Energy Update: Week of March 20

Friends,

We can’t start today without talking about one of the most important musicians passing over the weekend, Chuck Berry.  He was a legend and trendsetter, but you know how he got the idea for his song Johnny B Good???  From his cousin Marvin

I hope your NCAA pools are going fine.  On the Men’s side, I did get the Middle Tennessee State upset and also called Xavier over MD.  Not doing too much else though. In fact, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan have pretty much made it tough on everyone.  No real surprises on the Women’s side with top seeds UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Baylor all winning first round games by 50 or more points.  Sweet 16 starts on Thursday, but even before then, we had a bunch of NCAA Champions crowned this past weekend. Kudos to Babson College (Wellesley’s cross-town rival for women’s sports) who took the D III basketball Championship in Salem, VA over Augustana.  And congrats to Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY who shut out Wisconsin 3-0 in the Women’s NCAA D I ice hockey Frozen Four to win their 2nd National championship in 4 years. Don’t forget Penn State, who won their 6th NCAA Wrestling title in 7 years in St. Louis over as well.

This will be another crazy week, but much of the big ticket focus will be outside of our energy and environment area.  Hearings for SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch begin today (with likely some discussion of Chevron deference) as well as FBI Director Comey coming to Capitol Hill to talk about Russia and the election.  Add the health care debate and an expected vote on Thursday, and much of the oxygen is gone.  We still have the budget though and we may finally get the long-awaited climate/CPP executive order, which was reportedly going to be released as early as today – although there is really no evidence of that yet.

If you are interested in palace intrigue, then you’ll love today’s Washington Post story which shows rough edges between the Pruitt team and the beachhead folks like Don Benton and others.  As well, if you like Chocolate Chip Cookies, you may want to consider applying for a job at EPA.

On the Hill, there are a series of infrastructure hearings this week that will build off last week’s Senate Energy hearing on the topic.  Tomorrow, the House Government Reform Committee looks at offshore drilling issues, and on Thursday, Ag nominee Sonny Perdue finally takes center stage at his Senate confirmation hearing.

On Thursday evening, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a Capitol Hill reception honoring their 25th anniversary in Dirksen G-50 at 5:30 p.m.  This will be a great event and will feature comments from Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Please feel free to join BCSE at the event.

With Spring launching today, I’m adding my own new beginning in the update that I hope to continue called “Cool Quotient.”  In it, I will feature really cool, innovative things that folks are doing in the energy sector. My first effort features a great Twitter video from Energy Secretary Perry that features a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  Send me nominees for the future.

Finally, 25 years ago this week, the legal classic, My Cousin Vinny, hit theaters, leaving us with a series of one-liners and quips that will always be part of our attitude toward the legal system. With a great cast and great writing, the Wall Street Journal looks back at the comedy and compares it to other legal classics.  They are not:  IDENTICAL….

We are all over it this week, whether it is silly FOIA requests from environmental activists, science questions, CPP, Paris, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Safe roads are important to our families, communities, and our businesses and TSR is more committed than ever to improve road safety and reduce deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes globally.  Greg Martin adds leadership, across the road safety landscape, which will be critical to scale and sustain our efforts as we embark on our third year as a coalition.”

Carlos Brito, chairman of Together for Safer Roads and chief executive officer of AB InBev.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Thanks to Twitter and new Energy Secretary Rick Perry for this video of a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  You can see more on the drones and how they are used to collect data at wind sites here.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Report Examines Costs to U.S. Industrial Sector of Obama’s Paris Pledge – Meeting the commitments President Obama made as part of the Paris climate accord could cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040, according to a comprehensive new study prepared by NERA Economic Consulting.  The study was commissioned by the American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy.  The report, “Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Industrial Sector,” explores several potential scenarios under which the United States could meet the Obama administration’s international emissions pledge as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Existing regulations fall well short of achieving former-President Obama’s goal of a 26% to 28% reduction in net emissions from the 2005 level by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2040. The study provides the first detailed analysis of the costs and impacts associated with the additional measures that would be needed to close this “gap.”

Actions to Meet Paris Costly – The report’s central scenario projects that additional regulatory actions necessary to meet the Paris target would by 2025 reduce U.S. GDP by $250 billion, reduce economy-wide employment by 2.7 million jobs, and lower household income by $160.  Industrial sector jobs would fall by 1.1 million, with the cement, iron and steel, and petroleum refining sectors suffering the largest production losses. Under the study’s core scenario, the industrial 2025 output declines by about 21 percent, 20 percent, and 11%, respectively. Higher energy costs also hurt domestic demand and the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, leading to a greater share of industrial demand being met by imports.  The study also examines the potential longer-term impacts of placing U.S. emissions on a trajectory to achieve the Obama administration’s long-term emissions goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050. It found that in 2040, the last year of the model run, GDP would be reduced by nearly $3 trillion, industrial employment would fall by 6.5 million jobs, and average household income would decrease by $7,000.  Another finding is that emissions “leakage” to other countries is a significant factor, and ultimately renders the U.S. regulatory approach ineffective at reducing global carbon emissions. In 2025, 33 percent of industrial sector emissions reductions are transferred to other countries as production shifts from the United State to other parts of the world. The industrial products produced in these plants would then be imported back into the United States.

States Also Impacted – The study includes specific state impacts for four key manufacturing states: Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  In Michigan, state GDP would decline by 0.8 percent in 2025, household income by $180, and employment by 74,000 jobs — including 13,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel, and refining, with output declining by 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively.  In Missouri, state GDP would decline by 1 percent in 2025, household income by $190, and employment by 53,000 jobs — including 7,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement, with output declining by 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively.  In Ohio, state GDP would decline by 1.2 percent in 2025, household income by $390, and employment by 110,000 jobs — including 24,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be cement and iron and steel, with output declining by 16 percent and 13%, respectively.  And in Pennsylvania, state GDP would decline by 1.8% in 2025, household income by $1,000, and employment by 140,000 jobs — including 26,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement production, with output declining by 16% and 15%, respectively.

NC Offshore Wind Auction Completed – Avangrid Renewables won BOEM’s auction for an offshore wind lease of 122,405 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina.  The winning bid was $9.07 million. Nine companies were cleared to bid in the auction but only four ended up participating.

Statoil Signs NY Offshore Wind Lease – Statoil, the winner of the recent NY offshore wind lease sale, has formally executed a lease with Interior’s BOEM for 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm in the lease area to provide New York with a significant, long-term source of clean and renewable electricity. The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).

IEA Data Shows Global Emissions Flat for Third Year – The International Energy Agency said global carbon dioxide emissions were flat for the third year in a row in 2016, despite growth in the global economy. Increases in renewable power generation, the switch from coal to natural gas and higher energy efficiency drove the continued decoupling of emissions and economic activity. IEA found emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatons in 2016, the same as the previous two years despite the global economy growing by 3.1%.

US is Biggest Success – IEA said the biggest drop came from the United States, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3%, or 160 million tons, while the economy grew by 1.6%. The decline was driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power that displaced coal. Emissions in the United States last year were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80%.

ACCF Pushes for Methane CRA – The American Council for Capital Formation launched a new campaign last week calling on the Senate to adopt a resolution of disapproval to repeal the BLM’s methane venting and flaring rule. ACCF says the rule is a classic example of federal bureaucrats implementing a solution in search of a problem. The federal rule is both redundant and unnecessary given existing regulations at the state level and ongoing improvements by industry. Instead of further reducing methane emissions, the BLM rule drives up the cost of producing natural gas, endangering our nation’s energy renaissance and one of the primary drivers of falling U.S. carbon emissions.  ACCF’s campaign will run a series of web and print ads focused in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana, and North Dakota, urging the Senate will follow the example of the House and repeal the BLM rule by adopting a resolution of disapproval.

Martin Lands at Auto Safety CoalitionTogether for Safer Roads (TSR), a coalition of global private sector companies, announced Greg Martin has joined TSR as chief operating officer and executive director. Martin is a seasoned transportation professional with deep transportation and road safety experience within the private sector and government.  Martin worked for many years at General Motors, both in the policy shop in DC and in Detroit.  He also worked at the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. He earned a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Political Science and Communications from Mount Saint Mary’s University

ECOS Releases Report on State Enviro Budgets – In case you missed it last week, ECOS released its Green Report on Status of Environmental Agency Budgets. State environmental agencies operate the majority of federally delegated and authorized programs and manage funds to implement related environmental regulations. In July 2016, ECOS sought state environmental agency budget data (EAB) for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. ECOS received 48 responses.  The ECOS Green Report provides information on state EABs for fiscal years (FY) 2013, FY2014 and FY2015, and focuses on changes and trends in these budgets, including analysis of changes to the three main funding sources: state general funds, federal funding, and fees or other sources.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Carnegie Nuclear Forum Set – Today and tomorrow, the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference will bring together over 800 experts and officials from more than forty-five countries and international organizations.  The conference takes place on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s conclusion. Most observers credit the treaty with playing a pivotal role in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Today, however, its continued efficacy is in doubt as disagreements grow over the implementation of each of its three main “pillars”—nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A number of panels at the conference will focus on debates surrounding treaty’s core articles, as well as on questions of how to manage its nonmembers and sole former member. Other panels will consider the future of global nuclear order, as well as emerging trends in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear energy.

House Climate Rs to Hold Briefing – House Republicans who introduced a resolution last week advocating action on climate change will hold a press conference today at 6:00 p.m. to discuss that effort and their priorities for addressing the issue. Participating in the event are Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello, Brian Mast, Mark Sanford, John Faso and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

HVAC Industry to Host Fly-in, Visit Offices – The HVAC industry will invade Capitol Hill tomorrow and Wednesday.

Forum to Look at Future of China Solar Power –Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host an event featuring the launch of “The New Solar System,” a major new study from Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint initiative of Stanford’s law and business schools. The result of two years of research, “The New Solar System” illuminates key and little-understood changes that are remaking the solar enterprise in China—and, as a result, solar power around the world. Based on the authors’ analysis, “The New Solar System” recommends changes to U.S. solar policy that would put solar power on a more economically sensible course and would help meet global carbon-reduction goals. Report authors Jeffrey Ball and Dan Reicher will present key findings before engaging in a broader conversation with Brookings Senior Fellow Emeritus Kenneth G. Lieberthal. After the discussion, the participants will take questions from the audience.

Senate Energy to Continue Look at Infrastructure – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 366 Dirksen.  The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony on opportunities to improve and expand infrastructure important to federal lands, recreation, water, and resources. Witnesses include Marcia Argust of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort President Bob Bonar (Chairman of the National Ski Areas Association Public Lands Committee), Jill Simmons of the Washington Trails Association, David Spears of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Chris Treese of the Colorado River District and Brad Worsley of Novo Power.

House Resources to Look at Infrastructure, Buy America – The House Natural Resources’ Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow on the importance of domestically-sourced raw materials for infrastructure projects. Witnesses will include Michael Brennan on behalf of Associated Equipment Distributors. CAP’s Cathleen Kelly, Martin Marietta CEO Howard Nye (On behalf of National Sand Stone and Gravel Association) and Rio Tinto’s Nigel Steward.

House Science to Look at NSF – A House Science Committee panel will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the agency’s budget and how they determine the worthiness of grant recipients and projects.  Witnesses will include NSF COO Joan Ferrini-Mundy, National Science Board chairwoman Maria Zuber, Jeffrey Spies of the Center for Open Science and Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for science policy and strategy at the University of California, San Francisco.

Forum to Look at Innovative Vehicles – The Global America Business Institute and the Korea Institute of Energy Research will hold a roundtable tomorrow at Noon on disruptive automotive technologies and the implications of their deployment and commercialization. The guest speaker is Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Fellow for Energy and Technology at Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Europe, and the Americas at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  The potential for innovative vehicle technologies to decarbonize and reduce fossil fuel consumption in the transportation sector is generally understood. Less appreciated is how widespread deployment of such technologies may facilitate major changes to the energy system of the future, and consequently, society overall. For instance, wide scale adoption of electric vehicles could foster greater utilization of distributed energy resources through the provision of ubiquitous energy storage. Further, the advent of autonomous cars could lead to significant improvements in fuel efficiency, traffic patterns, transportation networks, and land use in cities, thereby dramatically transforming urban landscapes.

Forum to Look at Indonesia, Australia Energy, Security Challenges – The CSIS Southeast Asia Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to discuss Australia and Indonesia and the energy, resource, security and diplomatic issues they will face in the coming years.  In the past decade Australia has emerged as a resource superpower. It is the world’s leading exporter of iron ore and will soon be one of world’s leading exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A recent PwC report indicates that by 2050, Indonesia – which is already the largest and most populous economy in Southeast Asia – will become the world’s fourth largest economy. President Joko Widodo visited Canberra in February and this week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in Jakarta to participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association Summit.   Speakers include Darmawan Prasodjo, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Widodo, as well as a panel that includes Paul Griffiths of the Embassy of Australia, Dino Patti Djalal of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, Perth USAsia Centre Energy Security Program Director Andrew Pickford, Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake and Mark Stickells, Director of the Energy and Minerals Institute at the University of Western Australia.

Oversight to Look at GAO BSEE Report – The House Oversight Committee’s Interior, Energy and Environment subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. examining GAO’s findings on deficiencies at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Forum to Look at Water Data – In commemoration of World Water Day, the Millennium Challenge Corporation holds a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on water investments and using data to drive decisions.  MCC’s WASH experts join together with research partners for a discussion on bridging data gaps in the Water & Sanitation sector.

Ethanol Group Hosts Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol holds its 9th annual DC Fly-In on Wednesday and Thursday.  The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel and on Capitol Hill.

House Energy Discusses Clean Air Act Reform – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to look at reforming parts of the Clean Air Act aimed at implementation of EPA’s ozone standard. The topic will be H.R. 806, introduced last month by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) with the immediate goal of halting further implementation of U.S. EPA’s 2015 ozone standard until 2025.  Witnesses will include UCSF medical professor Homer Boushey and CARB’s Kurt Karperos, as well as many others.

DC Bar Hosts Climate Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar hosts a forum on Wednesday looking at the climate policy outlook for 2017. Speakers will include Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, NRDC’s David Doniger and Karen Florini, Former Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Department of State.

CFR to Release New Report on Arctic – The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) holds a discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to release a new report titled “Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America’s Fourth Coast.”

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Senate Ag Takes Up Perdue Nomination – The Senate Agriculture Committee will host Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday for a confirmation hearing to be Agriculture secretary.   Perdue’s hearing was long-delayed because of paperwork issues related to his business arrangements and financial disclosures.  Of the all the items expected to come up, ethanol may be an interesting one given Perdue’s background in agribusiness, which has been in a longstanding fight over ethanol.

BPC to Look at Energy Trade – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on expanding the benefits North American energy trade.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have long been strong partners in energy cooperation and trade. Over the past several years, those ties have deepened as energy trade has increased substantially, and Mexico’s energy reforms have created new opportunities. As the administration pushes forward with potential changes to NAFTA, what might be the impact on energy trade across North America? The panelists will include Mexico’s Former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons Lourdes Melgar, Wilson Center’s Canada Institute Director Laura Dawson and Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Forum to Look at Extractive Industries – The Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) holds a discussion on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on the opportunities and risks coupled with the extractive industries in the Americas. The event will feature a briefing by Ramón Espinasa, senior oil and gas specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on their new extractive sector initiative. Espinasa will provide an overview of the IDB’s work to promote investment in the sector. He will also offer his insights on the potential for extractive industries to drive broader sustainable economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with the IDB on the key issues facing the sector and explore ways that your organization can help shape and launch this new initiative.

Chevron CEO Addresses DC Econ Club – On Thursday evening at the JW Marriott, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. holds a discussion with John Watson, CEO of the Chevron Corporation.

Former Energy Sect Abraham to Headline GU Lecture on American Energy – The Georgetown University Library holds a lecture on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Murray Room focused on America’s energy challenges and solutions.  The group will focus on the post-election issues.  Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will be discussing the energy challenges America faces and possible solutions we could pursue as we move forward under this new administration.

 

IN THE FUTURE

WCEE Event to Discuss Energy Factbook – The WCEE event featuring the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BNEF Factbook has been rescheduled for next Monday at Noon.  The Speaker panel includes BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, Calpine’s Yvonne McIntyre, Johnson Control’s Elizabeth Tate and Katherine Gensler of SEIA.

Murkowski to Headline Arctic Forum – Next Monday at 1:00 p.m. the Wilson Center will hold a forum on the North American Arctic and the energy issues surrounding it.  Mike Sfraga of the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and John Higginbotham of the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Arctic Program will discuss the economic development opportunities, infrastructure needs and investment strategies.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski will keynote the speech.

Chicago-Hamilton to Look at Energy, New Congress – Next Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) will co-host a forum to explore the best approaches to address these challenges. The forum will begin with opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. A fireside chat and three roundtable discussions will follow featuring panelists including: Ted Halstead (Climate Leadership Council), Mindy Lubber (CERES), James L. Connaughton (Nautilus Data Technologies), David Schwietert (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers), Cass Sunstein (Harvard University), John Deutch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Trevor Houser (Rhodium Group), Ellen D. Williams (University of Maryland), Steven H. Strongin (Goldman Sachs), Alice Hill (Hoover Institution), and Brad Plumer (Vox).

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

JHU to Host East Africa Energy Forum – Johns Hopkins will host an all-day event next Tuesday that will focus on recent political and economic changes in East Africa and its implications on oil and gas development. By bringing together representatives from government, private sector, civil society, media and the international donor community, it seeks to review what progress has been achieved in the last few years and what governance challenges lay ahead.

DOE Oil, Gas Office Expert to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that Robert J. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 28th at the University Club.  Smith administers oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation. Most recently, Smith was the Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy. In this capacity, Smith helped the Assistant Secretary with policy and management issues across the office’s research and development, energy security and regulatory missions.

Forum to Focus on Oil Market Movers – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday March 30th at 10:30 a.m. for an in-depth discussion on how investor and corporate flows are impacting oil production, inventory disposition, and investment decisions going forward.  Significant challenges remain – from both a fundamentals and policy perspective. Just as the industry emerged buoyant from its week-long gathering in Houston, concerns over the extension of the OPEC/non-OPEC reductions and large stock builds in the U.S. caused investors to rebalance their positions, driving oil prices to their lowest levels in 3 months. To frame this timely discussion, we are pleased to have Ed Morse, Global Head of Commodities Research at Citigroup, Albert Helmig, CEO of Grey House LLC and former Vice Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Kevin Book, founding partner of ClearView Energy and a Senior Associate at CSIS.

GW to Host Risk Forum Report – On Thursday, March 30th at 2:00 p.m. at the Marvin Center, the GW Environmental Resource Policy Program and the GW Sustainability Collaborative will host Karl Hausker, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, and leader of the analytic and writing team for the latest study by the Risky Business Project: From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy.  The project is Co-chaired Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Thomas Steyer.  They tasked WRI with conducting an assessment of technically and economically feasible pathways that the U.S. could follow to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.  Hausker will present the results of the study and draw some comparisons to the US Mid Century Strategy report submitted to the UNFCCC

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on April 3rd– 5th in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday April 6th, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on April 6th through 8th. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of March 13

Friends,

I hope you showed up for work on time today.  Yes, yesterday was the “Spring Forward” Daylight Saving Time day.  The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784. If you are saying “boy, it seems earlier than usual”, remember, it was bumped up as part of the 2007 Energy law to conserve more energy.  DOE has Top 8 things you didn’t know about DST here.  The fun doesn’t stop there: We are potentially getting a big snow storm tonight (hold on to your hats), Wednesday is the Ides of March and Friday is St. Patrick’s Day (a Friday SPD w/ March Madness is always pretty fun).

Okay, speaking of March Madness, it is also time to get those NCAA basketball brackets in shape as March Madness kicks off tomorrow (but in full swing Thursday).  The top seeds are Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga.  If you are looking for sleepers, you might try SMU (30 wins), Vermont (21 straight wins) and Michigan (Big 10 Tourney Champs) after a strong conference tournament runs.  For veteran teams in a down year that still could be dangerous: Michigan State and Wichita State.  For real sleepers with good records: St. Mary’s, UT-Arlington and Middle Tennessee St.  Whatever you do, get those Pools in by Thursday at Noon.

Well, everything we expected last week slipped to this week. That seems to be the pattern so far.  Who knows if it will slip again given the impending snow storm.  Currently, Wednesday the President is expected to travel to Detroit for fuel economy standard changes alongside auto execs.  We also expect to see Presidential action on the Clean Power Plan, Coal leasing and other pieces of the Obama climate agenda.  The President also is expected to meet with Angela Merkel tomorrow and while climate change won’t be a major issue, it may very well come up given the EU’s nervousness about the issue of continued U.S. participation.

Slow week in Congress while they turn to more high-priority items like the budget and health care.  But weather pending, tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee starts a look into energy infrastructure with NRECA member CEO Clay Kopin, folks from NHA, LIUNA  Prez Terry O’Sullivan, Dominion’s Dian Leopold and BNEF (and Sustainable Energy Factbook co-author) Ethan Zindler.

Speaking of the Factbook, WCEE host a forum to detail it on Wednesday at Noon.  On Thursday, ACORE hosts its annual policy forum at the W.  It is a great line up and lots of good info.

During today’s E&E TV OnPoint, former Rep. Jim Matheson, now CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, explains what an executive order that unravels the Clean Power Plan could mean for his member groups and how electric co-ops plan to lobby the Trump administration on climate policy.

Finally, 10 days  of South-By-Southwest (SXSW) launched this weekend and run through next weekend.  SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries – with a healthy dose of politics . The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, We are all over it this week, whether it is Scott Pruitt and the magical science questions, CPP, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It would be hard to overstate how impressive 2016 was for the solar industry. Prices dropped to all-time lows, installations expanded in states across the country and job numbers soared. The bottom line is that more people are benefitting from solar now than at any point in the past, and while the market is changing, the broader trend over the next five years is going in one direction – and that’s up.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, Solar Energy Industries Assn president and CEO in announcing the US Solar market’s 2016 year-in-review.

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE Calling to Attention to State Level Questions on AVs – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) today is calling attention to dangerous state-level legislation that would restrict the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.  The Safe Autonomous Vehicle Act, which has been introduced in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and other states, would restrict the ability to test AVs only to those companies that manufacture automobiles. It also privileges specific AV ownership and use models, needlessly constraining experimentation with different commercialization strategies. SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond said, “If enacted, the SAVE Act would impose unfair competitive advantages that prevent both well-known technology leaders and emerging innovators from conducting the important testing that is necessary to develop breakthrough technologies. The consequence of the SAVE Act would be to crush competition in this nascent industry at the very moment when it is desperately needed.”  AV technology holds the promise of introducing fuel competition in the transportation sector and dramatically reducing America’s oil dependence. Ninety-two percent of U.S. transportation is powered by oil, a volatile commodity supplied and controlled by countries that do not share U.S. strategic priorities. This singular dependence on oil jeopardizes American economic sovereignty and reorders U.S. foreign policy priorities. The OPEC cartel and National Oil Companies, which hold 90 percent of global reserves, exert undue influence over the global oil market. In contrast to free-market American producers, these companies serve as government entities which take non-market considerations into account in operating decisions, such as social and defense spending. In addition to the energy security benefits, AVs could significantly reduce the more than 35,000 deaths and two million injuries per year from roadway collisions, while expanding mobility and independence for 57 million Americans with disabilities and a growing senior population.

Groups Urge Support for Fossil Fuel Research – A group of labor unions, coal companies and other organizations are urging the Administration to support funding for fossil fuel energy research. “Federal support plays a major role in commercializing technology and making it cost-viable for the private sector,” they said in a letter. “We look forward to working with incoming Secretary of Energy Perry on these efforts, and hope your administration will support these important federal investments to secure America’s energy future.” Among the group signing the letter include ClearPath Action” Jay Faison, the United Mine Workers of America and the Coal Utilization Research Council, as well as several companies like Cloud Peak and Peabody.

Mead, Faison Address Advanced CCS Techs –Speaking of ClearPath, CEO Jay Faison and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead had an op-ed in the Washington Times over the Weekend focused on advancing clean coal and sequestration opportunities.

Study: Wind Could Add 35 GW by 2020 – A new study from Navigant Consulting and the American Wind Energy Association says the US has the potential to add 35 gigawatts of new installed wind capacity by the end of 2020.  The report said that the wind industry is expected to support 248,000 jobs, including induced jobs, and drive $85 billion in economic investments during the same period.

Solar Booming – The U.S. solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016, nearly doubling its previous record and adding more electric generating capacity than any other source of energy for the first time ever.  Over the next five years, the cumulative U.S. solar market is expected to nearly triple in size, even as a slight dip is expected in 2017. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced these historic figures today in the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year-in-Review report.

On average, U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) system pricing fell by nearly 20 percent in 2016. This is the greatest average year-over-year price decline since GTM Research began modelling pricing in this report series.  The report forecasts that an impressive 13.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV will be installed in the U.S. in 2017, a 10 percent drop from 2016, though still 75 percent more than was installed in 2015. The dip will occur solely in the utility-scale market, following the unprecedented number of utility-scale projects that came online in the latter half of 2016, most originally scheduled for completion before the original expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which has since been extended. By 2019, the utility-scale segment is expected to rebound, with year-over-year growth across the board.

Rural Coops Adding Solar – Speaking of solar, it is booming in rural America as well.  By the end of 2017, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago, according to data released today by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.  This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 megawatts of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 873 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a twenty-fold increase over the 37 MW capacity in 2010.  In addition, over the last two years, cooperatives have expanded their solar footprint from 34 states to 44 states.  Among states where co-ops have been actively developing solar, Georgia ranks first with a total of 122 MW, followed by New Mexico, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, Maryland and North Carolina.

Matheson Discusses CPP Impacts on Coops – Speaking of Rural coops, as mentioned earlier, former Rep. Jim Matheson, now CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, is featured in today’s E&E TV OnPoint to explain what an executive order that unravels the Clean Power Plan could mean for his member groups and how electric co-ops plan to lobby the Trump administration on climate policy.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wilson Event to Look at China, Coal Impacts – The Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will hold a forum this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on coal and China’s climate and water issues. Speakers will dig behind these coal trends to discuss if they signify a near peak or if this is just a pause in coal consumption before another curve upwards. Barbara Finamore (NRDC) will discuss the decarbonization trends in the Chinese power sector and some of the obstacles the government faces as it pushes a clean energy future.  Zhou Xizhou (IHS Markit) will talk about how China’s fossil fuel companies are adding more renewables while simultaneously investing in carbon- and water-intensive coal-to-gas and other coal conversion industries. Jennifer Turner will highlight some of the water risks that coal development poses for drought-sensitive western China.

Senate Energy Looks at Infrastructure – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on opportunities to improve American energy infrastructure. Witnesses include Pacific Power CEO Stefan Bird, Carl Imhoff of the Pacific Northwest National Lab, Cordova Electric Cooperative CEO Clay Koplin, National Hydropower Association Deputy Executive Director Jeffrey Leahy, Dominion CEO Diane Leopold, LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan and BNEF analyst Ethan Zindler.

Forum to Look at Transportation Project Benefits – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the National League of Cities (NLC), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a forum tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. to look at examples from communities across America of transportation investments that benefit the national economy, by creating direct and supply-side jobs while boosting regional economies.  Speakers will include Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Paul Balmer, Legislative Assistant, speaking on behalf of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).  Other speakers include Sound Transit (Seattle, WA) head Peter Rogoff and Cleveland, OH City Councilmember Matt Zone, President of the National League of Cities.

House Transpo to Look at Highway Legislation – The House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing on Wednesday at a10:00 a.m. on the FAST Act Implementation looking at state and local perspectives.  Witnesses will include John Schroer, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (on behalf of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO)); Gary Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, on behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC).

Post Forum to Look at 100 Days – On Wednesday morning, The Washington Post will host lawmakers and political analysts to assess President Trump’s first 50 days in office. They’ll discuss policy priorities in a Republican-led Washington, where Democrats can front opposition or find common ground, and how Trump’s approach to the presidency is resonating in the Beltway and beyond.  Speakers include, former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, leader, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Sen. Joe Manchin, Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan and Sen. David Perdue.

House Energy Looks at Hydro Generation – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at modernizing energy infrastructure.  The hearing will focus on the challenges and opportunities to expanding hydropower generation.  Witnesses include Chuck Hookham of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Kieran Connolly of the Bonneville Power Administration; Rye Development CEO Rayma Swaminathan, on behalf of the National Hydropower Association; and Dave Steindorf, California stewardship director for American Whitewater, on behalf of the Hydropower Reform Coalition.

Wilson to Premier Earth, Sky –The Wilson Center will host an environmental film premier of Between Earth and Sky on Wednesday at Noon.  Mixing interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming, Between Earth and Sky attempts to highlight the challenge of climate change in places in Alaska.

WCEE Event to Focus on BCSE Factbook – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host an event on Wednesday discussing the Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the United States. The Factbook is created to provide policymakers, journalists and industry professionals with up-to-date market information.  The Factbook is free and available to download at www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.

CSIS to Launch New Energy, Climate Series – CSIS Energy and National Security Program has launched a new high-level speaker series, Climate Change and National and Corporate Interest. This series will showcase a variety of country and corporate perspectives on their chosen pathways for pursuing a climate change strategy and why those actions are in their national or commercial interest.  On Wednesday, CSIS will kick off the series with Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Canada has been notable in its commitment to thinking about climate change in a proactive way.  As both a major energy consumer and producer, Canada’s perspective on how to pursue a climate change policy that ensures continued economic growth and stability is an important part of the ongoing dialogue about how best to tackle this global challenge. In 2016 the Pan-Canadian Framework for Climate Change was established, a plan that includes pricing pollution and measures to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions across all sectors, and to drive innovation and growth.

Pew to Look at Safeguarding Infrastructure From Severe Weather – The Pew Charitable Trusts holds a discussion on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. communities investing in resilient infrastructure.  The event will focus on safeguarding the country’s infrastructure from the effects of severe weather.  Hopefully it will not be cancelled by the severe weather.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on Thursday at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

Big Data Forum on Renewables Set – Alongside the ACORE forum st 9:00 a.m. at the W,  Kaiserwetter of Germany will present the latest Big Data methods it is usung to optimize clean electricity generation including financial, technical and environmental oriented asset management for power plants and projects under the assumption that these analytical tools should be of great help to multilateral agencies, regardless of who finally provides the specific services.

USEA to Discuss Fuel Cells, Carbon Capture – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association hosts a forum on CO2 Capture Utilizing Fuel Cells.  Efficiently and affordably capturing CO2 from utility scale power generation is a global challenge and a large potential market opportunity.  Conventional carbon capture technologies use power and represent an expense.  FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil are advancing a novel application for installing carbonate fuel cells at combustion-based power plants to efficiently capture CO2 while simultaneously producing power from the fuel cells.  Affordable and scalable, fuel cell carbon capture is a potential game-changer. This presentation will explain fuel cell carbon capture supported with discussion of a demonstration project to be placed at Plant Barry, a mixed coal/gas-fired plant owned by Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.  Speakers include Exxon’s Michael Kerby and FuelCell Energy’s Tony Leo and Frank Wolak.

Forum to Look at Mexico, US Energy Trade – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. looking at the future of the U.S.-Mexico energy relationship.  The event will feature a conversation with Lourdes Melgar of the MIT Center for International Studies.  Melgar is the former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons in Mexico.

Forum to Look at Efficiency in Infrastructure – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold an event on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. looking at the role of energy efficiency in infrastructure investments. The session will outline the role of energy efficiency policy as an indispensable element of what has been a major policy theme for the new administration and members of the 115th Congress: infrastructure. Briefing attendees will hear from business leaders about the importance of energy efficiency policy in a diverse range of energy sectors: transportation, utility, buildings, water and finance. Following panelist presentations, the moderator will open the briefing for questions from attendees.

Forum to Look at Climate Stories from Field – WWF and Columbia University will host a forum on the ADVANCE program Thursday at 4:00 p.m.  ADVANCE was launched in 2015 as a new partnership between WWF and Columbia’s Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR) with the main goal of providing new ways of generating and integrating climate risk information into conservation and development planning. Through a process known as “co-generating” climate information, ADVANCE team members consult directly with stakeholders through personal, in-country stakeholder consultation and use the latest modeling tools to analyze climate trends and create localized climate projections for WWF project landscapes. This presentation will highlight experiences in Bhutan, Myanmar, Colombia and Kyrgyzstan, focusing on early lessons learned and best practices for improving climate risk information for stakeholders to create maximum usability and uptake at multiple scales.  The speaker will be Ryan Bartlett, Senior Specialist for Climate Resilience at WWF.

Group to Toast Former EIA Head – The NCAC, USAEE, and IAEE will hold a special event on Thursday evening on Thursday night that will feature a roast ‘n Toast of former EIA Head Adam Sieminski.  The event will feature live music provided by former White House economist Bob McNally and his band “Sound Policy” featuring fellow NCAC members and energy wonks Dan Poneman and Kevin Book.

WAPA Gala Set – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual “non” gala on Thursday at Pinstripes in Georgetown for an evening of drinks, dinner, networking, and some sporting fun courtesy of Nissan, with automotive journalism’s industry leaders from around the area and the nation.

API to Discuss 100 Days of Action – The American Petroleum Institute (API) holds a media briefing on the first 100 days of the new Congress and Trump Administration Friday at 9:00 a.m. in 2168 Rayburn.  The event will focus on the importance of oil and gas in American consumers’ day-to-day lives.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Carnegie Nuclear Forum Set – Next Monday and Tuesday, the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference will bring together over 800 experts and officials from more than forty-five countries and international organizations.  The conference takes place on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s conclusion. Most observers credit the treaty with playing a pivotal role in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Today, however, its continued efficacy is in doubt as disagreements grow over the implementation of each of its three main “pillars”—nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A number of panels at the conference will focus on debates surrounding treaty’s core articles, as well as on questions of how to manage its nonmembers and sole former member. Other panels will consider the future of global nuclear order, as well as emerging trends in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear energy.

Forum to Look at Future of China Solar Power – Next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host an event featuring the launch of “The New Solar System,” a major new study from Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint initiative of Stanford’s law and business schools. The result of two years of research, “The New Solar System” illuminates key and little-understood changes that are remaking the solar enterprise in China—and, as a result, solar power around the world. Based on the authors’ analysis, “The New Solar System” recommends changes to U.S. solar policy that would put solar power on a more economically sensible course and would help meet global carbon-reduction goals. Report authors Jeffrey Ball and Dan Reicher will present key findings before engaging in a broader conversation with Brookings Senior Fellow Emeritus Kenneth G. Lieberthal. After the discussion, the participants will take questions from the audience.

Ethanol Group Hosts Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol holds Its 9th annual DC Fly-In on Wednesday and Thursday, March 22-23.  The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel and on Capitol Hill.

DC Bar Hosts Climate Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar hosts a forum looking at the climate policy outlook for 2017. Speakers will include Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, NRDC’s David Doniger and Karen Florini, Former Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Department of State.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

BPC to Look at Energy Trade – On Thursday, March 23rd at 2:00 p.m, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on expanding the benefits North American energy trade.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have long been strong partners in energy cooperation and trade. Over the past several years, those ties have deepened as energy trade has increased substantially, and Mexico’s energy reforms have created new opportunities. As the administration pushes forward with potential changes to NAFTA, what might be the impact on energy trade across North America? The panelists will include Mexico’s Former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons Lourdes Melgar, Wilson Center’s Canada Institute Director Laura Dawson and Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Chicago-Hamilton to Look at Energy, New Congress – The University of Chicago Energy Center will be hosting a forum with the Hamilton Project at Brookings on March 27.  The event is a half-day forum focused on opportunities for progress on energy policy in the new congress and administration. There will be sessions focused on R&D, infrastructure, CAFE reform, and carbon pricing.

DOE Oil, Gas Office Expert to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that Robert J. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 28th at the University Club.  Smith administers oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation. Most recently, Smith was the Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy. In this capacity, Smith helped the Assistant Secretary with policy and management issues across the office’s research and development, energy security and regulatory missions.

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on April 3rd-5th  in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of February 27

Friends,

I wasn’t watching, because I‘m deep into Homeland and Billions, but apparently there was a “Steve Harvey-moment” at last night’s Oscars when presenters read the wrong card and said La La Land won best picture at the Academy Awards rather than Moonlight, the real winner.  Warren Beatty says he paused so long before the name was read because the envelope read Emma Stone, La La Land. Actress Faye Dunaway read the name La La Land after chiding Beatty for taking so long to read the winner.  PricewaterhouseCoopers – not the Russians – issued a statement early Monday taking the blame and apologizing for card mix-up.  I was very glad to see Casey Affleck get the best actor award for his role in Manchester by the Sea, which I thought was gripping.  Vanity Fair has the full list of correct winners.

We start Mardi Gras week (Fat Tuesday is tomorrow) with the nation’s Governors in town, visiting with the President, EPA’s Scott Pruitt and others.  This morning, we see the roll out of the new top-line budget and the President speaks to a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow.  On the budget, just a reminder it is expected that agencies across the board will see proposed cuts.  But just like any budget, the President’s budget is often a visionary statement that outlines the direction of the Administration.   As always, Congress will thank the President for his approach and get to work on it themselves.  All this is to say while it is nice to see what the President will propose in his budget, it will change – probably dramatically.  On specifics EPA and DOE spending will likely include large cuts initially, including climate change programs.   More as this as it develops.

As for the President’s speech tomorrow, I would expect much focus energy and environmental issues other than to accent his focus on creating jobs.  Trump is expected to tout his efforts to broadly curtail government rules and the work his administration has already done to roll back some of the Obama administration’s energy policies.

Following the speech, we return to the confirmation game with Rep. Ryan Zinke’s long-delayed nomination to run the Interior Department.  The Senate is expected to take another key procedural vote late today in which tees up a final vote on his nomination in the early morning hours of Wednesday (if Democrats elect to run through the entire 30 hours of debate). Ben Carson’s confirmation to HUD is next then Rick Perry’s nomination to run DOE.  The House will be busy on more reg legislative action, while we also expect to see the long-awaited, much-reported enviro executive orders focused on EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. regulation and Interior’s federal moratorium on new coal leases.  E&E’s Emily Holden has a good explainer on CPP here.

Last week, conservatives roamed the Gaylord convention center (wonder how many headed over to the new casino) hearing President Trump, Pruitt, Bannon, Preibus, KAC and others. Today though launches DOE’s ARPA-E summit which focuses on energy innovation and will feature presentations from companies big and small.  Other events include tomorrow’s WAPA and Consumer Reports luncheon at the Press Club that announcing its 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards; an ACCF event tomorrow on FERC and Women’s Energy Network hosts a “Lunch and Learn” on Friday with Bloomberg energy reporter Jennifer and congressional reporter Elana Schor of Politico.  Also on Friday, BNEF and the Business Council on Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will roll out Its Factbook again for a regional audience in St. Thomas College in Minnesota.  Also all this week, NRECA celebrates 75 years of advocacy and service to America’s electric cooperatives with its annual meeting in San Diego.

So I know I mentioned this last week with our friend Ben Geman heading over to Axios to lead its energy coverage, its 5th vertical. But now the VandeHei-helmed startup will launch coverage of the energy sector in March with our friend Amy Harder from the Wall Street Journal as well.  Harder’s departure was announced via an internal memo at the Journal this morning.

Finally, on Thursday evening, the most important event of the week will take place at the Kettler Ice Arena in Arlington when Congressional Hockey Challenge – the annual battle between lobbyists and lawmakers – will face off for charity.  The game will feature former Caps players, USA Warriors players, Congressional Reps. Paulson, Emmer, Meehan, Bucshon and Katko and members of the Canadian Parliament.  For the 4th year in a row, I will be among the officiating crew.  In addition, some of you may remember my rendition of Oh Canada, last year when the singer was ill and did not make it.  I will reprise that role as well so I’ve been practicing when commuting in the car each day.  Please come as it is for a great cause.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA, because maybe for the first time ever – or at least in a long time – that agency…is going to do business as it should.  People across the country look at the EPA much like they look at the IRS. And I hope to be able to change that.  The previous administration was so focused on climate change and so focused on CO2, some of those other priorities were left behind.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressing CPAC on Saturday.

 

IN THE NEWS

More Members Weigh In on FERC Quorum – If we haven’t talked about FERC and its lack of a quorum enough, there continues to be more momentum to address it.  Already regulators at FERC, Stakeholders with business before FERC and Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski have all urged the President to get Moving on appointed new FERC Commissioners.  Now, 92 House members led by MI Rep. Tim Walberg (not related to Marky Mark) urged Trump in a letter to “prioritize the nomination and confirmation” of new FERC commissioners.  The lawmakers write the ongoing lack of a quorum at FERC leaves it “unable to serve its essential functions and effectively [halts] critical infrastructure investments in our nation’s energy infrastructure.”  Other bipartisan signers include Steve Scalise, Fred Upton, John Shimkus, Joe Barton, Gene Green, Cedric Richmond, Peter Welch and many more.

Ryan Jackson To Be EPA Chief – You may have seen the photo of Administrator Pruitt meeting with Governors yesterday morning.  Morning Energy and several others like us who know recognized a key face in the background.  Ryan Jackson, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s former chief-of-staff, has formally joined EPA as chief-of-staff.  We have also heard through reports that long-time Pruitt Advisor Samantha Dravis may be also taking an important policy position at EPA.

New Moves for Lefebvre – Our friend Ben Lefebvre has moved from the Wall Street Journal in Houston to POLITICO to cover pipelines, oil and gas issues.  And speaking of Ben, he has a good story today discussing concerns about the Border tax proposal from refiners like Tesoro.

Study Reveals Tradeoffs in Cost. Performance for HFC Replacements – A new study in Nature Communications discovered challenges for 27 “pure liquid” candidates to replace hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), chemicals currently used in refrigerators and air conditioners. Researchers spent years looking at millions of liquid candidates to replace the current HFCs, while accounting for various aspects, such as their “global warming potential (GWP), toxicity, energy efficiency, and flammability.” According to Mark McLinden, the study’s primary author at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, “There are no perfect options for low GWP refrigerants. There are tradeoffs and the biggest tradeoff is [between] GWP and flammability.” Chemical blends represent an additional option, but are more complicated and expensive than the pure liquid HFCs they are designed to replace, causing concern for less developed countries that may not be able to afford the transition. Under the recently approved Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, HFCs will be largely phased out by 2050, helping to avoid half a degree of global warming by 2100.  Of course, our experts at AHRI who are Involved in these issues we are happy to discuss.

Clearpath Takes on LCV Scorecard – The League of Conservation Voters’ National Environmental Scorecard for 2016, was released last week.  Clearpath’s Jay Faison blasted it for undervaluing or undermining realistic and meaningful clean energy policies.  “LCV is not an objective methodology premised on key votes,” Faison said. “The cherry picking is clearly designed to produce starkly partisan results, reflecting a bias against many of the most effective clean energy strategies available to pragmatic policymakers.”  Faison pointed to the absence of votes on widely-backed Republican-led proposals bolstering advanced nuclear power, clean coal technologies and hydropower.  Many votes scored were largely extraneous party-line exercises, including an amendment to the Senate energy bill from Sen. Al Franken to enact a national energy efficiency resource standard on top of the strong bipartisan efficiency language led by Sens. Portman and Shaheen that was already included in the measure.   And while Portman’s LCV score was negatively impacted for voting against Franken’s amendment, he received zero credit for leading the long and hard-fought effort with Shaheen to include the bill’s robust efficiency language. The scorecard also omits final passage of that Senate bill, which also bolstered advanced nuclear and hydropower and was an example of exactly the type of pragmatic compromise that is needed more on Capitol Hill.

NYT Looks at Clean Coal Project in Policy Agenda – Our friend Cliff Krauss has a good story in the New York Times looking at coal companies voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions and frame clean Coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda.

Cato Policy Handbook Ready – The Cato Instituted releases its 8th edition of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers — with 80 chapters of in-depth analysis and concrete recommendations – sets the standard in Washington for reducing the power of the federal government and expanding freedom.  From chapters on reviving growth, health care reform and the war on drugs, to education, foreign policy and the military budget, Cato’s Handbook is an invaluable resource for policymakers and for anyone interested in securing liberty and limiting government.

E&E Legal Sues State for Records – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) filed suit against the Trump Administration Department of State (State). This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeks specific records to, from or discussing green-group lobbyist Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute. The requests at issue followed up information obtained by E&E Legal about a coordinated effort, with State’s assistance, between green pressure groups and China to keep the climate gravy train chugging in the post-Obama world.  E&E Legal also sought copies of all electronic correspondence sent to or from six State officials sent to or from or referencing four parties involved in arranging a collaborative effort on the climate issue at China’s request.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held today through  Wednesday at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

NRECA Annual Meeting Rolls in San Diego – More than 5,500 representatives from electric co-ops across the nation are attending NRECA’s Annual Meeting celebrating its 75th  Anniversary this week in San Diego at the Convention Center. The meeting’s keynote speakers include historian Michael Beschloss and tech entrepreneur Josh Linkner. The broad array of breakout sessions includes the potential impact of the Trump Administration, rate design, rural broadband and cybersecurity.

TechAdvantage Expo Brings Energy Innovation – Alongside NRECA, TechAdvantage 2017 Conference and Expo kicked off today in San Diego. TechAdvantage is the leading technology conference designed exclusively for electric cooperative professionals engaged in C-level, engineering, operations, IT, purchasing and supply, and marketing decision-making.  This year’s conference will highlight technologies that are changing the electric grid. From distributed energy, cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems to energy storage, big data, system optimization and government regulation, there’s something for everyone.

AWEA to Roll Out Jobs Info in Webinar – Today at 1:00 p.m., American Wind Energy Association holds webinar to release new analysis on job creation from Navigant forecasting wind power’s economic benefits.  Sign up here.

BGov Panel to Look at Climate, Environmental Policy – Bloomberg Government holds a discussion tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on the next generation of climate conversations focusing on “the future of climate and environmental policy” with young leaders from across the political spectrum.

House Science Panel Look at Social Cost of Carbon – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight panels will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. examining the Social Cost of Carbon.,  Witnesses will include Brookings Ted Gayer, Heritage’s Kevin Dayaratna, Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago’s Interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute and Cato’s Patrick Michaels.

Forum to look at DERs – Tomorrow at 10:0 a.m., the US Energy Assn will hold a forum on how Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are impacting the U.S. electric sector. DERs which include solar, storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and CHP technologies, are disrupting the way electricity has traditionally been generated, transmitted and distributed for the last 100 plus years.  Continuing technological innovation and cost declines, together with customer demand, regulatory initiatives, and increasingly sophisticated third party participants, are causing utilities and their regulators to fundamentally rethink traditional business models and regulatory and rate structures.  ICF’s Steve Fine and Phil Mihlmester have been at the forefront of helping utilities in CA, NY and elsewhere, navigated many of these ongoing changes, and will be sharing their views on these industry-changing topics.

WAPA, CR to Announce Top 2017 Picks – WAPA and Consumer Reports will holds its February luncheon at the National Press Club tomorrow at Noon to announce the organization’s 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards. The event is one of the highlights of the year for WAPA. Each spring, consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for its 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.

Drilling Contractors Hold Onshore Drilling Forum – Tomorrow at Noon in 406 Dirksen, the International Association of Drilling Contractors hosts a lunch and learn on onshore drilling rigs and well construction.

Discussion Looks at Middle East Energy – The Middle East Institute holds a discussion tomorrow at Noon on geopolitical dynamics and Middle East energy.  MEI will host Justin Dargin (Univ. of Oxford), Rauf Mammadov (MEI), Jean-Francois Seznec (MEI), and Brenda Shaffer (Georgetown Univ.) for a discussion of how Middle Eastern states are navigating change in the global energy market and in relations between the players.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

UNFCCC Leader to Address Georgetown Forum – The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, the School of Foreign Service, and the Georgetown Environment Initiative will host a lecture and discussion tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and a distinguished panel including Lorena Aguilar of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Georgetown’s Joanna Lewis and Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director Vicki Arroyo.

Trump Speech to Congress – Tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., President Trump will make his first address to Congress.

Resources to Look at Water/Power Infrastructure – The House Resources Committee’s Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking modernizing western water and power infrastructure in the 21st Century.

BNEF, BCSE to Do Minnesota Rollout – On Friday, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will be in Minnesota at St. Thomas College to do a local release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook featuring local Minnesota businesses. The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment.

Forum to Look at Carbon Capture Future – On Friday at Noon, the American Energy Society hosts the next event in its series, Carbon Capture, Tomorrow Just Happened by holding a Congressional Briefing that provides scientific and technical overviews; offer first-mover insights suitable for any region in the country; emphasize potential business development and job creation opportunities, as well as environmental impacts.  Panelists include Stanford’s Sally Benson, Howard Herzog of the MIT Energy Initiative, UT-Austin’s Gary Rochelle and Nicholas Flanders, Co-Founder and CEO at Opus 12 and a member of Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

WEN Lunch to Feature Dlouhy, Schor – The Women’s Energy Network hosts a “Lunch and Learn” on Friday with Bloomberg energy reporter Jennifer and congressional reporter Elana Schor of Politico. 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. Enjoy lunch provided at Forbes Tate as you hear from Jennifer and Elana about current topics in the energy industry and government and a Q&A with attendees.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Cato to Host Transportation Infrastructure – Next Monday at Noon, the Cato Institute hold a forum on setting transportation infrastructure priorities.  The event will focus on how we should decide what projects are funded, how much should we spend on new infrastructure and how much on reconstruction, as well as funding and finance priorities.  Finally, it will look at goals to create short-term jobs, long-term economic growth, or simply new transportation alternatives? Join four leading transportation experts in a discussion of highways, transit, intercity rail, airports and air traffic control, transportation finance, and regulation.

Forum to Look at Urban Planning, Climate – The Wilson Center will hold a forum next Monday at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion about the latest research from the field on innovative urban approaches to climate change, accommodating refugees in urban areas, and inclusive city planning. Winning authors of the 2016 Graduate Student Reducing Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On next Tuesday, March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC. GEA has annually provided leadership within the geothermal energy community and a platform for constructive dialogue and in-depth discussion on issues ranging from finance, market development, and policy to GHG emissions, new technology driving change and key markets to look out for. In light of the latest developments, the Association’s International Geothermal Forum is a recent spinoff from the traditional US & International Showcase.  For one day, the Forum will gather roughly sixty (60) top energy, finance, policy, government, ministry, and engineering experts to provide in-depth discussion and insight into the future of the geothermal market in the US and abroad.

Forum to Look at Advanced Energy – Microsoft and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute will host a conversation on Tuesday March 7th at 11:30 a.m. looking at advanced energy as an economic driver.  The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, utilities, energy consumers, and state business organizations to discuss how advanced energy is driving economic development and job growth in states across the U.S.  The U.S. energy system is going through a transformational change—consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies, and new threats are causing the energy system, as we have known it for the past century, to evolve.  Speakers will include our friend AEE’s Malcolm Wolff, EEI’s Emily Fisher, Microsoft’s Michelle Patron, and many others.

JHU Forum Looks at Deep Decarbonization Strategies – Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum next Tuesday, March 7th at 5:00 p.m. to review the US’ mid-century strategy to deeply decarbonize the US economy by 2050, released in November by the Obama Administration. A second recent study developed by the Risky Business Project, “From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy,” will also be presented and discussed.

CSIS to Host IEA Oil Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency, on March 8th to present the IEA’s Oil Market Report 2017.  In late 2016, leading oil producers put together the most comprehensive agreement to limit oil output seen since 2009 to ensure the stabilization of oil prices and avoid economic dislocation in producing countries. Underscored by well-supplied oil markets, and this new period of production management, the Oil Market Report projects the following trends through 2022 that oil demand is expected to grow strongly at least to 2022, with main developing economies leading the way; the need for more production capacity becomes apparent by the end of the decade, even if supply appears plentiful today; it is not clear that upstream projects will be completed in time due to the unprecedented two-year fall in investment in 2015 and 2016, although major reductions in costs will help and there is a  risk of prices rising more sharply by 2022 as the spare production cushion is eroded.  A discussion moderated by Kevin Book will follow.

Microgrid Forum Set – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), George Washington University and state, business and city leaders will join together on Wednesday, March 8th at 9:00 a.m. to examine the opportunities and challenges of successful microgrid deployment. Microgrids are an innovative solution to reduce emissions, improve electricity system reliability and resilience, and tighten grid security. But financial, legal and technological barriers can slow their deployment.

ELI to Host Forum on Climate Justice – On Friday, March 10th at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a forum on Climate Justice.  Climate justice can be defined generally as addressing the disproportionate burden of climate change impacts on poor and marginalized communities. It seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of these impacts at the local, national, and global levels through proactive regulatory initiatives and reactive judicial remedies that draw on international human rights and domestic environmental justice theories. Yet, efforts to define climate justice as a field of inquiry can be elusive and underinclusive because the concept is so vast in scope.  This seminar will begin with discussions of recent atmospheric trust litigation in the U.S., and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, as examples of the advantages and limitations of using domestic courts to promote climate justice objectives. It will then address topics outside the litigation context by exploring the climate justice implications of the new differentiation model between developed and developing nations as reflected in the Paris Agreement and the human rights dimensions of global deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Join the editor and three contributing authors of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges to learn about important and timely topics addressed in this recent publication.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on March 16th at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 20

Friends,

Well, I have my Metallica tickets for the summer WorldWired Tour 2017 and I was thrilled to hear that Incubus will be touring this summer as well.  Add the Iron Maiden Book of Souls Tour and you have one great (and expensive) summer concert series.

On the sports side, how about baseball… Yeah, Spring training launches in full this week and for the first time in over 100 years, the Cubs enter Spring Training as World Champions.  First “real” exhibition games in the Grapefruit launch on Friday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL when the Red Sox host the Mets.  Cactus action starts Friday as well with the Reds/Giants in Scottsdale.  I hope you didn’t watch the NBA All-Star game last night, I spent about four minutes watching it before I realized that it was terrible.  They ought take a page out of the NHL and MLB books and make it mean something.  Finally, college lax gets going in full force.  Hannah and her Wellesley teammates start at Bates on March 1st.

Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt was approved on Friday with a vote of 52-46 to become the 14th EPA Administrator.  Maine R Susan Collins voted against, while Dems Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) were for.  McCain (who went to Germany) and IN Democrat Joe Donnelly didn’t vote.  Wow…that Donnelly vote is interesting, especially after he said he wouldn’t vote for Pruitt. Below we have a full array of comments from both sides.  We expect the swearing in and signing of executive orders tomorrow at Noon.  Our friend Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal conducted Pruitt’s first interview which clearly outlines his commitment to refocusing the agency on its statutorily-defined mission: working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air.  He also has made a point of focusing on following the rule of law and Congressional intent saying the previous Administration “displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends.”  Enviro reaction was of course WAY over the top.  Just check out the response on the social media in response to Pruitt’s new twitter account: @EPAScottPruitt. The comments are definitely NC-17 in some cases.

Two other big events this week: tomorrow morning at the Newseum, Third Way will host an Advanced Nuclear Summit that will feature ClearPath’s Jay Faison and examines the opportunities advanced nuclear offers, as well as the need for quick action.  Then, Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and SAFE will hold a briefing on the benefits self-driving vehicles will have on improving everyday lives.

Today is President’s Day and that means Congress is in the District Work period.  It also mean no votes on DOE nominee Rick Perry, Interior nominee Ryan Zinke and others still hanging out there until maybe early March at best.   That is a little unfortunate since today President Trump hits the first month mark on his presidency.  Speaking of that, our friend Mike Allen has a great first month analysis (good and bad) in his new outlet Axios (which you should check out).   Another one of my awesome GWU SMPA graduates, Sara Fischer, is writing for Axios covering media trends and our friend Ben Geman moves over there this week to cover energy.  Congrats Ben…

Finally, while President Trump may call it the failing New York Times, I am happy to share my friends’ interesting new interactive series called Changing Climate, Changing Cities that tackles how climate change is challenging the world’s urban centers.  The first installment ran Friday and explores Mexico City, climate change didn’t cause a lot of their fragile infrastructure and social problems, but may now act as a threat multiplier.  Expect more interesting coverage going forward.

We are around this week and it may be a good time to catch up.  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“America’s abundance of clean natural gas is driving low prices for homes and businesses which is leading states to find new ways to extend natural gas to more communities.  Efficient use of this domestic resource can help us achieve our national goals.”

AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy, discussing the group’s 2017 Playbook.

 

THE EPA VIEW

The Pruitt Vote – The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to be administrator of EPA Friday by a 52-46 roll call vote.  Voting yes were 2 Democrats and 50 Republicans.  Voting no were 43 Democrats, 1 Republican and 2 independents. Democrats Yes: Heitkamp, N.D.; Manchin, WV.  Republicans No: Collins, Maine.  Not Voting: McCain (R-AZ) (who went to Germany) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).  The Donnelly vote is interesting, especially after he said he wouldn’t vote for Pruitt.  Wonder what was going on there…

Pruitt Sworn In Friday Afternoon – SCOTUS justice Sam Alito swore in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday after the vote.  See the video here.

WSJ Interview First for Pruitt – Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal conducted Pruitt’s first interview which clearly outlines his commitment to refocusing the agency on its statutorily-defined mission: working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air.  He also has made a point of focusing on following the rule of law and Congressional intent saying the previous Administration “displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends.”

Platts Pruitt Factbox – Our friends Jasmin Melvin and Meg Gordon of Platts published a nice factbox on some of the energy impacts of Pruitt taking over at EPA.  It looks at issues like biofuels, CAFE, environmental protections, cooperation with states, etc.

Media Coverage – Here are links to a few of the articles on the vote: Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalWashington Post – NPRAssociated PressReutersBloomberg

Electric Reliability Coordinating Council – ERCC director Scott Segal:  ERCC was happy to endorse Mr. Pruitt before his hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works.  Our members are glad to welcome a new leader to EPA.  The Agency has a mission of tremendous importance to human health and the environment and Scott Pruitt’s dedication to the rule of law will be of material assistance to achieving these regulatory objectives.  Environmental advocacy can be rough and tumble, but now is the time to set aside preconceived notions and allow Mr. Pruitt and his team the space needed to get underway.  Responsible regulatory reform can make our shared environmental objectives all easier to achieve.”

Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute – AHRI President Steve Yurek: “We congratulate Administrator Pruitt and we very much look forward to working with him and his team on important issues such as refrigerant policy.” AHRI

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association – NRECA CEO Jim Matheson: “We congratulate Scott Pruitt on his confirmation and look forward to working with him on proposals that protect our environment and promote a healthy economy. EPA regulations have an enormous impact on electric co-ops and small businesses throughout rural America. We hope the agency will work with us to review these impacts and ensure that future regulations allow cooperatives the freedom and flexibility to continue providing safe, affordable, and reliable power to families and businesses across the nation. NRECA

Securing America’s Future Energy — SAFE CEO Robby Diamond: “We applaud Administrator Pruitt for his successful confirmation, and we look forward to working with him and EPA on various policy options to improve our energy security, such as improved efficiencies and advanced transportation fuels. These measures are critical to enhancing economic and national security.” As the U.S. currently relies on oil to power 92% of its transportation system, the country remains vulnerable to global oil price shocks, undermining U.S. economic sovereignty and security. De-linking American transportation from oil, through improved efficiency and fuel choice diversity, will help insulate the U.S. economy from oil price volatility and OPEC’s efforts to manipulate the oil market.  SAFE

American Chemistry Council – ACC CEO Cal Dooley: “We look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt, his team and the dedicated EPA staff to ensure that credible science and transparency are at the heart of regulatory decisions and that our nation’s key environmental statutes are implemented in a sensible manner. “The top priority for ACC is ensuring successful implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the landmark revision of the Toxic Substances Control Act passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress and supported by a wide range of stakeholders. Efficient and effective implementation of the Act will restore public confidence in EPA’s regulation of chemical safety, and will promote American innovation and competitiveness. With new and expanded access to natural gas feedstock supplies, the U.S. chemical industry is creating jobs and generating economic growth for the nation; it is critical that TSCA regulation of the products of chemistry continue to support that growth.” ACC

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – ACCCE CEO Paul Bailey:  Mr. Pruitt will make an exceptional head of EPA.  Under his leadership, we expect EPA to return to sensible policies that both protect the environment and recognize the need for reliable and affordable coal-based electricity.” ACCCE

The American Energy Alliance – AEA President Thomas Pyle: “Scott Pruitt will be a true champion for the American people and our environment. Throughout his career, Pruitt has fought to uphold the rule of law and to protect the rights of Oklahoma families and communities. He will do the same for all Americans as EPA Administrator.  In recent years the EPA has far exceeded its mandate and has used regulations as a cudgel to force states to adopt a political agenda. This agenda has upended whole communities—destroying jobs and subjecting Americans to higher energy costs. That will no longer be the case under Administrator Pruitt, who respects the rights of states and individuals and understands that clean air and water and a robust economy go hand in hand.” AEA

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers – AFPM CEO Chet Thompson: “We congratulate Administrator Pruitt on his confirmation as the next Administrator of EPA. His experience and leadership skills will be an asset to EPA and the country. We are confident that Administrator Pruitt understands that environmental protection, economic growth, and energy security are not mutually exclusive, but rather require reasonable balancing. Under his leadership, we can realize the President’s America First Energy Plan, which embraces our country’s potential to be an energy superpower while simultaneously protecting the environment.”  AFPM

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey – Morrisey: “Scott’s principled approach will respect the law and reinforce the EPA’s core mission to protect our air and water without unconstitutional and job killing overreach, which has brought tremendous harm to West Virginia during the past eight years.  As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt remained a steadfast partner with West Virginia in challenges to defeat the Obama EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, New Source Performance Standards, the Waters of the United States rule and regulations targeting oil and gas jobs. The Attorney General looks forward to working with Administrator Pruitt and the Trump administration in efforts to roll back the Power Plan and other regulations.”  Attorney General Morrisey

Clean Air Watch – Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell: “It is unconscionable that the Senate would ram this nomination through without knowing all the relevant facts — facts that may be known within a few days.  It is a bipartisan triumph of special interests over the broader public interest.”  Clean Air Watch

The Independent Petroleum Association of America – IPAA CEO Barry:  “IPAA congratulates Scott Pruitt on his confirmation to lead the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration. Coming from the energy-producing state of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt understands the critical importance of implementing policies that both support our economy and protect the environment.  Having a clear and fair regulatory framework is critical for independent producers, companies that work every day to safely produce the energy we all rely upon to power our everyday lives while ensuring the environment is protected, conserved, and restored in a balanced, commonsense manner. We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt in his new role as EPA Administrator.” IPAA

Natural Resources Defense Council – Rhea Suh, president of the NRDC: “Scott Pruitt is the worst pick ever confirmed to lead the EPA. He’s being sent there to hobble the agency we depend on to protect our health and environment. All the worse, Senate Republicans forced the confirmation vote before the public can know the truth about Pruitt’s ties to industrial polluters. We’ll use every tool in the kit to stop him from harming our air and water, endangering our communities and surrendering our kids to climate catastrophe.” NRDC

 

IN THE NEWS

Duke Hires Renjel to Head DC Office – Duke Energy has appointed our friend Louis Renjel as its new vice president of federal government affairs and strategic policy, overseeing federal affairs; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and gas policy; environmental and energy policy; and sustainability initiatives.  Renjel joins Duke Energy from CSX Corp., where he has served as vice president of strategic infrastructure and delivered critical infrastructure, growth and productivity initiatives through public sector engagement, since 2009.  Renjel’s public sector experience includes positions as deputy staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, legislative assistant to U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Renjel replaces another good friend, Cari Boyce, who led Duke’s federal affairs team on an interim basis since August 2016 and will move into a new role at Duke.

Reed Bill Will Reinstate, Extend Federal Clean Energy Tax Credits – The geothermal heat pump industry and several other clean energy technology industries are a step closer to saving thousands of jobs with the reintroduction of tax credit legislation by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and 18 additional cosponsors (12 Republicans and 6 Democrats).  HR 1090 will reinstitute and extend through 2021 commercial and residential installation tax credits geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, microturbines, small wind and combined heat and power. Included are a 10% commercial Investment Tax Credit under Sec. 48 of the tax code, and a 30% residential Income Tax Credit under Sec. 25D.  The legislation is meant to remedy the inequity created in December 2015 when Congress extended similar tax credits for commercial solar energy and residential solar energy installations, but neglected to include geothermal heat pumps and other qualifying clean energy technologies. Tax credits for the “orphaned” clean energy technologies ended at midnight on Dec. 31, 2016.

Natural Gas Utilities Lead a Fact-Based Energy Conversation Calling for an honest debate about how American homes and businesses use energy, the American Gas Association (AGA) today released its 2017 Playbook. Filled with new data and detailed graphics, it is the essential handbook about the role natural gas plays in American’s daily lives.  Page 6 highlights a new AGA report which found that clean, affordable natural gas has led to $76 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009.  Page 11 shows that households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications and page 46 notes that those same homes produce 37 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Page 25 highlights the growing concern in New England over critically constrained natural gas pipeline infrastructure. The average price for natural gas for all users in that area was 27 percent higher than the national average in 2015.

Greenhouse Gases Decline – U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were down 2.2% between 2014 and 2015, according to a new draft inventory released by EPA. Total emissions were almost 6.6 billion metric tons in 2015, or about 20.5 tons per person. The report says emissions were down for three primary reasons: switching from coal to natural gas; warmer winter conditions that drove down demand for heating fuel; and a small decrease in demand for electricity. The two years preceding 2015 saw increases in emissions of 2.2 percent and 0.9 percent; the greatest decrease since 1991 was 2009, the height of the economic recession, when emissions dropped a whopping 6.2% But on average over that time, emissions have increased annually 0.2 percent. Public comments are due by March 17.

Coalition Opposes Carbon Tax; Requests Meeting with White House – The American Energy Alliance (AEA) and a coalition of free-market and conservative organizations sent a letter to White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn to request a meeting with the Administration on the issue of a carbon tax. The signers of the letter include Thomas Pyle of AEA, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Michael Needham of Heritage Action for America, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks.  The letter says, “Our organizations have significant concerns regarding any prospective carbon tax proposal. Such a policy would place undue economic burdens on American families and businesses by intentionally increasing the cost of the energy they rely on every day. A carbon tax would also be regressive – doing the most harm to our nation’s economically disadvantaged – and would destroy American jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on today through Wednesday at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

Faison, Crane, Browner Headline Nuclear Summit – Third Way will host an Advanced Nuclear Summit tomorrow starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  The event will examine the massive opportunities that advanced nuclear offers the U.S., and the need for quick action in Washington to capture those opportunities. We’ll explore benefits like economic growth and competitiveness, job creation, and global leadership on issues like climate change, security, and poverty with a wide variety of leaders in this space.  Speakers will include ClearPath Foundation Jay Faison,  CEO Exelon CEO Chris Crane, NuScale CEO John Hopkins, Nobel-Prize winning physicist Burton Richter, the AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler and former EPA Administrator and Obama climate advisor Carol Browner.

SAFE, CTA to Discuss AV Benefits – The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in partnership with Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will hold a lunchtime briefing on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn on the benefits self-driving vehicles will have on improving everyday life.  The panel discussion features CTA CEO Gary Shapiro, SAFE AV Safety Commission member and former GM exec Bob Lange and Toyota’s Hilary Cain.  SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond will moderate.

Heritage looks at CRA Actions – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA). The program features one of the key architects involved with the drafting and passage of this bill, former congressman Dave MacIntosh who sponsored the legislation, and a Heritage legal expert as they discuss what has been termed a possible “regulatory game changer.”

USEA Looks At Distributed Energy Valuation – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Association hosts a briefing the various dimensions of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) valuation (with a particular focus on locational value), current efforts to employ these valuation methodologies, and the implications for utilities and regulators. The speaker will be Vazken Kassakhian, Research Analyst at the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

Webinar Looks at Capacity Market Reforms – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., Power Markets Today hosts a timely and insightful webinar looking at new capacity reforms.  Speakers will include PJM Independent Market Monitor and Monitoring Analytics President Dr. Joseph Bowring, New England Power Generators Association President Dan Dolan, NEPOOL Representative and Energy Market Advisors Principal Brian Forshaw and Advanced Energy Management Alliance Representative and Achieving Equilibrium Founder Tom Rutigliano.  Our friend James Downing hosts.

Panel Looks at Trump Energy Policy – The Cato Institute will host a lively look at energy policy in the new administration on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.  The event will feature IER Founder Robert L. Bradley, Institute for Energy Research; Adele Morris of Brookings and Catrina Rorke, of the R Street Institute.

WCEE to Look at Wholesale Capacity Markets – On Friday, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) hosts a lunch discussion with Emma Nicholson, Ph.D., an economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, and a WCEE member. Nicholson will provide an overview of capacity markets in the FERC-jurisdictional RTOs/ISOs that have them (Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)/Independent System Operators (ISO)). This overview will also explain the general concept of capacity as a product and explain recent changes to the design of FERC-jurisdictional capacity markets.  The event will be held at FERC.

 

IN THE FUTURE

WAPA, CR to Announce Top 2017 Picks – WAPA and Consumer Reports will holds its February luncheon at the National Press Club on February 28th at Noon to announce the organization’s 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards. The event is one of the highlights of the year for WAPA. Each spring, consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for its 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.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion on Tuesday, February 28th at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on March 16th at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of February 13

Friends,

Hope you are ready for Valentine’s Day.   You should hurry up if you haven’t made plans yet…time is a-tickin’.

Last night’s Grammys went off without much of a hitch and Adele was the big winner.   James Corden was good, but he exposed perhaps my biggest takeaway:  How is it that these music stars (at least we know Neil Diamond knew) don’t know the words to Sweet Caroline.  I mean every person in Boston, my kids and millions of others know every word to this classic.  I, of course, thought the best part of the show was the Metallica-Lady GaGA’ duet on Moth Into Flame, even with the mic failure.  Speaking of Metallica, the US tour for Hardwired was announced today with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat warming up.  It is a similar line up from the 2012 Orion Festival in Atlantic City — which we attended and was AWESOME!   I am looking at May 10 in Baltimore, May 19 in Boston and possibly July 12 in Detroit.

It is a busy week in the run up to President’s Day recess on Capitol Hill with Senate nomination votes expected on up to 8 candidates.  While it is not totally clear because the Majority Leader is holding it close, expected on the plate are Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tonight and Linda McMahon’s nomination to lead the Small Business Administration tomorrow.  Timing remains unclear after that but we are hearing that EPA nominee Scott Pruitt may be next, with the expected floor battle to be drawn out.  While not in jeopardy, the only real question that remains is how many Democrats facing tough re-elections in Red States will support Pruitt.  In addition, timing of the nominations of Rick Perry for Energy and Ryan Zinke at Interior remain in flux despite being relatively non-controversial.  Also look out for the reintroduction of Shaheen-Portman this week, expected Wednesday.  Also we expect some discussion of the Methane CRA this week in the Senate and more interior-related CRAs in the House.  Chamber Energy Institute experts are monitoring closely and can discuss should you need details.

On the hearing calendar this week the schedule cranks up with several interesting hearings.  Tomorrow, House Energy looks at self-driving car technology (our friends at SAFE can help).  On Wednesday, House Science looks at the DOE Loan Guarantee program, House Energy tackles energy infrastructure and Senate Environment looks at modernizing the Endangered Species Act and Thursday the House Energy Committee will focus on the Clean Air Act and potential reforms.

Off the Hill, NARUC meets in Washington at its Winter Meetings, ACCF hosts Kevin Brady to talk taxes, my colleague Jeff Holmstead headlines a panel at the Duke’s Nicholas School Wednesday, Heritage looks at Climate models on Thursday and Friday the USEA hosts the World Coal Assn.

Finally, tonight, college hockey’s most important bragging rights will be decided when Harvard takes on BU in the finals in Boston’s Beanpot tournament at TD Gah-Den.  Game on – despite a wicked 18 inches of snow yesterday (as reported live by Hannah from Wellesley).  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The trend lines in the 2017 Factbook are clear: energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy are benefitting American consumers, American businesses and American manufacturers. And that adds up to one conclusion: clean energy wins for America.” 

Lisa Jacobson, head of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy at the release of the BNEF/BCSE 2017 Sustainable Energy FactBook.

 

IN THE NEWS

Energy Factbook Rolls Out – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook last week providing valued insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment. American consumers spent less than 4% of their total annual household spending on energy in 2016, the smallest share ever recorded by the U.S. government, a new study finds. Falling costs for electricity, gasoline and natural gas along with energy efficiency measures have contributed to a dramatic drop in consumer spending on energy. This finding, from the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, is supported by U.S. energy statistics highlighting improvements in energy efficiency, natural gas production and use and renewable energy deployment. The 2017 Factbook, compiled by research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), is the fifth edition of this annual resource. The Factbook outlines key trends influencing America’s investment and economics, energy supply and energy demand.

SAFE 4Q Fact Pack Hit OPEC, Looks at Oil Impacts – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released its Energy Security Fact Pack for the 4th quarter of 2016.  The Fact Pack gives readers a data-driven overview of the latest trends in energy security, including domestic and global oil production and consumption, oil market dynamics and prices, and up-to-date information on fuel efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles.  The Energy Security Fact Pack for 4Q 2016 examines the slow pace of the oil market’s rebalancing, continued price volatility, record electric vehicle sales, and more.

Chamber, Biz Groups Raise Reg Concerns – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter along with 616 groups to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanding action on the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) of 2017.  The letter says now is the time for Congress to reclaim its constitutional legislative authority by ensuring agencies implement congressional intent, not the intent of the agency. “With both the new presidential administration and the U.S. House of Representatives agreeing on the urgent need for regulatory reform, the Senate is presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass much-needed modernization of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), whose rulemaking provisions have remained virtually unchanged since it was enacted in 1946.  The Senate has a unique chance to bring real structural reform to the way agencies adopt the most costly rules that fundamentally change our nation.”  RAA would ensure that our regulatory environment is stabilized with a long term solution instead of a short term fix. By designing a process that achieves the maximum public benefit through the implementation of the most cost-effective rules, the executive branch would have a framework of accountability to pursue rules that actually make sense and avoid rules that one president’s administration may think is right and another may think is wrong. The legislative and executive branches have a unique opportunity to accomplish regulatory reform once and for all.  Here’s the full list of organizations who have signed on to the letter.

Former EPA Enforcement Official Looks at Trump EPA – The former head of EPA’s criminal investigation division Doug Parker, now President of Earth & Water Strategies, has a piece in this week’s BNA Daily Environment Report that offers perspective on the future of federal civil and criminal environmental enforcement in a Trump Administration.  Parker says the EPA administrator has minimal day-to-day impact on civil enforcement and no practical influence when it comes to what criminal cases to investigate and how to investigate them. He adds that innovation and market-based opportunities to advance environmental compliance will most likely find a receptive audience with both groups. You can read it here.

High-Profile Carbon Tax Plan Gets Focus – A group of prominent Republicans – including two former secretaries of state, James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz; two former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers, Martin S. Feldstein and N. Gregory Mankiw; and former treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. – were talking carbon taxes last week and created quite a splash.

Report: Community Solar Driving Market – GTM Research has released it latest solar report saying the community solar segment is on the cusp of becoming a mainstream driver of U.S. solar market growth. Starting in 2017, community solar is expected to consistently drive 20% – 25% of the annual non-residential PV market and become a half-gigawatt annual market by 2019. The report explores the primary drivers, risks and markets shaping how community solar will achieve scale, both in the complex policy landscape for third party-led community solar and with the emergence of megawatt-scale utility-led programs. Developers, financiers, installers and suppliers should read this report to learn more about the nearly 3 GW of community solar in development across 29 states.

Lincoln Group Lands Former Valero DC Office Head Felner – Lincoln Policy Group Founder, Former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln announced today that veteran Republican lobbyist and former Valero DC office head Craig Felner will join the Lincoln Policy Group effective February 13th.   Felner will add significant value to the team according to Lincoln.  “Craig is well known and highly respected within House and Senate Republican circles and offers a unique understanding of corporate dynamics that will add tremendous value to our current and future clients,” said former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln.  Prior to joining LPG, Craig ran the Washington, DC office of Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune-50 energy company based in San Antonio, TX. In that capacity, Craig oversaw all in-house staff and ran a robust team of outside consultants.  Felner arrived in Washington in 1995 as an intern for former Energy and Commerce Chair Joe Barton before moving across Capitol Hill to work for former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas as a Legislative Assistant for 6 years. Craig was later appointed by President George W. Bush to a high-ranking position in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NARUC Conference Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners hosts its yearly Winter Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. today through Wednesday at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  As usual, the groups has assembled an array of speakers and sessions that continue to advance the priorities and issues facing state utility regulators. Next Monday, PA PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson hosts a discussion on infrastructure with Exelon CEO Chris Crane, API’s Jack Gerard and others.  Other speakers include FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Chamber Energy CEO Karen Harbert, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Consumers of America, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, former EPA GC Roger Martella and many others.

ACCF to Host Brady for Tax Discussion – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a discussion tomorrow with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady.  This follows a recent panel on Border Tax issues slated for this Wednesday.

House Energy Looks at Committee Self-Driving Cars – The House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittees on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 looking at self-driving cars and the road to deployment.  Witnesses will include GM’s Mike Abelson, Dr. Nidhi Kalra of the RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Volvo’s Anders Karrberg, Joseph Okpaku of Lyft and Gill Pratt, Executive Technical Advisor and CEO of the Toyota Research Institute.

Former FERC Chair Bay to Address Energy Storage Forum – On Wednesday, the 3rd Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum will be held at the National Press Club.   The new Administration and Congress bring with it a new focus and new opportunities. Impending transitions at FERC, DOE, and other agencies have significant ramifications for the continued growth of energy storage.  Speakers will include retired FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, Mass Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman.

House Energy Looks at Energy, Electricity Infrastructure – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on modernizing energy and electricity delivery systems.  The hearing will focus on the challenges and opportunities to promote infrastructure improvement and expansion.  Witnesses will include IBEW’s Lonnie Stephenson, GE’s Ganesh Bell, EPRI’s Michael Howard, GridWise Alliance CEO Steve Hauser, LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan, Rex Ferry on behalf of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe councilman at large Chad Harrison and Joey Mahmoud of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

House Science to Look at Loan Guarantee Program – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program.  Witnesses will include Heritage’s Diane Katz, Cato’s Chris Edwards, Dan Reicher of the Stanford University Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Ryan Yonk of the Utah State University.

Senate Environment Launches ESA Discussion – The Senate Environment Committee will take a fresh look at reforming the Endangered Species Act in a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  While it is unclear how this will play out, the witnesses are a serious list of folks with great expertise.  Witnesses include former Wyoming Gov. David Freudenthal (D), former Clinton/Obama Interior official Jamie Rappaport Clark, now CEO of Defenders of Wildlife; Former Obama Fish & Wildlife Head Dan Ashe, now CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation president James Holte and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and president of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Brookings to Look at Global Risks – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Governance Studies at Brookings will host an event to discuss the management of global catastrophic risk. For decades, international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank have helped national, regional, and global leaders tackle these challenges. However, many believe that new approaches and fresh thinking are needed in the global governance arena. What are these different perspectives? Are the UN, IMF, World Bank, and other supranational organizations equipped to meet the new challenges of the modern era? Are there different organizations or institutions that are better suited for the problem-solving needed today?

Forum Look at Strategies for Power Sector Transition in US, Germany – The Atlantic Council hosts a conversation on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. with power sector experts from the United States and Germany to discuss the drivers of this transformation, to compare the challenges these innovative countries are facing, what approaches are being taken, and explore the emerging future of this critical part of our societies.

Holmstead, Others Address Southeast Power Challenges – Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will hold an event on Wednesday at Noon focused on the energy and environmental policy challenges facing the Southeast power sector as the next administration takes office. The event will gather stakeholders from across the region in Washington, D.C., to discuss the state of the electricity sector and key issues facing state and federal policymakers, including how market factors and federal policy will affect electricity sector planning in 2017 and beyond. Invitees include representatives from electric utilities, environmental NGOs, energy companies, and state agencies.  Speakers include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Clearpath’s Zack Baig, Georgia PSC Commissions Lauren McDonald, Entergy’s Rick Johnson, former Senate Staffer and Nicholas Institute expert Tim Profeta, among others.

Senate Commerce Panel Looks at Freight Rail Efficiency, Safety – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation panel on Surface Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in Russell 253 looking at  how to increase the efficiency and safety of our nation’s multimodal transportation system.  Witnesses will include BNSF Railway Chair Matt Rose, Schneider National CEO Chris Lofgren, Dow Chemical’s Tom Gurd and Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman.

House Energy Panel Looks Clean Air Act – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will start hearings Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on reforms to the Clean Air Act.  The panel is taking advantage of new authority to look at updating major environmental statutes, with an eye toward pruning any perceived barriers to economic growth. Among the witnesses will be NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, the Chamber’s Thomas Sullivan, Kevin Sunday of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and New Bedford, Mass Mayor Jon Mitchell.

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.

Panel Looks at African Americans in Energy – On Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in 121 Cannon, Rep. Marc Veasey hosts a panel discussion in observation of Black History Month looking at African Americans leaders in energy.  The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for African Americans in the energy sector. Moreover, the discussion seeks to educate Members, staffers, stakeholders and students pursuing STEM degrees or jobs in the energy industry, examine current energy policy issues and offer an outlook for the 115th Congress.  Panelists Include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, Volt Energy CEO Gilbert Campbell, Ray Dempsey of BP America, American Association of Blacks in Energy President Paula Glover and Chevron’s Telisa Toliver.

Heritage Forum to Look at Science, Modeling – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday at Noon on climate modeling, science, and economics behind climate change.  The event will feature Heritage’s Nick Loris and their in-house statistician Kevin Dayaratna, University of Guelph scientist Ross McKitrick and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.

Forum to Look at Climate Threats – In the February USAID Adaptation meeting on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Cardno principal Michael Bilney, MBA will discuss Cardno’s collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a risk-based method to screen hundreds of NOAA facilities and evaluate the most at-risk facilities’ vulnerability to potential climate change threats.  The approach combined qualitative risk assessment, and asset management facility condition and engineering assessments to identify site-specific vulnerabilities and related adaptation and resilience improvement actions. Bilney will summarize the phases of the analysis and provide key lessons learned, adaptation and resilience improvement measures and strategies developed during the recently completed project.  He will also summarize critical activities in the recommended process developed to guide future NOAA facility climate change vulnerability assessments.

RBN CEO to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its February luncheon on Friday at Noon at Carmines featuring RBN CEO Rusty Braziel. Braziel is President and CEO of RBN Energy, a leading energy market analysis and advisory firm and is the author of The Domino Effect, bestseller book about understanding energy markets. Braziel will address the economics of new drilling and the recovery.

USEA to Host World Coal CEO – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., USEA hosts Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association.  Sporton will look at how the global coal market is changing and what happens to the Paris Agreement under the new Trump administration.

 

IN THE FUTURE

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

Faison, Crane, Browner Headline Nuclear Summit – Third Way will host an Advanced Nuclear Summit on Tuesday, February 21st starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  The event will examine the massive opportunities that advanced nuclear offers the U.S., and the need for quick action in Washington to capture those opportunities. We’ll explore benefits like economic growth and competitiveness, job creation, and global leadership on issues like climate change, security, and poverty with a wide variety of leaders in this space.  Speakers will include ClearPath Foundation Jay Faison,  CEO Exelon CEO Chris Crane, NuScale CEO John Hopkins, Nobel-Prize winning physicist Burton Richter, the AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler and former EPA Administrator and Obama climate advisor Carol Browner.

SAFE, CTA to Discuss AV Benefits – The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in partnership with Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will hold a lunchtime briefing on Wednesday February 22nd at 12:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn on the benefits self-driving vehicles will have on improving everyday life.  The panel discussion features CTA CEO Gary Shapiro, SAFE AV Safety Commission member and former GM exec Bob Lange and Toyota’s Hilary Cain.  SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond will moderate.

USEA Looks At Distributed Energy Valuation – On Wednesday February 22nd at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Association hosts a briefing the various dimensions of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) valuation (with a particular focus on locational value), current efforts to employ these valuation methodologies, and the implications for utilities and regulators. The speaker will be Vazken Kassakhian, Research Analyst at the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

Webinar Looks at Capacity Market Reforms – On Wednesday, February 22nd at 2:00 p.m., Power Markets Today hosts a timely and insightful webinar looking at new capacity reforms.  Speakers will include PJM Independent Market Monitor and Monitoring Analytics President Dr. Joseph Bowring, New England Power Generators Association President Dan Dolan, NEPOOL Representative and Energy Market Advisors Principal Brian Forshaw and Advanced Energy Management Alliance Representative and Achieving Equilibrium Founder Tom Rutigliano.  Our friend James Downing hosts.

Panel Looks at Trump Energy Policy – The Cato Institute will host a lively look at energy policy in the new administration on Wednesday, February 22nd at 4:00 p.m.  The event will feature IER Founder Robert L. Bradley, Institute for Energy Research; Adele Morris of Brookings and Catrina Rorke, of the R Street Institute.

WCEE to Look at Wholesale Capacity Markets – On Friday, February 24th, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) hosts a lunch discussion with Emma Nicholson, Ph.D., an economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, and a WCEE member. Nicholson will provide an overview of capacity markets in the FERC-jurisdictional RTOs/ISOs that have them (Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)/Independent System Operators (ISO)). This overview will also explain the general concept of capacity as a product and explain recent changes to the design of FERC-jurisdictional capacity markets.  The event will be held at FERC.

WAPA, CR to Announce Top 2017 Picks – WAPA and Consumer Reports will holds its February luncheon at the National Press Club on February 28th at Noon to announce the organization’s 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards. The event is one of the highlights of the year for WAPA. Each spring, consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for its 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.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion on Tuesday, February 28th at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of February 6

Friends,

What looked to be a slow, blowout Super Bowl, turned into an outrageous game which featured a hard-to-believe comeback by the Patriots.  Despite me not winning any quarters this year in the pool, that last quarter (and first-ever OT) was one for the ages even, if you don’t like the Patriots.  I did win my bet on the “over” for Gisele Bündchen TV appearances with four.  Thank goodness the Pats came back because those three 4Q/OT appearances took me over the top of the 1.5 prop bet line.  What I didn’t bet on was the social media traffic on API’s Super Bowl ad…wow!!!  What a surprise success, generating positive and negative comments so much so that API held a presser this morning on the topic.  My ad winner was the KIA enviro ad spoof “Hero” on saving whales, trees, ice caps, etc featuring Melissa McCarthy.  Speaking of McCarthy, how about the SNL skit spoofing my friends Sean Spicer and Glenn Thrush. (I hope they laugh it off because it was hi-larious and I didn’t raise my hand Glenn!!!)

And if a Pats win wasn’t enough for Boston, the “social event of winter season” actually launches today when the Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament that features Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern, begins. It is the official battle for Boston’s hockey bragging rights.   BTW, for all you baseball fans, pitchers and catchers report starting Sunday to Florida and Arizona.

Congress this week will continue to move forward on approving cabinet nominees and disapproving federal regulations issued in the final months of the Obama Presidency using the Congressional Review Act.  It is a short week in Congress due to the Democratic conference retreat, which begins Wednesday evening in Baltimore. House floor activity this week will continue to focus on passage of resolutions of disapproval under the CRA to overturn regulations, with Interior’s Land-Use 2.0 rule on the agenda.  Meanwhile the Senate takes up the Methane Flaring rule passed by the House on Friday and votes on several cabinet appointees, with the big vote on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tomorrow.  We might see action later in the week on Perry, Zinke or Pruitt, but it seems unlikely.  Coral Davenport has a good story in the NY Times this morning on Scott Pruitt and his likely approach to EPA.  With FERC quorum story making news, we also have heard from our friend Rod Kuckro at E&E News (and several others) that former TX utility commissioner Barry Smitherman may be chosen to head the Commission in the near future.

The main event this week is Wednesday when the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook at a Washington, D.C. press event.  The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment.  Speakers include BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobsen and SEIA’s Abby Hopper among others.   ACCF also hosts a great forum on Wednesday to discuss border tax policy questions.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu (202-828-5806) is a great resource on the topic if you have questions.

Finally, with the announcement of Neil Gorsuch last week as the nominee to the Supreme Court, I saw my friends in the enviro community sent lawmakers a letter today urging them to oppose Gorsuch.  For a better primer on the nominee – specifically on his call for the reassessment and potential revocation of Chevron deference to agency interpretation of its own statutes – my colleagues at Bracewell have provided info that may be more helpful to you over the next few months as Gorsuch goes through the confirmation process.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Nothing is over until we decide it is.  Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Bluto Blutarsky, Faber College, 1963.

 

IN THE NEWS

CRAs Move Forward – The Congress Passed Congressional Review Act legislation last week on the Interior Department Stream Rule.  Then, Friday, the Senate followed the House in killing rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform that require resource extractors to disclose payments made to the U.S. or foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals. The House also voted to kill a Methane Waste and Prevention Rule, which would prevent methane flaring and waste from oil drilling operations. The Methane Rule goes before the Senate early this week.

Chamber Comments on CRAs – The Chamber’s Energy Institute praised the actions with CEO Karen Harbert saying on the Stream Rule:  “Today’s vote to block the Obama Administration’s unnecessary and costly stream rule is a victory for common sense and American energy production. This rule interfered with state authorities and would have placed massive amounts of coal resources off limits for production, costing us jobs and higher energy prices.  We look forward to President Trump signing the resolution, and to continued scrutiny of the Obama Administration’s last minute regulations.  On the SEC extractive industries CRA effort, Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President for Policy, US Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy said “We’re pleased that, like the court before it, Congress blocked a rule that would have unfairly and needlessly harmed American companies and their shareholders. The SEC’s Extractive Industries rule would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with, have vast unintended consequences and ultimately harm those it is intended to protect.  There are existing laws and treaties ensuring transparency and disclosure, including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.  This one wasn’t necessary, and far too costly.  We look forward to President Trump’s signature.”  Expect comments on the Methane rule later today.

Bay Final Days Sees Pipeline Approvals – In FERC Chair Norman Bay’s final day, the Commission approved several key pipeline projects along with a slate of other items while the agency still had a quorum.  FERC approved Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise and Northern Access natural gas pipeline projects.

Atlantic, from Energy Transfer, is a $2.6 billion project, with work stretching across several states between Pennsylvania and South Carolina.  Northern Access, developed by National Fuel Gas Co is a $455 million project that would bring more gas into markets in New York, New England, the Midwest and Canada. One day earlier, FERC ruled in favor of Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ontario, a project estimated to cost $4.2 billion.  AP’s Matt Daly details the overall issues and challenges.

Groups Calls for CCS Tax Improvements – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) and its coalition partners have released a letter they sent to the House Ways and Means Committee calling on inclusion of 45Q legislation in any tax reform bills that move this Congress.  The letter Calls on Congress to “extend and strengthen” the 45Q tax credit because it “offers one of the most effective tools to protect and drive growth in the energy sector while also reducing CO2 emissions.  The opportunity represents a genuine win-win for our nation’s economy and environment, one that will bring high-paying and investment to energy producing and industrial states and regions of our country.  Among the signers is Jay Faison’s Clearpath Foundation, NRDC and a bunch of companies like Southern, Peabody and others.

Platts Capitol Crude Looks Southeast Asia, Energy – The Platts Capitol Crude Podcast this week looks at long-simmering tensions in the South China Sea and what new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may bring to the discussion.  Platts Brian Scheid interviews Zack Cooper, a fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where they discuss changing US policy ahead of the summer drilling season offshore China and Vietnam, Twitter diplomacy and the risks for oil.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

JHU to Host McNally Book Event – The Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS program will host Bob McNally this evening at 5:00 P.m. to discuss his new book, “Crude Volatility – The History and Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices.” World oil prices have fallen drastically over the last two years, spurred partly by the rise of tight oil production in the US, and by OPEC’s failure to cut production.  Recently, in an effort to raise oil prices, OPEC is attempting to regroup and has agreed to lower its production. Will it succeed? This is one of the questions to be discussed at this energy forum which will also review the history of oil prices.  Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director at Clearview Energy Partners will serve as the commentator.

House Science to Look at EPA Science Mission  – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the science mission of the EPA.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead will be among those testifying on potential reforms to the Scientific Advisory Board and other items. Others include former NJ Rep Rush Holt, a physicist who is now CEO of AAAS, ACC’s Kim White and Richard Belzer.

Forum to Look at RGGI Issues – The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center, and Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a webinar tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  States participating in RGGI are engaged in their 2016 program review to evaluate the emissions trading system and consider potential changes. In the course of this review, the idea of an emissions containment reserve (ECR) mechanism has been proposed to address a common issue confronting cap-and-trade programs worldwide: the prices for emissions allowances tend to be significantly lower than program designers anticipate in advance, making mid-course corrections necessary for it to perform as intended. This webinar will bring together experts and representatives from states, electric generators, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to consider this new approach for ensuring that the RGGI emissions trading program functions as designed and examine the finer points of how such a reserve might work and be implemented.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and UVa’s William Shobe.

German Enviro to Discuss Policy – The BMW Center for German and European Studies and the Science, Technology, and International Affairs Program of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown will host a presentation tomorrow at Noon by Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director / CEO, Environmental Action Germany.  Müller-Kraenner will discuss how the G20 Presidency might provide an opportunity to include the new U.S. administration in an international conversation around energy security, sustainable investments, and climate change. He will also discuss how international coalitions might get rearranged or shift — depending on whether the U.S. administration chooses a course of cautious engagement or disruptive confrontation. Lastly, he will shed light on how German energy policy might develop after the upcoming national elections.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Wednesday at Bloomberg’s offices at 9:30 a.m.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance team up for the fifth time to identify key U.S. energy statistics and trends.  There will also be a forum for stakeholders at Bloomberg at Noon.

Reporters Look at Enviro Priorities – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday at Noon at the DC Bar to look at the environmental priorities of Congress and the new Administration. Although these issues played a minor role in the election, they pose numerous challenges for federal policymakers. What will be the environmental priorities of the new administration? What environmental legislation might be enacted by the 115th Congress? Our friends John Siciliano of the Wash Examiner, Inside Washington’s Jeremy Bernstein and Josh Kurtz of E&E News will address these and other issues.

Energy Efficiency Day Set for Hill – The Alliance to Save Energy will host Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen.  The event returns to Capitol Hill for a dialogue on the keys to driving energy productivity and prosperity in the 115th Congress.  This year promises to be pivotal for both protecting the important policy and regulatory gains we have enjoyed in the past decade, but also and importantly, for securing innovative policies, funding and programs that advance energy efficiency in this new political environment. As we have seen over the last eight years, energy efficiency policies and initiatives have a proven track-record of increasing energy productivity and delivering a strong return on investment.  GEED will highlight policies and initiatives that are proven to increase energy productivity and have a strong ROI, while also identifying new legislative opportunities that fit within the 115th Congress’ and the incoming Administration’s focus areas of economic growth, tax reform and aging infrastructure.

ACCF Hosts Border Tax Panel – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in Dirksen G-50 looking at the potential impacts of Border Tax adjustments.  The panel will explore the theoretical aspects and potential economic impact of increased taxes on imports, as well as a look at how the potential real world implications could work for different industries.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

Energy Factbook Touted At Capitol – On Friday, EESI and the House and Senate Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Caucuses will host an event on Capitol Hill in Rayburn’s Gold Room to discuss the release of the BNEF-BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook.

 

IN THE FUTURE

NARUC Conference Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners hosts its yearly Winter Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. Sunday through next Wednesday at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  As usual, the groups has assembled an array of speakers and sessions that continue to advance the priorities and issues facing state utility regulators. Next Monday, PA PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson hosts a discussion on infrastructure with Exelon CEO Chris Crane, API’s Jack Gerard and others.  Other speakers include FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Chamber Energy CEO Karen Harbert, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Consumers of America, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, former EPA GC Roger Martella and many others.

ACCF to Host Brady for Tax Discussion – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a discussion on Tuesday, February 14th with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady.  This follows a recent panel on Border Tax issues slated for this Wednesday.

Former FERC Chair Bay to Address Energy Storage Forum – On February 15th, the 3rd Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum will be held at the National Press Club.   The new Administration and Congress bring with it a new focus and new opportunities. Impending transitions at FERC, DOE, and other agencies have significant ramifications for the continued growth of energy storage.  Speakers will include retired FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, Mass Dept of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman.

Holmstead, Others Address Southeast Power Challenges – Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will hold an event on Wednesday, February 15th at Noon focused on the energy and environmental policy challenges facing the Southeast power sector as the next administration takes office. The event will gather stakeholders from across the region in Washington, D.C., to discuss the state of the electricity sector and key issues facing state and federal policymakers, including how market factors and federal policy will affect electricity sector planning in 2017 and beyond. Invitees include representatives from electric utilities, environmental NGOs, energy companies, and state agencies.  Speakers include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Clearpath’s Zack Baig, Georgia PSC Commissions Lauren McDonald, Entergy’s Rick Johnson, former Senate Staffer and Nicholas Institute expert Tim Profeta, among others.

House Science to Look at Loan Guarantee Program – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 15th looking the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program.

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday February 16th at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.

Heritage Forum to Look at Science, Modeling – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday February 16th at Noon on climate modeling, science, and economics behind climate change.  The event will feature Heritage’s Nick Loris and their in-house statistician Kevin Dayaratna, University of Guelph scientist Ross McKitrick and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.

Forum to Look at Climate Threats – In the February USAID Adaptation meeting on Thursday February 16th at 4:00 p.m., Cardno principal Michael Bilney, MBA will discuss Cardno’s collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a risk-based method to screen hundreds of NOAA facilities and evaluate the most at-risk facilities’ vulnerability to potential climate change threats.  The approach combined qualitative risk assessment, and asset management facility condition and engineering assessments to identify site-specific vulnerabilities and related adaptation and resilience improvement actions. Bilney will summarize the phases of the analysis and provide key lessons learned, adaptation and resilience improvement measures and strategies developed during the recently completed project.  He will also summarize critical activities in the recommended process developed to guide future NOAA facility climate change vulnerability assessments.

RBN CEO to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its February luncheon on Friday, February 17th at Noon at Carmines featuring RBN CEO Rusty Braziel. Braziel is President and CEO of RBN Energy, a leading energy market analysis and advisory firm and is the author of The Domino Effect, bestseller book about understanding energy markets. Braziel will address the economics of new drilling and the recovery.

USEA to Host World Coal CEO – On Friday, February 17th at 2:00 p.m., USEA hosts Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association.  Sporton will look at how the global coal market is changing and what happens to the Paris Agreement under the new Trump administration.

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion on Tuesday, February 28th at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of January 30

Friends,

We are returning from a bizarre weekend that capped the first week of the new Trump administration.  Whew!!!!   Let’s just leave it at that…Hope you had a good chance to enjoy all-star Sunday with the NHL All-Star Classic and the NFL’s Pro-Bowl.  Seriously, whoever thought of the 3-on-3 tournament deserves an award.  The play was phenomenal and the ceremonies announcing the top 100 players of all-time were just as good.  Of course, next week gear it up for Super Bowl LI live from Houston on Sunday.

We were all pretty busy last week with discussions of social media blackouts, web page changes and executive orders.  I know I spoke with more of you that I have in a long time…  BTW, if are writing on the regulations EO today or are thinking about Paris based on what you might have read about the Trump Administration pulling out, feel free to call.  We can discuss.

This week, the pace continues as we’ll see votes for Zinke for Interior and Perry for Energy tomorrow in Senate Energy and a vote on Scott Pruitt for EPA at Senate Environment on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, the House rolls into Congressional Review Act items today and tomorrow at the House Rules Committee covering the Stream rule, BLM waste prevention rule and Interior’s Methane flaring rule (as well as a couple of other not related to environment).  Other hearings on Wednesday include Senate Commerce hearing looking at unnecessary regulatory burdens featuring API’s Jack Gerard and NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, House Transportation on infrastructure featuring FedEx CEO Fred Smith and House Energy panel hearing on cybersecurity of the grid.

On Thursday, Waste Management hosts its annual Sustainability Forum with Dana Perino on Thursday at the WM Phoenix Open, a great PGA event for this week.  This year, my friend Toni Beck hosts a panel with Fox News star and former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Fox News Democrat Contributor Julie Roginsky will address the current political environment and the Trump Administration.   WM CEO Jim Fish will also speak.

Finally, with the all the moves on energy and the environment, it is timely and relevant to attend to the two important Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) events on Friday and Saturday.  On Friday at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017.”  On Saturday, SEJ holds a mini-conference at NYU’s DC Campus looking at covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water Chief Tracy Mehan, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and many more.

Remember, next Wednesday February 8th, The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook at a Washington, D.C. press event.  The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment.  They have also added our friend and new Head of SEIA Abby Hopper to the list of speakers.  Mark it down…

Finally, Congrats to our Bracewell colleague Salo Zelermyer who will take over Valero Energy’s Washington DC office.  A former DOE Counsel, Salo is a great resource for you and I suspect, he will continue to be one.  We wish him well and of course, we will continue to work with him.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“This new administration has promised to aid manufacturers that have had to endure an unprecedented number of regulations which increased the cost of doing business in America, harmed consumers, stifled job creation, and hurt our global competitiveness. Removing SCC calculations as a justification for regulations is an excellent place to start.”

HVACR Trade Assn President Stephen Yurek Urging the White House to Reject the Increase in the Social Cost of Carbon in Rulemakings.

 

IN THE NEWS

Zelermyer to Head Valero DC Office – Former DOE Counsel and Bracewell expert Salo Zelermyer will head Valero Energy’s Washington DC office the company announced today.  Valero said Zelermyer will join the company as Vice President Federal Affairs and Counsel.  Zelermyer is currently a Senior Principal at Bracewell LLP, serving in the firm’s Policy Resolution Group for eight years. Prior to that time, Zelermyer was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We are very excited to have Salo join us and lead our team in Washington during this very dynamic time” said Jason Fraser, VP Public Policy and Strategic Planning.  Zelermyer will assume his new position with Valero on March 1.  Craig Felner, the current VP Federal Affairs, has decided to leave the company to join a government relations consulting firm in Washington, D.C.  His last day will be February 10, 2017.  “Craig has been a strong voice for Valero while heading up our Federal Affairs team in the Washington D.C. office” said Fraser, “We thank him for all his contributions to the company and wish him well with his future endeavors.”

Bay Resigns From FERC – FERC Chair Norman Bay resigned late last week after President Donald Trump’s replaced him as the agency’s chairman Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.  The action leaves the Commission with on two members – a non-voting quorum – that risks federal decisions on multibillion-dollar natural gas pipelines and other infrastructure actions.  Among the pipelines waiting for approval are Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover project and the Atlantic Sunrise system by Williams Partners LP. Spectra Energy’s Nexus system and National Fuel Gas Co.’s Northern Access expansion.   Commissioner Bay’s resignation only underscores the need to get a new slate of FERC Commissioners in place as quickly as possible.  There are numerous actions before FERC that are timely and require action.  It must be a priority to get the FERC team in place so these important projects and issues can be addressed.

Who is on the list – With three Republican commissioner openings and quick action needed, who might be tapped?  Media reports and FERC experts say McConnell Energy staffer Neil Chatterjee is clearly a top, likely choice.  Some have suggested that our Bracewell DC Managing Partner Mark Lewis, who does a ton of FERC Pipeline work, is a good candidate. Other top names include Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla, NARUC President Robert Powelson, NAERC’s Janet Sena, Greenberg’s Kenneth Minesinger, Crowell & Moring Richard Lehfeldt, (former counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power) and Bill Marsan, general counsel at American Transmission Co.

AHRI to White House: Reject Social Cost of Carbon Increase – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) today called on President Trump to withdraw the Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis. This analysis, commonly referred to as the Social Cost of Carbon, was reached through a closed-door, non-transparent process by an exclusive interagency working group created under the previous administration. “By using the SCC as a basis for cost-benefit analyses to validate unreasonable efficiency regulations — without stakeholder input on the estimates – we believe the previous administration violated its responsibility under the Administrative Procedures Act,” stated AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek.  Several of the rules affecting the HVAC industry have been issued using these analyses have not adequately considered higher equipment costs for consumers or energy, production costs, and job losses for manufacturers.  “To correct these errors and prevent similar issues in future rulemakings, AHRI respectfully requests that the President direct federal agencies to cease using the SCC analysis and prevent its further use in the rulemaking process,” said Yurek.

Consumer Cleaning Product Ingredient Safety Website Completed – Safety data on hundreds of chemicals in the U.S. consumer cleaning product supply chain have been collected and are now available through the website for the American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) Cleaning Product Ingredient Safety Initiative (CPISI). ACI announced that more than five years of work on the Initiative has been finalized, providing reams of publicly available data on ingredients in cleaning products.   ACI conducted an exposure assessment for each of the nearly 600 ingredients on the Ingredient Inventory that are used in consumer cleaning products.  In addition to developing a quantitative estimate of consumer exposure, ACI published on its website a description of each ingredient, including the types of products in which it is used; the form of those products; the ingredient’s function within each of those products; the typical concentration range among the products and the most relevant routes of exposure associated with the use of those products.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – Today at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow looking at deep decarbonization scenarios.  Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.

USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum tomorrow at the National Press Club Ballroom.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.

AGA Experts Examine Energy Use, Benefits in NatGas Commercial Sector – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a press call tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore the natural gas commercial sector and its many benefits to the U.S. economy.  The commercial natural gas market is comprised of more than 5.4 million customers, 99 percent of which is served by natural gas utilities. It represents every day businesses and public activities such as schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, offices, restaurants, grocery stores, retail outlets and public halls.  AGA experts will provide an analysis of the EIA Commercial Energy Building Consumption Survey as well as the potential stimulus to the bottom lines of many American businesses through greater use of natural gas.  Check in with Jackie Bavaro (jbavaro@aga.org, 202-824-7204) if you have questions or wan the call-in numbers.

Senate Commerce Looks at Reg Burdens – The Senate Commerce Committee is hold a hearing on Wednesday on reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.  API’s Jack Gerard, Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro, NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, Hoover Institution Fellow Adam White and former EPA counsel Lisa Heinzerling, all testify.

FedEx’s Smith, Others  Headline House Transpo Infrastructure Hearing – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on infrastructure.  FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Cargill CEO David MacLennan, BMW CEO Ludwig Willisch, Vemeer’s Mary Andringa and AFL-CIO head Richard Trumpka will all testify.

House Energy Opens Hearing Slate with Focus on Electric Cybersecurity – On Wednesday at 10:15 a.m., the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on the electricity sector’s efforts to respond to cybersecurity threats.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on Wednesday to look at climate risks in Latin America.  The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts.  There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Former NRC Commissioner Heads Discussion on Nuclear Waste Documentary – The George Washington University’s Elliot School will hold a forum and screening on the documentary film “Containment” Thursday at 5:00 p.m. “Containment” by Peter Gallison and Robb Moss is about the effects of nuclear waste cleanup left over from the Cold War.   Among the speakers will be former NRC Commissioner Allison Macfarlane, who now heads the Center for International Science and Technology Policy in GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

 

IN THE FUTURE

JHU to Host McNally Book Event – The Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS program will host Bob McNally next Monday at 5:00 P.m. to discuss his new book, “Crude Volatility – The History and Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices.” World oil prices have fallen drastically over the last two years, spurred partly by the rise of tight oil production in the US, and by OPEC’s failure to cut production.  Recently, in an effort to raise oil prices, OPEC is attempting to regroup and has agreed to lower its production. Will it succeed? This is one of the questions to be discussed at this energy forum which will also review the history of oil prices.  Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director at Clearview Energy Partners will serve as the commentator.

Forum to Look at RGGI Issues – The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center, and Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a webinar next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  States participating in RGGI are engaged in their 2016 program review to evaluate the emissions trading system and consider potential changes. In the course of this review, the idea of an emissions containment reserve (ECR) mechanism has been proposed to address a common issue confronting cap-and-trade programs worldwide: the prices for emissions allowances tend to be significantly lower than program designers anticipate in advance, making mid-course corrections necessary for it to perform as intended. This webinar will bring together experts and representatives from states, electric generators, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to consider this new approach for ensuring that the RGGI emissions trading program functions as designed and examine the finer points of how such a reserve might work and be implemented.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and UVa’s William Shobe.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Wednesday, February 8th.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance team up for the fifth time to identify key U.S. energy statistics and trends.

Reporters Look at Enviro Priorities – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday February 8th at Noon at the DC Bar to look at the environmental priorities of Congress and the new Administration. Although these issues played a minor role in the election, they pose numerous challenges for federal policymakers. What will be the environmental priorities of the new administration? What environmental legislation might be enacted by the 115th Congress? Our friends John Siciliano of the Wash Examiner, Inside Washington’s Jeremy Bernstein and Josh Kurtz of E&E News will address these and other issues.

Energy Efficiency Day Set for Hill – The Alliance to Save Energy will host Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) on Wednesday, February 8th at 2:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen.  The event returns to Capitol Hill for a dialogue on the keys to driving energy productivity and prosperity in the 115th Congress.  This year promises to be pivotal for both protecting the important policy and regulatory gains we have enjoyed in the past decade, but also and importantly, for securing innovative policies, funding and programs that advance energy efficiency in this new political environment. As we have seen over the last eight years, energy efficiency policies and initiatives have a proven track-record of increasing energy productivity and delivering a strong return on investment.  GEED will highlight policies and initiatives that are proven to increase energy productivity and have a strong ROI, while also identifying new legislative opportunities that fit within the 115th Congress’ and the incoming Administration’s focus areas of economic growth, tax reform and aging infrastructure.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday February 16th at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.

RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of January 23

Friends,

This has been a very exciting weekend with the Inauguration on Friday, the Women’s Marches across the nation on Saturday and Super Bowl LI’s lineup getting finalized Sunday, which set for Houston in two weeks.  Also the 33rd Sundance Festival opens up this week featuring Al Gore’s climate sequel and several other climate-related movies.

The new Administration started with a bang Friday with a memo from new White House CoS Reince Priebus holding all regulations.  The Washington Post had a great article by Chris Mooney over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  Our friends at AHRI (703-600-0355, fdietz@ahrinet.org) and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718, salo.zelermyer@bracewelllaw.com) are watching DOE actions closely.

Today, we are likely to see a blast of executive action.  Already, we saw the web page change of the Obama Climate approach which led to several stories.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg and I have come to the same conclusion: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months, it should be obvious that the Trump administration takes a different view on climate change to the Obama team.  (And BTW, the Obama pages have been just moved to the archives.) As for actions, there seems to be a lot of interest in a transition memo that was reported by Axios today.  While it is interesting, just like the budget memo rolled out from Heritage/Republican Study Committee last week, I would encourage all of you to be careful chasing these items before Pruitt lands at the agency.  We are looking for focus on the White House Climate Action Plan, a pullback on CEQ climate guidance on NEPA and readjustment of the Social Cost of Carbon as immediate potential actions.  We are happy to help provide insights, information and resources.

We also know he is moving on trade issues including NAFTA and TPP.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838, josh.zive@bracewelllaw.com) is one of the best trade policy lawyers in DC and is happy to give you background information, perspective and even on-the-record comments.

On the Hill, we also expect more action on the nominations for EPA, State, Energy and Interior.  At 4:30 p.m. the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss the Tillerson nomination to be Secretary of State which seems to be assured now that Sens. Rubio, McCain and Graham will support him.  Senate Energy Chair Murkowski suggested hotlining the Zinke and Perry nominations so they can get floor votes early this week.  As for EPA, nominee Scott Pruitt will face opposition but is certain to be approved.  In fact, the most interesting story on the EPA nomination vote is what key Democrats facing tough re-elects in Trump states (Tester – MT, Donnelly – IN, Heitkamp – ND McCaskill – MO) will do.  Manchin is already supporting Pruitt.

As for events this week, on Thursday, my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead joins other tax experts at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss the viability of carbon tax.  Other events include the Washington Auto Show Policy Days on Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday a CSIS holds an event that presents IEA’s Global Gas Security Review.

Finally, two events to put on your radar screen for early February besides the Grammys and Super Bowl LI.  On February 3 and 4, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) will hold events in Washington focused on the 2017 Environmental/Energy agenda and covering the Trump Administration.  Finally, on February 8th, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release its 2017 Sustainable Energy Factbook.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned here.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“it is clear that self-driving cars will make it possible for millions more Americans to have better access to healthcare, live more independently and achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.”

Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the disability advocacy group Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco

 

IN THE NEWS

New CoS Memo Slows Regs – White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus released a memo on Friday to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations — giving the new administration time to review them.  The action is a fairly standard move for a new administration taking over from the other party. It effectively halts any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized.  For any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.  For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn. For regulations that have been published but have not reached their effective date, the memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review — with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.  The memo makes an exception for “critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can’t be delayed for other reasons.

AHRI Sees Benefits, Concerns with Memo – A great article by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  AHRI, who worked on both the walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF) rule and its accompanying test procedure rule and the commercial boiler rule, were recently submitted for publication, but delayed under the 45-day review rule.  The memo would appear to force the withdrawal and review of the rule by new personnel at DOE.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the action provides an opportunity discuss with the new DOE staff the various processes by which energy efficiency rules are developed.  “The walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated and its provisions were agreed to by all stakeholders, including AHRI.  The rule establishing the test procedure for WICFs, however, was not negotiated, and neither was the commercial boiler rule — both were developed with minimal interaction with stakeholders.  Consequently, we have many concerns about those two rules and will likely be seeking significant changes if and when they are redeveloped,” Yurek said.  This moratorium does not mean these and other rules will never be issued, only that they will be delayed for review and potential alteration. But Yurek said that, “Under the law, DOE is only required to review these and other rules, not make changes to them.  It is entirely possible that this administration will choose to merely leave current efficiency levels in place for some products,” he said.

Propane Rule Creates Burden – On the first working day of the Trump Administration, a rule imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) during the Obama Administration is set to impose $125 million in new costs on propane consumers.  To date, NPGA’s petition for an emergency stay to protect the industry and propane consumers has gone unanswered.  Today, approximately 5 million propane cylinders, including many that are used for home heating, forklifts, and even grill cylinders, are out of compliance with DOT regulations.  In 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) made a major change to a decades-old regulation that, without explanation or justification, reduces the time propane marketers have to initially requalify a propane cylinder from 12 years to 10 years.  This action is an unlawful violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires that affected parties have an opportunity to comment on any changes that might create new obligations for stakeholders.  DOT misled the propane industry in the initial notice of proposed rulemaking saying, “Costs associated with the rule are estimated to be negligible annually…. [T]hese requirements would not impose new requirements on current non-holders of SPs [special permits].”  In the rule PHMSA cites the number of affected business at 50.  The reality is this rule affects thousands of companies, starting with approximately 3,000 propane marketers.  In addition to the significant financial burden, this regulation will cause small business owners to choose between delivering fuel to more than 5 million homes that rely on propane for winter heating or keeping staff at the business to comply with this rule.

SAFE Report Says AVs will Help Those with Disabilities – A white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) has revealed that an astonishing two million employment opportunities could be opened and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved if people with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles. The paper, titled The Ruderman White Paper on Self-Driving Car Technologies: The Impact on People with Disabilities, also encourages a greater dialogue surrounding the potential benefits that these emerging transportation technologies can offer to people with disabilities. Despite those with disabilities representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population, the most recent government transport survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability have difficulty accessing the transportation they need. The transportation sector is one of the largest industries in the United States, interacting with nearly every facet of the economy, however this system still remains off-limits to many in the disability community, leading to much lower rates of employment, health care, and income. The report, co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of the Autonomous Vehicle Initiative at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE, calls on an urgent need to develop a common agenda at the intersection between autonomous vehicles and disability policy, requiring broad political organization, and eventually action, in order to make progress and ensure the voices of individuals with disabilities is heard.  The report’s authors also noted a legal commitment to be upheld as autonomous vehicles are developed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that if a private company offers such transportation services, equal access to public accommodations must be made to provide the same services to people with disabilities as those without.

Cramer Bipartisan commission to Limit OPEC – U.S. House of Representatives members Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) introduced legislation to establish a one-year commission to better understand the role of OPEC, its member nations, and other national oil companies (NOCs) in contributing to an unfree global oil market. OPEC, whose member nations along with other NOCs control 90% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, have the ability to exercise outsized influence over global oil supply, and therefore prices, to the detriment of non-members like the United States. The full text of H.R. 545 is available here.  OPEC’s decision in late 2016 to interrupt the low oil price environment by freezing crude production was reached after two years of the cartel maintaining record levels of production to consolidate market share. That policy placed significant strain on U.S. producers and the global economy, delaying nearly $400 billion in investment in future production capacity, causing thousands of domestic job losses and setting the stage for higher prices in the future. Unable to meet their fiscal obligations with declining oil revenues, major exporters are instead burning through billions in accumulated foreign reserves to maintain their social and defense spending, with the potential of amplifying already growing geopolitical unrest in the world’s most unstable regions. OPEC’s strong influence over the oil market translates to severe economic vulnerability for the United States, which depends on petroleum fuels for more than a third of its primary energy demand and for 92% of the energy used by the transportation sector. This singular dependence on oil, a resource whose price is frequently volatile and unpredictable, threatens the American economy with the specter of price spikes and undermines the nation’s ability to conduct effective foreign policy, including military action, in its own interest.

AHRI Announces HVAC Scholarships – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), announced scholarship awards totaling $55,000 to 35 students, including six veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  Each year, the Foundation provides aid to an increasing number of recipients, helping to promote careers in the industry and fill good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Defense Energy Forum Set – Today through Wednesday, the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement holds its Operational Energy Summit, with the theme “Enabling Global Power Projection at the Sheraton Pentagon City.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges –Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held starting Friday to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on Wednesday and Thursday.  The events of the Wednesday will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

SAE to Host Forum at Auto Show – SAE International holds its 2017 Government/Industry Forum in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show on “how technology, regulations and legislation affects the design of light and heavy duty vehicles.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Forum to Look at NatGas Diplomacy Strategy – The Energy Diplomacy Initiative (EDI), as part of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. featuring a discussion with conversation with former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly on her recommendations for the US administration on the role of natural gas, energy policies, and impacts on international diplomacy.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday January 31st looking at deep decarbonization scenarios.  Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.

USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum on Tuesday January 31st at the National Press Club Ballroom.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on February 1st to look at climate risks in Latin America.  The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts.  There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Feb.4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of January 16

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed an extra day to honor Martin Luther King and his great contributions to our country.  I always like the extra day because my birthday is actually the day after MLK’s (and the day before Ben Franklin).  And thanks to all of you who wished me well on my birthday.  I appreciate your kindness.  And special thanks to POLITICO for making me the subject of their new “Birthday of the Day” feature. (the advantage of not having anyone more important born on the same day as you).

Wow, this is a short, but busy week…  Everything is closed Friday for the Inaugural, but tomorrow afternoon Senate Energy takes up the Zinke nomination for Interior Secretary, Senate Environment hosts EPA nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday morning and Thursday, Senate Energy returns with former Texas Governor and DOE nominee Rick Perry.  Speaking of Pruitt, today, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) endorsed his nomination to head EPA calling Pruitt a “highly-professional, thoughtful and effective” leader who can “strike an appropriate balance of environmental and economic objectives.”

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Today at 1:00 p.m. SAFE and the Ruderman Family Foundation will release a white paper revealing that two million employment opportunities could be opened up, and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved, if individuals with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles.  Please dial (888) 567-1603 to participate.

Finally, since it is inauguration week, I have Included a primer of facts, trivia and interesting items on our inaugural history.  Enjoy and as usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

INAUGURATION PRIMER

Key Details: For those of you in town (or trying to get out of town), here are some key details on weather, road closures, maps, parade info and inaugural balls from our friends at WTOP:  http://wtop.com/inauguration/2017/01/inauguration-day-2017-survival-guide-street-closures-metro-service-parade-route/

Schedule: Here is the schedule of events and some other interesting facts for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States: http://www.newsweek.com/2017-donald-trump-inauguration-schedule-events-540650

Who’s Johns Are Portable – Our friend Matt Daly of AP may have the best story of the entire Inaugural.  Workers preparing for the inauguration on Friday have taped over the name of the company — “Don’s Johns” — that has long supplied portable restrooms for major outdoor events in the nation’s capital.  Yes…insert every joke you can.  You can’t make this s— up!!!  LATEST UPDATE: Apparently, a lot of the masking tape actually fell off with rain over the weekend.  Unknown whether, the cover crew will return with something more secure (like duct tape)

Hats Off to Texas Energy: We are Bracewell will be holding a special breakfast on Thursday Morning on Capitol Hill honoring the Texas delegation and others.  If you are interested in attending, Please let me know.

 

Fun Inaugural Facts/Trivia

  • Longest inauguration speech:  William Henry Harrison delivered a 1 hr 45 min stem-winder in 1841 during a snowstorm.  Of course, he came down with pneumonia and died one month later, making his the shortest Presidential tenure ever.
  • Shortest Speech: George Washington second inaugural address consisted of 135 words.
  • Warmest temp at inauguration time: Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981 at 55 degrees.
  • Coldest temp at inauguration time:  Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985. Noon temperature: 7 degrees
  • Who was the first president to be sworn in January? Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937
  • What caused the switch from March to January? The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on January 23, 1933 which moved Presidential and Congressional terms to begin in January.
  • Why did they initially have inaugural ceremonies in MarchThe original long lame duck period was a practical necessity for the White House and Congress at the end of the 18th Century, when any newly-elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and then undertake an arduous journey from his home to the national capital.
  • When was the inauguration held indoors?  Reagan’s second in 1985, Taft in 1909
  • Who were the only people that where not federal or Supreme Court justices to administer the oath of office: Chancellor of New York Robert Livingston who administered oath to Washington in 1789 and John Calvin Coolidge, a notary public and father of Calvin Coolidge who administered the oath to his son at their home in Vermont after Warren Harding’s death in 1923. (Coolidge returned to Washington the next day, and was sworn in again by SCOTUS Justice Adolph Hoehling to forestall any questions about the authority of a notary public administering the presidential oath.
  • Snowiest inaugurals: Taft 1909 (10 inches), Kennedy 1961 (8 inches)
  • Have any inaugurations ever be held outside Washington? If so when:  1789 (New York), 1793 (Philadelphia), 1797 (Philadelphia)
  • Who was the first to be sworn in on the West Facade of the Capitol? Reagan 1981
  • Where were they sworn in before that? East Facade of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Where was the 1817 oath administered while the Capitol was under construction because of damage caused by the War Of 1812?  The Old Brick House  (where SCOTUS now sits) where James Monroe was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall.
  • How many inaugurations occurred because of a president’s death or resignation?  9… after the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, and after the resignation of Richard Nixon.
  • Who was the only President sworn-in in the air?  Lyndon Johnson in 1963 by Texas federal judge Sarah T. Hughes.
  • Which inauguration had almost no ceremonies? FDR’s 4th inauguration in 1945.  Due to austerity measures in effect during World War II, the inauguration was held on the South Portico of the WH, rather than the Capitol and FDR delivered the shortest timed inaugural speech in history. The parade and other festivities were canceled.  Many speculated FDR was also ill, which bore out some 70 or days later when he passed away and Harry Truman was sworn–in.
  • Which president had the most inaugural balls? Bill Clinton in 1997 when there were 14.
  • What happens if January 20 occurs on Sunday? The Chief Justice administers the oath to the president on that day privately and then again in a public ceremony the next day, on Monday, January 21.
  • Who was the first First Lady to accompany her husband in the procession from the Capitol to the White House? William Taft’s wife Helen Herron Taft.
  • Which president was not sworn in on a Bible? Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 who was instead sworn in on a book of laws.
  • Which president was the first to “affirm”, rather than “swear” the oath of office? Franklin Pierce in 1853, followed by Herbert Hoover in 1929.
  • Which president was the only to walk to and from his inaugural? Thomas Jefferson in 1801.
  • Has any President ever incorrectly state the Oath of Office? At his second inauguration in 2013, Barack Obama incorrectly said “I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.” Unfortunately, the word “faithfully”  actually belongs between “will” and “execute.”
  • Who was the first president to feature a poet in the ceremony? John Kennedy had Robert Frost participate as the first poet in 1961; Bill Clinton followed suit in 1993 when Maya Angelou read at his inaugural.
  • Which inauguration was the first to be photographed? James Buchanan’s in 1857.
  • What was the first ceremony televised? Harry Truman’s in 1949.
  • How about the first on the internet? Bill Clinton’s second inauguration.
  • First President to Tweet from the stage?  Hmmmm, I wonder…

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We don’t know why it’s being done. We didn’t tell someone to do it.  We’re proud to have our name on the units.”

Robert Weghorst, chief operating officer for Don’s Johns, when asked by AP’s Matt Daly on why the logos were covered up on its portable toilet rentals used in the Presidential Inauguration.

 

IN THE NEWS

ERCC Endorses Pruitt – The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) endorsed EPA nominee Scott Pruitt calling him a “highly-professional, thoughtful and effective” leader who can “strike an appropriate balance of environmental and economic objectives.”  In a letter to the Senate Environment Committee on the eve of its confirmation hearing, ERCC executive director Scott Segal said there is little doubt that Pruitt has fully immersed himself in the intricacies of the environmental statues that form the basis of EPA’s authority.   “The public, the environment, and EPA itself are better served when the Agency adheres closely to the statues that define its mission without attempt to stretch those statues beyond there logical breaking point.  Pruitt’s noteworthy commitment to the rule of law and transparency in the administrative process should ensure that all sides are heard and that resulting regulations are firmly grounded and effective.”  Segal takes on several questions raised by Pruitt opponents including  General Pruitt’s previous opposition to particular EPA rules    See more details here.

EPA Releases Phase II CAFE Standards – EPA released its final CAFE standards for phase II 2022-2025 – 14 months ahead of schedule.  When do EPA ever release controversial and complex issues so far in advance.   Here is the Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) Comment from CEO Robbie Diamond:

“Vehicle efficiency standards are fundamental to reducing the nation’s oil dependence and its many associated costs for our economic and national security. But we must respect the process through which these standards are reviewed. American mobility is changing and companies such as Uber and Lyft that have become critical parts of our transportation system did not even exist when these standards were created. We look forward to working with the incoming administration as it examines the national security advantages of vehicle efficiency standards and finds innovative ways to leverage them to improve American competitiveness.”

NHTSA Also Releases Traffic Fatality Data for 2016 – NHTSA also released its traffic fatality data for 2016.  Of course, this underscores the need to develop a set of policies to advance autonomous vehicle program which most safety advocates and experts insist will dramatically decrease traffic fatalities.  SAFE’s Diamond:

“Recognizing the paramount importance of public safety while, at the same time, fostering the ability of innovation to save countless lives and transform our energy landscape is the critical balancing act for industry and policymakers in the years to come.  Today’s announcement from NHTSA makes clear that America’s roads are dangerous.  A transition to autonomous vehicles, which are estimated to reduce roadway fatalities by 94 percent, cannot come soon enough.

Just last week, SAFE released a report from its Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

NC Co-op CEO Wins National Leadership Award for Communication Innovation – Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, NC was awarded top honors in the cooperative industry’s “Spotlight on Excellence” program. Wynn’s selection for the 2017 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award was announced at the national leadership conference for co-op CEOs hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award, presented by NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, recognizes an electric co-op CEO who advances communication in the electric cooperative industry.  Wynn serves as secretary-treasurer for the NRECA Board of Directors. At Roanoke EC, Wynn expanded communications channels to more than 30 to include the cooperative’s blog, e-newsletter, mobile app and various social media platforms. He initiated “Straight Talk” Forums–a series in the co-op’s seven-county region giving Wynn the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with the membership. One judge praised Wynn for embracing “numerous platforms to reach the members and share the co-op message.”

NOLA to Hire Coastal Reporting Krewe – The New Orleans Times-Picayune will create a Louisiana Coastal Reporting Team in early 2017 dedicated to in-depth coverage of the state’s ongoing, devastating land loss.  Award-winning environment reporter Mark Schleifstein and state news editor Drew Broach will lead the new team, which also will include contributions from veteran outdoors reporter Todd Masson and photographer/videographer Ted Jackson. Schleifstein and Jackson previously collaborated on “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?,” which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for public service, and The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com staffs’ 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  Additionally, The Times-Picayune will add two full-time environmental journalists who will work exclusively on the Louisiana Coastal Reporting Team.  The creation of the Coastal Reporting Team is made possible in part by the Fund for Environmental Journalism, a grant-making program of the Society of Environmental Journalists.  Established in 2010, SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism has disbursed more than $640,000 for journalism projects including position grants and story projects selected through periodic competitions. The Times-Picayune retains full editorial independence and authority; independent and separate agreements are maintained between SEJ and its donors.

Report: States With Clean Energy Attract Businesses – A new study undertaken released by the nation’s retail and technology industries concludes that states that are investing in clean domestic energy production are also the most likely to attract businesses, creating thousands of jobs in their communities. The new analysis, released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) ranks all 50 U.S. states for the first time, based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy such as solar and wind for their operations.  The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings, written by Clean Edge on behalf of RILA and ITI, notes that demand for clean energy among retailers and technology companies is expected to increase to 60 GW by 2025, the equivalent of powering over 43 million homes. Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Walmart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean energy production due to fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. The index is intended to inform business leaders and guide state policymakers hoping to attract new job-creating businesses and foster economic growth.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Report to Detail Impact of AVs for Those with Disabilities – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and the Ruderman Family Foundation will release a white paper today at 1:00 p.m. revealing that two million employment opportunities could be opened up, and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved, if individuals with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles.  Despite those with disabilities representing almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, the most recent government survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability had difficulty with mobility access.  The report—co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of Autonomous Vehicle Initiatives at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE—contains a range of proposals for government and industry. Please dial (888) 567-1603 to participate.

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Energy Hosts Zinke, Perry – The Senate Energy Committee will hold hearing for both Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head DOE this week.  Zinke will testify this afternoon, while Perry will sit before the Committee on Thursday morning.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – The Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th at 9:00 a.m.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Taiwan, Energy – The Global Taiwan Institute holds its first public seminar of 2017 on Wednesday at Noon and will focus on Taiwan’s energy strategy. This timely seminar will look at the ways in which Taiwan is trying to re-orient its energy mix and potential opportunities to pursue energy cooperation in the Asia Pacific. The panel features Dr. Winston Dang, a former senior government official from Taiwan and thought leader in the field of energy politics and strategy in the Asia Pacific. The panel will be moderated by GTI Executive Director Russell Hsiao.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On Friday, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges – Next Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum next Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday ,January 25th at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with six leading reporters and editors from Associated Press, Politico, MongaBay, Washington Examiner, and more to be confirmed.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Febuary 4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA)  will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

Energy Update: Week of January 9

Friends,

Not really a surprising Golden Globes shows.  LaLa Land won big (which surprised me because we really didn’t think it was that great) as did Casey Affleck (who was really great in Manchester By The Sea).  The dresses and outfits were a big story as were the political statements, headlined by Meryl Streep. Once again politics drifts into Hollywood, but it seems lectures like these may be part of the reason Trump won.

Big Game rematch tonight when #2 Clemson takes on #1 Alabama in Tampa.  While I hate the current system for determining the NCAA DI Football Champ, there is no doubt this game features the two best college teams.  And if it is anything like last year’s game, that would be special…  Also Congrats to James Madison (I know there are a lot of Dukes that read this update) for knocking off Youngstown State (where our friend Ohio Dem Rep. Tim Ryan was a star QB back in college before suffering an injury) in the FCS Championship game over the weekend.

About 10 days to the inauguration of the new President.  This should be a crazy week as confirmation hearings begin for the new cabinet.  Nine confirmation hearings this week start with Sen. Jeff Sessions tomorrow.  EOM chief Rex Tillerson is slated for Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. at Sen Foreign Relations.  Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis should have minor environmental/energy discussions at their hearing on Thursday morning.  Most expect EPA nominee Scott Pruitt to be next Wednesday but that is still not set.

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Speaking of Energy, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz does his going-away newsmaker at the National Press Club on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Prior to that, at 9:30 a.m. just across Lafayette Park, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address.  Donohue will outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

The NAIAS “Detroit” Auto Show launched yesterday with a major focus on new technologies, but a lot of that was also previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show late last week.  It also featured a report from SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

Finally, big congrats to our friend Abby Hopper, former BOEM director, who will take over the head job at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) starting next Tuesday.

Last week, we highlighted a few key issues we expect to see for 2017.  As a lot of people were out, I’m resending the issues at the end of this update just in case you missed it.

As usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The novelty and complexity of autonomous vehicles has created gaps between regulators, industry, and the general public. With so much at stake, we urge AV developers to coalesce around common standards, metrics, and commitments to specific safety protocols in advance of widespread deployment and commercialization—as the technology is highly vulnerable in its current nascent state.”

SAFE AV Commission Chairman Mark Rosenker, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE AV Commission Releases Recommendations for Industry-Led Regulatory Framework – SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety released a report late last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.  The Commission is a committed group of former public officials and safety experts who bring decades of expertise towards their collective goal of improving the safety of early AV deployment, thus expediting the widespread adoption of AV technology. The members of the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety include former NTSB Chair Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, Alliance for Transportation Innovation CEO Paul Brubaker, former GM product safety exec Robert Lange and SAE Internat’l President Cuneyt Oge.

Their recommendations address the potential risks of public opposition and overregulation:

Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence

  1. The Commission recommends that AV providers move to on road testing and deployment only once confident that the vehicle’s performance is as safe as the average human driver, accounting for backup drivers, speed restrictions, geofencing and other safety measures.
  2. The Commission encourages AV providers to create safety milestones for AV development. The Commission further encourages public disclosure of achieved milestones and accompanying validation.
  3. The Commission encourages developers to deploy redundant layers of technology to increase safety beyond any minimum required standard.
  4. The Commission encourages developers to clearly define and effectively communicate autonomous features, including their limitations.

Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework

  1. The Commission encourages AV providers to formally collaborate through a technical data consortium to accelerate AV learning and safety through shared, anonymized information.
  2. The Commission recommends that industry formulate objective, practical, quantitative metrics for measuring AV safety.
  3. The Commission recommends that any future framework for regulating AVs rest on a modern foundation reflecting the advanced software-driven nature of vehicle automation.

DOE Releases QER Recommendations – The Department of Energy released its second Quadrennial Energy Review focusing on recommendations to harden the electricity grid from terrorist attacks.  Last year’s presidential election on Friday.  DOE said the power grid faces “imminent danger” from cyberattacks and called on Congress to empower federal regulators to impose new rules on the utility industry to help protect the nation’s energy network.  The proposals called for lawmakers to give FERC more authority over cyber defenses of the power grid and for a suite of programs to upgrade the network’s technology to make it more resilient against potential attacks.

Upton to Head Energy/Power – Former House Energy & Commerce Full Committee Chair Fred Upton will run the Energy and Commerce Committee’s newly renamed Subcommittee on Energy, while Rep. John Shimkus, who lost his bid to become full committee chairman to Rep. Greg Walden, will maintain his chairmanship of the environment panel. Upton was term limited from continuing as committee chair.

Report: New Transmission Can Help Wind Supply Third of U.S. Electricity – The Energy Department today released a report which confirms that adding even limited electricity transmission can significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy to supply 35% of U.S. electricity by 2050. The report, titled Reducing Wind Curtailment through Transmission Expansion in a Wind Vision Future and authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), affirms the findings of the Energy Department’s 2015 Wind Vision, which showed that a future in which wind provides 20% of U.S. electricity in 2030 and 35% in 2050 is achievable and would provide significant economic, energy security, and health benefits to the nation.

ClearPath Taps Morehouse As Government Affairs Director – ClearPath has tapped veteran House GOP aide Jeff Morehouse as the organization’s director of government affairs. In that role, Morehouse will help lead ClearPath’s growing DC-based effort to work with the new Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration on conservative clean energy policies.  He will be a key partner to ClearPath Managing Director-Government Affairs Zak Baig in working not just with House Republicans but also the Trump administration. Morehouse since 2010 has been chief of staff for Rep. Bill Flores, including managing the Texas Republican’s successful campaign to chair the conservative Republican Study Committee last Congress. Morehouse was also executive director of the House Conservatives Fund, overseeing the Republican leadership PAC for the 2014 election cycle. Morehouse was previously legislative director for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Among his honors, Morehouse received the 2014 Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Chief of Staff Appreciation Award.

German Emissions on Rise – German think tank Agora Energiewende released its annual energy assessment that says Germany’s emissions rose in 2016, largely driven by the industrial, heating and transport sectors.  Emissions from the country’s power sector, instead, continued the decline that started in 2014 as coal use falls.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will rolled out yesterday at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences began with Disney Pixar on Sunday.  The 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will include a host of events through tomorrow.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.  The show runs through January 22nd.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Today through Thursday, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – IFC and ESMAP will presented a new report on Energy Storage this morning.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session tomorrow at noon at the National Press Club that highlights clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.

WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – The World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Brookings Forum to Tackle Transportation Model – The Moving to Access initiative, a collaboration between Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Global Economy and Development program, is an extensive, multi-year effort that seeks to inform and promote an access-first approach to urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. They will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to bring together experts across three major disciplines—transportation, urban planning, and finance—and will explore where these disciplines agree, where they diverge, and what policies could support a more accessible built environment. The event will feature a panel discussion with current metropolitan leaders and distinguished scholars and close with a keynote dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Moniz to Address Press Club Newsmaker – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at a National Press Club newsmaker and take questions on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. on the Club’s Ballroom.  In one of his final public speaking appearances in Washington, Moniz will discuss how an increased focus on science and research and development has informed better policymaking and technology solutions, and how to protect the independence and integrity of scientists at the Department of Energy and its 17 National Labs.  Moniz will also unveil a new report on the work of the laboratories and policies that will encourage and empower scientists to continue to innovate new energy solutions, make new scientific discoveries, support private industry, and deliver for the American people.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

WRI to Host Urban Transpo Forum – The World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club looking at urban transportation planning.  This event will highlight the Danish experience in shaping great cities for cycling and public space, and what other cities such as Washington, DC and beyond are and could be doing to make streets more livable and sustainable for all.

STEM Forum Set for Capitol Hill – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in B-354 Rayburn, House Science leading Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson will host energy executives along with senior federal and local government officials for a briefing about the prospects for bipartisan STEM-based energy legislation in the 115th Congress and the impact of those proposals on local job creation. Also invited are representatives from Universities and schools to share their views on partnerships with the energy sector to better prepare the energy workforce of the future.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday and Friday.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

EPA to Hold Ozone Hearings – EPA will host a public meeting on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.  The hearing will focus on nonattainment area classifications and state implementation plan requirements.  It will be held at EPA HQ in Room 1117A.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Pew to Look at Military Power Issues – On Thursday at 3:30 a.m., Pew Charitable Trusts hosts representatives from each branch of the U.S. military to discuss steps they and the Department of Defense more broadly have taken to address the challenges and opportunities that energy presents to national security.  A presentation will follow on new research that shows how microgrids and clean energy technologies can improve energy efficiency and security at military installations.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

DOE to Honor Schlesinger Medal Winners – The Energy Department will hold the Schlesinger Medal of Energy Security awards ceremony on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  In December, Secretary Moniz said Charles Curtis was the third recipient of the James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security.  When the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were established on October 1, 1977, Schlesinger and Curtis were appointed by President Carter as the first DOE Secretary and FERC Chairman, respectively.  Later, Curtis served as Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.  He was a founding partner of the law firm Van Ness, Curtis, Feldman and Sutcliffe and was instrumental in the launch of important non-governmental organizations as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Forum Looks at Enviro Crime – The Henry L. Stimson Center holds a discussion on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Army and Navy Club focusing on national and global security implications of environmental crime and resource theft.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – While not locked in yet, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday January 18th at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday January 19th at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.