Well, that was an exciting beginning to the 60th Grammys. It was a nice surprise appearance by U2, although I didn’t really know what that opening number was by Kendrick Lamar. I guess I’m just too old as he managed to nab 5 Grammy wins. And how does Metallica not win Best Rock Album for Hardwired To Self Destruct? And really, how is it nearly every rock category was announced in the pre-TV portion?
One person that did win: the brother of our former Bracewell colleague and now Valero Government Relations head Salo Zelermyer. What???? Yes, Salo’s brother, Gideon Zelermyer won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Gideon is the cantor at the largest synagogue in Montreal who – beyond his congregation – may be best known for his riveting renditions of the both the Canadian and US national anthems at pro sporting events. Gideon joined with the late Leonard Cohen and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir to win the Grammy for their collaboration on You Want It Darker. The Zelermyer crew beat out far more traditional rockers for the Grammy: the late Chris Cornell (The Promise), Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters (Run), Kaleo (No Good) and Nothing More (Go to War).
On the sports side, how about that NHL All-Star Game? I just love that 3-on-3 format w/the $1M prize to the winners. Tennis’ first major is over in Australia with Caroline Wozniacki taking the Women’s title for her first Grand Slam title, while the incredible, ageless Roger Federer won the Men’s side for his 20th Grand Slam victory. Just unreal…
Before we get going, you may have already received info regarding tonight’s 5:30 p.m. welcoming at Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Avenue N.W.) celebrating the newest members of the PRG team: Anna Burhop, Stoney Burke, Liam Donovan, and Christine Wyman. And if you haven’t heard, please let me know if you can join us. We hope to see you tonight.
Exciting times in DC this week with the State of the Union set for tomorrow night. There is a lot of speculation about the tone the president will take. I suspect we will hear discussions of energy dominance, infrastructure, regulatory relief and a lot of boasting about the new tax law. We are on it, so call with questions.
Of course, the week also starts out strong in Senate EPW, where EPA administrator Scott Pruitt returns to the Senate for the first time since his confirmation hearing. Maybe a little less interesting tomorrow, Senate Energy votes on DOE/Interior nominees and discusses natural hazards like fire, while House Science tackles DOE management. Maybe a little more fireworks at a House Resources mark up on Bears Ears legislation tomorrow at 10:30.
On Wednesday, Pruitt speaks to State Ag Directors and Thursday in NYC, my colleague Scott Segal hosts Neil Chatterjee and others at the S&P Power and Gas M&A Symposium.
For next week, in additional to the infrastructure roll out expected Monday, mark your calendars for a Hudson Institute forum where Steve Forbes, the HVAC industry, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead and NRDC’s Dave Doniger all address the important issues surrounding HFCs and the Kigali Amendment.
Congrats (maybe) to our friend and long-time Bloomberg reporter/editor Mark Drajem who today joined the federal communications team at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Super Bowl Sunday is all set…Eagles or Patriots? Regardless of who wins, it better end up on my quarter numbers so I can win something. We will be live tweeting the Pruitt EPW hearing and the SOTU. Follow us at @PolicyRez Call with questions. Best,
“We thought President Trump was going to protect manufacturing jobs, and that’s what a refinery does. The renewable fuel standards are like a lead weight around the company. We want the President to live up to his word.”
Ryan O’Callaghan, president of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, which represents hundreds of Philadelphia Energy Solutions workers.
IN THE NEWS
NY Releases Plan for Offshore Wind – New York State on this morning released an exhaustive master plan for offshore wind energy that projects 5,000 people employed in and around a $6 billion industry by 2028. Gov. Cuomo’s plan also makes clear that while offshore wind representing 2,400 megawatts and hundreds of turbines will be in the waters south of Long Island and not visible from shore. The state expects more than 1.2 million homes could be powered by offshore wind. The 60-page report is accompanied by 20 supplemental studies representing more than two years of work and thousands of pages of analysis. The studies examine everything from viable ports to turbine manufacturing and wind-farm construction and staging to the need for cables, pipelines and other infrastructure, as well as the impact on birds, bats and fish. Our friend Mark Harrington of Newsday has the story. Statoil is among the leading developers of offshore wind in the growing industry along the Atlantic Coast after being granting New York’s first leases last year.
Letter: Energy Trades Says Pass Extenders – More that 60 trade association, most that deal with energy issues wrote to Congress last week urging the passage of a “a seamless multi-year extension of the ‘tax extenders’ as soon as possible.” Among the groups were Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Advanced Energy Economy, American Gas Assn, AHRI, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, CHP, the Energy Recovery Council, GEO, Nat’l Electrical Contractors Assn, NRECA, Nat’l Propane Gas, and many others. Read the letter here.
DC Court Rejects Appeal of HFC Rule – Speaking of HVAC, the DC Circuit Friday denied a request by manufacturers to rehear a case on overturning the agency’s regulation to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons. The court in August rejected EPA’s initial rule phasing down the use of the global-warming inducing coolant. The world is pushing forward on the Kigali amendment though – a binding part of the Montreal Protocol that aims to phase out HFCs globally. Over Thanksgiving, a State Department official announced it would support the treaty at the 30th anniversary of the Protocol. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) said it was not surprised by this decision because the bar for en banc appeals is high. AHRI’s Francis Dietz said the ruling does not in any way diminish our industry’s commitment to the phase down of HFC refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
EPA Ends “Once-in, Always-in” Clean Air Policy – EPA issued notice Thursday it is withdrawing the “once-in, always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act. The policy dictated how major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated. Under the EPA’s new interpretation, such “major sources” can be reclassified as “area sources” when their emissions fall below mandated limits, subjecting them to differing standards. My colleague Jeff Holmstead is a significant expert on the topic and said “the withdrawal of the “once-in-always-in” was long overdue. There was no legal basis for it, and it was at odds with other EPA programs. This policy change does not apply to power plants and it won’t affect large industrial facilities like refineries and chemical plants, but it will give smaller facilities more operational flexibility and reduce unnecessary red tape.” He would be happy to discuss specific details further should you have questions. You can reach him at 202-294-8700 or email@example.com
Chamber Weighs in on Energy Policy Successes Through Energy Tracker – Chamber Global Energy Institute expert Dan Byers weighed into the energy policy discussion yesterday in an op-ed in The Hill that says energy policy under Trump will be a boon for Americans and business. Byers says the Chamber GEI’s Energy Tracker highlights high-profile actions and the collective impact from scores of other measures that illustrate the President’s consistent emphasis on advancing U.S. energy for economic growth. The tracker provides a unique and detailed look at these individual actions that are an easily-forgotten part of the bigger picture.
Unions Weigh in Heavily on Refinery Bankruptcy – A number of key unions say the recent bankruptcy of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions will hurt unions members in PA that were key to President’s election victory in PA. The United Steelworkers, the United Association Pipefitters and Boilermakers have issued statement raising concerns about the bankruptcy on their members. Steelworkers: “Continued indifference by the administration and EPA will only drive more East Coast refineries into bankruptcy while thousands of good jobs that allow highly skilled workers to support their families and sustain their communities are at stake.” The Pipefitters wrote to Trump: “you made a promise to protect every American manufacturing job. In light of the previously mentioned circumstances, we are urged you to keep that promise and take immediate action to control skyrocketing ring cost. Union jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country depend on it.”
WSJ Addresses PES As Well – Finally, the Wall Street Journal editorial board highlighted the PES bankruptcy putting the blame with the federal government’s biofuels policies. The Journal quoted Ryan O’Callaghan, president of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, which represents hundreds of Philadelphia Energy Solutions workers. “We thought President Trump was going to protect manufacturing jobs, and that’s what a refinery does,” he said. The renewable fuel standards are “like a lead weight around the company,” he added, and “we want the President to live up to his word.”
Study Says Wind Neighbors Like Wind – A 3-year national lab study published today found that of the 1.3 million homes in America that are within five miles of a wind turbine, a majority of the neighbors have a positive attitude towards the turbines. The survey, led by the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab, found that inside that range, only 8 percent of respondents had a “negative” or “very negative” opinion of the turbine. For those within half a mile of a large turbine, that percentage grew to 25 percent. The study also asked respondents whether they heard noises from nearby turbines, if they were “annoyed” by any sounds they did hear, and if they perceived the turbine planning process to be fair. A summary and results of the study can be found here.
DOE Starts Solar Manufacturing Effort – Following Last week’s tariff decision, the Department of Energy announced a $3 million prize competition to reenergize innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing. The American Made Solar Prize will incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace. This prize is in addition to total DOE funding of up to $400 million for solar projects and technologies in 2017. It will lower barriers American innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE’s national laboratories.
US Wind to Surpass Hydro – EIA reports that Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year. Wind is expected to produce 6.4% of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019, propelled by a construction boom of new turbines across the country. Few new hydropower plants are in the works, so new electricity generation depends on how much rainfall and water runoff pools in existing dams and reservoirs. Hydropower provided 7.4% of utility-scale generation in 2017 ― a particularly wet year ― but that figure is projected to fall to about 6.5% in 2018 and 6.6% in 2019.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Ag Directors Head to DC – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will hold its annual winter policy conference today through Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt. The event will feature remarks from FDA Director Scott Gottlieb and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who addresses the Group Wednesday.
NAS Panel to Look at Natural Disasters – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) will host a workshop tomorrow on deploying sustainable energy after human caused and natural disasters. Workshop participants will discuss specialized social, economic and engineering challenges and opportunities to deploying sustainable energy in areas that are rebuilding, after major disasters, including California, Puerto Rico, and other areas. The workshop will also explore how regions are building renewable energy into their longer-term planning in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment Committee will host EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.
House Science to Look at Energy Department – The House Science Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Department of Energy and its management and priorities. Witnesses include DOE science undersecretary Paul Dabbar and DOE undersecretary Mark Menezes.
Senate Energy to Hold Nominee, Vote Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a business meeting tomorrow to consider the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), Susan Combs to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Douglas Nelson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Following the vote, it will hold an oversight hearing to examine the role of the Geological Survey and the Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazard events, as well as the current status of mapping and monitoring systems.
House Resources to Look at Bears Ears – The House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Federal Lands holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to focus on legislation to codify Trump’s presidential proclamation last month shrinking the Bears Ears monument’s footprint by 85%. Witnesses will include Utah AG Sean Reyes, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian affairs John Tahsuda, Interior’s deputy assistant secretary, land and minerals management Casey Hammond, former Ute Mountain Tribe councilwoman Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee official Tony Small, Zuni, NM councilman Carleton Bowekaty, Hopi Tribal Council’s Clark Tenakhongva, Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye and San Juan County Commission vice chair Rebecca Benally.
WRI to Discuss Energy Access, Policy Innovation – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host leading experts from around the world for a discussion on the political economy of energy access and innovative policy solutions. Together, they will profile innovative reforms that policymakers around the world can adopt to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.
House Energy Panel to Mark Up Ceiling Fan Legislation – The House Energy and Commerce Energy panel will mark up bipartisan legislation tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that align compliance dates for new ceiling fan standards with those for ceiling fan light kits. Two current standards have compliance dates that are about a year apart, which has created unnecessary challenges for companies. The bill would harmonize compliance dates for both appliances to Jan. 21, 2020.
State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on tomorrow, January 30th.
FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on Wednesday and Thursday. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year. FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.
Yergin to Discuss 2018 Outlook – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., IHS Markit hosts a webinar conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit Vice Chairman, to discuss the critical issues facing the energy industry in 2018. While the mood in the industry is upbeat, the energy industry is in the midst of a major transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and environmental forces. In this webinar, Yergin will preview some of the major themes that will be discussed at our CERAWeek 2018.
CSIS to Look at India Energy Policy – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., CSIS’s Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies and Energy & National Security Program host Dr. Arunabha Ghosh and Abhishek Jain, who will present evidence using on-ground primary data and policy analysis undertaken at the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, South Asia’s leading policy research institution, to answer address these questions. Dr. Kartikeya Singh will moderate a discussion following the presentation. India is undergoing several energy transitions, each of which will matter for its human development and global sustainability. It must undertake programs at scales and within timelines not witnessed anywhere else, create appropriate market conditions to give direction and confidence to technology innovators and investors, and ensure energy security within a rapidly shrinking carbon constraint.
Forum to Look at Climate Path Forward – The Goethe-Institut of Washington and the Sustainability Collaborative of The George Washington University will host an evening of reflections on Wednesday focused on the climate meetings in Paris and Bonn, the next steps forward, and the role of college students in taking those steps.
WEN Set to Launch 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Energy Network holds a reception to kick off our 2018 event series at 6:00 p.m. at Vinson & Elkins. WEN DC is an organization that prides itself on supporting the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking.
Climate Activists Groups Meet at GWU – On Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at GW’s Lisner Auditorium, the activist group Climate Hawks Vote will host Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance. FFF will feature organizers who’ve led successful campaigns for 100% renewables in their cities, activists who are fighting fossil fuel projects like pipelines, and elected leaders who are pushing for climate action. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement, Rev. Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Jacqueline Patterson of the NAACP and many more will deliver the state of the climate movement.
French Embassy to Address Climate Policy – The French Embassy is hosting another French Series panel discussion event Thursday at 6:00 p.m. looking at climate change policy issues. The event will be moderated by our friend Dean Scott, Senior climate change and Capitol Hill environment reporter for Bloomberg Environment. Panelists include Brookings climate experts David Levaï and Adèle Morris, as well as WRI’s Jennifer Layke.
JHU to Feature Indian Expert to Discuss Coal – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a discussion of energy policy in India and the role of coal, featuring Harvard Kennedy School doctoral student Rohit Chandra, who is studying energy policy and economic history. Like many other countries, India’s industrial base and electricity system has been built largely on the back of coal-based power generation. Both financially, and politically, the Indian state is deeply invested in coal and coal-based power generation. This is likely to make the transition to renewable energy gradual, not precipitous, as many have been predicting. In this talk, Rohit will give a brief historical sketch of the Indian coal industry, and then discuss some of the reasons why coal and its downstream use in power and other industries is likely to persist in India for the foreseeable future.
IN THE FUTURE
Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty. The keynote speaker will be Steve Forbes. With all the talk of Paris, this just seems like a good NPR story: global efforts to reduce the heat-trapping gases from refrigerants used in air conditioning and cooling. Other speakers will include White House official David Banks, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, AHRI head Steve Yurek and Ingersoll Rand’s Paul Camuti.
NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 6-9th at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference. This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development. Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.
EV Workshop Set in NoVa – Next Tuesday morning February 6th, Virginia Clean Cities, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Greater Washington Region Clean Cities and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments host an informative workshop on electric vehicles and EV charging stations. This workshop will provide an overview of the benefits of EVs for fleets, and infrastructure considerations for selecting and installing EV charging equipment. Northern Virginia fleet managers, business leaders and government officials will be able to test drive the newly redesigned, longer-range 2018 Nissan LEAF, the 2018 Chevy Bolt, SmartForTwo, Vantage and other EVs. Participants will also get information on charging options for their fleet, workplace and much more.
EIA to Present Energy Outlook – Next Tuesday February 6th at 10:00 a.m., Johns Hopkins University will host EIA Director Linda Capuano at its Kenney Herter Auditorium to present EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018). AEO2018 includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices. The discussion will consider results across AEO2018 cases that vary assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic resources and technology, and world oil prices.
WCEE to Host Battery Discussion – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a Lunch and Learn on Wednesday February 7th at Noon to hear from Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of Energy Storage Association. Speakes-Backman will share her knowledge of battery storage and the impact it will have on the evolving energy markets.
WoodMac Researcher to Discuss Shale for Energy Economists – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists hosts its February lunch on Friday February 9th at Noon at Carmines. Wood MacKenzie Research Director for Natural Gas Liquids Anne Keller will address the often overlooked and usually unheralded bounty of the shale revolution which has led to a huge increase in natural gas liquids production. These chameleons of the hydrocarbon chain, which begin their trip to market as gas and end up transformed into liquids along the way, are providing emerging economies with clean burning fuel and US chemical producers with a potential cost advantage that they are betting billions of dollars will continue.
SEIA, ESA to Host Discussion on Distributed Energy – The Solar Energy Industries Association and the Energy Storage Association will host a breakfast panel discussion Monday February 12th in Washington on Distributed Energy Resource (DER) valuation, interconnection, and benefits to the local grid. The forum will look at the ways in which the location of a DER can provide various grid benefits and may lead to changes in DER compensation. Speakers include ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman, SEIA’s David Gahl, Douglas Staker of Demand Energy and Sara Baldwin Auck of Regulatory Program.
BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in Washington, DC, on February 15th. In its 6th year, the Factbook provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas such as battery storage and sustainable transportation. A panel of executives from BCSE members and BNEF analysts look at the cost of energy for consumers and businesses, and how has this changed over time; U.S. ranking for energy prices and clean energy investment; Clean energy contributions to American jobs and other items.
National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio. Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.
Forum to Look at Transmission – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing on Tuesday February 13th at 11:00 a.m. on the widespread, substantial, and long-lasting benefits of investment in electric transmission. The briefing will showcase two London Economics International studies – one study quantifies the future benefits of transmission investment based on two hypothetical projects, the second dispels many of the myths that deter and delay transmission investment. This panel will discuss why transmission should be a major component of the infrastructure conversation and how the economic and societal benefits from a robust high-voltage grid are so important. Speakers study author Julia Frayer of London Economics International, ITC’s Nina Plaushin and former FERC Chair James Hoecker.
EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy. The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.
CERAWEEK Set for Houston – CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas. Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.
ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th. The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.