Now that was a great Kentucky Derby. If you checked your update date last week, you’d notice that if you bet the four horses I mentioned (Nyquist, Exaggerator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen) in a superfecta box, you would have won some big money (it paid out at $542 on a $1 bet). THIS IS WHY YOU READ THE UPDATE EVERY WEEK!!!!. My money did come in on Nyquist, who I felt really ran a tactically perfect race, and Exaggerator in an Exacta winner. I might have tossed a few dollars at the Superfecta Box as well. I almost can’t wait to see who heads to Baltimore for the Preakness on Saturday May 21 just two weeks away. The hype is already started and since the Stanley Cup was in the Nyquist barn on Saturday, I’m treating the superstition issues just like the hockey playoffs, so I won’t be saying anything that could be a jinx for now.
This week EPA is expected to issue its regulations mandating cuts in methane emissions from oil and gas production, rules the industry says are unnecessary because it is already voluntarily managing them effectively. For example, Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations. The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period. My colleague Sandra Snyder (202-828-5810) is the best methane expert in industry. She is ready to handle your calls on the subject.
While Congress returns this week, the action is slower than normal with Energy and Water returning to the Senate Floor and House Science hosting the DOE Fossil Office. Other good events in town include CSIS hosting EIA head Adam Sieminski Wednesday morning to present EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 and Thursday, SoCo CEO Tom Fanning headlines a CSM discussion on cybersecurity threats to the grid. Out of town, after last week’s QER meeting in Iowa that featured Secretary Moniz, the public meeting roadshow and Moniz move to Austin, TX today. There is also a QER hearing in LA tomorrow.
Remember to put on your schedule next week: John Krafcik, CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars, will join Securing America’s Future Energy, Fed Ex CEO Fred Smith and others next Thursday morning, May 19th at The Newseum for the release of its National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution.
And since your marking your calendars, take this one down too. On the afternoon of Monday May 23rd in advance of the highly-anticipated Clean Power Plan oral arguments at the DC Circuit, West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey, who has coordinated a coalition of 30 states opposing the rule will speak at a National Press Club Newsmaker on the case with former EPA Air office Head Jeff Holmstead and Pedernales Electric Co-op CEO John Hewa, who was in DC last week discussing Pedernales’ brief in the case and their innovative approach on renewables. One of his stops was on E&E TV and it is featured in today’s edition.
Finally, I am adding a new feature this week that I have successfully used in other outreach over the years: an interesting, timely, perhaps provocative public quote relevant to energy issues, policy or politics. First edition below, enjoy and send if you have any good ones.
Call with questions.
“At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious, and they warrant thoughtful action,” Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said at the U.S. Energy Association annual Policy Forum at the National Press Club last Thursday in Washington.
“It’s going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels. So I think to keep it in the ground is naive; to think we can shift to 100% renewables is naive. We’re really going to have a transition over time,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell told our friend Sammy Roth at the Desert Sun on Friday.
IN THE NEWS
Hydraulically fractured wells provide two-thirds of U.S. natural gas production – The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said last week over the past 10 years hydraulic fracturing has become the technique by which most natural gas is produced in the United States. Based on the most recent data from states, EIA estimates that natural gas production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about two-thirds of total U.S. marketed gas production. This share of production is even greater than the share of crude oil produced using that method, where hydraulic fracturing accounts for about half of current U.S. crude oil production. You can see the EIA graph and read more here.
POLL: Most People Don’t Know Obama GHG Rules – A new national poll from the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy found 7 in 10 voters have heard “just a little or nothing at all” about EPA’s regulation to rein in carbon emissions from power plants. The results match another recent survey of Texas voters from the Texas Clean Energy Coalition that said 85% of respondents surveyed had not “seen, read or heard of a federal policy called the Clean Power Plan.” After digging through the spin, the bottom line remains: there isn’t much universal, broad support for a plan that most know little or nothing about.
FERC Approves Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline – Despite last week’s denial of permits for the Constitution Pipeline in NY, FERC has given preliminary approval for construction of the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise pipeline after agreeing with environmental mitigation plans. The project is an expansion of the Transcontinental pipeline system and involves the construction of 197.7 miles of pipeline. FERC is taking comments on the environmental impact statement, and the project must still attain state environmental permits. Shockingly, environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the project. The Atlantic Sunrise is an expansion of the Transco system, which includes more than 10,000 miles of pipeline moving 10% of the nation’s natural gas across the country to utilities and power plants. Transco is operated by Williams, which submitted an application to FERC last year. The project includes construction of 197.7 miles of new pipeline, most of which would be in Pennsylvania, and designed to move Marcellus Shale gas from Northeast Pennsylvania as far south as Alabama. The new lines would cross through 10 Pennsylvania counties.
What’s Next for Atlantic? – The National Environmental Policy Act requires FERC to do the environmental impact statement. The 60-day public comment period closes on June 27, and FERC says it will issue the final EIS in October. In addition to federal regulatory approval, interstate pipelines also need state environmental permits. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has already challenged state water quality permits, calling the PDEP water quality certificates for the project a violation of the Clean Water Act.
Unions Says Give NJ Pipeline a Chance – In New Jersey, union leaders are urging support for another pipeline project running across New York and New Jersey. Greg Lalevee of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825, argues in The Journal News that the Pilgrim pipeline should get a fair shake.
IRS Extends Renewables Construction Period – The IRS issued a notice detailing how wind projects qualify for the production tax credit (PTC) last week indicating projects now have four years or more to enter into service after their start-construction deadlines to qualify for the tax credit (up from two years or more). This should benefit projects that are already getting ready to build and is consistent with standard IRS policy. According to tax experts, the IRS had to update prior guidance in light of the PTC and ITC extensions late last year because some of the dates in prior guidance documents had come and gone making them no longer applicable. AWEA says the change will provide “companies certainty about the rules, which are generally consistent with prior guidance, and can finalize business decisions and investments for this year and beyond.” Of course, the regular opponents of the PTC were also commenting with IER President Tom Pyle calling the change “theft” from taxpayers. Pyle: “The IRS is far more concerned about providing special interest handouts through the wind PTC than protecting the American families who actually pay taxes.” Pyle called on Congress “to clean up the taxpayer-funded mess this administration has made” but I think that may be a fight they would lose. AWEA has chronicled the interest of Republicans in renewable energy.
West Virginia Coal Miners Not Wasting Time For Trump – While Many Republicans a concerned over apparent Presidential nominee Donald Trump, the West Virginia Coal Association is all in after presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s visit last week. The group announced it’s all in for Trump, who promised to bring coal jobs back to Appalachia. “Trump has said he will reverse the Democratic regulatory assault that has cost the coal industry more than 40 percent of our production and jobs since 2008,” Bill Raney, the group’s president, said in a statement. (At his rally in West Virginia last night, Trump donned a hard hat and mimed shoveling coal.)
Exxon, FuelCell Venture to Capture CO2 – Exxon Mobil Corporation and FuelCell Energy said last week they are pursuing a novel technology in power plant carbon dioxide capture through a new application of carbonate fuel cells, which could substantially reduce costs and lead to a more economical pathway toward large-scale application globally. Two years of comprehensive laboratory tests have demonstrated that the unique integration of two existing technologies – carbonate fuel cells and natural gas-fired power generation – captures carbon dioxide more efficiently than existing scrubber conventional capture technology. The potential breakthrough comes from an increase in electrical output using the fuel cells, which generate power, compared to a nearly equivalent decrease in electricity using conventional technology. The resulting net benefit has the potential to substantially reduce costs associated with carbon capture for natural gas-fired power generation, compared to the expected costs associated with conventional separation technology. A key component of the research will be to validate initial projected savings of up to one-third.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
QER Meeting Set for Iowa, Texas – The Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder today in Austin, Texas and tomorrow in Los Angeles. There will be a final meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.
Forum to Discuss North American Manufacturing Issues –The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Canada Institute, and the International Monetary Fund are launching a new the book Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America today at 4:00 p.m. Despite the recent fall in energy prices, fuller development of energy resources in North America has potentially important implications for global energy markets and the competitiveness of North American manufacturing industries. The book “Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America” describes the transformation of the energy landscape in North America due to the upsurge in unconventional energy production since the mid-2000s and tells the story of the energy-manufacturing nexus from the perspective of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and the region as a whole. Based on the research done at the International Monetary Fund, the book discusses the energy boom and its macroeconomic implications for the three countries individually and for the region overall, exploring also how the changing energy landscape can affect the potential benefits of greater integration across the three North American economies.
Forum to Look at Mitigating Climate Risks –Tomorrow at Noon, Climate Advisers and DC Net Impact will host a panel discussion about climate risk, how investors address these risks, and how firms present potential financial solutions which can mitigate climate risk. During the discussion, the panelists will discuss various case studies specific to palm oil and Southeast Asia. There will be breakout sessions with each of the panelists following the panel discussion. Sarah Conway, Lead Climate Finance Negotiator at the State Department will lead the discussion.
Event to Focus on Climate, Cities – Tomorrow afternoon, Worldwatch Institute will launch a new forum/publication: “State of the World: Can a City Be Sustainable?” Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population– 3.7 billion people– are urban dwellers and that number is expected to double by 2050. Will the world invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities? The discussion aims to discover the most pressing challenges facing cities and the most promising solutions currently being developed.
Climate Gala Set – The 2016 Earth Day Network Climate Leadership Gala will be held tomorrow evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The event will feature women in climate leadership including CERES head Mindy Lubbers. On top of our two award winners, the night will include Melanne Verveer of Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, as well as Karuna Singh who leads Earth Day Network’s efforts all throughout India. We are also very excited to include Virginia Tech’s Dr. Amy Pruden who helped uncover the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
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 at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016). The EO2016 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.
House Science Hosts DOE Fossil Office – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. Chris Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, will testify.
Solar Summit Set For AZ – On Wednesday and Thursday 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 host NatGas, Low Carbon Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. with Doug Arent, Executive Director, Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA), on the potential role that natural gas may play in various low carbon pathways in the United States. Earlier this spring, JISEA released analysis on natural gas and the electricity sector and explores the question of natural gas as a bridge to a more sustainable electricity sector. Arent will provide an overview of the JISEA work has underway and as well as present the findings from this recent report. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.
Fanning to Headline CyberSecurity Discussion – The Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode will hold a forum on Thursday morning to at the Capitol Hyatt to explore protecting the power grid from today’s cyber threats. Speakers will include DOE Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, founder of Dragos Security Robert Lee and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) who will look closely at how hackers pulled off the Ukraine hack, whether we are prepared for similar attacks, and how industry and government are partnering to safeguard the US power supply.
Summit to Focus on Energy, Manufacturing – The Council on Competitiveness will hold its Northeast regional version of the American Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit on Thursday at City College of New York. Speakers include top executives, Dept. of Energy officials, and clean energy scientists. The Summits are packed days of moderated panels, keynote speakers and exhibits to address critical topics in energy and manufacturing, including the roles manufacturing and energy productivity in global, the effect of America’s domestic energy abundance on reshaping the global economy and strengthening US manufacturing and the importance of continued advanced research and technological innovation.
CAP to Host Ag Climate Forum – The Center for American Progress for a discussion on Thursday regarding agriculture, USDA actions and climate change. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and other distinguished guests will speak about the remarkable strides over the past seven years to address climate change, both domestically and internationally. Yet there is widespread agreement that more must be done to reduce pollution and increase resilience to an already changing climate.
USEA to Talk Smart Grid in Emerging Markets – The U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on smart grid infrastructure in emerging markets. Utilities across the world are in the process of modernizing their assets, including significant investment in smart grid infrastructure. This includes smart metering, or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation and other advancements in transmission and distribution infrastructure that leverage two-way communications and sensors. To-date, the majority of smart grid deployments have taken place in North America and Western Europe. However, over the course of the next decade, investment is shifting to emerging market countries. By 2026, smart grid investment in emerging markets will exceed that of developed countries, with $226 billion in cumulative investment over the period 2016-2026. In this briefing, Northeast Group’s Ben Gardner will present the results from its 5th annual Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2016 study and highlight some of the leading countries deploying smart grid infrastructure over the next decade.
Resources Panel to Look at State Views of BLM Policy – The House Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday will hear the views of state and county officials on how BLM’s proposal will affect their ability to influence agency decisions on land uses like grazing, energy development and recreation. Testifying will be Pete Obermueller of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association; New Mexico secretary of environment and the natural resources Ryan Flynn, Humboldt County, NV commissioner Jim French and several others.
Senate Energy to Host IG Nominee – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Susan Beard to be Inspector General at the Department of Energy on Thursday. Beard has served as assistant general counsel for general law at DOE over the past 12 years and deputy assistant general counsel for standards of conduct, information law, legal counsel and general law. Prior to DOE, she was an attorney at the Federal Election Commission.
NAS Looks at Fuel Transportation – The Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences’ Transportation Research Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will meet on Thursday to discuss domestic transportation of petroleum, natgas and ethanol.
Enviros Rally Against Drilling – On Sunday at 1:00 p.m., activists will return to the White House to rally for keeping all fossil fuels in the ground with a primary focus on all offshore drilling. With a previous success On Keystone, the groups, which includes 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, CREDO, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, World Wildlife Fund and many others. With the economic, revenue and energy independence benefits of established Gulf of Mexico drilling as well as many of the Shale drilling in the US readily apparent, it will be hard to imagine that will be covered by this group. Of course, we are happy to provide that perspective.
Forum to Look at Spent Nuclear Fuel Issues – The Precourt Institute for Energy, MacArthur Foundation, George Washington University, Center for International Security and Cooperation will hold a two-day conference next Tuesday and Wednesday on resetting U.S. nuclear waste management strategy and policy. The meeting will bring together U.S. and international speakers from industry, government, universities, national laboratories and broader community interests in a combination of presentation and panel discussion formats. Speakers will discussion issues and address key questions including what barriers are preventing integration of the spent fuel management system, what a better-integrated spent fuel management system might look like for the US, the potential benefits, timing and cost of integrating spent fuel management and many more topics. Speakers will be from National labs Like Sandia and Idaho, industry like NEI’s Rod McCallum and Exelon’s Adam Levine, officials from NRC and environmental groups experts like David Lochbaum of UCS.
RFF, Duke Host Oil, Gas Impacts Forum – Resources for the Future (RFF) and Duke University will host a seminar on Wednesday May 18th at 12:30 p.m. to explore the key issues facing local governments in this new era of oil and gas development. RFF’s Alan Krupnick will describe RFF’s Community Impacts Initiative. Richard Newell and Daniel Raimi from Duke University will present the results of their Shale Public Finance project, which examines the fiscal impacts of oil and gas development on local governments in every major producing region of the United States. The seminar will also feature comments by Aliza Wasserman of the National Governors Association and further discussion with the presenters and the audience on key findings and implications.
SEIA Looks Solar in Africa with US AID Officials – On Wednesday, May 18th at Noon, the Solar Energy Industries Association will hold a forum featuring speakers from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to look at solar’s role in powering Africa. Power Africa brings together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power. USAID’s goals include enabling electricity access by adding 60 million new electricity connections and 30,000 MW of new and cleaner power generation in sub-Saharan Africa. USAID speakers Drew Bennett, Commerce Liaison & Portfolio Manager and Denise Mortimer of the Power Africa Policy Team will address these and other key issues.
CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Thursday 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.
SAFE to Release Autonomous Car Strategy Report – John Krafcik, CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars, will join Securing America’s Future Energy on Thursday May 19th at 9:00 a.m. at The Newseum for the release of its National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution. The United States’ near-total dependence on oil to power our mobility destabilizes our economy and weakens our national security. Fortunately, America is on the cusp of an innovation revolution, one in which increased fuel diversity in transportation improves our country’s energy security and the rapid emergence of driverless cars enhances safety and redefines mobility for millions. FedEx CEO Fred Smith, General James T. Conway and members of the Energy Security Leadership Council will the launch of the report. The event will feature the country’s foremost experts across the spectrum of energy and transportation, from the founders of the American shale revolution to the innovators redefining transportation through self-driving cars.
Energy Economists Forum to Look at Oil Markets, OPEC – The NCAC Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host their May luncheon on Friday May 20th at Carmines Restaurant hosting Jamie Webster, Global Energy Expert, as he discusses the outlook for oil markets ahead of the next round of OPEC meetings in early June. Jamie will address the following: “Although global oil prices have bounced off their January lows, this seems remarkably similar to 2015. Is the balance really occurring and how has the perception and reality for US producers changed since last year? Will the next OPEC meeting just be more Doha or is there any chance OPEC could re-exert itself?” Webster has more than 15-years’ experience providing analysis and strategic advice on domestic and international energy markets, with a focus on oil, natural gas and electricity issues. Current work is centered on energy policy in the Americas, OPEC policy choices and Middle Eastern energy markets.
WV AG to Headline Press Club Newsmaker – With the looming Legal arguments In the Clean Power Plan case, the National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host an afternoon forum with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey to discuss his role in this hugely-important case. More details on this next week.
WINDPOWER Set for New Orleans – AWEA Is hosting its annual WINDPOWER conference in New Orleans this year on May 23rd through 26th at the Convention Center. This year over 400 exhibitors, many of them new firms, will be filling a show floor including GE Renewable Energy, Siemens, Vestas, Goldwind, Gamesa, Nordex and many more. But there will be over 100 smaller firms exhibiting as well. Among the speakers will be our friend Russ Gold of the Wall Street Journal. Others include keynoter Steve Farber, former LA Senator Mary Landrieu, Vestas CEO Chris Brown and many more.
USEA Forum to Look at Gas Exports – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on May 24th at 2:00 p.m. to Look at natgas export issues. US LNG exports are coming on to the global gas market at a time of a glut of supply, both pipeline and LNG, and low gas prices. The outlook for demand – outside the US – is mostly pessimistic as well, suggesting the glut of supply could last for many years. Europe is seen as a key battleground for LNG against Russian pipeline gas but post 2020 China will come into that category as well. What are the real prospects for US LNG exports with this background; could Russia engage in a price war in Europe, will there be any more FIDs on large scale LNG export projects before 2020, and what does all them imply for gas prices? Nexant Global Gas Principal Mike Fulwood will discuss.
Forum to Look at TX Green Energy – 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.
USEA Forum to Look at Paris, Future of Energy – On Thursday June 9th, US EA will host former Sierra Club Counsel David Bookbinder to discuss Paris, the Presidential election and the future of energy. As an environmental policy lawyer, Bookbinder has litigated cases under all of the major environmental statutes as Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel. He then represented environmental groups in both stationary- and mobile-source carbon matters, including California’s greenhouse gas vehicle standards. Bookbinder has helped lead efforts on both global warming legislation and Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulation, and has testified in front of House and Senate committees on these issues. In pursuing his goal of practical, cost-effective carbon solutions Bookbinder has frequently told environmental groups, members of Congress, and federal and state agencies things they did not want to hear. In this briefing, Bookbinder will address the current complexities of carbon policy based upon his extensive experience in environmental law.
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/
RFF Wall Street Meeting Set for NYC – REFF-Wall Street 2016 will be held on June 11th and 12th at The Grand Hyatt, New York. REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 decision makers, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists, and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance.