I hope everyone enjoyed a quiet, reflective launch to Passover this past weekend, enjoying family/friends and maybe watching a little golf at the Valero Texas Open, some playoff basketball or even the near wrap up of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
First, I need to bounce back to last week. I must be getting lame because last Monday I missed the Boston Marathon and the release of the Pulitzer Prize winners/finalists. My daughter Hannah, who is headed for Wellesley next year, reminded me of the Marathon because she received videos from her friends on campus of the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel” at Mile 13 (a proud annual tradition that dates back to the original Boston Marathon in 1897). On the Pulitzers, congrats to our friends who were winners, including The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick for his book on ISIS called Black Flag and T. Miller for his examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly and to comprehend the traumatic effects on its victims.
The Congress focuses this week energy and water appropriations while there are a number of interesting Congressional hearings. Tomorrow, Interior hold its DC Five-Year Drilling Plan public meeting following two last week in New Orleans and Houston. Last week, Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential. Also tomorrow, NRECA’s Jeff Leahey heads a panel session at the National Hydro Assn’s annual conference which starts today and featured keynotes from Sen. Cantwell and Rep. McNerney. Senate Energy also revisits a hearing rescheduled from last week on oil/gas production and development.
On Wednesday, BGov hosts EPA Air office head Janet McCabe discussing the nearing release of methane rules. Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund and Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy will join at the event. The House Resources Committee hits the topic right after at 10:00 a.m. and will look at pump storage and other Hydropower issues at 2:00 p.m.
And on Friday, EESI and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that releases the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.”
Finally, last Friday was Earth Day, or should we call it UN “Signing Day.” It kind of seems like national letter of intent signing day for all the high school athletes committing to their future colleges. Of course, almost of all of them will go to the colleges and compete, while those that sign the UN agreement will probably (if history is any guide) will do nothing more than sign away. Anyway, I forwarded a few items and added a few more for this morning in case you may have missed it.
Call with questions.
EARTH DAY EXTRAVAGANZA
UN Paris Agreement Signing – Representatives from nearly 170 countries, including the United States, are slated to sign the Paris climate change deal at a ceremony in New York today – The UN event will feature a bevy of speeches from heads of state and high-ranking officials and celebrities, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President François Hollande and even Leonardo DiCaprio. John Kerry signs for the US.
Timing – Our friends at the World Resources Institute have produced a great interactive map that tracks which countries have signed and joined the agreement in real time. You can see the map here.
What’s Next – Friday’s signing ceremony only a first, symbolic step toward ratification. Now countries will have to present formal ratification documents to their respective governments. The Paris Agreement takes effect when 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse-gas emissions have ratified.
Europe Won’t Be Ratifying Soon– Both E&E News and now POLITICO are highlighting that internal politics within the European Union are delaying ratification there. The problem for the EU is that corralling all 28 countries into ratifying the agreement is difficult because there are deep divisions within the bloc over the EU’s internal climate targets for cutting emissions and how these should be distributed among countries. Shockingly, that seems to be the same problem we’ve had for more than 20 years outside the EU. Of course, they just say they’ll agree to ratify it and then don’t.
Green Analysis: Paris, CPP Distract from Climate Problem Solving – Speaking of Better ways to address climate, I came across this interesting analysis on how both Paris and CPP may be counterproductive because they distract time, attention, and resources away from adaptation. In light of today’s Paris signing, the author, Chris Cooper definitively says that he is not optimistic that it will have the intended impact. Cooper served as an international spokesperson for the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), a New York-based energy and environmental nonprofit with official consultative status before the United Nations. He was also Executive Director of the Network for New Energy Choices, a nonprofit advocacy group that pushed for a national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and spearheaded efforts in dozens of states to reform net metering laws. He still works for regional and national enviro groups as an expert witness on regulatory stuff and has written several books on renewable power. If you can’t get the link to work, I have a pdf that I can send for you…
NYT: Climate Plans Won’t Have Much Impact – Our friends Coral Davenport and Justin Gillis have an in-depth piece in the New York Times that says despite the hard work and negotiations of international leaders, their planned actions, even if faithfully carried out, will likely fall far short of cutting emissions enough to meet the Paris goal. Worth a good read.
Q&A With UN Sect General – Our friend Elana Schor has an interesting Q&A with UN Secretary-Generale Ban Ki-moon. Would love to have a few tougher Qs though than pinned Ban down on the 20-year history of missed agreements and the future changes that will be required beyond the Paris agreement.
Rural Coops Highlight International Efforts to Provide Reliable, Clean Energy – On Earth Day, America’s Electric Cooperatives celebrate the community of cooperatives around the world. From member-owned electric cooperatives in Bangladesh and Haiti to agricultural cooperatives in Ghana and Kenya, the cooperative business model puts the needs of members first, improving the quality of life and strengthening local economies. Fifty years ago, the newly developed U.S. Agency for International Development joined forces with NRECA International to bring electricity to developing countries worldwide. More than 110 million people around the globe have benefited from access to electricity. Increased access to electricity in more than 42 countries has boosted agricultural productivity, created new jobs in micro and small enterprises and raised both incomes and quality of life. Co-ops consumer-centric utility model, a model that aligns the goals of the utility with the interests of consumers, promotes innovation and mitigates the risks that come with rapid technological change. Consistent with this consumer-centric model, cooperatives are leading the industry in the development of community approaches to solar and energy storage. Co-ops own or purchase 6700 megawatts of renewable capacity. As of March of this year, 96 distribution co-ops in 29 states have developed or are planning community solar programs.
CCS Technology Still Opportunity – Our friend Ben Finzel reminds that Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology is key to successful implementation of the Paris agreement. To that end, leaders from Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Great Plains Institute, Clean Air Task Force and Third Way that says technological innovation will be critical in meeting the goal the world’s nations set out in the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. In a statement on CCUS, leaders of these enviro groups say CCUS technology can capture and safely store CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities that the IPCC and International Energy Agency have concluded are essential to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. They also add it’s worth highlighting that CCUS projects are now operating or under construction in eight countries with several new plants on the way around the world. And countries as diverse as Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Norway have specifically included CCUS technology in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to the agreement. The United States has adopted an “all-of-the-above” strategy that includes CCUS.
Third Way Video Highlights Challenges, Opportunities in Climate Issues – Third Way also has a new video out that says getting beyond 30% renewables will be a challenge. Josh Freed says they love solar and wind energy as they are essential pieces of the effort to decarbonize the grid and meet our aggressive climate goals. But, he adds, TW is also a pretty practical bunch, underscoring the notion that to get to 100% clean energy, we will need a mix of other low and zero-emissions energy sources to solve the climate challenge. You might recognize that voice in the video, it former Manchin staffer, Erin Burns.
ACCCE Takes on Power Plan AS UN Signing Continues – Speaking of videos, our friends at ACCCE are also discussing the COP21 agreement signing at UN Headquarters in New York City. The president and his allies are touting this agreement as a historic undertaking, in which American leadership is paving the way forward in the global effort to combat climate change. Unfortunately, ACCCE is highlighting some of the smoke, mirrors and weaknesses in a new video that says it promotes false promises & puts politics over American families. See the video here.
More ACCCE: Signing is Purely Symbolic – American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity president and CEO Mike Duncan said today’s signing of the Paris Climate Agreement is “nothing more than a parlor game lacking consequence or purpose; it’s purely symbolic. The simple truth of the matter is that the agreement is an exercise in futility as the reduction targets are wholly unachievable.” Duncan added that while the agreement is being signed, the president’s power plan on which the global agreement is based, has been halted by the U.S. Supreme Court until legal challenges to the rule are resolved. Duncan: “A hallmark of President Obama’s second term has been action through executive fiat. As a result, we’ve seen one bad policy follow another with the Power Plan being the most egregious,” continued Duncan. “The COP21 agreement isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on but will result in billions of dollars spent denying people access to the affordable, reliable power needed to grow economies and overcome poverty. That’s a sad state of affairs that should not be allowed to take place.”
It’s Wonderful Energy – The Chamber Energy Institute’s climate expert Steve Eule has a great piece in RealClearEnergy today that is a take on It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1946 American Christmas classic based on the short story “The Greatest Gift.” The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born. Eule spoofs the format in It’s A Wonderful Fuel, offering a fun read and important context for Earth Day and any day.
Diesel Techs Getting Cleaner – On Earth Day, Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum has a great column focused on clean diesel technology ion the marketplace and the industry’s now near-zero in emissions. See the piece plus a great picture of the industry’s “clean white handkerchief” test.
AEI Paper Lists Questionable Earth Day Claims – AEI’s Mark Perry looks at 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 that set the tone for the way we may want to consider the claims we hear today. “In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey.”
IN THE NEWS
NY Denies Constitution Pipeline Water Permits – On Friday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) denied the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Constitution Pipeline Project. Constitution builders say they remain steadfastly committed to pursuing the federally-approved energy infrastructure project. “In spite of NYSDEC’s unprecedented decision, we remain absolutely committed to building this important energy infrastructure project, which will create an important connection between consumers and reliable supplies of clean, affordable natural gas. We believe NYSDEC’s stated rationale for the denial includes flagrant misstatements and inaccurate allegations, and appears to be driven more by New York State politics than by environmental science,” the project sponsors said in a joint statement.
Where will they get there Energy? – With opponents blocking natgas drilling, pipelines, fighting Indian Point and Other nuclear projects, questions remain where NY will get power/energy to meet its needs. Constitution Pipeline worked closely with NYSDEC staff for more than three years to ensure that water quality measures are met before, during and after construction. As a result of that dialogue, Constitution Pipeline voluntarily agreed to the agency’s requests to incorporate re-routes, adopt trenchless construction methodologies, commit to site-specific trout stream restoration and agreed to fund approximately $18 million for wetland mitigation and banking and approximately $8.6 million for the restoration and preservation of migratory bird habitats. The FERC-certificated route was developed after extensive environmental and engineering analysis, which included a comprehensive review of route alternatives. In its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the FERC concluded that environmental impacts associated with these alternatives were significantly greater than the preferred route. Despite this, in the spirit of collaboration we followed NYSDEC guidance and further altered our preferred route to adopt NYSDEC staff recommendations.
NY Never Discussed Outstanding Issues – Developers also said the decision was a surprise given the ongoing dialogue. “Contrary to NYSDEC statements, the company was not informed of any outstanding issues that it had not agreed to address as a condition of the permit. In fact, during the past nine months, weekly inquiries were made to the department to ensure no additional data was needed. Those inquiries were either ignored or responded to in the negative. It is obvious that the NYSDEC deliberately chose to remain silent to bolster the political campaign of the State.” The developers also took serious issue with claims that its application lacked information related to stream crossings, depth of pipe, or blasting. The project sponsors continued, “Completely contrary to NYSDEC’s assertion, we provided detailed drawings and profiles for every stream crossing in New York, including showing depth of pipe. In fact, all stream crossings were fully vetted with the NYSDEC throughout the review process. We are appalled with the comments that Constitution failed to provide sufficient data to ensure every crossing was totally in compliance with the NYSDEC guidelines.”
DOE Proposes Revised Commercial Water Heater Efficiency Standards – The Department of Energy (DOE) issued the pre-publication version of its notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to revise efficiency standards for commercial water heaters (CWH). The proposed standards increase the stringency of the current minimum thermal efficiency and maximum standby loss requirements for all gas water heaters and hot water supply boilers. The proposed minimum thermal efficiency for these products will require the use of condensing technology. The NOPR also lowers the maximum standby loss requirement for all electric storage water heaters and proposes minimum uniform energy factor standards for residential-duty commercial water heaters. No changes are proposed for the minimum efficiency standards for the remaining CWH equipment classes. The effective date will likely be in late 2019 or early 2020, which would be three years after the publication of the final rule, which is expected late this year or in early 2017. A public meeting to discuss the NOPR will be held on June 6, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at DOE’s offices in Washington, D.C.
ACI Biofuel Subsidies Distort Soap Industry Marketplace – The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) said it supports legislation that would eliminate tax credits for biofuels produced with animal fats. As part of the 2015 year-end legislative package of tax extenders, biodiesel and renewable diesel that is produced from animal fats is eligible for a $1 per gallon tax credit. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates eliminating the tax credit for biofuels that use animal fats would save $299 million in fiscal year 2016. Douglas Troutman, ACI General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs said ACI is not opposed to biofuels, but oppose misguided government subsidies that negatively affect the price and availability of animal fats, a key feedstock for the oleochemical industry.” ACI represents the producers of oleochemicals, such as fatty acids and alcohols made from seed oils and animal fats, historically used in soaps and detergents. The biofuel subsidy in question distorts the domestic market for animal fats by diverting this important raw material away from use in the manufacturing of cleaning products and towards the production of biodiesel. As a result, animal fats have seen a 116 percent increase in cost since 2006, the year the tax credit first became law. Animal fats are the traditional feedstock for cleaning and personal care products such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, bar soap, bath gels and shampoos. Animal fats provide domestic chemical producers with a raw material that affords them a cost advantage over foreign manufacturers that use palm oil and similar materials as their primary feedstock. This industry supports approximately 25,000 American jobs. The supply of animal fats in the U.S. is largely inelastic (animals are raised for their meat, not fat), therefore the increased demand has rapidly outstripped supply, placing American cleaning product manufacturers at a tremendous market disadvantage.
EIA Updates State Energy Profiles – The Energy Information Administration has updated its State Energy Profiles with new data, including series for electricity, petroleum, and natural gas. Activities covered by these series include prices, supply, and consumption. The Profiles also feature updated annual data covering consumption, expenditures, emissions, vehicle fueling stations, and weather. Quick Facts and analytical narratives have been updated for four states. Puerto Rico also features an updated narrative. Users can learn facts such Kentucky, the third-largest coal-mining state, produced more than 61 million short tons of bituminous coal in 2015; In 2014, Michigan had more underground natural gas storage capacity – almost 1.1 trillion cubic feet – than any other state in the nation; The Utica Shale has contributed to the rapid increase in natural gas production in Ohio, which was more than 12 times greater in 2015 than 2011; In 2015, 8.4% of Wisconsin’s net electricity generation came from renewable energy resources, split among biomass, wind, and conventional hydroelectric power; From July 2012 to April 2015, distributed solar photovoltaic generating capacity in Puerto Rico increased by a factor of nine, bringing distributed solar capacity to 37 megawatts. Solar capacity at utility-scale installations totaled 52 megawatts. State and Territory Energy Profiles provide Quick Facts and an analytical narrative for each of the 56 states and territories. In addition, the Profiles offer 91 key data series for each state, including state rankings for 10 of the series. To view all 56 Profiles, visit the State Energy Profiles home page.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Forum to Look at Arctic Chairmanship at Half Point – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. for a keynote address on the state and future of U.S. leadership in the Arctic. ESCI Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate the discussion and audience Q&A.
QER Meeting Set for Utah – On April 25 at 8:30 a.m., the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder meeting at Western Electricity Coordinating Council, 155 North 400 West, Salt Lake City, Utah. It will also be livestreamed at energy.gov/live. The meeting is the second of six regional QER public input meetings (scroll down for dates and locations for the rest), all of which are based on wholesale market footprints as a convenient approach to capturing and assisting the Interagency QER Task Force in understanding the nation’s regional electricity diversity, which is characterized by differing resource mixes, state policies, and a host of other factors. The Salt Lake City meeting covers the footprint of thirteen of the fourteen states (outside California) which are, all or in part, in the Western Interconnection, and represented by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Electricity issues related to California will be covered during a May 10th QER meeting in Los Angeles. In addition to today’s meeting in Salt Lake City the QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.
Water Power Conferences Set for DC – Today through Wednesday, 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. NRECA’s will be Jeff Leahey featured speaker on a panel on Congressional activities while keynotes will come from Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jerry McNerney.
5-YR Plan Public Meetings Start—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold public meetings in Washington DC tomorrow on its five-year plan. There were two meetings last week in New Orleans and Houston. Recently, Interior rolled out the new five-year plan for drilling which set the scope of drilling for the years between 2017-2022. Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential during a news conference hosted last week by the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense. It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone. Those of us on the Gulf Coast are proud to produce the energy to fuel America and we recognize that Gulf oil accounts for nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil production. The U.S. Treasury directly benefits to the tune of over $5 to $8 billion dollars each year from energy production in the Gulf — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.”
Forum to Look at Energy Policy In the 2016 Election – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a day-long seminar tomorrow looking at U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections. The event will feature panel discussions on the importance of bipartisan Energy Policy, oil/natgas production, distribution and refining, the electric power sector, the future of transportation and State and City leadership. Each election cycle affords policymakers an opportunity to assess the state of the nation’s energy sector in the context of shared objectives and within the context of a dynamic global energy landscape. U.S. energy policy is driven by economic, security, and environmental priorities, but fundamental tensions continue to exist between those priorities and among the various constituencies involved in the nation’s energy sectors. The purpose of this conference is to inform the current debate on U.S. energy policymaking and assess what areas are ripe for action.
Senate Energy Looks at Oil/Gas Development – After last week’s delay, the Senate Energy Committee tomorrow will return to hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments. Witnesses with include Columbia Energy expert Jason Bordoff, Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Michael Ratner of CRS and several others in the oil/gas industry.
House Energy Takes up Pipeline Safety Reauth – The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday will mark up legislation to reauthorize PHMSA’s pipeline safety program. Similar legislation cleared the Transportation committee last week. Both would force PHMSA to regulate natural gas storage and grant the Transportation secretary authority to issue emergency orders. Opening statements will be on Tuesday afternoon, with the markup scheduled for Wednesday morning.
McCabe to Headline BGov Methane Breakfast Forum – BGov hosts EPA Air office Head Janet McCabe and others for a panel discussion on the role methane plays in future climate discussions and the impact of the administration’s environmental initiatives. Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy and Mark Brownstein of EDF will join McCabe.
Discussion to Look at Paris, Climate Action – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a lively discussion Wednesday at 8:30 that will bring together senior representatives from various sectors to discuss innovative and proactive solutions to climate change, what Paris means four months later, and how to move from agreement to action on climate change. Speakers will include former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio of Microsoft, Cathy Woollums of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Alex Liftman of Bank of America.
Forum to Look at Russian Energy Politics – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a day-long conference on energy and geopolitics in the Black Sea and South Caucasus. Panels will cover all the different potential energy issues facing the region, including pipeline, supply and transportation issues. Greg Saunders of BP will be a key speaker.
House Resources to Look at Methane Regulations – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Bureau of Land Management’s regulatory overreach into methane emissions regulation. Witnesses will include Interior’s Amanda Leiter, Mark Watson of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Rio Blanco County, CO commissioner Shawn Bolton, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms and La Plata County, CO commissioner Gwen Lachelt.
Senate Small Biz to Look at Water Rule Impact – The Senate Small Business Committee will examine the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, on Wednesday looking at small business impacts and reforms to the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Following Senate Environment’s recent hearing on the topic, RFA requires federal agencies to consider the impact of regulations on small businesses and consider less burdensome options if that effect is significant. Witnesses will include NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, Darryl DePriest of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, NFIB’s Elizabeth Milito and South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp.
DOE Hosts Pumped Storage Hydro Public Meeting – The Wind and Water Power Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Request for Information to identify the challenges and opportunities faced by the pumped storage hydropower industry. Now DOE will host a public meeting on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. for individual stakeholder insight into the technical and market challenges and potential pathways to facilitate the development of pumped storage in the United States.
House Resources Looks at Hydropower Issues – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on realizing the potential of hydropower as a clean, renewable and domestic energy resource. The hearing will focus on the barriers to nonfederal hydropower development. Witnesses will include Steve Boyd of the Turlock Irrigation District, Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Jessica Matlock, and Debbie Powell of Pacific Gas and Electric.
CSIS to Look at Financing Production Resilience – On Thursday, CSIS Energy and the National Security program will host a conversation with former Vice Chairman of NY Mercantile Exchange Albert Helmig, Energy Intelligence Energy Casey Sattler and Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley, moderated by our friend Kevin Book. Oil and gas producers have responded to six consecutive calendar quarters of price weakness by high-grading production, downsizing workforce and paring back capital spending. Financial investors’ continuing appetite for oil industry debt – and, more recently, equity – has continued to support U.S. production, too. Unexpectedly resilient output and stubbornly low commodity prices continue to erode corporate resources, however, raising several imminent questions.
Group to Discuss Nuclear Waste Storage – Waste Control Specialists will hold a news conference on storage facilities for nuclear waste on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. A little over a year ago Waste Control Specialists (WCS) filed a Notice of Intent with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and announced it would submit an application to the NRC for a license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel in 2016. WCS President Rod Baltzer will discuss the recent announcement that WCS expects to meet that timetable.
Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on Thursday and Friday at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.
BPC to Focus on Water/Energy Book – On Thursday 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a book session on “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival” by author Michael Webber and a discussion about the interconnections between energy and water, their vulnerabilities, and the path toward a more reliable and abundant future for humanity. Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. A new book offers a fresh, holistic way of thinking about energy and water—a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both.
Forum to Look at LNG – The Atlantic Council hosts the US LNG Exports and European Energy Security Conference on Thursday. The event takes place shortly after the inauguration ceremony of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana and will discuss the implications of US LNG exports on European energy security in the context of climate action post Paris COP21 and changing global energy markets. There is an excellent list of great speakers, including a wide array of Foreign ministers from European countries on a panel moderated by our FP friend Keith Johnson. A second panel moderated by our friend Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal will include API’s Marty Durbin and DOE’s Paula Gant among others.
Anti-Nuke Groups Look at Indian Point – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. the anti-nuclear group Nuclear Information & Resource Service will host a webinar that features the Union of Concerned Scientists’ nuclear safety expert David Lochbaum. Lochbaum will review the recent discovery of a major safety issue: hundreds of missing and degraded bolts in the reactor vessel of Indian Point unit 2, which has implications for reactors across the country.
House Energy Panel to Look at Nuclear Legislation – The House Energy and Committee Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on upcoming nuclear legislation on the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016 and the Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act.
Sustainable Factbook to Be Released – On Friday at Noon in B-338 Rayburn, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that will provide information on the rapid changes occurring in the U.S. energy sector. The findings of the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” show that the U.S. energy sector, and the power sector in particular, have experienced unprecedented growth in newer, cleaner sources of energy. The briefing will feature an overview presentation by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the findings from the Factbook, followed by a moderated industry panel with senior executives from a range of clean energy industries. Speakers for this forum include BNEF’s Colleen Regan, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, Owen Smith of Ingersoll Rand, Covanta’s Paula Soos, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association.
WCEE to Look at Paris Implementation – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Friday at Noon on the role of states in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. Maryland Public Service Commissioner Anne Hoskins, DOE Deputy Director for Climate, Environment & Energy Efficiency Judi Greenwald and EPRI’s Steve Rose will all , Senior Research Economist, Electric Power Research Institute all look at the options states considering to continue de-carbonizing the electricity generation sector and what role of regulators will play in achieving these goals.
IEEE to Host Transmission Technology Conference – IEEE will hold its annual Transmission PES Conference in Dallas at the Convention Center May 2-5. The electric grid is undergoing transformations enabled by the integration of new technologies, such as advanced communication and power electronic devices and the increasing penetration of distributed generation. Such changes introduce a new paradigm in the cultural infrastructure of power systems, which requires a great deal of cooperation between utilities, power generation companies, consumers, governments and regulators.
Climate Hustle Film Makes Debut – The Marc Morano film Climate Hustle will make its one-night national theater debut at an event on May 2nd. Last week, the film was screened at an event at the House Science Committee. A pre-film panel discussion featured Governor Sarah Palin, University of Delaware climatologist Dr. David Legates, and film host Marc Morano, and was moderated by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. It also included a special video appearance by Bill Nye “the Science Guy.”
Atlantic Council Caribbean Energy Summit – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 8:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on these developments one day before leaders gather in Washington, DC for the US-Caribbean-Central America Energy Summit. The discussion will address opportunities for increased cooperation in the region’s energy integration. It will also launch the latest Atlantic Council report on the subject, The Waning of Petrocaribe?: Central America and Caribbean Energy in Transition, written by David L. Goldwyn and Cory R. Gill. Energy security remains at the forefront of issues facing the Caribbean and Central America. With Venezuela’s economy in a tailspin, the eleven-year-old Petrocaribe oil alliance could suffer an abrupt demise. This could have serious regional consequences even though Central American and Caribbean member-nations have taken strides to diversify and transition into cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Speakers also include State Department expert Amos Hochstein.
PHMSA Head to Focus on Future of Pipeline Activity, Safety – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 1:30 pm., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA). As administrator, Ms. Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.
Forum Looks at Fukushima, Chernobyl – The Goethe-Institut Washington will hold a forum Next Tuesday afternoon focusing on nuclear issues in light of the 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine and 5 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in Japan. Leading scientists, medical personnel and policy experts will present their findings on the lasting impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima.
MD Climate Conference Set – The University of Maryland is hosting the Climate Action 2016 forum on Wednesday May 4th as a public conference in support of the objectives of the Climate Action 2016 multi-stakeholder summit to be held in Washington, DC on May 5-6. The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion among academia as well as a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advancing the climate implementation agenda. The Climate Action 2016 forum will feature both, the thematic areas of Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, DC, as well as cross-cutting discussions on effective implementation of climate and sustainable development goals.
Brookings Forum to Look at Zika, Climate – Next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Brookings Institution will hold a forum on potential links between Zika and climate change. Princeton University and the Brookings Institution will release the spring 2016 issue of The Future of Children. The title of the issue is “Children and Climate Change.” The journal contains nine chapters dealing with various effects of climate change on children. Also released will be a policy brief, “Children and Temperature: Taking Action Now,” which reviews the threat posed to children’s health by rising temperatures, especially the link between rising temperatures and the spread of mosquitoes and the Zika virus. The event will focus on the Obama administration’s initiative and will include a keynote address by Debra Lubar, Director, of the Office of Appropriations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event will also feature remarks by a panel of experts with extensive knowledge about the impact of rising temperatures on children’s health. All participants will take questions from the audience.
CSIS to Look at Oil/Gas Risk, Reform – Next Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on risk and reform for oil and gas exporting. As energy prices seem set to remain low in the medium term, countries dependent on oil and gas export revenue face the challenge of reforming their economies and repairing their finances, while facing political and security risks. This event reviews the menu of reform options available to countries facing fiscal difficulties resulting from low hydrocarbon prices, as well as the particular challenges faced by Nigeria, Iraq, and Algeria, and the reform pathways those countries’ governments are undertaking. The discussion will feature Benedict Clements, Aaron Sayne, Jared Levy and Haim Malka, moderated by Sarah Ladislaw.
WCEE to Look at Waste Fuels – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on substantial organic waste streams and recycled products (e.g. food scraps, manures, recycled fats oils & grease [FOG]). These fuels are produced within our urban and rural areas. These waste streams are already being converted to renewable energy, transportation fuels, and bio-products – and they have tremendous potential for growth. The event will focus on companies working to convert waste to fuels, what roadblocks they are encountering, what the policy landscape looks like, and what the future holds for this industry. Speakers will include Pernille Hager, who has been supporting the global development and launch of a production platform for sustainable synthetic fuels from household waste. She currently works with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a CA based company in the process of building a first-of-its-kind Biofuels plant in Sierra Nevada producing synthetic jet fuel from MSW. Joining her will be Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.
High Profile Energy Speakers Headline USEA Policy Forum – The U.S. Energy Association holds its annual membership meeting and public Policy forum at the National Press Club on Thursday May 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Speakers will include NRC Chair Stephen Burns, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, DOE Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis Director Melanie Kenderdine, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia Thomas Melia, AEP COO Robert Powers, ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, and William Von Hoene, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Exelon Corporation.
QER Meetings Set for Iowa, Texas, LA, Atlanta – The DOE’s QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.
EIA to Present International Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday May 11th at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016). The IEO2016 includes projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source through 2040; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Among other topics, Sieminski will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, energy demand growth among developing nations, and key uncertainties that may alter the long-term projections.
Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market. DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.
CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on May 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector. The 2016 GDF seeks to address the complex issues highlighted by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of global trends including rising incomes, rapid urbanization, uneven economic growth, and widespread unemployment. In particular, discussions will explore ways in which official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions can improve livelihoods, strengthen governance, and facilitate access to key resources including food, energy, and infrastructure.
The Bi-National Energy Committee along with the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, the North American Development Bank (NADB) and other organizations will hold the Bi-National Green Energy Forum on June 2nd in San Antonio, TX. Focusing on green energy projects: from renewable sources of energy to new technologies for energy efficiencies, the Forum is great opportunity to learn and discuss with experts and successful companies of Mexico and the US about cross-border opportunities in this vibrant growing bi-national market.
Oil, Gas Forum Set – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on June 8th and 9th at the Cosmos Club in DC. More on this as it gets closer, but you can go here: http://www.energystreamcmg.com/