Despite the searing 100+ degree heat, the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships came to a stirring finale yesterday at Sacramento State. Dalilah Muhammad led a scintillating 400M hurdle competition, Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs threw haymakers at each other in a crowd-pleasing shot put and Olympic 1500M Gold medalist Matt Centrowitz was clipped at the wire by Robby Andrews. Other repeat winners included Jenny Simpson winning her 4th straight 1500M title and Evan Jager and Emma Coburn each took their 6th straight 3000m Steeplechase titles. Top 3 in each event head to London for the World Championships in early August. Tonight also launches the final “Best of 3” series of the College World Series in Omaha featuring Florida and LSU, who bounced out top-ranked Oregon State over the weekend.
While most of the focus this week will be on the Senate and its healthcare legislation, it is officially “Energy Week” at the White House. Part one is today when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a trip to Washington DC in what is being characterized as a “get-to-know-Trump” visit involving the first meeting between the two leaders. Coal exports, clean energy and Paris will likely be on the agenda. Wednesday, the President hosts Govs. LePage (ME), Walker (WI), Pete Ricketts (NE) and other local and tribal Leaders to talk local issues and Thursday, the President speaks at DOE on his favorite topic – Energy Dominance – with Pruitt, Zinke and Perry. Perry will also host labor and industry folks as well at the event. Expect some discussions of energy exports, especially LNG to Eastern Europe. My Colleague Eric Washburn is in the model of it. No trips outside DC are planned despite earlier rumors (most suspect because of the healthcare debate), but DJT is headed to Poland soon, who just started receiving LNG shipments.
Hearings include a House Energy & Commerce hearing on autonomous vehicle policy on tomorrow following last year recommendations from our friends at SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, who are studying the issue and have recommend best practices for industry and other parties for testing autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions. Also tomorrow, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will be before the Senate Approps EPA subpanel at 9:30 a.m. Then Wednesday, the House Energy & Water Approps panel will mark up its FY2018 version of the budget.
While it was expected today, the Energy Department said it will delay a study on ensuring the reliability of baseload power generation on the electric grid until July. Many of you have heard the rumors of a draft, but there is no real indication that there is much to that. Secretary Perry will review a draft in early July.
The Senate will vote today to approve another five-year term for NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki, who needs to be confirmed by this Friday to ensure a stable quorum. Unfortunately, with healthcare taking the bulk of the attention, it is unlikely we will see any action on other nominees like those that could provide a quorum to FERC, which is currently delaying nearly $50 billion in energy projects.
Starting Thursday, the region gets its only regular stop on the PGA tour with the Quicken Loans National at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms. Rickie Fowler and Naval Academy grad/local story Billy Hurley (who won the tournament last year) will be among the stars at Avenel. Hard to believe, but it is 4th of July coming up next week, which also means le Tour de France is also just around the corner!!! Here is a look at the route which launches Saturday.
No update next week, but will be in touch if important news breaks. Call with questions.
“NuScale’s technology is one of the biggest opportunities for nuclear over the next decade and these reforms to 45(j) would significantly bolster their ability to demonstrate the first American small modular reactor.”
Spencer Nelson, policy associate with ClearPath Action on passage of legislation to expand the use of tax incentives for new nuclear power plants.
IN THE NEWS
House Moves Urgent Nuclear Tax Credit Legislation – House lawmakers swiftly gave broad approval Tuesday to a bill, H.R. 1551, from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) modifying the 45(j) production tax credit to remove a 2021 deadline for new reactors to be placed in service. “Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it today in this country,” Rice said, adding it may be “another 30 or 40 years before this country builds another cutting-edge nuclear facility” without this incentive. The reforms in this legislation were designed to allow more time for the nation’s four new nuclear reactors under construction to receive the credit. But it is also potentially beneficial for helping come online future advanced nuclear facilities using state-of-the-art small modular reactors, such as those being designed by NuScale Power. “NuScale’s technology is one of the biggest opportunities for nuclear over the next decade and these reforms to 45(j) would significantly bolster their ability to demonstrate the first American small modular reactor,” ClearPath Action Policy Associate Spencer Nelson said. The White House also supports the bill. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced a companion bill.
Groups Send Congress Letter on Advanced Energy – A number of groups promoting an advanced energy agenda sent a letter to Senate and House Appropriators last week. ClearPath was part of joined a monster lineup that included Third Way, the Nuclear Energy Institute, Bipartisan Policy Center, Carbon Utilization Research Council, the American Council on Capital Formation, a number of environmental groups and several research universities in asking leading Senate appropriators to push through strong federal energy innovation funding. “While American innovators have a long history of developing and improving energy technologies, it is essential that the nation maintains its competitiveness,” the letter to Chairman Alexander and Energy Appropriations Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein states. “American historical leadership in this area is unparalleled, but it is not guaranteed. … If steps are not taken to bolster U.S. leadership in this sector, the nation could eventually need to import energy technologies from China, rather than domestically manufacture them and export them across the world.”
FERC Opens LNG Project Docket – FERC is seeking comments on Jordan Cove LNG export project in Oregon. It a document published today, it asked for comments to be part of an extended environmental impact statement FERC is preparing for the Coos Bay, OR project. Comments are due by July 10th.
EIA: Renewable Continue to Grow – The latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through April 30, 2017) reveals that – for the first time since the beginning of the nuclear era – renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar – inc. small-scale PV, wind) are now providing a greater share of the nation’s electrical generation than nuclear power. For the first third of this year, renewables and nuclear power have been running neck-in-neck with renewables providing 20.20% of U.S. net electrical generation during the four-month period (January – April) compared to 20.75% for nuclear power. But in March and April, renewables surpassed nuclear power and have taken a growing lead: 21.60% (renewables) vs. 20.34% (nuclear) in March, and 22.98% (renewables) vs. 19.19% (nuclear) in April. While renewables and nuclear are each likely to continue to provide roughly one-fifth of the nation’s electricity generation in the near-term, the trend line clearly favors a rapidly expanding market share by renewables. Electrical output by renewables during the first third of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 has increased by 12.1% whereas nuclear output has dropped by 2.9%.
Solar on the Line – The Smithsonian American History Museum has recently opened an ongoing exhibit on solar energy. The showcase will be on display through most of 2017. A synopsis can be found on line at: http://invention.si.edu/solar-line
Rig Count Still Rising – Oilfield-services company Baker Hughes said the US oil-rig count rose by 11 to 758. The oil-rig count has risen for 23 straight weeks, extending a record-long streak of increases. The gas-rig count fell by three to 183, and miscellaneous rigs were unchanged at zero, making the total rig count 941.
Cap Crude Looks at Russia – Our friends at Platts’ Capitol Crude are focused on Russia’s energy sector this week. The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved new sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector, but the effort has hit a major hurdle in the House and resistance from the Trump administration. Our friend Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security, talks about why this sanctions package, as proposed, could have disastrous consequences. Also, Nadia Rodova, Platts’ Moscow bureau chief, talks about the impact of current sanctions on Russian production and the view of the Trump administration from Moscow.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Conference of Mayors Meets in Miami – As it meets in Miami Beach for its 85th annual conference, the US conference of Mayors is certain to discuss climate change and role cities will play in addressing it. The also intend on looking at Autonomous Vehicles. The event will feature special guests such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. They are expected to vote today on policy resolutions to send to federal lawmakers in Washington. Bill Clinton spoke to the group yesterday and had an extensive discussion about climate change Issues.
EIA Energy Conference Set – The 2017 EIA Energy Conference is set for today and tomorrow at the Washington Hilton in DC. The event features leaders from the coal, petroleum, natural gas, electric, renewable, and nuclear energy sectors, as well as policymakers shaping energy legislation and regulations, company executives developing and transporting energy resources, researchers finding energy solutions, and entrepreneurs pushing the latest energy technologies. Main speakers will include FERC’s Colette Honorable, House Energy & Commerce Chair Greg Walden, International Energy Forum head Sun Xiansheng. Walden and Pioneer’s Scott Sheffield will sit with EIA Head Howard Gruenspecht in the opening plenary next Monday.
Hudson to Hold Forum on India – The Hudson Institute’s South and Central Asia Program and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will host an event today at Noon on building stronger trade relations between India and the United States. Rep. George Holding of North Carolina will give opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion.
Smart Cities Conference Headed for Austin – The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference will be in Austin, TX at the Convention Center tomorrow. The event convenes more than 200 global city leaders to prospect and partner with innovative technology and service providers.
ClearPath Experts to Discuss Hydro at Conference – Tomorrow through Friday, Pennwell’s HydroVision will be held in Denver Colorado at the Colorado Convention Center. Among the speakers will be ClearPath’s Rich Powell and Jeremy Harrell, as well as NHA’s Linda Church Ciocci and DOE’s Hydropower program manager Tim Welch.
Shimkus, Udall Headline Forum on TSCA – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a conference tomorrow at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health on chemical safety. House Energy subpanel chair John Shimkus and Se. Tom Udall will headline the event, as well as former American Cleaning Institute CEO Ernie Rosenberg.
Pruitt Heads to Senate Approps Subpanel – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on the proposed fiscal 2018 budget estimates and justification for the EPA. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify.
House Resources to Mark up Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee holds a markup tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. moving on several bills, including H.R. 2053, the Mining School Enhancement Act; H.R. 2425, the Public Lands Telecommunications Act; and H.R. 2939, the Water Rights Protection Act.
House Energy Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at self-driving vehicle legislation. Last year, our friends at SAFE formed a Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety who are studying the issue and have recommend best practices for industry and other parties for testing autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions. Witnesses will include Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella, the US Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center Tim Day, David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer, GWU Law Professor Alan Morrison, and Will Wallace of Consumers Union.
Stanford-Hoover event to Look at Nuclear – The Stanford University’s Hoover Institution hold a forum at Noon tomorrow in SVC 202 in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center looking at the necessity and viability of America’s nuclear power plants. Among the speakers will be Ed McGinnis, DOE’s principal deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy.
Senate Enviro to Look at Advanced Clean Energy Tech – The Senate Environment Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety panel holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. looking at developing and deploying advanced clean energy technologies.
Global Security Forum Set – The Center for a New American Security hosts its 2017 Annual Conference in partnership with The Washington Post on Wednesday at The Mayflower Hotel. This year’s conference will bring together U.S. national security policymakers and experts to highlight major divides and identify potential bipartisan solutions. CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.
DOJ Enviro Lawyer Confirmation Hearing Set – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the confirmation hearing for Jeffrey Bossert Clark on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Clark is an attorney at law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP who represented BP during the litigation following the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Timothy Kelly and Trevor McFadden, nominees to be judges on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Beth Ann Williams, nominee to be assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy, will also be testifying at the hearing.
CSIS to Host IEF Head on Energy Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. will host Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), for a presentation and discussion on the forces impacting the security of global oil and gas supplies. Adam Sieminski will moderate the session that will focus on three key aspects of current markets: (1) why the volatile nature of the energy markets continues to pose many challenges for producers and consumers and (2) how, despite policy shifts in Washington, tightening greenhouse gas emission thresholds around the world could continue to shape many long-term decisions made by policy makers. Dr. Sun has over 30 years of practical industry experience in oil & gas production, trading, and pipeline construction. He was elected Secretary General of the IEF in August 2016.
AHRI Hosts CA State Summit – The HVAC industry will also hold a California State Summit on Wednesday and Thursday looking at energy and efficiency issues relating to the industry at the Hyatt in Sacramento. Speakers will include CARB member Dean Florez, House Assembly Republican Leader Chad Myers and Senate President Kevin de Leon.
House Approps to Look at Energy Water – After last week’s testimony from Secretary Perry, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee Energy and Water Development will meet Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. to markup the FY 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
House Resources to Look at Oil, Gas on Fed Lands – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing on Thursday examining access to oil and gas development on federal lands. Witnesses and will include Interior’s Land and Minerals Management Deputy Kate MacGregor, Ryan Flynn of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the Utah Governor’s Energy Advisor Laura Nelson and Mark Squillace, Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School.
CSIS to Discuss Energy Efficiency Issues – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Philippe Benoit, former head of Energy Efficiency and Environment Division of the International Energy Agency, to discuss some of the benefits and pitfalls in shifting the focus of energy efficiency from savings to growth. Ariel Yépez, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will discuss how the IDB is working to increase the appeal of energy efficiency as a development tool for its client countries by also emphasizing its potential to support expanded service delivery. Laura Van Wie McGrory, Alliance to Save Energy, will discuss how energy efficiency also brings important benefits other than just energy savings to the U.S. and other developed countries.
Water Threat Discussed at Forum – The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and Clean Water Action will hold a briefing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at federal protection for clean water, which is increasingly under threat from steep proposed EPA budget cuts and recent decisions rescinding key federal rules (including the rules that applied the Clean Water Act to smaller waterways and wetlands or prohibited discharge of coal mining waste into streams). Speakers will discuss impacts of proposed funding cuts and rollbacks in clean water protections on public and environmental health, and how to undo the damage, including NY Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former EPA Environmental Justice official Mustafa Ali.
AEE Webinar to Look at PURPA – Advanced Energy Economy’s Arvin Ganesan and Davis Wright Tremaine’s Glenn Benson will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. featuring an overview of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a 1970s-era law that drives procurement of certain types of advanced energy generation. Congress along with FERC are considering changes to this law and related regulations that could positively or adversely affect development of such generation projects. Join us to understand what PURPA is, how it’s implemented and what some of the contemplated and potential changes to the law may be.
USEA Forum to Look at Carbon Capture – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., US Energy Association will hold a forum on carbon capture. This briefing will provide some insight into the development pathway for two of these technologies – MTR’s membrane-based approach and ION Engineering’s advanced solvent-based technology. Their developers will discuss the current status of their efforts and opportunities available given continued support of the development process. Most of the CO2 captured to date has been used to support enhanced oil recovery efforts and has come from high-concentration sources where separation of CO2 is an inherent part of an industrial process, such as natural gas processing or fertilizer production. Costs associated with separating CO2 from lower-concentration sources, such as power generation, are too high to prompt widespread deployment of currently-available technologies. However, research and development efforts supported by the U.S. Department of Energy are leading to the development of 2nd generation technologies with substantially reduced costs and energy requirements. Further development and commercialization of these advanced technologies represents a large potential global market opportunity. Among the speakers will Be Global CCS Institute expert Ron Munson.
Forum Looks at Energy, Transportation – The Government Affairs Industry Network (GAIN) announced its newest event series: Hot Topics in Public Policy. These events are a panel series focusing on issues currently — or soon-to-be — moving through the 115th Congress. These panels bring together thought leaders in the industry to discuss the state-of-play, providing insights and intel to help attendees stay ahead of the game in the current policy discussions heating up DC. The first event in this series will be Thursday at the American Trucking Assn at 3:00 p.m. and will be a discussion of legislative and regulatory developments at the intersection of the energy and transportation industries. Among the panelists will be our friends Chris Guith of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy and Nick Juliano, Deputy Energy Editor of POLITICO.
IN THE FUTURE
JULY 4th Recess – June 30th to July 11th
Forum to Tackle Clean Power in Latin America – On Thursday, July 6th at 8:45 a.m., the Inter-American Dialogue will host a forum on clean energy in Latin America. Latin America faces many challenges to decarboninzing the power sector, such as fossil fuel subsidies, the lack of a carbon tax or carbon market in most countries, and inadequate grid integration. However, expanding clean power could bring many benefits, such as energy security through the use of domestic energy resources, employment, and regional integration and technology development. A decarbonized power sector would also allow for reduced carbon emissions from the transport sector through the expansion of electric vehicles fueled by clean power. The event will feature a discussion with Walter Vergara, senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, Samantha Gross, fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, and Gabriela Elizondo Azuela, senior energy specialist at the World Bank Group.
Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 20th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Tuesday, July 11th from at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Rayburn.
Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28. A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice. Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.