Happy Leap Day…once every four years a leap day is observed because a complete revolution around the Sun takes slightly longer than 365 days. We compensate for this lag, realigning the calendar with the Earth’s position in the solar system with an extra day. Happy Birthday to those who were born on this special day, even though they might get extra scrutiny from bartenders, bouncers, doctors and government agencies about the birthdates on their ID cards.
Leap Day also means Spring training is underway, NHL/NBA are hitting playoff stretch runs and NCAA March Madness is just around the corner. It also means the Oscars — and even more importantly — the Congressional Hockey Challenge.
While the Oscars were somewhat shrouded in controversy (which I thought Chris Rock handled brilliantly), the Congressional Hockey Challenge is not. The CHC is a charity game between teams of members of Congress/staff and Lobbyists that has raised over $560,000 for our featured charities since 2009. This year the game will feature Reps Erik Paulson, Tom Emmer, Pat Meehan, Larry Bucshon, John Katko and several Canadian members of Parliament . It is preceded by a full day of events on Capitol Hill for Hockey Day on the Hill which features events with Lord Stanley’s Cup. Game Time Wednesday Night at 7:00 p.m. at the Kettler IcePlex in Arlington. Oh and I might be on the ice…as one of the referees in the game.
On Capitol Hill this week, there are a number of budget hearings leading the agenda. Secretary Moniz has three hearings and Secretary Jewell will make a second appearance. Also at House Resources on Wednesday, BSEE’s Brian Salerno and BOEM’s Abby Hopper will be testify on the budget impacts of the Administration’s offshore/onshore rules. GEST’s Lori LeBlanc, after a meeting with OMB today and a series of Hill Meetings tomorrow.
Down the road at the Gaylord, ARPA-E launches its innovation summit. Today, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff and BASF CEO Wayne Smith will sit with FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher to discuss hydrogen vehicles and other new technologies. Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore tomorrow, and EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons on Wednesday.
Finally, Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group was recognized as the top performing lobbying/law firm in 2015 by Bloomberg Government in its annual review of the best advocacy firms in Washington, DC. The review ranks the top 15 firms based on performance, growth, customer satisfaction and profitability. The report noted that “Bracewell is the only firm to make Bloomberg Government’s top-performing lobbying/law firms list for the fourth time in a row. Earning the top spot on the 2015 rankings, Bracewell’s impressive year was reflected in its top five performances in four of the five criteria.” The ranking criteria include one-year client retention, three-year client retention, revenue growth, accretive growth and revenue per registered client.
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IN THE NEWS
Bracewell Named Top Performing Lobbying/Law Firm of 2015 by Bloomberg Government – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group (PRG) was recognized as the top performing lobbying/law firm in 2015 by Bloomberg Government in its annual review of the best advocacy firms in Washington, DC. The review ranks the top 15 firms based on performance, growth, customer satisfaction and profitability. The report noted that “Bracewell is the only firm to make Bloomberg Government’s top-performing lobbying/law firms list for the fourth time in a row. Earning the top spot on the 2015 rankings, Bracewell’s impressive year was reflected in its top five performances in four of the five criteria.” The ranking criteria include one-year client retention, three-year client retention, revenue growth, accretive growth and revenue per registered client. According to the report, the Bracewell PRG one-year client retention rate is 93% and its three-year client retention rate is 78%, placing it near the top of its class in each category.
SoCo to Acquire Distributed Generation Leader – Southern Company will acquire PowerSecure, a leading provider of utility and energy technologies to electric utilities, and their industrial, institutional and commercial customers. PowerSecure provides products and services in the areas of Interactive Distributed Generation Â® (IDGÂ®), solar energy, energy efficiency and utility infrastructure. Southern believes that the advancement of distributed infrastructure technologies – the very technologies in which PowerSecure specializes through its unique business model – helps meet customers’ future energy needs as part of the full portfolio of energy resources. These technologies typically receive highest demand largely in markets outside of the Southeast, where distributed infrastructure investments tend to provide greater customer value. Through this natural evolution of the companies’ current business models, the combined company would be particularly suited to address reliability concerns and promote technology advances with a focus on the future. As Southern Company and PowerSecure prepare for tomorrow, the combination of one of America’s leading energy companies with a successful, customer-focused provider of differentiated energy solutions and innovative energy infrastructure is designed to expand Southern Company’s opportunities to provide customized energy products to customers.
Bipartisan Group Introduces CCS Incentive Bill – Speaking of SoCo and innovation, their Kemper Carbon Capture Plant is expected to open later this year. Last week, Federal legislation was introduced to spur commercial deployment of technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities for use in enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) Rep. Mike Conaway and 18 bipartisan co-sponsors. The legislation will make the existing federal carbon capture and storage incentive—known as the Section 45Q tax credit—permanent, thereby providing certainty that project developers need to obtain private sector financing of carbon capture projects. The current 45Q tax credit expires upon reaching its current cap of 75 million tons of CO2, meaning that investors in projects under development cannot count on the credit being available. The bill would also gradually increase the credit value for CO2 storage through enhanced oil recovery or other types of geologic storage (from $10/ton and $20/ton, respectively) to $30 per ton by 2025. For over 40 years, the U.S. independent oil and gas industry has led the world in using CO2 for oil production and geologic storage of carbon, and CO2-EOR currently provides around 4 percent of domestic oil production and utilizes roughly 65 million tons of CO2 annually.
Conservative Groups Oppose a Carbon Tax – The American Energy Alliance and over 20 free-market and conservative groups sent a letter to Majority Whip Steve Scalise in support of his resolution opposing a carbon tax. As the budget and appropriations process gets underway, Congress should reject efforts that would impose a carbon tax on American families, including President Obama’s recent proposal to levy a $10.25 per barrel carbon tax on oil. Below is an excerpt from the letter: We write to collectively voice our support for House Concurrent Resolution 89, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy. As organizations that support free markets as a fundamental pathway to American prosperity, we oppose government policies – such as a carbon tax–that punish some and reward others in accordance with the government’s prevailing viewpoint on market ideals. Such marketplace manipulation represents a recipe for unintended consequences and self-inflicted economic damage. Too often, poor and middle class families bear the burden. Indeed, independent studies demonstrate that a carbon tax would impose considerable harm on Americans. Such a tax will lead directly to higher electricity and transportation fuel costs for American families and businesses. This, in turn, will inexorably lead to increased costs for consumer goods across the board. Furthermore, a carbon tax would be regressive, imposing disproportionately high costs on middle- and lower-income families and thereby harming most those who can afford it least.
MD Get s Offshore Wind Application Process Rolling – The Maryland Public Service Commission received its first Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) Application, opening competition for the $1.9B OREC financing set in place by the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. There is a 180 day window for all other developers to apply. In addition to the OREC, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 established a number of provisions for a qualified offshore wind project, which is required to be located on the outer continental shelf, between 10 and 30 miles off the coast. Projects must satisfying several ratepayer impact protection measures, the offshore wind project must demonstrate positive net economic, environmental and health benefits to the State as a condition of approval. The Maryland OREC application submission marks a milestone on the development timeline of the US offshore wind industry. The process will bring economic development and investment to Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic and North East regions and could reach down into the Gulf of Mexico. The next step in the process is the approval of the OREC application, which is paramount to the growth of a pipeline of projects in the East Coast and realization of the full economic benefits associated with offshore wind.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Air Liquide CEO, Others Headline ARPA-E Event –This morning , Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat.” Graff will be interviewed by FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher along with BASF CEO Wayne Smith. Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore tomorrow, and EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons on Wednesday.
BOEM Director Headlines Offshore Wind Conference – The 2016 U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference is being held today through Wednesday at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Speakers include BOEM Director Abby Hopper, Sen Ed Markey, NWF CEO Colin O’Mara, Deepwater CEO Jeff Grybowski, Delaware Special Initiative on Offshore Wind director Stephanie McClellan, UD’s Willett Kempton, AWEA’s Nany Sopko, Liz Burdick of the Business Network for OSW and many more.
Brookings to Host Australian Energy Leader – Today at 1:30 p.m., the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings will host The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Australia’s Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia. Minister Frydenberg will address what Australia is doing to ensure it remains a world leader on energy and resources, the continued importance of the U.S. and growing importance of Asian markets for energy and resources markets, and what the Paris climate change agreement means for Australia’s energy sector. Following the remarks, Brookings Senior Fellow Joshua Meltzer will engage the Minister in a one-on-one discussion. After the program, the participants will take audience questions.
Revkin to Discuss Science, Climate Writing – Tonight, my friend and former NY Times science reporter Andy Revkin will be at the Marian Koshland Science Museum at 6:30 p.m. for a wide-ranging conversation about the challenges of writing about climate change and making an impact on readers through personal narrative. He will be joined by Lee Gutkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, and Daniel Sarewitz, co-editor of Issues in Science and Technology; Andrew’s essay appears in the current issues of both magazines.
Energy Funding, Energy Panels Host Moniz, DOE on Budgets – The House and Senate Energy and Water Approps Subcommittee and the House Energy panel will all hear testimony from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as they hold budget hearings on the Department of Energy. House Approps hosts tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., House Energy Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., Senate Energy Thursday at 10:00 a.m. As well, DOE Undersecretaries Franklin Orr (Science), Dave Danielson (EERE), John Kotek (Nuclear), Chris Smith (Fossil) and Pat Hoffman (Electricity Delivery/Reliability) will all testify before House Energy Water Approps on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
Jewell, Interior Returns to Hill – Starting tomorrow, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will return to Capitol to discuss 2017 budgets. House Resources will host tomorrow wat 10 am, while Senate Interior Approps will Host on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and House Interior Approps on Wednesday afternoon. Finally. BLM’s Neil Kornze heads to House Interior Approps on Thursday at 10am.
House Energy Panel to Unveil Pipeline Legislation – The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy will unveil draft reauthorization legislation for pipeline safety in a hearing tomorrow. The draft bill to be discussed tomorrow would also reauthorize PHMSA through 2019, but the bill would also include multiple new mandates to “increase transparency and accountability, complete overdue regulations, and improve safety,” according to a statement from the committee. Good resources on this include AGA’s Jake Rubin and Don Santa of INGAA. PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez Administrator will testify.
Canada Energy Future Highlighted – The CSIS Energy Program will feature a discussion on Wednesday of Canada’s 2016 energy future. The event will feature members of the Canadian National Energy Board, including Abha Bhargava, Director of Energy Integration, as well as Energy Futures Project Managers Bryce Van Sluys and Matthew Hansen.
House Energy Panel Hosts Moniz on Budget – As mentioned above, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the FY2017 DOE Budget featuring Secretary Moniz.
Senate FR Looks at Oil Price Impacts – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the geopolitical implications of low oil & gas prices. Witnesses will include Institute of International Finance head Tim Adams, and Robert Kahn, a Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Resources Panel to Look at Leasing Issues at Interior – The House Resource Committee’s panel on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the President’s FY 2017 Budget on the energy and mineral leasing. IT will also look at the production missions of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Bureau of Land Management. Our friends, Abby Hopper and Brian Salerno will be among those testifying.
RFF Seminar to Look at Climate Trade Offs – Resources For the Future holds it March First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to look at trade-offs in climate policy options. On the heels of the Paris climate negotiations, carbon pricing policies – either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs – are receiving renewed attention across the globe. In the meantime, US federal climate policy is being driven by regulatory authority, but with a strong focus on program flexibility via credit trading. Against this evolving background, the time is right to revisit the trade-offs among various carbon pricing and other climate policy options. At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, Tom Lawler of the International Emissions Trading Association will highlight the benefits of emissions trading programs, and Jerry Taylor of the Niskanen Center will present the case for a carbon tax. Both will then participate in a broader panel discussion on the interplay between carbon pricing and regulatory measures.
Groups to Offer Recommendation of Fish, Wildlife – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., a group of energy, business and conservation leaders will release their recommendations on how to avert the growing fish and wildlife crisis in this country. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources was created in 2014 to develop policy options on the most sustainable and equitable model to fund conservation of fish and wildlife. The panel was co-chaired by former Wyoming governor, David Freudenthal, and John L. Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and includes representatives from the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state fish and wildlife agencies. Speakers will include New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife Director Dave Chanda, Freudenthal, Morris, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane and NWF head Collin O’Mara.
Senate Energy to Host Moniz – As mentioned above, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing Thursday to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Energy. Secretary Moniz will testify.
House Science to Look at Loan Guarantee Programs – House Science Committee subpanels will host DOE Lean program director Mike McCall Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the future of the program. Joining McCall will be GAO’s Frank Rusco, program defender Greg Kats and Heritage Critic Nicolas Loris.
Pew Honors Clean Energy Leadership – Pew Charitable Trusts hosts a reception Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to highlight advances in clean energy. The reception will include remarks from Phyllis Cuttino, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Initiative and Dr. Ellen Williams, director of The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy.
Forum to Look at Local Clean Energy Issues – Leaders in Energy and the United Nations Association will host an interactive panel discussion on Thursday at 6;30 p.m. looking at acting on clean energy. UNA-NCA, in partnership with Leaders in Energy, will host a discussion on the newly enacted 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations’ Global Goal 7, which is aimed at ensuring access to affordable clean energy. The panel discussion will foster a dialogue with attendees and compile practical actions and next steps that local residents can take in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Atlantic Forum to Look at Energy in Developing World – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Friday at 9:30 a.m. looking at a U.S. strategy for sustainable energy security. The event will focus on the energy needs of the developing world.
McCarthy to Headline Climate Conference – The 2016 Climate Leadership Conference will take place March 8th through 10 in Seattle. The event convenes a global audience of climate, energy, and sustainability professionals to address climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Now in its fifth year, the 2016 event will host the first U.S. climate conference post-Paris to further accelerate climate solutions and a low-carbon economy. Speakers include EPA Head Gina McCarthy, former CNN and current GWU School of Media & PA head Frank Sesno, Microsoft’s Dan Reicher and former CO Governor Bill Ritter.
USEA Look at CCS Utilization – The US Energy Association hosts a forum next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. on utilization of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. The “U” in CCUS, is a key component of essentially all major CO2 capture and storage projects such as Summit’s Texas Clean Energy Project, Petra Nova’s Parish project, Boundary Dam, and Kemper. This briefing will assess the market dynamics, issues and opportunities at play. Speaker will be Michael Moore, Vice President of Energy Commodities and Advisory Services at FearnOil.
JHU Forum Looks at Renewables – Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS will hold a forum next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. as part of the SAIS Research Seminar Series in Politics and Political Economy, 2015-2016 on how power sectors reforms are shaping renewable energy issues across the globe. Johannes Urpelainen, the speaker for this seminar, is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.
Groups Look at Ag Impacts on Climate – The Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International will hold a workshop on Wednesday March 9th to discuss the science and management of the remarkable bio-chemical process called carbon sequestration. Scientists will explain how it works and climate policy experts will describe initiatives to drive the rapid, large-scale, worldwide adoption of regenerative agriculture techniques that can sequester carbon, improve both quantity and quality of foods produced, and concurrently decrease atmospheric CO2. Some of the speakers include Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, Kristine Nichols, David Johnson, and Richard Teague.
AGA Expert Feature In CHP/NatGas Webinar – The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency is cohosting a webinar with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy on Wednesday March 9th at Noon on the state of the market and implications for natgas & CHP. Expert panelists will explore data from the 2016 BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook on the state of the market for natural gas and combined heat and power (CHP), and provide their perspectives on prospects for continued growth. They will also will explore data from the 2016 BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook on the state of the market for natural gas and combined heat and power (CHP), and provide their perspectives on prospects for continued growth. Among the speakers will be our friend Richard Meyer, Manager of Energy Analysis & Standards at the American Gas Association.
ARPA-E Director Talks Innovation, Grid – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a discussion on March 10th with Ellen Williams, Director of ARPA-E, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Dr. Williams and ARPA-e play a critical role in incubating new energy technologies. One issue where real progress on both technology and market deployment continues to be needed is the electric grid. Dr. Williams will discuss key areas of focus for ARPA-E in 2016, with a special focus on grid management and grid storage as well as the new initiatives including Mission Innovation. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide a brief introduction and Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research and Analysis with the MIT Energy Initiative and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.
Forum to Look at Japan Priorities in Middle East – On March 10th, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Global Energy Center will bring together Japanese scholars and practitioners alongside US analysts to discuss Japanese energy priorities and policies in the Middle East. These experts will discuss how the Middle Eastern landscape impacts Japan’s energy policies, and how Japanese policies in turn impact the region.
Poneman to Discuss Argentina, Energy – The Atlantic Council for a discussion on Friday, March 11th looking at Argentina’s energy outlook in the new administration of President Mauricio Macri era. The event will launch the Atlantic Council’s latest policy brief, The New Argentina: Time to Double Down on the Energy Sector?, authored by Argentine energy expert Cristian Folgar. Among the speakers will be Dan Poneman, former Deputy Secretary of Energy.
AHRI Public Policy Forum Set – The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) hold its annual Public Policy Forum on March 15th and 16th. The 2016 Public Policy Symposium is designed to bring AHRI members together with key public officials to discuss important issues facing the HVACR and water heating industry. The two-day event provides participants with the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and Congressional staff on Capitol Hill, and with key officials in federal agencies. Near-miss Virginia Senate Candidate and former political operative Ed Gillespie will keynote the forum.
Chamber Summit to Look at Competitiveness – The U.S. Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness holds the 10th Annual Capital Markets Summit looking at the foundation of economic growth on March 15th. This year, the event will examine the current state of the capital markets, including how innovation is changing the landscape, and explore what changes are necessary to ensure these markets are modernized and well-regulated to ensure economic growth.
Forum to Focus on Geothermal – EESI and the Geothermal Energy Association is hosting a briefing on Wednesday March 16th at 2:00 p.m. in 212-10 in the Capitol Visitors Center highlighting the state of the geothermal energy industry and its near-term prospects in the United States and in more than 80 other countries working to expand its use. With demand for clean energy accelerating around the globe, geothermal energy has major potential as a renewable resource that can provide power around-the-clock, complementing intermittent renewable power technologies. Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen, U.S. Geothermal President Doug Glaspey and several others.
GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.
Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.
ACORE Policy Forum Set – The 2016 ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be on March 16th and 17th at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. Senator Wyden, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will provide the Mid-Morning Keynote. The event has a great line up including moderators Joe Desmond of Brightsource Energy, Greg Wetstone of ACORE and Dan Reicher, former DOE official and Google exec at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center.
Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.
Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at The Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA. Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the Uncertainties of Shale Resource Development Under Low Price Environment.
Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower. The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.