We start this week by thinking of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.
Well, the long hockey season has come to an end with Pittsburgh’s victory in San Jose last night. It is the Pens 4th Stanley Cup and Steel City can now celebrate. Next up, Golden State looks to finish LeBron James and Cleveland tonight to complete back to back NBA titles. And the Penguins weren’t the only winners last night as Hamilton collected 11 wins at the Tony awards.
The Belmont also provided some excitement on Saturday, but not the kind of excitement I was hoping for as favorite Exaggerator fell way back and blew up my superfecta. I did manage to win a flyer on Creator, paying out at 34.80, so I was about even. The mile-and-a-half at Belmont is always the toughest test and it showed its teeth on Saturday.
The Big News TODAY: Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson has been named NRECA’s new CEO. Matheson, a Democrat who served in the House from 2001 to 2015, was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.
Three weeks to go in the official Congressional calendar and lots to do. The Interior funding bill takes up most of the time this week, while Senate Energy will look at pipeline issues with our Friend Andy Black and others. Also tomorrow, Senate Finance will discuss Tax extenders with the Chamber Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert testifying.
This week, EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday to finalize its report on EPA’s SDWA natgas water report. Opponents had complained that EPA’s initial finding was too vague when they said there has been “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracturing. WCEE hold events on energy security innovations (tomorrow) and international development leadership (Wed) and Carnegie host forums on driverless cars (tomorrow) and Oil prices and climate (Th).
Two other reports this week should shed some light on where energy markets are going amid low oil prices and aggressive climate policies. BP’s group chief economist Spencer Dale discusses this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy tomorrow morning and in the afternoon, Statoil’s chief economist Eirik Waerness will discuss energy perspectives for 2016 at CSIS.
Finally, as some of you may know, my colleague Scott Segal is finally getting hitched this weekend. It is a great and important day. In true fashion, I thought you might like reading this fun piece from today’s Washington Post’s Reliable Source that details the big event.
Call with questions…
“”There’s bipartisanship on this issue, and the bipartisanship is in opposition to a carbon tax”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, following Friday’s 237-163 House vote opposing a carbon tax.
“Jim Matheson will bring to the position a broad knowledge of the issues facing rural America and will be an inspirational leader for America’s Electric Cooperatives.”
NRECA member President Mel Coleman announcing former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will head the rural Co-Op trade group.
IN THE NEWS
Matheson to Head Rural Co-op Trade Group – The National Rural Electric Co-Op Assn (NRECA) said today that former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will be its next CEO. Matheson is replacing former Missouri Rep. JoAnn Emerson who led NRECA for three years. He will join the association and assume his duties as CEO in July. Matheson, currently at Squire Patton Boggs, served in the House from 2001 to 2015 where he was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well. In addition to his extensive background in Congress and public policy, Matheson worked in the energy industry for several years. He was a project development manager in the independent power industry. He worked at two consulting companies, including his own firm, providing services to large energy consumers.
AHRI Leads Reform Effort at House Panel – A Friday hearing in the House Energy subpanel questioned the continued effectiveness of DOE energy efficiency programs. While DOE’s efficiency program is one of the most successful energy savers in history, industry representatives who have lead the success are calling for major reforms to the 40-year-old law governing efficiency rules that they say are leading to standards that are not “economically justified.” Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute President Stephen Yurek said Congress should require DOE to convene stakeholders to “discuss and recommend a new regulatory framework.”
Consumers Paying Price – Yurek also said that “consumers are paying a heavy price, both in real monetary costs and in comfort and safety” because of the continuous cycle of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. “When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford,” he said, “they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all.” Yurek told subcommittee members that while the Clinton Administration issued six major efficiency rules over eight years, the current administration issued eight such rules in 2014 alone. Citing several examples of rulemakings in which job losses were forecast, Yurek charged that “American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part because of ever more stringent efficiency regulations.”
Ohio Statesman Voinovich Passes – The nation lost a great leader when George V. Voinovich, a former two-term United States senator, two-term governor of Ohio and Cleveland mayor, died on Sunday in Cleveland at 79. Voinovich was known for his ability to bring people together and preached frugality in his personal and public life, as well as occasionally bucked the Republican establishment.
House Opposes Carbon, Oil Tax – The House passed resolutions Friday opposing a carbon Tax and a tax on oil proposed by President Obama. One of the resolutions would express a sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the American economy, and the other opposes President Obama’s budget proposal for a $10.25-per-barrel oil fee. Six Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in opposing a carbon tax, including Reps. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico voted “present.”
SCOTUS Leaves Mercury Rule – The Supreme Court will not restart EPA’s overhaul of the mercury pollution rule for power plants. The SCOTUS remanded the rule saying it should have considered costs when it first decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate. The court rejected a request from Michigan and other states to take up a new challenge without explanation.
BH: Higher Prices Bringing Rigs Back Online – New rig data from Baker Hughes shows that oil producers brought rigs online for a second straight week last week as prices hover around the $50-a-barrel mark. Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. rose by 3 to 328, after 9 were added last week. The move is a watch point for reaction to the rising oil price and when companies when companies would start bringing rigs back on line.
Connecting Grids Will Increase Emissions – A new study by the California Independent System Operator says carbon emissions would likely rise across the West if a proposal to merge California’s energy market with PacifiCorp goes forward. But operators say coordinating energy grids is key to keeping costs down, enhancing reliability and helping states meet clean energy requirements. An initial feasibility study found merging western grids could save customers almost $9 billion over the next 20 years. Politicians like Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead worry the plan could allow California to import its policies of getting at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation. As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.
Senate Finance to Look at Extra Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on tax extenders and existing tax credits. Witnesses will include our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, as well as AEI’s Benjamin Zycher, Bulk Handling Systems CEO Steve Miller and Susan Kennedy, CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.
Panels to Mark Up Interior Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a business meeting tomorrow to 9:30 a.m. to markup an original bill entitled, “Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2017. On Wednesday, the full House Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Bill.
Senate Energy to Look at Pipeline Challenges – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine oil and gas pipeline infrastructure and the economic, safety, environmental, permitting, construction, and maintenance considerations associated with that infrastructure. Witnesses will Include Andy Black of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Sean McGarvey of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, CRS’s Energy and Infrastructure specialist Paul Parfomak and EDF’s Jonathan Peress.
EPA SAB to Meet on Findings For NatGas Drilling – The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday in Alexandria, VA to finalize for submission comments which found that EPA’s SDWA fracking report was too vague in its assertion of no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracking. This has been a controversial process but we’ll see where they land.
Forum to Look at Hydropower in Myanmar – The Stimson Center will host a case study forum on hydropower in Myanmar tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with WWF and the University of Manchester, demonstrated a system-scale planning framework that was applied in Myanmar and could be replicated worldwide, called Hydropower by Design, which seeks to compare alternative development scenarios upfront and identify those scenarios that can most effectively balance energy development with the protection of other social and environmental resources for better hydropower planning. The Stimson Center invites you to join us for a discussion. TNC’s Jeff Opperman, Director and Lead Scientist of the Great Rivers Program will discuss the Hydropower by Design approach as it was applied in Myanmar as well as the results and lessons learned from that effort. In addition, Jorge Gastelumendi, Policy Innovation Lead at TNC, will discuss the opportunity for innovative financial mechanisms that have the potential to enable and encourage this better, system-scale planning approach for hydropower. The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program Director Richard Cronin will moderate and provide discussion on the opportunities and challenges in applying the Hydropower by Design approach to a transnational river like the Mekong.
Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation tomorrow at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector. Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.
WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture. The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets. Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water. Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production. BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.
Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.
Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion. In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms. Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.
BP Stat Review Set – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 with Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist for BP. Global energy markets have entered a period of accelerating volatility. The US shale revolution has upended global oil and gas markets. Alternative energy sources are bourgeoning, and climate policies are reshaping energy systems. Dale will present key trends and findings from the 2016 Statistical Review. Following his presentation, Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center, will lead a moderated discussion.
House Science Looks at Solar Fuels, Storage – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing on Wednesday looking at innovation in solar fuels, electricity storage and advanced materials. Witnesses will include Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, Daniel Scherson of Case Western Reserve University, Collin Broholm of Johns Hopkins University and Daniel Hallinan of Florida A&M University.
Carnegie to Release Report on Oil, Climate Issues – On Wednesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will release its new report, Smart-Tax: Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate. For the first time, it is possible to estimate the value and profile of GHG emissions from oils throughout their supply chain using an Oil-Climate Index. This allows for the replacement of blunt tax designs with a smart tax that captures oil’s total emissions with minimal economic cost and maximum efficiency. The release of the report will be followed by a panel discussion about a smart-tax design, why U.S.—and North American—involvement will be critical, and why national policymaking must catch up to the new realities of today’s oil landscape. Speakers will include Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, former Idaho Rep. Walter Minnick of the Partnership for Responsible Growth and Deborah Gordon, director of Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program.
WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world. Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.
McKinley, Welch Headline Briefing For High Performance Buildings – On Wednesday at noon, as part of High Performance Building Week, there will be a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill featuring Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch. Around the country States and cities are calling for high performance green residential and commercial buildings. But what exactly are high performance buildings, why is there a demand, what tools are available to meet this demand, what challenges exist, and how can Congress help? Join us for a fast-paced series of presentations from experts on cutting-edge trends in the building industry. Other presentations include NASEO’s Todd Sims, Kara Saul Rinaldi of the Home Performance Coalition and Efficiency First, NAHB’s John Barrows and Lawrence Schoen, Vice Chair of ASHRAEO’s Standing Standard Project Committee.
Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400. Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.
Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market. He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.
USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2. The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C. Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology. Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.
Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th. The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities
Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham. The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues. Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.
Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts. Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.
RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers. In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program. Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.
CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
July 4th Holiday
Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st. The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.
Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.