Hope everyone enjoyed some family time at Easter/Passover. And congrats to Energy Daily’s Chris Holly who correctly identified my secret locale last week: Cancun, Mexico. Yes they did hold a UN COP meeting there at the Moon Bay Palace Resort.
Welcome to Marathon Monday, better known as Patriot’s Day. It is the day the Boston Marathon runs and you can see the Boston Globe’s coverage full coverage here. Good luck to all who are running for themselves or others. Marathon Monday has special meaning this year for us as Hannah is reporting live from the “Wellesley Scream tunnel” at Mile 13. A few folks from NBC Sports Network joined college organizers for the sign-making event at Wellesley’s Davis Museum last week for a Boston Marathon Segment today on the Scream Tunnel.
It is also a day remembered for a 2013 terrorist attack and the amazing strength and healing the city showed as a community. The days surrounding that fateful attack were depicted very well in the recent movie Patriot’s Day. Also, it was 50 years ago today that the first official (registered) woman ran the Marathon: Katherine Switzer, who is running again this year. The first woman to unofficially run it was Roberta Gibbs one year earlier.
Today’s focus in DC is on the White House Easter Egg Roll, the 139th version. It started in 1878 when President Rutherford Hayes allowed kids to play Easter games on the South Lawn. It is the first major event of the new President’s ceremonial agenda after Inaugural events and always is a great time. In fact, our friend Sean Spicer at one point donned the Easter Bunny outfit during the Bush Administration.
Not much action this week given the second week of the Easter/Passover recess, but the major focus will be on a White House meeting of minds tomorrow on the future of the US involvement in Paris. As you know, there has been a lot of action on this issue over the last week including a memo from my colleague Scott Segal outlining several key issues, reports that EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken a stronger stance for exiting the agreement and recent backtracking in the hardline stance from conservative, former EPA transition official Myron Ebell. Seems like Myron and I may have been following this issue longer than just about anyone.
For you FERC nerds, the Federalist Society holds a panel discussion tomorrow on the state of competitive wholesale electricity markets, WCEE holds a lunch forum on Thursday and Friday, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Obama Science Advisor John Holdren address a science and security forum. Also starting Wednesday, the offshore wind community comes together in Annapolis for a major series of meetings to discuss OSW, the supply chain and the future.
Our friend Amy Harder rolled out her first column at her new Generate gig, The Harder Line. Nice word play!!! Column #1 is focused on corporate unity on climate change, Paris engagement and is worth the read.
Congrats to our friend, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold on his 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Congrats to all the other winners as well, including our friends at ProPublica and Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette.
Finally, more on this below, but this morning, our friends at the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report that tracks the tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control because of the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism. See it below.
Call with questions…
“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling. This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”
AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality.
Here is some of Hannah’s posted video from the Wellesley Scream Tunnel at Mile 13 on the route of the 2017 Boston Marathon. Here is more video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gss2i7xFaHg
IN THE NEWS
Air Regulator Release Report – The Association of Clear Air Today, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control. The publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.
A few of the key statistics from The Greatest Story Seldom Told:
- As of 2015, combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants for which there are national ambient air quality standards were down 71% since 1970.
- Between 2005 and 2015, reported toxic air releases were down 56%, or more than 851 million pounds, and AAPCA Member States accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total reduction.
- In 2016, states performed full compliance evaluations for more than 14,500 facilities, 80 times the number conducted by U.S. EPA, and from 2010 to 2014, AAPCA Member States performed full compliance evaluations at nearly 47% of facilities annually, well ahead of the national average.
- According to U.S. EPA, AAPCA Member States in 2016 were more efficient in permitting, with only a 15% backlog for renewing Title V permits among states with more than 100 Title V sources.
- Between 2000 and 2015, AAPCA Member States saw nitrogen oxide emissions fall more rapidly than the national average.
- As of 2014, AAPCA Member States had reduced sulfur dioxide emissions in the power sector by more than 8 million tons compared to 1990.
- From 2000 to 2014, per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 18.1% on average nationally, with AAPCA Member States averaging a 19.3% reduction.
- The U.S. has far exceeded international trends in air quality, with some of the lowest levels of average annual fine particulate matter and the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the world over the last decade.
Indiana Releases State View Report – In addition to the AAPCA Report, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently released the 2017 edition of The States’ View of the Air report. The report highlights the air quality in counties and cities in the United States. Like a report card, IDEM has graded areas on the state of their air quality under the federal standards for ozone and fine particles. You can find the full report here, and individual state reports here.
Gas Expert Returns to Bracewell – Former Bracewell staffer Christine Wyman has returned the firm as a senior Counsel. Wyman will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s industry and non-profit clients on a broad range of issues and matters. Prior to joining Bracewell, Wyman was Senior Counsel at the American Gas Association where she advocated for natural gas utilities on federal environmental, energy, and pipeline safety matters.
Ringel Named to EPA Congressional Affairs – Speaking of Bracewell alums, Aaron Ringel, another Segal protégé Aaron Ringel heads to EPA Monday to begin work as deputy associate administrator for congressional affairs. After working as an assistant to Segal, Ringel moved to the Hill where He worked as legislative director for then-Rep. Mike Pompeo and then deputy chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson.
DOE to Review Grid Policy – The Department of Energy will conduct a review of how policies supporting wind and solar energy are pushing the early retirement of coal and nuclear generators our friends at Bloomberg report. Perry on Friday ordered a study of the U.S. electrical grid, aiming to ascertain whether policies to boost renewable energy are hastening the retirement of coal and nuclear plants and threatening power reliability. The review comes as a number of states move to subsidize baseload generation, particularly nuclear plants, which cannot compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy in wholesale power markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference on the state power subsidies at the beginning of next month.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held tomorrow through Thursday in Denver, Colorado. Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.
White House Paris Meeting Set – Several key environmental and energy cabinet official and staffers will meet tomorrow to discuss the future of US involvement with the Paris Treaty, according our sources and several media reports. Those attending include Dave Banks, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Panel to Look at FERC Wholesale Markets – Tomorrow at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds a panel discussion at noon at the National Press Club on the state ‘Around Market’ action and FERC. The panel will look at whether it is the end of competitive wholesale electricity markets. Panelists will include Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, PSEG’s Larry Gasteiger, former Colorado Commissioner Ray Gifford, Calpine’s Steven Schleimer and others. The event will be moderated by former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark.
Forum to Look at Global Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on a new report Reform of the Global Energy Architecture tomorrow at Noon. The report will be presented by task force co-chairs Phillip Cornell, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group. They will be joined by task force member Neil Brown, director of policy and research at KKR Global Institute, and Richard Morningstar, founding director and chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center. The discussion will look at current energy governance challenges, the importance of international and multilateral collaboration, future policy priorities, and the path forward on energy governance for the new US administration.
Forum to Look at Sustainable Energy, Water Issues – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Sustainable Capital Advisors holds a discussion on securing energy and water access for vulnerable communities. This forum focuses on how policymakers, researchers, activists, developers, investors and others can use the levers of public policy, finance and technology to increase true access, ensuring greater energy and water security for all. Among the panelists will be NAACP’s Derrick Johnson, Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore, Yasemin Erboy Ruff of the Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation and ELI’s Brett Korte.
Industry Leaders, Experts Flock to Offshore Wind Business Forum – The 2017 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum will be held on Wednesday to Friday in Annapolis, Maryland at the Westin Hotel. The event brings together leaders in a small, personal setting, and creates dialogues and relationships that move the U.S. offshore wind industry forward. Among the speakers will be all major players in the wind industry from experts like UDelaware’s Jeremy Firestone to CEO like Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski. MD Sen. Ben Cardin will also be a keynote speaker.
CSIS Forum to Look at Global Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host its 3rd annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on Wednesday. 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 forum examines the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions. The two keynote speakers will be Admiral William J. Fallon (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.
Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Middle East – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council holds a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.
Forum to Look at Grid Modernization – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Wednesday at Noon on the importance of grid infrastructure modernization and resilience. The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration. Speakers will include Job Henning, CEO of Grid Energy and Athena Power CEO Raj Lakhiani.
Webinar to Look at Offshore Wind – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance hold a webinar, beginning at 12:00 p.m., on the U.S. offshore wind boom. You can call ACORE for details www.acore.org
AEE Webinar to Look at State Policy Questions – The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will host a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at creating markets for advanced energy at the state Level. Whatever might be happening at the federal level, states are taking the lead in creating markets for advanced energy. AEE’s State Policy Program seeks to maintain this momentum by working with our coalition of State and Regional Partners and our business members to promote advanced energy legislation in statehouses around the nation. During this webinar you will hear from policy experts who have intimate knowledge of the latest legislative developments in the following states: California: Cap & Trade, Storage, Transportation; Nevada: Retail Choice Issue, Legislative Update; Texas: Legislative Tax Issue, PUCT Regulatory Proceeding on Data Access; Virginia: Access to Advanced Energy, Legislative, and Regulatory Update.
JHU Forum to Look at Food, Ag, Climate – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on food, farmers and climate looking at a new report from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project. The main speaker is Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climatologist and Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group.
Brookings Panel to Discuss Carbon Pricing – On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., the newly-launched Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a panel discussion on the role of carbon pricing in the implementation of the Paris goals, with opening remarks from Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, the co-chairs the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices. They will share their thoughts on carbon pricing and other policies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the objective to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” After the discussion, Brookings Vice President Kemal Derviş will moderate a panel discussion and take questions from the audience.
JHU Forum to Look at Climate Diplomacy – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 4:30 p.m. on climate change diplomacy in the Post-Paris Agreement era. Ambassador Selwin Hart, current Barbados’ Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the OAS, will be giving a talk on climate change and diplomacy in the post-Paris Agreement Era.
GU Mortara Center Forum Looks at Deepwater Oil Production – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown, GU’s Institute for Global History and the Mortara Center for International Studies hold a discussion on the Deepwater golden triangle of the oil economy and its role in energy production. The Deepwater triangle includes the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa and will be led by Tyler Priest, an Associate Professor of History and Geography at the University of Iowa who studies the history of oil and energy.
Forum to Look at Media Focus on Energy, Renewables – CARMA International Inc. holds a discussion on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, looking at energy supply, climate and renewables. The event will focus on media coverage and implications for business.
Aspen Forum to Look at Rural innovators – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on Thursday at Noon on reframing natural resource economies. The event will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources to create jobs and businesses. The 3rd America’s Rural Opportunity panel will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources and use those resources to create jobs and businesses. The presenters are among those who are restructuring the natural resource business sector, one that in many parts of the country has been disrupted by globalization, the declines of extractive industries, and changes in environmental policy.
WCEE Looks at Carbon Capture, Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Lunch & Learn Series, together with the U.S. Energy Association on Thursday at Noon with a forum on carbon capture and storage meeting CO2 reduction goals. The event will focus on the Illinois Basin’s Decatur Project and feature Dr. Sallie Greenberg. Greenberg will discuss how carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) can provide the scale necessary to limit increase in global temperature by 2°C and help the US meet its Paris target of reducing GHG by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) – a million ton deep saline CO2 geologic storage demonstration project led by the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium, and funded by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is unique because it is one of the only full-scale bioenergy CCS (BECCS) demonstration projects to-date. Dr. Greenberg will highlight the results and challenges of upscaling carbon capture and storage projects, touching on issues, such as permitting, public engagement, policy implications for CCUS, and the vital role this technology holds in meeting emission reduction targets.
Forum to Look at Africa Climate Risk – The US Agency for International Development’s ATLAS Project holds a discussion on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. focused on preparing Africa for climate events and looking at its risk capacity.
Meserve, Holdren, Others Address Science, Security Summit – On Friday at Noon, the Federation of American Scientists hosts its Science & Security Summit, focused on the topic of scientists’ and engineers’ roles in security and in the current political landscape. The forum will address where scientists and engineers belong in the current political landscape and what roles they play in global security and safety. In addition to three distinguished graduate-level scientists and engineers from the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University, the summit’s speakers will include former Obama science advisor John Holdren, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Sandia Labs Director Rodney Wilson.
JHU Forum to Look at Women Climate Leaders – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds its 2017 Global Women in Leadership Conference on Friday at 8:00 a.m. looking at women as leaders in a changing climate.
IN THE FUTURE
Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.
Renewable Midwest Conference Set – The Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference will be held April 24-25th in Columbia, Missouri. The purpose of “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference is to identify, display, and promote programs, policies, and projects that enhance the use of renewable energy resources in the Midwest for the economic benefit of the region. The focus of speaker topics and agendas are large scale projects, either through direct installation or through amalgamation of small scale projects. The two-day conference is held in the spring at the University of Missouri. It is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Columbia Water and Light. It has been an ongoing annual event since 2006.
Forum Focus on Trump Nuclear Budget – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Friday, April 28 on what the Trump Administration budget may me for the future of nuclear power. The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration. Speakers will include Victor Der, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.
People Climate March – April 29th
Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton. The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.