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.

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

 

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

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

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.

 

PRG’s George Felcyn Co-Authors Article for The Bond Buyer

The Bond Buyer

 

PRG Senior Director George Felcyn co-authored an article with Bracewell attorney Charles Almond published today in The Bond Buyer.  The commentary article titled “Make-America-Great-Again Bonds?” explores investment in public infrastructure and its increased discussion since the 2016 election was decided.

“If federal policymakers are indeed serious about incentivizing public infrastructure investment and realizing the related job-creation benefits in the relatively near future, an ‘all of the above’ approach is essential,” write Almond and Felcyn. “Innovative P3 approaches enhanced by tax credits for equity investments may well attract private-equity capital and foster cost savings for certain types of projects. However, the bread and butter of public finance has always been, and will likely continue to be, debt capital that is subsidized one way or another by the federal government. While the old dogs in the public-finance arena are learning the new tricks of the P3 world, efforts should be made to improve the ability to access low-interest-rate debt capital from the tried and true state and local  bond market to supplement those new tricks and continue to fill the many gaps that will never be filled by private equity alone.”

To read the complete article, click here.

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.

New Year’s Energy Update

Friends,

Welcome to 2017!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  We sure saw some great football (topped by the Rose Bowl) and hockey (the Outdoor Centennial Classic in Toronto) games.

While 2016 was a bizarre political year, 2017 looks to be a brave new world, so let me lip-synch my way through a few bars to remind you that we will be on top of it all for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in the energy and environment arena for 2017.

The 115th Congress launched today with quite a stir. While new members were being sworn in and Speaker Ryan was being elected, the House was backtracking on the outside ethics committee change after pressure from the Presidential Twittersphere.  Anyway, while a dumb way to start, it did create some fun just 17 days before the Inauguration.   Sounds Like they will be busy right away though passing Midnight Rules Relief Act, which allows the use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act that requires explicit congressional approval for major executive branch regulations. (H/T POLITICO ME) Good luck getting passed the Senate though.

While a short week, there are a few great events set for the week.  Tomorrow, our friends at API hold its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center at 12:30 p.m.   Also this week, the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Las Vegas.  On Thursday, SAFE will release its autonomous vehicle report recommendations.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving AV industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  You may also expect to hear more about this topic at next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show.  Also Thursday morning at JHU, EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices.

Finally, congrats to our friend Sean Spicer, taking over the WH flak Jacket.  Also, check out the recent opinion piece on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt from former White House Counsel C Boyden Gray, who helped author the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the last time it was updated.  As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

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.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“When Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he will inherit an agency that should be declaring victory in its 46-year battle for a cleaner, healthier environment. The next administrator must focus on reining in an agency that has far exceeded its original mission. Fortunately, Pruitt understands the EPA’s proper role and is the right man for the job.”

 2007. Boyden Gray served as White House Counsel during the George H.W. Bush administration and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 2006-2007. He was one of the architects of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

 

IN THE NEWS

DOE Finalizes Energy Efficiency Rules – DOE issued five new rules on December 29th that cover an eclectic mix of products, including the first national standards for uninterruptible power supplies, portable air conditioners and swimming pool pumps, which are based on a consensus agreement. For pool pumps, California has led the way with pool pump motor standards and Arizona, Connecticut, and Washington have followed. California and Oregon have previously set standards for uninterruptible power supplies as part of their battery charger standards.  For walk-in coolers and commercial boilers, DOE’s latest actions would update existing national standards, originally signed into law by George W. Bush and his father, respectively. Manufacturers and installers of walk-in coolers negotiated the walk-in cooler levels with DOE and other stakeholders after a lawsuit invalidated some earlier standards.

Interesting Twist to Rules – Under the terms of an agreement developed as part of the settlement AHRI reached with DOE in its 2014 lawsuit concerning the original rule for walk-in coolers and freezers, there is a 45-day waiting period before the rules can be published in the Federal Register.  This means that they will not be issued in final form during the Obama Administration and are, therefore, subject to review by the incoming Trump Administration.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated with AHRI member input and AHRI approved the negotiated provisions of the rule. Yurek added the commercial boiler rule was not developed through negotiations, but through the notice-and-comment process under which AHRI provided comments.  AHRI continues to have significant issues with this rule, including our opposition to the proposed minimum efficiency levels for both oil and gas boilers which we feel overestimate the energy use of commercial packaged boilers, underestimates their installation costs, and overestimates the future shipments of commercial packaged boilers while underestimating the level of higher efficiency commercial packaged boilers that are currently in the marketplace. Yurek: “We continue to have concerns that the efficiency levels for these products has been set at a level that the margin of safety to properly vent the products of combustion has been significantly reduced.  We look forward to working with the Trump Administration as it reviews recent DOE rulemakings prior to their being finalized.”

Analysts Report: Shale Drillers Expected to Recover – Shale drillers are set to ramp up spending on exploration and production next year as recovering oil prices prompt banks to extend credit lines for the first time in two years.  The credit increase is small, but with major oil producers worldwide aiming to hold down production in 2017, U.S.-based shale drillers are looking to boost market share to take advantage of higher prices, and greater availability of capital will make that easier.  Analysts at Raymond James North America-focused oil and gas producers are expected to increase capital investments by 30% next year.

Southern Moving on Larger Wind Strategy – As part of the company’s renewable development strategy, Southern Company recently rolled out a joint development agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to develop and construct approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) across 10 projects with commercial operation dates between 2018 and 2020. Additionally, Southern Power has signed agreements to purchase wind turbine equipment from both Siemens and Vestas for use at the facilities.   Already, Southern owns more than 2,700 MW of renewable generation across 33 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction. In total, the Southern Company system has added or announced more than 4,000 MW of renewable generation since 2012.

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared 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 $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  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).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

MI Wind Farm Begins Operations – DTE Energy has started commercial operations at its 50MW Pinnebog wind farm in Michigan. The 30-turbine facility, which is in Huron County, started construction in early 2016. The wind farm is an expansion of the existing Echo wind park and employed more than 150 people during construction.  DTE now has 30 full-time employees working at its Huron county renewable energy center in Bad Axe. In 2015, more than 10 percent of the energy provided by DTE was generated from a renewable source in Michigan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

API’s Gerard to Hold Annual State of American Energy – API President and CEO Jack Gerard will deliver a major address tomorrow at the Reagan Trade building Atrium tomorrow at Noon to outline priorities for America’s oil and natural gas industry with New Congress and Administration.  The United States is leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas while also leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. This game-changing milestone coincides with the start of a new administration and Congress. Voters from all parties want our nation’s leaders to address economic growth and accelerate job creation while developing an energy future that benefits all Americans.   Gerard will deliver his annual address followed by a news conference for credentialed members of the media.

EIA Presents Updated Long-Term Energy Projections – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS Energy and Environment program will host EIA’s Adam Sieminski on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, world oil prices, and the Clean Power Plan.

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on Thursday in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  The event will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room S227A and will explore the details of these recommendations and strategies for implementation. Members of the Commission and SAFE staff will be available to answer questions about the Commission’s work and its implications for American energy security, including former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Paul Brubaker of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, former GM exec Robert Lange and Cuneyt Oge, President of SAE International.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  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.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Next Sunday, January 8th through Thursday, January 12th, 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 – Next Monday morning at the IFC Headquarters, IFC and ESMAP will present a new report on Energy Storage.  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.

Forum to Look at Economics of Germany’s Energy Transition, Transatlantic Relations – Next Monday at noon in Fairfax, the Greater Washington Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will host a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance.  The event will focus on the economics of the German Energy/Electricity transition.
Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – On Tuesday January 10th at noon at the National Press Club, 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  that will highlight 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 – Next Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum.  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.

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 January 11th.  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 January 11th 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, January 11th 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.

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, January 12th and Friday, January 13th.  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.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday, January 12th 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.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday, January 12th 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.

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.

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.

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.

Holiday Energy Update

Friends,

So it finally is the week of the Christmas Holiday.  I suspect that means it will slow down a little.  (I hope, although it hasn’t yet as of Noon today…)  In the meantime, we await the last major cabinet announcement from President-Elect Trump: USDA Secretary.  The leading candidate in the rumor mill is North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who has been in line with Trump positions and very strong on energy and ag issues.  Remember, the NRECA should be one of your primary calls when the USDA announcement is made.

As well, we are starting to see significant discussion about the Republican tax overhaul plan that features a border adjustment plan.  A  pair of new studies over the weekend from PIRA and the Brattle Group say the border adjustment would amount to a $10-a-barrel tax on imported crude oil, raising costs for drivers buying gasoline by 25 to 30 cents a gallon.  Our man in tax Havana, Curt Beaulieu is all over the issue and can be a huge help on the impacts.  You can reach Curt at 202-828-5806 or curtis.beaulieu@bracewelllaw.com.

As we move through the holidays, we fully expect to hear rumbles from opponents of the energy and environmental cabinet nominees.  We are happy to be your story sounding board, addressing your questions, providing background and offering assistance to get the full picture on these issues.

As for the holidays, we will be around and available should you need a comment or want to just catch up.  Please feel free to call.

Important news on the offshore wind front: Late Friday, our friends at Statoil were declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York.  I have more details below.

Secondly, we know Metallica will be touring in 2017 with their new “kick-a–“ album Hardwired to Self-Destruct. But you may not have heard last week that “Live,” the soulful 90s band from York, PA, has resolved its legal conflicts and will reunite for new music and a 2017 tour.  More as we hear on both.

Special birthday wishes to our friend John Walke of NRDC, an avid update reader and Twitter/Facebook commenter.  I want to say 49, but that’s what we all say when we get there…

And finally, congrats to long-time White House and congressional advisor Richard Russell who was named today by new Senate EPW Chair John Barrasso to be Republican staff director of the Committee.

As you know, every year, before Christmas, I do a Christmas Note filled with holiday cheer and some good quips…so , here we go:

 

It is the week of Christmas and all through DC; we’ll have a new President, Congress and direction come January.

New appointees for Energy, State, Interior, EPA; enviros using same talking points for each, every day.

The energy boom will return under this new group, as the Obama (Enviros) agenda and policies fly the coop.

Who really knows where a President Trump will go, but thanks to pollsters and predictors, no of us thought we need to know.

One thing is clear, we are heading a new way.  New people, new politics, new tweets each and every day.

Oh yes, the President will continue to use 3 AM twitter, his social media craziness is making us all very bitter.

So as we wrap another crazy political and energy year, I hope you will take a few minutes to share…

Some fun, peace and joy… and more holiday cheer, mostly because it really is the best time of year.

We’re always working hard to be there for you; interviews, sources, background – something is always new.

So as you settle in for the holidays during this week and next; The Winter Classic, some football, some well-deserved rest.

From Our Bracewell family to yours, have a great holiday season; Can’t wait to make next year even better for whatever reason.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We are excited to have submitted the most competitive bid in a highly attractive project, Statoil’s first offshore wind lease in the United States. We now look forward to working with New York’s state agencies and contributing to New York meeting its future energy needs by applying our offshore experience and engineering expertise.”

Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, following Statoil being named the winner of Friday’s NY Offshore Wind Auction

 

IN THE NEWS

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared 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 $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  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).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

U.S. Energy Security Continues Marked Improvement According Chamber Analysis – The Chamber’s Energy Institute said America’s energy security is at its strongest point in two decades.  The U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk employs 37 different energy security metrics in four major areas of risk: geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental. A lower Index score indicates a lower level of risk. The 7th annual edition of the Index covers 1970-2040 and incorporates the latest historical data and forecast models. In 2015—the most recent year available—risk dropped 3 points, to 78.0, the lowest level since 1996. The biggest improvements within the Index were in areas related to measures of oil and natural gas sector, such as imports, import expenditures, and oil prices, and to energy efficiency. Despite slumping prices, domestic crude oil output still increased by over 7%, though that increase is off the pace of previous years. Natural gas production achieved a record high, with a 5% increase in 2015.  However, despite the overall good news, there were still some warning signs. Crude oil price volatility rose significantly, driven by the desire of some large producing countries  to capture greater market share by driving prices down sharply. Rapid shifts in prices in either direction—volatility—can create unstable market conditions that increase energy security risks. In addition, electricity capacity margins—the amount of unused power capacity—have declined, increasing the vulnerability of America’s electric grid in the event of a disruption. The Index and its companion, the International Energy Security Risk Index, are available at www.energyxxi.org/energysecurity. The U.S. Index is once again available in an online, interactive web tool format, which makes it easy to see how various metrics change from year to year.

Study Says Republican Border Tax Proposal Will Increase Gas Prices – A new study on an obscure Republican tax proposal to impose a border-adjustment to limit eliminate companies’ incentives to move their headquarters overseas would have costly impact on refinery operations.  By eliminating the tax deductibility of imports, the border adjustment would raise costs for refiners that import oil. In turn, that could raise prices for consumers. The border adjustment would amount to a $10-a-barrel tax on imported crude oil, raising costs for drivers buying gasoline by up to 25 cents a gallon, the energy analyst group PIRA Energy Group warned this week. The report warned of a “potential huge impact across the petroleum industry,” even while noting that the tax reform plan faces many obstacles to passage.  As mentioned earlier, my colleague and former Senate Finance Tax Counsel Curt Beaulieu Ii all over the details.

AGs Call for Plan to Withdraw from CPP – West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey and Texas AG Ken Paxton led a 24-state coalition urging President-elect Donald Trump and congressional leaders to withdraw President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan and take the necessary steps to ensure similar or more extreme proposals never again take shape.  The bipartisan letter – addressed Wednesday to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate President Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan – suggests a four-point strategy that begins with President-elect Trump rescinding his predecessor’s Climate Action Plan on day one.  The coalition suggests President-elect Trump follow with formal administrative action to withdraw the Power Plan and related matters in court. Such action will properly effectuate the rule’s withdrawal, while negotiating an end to pending litigation.  Finally, the coalition recommends Congress take longer-term legislative action. The proposed legislative fix aims to prevent any future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from drafting similarly unlawful and/or more extreme rules. The coalition suggests the new White House work with Congress to adopt such legislation.

Deepwater Wind Projects Starts Operation – The nation’s first offshore wind farm has opened off the coast of Rhode Island, producing energy for the grid. Deepwater Wind built five turbines 3 miles off Block Island to power about 17,000 homes, a project costing about $300 million. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski calls the opening a momentous occasion that unlocks the code of how to do offshore wind in the U.S. at a crucial time when states are trying to figure out how to replace aging power plants.

EIA Report Says Reserves Declined – EIA said last week that U.S. crude oil proved reserves declined 4.7 billion barrels (11.8%) from their year-end 2014 level to 35.2 billion barrels at year-end 2015, according to U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015. U.S. natural gas proved reserves decreased 64.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), a 16.6% decline, reducing the U.S. total to 324.3 Tcf at year-end 2015.  The significant reduction in the average price of both oil and natural gas between 2014 and 2015 resulted in more challenging economic and operating conditions, an important factor in determining proved reserves. These price developments, reflected in a nearly 50% decline in average West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot prices (from $95 per barrel in 2014 to $50 per barrel in 2015) and a more than 40% decline in the natural gas spot price at the Louisiana Henry Hub (from $4.55 per million Btu in 2014 to $2.62 per million Btu in 2015) led to reduced drilling activity and downward revisions in proved reserves across a broad range of U.S. producers in 2015.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electoral College Vote – December 19th

Brookings Panel Looks Climate, Energy Security with Japan – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a distinguished panel of climate policy experts from the United States and Japan to address critical issues for the future of the climate agenda and U.S.-Japan relations. What does the nature of the Paris commitments mean for the task of implementation? What kind of domestic transformation is required in each country, e.g., what are the choices to be made in energy policy? And how can Japan and the United States collaborate on innovation efforts to move away from carbon dependent-economies?  Panelists will include our friend David Victor and other Japanese and US climate and energy security experts, as well as Atsuyuki Oike, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America.

 

IN THE FUTURE

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on January 5th in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.

State of Oil, Gas Event Slated – API will host its annual State of the Oil & Gas industry event in early January.  More on this as it becomes available.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  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.

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 January 11th.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

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.

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.

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.

PRG’s Salo Zelermyer Discusses Trump’s DOE Pick with MSNBC

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PRG Partner Salo Zelermyer spoke with MSNBC’s Kate Snow today on President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Energy: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Zelermyer and Snow discussed Perry’s history in Texas and his influence on the state’s energy infrastructure, comparing his background with those of previous Energy secretaries.

For the full video, click here.