPA Gala Awards New Corvette – At its Annual Gala, the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) presented the Golden Gear Award to the team responsible for the development of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The award was accepted on the team’s behalf by Stacy Summers, District Sales Manager for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., for Chevrolet.   The WAPA Annual Gala, held at the National Press Club brought together auto journalists, manufacturer and industry representatives from all over the country. For nearly 30 years, WAPA has presented its Golden Gear Award to honor an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the automotive industry. Since 2009, the Golden Gear has been awarded in memory of WAPA founding member and legendary automotive journalist John Lynker. An occasional newspaper columnist and magazine contributor, Lynker anchored Washington’s WTOP radio station for more than 20 years.  Prior recipients of the Golden Gear Award include Scott Keogh of Audi; John Krafcik of Hyundai; Roger Penske; J.D. Power; Carroll Shelby; Robert Lutz of General Motors; Carlos Ghosn of Nissan; Henrik Fisker; and John W. Hetrick, designer of the patented airbag.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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. tomorrow 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, former President of Shell John Hofmeister and former EPA official and current Fuel Freedom Foundation head Joe Cannon.

POSTPONED – Fuel Cell Forum to Look at Resiliency, Security – Today’s  weather has postponed  the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association forum at Noon in Senate Visitor Center Room 200 on the resiliency and efficiency of fuel cells and hydrogen and there impacts on energy security.  Speakers were to include Ed Cohen of Honda, Daimler’s Gwen Bluemich, Katrina Fritz of ClearEdge Power and DoE Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, among others.  The event will be rescheduled soon.

INGAA Infrastructure Report Released Tomorrow – Originally scheduled for this morning and delayed by the snow, INGAA Foundation President and CEO Don Santa, ANGA President and CEO Marty Durbin, Sunland Construction President and CEO (and INGAA Foundation Chairman) Craig Meier and representatives from ICF Consulting will brief reporters on a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035. The report, released at the National Press Club at 9:00a.m. tomorrow, will include natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil pipeline midstream investments and detail jobs and economic impacts through 2035 as a result of those investments.

Forum to Look at Renewables For Poverty Reduction – The Society for International Development – Washington will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on the promise of solar-powered irrigation pumps for poverty reduction.  When people have access to water and energy, poverty is reduced and life chances are significantly improved.  In its focus on the water-energy nexus for UN World Water Day on March 22, 2014, the World Water Report examines how the water and energy sectors are working together to increase energy services that will lead to major improvements in sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries.  Called a ‘game changer’ for agricultural economies since first introduced in the mid-2000s, solar-powered pumps for irrigation are an application at the water-energy nexus that is contributing to food security, empowerment of women farmers, and poverty reduction.  Solar-powered pumps are also at the nexus of the development community, with donors, NGOs, financial institutions, and the private sector committed to developing technologies, best practices, and business models to make them a success.  Speakers will include UNEP’s Carla Friedrich, Richard Colback of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USAID’s Renewable Energy Advisor Dr. Jeff Haeni and Bikash Pandy of Winrock International

RFF to Feature Expert on Financial, Environmental Risk – Resources for the Future will host a seminar series conversation tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. looking at a financial approach to environmental risk featuring Robert Engle.  Engle, 2003 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, is an expert in analyzing the movements of financial market prices and interest rates. His insights and methodologies are well known as indispensable tools for researchers and financial analysts alike. In recognition of his pioneering work, in 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH). He developed this method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility and demonstrated that these techniques accurately capture the properties of many time series. Professor Engle shared the prize with Clive W.J. Granger of the University of California, San Diego.  Many of these methods are now featured on the innovative public web site, V-LAB, where daily estimates of volatilities and correlations for more than a thousand assets are available to assist in evaluating portfolio risk, asset allocation, derivative pricing, and systemic risk measures now incorporated in the NYU Stern Systemic Risk Rankings. His research has produced such innovative statistical methods as co-integration, common features, autoregressive conditional duration (ACD), CAViaR, and DCC models.

DOE’s Friedmann to Discuss Coal in US, China – Georgetown University’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold its next Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. looking at the future of coal in the United States and China.  Speaker Julio Friedmann, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal in the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will discuss technology, policy and opportunities for coal.

On Wednesday at Noon, ABA and ACORE will hold a webinar looking at state rate/market generation planning.  Last year, two lawsuits in New Jersey and Maryland pitted traditional state planning authority against federal oversight of competitive energy markets. District courts in both states ruled that federal market oversight trumps state resource planning interests and struck down state subsidies designed to promote construction of specific gas-fired generation resources.  The Maryland and New Jersey state governments have appealed these decisions. The states want to restore their traditional role in resource planning and economic development, while the plaintiffs (primarily utilities) seek to defend the price integrity of markets run by regional transmission organizations.  The panel will address these issues and how resolution of the cases on appeal could affect the ability of States to integrate renewable energy into their generation fleets. Speakers include Craig Roach, an expert witness in both lawsuits; Steven Ferrey, an expert on cooperative federalism; and Edward Comer, who is responsible for all legal issues affecting the Edison Electric Institute.

Forum to Look at German Renewables, Coal – The Heinrich Böll Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon looking at Germany’s effort to manage its bumpy transition to clean technology.  Apparently, environmental activists will try to explain why Germany return to coal is actually a victory for clean energy. This panel discussion will examine two countries – Germany and the United States – that are currently seeing very diverging developments in their respective coal industries before focusing on the role of international financial institution in addressing the use of coal.

Forum to Look at Fate of Arctic – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on the fate of the Arctic.  The Arctic is a sentinel of global warming where scientists predict and have observed the largest warming, melting and change, yet a region with planetary impact.   Join us for a discussion of the Arctic’s many changes and their implications: Environmental changes in the form of melting sea ice, greening of the Arctic tundra, migrations of species; Challenges facing indigenous people and how they are responding and coping with this changing world; and how feedbacks in the climate system may mean that the Arctic becomes more than an indicator of climate change and perhaps a source of even more greenhouse gasses.  Our panel will help sort out the science from the speculation, and guide effective decisions for the future.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.  Speakers will include Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk expert David Titley, National Museum of Natural History Arctic curator Igor Krupnik, USGS Research Geologist Miriam Jones and, Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center U.S. Geological Survey and George Mason University Professor of Oceanography Paul Schopf.

Wind Property Value Studies Discussed – The Energy Department will present a live webcast Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at wind energy and property values.  Often a talking point for anti-wind activists, their claims have rarely ever borne true.  Carol Atkinson-Palombo, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, will present her research from the recently released report, “Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts.” Ben Hoen, staff research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will present findings from the report “A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States.” Their research examined 122,000 Massachusetts real estate transactions between 1998 and 2012, and 50,000 U.S. transactions between 1996 and 2011, respectively. The authors will provide an overview of each of the report’s methods and findings and will answer questions after the presentations.

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday 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 Commissioner to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on Thursday 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.

Group to Release Report on 2013-2014 State of the Future – On Thursday at Noon, the 17th State of the Future report produced by The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank with over 50 Nodes and about 5,000 participants around the world will be released at the Wilson Center.  The Millennium Project CEO Jerome Glenn, NASA Langley Research Center Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell and National Science Foundation Program Director Paul Werbos will explore global strategic prospects and strategies drawn from the 2013-14 State of the Future report and the online Global Futures Intelligence System.  2013-14 State of the Future’s executive summary gives an unparalleled overview of our current situation, prospects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger; vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones; lone wolves and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction; a presentation of the Global Futures Intelligence System, and some concluding thoughts.

Forum to Look at Oil in Amazon – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on oil in the Amazon, looking at local conflicts, indigenous populations and natural resources.  Author and expert Patricia Vásquez explores the potent mix of grievances, identities, and structural constraints that have given rise to conflicts between investors in the hydrocarbons sector and local communities in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  Over a period of fifteen years, Vásquez conducted hundreds of interviews with stakeholders on all sides, identifying short- and long-term strategies for preventing or mitigating conflict.

Wharton Green Biz Roundtable to Highlight Army Energy Issues – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold a lunch at the National Press Club on Friday at 12:00 p.m.  featuring Richard Kidd.  Kidd, a graduate of the Yale School of Management, will summarize for the audience key aspects of the Army’s approach to energy and sustainability. He will do this first by highlighting the organization change techniques used to alter the way the Army values energy at the corporate, installation (stateside bases) and operational (combat) levels.  Also, he will provide a business operations overview of the Army’s Renewable Energy Task Force, which has created the largest renewable energy project pipeline in America by applying private sector approaches to a public sector entity. The Wharton DC Green Business Forum meets regularly with speakers in varied facets of the cleantech energy and sustainability fields to learn about new developments and business opportunities. Sponsored by the Wharton School Club of DC, announcements of upcoming events reach over 3,000 Washington area alums of Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and other top business schools, entrepreneurs and executives. Attendance at the programs is open to anyone interested in business and the environment, with advance signup recommended.

SEIA Webinar to Look at Solar Financing – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Solar Energy Industries Association and a panel of experts will host a webinar to discuss the fundamentals of solar financing. The webinar will focus on tax and finance structures such as inverted leases, sale leasebacks, and partnerships. Speakers will include SolarCity Senior Tax Counsel Jorge Medina, Michelle Jewett of Morrison & Foerster and Michael Bernier of Tax Credit Investment Advisory Services.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Refiners Meeting to Hear from McChrystal, Dobbs – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual meeting in Orlando next Sunday through Tuesday. The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives and technical experts from refining and marketing organizations worldwide, as well as representatives from associated industries. The general session features high profile speakers who will address current issues of widespread importance to the refining industry. During management and technical sessions, leading industry experts share valuable insights with attendees on major issues, including energy and environmental initiatives, and the latest technological developments impacting refining and petrochemical industry management and performance.  Speakers will include former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and Fox News host Lou Dobbs, among many others.

Landrieu to Hold First Hearing on Energy Exports – The Senate Energy Committee will hold new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing on Tuesday March 25th focused on energy exports.

House Resources to Look at Wildlife, Energy – On Wednesday, March 26th, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on oversight of the Obama Administration’s enforcement approach for America’s wildlife laws and its impact on domestic energy. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will testify.

Press Club to Host Philly Mayoral Frontrunner – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host Pennsylvania State Senator and leading Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tony Williams for a newsmaker event on Wednesday, March 26th at 4:00 p.m.  Williams will discuss Pennsylvania natural gas drilling and its impacts on his urban district in terms Of job creations.  He also will discuss other important matters on his agenda including his leadership on crime issues and education/charter schools.  More on this next week.

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.

Chamber Women in Business Summit to Look at Challenges, Leadership – The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Women in Business will hold its 3rd annual summit on March 27th at the Chamber to celebrate the successes of businesswomen around the country while also discussing their unique challenges.  The summit will address the importance of finding supportive and reliable networks necessary for success, as well the common roadblocks that women face in accessing and using capital—one of the most common reasons why women’s business dreams lag in comparison to men’s.   Speakers will include Schnitzer Steel CEO Tamara Lundgren, Barnard College President Debora Spar and Kat Cole of Cinnabon, among many others.

Forum to Look at 5 Years of BC Carbon Tax Policy – Climate Desk, Climate Access, and Bloomberg BNA are partnering to present “The Carbon Tax Return: Lessons Learned From British Columbia’s First Five Years of Taxing Emissions.” A distinguished panel, preceded by a cocktail reception, will take place on Thursday, March 27 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon C in Vancouver, British Columbia with doors opening at 5:30p.m. PDT.  Speakers will include Spencer Chandra Herbert, Environment Critic and Member of the BC Legislative Assembly; Merran Smith, Director, director of Clean Energy Canada; Ross Beaty, Chairman Alterra Power Corp.; and Jeremy Hainsworth, contributor to Bloomberg BNA (BBNA) and the Associated Press.  Our friend Chris Moody will moderate.

McCarthy, Wellinghoff, Trade Assn Heads Headline ACORE Forum – The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Friday March 28th in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Building.  After an opening reception Thursday night at Union Station, the event will feature keynote remarks from EPA’s Gina McCarthy, discussions about policy innovations with Rep. Sander Levin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and outlooks from trade association heads including our friends Michael McAdams of the Advance Biofuels Coalition, Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan and several others.   Finally, our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will moderate the afternoon keynote session featuring former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, Sen. Mazie Hirano and NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira.

Forum to Look at Renewables, EE Budget – Also on Friday, March 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 215 Capitol Visitor Center (House side), EESI, in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, will hold a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal released by President Obama on March 4. The $3.9 trillion budget proposal reflects the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy as well as its focus on climate change, following the unveiling of the President’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service will give an overview of the budget requests for various clean energy programs, explain budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years. Speakers include DOE’s Jason Walsh of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, CRS Energy Policy Specialist Fred Sissine and our friend Scott Sklar.

Transportation Summit Set – The Transportation Energy Partner’s Energy Independence Summit 2014 will be held on Sunday, March 30th to Wednesday, April 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  The Summit will feature educational sessions and presentations from the nation’s leading clean transportation experts on Federal funding and incentives to promote alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure; successful alternative fuels and vehicle projects across the country; and innovative state and local policies and programs that are advancing markets for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

Energy Bar Conference to Focus on Secure Energy – The Energy Bar Association will hold Its Annual Meeting & Conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington.  The conference will focus on the challenges of generating and delivering energy securely.

FirstEnergy CEO to Address Chamber Leadership Series – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host its CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. featuring FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony Alexander.  The electric utility industry is in a time of unprecedented change.  Alexander’s remarks will focus on some of the regulatory challenges and mandates that are making it more difficult for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable service to customers.  He also will emphasize the importance of a national energy policy that drives economic expansion, creates jobs, and recognizes the high value that customers place on the use of electricity.

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.

INGAA Head Santa to Discuss Report – ICF International will host our friend Don Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), on April 17th for its April Energy Breakfast.  Santa will discuss the INGAA Foundation’s new report on dynamics and issues affecting midstream infrastructure development. The report discusses the needs for midstream pipeline infrastructure in North America through 2035 to meet the booming production of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and petroleum.

PBF, Valero Speaker to Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 3rd Annual North American Refined Products conference in Houston at the Marriott West Loop on May 20th and 21st.  The event explores supply and demand for refined products from the North American PADD regions and the opportunities and challenges in those markets.  Keynote speaker will be Todd O’Malley of PBF Energy.  Other speakers will include Valero’s Richard Grissom.

Kasparov to Speak at Cato Dinner – The Cato Institute will announce its Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty at its 2014 Biennial Dinner on May 21st at the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The keynote address will be presented by Garry Kasparov, former Chess champion, Russian Pro-Democracy leader and Global Human-Rights activist.  The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.