Energy Update: Week of September 17

Friends,

Well, that was an interesting weekend.  While I was umpiring my own NCAA games and watching Hannah’s in Boston, Hurricane (and now “heavy-rain storm’) Florence was battering the Carolinas.  We have a full report in a separate section below.  I am doing regular reports that include information from Duke, EEI, EIA, NRECA and others, so please let me know if you are interested and I will add you to the list.

Meanwhile, on Friday, lots of movement in the RFS discussion.  Ag economist Scott Irwin of the U of Illinois (generally very favorable to the ethanol folks surprised many when he released a paper that said small refiner exemptions have not had any significant impact of ethanol demand.  It echoed another paper also released Friday by Charles River Associates that argued the same point. Finally, Sen Pat Toomey invited EPA chief Andy Wheeler to come to a Pennsylvania refinery.  All of this detailed below.

The House is out this week because Wednesday is Yom Kippur – which I will “celebrate” by taking my son Adam for his final on-road driving test at the Motor Vehicle Administration in MD.  Talk about a Day of Atonement…that is it.  Senate is in tomorrow and Thursday and in fact could vote as early as this week on a water infrastructure package that passed the House last week.  And don’t sleep on the vernal equinox – fall hits on Saturday evening.

Exciting Bracewell News: top Interior Department lawyer Ann Navaro (a Wellesley alumni) has joined Bracewell’s Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. She has also held senior legal/policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and spent 14 years handling litigation in DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  She will be a great resource for you on these issues so let me know if you are interested in connecting with her.

Finally, this is not about energy, but as you know, as a member of the National Press Club, I help promote Club-sponsored events like luncheons, newsmakers, etc.  Given recent issues that have supercharged the SCOTUS nomination hearings, I wanted to mention a great one tomorrow at the Club featuring EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, who will discuss the mid-term election, politics and the role of women this fall.  The luncheon starts at 12:30 pm, comments start at 1:00 p.m. and I hope you can attend.

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally-envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits or improved energy independence.  Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector, and domestic oil refiners. To achieve RFS compliance, merchant refineries must spend millions of dollars each year on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), money which would otherwise go toward needed capital investments and the hiring of additional workers. The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy, and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers.”

Senator Pat Toomey in a letter inviting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to visit Pennsylvania refiners to discuss the RFS.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – With EPA announcing its new public hearing for its ACE rule on October 1st, I am resending a great Bracewell PRG explainer podcast with Scott Segal of Commerce Global Energy Institute President Karen Harbert and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Ag Economist’s Paper on Ethanol Demand Causes Waves – U. of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin has almost always a supporter of the ethanol industry, but he shook up both sides on Friday with a new paper that undercuts the ethanol industry’s long-standing claim that small refiner waivers have hurt demand.  Today in FarmdocDaily, Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  As he said in a tweet on the info, “I just as well say it up front.  This ain’t gonna make me any friends in the corn ethanol industry.  But this is what the data tells us to date: Hard to detect any physical demand destruction for ethanol due to small refinery exemptions.”

HURRICANE FLORENCE UPDATE

Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression, but it continues to be a dangerous storm. The threat of catastrophic flooding is real. The storm continues to dump record amounts of rain, and streams and rivers are expected to flood even after the storm has passed.

As of 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, approximately 664,000 customers were without power in North and South Carolina. Power outages will continue to fluctuate as flooding moves or limbs and trees continue to fall.  Crews are working around the clock to restore power where it is safe and conditions allow. Impacted electric companies are reporting that they already have restored power to more than 1 million customers since the storm began. As the storm progresses, electric companies are reallocating resources strategically to ensure a safe and efficient response.

Other Important Safety Tips for Recovery, Restoration – A few important tips about power restoration and recovery:

  • In hard-hit areas, estimated restoration times will be determined after field crews first complete damage assessments. That process could take several days due to road closures caused by severe flooding and storm debris, especially in the coastal areas of both states, limiting travel for crews.
  • Never bring a generator indoors, and if rising water threatens your home or you evacuate, turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.  Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
  • Utilities are asking customers for their patience ahead of what will be a lengthy period of power restoration and recovery from this major storm.

HVACR Units and Flooding – Flooding creates a unique and dangerous power restoration environment. In many cases, crews are not able to gain access to the most heavily damaged and flooded areas until the storm clears and it is deemed safe for them to enter.  It is also important for consumers when they return to their homes or businesses.  After a flood or storm surge from a hurricane, homeowners must take important safety precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling systems. A house or basement exposed to standing water or storm surge can damage your home’s water heater, furnace, boiler, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat pump system and put your family at risk.  The HVACR industry reminds people how to handle flooding and your home’s HVAC systems safely.  Here is a full account of things to consider: http://bit.ly/2rg0xky

EEI Can Help With Process Questions – Should you have any questions about the electric power industry’s restoration efforts, our friends at EEI can help with background, historical perspective and details.  Their team is closely coordinating with the electric companies impacted by Florence.  Check out the EEI Storm Center here to see important information, details and safety tips. You can contact Brian Reil (breil@eei.org; 508-414-5794) to connect.

EIA Continues to Monitor Power – EIA is monitoring the Hurricane in its Hurricane Florence Electricity Status Report

Electricity: Load forecasts in the east (CPLE, SCEG, SC) show load beginning to recover today as the storm moves west and restoration efforts continue. CPLW and DUK in the west expect lower or similar loads today compared to yesterday.

Generators: Solar generation has declined over the past few days, particularly in CPLE and SCEG. Coal and natural gas generation has varied by balancing authority. One of the McGuire nuclear plant’s two units shut down beginning Friday night for planned maintenance unrelated to Florence. The Brunswick nuclear plant remains offline as of Saturday night.

Customers: As of 10:52 a.m., about 703,000 customers in North Carolina and about 52,000 customers in South Carolina have reported electricity outages, roughly 14% and 2% of the customers in the states, respectively. Outage numbers are falling in some counties and rising in others as the storm moves inland and restoration is underway.

Sutton Power Station and Coal Ash Ponds – The Sutton Power Station in Wilmington saw a minor storm related water overflow in its coal ash pond.  Here are the full details from Duke Officials: https://news.duke-energy.com/releases/historic-rains-from-hurricane-florence-cause-water-release-at-sutton-power-plant-in-wilmington-n-c  

 

Release Text:

Historic rains from Hurricane Florence caused the release of stormwater, which may have come into contact with coal ash from a lined landfill, at the company’s Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington. Because of the heavy rainfall amounts, it is difficult to calculate the amount of water that may have reached Sutton Lake, the cooling pond that was constructed to support plant operations.

Inspections today identified a slope failure and erosion in one section of the coal ash landfill, which displaced about 2,000 cubic yards of material and would fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The majority of displaced ash was collected in a perimeter ditch and haul road that surrounds the landfill and is on plant property.

Coal ash is non-hazardous, and the company does not believe this incident poses a risk to public health or the environment. The company is conducting environmental sampling as well.

Site personnel are managing the situation and will proceed with a full repair as weather conditions improve.

Ash basins, which are being excavated, and the cooling pond continue to operate safely.

IN THE NEWS

Navaro Joins Bracewell – Bracewell said that Ann D. Navaro has joined its Washington, DC office as a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. For the last two years, she has held senior positions at the US Department of the Interior, including most recently as Counselor to the Solicitor.  In her distinguished career with the federal government, Navaro has worked on a wide range of issues with federal agencies, including litigation, regulation, legislation and the implementation of environmental and natural resources programs. She has held senior legal and policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior. Navaro spent 14 years handling litigation in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the US Department of Justice, as well as 10 years litigating and overseeing civil works litigation for the Army Corps.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  At Bracewell, Navaro will focus her practice in four areas: (1) development projects, (2) regulatory counseling, (3) policy advocacy and (4) government litigation.

Three Reports Undercut Ethanol Demand Destruction Claim – Three reports on Friday said ethanol demand is not be lost and one of them is the work of Agricultural economist Scott Irwin, who usually supports ethanol views.

Irwin Paper – Today in FarmdocDaily, U. Illinois Ag Economist Scott release a paper on SREs and ethanol demand destruction.  To date, Irwin says he cannot find much if any drop based on ethanol blend rates.  He added there may be E10 ethanol demand destruction with SREs in the future if price of ethanol goes above price of gasoline.  SREs have reduced the demand for E15 and E85 but Irwin says it’s hard to measure since it is so small, but adds further expansion of the demand for higher ethanol blends is not in the cards so long as SREs are granted (and not reallocated).  Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  See the full paper with charts here: https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2018/09/small-refinery-exemptions-and-ethanol-demand-destruction.html

Charles River Paper – Irwin’s views are underscored by another new report released today as well from Charles River Associates that in essence, comes to the same conclusion.

The report from Charles River Associates (CRA), just released, dated September 2018, and entitled, “Economics of Small Refinery Exemptions under the RFS.”   You can see the full report here:

Among the noteworthy conclusions of the recent CRA report are the following:

  • “This report shows that increased SREs and lower ethanol RIN prices have not caused ethanol demand destruction. This is supported by a review of RIN pricing economics and an analysis of ethanol blend rates, which have continued to increase after SRE announcements.”
  • Even outside of the RFS, “There is a significant base level of demand for ethanol blending unrelated to the annual RFS obligations. Drivers of this demand include octane enhancement and serving as oxygenate, as well as direct price competition between ethanol and refined petroleum products.”
  • This base level of demand ensures that SREs and normalization of RINs prices have no impact of ethanol demand.  Indeed, RINs prices could literally fall to zero without impacting ethanol blend rates.
  • CRA continues:  “Simply put, changes in D6 RIN prices do not impact ethanol blend rates as long as the RIN price remains above the level needed to support ethanol blending. We demonstrate that actual D6 RIN prices have been above the ‘needed’ RIN prices for the majority of the RFS program’s history. In fact, for the past several months, fuel economics have driven the ‘needed’ RIN price below $0/RIN.”

The conclusion is clear – “Since D6 RIN prices have remained above the “needed” D6 RIN price, there has been no change in incentives for ethanol blending. This is supported by a review of ethanol volumes and blend rates, both of which have been increasing over time.”

Former EIA Analyst Joanne Shore Finds Similar Issues with Demand – Irwin and CRA’s findings are also backed up by similar, recent analysis from Joanne Shore, the long-time former chief analyst for fuels and refining issues at the Energy Information Administration.  Her September 11, 2018, conclusion:

“The data show that there is no evidence of domestic biofuel demand destruction from RFS waivers to small refiners. Biofuel demand is robust and increasing, likely as a result of what RFA recognizes in its own analysis: the low price of ethanol relative to gasoline. As numerous studies have indicated, ethanol blending will remain economic, even in the absence of a mandate. These facts strongly suggest that both Congress and the administration can take action to control the cost of the RFS and RINs in a manner that protects refining jobs, without adversely impacting the biofuel sector.”

Toomey Issues Invite to EPA Chief – Speaking of ethanol, Sen. Pat Toomey invited the top EPA official Andy Wheeler to visit the oil refineries in the Philadelphia area. In a letter sent to Wheeler, Toomey wrote that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is a federal mandate requiring gasoline to contain up to ten percent ethanol, is imposing such high costs on refiners that it threatens local employment and the greater Philadelphia economy.   Monroe Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refining complex on the East Coast, are both located in the Philadelphia area and employ a combined 1,600 people. To comply with the RFS, these two refiners must spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to acquire so-called RINs. High and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs. Earlier this year, PES declared bankruptcy in large part due to the unsustainable compliance costs associated with the RFS.

IER Unveils Green Grant Tracker – The Institute for Energy Research released a new grant tracker today called “Big Green, Inc.”, a powerful new research tool that shines a long overdue spotlight on the money that is fueling the massive national environmental lobby.  Big Green, Inc. uncovers the scope of the environmental movement’s funding as well as the role this interrelated network of organizations has had on energy policy. Taking the form of a searchable database, Big Green, Inc. tracks 8,821 environmental grants from 2008-2016 adding up to $3.7 billion. This money flowed from ten left-leaning foundations to over 1,500 environmental activist groups spanning all 50 states.  The map allows users to track the funding sources across a variety of dimensions including state and year, and identifies the issue areas for which these organizations received money, for example, climate change advocacy, anti-coal initiatives, and political activism.

Energy Funding Passes – Congress passed the FY2019 “Minibus” spending bill Thursday. The funding bill address programs for energy and water programs, including clean energy programs at DOE.  The Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Lisa Jacobson said “the market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE’s world class research, both pure and applied. Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets.”    And Clearpath’s Rich Powell added “Congress again sent an undeniable message that lawmakers are serious about keeping the U.S. in the top tier of countries pursuing clean and reliable energy breakthroughs. While steady and sufficient funding is essential, providing important direction and reforms to the DOE to make sure that dollars are well spent is equally vital to spurring energy innovation.”

House Passed Key Senate Advanced Nuke Legislation – And while they were passing legislation, House approval of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which would strengthen partnerships between the private sector and government researchers to test and demonstrate the next generation of clean advanced nuclear reactor concepts.  The bill, led by Sens. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and others, was approved by the Senate in March and now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign the legislation.  NEICA authorizes the development of a versatile neutron source for advanced reactor testing. Many of the promising new reactor designs currently being developed utilize “fast neutrons,” so the test bed created under NEICA is essential to developing those new fuel designs. A versatile neutron source can also allow accelerated research for all new advanced reactors. It is important to note that this R&D capability is only available for civilian use in Russia, so a domestic U.S. facility is essential to advancing American technologies. “NEICA will create a strong new foundation for global nuclear innovation leadership. By preparing a test bed for our advanced reactor entrepreneurs, we have thrown down the gauntlet to our Russian and Chinese competitors that the United States will not be out-innovated in the technology we invented,” ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell said.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launched yesterday in Washington on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW) with presentations about electric vehicles and the latest models on the National Mall.  There will be more events this week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – This afternoon, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Forum to Look at Energy Future – The Hoover Institution hosts “MIT-Stanford Energy Game Changers Symposium” tomorrow at 8:45 a.m.  Recent progress in energy technology research and development in the United States has been substantial-the past decade has seen dramatic reductions in the costs of emerging technologies alongside similar improvements in energy security and environmental performance. Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz alongside scientists and engineers from two leading American research universities and DOE national labs will explore the potential for energy “game changers”: inexpensive and abundant clean electricity production, affordable grid energy storage at scale, secure electrochemical fuel manufacturing, less intensive fossil energy through carbon capture, and more.

DOE to Host Energy Storage Forum – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) InnovationXLab Energy Storage Summit will take place tomorrow and Wednesday at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA. Energy storage is one of the biggest challenges to unlocking the potential from the next generation of transportation and electricity grid technologies. The Summit will showcase the broad array of technical resources available from across DOE’s National Lab complex that can be leveraged by industry to address these challenges.

Senate Enviro to Look at Legislation – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a Business Meeting  tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. to consider a bill to establish a compliance deadline of May 15, 2023, for Step 2 emissions standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces as well as several other bills.

Heritage Looks at SCOTUS Fall Term – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion for a Supreme Court Preview of the 2018 Term.  The Supreme Court returns October 1st for its 2018-2019 Term, and the justices will tackle of number of important issues. Supreme Court litigators Paul Clement and Joseph Palmore will discuss what is likely to unfold in the next Supreme Court term.

ITIF to Host Clean Energy Forum – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will host an expert panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on carbon emissions and clean energy. ITIF Senior Fellow Joe Kennedy, author of the recent report “How Induced Innovation Lowers the Cost of a Carbon Tax,” will moderate a discussion on innovation, carbon taxes and clean energy.

Philly Forum to Look at GHG Neutrality – Tomorrow at Noon in Philly, the Kleinman Center Energy Forum hosts an expert look at greenhouse gas neutrality featuring Oliver Geden, a lead author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Harder, LeVine Headline Clean Energy Discussion – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a lively conversation on the future of energy and the role of innovation and new technologies tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.  The discussion will feature three leading minds to shine a light on future energy trends. Steve LeVine, a veteran journalist of geopolitics and energy and whose most recent book The Powerhouse is a deep dive into the race to build a super battery; Akshat Rathi, whose award-winning series The Race to Zero Emissions masterfully deconstructs the energy technologies our futures need; and Amy Harder, whose weekly column “Harder Line” reports trends, scoops, and news driving the energy and climate debate, will explore future scenarios for the energy sector.

Senate Committee to Look at Infrastructure Cyber Issues – The Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee will hold a closed-door hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and will feature testimony from senior energy and homeland security officials, including DOE Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Bruce Walker, DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications Jeanette Manfra and Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security at the Defense Department.

WaPo Mooney Headline WRI Forum – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a major forum in Washington, DC reflecting on the challenging and important topic of carbon removal.  Tailored for a policy audience and featuring leading voices in technology, conservation and the environment, the event will tackle the big questions head on – how can carbon removal help in the fight against climate change? What are the different land management and technological approaches, and how can they be brought to scale in a safe and prudent manner? And finally, what practical steps can U.S. policymakers take to foster action?  The event will include a presentation on WRI’s latest research findings on carbon removal followed by a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Chris Mooney, Climate and Energy Reporter at The Washington Post.

CSIS Will Hold Forum Private Sector Sustainable Development – CSIS will hold a forum on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. role of the private sector in achieving the sustainable development goals.  The private sector provides 9 out of 10 jobs in developing countries and has an important role to play in achieving the SDGs and solving global problems. Many private sector actors support the SDGs and have joined the UN Global Compact. At the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference in 2015, it became clear that it would take trillions not billions of dollars of financing of all types to achieve the SDGs. Private sector participation is critical to strengthening the economies in developing countries, employing the growing youth bulge in Africa, and solving global challenges like migration.

FERC Meeting – FERC Commissioners will meet on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Coal Marketing Days Forum Set for PA – S&P Global Platts 41st Annual Coal Marketing Days Conference is set for the Westin in Pittsburgh, PA.  This long-standing event attracts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts and investors who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets.

Forum to Look at China Sludge – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on urban waste policies, pilots and innovation. Chen Meian will open up discussing the challenges low-carbon cities face in reigning in greenhouse gasses, and how her think tank is creating a platform for innovative, bottom-up, clean energy solutions. One of the most successful sludge-to-energy plants in China is in Xiangyang City in a plant run by Dou Wenlong. Mr. Dou will explain how his company has built partnerships with the local government to turn captured methane into CNG for a local taxi fleet. Liu Jinghao will give an overview of national-level drivers creating opportunities for methane recovery from MSW and sludge in China. Finally, Liu Xiao will tell a story of how one low-carbon city pilot is sparking climate action in the MSW industry. The speakers are in the United States participating in a technical research exchange sponsored by the Global Methane Initiative.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

Forum to Look at Advanced Nuke Test Reactor – The Global American Business Institute will hold a Capitol Hill briefing on Friday at Noon on the Versatile test reactor.  Mr. Donald Wolf – Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO, ARC Nuclear and Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu – Executive Director, The Versatile Test Reactor, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will speak.

Heritage to Look at Bloom Energy Challenges – The Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on Friday at Noon featuring University of Delaware Professor and former Delaware State Climatologist David Legates, at a forum on challenges with Delaware’s Bloom Energy.  Legates has challenges the fuel cell “promise” of inexpensive, clean energy is that it is actually very expensive and not very clean.

Forum to Preview SCOTUS 2018 – On Friday at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds another discussion on “Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2018.  US Solicitor General Noel Francisco will offer opening remarks followed by a panel featuring SCOTUS attorneys John Adams, Tom Goldstein, Jennifer Mascott, and Elizabeth Papez. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams will moderate.

JHU Forum to Look at Developing World Sustainable Energy Utility – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on utility models in the energy sector in meeting global economic, environmental and social challenges. Anmol Vanamali of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation will discuss the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) model.  There will also be a panel to discuss the impacts on Delaware.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Building Policies – Next Tuesday morning at the US Green Buildings Council, DOE, the Environment, New Buildings Institute and several partners are hosting the interactive session, which aims to stimulate collaboration, highlight leading local buildings and policies, and foster knowledge sharing regarding net-zero energy practice and policy.

Baltic Energy Forum Set – The Jamestown Foundation will hold a conference on energy security in the wider Baltic region next Tuesday at the University Club.  The conference will address the challenge to European security posed by Russia’s Nord Stream Two natural gas pipeline project as well as discuss Northern Gate, an alternative energy transit corridor championed by Poland that will open up the region to Norwegian gas supplies and U.S. and international LNG shipments, blunting Gazprom’s market monopoly position.

MIT Expert to Talk CCS – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on carbon capture next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring MIT Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog.  Herzog will give an overview of the current state of technology and policy related to Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) and cover seven aspects of CCS:  (1) the role of CCS in addressing the climate change challenge, (2) a summary of large CCS projects in operation, (3) the current status and future directions for capture technology, (4) the current status and future directions for storage technology, (5) how to view negative emissions, (6) the policies and politics around CCS, and (7) what the future may hold.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Clean Energy Week Forum Set – The 2018 National Clean Energy Week Policy Makers Symposium will be held on Wednesday at the National Press Club Ballroom. Speakers include Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Daines and Murkowski and many more.

Forum to Look at Energy Cybersecurity – RealClearPolitics will hold a forum on energy cybersecurity Wednesday September 26th at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum. The keynote speaker is Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and INGAA’s Don Santa and AGA’s Dave McCurdy will speak.

Forum to Look at Transportation – The Alliance to Save Energy’s 50×50 Commission will hold an event Wednesday, September 26th at 8:30 a.m. in 2255 Rayburn to roll out a new alliance that will unveil its full suite of policy recommendations on Capitol Hill to encourage policymakers to better prepare for the coming transformation. The Commission is a group of business, government, and civil society leaders that has been working to develop a pathway to capitalize on the opportunities of a rapidly changing industry by setting an ambitious goal of cutting the U.S. transportation sector’s energy use by 50% by 2050 while meeting future mobility needs. The Commission will unveil.  Keynote speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.  The event looks at the key shifts in the industry, why their organization is participating in the Commission, and the importance of cohesive policies in securing the Commission’s vision of the transportation future.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

Forum to Look at Cyber Resilience – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday, September 27th at 10:00 a.m. on cyber resilience in the energy sector.  Speakers from Marsh & McLennan Companies will present, including Paul Mee, North America Cyber Lead, Oliver Wyman, and Matt McCabe, Assistant General Counsel on Cyber Policy, will discuss how they work with companies in the energy sector to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks, thus helping them build true cyber resilience.

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax Study – REMI will host a carbon tax discussion at its Washington, DC policy luncheon on Thursday September 27th with guest presenter Scott Nystrom, a Director at FTI Consulting, Inc.  Alliance for Market Solutions commissioned FTI Consulting to evaluate the economic, fiscal and emission effects of a national revenue-neutral carbon tax. The study’s authors applied this tax at the point of extraction or import, and simulated the implications of raising the cost of fossil fuels on the national, state, and industry levels.  Nystrom, a co-author on the report, will review the proposal and the potential implications for the U.S. and state economies and major industries. He will also describe the methodologies behind the analysis of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Conservatives to Discuss Nuclear – Experts from the Breakthrough Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the ClearPath Foundation and R Street will hold a forum on Thursday September 27th at 3:00 p.m. looking at innovation and reform to the nuclear industry. After many years of failed attempts, a new path to an economically competitive domestic nuclear industry is close at hand. Nuclear micro-reactors (10 MW and smaller) allow for safe operation with radically simplified designs, making the case for far-reaching licensing and regulatory reform much stronger.  Policy elements needed for a better future include licensing reforms at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, extending the duration of federal purchase power agreements, and supporting construction of new fast reactors and advanced nuclear fuels.

Group to Honor Clean Energy Champs – On Thursday, September 27th at 5:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) will recognize its 2018 Clean Energy Champions.  They include Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tim Scott (R-SC), Reps Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and Govs. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Gary Herbert (R-UT).

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

Cato Hosts Public Transit Debate – On Monday October 1st, the Cato Institute holds a Capitol Hill forum on the Federal role in public transit. Cato’s Randall O’Toole and Jarrett Walker will debate.

Ideas Forum Set for DC – The Atlantic Council and Aspen Institute are hosting the Atlantic Festival on October 2-4th at Sidney Harman Hall n DC.  Atlantic editor Jeffery Goldberg, former Secretary of State Sen. John Kerry and NYT reporter/author Mark Leibovich are among the numerous speakers.  In its 10th year, Washington Ideas has become The Atlantic Festival.  The conference always includes in-depth interviews with some of today’s biggest thinkers and leaders in technology, politics, business and the arts, we will illuminate new ideas, and grapple with the most consequential issues of our time.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

ClearPath, EPIC, ACCF host Forum on R&D Investments – On October 10, The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), in partnership with ClearPath and the American Council for Capital Formation, will hosting discussions on lessons gleaned from research and practical experiences. The conversations will provide insight into how to translate research findings into actionable policy and industry approaches that can drive clean energy innovation.

Forum to Look at Wood – In recognition of National Forest Products Week, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts an innovative class of structural wood building materials. This briefing will bring together experts to tell the emerging story of the U.S. mass timber industry and how to capitalize on its potential.  Speakers will include Sen Angus King.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitor’s unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of September 10

Friends,

L’Shana Tovah to all…  Last night at Sundown began the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the “beginning the year.” It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days which culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur.  I’m thinking about tomorrow too as it has been 17 years since the terror attacks on 9/11 in NYC and DC.

Maybe a New Year or Day of Atonement is an appropriate transition to the Saturday Women’s US Open final. I am a big fan of Serena and think she and Venus have done fabulous things for tennis.  While I agree with her that the umpire was wrong and will likely never get another important match (I have some experience in officiating as you all know), I still have problems with her meltdown which has completely overshadowed the first ever grand slam win by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who by the way has a great story.  My take: She is definitely a role model and should have swallowed the umpire’s terrible call on the coaching warning and tried to overcome it.  After Serena let down her mental game – impacted by a bad umpiring decision – Osaka, who had the upper hand in the match, taking the first set 6-2, finished her off.  Lots of columns and opinions on this in the media from great sports reporters like Christine Brennan and Sally Jenkins, but bottom line for me is, the umpire was terrible, you have to deal with it.  BTW, Novak Djokovic blasted past Juan Martin del Potro for a straight set win 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 on Sunday for the Men’s title that was much less controversial.

Before we look at this week, just a word about Sunday’s Washington Post article about EPA staff leaving in droves.  First, my friends Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin wrote a very good story, but I am shocked it made it to the front page/above-the-fold Sunday.  As one who has watched EPA for many years, it seems likely that this EPA staff would be expected to leave as they are.  In other words, it should not surprise anyone.  The staff at EPA has be experienced and aging for some time and we expected this type of exodus.  Many thought it would happen sooner, but perhaps the Obama EPA’s second-term aggressiveness on environmental policy may have kept some there a little longer.  I’m sure it is also partly ideological: certainly is not surprising to think that some of the EPA retirements are driven by the Trump approach.  Finally, the Trump team all along has said they were going to reduce staff at EPA.  In fact some have wanted to reduce it much more that 8%.  The fact that it is only down by about 1,000 employees is not really that much given the on-going planning/reorganizing.  We have great experts on this, so happy to discuss.

Light schedule this week as Congress looks for the exits for the Midterm elections on tap and the Jewish holidays. On Wednesday, the votes begin on the budget.  Majority Leader McCarthy told the media the House will vote on the final first minibus which contains Energy and Water budgets. Both chambers will only be in town for a few days, with the House and Senate out until Wednesday for Rosh Hashanah. POLITICO adds the schedule leaves just seven working days when both chambers are in session before the Sept. 30 funding deadline.  More budget mini-buses in the coming days…

Also today, in a special edition episode of our great Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop, Scott Segal tackles the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule with Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and former EPA Air office head Jeff Holmstead.  Check out the details here.

The biggest story this week is out in the Golden State where Gov. Jerry Brown is hosting big climate summit. Beyond the summit, there are a ton of political and policy events running sidebar including one from our friends at C2ES and many more. Speakers include Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and many more.  I have discussed this with some of you already and I am happy to do more should you need comment, historical perspective and climate policy background.

Finally, sad news to lose our friend Sam Bodman who served as Energy Secretary during the Bush Administration, who passed away over the weekend at 79.  Hurricane Florence is growing and is expected to potentially hit the North/South Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday.  We’ll will keep an eye on it and stay safe. Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Sam had a brilliant mind, and we are fortunate that he put his intellect to work for our country as Secretary of Energy. I am proud that he was a member of my Cabinet, and I am proud that he was my friend.”

Former President George Bush and former first lady Laura Bush mourned the loss of former Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in a statement marking his passing on Saturday.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – In a special edition episode of The Lobby Shop, Bracewell PRG Co-Head Scott Segal takes the reigns with an interview of President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, Karen Harbert, and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Wash Times Has Special Section on RFS Reform The Washington Times had a special section last week which detail need for renewable fuel standard (RFS) reform.  Among the writing on the issue were key comments from Senators who raised concerns about the current RFS and why it needs to be fixed.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the federal mandate for corn ethanol is “both unwise and unworkable” adding roughly 40% of corn in the United States is currently used for fuel, which increases the price of food and animal feed while also damaging the environment. Additionally, oil companies are unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for some gas stations and older automobiles.  Feinstein: “Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.”  Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) added that the RFS is outdated, created when energy consumption relied heavily on foreign imports.  Cassidy: “It was thought that the Renewable Fuel Standard would be good for our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint. But in the last 10 years, our energy landscape has changed dramatically. We now have more domestic oil than almost ever before, and the drawbacks of the RFS greatly outweigh its benefits.”  Finally, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said while a well-intentioned idea, the “promised environmental benefits of the RFS have yet to be realized” and in fact, “may well be hurting” the environment. Udall says we need a forward-looking plan that offers “visionary reforms to put us on a cleaner and more sustainable path. The changes represent a giant step forward to combat the urgent threat of climate change, cut pollution, and protect our planet for future generations.”  There is much more from Congress on the need for reform HERE.

IN THE NEWS

MIT Tool Helps Building Planning Reduce Climate Emissions – A new software tool from researchers at MIT was rolled out last week to help architects or engineers design a new building to better reduce climate emissions.  Often, it’s done only at the end of the process — if ever — that a lifecycle analysis of the building’s environmental impact is carried out. And by then, it may be too late to make significant changes. Now, a faster and easier system for doing such analyses could change all that, making the analysis an integral part of the design process from the beginning. The new process, described in the journal Building and Environment in a paper by MIT researchers Jeremy Gregory, Franz-Josef Ulm and Randolph Kirchain, and recent graduate Joshua Hester PhD ’18, is simple enough that it could be integrated into the software already used by building designers so that it becomes a seamless addition to their design process.  Lifecycle analysis, known as LCA, is a process of examining all the materials; design elements; location and orientation; heating, cooling, and other energy systems; and expected ultimate disposal of a building, in terms of costs, environmental impacts, or both. Ulm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH), says that typically LCA is applied “only when a building is fully designed, so it is rather a post-mortem tool but not an actual design tool.” That’s what the team set out to correct with this new tool.  To the researchers’ surprise, they found use of their LCA system had very little impact on reducing the range of design choices. “That’s the most remarkable result,” Ulm says. When introducing the LCA into the early stages of the design process, “you barely touch the design flexibility,” he says.

Senator Unveil Advance Nuke Blueprint – A bipartisan group of senators led by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), a comprehensive blueprint for the U.S. to once again lead the world in next-generation nuclear power.  The bill (S. 3422) would direct the Department of Energy to establish specific goals to align the federal government, national labs and private sector in efforts to accelerate advanced nuclear technologies. The language echoes the Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act (S. 1457) from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Booker, which the Senate energy panel approved in March.  It would also require DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan that supports advanced nuclear R&D goals. NELA addresses the lack of domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which will be needed to fuel most advanced reactors being designed. NELA establishes a program to provide a minimum amount of HA-LEU to U.S. advanced reactor developers from DOE stockpiles until a new long-term supply is developed. NELA also initiates a long-term power purchase agreement pilot between the DOE and utilities to procure nuclear power and reauthorizes nuclear engineering scholarships to maintain a robust pipeline of nuclear engineering talent.

EIA Report Says CO2 Emissions Continue to Drop – Newly released Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. CO2 emissions from energy dropped by roughly 1% last year. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past 10 years, and they are now 14% lower than in 2005.  Last year, emissions from electricity production fell by 4.6%. The shift toward natural gas from coal lowers CO2 emissions because natural gas produces fewer emissions per unit of energy consumed than coal and because natural gas generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatthour of electricity. Electricity generation from renewable energy technologies has increased; these technologies do not directly emit CO2 as part of their electricity generation. In EIA’s emissions data series, emissions from biomass combustion are excluded from reported energy-related emissions according to international convention.

DOE Announces Advanced Vehicle Research – The Department of Energy said the selection of 42 projects totaling $80 million to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance U.S. economic growth. This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give families and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WAPA, DTF Forum to Highlight Diesel Issues –Today at 11:30 a.m. at Engine Co 12 in NW DC, the Washington Automotive Press Association and the Diesel Technology Forum held a lunch to look at the true ‘state of diesel’ in the U.S. automotive market.  Speakers include GM’s Global Diesel Executive Director, Pierpaolo Antonioli and GM’s Regional Chief, Engineer, Mike Siegrist.  You will also hear the very latest IHS Markit diesel vehicles-in-use data for the United States; and get details about new research on the benefits of new-technology diesel pickup trucks.

Interior Official Addresses ESA at Heritage Forum – Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will address a forum at The Heritage Foundation today at Noon to discuss the department’s proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

JHU to Feature Rockefeller Foundation President – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) host a forum next Monday at 12:30 pm in its Kenney Herter Auditorium featuring Dean Vali Nasr and a conversation on affordable and clean energy with the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah.

Field Hearing to Look at Salmon Runs, River Policy – The House Natural Resources Oversight Subcommittee holds a field hearing today at 1:00 p.m. in Pasco, Wash focused on the federal Columbia River power system.  The hearing will review a dispute that played out in Congress in the minibus that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington State. Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington Association of Wheat Growers and Nez Perce Tribe will testify.

SF CLIMATE EVENTS Tomorrow:

Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.

Forum to Look at Smart Cities in Latin America – The Inter-American Dialogue holds a discussion tomorrow on smart cities in Latin America.

Methanol Forum Set – Argus hosts its Methanol Forum Wednesday and Thursday in Houston at the Westin, Memorial City.  Issues include trends in the methanol industry, the potential impact from crude and natural gas markets, regional perspectives, including in-depth analysis of China and the emerging Indian market and the outlook for methanol derivatives including biodiesel and olefins.  Our friend Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute is among the speakers.

BioEnergy Conference Set – The Mid-Atlantic Bioenergy Council (MABEC) holds a conference and expo at CityView in Philadelphia Wednesday through Friday.

Coal Council Meets in Norfolk – On Wednesday and Thursday, the National Coal Council meets in Norfolk for its Fall meeting to discuss coal-related issues.  Lou Hrkman of DOE will speak.

Climate Summit Set for SF – The Global Climate Action Summit will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday through Friday.  The forum will bring leaders and people together from around the world to support action on climate change.  It will also feature action by states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.  It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020, setting the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury.​​  Speakers include Gov. Jerry Brown, UNFCCC head Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Canadian Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna, musician Dave Matthews, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Alec Baldwin, Jane Goodall, Andrea Mitchell, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

SF Wednesday/Thursday/Friday Events:

WCEE to Host Forum to Highlight Women in Energy Stories – Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s (WCEE) Career Building Section hosts a reception and discussion at USEA about challenges and opportunities for women working in energy. Our friends Vicky Bailey and Sheila Slocum Hollis will share their expertise on overcoming obstacles, discuss skills required for convening stakeholders, and bring examples of leading towards practical solutions for the real world.

Forum to Look at AVsAxios hosts a conversation on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the Long View Gallery looking at how autonomous vehicles and transportation technology will impact the future.  Speakers will include Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella and SAE International CEO David Schutt.

Senate Enviro Looks at Advanced Nuclear – Following last week’s introduction of bipartisan energy legislation, the Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on advanced nuclear technology.  The hearing will look closely at safety and associated benefits of licensing accident tolerant fuels for commercial nuclear reactors.

House Science Panel Look at EPA Glider Truck Rule – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees hold a joint hearing on Thursday examining the underlying science and impacts of glider truck regulations.  Witnesses include regulation, risk, economics expert Richard Belzer and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer.

Senate Energy to Look at European LNG – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the role of U.S. LNG in meeting European energy demand.

House Oversight to Look at Disaster Response –The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. evaluating Federal disaster response and recovery efforts.  FEMA Administrator Brock Long Army Corps of Engineers Scott Spellman and Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute will testify.

Post to Host Space Forum – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., The Washington Post along with American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will bring together key government officials, renowned scientists and leaders in the field of space exploration for a program examining the many factors shaping American leadership in space, the new “space race,” the future of space tourism and exploration that could lead to a future beyond Earth.  Speakers include VP Mike Pence, NASA head Jim Bridenstine, Bill Nye and many more including current and former astronauts.

ABA to Host SCOTUS Enviro Event – Friday at Noon, the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the Section’s Constitutional Law Committee will hold an in-depth review of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions effecting environmental issues.  Panelists will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s environmental jurisprudence and his potential impact on the Supreme Court.

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launches in Washington on Sunday with events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW).  At the event, you will learn about electric vehicles and see the latest models on the National Mall.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Next Monday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Plant Oil Powered Diesel, Inc. is hosting a panel discussion on the carbon tax, featuring industry, environmentalist and citizen views.  More on the panelists as we get closer next week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on September 20th at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday September 21st in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of September 4

Friends,

Hope you enjoyed your Labor Day Weekend.  It was a last bit of quiet before the final Congressional push and mid-term campaign season jumps into full swing.  While we return to action this week, a majority of the focus is on the SCOTUS nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  While we are usually out of these issues, Kavanaugh has been active on the DC Circuit on environmental cases and expect some members (and enviro groups) to question him on environment and energy issues including standing, federal regulation and other issues.

On the budget/funding side, real negotiations on conference bills are expected to pick up now that the House is back. The “minibus” Energy-Water package should be ready fairly quickly with another four-bill spending package that includes the $35.8 billion Interior and Environment title underway as well.  And House and Senate Farm bill negotiators begin a push to bridge difference there starting tomorrow.  We have our eyes on things related to ethanol policy there.

I also know many of you (going through Pruitt withdrawals) will focus on today’s security IG report.  While that is fun, Chik-fil-a catnip, it is important to remember that Andrew Wheeler is running a very different operation at EPA.  We can continue to discuss the upcoming fuel economy hearings, the ACE rule, last week’s mercury decision and any other action at EPA.  Jeff and Scott are available.  Who knows, maybe there’ll be another Trump book today that will take away all the attention!!!

Not many events this week but on Thursday morning at AJAX DC, The Hill in collaboration with the Bipartisan Policy Center will convene policymakers, business leaders and advocacy groups to examine the issues that are motivating greater climate collaboration and consider the substance and politics behind these initiatives.

Finally, I hope you will take in the action at the US Open this upcoming weekend.  There is some great tennis being played.  NFL launches on Thursday.  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Kigali gets us everything we want and everything we’ve been advocating for a long time—a unified, negotiated decision on phasedowns [of HFCs] instead of prohibitions.  U.S. ratification of the global deal offers the greatest level of certainty for the market writ large.”

Caroline Davidson-Hood, general counsel for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute following EPA’s decision to not request that SCOTUS take an HFC case and its relation to the need for the Kigali Amendment to eliminate HFCs. 

 

“Some people wake-up each morning wondering if what they do makes a difference for their country.  No one at DOE does. We protect, innovate and continue to explore the boundaries of knowledge. It impresses me to no end what the people in this Department accomplish, and it’s a pleasure to salute you today for the outstanding work that you do.”

DOE Secretary Perry at the Honor Awards and Presidential Rank Awards ceremony at DOE Headquarters.

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Trade Export Talks NAFTA on Cap Crude Looks – The Platts Capitol Crude podcast focuses on trade and NAFTA today featuring my Bracewell colleague Josh Zive. The US/Mexico trade deal appears to include a provision the US oil and gas industry sees as critical to protecting investments in the newly opened Mexican upstream. Zive discusses the still-unfolding agreement, what it means in the context of the Mexican energy reforms, the striking absence of Canada, and the deal’s chances in the US Congress.

FUN OPINIONS

SAFE Head Addresses AV Opportunities in WSJ Response – Securing America’s Future Energy CEO Robbie Diamond said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that passing the AV policy legislation and enabling a bipartisan federal self-driving framework would benefit the nearly 20 million disabled Americans, in addition to retirees, who experience daily barriers to transportation and the opportunities it provides. Diamond wrote: “Delaying the passage of critical self-driving legislation not only will derail these much-needed benefits, but prolong the status quo of rising death tolls on U.S. roads. In 2017, 40,100 people died from vehicle accidents, a 6% increase from 2015. As data show, 94% of crashes are due either wholly or in part to driver error; the lifesaving potential of self-driving cars is both obvious and significant.”

IN THE NEWS

EPA Reconsiders Mercury Rule – Late last week, EPA told media outlets it will reconsider a rule that restricts mercury and toxic air emissions from power plants.  In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected the previous EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of its version the Mercury rule, contending EPA didn’t properly account for industry’s compliance costs. My colleague Jeff Holmstead served as EPA air office head from 2000-2005 said he is not surprised that EPA is reopening the Obama EPA’s finding that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate power plants under section 112 of the Act.  Holmstead says the Supreme Court already rejected the original Obama finding because EPA refused to consider the cost of those regulations, and several justices also expressed skepticism about the argument that the Obama EPA made to support its second finding, which the current EPA is now reviewing.  Holmstead: “Even if EPA does ultimately reverse the Obama “appropriate and necessary” finding, this doesn’t mean that the MATS rule will go away. EPA would have to go through another, separate rulemaking process to eliminate the MATS rule, and I don’t think that anyone is talking about doing that. It would serve no purpose because the power sector has already spent billions of dollars to bring all their plants into compliance.”

EPA Changes Mind on SCOTUS Cert for HFC Case – You may have seen that EPA reversed course on asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that overturned a rule that regulated a global warming-inducing coolant.  EPA revisited the issue and asked SCOTUS to not grant cert on Honeywell v. Mexichem Fluor, saying yesterday that the D.C. Circuit was correct in June when it limited the government’s authority to use Section 612(c) of the Clean Air Act to regulate HFCs, which do not harm the ozone layer but do contribute to climate change.  Former EPA air office head Jeff Holmstead and longtime HVAC rep Scott Segal (and my Bracewell colleagues) recently filed a brief urging the SCOTUS to take the case.  On behalf of five major HVACR companies (Lennox, Carrier, Nortek, Rheem & Ingersoll Rand), Holmstead and Segal asked the Supreme Court to review the lower court decision that blocked EPA implementation of HFC reductions using its SNAP program, saying the decision creates a regulatory mess that EPA has been unable to fix almost a year after the decision was handed down. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the result will be an extended period of regulatory uncertainty, almost certainly including years of litigation challenging the new rule that EPA ultimately develops to implement a confusing D.C. Circuit decision that was wrongly decided.  The companies filing the brief are the leading U.S. manufacturers of HVACR equipment.  Together with another manufacturer filing its own amicus brief, they account for well over 75% of the residential and commercial air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment that is manufactured and sold in North America.

How Does that Relate to Montreal/Kigali – As It relates to the Montreal Protocol, it is important to note while a few conservative groups urged the President to block the effort, there is a wide swath of business and conservative groups that think the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol should sent to the Senate for ratification.  Here are a few things:

A legal fight over the EPA guidance raises concerns about avenues for regulations to change, even as the industry continues to advocate for U.S. participation in a 2016 global deal to phase down HFCs called the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.  If you questions, please feel to reach out.  I’m sure Holmstead, former White House advisor David Banks at ACCF and/or Steve Yurek at AHRI would be happy to discuss.

ECOS Chief to Head EPA Chemical Office – President Donald Trump has nominated Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, a longtime environmental attorney and current head of EPA’s New England office, to head the agency’s chemicals and pesticides office.  Of course, his previous pick – Michael Dourson – was withdraw after significant controversies.

Harder, Campbell, Kenderdine EPIC Fellows – The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) announced that veteran energy reporter Amy Harder will be its inaugural Visiting Fellow in Journalism for the 2018-2019 academic year. Harder, an energy reporter for Axios, will moderate a series of events and share her expertise with students and the broader campus community through workshops and public discussions. EPIC will also have McKie Campbell, former staff director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Melanie Kenderdine, former director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis and Energy Counselor to the Secretary, as 2018-2019 Visiting Fellows in Policy Practice. Campbell and Kenderdine will share their perspectives and expertise in a series of events, workshops and public discussions, as well as serve as resources for students and the Institute.

Perry Honors DOE Employees – DOE held its annual Secretary’s Honor Awards and Presidential Rank Awards ceremony at DOE Headquarters. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry spoke at the event, recognizing the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in fulfilling DOE’s mission and serving the Nation.  In total, 775 employees across DOE and the federal government were recognized both individually and in teams for their hard work and dedication to public service. Some of the achievements include 2017 Hurricane season emergency response; standing up of NNSA’s Center for Excellence in Cyber Threat Intelligence to heighten cybersecurity efforts; strengthened nonproliferation efforts and revitalization of the domestic nuclear industry.  In addition, ten DOE Senior Executive Service members were recognized for receiving Presidential Rank Awards in 2017. Two executives received the highest honor, the Distinguished Rank Award, and eight executives received the Meritorious Rank Award.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

DOE Hosts Grid Workshop – DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) is holding a peer review today through Friday at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel. During this event, a portfolio of grid modernization activities across 13 programs will be reviewed, including seven recently awarded Resilient Distribution Systems projects. The comprehensive review will look at the projects at a program level, provide lessons learned, and share best practices. A poster session will provide an opportunity for attendees to talk with the researchers and learn more about the over 80 projects in the portfolio. In addition, a dedicated session will discuss the 11 Pioneer Partnership Projects that ended earlier this year.

Farm Bill Conference Meeting Set – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room – Room 325, the Senate Committee on Agriculture has announced a conference meeting on the Farm Bill.

Forum to Discuss Nuclear – The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council, with support from DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, is hosting a bipartisan, education presentation tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. featuring Members of Congress, Hill staff and industry regarding the US nuclear fleet, its jobs, exports, and clean energy leadership.  Speakers include Reps. Roger Marshall and Joe Wilson; Southern’s Mike Riith and many more. Lunch will be served, including “Atomic Wings.”

Report on Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Released – The Great Lakes Commission and Northeast Midwest Institute hold a briefing and report launch on tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. for “Great Lakes Regional Green Infrastructure Policy Analysis: Addressing Barriers to Implementation.”  Speakers will include GLC Program Director Victoria Pebbles, Gary Belan of American Rivers and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative President John Dickert.

Conservative Clean Energy Conference Set – The Young Conservatives for Energy Reform & Christian Coalition is hosting its annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill tomorrow through Friday.

Hill, BPC Forum to Look at ResiliencyThe Hill in collaboration with the Bipartisan Policy Center will convene policymakers, business leaders and advocacy groups on Thursday morning at AJAX DC to examine the issues that are motivating greater climate collaboration and consider the substance and politics behind these initiatives.  The risks to resiliency posed by extreme weather are prompting U.S. cities, states, and businesses to take action, even as the issue continues to polarize many leaders in the nation’s capital.  Speakers include Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, IBEW’s Donnie Colston, API’s Kyle Isakower, Pepco’s Melissa Lavinson, Brian Pallasch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Glenn Prickett of The Nature Conservancy.

AEI look s Paris Climate Agreement – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. AEI, hosts a forum on the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. Experts and representatives from international organizations and academia will provide their perspectives on whether carbon pricing can work, what sorts of carbon prices countries might need, trade-offs with other mitigation policies, and the current state of carbon pricing. Panelists will also discuss evidence on the health benefits from reducing fossil fuel use and how the overall architecture of the Paris agreement might be improved.  Speakers include Harvard’s Joe Aldy, RFF’s Maureen Cropper and Ian Parry of the International Monetary Fund.

Duke’s Nicholas Institute to Host State Carbon Trading Forum – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Duke in DC’s Nicholas Institute will host a forum on states and carbon trading.  The forum will look at the nuts and bolts of linking State Programs.  The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort of nine Northeast and MidAtlantic states to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants through a market-based, emissions trading program.

Danish to Discuss ACE Rule – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association holds a forum on the proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.  ACE would replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP), which EPA is proposing to repeal (in a separate rulemaking) on the grounds that the CPP exceeded the agency’s authority under the CAA. Guest speaker Kyle Danish will discuss the implications of the rule.

IN THE FUTURE

WAPA, DTF Forum to Highlight Diesel Issues – Next Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Engine Co 12 in NW DC, the Washington Automotive Press Association and the Diesel Technology Forum host a lunch to look at the true ‘state of diesel’ in the U.S. automotive market.  Speakers include GM’s Global Diesel Executive Director, Pierpaolo Antonioli and GM’s Regional Chief, Engineer, Mike Siegrist.  You will also hear the very latest IHS Markit diesel vehicles-in-use data for the United States; and get details about new research on the benefits of new-technology diesel pickup trucks.

JHU to Feature Rockefeller Foundation President – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) host a forum next Monday at 12:30 pm in its Kenney Herter Auditorium featuring Dean Vali Nasr and a conversation on affordable and clean energy with the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah.

Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security next Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.

WCEE to Host Forum to Highlight Women in Energy Stories – Next Tuesday starting at 6:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s (WCEE) Career Building Section hosts a reception and discussion at USEA about challenges and opportunities for women working in energy. Our friends Vicky Bailey and Sheila Slocum Hollis will share their expertise on overcoming obstacles, discuss skills required for convening stakeholders, and bring examples of leading towards practical solutions for the real world.

Climate Summit Set for SF – The Global Climate Action Summit will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday September 12th through Friday September 14th.  The forum will bring leaders and people together from around the world to support action on climate change.  It will also feature action by states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.  It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020, setting the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury.​​  Speakers include Gov. Jerry Brown, UNFCCC head Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg and many more.

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launches in Washington on Sunday, September 16th with events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW).  At the event, you will learn about electric vehicles and see the latest models on the National Mall.

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – On Monday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Plant Oil Powered Diesel, Inc. is hosting a panel discussion on the carbon tax, featuring industry, environmentalist and citizen views.  More on the panelists as we get closer next week.
CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Energy Update: Week of August 20

Friends,

Hope your August is going great. I know we haven’t slowed down with all the fall sports starting.   Hannah is back at Wellesley on the field hockey pitch, Olivia is in the middle of practice double sessions, Adam just finished 12th in the Annapolis 10-miler yesterday in under an hour and I have started my NCAA field hockey season.  That is a lot, but not enough for us to top each weekend off with Incubus last Sunday at The Fillmore in Silver Spring and Godsmack/Shinedown last night at Jiffy Lube Live.

And it hasn’t really slowed down in DC either.  Last week, we had 2019 RFS RVO comments due and the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute released a new analysis that quantifies billions of dollars of savings in lower electric bills Americans are starting to realize stemming from enactment of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act.  Then this week, we expect to see the roll out of the Clean Power Plan replacement which is yet to be named.  President Trump is expected to announce the new plan in West Virginia tomorrow.  The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all had stories.

My colleague Scott Segal said “the previous administration’s effort to address greenhouse gases was a complex and unnecessarily burdensome overreach that took much of the responsibility for power systems away from the state regulators who know them best.  He adds “the replacement rule is premised on the fact that states are in a better position to judge the inventory of measures available to reduce carbon emissions within their power sectors.  That’s consistent with decades of integrated resource planning that takes places at the state level, the shared responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and the traditional federalism that governs utility regulation in most states.”  Both Segal and Holmstead will be available this week.  I also expect our friends at the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute will also have comments, background and analysis as well.

Not much shaking this week other than the meetings with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh and we hear rumors that the Senate may shut it down after finishing a few more funding bills.  Action includes Senator Peter’s hosting a field hearing today in Traverse City on pipeline safety while Senate Environment (and Public Works) holds a field hearing in Ellicott City on the Federal role in preventing future flooding.  Tomorrow, Senate Energy looks at energy efficiency and blockchain while Sen. Judiciary hosts witnesses like SoCo CEO Tom Fanning on protecting critical infrastructure at 2:30 p.m.  On Wednesday, Senate Energy discusses several bills related to land, forest and mineral extraction including Helium Extraction.

Also this week, EPRI is hosting its Electrification conference in Long Beach.  They also have recently introduced a new #sharegrid concept (including a great white board video) that outlines the shared, integrated grid concept and how it will improve customers’ energy assets all while enhancing grid reliability, resiliency and value for all.

Finally, there is new interesting research from MIT on pavement’s impact on urban heat island and its impact on climate change. “Albedo” is the measure of how much solar energy is reflected by the Earth’s surface. Low albedo, or darker color, surfaces absorb more heat and reflect less shortwave radiation than high albedo, or lighter color, surfaces. Increasing pavement albedo has been considered as a strategy to mitigate impacts of climate change, but evaluating the effectiveness of such strategies requires context-specific data on climate conditions. MIT’s CSHub has developed an analytical approach to quantify global warming potential savings resulting from increases in pavement albedo.  More detail on this soon.

The comment period closes today for CEQ’s NEPA reform plan.  We are following closely.  Enjoy the last two weeks of August.  Call with questions – especially on CPP-related issues…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Our new analysis shows that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is reducing energy costs for both residential customers and industrial users.  Utilities that have seen relief from their tax bills are passing those savings onto their customers, which ultimately saves consumers money. This savings is resulting in increased economic productivity and more jobs around the country.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, rolling out a New report that looks at the benefits utility customers are reaching due to the Administration tax relief plan.

“The previous administration’s effort to address greenhouse gases was a complex and unnecessarily burdensome overreach that took much of the responsibility for power systems away from the state regulators who know them best.  It is why 29 states pushed back against the rules and the Supreme Court blocked their implementation with which an unprecedented stay. It is clear this Administration and its EPA seem likely to address this issue within the framework of the Clean Air Act and give states a significant role in managing the reliability and environmental performance of their power sectors.

Finally, the replacement rule is premised on the fact that states are in a better position to judge the inventory of measures available to reduce carbon emissions within their power sectors.  That’s consistent with decades of integrated resource planning that takes places at the state level, the shared responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and the traditional federalism that governs utility regulation in most states.”

Scott Segal commenting on the expected new release of the Trump Administration’s redo of the Clean Power Plan, expected to be released on Tuesday in West Virginia. 

 

ON THE POD

Cap Crude Looks at Russian Sanctions – The Platts Capitol Crude podcast focuses on Russia with Congress considering a raft of new sanctions against Russia that could hit energy trade.  Agnia Grigas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas, discusses the potential risks to oil and gas investment, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Former Energy Secretary Says Ethanol Bad Policy – As a former senator from an agricultural state and a former U.S. Energy secretary, Spence Abraham recently wrote in The Hill that both American agriculture and our independent refineries can succeed. Unfortunately, the current structure of the federal biofuel mandate fails to achieve these goals.  Abraham wrote: “As the U.S. Energy secretary during the passage of the first RFS, I can categorically state that the RIN system was not meant to create a multibillion-dollar commodity market that serves to subsidize large-scale blenders and vertically integrated oil companies at the expense of smaller and independent refiners. The administration and Congress must act to reform the RFS in a way that keeps RIN costs under control, while also ensuring robust domestic biofuel use. Recent experience proves such a ‘win-win’ can be achieved to save manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt, without adversely impacting the Corn Belt.  The president previously considered taking more permanent action to achieve this goal. Now would be a great time for him to finish the job.”

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Report Says Tax Cuts Will Reduce Power Bills – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) will release new analysis that quantifies billions of dollars of savings in lower electric bills Americans are starting to realize stemming from enactment of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act.  Investor owned utilities (IOU) saw significant tax rate reductions from comprehensive tax reform and are now passing on that savings to their customers.  GEI quantified that total savings in 12 representative states and further calculated the average residential customers’ savings.  With businesses and families keeping more of their money, we also modeled the additional economic growth and job creation expected to occur. The 12 representative states GEI analyzed were Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.  Across those states, customer savings over the next five years (2018-2022) will range from $100 million in Maine to over $3 billion in California. Each state also sees meaningful GDP and job gains as a result of these customer savings.

RVO Comments Pour In – On Friday, the comment period for the 2019 Renewable Volume obligations (RVO) for the Renewable Fuels Standard closed.  There were many comments from both sides, But the opponents are a broad-based group of refiners, labor unions, conservative and environmental groups.  Here are some highlights:

1) United SteelworkersRoxanne Brown, Legislative Director, United Steelworkers:

Our union believes that reducing the U.S.’s reliance on foreign oil and focusing on energy independence is a meaningful policy goal not just for strategic and employment reasons, but for our environment as well.  However, current RFS policy has led to increased foreign imports of biofuels, including biomass-based diesel fuel, undermining Congressional intent of the RFS.

The reduced availability of additional biofuels to blend into the system creates logistical and technological challenges commonly known as the “blend-wall”. This has led to significant cost impacts for refineries as compliance costs related to Renewable Identification Number (RIN’s) pricing, which has wildly fluctuated based off of no logical demand structure, creates uncertainty for refineries and undermines long term investment strategies for domestic refining.  USW encourages the EPA to develop realistic biofuel assumptions that recognize the significant changes in fuels policy and the continued inability of commercially viable cellulosic biofuel to enter the market.

2) The Toledo Chamber of CommerceBrian Dicken, Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

We are encouraged that EPA is taking comment on RIN market reforms, but believe such reforms should be dealt with in the final RVO and not via a separate rulemaking. Even biofuel interests have questioned the volatility of the RIN market. The history of the program shows wild swings in RIN costs, but the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline has stayed at around 10 cents regardless of whether RINs are three cents or $1.40.

Public comments EPA received for last year’s RVO detailed several observations of possible market manipulation that are illegal in other contexts, but not controlled or regulated in relation to the RIN market. EPA must act to prevent anti‐consumer manipulative practices and should advance RIN market reforms in the final 2019 RVO, rather than wait to pursue measures addressing RIN market integrity in the future.

3) IBEW Local 8 in NW OhioStephen Brown, Business Representative, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 8.  Local 8 represents over 1,600 electrical workers in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan; its jurisdiction includes the Toledo Refinery Company (TRC):

EPA’s proposed increase in the RFS requirement over 2018 levels fails to recognize the blendwall and the uneven playing field among RFS obligated parties. It could result in upward pressure on RIN costs, which as we saw earlier this year with Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), would once again threaten highly skilled domestic refining industry jobs.

A look back at the last six months proves EPA can help prevent RIN price spikes without adversely impacting biofuel consumption. A combination of RFS reform discussions and small refiner waivers has resulted in RIN prices decreasing from 90 cents last November to approximately 20 cents recently.  Despite these factors, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data shows there has been NO backtracking on biofuel blending. In fact, the blend rate in the first quarter of this year was slightly higher than it was in the first quarter of last year.  This has all occurred in conjunction with small refiner waivers and falling RIN prices. The facts to date show that domestic biofuel use will remain robust, even when the standard is waived for parts of the industry.

4) NJ Senate Majority Leader Sweeney, Dep. Assembly Speaker Burzichelli – Stephen Sweeney, Senate President, New Jersey Senate & General Assembly:

The proposed increase in the RFS requirement over 2018 levels fails to recognize the blendwall and the uneven playing field among RFS obligated parties. It could result in upward pressure on RIN costs, which as we saw earlier this year with Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), would once again threaten highly skilled domestic refining industry jobs.

In the high RIN price environment of the last two years, RINs became the [Paulsboro, NJ] refinery’s most significant operating expense; rising above pay, benefits and energy costs. The refinery spent nearly $150 million from 2015 to 2017 on RINs. Returning to such a financial environment would be unsustainable and certainly threaten jobs in the region.

The EPA must act now to prevent anti-consumer manipulative practices and advance RIN market reforms in the final 2019 RVO, rather than wait to pursues measures addressing RIN market integrity in the future.

5) Paulsboro Independent Oil Workers UnionRudolph Rafferty, President, Independent Oil Workers, representing 300 employees at New Jersey’s Paulsboro Refining Company and an additional 200 from neighboring facilities.

The facts to date show that domestic biofuel use will remain robust, even when the standard is waived for parts of the industry.  These facts prove EPA can set a reasonable volumetric requirement that is below the blendwall without adversely impacting domestic ethanol or other biofuel consumption, much of which is economic without government support.

For every refinery employee, 15-20 indirect jobs are maintained to support our activities.  This support comes in the form of goods and services.  For example, one of our products serves as a base stock for a neighboring facility, which employs 105 additional union jobs.  All told, the Paulsboro Refinery helps to support thousands of people and hundreds of families in Gloucester County, New Jersey.  The Paulsboro Refinery has produced fuels for more than 100 years.  It has provided stable employment for generations of families who have relied on compensation from refinery employment to provide a good quality of life.

6) Holly-Frontier – in its comments, HollyFrontier requests that EPA take three specific actions: (1) further reduce the renewable volume obligation (“RVO”) using the general waiver authority given the inadequate volume of domestically produced renewable fuel available to obligated parties; (2) implement Renewable Identification Number (“RIN”) market reforms to increase RIN liquidity and decrease RIN prices; and (3) continue granting small refinery disproportionate economic hardship exemptions as required by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) when circumstances demonstrate a disproportionate economic harm.

7) Valero – Valero’s comments stress concerns that EPA has yet again proposed RVOs that are not reasonably attainable & declined to make use of available authorities to reduce harms caused by RFS and volatile RIN market.

8) PBF Energy – PBF Energy says the 2019 proposed conventional biofuel volumes should be lowered to avoid severe economic harm. Recent experience indicates setting unreasonable volume targets does result in such harm, but does NOT appreciably do anything to overcome the challenges of the blendwall and advance the RFS program’s objectives.  It also says EPA should lower advanced biofuels limits that are overly aggressive to better reflect accurate domestic production.  Finally, they say EP should EPA should include RIN trading reforms in the RVO as well as advance other changes to ensure RIN market liquidity and limit compliance costs.

NDAA Signed By President – President Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, including bipartisan language led by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) to require the secretary of energy to report on the feasibility of siting, constructing and operating “micro reactors” at critical Defense Department or Energy Department national security facilities. ClearPath Action advisor and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner Jeff Merrifield praised the proposal at a May 22 House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.  The NDAA also allows approvals of exports of non-sensitive nuclear technologies to be delegated to officials more junior than the secretary of energy. This would allow for much quicker approvals, which at times have taken more than a year. All exports to China and Russia would still have to be approved by the secretary of energy.  There was also language the bill on addressing climate change.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on this week in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Oil/Gas Conference Set for Denver – EnerCom’s Oil & Gas Conference takes place this week at the Westin Denver Downtown.  The conference offers investment professionals the opportunity to listen to the world’s key senior management teams present their growth plans.  Our friends at Wolfe Research will host a full day of management meetings with execs on Tuesday August 21st at the Palm Restaurant.

Senate Commerce Hosts Pipeline Safety Field Hearing – The Senate Commerce Committee will convene a field hearing today at 10:00 a.m. in Traverse City, MI looking at pipeline safety in the Great Lakes.  Sen Gary Peters is hosting.  The hearing will focus on federal oil spill prevention efforts, preparedness and response capability in the event of an oil pipeline break in the Straits of Mackinac. Line 5, the 65-year-old pipeline crossing the Straits of Mackinac, has been the subject of multiple safety concerns, including damage from anchor strikes.  Witnesses include PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott, USGC local Commander Joanna Nunan and NOAA’s Scott Lundgren, as well as Enbridge’s David Bryson, NWF’s Michael Shriberg, API’s David Murk, Chris Hennessy of the Michigan Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET) and local Brewer Larry Bell.

Senate EPW Looks at Flooding in Ellicott City Field Hearing – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a field hearing hosted by Sen. Cardin to provide oversight repeated flooding events in Ellicott City, MD. The hearing will be reviewing the Federal role in preventing future events.

NEI Hosts Reg Affairs Forum – NEI hosts its 2018 Regulatory Affairs Forum in Bethesda tomorrow through Thursday. Topics will focus on a broader issues including Operations, Engineering, and other leadership in the nuclear industry.  Along with Regulatory Affairs personnel, this diverse population will participate in a fast paced exploration of regulatory fundamentals, current and evolving regulatory issues and trends, and how their role; either on the front line, or in station leadership, impacts regulatory performance.

DOE Better Buildings Summit Set – The Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Better Plants Program will co-host the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2018 Better Buildings Summit in Cleveland, Ohio from tomorrow through Thursday. The Summit is one of the premier events for energy professionals to engage with one another, explore and share innovative strategies, emerging technologies, financing trends, and much more. This year, the Summit will be held in conjunction with DOE’s annual Energy Exchange and will focus on federal facility energy management. Combining the Summit with the Energy Exchange will provide greater access to technical discussions, trainings, panel sessions, and networking opportunities.

Sen Energy Looks at Blockchain. Energy Efficiency, Holds Leg Hearing Wednesday – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to consider the energy efficiency of blockchain and similar technologies and the cybersecurity possibilities of such technologies for energy industry applications. In particular, should we expect electricity prices to increase from rising electricity demand in blockchain applications? In addition, how can we evaluate whether blockchain and similar approaches will soon improve the cybersecurity of computing systems used to supply our energy? Witnesses include Pacific NW Labs Paul Skare, EPRI’s Tom Golden, Claire Henly of the Energy Web Foundation and Princeton’s Arvind Narayanan. Then on Wednesday, the Public Lands, Forests, and Mining panel will also hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday looking at 14 bills including helium extraction, wild and scenic rivers, geologic mapping and fire protection.  Witnesses will include Sens Bennet and Udall, as well as BLM’s Chris McAlear and Forest Service’s Glenn Casamassa.

Fanning Headlines Senate Judiciary Look at Cybersecurity Threat – Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning will testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to examine cyberthreats to the nation’s electrical grid.  Fanning is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, the chief coordinating liaison between the power sector and the federal government in preparing for attacks and “national-level incidents” against infrastructure like transmission lines. Other witnesses include Michael Moss, deputy director, Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Bob Kolasky, director, National Risk Management Center, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security; and James Lewis, senior vice president, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Canadian Energy Expert to Look at Quebec Circular Economy – The Circular Economy Working Group holds its August monthly meeting on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Canadian Embassy Quebec Office.  The Group materialized from past Leaders in Energy workshops and activities on the circular economy.   At the August meeting, Charles Girard, Lead Energy, Cleantech, and Economic Attache at Quebec Government Office in Washington, will present on circular economy business activities in Quebec.

Forum to Look at Advanced Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute holds an event on advanced nuclear innovation at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday.  Speaker Ron Faibish – Senior Director of Business Development, Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics (GA) – will look at the topic.

ABA Teleconference to Discuss Fuel Economy – The American Bar Assn will host a teleconference on fuel economy and greenhouse gas standard reform on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

EPA to Host IRIS Public Meeting – The EPA is hosting a public meeting on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. to receive feedback on the IRIS Assessment Plan (IAP) for Naphthalene. EPA has extended the public comment period until September 5, 2018.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Regional Transportation – The Georgetown Climate Center will host an event next Monday at 1:00 p.m. in Largo to facilitated discussions designed to hear input on the topics of an innovative, low-carbon transportation future, residential and business transportation choices, improving environmental quality and public health benefits while also increasing mobility and modernizing the transportation system and policies/programs that could help achieve this vision.

USEA to Discuss Energy Employment – On Wednesday, August 29th at 10:00 a.m., the US Energy Assn hosts a presentation to summarize the high level results of the 2018 US Energy and Employment Report (USEER) in four key sectors of the American economy–Electric Power Generation and Fuels Production; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Energy Efficiency; and the Motor Vehicles Industry.  In addition to providing job numbers in emerging technologies, such as renewables, energy storage, and smart grid, the USEER analysis reveals the large number of direct employment that has gone uncounted in traditional energy sectors such as nuclear generation and fossil fuel production.  Two special features of the presentation include an analysis of jobs focused on energy efficiency and a breakdown of motor vehicles employment associated with alternative fuels and fuel efficiency.  Finally, the presentation will take a forward look at predicted employment growth in 2018 in each energy sector, the hiring difficulty experienced by energy employers, and a demographic overview of energy employment in America. David A. Foster of the Energy Futures Initiative, Speaks.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Special Energy Update: August 2

Friends,

The Trump administration said this morning it wants to freeze fuel efficiency standards for vehicles made from 2022 to 2025 at current levels and revoke a Clean Air Act waiver that allows California to set its own GHG specifications.

Here is the release and a link to the draft rule.

This morning EPA’s Bill Wehrum and NHTSA’s Heidi King hosted a pen and pad conference call to discuss proposed national fuel economy standards for MY 2021-2026 vehicles.

SOME HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Remember, many experts knew and suggested as far back as 2012 that the Phase II rules were always going to be a stretch.  And the 11th hour 2017 Obama EPA review really didn’t credibly change the fact that technology challenges still remain a problem.

As well, on the waiver, again many experts have suggested that since California itself has focused its attention on GHGs for its waiver now rather than the smog-forming pollution that make its circumstances unique to California, that there is no longer grounds to grant a specific, special waiver.

WHAT TO DO ON WAIVER QUESTIONS

Many of you have already spoken with my colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA air office head, on the waiver issue.  He reminds that in 2007, EPA made a similar argument that was subject to litigation – just as this one will be – but it never played out to its end because the Obama Administration came into office in 2008 and re-granted the waiver.  Jeff can be reached at jeff.holmstead@bracewell.com or 202-294-8700 should you have questions.  You can also forward questions to me.

OTHER EXPERTS

Our friends at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) also weighed in on several topics.  SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond:

“The release of this proposal now enables the federal government and California to engage in the serious conversation that is needed between both parties. President Trump called for a deal when he convened the auto industry in May to discuss fuel economy standards—we look forward to sharing solutions and continuing a dialogue with all parties as this process moves forward.”

“Oil prices are at the highest point since 2014 thanks to the continued market manipulation of OPEC and rising geopolitical risk. Fuel economy standards, coupled with domestic production, are one of the best policies available to maintain momentum on reducing our oil dependence—these rules improve our national security, unleash innovation, save consumers money and help insulate our economy from oil price volatility.”

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a unique opportunity to modernize the fuel economy standards by incorporating new technologies that create a win-win situation for all stakeholders. A long, litigious road is the worst possible outcome for the auto industry and its consumers, the administration and our national security.”

Diamond also offered specific additional on-the-record comment about the NPRM language on several topics”

On safety argument:

“The federal government’s own data shows that when managed properly for vehicle footprints, lightweighting and fuel economy rules don’t undermine highway safety. Saving lives while saving fuel can be accomplished simultaneously—especially while integrating new technologies such as advanced driver assist and other semi-autonomous features, which can result in 18-25 percent reductions in fuel demand system-wide, and save approximately 10,000 lives per year.”

On vehicle prices:

“Thanks to the incredible innovation of the automotive industry, the impressive gains in fuel efficiency that have been achieved since 2012 have come at a price that consumers can afford—vehicle purchase prices have fallen by 3% since 2013 even as the total Consumer Price Index has risen by 8%. By contrast, housing prices have increased by 15% and food prices have increased by 7%. We need a regulatory framework that supports continued technological innovation that will strengthen the industry, boost our economy, and help consumers deal with the rising price of oil.”

On assumption oil prices will stay low through 2050:

“Trying to predict oil prices is a fool’s game. Just 6 months ago, we were told oil prices wouldn’t rise above $75 per barrel in the near future. The only safe assumption about oil prices is that they are unpredictable, and subject to manipulation by foreign actors. Let’s remember that every modern recession has been preceded or occurred concurrently to an oil price spike.”

AFPM Also Weighs In:  The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President/CEO Chet Thompson:

“The return to national, unified emissions targets set at reasonable levels would be a positive step toward ensuring that the vehicle fleet contains affordable options with features that meet the needs of American drivers. Today, vehicles with internal combustion engines are cleaner and more efficient than ever, and fuel, petrochemical and automobile manufacturers are innovating continuously to help Americans get more out of their cars.  We applaud the administration, EPA and NHTSA for offering this practical proposal and look forward to a final rule that reflects market realities, industry progress and consumer preferences.”

 

ANOTHER INTERESTING SIDEBAR

Given today’s fuel economy announcement, one issue that can improve fuel economy that states ACTUALLY have control over is how rough roads are and how they are maintained.  MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub has done significant research on Pavement-Vehicle Interactions – studies about how we can lower fuel consumption and vehicle emissions by taking a new approach to building and maintaining our roadways.  This is significant for how states determine their transportation budgets and the kind road maintenance projects they might undertake.

This is a good add-in to any stories you or your colleagues may be considering on the States AGs response, the actual CAFE policy impacts and how you can deal with fuel economy/GHGs outside of the rule.

MIT experts posted a new White Board Video that explains how texture, roughness, and structural properties of the road all play a role in vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (it can be as high as 4%, which is pretty big when you think about how many drivers are out there).

In addition to Holmstead, my colleagues Scott Segal and Anna Burhop are also digging into the draft rule so please call/email with questions.

Frank Maisano

202-997-5932

 

Energy Update: Week of July 30

Friends,

Starting today with sports since August is close and over the weekend, Geraint Thomas survived the Pyrenees to win his first Tour de France title, concluding his transformation from a support rider into a champion of cycling’s biggest race.  The Welsh rider with Team Sky won over Tom Dumoulin and teammate/defending champ Chris Froome.  Also, former Tiger greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were both inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown alongside Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vlad Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.

But August really means that Fall Sports are right around the corner.  NFL training camps are underway with the Hall of Fame game Thursday and HoF induction (Saturday’s induction class includes Bobby Beathard, linebacker Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, wide receiver Terrell Owens, and linebacker Brian Urlacher); NCAA College Football kickoffs Saturday August 25th; Hannah reports for Junior year at Wellesley (WOW, already) for field hockey on August 16th and my first college FH game is at Syracuse that weekend.  Here in DC, the Citi Open – DC’s long-standing professional tennis tour stop at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center – is underway and runs to Sunday.  Players include Andy Murray, world #3 Alexander Zverev, #5 Kevin Anderson (who just made a great Wimbledon run), #9 John Isner and many more.

Well, we have kind of made it to August recess.  With the House out until Labor Day, the big show is Wednesday in the Senate at the Environment Committee where Andy Wheeler heads to testify for the first time since being named Acting Administrator.  Before the Wheeler show, the Committee will vote on CEQ nominee Mary Neumayr (and others).  And most think – after some speculation last week – that the fuel economy Phase II standards will be announced sometime this week.  Our friends at the NYT detailed a draft of the plan on Friday.  As well, my friend Bridget Bartol (bbartol@secureenergy.org) at SAFE can also help you with the inside details.  And with the fuel economy debate seeing heightened importance, MIT experts have a new White Board Video that explains how texture, roughness, and structural properties of the road all play a role in vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (it can be as high as 4%, which is pretty big when you think about how many drivers are out there).  17 State AGs also made a similar request.

The other interesting thing that happened Friday was the bipartisan group of 21 Senators that told EPA Administrator Andy Wheeler that they are strongly opposed any proposal to reallocate RFS compliance obligations from exempted small refineries to other refiners and importers.  The senators wrote that “regardless of one’s views on the merits of SRE decisions, there is little doubt that reallocating obligations would only compound the problems with the RFS and are illegal.”  Pretty clear.

Also Friday, Five major HVACR companies (Lennox, Carrier, Nortek, Rheem & Ingersoll Rand) are asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court decision that blocked EPA implementation of HFC reductions using its SNAP program, saying the decision creates a regulatory mess that EPA has been unable to fix almost a year after the decision was handed down. (More below or in link)

Finally, our Bracewell PRG podcastThe Lobby Shop – is now on social media.  It is a regular mix of politics, policy and fun.  Please follow it on Twitter at @TheLobbyShopPod and like it on Facebook at @lobbyshop to get all the details and regular updates.  It will be well worth the follow.

No updates over the next few weeks unless necessary. (Maybe updates on the Incubus or Godsmack shows we are attending). Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I have worked in the HVAC&R industry for 15 years and have seen many changes to our industry. I support the Kigali Amendment and I stand with President Trump on holding China accountable and creating good paying jobs right here in the United States of America. Our country is currently in desperate need of skilled labor and the Kigali Amendment will help to grow those skilled labor needs right here in the United States.”

Jason Lacey, Executive Vice President, Local 4501, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Columbus, Ohio

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Podcasts Looks at Trade, New EPA Head – The latest episode of the Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop is now live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week, we’re joined by Scott Lincicome, trade attorney and adjunct professor at The Cato Institute and Duke Law. We cover Scott’s viral t-shirt design, the latest in retaliatory tariff news, and many other updates in the global Trade War.

GTM Energy Gang Podcast: A Conversation With Vox’s Roberts – On this week’s Energy Gang, our friend Stephen Lacey holds a wide-ranging conversation with Vox’s David Roberts.  Roberts is known for his deep explainers and strong opinions and they discuss some of the most pressing energy/environment topics, including carbon taxes, nuclear bail outs, renewables and politics.

 

FUN OPINIONS

MIT Whiteboard Report: Pavement Can Impact Emissions – With the fuel economy debate seeing heightened importance, we highlight that road quality impacts vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. In a new White Board Video, MIT CSHub researcher Dr. Mehdi Akbarian explains how texture, roughness, and structural properties of the road all play a role.  See it here.

EIA: Energy Expenditures Lowest Since 1970 – EIA says U.S. energy expenditures declined for the 5th consecutive year, reaching $1.0 trillion in 2016, a 9% decrease in real terms from 2015. Adjusted for inflation, total energy expenditures in 2016 were the lowest since 2003. Expressed as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP), total energy expenditures were 5.6% in 2016, the lowest since at least 1970.  See more info and graphs here.

IN THE NEWS

Major HVACR Companies Ask SCOTUS to Take HFC Case – Five major HVACR companies are asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court decision that blocked EPA implementation of HFC reductions using its SNAP program, saying the decision creates a regulatory mess that EPA has been unable to fix almost a year after the decision was handed down. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the result will be an extended period of regulatory uncertainty, almost certainly including years of litigation challenging the new rule that EPA ultimately develops to implement a confusing D.C. Circuit decision that was wrongly decided.  The companies (Rheem, Lennox, Ingersoll Rand, Carrier and Nortek) are the leading U.S. manufacturers of HVACR equipment.  Together with another manufacturer filing its own amicus brief, they account for well over 75% of the residential and commercial air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment that is manufactured and sold in North America.

21 Senators Weigh in Against Illegal Reallocation of Small Refiner Waiver – A bipartisan group of Senators told EPA Administrator Andy Wheeler that they are strongly opposed any proposal to reallocate the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) compliance obligations from exempted small refineries to other non-exempted transportation fuel refiners and importers.  The senator s wrote that “regardless of one’s views on the merits of SRE decisions, there is little doubt that reallocating obligations would only compound the problems with the RFS. Simply put, a retroactive reallocation of small refinery obligations onto non-exempt obligated parties is illegal and inconsistent with the objectives of sound energy policy.”  The 20 signers include Sens. Inhofe, Barrasso, Boozman, Capito, Cassidy, Cotton, Cruz, Daines, Enzi, Flake, Hatch, Hyde-Smith, Isakson, Kennedy, Lankford, Lee, Manchin, Perdue, Risch, Toomey and Wicker.  The Fueling American Jobs Coalition says “reallocating exemptions simply amounts to a penalty on U.S. refineries that may not qualify for a small refiner exemption, but otherwise comply with the RFS.  Reallocations would inject even greater uncertainty into the already volatile and opaque market for tradeable ethanol credits, threatening a return to surging prices for these credits that are would negatively impacting refineries across the U.S. and jeopardizing good-paying industrial jobs that sustain hard-working American communities.”

ClearPath Study: Aggressive Carbon Capture RD&D Can Spur Massive Economic Benefits – ClearPath Foundation and Carbon Utilization Research Council released a new study that says accelerating research, development and deployment of advanced power cycles and carbon capture technologies for use in fossil power generation would dramatically drive domestic oil production, jobs and provide a significant boost to GDP while trapping significant amounts of heat-trapping carbon emissions.  The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship, Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers; the International Brotherhood of Electrical, Workers and the United Mine Workers of America also contributed to the effort.  Under the scenarios evaluated, the study’s modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International forecasts market-driven deployment of up to 87 gigawatts with carbon capture technologies over the next two decades. Some of these include a 40% increase in domestic coal production for power from 2020 to 2040; 100 million to 923 million barrels of additional domestic oil produced annually by 2040; 270,000 to 780,000 new jobs and an increase of $70 billion to $190 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) associated with enhanced oil recovery field operations by 2040; Aggressive RD&D reduced the national retail cost of electricity 1.1% to 2.0% by 2040, which on its own is forecasted to increase annual GDP by an additional $30 billion to 55 billion and create 210,000 to 380,000 more jobs over a baseline RD&D case.

Chamber, NAM, Industry Groups Push for HFC Reduction – The Let America Lead coalition formed last week to work with conservative leaders at the local, state and national level, manufacturers and businesses, and working Americans across the country to demonstrate to President Trump why support for the Kigali Amendment is a win for American workers and urge him to send it to the U.S. Senate for ratification.  The announcement follows a recent series of public statements of support for Kigali amendment ratification. In May, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy released a new economic study conducted by Inforum and JBS Consulting. The study demonstrates the job creation and economic growth benefits of ratification, including the creation of 33,000 manufacturing jobs and 117,000 indirect jobs by 2027. It will also increase manufacturing exports by $5 billion while reducing imports by nearly $7 billion to improve the balance of trade. In June, 13 Republican Senators sent a joint letter of support to President Trump urging him to send the Amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent. They wrote: “The Kigali Amendment will protect American workers, grow our economy, and improve our trade balance all while encouraging further innovation to strengthen America’s leadership role.” Also in June, three leading conservative groups, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks and the American Council for Capital Foundation stated their support for the amendment, writing to the president that, “This agreement has our support because it will ensure that U.S. manufacturers are able to thrive in the global economy and create more wealth and jobs in America.” Let America Lead is proud to announce that the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and the American Council for Capital Formation are founding members of the coalition, and looks forward to announcing additional members.

Cooper Nominated to Energy GC – Former House Resources staff director and energy specialist Bill Cooper has been nominated to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy.

Solar Report: 42 States, DC Took Action on Solar Policy During Q2 – The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q2 2018 edition of The 50 States of Solar. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on distributed solar policy, with a focus on net metering, distributed solar valuation, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential demand and solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.  The report finds that 42 states and the District of Columbia took some type of distributed solar policy action during Q2 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, net metering policies and community solar policies.  A total of 148 distributed solar policy actions were taken during Q2 2018, with the greatest number of actions taken in California, Arizona, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

August Congressional Recess – While the Senate will remain in session, the House will not return until after Labor Day.

Women in Nuclear Conference Starts — The U.S. Women in Nuclear National Conference is underway through Wednesday in Huntsville, Alabama.  The 2018 national conference is sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority and gathers individuals working in any aspect of nuclear energy, science and technology in the United States. The conference provides perspectives from national authorities on key issues and professional development opportunities to grow your career.

Conference to Look at Sustainability – The National Association for Environmental Management holds a sustainability management conference today through Wednesday at the Omni in Providence, Rhode Island.  The conference offers insights to improve company performance while more effectively managing sustainability data at both ends of the supply chain.

Conference Looks a Renewable, Storage – EUCI hosts a conference today and tomorrow in Philadelphia on the interconnection process for renewables and storage. The conference will discuss the process for interconnection utilized by different entities across the country, identify technical requirements from start to finish, evaluate potential regulatory and policy directions, and evaluate how best to update the interconnection process to accommodate the evolving electricity grid.

Perry, Pompeo to Address Chambr Indo-Pacific Business Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts an Indo-Pacific Business Forum today.  The event will , feature Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and many more.

FERC to Hold Grid Reliability Conference – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a day-long meeting tomorrow to discuss grid reliability policies and issues. Topics include regulatory priorities for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation; challenges arising in the Western Interconnection; an update on the cooperation agreement between NERC and Mexico; how grid resiliency can be tracked with data; and how industry and regulators need to respond to higher supplies of distributed generation and energy storage.

EESI Forum to Look at Energy Efficient Housing – The Energy Efficiency for All and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute host a breakfast briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on Federal programs for energy and housing, focusing on low-income families.  Speakers include Ellen Lurie Hoffman of the National Housing Trust, ACEEE’s Ariel Drehobl, Carmen Bingham of Virginia Poverty Law Center, Action Housing’s Sarah Ralich and former DOE Weatherization Assistance Program Director Dave Rinebolt.

Forum to Look at Natural Disasters, Climate – Results for Development (R4D) holds a forum tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on climate change and natural disasters.  In this discussion, Vinod Thomas, former Director General of Independent Evaluation at the World Bank and at Asian Development Bank, will present findings from his recently published book on this subject. Masood Ahmed, President of the Center for Global Development and Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank Group, will respond with comments.

Forum to Look at Russian Energy Sanction Impacts – Tomorrow at noon, the Atlantic Council holds for a conversation about proposed Russia sanctions legislation. The ongoing discussions within the US Congress provide an opportunity to take stock of existing sanctions policy and the proposed legislation and assess the implications for oil markets, energy projects, and companies. The expert panel will discuss proposed legislation such as the DETER (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines) and ESCAPE (Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe) Acts.  Speakers include former State official David Goldwyn and Other Council experts.

ELI to Host ESA Webinar – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a webinar on proposed USFWS Endangered Species Act regulations.  This panel will provide an advanced look into potential benefits and repercussions of utilizing the ESA under this regulatory proposal.  Each panelist will highlight his or her top areas of interest in the proposals and describe improvements that could be made in the process to finalize the regulations.

Senate Environment to Host Wheeler – The Senate Environment Committee will host new acting EPA head Andy Wheeler on Wednesday August 1st at 10:30 a.m. It will also hold a Business Meeting to vote on CEQ head Mary Neumayr and other nominations immediately prior at 9:45 a.m.

WCEE Monthly Happy Hour – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment hosts its August Happy Hour on Wednesday, August 1st at 5:30 p.m. at MASA 14 (1825 14th Street, NW).

TX Enviro Superconference Set – The 30th Texas Environmental Superconference is being held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.  This year’s conference will have speakers from across the spectrum including Andy Wheeler fresh off his Senate testimony, Air office head Bill Wehrum and a number of others from EPA leadership. Also on the agenda are TCEQ’s Brian Shaw, my Bracewell colleague Tim Wilkins and our friends Allison Wood of Hunton and Jon Cruden of Beveridge. The Superconference will cover an array of cutting-edge topics with timely presentations from federal, state and local governmental officials and leading private practitioners. A copy of the current draft program can be found here.

Tesla Book Discussion SetPolitics and Prose Bookstore hosts Author Richard Munson on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of “Tesla: Inventor of the Modern”.  Drawing on his new book, Richard Munson shines a light on the man behind the legend and how his unique way of doing things meant some of his most advanced ideas would go unrecognized for decades. Tesla felt inventing required the linking of science and the humanities. Unlike his better- known rival, Thomas Edison, he was not motivated by profit and preferred working in isolation.

Science-Policy Discussion Set – On Thursday, August 2nd, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hosts a conversation at Honeywell at Noon featuring two scientists working to shape policy at the federal level. They will discuss the role of science in shaping public policy and offer solutions for a more collaborative relationship between the scientific and policy realms.

 

IN THE FUTURE

New Rule for New Power Plants Likely in August – EPA plans to send revised carbon dioxide emissions standards for new fossil fuel-fired electric generators to OMB in August. The budget/reg agency is already reviewing the new version of the Clean Power Plan.  The new source performance standards, established under the Obama administration in 2015, currently require the installation of prohibitively expensive carbon capture systems on new coal plants to meet the emissions limits, effectively banning the generators. The Trump administration has sought to roll back a number of environmental and energy rules in a bid to revive the nation’s ailing coal industry.

Forum to Look at Innovative CO2 Tech – Next Tuesday, August 7th at 1:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association hosts a discussion of Global Thermostat’s patented breakthrough technology removes CO2 from ambient air or other sources utilizing readily available, low-cost process heat. That CO2 is then used profitably in multiple industrial processes, meeting the needs of a > $1 Trillion annual market. With its great flexibility and scalable implementations, GT plants can be of any size, and can standalone, or be integrated with: legacy power plants; renewable energy plants; and manufacturing facilities. This briefing will highlight this revolutionary technology, with a discussion on viable CO2 markets as well as the status of the two existing plants in Silicon Valley, and a third commercial plant on the way at Huntsville, Alabama.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaption Policy – On Thursday, August 9th at 8:30 a.m. at the ASU Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center, the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes holds a forum to Look at how to best adapt to a warmer future. Bruce Guile, president and cofounder of the New Advisory Group, and Raj Pandya, the founding director of the Thriving Earth Exchange at the American Geophysical Union, will address exactly that question to mark the publication of the Summer 2018 Issues in Science and Technology. They will discuss “Adapting to Global Warming: Four National Priorities,” their clear-eyed assessment of the policy steps needed to use human ingenuity to confront climate change.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Oil/Gas Conference Set for Denver – EnerCom’s Oil & Gas Conference will be held on August 20-23 at The Westin Denver Downtown.  The conference offers investment professionals the opportunity to listen to the world’s key senior management teams present their growth plans.  Our friends at Wolfe Research will host a full day of management meetings with execs on Tuesday August 21st at the Palm Restaurant.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 23

Friends,

The British Open was exciting with Tiger Woods reemerging as a challenger.  His Saturday round put him on top of a major tournament for the first time since 2010.  In the end, it was Italian Francisco Molinari, who played alongside Tiger on Sunday and remains red hot, who pulled away to win the famed Claret Jug.  And with this being the final week of the Tour de France, we should see some fireworks as riders head to the decisive stages in the Pyrenees starting tomorrow. Overall leader Geraint Thomas maintained his advantage of 1:39 over four-time champion and teammate Chris Froome. Tom Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, remained third at 1:50 back. What to do Team Sky?  Thomas or Froome?  We shall see…

This week is the last for the House before August Recess.  There is a lot going on with budget and farm bill issues, with Interior-EPA Approps headed for votes.  Senate Energy is also expected tomorrow to vote out DOE nominees including Dan Simmons and IG Teri Donaldson.  This is also a big week for tariff issues with steel importers Friday asking the U.S. Court of International Trade for a summary judgment to immediately halt the steel duty. Bracewell’s trade policy experts Josh Zive (202-828-5838) and Paul Nathanson (202-828-1715) are all over the issue and can help.

The RFS is again in the news with Friday’s court decision hitting EPA for denying waivers to small refiners.  As you know this has been a contentious issue with the ethanol activists hammering the waivers despite the fact that there has been no demand loss.  Friday’s decision is the second in favor of small refiners. The news will be follow by a presser tomorrow hosted by former Hose Energy Chair Henry Waxman and his environmental group Mighty Earth, who will attack the RFS as bad policy.  Finally, on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m., the House Energy Enviro Subpanel looks at RINs and the problems they are causing with the RFS.   Also, the Senate Energy Committee will look at global oil price issues tomorrow in a hearing.

In another major event Wednesday at Noon, the Carbon Utilization Research Council, ClearPath Foundation and the Electric Power Research Institute will be on Capitol Hill to officially unveil two studies that underscore the promise and benefits of aggressively developing and commercializing U.S.-based carbon capture, storage and utilization technologies.  CURC and EPRI will release the 5th Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Roadmap that identifies technologies that can be available by the 2025-2035 timeframe that generate electricity from fossil fuels with significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions that could be cost competitive with other sources of electricity generation.  A companion analysis conducted by CURC and ClearPath will also include modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International to show that there are significant economic benefits to the U.S. if the technology development outlined in the Roadmap is undertaken under a wide range of scenarios.

Today at 2:00 pm, MIT’s Jeremy Gregory will speak at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) for its Energy Thought Leader Speaker Series – a strategic effort to stimulate the development of resilient buildings and infrastructure that will continue through December of this year. Gregory will focus on MIT’s resilience-related research, with a special focus on our quantitative analyses, as well as address ways these ideas can be extended to energy networks. The meeting is closed to BCSE members but check in with me at @fvmaisano or MIT’s CSHub if you are interested in updates. (You should follow MIT’s CS Hub anyway).

Finally this morning – despite House passing a non-binding resolution stating that a nationwide carbon emissions tax would be “detrimental” to the economy – Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) will discuss his legislation  to tax on carbon emissions at a forum this morning sponsored by the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. The bill calls for the elimination of the federal gas tax and the reinstatement of federal climate regulations if the carbon tax, which would start out at $23 per ton, fails to curb a certain amount of greenhouse gases.  Americans for Tax Reform will hold its own discussion today on what it calls “a giant job-crushing carbon tax,” with Grover Norquist and CEI’s Marlo Lewis.

Bottomline: In reality, with Congress firmly on record against a carbon tax, the questions remains if a carbon tax is a no go, then what might be a solution that shows meaningful action on advancing innovation and reducing emissions?  Perhaps, we can help find that answer soon…

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Importantly, the court rejected EPA’s “industry-wide” conclusion that refiners can pass through their RIN costs, recognizing that the ability of a refinery to pass through its RIN costs is a refinery-specific and fact specific determination.”

LeAnn Johnson, counsel to Ergon-WV on Friday’s court Decision on Small Refiner Waivers. 

 

“Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act allows the President nearly unfettered discretion to impose tariffs and create other trade barriers if he simply decides that imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. At the same time, the law allows tremendous latitude to the President in determining what constitutes a threat. The United States Constitution provides important checks on the President’s power, and the Section 232 trade provision stands in clear violation of that balance.”

AIIS President Richard Chriss, announcing they are asking the International Trade court to stop Section 232 tariffs imposed by President Trump

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Podcasts Looks at Trade, New EPA Head – The latest episode of the Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop is now live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week we are joined by Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball out of the UVA Center for Politics.  Kyle talks mid-terms, key swing states, the current political climate’s impact on voting in 2018 and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Banks Calls for State Parity on GHG Impacts – In an op-ed In The Hill, former White House climate/energy advisor David Banks says the disparity between poorer and richer states on GHG emissions. Banks wrote “any national compromise must recognize the wealth gap between the states.  It should also reflect the fact that richer states generally industrialized earlier and account for the majority of U.S. historical emissions.”

Kerrigan: Small Businesses Innovated on Keeping America Working – Karen Kerrigan, head of the Small Business & Entrepreneur Council, recently wrote the White House Workforce Development Initiative is vital to small businesses.  She highlighted the July 19th event where President Trump announced his “Pledge to American Workers” and signed an Executive Order (EO) on workforce development. The EO establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will “convene voices from the private, education, labor, and not-for-profit sectors to enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages.”  Kerrigan added that small businesses are at the cutting edge of training. Entrepreneurs and their teams are implementing innovative and creative approaches that aim to keep their employees fully trained, engaged, and ready for career opportunities that may come their way.

IN THE NEWS

Court Rules in Favor of Small Refiners on RFS Waiver – Late Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit handed down an important decision in Ergon-WV v EPA arguing that the EPA’s denial of a small-refiner exemption (SRE) under the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) was arbitrary and capricious.

The Case is Significant Given Battle over SREs – The Fueling American Jobs Coalition says the Court agreed with Ergon that the application of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) matrix constituted an “error-riddled analysis” of Ergon’s petition.  The Court noted that DOE’s failure to score certain factors were arbitrary and capricious.  Most importantly, the Court held that EPA’s failure to consider the adverse impacts of high renewable identification number (RINs) prices by simply reiterating the view of one of its staffers that RINs prices were passed through to consumers was insufficient and flawed.  The Court said that each refinery faces specific circumstances with respect to their markets that can constrain pass-through of RINs costs and any EPA generic assertion to the contrary was an insufficient basis upon which to deny an SRE.  The Court took note that “the dramatic rise in RIN prices has amplified RFS compliance and competitive disparities, especially where unique regional factors exist, including high diesel demand, no export access, and limited biodiesel infrastructure and production.”

Full decision – http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/171839.P.pdf

Company Counsel Decision Reminder of Hardship Faced from RFS – LeAnn Johnson Koch, Perkins Coie, counsel to Ergon-West Virginia said the 4th Circuit’s decision is a reminder to opponents of small refinery hardship that the harm to small refineries is real and that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to relieve it.  “The “error-riddled” DOE scoring grossly underestimated the disproportionate economic hardship experienced by Ergon and consequently, impacts on the company’s viability. We’re grateful to the Court for recognizing it.”  Johnson also said the decision is also an important reminder to opponents of small refinery hardship that the goal of the RFS is not to expand ethanol consumption, but to increase energy independence and security. “The biofuels industry has doubled down on structural flaws in the rule that discourage blending and harm merchant and small refineries. It wouldn’t be so troubling if they weren’t at the same time pounding the table about “demand destruction” and urging EPA to violate the Clean Air Act and deny hardship relief to small refineries. Demand destruction and small refinery hardship are the consequences of not fixing the rule to restore a level playing field in the transportation fuels market.”

Company: Significant, Disproportionate Hardship from RFS – Ergon-WV said they were pleased to see the 4th Circuit Court ruling which recognizes the significant and disproportionate hardship that RFS places on small refineries.  Company President Kris Patrick said a 2011 DOE study predicted that this disproportionate economic hardship would occur, and this is precisely what they witnessed at EWV. Patrick: “Like other small refineries, we operate in rural geographic areas, supplying critical fuel supplies and supporting the local economies with jobs and tax revenue. It is vital that Congress, the EPA, and the DOE continue to protect the important role of small refineries in the U.S. economy.”

Case Turns Misleading Ethanol on Head – Ethanol Interests and there Congressional supporters have been so misleading, it’s important to remind you of the facts surrounding the program.  Congress created the RFS as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. Their understanding of the detrimental impact the program could have on small refineries prompted Congress to direct the EPA to grant waivers from the mandate to small refineries that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” in complying with the program. Small refineries are defined as those processing less than 75,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Unlike large integrated refiners which primarily produce gasoline, many small refineries produce diesel fuel in higher proportions. All refiners are required to purchase renewable identification numbers (RINS), which the EPA describes as “credits used for compliance and the ‘currency’ of the RFS program.” This mandate has resulted in an artificial, government-created market for blend requirements beyond what the market will accept, primarily due to diesel-to-gasoline production ratio or “diesel disparity.” Fundamentally, this program unfairly disadvantages small refineries, particularly those with higher than average production of diesel.

Obama EPA Abandoned Help to Small Refiners – During the Obama administration, the EPA abandoned the original intent of Congress when establishing small refinery hardship waiver requests by interpreting that the hardship exemption must pose a threat to a refinery’s survival as an ongoing operation. In EWV’s case, costs directly attributable to the RFS were the refinery’s third highest operating expense in 2016, following raw materials and labor.

More on Ergon – Ergon-WV operates a small refinery (23,500 barrels per day) in Newell, West Virginia that primarily produces highly refined paraffinic specialty products and fuels from local Appalachian grade crude.  In addition to two small refineries, Ergon also operates an ethanol production facility which Patrick says provides them with a unique vantage point regarding RFS. “The argument touted by ethanol advocates of demand destruction as a result of hardship waivers is simply not based in logic or facts, Patrick said.  “EWV blends 10% ethanol with 99% of the gasoline it produces and will continue to do so, even without a mandate.  However, EWV cannot pass through its RIN costs and the detrimental impact imposed by the RFS on EWV’s high diesel production is unacceptable and counter to the intent of the RFS program.”  EWV has made significant investments in environmentally friendly processes and technologies over the past three decades.“

Steel Importers Ask For End to Tariffs – The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) and two of its member companies, SIM-TEX, LP and KURT ORBAN PARTNERS, LLC, filed a motion for summary judgment with the US Court of International Trade in an effort to halt enforcement of the law under which tariffs are currently being collected on steel imported to the U.S.  The motion follows on a lawsuit filed by the parties in late June in the same court challenging the constitutionality of the statute under which President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel.  Since tariffs were imposed on steel imports earlier this year, the U.S. steel supply chain has experienced significant disruption, with American ports experiencing a sharp drop in throughput and steel-using manufacturers hit with price increases of 50% or more on steel product, coupled with newfound difficulty in obtaining specific types of steel, whether imported or sourced domestically.  To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected in excess of $582 million in tariffs—amounting to a tax imposed on the U.S. economy. AIIS is America’s leading voice for the steel supply chain, and the only voice in Washington, D.C. for free and responsible trade in steel. AIIS members, which include railroads and other transportation companies, port authorities, union locals, traders and logistics companies depend on imported steel for their economic well-being. As the tariff reduces the amount of imported steel, it also reduces the revenue of AIIS members, harming their businesses and putting their employees’ jobs at risk.

Report: Oil Demand to Peak? – The Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie forecasts global oil demand will peak around 2036 in a new report out this week.  According to WM, the peak is due to fuel efficiency gains and the anticipated rise of both autonomous and non-autonomous electric vehicles.  Others have suggested a slower glide path which may undercut the WM date.

DOE: US Crude Booming, US Moves to #2 producer – The Energy Department said U.S. crude production reached 11 million barrels per day for the first time, which would place the United States as the second-biggest producer of crude, after Russia, which sources say was producing 11.2 million bpd in early July.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Heritage Hosts Johnson on Trade Discussion – The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. on the real impacts of the tariffs, and what the retaliation means for Americans.  Sen Johnson will join a panel of experts including the railroad assn’s John Gray Maria Zieba of the pork producers and API’s Aaron Padilla.  The discussion will be moderated by our friend Tori Whiting.

NREL to Look at Caron Economy – Tomorrow and Wednesday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory holds a summit in Denver on realizing a Circular Carbon Economy.  NREL, in collaboration with the USDA and DOE will consider the challenges, opportunities, and needs involved in realizing the CCE. The summit will focus on defining and valuing ecosystem services in the context of a carbon-based economy; renewable fuels and energy; agricultural technology and innovation; land management; carbon cycles and sequestration (both engineered and natural); and lifecycle, sustainability and technoeconomic analyses. Positioning the United States as a major architect of a sustainable and resilient CCE is critical for maintaining economic competitiveness in the future.

Senate Energy Looks at Global Oil Price – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on factors that impact global oil prices.  Witnesses include Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy’s Jason Bordoff, oil market expert Rusty Braziel, former White House Advisor Bob McNally and IEA’s Keisuke Sadamori.  Prior to the hearing, the Committee will vote out DOE nominees.

House Energy Subpanel to Discuss SPR – The House Energy Committee’s Energy panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Steven Winberg, GAO’s Frank Russo and our friend Kevin Book, among others.

House Resources Looks at Coal Use – The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on assessing innovative and alternative uses of coal.  Witnesses include Michael Klein of Utah’s Lighthouse Resources, Arg CEO Julian McIntyre, Wyoming’s Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins and Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch.

CSIS To Host EIA Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting EIA Administrator Linda Capuano tomorrow for a presentation and discussion of the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018). The IEO2018 builds on the IEO2017 reference case, which presented long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, this year’s outlook offers a macroeconomic perspective regarding the uncertainty in economic growth in India, China, and Africa.

USEA To Discuss Africa Energy – The US Energy Assn will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. discuss specific generation and transmission projects currently underway and in the pipeline for development within the region. Please join us in a discussion regarding investment opportunities in various hydropower and wind power projects, as well as a transmission line and interconnection project. N Representatives of West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) will speak.

Waxman, Enviro Groups Attack RFS – Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., former House Energy Chair Henry Waxman and his group Mighty Earth hold a forum on the RFS. It’s been more than 10 years since the Renewable Fuel Standard became law. Once touted as a ‘green’ policy, many in the environmental, conservation, and scientific communities believe the opposite: that the RFS may have been a net-negative – even a disaster — for the environment.  Speaker will include Waxman, NWF’s David DeGennaro, and others.

ACORE State of Industry Webinar Set – ACORE Hosts State of the Industry Webinar Focus on International Investments – ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), hold their quarterly State of the Industry webinar on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.   The forum offers the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.  This quarter’s webinar will focus on the increasing trend of financial institutions around the globe who are expanding their renewable energy strategies and providing new capital for North American markets. Speakers will discuss foreign investor strategies for expansion in North American markets, fueled by sustainability targets, ESG scoring and attractive business opportunities; the characteristics of these new market entrants; and U.S. attractiveness in an uncertain policy environment: challenges posed by trade wars, the new tax law and CFIUS.  Speakers include ACORE’s Rob Gramlich, BNEF’s Amy Grace, among others.

Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Global Taiwan Institute and co-sponsor, The Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. to explore the future of Taiwan’s energy. This event is the third installment of the Civil Society and Democracy Series, which is partially funded by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The panelists will discuss Taiwan’s policy and opportunities in sustainable energy, how it will impact the Asia-Pacific region, and what it means for U.S. interests.

House Energy to Look at RINs – With Friday’s Court decision, the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. on background on Renewable Identification Numbers under the RFS.  Witnesses include CRS Energy and Minerals Manager Brent Yacobucci, Gabriel Lade of Iowa State, Paul Niznik of Argus and energy compliance expert Sandra Dunphy.

Technology Roadmap to be Released – On Wednesday at Noon in the Capitol Visitors Center, the Carbon Utilization Research Council, ClearPath Foundation and the Electric Power Research Institute will host an event Wednesday on Capitol Hill to officially unveil two studies that underscore the promise and benefits of aggressively developing and commercializing U.S.-based carbon capture, storage and utilization technologies.  CURC and EPRI will release the 5th Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Roadmap that identifies technologies that can be available by the 2025-2035 timeframe that generate electricity from fossil fuels with significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions that could be cost competitive with other sources of electricity generation.  A companion analysis conducted by CURC and ClearPath will also include modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International to show that there are significant economic benefits to the U.S. if the technology development outlined in the Roadmap is undertaken under a wide range of scenarios.  The event is sponsored by Southern Company, GE, Battelle and others.

House Resources Looks at Puerto Rico Recovery – The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on the management crisis at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and implications for recovery.

Forum to Look at NET CCS Plant – The US Energy Assn Hosts a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at NET Power’s 50-MW demonstration emissions-free natural gas power plant.  NET Power is commercializing a novel power system that produces emissions-free electricity from natural gas for the same cost as conventional power plants. The system, which uses the supercritical CO2 Allam Cycle, is currently being demonstrated at a 50MWth power plant in La Porte, Texas, that is now in operation. A review of the technology will be provided, and an update will be given on the status of demonstration plant testing and operations, as well as commercial facility development.

Wilson Forum to Look at China Green Innovation – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum is hosting four experts to discuss ways to facilitate financing that will stimulate the market of green and energy-efficient buildings and technologies that China needs to reach its low carbon goals.  Xiao Sun, chairman of the Ma’anshan Rural Commercial Bank (MRCB), will discuss how MRCB is promoting green building development as part of their effort to become the world’s first completely green bank. Carolyn Szum, program manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), will discuss their partnership with Citibank and MRCB to create new financing tools for energy-efficient buildings in China. Joe Indvik, the leader of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, will discuss how he collaborates with finance executives on expanding access for building owners to attract capital for energy projects in the US. Lastly, Yunhan Mao, from International Finance Corporation (IFC), will briefly introduce IFC’s China Climate Finance Advisory program, and the role it plays in greening urban development.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on Thursday in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

IN THE FUTURE

 

August Congressional Recess – While the Senate will remain in Session, the House will be in recess starting next week.

Senate Environment to Host Wheeler – The Senate Environment Committee will host new acting EPA head Andy Wheeler on Wednesday August 1st.

WCEE Monthly Happy Hour – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment hosts its August Happy Hour on Wednesday, August 1st at 5:30 p.m. at MASA 14 (1825 14th Street, NW)

Tesla Book Discussion SetPolitics and Prose Bookstore hosts Author Richard Munson on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of “Tesla: Inventor of the Modern”.  Drawing on his new book, Richard Munson shines a light on the man behind the legend and how his unique way of doing things meant some of his most advanced ideas would go unrecognized for decades. Tesla felt inventing required the linking of science and the humanities. Unlike his better- known rival, Thomas Edison, he was not motivated by profit and preferred working in isolation.

Science-Policy Discussion Set – On Thursday, August 2nd, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hosts a conversation at Honeywell at Noon featuring two scientists working to shape policy at the federal level. They will discuss the role of science in shaping public policy and offer solutions for a more collaborative relationship between the scientific and policy realms.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Energy Update: Week of July 16

Friends,

I hope you had a chance to catch either/both the World Cup Final or Wimbledon.  The Friday semifinal between Jason Isner and Kevin Anderson was epic.  And then the Djokovic-Nadal Semi was just as crazy.  And Anderson knocked out Federer in similar fashion ibn the quarters.  In the end, all the extra play couldn’t get him past Djokovic who wins his 4th Wimbledon title.  On the Women’s side, Serena’s return to tennis’ top tier is slightly delayed because Angelique Kerber straight-setted her 6-3, 6-3.  And France capped an exciting FIFA World Cup by dominating Croatia, 4-2 in yesterday’s final game.

It’s All-Star week in DC with the Home Run Contest today and the game tomorrow.  There are lots of great Facebook/Instagram posts of people enjoying the MLB Fan Fest Weekend.  Check out WTOP’s list of events, road closures and deals, plus everything you need to know about the game itself. Read more.

This will be a busy week on Capitol Hill.  In addition to real work on energy Issues, the House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow move consideration of a resolution arguing a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the U.S. economy and “not in the best interest” of the country.  On the hearing scene, House Science Energy and Enviro panels are hosting a joint hearing tomorrow on CCS Techs that will feature a discussion of the USA IT Act.   There is also a NSR reform hearing to discuss legislation.  On Wednesday, House Energy looks at energy storage and Mary Neumayr heads to Senate Environment on Thursday while Senate Energy looks at the proposed Energy and Interior reorganizations.  House Transpo also looks at hurricane response, resilience and preparedness so remember – if you are covering – our experts at MIT are happy to answer many of your key concerns about it.

Finally, on Wednesday in Ann Arbor, EPA holds a hearing on the 2019 RVOs for ethanol and biofuels.  Expect of full court press from both the ethanol activists and oil interests that think the program is in major need of reform.  We will be on guard so let me know if you need any insight.  We will have statements starting tomorrow.  Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Both of these bills address critical lapses in the ability of the U.S. to stay on pace with China and Russia in the potentially trillion-dollar global advanced nuclear energy market.”

ClearPath executive Director Rich Powell commenting on two bipartisan bills passed in the House Energy Committee that would spur advanced nuclear development.

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Podcasts Looks at Trade, New EPA Head – The latest episode of the Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop is now live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  We discuss the on-air discovery of Justice Kennedy’s retirement from SCOTUS in episode 55 and what has happened in the time since. We also dive into the way the President talks about tariff news to a lay-person audience vs. how that message is interpreted by the industries impacted by tariffs. Our special guests this week are Scott Segal and Anna Burhop, PRG team members who have worked with and for the new Acting Administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Adler Weighs In On Kavanaugh on Regs – Supreme Court watcher and former EPA official Jonathan Adler writes an op-ed in the New York Times that argues given President Trump’s concerns about the federal administrative state, his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is entirely fitting. For years, Judge Kavanaugh has toiled in the vineyards of administrative law, writing highly influential opinions on regulatory matters and demonstrating a willingness to discipline federal agencies when they go astray.  For the past 12 years, Judge Kavanaugh has sat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court (where I once clerked) hears many legal challenges to major federal regulations. As a consequence, it is the arguably the most influential court on matters of administrative law, and judges there are fed a steady diet of these often complex and demanding cases. Of Judge Kavanaugh’s nearly 300 opinions as a federal judge, over one-third concern administrative law — and they are quite revealing.

Climate Polls Show Both Parties Doubt Action – According to our friend Jackie Toth at Morning Energy writes despite differing over the impacts of climate change, Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on one thing: They don’t place much trust in governments to tackle the issue.  According to a new Bloomberg Global Business Forum survey conducted by Morning Consult, 63 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans say they have little or no trust in governments to combat climate change.  See the full breakdown here.

IN THE NEWS

ClearPath Endorses Upton – ClearPath Action Fund is endorsing Michigan Rep. Fred Upton for his re-election bid.  They will begin running digital ads backing the Michigan Republican as part of a six-figure effort. CPA founder Jay Faison says Upton has an accomplished record of shepherding many bills hitting every facet of clean energy innovation.

House Energy Committee Advances Legislation to Spur Advanced Nuclear – The House Energy Committee advanced two bills that would spur deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.  One  bipartisan bill led by Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) to direct DOE to establish a program supporting availability of high assay low enriched uranium (HA-LEU) via public-private partnerships to address regulatory and market challenges. The other, the bipartisan NUKE Act (H.R. 1320) from Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) , is a commonsense step to making further improvements at rightsizing NRC’s workforce and budget. It does this by establishing reasonable deadlines for major applications and other efforts to streamline licensing, and authorizes studies to reconsider outdated regulations of the Atomic Energy Act.  ClearPath Action advisor and former NRC Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield co-authored a recent white paper sponsored by ClearPath and USNIC that urged lawmakers, policymakers and the NRC to take prompt steps to ensure adequate supply of HA-LEU or risk continued progress in deploying the next generation of U.S. nuclear power. Merrifield and URENCO USA President Melissa Mann testified in support of the House Committee measure on behalf of ClearPath and USNIC at a May 22 hearing.

Trump Consider SPR Release – The Trump administration is considering tapping the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a means of combating rising gas prices, with options under consideration including test sales of 5 million barrels or a release of as much as 30 million barrels, according to two people familiar with the matter. A release from the oil reserve closer to November could lower prices ahead of midterm elections, though analysts disagree on whether and how much a release would impact the market.

OPEC Letter Says it will Stop Monitoring Quotas – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee will stop tracking countries’ compliance with quotas following OPEC’s June 23 deal to transition to a collective production cap, according to a recent letter to OPEC members. The individual country data has never been publicly disclosed, and the letter adds that the committee will still track and report on OPEC’s compliance with the cap.  Our friends at SAFE are monitoring closely and can help discuss the subject.  Connect with Bridget Bartol ay 202-461-2361 or bbartol@secureenergy.org

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NAS to Hold Truck Fuel Economy Meeting – The National Academies of Science’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences is hosting an event today in the afternoon assessing technologies for improving fuel economy of light-duty vehicles.  Speakers include NHTSA, EPA DOE, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and many others.

Forum to Look at Nuke Decommissioning – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing today at 2:00 p.m. on the urgent need to safely decommission nuclear power plants, which are increasingly shutting down. Leading scientists, policy experts, NGO advocates, and local elected officials with experience of decommissioning will speak at the briefing. It will cover the impacts of decommissioning, current decommissioning options, waste storage vs. transport, thorny unsolved problems and best practices, financing and liability, a just transition for communities and workers, how communities and states can and can’t weigh in on these issues, and how they should inform the fast-changing legislative and regulatory landscape.  Speakers for this forum are Zion Illinois Mayor Al Hill (home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station), former Department of Energy Senior Policy Advisor Robert Alvarez, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and Kevin Kamps, of Beyond Nuclear.

Forum to Look at Nuke Energy Trends – Today at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics hosts a lecture on the topic of “Energy Trends: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear” with Professor Henry D. Sokolski.  With the Trump administration’s proposed financial relief of the coal and nuclear industries in the name of national security, energy economics has re-emerged as a topic for national debate. So far, much of this discussion has been cast as a contest between market economics and national security.

Duke CEO, CARB Chair, Others Headline POLITICO Summit – POLITICO is hosting its second Pro Summit tomorrow at the Renaissance Hotel. The Pro Summit brings together Pro subscribers, expert reporters, key decision-makers, and others who are shaping the policy landscape for a full day of incisive conversations. Summit speakers include Rep. Joe Crowley, Duke CEO Lynn Good, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Amy Myers Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations, Coal CEO Bob Murray, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and many others.  Duke Energy is the main event sponsor.

Senate Enviro Looks at ESA – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. on the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018.

House Science to Look at CCS – The House Science Committee panels on Energy and Environment are hosting a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses for this hearing include Wyoming Infrastructure Authority executive director Jason Begger, Carbon Utilization Research Council executive director Shannon Angielski and LLNL senior scientist Roger Aines.  With the USE IT Act moving forward in the Senate and the Fossil Energy Research & Development Act gaining support in the House, this hearing should provide an excellent opportunity to examine these and other vital policies that will help advance carbon capture technologies.

Forum to Look at Disaster Prep, Resilience – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. focusing on disaster preparedness. FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dr. Daniel Kaniewski discusses FEMA’s effort to engage communities and individuals in preparing for and bouncing back from catastrophes.

Senate Energy Looks at Critical Minerals – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the Interior Department’s final list of critical minerals.  Witnesses will include USGS National Minerals Information Center Director Dr. Steven Fortier, Dr. Roderick Eggert of the Colorado School of Mines, Greg Gregory of Materion Natural Resources, Aaron Mintzes of Earthworks, Laurel Sayer of Midas Gold Idaho, and our friend Jim Sims of NioCorp.

EPA to Hold RVO Hearing – EPA is announcing a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI on Wednesday at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti to look at the proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020.

House Energy Looks at Storage – The House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the role of energy storage in the nation’s electricity system.

House Transpo Looks at Disaster Recovery, Prep – The  House Transportation Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on recovering from 2017 disasters and Preparing for the 2018 hurricane season.

 

Forum to Look at Digitalization in Energy – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and the Technology Policy Program host a discussion on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. featuring Timothy Lieuwen (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Barbara Humpton (Siemens USA) about the new services and opportunities created for companies and regions as the energy industry continues its trend toward digitalization.  The session will begin with a presentation by Dr. Lieuwen, who will explain the findings of Georgia Tech’s recent study, Industrial Data in Power Generation.  The study is the first phase of an ongoing study of industrial data and regional economic development.  Following the presentation, Barbara Humpton will join Dr. Lieuwen to provide perspective on the ecosystem emerging around the digitalization of the energy industry, examining digitalization’s potential to simultaneously help increase reliability, decrease cost, and reduce environmental impacts. Speakers will also explain the behavioral standards for those firms handling data from the industrial sector, the role policy plays in the regulation of data transparency/ownership, and which actors have the most influence to establish and define values in this emerging sector.

Forum to Look at Iran Oil Issues – The Atlantic Council hosts a panel discussion on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. focused on a goal of drastically reduce Iran’s oil exports is realistic and the impact the US campaign is having on global production and prices as well as on Iran. This event is jointly sponsored by the South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative, the Global Energy Center and the Global Business & Economics Center.

Forum Looks European Energy Security – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at Finnish perspectives on energy security in Europe.  Finland’s Minister of the Environment, Energy, and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen. Europe has been at the forefront of people’s minds lately, will discuss the NATO Summit, Nord Stream 2, and the upcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki dominating the news cycle. In his remarks and a moderated discussion with Atlantic Council Global Energy Center’s David Livingston, Mr. Tiilikainen will touch on topics such as how renewables factor into the conversation about energy security, the role of gas and nuclear power, relations with Russia and Nord Stream 2, and activities in the Arctic. He will also discuss the agenda for US-European cooperation.

Senate Enviro Hosts CEQ Nominee – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on nomination of Mary Neumayr to be a head of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Senate Energy Looks at Energy, Interior Re-Org – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to conduct oversight of the administration’s proposals to reorganize and modernize the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior.

Forum to Look at China Low Carbon Issues – The Wilson Center’s China Environmental Forum holds a panel discussion Thursday at 1:00 p.m. looking at tools that could help guide urban low-carbon initiatives and other sustainability actions. Hu Min from the Beijing-based energy policy incubator Innovative Green Development Program (iGDP) will introduce the recently launched China’s Low-carbon and Green Index for Cities (LOGIC). This index, created together with LBNL and Energy Foundation China, will track low-carbon and green development in 115 Chinese cities to inform future green development models. Roger Platt will talk about US-Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities rating system that empowers global cities and communities to assess, verify, and improve urban sustainability performance and quality of life, including low-carbon developments. A speaker from ACEEE will discuss how their city energy efficiency scorecard has spurred building, utility, and transportation policies to decrease energy use in major U.S. cities.

Health in Buildings Forum Set – The Department of Environment at the National Institutes of Health will gather government leaders and experts on Friday across the health and buildings sectors to discuss new developments in research about health in buildings in our HiBR 2018, Health in Building for Today and Tomorrow conference.  Speakers and attendees will examine the many developments in this sector through lively conversations about buildings including innovation, energy, policies, building practices, community solutions and emerging technologies.

IN THE FUTURE

 

CSIS To Host EIA Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting EIA Administrator Linda Capuano on Tuesday July 24th for a presentation and discussion of the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018). The IEO2018 builds on the IEO2017 reference case, which presented long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, this year’s outlook offers a macroeconomic perspective regarding the uncertainty in economic growth in India, China, and Africa.

USEA To Discuss Africa Energy – The US Energy Assn will host a forum on Tuesday July 24th at 10:00 a.m. discuss specific generation and transmission projects currently underway and in the pipeline for development within the region. Please join us in a discussion regarding investment opportunities in various hydropower and wind power projects, as well as a transmission line and interconnection project. N Representatives of West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) will speak.

Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Global Taiwan Institute and co-sponsor, The Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, will hold a forum on Tuesday July 24th at 12:30 p.m. to explore the future of Taiwan’s energy. This event is the third installment of the Civil Society and Democracy Series, which is partially funded by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The panelists will discuss Taiwan’s policy and opportunities in sustainable energy, how it will impact the Asia-Pacific region, and what it means for US interests.

Forum to Look at NET CCS Plant – The US Energy Assn Hosts a discussion on Thursday, July 26th at 10:00 a.m. to look at NET Power’s 50-MW demonstration emissions-free natural gas power plant.  NET Power is commercializing a novel power system that produces emissions-free electricity from natural gas for the same cost as conventional power plants. The system, which uses the supercritical CO2 Allam Cycle, is currently being demonstrated at a 50MWth power plant in La Porte, Texas, that is now in operation. A review of the technology will be provided, and an update will be given on the status of demonstration plant testing and operations, as well as commercial facility development.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on July 26th in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Energy Update: Week of July 9

Friends,

While we were all celebrating the lighter traffic during July 4th week, EPA head Scott Pruitt resigned and Andy Wheeler has taken his place as acting head.  So much to say… Tryin’ to make some sense of it all, I feel like I’m Stuck In the Middle With You …but my friends in the press have already said most of it.  I will only add Jeff Holmstead in Utility Dive, Scott Segal on All Things Considered and me on NPR Saturday all added a few things about the new Administrator and the direction we expect him to take the agency.  Happy discuss more…  And our friend Dino Grandoni in this morning’s WaPo Energy 202 highlights who emboldened enviro activists may have in their sights next.

What Wheeler’s appointment is most likely to do is reduce the focus on environmental issues.  I can’t remember the last time the environment got 30 inches each in the Post, the Times, the Journal, etc…and this move will likely return it to its sleepy place in the public opinion’s eye because we are no longer talking about Chik-fil-a, hand lotion or sirens. I know a few of my reporter friends – who have all done pretty good work even though I might disagree with some story judgments – are quietly breathing a sigh of relief that they might get some of their free time back. Finally, I mentioned this on Thursday, but don’t count on this sidelining Pruitt’s political career.

Congress returns this week to some significant action.  It starts tomorrow morning with the Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn Foyer.  On Wednesday, Senate Environment looks at the long-term value of low-cost federal infrastructure loans, House Resources marks up water facilities and other legislation and Senate Energy looks at  legislation seeking to address the nearly $12 billion backlog of repairs and maintenance at the Park Service.  Then Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee discusses issues facing interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity.

Off the Hill, EPA holds public hearing on air quality standard for sulfur dioxide tomorrow, Ipsun Power holds a Wednesday lunch on the solar industry; the  Bipartisan Policy Center holds Thursday forum on oil and gas sector social enviro governance movement; and Friday energy economists host a luncheon on global oil and natural gas issues featuring former EIA head Guy Caruso.  And don’t forget to mark your calendar for next Wednesday’s EPA RFS RVO public hearing in Ann Arbor.  Also on Thursday, the International Energy Agency will release its closely watched monthly oil market report, the first since OPEC and Russia agreed to boost output.

The World Cup rolls on with very exciting games.  With four teams remaining, we know the winner will come from Europe as the France-Belgium semi-final is tomorrow while Croatia takes on England on Wednesday.  Wimbledon heads to the finals this weekend with the stars still playing.  Finally, the baseball world is continues to prep for the MLB All-Star game next Tuesday at Nationals Park.

On Wednesday, our friend Monica Trauzzi is launching a new NEI video series called Off the Menu with Monica.  It serves as the intersection of energy policy and DC’s thriving food scene.  Off the Menu is an innovative video series that will give viewers a seat at the table of DC’s power lunches and beyond.  The conversations – which start with ClearView analyst Kevin Book – are thoughtful and dynamic and dive in to the key energy policy issues of the day.

Finally, I close on a very sad note today hearing that my long-time friend and former McGraw-Hill oil/climate reporter Gerald Karey passed away last weekend in an accidental drowning in Pennsylvania.  While he retired a couple of years ago, Gerry stayed active In DC and our energy reporter circles.  He was an old-school reporter, funny author of books like Unhinged and great person.  It is a sad day that we have lost him too early.

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN 

“I hate to take a credit for a man losing his job, but I guess I’d have to say that I take the credit.”

A very classy move by Kevin Chmielewski, former EPA deputy chief of staff for operations, who told The Hill on Friday that he was critical to the eventual departure of the former administrator.  (MY NOTE: I guess he just doesn’t get it.  Who in Washington really does that?)

ON THE POD

Columbia Podcasts Sits Down with OK Sect of Energy/Environment Teague – On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Mike Teague, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment. Mike, who was appointed to this role in 2013, is responsible for coordinating over 30 state agencies, boards, compacts, and commissions in advancing policies that encourage energy production and environmental stewardship throughout Oklahoma. Prior to his appointment, Mike served in the US Army for 30 years.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Oil, Gas Industry Ready for Hurricane Season – Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association and former Texas agriculture commissioner, said the men and women in the Texas oil and natural gas industry and its public and private sector partners are ready for the 2018 hurricane season in the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday. Staples said after Hurricane Rita in 2005, Texas created the Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation and Logistics, which developed a comprehensive slate of recommendations to fortify hurricane preparedness, response and recovery plans. Since then, Texas has become nationally renowned for our “lessons learned” approach of revisiting and strengthening hurricane plans and procedures as technology and best practices evolve. As part of ongoing work to innovate and improve, the energy sector is part of a collaborative effort among private and public sector entities such as the Department of Public Safety, Texas CEQ, the Railroad Commission, TDOT, Texas ports, FEMA, health care facilities and local emergency management officials. The oil and natural gas industry is part of the Fuel Team, which works with the Emergency Management Council to ensure Texans have sufficient access to the gasoline and diesel they need before, during and after a natural disaster.

IN THE NEWS

What other news is there besides Pruitt…

Houston Chronicle: Where Rubber Meets Road Could Kill Gas Mileage – The Houston Chronicle reports that scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology think they have found ways of stretching more miles out of a gallon by addressing what type of pavement a vehicle drives on. Researchers are studying what they describe as “Pavement-Vehicle Interactions,” namely how road quality or the lack thereof effects vehicle efficiency.

DOE Invests in Techs to Innovate Power Systems – The DOE has selected 15 projects to receive nearly $8.8 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects to develop innovative technologies that enhance fossil energy power systems.  The newly selected projects fall under DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s Crosscutting Technology Research Program, which advances technologies that have a broad range of fossil energy applications. Specifically, the program fosters innovative R&D in sensors and controls, modeling and simulation, high-performance materials, and water management.  DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Brown to Speak at Solar ConferenceIntersolar North America will be held in San Francisco today through Wednesday.  The event’s exhibition and conference both focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technologies, smart renewable energy and solar thermal technologies.

Forum to Look at States on Climate Action – Tomorrow morning, Route Fifty will hold a forum to explore state and local governments’ climate goals–and making changes locally, regionally, and internationally to achieve them. From the future of vehicle emissions to regional partnerships, we’ll delve into the policy issues at play–and the stakes. The event will cover States rights in setting emission standards, State and local governments’ work to set their own climate goals–and work internationally, regional cap & trade agreements between states and health equity – emissions impact on the least able citizens.

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held tomorrow and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Speakers include Sen. Dean Heller (NV), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Sen. Jack F. Reed (RI), Rep. Paul D. Tonko (NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA), and Rep. Peter Welch (VT).

Senate Environment to Look at Infrastructure Loans – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the long-term value to U.S. Taxpayers of low-cost Federal infrastructure loans.

Forum to Look at State of Solar – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Ipsun Solar holds a summer forum on passive design, solar design and the current state of the Solar Industry.

WCEE Forum Talks To Women Entrepreneurs – The WCEE Career Building Section holds a discussion to gain ideas and inspiration from some of the daring women who stepped outside their comfort zones and challenged themselves to pursue their dreams. Hear what inspired them to get started, what challenges and obstacles they overcame, and their thoughts on helping you launch your own enterprise. Panelists include Véronique Bugnion, co-founder and CEO of ClearlyEnergy, which provider of innovative search solutions to simplify energy decisions; Amy Konigsburg, the founder of She Wolf, is steeped in the energy industry with over a decade experience providing communications services to private sector and government clients and Molly Seltzer is the founder & chief storyteller of Electric America, a photojournalistic series and affiliated media outlet dedicated to highlighting stories of the American energy sector.

Forum to Look at Mexico Election Impacts – The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the Mexican election results and its impacts on energy and trade.  President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador won with almost 54 percent of the vote on July 1. This historic election comes at a critical moment for Mexico’s future. López Obrador campaigned on a transformative vision and will face several immediate tasks upon taking the office on December 1, including:  establishing new mechanisms to combat corruption; reducing crime in the short term while tackling its root causes in the long term; creating new economic opportunities while finalizing NAFTA talks; and navigating the shifting nature of US-Mexico relations.  As the transition of power begins, we will discuss the priorities he laid out on the campaign trail and the resulting road ahead.

Senate Energy Tackles Energy Delivery – The Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider the policy issues facing interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity.  The hearing will address primary challenges and opportunities for energy delivery networks and their customers today, as well as investment in building or upgrading pipelines, electric transmission lines, and other infrastructure keep pace with energy needs and how federal regulators are responding.

BPC Forum to Examine Oil, Gas Issues – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) convenes a panel of experts to examine the current state of the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) movement in the oil and gas sector and explore what’s coming next. This movement continues to gain traction in a time when the regulatory agenda has changed significantly under the Trump Administration. ESG is particularly significant for the energy sector, specifically as shareholder resolutions surrounding climate change continue to take center stage in the media and in the boardroom.

Wilson Forum to Look at China Environment – The Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum (CEF) holds a discussion on Thursday at 2:00 p.m.  to look at sweeping reforms to streamline environmental governance in order to more rapidly mitigate China’s crushing air, water, and soil pollution.  CEF has invited three speakers to unpack the drivers and impacts of this major reform in China. Liu Zhuoshi (Environmental Law Institute) will detail how legal and regulatory authorities around pollution and climate issues are changing. He will also reflect on hurdles Chinese government faces to expand these reforms at the subnational level. Hu Tao (WWF – U.S.) will explore how the new MEE could act more holistically to manage complex pollution issues, like a better coordination on the joint management of air pollution and carbon emission regulations. Liu Shuang (Energy Foundation China) will reflect on the implication of China’s recent governance reforms on efforts to create a national carbon emissions trading systems and what other policies and institutional changes are needed to make it succeed.

Schools as Resilience Infrastructure – On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Congressional Green Schools Caucus will hold a briefing on Schools as Resilience Infrastructure, looking for new opportunities to strengthen disaster preparedness.  The event will look at the role that public school buildings play in strengthening community resilience through strategic investment.  Rep. Alan Lowenthal speaks.

GWU to Look at Protecting Energy Infrastructure – On Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs holds a discussion with senior security representatives from the utility industry and government on securing critical energy infrastructure. The panel will discuss physical and cybersecurity for the North American power grid, infrastructure resilience, and how industry and government partner to mitigate threats. Center for Cyber & Homeland Security Director Frank Cilluffo will moderate the session. Speakers include DOE Pat Hoffman, DHS’s Jeanette Manfra, EEI’s Scott Aaronson, PG &E’s Bernie Cowens, Duke Energy’s Brian Harrell and Entergy’s Chris Peters.

Energy Economists Look at Oil, Gas View – The US Energy Economists in the National Capital Area holds its monthly luncheon on Friday at Chinatown Gardens to offer a view Of US Oil and gas issues with former EIA head Guy Caruso, now at CSIS and CRS policy expert Michael Ratner.

IN THE FUTURE

 

NAS to Hold Truck Fuel Economy Meeting – The National Academies of Science’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences is hosting an event next Monday in the afternoon assessing technologies for improving fuel economy of light-duty vehicles.  Speakers include NHTSA, EPA DOE, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and many others.

Forum to Look at Nuke Decommissioning – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing next Monday at 2:00 p.m. on the urgent need to safely decommission nuclear power plants, which are increasingly shutting down. Leading scientists, policy experts, NGO advocates, and local elected officials with experience of decommissioning will speak at the briefing. It will cover the impacts of decommissioning, current decommissioning options, waste storage vs. transport, thorny unsolved problems and best practices, financing and liability, a just transition for communities and workers, how communities and states can and can’t weigh in on these issues, and how they should inform the fast-changing legislative and regulatory landscape.  Speakers for this forum are Zion Illinois Mayor Al Hill (home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station), former Department of Energy Senior Policy Advisor Robert Alvarez, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and Kevin Kamps, of Beyond Nuclear.

Forum to Look at Nuke Energy Trends – Next Monday at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics hosts a lecture on the topic of “Energy Trends: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear” with Professor Henry D. Sokolski.  With the Trump administration’s proposed financial relief of the coal and nuclear industries in the name of national security, energy economics has re-emerged as a topic for national debate. So far, much of this discussion has been cast as a contest between market economics and national security.

Duke CEO, CARB Chair, Others Headline POLITICO Summit – POLITICO is hosting its second Pro Summit on July 17th at the Renaissance Hotel. The Pro Summit brings together Pro subscribers, expert reporters, key decision-makers, and others who are shaping the policy landscape for a full day of incisive conversations. Summit speakers include Rep. Joe Crowley, Duke CEO Lynn Good, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Amy Myers Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations, Coal CEO Bob Murray, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and many others.  Duke Energy is the main event sponsor.

EPA to Hold RVO Hearing – EPA is announcing a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI on July 18th at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti to look at the proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020.

Forum to Look at Digitalization in Energy – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and the Technology Policy Program host a discussion on Wednesday July 18th at 10:30 a.m. featuring Timothy Lieuwen (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Barbara Humpton (Siemens USA) about the new services and opportunities created for companies and regions as the energy industry continues its trend toward digitalization.  The session will begin with a presentation by Dr. Lieuwen, who will explain the findings of Georgia Tech’s recent study, Industrial Data in Power Generation.  The study is the first phase of an ongoing study of industrial data and regional economic development.  Following the presentation, Barbara Humpton will join Dr. Lieuwen to provide perspective on the ecosystem emerging around the digitalization of the energy industry, examining digitalization’s potential to simultaneously help increase reliability, decrease cost, and reduce environmental impacts. Speakers will also explain the behavioral standards for those firms handling data from the industrial sector, the role policy plays in the regulation of data transparency/ownership, and which actors have the most influence to establish and define values in this emerging sector.

Forum to Look at Iran Oil Issues – The Atlantic Council hosts a panel discussion on Wednesday July 18th at 1:00 p.m. focused on a goal of drastically reduce Iran’s oil exports is realistic and the impact the US campaign is having on global production and prices as well as on Iran. This event is jointly sponsored by the South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative, the Global Energy Center and the Global Business & Economics Center.

Health in Buildings Forum Set – The Department of Environment at the National Institutes of Health will gather government leaders and experts on Friday, July 20th across the health and buildings sectors to discuss new developments in research about health in buildings in our HiBR 2018, Health in Building for Today and Tomorrow conference.  Speakers and attendees will examine the many developments in this sector through lively conversations about buildings including innovation, energy, policies, building practices, community solutions and emerging technologies.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on July 26th in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Energy Update: Week of July 2

Friends,

Wasn’t going to do an update today but decided to do a short one because of the crazy World Cup Games, the news about LeBron and – even more interesting – some policy news around the July 4th travel season, the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on HFC reductions and Trump tweets over OPEC.

How could you not like those FIFA World Cup games yesterday. Two games to Penalty Kicks where host Russia’s Cinderella continued with a win over Spain after some brilliant saves by goalie Igor Akinfeev, who clinched the victory by stopping a shot with his foot.  The brilliant goalie play continued in the second game when Croatia outlasted Denmark in shootout, Croatia now faces Russia in the quarterfinals.  Brazil-Mexico now and Belgium-Japan this afternoon.

And apparently, LeBron James is headed to the Lakers for over $150M.  Now, the question is who may join him?  And don’t forget the MLB All-Star game is here at Nationals Park on Tuesday, July 17th. Our friend, former AP reporter and baseball author/historian Fred Frommer will be all over the run up to the game.  Frommer, author of You Gotta Have Heart, a history of DC baseball history, starts this Sunday at noon at The Farm, a rooftop building outside Nats Park, where former Washington Senators PA announcer Phil Hochberg chats about the four All-Star Games DC hosted in the 20th Century.  Then next Tuesday July 11th at 6:45 p.m., Fred will be at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center with Hochberg and Gregory McCarthy of the Nats, for a night of baseball history. Finally, the night before the All-Star Game July 16th, Fred will join fellow author David Rapp and documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner at East City Book Shop on Capitol Hill for an All-Star panel at 6:00 p.m. just before the Home Run Contest.

As we continue the July 4th travel season this week, I wanted to remind you of a note I sent on Friday highlighting the great work and important research of our friends at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub on Pavement-Vehicle Interactions – research that can lower fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.  It is a perfect add-in to any stories you or your colleagues may be considering on the heavy travel week.  While this will be the busiest July 4th travel week ever, much of the traffic is likely to be spread out with the heaviest day to launch being tomorrow afternoon.

There is a new letter today from CEI and several other groups opposing the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The letter says the amendment would do “far more economic harm than environmental good,” adding that the environmental benefits are minimal.  But that is just not right.  A recent economic analysis for the White House showed significant jobs gains, 13 Republican Senators (mostly conservatives) urged the President to submit it to the Senate, 34 HVACR Manufacturing CEOs urged support and 3 conservative taxpayers groups (ACCF, Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks) suggested Trump support Kigali because of global competitiveness advantages.  And all of this occurs after last week’s lawsuit by 11 states against EPA over implementing over HFC reductions.

If you are following recent tweets and comments from President Donald Trump about OPEC oil market manipulation, SAFE President/CEO Robbie Diamond weighed in saying Trump is right to point to OPEC as manipulating the market, but urged him to also turn his sights to “solutions that end oil dependence and the cartel that manipulates the market rather than having the U.S. come hat in hand to these foreign powers. Asking the cartel to increase output is like trying to put a Band-Aid on a broken system that shouldn’t even exist in the first place.”

Finally, the most grueling test of strength and endurance – the Tour de France – cycling’s crown jewel, starts on Saturday.  With one more Tour victory, Chris Froome can match the record of five shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. The start of the 105th edition will be at Noirmoutier-en-l’île.  The 2018 Tour route will include a total of 26 mountain climbs or hills, including  12 in the Alps, 4 in the Massif central and 10 in the Pyrenees.  Ouch!!! Riders arrive in Paris on July 29th.

Enjoy the holiday week…Stacey and kids headed to Imagine Dragons tonight.  I bet that’s a fun show.  Call with questions …Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Kigali gets us everything we want and everything we’ve been advocating for for a long time—a unified, negotiated decision on phasedowns [of HFCs] instead of prohibitions.  U.S. ratification of the global deal offers the greatest level of certainty for the market writ large. That process, rather than litigation, is where our industry will be focusing its efforts in the coming months.””

Caroline Davidson-Hood, general counsel for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute regarding the lawsuit filed by 11 states challenging implementation of EPA HFC reductions

 

“Because of the technological prowess of American manufacturers, U.S. businesses stand to gain from this deal – ratification will open new markets at a time when demand for refrigeration, heating, and air-condition equipment is projected to grow.”

A letter from conservative tax group leaders of Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks and the American Council for Capital Formation on moving the Kigali amendment forward in the Senate. 

 

FUN OPINIONS

CEOs Say Kigali Essential for Global Competitiveness – ICYMI, following the letter from 13 Senators urging the White House to send them the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, 34 HVACR Industry CEOs wrote a letter to President Trump urging his support for Kigali.  These are major manufacturers that include Honeywell, Lennox, Fujitsu, Johnson Controls, Rheem, Dow Chemical and many more.  The CEOs, who speak for more than 589,000 Americans currently employed in the industries, urged the President to send the Kigali Amendment to the Senate to secure a position of strength for American companies in a highly competitive global market for next generation air conditioning, refrigeration, thermal insulation, aerosols, medical uses, fire suppression, semiconductors and other technologies that utilize fluorocarbons.

IN THE NEWS

AGs Suit Spurs New Twist in Kigali Discussion – CEI will release a letter today opposing the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol but a legal challenge to EPA’s current regulations on HFC reductions by 11 states.  In its guidance, the EPA said revoking the rules would “dispel confusion and provide regulatory certainty” after a federal appellate court in July 2017 struck down large portions of the Obama-era regulation.  NRDC filed a similar suit earlier this week.  Another legal fight over the EPA guidance raises concerns about avenues for regulations to change, even as the industry continues to advocate for U.S. participation in a 2016 global deal to phase down HFCs called the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Better Pavement Mean Better Fuel Econ, Less Emissions – As we begin the July 4th travel season, you or your colleagues should check out the important research by MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub on Pavement-Vehicle Interactions – studies about how we can lower fuel consumption and vehicle emissions by taking a new approach to building and maintaining our roadways.  It is a perfect add-in to any stories you or your colleagues may be considering on the heavy travel week this July 4th.

Wasted Energy in Travel – All vehicles, whether gasoline, diesel, or electric, use energy to move—but some of that energy is wasted. The quality of the roads we drive on every day impacts the amount of fuel we use, as well as the associated greenhouse gas emissions. On roads with poor surface conditions or inadequate structural properties (like many in our favorite District) vehicles consume additional fuel beyond what’s needed to move.  This wasted fuel is known as excess fuel consumption, and it has a significant impact on fuel economy and vehicle emissions.

Pavement Improvements Help Reduce Fuel Consumption – MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) researchers study pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) in an effort to understand and quantify the impacts of excess fuel consumption. MIT’s research focuses on three key factors:

  1. ROUGHNESS: whether the road is bumpy or smooth. Roughness, commonly seen and felt as the presence of cracks and potholes, has a significant impact on passenger vehicles.
  2. TEXTURE: the abrasiveness of the road surface, which can be seen and heard when driving.
  3. DEFLECTION: the bending of a pavement under the weight of a vehicle. Deflection is present from the initial construction, and depends on pavement design. Think of the difference between walking or riding on sand versus a paved surface.

Road Solutions Can Improve Fuel Efficiency, Reduce Emissions – CSHub studies suggest that excess fuel consumption can be significantly reduced by building stiffer roads and maintaining smoother pavements—benefiting states and municipalities alike through reductions in emissions and fuel costs to drivers.  And it reduces road ware costs on vehicles and tires, while improving driving comfort.  There are two case studies that quantify fuel waste on US roadways.  The impacts of excess fuel consumption depend on a variety of factors, including location, traffic levels, pavement designs, and maintenance schedules. MIT has done case studies examining real roadway networks, including in California and Virginia:

  • California: Using data collected by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) through the use of GPS and ground-penetrating radar, MIT conducted an analysis of the state’s entire 50,000 lane-mile system and found excess fuel consumption of 1 billion gallons over a 5-year period. The collaboration showed that PVI, including roughness and deflection, accounts for 1 percent of overall fuel consumption on California highways.
  • Virginia: A study of the Commonwealth’s interstate highway system—some 5,000 lane miles in total—identified 1 million tons of CO2 associated with EFC emissions over a 7-year period. Researchers also determined that only 1.3 percent of the interstate network is responsible for 10 percent of its total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning rehabilitation of those few lane miles could result in significant environmental improvements.

Who Can Help – If you’re looking for a resource to discuss the impact of pavement interaction on fuel economy and emissions, MIT’s Jeremy Gregory (jgregory@mit.edu) is available to address the key issues, impacts and examples surrounding improved pavements and infrastructure … and how this affects American communities and drivers.  MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub [cshub.mit.edu] is pushing the frontier of academic research into building materials, with implications for policymakers, communities, the transportation industry, fleets and the millions of American drivers hitting the roads over July 4th and all summer.  For more info, drop me a note, reach out to Jeremey or connect with MIT communications person Anne Wilson Yu.  You can reach her at awwilson@mit.edu

ACCF: Proxy Advisory Have Minimal Oversight – The American Council for Capital Formation released a new report that says proxy advisory firms are operating with minimal oversight.  The firms, which advise shareholders on how to assess and vote on company plans, are moving toward an increasingly activist stance on issues relating to the environment, as well as social and political issues. The report, titled “The Conflicted Role of Proxy Advisors,” examines the impact such proxy firms have on major policies at most publicly traded companies.  Our friend Dave Banks is leading an effort at ACCF on this issue.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

JULY 4th HOLIDAY

Stanford to Look at Behavior, Enviro Change – Stanford holds an event on Thursday evening featuring PhD Candidate Jen Wang, who will discuss an even more fundamental condition and challenge to positive environmental change – getting humans to change their behaviors. From the everyday choices we make to our combined organizational behaviors, human behavior is at the core of the environmental issues we care about.

Event to Honor Tesla Birthday – On Friday evening, the International Club of DC and the Embassy of Croatia host a dinner reception of Croatian culture, music, wine, and cuisine on the occasion of the 162nd anniversary of the birth of Croatian-born scientist Nikola Tesla. During the event, Tesla will have a Model S and Model X on display. Tesla product experts will be on hand to answer questions and show you how electric vehicles can fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Test rides will be offered on a first come, first serve basis.

IN THE FUTURE

 

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held tomorrow and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

BPC Forum to Examine Oil, Gas Issues – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) convenes a panel of experts to examine the current state of the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) movement in the oil and gas sector and explore what’s coming next. This movement continues to gain traction in a time when the regulatory agenda has changed significantly under the Trump Administration. ESG is particularly significant for the energy sector, specifically as shareholder resolutions surrounding climate change continue to take center stage in the media and in the boardroom.

Duke CEO, CARB Chair, Others Headline POLITICO Summit – POLITICO is hosting its second Pro Summit on July 17th at the Renaissance Hotel. The Pro Summit brings together Pro subscribers, expert reporters, key decision-makers, and others who are shaping the policy landscape for a full day of incisive conversations. Summit speakers include Rep. Joe Crowley, Duke CEO Lynn Good, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Amy Myers Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations, Coal CEO Bob Murray, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and many others.  Duke Energy is the main event sponsor.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on July 26th in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.