It was a very big deal when American Pharoah rolled to victory in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Breaking a 37-year drought, AP became only the 12th horse to complete the Triple Crown. America had elected five presidents, fought three wars and lived through at least three economic downturns since Affirmed had last completed the feat in 1978. In the interim, 13 other horses had pulled into the starting gate in Elmont, NY on Long Island with a chance to become the next great horse, only to fall short. In other notes, the last NCAA championship – the men’s College World Series – gets started in Omaha this week. This past weekend, Florida won the Women College World Series with a 4-1 over Michigan.
On Capitol Hill this week, the Senate Energy Committee hold the last of its energy hearings that will eventually lead to Murkowski-Cantwell legislation, while Wednesday Senate EPW looks at Federal water quality protections and some EPA nominations on Thursday. In the House, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior/EPA is set to take up its funding bill while House Energy will tackle ozone and look into the problems with nuclear waste issues at WIPP in New Mexico on Friday. There will also be a two-day mark up of legislation in House Resources Committee that includes Stream Buffer Zone rules, natgas pipeline siting on federal lands and forest management policies.
Off the Hill on Thursday, the NRECA is holding a rural summit to discuss jobs, infrastructure and quality of life in rural America. Transportation Secretary Foxx, Reps. Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson will be among the speakers at the Capitol Hill Hyatt. Other events include StatOil CEO Speaking on Wednesday, CSIS hosting the 64th annual BP Global Energy Statistics Review Thursday and USEA hosting its annual Energy Efficiency forum, also Thursday.
Out of town, EEI is holding its annual convention in New Orleans today though Wednesday, and starting tomorrow, the Aspen Global energy forum launches which always is a great event (and some great weather/environment) examining new pricing realities in international oil and gas markets. Our colleague and environmental expert Jason Hutt will be on the ground in Aspen if you need to know.
As well, Thursday is the 54th annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball game at Nats Park. While it is not the Congressional Hockey Classic, it is a long standing tradition that provides members of Congress the opportunity to transcend partisan and chamber differences in a good-natured but competitive contest. The Democrats are on a roll of late with last year’s 15-6 victory, collecting their 6th straight win. It seems it has led to the dismissal of long-time GOP manager Joe Barton who will be replaced this year by former Atlanta Brave and current Texas Rep. Roger Williams. As well, the Democrats’ streak is at risk because ace pitcher, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond recently had shoulder surgery and may be unavailable. First pitch is Thursday at 7:05 p.m., tickets are $10 with proceeds going to three worthy and effective DC area charities: The Washington Literacy Center, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and The Nationals Dream Foundation.
With the Paris climate meetings set for later this year, today the G7 Nations talked more about climate change pledging to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. While it makes for a nice press release and lot of social media actions from advocates, there remains significant stumbling blocks to actually meeting the pledges. We can give you more on this if you are interested.
Speaking of Paris, for those of you (or your colleagues) following Iran, the on-going Iran nuclear discussions, or the Wash Post reporter issue, this Saturday, Iranian expatriates will hold their biggest event of the year in Villepinte – Paris to challenge the current Iranian government and any Iran nuclear deal that allows them to keep access to weapons. The annual event will feature U.S. and international political leaders, military officials and former diplomats including Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, James Woolsey, Tom Ridge, Ed Rendell and more calling for freedom and democracy in Iran. The June 13th event will focus on the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program just two weeks before the June 30th deadline for a final agreement and on the growing crises in the Middle East, highlighted by the rise of ISIS and the Iranian regime’s meddling in Yemen. The event will be live streamed at a number of websites including: http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/. You can also follow the event live on Twitter Saturday morning @4FreedominIran #IranFreedom
IN THE NEWS
EPA NatGas Water Draft Study Release – The EPA is releasing a draft assessment today on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources in the US. You can read the executive summary here and the full report here. The assessment, done at the request of Congress, shows that while hydraulic fracturing activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources, there are potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water. The assessment follows the water used for hydraulic fracturing from water acquisition, chemical mixing at the well pad site, well injection of fracking fluids, the collection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater(including flowback and produced water), and wastewater treatment and disposal. My colleagues Jason Hutt (202-255-2042, Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lowell Rothschild (512-739-2352, Lowell.email@example.com) can add background and answer process questions for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach to any of us. Energy Analysts Kevin Book (202-506-5744) and Jim Lucier (202-548-0072) both have flash reports out on the subject as well and can be helpful on the impacts of the draft report.
CRS report Raises Concerns About Lifting Crude Export Ban – Many of you may have heard last night that CRS released a memo this week which looked at the U.S.’ ability to impact Russian influence via crude oil exports. The memo identified several potential impediments to U.S. influence in this area. Here are three key takeaways that raise doubt:
- Refinery configuration: Refineries have a degree of flexibility, but ultimately many Eastern European refiners are optimized to run Russian crude, which is a medium/heavy crude quality. Eastern European refiners would need a price discount to compensate for the additional costs or reductions in efficiency.
- Infrastructure constraints: Much of the Russian crude oil moves through Eastern European countries via pipeline. Countries in Eastern Europe lack the basic infrastructure, such as port infrastructure, pipelines and other modes of moving crude oil from a seaborne delivery point to the refinery assets.
- Price constraints: CRS casts doubt of the willingness of European refiners to pay more per barrel of delivered crude than the already economical price of Russian oil. CRS goes on to say that they may even require a price discount if the crude type purchased results in less than optimal operations. CRS also noted that, from the perspective of the U.S. producer, crude will have to be priced to compete with Russian oil, which sells at a discount from the international benchmark already. Basically, Eastern European refiners would have to make a concerted decision to pay more for U.S. oil than Russian oil.
An important point to note in this discussion: European countries already have access to crude oil from geographically closer markets that make more economic sense for them. For example, the Czech Republic can and already imports light crude from nearby Azerbaijan, and has the ability to purchase crude oil from any number of other nations, including Kazakhstan, Norway, Nigeria, and Algeria. Other nations, like Poland, even have ability to purchase U.S. crude oil from Alaska but choose not to. They choose not to because the economics of shipping costs and the regional price of oil are the ultimate determining factor in how they source crude oil. The CRS memo has demonstrated that ultimately this is a complicated issue in need of further analysis from the relevant committees of jurisdiction.
CFR’s Levi Also Discussed This Topic – For more information on this topic, you might also want to take a look at Michael Levi’s writing on the topic from the Council on Foreign Relations. As he said: As the standoff between Russia and Ukraine drags on, there are increasing calls to use U.S. oil and gas exports to weaken Vladimir Putin’s hand. There’s something to this, but it’s likely to be a lot less powerful than most pundits seem to think… You might have noticed that I haven’t said anything about oil. That’s because the idea that U.S. oil exports would give Europe some sort of special buffer is silly. The world oil market is pretty flexible, and U.S. exports would be a drop in an already large sea. To the extent that Europe is constrained in its ability to switch oil sources quickly, that’s because of infrastructure, something U.S. exports wouldn’t change. Levi, who is the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at CFR, can be reached at 1.212.434.9495 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BSE Signs MOU with Chinese Cos to Build Solar – Every two years, energy leaders from the US and China convene at the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum to discuss ongoing clean #energy collaborations and explore new opportunities that can help create jobs, drive economic growth, and address climate change—in both countries. At this year’s forum, three new U.S.-China clean energy partnerships were recognized, including one with American #solar company BrightSource Energy to build the first commercial scale concentrating solar power plant in Qinghai, China (rendering here). Learn more about these partnerships and the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership here. The US-China REIF also featured a signing ceremony that initiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BrightSource Energy, Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd and China Power Investment Group Corporation (CPI), the parent company of Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd, to support the development of a utility scale solar facility in China’s Qinghai Province.
AGA to Lead International Gas Group – The United States, through the American Gas Association (AGA), will accept the Presidency of the International Gas Union (IGU) tomorrow at the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris. The U.S. will lead the organization, made up of the gas industries of 91 nations, for a three year term which will conclude with the 27th World Gas Conference in June 2018 in Washington, DC. The mission of IGU is to advocate gas as an integral part of a sustainable global energy system, and to promote the political, technical and economic progress of the gas industry. The more than 140 members of IGU are associations and corporations of the gas industry representing over 95% of the global gas market. The organization provides opportunities for over 1,000 members of the global gas community to share best practices and engage in discussions relating to all segments of the natural gas value chain.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Moniz, Musk to Speak at EEI Convention – The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group for Investor-Owned Utilities will hold its annual convention in New Orleans today through Wednesday. Speakers will include Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, Tesla/SolarCity magnate Elon Musk and retired General David Petraeus.
CSIS to Look at Electricity Distribution – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion this afternoon on the evolution of the distribution system as integration continues for distributed energy resources. Diane X. Burman, Commissioner of the New York Public Service Commission, will deliver the keynote address on the outlook for New York and introduction of the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. Following the keynote, an expert panel featuring Bryan Hannegan, Associate Laboratory Director of the Energy Systems Integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Richard Sedano, Director of U.S. Programs at the Regulatory Assistance Project, will discuss the technical issues facing utilities and others at the distribution level, as well as the regulatory and policy developments at the distribution level across the United States. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.
WRI to Look at Water Scarcity – Today at 2:00 p.m., the World Resources Institute is hosting an event on water pricing in an age of scarcity. The IMF and World Resources Institute will hold a dialogue of policymakers, economists, and water resource experts on new approaches to water pricing to manage rapidly increasing risks in an efficient, equitable, and sustainable manner. The IMF’s David Lipton, WRI’s Charles Iceland will present a recent report followed by a panel discussion that adds Jorge Ducci of the IADB and IMF’s Asia expert Kalpana Kochhar.
Forum to Look at Tech Innovations – The XPRIZE and the Senate Ocean Caucus are holding a panel discussion today at 2:00 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center on how incentivized prize competitions are being used to catalyze ocean technology innovation. The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a $2 million global competition that challenges teams of engineers, scientists and innovators from all over the world to create pH sensor technology that will affordably, accurately and efficiently measure ocean chemistry.
BPC to Look at Batteries, EVs – This afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on batteries for vehicles and the electric grid. Next-generation battery technologies are powering vehicles and connecting directly to the electric grid. As a result, international competition to develop and supply new battery technology has intensified in recent years. This event will discuss the linkages between federal R&D investment, next-generation battery technology development, and U.S. business competitiveness. The American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) is a group of current and retired CEOs of major innovation-driven companies that advocate for greater federal investment in energy technology innovation. This event is the first in a series that follows AEIC’s February report, Restoring American Energy Innovation Leadership, to elevate conversations on the role of federal energy innovation investments in economic growth and international competitiveness. Speakers will include Argonne’s Jeff Chamberlain, Johnson Controls’ Perry Watts and our friend Steve Levine.
Aspen Global Energy Forum Set This Week – Tomorrow through Friday, the 2015 Forum on Global Energy, Economy, and Security will take place in Colorado, examining new pricing realities in international oil and gas markets. In recognition of increasingly globalized oil and gas markets and the strong links between energy and national economic and security concerns, the Forum on Global Energy, Economy, and Security was initially convened in 2005. Each summer since then a diverse group of about 70 experts has been assembled to share information and insights on these intersecting issues. The goal of this Forum, as well as our other annual energy forums, is to encourage candor and cross-disciplinary thinking among people with diverse experiences, disciplines and views. For the past several years, discussions at this Forum have focused primarily on the durability and international implications of the North American oil and gas production boom. Individual sessions have examined technical and environmental production challenges, the changing rationale for national and international energy security measures, and the midstream and downstream impacts of the production boom. Very brief presentations introduce each session but the majority of time is reserved for informal and forthright dialogue among all the participants – all discussions are off-the-record.
Forum Looks at TransAtlantic Solutions – Tomorrow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) will hold its second annual “Transatlantic Dialogue of the States, Cities, and Communities.” While German-American relations focus mainly on the connections between Berlin and Washington, this dialogue will bring together civic leaders from throughout Germany and the United States to discuss common challenges and innovative programs at the sub-national level. The focus this year will be the role of cities and states as international actors on topics including energy, immigration, and trade. The event will feature panels on “How Cities are Responding to the Energy Transformation,” “Immigration Reform and Cities of Migration,” and “TTIP: The Impact on Cities and States.”
Senate Energy to Continue Energy Hearing Process –The Senate Energy Committee will hold another hearing tomorrow to receive testimony on energy accountability and reform legislation. Energy Department Undersecretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr will testify and more than 40 bills will be discussed.
Statoil to Offer 2015 Energy Perspectives – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist in Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2015 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts. The outlook illustrates some of the uncertainties about the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Renewal and Rivalry, respectively.
Forum to Look at Grid, Distributed Solar – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. the Progressive Policy Institute will host a forum focused on the future of the grid and a discussion of distributed solar and wind.
AEI Forum to Look to Carbon Tax Issues – AEI will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. on Sheldon Whitehouse’s carbon tax proposal. The debate over whether the US should implement a carbon tax is both highly important and highly controversial. Supporters of a carbon tax argue that it would be the most efficient way of addressing climate change implementing broader fiscal reform, while opponents of such a tax suggest that it would harm the economy and have almost no effect on the climate.
Forum to Look at Transportation, Cal Energy Challenge – On Wednesday in Sacramento, CA, a panel of thought leaders in policy, academia and industry will convene to debate California Governor Jerry Brown’s new energy and climate proposal calling for a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by 2030 — “50/50/50 by 2030.” The event keynote speaker with Cal Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León. Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief of RealClearPolitics will then moderate a panel of experts including Wayne Eckerle of Cummins Inc., NRDC’s Roland Hwang, Neste’s Lars-Peter Lindfors, U-C Davis energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe and Rob Lapsley of the California Business Roundtable.
Foxx, Reps. Peterson, Lucas to Address NRECA Rural Summit – The National Rural Electric Coop Assn (NRECA) will hold a one-day summit Thursday focused on rural America. NRECA has gathered experts from around the country to discuss jobs, infrastructure and quality of life on Main Street in rural America. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Foxx and Reps Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson will be among the speaker at the Capitol Hill Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The 200-300 leaders represent a cross-section of interests from the public, private and non-profit communities. This Summit is the first event in what’s anticipated to be a multiple year collaboration around both advocacy and a series of national/regional events designed to draw attention to what’s required to build a strong and prosperous 21st century rural economy. For more information on the event, you should connect with NRECA’s Debbie Wing at 703-907-5732 or Debbie.Wing@nreca.coop
CSIS to Host BP Stat Review –Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist at BP, to present BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2015. The 64th annual edition of the review continues a tradition of providing objective, global data on energy markets to inform discussion, debate and decision-making. The review takes on important and timely questions on global oil production and consumption, slower economic growth in China and other emerging markets and the continuing strong growth in US shale oil and gas production.
Congressional Briefing on High Performance Buildings Set – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill, the High Performance Building Congressional Caucus will hold an event on High Performance Building Week. HPB is next week and is an annual celebration of high performing buildings organized by the coalition of building industry stakeholders that support the HPB Congressional Caucus. This year, the coalition will be announcing several policy priorities during the week. The 2015 Policy Priorities will act as the framework for lobbying efforts between the members and Congress. As part of the High-Performance Building Week program, the National Institute of Building Sciences is conducting a briefing on some of the newest reports and topics including the Consultative Council report. Speakers will include Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch, Co-Chairs of the Caucus. Highlights include a discussion of the 2014 NIBS Report.
USEA Energy Forum Set – The US Energy Assn’s 26th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum will be on Thursday at the National Press Club. The U.S. is now an energy superpower: #1 in natural gas production and soon to be #1 in oil production. But this forum will look at what will it take for us to be an Energy Efficiency Superpower The U.S. has made great strides over the last 25 years, but other countries still rank higher when it comes to energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Forum has addressed topics and issues of importance to our economy, our environment and our national security for 25 years. Speakers from both sides of the aisle, from the Executive Branch, from the U.S. Congress, from federal agencies, from the military and from business and industry address the Forum every year.
Forum to Look at Transpo Sector Fuels – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition will hold a briefing on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in 334 Cannon examining the current state and potential future of the transportation fuel supply. While combustion engines are more efficient and cleaner than ever, the transportation sector is still responsible for 27 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as half of all toxic emissions in the United States. Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) are conducting coordinated studies to address the opportunities and challenges to deploying a high octane mid-level ethanol blend to the passenger vehicle fleet. They found such fuels, which blend between 25 to 40 percent ethanol and 60 to 75 percent conventional gasoline (instead of the current 10 to 90 percent ratio), could lead to greater fuel efficiencies and lower overall GHG emissions.
EIA Annual Energy Conference Set – EIA will hold its 2015 Energy Conference on June 15 – 16th in Washington, DC. Keynote Speakers will DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, Mexican Energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, among others.
Lt Dan to Speak to National Press Club – Academy Award nominee and Emmy-winning actor and director Gary Sinise will address an NPC Speakers Breakfast on Tuesday, June 16th at 8:30 a.m. Sinise will discuss his tireless advocacy for America’s servicemen and women through the Gary Sinise Foundation. Sinise will be in Washington to receive the 2015 Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF).
DOE Loan Official to Speak at Offshore Conference – Peter Davidson, the Executive Director of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office to give Special Luncheon Address at Infocast’s 6th North American Offshore Wind Development & Finance Summit, June 17-18th in New York. Leading offshore wind players will discuss the unique value of offshore wind, the latest financial innovations, public/private partnerships, and technological advances being developed to reduce development time and cost and maximize ROI of offshore wind power projects in North America.
Bay, Clark, Moeller Headline Utility Commissioners Education Forum – The 20th Annual Education Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) will be held on June 21 – 24 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Virginia. Speakers will include former Senator/Governor Evan Bayh, FERC Commissioners Norman Bay, Tony Clark and Philip Moeller, NARUC President and Florida PSC Chair Lisa Edgar, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell, PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa, and American Water Works CEO Susan Story.
Energy CyberSecurity Forum Set for Houston – The 3rd Annual Cyber Security for Oil and Gas Summit will be held in Houston on June 22-24th. The event brings together the oil and gas industry to address critical concerns and trends with regard to the development of cyber security practices. The complex nature of cyberattacks and those specifically levied against the oil and gas industry have been increasing over the years and while the industry is well prepared, continuous improvement is always necessary to maintain an edge on the nefarious actors working against the industry.
SoCo Fanning Headlines REFF Wall Street – ACORE hosts it 12th annual REFF-Wall Street 2015 on June 24 and 25th at The Grand Hyatt in New York City. REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S. Attendees of this event include CEOs and other senior company officials, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 senior decision makers, financiers and professionals in the renewable energy finance field. Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning will headline a list of speakers that also includes DOE EERE’s David Danielson and former EERE head Cathy Zoi.
National Security Conference Set – The 2015 Center for New American Security Annual Conference will be held on June 26th at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. CNAS’ annual national security conference will feature keynote addresses and discussion topics designed to chart a course for the next administration and beyond.
GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio. Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants. GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.