Energy Update: Week of 2/20

Friends,

Hope you enjoyed an extra day in honor of our Presidents.  It offered us a chance to watch a little more of the Winter Olympics. While there has been lots of great action, tomorrow’s Women’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal game may be the most significant event of the entire two-plus weeks.  While men’s ice hockey has taken a ratings hit because the NHL players didn’t play (thanks Gary Bettman), the game between the US-Canada should be spectacular.  In a pre-medal round game, the teams played to a hard-fought, very physical 2-1 Canada victory.  The final will likely pick up where that game left off.  And this is not new: remember in Sochi in 2014, Canada scrapped back from a two–goal deficit to win the Gold in OT.  Stay up late and watch…I suspect it will be worth it.

Congress is out this week, but there are still a few important things going on…  The National League of Cities hosts an infrastructure briefing this afternoon, while an advanced nuclear summit starts in College Station, TX today and runs through Thursday.  As well, EPA holds the first of its additional Clean Power plan repeal hearing tomorrow in KC while the Interior Department’s public hearings continue Thursday in DC.  Finally on Thursday, the Washington auto press hosts Consumer Reports to roll out their Top Picks for 2018.  The Conservative PAC also holds its annual meeting this week at the Gaylord just outside DC and in addition to the usual suspects, heads of EPA Scott Pruitt, DOE’s Rick Perry and Interior Ryan Zinke will speak as well.

Some interesting stories over the weekend.  Our friend Steve Mufson of the WaPo had a great piece on the bankruptcy of the Charleston Gazette and its often contentious relationship with the state’s coal industry.  Our good friend and long-time CG reporter Ken Ward featured prominently.  Also on Sunday, USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold authored a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the national security implications of a strong refining sector and how it is undercut by the complications surrounding excessive RIN costs pushing Philadelphia Energy Solutions into bankruptcy.

With Dave Banks departing, the Mexichem court case, previous State Dept comments and new legislation on HFC, there’s a lot of action surrounding HFC reductions and the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.  We can help with these stories so let me know if you are interested.

Finally, the American Council on Capital Formation (ACCF) has released a new paper just now that includes research from MIT and others on how to shape to shape infrastructure projects. And speaking of infrastructure, make your calendar for NEXT Thursday, March 1st when Bracewell hosts an infrastructure symposium featuring Sen. Ted Cruz, CEQ’s Alex Hergott and a number of other experts.

BTW, Spring training is under way…  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

1 (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Enhancing U.S. technological leadership and supporting U.S. industry and the jobs it creates and sustains are key components of our support for the Kigali Amendment, and this bill will create a certain pathway for implementation of Kigali if, as we hope, it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.”

Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute commenting on the new legislation introduced by Sen. Kennedy.

“America deserves world-class infrastructure, and to get there we need to change our thinking to include not just how best to fund it, but also how best to spend it. This report highlights the importance of life cycle cost analysis and competition in paving – something that over the years has faded from infrastructure policy discussions. If federal and state decision makers took this report as a playbook, America would see tremendous taxpayer cost savings and stronger infrastructure built to last long into the future.”

Portland Cement Association President and CEO Michael Ireland on the new ACCF Infrastructure report.

 

IN THE NEWS

ACCF Releases Paper on Shaping Infrastructure – The American Council on Capital Formation (ACCF) has released a new paper that includes research from MIT and others on how to shape to shape infrastructure projects. ACCF’s Pınar Cebi Wilber researched how new infrastructure projects could be more efficient and effective.  This special report first looks at the reasons for infrastructure investment and then sets the stage for steps that are crucial for successful infrastructure projects. Particular attention is paid to ways to use existing funds more effectively and to increase participation by the private sector. The paper concludes with alternative methods for financing and funding the country’s much needed infrastructure. One of the key recommendations Is increase use of the life cycle project analysis/assessment, taking a long-run view while evaluating infrastructure projects could save significant sums of money both at the federal and local levels during the life of a project. See the Report

Senators Introduce New Legislation to Implement HFC Amendment – U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, bipartisan legislation that would support the worldwide transition towards next generation coolants pioneered by what were described as “innovative companies in Louisiana and other states.” At issue are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners. The HFC industry employs nearly 600,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. Because of changing global policy, countries are moving away from using HFCs. This legislation will allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure a smooth phasedown of HFCs in the U.S., boosting the manufacturers producing next generation technologies. The bill would:

  • Clarify the authority of EPA in regulating HFC refrigerants and provide a market-friendly approach to rulemaking that will help facilitate a cost-effective transition to alternative refrigerants while maintaining or enhancing the performance of the equipment that uses the new refrigerants.
  • Enable the EPA to establish an HFC phase down mechanism using a cap-and-allocation system that encourages innovation and the commercialization of alternative refrigerants, preserving American technology leadership.
  • Provide the predictability needed for American private sector investment in HFC replacements.

AHRI Voices Support for Kennedy HFC Legislation – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute strongly supports the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2018. As the trade association representing both producers and users of refrigerants, AHRI has a keen interest in ensuring that the coming global phase down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants is accomplished in a smooth, orderly manner with as little impact on manufacturers and consumers as possible. AHRI said will help accomplish that goal by establishing a pathway for U.S. implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that establishes a framework for the global phase down.

Factbook Highlights State of Energy Economy – Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) released a comprehensive review of energy statistics in the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. The report says rapid deployment of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy in 2017 generated economic benefits without requiring increases in energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. Looking over the year, the growth of sustainable energy industries contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation, and the expansion of the American economy. The 2018 Factbook is the sixth edition of an annual resource that outlines key energy trends contributing to American economic competitiveness.

Energy Sector is Transforming – The transformation of the energy sector escalated in 2017, as evidenced by continuing trends:

  • Natural gas remained the primary source of power generation in the U.S., and wind and solar build, combined with increased hydropower generation, drove renewable generation up from 15% to 18% of the total electricity mix in one year.
  • Energy productivity, which is the amount of GDP produced by a unit of energy, climbed 2.5% in 2017.
  • Costs remained low: consumers devoted only 1.3% of their spending towards electricity, smaller than at any time ever recorded. This offset a rise in the share of spending devoted to gasoline and motor fuels (up to 2.1% in 2017 from 1.9% in 2016), allowing the total percent of household expenses dedicated to energy costs to hover under 4%, near an all-time low.
  • Emissions from the electricity sector plummeted again, falling 4.2% year-on-year to the lowest level in more than 27 years.

Competitive Energy Sector – The U.S. remains globally competitive for energy-intensive industries, thanks to low industrial power prices, and U.S. players continue to invest in clean energy:

  • Historically, industrial power prices in the U.S. have been among the most affordable in the world (averaging 6.76¢/kWh in 2016). The U.S. had the second lowest prices of the G-7 countries in 2016; Canada was number one.
  • Corporations are playing a stronger role in the energy transformation, increasingly demanding cleaner energy and seeking to capture gains from energy efficiency. In 2017, corporations signed new deals for 2.9 GW worth of offsite renewable capacity.
  • Global clean energy investment rose to $333 billion, the second-highest amount on record. U.S. investments tracked 2016 levels, at $57 billion, but saw a shift in capital deployment towards wind and energy smart technologies.

New Energy Sector Developments – there were several new developments in the energy sector in 2017 that continue to change our energy dynamics.

  • The U.S. is solidifying its role as a global liquefied natural gas exporter, and for the first time was a net exporter of natural gas for every month of the year.
  • New sales of battery, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid vehicles accelerated, driven by longer-range versions of existing models, long-range affordable BEVs, and the electrification of new car segments. Significantly, the price of lithium-ion battery packs, a key cost component for battery electric vehicles, plummeted 23% year-on-year and have fallen 65% in five years (between 2013 and year end 2017).
  • Greater climate commitments from sub-national and private sector actors emerged in response to federal government climate policy back-tracking. Federal-level actions ranging from trade cases to tax reform also caused uncertainty in the market for clean technologies.

The U.S. energy transformation is impacting the economy – These include successes on grid resilience, job creation and economic opportunites.

  • The renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas sectors employed approximately three million Americans in 2016. Energy efficiency, with nearly 2.2 million jobs, was the largest single employer within the sustainable energy sectors.
  • American economic growth is picking up steam, without a parallel jump in energy consumption. Since 2008, primary energy usage has shrunk 1.7% even as GDP has accelerated by 15.3%.
  • Utilities and independent developers continue to invest in infrastructure to improve grid operations and support the growth of clean energy. Investor-owned utilities and independent developers spent an estimated $22.9 billion on electric transmission in 2017, a 10% rise year-on-year and a 91% increase since 2011. Investment in midstream natural gas infrastructure (e.g., transmission, distribution and storage) climbed 19% from 2015 to 2016, with distribution accounting for nearly half of the escalation in spending. Total investment in distribution hit its highest level yet at $13.4bn, a 16% expansion from 2015 levels.

Where Can You Read It – The 2018 Factbook includes a comprehensive overview and detailed charts, graphs and sources for a wide range of information that defines the U.S. sustainable energy landscape.

The 2018 Factbook is offered in PDF format available electronically (download from the BCSE website here: http://www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook) and in a hard copy format directly from the BCSE. The Factbook is intended to serve as a reference guide of sustainable energy statistics throughout the year for media, policymakers, business and industry.

ClearPath to Support Costello in PA – ClearPath Action Fund is kicking off its 2018 cycle by endorsing Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) and pledging $1 million to help re-elect him in a swing Southeastern Pennsylvania district. The effort will begin with a six-figure, targeted TV and digital ad buy this spring to highlight Costello’s record advocating policies that expand clean and reliable energy.  “Ryan Costello is one of the most committed clean energy champions in Congress and we’re proud to make him our first 2018 endorsement,” ClearPath Action Fund Founder Jay Faison said.  A Public Opinion Strategies survey conducted last summer of GOP and swing voters in several districts and states key to the 2018 congressional election showed Republicans considerably gaining after focused messaging on clean energy. That included a 23-point boost in Costello’s 6th congressional district for a generic Republican candidate who espouses pro-clean energy messaging.

Cramer to Run for ND Senate Seat – North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer said he will challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp at an announcement rally for Friday afternoon.  Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in 2018 in a state President Trump won by more than 30 percentage points in 2016.

FERC Approves Storage Rule – Late Last week, FERC unanimously approved a final rule that would remove long-standing regulatory barriers in bringing batteries and other energy storage to the electric grid. FERC is ordering regional transmission and other grid operators to revise pricing to recognize the benefits of energy storage and allow the technology to compete with generators on the wholesale market. Energy storage is key to improving the reliability of intermittent renewable power sources and even helping constant-running nuclear become better utilized during peak times on the grid.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Advanced Nuke Conference Headlined by Current, Former NRC, Energy Officials – The Advanced Reactors Summit V and Showcase will run today through Thursday at Texas A&M in College Station, sponsored by the US Nuclear infrastructure Council.  Energy Under Secretary Mark Menezes, NRC Commissioner Stephen Burns, former NRC Commissioner and now OECD’s Director-General of the Nuclear Energy Agency Bill Magwood, top nuclear company representatives, former NRC Commissioner Jeff Merrifield, EIRP’s Irfan Ali and ClearPath Policy Director Jeremy Harrell are among those speaking.

DOE to Hold Electricity Committee Meeting – The Energy Department’s Electricity Advisory Committee will meet today at 1:00 p.m. at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Arlington.

Forum to Discuss Fukushima Research – The Embassy of Japan’s Information and Culture Center holds a discussion today at 6:30 p.m. on Fukushima.  For seven years, a research group from Fukushima University has been examining not only the damage from the disaster, but various aspects of its effects on the region, including food safety, community rebuilding, disaster prevention policies, and more. JICC will hold a video presentation and panel discussion with four professors from the Fukushima Research Group, who will discuss their research and views on the current situation of recovery in the damaged areas as well as reports from those who are on the “front lines” of community recovery. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A.

EPA Clean Power Plan Repeal Hearing Hits KC – EPA’s additional listening sessions for its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan start on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo.    The two remaining sessions will be in San Francisco next Wednesday and Gillette, Wyoming on March 27.  The EPA had already held one two-day meeting in West Virginia in late 2017.

CSIS to Hosts Forum on China, New Vehicles – The Center for Strategic & International Studies holds a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on China’s high-tech drive is its push to develop new-generation cars. To understand these trends and their implications, the Freeman Chair’s Scott Kennedy will first provide an overview of recent developments in Chinese policies and its auto sector. He will then moderate a panel discussion with leading experts from industry and academia on a range of issues about China and the industry more generally.  The speakers will include Zachary Kahn of BYD Heavy Energies, Wall Street Journal Detroit Bureau Chief John Stoll, Anand Shah of the Albright Stonebridge Group and JHU’s Jonas Nahm.

EPA Hosts CPP Repeal Hearing – EPA holds the first of its additional Clean Power plan repeal hearing tomorrow in Kansas City at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beacon Complex. The listening session will begin at 10:00 a.m. with opening remarks followed by oral testimony from those wishing to speak.

Forum to Look at FERC Decision on Grid NOPR – Tomorrow at Noon, the Global America Business Institute will host a presentation on the FERC Response to grid resilience in RTOs and ISOs.  The speaker will be Judah Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at ICF International.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Offshore Drilling Meeting Set to Hit DC – The Interior Department’s public hearings continue this week in DC with a hearing on Thursday to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Already, Interior has held meetings today in Annapolis MD, Jackson MS, Richmond VA, Dover DE, Augusta ME, Baton Rouge LA, Anchorage AK, Concord NH, Boston MA, Montgomery AL, Providence RI, Tacoma WA, Austin TX, Salem OR, Tallahassee FL, Sacramento CA, Hartford CT, Columbia SC, Hamilton NJ and Albany NY.  After Washington, DC Thursday, only Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28) remain.

Consumers to Reveal Annual Auto Issue – The Washington Automotive Press Association hosts Consumer Reports at the National Press Club on Thursday at Noon for lunch, and then at 12:45 p.m. for the official release of their Top Picks for 2018. Jake Fisher and Patrick Olsen of Consumer Reports will give an inside look at how Consumer Reports ranks and rates vehicles. Consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for CR’s Top Picks in cars and trucks. From best and worst in fuel economy, reliability and safety to tips on how to get the best deal, CR provides consumers unbiased ratings, recommendations, and advice that help consumers make informed decisions with their next car purchase.

Forum to Look at Coastal Communities – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss climate/weather risks to America’s coastal communities and the types of resilience plans local governments and regional partnerships are developing to safeguard their residents, built assets, and economies. The briefing will explore current and future infrastructure challenges facing public officials and how the federal government fits into the pursuit of these shared development goals.

Speakers for this forum are Miami-Dade County Chief Resilience Officer Jim Murley, Charleston, SC Chief Resilience Officer Mark Wilbert, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Steve Walz.

Offshore Drilling Forum Set – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will host a public meeting on its Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program on Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in DC.  It will use an open-house format, so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time. At the meetings, participants can ask questions, share information, talk with our team members one-on-one, and learn more about the National OCS Program.

WEN HAPPY HOUR – The Women’s Energy Network holds its winter Happy Hour reception on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Matchbox Bistro in Chinatown.

EPA to Discuss CT Petition – EPA will hold a public hearing on Friday at its D.C. headquarters regarding a 2016 petition filed by Connecticut asking the agency to order stronger pollution controls at a Pennsylvania power plant whose emissions Connecticut says harm its downwind air quality.

SEPA Head to Speak to Renewable Group – The Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy will hold a WRISE DC lunch and learn with Julia Hamm, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on Friday at Noon.  .Hamm will discuss her recent trips to and work with Puerto Rico, what SEPA is doing more broadly, as well as take-aways from her decades of work in renewable energy.

Forum to Look at Reforming Jones Act – The Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project holds a discussion on Friday at Noon on whether it is time to reform the Jones Act.  SMU’s James Coleman and former member of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission Rob Quartel will be among the speaker.

Finland Chamber to Discuss Company – The Finnish America Chamber of Commerce will hold a lunch with Neste representatives on Friday at Noon.  Neste was listed as the second most sustainable company in the world on the Global 100 List.  Neste’s jump was enabled particularly by the company’s continued good overall performance, especially in Clean Air Productivity, measuring the air emissions of the company.  Neste’s Johan Lunabba, Adrian Suharto and Dayne Delahoussaye will speak.

IN THE FUTURE

Climate, Security Forum Set – Next Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, holds their 2018 Climate and National Security Forum: A Responsibility to Prepare. This year’s forum panels will focus on the risks that climate change presents to national security on an operational and strategic level, and the challenges and opportunities in preparing to counter and manage those risks.

BP Energy Outlook Set for Release – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host the U.S. launch of BP Energy Outlook 2018 on Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m. Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, will present the findings of the outlook followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

BPC to Focus on Nuclear Energy Exports – The Bipartisan Policy Center hold a discussion next Monday at 10:00 a.m. with members of DOE, the U.S. nuclear energy industry, academia, and the Nuclear Innovation Alliance looking at the vital role that the export control regulations play in nuclear energy commerce and nonproliferation efforts. The conversation will focus on recommendations from a recent Nuclear Innovation Alliance report on how the regulations and their implementation can be improved.  Speakers will include NNSA’s Kate Strangis and Matt Bunn of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Look at Short-Term Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a conference Tuesday February 27th on the short-term outlook for U.S. tight oil production and its implications for global oil markets.  As we enter the new year with renewed commitment from the OPEC/non-OPEC partnership, Brent has continued to climb from $45 per barrel low in 2017 to $70 in January 2018. Global economic growth continues to look robust, oil stocks are clearly in decline, geopolitical challenges remain ever-present, and market sentiment looks bullish (for now). However, persistently higher prices have the potential to bring on additional supply from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources.  In this context, much attention is being directed to prospective U.S. supply growth. Based on assessments of resource strength, well productivity, hedging activity, cash flow, break even costs, and a sizeable backlog in drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), estimates of U.S. near-term output vary widely and challenges remain. Against this backdrop, the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a distinguished group of experts to discuss the outlook moving forward.  Our friend Paul Sankey will speak at the event.

ERCOT Market Forum Set – The ERCOT Market Summit will be held on February 27th though March 1st. The forum will look at perspectives on ERCOT Market Reform, end-use customers, Plant Retirements, Resource Adequacy and Reliability and dealing with the Impacts of Wholesale Price Volatility in ERCOT.

Forum to Look at Coal Issues – Next Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., New York University Washington, DC Center marks the release of the Winter 2018 Issues in Science and Technology with comments from Charles Herrick and Ana Unruh Cohen.  Herrick and Cohen will discuss how US greenhouse gas regulations affect the coal industry and other energy sectors. They will look at what other factors have led to a decline in the country’s coal use, and how these forces might shape US energy production in the future.

ANS Head to Address Nuke Issues – Next Tuesday, February 27th at Noon, Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington hosts a speech by Dr. John E. Kelly, Vice-President/President-Elect of the American Nuclear Society.  Kelly recently retired from the U.S. Department of Energy as the Chief Technology and was responsible for establishing the strategic technical direction for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s research, development, demonstration, and deployment portfolios.

Bracewell to Host Infrastructure Event – Bracewell will hold an infrastructure symposium on Thursday March 1st at 9:00 a.m. in 902 Hart. The event will feature Sen. Ted Cruz, CEQ Infrastructure lead Alex Hergott and many other Bracewell experts.

Wilson to Look at Climate, Women – On Thursday, March 1st at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a discussion of how climate displacement is changing the role of women in their communities and how women are leading their communities to overcome its impacts. With panelists from the development sector, academia, and journalism, we will look at this issue globally and dive into individual stories of resilience and leadership.

RFF, Stanford Experts Launch Climate, Policy Book – On Friday March 2nd at 9:00 a.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hold the public launch of Confronting the Climate Challenge: US Policy Options, a new book that presents a unique framework for evaluating the impacts of a range of US climate-policy options, both for the economy overall and for particular household groups, industries, and regions.  Authors Marc Hafstead and Lawrence Goulder will discuss the book, followed by a moderated Q&A session.

Forum to Look at Resilient Buildings – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) hold a briefing on Friday March 2nd at Noon looking at the public/private drive toward resilient buildings.  These are structures that are located, designed and built (or renovated) to withstand extreme weather, cyberterrorism, and other hazards now and for years to come. This briefing will explore what makes buildings resilient; why resilience is important for multiple policy challenges, including infrastructure modernization, emergency preparedness, disaster response, and research funding; and how public-private sector collaboration in research, worker training and investment partnerships benefit society now and well into the future.  Speakers will include National Roofing Contractors Association head and former Rep. Reid Ribble, Debra Ballen of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Paul Totten of WSP USA.

WCEE to Discuss Western Energy Imbalance – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a lunch and learn forum on Friday, March 2nd to get an overview of the Western Energy Imbalance Market from FERC staff Elisabeth Olson who worked in the California electricity market during EIM implementation.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

Wilson to Look at Green Finance – On Monday, March 6th at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center‘s China Environment Forum hosts a discussion of China’s rapid rise as a green finance champion.  CEF is bringing in three experts to delve into the financial and environmental opportunities and risks as China moves into this new era of green financing. Derek Ip, a Senior Analyst at Trucost, will discuss the findings of a recently published report on the financial and water risks in China’s coal-to-chemical sector in western China, and how this risk approach could spur better environmental performance from other pollution- and energy-intense industries in China. Alan Xiangrui Meng, a market analyst in Climate Bonds Initiative’s London office will explore the expanding green bond market in China, which is spurring new environmental protection and clean energy industries, as well as some greyer industries. Carolyn Szum, who heads the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) Integrated Team on Systems, Economic Analysis, and Modeling, will explain how CERC-BEE is working with U.S. and Chinese financial institutions to develop and pilot innovative financing mechanisms to scale up energy efficiency in China.

Third Way Forum to Look at Future Nukes – Third Way holds its third annual Advanced Nuclear Summit on March 6th in Washington, DC.  As the advanced nuclear sector gets closer to licensing and constructing new power plants, we will explore how nuclear leaders can engage with communities on the ground, how these technologies can help meet their needs, and how to address the challenges that concern them.  The forum is co-hosted by GAIN and the Idaho, Oak Ridge, and Argonne National Labs.

Wind Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold a forum on March 6th at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel.  The forum will look at the regional offshore wind market, discuss opportunities for US developers and Tier 1 and 2 supplier, and listen to available State resources.  Speakers include MEA’s Mary Beth Tung, BOEM’s Daryl Francois and our friends Clint Plummer of Deepwater Wind and Raul Rich of US Wind.
EESI, BSCE to Host Staff Brief on FactBook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosts a lunch briefing on Friday March 9th In 2168 Rayburn focused on the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. A panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance will discuss.

BPC Infrastructure Hub Sets Innovation Forum – The BPC Infrastructure Lab hold its second event in a series on Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations on Tuesday March 13th at 10:00 a.m. The American economy is increasingly driven by a powerful network of billions of “smart” and connected devices, ranging from miniscule sensors to massive industrial machines. From autonomous vehicles to smart water meters, today’s innovations are transforming how we live and how our core industries do business.  These technological advancements also raise important policy questions: What infrastructure investments must be made to ensure that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), the infrastructure that underlies the innovation, has the powerful and reliable communications network needed to sustain it? How can we incorporate IIoT innovations, such as custom private networks that combine satellite-terrestrial technologies, to improve the quality and competitiveness of our infrastructure?

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Solar Operations Conference Set – On March 13-14th, Solar Asset Management North America will hold its 5th edition in San Francisco. The event is the leading conference focused on the operational phase of solar plants and portfolios. The recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case as well as the new tax provisions will also affect the existing assets, budgets and O&M. The conference aims to fully assess and quantify the impact on the future of the solar industry.

Offshore Wind Partnership Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum on April 3rd to 6th in Princeton New Jersey.  The IPF is the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States and is dedicated to moving the industry forward.  Among the speakers will be BOEM’s Walter Cruickshank and James Bennett, Statoil’s Sebastian Bringsværd, U of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone, NYSERDA’s Greg Lampman, Recharge’s Darius Snieckus Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski and NWF’s Collin O’Mara.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

Energy Update: Week of February 12

Friends,

The Winter Olympics are ON!!!!!!  Winners of the first medals of the games for the US were in the were in the Slopestyle Snowboarding race where 17-year-old Red Gerard took the Men’s race Saturday and Jamie Anderson won the Women’s race Sunday. And Women’s Hockey took down Finland.  Before we get going, I always like to mention our friend Scott Segal in the Bacchus parade (this year it’s the 50th year) at the Mardi Gras celebrations that run through Fat Tuesday tomorrow.  Valentine’s Day is Wednesday as is Ash Wednesday.

We start today’s update with analysis on both the just-released infrastructure principles and last week’s energy tax provisions finally approved as part of the Budget deal.  In the infrastructure space, the plan outlines $200 billion of Fed dollars, but leans heavily on states and local governments and private/public partnerships. It also carves out $50 billion for rural infrastructure projects and outlines a strategy to revamp federal project permitting.  We are looking at five major categories:

1) Infrastructure Permitting

2) Public Finance/Appropriations

3) Public/Private Partnerships

4) Innovation

5) Life Cycle Analysis 

There is more on each of these topic areas below, and in the coming days, we will provide a detailed assessment of each. If you are following the infrastructure debate, you’ll want to tune in to a March 1st Bracewell forum on Capitol Hill that we are hosting that will feature insights from policymakers and industry representatives involved in crafting the next key elements infrastructure policy.

On the budget, OMB released FY2019 Budget outlines this Administration’s key funding priorities.  While we always downplay the Admin’s budget, this one is more relevant as it accounts for the Bipartisan Budget Act (aka “the caps deal”) passed by Congress last week.  Look for slight increases in some places like DOE and Interior with some decreases in other places like EPA.  As usual, expect Congress to play a more significant budget role in right-sizing much of this funding.  Experts here can help, so please drop me a note.

The other big story this week is the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will release its annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook for 2018 on Thursday.  In its 6th year, the Factbook provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas. Also tomorrow afternoon at the Capitol Visitors Center, our friends at Johnson Controls will join a panel on battery sustainability and recycling led by Sen Portman, his Senate Auto Caucus colleagues and the Responsible Battery Coalition.  The Atlantic Council also holds an interesting forum on Iraq and Energy tomorrow.

NARUC Commissioners are in town for their annual Winter Meeting and will be hearing from Lisa Murkowski and many others.   And with ethanol policy in the news lately, the Renewable Fuels Assn’s National Ethanol Conference launches in San Antonio today.

Hearings this week include Wednesday afternoon’s House Energy panel hearing on New Source Review reform featuring our colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Office head and NRDC friend John Walke (I don’t think they will be agreeing much!).  Meanwhile at the same time, a House Resources Committee panel will look at the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure.

Finally tonight, tune in to the New England Sports Network for the finals of the 66th annual Beanpot college hockey tournament. The first two Monday nights of February in Boston are reserved for the Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament that features Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern.  In the Semis last week, nationally-ranked Northeastern blanked BC 3-0, while BU tripped Harvard 3-2 in double OT.  BC-Harvard starts at 4:30 p.m. while the finals go at 7:30 p.m., all at the Boston (TD) Garden.

And in case you missed it, college lacrosse started this past weekend and pitchers and catchers report in just two days with full teams next week for spring training.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations. Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth. At the same time, the fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country as a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable energy source.””

Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation on the release of the National Solar Jobs Census 2017.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Today, the President announced more details regarding the new national infrastructure initiative that he referenced during his State of the Union address.  The details suggest the Administration is taking a new approach to infrastructure—coupling traditional infrastructure concepts with modern approaches to funding and permitting.  This new approach will have significant impacts on the energy industry, manufacturing, utilities, highways, railways, tech, and telecom.

The Role of Infrastructure Permitting – The environmental review and permitting process for energy infrastructure is often unpredictable and challenging.  The White House has suggested expansive reforms to the permitting process intended to improve it through increased coordination of federal agencies, defined timelines, and revisions to the process by which states participate in the permitting process.  These reforms, and in particular the role of states in the permitting process, are likely to generate significant discussions on states’ rights and cooperative federalism.

The Role of Public Finance, Appropriations – The looming question with this infrastructure package is how the government will pay for it, especially given the recently enacted two-year budget deal. The Administration’s stated goal is to leverage roughly $200 billion in direct federal outlays into $1.5 trillion in total infrastructure spending. Doing so will require creativity in identifying revenue sources and developing innovative financing tools that will entice state and local governments to invest alongside private industry. Achieving this ambitious target will require a mix of new loan instruments, federal grant money through the annual Congressional appropriations process, and an expansion of existing tools such as private activity bonds.

The Role of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) – The ability of private entities to engage with government to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure may be the linchpin of this proposal. The most obvious way for private companies to participate in projects that serve the broader civil interest is through public-private partnerships. But despite the rising prominence of P3s among the states and across the globe, the U.S. government’s ability to employ these tools is hampered by significant statutory and regulatory barriers. In order to harness the skills—and the funds—of the private sector on a trillion-dollar scale, the authority of the federal government to engage in P3s will have to be expanded and the process streamlined.

The Role of Innovation – In addition to conventional infrastructure like roads, bridges, and utilities, the Administration’s plan carves out a place for “transformative” projects that seek to make significant investments in emerging technologies.  The idea is for government to work with private industry to facilitate the next “moon shot” and encourage development of transformative infrastructure projects. From a national 5G network to the next generation of smart grid technologies, policymakers will be looking for innovative infrastructure projects to keep pace with the growing digital economy.

The Role of Life Cycle Analysis – Whether the cause is natural disasters to simple wear-and-tear, our nation’s infrastructure incurs billions of dollars of damage and degradation every year.  The use of life cycle analysis techniques allows planners to better calibrate the long-term economic and environmental impacts of choices made at the front end of a project involving design, materials, and a host of other factors—significantly allowing for more meaningful, long-term infrastructure investment decisions.

THE BUDGET DEAL

Another Shutdown…And a Deal – The budget deal is the big story looking back at late last week.  You may have missed the shutdown because it occurred from about Friday at midnight to Friday Morning when President Trump signed the deal.

Why the Delay? – There was the framework of a deal as far back as Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul slowed the Senate to a crawl Thursday evening objecting into the overall cost of the deal.

Four Corners – The deal is the biggest fiscal package passed by Congress in nearly a decade, which sets new limits on how much the government can spend in the next two years. The deal keeps the government operating on another temporary funding patch until March 23. But Congress must still pass another bill, known as an omnibus, with detailed spending levels for each government program for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends in September.  As part of the deal, military spending will rise to $700 billion for fiscal 2018, roughly 10% above current levels. Domestic spending will also get a boost to $591 billion.

The Energy Piece – The budget deal included tax extenders, which includes the 5-year phase-out tax credits for 48c and 25D (starting on page 209).  The other credits that were modified are the 45J production tax credit for nuclear that is imperative for the future of a nuclear plant in Georgia and the 45Q credit for carbon capture and sequestration. The nuclear production credit eliminates the 2020 placed-in-service deadline in the credit. That frees it up to be used not just to help complete Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle AP1000 reactor project but also the advanced technologies that represent the future of the nuclear sector, such as NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design.  The 45Q fix gives a boost to pioneering efforts such as NET Power that could capture and use all the carbon emitted from facilities powered by both coal and natural gas. The 45Q incentive has the potential to dramatically boost commercial carbon capture deployment in the U.S., which can also lead to significant increases in enhanced oil recovery and other economic benefits.

ClearPath Weighs in on Nuclear, CCS – The ClearPath Foundation said Congress delivered a potentially game-changing clean energy victory by fixing two critical carbon capture and advanced nuclear tax incentives as part of the broader budget deal.   “This is an awesome one-two punch for the future of U.S.-led clean and reliable energy,” ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell said.  “This is not only a big win for two of our most important clean energy prospects but also a product of tremendous bipartisan teamwork,” ClearPath Action Founder Jay Faison said. “This can serve as a template both for the commercialization of technologies preventing an enormously consequential amount of CO2 from going into the atmosphere as well as future collaboration in Congress to continue to give the U.S. a much-needed innovation edge over China.”

CCS Credits Help Nat Gas Too – Speaking of the success on CCS, ClearPath’s Faison also explained in a blogpost last week prior to the vote that carbon capture is not just crucial to the future of coal but also a valuable insurance policy for our booming natural gas industry. Tax credits will allow us to affordably scale up carbon capture from natural gas at NET Power and elsewhere and protects our gas industry from whatever supercharged Clean Power Plan a future Democratic White House will inevitably throw at the power sector, Jay wrote. It could mean coal and gas can both have a future that’s clean and bright, no matter who wins the White House or what regulators in Europe and China decide on.

GEO Praises Inclusion of Orphan Tax Credits – The geothermal heat pump industry was relieved they have finally received the tax Credits they have been lacking since they were left out of the 2015 deal.   Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) executive Ryan Dougherty said the deal marks a significant step toward achieving our goal of tax parity.  “Geothermal heat pumps are 100% ‘Made in the USA’ with American-made components manufactured and installed by American workers. With the extension of federal tax credits being revived, the entire geothermal supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors, dealers, contractors, installers, drillers – plus all the families and small businesses that they support – will finally get the relief we have needed since being left on the sidelines in 2015. AHRI’s Joe Trauger said all of these credits and deductions “provide welcome incentives for American consumers and businesses to replace aging, less efficient equipment with that that is saves energy and helps the environment.”

BCSE Raises Concerns about Multi-Year Extension – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President Lisa Jacobson praised the passage of the clean energy tax provisions as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act this week. But they also raised concerns about the lack of parity between clean energy tax measures continues to hinder investment and job creation in a number of sectors that contribute to a diverse, reliable and affordable energy system. BCSE had called for multi-year extensions of all the pending energy extenders and also sought to modify or expand tax measures to level the sustainable energy playing field for waste heat to power, energy storage, and commercial geothermal. BCSE is disappointed that the Bipartisan Budget Act did not adopt those proposed changes.

NEORI: Deal is Landmark Victory for CCS – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) said the 45Q credit will drive private investment in commercial deployment of technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants and industrial facilities for enhanced oil recovery and other forms of geologic storage and for beneficial uses of CO2. The victory represents one of the most significant energy and environmental accomplishments by Congress in recent memory according to Brad Crabtree of the Great Plains Institute, which co-convenes NEORI with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “Passage of this legislation highlights the potential for carbon capture to marshal support across the political spectrum for a policy that will boost American energy production, reduce carbon emissions, protect and create high-wage jobs, and increase federal and state revenue.” C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, said leaders from both parties have demonstrated a commitment to reducing carbon emissions while protecting and creating jobs and investing in new American industries.

IN THE NEWS

EIA Releases Annual Energy Outlook – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) last week providing modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050.  The report includes cases with different assumptions regarding macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. Strong domestic production coupled with relatively flat energy demand allow the United States to become a net energy exporter over the projection period in most cases. In the Reference case, natural gas consumption grows the most on an absolute basis, and nonhydroelectric renewables grow the most on a percentage basis.  EIA said the US will become a net exporter of energy by 2022, four years earlier than it projected last year.  EIA’s forecast predicts that oil production will taper off around 2040 as the shale fields currently operating are tapped out, but not before increasing to about 12 million barrels a day.

Renewables Also Booming – The latest issue of FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Update (with data through December 31, 2017) says renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for half (49.85%) of the 24,614 megawatts (MW) of new U.S. electrical generating capacity placed into service in 2017. New natural gas capacity accounted for 48.67%, with the balance coming from waste heat (0.89%), nuclear (0.41%), and oil (0.16%). There was no new coal capacity added during 2017.  Growth in new solar capacity has been most dramatic. By the end of 2017, installed generating capacity at utility-scale (i.e., 1-MW or larger) solar facilities totaled 30.30 GW – roughly eight times (7.77%) greater than that FERC reported five years ago in its December 2012 “Energy Infrastructure Update.” Solar is now 2.55% of total U.S. installed utility-scale generating capacity. Moreover, inasmuch as FERC data do not include distributed solar (e.g., rooftop PV), actual U.S. solar capacity is significantly higher – perhaps 30% or more. Combined, the generating capacity of non-hydro renewables is 73.89% greater than that reported five years ago.

Solar Foundation Report Raises 2018 Concerns – All the new on renewables is not totally good.   New solar tariffs risk solar jobs in 2018 according to a new report from the Solar Foundation.  The solar industry employment declined in 2017, while jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2017, the Foundation’s 8th annual report on solar employment.  The Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017, representing a 3.8 percent decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. This is the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010.  However, the long-term trend continues to show significant jobs growth. The solar workforce increased by 168% in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.

Interesting Solar Facts – Some key findings from the National Solar Jobs Census 2017 include:

  • Demand-side sectors (installation, sales & distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent of overall solar industry employment, while manufacturing makes up 15 percent. Demand-side sectors lost approximately 7,500 jobs in 2017, while manufacturing lost about 1,200 jobs.
  • The solar industry is more diverse than comparable industries, but more needs to be done to ensure it is representative of the greater U.S. population. Women made up 27% of the solar workforce in 2017, down 1% from 2016. Veterans made up 9% of solar workers, which is 2% more than the overall U.S. workforce.
  • Solar employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry. (These comparisons with other industries are based on 2016 jobs numbers, the most recent data available for an apples-to-apples comparison.)

Canadians Suing; EU Worried about Solar Tariffs – Canadian solar manufacturers challenged the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs in the International Court of Trade. Ontario-based Silfab Solar, Heliene and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., along with U.S.-based distributor Canadian Solar, filed the challenge, claiming that an investigation last year by the International Trade Commission found Canadian products don’t significantly hurt U.S. manufacturers and don’t account for much of the overall imports of solar cells to the country. The complaint was filed now because Customs and Border Protection began collecting the tariff on Wednesday, creating the injury for the companies. Meanwhile, the European Union said it is seeking compensation through the World Trade Organization, citing Germany’s significant production of solar panels for the North American market.

RUS Appointee Praised by NRECA, UTC – Missouri Co-op head Kenneth Johnson has been nominated by President Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. Johnson is general manager and CEO of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative and president for Co-Mo Connect in Missouri NRECA head former Rep. Jim Matheson said they were “excited and thrilled” to hear the news. “The ongoing collaboration between RUS and electric co-ops remains essential to the success of rural communities across the nation as co-ops invest in infrastructure upgrades to modernize the grid and meet consumer expectations. Ken is exceptionally qualified to serve in this role.” Utilities Technology Council CEO Joy Ditto added Johnson is an outstanding person to lead the Rural Utilities Service. “His background is perfectly suited for this position, as he understands the needs of utilities in rural America. He led deployment of a fiber-to-the-home broadband network in rural Missouri that provides robust, affordable and reliable broadband services to 15,000 homes and businesses.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Murkowski, FERC Commissioners to Address NARUC – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners holds its annual Winter Policy Summit today through Wednesday.   The Summit will convene an array of speakers from federal agencies, industry, the media, advocacy organizations and more.  Keynote speakers Include Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, as well as FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Rick Glick, Reps. Bill Johnson and Tom Reed and Montana PUC Chair Travis Kavula.  Other speakers include Southern’s Bruce Edelston, SEIA’s Sean Gallagher, IECA’s Paul Cicio, Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s Ruth McCormick, Kyle Rogers of AGA, Statoil’s Kevin Maule, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey and our friend Dave Shepardson of Reuters.

WRI Climate Head to Address Group – Paula Caballero, Global Director of the World Resources Institute’s Climate Program, will be featured at keynote speaker today at 3:00 p.m. at the National Press Club. She will be joined by a distinguished panel for lively debate featuring panelists GWU’s Kathleen Merrigan, Leonard Jordan of USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and RFF’s Ann Bartuska.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference today through Wednesday in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Forum to Look at Transmission – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on the widespread, substantial, and long-lasting benefits of investment in electric transmission. The briefing will showcase two London Economics International studies – one study quantifies the future benefits of transmission investment based on two hypothetical projects, the second dispels many of the myths that deter and delay transmission investment.  This panel will discuss why transmission should be a major component of the infrastructure conversation and how the economic and societal benefits from a robust high-voltage grid are so important. Speakers study author Julia Frayer of London Economics International, ITC’s Nina Plaushin and former FERC Chair James Hoecker.

Forum to Look at Iraq, Energy – Tomorrow at Noon, the Atlantic Council will hold a conversation with a panel of experts to discuss Iraq’s energy potential, export opportunities, and the influence of political dynamics on reforming the energy sector.  Speakers will include Luay Al-Khatteeb of the Iraq Energy Institute, Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Atlantic Council Global Energy Center director Ellen Scholl.

Holdren to Address UMd Forum – The University of Maryland at College Park hosts an interactive discussion tomorrow at Noon featuring Dr. John Holdren and the University of Maryland Global Sustainability Initiative.  Currently the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Holdren served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama Administration.

Forum to Look at Battery Sustainability – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center SVC-214, the U.S. Senate Auto Caucus, Sen. Rob Portman and the Responsible Battery Coalition will host a forum focused on vehicle battery sustainability and recycling.  Featured panelists will include Responsible Battery Coalition head Pat Hayes, Ramon Sanchez of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Johnson Controls’ sustainability expert Adam Muellerweiss, Jonathan Moser of Lafarge Canada, AutoZone’s Ray Pohlman and Micah Thompson, environmental affairs exec with Advance Auto Parts.

House Energy Look at NSR – The House Energy & Commerce panel on the Environment will holds a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to look at New Source Review permitting challenges for manufacturing and infrastructure.  The hearing with feature former PEA Air Office Head and Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead, former OMB official and AF&PA policy Head Paul Noe, NRDC’s John Walke, Arkansas DEQ  air director Stuart Spencer, PA Chamber official Kevin Sunday and GWU Law Professor Emily Hammond.

House Resources to Look at Water, Power Infrastructure – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.  looking at the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability ReportBloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in Washington, DC, on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.  Speakers include BNEF’s Ethan Zindler and Rachel Luo, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, SEIA’s Abby Hopper, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, NHA’s Jeff Leahey, AGA’s Dave McCurdy and Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls.  The panel will look at the cost of energy for consumers and businesses, and how has this changed over time; U.S. ranking for energy prices and clean energy investment; clean energy contributions to American jobs and other items.  There will be a second stakeholder briefing at Noon.

FERC Meeting Set – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., FERC will hold open meeting.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Fannon Nom Hearing – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider several nominations including our friend Frank Fannon to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Energy Resources).

House Science to Look at STEM – The House Science Research and Technology Subcommittee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on mentoring, training and apprenticeships for STEM education and careers.

House Resources to Look at Critical Minerals – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on national strategic and critical minerals production.

Solar Tariff Proponents Discuss Case on Hill – Advocates for the tariffs on solar components will hold a staff briefing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in 2253 Rayburn to discuss their Section 201 “global safeguard” case on solar imports and steps forward for Suniva and SolarWorld.  Tim Brightbill and Warren Payne will speak.

IN THE FUTURE

FEBRUARY 19 – President’s Day Holiday.

Forum to Look at FERC Decision on Grid NOPR – On Wednesday, February 21st at Noon, the Global America Business Institute will host a presentation on the FERC Response to grid resilience in RTOs and ISOs.  The speaker will be Judah Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at ICF International.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

WEN HAPPY HOUR – The Women’s Energy Network holds its winter Happy Hour reception on Thursday February 22nd at 5:30 p.m. at Matchbox Bistro in Chinatown.

SEPA Head to Speak to Renewable Group – The Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy will hold a WRISE DC lunch and learn with Julia Hamm, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on Friday February 23rd at Noon.  .Hamm will discuss her recent trips to and work with Puerto Rico, what SEPA is doing more broadly, as well as take-aways from her decades of work in renewable energy.

Climate, Security Forum Set – On Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, holds their 2018 Climate and National Security Forum: A Responsibility to Prepare. This year’s forum panels will focus on the risks that climate change presents to national security on an operational and strategic level, and the challenges and opportunities in preparing to counter and manage those risks.

BP Energy Outlook Set for Release – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host the U.S. launch of BP Energy Outlook 2018 on Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m. Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, will present the findings of the outlook followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

BPC to Focus on Nuclear Energy Exports – The Bipartisan Policy Center hold a discussion next Monday at 10:00 a.m. with members of DOE, the U.S. nuclear energy industry, academia, and the Nuclear Innovation Alliance looking at the vital role that the export control regulations play in nuclear energy commerce and nonproliferation efforts. The conversation will focus on recommendations from a recent Nuclear Innovation Alliance report on how the regulations and their implementation can be improved.  Speakers will include NNSA’s Kate Strangis and Matt Bunn of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Look at Short-Term Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a conference Tuesday February 27th on the short-term outlook for U.S. tight oil production and its implications for global oil markets.  As we enter the new year with renewed commitment from the OPEC/non-OPEC partnership, Brent has continued to climb from $45 per barrel low in 2017 to $70 in January 2018. Global economic growth continues to look robust, oil stocks are clearly in decline, geopolitical challenges remain ever-present, and market sentiment looks bullish (for now). However, persistently higher prices have the potential to bring on additional supply from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources.  In this context, much attention is being directed to prospective U.S. supply growth. Based on assessments of resource strength, well productivity, hedging activity, cash flow, break even costs, and a sizeable backlog in drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), estimates of U.S. near-term output vary widely and challenges remain. Against this backdrop, the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a distinguished group of experts to discuss the outlook moving forward.  Our friend Paul Sankey will speak at the event.

ERCOT Market Forum Set – The ERCOT Market Summit will be held on February 27th though March 1st. The forum will look at perspectives on ERCOT Market Reform, end-use customers, Plant Retirements, Resource Adequacy and Reliability and dealing with the Impacts of Wholesale Price Volatility in ERCOT.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

Third Way Forum to Look at Future Nukes – Third Way holds its third annual Advanced Nuclear Summit on March 6th in Washington, DC.  As the advanced nuclear sector gets closer to licensing and constructing new power plants, we will explore how nuclear leaders can engage with communities on the ground, how these technologies can help meet their needs, and how to address the challenges that concern them.  The forum is co-hosted by GAIN and the Idaho, Oak Ridge, and Argonne National Labs.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

EESI, BSCE to Host Staff Brief on FactBook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosts a lunch briefing on Friday March 9th In 2168 Rayburn focused on the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. A panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance will discuss.

BPC Infrastructure Hub Sets Innovation Forum – The BPC Infrastructure Lab hold its second event in a series on Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations on Tuesday March 13th at 10:00 a.m. The American economy is increasingly driven by a powerful network of billions of “smart” and connected devices, ranging from miniscule sensors to massive industrial machines. From autonomous vehicles to smart water meters, today’s innovations are transforming how we live and how our core industries do business.  These technological advancements also raise important policy questions: What infrastructure investments must be made to ensure that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), the infrastructure that underlies the innovation, has the powerful and reliable communications network needed to sustain it? How can we incorporate IIoT innovations, such as custom private networks that combine satellite-terrestrial technologies, to improve the quality and competitiveness of our infrastructure?

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Solar Operations Conference Set – On March 13-14th, Solar Asset Management North America will hold its 5th edition in San Francisco. The event is the leading conference focused on the operational phase of solar plants and portfolios. The recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case as well as the new tax provisions will also affect the existing assets, budgets and O&M. The conference aims to fully assess and quantify the impact on the future of the solar industry.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 5

Friends,

I have to say that was a great Super Bowl.  So much offense and so much back and forth.  Wow…and Punxsutawney Phil still says six more weeks of winter.  It is the first Super Bowl and as well as first NFL Championship for the Eagles since 1960.  While so many Eagles fans are relieved to finally have a Super Bowl, it now leaves just Browns (1964) and Lions (1957) fans still out in the cold with the longest drought and no Super Bowl appearances.  While teams like Arizona (Cardinals franchise hasn’t won since 1947 through Chicago & St. Louis), Minnesota (1961), Tennessee (Houston Oilers 1961, Chargers (1963) and Atlanta (1965) all have had at least Super Bowl sniffs.  Special props to avid update readers, die-hard Philly sports Phanatics and longtime friends: Brian Sansoni, Comms VP at American Cleaning Institute and Paul Copleman of Avangrid.

Speaking of the Super Bowl and energy, props also to FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson who won a bet over fellow Commissioner and Patriots fan Cheryl LaFleur.  Powelson, who offered up some Kobi Chessesteaks (with Cheez Whiz, I hope) while LeFleur, of course, offered Lobsters.  Looks like they upped the ante with Sam Adams and Victory IPA

It seems like we have seen this movie before, but this week will likely be consumed by budget funding discussions and a new CR.  There are a number of energy-related committee hearings this week starting to move legislation.  Other key events include a House Energy hearing tomorrow on nuclear Infrastructure; Wednesday’s Senate EPW will finally look to move EPA Deputy Administrator (now that Kathleen Harnett-White has withdrawn her CEQ nomination) then look at ag impacts of WOTUS; and Senate Energy hearing Thursday looking at energy infrastructure.

Off the Hill, the National Association of State Energy Officials holds its Energy Policy Outlook Conference tomorrow.  WCEE hosts Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of Energy Storage Association on Wednesday to discuss battery storage and the impact it will have on the evolving energy markets.  On Friday, the energy economists hosts Wood MacKenzie Research Director for Natural Gas Liquids Anne Keller for its February lunch.

Opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics is on Friday, with three weeks of skiing, hockey, bobsledding, ski jumping, et al to follow!  Here is the link to NBC’s coverage schedule portal.

 

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The Kigali Amendment is a rare agreement that has the support of everyone from industry to environmentalists.  It supports human health, it supports the environment, and it supports industry.”

Steve Forbes at a Hudson Institute Event on the HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

 

IN THE NEWS

 Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute this morning to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.  Keynote speaker Steve Forbes said the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is one of those rare environmental policies that offers almost everyone something they can like – liberal, conservative, businessperson, environmentalist, politician. For the United States, it is an opportunity to grow our economy and create jobs while doing something good for the planet.  AHRI’s Steve Yurek added Kigali is a perfect example of industry, environmental groups, and governments finding common ground in a way that is good for business and good for the environment.  He added the U.S. HVACR Industry supports Kigali because it is committed to reducing its environmental impact, while creating a predicable business environment and advancing US technological leadership.  With all the talk of Paris, the global efforts to reduce the heat-trapping gases from refrigerants used in air conditioning and cooling is an interesting story.  Other speakers included White House official David Banks, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead, NRDC’s Dave Doniger and Ingersoll Rand’s Paul Camuti.

House Ag Members Call for 45Q – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and 42 signatories sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and the leadership of House Ways and Means urging enactment of legislation to amend Section 45Q of the tax code. Conaway is sponsor of the Carbon Capture Act, legislation which would extend and revise Section 45Q to enable new investments in carbon capture technologies.   This letter, signed by the majority of House cosponsors of the Carbon Capture Act follows an earlier letter of support from the the four main Senate sponsors of 45Q legislation to Senate and Finance Committee leadership. This ongoing momentum signals the strong and growing support for action now on carbon capture legislation.

CEQ Nominee Out – Kathleen Hartnett White has withdrawn her name to Be the head of White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. A controversial and conservative nominee, Hartnett White had faced considerable backlash for her previous comments on carbon dioxide, climate science and anti-pollution regulations.  CEQ has been effectively operating already though without a head because of its great staff team headed by former House Energy staffer Mary Neumayr.  The withdrawal of White frees up the Senate controversy over other EPA nominees including Andy Wheeler to be EPA’s #2.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Federalist Society to Look at Regulations – The Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project will hold a day-long symposium at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University today looking at regulations and regulatory reform. Boyden Gray will be among the speakers.

NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – Tomorrow through Friday at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference.  This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.  Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.

EV Workshop Set in NoVa –Tomorrow morning, Virginia Clean Cities, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Greater Washington Region Clean Cities and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments host an informative workshop on electric vehicles and EV charging stations.  This workshop will provide an overview of the benefits of EVs for fleets, and infrastructure considerations for selecting and installing EV charging equipment. Northern Virginia fleet managers, business leaders and government officials will be able to test drive the newly redesigned, longer-range 2018 Nissan LEAF, the 2018 Chevy Bolt, SmartForTwo, Vantage and other EVs. Participants will also get information on charging options for their fleet, workplace and much more.

House Energy to Look at Nuclear – The House Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at DOE modernization, advancing the economic and national security benefits of America’s nuclear infrastructure.  Witnesses include NNSA’s Art Akins, NRC’s Victor McCree, DOE’s Ed McGinnis and James Owendoff, NEI’s Maria Korsnick, former NRC Commissioner Bill Ostendorff, Idaho National Lab director Mark Peters and GAO’s David Trimble.

EIA to Present Energy Outlook – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., Johns Hopkins University will host EIA Director Linda Capuano at its Kenney Herter Auditorium to present EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018). AEO2018 includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices. The discussion will consider results across AEO2018 cases that vary assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic resources and technology, and world oil prices.

RFF to Look at Drilling, Earthquakes – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. where RFF Senior Research Associate Daniel Raimi will interview study co-author Willy Aspinall and discuss what its findings mean for reducing induced earthquake risk in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has experienced a roughly 900-fold increase in seismic activity since 2009, and is now the most earthquake-prone region in the contiguous United States. Increased oil and gas activity, particularly wastewater from drilling for oil and gas, has been identified as a major cause of this rise. A new paper in Science by RFF’s Roger Cooke and coauthors Thea Hincks, Willy Aspinall, and Thomas Gernon provides a clearer picture of the causal relationship between wastewater disposal and the state’s increased seismic activity.

Senate Enviro to Vote on Wheeler, Discuss WOTUS – The Sneate Environment Committee will hold a business meeting to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be deputy administrator and Holly Greaves to be chief financial officer.   Following the vote, the committee will turn to WOTUS and its impacts on agriculture.  American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall, National Cattleman’s Beef Association Public Lands Council Niels Hansen, National Pork Producers Council president Howard Hill, Delaware agriculture secretary Michael Scuse, and Donn Teske, vice president of the National Farmers Union.

WCEE to Host Battery Discussion – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a Lunch and Learn on Wednesday at Noon to hear from Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of Energy Storage Association.  Speakes-Backman will share her knowledge of battery storage and the impact it will have on the evolving energy markets.

Senate Energy to Tackle Energy Infrastructure – The Senate Energy Committee will hold hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at  the history and future opportunities for energy infrastructure.

WoodMac Researcher to Discuss Shale for Energy Economists – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists hosts its February lunch on Friday at Noon at Carmines.  Wood MacKenzie Research Director for Natural Gas Liquids Anne Keller will address the often overlooked and usually unheralded bounty of the shale revolution which has led to a huge increase in natural gas liquids production. These chameleons of the hydrocarbon chain, which begin their trip to market as gas and end up transformed into liquids along the way, are providing emerging economies with clean burning fuel and US chemical producers with a potential cost advantage that they are betting billions of dollars will continue.

JHU to Feature Indian Expert to Discuss Climate – On Friday, Johns Hopkins University hosts its fifth annual research workshop for DC area faculty members focusing on energy and climate change issues. The workshop aims to promote collaboration among local scholars and provide an opportunity for feedback on current research projects and work-in progress.  Papers will be circulated to registered participants in advance in order to facilitate an active and informed discussion.

IN THE FUTURE

SEIA, ESA to Host Discussion on Distributed Energy – The Solar Energy Industries Association and the Energy Storage Association will host a breakfast panel discussion Monday February 12th in Washington on Distributed Energy Resource (DER) valuation, interconnection, and benefits to the local grid. The forum will look at the ways in which the location of a DER can provide various grid benefits and may lead to changes in DER compensation.  Speakers include ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman, SEIA’s David Gahl, Douglas Staker of Demand Energy and Sara Baldwin Auck of Regulatory Program.

WRI Climate Head to Address Group – Paula Caballero, Global Director of the World Resources Institute’s Climate Program, will be featured at keynote speaker next Monday at 3:00 p.m. at the National Press Club. She will be joined by a distinguished panel for lively debate featuring panelists GWU’s Kathleen Merrigan, Leonard Jordan of  USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and RFF’s Ann Bartuska.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Forum to Look at Transmission – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing on Tuesday February 13th at 11:00 a.m. on the widespread, substantial, and long-lasting benefits of investment in electric transmission. The briefing will showcase two London Economics International studies – one study quantifies the future benefits of transmission investment based on two hypothetical projects, the second dispels many of the myths that deter and delay transmission investment.  This panel will discuss why transmission should be a major component of the infrastructure conversation and how the economic and societal benefits from a robust high-voltage grid are so important. Speakers study author Julia Frayer of London Economics International, ITC’s Nina Plaushin and former FERC Chair James Hoecker.

Forum to Look at Iraq, Energy – On Tuesday, February 13th at Noon, the Atlantic Council will hold a conversation with a panel of experts to discuss Iraq’s energy potential, export opportunities, and the influence of political dynamics on reforming the energy sector.  Speakers will include Luay Al-Khatteeb of the Iraq Energy Institute, Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Atlantic Council Global Energy Center director Ellen Scholl.

House Resources to Look at Water, Power Infrastructure – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing on the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure.”

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability ReportBloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in Washington, DC, on February 15th.  In its 6th year, the Factbook provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas such as battery storage and sustainable transportation.  A panel of executives from BCSE members and BNEF analysts look at the cost of energy for consumers and businesses, and how has this changed over time; U.S. ranking for energy prices and clean energy investment; Clean energy contributions to American jobs and other items.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

BP Energy Outlook Set for Release – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host the U.S. launch of BP Energy Outlook 2018 on Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m. Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, will present the findings of the outlook followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

CSIS to Look at Short-Term Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a conference Tuesday February 27th on the short-term outlook for U.S. tight oil production and its implications for global oil markets.  As we enter the new year with renewed commitment from the OPEC/non-OPEC partnership, Brent has continued to climb from $45 per barrel low in 2017 to $70 in January 2018. Global economic growth continues to look robust, oil stocks are clearly in decline, geopolitical challenges remain ever-present, and market sentiment looks bullish (for now). However, persistently higher prices have the potential to bring on additional supply from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources.  In this context, much attention is being directed to prospective U.S. supply growth. Based on assessments of resource strength, well productivity, hedging activity, cash flow, break even costs, and a sizeable backlog in drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), estimates of U.S. near-term output vary widely and challenges remain. Against this backdrop, the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a distinguished group of experts to discuss the outlook moving forward.  Our friend Paul Sankey will speak at the event.

ERCOT Market Forum Set – The ERCOT Market Summit will be held on February 27th though March 1st The forum will look at perspectives on ERCOT Market Reform, end-use customers, Plant Retirements, Resource Adequacy and Reliability and dealing with the Impacts of Wholesale Price Volatility in ERCOT.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Solar Operations Conference Set – On March 13-14th, Solar Asset Management North America will hold its 5th edition in San Francisco. The event is the leading conference focused on the operational phase of solar plants and portfolios. The recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case as well as the new tax provisions will also affect the existing assets, budgets and O&M. The conference aims to fully assess and quantify the impact on the future of the solar industry.

Energy Update: Week of January 29

Friends,

Well, that was an exciting beginning to the 60th Grammys. It was a nice surprise appearance by U2, although I didn’t really know what that opening number was by Kendrick Lamar. I guess I’m just too old as he managed to nab 5 Grammy wins. And how does Metallica not win Best Rock Album for Hardwired To Self Destruct?  And really, how is it nearly every rock category was announced in the pre-TV portion?

One person that did win: the brother of our former Bracewell colleague and now Valero Government Relations head Salo Zelermyer. What????  Yes, Salo’s brother, Gideon Zelermyer won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance.  Gideon is the cantor at the largest synagogue in Montreal who – beyond his congregation – may be best known for his riveting renditions of the both the Canadian and US national anthems at pro sporting events.  Gideon joined with the late Leonard Cohen and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir to win the Grammy for their collaboration on You Want It Darker. The Zelermyer crew beat out far more traditional rockers for the Grammy:  the late Chris Cornell (The Promise), Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters (Run), Kaleo (No Good) and Nothing More (Go to War).

On the sports side, how about that NHL All-Star Game? I just love that 3-on-3 format w/the $1M prize to the winners. Tennis’ first major is over in Australia with Caroline Wozniacki taking the Women’s title for her first Grand Slam title, while the incredible, ageless Roger Federer won the Men’s side for his 20th Grand Slam victory.  Just unreal…

Before we get going, you may have already received info regarding tonight’s 5:30 p.m. welcoming at Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Avenue N.W.) celebrating the newest members of the PRG team: Anna Burhop, Stoney Burke, Liam Donovan, and Christine Wyman.  And if you haven’t heard, please let me know if you can join us.  We hope to see you tonight.

Exciting times in DC this week with the State of the Union set for tomorrow night. There is a lot of speculation about the tone the president will take. I suspect we will hear discussions of energy dominance, infrastructure, regulatory relief and a lot of boasting about the new tax law.   We are on it, so call with questions.

Of course, the week also starts out strong in Senate EPW, where EPA administrator Scott Pruitt returns to the Senate for the first time since his confirmation hearing.  Maybe a little less interesting tomorrow, Senate Energy votes on DOE/Interior nominees and discusses natural hazards like fire, while House Science tackles DOE management.  Maybe a little more fireworks at a House Resources mark up on Bears Ears legislation tomorrow at 10:30.

On Wednesday, Pruitt speaks to State Ag Directors and Thursday in NYC, my colleague Scott Segal hosts Neil Chatterjee and others at the S&P Power and Gas M&A Symposium.

For next week, in additional to the infrastructure roll out expected Monday, mark your calendars for a Hudson Institute forum where Steve Forbes, the HVAC industry, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead and NRDC’s Dave Doniger all address the important issues surrounding HFCs and the Kigali Amendment.

Congrats (maybe) to our friend and long-time Bloomberg reporter/editor Mark Drajem who today joined the federal communications team at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Super Bowl Sunday is all set…Eagles or Patriots? Regardless of who wins, it better end up on my quarter numbers so I can win something.  We will be live tweeting the Pruitt EPW hearing and the SOTU.  Follow us at @PolicyRez  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We thought President Trump was going to protect manufacturing jobs, and that’s what a refinery does. The renewable fuel standards are like a lead weight around the company.  We want the President to live up to his word.”

Ryan O’Callaghan, president of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, which represents hundreds of Philadelphia Energy Solutions workers.

 

IN THE NEWS

NY Releases Plan for Offshore Wind – New York State on this morning released an exhaustive master plan for offshore wind energy that projects 5,000 people employed in and around a $6 billion industry by 2028. Gov. Cuomo’s plan also makes clear that while offshore wind representing 2,400 megawatts and hundreds of turbines will be in the waters south of Long Island and not visible from shore. The state expects more than 1.2 million homes could be powered by offshore wind. The 60-page report is accompanied by 20 supplemental studies representing more than two years of work and thousands of pages of analysis. The studies examine everything from viable ports to turbine manufacturing and wind-farm construction and staging to the need for cables, pipelines and other infrastructure, as well as the impact on birds, bats and fish.  Our friend Mark Harrington of Newsday has the story. Statoil is among the leading developers of offshore wind in the growing industry along the Atlantic Coast after being granting New York’s first leases last year.

Letter: Energy Trades Says Pass Extenders – More that 60 trade association, most that deal with energy issues wrote to Congress last week urging the passage of a “a seamless multi-year extension of the ‘tax extenders’ as soon as possible.”  Among the groups were Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Advanced Energy Economy, American Gas Assn, AHRI, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, CHP, the Energy Recovery Council, GEO, Nat’l Electrical Contractors Assn, NRECA, Nat’l Propane Gas, and many others. Read the letter here.

DC Court Rejects Appeal of HFC Rule – Speaking of HVAC, the DC Circuit Friday denied a request by manufacturers to rehear a case on overturning the agency’s regulation to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons. The court in August rejected EPA’s initial rule phasing down the use of the global-warming inducing coolant. The world is pushing forward on the Kigali amendment though – a binding part of the Montreal Protocol that aims to phase out HFCs globally. Over Thanksgiving, a State Department official announced it would support the treaty at the 30th anniversary of the Protocol.  The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) said it was not surprised by this decision because the bar for en banc appeals is high.  AHRI’s Francis Dietz said the ruling does not in any way diminish our industry’s commitment to the phase down of HFC refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

EPA Ends “Once-in, Always-in” Clean Air Policy – EPA issued notice Thursday it is withdrawing the “once-in, always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act.  The policy dictated how major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated. Under the EPA’s new interpretation, such “major sources” can be reclassified as “area sources” when their emissions fall below mandated limits, subjecting them to differing standards.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is a significant expert on the topic and said “the withdrawal of the “once-in-always-in” was long overdue.  There was no legal basis for it, and it was at odds with other EPA programs.  This policy change does not apply to power plants and it won’t affect large industrial facilities like refineries and chemical plants, but it will give smaller facilities more operational flexibility and reduce unnecessary red tape.” He would be happy to discuss specific details further should you have questions.  You can reach him at 202-294-8700 or jeff.holmstead@bracewell.com

Chamber Weighs in on Energy Policy Successes Through Energy Tracker – Chamber Global Energy Institute expert Dan Byers weighed into the energy policy discussion yesterday in an op-ed in The Hill that says energy policy under Trump will be a boon for Americans and business.  Byers says the Chamber GEI’s Energy Tracker highlights high-profile actions and the collective impact from scores of other measures that illustrate the President’s consistent emphasis on advancing U.S. energy for economic growth.  The tracker provides a unique and detailed look at these individual actions that are an easily-forgotten part of the bigger picture.

Unions Weigh in Heavily on Refinery Bankruptcy – A number of key unions say the recent bankruptcy of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions will hurt unions members in PA that were key to President’s election victory in PA.  The United Steelworkers, the United Association Pipefitters and Boilermakers have issued statement raising concerns about the bankruptcy on their members.  Steelworkers: “Continued indifference by the administration and EPA will only drive more East Coast refineries into bankruptcy while thousands of good jobs that allow highly skilled workers to support their families and sustain their communities are at stake.”  The Pipefitters wrote to Trump: “you made a promise to protect every American manufacturing job. In light of the previously mentioned circumstances, we are urged you to keep that promise and take immediate action to control skyrocketing ring cost. Union jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country depend on it.”

WSJ Addresses PES As Well – Finally, the Wall Street Journal editorial board highlighted the PES bankruptcy putting the blame with the federal government’s biofuels policies.  The Journal quoted Ryan O’Callaghan, president of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, which represents hundreds of Philadelphia Energy Solutions workers. “We thought President Trump was going to protect manufacturing jobs, and that’s what a refinery does,” he said. The renewable fuel standards are “like a lead weight around the company,” he added, and “we want the President to live up to his word.”

Study Says Wind Neighbors Like Wind – A 3-year national lab study published today found that of the 1.3 million homes in America that are within five miles of a wind turbine, a majority of the neighbors have a positive attitude towards the turbines. The survey, led by the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab, found that inside that range, only 8 percent of respondents had a “negative” or “very negative” opinion of the turbine. For those within half a mile of a large turbine, that percentage grew to 25 percent. The study also asked respondents whether they heard noises from nearby turbines, if they were “annoyed” by any sounds they did hear, and if they perceived the turbine planning process to be fair. A summary and results of the study can be found here.

DOE Starts Solar Manufacturing Effort – Following Last week’s tariff decision, the Department of Energy announced a $3 million prize competition to reenergize innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing. The American Made Solar Prize will incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace. This prize is in addition to total DOE funding of up to $400 million for solar projects and technologies in 2017. It will lower barriers American innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE’s national laboratories.

US Wind to Surpass Hydro – EIA reports that Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year.  Wind is expected to produce 6.4% of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019, propelled by a construction boom of new turbines across the country.  Few new hydropower plants are in the works, so new electricity generation depends on how much rainfall and water runoff pools in existing dams and reservoirs. Hydropower provided 7.4% of utility-scale generation in 2017 ― a particularly wet year ― but that figure is projected to fall to about 6.5% in 2018 and 6.6% in 2019.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Ag Directors Head to DC – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will hold its annual winter policy conference today through Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt.  The event will feature remarks from FDA Director Scott Gottlieb and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who addresses the Group Wednesday.

NAS Panel to Look at Natural Disasters – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) will host a workshop tomorrow on deploying sustainable energy after human caused and natural disasters.  Workshop participants will discuss specialized social, economic and engineering challenges and opportunities to deploying sustainable energy in areas that are rebuilding, after major disasters, including California, Puerto Rico, and other areas. The workshop will also explore how regions are building renewable energy into their longer-term planning in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment Committee will host EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

House Science to Look at Energy Department – The House Science Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Department of Energy and its management and priorities.  Witnesses include DOE science undersecretary Paul Dabbar and DOE undersecretary Mark Menezes.

Senate Energy to Hold Nominee, Vote Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a business meeting tomorrow to consider the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), Susan Combs to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Douglas Nelson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Following the vote, it will hold an oversight hearing to examine the role of the Geological Survey and the Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazard events, as well as the current status of mapping and monitoring systems.

House Resources to Look at Bears Ears – The House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Federal Lands holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to focus on legislation to codify Trump’s presidential proclamation last month shrinking the Bears Ears monument’s footprint by 85%.  Witnesses will include Utah AG Sean Reyes, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian affairs John Tahsuda, Interior’s deputy assistant secretary, land and minerals management Casey Hammond, former Ute Mountain Tribe councilwoman Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee official Tony Small, Zuni, NM councilman Carleton Bowekaty, Hopi Tribal Council’s Clark Tenakhongva, Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye and San Juan County Commission vice chair Rebecca Benally.

WRI to Discuss Energy Access, Policy Innovation – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host leading experts from around the world for a discussion on the political economy of energy access and innovative policy solutions.  Together, they will profile innovative reforms that policymakers around the world can adopt to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.

House Energy Panel to Mark Up Ceiling Fan Legislation – The House Energy and Commerce Energy panel will mark up bipartisan legislation tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that align compliance dates for new ceiling fan standards with those for ceiling fan light kits. Two current standards have compliance dates that are about a year apart, which has created unnecessary challenges for companies. The bill would harmonize compliance dates for both appliances to Jan. 21, 2020.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on tomorrow, January 30th.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on Wednesday and Thursday. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Yergin to Discuss 2018 Outlook – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., IHS Markit hosts a webinar conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit Vice Chairman, to discuss the critical issues facing the energy industry in 2018.  While the mood in the industry is upbeat, the energy industry is in the midst of a major transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and environmental forces.  In this webinar, Yergin will preview some of the major themes that will be discussed at our CERAWeek 2018.

CSIS to Look at India Energy Policy – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., CSIS’s Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies and Energy & National Security Program host Dr. Arunabha Ghosh and Abhishek Jain, who will present evidence using on-ground primary data and policy analysis undertaken at the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, South Asia’s leading policy research institution, to answer address these questions. Dr. Kartikeya Singh will moderate a discussion following the presentation. India is undergoing several energy transitions, each of which will matter for its human development and global sustainability. It must undertake programs at scales and within timelines not witnessed anywhere else, create appropriate market conditions to give direction and confidence to technology innovators and investors, and ensure energy security within a rapidly shrinking carbon constraint.

Forum to Look at Climate Path Forward – The Goethe-Institut of Washington and the Sustainability Collaborative of The George Washington University will host an evening of reflections on Wednesday focused on the climate meetings in Paris and Bonn, the next steps forward, and the role of college students in taking those steps.

WEN Set to Launch 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Energy Network holds a reception to kick off our 2018 event series at 6:00 p.m. at Vinson & Elkins. WEN DC is an organization that prides itself on supporting the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking.

Climate Activists Groups Meet at GWU – On Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at GW’s Lisner Auditorium, the activist group Climate Hawks Vote will host Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance.  FFF will feature organizers who’ve led successful campaigns for 100% renewables in their cities, activists who are fighting fossil fuel projects like pipelines, and elected leaders who are pushing for climate action. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement, Rev. Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Jacqueline Patterson of the NAACP and many more will deliver the state of the climate movement.

French Embassy to Address Climate Policy – The French Embassy is hosting another French Series panel discussion event Thursday at 6:00 p.m. looking at climate change policy issues.  The event will be moderated by our friend Dean Scott, Senior climate change and Capitol Hill environment reporter for Bloomberg Environment.  Panelists include Brookings climate experts David Levaï and Adèle Morris, as well as WRI’s Jennifer Layke.

JHU to Feature Indian Expert to Discuss Coal – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a discussion of energy policy in India and the role of coal, featuring Harvard Kennedy School doctoral student Rohit Chandra, who is studying energy policy and economic history. Like many other countries, India’s industrial base and electricity system has been built largely on the back of coal-based power generation. Both financially, and politically, the Indian state is deeply invested in coal and coal-based power generation. This is likely to make the transition to renewable energy gradual, not precipitous, as many have been predicting. In this talk, Rohit will give a brief historical sketch of the Indian coal industry, and then discuss some of the reasons why coal and its downstream use in power and other industries is likely to persist in India for the foreseeable future.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.  The keynote speaker will be Steve Forbes.  With all the talk of Paris, this just seems like a good NPR story: global efforts to reduce the heat-trapping gases from refrigerants used in air conditioning and cooling.  Other speakers will include White House official David Banks, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, AHRI head Steve Yurek and Ingersoll Rand’s Paul Camuti.

NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 6-9th at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference.  This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.  Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.

EV Workshop Set in NoVa – Next Tuesday morning February 6th, Virginia Clean Cities, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Greater Washington Region Clean Cities and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments host an informative workshop on electric vehicles and EV charging stations.  This workshop will provide an overview of the benefits of EVs for fleets, and infrastructure considerations for selecting and installing EV charging equipment. Northern Virginia fleet managers, business leaders and government officials will be able to test drive the newly redesigned, longer-range 2018 Nissan LEAF, the 2018 Chevy Bolt, SmartForTwo, Vantage and other EVs. Participants will also get information on charging options for their fleet, workplace and much more.

EIA to Present Energy Outlook – Next Tuesday February 6th at 10:00 a.m., Johns Hopkins University will host EIA Director Linda Capuano at its Kenney Herter Auditorium to present EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018). AEO2018 includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices. The discussion will consider results across AEO2018 cases that vary assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic resources and technology, and world oil prices.

WCEE to Host Battery Discussion – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a Lunch and Learn on Wednesday February 7th at Noon to hear from Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of Energy Storage Association.  Speakes-Backman will share her knowledge of battery storage and the impact it will have on the evolving energy markets.

WoodMac Researcher to Discuss Shale for Energy Economists – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists hosts its February lunch on Friday February 9th at Noon at Carmines.  Wood MacKenzie Research Director for Natural Gas Liquids Anne Keller will address the often overlooked and usually unheralded bounty of the shale revolution which has led to a huge increase in natural gas liquids production. These chameleons of the hydrocarbon chain, which begin their trip to market as gas and end up transformed into liquids along the way, are providing emerging economies with clean burning fuel and US chemical producers with a potential cost advantage that they are betting billions of dollars will continue.

SEIA, ESA to Host Discussion on Distributed Energy – The Solar Energy Industries Association and the Energy Storage Association will host a breakfast panel discussion Monday February 12th in Washington on Distributed Energy Resource (DER) valuation, interconnection, and benefits to the local grid. The forum will look at the ways in which the location of a DER can provide various grid benefits and may lead to changes in DER compensation.  Speakers include ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman, SEIA’s David Gahl, Douglas Staker of Demand Energy and Sara Baldwin Auck of Regulatory Program.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability ReportBloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in Washington, DC, on February 15th.  In its 6th year, the Factbook provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas such as battery storage and sustainable transportation.  A panel of executives from BCSE members and BNEF analysts look at the cost of energy for consumers and businesses, and how has this changed over time; U.S. ranking for energy prices and clean energy investment; Clean energy contributions to American jobs and other items.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Forum to Look at Transmission – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing on Tuesday February 13th at 11:00 a.m. on the widespread, substantial, and long-lasting benefits of investment in electric transmission. The briefing will showcase two London Economics International studies – one study quantifies the future benefits of transmission investment based on two hypothetical projects, the second dispels many of the myths that deter and delay transmission investment.  This panel will discuss why transmission should be a major component of the infrastructure conversation and how the economic and societal benefits from a robust high-voltage grid are so important. Speakers study author Julia Frayer of London Economics International, ITC’s Nina Plaushin and former FERC Chair James Hoecker.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Energy Update: Week of 1/22

Friends,

Thanks for all the great birthday wishes last week. I’m truly thankful to have so many of you take time from your busy days to wish me well. It is very much appreciated. Special thanks to Stacey, Olivia, Adam and Hannah — as well as my Bracewell colleagues — for making the day extra special. Looking forward to moving through year 50 with gusto!!!

Today, we are overrun by the government shutdown, but it looks like things may be heading towards resolution at least until February 8th with the Senate vote that just occurred.  Still unclear how this will finally play out, but we will continue to follow closely.  Already impacted are DOE and EPA travel, potential focus on the impending solar tariff decisions and the President’s visit to Davos.  AP has a good primer on the overall impacts of the agencies affected.

Despite losing some DOE folks to the shutdown this morning, AHRI’s Expo starts rolls out today in Chicago, while the Washington Auto Show – the industry’s public policy show – starts in earnest Wednesday with events, including two separate Senate Field hearings, through the remainder of the week.  Our friends at SAFE are again on point and you can reach them through Bridget Bartol.  Speakers include EPA’s Scott Pruitt, MI Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep Debbie Dingell and many others.

Speaking of solar and that impending decision which may happen soon, the Heritage Foundation wrote a new blog on the solar tariff issues today and will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon at Heritage.  The blog post says Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Health Job Market.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.  And BTW, ETAC sent a letter to President Trump Friday to remind him and his trade team that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry while underscoring that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.

Good news here at Bracewell: In addition to the great folks we’ve hired over the last year (former AGA attorney Christine Wyman, former Senate EPW staffer Anna Burhop & tax expert Liam Donovan), our friend Stoney Burke is joining the Policy Resolution Group team.  Burke is a former CoS to TX Rep. Will Hurd and prior to that worked for Southern Company and Rep Chet Edwards.  More on this later…

Patriots – Eagles in two weeks for Super Bowl LII.  Winter Olympics in 3.  And remember, NHL all-stars hit the ice in Tampa this weekend, as well as the NFL’s Pro Bowl playing in Orlando next Sunday (with activities all week).

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

“Trump has spoken unapologetically about unleashing the competitiveness of the entire energy sector. The best way to get there is to remove barriers, rather than create them. ”

Heritage Foundation Trade expert Katie Tubb writing about the impending solar tariff decision expected from the White House. 

 

“Absent RINs, we’re competitive with anyone in the world.”

PES CEO Gregory Gatta said in telephone interview Monday.

 

IN THE NEWS

ETAC Letter Offers Evidence of Impacts of Imports – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) sent a letter to President Trump Friday.  The effort was another attempt to remind the Administration and President Trump that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry.  It also underscores that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.  The letter says only 3 companies have failed due to imports, while more than 40 have failed because of manufacturing or management failures and include a series of charts that provide the evidence.

Heritage Says Trade Case Need Plug Pulled – In a blog post from yesterday, the Heritage Foundation’s trade expert says President Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Healthy Job Market.  Heritage’s Katie Tubb said there is almost no better way to fossilize an industry than by guaranteeing prices and knocking out the competitors of a select few companies. The only innovation that this spurs is creative ways to lobby the government for new ways to interfere in energy markets. Such intervention would also punish competitive American solar companies in order to keep two failing ones afloat. Refusing new tariffs on solar imports allows the best parts of the solar industry to rise to the top.  Tubb adds Trump should protect competition, not specific competitors. The solar industry in America can provide customers the best, most affordable service to Americans when it is able to access components from the most competitive companies around the globe.  Finally, Tubb adds that there will be negative implications for the rest of the industry and the indirect jobs it creates if the administration bends over backward to shore up two failing companies.

Refiner Reported to File For Bankruptcy – Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, the owner of the largest U.S. East Coast oil refining complex, announced to its employees on Sunday that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as reported by Reuters.  Part of the refiner’s financial troubles stem from a costly biofuels law called the Renewable Fuels Standard, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and requires refiners to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply every year, or buy credits from those who do.  Since 2012, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has spent more than $800 million on credits to comply with the law, making it the refiner’s biggest expense after the purchase of crude.

Coalition Says “This is What We’ve Been Warning About’ – The Fueling American Jobs Coalition, a group that includes Steelworkers, small retailers and refiners, including Holly Frontier, PBF, Delta, Valero and others said “what we’re seeing happen at PES is exactly what we’ve been warning about for many months.” The group says the RFS program forces many independent refiners to pay sky-high prices for compliance credits that they simply cannot earn themselves. “Refiners are captive buyers in the lucrative market for these RINs. Those who profit in this situation—Wall Street speculators, large integrated oil companies and large fuel retailers—consistently oppose reasonable changes to the RFS that would diminish their profit stream, even if those profits come at the price of economic pain for refiners and their workers.”  The Coalition said President Trump understands the “havoc” that poorly-designed Washington regulations can wreak on the real economy. “PES is experiencing that pain right before our eyes, and others will follow. Hard-working manufacturing workers in Pennsylvania refineries and elsewhere voted for President Trump with the understanding that he would stand up to special interests and fight for their jobs.”  The group continues to call for the President to “broker a deal among all stakeholders that will help put an end to the crisis that high RINs prices have created for the U.S. refining sector.”

Sen Toomey Calls RFS Job-Killer –U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.) responded to the news that Philadelphia Energy Solutions is filing for bankruptcy protection by saying the filing is a result of the “counterproductive, job-killing, EPA-imposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that requires an excessive amount of biofuel be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”  He added while he is pleased PES is able to remain operational during this process and retain its workforce for now, “the mechanism for enforcing the RFS is the primary cause for this bankruptcy filing and it must be fixed. I’ve had extensive conversations with PES management, senior EPA officials, my Senate colleagues, and directly with President Trump in an effort to resolve this situation. I will remain engaged until we find an acceptable solution.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure – The Bipartisan Policy Center launched the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations this morning. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

HVAC Expo Set – The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) opens today in Chicago.  The event started 86 years ago as a heating and ventilation show and is the largest HVAC event of the year for the industry.  The 2018 Show hosts more than 2,000 exhibitors and attracting crowds of 65,000 industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.  The Show provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR industry to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.  The AHR Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event tomorrow at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Senate to Look at NE Storm Impacts – The Senate Energy Committee will convene an oversight hearing tomorrow to examine the performance of the electric power system in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic during recent winter weather events, including the bomb cyclone. Witnesses include FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Chairman, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability head Bruce Walker, , North American Electric Reliability Corporation Interim CEO Charles Berardesco, Allison Clement of Goodgrid, PJM CEO Andrew Ott and New England ISO head Gordon van Welie.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on tomorrow at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, ton insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment.  Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

WCEE to Hold Planning Session – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is holding its “Come Dream with Us!” Lunch & Learn planning session tomorrow at Noon.  WCEE uses the event to decide what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches tomorrow and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is Thursday and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto policy, on policy day Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held Wednesday through Friday in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

Senate Energy Heads to Washington Auto Show for Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee also holds a field hearing at the Washington Auto Show on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in the West Salon Room of the Washington Convention Center.  The hearing will look at energy innovation in automotive technologies and examine the opportunities and challenges facing vehicle technologies, especially energy-relevant technologies.

Forum to Look at Future Mobility – At the 2018 Washington Auto Show, the Global Energy and Innovation Institute (Ei2) will host a lively discussion about electric transportation and the future, addressing such questions as: When will we reach the mass adoption “tipping point” for electric vehicles? How will electric + shared mobility impact community design (roads, charging, commuting)? What new business models will emerge for ownership and fueling?  Panelists include Lyft’s Corey Ershow, David Owens of Xcel Energy, Audi’s Brad Stertz, EVgo’s Marcy Bauer, Dominion’s William Murray and Kevin Miller of ChargePoint.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

IN THE FUTURE

Senate Energy to Hold Nominee, Vote Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a business meeting next Tuesday to consider the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), Susan Combs to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Douglas Nelson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Following the vote, it will hold an oversight hearing to examine the role of the Geological Survey and the Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazard events, as well as the current status of mapping and monitoring systems.

WRI to Discuss Energy Access, Policy Innovation – Next Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host leading experts from around the world for a discussion on the political economy of energy access and innovative policy solutions.  Together, they will profile innovative reforms that policymakers around the world can adopt to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Yergin to Discuss 2018 Outlook – On Wednesday, January 31st at 9:00 a.m., IHS Markit hosts a webinar conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit Vice Chairman, to discuss the critical issues facing the energy industry in 2018.  While the mood in the industry is upbeat, the energy industry is in the midst of a major transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and environmental forces.  In this webinar, Yergin will preview some of the major themes that will be discussed at our CERAWeek 2018.

Forum to Look at Climate Path Forward – The Goethe-Institut of Washington and the Sustainability Collaborative of The George Washington University will host an evening of reflections on Wednesday January 31st focused on the climate meetings in Paris and Bonn, the next steps forward, and the role of college students in taking those steps.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 6-9th at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference.  This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.  Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Energy Update 1/16

Friends,

Holy cow…I still can’t believe Minnesota stayed alive by winning that playoff football game on Sunday.  NHL All-Star game in Tampa this weekend (with the awesome 3-on-3 format), Super Bowl Sunday is just three weeks away and the Winter Olympics starts right after in South Korea.

We are early today because of a number of events in this short week. The bulk of the oxygen this week will focus on the budget with a Friday deadline to extend government funding.  There is also a lot of activity on the trade issues with NAFTA, aluminum, steel, washing machine and solar issues all seeing discussions.  In fact, in an editorial Friday, the Washington Post hit the President’s approach to trade, saying that it be exceedingly difficult to achieve his goal of tearing down international trade actions.  The Post said not all trade deals were perfect, but “broadly speaking, increasingly free trade over the past 70-plus years has brought tremendous benefits both to the hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America and to Americans who have enjoyed a wider choice of quality products, at lower cost, and high wages in export industries.”

As mentioned, Congress is in town despite the MLK holiday yesterday to deal with the budget. Hearings include this morning’s Senate Energy hearing on the domestic/global energy outlook with IEA’s Faith Birol and a Senate Environment hearing on water infrastructure tomorrow.  House Energy looks at Superfund and House Resources looks at onshore energy burdens on Thursday and Friday, a House Energy panel looks at LNG exports.

The Detroit Auto Show started yesterday (Washington’s policy show starts next week) while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, Heritage hosts a NAFTA forum and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 today.  Thursday, the US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club, the Chamber holds an infrastructure summit featuring INGAA’s Don Santa and RFF hosts author/expert Daniel Raimi for a book event on his new natgas drilling book.  On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the natgas and battery revolutions.

Finally, after last week’s reacts to the new 5-year drilling plan and the Florida removal, public hearings start today with a meetings in Annapolis and Jackson Mississippi.  Richmond hosts tomorrow and Thursday, things move to Dover, DE.  More hearings next week and through the end of February.

One last time: we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and electricity markets.

Finally, you know what today is…  I’ve already had a singing gorilla wish me happy 50th in our morning meeting that to my wife Stacey.  Here is a copy of last year’s POLITICO Playbook Birthday of the Day Q&A.  And I noticed that I have dropped to #2 on Playbook’s Jan 16th birthday list…  Labor Sect Acosta shares the day although I have him by one year.  Damn you, Carl’s Jr.!!!!

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We’ve decided that the best thing for our family and for me and I think, frankly, for North Dakota is for me to seek reelection to the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer in deciding against running for North Dakota’s US Senate seat and incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.

“Mayor de Blasio turned his back on millions of first responders, police officers, firefighters and other public employees who depend on their pensions to provide for themselves and their families in retirement. Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have historically delivered a higher return than other investments. Deliberately hurting pension holders, like the fine men and women who keep our city safe, is a disgraceful way to score cheap political points.”

API New York Executive Director Karen Moreau, commenting on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement to divest the city’s pensions from oil and natural gas.

IN THE NEWS

White House Names Fannon to State Energy Gig – So much a for a move to the consulting…Our friend Frank Fannon has been nominated to be an assistant secretary of State on energy resources. Fannon worked at Senate Environment under Jim Inhofe and had an instrumental role in the drafting and passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Previously, Fannon was head of BHP Billiton’s DC office and also worked at Murphy Oil Corporation.

ALEC Chair Hit Solar Tariffs – The national chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), North Carolina State Rep. Jason Saine urged the President reject solar tariffs in a letter late last week.  Saine wrote Increasing tariffs on solar panels risks shuttering one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. According to recent estimates, the solar industry is creating jobs at a rate 17 times faster than the broader economy and employs over a quarter of a million people across the country.  He also added for utilities like Duke Energy, which must select cost-competitive resources (whether they be fuel-based or renewable) when selecting new generation resources to meet customer demand requirements, such cost increases may eliminate solar generation from its evaluation processes entirely.

ETAC Pushes Back On Protectionist Coalition Claims – In additional to the ALEC letter from Saine, the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) responded to a letter from the protectionist Coalition for a Prosperous America urging the president to impose a “global tariff” on imports.  ETAC released a letter that strongly encourages Trump to reject the attempt of two foreign-owned bankrupt solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, to use the Section 201 trade law process to bail out their creditors and shareholders. “Tens of thousands of U.S. solar industry jobs in the United States now hang in the balance. A decision to impose tariffs and/or quotas on imported solar components may offer Suniva and SolarWorld the short-term lifeline they seek, but it will do so at the cost of undermining virtually the entire rest of the industry, including hundreds of U.S. solar companies that are healthy, productive and providing good-paying jobs in communities across the country.”

China Imports Actually Increasing – A New piece in RealClearMarkets, Allan Golombek argues unilateral reduction of tariffs last month by China on almost 200 consumer products provides further testimony to the fact that the goal of its trade is not just to increase exports, but also imports. Golombek says after years as the world’s biggest exporter, China is on track to becoming the world’s biggest importer over the next few years, according to a paper prepared by two leading economists for the China International Capital Corporation.

EIA Net Exporter of NatGas – The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the U.S. is now a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957.  Net exports averaged about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8 billion in 2016.  EIA also said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook for January, which the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to rise from 32% in 2017 to 33% in 2018 and to 34% in 2019, as a result of low natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast generation share falls from 30% in 2017 to slightly lower than 30% in 2018 and 28% in 2019. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to average 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Renewables provided almost 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and its 2018 share is expected be similar before increasing to almost 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was more than 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be slightly lower than 7% in both 2018 and 2019.  Finally, EIA added that after declining by 1.0% in 2017, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are forecast to increase by 1.7% in 2018 and by 0.2% in 2019. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth and energy prices.

EPA Delays Climate Rule Comment Deadline – EPA will soon announce dates for additional public hearings on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan and extend the deadline to submit comments. As previously reported, additional hearings will be held in Kansas City, MO on Feb 21, San Francisco on Feb 28 and Gillette, WY on March 27.   EPA will keep the record open for an additional 30 days after the last one.

Wind Group Says More Transmission Necessary – POLITICO outlines a new report from the Wind Energy Foundation finds more U.S. transmission lines are needed to meet the growing demand for renewables. Specifically, the report found transmission planners are not accounting for up to 51 gigawatts of potential near-term procurement.  Can send you copy of report if you need it.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show is underway and runs until to January 28th.  The event serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

POLITICO to Host Future of Mobility Event – POLITICO holds an event on “Driverless Cars and the Future of Mobility” today at 10:45 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The United States’ roads and highways will soon be driven by autonomous vehicles, which will fundamentally transform the transportation landscape in this country. This technology has the potential to reshape the communities that we live in and create stronger transportation networks for people of all ages and abilities. POLITICO addressing such questions as: When it comes to mobility, what are the sticking points? Will self-driving cars be a mobility revolution for older Americans and for people with disabilities?

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – This morning at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule which was announced last week.  FERC scrapped DOE’s plan and has now undertaken its own process.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Outlook – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. to look at the domestic and global energy outlook from the International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues –Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Today at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings today to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings today in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott), Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on tomorrow and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday.  Other meetings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) and Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future meetings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to look at water infrastructure.  The hearing will feature a panel of witnesses to focus on Federal issues and impacts including Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for water and science Austin Ewell, Idaho Water Users Association executive director Paul Arrington, Contra Costa Water District GM Jerry Brown, Mike DeVries of the Provo River Water Users Association and Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips.

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on tomorrow and Thursday in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Chamber to Host Infrastructure Forum – U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue will headline a summit on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on modernizing America’s Infrastructure. This dynamic, high energy day-long event will serve to jumpstart important conversations on revitalizing America’s infrastructure, ensure that infrastructure is a top policy priority for 2018, and bring together the business community to voice broad industry support.

Senate Energy to Review DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a nomination hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), and Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary (Environmental Management), both of the Department of Energy.

Small Biz Committee to Look at DOE Energy Assistance – The House Small Business Committee’s panel on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on small business resources at the Department of Energy. The hearing will examine the resources available to small businesses in the energy sector through the Department of Energy.  This hearing will analyze the degree to which these programs are effective at minimizing confusion regarding participation in the federal contracting process and department-specific small business programs.  DOE’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Director Charles Smith will testify.

House Energy Panel to Look at Superfund – A House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to focus on efforts to reform U.S. EPA’s Superfund program.   Witnesses will Include EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management Barry Breen, Steve Cobb of the land division at Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management, former EPA Superfund director and expert Win Porter, Portland Harbor policy analyst  for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown James McKenna, Debbie Mans of the NY/NJ Baykeeper and expert Katherine Probst.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

House Resources Looks at Onshore Energy Burdens – The House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. examining the Department of the Interior’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens.  Witnesses will focus on seismic testing, with drilling proponents vowing to improve the ability to conduct the tests that can find oil under the ocean floor.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

House Energy Panel to Look at LNG – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:15 a.m. looking at legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

IN THE FUTURE

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – On January 23rd at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum on insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment. Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto Policy, on policy day next Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held on January 23-26th in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday, January 26th at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: Week of 1/8

Friends,

SO…it looked to me like Seth Meyers wanted to say a lot more last night at the Golden Globes… but the event was calmly empowering.  Besides great wins for James Franco (Disaster Artist) and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) – which were both fabulous movies; it seems Oprah Winfrey is all the talk of politics, presidents and Hollywood. Let’s watch CBS This Morning with Oprah whisperer Gayle King for more insight on her next move.

Before we get into It, let me first say I was sad but also excited to hear that my long-time friend and fellow Detroit native, Bob Semple, is retiring after 54 years – that right – 54 years at the New York Times.  Many of you will know Bob from his biting and tough editorial wit, as well as deep substance.  While Bob was usually tough on us with his rapid fire questions, he always had time to hear our views – in fact many times to probably pre-counter our argument – and ALWAYS gave us a fair shake.  Bob is a legend and still as sharp as tack.  He says “the page” invited him to still “write when the spirit moves me” so we will may hear from him occasionally, but we will all miss Bob Semple’s daily input.  Congrats to our friend John Broder who steps up to take over Bob’s role.

Last week, the Interior Department rolled out its new five-year drilling plan, which was overly expansive and drew criticism both Republicans and Democrats from most coastal states. The plan Thursday suggests opening vast new stretches of federal waters to oil and gas drilling.  The public hearings start next week on Tuesday in Annapolis and will cover every coastal state over the next two months.  More on the action “In the News.”

The Hill returns back to full action this week with budget discussions taking center stage (maybe if Washington can stop talking about Michael Wolff) with a January 19th funding deadline.  We also have important pending trade decisions on solar and steel, as well as action at FERC on the DOE resiliency proposal all expected to see some action this week.  Speaking of DOE, House Energy has a hearing tomorrow on the DOE Mission where I expect there will be plenty of discussion on the FERC/DOE rule.  Among DOE witnesses will be experts like Clearpath’s Rich Powell.   Then, Wednesday, Senate Environment starts up the infrastructure discussion with focus on water resources issues.

This week, API holds its annual State of Energy Address tomorrow while NY City holds its Clean Power Plan “hearing”.  U.S. Chamber head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address on Wednesday and CSIS hosts former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday.

Next week, the Detroit Auto Show starts on Sunday while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you again so you don’t forget…

In case you missed it last week, we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

Finally, our good friend and retired energy reporter Gerry Karey has a great new book out called Meanderings: Inventions, Fripperies, Bits, & Bobs.  The book is a collection of blogs and essays that is hilarious and thoughtful.  Check out a review here.

The Consumer Electronics show is underway in Vegas. While you might be looking for the latest phones, AI, VR or games, there is a lot of autonomous/electric vehicle technology that is part of show.  Our friends at SAFE are on the ground there and are happy to keep you up to speed.  Stay up late because ‘Bama-Georgia should be pretty good tonight.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“By proposing to open up nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas exploration, the United States can advance the goal of moving from aspiring for energy independence to attaining energy dominance,” said. “This decision could bring unprecedented access to America’s extensive offshore oil and gas resources and allows us to better compete with other oil-rich nations.”

Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at Interior on the Department’s new 5-year plan.  

 

IN THE NEWS

Admin Suggests New Areas in 5-Yr Drilling Plan – The Department of Interior announced the next step for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90% of the total OCS acreage and more than 98% of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development. By comparison, the current program puts 94% of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history.

Public Meetings Set – Interior will hold public meetings will take place at locations across the country. Using an open-house format allows participants to arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time and to talk with our team members one-on-one. At the meetings you can ask questions, share information and learn more about the National Program.  The public hearings start next Tuesday and will be in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other hearings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future hearings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Chamber Energy Institutes Commends Expansion – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute Karen Harbert said the Administration’s Draft Proposed Program unlocks the vast potential of American energy and expands our ability to export oil and gas to our allies around the world. Harbert added the plan is a long-term commitment to securing future US energy and would help cement America’s role as an energy superpower, creating jobs and contributing to the economy.  Harbert: “For decades, our nation has needlessly limited our own ability to harness oil and gas resources. This new plan sets a much different course, allowing far greater access to offshore areas that haven’t been previously accessible using advanced technology to determine where to safely drill.”

Gulf Group Expresses Optimism – Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team,

Recognized the new plan as a major sign of optimism for our country’s potential in being the world-leader in energy production. LeBlanc says with increasing OCS access, our country has the opportunity to maximize those natural resources in order to continue producing dependable energy, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and providing immense economic stability for our nation.  “The new plan allows us to maximize America’s abundant OCS oil and gas resources and benefit from the revenues generated by offshore production.”  She added that the Gulf accounts for nearly 20% of our nation’s oil production and contributes over $5 to $8 billion dollars directly to the U.S. Treasury each year — making it the second largest revenue stream for the federal government.”

Ocean Industry Group Praises New PlanNational Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi said the new plan is a long anticipated first step towards what could mean more jobs, energy and revenue to the people of the United States.  Luthi said the current Five-Year Program that expires in 2017 included no new access, and put the U.S. far behind many other nations that are actively pursuing offshore oil and natural gas energy development – – particularly in the Atlantic basin and the Arctic.  “The energy resources on the OCS are vital to the nation’s economic prosperity.  Allowing oil and natural gas development in federal waters in the Atlantic alone could result in as many as 280,000 new jobs, $24 billion annually to the economy, $51 billion in government revenue, and the safe production of 1.3 million barrels per day of oil and natural gas.  But frankly, these numbers likely underestimate the potential.

API Welcomes New PlanAPI President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed the first step in developing a new five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program.  Gerard said smart, effective policies, such as prioritizing U.S. potential for expanding natural gas exports will help create jobs here at home and provide energy security to U.S. allies, all while allowing our nation’s energy renaissance to continue benefitting American consumers, workers and the environment. “Developing our abundant offshore energy resources is also a critical part of a forward-looking energy policy, which is why we look forward to working with the administration and Congress on an offshore leasing plan that will fully embrace our nation’s energy potential. Eighty percent of American voters support increased domestic oil and natural gas production, which will help keep energy affordable for consumers, create jobs, and strengthen our national security.  Gerard closed saying it’s important that the next five-year plan includes the ability to explore the resources in the Arctic, Atlantic, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which would spur investment and economic activity, could create thousands of jobs, and provide billions in government revenue.

NatGas Setting Records – Over the past few weeks with the cold temps, the US has been setting natural gas use records.  AGA has been doing some analysis of it on their blog and in the news. Here is a post from last week about how January 1 set the all-time record for single-day gas consumption and we expect it to be beat in the days since.   There will be much more analysis on the next weeks, looking at the factors behind this trend.  More on the projections about Winter here.

Wind Cranking It Out In Cold, Too – The wind industry is doing well in the cold as well. Wind output is up and was strongest during the coldest part last Thursday and Friday, as is typical with extreme weather events.  Consider PJM, where wind output from January 1st to 4th averaged over 3,500MW, 40% above average wind production in January 2016. Further, wind energy generation exceeded forecasts in MISO and PJM on Thursday, January 4. In late 2017, wind power even broke output records in several regions.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

House Energy Panel to Look at DOE Mission – The House Energy & Commerce Panel on Energy will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn looking at DOE Modernization and advancing its mission for national, economic and energy security.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Dan Brouillette, Science office head Paul Dabbar, Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes and NNSA head Frank Klotz, as well as CSIS’s Sarah Ladislaw, ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Don Levy of UChicago, former EERE head and Stanford Steyer-Taylor Director Dan Reicher, Oak Ridge’s Tom Zacharia and Lilly Research’s Steve Wasserman.

Wilson to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts tomorrow at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – The New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting tomorrow afternoon to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

Chamber to Discuss State of American Business – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will deliver his annual “State of American Business” address, highlighting the emerging opportunities and top challenges facing the business community in the coming year – and beyond. Donohue will also introduce the Chamber’s 2018 policy agenda. Following his remarks, Donohue and Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and chief policy officer, will participate in a press conference.

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges.  Witnesses

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from Saturday to January 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Next Tuesday January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings starting next Tuesday to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other meetings will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25), Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on January 17th and 18th in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday January 18th at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday January 18th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday January 18th in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday January 18th to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday January 19th, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: 1/2/18

Friends,

Welcome to 2018 and back to the action… ALMOST.  Don’t expect we’ll see much going on in this short week, but the Senate does return tomorrow to swear in new members Tina Smith and Doug Jones.

With it being the first week of the New Year, we are rolling out our top 10 Issues for 2018.   Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

One issue that is important but I didn’t mention is rising crude prices. My friends at Platts did touch on that issue with former EIA head Adam Sieminski and others though in their weekly Podcast. These experts see prices ending 2018 as low as $52/b and as high as $70/b, but a number of factors could significantly alter their path, from OPEC compliance to oil demand in Asia to US trade policy.  My friends at SAFE are always focused on this issue (you can talk to Leslie Hayward) or Kevin Book at ClearView, has also weighed in on this topic.

Mark your calendar for events starting next week, including API holding its annual State of Energy Address and the NY City Clean Power Plan “hearing” next Tuesday, CSIS hosting former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday January 11th, the Detroit Auto Show starting January 14th and BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, while CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you now because I am accepting presents all month…

Finally, I hope you noticed the super cool super moon last night/this morning.  I knew it was out there but I really didn’t get the full impact until I was driving up Massachusetts Avenue this morning and saw it perched over Washington DC.  Pretty awesome.  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

The Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It’s a good context to revisit things like siting, permitting, certainly some of the export terminal issues.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer talking Infrastructure to POLITICO.

 

IN THE NEWS

EIA talking Year-end Oil – Last week,  the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that after decreasing nearly 20% in the first half of 2017, the spot energy index in the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) ended 2017 16% higher than the beginning of the year. Higher crude oil and petroleum product prices in the second half of 2017 were responsible for the increase in the S&P GSCI energy index.  EIA also reported that total U.S. production was slightly over 9.75 million barrels per day in the week ending December 22nd.  Our friends at Axios point out that this is actually 35,000 barrels per day less than the prior-week average, signaling the first weekly dip since Hurricane Nate took a bunch of Gulf of Mexico production temporarily offline in mid-October.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Returns, Jones, Smith Sworn in – The Senate returns for the second session of the 115th Congress on Wednesday when they will swear in new Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Minnesota LG Tina Smith. Smith is replacing Sen. Franken who resigns today and Jones defeated Roy Moore to give Democrats a win to replace AG Jeff Sessions.  The House returns next Monday.

IN THE FUTURE

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – On January 9th, New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion on next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday, January 10th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday, January 11th at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from January 13th to 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on January 14th where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – On Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Energy Update: Week of 12/18

Friends,

HAPPY HOLIDAYS…. Not quite there yet, but getting close!!!  We won’t have a regular update next week but will keep you updated of actions if necessary.  Will likely return for Tuesday January 2nd with our first update of 2018…  Can you believe 2018 already?

With taxes right at the finish line, we are happy to discuss energy aspects.  Looks like the renewable tax provisions (PTC, BEAT, AMT) all survived pretty well, as did oil-related ANWR and SPR provisions.  Less fortunate were the “orphan” tax credits for things like small wind, fuel cells and geothermal, who were in the House bill but not included in the final package.  Our super savvy, yet tax nerdy colleague Liam Donovan is right in the action and is happy to discuss details either on or off record.  Final votes expected either tomorrow or Wednesday.  We also continue to focus on additional government funding with another deadline looming Friday.

With OMB completing its work on the ANPR for the Clean Power Plan Replacement rule late last week, we expect it may be released as soon as tomorrow.  We are monitoring the action and both Scott Segal and Jeff Holmstead are familiar with what to expect and are ready to assist. Also, we are still following the on-going RFS discussions going on between Corn-state and refiner-state Senators and Administration.

Even though the schedule is light this week, there are a couple of interesting events, including an EESI forum tomorrow on COP23 outcomes featuring BCSE head Lisa Jacobson.  And later today at 3:30 p.m., CSIS hosts the International Energy Agency for the US launch of the IEA’s Coal 2017: Analysis and Forecasts to 2022.  Senate Environment looks at freight movement in a hearing on Wednesday and Thursday, the Georgia PSC votes on whether to complete two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The update wishes well to our friend Devin Henry, who has finally had enough of me emailing him all the time and is leaving The Hill to return to his home state of Minnesota.  Dev, I know Golden Gophers’ hockey is in-season, but the temp in Shakopee, MN will be 2⁰/-10⁰ this weekend???

Finally, Congrats to our great Bracewell colleague Kevin Ewing – who many of you know as one of the smartest oil/gas/environment lawyers in DC – for being named an Environmental Law 360 MVP. Law360’s MVPs are attorneys who have distinguished themselves from their peers over the past year through high-stakes litigation, record-breaking deals and complex global matters.

Boy, it has been an interesting year hasn’t it!!!  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THE LOBBY SHOP

A new episode of The Lobby Shop features new Bracewell DC partner Angela Styles and a discussion of the world of government contracts.  You can get it live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  Styles, who recently joined Bracewell from Crowell Moring, is a prominent DC government contracts attorney and will discuss the world of federal contracts and the complex legal work behind it.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“One of the things that I want people to understand is that North Carolina is good for solar, but that solar is also very good for North Carolina.”

John Morrison of NC-based Strata Solar in the Duke University GVC Center report on NC solar impacts. 

 

IN THE NEWS

MEMO: White House Prepping for Tariffs – Supporters of tariffs on solar clearly leaked an White House memo on Friday as reported by our friend Emily Holden in POLITICO saying the administration appears to be preparing its messaging ahead of setting punitive tariffs on imported solar equipment. The tariffs would increase the cost of solar power in the US and could slow expansion of solar and eliminate installation/construction jobs.  We continue to follow, but most utilities, contractors, retailers and conservative groups have urged President Trump to oppose tariffs.

Duke Study Highlight NC Solar Impact – Speaking of solar tariff impacts and what is at risk in the industry, the Duke Global Value Chains Center has released a report detailing the solar “value chain” in North Carolina and the Potential impacts to investors, solar developers, construction contractors and solar panel and component manufacturers comprising more than 450 companies. Together, these companies support some 4,300 jobs and represent a $2 billion investment. In addition to jobs, solar industry-related businesses provide income for landowners and tax revenue for N.C. towns.  The report conducts an assessment of three major issues related to North Carolina’s utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar investments: 1) The state of the solar market: the industry, marketplace and technology trends affecting the cost and feasibility of additional investments in utility-scale solar in the world generally and in the United States and North Carolina in particular; 2) The amount of utility-scale solar resources in North Carolina relative to other places in the United States and the world; and 3) The economic footprint of utility-scale solar in North Carolina.

Mayors Support Solar – More than 70 mayors from 25 states signed a letter in support of solar energy. The full text of the letter is available here, and we have included an article about the letter in Solar Industry. An excerpt from the letter: “Expanding solar power helps residents and businesses benefit from lower energy costs while providing more local control of energy and improving our communities’ resilience.”

GTM Report Shows Solar Slippage – Speaking of more solar, GTM Research’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report says 2,031 megawatts of PV were installed in the U.S. in Q3 2017. That’s the nation’s lowest quarterly total since Q3 2015.  Two of the three market segments tracked by GTM Research were down on the quarter and on the year; however, the non-residential segment was the lone standout. The U.S. installed 481 megawatts of non-residential PV in the third quarter, representing growth of 22% year-over-year. However, looming over the outlook for U.S. solar are two macro-level risks: Corporate tax reform could reduce tax equity demand and the final outcome of a Section 201 trade dispute could impact cost and demand.

DOE to Help Fund Offshore Wind – The DOE announced $18.5 million in competitive funding for a research and development consortium meant to bring down the cost of offshore wind power. The private-public partnership will explore wind plant technology advancement, resource and physical site characterization, installation, operations and maintenance, and supply chain technology solutions. Offshore wind companies will contribute funds to the project, and DOE labs will also get $2 million to support the consortium.

Platts Podcast Looks at Methane – On this week’s Platts’ podcast, Brian Schied talks with IPAA’s Dan Naatz about the impact of methane rules on US drillers; API’s Erik Milito about a new voluntary industry effort to combat methane emissions, and EDF’s Matt Watson about why API’s effort will not be enough to address the issue.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Resource Management – The World Resources Institute hosts a panel today at Noon to look at conflicts and natural resource management.  WRI, Conservation International and other environmental organizations have adopted distinct approaches to environmental peacebuilding in response to local-level dynamics. Through a discussion of these efforts, the links between peace, conflict and the environment are directly manifest, offering support for organizational efforts to integrate conflict-sensitive and peacebuilding perspectives across conservation activities in all contexts.

CSIS to Host World Coal Report – Today at 3:30 p.m., CSIS will host the launch of the IEA’s new report analyzing coal’s recent trends and forecasting its demand, supply, and trade through 2022.  Coal remains world’s dominant fuel. Under pressure from decarbonization, cheaper alternatives, and geopolitical shifts in demand, coal continues to be one of the most pressing questions in energy. Peter Fraser, Head of Division for Gas, Coal, and Power Markets at the International Energy Agency, will present the IEA’s report.

Forum to Look at Bonn Climate Meeting Results – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. in 562 Dirksen looking at the takeaways from the latest global climate talks, which concluded in Bonn, Germany, on November 18th. The COP23 focused on the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, which is slated to start in 2020. Speakers for this forum are Fiji Ambassador H.E. Solo Mara, German First Secretary for Climate Anton Hufnagl, Sam Ricketts of Governor Jay Inslee’s DC Office and BCSE President Lisa Jacobson.

Senate Environment to Look at Freight Movement – The Senate Environment Committee panel on Transportation & Infrastructure will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. on freight movement.  The hearing will assess where we are now and where we need to go.

DOE STEM Fair Is Set – The Department of Energy’s 4th annual Interagency STEM Volunteer Fair will be held on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.  The event will feature STEM organizations, government agencies, and schools in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area that need help as well as upcoming needs for volunteers, events, and areas of focus.  The volunteer fair is geared towards federal employees, but others are welcome to attend this public event. The event is located in the rear of the Department of Energy’s cafeteria, which is open to the general public and accepts cash and credit. You will need to check in at the Department of Energy Main Lobby and show valid ID before advancing through security.

IN THE FUTURE

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from January 13th to 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on January 14th where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

Energy Update: Week of 12/11

Friends,

It is Hanukkah week which begins on tomorrow night at sunset and ends next Wednesday.  Hanukkah is a Jewish Festival of Lights is celebrated for eight days and nights.  It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

An info-packed “In the News” section this week after last week’s busy-ness.  It includes some reaction to the solar trade hearing, more on the Cruz-White House RFS meeting, a new view from EPA on the New Source review program, and finally an extension for 30 days (requested by new FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre) for FERC to consider the DOE resiliency proposal aimed at supporting coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The big political news this week is the Alabama Senate race and the tax reform conference committee, which will meet publicly for the first time on Wednesday.  While tax negotiations continue behind the scenes, Congress is also going full bore on a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown before Christmas.

We still have a big week in the Energy space (hopefully our last before gliding into the holidays).  Tomorrow, the White House rolls out what we hear will be “the most aggressive” 5-year offshore drilling plan ever.  While we all look for the HUGE tweet, we remind that will can answer many of your questions about the impacts and possibilities.

Also tomorrow, House Energy panels hosts automakers and auto dealers to discuss fuel standard and CAFE’s relook.  Senate Energy looks at FERC/Interior permitting and we will see committee votes on EIA’s Linda Capuano, Interior assistant secretary Tim Petty and NOAA’s Barry Myers (Wed in Senate Commerce).

Also Wednesday, the House Energy Subcommittee looks at NAFTA with our friends’ Karen Harbert of the Chamber Global Energy Institute and APFM’s Chet Thompson among those testifying, and Senate Environment hosts NRC Commissions to discuss nuclear.

Speaking of NAFTA and energy, National Journal hosts a webinar on it Thursday and Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet.

And then TAKE THE REST OF FRIDAY OFF AND GO SEE THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!!

Finally, this morning, there are two interesting New York Times pieces worth reading: one is an internal look at Trump’s mindset and interactions from Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker which I found fascinating and informative; and the second looks at EPA’s enforcement and unfortunately picks up a usual theme backed by misleading stats.  In the second case, there is clearly a different (and just as reasonable) approach in this EPA which shouldn’t be a surprise to advocates or reporters. We are happy to discuss.

And in case you weren’t able to get there this morning at the Newseum, our friend and Axios Energy Reporter Amy Harder led a conversation on energy policies and priorities under President Trump with FERC’s Neil Chatterjee, Rep Paul Tonko and Heritage’s Nick Loris.  Check out the details…

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THE LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week’s episode features Special Agent Tom O’Connor, President of the FBI Agents Association.  Tom discusses developments within the Bureau and FBIAA after Director Chris Wray’s nomination, how FBIAA is able to support active, retired, and deceased Special Agents and their families, and what issues are foremost in the minds of FBI personnel lately.  Since it is tax legislation season, we also have a bonus episode featuring PRG’s resident tax expert Liam Donovan on the latest in tax reform and what’s up next for the Conference Committee, final vote, and beyond. Tune in for a look behind the scenes and lots of seasonal analogies.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It makes no sense to effectively tax tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs out of existence, solely to benefit the commercially unskilled Chinese and German owners of Suniva and SolarWorld, who will cut and run.”

Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development at NextEra Energy.

IN THE NEWS

EPA Rolls Out Redefined NSR Focus in Memo – The EPA issued a memo on Friday saying the agency won’t “second guess” the analyses that companies have to conduct before construction projects on their plants to determine whether they might emit more pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The well-constructed memo is the first step in a major initiative revise the New Source Review program, which governs permits for new or reconstructed plants’ emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The Supreme Court this morning declined to hear the major case involving EPA’s enforcement of the NSR program.  My Colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Office head is happy to discuss the details.

WSJ Blasts Ethanol – The Wall Street Journal Ed Board blasted the “hostage taking” over ethanol policy in an editorial last Thursday.  The piece discusses the back-and-forth over ethanol policy that first involved Corn State Senators blocking Trump EPA nominees, then oil state Senators pushing back by blocking Iowa-favored Ag nominees, including one that would clear a path for Sen. Grassley’s grandson to become Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture.  The Journal says the “Senate hostage-taking is unfortunate, not least because it undermines the ability of the executive branch to govern. But this is what happens when politicians decide to favor certain industries like ethanol at the expense of others. The political and economic damage will grow as long as this policy continues.” It also adds that America’s independent refiners and manufacturers deserve at least as much consideration as the Trump Administration has given ethanol interests. WSJ: “The RINs regime has imperiled the jobs of many blue-collar union voters who swung for Mr. Trump in 2016.”

AEI Report Hits RFS – The American Enterprise Institute has a new report looking at policymaking lessons from the RFS, saying the RFS would be better as a rate standard than a volume standard.  AEI also adds that EPA should issue multi-year rules rather than annual rules in order to improve certainty and that uncertainty should be explicitly incorporated into future rulemakings.

EPA to Hold Additional CPP Hearings – EPA said it would hold additional public hearings on the repeal the Clean Power Plan.  The hearing will be in San Francisco, Gillette, WY and Kansas City. The hearing were added due to the “overwhelming response” to the recent hearing in Charleston.  Dates and locations of the meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

Companies Roll Out Landmark Methane Effort – API rolled out a landmark partnership to accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country. Focused initially on reducing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, who produce a significant portion of American energy resources. Participating companies will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018.  Collectively, at the time of launch, the participating companies represent operations in every major U.S. natural gas and oil basin. The Environmental Partnership is a historic agreement bringing together American natural gas and oil companies of all sizes to take action, learn and collaborate in an effort to further improve our environmental performance.

What Methane Program Will Address – The three Environmental Performance Programs include:

  1. Leak Program for Natural Gas and Oil Production Sources: Participants will implement monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions at selected sites utilizing detection methods and technologies such as Method 21 or Optical Gas Imaging cameras.
  2. Program to Replace, Remove or Retrofit High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers: Participants will replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low-or zero-emitting devices.
  3. Program for Manual Liquids Unloading for Natural Gas Production Sources: Participants will minimize emissions associated with the removal of liquids that, as a well ages, can build up and restrict natural gas flow.

Who is in? – Participants at launch include: Anadarko, Apache, BHP, BP, Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chevron, Cimarex Energy, ConocoPhillips, CrownQuest, Devon Energy, Encana, EOG Resources, Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy, Hess, Marathon Oil, Murphy Oil, Newfield, Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, TOTAL and Western Gas Partners.  To view more information about the program and companies’ commitments, visit www.TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.

SAFE Looks at Expand EV Markets – Securing America’s Future Energy released its quarterly update to the Energy Security Fact Pack, a data-driven overview of the latest trends in energy security. The Fact Pack includes charts on domestic and global oil production and consumption patterns, oil market dynamics and prices, and up-to-date information on fuel efficiency and advanced fuel vehicles.  The latest Fact Pack highlights developments in the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market, which is poised to see significant growth in the coming years as a result of new models, lower battery costs, increased range, and growing consumer awareness. Demand for EVs has continued to rise in 2017, setting new records for purchases and vehicle model availability. Although six models currently account for nearly two-thirds of sales, consumers have a fuller range of choices with 37 models available, thanks to marked declines in battery technology costs and enhanced range.  See the Charts.

SAFE, Mayors Support of Federal EV Tax Credit – Speaking of SAFE, it has worked in collaboration with the City of Atlanta to recruit 22 mayors from cities across the country to sign a joint letter in support of the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. The mayors’ letter was sent to the appointed members of the conference committee following recent passage of the House and Senate tax reform legislation. It called for the preservation of the Section 30D Federal Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Tax Credit, which offers a $7,500 discount on purchase of a new electric vehicle.  SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a coalition of CEOs and retired military leaders concerned with threats to America’s economic and national security through our continued oil dependence, have also express strong support of the EV tax credit citing it as a cornerstone to energy security policy.

Solar Growth Continues…. – The EIA said its latest monthly report shows that U.S. PV output in the first nine months of 2017 grew 47% over the same period in 2016, with market growth across the nation. PV represented 1.9% of total generation during this period. Every state in the U.S. increased its output from solar, from South Dakota, the only remaining state that did not generate more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) or one gigawatt-hour (GWh) in the nine month period, to perennial PV giant California.  California, with its 24.8 M mw, more than laps the field over next place Arizona, with 4.6M. However, as PV output growth across the U.S. accelerates, the Golden State’s share of PV generation, shrank from 48% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. Rounding out the top 10 generators are North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah and Colorado. Of those top 10 states, Georgia had the highest year to year percentage growth, increasing 186% from 2016 to 2017, followed by Texas with 165% and Utah with 123%. Other states that made impressive percentage and quantity growth gains in the same time period are Minnesota, Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.

…But Trade Case Creates Worry – Folks are worried though about solar in the face of new potential tariffs.  More than 60 witnesses testified in a cramped conference room at USTR during a final eight-hour public hearing on the Section 201 trade case.  A new GTM Research report finds that the average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price has since edged back above of DOE’s price target, amid market uncertainty surrounding the Section 201 solar trade case. The recent price increase stems from a rush to procure “tariff-free” solar panels over the summer with the potential for new tariffs looming. The National Electrical Contractors told the Hill that thousands of high-tech, high-skilled, and good-paying electrical contractors’ jobs are at risk.

Third Way Releases CCS Map – Third Way has a new map and database that is the most comprehensive tracking site for projects working to capture carbon emissions. Third Way says there are 100 carbon capture projects globally, with 51 in the United States. These projects can capture, store, and utilize emissions from power and bioenergy plants, industrial facilities, and even directly from the air. Some are innovative new concepts being developed by startups, and others have been operating at commercial scale for decades. One thing they have in common: we’ll likely need this full suite of technologies to meet international and domestic climate goals.

ACCF Paper Focuses on Regs – The American Council for Capital Formation released a paper by former OIRA head John Graham outlining 10 ideas for improving the regulatory process. It’s the product of a November 2016 roundtable with Sens. Mike Rounds, Angus King, James Lankford and others. Graham, who now heads Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said the themes of this paper are increasing transparency at regulatory agencies, enhancing public, congressional and judicial oversight of agencies, stimulating retrospective review of old regulations, and ensuring evidential support for new regulations.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Paris Forum to Focus on Anniversary – French President Macron will host the One Planet Summit tomorrow in Paris, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus specifically on climate finance. Heads of State will be invited to attend this meeting.

Nuclear Weapons Triad Forum Set – The Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC) will host the Inaugural morning forum on Capitol Hill tomorrow.  The event will feature key Members of Congress representing nuclear triad communities at Air Force and Naval bases, and NNSA sites, The group will also outline a series of 11 more 2018 forums and roundtables with key government officials, industry leaders and suppliers, and academic experts on the triad issues of the day, Each of these events will tackle the nuclear triad’s emerging issues and challenges, while sharing the successes, in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise modernization.

House Panels to Look at Fuel Standards, GHGs – The House Energy & Commerce panels on Environment and on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss updates on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and GHG emissions standards for motor vehicles.  Witnesses include our friend and Montgomery, AL Honda/Acura dealer Forrest McConnell representing the National Automotive Dealers Assn.  Others include AAM’s Mitch Bainwol, Global Automakers John Bozzella and Dave Cooke of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Senate Energy to Look FERC, Interior Permitting; Vote on Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the infrastructure permitting processes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Department of the Interior.  Testifying will be Interior’s Jim Cason, FERC’s Terry Turpin and Janet Pfleegar of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, along with several others.  The Committee will also vote on nominations Linda Capuano to head the DOE’s Energy Information Administration and Tim Petty to be assistant secretary of the Interior Department before the hearing.

Senate Foreign Relations to Focus on European Security – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on European energy security focused on U.S. Interests and coercive Russian diplomacy.  Witnesses include the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell and State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resource John McCarrick.

WH Infrastructure Aide Headlines Forum – The Hudson Institute will host an event tomorrow at Noon on the future of U.S. public transit systems keynoted by D.J. Gribbin, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy. Following Gribbin’s remarks, David Horner will moderate a panel discussion featuring Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Phillip A. Washington.

Resources Looks at Dependence on Foreign Metals, Minerals – The House Resources panel on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the consequences of relying on other countries for a growing number of metals and minerals.  Witnesses include DoD’s Ronnie Favors, USGS’s Murray Hitzman, RAND’s Richard Silberglitt, NMA’s Katie Sweeney and Havasupai Tribe Council member Carletta Tilousi.

Webinar to Look at Digital Grid – Utility Dive will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on discussion on how digital agility can help utilities improve operational excellence and deliver superior customer engagement and experience.  Speakers will include experts from MIT, PG&E and Siemens Digital Grid.  Key topics covered in the webinar will include adopting new grid modernization strategies, building new revenue streams, extreme weather and grid resilience among other issues.

Energy Storage Forum Set –The 3rd annual U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held in San Francisco tomorrow and Wednesday at the Hilton Union Square.  The forum will bring together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.  Speakers will Include APRA-E’s Susan Babinec, Peter Klauer of Cal ISO, Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, ESA CEO (and former MD PSC Chair) Kelly Speakes-Backman and our friends Shayle Kann of GTM Research, Stephen Lacey and Justin Gerdes of Greentech Media.

Forum Set to Look at NatGas – Tomorrow and Wednesday, the Energy Institute at Colorado State University (CSU) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) will be co-hosting the CH4 Connections conference at CSU’s campus in Fort Collins. This conference, now in its fourth year, will focus on methane emissions quantification, mitigation, and capture for the natural gas industry, and will include a tour of the Methane Emissions Test and Evaluation Center (METEC) that will showcase the solutions under development and in field testing at the center.

House Energy Panel Looks at NAFTA, Energy – The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn on the impacts and future of North American energy trade and NAFTA.  Our friends Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and refiners Assn Head Chet Thompson will be among those testifying.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick and ABB’s Allen Burchett (repping NAM) will also join the panel.

Senate Environment Hosts NRC Commissioners – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  NRC Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki, Commissioner Jeff Baran and Commissioner Stephen Burns will testify.

Senate Commerce to Vote on NOAA Head – The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to approve President Trump’s choice of AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

RFF Seminar to Look at CPP – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to explore the implications of social cost of carbon revisions for the Clean Power Plan itself and for potential future energy and climate policies.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick will reflect on the decision’s treatment of health benefits, and Harvard University’s Kathy Fallon Lambert will present new research on how repealing the Clean Power Plan would impact public health. RFF’s Dallas Burtraw will conclude the seminar with a discussion of how a revised “inside the fence line” approach to Clean Power Plan compliance might work.

House Science to Look at Solar Programs Focus – The House Science Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on advancing solar energy technology.  The hearing will look at research and deployment, while examining DOE’s efforts to shift solar energy funding toward early-stage research.  Witnesses include DOE’s EERE head Dan Simmons, NREL’s Martin Keller, Stanford University’s Steve Eglash and Kenny Stein of the Institute for Energy Research.

Energy Stakeholder Breakfast Set – The Advanced Energy Stakeholder Series continues on Thursday morning with an event supported by stakeholder member organizations across New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C. and Boston.  The breakfast will focus on energy, mobility & transportation and will include Rachel Healy of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Jigar Shah, PEPCO’s Robert Stewart, Marissa Gillett of the Maryland Public Service Commission and David Schatz of ChargePoint.

NJ to Host NAFTA WebinarNational Journal will host a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to look at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.  In this webinar, speakers will examine NAFTA’s history, development, and future, and address the major players involved, each side’s key demands, the timeline, potential outcomes and the impact of President Trump’s rhetoric on the process.

Forum to Look at US-Mexico NatGas – The Latin American Dialogue hosts a panel discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. aimed at understanding the role of LNG for US energy exports and commercial ties in Latin America, as well as the US-Mexico energy relationship. As global energy trade grows and the United States looks to expand oil and gas exports, Latin American countries provide significant commercial opportunities for exporters and investors alike. It remains imperative that Latin American countries and the United States strive to find mutually beneficial opportunities in order to boost energy ties and expand energy cooperation.  Speakers include State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resources John McCarrick, Sempra’s Mark Nelson, Leslie Palti-Guzman of the Rapidan Group and several others.

BPC to Host FERC Chair – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services. The proposal calls on FERC to take action on the rulemaking by today.

NatGas Roundtable Panel to Discuss Energy Security – On Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Embassy of Mexico and the Natural Gas Roundtable of Washington will hold a panel session on natural gas and North American energy security. A Holiday Reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – MIDNIGHT, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host World Coal Report – On December 18th at 3:30 p.m., CSIS will host the launch of the IEA’s new report analyzing coal’s recent trends and forecasting its demand, supply, and trade through 2022.  Coal remains world’s dominant fuel. Under pressure from decarbonization, cheaper alternatives, and geopolitical shifts in demand, coal continues to be one of the most pressing questions in energy. Peter Fraser, Head of Division for Gas, Coal, and Power Markets at the International Energy Agency, will present the IEA’s report.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31, 2018, making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.