Given tomorrow is the first day of spring.. it’s totally March Madness!!! Wow… Was that a great weekend of basketball? Some great games and some great surprises. While I never would have picked them, I certainly know where UMBC is since it is about 10 minutes from my house. In fact, on St Patrick’s Day, our friend – whose daughter plays lax there – was mobbed when he showed up at the Killarney House with a UMBC jacket. I know my bracket is in trouble, but I hope you’re doing better. At least my Nevada prediction has held strong. Not as many surprises on in the Women’s NCAA bracket with #1 UConn rolling to a 140-53 victory just after UMBC knocked out UVa. NCAA Frozen four brackets are out with first round action starting Friday and final round action set for Minnesota on April 5th and 7th. Top seeds are Cornell, St. Cloud St, Ohio St and Notre Dame. And the Masters just two weeks away.
This is a crazy week as Congress runs up to the Easter spring break recess. Expect most of the key action to surround the budget that has to be approved by the end of the week, but the House will also fast-track legislation to streamline regulations for ceiling fan manufacturers. There is also a full slate of hearings in both the House and Senate.
Rick Perry is the biggest highlight tomorrow at Senate Energy looking on his 2019 Budget. His program office heads go to House Approps on Thursday on the applied science budget. NRC Commissioners head to the Hill tomorrow and Wednesday. NOAA also on Wednesday.
Trade controversies continue to heat up. Friday was the deadline for solar companies to request exemptions from solar tariffs. And on Wednesday and Thursday, Trade Rep Bob Lighthizer and Commerce Sect Ross will testify on steel and aluminum tariffs as well as his budget. Expect a rough ride from both sides of the aisle. And the Commerce Department will start accepting requests today from companies seeking to have imported steel and aluminum products excluded from the planned tariffs. As you know, my colleague Paul Nathanson and Josh Zive are all over this issue should you have questions. Keep your eyes open for more coalitions forming this week.
Also this week, after an impressive interview on 60 Minutes yesterday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or MBS will be in Washington for a visit. Expect a full Slate of energy issues to come up including oil, natgas and nuclear. Finally in the offshore space, Interior released some new safety rules today on inspections and is expect to announce the results of the most recent lease sales on Wednesday.
Tomorrow is Ag Day so the National Press Club hosts USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue at 1:15 p.m. for remarks in the Holeman Lounge. Perdue also testifies on the USDA budget before House Approps’ Ag subpanel on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. before the ethanol folks have a fly–in later in the week. Action still rages on White House meetings regarding the RFS (likely tomorrow). We are on it, so don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.
Off the Hill, the Science Coalition hosts a panel on advanced techs today with ClearPath’s Jeremy Harrell, ACCF hosts a conversation with Sen. Wyden tomorrow, Atlantic Council talks Solar Wednesday, AEI hosts a Thursday infrastructure forum with DOT Official Derek Kan and Friday Berkeley’s Haas Energy Institute hosts a forum on energy research.
Finally, Congrats to our friend Tom Henry, enviro reporter at the Toledo Blade and great SEJ member, who celebrated his 25th anniversary late last week at the paper, which is kind of amazing if you think about the market. Way to go Tom!!!
Call with questions. Best,
“This approach greatly improves our inspectors’ efficiency, increasing safety oversight at OCS facilities. Our team developed a smarter, safer strategy that provides more physical inspection time offshore and reduces government costs. This makes sense for the American taxpayer and increases our ability to ensure safe operations offshore.”
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Scott A. Angelle on new inspection rules.
ON THE POD
Bracewell Podcast Focuses on Trade – The latest Bracewell podcast is live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music. My Colleagues Josh, Liam, and Paul discuss the Pennsylvania special election and Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory, staff shake-ups in the Administration and the likelihood of more, and the latest information on the impending steel and aluminum tariffs.
Cap Crude Looks at Venezuela – On this week’s Capitol Crude podcast, Francisco Monaldi, the Latin American energy policy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, says Venezuela oil output is in a “death spiral,” with another 400,000 b/d decline possible this year. We also talk Citgo’s future, sanctions after Rex Tillerson’s firing and the likely impact of a PDVSA default.
IN THE NEWS
BSEE Rolls Out Safety Plan – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is increasing physical inspection time offshore, while reducing taxpayer burden by nearly $20 million over 3.5 years, providing significant cost-savings to the American public. Exploring ways to make inspections more efficient and reduce helicopter operating expenses, a team of BSEE leaders in the Gulf of Mexico Region developed the new approach. Taking advantage of technology allowing for access to electronic records onshore, BSEE’s inspectors will now have significantly more time to inspect operations offshore, ensuring safety at more than 2,200 facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. It will also reduce helicopter operating expenses 15% without impacting safety and environmental protections. Oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf accounts for one of every six barrels produced in the United States. With 98% of all OCS energy produced from the Gulf of Mexico, it is critical that BSEE continues to maximize efficiency and ensure that oil and gas operations are conducted safely and in an environmentally sustainable manner.
GEST Says Rules will Improve Safety, Reduce Costs – The Gulf Economic Survival Team said the new rules, which go into Place on April 1 will improve safety and reduce costs. Lori LeBlanc: “Safety is a top priority for those of us who support offshore oil and gas development and if we can find ways to improve safety and reduce risks while also resulting in a cost savings to the American taxpayer than it is win-win situation. Our family members and our neighbors go to work offshore every day to produce the fuel for America and we want nothing more than to see them come home safely. We are pleased with BSEE’s new initiative to implement an effective and efficient new safety inspection program that will make it an even safer offshore industry.”
DOE to Start Water Project Effort – the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry led a roundtable discussion on the use of federal prizes and challenges to drive innovation, particularly when it comes to critical water issues. The group discussed ways to tackle some of our nation’s most important water issues through innovation opportunities. He was joined by government and industry leaders, including Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, CEO of the Case Foundation, Jean Case, President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation Dean Kamen, Author and Expert Seth Siegel, Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Dr. Steven Walker, and DOE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Daniel Simmons. Experts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory, past prize winners, prize organizers, innovation experts, water experts, and federal agency leaders also participated in today’s event.
U.S. Energy Exports to Mexico Exceeded Import Value for Third Straight Year – In each of the past three years, the value of U.S. energy exports to Mexico has exceeded the value of U.S. energy imports from Mexico. Energy trade between Mexico and the United States has historically been driven by Mexico’s sales of crude oil to the United States and by U.S. exports of refined petroleum products to Mexico. As the United States has reduced crude oil imports from Mexico, the trade balance has shifted.
Clean Edge Changes Clean Energy, Smart Grid, Water Indexes – Clean Edge, Inc. announced the results of the semi-annual evaluation of the following stock indexes:
- Nasdaq® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index (CELS)
- Nasdaq® Clean Edge® Smart Grid Infrastructure Index (QGRD)
- ISE Clean Edge Water Index (HHO)
- ISE Clean Edge Global Wind Energy Index (GWE)
All changes became effective prior to today’s market open. As part of the recent changes, Clean Edge has expanded the definitions for QGRD to include companies involved in electric vehicle networks and smart grid and grid infrastructure-enabling software technologies such as blockchain. As a result, newly added constituents include such companies as BYD, Autoliv, Aptiv, Cisco, IBM, Nvidia, and Oracle. For CELS, Clean Edge is now tracking firms that receive a majority of their revenues and/or profit from lithium-ion production (used in electric vehicles and for energy storage), resulting in the addition of both Albermarle and SQM.
KAPSARC Appoints Adam Sieminski as President – The KING Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center’s (KAPSARC’s) Board of Trustees has appointed Adam Sieminski as president to the Center effective from April this year, succeeding its current interim president Nadhmi Al-Nasr. Sieminski possesses a distinguished level of experience in the field of energy economics and policy. Commenting on Adam’s appointment, Eng. Khalid Al-Falih, chairman of KAPSARC’s Board of Trustees, highlighted the Board’s aim to build on the Center’s research capabilities and international partnerships, re-enforcing the Center’s mission in promoting sustainable energy ecosystems that provide social development while protecting the environment, for the benefit of Saudi Arabia, the region and the entire world. Before his appointment, Sieminski held the James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and prior to that, served as the administrator of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
World Water Forum Set – The 8th World Water Forum will be in Brasilia, Brazil this week.
Power Conference Set for Nashville – The 20th annual Electric Power Conference started today in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland, running through Thursday. The Conference and exhibition for power generators provides up-to-date training of regulatory and policy changes, and access the latest products and technologies available on the market, ensuring safer, more efficient and more productive facilities across power generation. Today’s action include a plant tour of TVA’s Gallatin Plant. TVA’s Joe Grimes will be the keynote speaker.
ClearPath, BPC Experts Look Research, Science – The Science Coalition holds a forum today at 2:00 p.m. in 122 Cannon on American energy and how research powers the future. ClearPath Managing Director-Policy Jeremy Harrell joins BPC’s Brad Townsend, Third Way’s Erin Burns and Princeton’s Greg Scholes and others at the briefing.
NYC Climate Forum to Look at Tufts Expert Research – Today at 6:00 p.m. in NYC, the Center on Global Energy Policy is hosting a presentation and panel discussion on climate, energy, and development as part of its on-going speaker series “Where Next on Climate?” Kevin Knobloch of Tufts University’s Climate Policy Lab will present results from a soon-to-be-completed research project entitled “The Relationship between Clean Energy/Climate Policy and Expanding Corporate Markets.” This project involved structured interviews with C-suite leaders in major corporations and private equity houses. After Knobloch’s presentation, there will have a panel discussion with Knobloch, Geoffrey Heal of the Columbia Business School, C2ES’s Nancy Meyer and John MacWilliams of Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy.
Conference to Focus on Resilience – The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association will hold a coastal summit tomorrow through Thursday in Washington. The forum will focus on Science & Policy for Resilient Coasts. Speakers will include local official and coastal protection groups from across the country, including former Interior Official Lynn Scarlett. See line up here.
Forum to Look at Climate Business Environment – Climate Con runs tomorrow and Wednesday in Asheville, NC at The Collider. Speakers Include HP’s John Frey, Duke Energy Robert Sipes and advisor to NC Gov. Cooper Jeremy Tarr.
AWEA Hosts Siting Conference in Memphis – The wind industry will hold a siting and enviro compliance conference in Memphis tomorrow. The Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference is where leaders from the wind industry, environmental permitting and compliance sector, the scientific community and regulatory officials come together for a robust discussion about the current state of siting and environmental compliance, and network. Our friend Michael Speerschneider of AWEA leads a number of panels and speaks.
ACCF to Host Conversation with Wyden – Tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. at the Phoenix Park Hotel, the American Council for Capital Formation and the ACCF Center for Policy Research are hosting a conversation with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) about principled bipartisanship today.
Wilderness Society Forums Launch – The Wilderness Society launches a series of events tomorrow at the National Press Club to focus on energy, environment, and climate issues. In this series of five panel discussions, policy, political and journalism experts will discuss how trends within environmental reporting may play out in 2018 and beyond — and how they relate to public lands. For our first event tomorrow, leading experts to discuss major developments and trends that have emerged in the last year and how they can be used to forecast what’s to come next for national energy policy, deregulation, transparency, and accountability. Speakers will include Reuters reporter Valerie Volcovici, former ND Sen. Byron Dorgan Adam Federman of the Nation Institute and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett, now with The Nature Conservancy.
Perry Heads to Senate Energy – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to examine the President’s Budget Request for DOE for Fiscal Year 2019. Energy Secretary Perry will testify.
Senate Panel to Look at TVA Nominee – The Senate Committee on Environment’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a subcommittee hearing tomorrow on the nomination of John L. Ryder of Tennessee to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
NRC Commissioners head to House Energy Subpanels – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Environment are holding a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. on NRC’s FY19 budget. NRC Commissioners Baran, Burns and Svinicki will testify.
Forum to Look at Saudi Nuclear Issues – The Global America Business Institute holds a special discussion tomorrow at Noon on key issues and prospects for cooperation in Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Energy Program. Speakers include our friend Jeff Crater and Fred McGoldrick.
Perdue to Address Press Club on Ag Day – Tomorrow is Ag Day so the National Press Club will host USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. for remarks in the Holeman Lounge. Perdue also testifies on the USDA budget before House Approps’ Ag subpanel on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
House Oversight to Look at Cyber Infrastructure – The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on government perspectives on security and modernization on cybersecurity.
Atlantic Forum to Look at Solar Future – Tomorrow at 3:45 p.m., the Atlantic Council hosts a forum on the future of solar energy and the role of American leadership. It will feature a conversation with CFR expert Dr. Varun Sivaram and Jigar Shah.
Senate Environment Hosts NRC – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. providing oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Commissioners will testify.
House Ways/Means Talks Trade – The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. trade policy agenda with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The hearing will take place on Wednesday in 1100 Longworth at 10:00 a.m. Then on Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Committee will Host Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
House Panel to Look at US-Saudi Nuke Cooperation – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will convene a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at implications of a U.S.-Saudi Arabia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement for the Middle East. Witnessed include Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Harvard’s William Tobey and GWU’s Sharon Squassoni.
HVAC Industry to Hold Session at Canadian Forum – AHRI will host two educational sessions at the Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition (CMPX), taking place Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., Associate Certification Engineer David Noyes will host a one-hour session on heating product certification programs. Certification Engineer Caroline M. Henley will follow for a session on AHRI’s variable refrigerant flow standard and certification program.
Ethanol Group to Hold Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol holds its 10th annual DC Fly-IN & Government Affairs Summit Wednesday. The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel and on Capitol Hill. Speakers will include EPA’s Bill Wehrum and Sen. Joni Ernst.
Axios to Host 5G Panel – On Thursday morning at AJAX, Axios’ Mike Allen host a discussion on the way a faster, smarter, more connected internet is changing modern cities. The event features interviews with US Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Yvette Clarke D-NY) and Gensler CEO Diane Hoskins.
Conference to Look at NatGas Infrastructure – On Thursday morning at the Reserve Officers Assn, LNG Allies is convening and hosting a conference expanding global gas infrastructure. Panels and individual international speakers will address enhancing global gas infrastructure, building new US energy infrastructure, augmenting European energy security, creating new global energy partnerships, facilitating new Asian gas infrastructure and expanding global gas infrastructure.
House Approps to Look at Applied Energy Budget – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in 2362-B Rayburn, the House Energy and Water Development Approps Panel will look at the applied energy budget for 2019. Witnesses will include Under Secretary for Energy Mark Menezes, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Edward McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Bruce Walker and Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steve Winberg.
Senate Energy to Look at Drought, Water Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a legislative hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the 2018 Western Water Supply Outlook and the following Water Infrastructure and Drought Resilience legislation. Witnesses include Interior’s Timothy Petty, Derek Sandison of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Patrick O’Toole of the Family Farm Alliance, Trout Unlimited’s Laura Ziemer, Phoenix AZ Water Services Department head Kathryn Sorensen and Cindy Ortega of MGM Resorts International.
Forum to Look at China Energy Ambitions – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will be hosting speakers to discuss the trend lines of China’s coal and nuclear power domestically and along the Belt and Road. Thomas Rawski (University of Pittsburgh) will provide a snapshot of current efforts to reform domestic energy structures and electricity pricing, and how these changes may affect domestic and overseas investment in coal and nuclear power. Ravi Madhavan (University of Pittsburgh) will discuss the state-owned enterprise landscape that dominates nuclear power development in China and how they are making inroads into overseas markets, including Pakistan, Argentina, and the UK. Erica Downs, a senior research scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corporation will take us further along the Belt and Road, looking at some of the broader drivers of China’s financing and building of power plants abroad.
WCEE Forum to Look at AVs – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a brown bag lunch on Thursday at Noon to hear from Ellen Partridge, Senior Law Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center; Kelley Coyner, Senior Fellow at the Center for Regional Analysis and Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University; and Fred Wagner, partner at Venable, as they share with us their knowledge of AV’s and the impacts AV’s will have on the natural and human environment, energy consumption, and the transportation landscape generally.
WRI to Look at Climate Winners, Losers – The World Resources Institute’s Climate Program and Governance Center will host a conversation on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. looking at the political economy of climate action. Together, they will draw on real-world examples, from Kenya to Bangladesh, to identify potential coalitions for reform, sources of opposition, as well as laws and institutions that can help accelerate progress towards limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Speakers include WRI’s Mark Robinson, Eliza Northrop and Jesse Worker.
AEI to Host Trump Infrastructure Official – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the American Enterprise Institute hosts Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation Derek Kan. Kan will outline the details of the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan. Following his remarks, AEI’s Richard Geddes will lead a discussion among infrastructure policy experts to review the main elements of the proposal and the future of US infrastructure policy including BNSF’s Matt Rose, Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation, AASHTO’s Joung Lee and Kevin DeGood of the Center for American Progress.
Energy Forum Set for Hass Institute – On Friday, Cal-Berkeley’s Energy Institute at Haas holds its 23rd annual one-day research conference on energy research and policy in Berkeley. The purpose is to bring together outstanding scholars and practitioners from around the world to exchange ideas and research results on topics related to energy markets and regulation. It is a great line up of experts including former FERC Chair Norman Bay and RFF’s Josh Linn, among many others.
IN THE FUTURE
International PetroChem Conference Ready – AFPM holds its 2018 International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio on March 25-27th. The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry. The meeting consists of a variety of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry. The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics, and politics.
EPA Clean Power Plan Repeal Hearing Heads for WY – EPA’s final listening sessions for its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan start in Gillette, Wyoming on March 27th. The EPA had already held one two-day meeting in West Virginia in late 2017.
Forum to Look at Oil/Gas in Argentina – Next Tuesday, the Inter-American Dialogue is hosting a panel discussion to analyze Argentina’s oil production. Remarks from the panelists will be followed by an open discussion with participants. Opening Remarks will be made by Fernando Oris de Roa, Argentine Ambassador to the US. Additional speakers will include Omar Gutierrez, Governor of Neuquén Province in Argentina.
USEA Look at Reliability –The U.S. Energy Association will host a brown bag discussion on Wednesday March 28th looking at reliability challenges and solutions. The event will address what the U.S. can learn from Europe about integrating intermittent renewables. Leading experts on grid reliability speak about the challenges encountered in Europe and how the U.S. plans to deal with those challenges in its quest to integrate increasing amounts of clean–but intermittent–renewable generation into the grid. Speakers include PJM’s Tim Burdis, the Atlantic Council’s Robert Ichord, NERC’s John Moura and Will Polen of the US Energy Association.
WCEE Happy Hour – On Wednesday, March 28th at 5:30 p.m. at the Fainting Goat (1330 U St, NW), the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is hosting its monthly Happy Hour.
Program to Look at Improving Energy Security in Ukraine, Estonia – The Institute of World Politics’ Women Executives in National Security (WENS) program hosts a forum on Thursday March 29th at 4:30 p.m. to discuss energy-related preferences and climate change beliefs in Southern Ukraine and Western Estonia. Special attention will be given to the issues of social acceptance of large wind energy projects, since the surveyed regions have a high potential for wind power development.
Offshore Wind Partnership Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum on April 3rd to 6th in Princeton New Jersey. The IPF is the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States and is dedicated to moving the industry forward. Among the speakers will be BOEM’s Walter Cruickshank and James Bennett, Statoil’s Sebastian Bringsværd, U of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone, NYSERDA’s Greg Lampman, Recharge’s Darius Snieckus Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski and NWF’s Collin O’Mara.
Perry, FERC to Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced Energy Secretary Rick Perry will testify before the Energy subcommittee on April 12th on Budget and oversight hearings. They will also host all FERC commissioners to testify before the same subpanel on April 17th.
Refiners Security Conference Set – The annual AFPM Security Conference will be held on April 23-25 in New Orleans and presents current topics of vital importance to critical infrastructure, keeping security professionals up to date on security issues, policies, and future regulations. The event will relay the latest information on security regulations from DHS and the Coast Guard. This year’s conference will also go beyond just the regulations with sessions on hurricane response efforts, environmental NGO activism, cybersecurity and other emerging security and terror threats.
Pruitt Heads to House Energy – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will host EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the agency’s budget request April 25th.
WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th. The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes. The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.
Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held on July 10th and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.