Energy Update: Week of Nov 6

Friends,

First off, our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Texas as they deal with this weekend’s terrible incident.  It puts a damper on the earlier celebrations for our Houston/Texas colleagues’ World Series Game 7 victory and parade last week for the Astros in what ended up being a thrilling World Series (that makes two-in-a-row.)  And even with last week’s New York terrorist’s attack, the NYC Marathon went on without a hitch with Shalane Flanagan becoming the first American women to win in 40 years.

The tax bill has rolled out and is expected to see action this week.  We have a bunch of good “Tax Fax” in the update below, but bottom-line, my colleague Liam Donovan has ALL the bases covered and will be happy to discuss “on-“ or “off-the-record” as the action continues.  You can reach him at 202-828-5847 or liam.donovan@bracewell.com.  And, finally we have a full FERC, with final Senate approval of Rich Glick and Kevin McIntyre late Thursday and “Swearing-In” ceremonies expected this week.

The next UN climate change conference starts today (and runs through next Fri) in Bonn, Germany and there have been plenty of stories about Friday’s climate report.   While interesting and comprehensive, it really doesn’t add much more than we’ve heard before, doesn’t consider significant policy or political challenges and change that the US has been reducing emissions dramatically through market and technology advances.  Something to remember.

As for the meeting, it is a working meeting so don’t expect a big splash.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) industry members are sharing the progress of the rapid transformation that is occurring in the energy sector in the United States. It will also showcase how the suite of existing clean energy solutions can help take that transformation around the world, and help meet a country’s nationally-determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute and its climate expert Steve Eule participates in a side event on Wednesday sponsored by the international business community.

We starting the week off today with a ClearPath event focused on US-China Clean Energy issues at 11:30 a.m. in CVC Congressional Meeting Room North.  Given the President’s trip to China and upcoming trade issues in the news, this seems like a great time to hear some key experts, including Congressman Ryan Costello, ClearPath’s Rich Powell and Christopher Guith of Chamber’s Global Energy Institute.  Amy Harder of Axios moderates. For those unable to attend this morning’s event, there will be a livestream.  Speaking of trade, check out the WaPo editorial today urging President Trump to reject strong solar tariffs.

Tomorrow, House Energy looks at ENERGY STAR and features AHRI Chairman Chris Drew testifying.  Also, House Resources takes up broad offshore energy legislation that will attempt to define parameters for wind and oil/gas projects with a hearing tomorrow and mark up on Wednesday.

The next big nomination hearing is Wednesday for CEQ nominee Kathleen Harnett-White and EPA #2 Andy Wheeler.  I don’t even know what to say other than put your seatbelts on because of the expected turbulence.  Dems will oppose both aggressively over views on climate while ethanol Republicans Deb Fisher and Joni Ernst are smarting over Harnett’s positions on ethanol and the recent retaliatory hold on a USDA nominee they support.  House Science also discusses geoengineering.

Then on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., our friends at SAFE host a forum and release their trucking industry trend report, “Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, automation, and technology in the trucking sector.”  SAFE’s Jeff Gerlach, as well as a number of industry experts including the American Trucking Assn’s Bill Sullivan will discuss how the trucking industry is changing, and the regulatory measures that should be taken to enable a safer and more efficient trucking future.

Finally, our friends at AGA launched the #CookingWithGas campaign recently with Chef Fitz Tallon from Eataly Flatiron in New York. AGA is traveling around the country meeting professional chefs and talking to them about why they prefer cooking with gas.  Check out the video of Tallon talking about why he prefers #cookingwithgas.

Call with questions.  Tomorrow is Election Day in many places including Virginia and New Jersey.  Please vote…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 episode is very brief (14 minutes) and covers the House tax bill released Thursday morning.  It’s a great opportunity to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you prefer – this episode is pretty quick and not a deep dive, but we will be doing more nitty-gritty analysis in future episodes.  Remember our  address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Mr. Trump clearly believes that the government should restrict Americans’ freedom to trade. But agreeing with the complainers in this case would obviously contradict his avowed motive — to support middle-class U.S. jobs.  The risks of helping a narrow slice of the industry at the expense of the rest of it simply outweigh the benefits.”

Washington Post Editorial Board on the upcoming solar tariff decision in front of President Trump.

 

“This proposal reneges on the tax reform deal that was already agreed to, and would impose a retroactive tax hike on an entire industry.  The House proposal would pull the rug out from under 100,000 U.S. wind workers and 500 American factories, including some of the fastest growing jobs in the country. We expect members of the House and Senate to oppose any proposal that fails to honor that commitment, and we will fight hard to see that wind energy continues to work for America.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

 

TAX FAX

Tax Reform Rolling – House Republicans released a tax-reform bill today that would cut the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%. The plan also includes cuts to individual tax rates and increases the standard deduction for individuals and families.  Retirement plans including 401(k)s appear to be untouched and the top tax rate for wealthy Americans would remain the same.  My colleague Liam Donovan has ALL the bases covered and will be happy to discuss “on-“ or “off-the-record.”  You can reach him at 202-828-5847 or liam.donovan@bracewell.com

Wind Has Concerns – The House tax bill raised the ire of the wind industry who said reneging on the previous deal would threaten American job growth and energy dominance. By derailing a bipartisan agreement to phase out the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), the House proposal strips away the investment certainty Congress promised wind developers just two years ago. The proposal puts at risk over $50 billion in planned investment supporting manufacturing, rural jobs and homegrown energy growth.  The wind industry worked with Congress in 2015, reaching a bipartisan agreement on tax reform that phased out the PTC over five years. Investors, taking Congress at their word, banked on stable investment policy and poured billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.

What’s the PTC Controversy? – The wind energy PTC, which allows for a tax credit for each kilowatt hour (kWh) generated, was the tool Congress created for wind developers to access capital needed to grow wind power in the U.S. This successful policy has driven domestic infrastructure investment and manufacturing, delivering U.S. jobs and driving down the costs to produce electricity. Recognizing the policy was working and success was near, Congress passed a bipartisan five-year extension and phase out of the credit in 2015, which is proceeding on an 80%-60%-40% schedule, ending after 2019.  The bill changes the terms of PTC qualification defining start of construction. Investors who put billions of dollars into factory orders and construction contracts cannot go back in time to meet the revised requirements. The House tax proposal would also terminate an inflation adjustment, cutting the value of the credit by half or more.

Navigant Study Says Roll Back Risks 50K JobsNavigant Consulting projects that maintaining stable investment policy through the five-year PTC phase out will create $85 billion in economic activity and help grow another 50,000 American jobs, including 8,000 jobs at U.S. factories, through the end of President Trump’s first term.  Boosting production of U.S. wind energy helps increase American energy independence and security. The majority of the value of an American wind farm is made-in-the USA by 102,500 workers and 500 factories across all 50 states.  View a map of every wind farm and factory in America.

CCS Says Include 45Q – A diverse, bipartisan group of carbon capture advocates today called on the Senate Finance Committee to include legislation to extend and reform the Section 45Q of the tax code to boost carbon capture in any tax plan considered by the committee.  The letter specifically calls for inclusion of the FUTURE Act, legislation introduced in July by Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Shelley Moore Capito, Sheldon Whitehouse, John Barrasso and 21 other Senators from both parties, in the Senate Finance Committee Chairman’s Mark.  The letter was signed by companies, labor unions, NGOs and other advocates including Occidental, Peabody Energy, Utility Workers Union of America, IBEW, NRECA, Clean Air Task Force, C2ES, ClearPath and many others.

Orphans are Included – The “orphan” tax credits – credits left out of the 2015 wind/solar PTC deal – were also in the tax bill, mirroring language found in Rep. Tom Reed’s H.R. 1090, which extends the residential and commercial tax credits until January 1, 2022 for geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, microturbines, small wind and combined heat and power. The residential income tax credit would be retroactive back to January 1, 2017 at 30% and continue at that level until 2020 when it would drop to 26% and then at 22% for 2021 and end December 31, 2021. The 10% commercial investment tax credit would be extended until January 1, 2022 and change the language for placed in service to “property the construction of which begins before January 1, 2022.” Thousands of jobs among geothermal and other “orphaned” clean energy industries are in jeopardy and GHP manufacturers alone saw a sales decline significantly this past year.

Advanced Nuclear Credit Included In Tax Reform – The tax reform plan also includes a modification to the 45J tax credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities that is vital to the expansion of the U.S. fleet. It at least largely mirrors a bipartisan bill from Reps. Tom Rice and Earl Blumenauer lawmakers approved by voice vote in June modifying the credit to allow more time for the nation’s new reactors under construction to utilize the credit and allow transferability of the credit to other partners of the utilities.

A GOOD READ on Winners, Losers – Energy Winners, Losers in House Tax Plan: WASHINGTON EXAMINER

IN THE NEWS

BCSE to Release Priorities Paper at COP23 – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released a policy paper today that outlines its COP 23 priorities as the meeting launches in Bonn.   The Council released the final version of the BCSE COP 23 policy position paper, Powering Ambition at COP 23. The BCSE at COP 23 website is also live: www.bcse.org/cop23.  This page will include all of BCSE events, public statements, delegation information and case studies of clean energy in action.

Vistra Head on CNBC’s Mad Money – Last Week, we mentioned the Vistra-Dynegy merger and later in the week on CNBC’s Mad Money, Curt Morgan discussed the deal with Jim Cramer, who called the deal a “game-changer.”  Morgan highlighted the national focus and diverse fuel mix that the new company will have and said it will be strong in both low and high gas price environments.

Chamber Highlights Efforts to Restore Power After Hurricanes – Speaking of videos, the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute released a series of videos last week looking at during and after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, everyday Americans assumed the role of first responders as their family and friends faced sheets of rain, catastrophic flooding and destructive winds. In its new video series titled “Energy Strong” GEI highlights the many ways America’s energy industry stepped up and responded.

GA Lawmakers Urge Nuclear Tax Credits – Georgia lawmakers are asking for an extension on tax credits for the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion project.  All but two members of the state’s House delegation sent a letter to the head of the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

They want the tax plan to include a measure that would lift the 2020 expiration date on a tax credit for new nuclear energy production. Two reactors at Vogtle now under construction won’t be up and running until after that deadline.

Biotech Company to Protect Palm Trees, Dates – ISCA Tech and the University of California-Riverside scientists will work to develop environmentally-friendly pest controls to save California’s iconic palm trees and protect the date palm industry from the invasive South American palm weevil. With a new grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).  FFAR is a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, today awarded $150,000 to fund research to combat this emerging pest. The FFAR grant is being matched by funds from UCR, ISCA, California Date Commission, and the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association, for a total $300,000 investment in addressing this pest.  The South American palm weevil first spread from Mexico’s Tijuana area into San Diego County in 2011, where it is now killing Canary Island date palm trees. Surveys also have detected the weevil in California’s Imperial County, as well as in the Yuma, Ariz., and Alamo, Texas counties.  At risk are several palm species, including commercial date trees that contribute about $89 million a year to California’s and Arizona’s economies. Other at-risk palms include Canary Islands date, coconut, African oil, sago and California fan palms. The national market for landscape, decorative and potted palm trees is valued at more than $280 million a year.

IAEA Head Says Speed Up Nuke Projects – The global nuclear power industry needs to accelerate growth to satisfy the world’s energy demands and contribute to climate change goals, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano told the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. “More use of nuclear power will be needed to provide the steady supply of baseload electricity to power modern economies if countries are to meet the goals for greenhouse gas emissions which they set for themselves in the Paris Agreement,” he said

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Change Meeting Set for Bonn – The next UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held starting today and run through November 17th in Bonn, Germany, which is home to the climate change secretariat and 18 other UN agencies that will be hosting the conference.  Presided over by the government of Fiji, COP 23 is slated to be a “working COP”, as negotiators continue to develop the Paris rulebook—the rules and working processes that will underpin the Paris Agreement’s implementation. With respect to the rulebook, no major decisions are expected to be made before 2018. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will lead a delegation of its industry members to COP 23.  The Council will participate in COP 23 to share the progress of the rapid transformation that is occurring in the energy sector in the United States. It will also seek to showcase how the suite of existing clean energy solutions can help take that transformation around the world, and help meet a country’s nationally-determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute and its climate expert Steve Eule participates in a side event on Wednesday sponsored by the international business community.

Forum to Look at Energy Trends –The German Marshall Fund of the United States hold a conference today that will examine energy trends through three different lenses. The first session will examine the recent efforts, supported by the U.S. and the EU, to reform energy sectors in Black Sea states, notably but not exclusively in Ukraine and Georgia. Second, a panel of experts will discuss the ever-shifting energy politics of the broader Eurasia region, from Central Asia to the Black Sea and beyond. Finally, the conference will feature keynote remarks by Ambassador Mary Warlick, Acting Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Bureau of Energy Resources.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 tomorrow and Wednesday in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

Fuel Cell Expo Set – The Fuel Cell Seminar and Energy Expo will be held tomorrow through Thursday in Long Beach, CA.  Hear from top names in industry and government, including Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh; NASEO Executive Director Dave Terry; California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott; NCSL Energy Director Glen Anderson; Division Chief, CARB Annette Hebert and more.  There will be more than 180 Technical Sessions and more than 40 Posters on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons by our industry’s top researchers, scientists, and speakers.  Session tracks will cover a wide-range of topics including international, state, regional hydrogen infrastructure plans, technology advances, transportation deployment, hydrogen generation and energy storage.

House Energy Panel to Look at ENERGY STAR – The House Energy Committee will look at ENERGY STAR and other efficiency programs tomorrow.  Expects experts from enviro groups, AHRI and other sustainability groups to weigh in.  AHRI Chairman Chris Drew will say there is a strong industry preference to retain both the product program and the buildings programs at EPA and that the program needs adequate funding preserved, among other items.  Others testifying include ASE’s Kateri Callahan, Doug Johnson of the Consumer Tech Association, AHAM’s Joe McGuire and Greg Merritt of Cree.

GU Presenter to Discuss China, Wind – Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies will present at this Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. with Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford Business School. She has studied the role of global innovation networks in China’s wind turbine industry, the case of Chinese industrial upgrading within the green energy sector, the societal acceptability of wind power (in Denmark and China), and contestations over expertise and science communication. In her research at Stanford, she is investigating the role of expertise and experts in the emergence of R&D and innovation networks.

House Resources Looks OCS Drilling Draft – The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Outer Continental Shelf Discussion Draft.  The draft legislation aims to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal States, to require sale of approved and scheduled offshore oil and gas leases, to establish offshore wind lease sale requirements, and to empower States to manage the development and production of oil and gas on available Federal lands.  Witnesses will include Ray Brady of the Argonne National Lab, North Dakota Industrial Commission Director Lynn Helms, David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance and the Tulane Energy Institute’s Eric Smith.  Mark up will follow on tomorrow and Wednesday.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium tomorrow through Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

NEI’s Korsnick Headlines Stimson Forum – The Stimson Center hosts a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. on re-energizing nuclear security.  Nuclear security is out of the spotlight since the end of the Nuclear Security Summit series. This forum will look at the future of nuclear development and how can industry, civil society, and international organizations facilitate the outstanding Security Summit commitments.  This event is an on-the-record discussion of trends in the nuclear industry and security and marks the official launch of a new Stimson publication: “Re-energizing Nuclear Security: Trends and Potential Collaborations Post Security Summits.”  Panelists include NEI CEO Maria Korsnick, Canadian Nuclear Association CEO John Barrett and Frank Saunders, Vice President of Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs at Bruce Power.

Wheeler, Harnett-White Set to Go to Senate Environment – Senate Environment will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  It will also address the confirmation of Andy Wheeler to serve as EPA deputy administrator at the same time.

House Science Looks at GeoEngineering – The House Science Committee’s Energy Subcommittee and Environment Subcommittee hold a joint hearing on geoengineering innovation, research and technology. discussion draft legislation to “Overhaul Federal Lands Energy Policy” to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal States, to require sale of approved and scheduled offshore oil and gas leases, to establish offshore wind lease sale requirements, and to empower States to manage the development and production of oil and gas on available Federal land, and for other purposes. Witnesses include Phil Rasch of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joseph Majkut of the Niskanen Center, Cornell’s Douglas MacMartin, and Kelly Wanser of the University of Washington.

ITC to Look at Biodiesel Tariffs – The U.S. International Trade Commission holds a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on the final phase of countervailing duty and anti-dumping duty investigations regarding biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

SAFE Forum to Highlight Release of Trucking Report – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at The Loft at 600 F, Securing America’s Future Energy hosts a forum and releases its trucking industry trend report, “Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, automation, and technology in the trucking sector.”  The trucking sector is a backbone of the American economy. 70% of the nation’s freight, representing more than $725 billion in annual revenue, are moved by the trucking industry. Freight levels are forecast to grow more than 40% by 2045, and energy and oil use are set to rise by 20% in the next 25 years.  New technologies offer an opportunity to dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking sector. Connectivity and platooning, advanced driver assistance systems, and design modifications are already creating opportunities to save lives and fuel while reducing costs, but regulatory changes are necessary to enable the industry and American economy to benefit.  SAFE’s Jeff Gerlach, as well as a number of industry experts including the American Trucking Assn’s Bill Sullivan will discuss how the trucking industry is changing, and the regulatory measures that should be taken to enable a safer and more efficient trucking future.

Chatterjee Hits Platts Presser – S&P Global Platts hosts its Energy Podium forum on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. with FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee.  Chatterjee will discuss a broad range of issues facing the Commission with Platts reporters and other press.

CSIS to Host Africa Power Panel – CSIS hosts a public panel discussion Thursday looking at the lessons that can be learned from Power Africa.  The Obama Administration’s Power Africa Initiative was arguably one of the more intriguing innovations in development in recent years. Described as an initiative that brings “together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power”, Power Africa has been an attempt to work more effectively between various government agencies. It also operated under the assumption that Africa presented both development challenges and business opportunities for American workers and companies. Following the welcome remarks from Daniel F. Runde, and the opening remarks from Jennifer G. Cooke, our expert panelists will assess Power Africa’s progress and look for opportunities to scale and replicate the initiative to other sectors and geographies.

GW to Hold Book Launches, Panels – George Washington University holds two book Launches on Thursday.  At Noon, authors will discuss their findings and conclusions on energy security debates in China, India, Japan, Russia and the political economy and transit security of the region. Then at 5:00 p.m., the Brazil Initiative and the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy hold a book launch and guest lecture by Dr. Sergio Salles, with Dr. Nicholas Vonortas as discussant on bioethanol evolution, risks and uncertainties.

IN THE FUTURE

NARUC Annual Meeting to Dig Into Issues – Next week, the National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will hold its 129th annual meeting at the Hilton Baltimore 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 holds 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 GA PSC Chair Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, utility representatives and exec and developers working with rural cooperatives.

Forum to Look at CAFE, High Octane Fuels – Next Monday, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing in 106 Dirksen 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 – Next Monday 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 – Next Tuesday 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.

JHU to Discuss Nuclear – The Johns Hopkins University holds a forum on Tuesday November 14th 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, among others.

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, November 15th 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 November 15th, 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 Brazil Oil, Gas – The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute hosts a forum on Thursday November 16th at 10:00 a.m. looking T 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.

Webinar to Look at EVs – National Journal holds webinar on Thursday November 16th 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.

Clark to Headline USAEE Lunch – On Friday, November 17th, 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.

USTR Comment Deadline on Solar Trade Case – November 20th

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

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

 

PRG Co-Heads Segal and Martin Named “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill

This week, The Hill’s annual Top Lobbyists lists were released and have recognized both of PRG’s Co-Heads, Scott Segal and Dee Martin, as powerhouse fixtures in government relations. The annual lists highlight the field’s best and brightest advocates at law and lobby firms, trade associations, grassroots advocacy groups, and in-house lobbyists at corporations.

To read the full list of honorees, visit The Hill’s 2017 Top Lobbyist lists.

Liam Donovan Addition Continues Expansion of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group in Washington, DC

Bracewell LLP announced today that Liam Donovan will join the firm’s Policy Resolution Group (PRG) as a lobbyist specializing in tax, infrastructure, energy and other issues. Donovan will be based in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Donovan joins Bracewell from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) where he served as Senior Director of Legislative and Political Affairs. He is also a nationally recognized political commentator and analyst, frequently appearing on television and radio, and, as a contributor, online and in print.

This is the sixth strategic addition to Bracewell’s DC office in the last six months and third to PRG. Christine G. Wyman, an energy and environmental policy expert, and Anna Burhop, a federal legislative and regulatory professional, also recently joined the group.

“Liam’s arrival coincides with an increased focus by Congress and the White House on issues that significantly impact Bracewell clients, such as federal tax reform and energy regulatory and infrastructure issues,” said Bracewell’s Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp. “We are pleased to welcome Liam to the firm.”

Donovan served as ABC’s lead on tax, energy and fiscal legislative issues for more than six years, representing the construction industry before the House, Senate, White House and federal agencies, while providing strategic guidance on the association’s political activities. He also frequently served as a spokesperson for the association, appearing on numerous television and radio programs for political analysis. Prior to joining ABC, Donovan worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), ultimately serving as a regional finance director under Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). In that role, he worked with Republican incumbents, candidates and campaigns across 20 states, raising millions of dollars for Republican candidates.

“Liam is a great addition to Bracewell’s PRG team,” said PRG Co-Head Scott Segal. “Our clients will benefit from his thorough understanding of tax and infrastructure policies, his knowledge of and experience with the legislative process and his sharp political insights.”

“Bracewell has built a reputation for outstanding client service and effective representation of a wide range of companies, trade associations and coalitions,” said Donovan. “I look forward to joining the talented group of professionals in Bracewell’s PRG team and am eager to help our clients have a voice as Congress and the Trump Administration tackle a host of pressing tax issues.”

Donovan graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in government. He has been published in The National Review, New York Post, POLITICO Magazine and other national publications.  Additionally, Donovan is frequently featured as a commentator on MSNBC and Fox News Channel for his political insights and analysis.

 

Anna Burhop Joins Bracewell’s Nationally Recognized Policy Resolution Group in Washington, D.C.

The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP is pleased to announce that Anna Burhop has joined as a principal in its Washington, D.C. office. Burhop will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s clients on a broad range of environmental, energy and other policy matters. PRG has been recognized as the top performing lobbying/law firm by Bloomberg Government and is the only firm to make the list four years in a row.

Burhop joins Bracewell from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) where she served as a Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs providing support for the ACC’s environmental advocacy initiatives.  Prior to joining the ACC, Burhop worked for seven years as a professional staff member on the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works, serving under both Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and developing policy and oversight strategies on various Clean Air Act Initiatives as well as EPA rulemakings.

“Anna’s extensive experience working on environmental and regulatory issues both in the private sector and on Capitol Hill will be a great asset to Bracewell’s PRG team and our clients,” said Bracewell’s Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp.  “We’re pleased to welcome Anna to the firm.”

Burhop is the most recent strategic addition to Bracewell’s Washington, D.C. office in the last six months. In March, Robert J. Wagman, Jr. joined as a partner to help lead the firm’s government contracts practice. In early April, Hans P. Dyke joined as a partner adding transactional depth to the firm’s energy, electric power and midstream practices and shortly thereafter, Christine G. Wyman returned to the firm as senior counsel in PRG adding significant industry, legislative and regulatory expertise in energy and environmental policy. Most recently in July, David A. Super joined the firm to lead the Washington, D.C. civil litigation practice.

“Having worked with Anna for more than a decade while she was on Capitol Hill and at ACC, I know our clients will benefit from her knowledge of legislative and regulatory issues on a wide range of policy matters,” said PRG Co-Head Scott H. Segal.

Burhop also was an administrative director for a premier health and wellness community in Louisiana. She earned a Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management from Tulane University and a B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

“Bracewell’s PRG has an excellent reputation in Washington, D.C. and I’m very much looking forward to working with its team of accomplished lobbyists and strategic communications professionals,” said Burhop.

Special Energy Update: Week of August 14

Friends,

Not the full update today, but just a quick note to remind you of tomorrow’s U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on the solar trade petition. But before we get to that, it was 14 years ago today, just after 4:10 p.m. that the Northeast suffered its most significant blackout in a generation. The blackout affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states.

Back to the action…The ITC holds its public hearing tomorrow looking at the injury phase of the 201 trade petition filed by Suniva which aims to impose tariffs that place the recent success of the entire solar industry and its workforce at risk. Late last week, we saw Congress weigh in urging ITC to oppose the tariff petition. And tomorrow, just before and after the hearing, hundreds of solar workers from all over the country, including California, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Virginia, will converge in Washington to explain the personal impact this case could have on their livelihoods.

We have a full report/primer below with details, schedule, timing, on-the-record comments and background. And speaking of blackouts, remember next Monday, a large swath of the country will focus on the upcoming solar eclipse, which occurs on August 21st. Lots of great coverage, but here is how you will want to view the eclipse.

Finally remember next week, the American Chemical Society holds its 254th annual national meeting during the entire week and will feature tons of events on really complex STEM issues, as well as highlight many important and innovative technological advances. One of the ACS presentations will feature our friends at ISCA Tech, which we will discuss more in the future.

I will be at the ITC tomorrow. Please call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

THE BIG EVENT

Solar ITC Hearing Set for Tomorrow – The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) holds its public hearing tomorrow looking at the injury phase of the 201 trade petition filed by Suniva which aims to impose tariffs that place the recent success of the entire solar industry and its workforce at risk.

IF YOU GO: The hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. at ITC, 500 E Street, SW. Media must register in advance with PA officer Peg O’Laughlin (202-205-1819)

SEIA: Trade Case Petitioners Brought Collapse of Businesses on Themselves – Suniva and SolarWorld have failed to show that a rising level of imports caused them serious injury and left them unable to compete in the U.S. market, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and others stated in pre-hearing written arguments to ITC. In an executive summary of its remarks, SEIA points out that the petitioners were unable to produce the needed solar modules to succeed in the ever-changing solar markets. Utility-scale projects use 72-cell modules, which neither Suniva nor SolarWorld could produce in the quantities demanded by the booming U.S. marketplace. Therefore, imports of solar cells and modules were pulled into the U.S. utility market by increased demand that could not be met domestically.

Congress Weighs In Support of Solar Industry – A bipartisan group of 16 senators and 53 members of the House of Representatives sent open letters to ITC Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein urging it to reject a petition that would slap tariffs on imported solar panels and cells. “Solar companies in our states believe the requested trade protection would double the price of solar panels,” the Senate letter to the ITC said. “Increasing costs will stop solar growth dead in its tracks, threatening tens of thousands of American workers in the solar industry and jeopardizing billions of dollars in investment in communities across the country.” Lawmakers who led the letter effort to the ITC include: Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Representatives Mark Sanford (R-SC), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA).

Coalition Calls for End of Bad Case – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) urged ITC to end the Section 201 trade case on imported solar components that currently is threatening the U.S. solar industry. ETAC is a group of companies, associations and organizations who joined together to oppose the trade petition. ETAC spokesman Paul Nathanson said the Section 201 petition is not designed to protect or grow solar jobs in the U.S., but an attempt by two companies that made poor business decisions to recover lost funds for their own financial gain at the expense of the rest of the solar industry. Nathanson: “As the solar industry continues to grow and compete with other energy traditional and renewable energy sources, now is not the time to undercut its momentum by doubling the price of solar panels for consumers. This is why ETAC members, which includes utilities, power co-ops, retailers and other large commercial users, are so active in making their voices heard to prevent these unwarranted tariffs.” ETAC works to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining access to globally priced products to support American energy industry competitiveness, sustain tens of thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs and preserve the principles of free and fair trade in a global marketplace.

Conservative Groups Supporting Solar Industry View – Most free trade advocates have strongly supported the solar industry’s position on this trade petition. Here are several key quotes from conservative groups:

“Tariffs meant to protect one industry can, and often do, have significant damaging effects on other domestic industries. Imposing tariffs under Section 201, as Suniva and SolarWorld request, would be a step backward by adding another layer of federal subsidies which is something the Heritage Foundation opposes in all instances.”
Tori K. Whiting, Research Associate at The Heritage Foundation.

“Voluntary free trade is always a good thing. And it’s a good thing for every consumer; not just a few individuals or companies. The solar case is an example of the worst kind of trade protectionism. We’re delighted to stand for freedom and free markets.”
Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.

“Our country’s trade laws were set up to facilitate and promote an even playing field, not provide shelter to those unable to compete.”
Karla Jones, Director of the Federalism and International Relations Task Force at American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“The Section 201 solar industry trade case will undermine one of the fastest growing All of the Above Energy jobs sectors in states across the country, solar energy installation. We must avoid rewarding this opportunistic use of U.S. trade laws.”
Sarah E. Hunt, Director of the Center for Innovation and Technology at ALEC.

Electrical Workers, Contractors See Petition as Trouble – The National Electrical Contractors Association fears that its work force, many of them union workers, will be hurt by the trade petition and the potential loss of jobs. James Willson, head of the LA County Chapter of NECA said they strongly oppose the proposed tariffs and minimum prices on imported CSPV cells and modules being considered by the ITC. Willson: “In our area (Los Angeles County) over the past 5 years, we have averaged over 1,000 electricians installing utility scale and roof top solar systems. These are good middle class jobs which promote apprenticeship, community based hiring, and veterans. This proposed tariff would increase solar costs 90-110% and if implemented would make America the highest-priced solar country and decimate the market – likely bringing a halt to utility scale solar. This extreme tariff would have such a negative impact not only in our jurisdiction but throughout the country.”

Retailers Urge Rejection of Petition – The National Retail Federation said the trade petition would harm businesses and large-scale, commercial users of solar. “A growing number of retailers are relying on solar to meet their energy needs,” said NRF VP Jon Gold. “Our members’ use of solar as an energy source is a direct result of the solar industry’s ability to compete with other sources of energy by providing cost-competitive power generation on an increasingly large scale. This misguided 201 trade petition would punish our members for being innovative and significantly raising their costs. The U.S. International Trade Commission should find no injury and terminate this investigation as soon as possible.”

Utilities Long-Term Planning Hurt by Petition – Utilities have also expressed real concerns that the trade Petition will undermine their ability to affordable use solar to meet customer demand and state renewable requirements. Scott Segal, Director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council said utilities and public power have increasingly diversified their portfolios for a variety of strategic reasons over the last several years. Segal: “This means that power companies have developed solar projects or have purchased solar-generated power or both. As a rule, power companies plan on a 20 year cycle and depend on predictable cost structures, particularly for solar developments. Inappropriate imposition of trade remedies on solar technology can fundamentally change the landscape for renewables without any consequent societal benefits. ERCC members include Ameren, DTE Energy, Duke, Salt River Project, Southern Company and Vistra.

Venture Capitalists Worry About Capital Investments – Chris Diaz head of Seminole Financial Services, which funds energy projects including solar projects, sees tariffs as a step that could undermine current capital investments. Diaz: “The solar industry is a strong sector for capital investment right now because of its competitiveness in the marketplace. Billions of dollars are flowing into projects that are leading to good-paying jobs, new economic opportunities, technological advancement and much-needed revenue for communities — all-the-while meeting increasing consumer demand for cleaner energy. This tariff petition and the resulting direct increase in the cost of doing business in the solar industry, threatens that competitiveness. It undermines the certainty of current investments in the solar industry and puts almost all future investments at significant risk.”

Other Key Quotes:

“As one of the most experienced solar installers in the U.S., Borrego Solar strongly disputes Suniva and SolarWorld’s claims before the ITC. These companies’ financial troubles are largely self-inflicted, and their failure to compete with manufacturers in both the U.S. and the rest of the world should not be used as an excuse to set the American clean energy industry back precisely when the need to increase our domestic clean energy supply is greatest.”
– Mike Hall, CEO, Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.

“The Suniva/Solar World bailout request will cause rooftop solar installation costs to sky rocket. Many Florida residents choose to install solar panels on their roofs to save money on their electric bills and to protect the environment. The requested bailout will make it harder for consumers to afford solar. Retirees will be hit the hardest.”
– Tory Perfetti, Florida Director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom.

“There are over 200,000 good, high paying jobs in solar right now, and that number is growing quickly. Protectionist trade barriers will not make American solar manufacturing more competitive, but absolutely will kill the good jobs that exist by pricing many customers out of the market.”
– Anthony Fotopoulos, Co-Founder of Keystone Power Holdings

The Background

The case – Filed by two heavily indebted solar companies, the 201 trade petition asks the Trump Administration to impose a drastic mix of tariffs and a floor price on imports of solar cells and modules that would double the price of solar equipment and damage the U.S. solar industry.

Remedy – The Section 201 “Petition for Global Safeguard Relief – Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules” seeks a tariff of 40 cents per watt on all foreign-made solar cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on all foreign-made panels, doubling the price for the basic ingredients of the broader U.S. solar industry.

The Cost to the Solar Industry – The $23 billion U.S. solar industry employs 260,000 American workers in good-paying jobs across the country. If successful, the protectionist initiative would slash demand for new projects and make solar less competitive with other sources of power, decimating one of America’s most promising high-tech growth industries. A recent study showed that an estimated 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current American solar workforce, would be lost if trade protections proposed in the petition are granted.

Timing – The International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently conducting a review to determine whether there is evidence of injury, of which this hearing is a part of – which is expected to be completed by September 22. If the ITC decides in favor of the petitioners, it must recommend specific trade barriers to President Trump by November 13. The president then has 60 days to act on the recommendation.

ON THE SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST

Trade petition Hearing Set – The US International Trade Commission will hold its first hearing on the injury phase of the Solar 201 trade petition filed by Suniva on August 15th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the USITC in Washington, DC. In the event that the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination or is equally divided on the question of injury in this investigation, a second hearing on the question of remedy will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. on October 3rd.

USEA Forum to Look at Energy-Water Nexus – The US Energy Association will host a forum on Tuesday August 15th at 10:00 a.m. featuring Verdant Power looking at the water-energy nexus. According to DOE’s “The Water Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities” report, several trends are increasing urgency to address the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way: climate change, which is affecting precipitation and temperature patterns throughout the world; population growth and regional migration trends that are likely to increase, which complicate management of energy and water systems; new technologies in energy and water domains that shift water-energy demands; and developments in policies that are introducing additional incentives and challenges for decision making. Verdant Power is addressing the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way resulting from its successful R&D efforts at the company’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project in New York City’s East River – the world’s first grid-connected array of marine renewable energy (MRE) turbines systems. Verdant Power’s Trey Taylor will look at their holistic, strategic approach in helping build sustainable communities through MRE-based integrated energy and hybrid power systems, microgrids, and water management.

WCEE Forum To Discuss FERC Issues – On Friday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold another Lunch & Learn presentation by Emma Nicholson, Ph.D., a WCEE member and economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Policy and Innovation. Nicholson will explain what capacity is, the role it plays in reliability, and how capacity markets in FERC-jurisdictional wholesale electricity markets work.

ACS to Host National Meeting, Innovative Technologies Event – The American Chemical Society hosts its 254th national meeting and expo on August 20th through 24th in DC at the Walter Washington Convention Center focusing on chemistry’s impact on the global economy. The week will be filled with more science and chemistry events than anyone could ever want. They will also honor innovative technologies toward the end of the conference and we will have more Information about that closer to the event.

USEA Forum to Look at So Korea Carbon Capture – Next Monday at 12:30 p.m., the US Energy Association holds a briefing to discuss the current status of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration technology R&D in South Korea. The presentation involves CCUS related R&D budget investments (in terms of scale, allocation and portfolio), main R&D projects, and international cooperation activities. Furthermore, the implementation status of carbon capture, storage, utilization and EOR projects which are operated by institutions and electric power companies will be provided. The speaker will be Sean Sangjoo Baek of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning.

IN THE FUTURE

McIntyre, Glick Head to Confirmation Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. for Rich Glick and Kevin McIntyre to join FERC.

Platts Forum to Look at Pipeline Issues – Platts will hold its 12th annual conference in Houston at the Houstonian on September 7th and 8th looking at pipeline development and expansion. During the conference, my colleague George Felcyn and our friend George Stark of Cabot will be featured on a panel on building pipeline support from the grassroots. This workshop will focus on ways for pipeline companies to build public support, shape media coverage, influence regulators and successfully see their planned projects through to completion.

TX Renewable Summit Set – On September 18th – 20th, the Texas Renewable Energy Summit will be held in Austin at Omni Southpark. The summit will offer the latest insights into the market and hear from key players about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in Texas. The falling price of solar panels is driving a surge in interest by public utilities and corporate customers in contracting for solar power, while a huge queue of wind projects is forming. As much as 16 GW of new wind and solar projects could come to fruition in Texas. However, development and financing challenges must be surmounted to assure project success and bankability. Large quantities of solar may drive the dispatch curve and market prices in unpredictable directions.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28. “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

EEI Comms Conference Set – Our friends at EEI hold their annual Communicators Conference On Monday October 2 and Tuesday October 3rd in Washington. Utility Communicators from across the Country will be in town to discuss policy and best practice issues, among other items.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for October 4-8 in Steel City.

Vets in Energy Forum Set – Veterans In Energy will hold a forum on October 5th through 7th at NRECA in Arlington. VIE provide transition, retention and professional development support to the growing population of military veterans who have chosen energy careers. Speakers will include Chris Hale of GI Jobs and Gen. John Allen, former Dep Commander of US Central Command.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

PRG’s Christine Wyman Co-Authors Analysis of DC Circuit Decision to Vacate EPA’s Stay of Methane Rule Requirement

PRG Senior Counsel Christine Wyman co-authored a blog post for Bracewell’s Energy Legal Blog with Whit Swift and Brittany Pemberton of Bracewell.  The post, titled “DC Circuit Vacates EPA’s Initial Stay of Methane Rule Requirements,” explores the July 3 U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision to vacate the EPA’s initial 90-day stay of parts of the 2016 Methane Rule, a rule that establishes methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry.

“While it vacated the 90-day stay of the Methane Rule requirements, the court emphasized that nothing in its opinion limits EPA’s authority to reconsider the final rule, or to proceed with the proposed stay published on June 16,” writes Wyman, Swift, and Pemberton.  “As a result, while compliance with the parts of the Methane Rule is no longer delayed by an administrative stay, EPA will likely continue with its plans to finalize the separate, longer stay of the Methane Rule requirements that it proposed on June 16.  While a review of the June 16 proposal did not identify the specific authority cited for the proposed two-year stay, EPA has previously claimed authority for such stays under both its general rulemaking authority under CAA section 301(a)(1), as well as an agency’s authority under section 705 of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (‘APA’) to postpone the effective date of an action pending judicial review ‘when an agency finds that justice so requires.'”

To read the complete post, click here.

PRG’s Podcast ‘The Lobby Shop’ & Host Josh Zive Featured in National Law Journal Article

PRG’s new podcast The Lobby Shop and its host, PRG Partner Josh Zive, were featured today in a National Law Journal article titled “In New Podcast, a Bracewell Lobbyist Reports from the Swamp.”

“‘It’s been a hell of a week,’ Josh Zive, a lobbyist and senior principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Bracewell, told his podcast audience last week,” writes NLJ reporter Miriam Rozen.  “Zive, who performs stand-up comedy in his spare time, knows the podcasts reach a limited audience at this point. But he takes pride in his new series and claims it distinguishes him as perhaps the sole big-firm lawyer to host a podcast for his employer.

“His aim: to use the podcasts to elevate in the public debate his firm’s and its clients’ advocacy. Launched in earnest last month, the weekly series is known as The Lobby Shop. The idea of talking casually and openly about lobbying strategies makes many of his professional peers uncomfortable, Zive said.

“‘At a lot of firms it’s ingrained in their cultures to not talk very publicly,’ he said.

“But Bracewell has embraced his podcast series, he said, and other partners regularly join Zive as guests in the recordings.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

To listen to The Lobby Shop, click here or download wherever you listen to podcasts.

Article by PRG’s George Felcyn Featured in ACORE Blog

 

PRG Senior Director George Felcyn authored an article published today by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).  The article, titled “Offshore Wind in the US: A Look at Industry Prospects,” explores America’s renewable energy potential regarding offshore wind, an innovation booming in Europe.

“There is a lot to like about the prospects for offshore wind development in the U.S.,” writes Felcyn.  “The basic ingredients are all there: higher sustained wind speeds offshore with the potential to increase electricity output by 50 percent compared to onshore wind farms, coupled with the added advantage that winds tend to blow strongly during late summer afternoons, when electricity consumption is peaking; technological advances leading to larger turbines with higher power ratings; and a cost structure that has seen significant improvement in the more mature European offshore wind industry as increasing efficiencies and scale have taken hold.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Energy Policy Advocate Christine Wyman Returns to Policy Resolution Group

The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP today announced that Christine G. Wyman has joined the firm as senior counsel. Wyman will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s clients on a broad range of energy, environmental and other policy matters.

Wyman joins Bracewell from the American Gas Association, where as senior counsel, she advocated for natural gas utilities on federal environmental, energy and pipeline safety matters. She worked with member companies and interacted with a variety of federal agencies, including the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“We’re very excited to welcome Christine back to the PRG team,” said PRG Co-Head Scott H. Segal. “Her experience with energy policy and the inner workings of Washington will greatly benefit our clients.”

“I am thrilled to rejoin my colleagues in the Policy Resolution Group,” said Wyman. “Their extensive knowledge of energy, environment, manufacturing and other issues, the firm’s reputation as a leading government relations firm in Washington are just some of the many reasons that I’m excited to be part of the PRG team.”

Prior to launching her legal career, Wyman worked at Bracewell in the government relations section, and later as a Bracewell fellow while attending law school. Following law school, Wyman joined an international law firm, where she represented clients in a broad range of environmental matters, providing counsel on compliance and enforcement matters, and advocating for clients’ interests through the federal rulemaking process.

In addition to earning her J.D. from The Georgetown University Law Center, Wyman earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

PRG’s Scott Segal Analyzes AG Pruitt Hearing in E&E News Facebook Live Interview

 

PRG Founding Partner Scott Segal spoke with E&E News’ Monica Trauzzi today on the confirmation hearing of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. NRDC’s John Walke and E&E News reporters Robin Bravender and Kevin Bogardus also weighed in.

The full video can be viewed above or at this link, and the article on AG Pruitt’s hearing and this discussion can be found here.