I hope everybody had a great Mothers’ Day, giving special thanks to those moms/spouses that carted you/your kids around for years, support you and are always there for us all.  We celebrated by sending my wife with her friends on a “girls yoga trip” to Costa Rica. (sounds a bit shady since my wife has never really done much yoga, but whatever).  Meanwhile, I managed to hit every scheduled event (games, plays, practices, pickups, drop offs, etc.) this past weekend as well as a few non-scheduled, fed every animal in our house, kept it clean and got the laundry done…a significant, yet exhausting feat.

The playoff thrills continued this weekend the NBA, NHL and NCAA Lax rounds.  I was ready to write the Rangers off after dropping behind Pittsburgh 3-1, but strong goaltending and some timely scoring over the weekend sends the series to a Game 7 tomorrow.  And not that it matters that much since they are both in LA, but the road team has won each game in the Anaheim-LA Kings series.  As for hoops, after a promising start, the Washington Wizards have struggled dropping three straight to Indiana.  Perhaps it is not a coincident (#SIjinx) as the Wiz received its first lengthy feature in Sports Illustrated since Gilbert Arenas was wielding a gun in the locker room.  Once again, the (Bracewell Client) Spurs look pretty good up 3-0 and the Nets were able to come back after dropping the first two in Miami to win.  Some men’s lax surprises include Bryant topping #2 Syracuse and first-time tourney team Drexel bouncing Market Street, Ivy-league rival Penn, the #4 seed.  (The schools are blocks apart separated by Philly’s main East/West drag: Market Street).  No real surprises on the women’s side with top seeds Maryland, Florida, UNC, N’Western, Syracuse, BC and UVa all advancing.

In DC, the House is out of town but, the House Resources Committee will hold a field hearing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Batesville, AR looking at ESA reforms.  My colleague Eric Washburn (202-828-1711) is an expert on this topic should you need a resource.   Meanwhile the Senate likely kills any chance to move the Shaheen-Portman energy legislation today or tomorrow.  It also looks like the tax extenders may be in trouble as well as Republicans protest that Majority Leader Reid continues to not allow any amendments. Only six months to election day as of tomorrow…  Also less than a month to the self–imposed Administration deadline to produce a new GHG rule for existing power plants.  Friday was the deadline for comments on the rule for new power plants and my colleague Scott Segal found a gem of an inconsistency on CCS technology between the rule and the recently released National Climate Assessment (SEE BELOW).  Speaking of CCS, Atlantic Council hosts a forum Thursday morning on the topic featuring ND Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Today at 2:00, the Partnership for a Better Energy Future holds a conference call briefing on its coordination of comments.

In case you missed it on Sunday, after speaking on a Press Club newsmaker panel in Washington last week on the growing education skills gap facing the oil/gas/manufacturing sectors, Lackawanna College President Mark Volk visited Platts Energy Week to discuss the need for developing new oil and gas workers with host veteran energy man Bill Loveless.  It is a very good interview that discusses how they are building a new workforce for PA’s expanding gas industry.

Finally, after last week’s major shale rally in Harrisburg, there are two interesting items taking shape this week.  Today and tomorrow, the Nemacolin Energy Institute is holding its 5th annual Shale Energy Conference at the PA resort.  Speakers will include Tom Ridge and many others.  Bracewell is a sponsor.  As well, on Friday, Cabot O&G CEO Dan Dinges and ANGA President Marty Durbin will be leading a natgas rig tour in NE PA.  Both will be very informative events and should you want more info on either, let me know.

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


ERCC Comments on GHG – The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, filed comments on Friday regarding the EPA proposed new source performance standards for carbon emissions from new power plants. Here is a link to the ERCC comments. My colleague Scott Segal highlights ERCC’s concerns that EPA is seeking to use the new source performance standards (NSPS) program to impose an effective ban on new coal-fired power plants in the US.  Segal adds that ERCC is also concerned that, absent sufficient clarity, the proposed rule could even discourage technology innovation and energy-efficiency projects at existing facilities. This combination of results would result in severe threats to the reliability of the US electricity supply, higher electricity prices for consumers, and would set back the continuing technology and efficiency gains in the power sector. Segal can be reached at (202) 828-5845 and former EPA Air chief Jeff Holmstead can be reached at (202) 828-5850.

Climate Assessment, GHG Rule at Odds – As part of the comments, Segal also outlines an interesting contradiction between the EPA rule and the recent National Climate Assessment regarding CCS technology.  The proposed EPA rule sets a standard for new plants based upon the assumption that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology is already ‘adequately demonstrated’ for the power sector – a key legal hurdle EPA must overcome in order for the rule to be legal under the Clean Air Act.  Industry has long contended that while CCS technology is promising, it cannot be the basis for a rule because multiple obstacles lie in the path to demonstration without substantial governmental assistance.  Last Tuesday, the Administration released the third National Climate Assessment (NCA), White House special advisor John Podesta described as ‘the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information ever produced’ that is ‘about presenting actionable science’ for policy makers.  Podesta further stated that the report contains ‘a huge amount of practical, useable knowledge’.  But at page 271 of the NCA report, the ‘hundreds of the best climate scientists from across the U.S.’ that wrote it flatly contradict the position taken by EPA in defense of the current rule.  EPA must prove that CCS is ready for application to the power sector now, but the NCA states as follows:

‘CCS facilities for electric power plants are currently operating at pilot scale, and a commercial scale demonstration project is under construction. Although the potential opportunities are large, many uncertainties remain, including cost, demonstration at scale, environmental impacts, and what constitutes a safe, long-term geologic repository for sequestering carbon dioxide.’   At page 280, the NCA states, ‘It is difficult to forecast success in this regard for technologies such as CCS that are still in early phases of development.’  The NCA finding stands in stark contrast to the statement made by EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe when she testified before the House Committee on Science and Technology on March 12, 2014.  She observed that there is ‘adequate and robust data’ proving that CCS technology was ‘in use and will be ready’ for implementation of the proposed rule.

The Bottom Line on NCA, EPA’s GHG Rule – It always makes sense to examine the fine print of government reports, especially those dealing with climate change.  But in this case, the fine print of the National Climate Assessment yields a big problem for the legality of the pending EPA carbon rule for new power plants, according to Segal.

Newsmaker Focuses on Education, Skills Gap in Energy, Manufacturing – The U.S. manufacturing and energy sectors said you have to get workers started young and it has to be a community effort at a National Press Club Newsmakers event last week, emphasizing the importance of young people in addressing the growing skills gap in the two industries.  America’s manufacturing sector alone is looking to fill some 600,000 skilled positions at a time when jobs are badly needed. Yet, few workers have the necessary skills to fill the jobs, even though manufacturing is rebounding and starting salaries are rising.  The general public has “a vision of manufacturing as a dark, dirty, dangerous and dumb industry,” and that’s one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, said Ted Toth, CEO of Rosenberger-Toth in Pennsauken, N.J., also chair of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA).  Toth explained that as high schools drop their vocational training and apprenticeship programs, young people no longer understand what a manufacturing job looks like or why they should pursue one. “Due to the upgrade in technology, we now define our workers as ‘blue-tech’ workers,” rather than the traditional “blue collar” employees, said Toth. “Blue techs work with their hands, they work with their heads, they utilize technology such as computerized machines and robotics — at three to four times the minimum wage,” he said.

Partnerships are the Key to Addressing Skills Gap – Each panelist said partnerships between schools and local businesses must play a key role.  Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) chair Jody Fledderman said parents have to be convinced that there are good opportunities in manufacturing.  A willing school administrator, he added, is also crucial in developing a technical curriculum based on recommendations from local businesses.  Fledderman, who is also the CEO of Batesville Tool & Die in Batesville, Ind., described the partnership with one of the schools in the city to conduct co-op programs. “Kids are trained to operate machines and do meaningful things” starting in junior high school, he explained. By the time they’re in senior year, they’re being paid, he said, and they graduate just one semester short of an associate degree “that didn’t cost them anything.”  Businesses are then prepared to hire these skilled graduates and pay for their last semester.

Lackawanna Already Starting to Fill Education/Energy Gap – Lackawanna College president Mark Volk added that colleges can play a big role, describing the petroleum and natural gas curriculum he launched at the two-year college in 2009. He said the value of an associate degree is often “downplayed” because people don’t know they can earn “well beyond family sustainable wages,” and go all the way to six-figures.  Volk said a vocational education is a “life-changing opportunity” for young people, especially when they are retained locally and can stay close to their families.  Volk, who hosted President Obama last year to talk about jobs and the economy, has develop an Associate’s Degree programs in cooperation with the natural gas industry designed to prepare students for a career in the operations segment of the industry, a flourishing source of regional job growth.  The current job placement rate for graduating students is 95% and those not placed directly into jobs have moved on to pursue full engineering degrees at place like Penn State.

Lackawanna President Discusses Education, Energy on Platts Sunday Show – Speaking of the newsmaker and Lackawanna College, President Mark Volk also visited Platts Energy Week to discuss the need for developing new oil and gas workers with host veteran energy man Bill Loveless.

Groups Push for Efficiency Inclusion in EPA Rule – The Nat’l Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners NARUC), the Nat’l Assn of State Energy Officers (NASEO)  and the Nat’l Assn of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) all signed on to principles that they say will help EPA establish a “flexible framework” for energy efficiency as part of states’ compliance plans for the proposed rule.  NARUC President Colette D. Honorable  said states are leaders in developing and implementing energy efficiency programs and the early action has provided the tools to further reduce emissions and promote more efficient electricity usage.  Honorable noted that NARUC “remains neutral” on the EPA rulemaking, but said they encourage the agency to “recognize each state’s diverse generation fuel mix and provide flexibility so electricity consumers are not overburdened.”

EPA Proposes Rule on Chemical Disclosure for Natgas – Also Friday, EPA announced it is seeking input on what information should be disclosed about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and how it should be obtained.  In an ANPR released Friday, the agency said the public input will help the agency decide whether a rule is the best way to obtain the information.   My colleague and natgas expert Jason Hutt said predicted energy firms would respond cautiously. “I don’t know that industry would voice significant opposition at this early stage,” he said, adding that some companies are posting fracking chemical lists online.


Ridge Headlines Nemacolin Energy Institute Shale Forum – Today and tomorrow, the Nemacolin Energy Institute is holding its 5th annual Shale Energy Conference at the PA resort  Speaker will include former PA Gov. and first Homeland Security Sect. Tom Ridge, OH EPA head Craig Butler, Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Bill Shuster (R-PA), WV DEP’s James Martin and many others.  Bracewell is a sponsor.

ACEEE to Host Energy Efficiency Forum – The 8th annual 2014 ACEEE Energy Efficiency Finance Forum will take place on today and tomorrow at Capital Hilton Hotels designed specifically for investors, financiers, utilities, and policymakers, the Energy Efficiency Finance Forum will explore the latest opportunities in financing and investing in energy efficiency. Over the past seven years, the conference has grown to become one of the premier venues for discussions of energy efficiency financing policies, and an important networking opportunity.

EPA’s McCarthy Headlines Climate Officers Forum – The Association of Climate Change Officers holds Its Climate Strategies Forum today through Wednesday at the Washington Marriott.  Speakers will include EPA head Gina McCarthy (tomorrow), former Dow chief Chad Holliday and many more.

GU Forum to Look at Oil, Persian Gulf – Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies will hold presents the annual MAAS lecture “Energy and America’s Long War in the Middle East” featuring Toby Jones of Rutgers University.  Jones has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East, including several years in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.  He will discuss the distinction between energy and war were erased, collapsed in a new material order of militarized-energy networks with its epicenter in the Persian Gulf.

Forum to Discuss LNG Exports, Impacts – The U.S. Energy Association will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the LNG exports and the impact on the world gas market.  Nexant’s proprietary World Gas Model  will be used to analyze the impact on the world gas market of LNG exports from North America.  How much will be exported, which markets will it go to and what are the implications for gas pricing in different markets, especially Europe and Asia Pacific.  The impact of differing levels of LNG exports on the North American.

Deloitte Energy Conference to Look at Local Impacts, Global Issues – The 2014 Deloitte Energy Conference will be held in Washington, DC tomorrow and Wednesday.  For two days, energy executives, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and regulators from around the globe will join Deloitte’s energy professionals for an in-depth analysis of key developments and challenges facing today’s global and domestic energy markets. Speakers represent a cross-section of the world’s energy industry, and the conference topics are of keen interest to energy company management, boards of directors, investors, and all other industry professionals.  The first day of this conference features plenary sessions focusing on macro industry issues, such as the global and domestic energy outlook, the globalization of gas markets, the future of coal, the energy investment environment, and responding to water scarcity. The second day offers a mix of plenary and elective sessions which bring together specialists from across disciplines to share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives about the latest trends in the energy industry. Join industry colleagues and Deloitte’s energy specialists for two days of sharing points of view in an interactive setting.

Senate Environment to Look at Stormwater Runoff – The Senate Environment Committee’s water panel holds a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on stormwater runoff.  Those testifying will include former Virginia Gov. Ken Cuccinelli, our friend Greg Cohen of the Highway Users Alliance, Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and several others.

POLITICO to Host Energy Forum – The POLITICO Pro Energy team will host a for a dynamic conversation at the Mayflower Hotel tomorrow at Noon focused on the role of energy issues in the 2014 midterm elections and future policy implications.  Speaker will include Karen Harbert at the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, Sen. John Hoeven, LCV head Gene Karpinski and Sen. Joe Manchin.

RFF Forum to Host Exelon CEO – Resources for the Future will host an RFF Policy Leadership Forum tomorrow featuring a conversation with Exelon CEO Christopher Crane.  Crane, will be featured in a one-on-one conversation with RFF President Phil Sharp about the massive shifts affecting the energy industry and how they will shape the economy in years to come. From the changing generation mix to new consumer behaviors to emerging technologies, Crane will share his thoughts on the future of energy.

Forum to Look at Internet of Things – The Center for Data Innovation, Microsoft, ITIC and DESSC will host a breakfast and a panel discussion Wednesday to learn how public and private partnerships are building 21st century campuses and cities by connecting systems to the Internet of Things (IoT). Cities face a number of challenges from providing adequate transportation to improving energy efficiency to conserving water. From the smart grid to smart parking, the emergence of the IoT-smart, Internet-connected devices-has created new opportunities for cities to leverage technology to offer new services to their citizens, optimize the efficiency of existing services, and improve the overall sustainability of their communities.

Senate Environment to Tackle Nuclear Decommissioning – The Senate Committee on Environment will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on nuclear reactor decommissioning. Witnesses will include NRC’s Deputy Executive Director for Operations, Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, and Compliance Programs Michael Weber, Del Mar, CA Council Member Don Mosier, Vermont PSC Commissioner Chris Recchia, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and NEI’s Marv Fertel.

Resources Holds ESA Field Hearing – The House Resources Committee holds a field hearing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Batesville, AR looking at ESA reforms, federal critical habitat designations and the rights of property owners.  Witnesses will likely include the Association of Arkansas Counties, the Arkansas Environmental Federation, the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Arkansas Farm Bureau.   My colleague Eric Washburn is an expert on this topic should you need a resource.

DOE to Focus on Solar Tools – The Energy Department will present a live webinar Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at solar tools and how they help policymakers.  As part of the Solar Technical Assistance Team’s Do-It-Yourself Solar Market Analysis summer series, this webinar will give an overview of the basics behind some of the most popular solar energy tools available to policymakers. Attendees will learn the optimal approaches for using energy calculators such as PVWatts, financial estimators like JEDI, and solar data aggregators such as OpenPV.

Forum to Look at Climate, Africa – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a discussion with leading researchers to identify the critical questions and gaps in understanding what needs to be addressed, and how a population perspective can contribute to the development of effective adaptation strategies in Africa.  A strong call for action has been issued with the newly released 5th IPCC report, which illustrates the high environmental and security risks imposed by climate change. This call for action extends to the role of demographers in anticipating how climate change will interact with demographic factors such as population growth, women’s empowerment, age-structure, migration, and urbanization. At the same time, it’s important to address the population, environment, and security implications of extreme weather events and climate variability.

Forum to focus on Critical Infrastructure – The Institute of World Politics (IWP) will host a lecture on the topic of securing critical infrastructure, looking at public-private partnerships.  The event will feature Scott Aaronson of Edison Electric Institute.  Aaronson will discuss how government and private industry are working together to strengthen the electric grid.  He will comment on how the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, housed at EEI, links senior government and industry officials and provides a forum to discuss the most critical issues of the industry. Aaronson will review the threat profile, including an overview of the Metcalf substation shooting that took place last year in San Jose. He will discuss worst case scenarios and what we are doing to protect the grid.

EIA’s Gruenspecht to Discuss Outlook at ICF Forum – On Thursday, ICF International will host EIA’s Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht at the National Press Club to discuss EIA’s latest forecasts and the sensitivity of that outlook to key changes. With nearly every facet of energy markets in considerable flux, the EIA’s authoritative take explains how the pieces fit together and the kinds of transitions we will soon undergo.  Every year, EIA issues an Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) that serves as the touchstone for those trying to look over the horizon and improve their perspective on what future energy markets hold. With its impressive set of experts and analytics capabilities, EIA pulls together trends in fuel dynamics (e.g., shale gas and oil), electricity markets, environmental regulations, international developments, the economy, and much more.

Heitkamp to Headline CCS Forum – The Atlantic Council is hosting an event on Thursday morning looking at CCS Facts, legislative leadership and the need for incentives, featuring Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Paula Dobriansky.  Fossil fuels will remain the major source of energy for decades.  The ability to meet climate change targets at affordable cost requires a portfolio of low carbon technologies including hydroelectric, solar, wind, next generation nuclear, and fossil and biomass with carbon capture and storage (CCS).  While CCS offers significant large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and some economic opportunities such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR), key questions persist.  The CCS Facts and Policy Forum will address these questions, showcase legislative leadership on CCS and give participants the opportunity to be a part of the discussion.  Panel speakers will include DOE’s Julio Friedmann, Kurt Waltzer of the Clean Air Task Force and Patrick Falwell of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Senate Panel Starts Look at Transportation Legislation –The Senate Environment Committee is holding a mark-up and a hearing on Surface Transportation Reauthorization (MAP-21) on Thursday. The Committee has finished writing their part of the Senate’s reauthorization of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (“MAP-21” or “Surface Transportation Reauthorization”) and the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will be holding a mark-up.   The legislation, which is scheduled to be released later today, is expected to be a long-term, bipartisan measure to fund and improve the nation’s Federal-aid highway programs for six years at current funding plus inflation.

Forum to Look at Media, Climate Coverage – The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University Society, Culture & Politics Program will host a seminar on Thursday at Noon looking at how journalism shapes public debates on climate change.  The event will be a roundtable with DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow Michael Brüggemann, who will discuss the role of journalism in the public debate on climate change. The event will be moderated by Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman, Director of the AICGS Society, Culture & Politics Program.

Senate Commerce Moves on Transportation – As Well, the Senate Commerce’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, and Merchant Marine Infrastructure will hold a hearing Thursday at 2:30 p.m. to hear from local officials the surface transportation reauthorization.  The witnesses for the hearing have not yet been announced and according to the Subcommittee, the hearing will focus on the reauthorization of surface transportation programs; explore the impacts of transportation investments on states, local communities, and users of the transportation system; and highlight how transportation investments help drive the economy and create jobs.

Hurricane Forum To Discuss Forecasting – On Thursday at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas (South Houston), the 25th Annual Hurricane Symposium will be held looking at the latest forecasting technologies, incident management tactics and risk mitigation programs.  Speakers will include National Hurricane Center former Director Bill Read, KPRC Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Port of Houston’s Captain Marcus Woodring, Hospital Corporation of America Executive Director of Emergency Services Allen Johnson, our friend and Houston Chronicle SciGuy Blogger Eric Berger, University of Miami’s Dr. Sharan Majumdar, Houston Airport System Safety and Emergency Management Manager Steve Runge and Spectra Energy’s Thomas McNulty.

CNA Military Board to Update Climate, Security Report – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., the Wilson Center and CNA Corporation will the launch of an update to the seminal 2007 report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, from CNA’s Military Advisory Board.  The nature and pace of climate changes being observed today and the consequences projected by  consensus scientific opinion are serious and pose severe risks for our national security. The CNA Military Advisory Board (MAB), a group of more than a dozen admirals and generals from all four branches of the U.S. military, first published a report on these threats in 2007. After nearly a decade of advances in scientific understanding and slow, or in many cases non-existent, reactions to projected changes, the MAB felt compelled to provide an update.  A panel of MAB members and report authors will hold a discussion on what has changed and why the national security implications of climate change are still important. During their decades of experience in the U.S. military, the members of the MAB have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to terrorism and extremism in recent years. The national security risks of the changing climate, they contend, are as serious as any of these.

Forum to Look at Public Transportation – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Travel Association will host a briefing in Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) 212-210 (Senate side) as part of Infrastructure Week 2014.  The event will focus on public transportation’s impacts on local economies and why further investment in new and existing public transit systems has a fundamental impact on the nation’s economic vitality. The briefing will explore real-world examples backed up by a research report from APTA that investigates the connection between public transit and local economic development, productivity, and job creation.   Speakers for this forum are Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (of National League of Cities), American Public Transportation Association   President Michael Melaniphy and a speaker from the U.S. Travel Association.

CSIS Forum to Look at US Energy Role – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Fereidun Fesharaki, Chairman of FACTS Global Energy, to discuss the changing U.S. role in the energy landscape and the implications for global markets and Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Europe. The emergence of the U.S. as a growing oil and gas producer has surprised the energy world.  The backdrop of changes in supply from other regions, persistent supply disruptions, growing demand for natural gas and oil, raises the question of the future role of the U.S. in global markets  and the implications for other major producers and consumers.  Fesharaki, a leading expert on global oil and gas markets, will discuss these dynamics as well as other oil and gas  market developments. David Pumphrey, Senior Adviser in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Forum to Discuss Hydrogen Fuel Cells – On Friday at Noon in the Senate Visitor Center Room 208, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, in cooperation with the Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus will host a presentation looking at resiliency and efficiency with hydrogen fuel cells.  Speakers will include DOE’s Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, Scott Gerke of Honda, Gwen Bluemich of Daimler, Frank Wolak of FuelCell Energy and Proton’s Steve Szymanski.


Building Week Set – Next week, May 19-23  is High Performance Building Week, an annual celebration of high performing buildings organized by the coalition of building industry stakeholders that support the HPB Congressional Caucus.  The High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC) is a private sector coalition providing guidance and support to the High-Performance Buildings Caucus of the U.S. Congress.   The High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition will work with the Congressional Caucus to promote and showcase best practices in building design and focus on issues reflecting all aspects of high-performance buildings

Smart Grid Town Hall Meeting Set – Next Monday through Wednesday, the National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid will hold its 11th forum looking at of the demand response and smart grid community in Washington, DC.  It is unique in that it devotes an entire day to roundtable discussions featuring CEOs and heads of government agencies having discussions with each other, and with the audience, on the latest trends, issues, and business developments. The National Town Meeting also features two tracks of breakout sessions, with detailed presentations on case studies, the latest research and technology demonstrations. Approximately 400 attendees are expected this year. In 2014, 50 different utilities sent at least one representative to the National Town Meeting.

DOE Methane Meetings Continue – On May 20th, DOE will hold another methane roundtable featuring academics, non-governmental organizations, and environmental groups.  Previous meetings included Labor and manufacturing groups.  There will also be one more meeting on June 11th with natural gas companies.

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.

Distributed Solar Forum Set – Infocast will hold its Distributed Solar East Forum on Tuesday through Thursday, May 20 – 22 at the DoubleTree Crystal City.  Solar project developers and integrators, utilities, regulators, investors, lenders, panel suppliers, contractors, installers, EPCs and other industry players will gather at Distributed Solar East 2014 to explore how to move distributed solar forward. The Summit has developed into a major networking event for the entire distributed solar community— where people connect, build relationships and get valuable new insights into the distributed solar markets in the East and strategies for financing distributed solar projects.

Bay, LeFleur Hearing Set for FERC – The Senate Energy Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 20th to consider the pending nominations of Cheryl LaFleur and Norman Bay, to be Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Should be Interesting…

Forum to Look at Climate, Historic Landmarks – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will hold a forum on Tuesday May 20th at 1:30 p.m. in 902 Hart highlighting the risks climate change poses to landmark historic sites around the United States. This briefing will unveil a new report from UCS which highlights climate threats to the nation’s iconic landmarks and historic sites, and details steps being taken to protect these national treasures. The report includes 30 at-risk sites, including places where the “first Americans” lived, the Spaniards ruled, English colonists landed, slavery rose and fell, and gold prospectors struck it rich. Some of the sites also commemorate more modern “firsts,” such as the race to put the first man on the moon.  Speakers for this forum are  NM Sen. Martin Heinrich, Alan Spears of the National Parks Conservation Association  and several more.

House Veterans Panel to Look at Jobs, Energy for Veterans – The House Veterans Affairs Committee panel will hold a hearing on Tuesday May 20th at 2:00 p.m. exploring jobs for veterans in the energy sector.  Last week, Steve Nowlan, Executive Director of American Jobs for American Heroes, was featured at a press club newsmaker that addresses the skills gap in manufacturing and energy.  AJAH is a program that focuses on addressing the skills gap by connecting manufacturers with members of the military.

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.

Groups to Focus On GHG Target Setting – The WWF, World Resources Institute and CDP will hold a  one day workshop on Thursday May 22nd to learn about and provide input on a new method to develop science-based corporate GHG reduction targets. This workshop is part of a larger public consultation process we are opening for companies to share useful insights for the improvement of this method.  Workshop objectives include creating an understanding of approaches to science-based corporate target setting and the need for increased ambition in achieving GHG emission reductions, getting input on a new sector-specific methodology to science-based target setting and getting input on proposed guidance for companies on how to implement science-based target setting.

Green BRT to Look at Business Model Innovation – The Green Business Roundtable will host JP Leous to discuss Business Model Innovation on the environment on Thursday, May 22nd at 11:30 a.m.  at Elizabeth’s on L.  The idea of business model innovation captivates business leaders and sustainability advocates alike. The inner workings of a business model—its products and processes, its interactions with stakeholders, what and how it measures, the transactions it requires—influence a company’s ability to thrive in the future, and shape its impacts on people and planet.   As global trends — environmental, social, political, technological — continue to shift the foundations of our current business models, incremental innovation will become less effective in enabling companies, industries and whole economies to adapt and succeed. There is an urgent need for fundamentally different approaches to value creation.  Innovative thinker, JP Leous (Senior Manager, SustainAbility), drives client-focused solutions on brand positioning and performance through innovative projects, corporate sustainability strategy, materiality and trends analysis, business case development and external stakeholder engagement.  Prior to joining SustainAbility JP worked on and off Capitol Hill with civil society organizations focused on a number of climate-related legislative campaigns. JP also serves as a Lecturer at The George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services.

RFF Seminar to Look at Ecology – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on May 28th at 12:45 p.m. focused on natural resources, ecology and public policy. 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. Jack Bobo will discuss some of the key demographic trends. 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.

Forbes Exec to Keynote Energy Capital Conference – The 7th annual Energy Capital Conference will be held June 9-10th at the Omni Houston Hotel.  The event addresses effective strategies for oil and gas executives interested in expanding their knowledge of how to successfully access and deploy capital.  The keynote speaker will be entrepreneur-turned-publisher, columnist, television commentator, private investor and board director, Rich Karlgaard.  Karlgaard has a unique vantage point on the trends driving the business and investment climates. His insights help audiences see the global marketplace with new eyes.

EIA Head to Keynote International Energy Conference in NYC – Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration will address the international implications of the U.S. energy renaissance at the 37th annual International Association for Energy Economics conference at the New Yorker Hotel in the big apple on June 16th.  The conference goes through June 18 and also features thought leaders across business, government and academia including representatives from Statoil, National Renewable Energy Labs, IMF, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, UC Davis, Baker Hughes, Citi Research, SunEdison and many more. See the Detailed conference schedule here.

FERC Commissioners to Address Regional Regulators Conference – The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) will hold its 19th  Annual Education Conference on June 22nd through 25th at the Hotel Hershey.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners John Norris and Phil Moeller, as well as NARUC head Colette Honorable, New Jersey Natural Gas CEO Laurence Downes, Bill Colton of ExxonMobil, Walter Lynch of American Water and Exelon Utilities CEO Denis O’Brien.

Summit to Target Crude By Rail Issues – American Business Conferences will hold a Crude By Rail summit on June 24-25 in Houston to focus specifically on how each stakeholder can cost effectively optimize safety in their operations to restore confidence and promote reliability.  As the only crude by rail event specifically focused on optimizing safety, the Crude By Rail Safety Initiative 2014 host speakers from every key stakeholder group, including regulators, shippers, railroad operators, transloaders and refiners to quantify the cost-impacts of improving the safety of crude by rail operations.  Expert speakers will breakdown railroad strategies for improving safety and shipper strategies for crude testing, classification and transloading, provide a cost-analysis of railcar upgrades, clarify how the emerging regulatory landscape will impact each stakeholder and examine best practice emergency response and hazmat training.