Friends,

The Holiday season is now just around the corner and that means playoffs for Fall sports. High school seasons are closing, and this past weekend, I umpired a MD HS field hockey state final.  We also saw the NCAA Final Fours for field hockey lock with Maryland, UNC, UConn and Michigan in DI.  In DIII, its Middlebury, TCNJ, Franklin & Marshall and defending champ Messiah.  In DII, matchups include LIU-Post/Millersville and Shippensburg/East Stroudsburg.  All the action is in Louisville starting Friday.  And good luck to our friend Jeff Holmstead’s son Eli who will play with his BYU Soccer team for the NIRSA National Soccer Championship this weekend in Arizona.  BYU doesn’t have an NCAA team for various reasons, but their Club team is better than most Varsity programs.

Bonn rolls on this week with key US players arriving today, including White House advisor David Banks.  For those of you following the action, I have been getting great insights from three sources:

  • Chamber Global Energy Institute expert Steve Eule, who has been blogging updates here;
  • Meg Darby (e-mail Meg at md@climatehome.org to subscribe) of ClimateHome who is producing an information-packed daily newsletter, Bonn Bulletin.
  • Info from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s Laura Tierney, who is also producing regular updates which you can get by contacting her at ltierney@bcse.org or cell: 202-489-3436.

Speaking of BCSE, they holding a presser tomorrow at 12:30 Central European Time or 6:30 a.m. EST that will focus on a position paper on Powering Ambition at COP 23, which articulates how the falling costs of clean energy technologies makes it more affordable for countries to power ambition toward strong climate action.  Here is a Bonn CET clock translator in case you are trying to call over there.  It is great that Gov. Brown is over in Bonn making noise, but, FYI, he still only speaks for California and cannot conduct foreign policy whether or not he agrees with the White House.  Finally, another interesting Bonn twist is the backlash that Germany is feeling as they expand their coal power plants yet push for emissions reductions and closing nuclear plants.

On Capitol Hill, it seems like things are mostly about either the Alabama Special Election or tax reform.  That being said, after approvals on EPA and DOE nominees (like Bill Wehrum) last week, there may be action on other nominees including CEQ’s Kathleen Harnett-White and EPA #2 Andy Wheeler.  Tomorrow, the House and Senate Energy Committees, as well as House Resources, will tackle the hurricane season and response.  On Wednesday, Senate Environment looks at energy innovation technologies and Senate Energy is back on ANWR with a budget recon markup.

Today, we expect ITC recommendations on the solar trade case to be sent to the President with a detailed staff report that will be available on Wednesday.  Next Monday, the first US Trade Rep public comment deadline hits with a public hearing set for Dec 6.  Meantime, there is a great WashPost Perspective piece from retired USAF Lt Gen. Norman Seip that says cracking down on foreign-made solar panels would make US less secure.  Other events Include a Wednesday Morning Roll Call forum on energy called Energy Decoded at the Newseum featuring Clearpath’s Rich Powell and former ND Sen. Byron Dorgan, an Thursday infrastructure forum with CEQ’s Alex Hergott and Resources Chair Rob Bishop at the ROA and the USAEE November luncheon Friday with former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark.

Outside DC, NARUC has launched in Baltimore today with its annual winter meetings.  The conference always tackles key on energy policy, telecommunications, and other utility topics. Key speakers include Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, former Commissioners Marc Spitzer and Tony Clark, DOE’s Travis Fisher and many others.

Next week is Thanksgiving Week!!!!  So, as usual, you can expect some announcements – perhaps like the RVOs which are due at the end of the month, but always seem to find their way into pre-Thanksgiving roll out…  Stay tuned…Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week’s episode features our great tax expert Liam Donovan (liam.donovan@bracewell.com) explores what’s coming up for tax reform in light of this week’s Senate tax plan and its differences and similarities compared to last week’s House bill.  Remember our address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

““It has been estimated that 95 percent of all gasoline supply outlets in the United States cannot legally store or dispense ethanol blends higher than 10 percent. EPA, OSHA and state fire regulations have essentially drawn a line in the sand by requiring all facilities storing and dispensing gasoline blends greater than E10 to prove underground storage tank (UST) system compatibility with higher ethanol content fuels. The often-impossible task of demonstrating compatibility with E15 for UST equipment currently in the ground has put the clear majority of PMAA members, the consuming public and the nation’s gasoline supply and distribution chain in a precarious situation.”

PMAA Head Rob Underwood in a letter to Senate EPW Chair John Barrasso regarding issues surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard. 

Germany’s ambitious vision for “energiewende,” or energy transformation, has proved far more difficult to execute than it was to plan: “It’s not just a technical shift. It’s a societal shift.  There are so many vested interests in keeping the old structures, and people will cling to them as long as they can.”

Rebecca Bertram, an energy expert with the Greens party-aligned Heinrich Böll Foundation in a Washington Post Story on concerns about Germany’s use of coal. 

 

IN THE NEWS

Military Expert Says Solar Trade Case Makes U.S. Less Secure – Retired USAF Lt. Gen. Norman Seip penned on “Perspective” in the Washington Post today that says cracking down on foreign-made solar panels would make U.S. less secure.  Seip says the U.S. military depends on a diverse set of energy resources, and increasingly that includes solar energy. Over the past seven years, the price of solar has dropped by 70%, giving our military a cost-effective, reliable, flexible source of electricity for its operations.  Seip: “The tariffs proposed would significantly raise the cost of solar energy, jeopardizing the financial viability of solar projects at U.S. military bases across the globe and threatening our long-term security interests.” Seip finally said that if the President wants to put America first, he should reject tariffs that would endanger our troops and harm national security, and instead support our military and veterans by giving them the diversity of energy resources and jobs they need.

Platts Podcast Talks to Former EIA Head on Shale – On this week’s Platts’ podcast, Richard Newell, the former head of the US Energy Information Administration and current president of Resources for the Future, talks about his new study on the responsiveness of US shale operators. Brian Schied and Newell address market changes turning the US into a global swing producer and need of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  See it here.

Wehrum Approved by Full Senate – The Senate approved Bill Wehrum to be assistant administrator for air and radiation at EPA, filling a top vacancy in Administrator Scott Pruitt staff.  Wehrum was approved on a vote of 49-47.   Former EPA Air Office Head and my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead said: “As someone who has been the head of the Air Office, I am particularly happy that Bill Wehrum is one step closer to taking over that job.  Bill will be a huge help at the Agency and is the ideal person to shepherd Administrator Pruitt’s reforms through the regulatory process.  He has the trust and respect of both the political leadership and the career staff and will make sure that that all the reforms are done thoughtfully and in accordance with the law.”

PMAA Send Letter on RFS Storage Tank Concerns – The Petroleum Marketers Assn of American (PMAA) sent a letter to Senate Environment Chair John Barrasso underscoring challenges that retailers and marketers face if they are forced to use ethanol blends higher that 10% either through higher RVOs or new legislation.  The problems are both corrosion and volatility. PMAA Rob Underwood writes the inability of marketers to legally certify their equipment to be compatible with E15 would cause severe economic harm through significant disruption of the gasoline supply and distribution network below the terminal rack. It has been estimated that 95% of all gasoline supply outlets in the United States cannot legally store or dispense ethanol blends higher than 10%. EPA, OSHA and state fire regulations have essentially drawn a line in the sand by requiring all facilities storing and dispensing gasoline blends greater than E10 to prove underground storage tank (UST) system compatibility with higher ethanol content fuels. The often-impossible task of demonstrating compatibility with E15 for UST equipment currently in the ground has put the clear majority of PMAA members, the consuming public and the nation’s gasoline supply and distribution chain in a precarious situation. The number of UST systems that are unable to meet legal compatibility certification requirements is significant. For those sites, the only option is to upgrade components or potentially the entire system to those that are of known compatibility.”  Can forward the letter if you need it.

4th Grid Modernization Index Finds CA, IL, TX, MD, OR as Leaders – The GridWise Alliance, in collaboration with Clean Edge, Inc., today announced the release of its fourth Grid Modernization Index (GMI-4). The Index ranks and assesses all 50 states and the District of Columbia based upon the degree to which they are moving toward a modernized electric grid. The Grid Modernization Index report is available for download at www.gridwise.org and www.cleanedge.com.  For the second consecutive edition, California ranks highest overall, and places first in each of the three GMI categories (state support, customer engagement, and grid operations). California has a nine-point lead over second-place Illinois, while Texas ranks third. Maryland and Oregon rank fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the top ten are Arizona, Washington, DC, New York, Nevada, and Delaware. The Index offers Seven Key Takeaways, providing lessons and best practices for a rapidly modernizing grid, including the pace of grid modernization efforts has accelerated, focus on recent hurricanes and other extreme weather events – as well as human-caused cybersecurity and physical security threats, continuing progress toward comprehensive grid modernization, effort are just getting under way, utilities are prioritizing efforts to address customer demands for greater choice and the capability to manage their own energy usage and clean energy targets by states, cities, and corporations are driving utility efforts to accommodate growth.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Change Meeting Set for Bonn – The UN climate change conference rolls on this week in Bonn, Germany with key US players arriving today, including White House advisor David Banks.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy holds a presser tomorrow at 12:30 Central European Time or 6:30 a.m. EST that will focus on a position paper on Powering Ambition at COP 23, which articulates how the falling costs of clean energy technologies makes it more affordable for countries to power ambition toward strong climate action.  Here is a Bonn CET clock translator in case you are trying to call over there.  It is great that Gov. Brown is over in Bonn making noise, but he still only speaks for California and cannot conduct foreign policy whether or not he agrees with the White House.  Finally, another interesting Bonn twist is the backlash that Germany is feeling as they expand their coal power plants yet push for emissions reductions and closing nuclear plants.

NARUC Annual Meeting to Dig Into Issues – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its 129th annual meeting at the Hilton Baltimore today through Wednesday and will feature panels on energy policy, telecommunications, and other utility topics are issues at the forefront of trade and mainstream news. The event will feature stakeholders, informed experts, representatives from industry, federal policymakers, and dedicated state regulators for robust, timely discussions.  Key speakers include Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, former Commissioners Marc Spitzer and Tony Clark, DOE’s Travis Fisher and many others.

Solar Trade Breakfast at NARUC – The Solar Energy Industries Association and Cypress Creek Renewables held a breakfast panel discussion next Monday morning on the Solar Section 201 trade petition on imported solar components.  The event discussed the effect of the ITC ruling on the $23 billion U.S. solar industry, which employs 260,000 American workers in good-paying jobs including manufacturers, is unmistakable. It would decimate one of the least expensive energy sources in America by doubling the price of solar panels in the U.S., thereby crippling demand, diminishing local investment and costing up to 88,000 jobs across the country.   The panel includes SEIA’s Abby Hopper,  GA PSC Chair Lauren “Bubba” McDonald and AEE’s Malcolm Wolff, who is working with large companies that use solar.

Forum to Look at CAFE, High Octane Fuels – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing in 106 Dirksen today at Noon examining how high-octane, low-carbon fuel can enable CAFE compliance. Research suggests that high-octane, low-carbon fuel is the lowest-cost compliance option for both consumers and the automotive industry.  Speakers for this forum are NREL’s Robert McCormick, Oak Ridge National Lab’s Brian West, Dean Drake of the Defour Group and Andrew Varcoe of Boyden Gray & Associates.  Higher-octane, low-carbon fuels enable greater engine efficiencies, thereby lowering GHG and toxic emissions and improving fuel economy. Automotive engineers have expressed interest in raising the octane level of gasoline, which would enable the design and sale of these more efficient engines, but the administration must act to enable a viable pathway for these fuels to enter the marketplace.

USEA Forum to Discuss CURC Study – Today at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Association and the Carbon Utilization Research Council (CURC) hold a forum on CURC’s recent CCS study analyzing options to overcome barriers to large-pilot projects for power plants equipped with CCS.  The purpose of the report was to study innovative options for governments and industry to fund projects that test coal-based power generation and carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies at the large-pilot scale. The panel discussion will provide an overview of the key findings of the report and an illustration of current case study examples of international collaboration by industry stakeholders and governments.  Panelists include CURC’s Shannon Angielski, DOE’s John Litynski, Frank Morton of the National Carbon Capture Center, Chris Romans of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Don Stevenson of the Gas Technology Institute.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Global Energy Center holds a timely conversation on Venezuela’s declining oil industry, the increasing presence of Russia and China in the country, and what lies ahead. Keynote remarks will be offered by House Energy & Commerce member Jeff Duncan.

Minority Groups to Release Oil, Gas Report— The NAACP, Clean Air Task Force and National Medical Association hold briefing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club to unveil a report on impacts of oil and gas development on African-American communities.

Senate, House Energy, House Resources to Look at Hurricanes – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The hearing will hear from Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, DOE’s Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Asst Sect., Bruce Walker, Army Corps deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations Donald Jackson and PREPA head Ricardo Ramos, among others. They will hold a second panel that will feature mostly representatives from authorities in Puerto Rico.  As well, at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing on response and recovery to environmental concerns from the 2017 hurricane season.  Finally, House Resources will hold a third hearing at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow that will examine accountability in disaster recovery financial matters.

JHU to Discuss Nuclear – The Johns Hopkins University holds a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. looking at the status and prospects for U.S. Nuclear Power. Westinghouse, a leader in the industry, entered bankruptcy and two reactors that were under construction in South Carolina have been abandoned because of cost overruns. The US still has not solved the problem of long term storage of high level nuclear waste. An interesting possibility for the future is the development of advanced nuclear reactors that would be smaller, safer and cheaper to build. These and other issues will be discussed by speaker, NEI’s Matthew Crozat.

Forum to Look at Energy – On Wednesday Morning, Roll Call will host a forum on energy called Energy Decoded at the Newseum. Roll Call Live, in partnership with CQ News hosts a packed morning of expert analysis and bipartisan discussion to examine the many questions that energy stakeholders and policymakers will face in the new administration.   Topics will include the future of climate policy, energy tax reform, coal and domestic oil production and renewable energy initiatives.  Speakers will include FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee, Sen. Joe Manchin and our friend Jeanette Pablo, Clearpath’s Rich Powell, former ND Sen. Byron Dorgan and several others.

Senate Energy Looks at ANWR Again –The Senate Energy Committee returns ANWR on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. when it will hold a business meeting to consider, pursuant to H.Con.Res.71, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, reconciliation legislation to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish and administer a competitive oil and gas program in the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as the “1002 Area” or Coastal Plain.

Senate to Look at Emissions Reductions Through Innovation – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. promoting American leadership in reducing air emissions through innovation. Witnesses include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources Carbon Management Institute director Kipp Coddington and Zoe Lipman, director of the Vehicles and Advanced Transportation Program at the BlueGreen Alliance.

ITIF to Look at ARPA-E – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) holds a discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at ARPA-E’s versatile role in clean energy innovation featuring a new study on the topic.  Authors David Hart and Michael Kearney, along with an expert panel of energy innovators and thought leaders discuss.

WRI to Discuss Powering Cities – On Wednesday at Noon, the World Resources Institute hosts Michael Westphal to present his paper on energy access – another chapter of the World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City. Millions of residents in some of the fastest growing cities in the world don’t have access to clean, reliable energy, and the challenge of reaching them is not getting easier. In 2012, only 58 percent of the urban population had access to electricity in low-income countries, and nearly 500 million urban residents worldwide used dirty and harmful cooking fuels like charcoal and wood.

Forum on European Gas Projects Set – On Wednesday afternoon, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts the Jamestown conference on “Nord Stream and European Energy Security.” It will provide a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Russian objectives, European responses, and American policies related to this large project.

Forum to Discuss Rebuilding America – The Progressive Policy Institute and Common Good host a Capitol Hill forum on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association looking at rebuilding America.  The discussion is intended to rekindle a sense of political urgency around modernizing America’s run-down infrastructure, and figuring out how to pay for it.  Speakers include CEQ’s Alex Herrgott, House Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, Rep. John Delaney, Association of American Railroads CEO Edward Hamberger and ACC’s Anne Kolton, as well as many others.

Forum to Discuss Brazil Oil, Gas – The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute hosts a forum on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at pre-salt auctions in Brazil’s oil and gas industry.  The Director-General of ANP, Decio Fabrício Oddone da Costa, will discuss the objectives of Brazil’s new regulatory framework for the oil & gas policy.

Forum to Look at Grid-Interactive Buildings – The Alliance to Save Energy will host a forum on Thursday at Noon in 2045 Rayburn to Look grid interactive efficient buildings. The influx in smart technologies and internet-connected devices creates a unique opportunity for energy efficiency: these devices can enable American business owners and families to save energy and money, while also providing valuable new services to utilities and increasing building responsiveness to the grid. The discussion will feature the building technology sector’s top energy efficiency experts in conversation on the latest efforts by the U.S. Department of Energy and others to help grow connectedness across the entire building sector, from commercial to residential, by creating more grid-interactive, efficient buildings.  Rep. Paul Tonko makes opening remarks.

Webinar to Look at EVs – National Journal holds webinar on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. on the rise of electric vehicles.  The webinar will examine the industry’s history, development and future, and address the major players and policymakers and what policies have fostered the industry’s growth so far, and which state and federal actions could help—or hinder—its development.  It will also look at how the Trump administration’s deregulatory drive impact the development of EVs in the US, as well as the feasibility of the ambitious goals laid out by countries like France and India.

Hill Honors Top LobbyistsThe Hill holds a reception at 13U on Thursday night to honor Washington’s elite policy influencers at The Hill’s Top Lobbyists Reception.  Following the release of our annual list, we are recognizing Capitol Hill’s most distinguished lobbyists for their leadership in shaping policy across all fields.  My colleagues Dee Martin and Scott Segal were among the Top Lobbyists and many of our friends in industry, firms and NGOs are in there as well.

Pruitt to Address Federalist Group – The Federalist Society’s National Lawyer Convention hosts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for an address on his agenda.

Clark to Headline USAEE Lunch – On Friday, the NCAC of the US Assn of Energy Economists host its November lunch with former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at Chinatown Gardens.  Clark will discuss the forces that are shaping electricity markets today, with an emphasis on the implications of the regulatory crossroads of federal jurisdiction and state public policy choices.

IN THE FUTURE

USTR Comment Deadline on Solar Trade Case – November 20th

USEA Forum to Look at Carbon IRA – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum next Monday at 10:00 a.m. focused on a new idea that rewards reductions in Carbon footprint with funds deposited into a retirement account.   Guest Speaker, Jason Makansi, President of consulting firm Pearl Street, will introduce the concept, describe the four broad steps required and provide simple examples of how to implement the concept.

WRI to Host Forum on Energy Access – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum next Monday at Noon on how energy access for all benefits the economy and the environment.  Michael Westphal will present his paper on energy access – another chapter of the “World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City.” Millions of residents in some of the fastest growing cities in the world don’t have access to clean, reliable energy, and the challenge of reaching them is not getting easier. In 2012, only 58 percent of the urban population had access to electricity in low-income countries, and nearly 500 million urban residents worldwide used dirty and harmful cooking fuels like charcoal and wood.

Coal Ash Annual Production and Use Survey Results – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club, the American Coal Ash Association will release its annual Coal Ash Production & Use Survey results. Conducted since the early 1960s, the survey provides the most complete data available on the volume of coal ash materials that are produced and beneficially used in a variety of applications. ACAA officials will also discuss impacts of environmental regulation and changing electric utility markets on coal ash production and use.  Tom Adams and John Ward of ACCA roll out the report.

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

EPA to Hold CPP Public Hearing in WV – EPA will hold a public hearing regarding the withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan in West Virginia on Nov. 28th and 29th.  EPA said it will convene two daylong sessions at the state capitol in Charleston. The agency said it “may also hold an additional hearing to be announced at a later date.”  EPA also extended the comment period on the proposal to Jan. 16, 2018.

CCS Report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch on November 28th, 2017. This year, the Institute is partnering with one of the top think tanks in the city, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to promote and discuss the release of the Institute’s signature report, the globally recognized annual guide to the current progress and prospects for carbon capture and storage.

NYT to host Climate Summit – On November 29th and 30th in San Francisco at the Metreon, The New York Times will hold ClimateTECH, a groundbreaking summit that brings together influential leaders from key industries to assess bold, cutting-edge technologies that could help keep global warming below the two-degree threshold.  Hosted by top Times journalists, ClimateTECH’s focus on innovation will also encompass the dramatic changes downstream (in finance, policy, consumer behavior, infrastructure) that are vital for these new technologies to gain adoption and succeed.  The program will feature on-stage interviews with celebrated entrepreneurs and inventors along with policy makers, economists and subject-matter experts. Designed for an audience of decision-makers, ClimateTECH will also include an early-stage technology showcase of the newest innovations, along with other experiential activities.  The Speaker list is long, but it includes California Gov. Jerry Brown, Statoil’s Irene Rummelhoff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Tom Steyer and many others.

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

Clean Edge, GridWise Alliance Host gridCONNEXT – GridWise Alliance and Clean Edge will host gridCONNEXT on December 4th through 6th in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of regulators, utility executives, corporations, and other industry stakeholders to explore the many grid modernization.

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th