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.

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.

Energy Update: Week of November 8

Friends,

Well, it looks like we made it to election day tomorrow – barely.  I hope you will share your predictions with me as I will report on the best ones (not necessary right!) next week.

While we are not make any predictions in advance, we are ready to give you the full story on the impacts.  On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., our Policy Resolution Group team will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections in a webinar that will feature analysis by my colleagues, and a special guest: former Clinton/Obama advisor Doug Sosnick.  Doug and our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

Today, starts the next round of COP meetings launches in Morocco.  There will be a lot of pomp, but the war over details of the non-binding, voluntary agreement will not get much attention.  We’ve heard a lot of horror stories about how Paris is not meeting the required reductions.  This is exactly what we predicted last year when everyone was celebrating this “monumental achievement.”  And now, US negotiators are saying we will need “deep decarbonization” by 2050.  Look for further details over the next two weeks, but it is not likely to be good for energy users or consumers.

In fact, much of that celebrating is warranted not because of Paris, but because of the recent airline emissions and HFC agreements that were negotiated.  Happy to give you more Info on that progress and the role it is playing in reducing the impacts of climate change.

Speaking of HFCs and the HVAC industry, AHRI has hired NAM’s Joe Trauger as the association’s Sr. Vice President of Policy and Government Relations. Also special congrats for our friend Joe Davis, former Spence Abraham Press staffer at DOE and Tennessee Volunteer punter back in the day.   Davis has been named ORAU director of government relations where he will lead governmental and public affairs outreach with Congress, government agencies and other stakeholders.

Friday is Veteran’s Day, so please say thanks whenever you can.  In addition to those thanks, the NRECA is launching Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide program to provide veterans, service members and military spouses with the opportunity to continue their mission of service by joining the ranks of America’s electric co-ops. The program provides participating co-ops with resources and training to help them implement nationally-recognized best practices in attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans.

Finally, today, our friend, former AP reporter and sports author Fred Frommer has a fun, new newsletter called Super Combustible Sports & Politics.  This week’s edition looks at the Cubs and presidents as well as athletes’ reaction to “locker-room talk.”  You can get it subscribe with Fred: fred.frommer@deweysquare.com.

We are on it…Remember to tune into the PRG Election Webinar on Wednesday.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Climate change has become a pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.  China’s solar thermal pilot program will serve as an enduring legacy of the partnership between two countries to advance technologies that help to achieve global clean energy and climate goals.”

U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus

 

“China recognizes the integral role concentrated solar power with storage can play in reducing emissions while helping to ensure long-term grid reliability. This pilot program is of unprecedented scale and will drive cost reductions throughout the CSP supply chain, increasing solar thermal’s competitiveness around the world.”

David Ramm, CEO and Chairman for BrightSource Energy

 

POST-ELECTION LEGISLATIVE SESSION/TAX DEAL PRIMER

Post-Election Legislative Session – After election day, lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for necessary post-election legislative session.  With just a few weeks left in the 114th Congress, there is a long list of unfinished business that may be considered.  While the items include routine budget and tax measures that frequently need to be mopped up at the end of the year, it also features big-ticket, high-risk issues like the stalled nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and potential energy legislation.

The Tax Issues – One of the biggest issues to hit the agenda is whether Congress considers energy tax extenders as part of must-pass budget legislation.  Last year’s omnibus deal included a 5-year phased down extension of tax credits under Sec 45(commercial), Sec 48(commercial), and Sec 25D(residential) for wind and solar.  Already both House and Senate leaders have said they plan to have tax extenders that were inadvertently left out of the deal, at the top of the agenda when the post-election legislative session gets underway.  CEQ chair and energy advisor to President Obama Brian Deese also said these energy tax extenders must be renewed in a post-election session of Congress.

Who Is Pushing for Energy Tax Extenders – Rural co-ops, distributed wind developers, air conditioning contractors, Geothermal Heat Pump manufacturers, home builders and others are push for extending expiring tax credits for renewables like geothermal heat pumps saying they deserve tax parity with the solar/wind tax incentives extended in late-2015.

The Problem – In late-2015, Congress extended and phased down the Wind Production Tax Credit and the Solar Investment Tax Credit.  However, no extension or phase down was provided for other smaller tax credits despite their much smaller cost.  In order to avoid serious market disruption and provide businesses, investors, end-users, and consumers with the ability to plan in the short- to mid-term, renewing the tax credit is “must pass” on the first available and appropriate legislative vehicle. Both the business and residential credits are essential to help ensure fair competition and access in the marketplace for clean energy solutions.

The Need for Extension in an Example – Geothermal heat pumps can cut home heating and cooling bills by up to 70%.  Electric cooperatives across the country help their consumer-owners install geothermal heat pump systems and approximately 45% of electric cooperatives across the nation utilize geothermal technology in their energy efficiency programs.  The current tax credits for geothermal heat pumps help offset the high initial capital cost of the systems to the consumers.  As a result, co-ops will most likely find fewer consumers interested in installing geothermal in the absence of the tax credit.

It is Bipartisan Legislation – The tax extenders advocates are using bipartisan legislation sponsored by Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) to extend the residential and commercial ITC credits as a the hook.  In the Senate, Hawaii Dem. Senator Schatz is leading the charge to provide a five-year extension of the residential ITC credit, with the goal of communicating to all Senate offices that extending both the residential and commercial ITC is important to domestic jobs.

Why It’s Important – Both the Business and Residential ITC credits are essential for an array of clean but nascent technologies, including geothermal, fuel cells, Combined heat and power, small scale wind power, and micro-turbines. It makes no policy sense to incent one technology and not the others, and puts jobs, domestic manufacturing and American energy production at severe risk. The National Association of Homebuilders and many others (like the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental organizations, etc) strongly support these credits on a bi-partisan basis because consumers/homeowners deserve “energy choice” AND for all of the attendant public benefits.

These credits cost the Federal Treasury very little (the big expense was passage of the large wind and solar credits last December) and are a great “bang for the buck.” It’s widely recognized this was a mistake, and bad policy, and thus it is imperative that Congress fix the issue at the earliest possible opportunity before more damage is done.

More a CCS Tax Credit – Speaking of the post-election legislative session, our friends at the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) have just posted their presidential transition memos on carbon capture, utilization and storage. With the lame duck session now just days away, action on 45Q and related policy priorities is building. NEORI expects new cosponsors on the Senate and House 45Q bills once Congress returns and are confident that this bipartisan, common-sense energy and climate legislation will pass this year.

Energy Legislation – While Sens Murkowski and Cantwell continue discussions with House energy Conferees, most experts think it may be unlikely that enough progress will be made to have significant energy legislation face a vote.  Senate conferees last month sent the House a compromise proposal, and discussions are expected to step up once members return next week.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Report Finds U.S. Could Lose 15 Million Jobs If Hydraulic Fracturing is Banned – The fourth installment in the Energy Institute’s Energy Accountability Series details the devastating economic impacts that America could face if the “Keep in in the Ground” movement succeeded in banning hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.  The Energy Accountability Series takes a substantive look at what could happen if energy proposals from candidates and interest groups were actually adopted. The latest report asks the question, “What If Hydraulic Fracturing Was Banned?” The answer? By 2022, 14.8 million jobs could be lost, gasoline prices and electricity prices could almost double, and each American family could see their cost of living increase by almost $4,000. Additionally, the Energy Institute’s report looks specifically at the economic impacts of a fracking ban on Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. In all these states, the impact could be severe. 1.6 million Texans could lose their jobs, while Pennsylvania could lose $50 billion a year in state GDP. Colorado could lose 215,000 jobs, and the average Ohio household could see costs rise by $4,000 a year.

Energy Institute’s Harbert Points to Economic Impacts Over HF Ban – Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said it is easy for politicians and activists to call for an end to hydraulic fracturing—but now we know what the consequences could be.  “Without fracking, the U.S. would surrender our status as a global energy superpower. Every American family could face higher prices for the energy they consume and the products and services they buy, and almost 15 million Americans could be out of work. These extreme and irresponsible proposals should not be considered. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse.”

NRECA Aim to Hire Vets – Faced with the challenge of filling 15,000 jobs over the next five to seven years, America’s electric cooperatives want to do more than simply thank veterans for their service this Veterans Day—they want to offer them a job.  To achieve this goal, NRECA launched Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide program to provide veterans, service members and military spouses with the opportunity to continue their mission of service by joining the ranks of America’s electric co-ops. The program provides participating co-ops with resources and training to help them implement nationally-recognized best practices in attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans.  50 co-ops have signed on to the initiative since its launch earlier this year. In July, Jonesboro, Ark.-based Craighead Electric Cooperative hired the first veteran under the program when it welcomed aboard Air Force Capt. Jeremiah Sloan as an electrical engineer. “He is a totally professional young man,” Craighead CEO Brian Duncan said. “Not only did we get a quality candidate to serve our members, we got a local guy who wanted to get back home and a veteran who has served our country well.”  Click here to view a brief video about the program, including interviews with Sloan and Duncan on why vets are a good fit for electric co-ops.  For more information on Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, contact Dan Riedinger, NRECA Media Relations, at (202) 403-7517 or dan.riedinger@nreca.coop.

BrightSource Technology to Be Employed in China – BrightSource Energy Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology will be deployed under China’s 1.35GW CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program. The Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project (Delingha) was one of 20 projects chosen by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) from 109 applications. The announcement follows the National Development and Reform Committee’s (NDRC) publication of the CSP pilot program feed-in-tariff (FIT) of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1.  The project was chosen by China’s National Energy Administration from 109 applications. The announcement followed China’s National Development and Reform Committee’s publication of the CSP pilot program 20-year feed-in-tariff of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1st.  The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture, and will feature BrightSource’s proven solar field technology with thermal energy storage to produce clean, reliable solar electricity on demand. Get all the details here.

Harder, Mooney Hit Diane Rehm Enviro Show – During the presidential debates, energy and environment issues got very little attention. These issues highlight some of the starkest differences between the candidates. Donald Trump has tweeted that climate change is a hoax. He says he will “cancel” the Paris agreement on global warming and bring back the coal industry. Hillary Clinton has called climate change an urgent threat. She proposes spending billions on renewable energy. For this month’s Environmental Outlook: Diane and a panel of guests discuss where the presidential candidates stand on climate, energy and other environmental policies.  Our friends Amy Harder of the WSJ and Chris Mooney of the Washington Post will be guests along with Pew Research Center associate director of research on science and society Cary Funk.

DOT Expanding EV Charging Corridors – The Transportation Department is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on highways, covering 25,000 miles in 35 states as part of a White House effort to increase plug-in electric vehicle deployment announced today.  Already, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70%, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase.

AHRI Hires New GR Head – AHRI has hired Joe Trauger as the association’s Sr. Vice President of Policy and Government Relations. Trauger will join the AHRI team December 1. Trauger is currently vice president of government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he is that organization’s senior lobbyist before Congress and the Administration. He will direct AHRI’s federal, state, and global lobbying efforts, and will also be a key part of AHRI’s efforts in the regulatory arena. Trauger has more than 10 years of experience on Capitol Hill, both as a staff member for a U.S. senator and several representatives and also in the House leadership as the senior policy adviser in the offices of the majority leader and majority whip. He also worked with the House Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce Committees; and with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Oak Ridge Group Brings On Davis to Head GR – Joe Davis, former senior vice president with Artemis Strategies, has been named ORAU director of government relations.  In his new role, Davis will lead ORAU’s governmental and public affairs outreach with the U.S. Congress, various government agencies and other stakeholders.  Davis also served as chief of strategic communications for NASA and principal deputy director of public affairs for DOE, serving as spokesperson and senior advisor to the U.S. DOE Secretary of Energy. He served on the senior staff for two U.S. Senators, holding Senate leadership staff positions. ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

COP 22 Marrakesh – The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco today through November 21st. It will focus on action items in order to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages.  It will also look at many of the difficult conflicts that were disregarded during last year’s negotiations.

WCEE to Host LNG Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Lunch and Learn Forum today at Noon on small LNG markets.  The small scale LNG (liquefied natural gas) market promotes LNG as a fuel displacing diesel and heavy fuel oil in transportation and high horse power applications. Joanna Martin Ziegenfuss of the Berkeley Research Group will discuss the current drivers, status and opportunities of this nascent fuel market.

ELECTION DAY – November 8th

Smart Grid Forum Set – The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel holds its 2016 Grid Modernization Summit tomorrow through Thursday at the Capital Hilton in Washington.  The executive summit will be filled with the latest in grid modernization and networking opportunities featuring a speaker program composed of utility, vendor, and industry senior executives, FERC, government, regulators, national labs and consultants.  The 2016 Grid Modernization Summit’s theme is “Accelerating Transformation.”  DOE’s Pat Hoffman, former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly, PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa, Pepco CEO Dave Velazques and EEI’s David Owens will be among the speakers.

EPA CASAC Meeting Set – EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee hold a regular meeting on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in Alexandria Old Town.

PRG Offers Election Round Up – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections through a mix of webinars, written, and video materials.  Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will hold a complimentary webinar on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. featuring analysis by my colleagues.  Our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

FERC to Look at Energy Storage – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a Wednesday meeting to examine technical issues related to energy storage in RTOs/ISOs. The subject of the conference will be the utilization of electric storage resources as transmission assets compensated through transmission rates, for grid support services that are compensated in other ways, and for multiple services.

Wilson to Host Wildlife Conservation Group – The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. featuring a conversation with Frank Hawkins, director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Washington, DC office.  In September, more than 10,000 scientists, activists, and government and non-government leaders from around the world met in Honolulu, Hawai’i, for IUCN’s annual World Conservation Congress. Hawkins will report on the congress’s outcomes. He will be joined by an expert panel that will offer their perspectives on the key issues of gender, illegal wildlife trafficking, and conservation finance.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Happy Hour – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute and the D.C. Bar’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section will host a happy hour at Mission, a restaurant and bar in Dupont Circle.

VETERAN’S DAY – Friday, November 11th.  Please thank a veteran.

Covanta Facility Tour Set – The Young Professionals in Energy (DC) will host an afternoon tour of Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday staring at 12:30 pm at the facility.  Covanta is one of the world’s largest providers of Energy-from-Waste solutions. The tour will start with a discussion and time for Q&A before we put on our hard hats and walk through the facility to see how their technology works.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

API Holds Cybersecurity Conference – The 11th annual API Cybersecurity Conference & Expo will be held in Houston at the Westin Houston Memorial City on November 15-16.  The forum will focus on methods for thwarting the bad guys, what the scene looks like over the horizon and how the latest technologies can help you counter cyber espionage, address cyber warfare, and make your cyber efforts secure.  Cybersecurity is critical to the infrastructure of the oil and natural gas industry. The energy industry, including oil and natural gas, is ranked 2nd highest of all industries most likely to suffer a cyberattack. This conference is organized by API to provide an opportunity to network with cybersecurity professionals, and to candidly discuss challenges and share solutions. These sessions, essential to cybersecurity, are chosen and presented by recognized experts in the field.

RFF, Stanford Looking at NatGas Siting – Resources for the Future (RFF), Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Natural Gas Initiative Webinar are hosting another webinar in the series on New Research on the Science and Economics of Natural Gas on Tuesday November 15th at 2:00 p.m. looking at optimal siting of shale gas and oil development.  This is the third event in a joint RFF/Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment/Stanford Natural Gas Initiative.  The siting of shale gas and oil development—everything from well pads to pipelines—is based on a complex network of factors, including resource availability, lease ownership, environmental concerns, local zoning, and community preference. Experts at Stanford University and Resources for the Future are considering ways in which these various factors come into play in siting decisions, including what “optimal siting” might look like in a variety of contexts. Stanford’s Anthony Kovscek will open the webinar by looking at optimal siting of shale development from a technical perspective, considering the geologic characteristics of formations that drive companies’ drilling decisions. RFF’s Juha Siikamäki will then present a new model considering optimal siting of shale gas and oil infrastructure from the perspective of minimizing habitat fragmentation and other landscape-level impacts. Finally, Tisha Schuller from the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative will discuss optimal siting of shale gas and oil infrastructure from the perspective of community and industry interactions.

USEA to Host Coal Council Head –The US Energy Assn will host National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellici next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.  Gellici will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary Moniz’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”  Moniz had tasked the National Coal Council with preparing a white paper assessing market opportunities for CO2 utilization.

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

AWEA Fall Symposium Set – AWEA will host its Fall Symposium November 15th to 17th at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, TX.  The wind energy industry has a powerful vision to take us to 10% U.S. wind energy by 2020 and 20% by 2030.  Reaching these ambitious goals brings different challenges for different segments of the industry.  But how does that take shape in each step from development to distribution?  Participants in this year’s Fall Symposium will work together to identify those concrete steps that can be taken to keep our industry on target. Sessions will focus on the collaborative approach needed to reach industry goals bringing together strategic thinkers of developers, OEMs, suppliers, corporate purchasers of wind energy, and utilities.

Wilson to Host Petrobras President – The Wilson Center will host Petrobras President Pedro Parente on Wednesday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m.  Parente will address the challenges and opportunities facing Brazil’s largest enterprise in today’s tough energy market. After his presentation, he will engage in dialogue with members of the audience interested in learning about the outlook for Petrobras and energy in Brazil. Petrobras has a key role to play in the national effort to overcome Brazil’s current economic downturn, regain trust and confidence from domestic and foreign investors, and put Brazil back on the path of sustainable and equitable economic growth.

Forum to Look at China Environment Reforms – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the International Fund for China’s Environment (IFCE) will host a briefing on Wednesday, November 16th at discussing China’s ongoing efforts to implement environmental reforms and take action against climate change. Three environmental professionals from China will discuss the challenges and progress associated with setting emission reduction policies, implementing national climate targets at the local level, incentivizing supply chain sustainability, and more.

Solar Focus Conference SetSolar Focus 2016 will be held next Wednesday and Thursday at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel looking at East Coast solar policy. This year’s theme is “Cracking the Code on East Coast Solar” and will feature sessions from energy storage to fixing oversupplied SREC markets.

Webinar to Look at Solar Issues, Regulation – Our friends at Power Markets Today will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m. on what solar means for retail power regulation.  The webinar will offer a high-level, comprehensive view of how the growth of solar is changing the industry’s regulatory landscape.  The event will feature Inger Goodman of Just Energy Group, SolarCity’s Sanjay Ranchod, CC Song of Marin Clean Energy and SoCal Ed’s director of energy policy Gary Stern.  Our fiend James Downing will moderate.  Call 301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) to register.

Columbia Law School to Look at Post-Election Policy – The Columbia Law School Executive Education will hold a seminar on November 18th in New York that will look at what to expect after the election.  The forum will gathers professors who are experts in environmental law, immigration issues, regulatory matters, national security concerns, health care, and tax rules to discuss how they predict the next presidency and a new Congress will affect the business and legal landscape.  After a long and brutal battle, no matter who wins in November, there will certainly be fallout. Benefit from the wisdom of this Columbia Law School brain trust to anticipate what will change, and how, so that you can be well-prepared to advise your clients and implement effective strategy.

CSIS to Host IEA’s World Energy Outlook – On Friday, November 18th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s “World Energy Outlook 2016.” This year’s projections for different scenarios to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, cover all fuels, regions, and technologies. WEO 2016 gives particular attention to the impact of Paris, renewables, the road ahead for fossil fuels, Mexico’s energy outlook and energy and water issues.

RCP Energy Summit Set – RealClearPolitics will host a unique energy summit on Friday November 18th at Noon at the Newseum following the pivotal 2016 election. Prominent energy policy experts will discuss this transition phase and where we go from here. Each speaker will present a brief overview of their industry, along with the challenges they face, the opportunities ahead, and their outlook for the future.  RealClearPolitics Washington Bureau Chief Carl Cannon will moderate the event that will feature LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan, Kevin Avery of ConocoPhillips, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Chris Mansour, AWEA’s Rob Gramlich and NEI’s Revis James.

Grid Expert to Address Cybersecurity – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists (USAEE) will host its monthly luncheon on Friday November 18th at Carmines Restaurant at Noon.  Paul Feldman, former Chairman of the Midwest ISO, will focus on the clear and present danger associated with cyber-attacks, what we are doing about it, and what needs to be done better. He will differentiate between IT and OT systems, and how to relate the two into an integrated whole – and protect against attacks like the successful Ukraine attack.

RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Monday November 28th looking at disaster losses and climate change.  At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.

Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on November 30th.   Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others.  Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-25 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

Energy Update: Week of October 17

Friends,

Hockey is finally underway with the NHL launching this past week and baseball is holding its collective breath to see if the Cubs can break a 108-year World Series jinx.

You know I have talked about Hannah’s success on the field hockey pitch at Wellesley (and she scored another OT game winner this weekend), but my son Adam scored a big victory last week, winning his first major X-C race by blasting away from the competition to take first in the STAB Invitational in Charlottesville.  And that’s not all for the Bracewell kids’ sports page.  In DC, Jeff Holmstead is not the only Holmstead burning up the pages of the Washington Post.  All fall, Jeff’s son Eli, a soccer star at Quince Orchard High School, is actually getting more press than his dad, including a great picture in the Post last Wednesday.  He also had a couple of good quotes in the accompanying article and clearly has a better sense of messaging than dad.

Back to the action. It was also a historic week in Kigali which culminated Saturday with the global agreement where negotiators from nearly 200 countries reached a legally-binding accord to cut the worldwide use of a powerful planet-warming chemical used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.  The success will likely have a far greater impact on efforts to slow climate change than anything to date (including Paris).  We Have a full summary below and our friend Coral Davenport has a great synopsis in the NYT from Kigali.  Chris Mooney in The Washington Post also has a good political story and The Wall Street Journal looks at impacts and opportunities facing industry.

With the election rounding out, it is still a slow week in Washington.  The action starts today when the Center for a New American Security releases a report that offers suggestions on Energy to the next President, with speakers like Kevin Book, Elgie Holstein, and Bob McNally.  Other events include a couple of very good RFF Seminars (one with Stanford on NatGas and one on Carbon pricing with IMF) and AGA releases its Winter Outlook on Wednesday.  Also, EIA’s Adam Sieminski addresses the NatGas Roundtable tomorrow.  Finally, the Senate Energy Committee Heads to Hawaii for a field hearing on Wednesday…tough assignment there. I think all of you covering Senate Energy should go for the hearing!

BTW, our friend Zach Colman, who many of you know has returned from the ivy halls of a Harvard/MIT reporting fellowship has written his first major byline/cover story in this week’s Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine. It’s on an innovative water deal that the feds think could prove a model for contentious struggles over shrinking supplies in the drought-stricken West.  The story is housed in the new energy/enviro/climate vertical that he and others are starting at CSM, called Inhabit.  You can sign up for weekly updates here.  I already have signed up and encourage you to do it as well.

Finally, our Bracewell PRG colleague Dee Martin was named a finalist for the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference’s “Excellence in Advocacy” Awards, one of the top awards in Washington.  Dee is in the “Women Serving Women” category.  Other finalists include Dana Singiser of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Lyric Thompson of the International Center for Research on Women.  Winner will be announced November 10th.

On duty…Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The agreement is just the first step in a multistep process. Our industry is hard at work doing the research on the HFC alternatives that will be used in the world’s air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment, and getting that right is certainly as important as reaching agreement.”

Steve Yurek, head of the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute from the UN HFC negotiations in Kigali after 200 Nations agreed to limit Question from Missouri voter Ken Bone, the second to last question in the debate

 

“Alongside nearly every country on Earth, have taken another historic step in carrying out that mission by cutting down on the use of damaging hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the Kigali agreement

 

“The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.”

President Obama in a White House Statement on the HFC agreement.

 

IN THE NEWS

Countries Finalize Limits for HFCs – Leaders from nearly 200 nations approved an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MP) to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in the treaty’s purview. Acknowledging the success of the MP in phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

HVAC Industry Praises Deal – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) applauded the agreement and has long supported including HFCs in a global phasedown plan under the treaty.

“While the freeze dates and step down levels are ambitious, the HVACR industry is confident we can meet them and continue to provide quality, innovative, energy efficient products and equipment for the benefit of the world’s citizens,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek, who attended the Kigali meeting.

“The agreement is just the first step in a multi-step process,” Yurek said.  “Our industry is hard at work doing the research on the HFC alternatives that will be used in the world’s air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment, and getting that right is certainly as important as reaching agreement.  Also very important are the education and training initiatives that will have to occur to ensure safe, efficient installation of the equipment that will contain these new refrigerants.  Some of this is already being undertaken by AHRI in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program and other global organizations,” he added.

Groups All Worked Together – AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phasedown of these chemicals. In 2011, AHRI initiated a global refrigerant research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP), to identify the most promising HFC alternatives. After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable, so additional field research is being undertaken to determine their suitability in different applications. That research is being sponsored by AHRI, ASHRAE, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the state of California.

Deadline, Timetables – Here is aa chart of the deadline and percentages in the agreement:

  A5 Group 1 A5 Group 2 A2
Baseline 2020-2022 2024-2026 2011-2013
Formula Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption
HCFC 65% baseline 65% baseline 15% baseline*
Freeze 2024 2028
1st step 2029 – 10% 2032 – 10% 2019 – 10%
2nd step 2035 – 30% 2037 – 20% 2024 – 40%
3rd step 2040 – 50% 2042 – 30% 2029 – 70%
4th step     2034 – 80%
Plateau 2045 – 80% 2047 – 85% 2036 – 85%

* For Belarus, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan 25% HCFC component of baseline and different initial two steps (1) 5% reduction in 2020 and (2) 35% reduction in 2025.

 

Notes:

  1. Group 1: Article 5 parties not part of Group 2
  2. Group 2: GCC, India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan
  3. Technology review in 2022 and every 5 years
  4. Technology review 4-5 years before 2028 to consider the compliance deferral of 2 years from the freeze of 2028 of Article 5 Group 2 to address growth in relevant sectors above certain threshold.

President Obama Praises Nations for Coming Together – President Obama hailed the deal in a statement on Saturday.  “Through the Montreal Protocol, a proven forum for solving environmental challenges like protecting the ozone layer, the world community has agreed to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century – making a significant contribution towards achieving the goals we set in Paris. The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.”

White House Fact Sheet: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/15/fact-sheet-nearly-200-countries-reach-global-deal-phase-down-potent

EPA Hails Climate Victory – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy headed the US delegation and said in a blog post protecting the air we breathe and slowing the effects of climate change are a core part of EPA’s mission. McCarthy: “Alongside nearly every country on Earth, have taken another historic step in carrying out that mission by cutting down on the use of damaging hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

Countries, including the United States, have long used HFCs to meet their refrigeration and air conditioning needs. These greenhouse gases can have warming impacts hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. World leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases.

Moniz Praise Deal on Twitter – Energy Secretary Moniz took to Twitter to praise the success, tweeting out the statement from the White House and adding “Another win for climate! This Montreal Protocol agreement will cut heat-trapping HFCs equivalent to 80 billion metric tons of CO2 thru 2050.”

SoCo Kemper Plant Producing Electricity – Southern’s Kemper coal plant in Mississippi has produced electricity from synthetic gas, a significant step toward the plant becoming fully operational, set for November 30th.  Kemper has hit a series of milestones in the past several months. These include producing synthetic gas from lignite coal. Mississippi Power has been testing the plant’s ability to produce electricity on syngas, natural gas or a combination of both, which is what happened this week.

EIA Says Carbon Emissions Down in 2016 – The Energy Information Administration said carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in the U.S. for the first half of 2016 were the lowest for that period since 1991.  The agency said three major factors contributed to the drop in emissions: Mild weather for the first six months of the year that drove down demand for heating fuels; a large decrease in coal use and a small decrease in natural gas use; and increased use of wind, solar and hydropower.

Coal Ash Recycling Topped 50% Last Year – The American Coal Ash Association released a new report that says more than 50% of all coal ash produced last year was recycled into concrete, roofing shingles and other products.  It marks the first time industry has recycled more than half of its output. According to ACAA’s “Production and Use Survey,” 61.1 million tons of coal combustion products were beneficially used in 2015 out of 117.3 million tons that were produced. Although the rate of ash utilization increased from 48% to 52%, the total volume of material produced and utilized declined. Coal ash production volume declined 10% from 2014 levels as coal’s share of the electricity generation mix shrank in response to environmental regulations and competition from other energy sources.

ClearPath Endorses Upton – ClearPath Action Fund is endorsing Rep. Fred Upton, the veteran Michigan Republican who has chaired the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee for the past six years. The House last year approved the Upton-sponsored North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which would help clean energy sources such as hydropower by streamlining onerous permitting to enable critical investments in our environment and the nation’s energy security. It also requires the Department of Energy to lay the groundwork for the next generation of nuclear technologies by planning a critical testbed for advanced reactors here in the U.S. Upton has backed bills aimed at supporting carbon capture and storage technologies. Michigan is a leader in carbon-capture research, from Western Michigan University to the University of Michigan, and Upton has helped secure funding for their efforts.

NAM Reports Outlines Infrastructure Reforms – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), released a new report “Building to Win,” an ambitious, new initiative to revitalize our nation’s failing infrastructure.  Both major party presidential candidates have indicated their desire to address our infrastructure needs in 2017. As plans move forward, the NAM will work collaboratively to encourage the next president and lawmakers to address our most pressing infrastructure priorities and to ensure that investments not only strengthen manufacturing in the United States but also deliver world-class infrastructure for the American people. “Building to Win” identifies many of the most serious infrastructure challenges in America, offers solutions to our problems and provides a menu of possible funding options to consider to pay for the more than $1 trillion investment that is needed.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Next Admin Energy Policy – The Center for a New American Security holds a discussion this morning on Energy and the Next U.S. Presidential Administration. The event will coincide with the release of a CNAS report entitled, “Increasing Prosperity, Resource Stewardship, and National Security: An Energy Policy Strategy for the Next President,” part of the CNAS Papers for the Next President series. The report co-authors, David Goldwyn, Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Energy Advisory Group, Robert McNally, a nonresident Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, and Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security program at CNAS, will provide a short briefing on the report’s main findings.  Speakers on the following panel will also include ClearView Energy’s Kevin Book and former DOE chief of staff Elgie Holstein. Here is the Livestream.

Atlantic Council Looks at Arctic Chairmanship – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion at Noon looking at the US Arctic Council Chairmanship focusing on the US’s achievements and remaining priorities.  Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, the Executive Director of the US Government Arctic Executive Steering Committee, and State’s Melanie Nakagawa will speak.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden today and tomorrow in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CSIS to Host Fukushima Governor – The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program will host Governor Masao Uchibori today to discuss the present situation of Fukushima Prefecture 2047 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as his efforts aimed at revitalization.  Governor Uchibori was elected as Governor of Fukushima in October 2014 and assumed office as Governor in November 2014. Uchibori’s mission is to ‘take back the Fukushima known for beauty and calm’. In accomplishing this mission, Governor Uchibori has visited all over the Prefecture and listened to the voices of the people of Fukushima to develop his bottom-up approach.

AMS to Hold Resilience Workshop – The American Meteorological Society holds a workshop tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. on “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience,” focusing on the West Coast and Gulf Coast.

CAP to Look at Dams – The Center for American Progress holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on assessing the condition of America’s dams and rivers.  He event features a panel discussion to highlight the progress that has already been made and explore the future of policymaking that aims to modernize the management of dam infrastructure, remove unneeded dams, and restore the health of American rivers.  Interior’s Mike Connor heads the panel moderated by our friend Annie Snider of POLITICO.

Roundtable Hosts EIA Director – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Adam Sieminski, administrator at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow at Noon.  Sieminski has served as administrator of EIA since June 4, 2012.

RFF-Stanford Hold Second NatGas Seminar – Resources for the Future Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative will host a Webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the shale gas and oil wastewater disposal cycle.  This is the Second seminar in the series and will look at managing earthquake and other environmental risks.  At this webinar, experts at RFF and Stanford University will address some of these questions. RFF’s Yusuke Kuwayama will review the risks associated with shale gas and oil wastewater storage, the unknowns regarding these risks, and policy and technology options for addressing the risks. RFF’s Alan Krupnick will describe a new framework that could be used for making decisions about water and wastewater management options and infrastructure investments, while considering environmental impacts. Finally, Stanford’s Mark Zoback will focus on wastewater disposal via underground injection, discussing the aspects of shale gas and oil development that cause earthquakes and explaining the science behind recent earthquakes in Oklahoma.

House Energy to Look at Hawaii Water Issues – The full House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a field hearing tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. on opportunities for federal and non-federal partnerships in integrated water management and efforts to improve water security in Hawaii.

Wilson Book Forum Looks at 70s Gas Panic – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s (WWC) History and Public Policy Program holds a book discussion tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. looking at “Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s.”   MIT & Princeton expert and author Meg Jacobs shows how a succession of crises beginning with the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted American politicians to seek energy independence, and how their failure to do so shaped the world we live in.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on tomorrow and Wednesday in Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

AGA Look at Winter Outlook – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media briefing on Wednesday to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2016-17 winter heating season. Experts from AGA will discuss the winter outlook for the natural gas market including market stability, natural gas bills for consumers, U.S. natural gas imports and exports, the global LNG market as well as energy efficiency and the benefits of the direct use of natural gas. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation.

World Energy Forum Set for NYC – More than 2,000 world leaders, corporate executives and trade delegates are expected to attend the World Energy Forum 2016 in New York City on Wednesday at  multiple venues including the U.N. and the Harvard Club of New York. Heads of state, government ministers and ambassadors from more than 150 countries will join corporate leaders, associations, academics, and financiers to discuss the roles of business and government in providing universal energy access – part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The event will bring the areas of policy, technology, and finance together to enhance the global economy, create a sustainable future, and deliver the hopes and aspirations of all nations and peoples.

RFF to Look at Carbon Pricing – Resources of the future and International Monetary Fund will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. that will provide perspectives on how to move carbon pricing forward at both domestic and international levels.  Many experts believe that carbon pricing can play a critical role in meeting these commitments, for advanced and developing countries alike. To move forward, however, governments need country-specific information on appropriate emissions price trajectories as well as the environmental, fiscal, distributional, and other impacts of emissions pricing. They also need a strategy to overcome practical obstacles, such as burdens on vulnerable groups.

This panel will include experts and representatives from international organizations, including the IMF’s Vitor Gaspar, former EIA head and current RFF CEO Richard Newell and Andrew Steer of the World Resources Institute.

Atlantic Council Looks at Power in Developing Countries – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. looking at a new report, “Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries.” To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a fundamental transformation of the energy sector toward more efficient, more urgency and ambition to shift to lower-carbon systems is needed. Electricity is the fastest growing energy subsector and developing countries are expected to account for the majority of global electricity demand growth over the next twenty-five years.  AC’s Ichord will lead an effort to address the challenges to creating a conducive environment for augmenting investment in sustainable energy.  The event is the launch Ichord’s strategy and a discussion with leading experts and policy makers, including State’s Melanie Nakagawa and WCEE veteran Branko Terzic.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Engineers Conference Set for OK –The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK on October 23-26. So the U.S. Presidential election will be only two weeks away and the election will be followed by many months of transition, with uncertainty as who will be in charge of what; how policies, spending, and contracting might change; and what expectations for those already working in government agencies will be.  Seasoned policy experts from both sides of the political aisle will offer their perspective on what lies ahead after election day.  The full program can be found online here.

IEA to Release Investment Report at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) inaugural World Energy Investment 2016 report on Tuesday October 25th.  The report looks at the level of investment in the global energy system in 2015 and will feature Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the IEA.  Varro leads the newly-created Economics and Investments Office, which aims to provide sound and consistent energy economics and methodological support for the Agency’s work. Varro also served as IEA Head of Gas, Coal and Power Markets.

ELI Annual Dinner Honors Paulson – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner on Tuesday October 25th  where they will honor former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson at the Omni Shoreham.  As usual, the event will launch in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. with the Business of Water forum.  ELI and an expert panel of business leaders, legal minds, academics, and nongovernmental advocates for an in-depth discussion about the law, policies, and private initiatives that will play important roles in the future of water resource governance.

Solar Insight Conference Set – GTM will host the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference on October 25th and 26th at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA.  The event will provide industry thought leaders and insights into the U.S. solar industry.  NARUC’s Travis Kavulla will speak along with a number of others.

GW to Host Electricity System Forum – On October 27th, George Washington University Law School will convene top policy-makers and industry leaders for a one-day conference on the interface of state and federal initiatives addressing the way in which electricity in the U.S. will be produced, delivered and used in the future. The learning sessions will examine the work occurring in Minnesota, California and the Southeast and at FERC, NERC and U.S. DOE. Additional learning sessions will include remarks from a leading consumer advocate and a newer market entrant, plus a lunchtime presentation on grid architecture for the future grid. The facilitated discussion session, in which all are encouraged to participate, will address how federal, state, and local efforts complement or conflict, and seek ideas from the discussion panel and the audience for additional means for coordination across jurisdictions and regions.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

COP 22 Marrakesh – November 7-21

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

Energy Update: Week of July 25

Friends,

I must say, we had a really good time in Cleveland last week at the RNC.  The people were wonderful and the convention went off without a hitch – logistically at least.  As for the substance and political results?…enough said. Either way, we’re watching closely to see if Michelle Obama cribs from our energy update for tonight’s DNC speech.

While there was definitely some party chaos in Cleveland, the Democratic National Convention in Phily starts with similar unrest as long-time DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigned last night after thousands of emails leaked showing evidence that the DNC was undermining the Sanders campaign.  All this has overshadowed Hillary Clinton naming current VA Sen./former Gov (and former DNC Chair) Tim Kaine to be her VP.  While Kaine is known as a somewhat progressive and has some street cred with the party faithful from his time at DNC, the Sanders wing is sure to see this as the beginning of a move away from their more extreme approach, especially on most energy issues.  Expect to not see the “brotherly love” tonight as Sanders and Elizabeth Warren take the stage.

Another sidebar for Phily that I thought might be of interest is a new group of Republicans – not affiliated with Democratic groups – that will be at the convention discussing their reasoning for supporting Hillary Clinton.  Along with several other like-minded Republicans, former Bush 43 White House advisors John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes launched R4C16, Republicans for Clinton after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President. Last Friday, John laid out his reasoning in an op-ed for the Washington PostWhy Republicans Should Vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you are going to Phily, make sure to stop at the POLITICO (historic Rittenhouse Square at 2001 Market Street, 2 Commerce Square) and the Washington Post (City Tap House Logan, 2 Logan Square) Hubs.  Both places were excellent for events, fellowship and serious reporting in Cleveland so I expect the same here.

As for energy events at DNC, POLITICO’s Elana Schor hosts CO Gov. John Hickenlooper, Hillary Energy advisor Trevor Houser, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, former PA Gov./Phily Mayor Ed Rendell and Heather Zichal on Wednesday and does a Breakfast Newsmaker with Tom Steyer on Thursday.  Hickenlooper also hits the WaPo’s Politics and Pints with Chris Cillizza tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. and WaPo look at the energy platform earlier in the day at 10:00 a.m. with Steve Stromberg.  Finally, on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz to discuss energy policies and priorities.  Besides a speech from Sanders tonight that is certain to tap the progressive “keep it in the ground” energy issues, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., John Podesta, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups will attend climate reception at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square.

Other events in DC this week: today at 2:30 pm, Heritage and CEI host a panel discussion in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs, the NatGas Roundtable is hosting BG&E CEO Calvin Butler tomorrow at lunch and tomorrow afternoon USEA looks at future global nuclear growth.

Finally, overseas in Vienna this weekend, Secretary Kerry (why do we let him talk), EPA Administrator McCarthy, our friends in the environmental community and AHRI made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.  The HVAC industry has been a strong player in these negotiations and AHRI President Steve Yurek was there all last week for the talks, which are the final prelude to October meeting in Kigali where parties will close the deal.  It is a huge success that likely will dwarf the uncertainty of cuts that the Paris Treaty may/may not produce.   There have been a number of stories on the progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details.

Remember, our PRG team will be covering elections closely and offering our analysis running up to and following the November vote.  So stay in touch on the topic.  Sounds like maybe one more short update next week as we hit August to wrap DNC week, but then off until September.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“That Trump’s run an awful campaign, alienated every group & still within striking distance makes you wonder who’s really a weaker candidate.”

Andrews Kaczynski of Buzzfeed yesterday on Twitter

____

“Charging infrastructure is an important priority when getting electric vehicles on the road, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle,” said “Dollar for dollar, infrastructure is most valuable when it is accompanied by robust consumer education, public-private partnerships, experiential marketing, and support from the business community.”

Robbie Diamond, CEO of the Electrification Coalition, responding to DOE announcement of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to expand the nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure

 

IN THE NEWS

World Leaders Make Progress on HFCs – With far less attention this past week, negotiators from almost 200 countries neared a deal that many say will be the most significant concrete action to reduce global warming in years. Parties, which will finalize the deal in Kigali in October, made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.

HVAC Industry Pushing for Strong Deal – The global HVAC industry has been one of the significant players pushing for a strong deal.  They have been promoting inclusion of an HFC phase down amendment to the Montreal Protocol for nearly six years, having already successfully phased out HCFCs under that global agreement.  A global agreement creates predictability for producers and manufacturers alike and eliminates the hodge-podge of different HFC reduction schemes that they would surely face as the world’s focus on climate change continues.  As well, an orderly phase down schedule provides the time necessary for manufacturers to conduct the necessary R&D on the next generation of equipment using the latest refrigerant replacements for HFCs and for producers to begin making sufficient supplies of replacements refrigerants.

Will the Replacement Actually Be Ready – Replacements will be ready to go when the time comes because industry anticipated the eventual action of the Montreal Protocol parties to phase down HFCs and thus began a major research program in 2011 to identify potential alternatives, which has recently completed its second phase.  Many of the most promising replacements, however, are classified as either flammable or mildly flammable and thus must be researched further to determine their performance in real-world conditions.  That research is about to commence under a funding agreement by AHRI, ASHRAE, the Department of Energy, and the state of California, which will collectively contribute nearly $6 million to study these refrigerants in advance of upcoming building code updates.

NYT Reports on the Progress – There have been a number of stories on the Vienna negotiations progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details very well.

DOE Promises Loans for EV Charging – On the heels of the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit, DOE announced $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to roll out a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations. The program will provide support for federal, state, and local governments, and it will partner with Ford, GM, Nissan and Tesla.

SAFE Says Decision Should Focus on Accelerator Communities – SAFE’s Electrification Coalition said the decision to allocate $4.5 billion is an urgent priority that will sever the nation’s dependence on oil and boost American energy security. The EC notes a number of important considerations when it comes to EV deployment and charging infrastructure:

  • The U.S. transportation sector relies on oil for more than 92% of its energy, a dependence that undermines national security and economic prosperity. Last year, the United States spent $500 billion on petroleum fuels.
  • Public investment is necessary to decouple our transport system from the global oil market, which continues to operate against free market principles under heavy influence from foreign governments and national oil companies.
  • Development of a robust charging network sends an important signal to potential buyers that EVs are a viable choice, not hindered by infrastructure availability.
  • Simultaneously, 90% of charging occurs at home and in the workplace.
  • Fast-charging is a key component of improving public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • The EC advocates for use of accelerator communities as a policy tool—targeted geographical regions for EV deployment in which everything necessary to support this important technology is deployed simultaneously.
  • Experiential marketing—putting motorists behind the wheel of an electric vehicle to familiarize them with the technology—has proven to be a highly effective method of increasing exposure and boosting electric vehicle sales.
  • EVs offer consumers an opportunity to opt-out of the uncertainties of the global oil market and rely instead on electricity for transportation, which is diverse and domestic in source and stable in price.

Chamber’s Energy Institute to Start Energy Accountability Series – In a new effort to educate voters about energy policy, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will be launching the “Energy Accountability Series.” This series of reports will explain what would actually happen if the policies proposed by candidates and groups were to be adopted.  With energy issues a major part of the U.S. Chamber’s voter education efforts this fall, the new series will hold candidates and groups accountable for the statements they make on energy policy. The Chamber has already launched advertisements on energy policy in the key Pennsylvania Senate race.  The Obama presidency has demonstrated clearly that a candidate’s views and things they say and do to win support of interest groups has a real impact on how policy is shaped and implemented. The Energy Accountability Series will ask the tough questions and provide quantitative answers on the full impacts and implications of these policies, irrespective of which candidates, groups, or political parties happen to support or oppose them.  For more information and to sign up for updates, visit  www.energyxxi.org/energy-accountability.

New Pipelines Will Force U.S. to Miss Paris Targets – Environmental groups said in a report last week that the U.S. will miss its emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement if 19 pending natural gas pipelines are built across eastern states.  The report pipelines are expected to move natural gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to states from Louisiana to New York would unlock at least 15.2 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas production.   Now that sounds Like a great Idea… Why wouldn’t we want to do that since increasing our natgas usage has reduce emissions by 50% already.   Unless of course, you just want to block use of natural gas.

Experts Discuss Fuel Economy Issues with Platts PodcastOn this week’s Platts Capitol Crude podcast Sam Ori, executive director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, Joshua Linn, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, and Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners discuss the US concerns about falling short of the 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency target and how low gasoline prices impacting efforts to boost fuel economy.  Finally, Scheid taps that all important questions with his dad: Does driving with your windows down increase or decrease your car’s fuel efficiency?

FirstEnergy Closing Smaller Coal Units – FirstEnergy on Friday said it will retire or sell five units at two of its coal-fired power plants by 2020, citing “challenging market conditions.”  The company that powers much of Cleveland and sponsors Browns Stadium will retire four units totaling 720 megawatts at its W.H. Sammis plant in Stratton, Ohio, by May 2020, and either sell or deactivate its 136-megawatt Bay Shore unit in Oregon, Ohio, by October 2020.  Collectively, the 856 megawatts constitute 5.6 percent of Ohio’s coal-fired electric capacity, which totals 15,394.5 megawatts, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Three remaining units at the W.H. Sammis plant will continue to provide 1,490 megawatts in base load power.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Democratic Convention –Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on today through Thursday. The action launches at 4 p.m. with First Lady Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders are set to address the crowd. Later in the week, headliners include President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former POTUS Bill Clinton.  Other favorites include CO Gov. John Hickenlooper (who is doing a couple of energy panels), NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Cali Gov. Jerry Brown, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

AAAS Forum to Look at Human Rights, Climate –All day today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a day-long forum on the human rights implications of climate change and the contributions scientists, engineers, and health professionals can make towards addressing these concerns.  The sessions will highlight examples of scientific research that is contributing to human rights-based policies for climate change prevention, mitigation, adaptation, and community relocation. In addition, panelists will share models for collaborative climate research in partnership with vulnerable communities. Coalition meetings convene scientists, engineers, and health professionals with human rights leaders and policy makers to discuss emerging issues at the nexus of science and human rights. The Coalition serves as a catalyst for the increased involvement of scientific, engineering, and health associations and their members in human rights-related activities.   The main speaker will be Robert Bullard, Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

Heritage, CEI Look at Biofuel Programs – The Heritage Foundation hosts a panel discussion this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs. U.S. biofuels policy is a case study in the unintended consequences of government intervention. In contrast to what politicians and special interest groups promised, biofuel policies have increased costs to taxpayers and drivers, had little-to-no impact on oil prices, hurt rural economies, and had unforeseen environmental costs. This panel will provide background on the RFS and other biofuels programs, analyzing the many harmful effects of these federal policies. Does the RFS reduce dependence on foreign oil? What impact does it have on food prices? What environmental harms are caused as a result of the RFS? Does the RFS actually hurt agricultural producers? The presenters will answer these questions and identify several critical solutions.  Speakers will include Heritage’s Nick Loris, CEI’s Marlo Lewis and Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research.

Forum to Look at Emissions at Chinese Ports – The Wilson Center’s China Energy Foundation (CEF) will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. with Green Port experts as they assess how China’s new policies and on-the-ground efforts—such as port/vessel emissions inventories and emission control zones—are reducing pollution and climate emissions at major Chinese ports. Dr. Peng Chuansheng (China Waterborne Transport Research Institute) will lead the discussion in exploring how and why China is taking action on green ports. Ms. Freda Fung (Natural Resources Defense Council) will highlight Hong Kong’s successes in controlling port pollution and discuss needed incentives for green port/vessel technology development and emission compliance in China. Dr. Dan Rutherford (ICCT) will draw on a port study in Shenzhen produced for the China Environment Forum to discuss how shore power and fuel-switching offer critical solutions in reducing port emissions in China.   This meeting – part of CEF’s Choke Point: Port Cities initiative – is co-sponsored with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

NatGas Roundtable Hosts BGE Exec – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Calvin Butler Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), as its speaker at the next NatGas Roundtable luncheon at the University Club on Tuesday July 26th. Butler became chief executive officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company on March 1, 2014 after serving as BGE’s senior vice president, regulatory and external affairs.

Forum to Look at Energy Potential – Future Tense and the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a conversation tomorrow at Noon at New America on what it will take for North America to fulfill its energy potential. People tend to obsess over the monthly gyrations of oil prices and the latest regulatory battle over shale or pipeline-building, but we want to look forward to 2050. What concerted steps should Canada, Mexico, and the United States be taking to ensure that North America will become the world’s leading energy power for generations? And how can this region lead the world not only in output and economic growth, but also in setting new standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability?  Speakers include Sharon Burke of New America, Arizona State’s Hector Moreira (Director of Energy Model for Mexico Initiative) and Laura Dawson of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute.

USEA to Host Global Nuke Discussion – The US Energy Assn will host a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at the global nuclear landscape to 2040 and the US role will be.  Affordable baseload electricity is crucial for countries to sustain the high level of economic growth they have experienced during the last decade. Government support, via regulations and financing, has been pivotal to the accelerated growth of nuclear energy. In China and India, as well as most of Asia and Europe, government enterprises are responsible for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The US cannot idly let its leadership position wither away in the global nuclear energy landscape. In the nuclear arena, leadership cannot be simply “restored” based on the old “push” model of Supply-side dominance from the 20th Century. Urban demand-side factors outside Europe and North America now are pulling nuclear power construction forward in the 21st Century to satisfy burgeoning electric demand, primarily in Asian cities, and for growing populations and water needs in the Middle East and Africa. USA and allies must redefine leadership in nuclear energy via international partnerships and alliances that are unfolding now. Speaker Andrew Paterson of the Environmental Business International will address the topic.

DEM Convention Forum Set – The New Policy Institute and NDN will host a major event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, tomorrow looking ahead at the future of America and American Politics.  This event will feature a dozen inspiring thought leaders who will offer their different perspectives on what is coming down the road for the US and our politics.  The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 204C, 200 Level Concourse, and run from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm If you would like to attend, please RSVP on our Eventbrite page today.  The event is free and open to the public.

Podesta to Headline Enviro Event at DNC – John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, will appear with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups at a Tuesday reception at 2:30 p.m. at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.  The reception, “winning on Climate Together” will also include Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, LCV President Gene Karpinski, and NRDC President Rhea Suh.

ELI Forum Look at Distributed Solar Battles – On Wednesday, July 27th, ELI will host a forum on the recent changes in net metering policies and the future of distributed solar at the D.C. Bar Conference Center.  Thousands of Nevada consumers purchased solar arrays expecting to sell their electricity back to the grid at the same rates they pay for power – called “net-metering.” Solar companies expected to continue booming sales – and leasing – based on this high rate of return. That all changed last December when the Nevada Public Utility Commission significantly reduced net-metering rates. Existing customers were furious and sales of new systems basically ground to a halt. A few months later, after a similar fight, the California Public Utilities Commission reached a different result, maintaining full net-metering rates until 2019. And just this April, a coalition including Con Edison, Solar City, and Sunpower, Inc., submitted a net-metering proposal to the New York Public Service Commission billed as a breakthrough in utility-solar collaboration. The coalition claims their proposal will continue to incentivize residential solar while also providing utilities with protections necessary to insure that distributed solar will not cause the ever-dreaded Death Spiral for the utility industry.  These recent developments are only a sample of the debates raging before Public Utility Commissions across the country, where numerous proposals to change net-metering policies are pending, with important implications for the future of residential solar. Please join us for a panel discussion of these ongoing developments.

Fanning, Moniz, Daschle Headline DNC BPC Energy Event – The Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host a forum at the Democratic National Convention in Phily. The discussion will feature some of our nation’s most influential leaders on energy innovation as we discuss the respective roles of the public and private sectors in realizing the full potential of this opportunity as well as growing congressional support for energy innovation.  The event will feature Southern’s Tom Fanning, former Senate leader Tom Daschle, and Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Annual Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference is set for August 4th and 5th at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX.  This year’s theme is Yogi Berra quotes and the conference is fittingly entitled “It’s like déjà vu all over again”; each topic has an appropriate quote assigned to it.   The event is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday, August 4th during the superconference with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.

Power-Gen Forum Set for Columbus – Regardless of the Democratic Platform challenge of natgas, Pennwell will host Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President, American Electric Power to discuss the growing role in natural gas in power generation at the upcoming GenForum scheduled August 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The half-day event is connected with PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

Forum to Look at Environment Policies, Investments in Electricity – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Great Plains Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting a workshop in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday September 13th.  The event will feature experts, state officials and stakeholders from across the Eastern Interconnect for a one-day workshop exploring recent modeling analyses that provide new insights into trends in the electricity sector. The event will explore what these trends mean for state energy and environmental policy choices. Experts will present their findings and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reflect on those findings.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be September 21-25 in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  More on this as we get closer.

Energy Update: Week of January 25

Friends,

Happy Snow!!!!  Now that was a good snow storm.  But the difference between here and the North (Detroit for me) is that you usually have weeks/months of freezing cold temps and more snow still ahead of you.  Here, we had two straight days of sunny and 45 degrees following the storm, and today we are getting rain.  That should help clear some of the snow off the roads, even if the plowing isn’t quite as good as the colder climates.  Speaking of plowing, while I think Maryland did a good job, my drive (in the Volt, mind you) into the Capital today showed that DC still has a lot of catching up to do, as the downtown area remains basically gridlocked with minimal open lanes.  Thinking I might be on the MARC train/Metro for a few days.

Speaking of the storm, as the Mid-Atlantic region digs out, AHRI reminded local residents to protect their furnace vents and heat pumps by clearing piled up snow away from them:

“With a massive winter storm blasting the Nation’s Capital, it is important clear away snow and other debris that block airflow through the outdoor part of your heat pump.” said AHRI President Stephen Yurek. “We have so many things on our minds during a massive storm like this, but it is very important for those who use heat pumps to keep warm, to keep the outdoor part of their unit clear of snow.  Yurek also reminded those who have highly-efficient furnaces (those that require through-the-wall venting) to keep the vents clear of snow and ice for their safety and that of their loved ones. Failure to do so can result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.”

With school off another day, I just had to get back to work.  And the Senate does too, launching its energy reform package tomorrow.  The legislation, a bipartisan measure that cleared committee on an 18-4 vote last year, and includes provisions pushed by both Republicans and Democrats. They include measures to expedite liquefied natural gas exports, reform federal energy programs and improve the reliability of the electric grid.  While Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski said she hopes the legislation will move forward in a bipartisan manner, that may be wishful thinking in this election year.  Lots of rumors about amendments and they may take all forms from simple fixes in a manager’s amendment to off-the-wall political bombshells.  We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple weeks.

Many events are cancelled especially today and tomorrow, including the two House hearings and the Senate EPW markup/hearing.  I have provided a list of other events below but check them events before you venture out because Uber and Cabs are still up-charging I think.

Finally, if you want to think WARM, remember next week launches the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Weather report from TPC Scottsdale says SUNNY and 70s all week.  WM launches with its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, Celeb Pro-Am on Wednesday and real PGA golf starting Thursday.

Call if you have energy bill questions, need driving tips or are wondering how to prevent snow plows from covering your driveway after you’ve already shoveled it… and be safe out there.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864
(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

SCOTUS Lets FERC DR Rule Stand – The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a FERC rule  that promotes electricity conservation, handing a big victory to environmentalists and federal power regulators.  The 6-2 decision overturned a federal appeals panel ruling and affirmed the commission’s authority to offer incentives to reduce power consumption during peak demand periods by paying large users to curb their electricity use, policies that green groups say help open the power grid up to more renewable sources like wind and solar.

Bracewell FERC Experts Weigh In – My colleagues who are FERC experts weighed in with an Energy Blog Post yesterday. They say the Court was persuaded that FERC had taken care not trample on state regulatory authority by the fact that FERC’s DR regime permitted retail purchaser’s to participate in wholesale markets only if state regulators did not forbid them from doing so. They added that although it is early to tell, this decision appears to affirm a broader view of FERC’s jurisdiction over wholesale power markets than previously understood.

NRECA Protests Ruling – NRECA expressed disappointment over the Court’s ruling.  NRECA had challenged FERC Order 745 on the grounds that the Commission overstepped its jurisdictional authority.  “For decades, co-ops have been able to save co-op member-owners millions of dollars by creating robust demand response programs. We are concerned that by giving this pricing authority squarely to FERC, the Court has diminished the ability of state public utility commissions and the cooperative and municipal boards, to protect the interest of consumers. NRECA will continue to advocate for compensation levels that benefit co-op owner-members,” said Jay Morrison, vice president of regulatory affairs.  Electric cooperatives have aggressively pursued cost savings for consumer-members by offering a wide range of demand response programs; in fact in 2012, co-ops’ share of total retail electric sales was 11%, yet they were responsible for 19% of actual peak reduction,” he added.

Segal Looks at Impact on CPP Consideration – My Bracewell colleague Scott Segal, also the director of the ERCC read the opinion and found it interesting looking for implications towards future consideration of arguments on the CPP.  Segal said the Court says there is still a substantial statutory separation between FERC’s wholesale authority and state retail rate-making and recognized demand response as an exception noting that FERC was responding to a market-developed concept that had been approved by Congress and had a consumer protection and reliability rationale.  Segal adds that is a pretty limited view.  Segal: “The Court’s reasoning should give no comfort to supporters of the Clean Power Plan.  First, CPP in no sense was developed by the market.  Far from approved by Congress, it has been roundly opposed by Congress as inconsistent with 40 years of Clean Air Act precedent.  And rather than protecting consumers and reliability, a broad consensus of impartial third parties has found that CPP will have the opposite effect.”

BLM Rolls Methane Rules Just Before Big Storm – Talk about clearing the decks… Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed updates on Friday to 30-year-old natural gas emissions regulations for oil and gas operations on public and Native American lands, including a requirement that producers adopt modern techniques and equipment to limit flaring.   My expert colleague Sandra Snyder said if adopted, BLM’s regulations may have the unintended effect of deterring development on federal lands, thereby decreasing federal royalties.  The BLM rule BLM announced today rule proposes to add additional requirements to the already onerous process of obtaining an Application for Permit to Drill (APD).  Since 2010, it has taken industry on average well over 200 days to obtain an APD from BLM.  Adding additional requirements will inevitably lead to additional delays.  Moreover, she adds BLM needs to make good on its pledge to avoid redundant requirements, while also recognizing the voluntary efforts of industry to reduce emissions through the implementation of innovative technologies.  The financial benefit of capturing more of its product is not news to oil and gas production companies — they’ve been ahead of the government on this issue for quite some time.

Cabot Already Ahead of BLM Rules – As Sandra mentioned, the fact is, industry has been ahead of the curve on this for years, working diligently on its own to reduce methane emissions.  It’s both good environmental stewardship and makes sense from a business standpoint; since companies strive for efficiency, it makes sense to capture as much product as you can.  To cite one example: Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations.  The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period.  A big part of the trick involves optimizing “green completions,” which means minimizing natural gas flaring during the cleanup phase after a well is completed by diverting gas into a pipeline.

IPAA Says Rule’s Timing is Bad – The IPAA said the reduction of emissions through limited venting and flaring is in the government and the industry’s best interest. Financially, no oil or natural gas producer would choose to lose valuable resources that could otherwise be sold. And when the product is sold, the U.S. treasury receives a royalty. Further, increased natural gas production and use have resulted in cleaner air for the United States. We are concerned that these new rules could create a regulatory regime that prevents the extension of the financial and important environmental benefits generated by American oil and natural gas production.  “This is the latest in the string of bad policies released by this administration showing a lack of knowledge of how the oil and gas industry truly works. Imposing these new regulations will make it more expensive and harder for independent producers to operate, reducing America’s total energy production and preventing additional receipts from going back to the US Treasury. Making matters worse, lifting the royalty rate ceiling simply leaves the door open for the federal government to increase rates on producers down the road. This will change the predictability and certainty for operators on federal lands, making it harder to plan and commit to long-term projects. With oil and natural gas prices currently at their lowest in decades, now is the worst time to raise fees on America’s independent producers.”

Court Denies Stay Request for CPP – Last Thursday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for expedited briefing in the case regarding the carbon rules for the power sector, while denying the imposition of an immediate stay.  My colleague Scott Segal said the expedited briefing schedule is indicative of the seriousness with which the court is taking the case and the very substantial legal issues that need to be resolved in order to safeguard electric reliability and consumer interests.  He added a record 27 states are challenging the GHG plan, along with some 25 national and state trade associations, 39 rural cooperatives, 12 major corporations, and three labor unions with combined membership nearing one million.”

WV AG Considers SCOTUS Review on Stay Request – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office will consider urging the U.S. Supreme Court to halt ongoing, irreversible harm caused by EPA’s Power Plan.  Morrisey says if left intact, the plan will lead to skyrocketing electricity bills and devastate West Virginia’s coal industry and the countless jobs depending upon its success.  “We are disappointed in today’s decision, but believe we will ultimately prevail in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues. We are pleased, however, that the court has agreed to expedite hearing the case.”

Rural Co-ops Say Stay Important to Protect Rural Consumers – NRECA also expressed deep disappointment with a court’s refusal to halt implementation of EPA’s rule. NRECA was among those that petitioned the court to stay the rule while a separate battle over its legality plays out: “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan will cause immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “While the rule’s emission reduction requirements don’t kick in for several years, co-ops must start taking immediate costly and irreversible steps to achieve the goals set forth in the EPA’s overreaching regulations. The result will be lost jobs, economic harm to rural communities and significant electric rate increases for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens—families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.”

Chamber Says Expedited Review of CPP Essential – The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the D.C. Circuit Court decision to expedite legal review of carbon regulations indicates that the court agrees that it is important to review the rules quickly. As the Chamber and its partners have argued all along, the rule is already hurting American businesses. The Court’s decision to deny the stay motion is about procedure. The Chamber says it looks forward to presenting our arguments to the Court as part of an expedited review process, and we will continue our efforts to halt the EPA’s unprecedented effort to restructure the American economy.

AEA: Don’t File a Plan – AEA President Thomas Pyle penned an op-ed in Morning Consult cautioning state leaders against submitting a state plan for EPA’s carbon regulation–what EPA calls the “Clean Power Plan.” EPA, environmental groups, and utilities are pressuring state leaders to submit state plans by implying that a federal plan will be much worse for their citizens. But as Pyle points out, state and federal plans are essentially the same. The only major difference is that a state plan locks citizens in to this costly regulation—even if the rule is thrown out in court—while a federal plan does not.  Click here to continue reading the op-ed.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – After the Snow out over the weekend, the Washington Auto Show continues really launched this week.  The opening on Friday was delayed due to the weather.  The show runs through Sunday.

AHRI Forum To Highlight New Technologies – Our friends at AHRI were lucky to miss the storm by decamping to Orlando for their annual AHR Expo, an annual trade show co-sponsored by AHRI and ASHRAE. It is one of the largest industry expos, drawing over 1400 exhibitors and over 60,000 HVAC professionals.  The event focuses on highlighting advancements that address the dynamic requirements of today’s HVACR industry.  Over 80% of the Show Exhibitors are introducing new or upgraded products, systems and technologies that are being unveiled and showcased on the 2016 AHR Expo floor.  Spanning categories from indoor air quality to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.

CANCELLED — House Ag to Host EPA’s McCarthy – The House Agriculture Committee hearing today on the impact of EPA regulations on the rural economy featuring EPA Chief Gina McCarthy will be rescheduled

CANCELLED – SAFE Forum to Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict – Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Capitol Hill lunch event tomorrow has been postponed to February 12th pending speaker confirmations.  The event was to discuss the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and U.S. energy and national security interests in the region and feature  SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council member General Charles F. Wald (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), former NSC head John Hannah, former National Economic Council official Bob McNally and FP Correspondent Indira Lakshmanan.

NAS Social Cost of Carbon Presser – CANCELLED

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event tomorrow that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

CANCELLED – House Oversight to Look at RFS – The House Oversight Hearing On the RFS will also be rescheduled to a Later date.

NAM State of Manufacturing Tour to Start in NH, FL – The National Association of Manufacturers, the unified voice of more than 14,000 manufacturers in the United States, will tour the country for the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour starting tomorrow in Manchester, New Hampshire and Tampa, Florida.  See full schedule here.  NAM is showcasing modern manufacturing, highlighting the importance of manufacturing to America and laying out solutions that will create more jobs, seize global leadership and expand the circle of opportunity so wide that the American Dream is available to everyone.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, DC on Wednesday at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Prices, Middle East Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the impact of low oil prices in the Middle East. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with sweeping economic and political implications for the Middle East. Amidst falling oil revenues, governments from the Gulf to Iraq and beyond face fiscal crises, market upheaval, disruption of traditional ways of doing business, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and slumping economic growth. In the midst of this volatile landscape, energy producers in the region face an uncertain future that will have ramifications in the years to come.  Our friend Jamie Webster of IHS will be among the speakers.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Battery Storage 101 Features ESA, Tesla – On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the Battery Energy Storage Caucus and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a “Battery Energy Storage 101 and Introduction to the Battery Storage Industry” briefing.  The future of renewables comes in a battery. Companies across the country are developing batteries for home storage connected to solar panels, grid scale storage and automobiles. From Tesla’s lithium ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada to Michigan-based Sakti3 which is commercializing a high-energy density battery, the storage revolution is upon us.  The event will discuss how exactly battery energy storage works with the Energy Storage Association and learn what leaders in the industry are doing in the grid side application of storage to make our grid more secure and cost effective.

FUTURE EVENTS

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Panel to Look at Geoengineering – Next Monday, February 1st at 12:15 p.m., Future Tense New America will hold a book lunch on Geoengineering and how it could change the world.  Geoengineering is the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate and might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial.  In his new book, “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World,” Oliver Morton argues that the risks of climate change merit serious action. According to Morton, geoengineering is not a simple or singular solution to the problem, but it is worth exploring, even if it’s never actually deployed.

Wilson Forum to Look at Middle East Oil Price Equation – The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host a forum next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. on the implications of the collapse of oil prices for the Middle East.  The collapse of the oil prices has shocked both producers and consumers worldwide. As the most important producing region of the world, the Middle East has been particularly affected; state revenues are down, and cutthroat competition for market share and low global demand translates into greater challenges and uncertainty. The regional economic outlook is unclear, and questions remain about the potential long-term impact of sustained low oil prices. Three experts will analyze the geopolitical and financial aspects of the sharp decline in oil prices on both importing and exporting countries in the Middle East.

WCEE Forum with FERC ALJs – The Women’s Council on Energy & Environment will host a Litigation Roundtable next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. with the women Administrative Law Judges at FERC and EPA. The Judges will discuss why and how they became Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and how they have mentored others, and share the dos and don’ts regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Jacobson to Address Anti-Nuclear Group – The anti-nuclear group NIRS will hold a tele-briefing next Tuesday on “Paris and the path forward to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.  As if there is one…  The discussion will feature controversial advocate/academic Mark Jacobson of Stanford and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani, both of who will explain what the climate agreement achieved and what its implications are for our energy future and nuclear power here in the U.S.

BPC Event to Look at Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the American Energy Innovation Council of the BPC will hold an event that will examine the rationale and implications of expanding federal support for energy innovation. The first panel will explore the economic impact of federal investments in energy innovation, focusing on how these investments can best leverage additional investments and ensure America’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving global energy marketplace. Phil Giudice, CEO at Ambri, will join to discuss how his grid storage company is working to develop transformative innovations in energy storage. A second panel will review new, collaborative institutional models that are working to create better bridges across the “valleys of death,” while aligning public and private sector priorities. ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams and our friends Kevin Kolevar of Dow Chemical and author Steve LeVine,

Forum to Discuss Transformations in Energy Technology – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion reflecting on BP’s Technology Outlook and its insights on how we may identify, extract, store, and ultimately consume our energy. The event will feature a presentation and panel with David Eyton, Head of Technology at BP, and Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy and Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz.

NAS Hosts Meeting on Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, NatGas, Ethanol – On February 4th  and 5th, the National Academies of Science will host a meeting on domestic transportation of fuels.  Given a number of recent events, look for a candid discussion of potential policies.

Sustainable Energy Factbook Release – For the fourth year in a row, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas & renewable energy sectors in the United States. On Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 p.m., a panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from BNEF will discuss why 2015 was a watershed year for the US clean energy economy,

WCEE Feature World Bank Expert on Green Bonds – The Women’s Council On Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 noon on Green Bonds featuring World Bank expert Akiko Nakagawa. Nakagawa shares her work on developing and supervising projects financed through green bonds as well as how these bonds are placed in the climate negotiation’s context.  Laura Tlaiye will explain the requirements of green bond eligible projects and how bonds are structured.

Woolsey to Headline Lecture – On Friday, February 5th at 5:30 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host the third Brian Kelley Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Energy Security in the 21st Century.”  The year’s lecture will feature Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.  Woolsey has been one of the most prominent analysts of national security issues, as well as energy policy. He has been a proponent of US energy independence and the protection of major infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as our electric grid upon which everything in our civilization depends.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak Ridge, TN. Continuing on the important work of the 2015 Advanced Reactors Technical Summit II at UMass Lowell and the inaugural 2014 Special Technical Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory, the Technical Summit III will continue the discussion on approaches for improving the cost and deployment time frame of advanced reactors. Specifically the Summit III will engage in a discussion of common ground practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly accelerating advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations. The Technical Summit III features the leading advanced reactor concepts as well as key thought and policy leaders.  Speakers will include NRC Commissioner William Ostroff and DOE’s John Kotek, among many others.

Holiday Energy Update: Week of December 21

Friends,

Well, we wrapped up the legislative year with a bang on Friday.  There was a lot in the legislation beyond the big ticket items like crude exports and wind and solar tax credits.  One great piece that passed the Senate is the Electrify Africa Act of 2015. (see below)

If you were trapped in the budget bill, you might have missed two other Interesting things:

  • DOE released its long-awaited commercial air conditioning efficiency rule which will ultimately save the nation considerable energy.  The basis of this rule is a consensus agreement worked out by affected stakeholders, including AHRI, which is the preferred process for developing federal efficiency standards.
  • The long-awaited TSCA legislation passed the Senate after a series of delays over non-related controversies.
  • I am still waiting to see if Steve Harvey is going to announce that Keystone decision actually was approved, but the President just read it wrong.

The President’s year-end news conference really focused on bigger issues, but it did feature some conversation about the recent climate deal.  He said he expects a lot of complaints about the climate policies during the 2016 election.  He also managed to veto the two Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions aimed at the new and existing GHG rules for power plants.  While the vetoes were widely expected, it seems strange that he actually “pocket vetoed” the bipartisan resolutions by just not signed or formally vetoing them.

And just so you know no good deed for the environmental community goes unpunished, please read this excellent piece in the New Yorker in which a pro-climate columnist Michael Specter exposes social science gadfly/activist Naomi Oreskes new attack to the policy debate labeling NASA ‘s Jim Hansen, Ken Caldeira and others as “climate deniers.”

Hope you finished you shopping.  If not, EPA has a tip for you: consider giving gift cards for Christmas presents this year to save the environment.  In its tips to “Reduce Waste for Greener Holidays,” the agency instructed readers to think about how much wrapping paper they use.

Finally, we are assuming that the Wall Street Journal is NOT taking EPA’s shopping tips.  Over the weekend, it hammered EPA with government emails obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute that show the EPA secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gases. The emails show the secret alliance designed a standard that would be impossible or economically ruinous for existing coal plants to meet—in order to force their closure. The New York Times first reported on the issue in July saying lawyers, David Doniger and David Hawkins, and scientist Dan Lashof, worked with a team of experts to write a 110-page proposal, widely viewed as innovative and audacious, that was aimed at slashing planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

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 finally have a Budget that allows Congress to flee. 

Congress traded the Oil Exports for renewables annoying greens; who argue that Paris should make us more mean.

But new Wind turbines will spin and solar’s Ivanpah will shine bright; and there’s major relief we won’t have the annual tax credit fight. 

GHG rules remain the biggest issue we face, I’m sure we’ll be arguing about it on each and every case.  

You may have heard that Wellesley is on my daughter plate; now only to figure out how to pay for the freight. 

Dropping gas prices and crude tumbling could help too; pretty good for the economy but makes the oil industry seems blue. 

Still, energy independence remains closer than ever; and that’s mostly because the oil and gas industry is always getting better.

And the Paris climate agreement seems to be somewhat historic; our environmental leaders that support it seem overly euphoric.

Mostly because while bold no one will follow, a crazy agreement that is surely very hollow.

It is why we  continue to push new climate techs game; but it is uncertain to work is the global debate stays lame.

For this New Year there’ll be new President, elections, battles over rights; all become more prominent if we can’t turn on the lights.

So as we wrap another crazy 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
IN THE NEWS

Congress Finalizes Budget, Moves to 2016 – On Friday, Congress approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill and $680 billion tax package with a two strong bipartisan votes.  The House moved first, passing the government funding bill on a 316-113 vote. The Senate followed suit just a few hours later, clearing the legislation on a 65-33 tally.

What is in the Legislation – Here are a few items to look for:

Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/12/16/heres-what-made-it-into-congresss-big-tax-and-spending-bills/

The Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/finance/258594-budget-deal-winners-and-losers

Fortune: http://fortune.com/2015/10/29/budget-deal-winners-losers/

Africa Electrification Big Winner in Year-End Bill – Another big winner the year end Senate action that may have slipped under the radar was the Electrify Africa Act of 2015.  Given the recent Paris agreement and the focus on Developing Country partnerships, this move is an important step forward for providing reliable power in places that are in desperate need.    The bill encourages meaningful public-private partnerships that will bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and help to lift impoverished African communities out of subsistence living.  NRECA supported the legislation  praising the bill’s emphasis on electricity distribution and expanding access. “Poles and wires are what move electricity from power plants to people, and this bill will promote economic development by expanding access to electricity will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic,” NRECA President Jeff Connor said.

US Crude Exports Panned By Enviros – In light of the crude export ban being lifted, About 100 environmental advocacy groups, joined in a recent call looking for ways to stop oil exports from proceeding without restrictions again.  “To lift the crude oil export ban flies in the face of climate progress less than a week after the United Nations Paris Agreement,” the group stated. Some felt hoodwinked because when they headed off to Paris, they believed President Obama would veto any bill that included lifting the ban. That no longer seems to be the case.  Ouch…

India Already Not Following Deal – As You saw above, environmental groups say the US oil export legislation undermines the goals of Paris and they let Democrats and the President have it on the topic.  But the export fight was only the first sign that no one will really follow the agreement.  Just two days after, India said it would double its coal use no matter what they agreed to in Paris.

Japan, S Korea Doing Same – Less than a week since signing the global climate deal in Paris, Japan and South Korea are pressing ahead with plans to open scores of new coal-fired power plants, casting doubt on the strength of their commitment to cutting CO2 emissions.  Asia’s two most developed economies are burning more than ever and plan to add at least 60 new coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years.  Officials at both countries’ energy ministries said those plans were unchanged. South Korea did scrap plans for four coal-fired power plants as part of its pledge to the Paris summit, but 20 new plants are still planned by 2021.  In Japan, 41 new coal-fired power plants are planned over the next decade, and taxes favor imports of coal over cleaner-burning natural gas.

Britain Cutting Renewable Subsidies – Britain cut more renewable energy subsidies last week and it is drawing criticism for losing credibility in tackling climate change after the landmark deal in Paris. Britain cut the tariff for domestic-scale solar up to 10 kilowatts in capacity, such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, to 4.39 pence per kilowatt hour. The government also capped spending on the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme at a maximum 100 million pounds a year for new installations from February next year to April 2019.

Solar Extension Will Increase Installations – A five-year extension to the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is currently included in the omnibus spending bill under consideration in Congress, would result in 25 gigawatts (GW) of additional solar capacity over the next five years – a 54 percent increase over a no-extension scenario. According to GTM Research, which today released preliminary updated state- and segment-level forecasts based on the current omnibus language, ITC extension will foster $40 billion in incremental investment in solar between 2016 and 2020. The impact will be most pronounced in the utility-scale sector, where ITC extension will increase deployments 73 percent through 2020.  In the distributed solar market, residential installations will see a 35% impact versus no extension, while commercial solar will increase by 51%.

CFR Emissions Analysis Says Renewable Tax Extension Outweighs Oil Exports – A new Council on Foreign Relations analysis says extending federal tax credits for wind and solar “will do far more to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years than lifting the (crude oil) export ban will do to increase them.” Varun Sivaram and Michael Levi focused on 2016-2020 for three reasons: (a) it’s the period for which we have the best data; (b) beyond 2020, complex interactions with the Clean Power Plan make things much tougher to model; and (c) most important, beyond 2020, the primary effect of the ITC/PTC extension should be to make reducing emissions cheaper, and thus enable stronger policy. While they offered no judgement on the budget deal, they said it looks like a win for climate.

AAPCA Releases Info Graphic on Compliance – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new infographic/timeline, State Clean Air Act Deadlines, 2016 – 2021. The timeline includes requirements affecting many environmental agencies under the Clean Power Plan, National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone (2008 and 2015), sulfur dioxide, lead, and fine particulate matter, regional haze, and the Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction State Implementation Plan Call.

For context, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Director recently testified: “In an era of diminishing appropriations and seemingly ever-increasing regulation complexity and burden, each action taken by EPA to mandate a response by my state forces us to make critical decisions involving programs, spending and personnel.” For the revised ozone NAAQS, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimated “that the agency’s level of effort required to develop an attainment demonstration and reasonable further progress [State Implementation Plan] revision for a moderate nonattainment area is 45,000 to 55,000 hours of staff time, with an estimated cost of over $1 million dollars.”

SoCo Wind Project Operational – Southern Company said its 299MW Kay Wind facility in Kay County, Oklahoma, is fully operational.  Kay Wind is Southern Power’s first wind project.  The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under 20-year power purchase agreements with Westar Energy Inc. in Kansas and Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) in Oklahoma. Westar Energy has contracted for approximately 199 MW, and GRDA has contracted for approximately 100 MW. Both companies will have the option to either keep or sell the RECs.  Apex Clean Energy developed and will operate and maintain the facility. Blattner Energy Inc. served as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.  The Kay Wind project consists of 130 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens and is capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of approximately 100,000 average U.S. homes.

And a Solar Project – Southern Company has also acquired a controlling interest in the 200-megawatt (MW) Garland solar facility under construction in California from Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. Southern Power now owns more than 650 MW across nine operating or planned facilities in California.  One of North America’s largest solar developers, Recurrent Energy is constructing the facility and will retain the remaining interest in the project. Southern Power and Recurrent Energy have now announced the development of three jointly owned projects that together are expected to generate more than 550 MW of solar electricity in California and Texas. Upon completion, the Garland solar facility is expected to be capable of generating enough solar energy to meet the energy needs of approximately 45,000 homes.

Fanning Praised As Energy Leader – The 2015 edition of SNL Energy’s 10 Most Influential People highlights the work of Southern CEO Thomas Fanning, Ahmad Chatila, Robert Murray, Pope Francis and several other people whose actions had a major impact on the direction of the North American energy industry over the past 12 months.   The selection process for SNL Energy’s 10 Most Influential People list relied on the industry expertise in the SNL Energy newsroom. SNL Energy reporters and editors nominated people who had an impact on various sectors of the energy industry over the past year. The final list of people was selected by a committee of veteran energy journalists at SNL Energy.

DOE Announces Commercial AC Rules Agreement – As I mentioned earlier in the week, the DOE released its new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.  AHRI’s President & CEO Stephen Yurek said the basis of this rule is a consensus agreement worked out by affected stakeholders, including AHRI.  Yurek: “While we are still reviewing the final rule, we hope and expect that it includes the provisions agreed to by the parties.  This is an agreement that will ultimately save the nation considerable energy and we are proud of the role our member companies played in its development.  It is a good example in a sometimes cynical city that when disparate parties come together in good faith, good things can happen.”
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Christmas!!!!!

 

FUTURE EVENTS

New Year’s Day

Football

API State of Energy Set– API will host its annual State of Energy event On Tuesday January 5th at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium Ballroom featuring API head Jack Gerard.  The event will kick off America’s energy policy discussion ahead of the critical 2016 elections.   In order to take best advantage of America’s tremendous energy potential, API will continue to keep the national energy conversation focused on the facts for the public and for lawmakers, both current and prospective.

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) run from January 11th to 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview, Jan. 11-12. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

 

Energy Update: Week of December 14

Friends,

That was a very busy weekend — way more busy than it should be around the middle of December…  At least the weather was beautiful for Mid-December.

Anyway, the Paris Climate deal is done although we really don’t know what it will really “should” or “shall”  do.  It certainly isn’t clear that the agreement is as historic as the initial coverage has portrayed.   Full details and links below.

The second major issue comes to a head today when the budget discussions surrounding crude oil exports, refiner credits and tax incentives for renewables hit a deadline.  The Senate and House are both in session this week primarily working to complete a $1.1 trillion spending measure to fund the government. Members have until midnight Wednesday to agree to and pass the omnibus spending bill.   We are happy to offer the latest thoughts, perspective and timing.

This is really the last week for events around town as before the holidays roll in.  Tomorrow, CSIS will host a panel discussion looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure.   On Wednesday the Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  also Wednesday, the Wilson Center gets into the just-approved UN Climate plan.  Finally, on Friday, former EIA head and current CSIS energy expert Guy Caruso will discuss the current energy state of the play.

So while, the UN climate deal and the Congressional budget deal might seem like big news to us today, we might expect it to be off the radar by Thursday when the new Stars Wars movie rolls out.  While there are three world premieres tonight, it will be in already sold-out theaters on Thursday.  Speaking of Star Wars, perhaps my favorite Bill Murray song as Saturday Night Live’s Nick Winters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqedbxGxfgE

Call with questions…And May the Force Be With You

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The Deal – 196 nations agreed to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future in Paris over the weekend.  For the first time, the accord brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.  The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Here is the text: http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600008831

The Word “Shall” – As you may have seen, there has been wide-spread reporting of the one-word change that was essential to getting an agreement.  US negotiators discovered in the final draft text in Article 4 a line declaring that wealthier countries “shall” set economy-wide targets for cutting their greenhouse gas pollution.  But the word shall Implied a legal obligation and the as you know, that would force the hand of the President to submit the agreement to Congress.

French Negotiator Rams in Through as Technical Correction –French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius worked the words into the technical changes where the wording was read aloud by a delegate in the plenary hall and lost in a package of other technical revisions.   Prior to that Fabius had worked the room on several key negotiating teams and already received approval (or at least no objection to) the change and the deal was inked.  Minutes later, French banged his gavel and the most significant international climate change deal in history won the resounding approval of 196 governments, representing nearly every country on the planet.

President Obama Speaks form Oval Office – While this speech was as bold and important as his speech to the nation on terrorism issues last week, President Barack Obama made a statement Saturday Night from the Oval Office.  “We came together around the strong agreement the world needed,” Obama said from the White House. “We met the moment.  He added “the American people can be proud — because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership.”

Chamber Expert in Paris Offers Comment – Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy:   “The Paris climate conference delivered more of the same—lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved.  While we are reviewing the final agreement, it’s clear that implementation still faces the same obstacles that we’ve been warning about for years.  None of the commitments made, including those by the U.S., are binding, and many aren’t even complete. Moreover, Congress must appropriate any funds that the Obama administration has pledged.  The White House’s overall domestic strategy of making energy more expensive and less abundant to satisfy international constituencies, many of whom compete against the United States, should worry the business community, American workers, and consumers. We will continue our efforts to understand how this deal affects the U.S. jobs and growth.”

Not Every Enviro is On Board – While most enviro groups swallowed hard, put on a happy face and supported the agreement, some wouldn’t go so quietly.  In response to the final agreement reached, Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute unloaded: “The plain truth is that Paris didn’t produce the strong, just and binding treaty we need to protect the planet’s most climate-vulnerable people and our very web of life from climate chaos. But the summit did highlight the growing power of a global movement for true climate justice.”  You can see the full extent of their complaints here.

 

With the climate agreement, here is some initial analysis.  

Historic? No So Much – It is impressive to get 195 nations to agree on anything and clearly a positive to have them all at a table talking about the issue of climate change.  I remain skeptical that this is a historic agreement but yet another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than many advocates would ever have found remotely acceptable.  It is clear that nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.

Signal to Business – Secretary of State Kerry said the deal didn’t need to be mandatory because it still sends a strong signal to business that clean energy is only future.  “The result will be a very clear signal to the marketplace of the world, that people are moving into low-carbon, no-carbon, alternative, renewable energy, and I think it’s going to create millions of jobs, enormous investments into R&D, and that R&D is going to create the solutions, not government,” Kerry said.  Given the broad and always-changing nature of our energy picture, there may be some truth to his statement, but it is clear not as clear as Kerry says given the volatility of energy pricing, the key questions of infrastructure and reliability and the nature of regional differences in our energy mix.

Temperatures – As for the temperature goal, the vague wording remains as aspirational as ever with little hope of achieving the target through this agreement or any ensuing actions, especially since nobody will be bound to them.  Maybe emissions reductions, new technologies or increased political will can meet these goals, but it is unlikely and nearly every one participating in the UN process knows that.

Process is Flawed – This agreement underscores what I have argued since Kyoto in 1997.  Only small incremental steps can be achieved in this flawed UN Climate process, unless there is a new global dedication to innovation and technology advancement that is moved to the front and center.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like the one detailed at the beginning the Paris conference by world and business leaders can achieve success.

I find the following section intriguing, not to mention the parts in bold seem like great quotes:

1.    17. Notes with concern that the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels in 2025 and 2030 resulting from the intended nationally determined contributions do not fall within least-cost 2 ˚C scenarios but rather lead to a projected level of 55 gigatonnes in 2030, and also notes that much greater emission reduction efforts will be required than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions in order to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions to 40 gigatonnes or to 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing to a level to be identified in the special report referred to in paragraph 21 below;

2. The terms “invites” and “requests,” among others point to the degree to which this agreement lacks teeth.

3. ABC reprinted a summary that provides some interesting information http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/key-points-landmark-paris-climate-agreement-35735723>

Here are some of the key elements of the deal:

—LONG-TERM GOAL: The long-term objective of the agreement is to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures have already increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. To achieve that goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible.” By some point after 2050, the agreement says, man-made emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb.

—EMISSIONS TARGETS: In order to reach the long-term goal, countries agreed to set national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions every five years. More than 180 countries have already submitted targets for the first cycle beginning in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms; developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time. Until then, they are expected only to rein in the growth of emissions as their economies develop. The Paris deal doesn’t make national emissions reduction targets legally binding, so its success will largely depend on the effectiveness of a new system to revisit each country’s progress and raise targets every five years.

—REVIEWING TARGETS: The initial targets won’t be enough to put the world on a path to meet the long-term temperature goal. So the agreement asks governments to review their targets in the next four years and see if they can “update” them. That doesn’t require governments to deepen their cuts. But the hope is that it will be possible for them to do so if renewable energy sources become more affordable and effective. The Paris agreement attempts to lay down new rules to make sure all countries calculate and publicly report their emissions reductions in the same way after 2020, making it possible to keep track of global progress.  The US already has a sophisticated GHG tracking inventory and reports annually.  But developing countries are still new to international reporting on climate policies as evidenced by reports recently that large and sophisticated developing countries like China have been already underreporting emissions.

—TRANSPARENCY: There is no penalty for countries that miss their emissions targets. But the agreement has transparency rules to help encourage countries to actually do what they say they will do. That was one of the most difficult pieces to agree on, with China asking for softer requirements for developing countries. The agreement says all countries must report on their emissions and their efforts the reduce them. But it allows for some “flexibility” for developing countries that “need it.”

—MONEY: The agreement says wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. It also encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis. That paves the way for emerging economies such as China to contribute, even though it doesn’t require them to do so. Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the agreement itself, but wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020.

—LOSS AND DAMAGE: In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing “loss and damage” associated with climate-related disasters. The U.S. long objected to addressing the issue in the agreement, worried that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events. In the end, the issue was included, but a footnote specifically stated that loss and damage does not involve liability or compensation.

—INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:  The business community won on IP issues when direct references to IPR have been banished from the text. But that pleasure is tempered by the language that found its way into the text: “Accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change and promoting economic growth and sustainable development. Such effort shall be, as appropriate, supported, including through financial means by the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, for collaborative approaches to research and development, and facilitating access to technology, in particular for early stages of the technology cycle, to developing countries.”  Translation: We would like for developed countries to give us more money to buy down IPR and, who knows, maybe even provide compulsory licensing.

 

Enhanced Action Prior to 2020 – The whole section either “urges” or “recognizes.” For example, it “Urges host and purchasing Parties to report transparently on internationally transferred mitigation outcomes, including outcomes used to meet international pledges, and emission units issued under the Kyoto Protocol with a view to promoting environmental integrity and avoiding double counting;”

Can I have a strongly urges? –  Resolves to enhance the provision of urgent and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties in order to enhance the level of ambition of pre-2020 action by Parties, and in this regard strongly urges developed country Parties to scale up their level of financial support, with a concrete roadmap to achieve the goal of jointly providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support;

Asks for Another High Level Meeting before 2020 – “121. Agrees to convene, pursuant to decision 1/CP.20, paragraph 21, building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and in conjunction with each session of the Conference of the Parties during the period 2016–2020, a high-level event that:”… “Provides an opportunity for announcing new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions.”

What Comes Next – First, there will be a signature ceremony on April 22, 2016 that lays out the basic template for “ratification, acceptance, approval or accession,” and sets up a template for future dialogue.  Negotiators will meet again in Morocco next year in early November 7, 2016 in Marrakesh.  It will be the second time they have been to Marrakesh where the COP was held in 2001.  Many delegates never attended the Morocco meeting following the terrorists attacks in U.S. in September of that year.  Next year they will focus on innovation and adaption while continuing efforts to limit emissions.

One Significant Success on HFCs, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – One great success that will probably achieve more than the entire Paris agreement was reached midway through the two week session.   Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

 The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing today at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

US AID Head Addresses Climate, Asia Developing Countries – The Stimson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at climate change and developing countries in Asia.  USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia Jonathan Stivers will discuss the challenges that climate change and environmental protection pose for developing countries in Asia and the cooperative and leadership opportunities that it creates for the US Rebalance. Stimson’s Brian Eyler will provide regional context and moderate questions.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion tomorrow looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

TX Co-Op CEO Feature in Energy times Webinar – The Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  In a recent interview, Hewa laid out his vision for crafting effective strategies to achieve advancements in demand response, energy efficiency and increased renewable partnerships in its central Texas territory, including fast-growing regions outside of Austin and San Antonio.  You can register here.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

STEM Reception to Honor Efforts – STEM4US! will host a Talk & Congressional Reception om Thursday evening in B-369 Rayburn on investing in STEM.   The event will feature executives from some of the most well-known brands in energy, technology/telecom, and health sciences along with Members of Congress and other leaders for a conversation about the impact of their investments in STEM and growing the pipeline of diverse workers in the energy, tech, and telecom fields.  Particular focus will be given to initiatives in exciting and inspiring youth about good-paying, sustainable STEM jobs as a way of stemming the spike in violence sweeping the nation.  STEM4US! is an advocacy organization formed to provide universities, schools, and parents with the tools to excite and prepare young people for careers in energy, technology, and other STEM fields.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – The US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, on Friday at Noon for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

The first night of Hanukah (seems early this year) was overshadowed last night by the Kennedy Center Honors award that feature some real music and Hollywood star power in DC.  With the latest rendition of Star Wars less than two weeks from theaters, George Lucas was praised for his contributions to all our childhood memories.  And December 7th also reminds us of our loss at Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941 that launched our participation in WW II.  Next year, it will be 75 years and starting today the National WWII Museum is raising awareness for events leading up to next year’s commemoration which features a weeklong tour and four-part symposium focusing on the event incidents leading up to that fateful day.  The events will include visits to historic sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, a private dinner on the deck of the USS Missouri and a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

It will remain busy this week in Washington and Paris.  In DC, Congress is negotiating a budget package while across the pond in France, the Administration’s top energy and environment officials are in Paris to highlight its carbon reduction pledges and press for a deal to address climate change.

We have a full report on Paris below after negotiators released the latest draft agreement for Ministers as they begin the final push.  The draft discusses provisions on climate finance, liability, carbon reductions, but still hasn’t been able to overcome concerns about temperature limits, the divide between developed nations and developing countries and whether it should be legally binding.

Here is DC, look for the budget deal making to hit high gear this week.  One of the key talking points is focused a possible swap to allow the crude oil export ban to be lifted.  Still a lot to do on this though and late last week, Kirk Lippold, the former Commander of the USS Cole (which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000) sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.

As for Committees, House Science goes into Biotech issues tomorrow, while Presidential candidate and Commerce panel Chair Senator Ted Cruz will chair a hearing on Climate change tomorrow afternoon.    Senate Energy looks in to terrorism and oil on Thursday.

Busy week…  I’m monitoring Paris closely (and have good resources on the ground) so let me know if you have questions or need sources.  Taking a break for the Detroit Red Wings and the Capitals tomorrow night.  STILL HAVE A TICKET OR TWO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME.  Let me know.

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CONTINUES ON

New Draft Text Out – Over the weekend, negotiators managed to submit a new draft text, which will now move onto the ministerial level for approving the final package. The new draft text includes a 21-page legally-binding “agreement,” a 22-page non-binding “decision” and a five-page “annex.” While to many the text is seen as a sign of progress, it does not meaningfully remedy the core issues facing negotiators. For example, the issues of climate financing, global temperature goals in centigrade, and long-term goals have yet been fully dealt with. Currently, the document contains more than 900 square brackets, used to note areas of considerable disagreement. “That’s how you can track progress in the negotiations — is where the brackets are,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. “All the difficult political issues remain unsolved, and will be solved by the ministers,” said Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s Climate Commissioner. “Next week is the week of compromise; it’s a difficult week,” he told a news conference. “Nothing has been decided and nothing will be left behind,” said French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. “This text marks the will of all to reach an agreement. We are not at the end of the route. Major political issues are yet to be resolved,” she warned. Others, including Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the chair of the influential G77 and China bloc of developing countries praised the text. She said on Twitter that she “welcomes that we now have a Party-driven negotiating text.”  Negotiators are due to reach a final accord on Friday, but the talks are widely expected to run into overtime, as previous summits have. A full copy of the draft text can be found on the UNFCCC website, available here.

Some Specific issues –

  • Finance – This will remain a controversial issues until the end, but it seems it will be divided into two or three options.  On the first point, the options are either to say that financial flows have to follow towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future depending on countries’ “sustainable development priorities and efforts to eradicate poverty,” or will be provided from wealthy countries on the U.N.’s Annex 2 list of OECD countries that were not deemed “economies in transition” in 1992.
  • Responsibilities –  The phrase first proposed by the U.S. and China in November 2014, “in the light of different national circumstances,” is still there at the beginning of the agreement, and the square brackets are now gone. The language is aimed at breaking down the rigid divide between the wealthy, who have traditionally shouldered the brunt of responsibility for climate change, and poorer countries that are still industrializing.
  • Loss, Damages – Developing countries would like to see the developed world – which emitted most of the CO2, historically – help them deal with damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. But while the U.S. and European Union are willing to pony up, they don’t want to expose themselves to massive legal liability. Delegates are arguing over two matters: 1) A plan to address losses and damages for both ‘extreme events’ and ‘slow onset events’ caused by climate change. Or 2) simply offer no reference to loss and damage, a position likely unacceptable to the G77.
  • 1.5 or 2 C degree – Still undecided (see more below on the island nations), there remains a large challenge over whether the temperature rise goal will be less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Those words are mentioned throughout the text.  There is also text requiring the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 or 2019 on the effects of a 1.5 degree temperature rise and the emissions cuts needed to reach that limit. Saudi Arabia blocked the inclusion of 1.5 degrees in yesterday’s discussion, saying it was in the interest of developing countries.  US lead Negotiator Todd Stern says today the limit will stay at 2C.
  • Intellectual Property – Still nothing on IP issues yet.  This remains a major problem in the tech transfer debate but still remains in flux.

How It Works – The French have really taken over the administration of the negotiations and lead official Laurent Fabius is running the show under a stern, precise schedule.  Our friends from POLITICO say negotiators have formed a committee (almost like the Committee of the Whole House when the House of Reps legislates) where much of the draft text will be negotiated.  While the Committee is meeting for the first time now, closed door meetings remain a constant.  Fabius has been clear that officials must be finalized by the weekend, trying to avoid the typical overtime sessions that these events often run into.  Finally, Fabius has also developed a team of 14 “facilitators” pairing negotiators from a developed and developing country, with each responsible for the central policy areas still in play.

 

EVENTS

Sen Dems In Paris – Speaking of Senators, Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Cory Booker (NJ) traveled to Paris over the weekend, returning today in time for Senate Budget action.  Led by Cardin, the delegation met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the U.S. negotiating team and delegates from other countries during their trip.

EPA, Energy Kerry In the House – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and Sect of State Kerry are all in Paris for the second week push.  McCarthy arrived on Saturday and will be in Paris through December 10, While in Paris, McCarthy will highlight the Obama administration’s new greenhouse gas rules for power plants. She’ll appear with Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s Energy and Climate Action commissioner for an event on the rule today.   Tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. EDT, Moniz will participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial on implementation and ambition beyond Paris, while at 6:45 a.m., McCarthy will hold a side event on EPA’s role in meeting the US climate action plan.  Finally, McCarthy will lead a White House CEQ side event on implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday at 7:15 a.m.

You can see news and each day’s agenda Here:  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/

You can watch live here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

Monday – Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference tonight at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary, Climate Hustle.

Tuesday – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will host a presser at 1:00 pm Paris time, Room 3 to issue a call to action to governments to create strong signals for clean energy investment in the Paris climate change agreement. Press conference participants will also discuss the actions taken by these companies and sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the speakers BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, Johnson Controls’ Clay Nester and Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar.  You can see live steam here.

Tuesday – Former VP and climate gadfly Al Gore delivers a slide presentation on the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis, La Loire, Blue Zone

Wednesday – Moniz, California Gov. Jerry Brown, UN official Christiana Figueres and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria will hold a side-event discussion on the future of energy.

Wednesday – OSTP Director John Holdren, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan discuss the climate and the Energy-Water-Food Nexus solving interdisciplinary problems with interdisciplinary solutions.

Wednesday –  EEI and the International Emissions Trading Association co-sponsor an event to highlight how utilities might use carbon trading markets to meet CPP targets.  Officials from PG&E, Calpine Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway will participate, and EPA air chief Janet McCabe will speak.

Thursday – Business leaders will hold a side event in Room 5 at 3:00 pm Paris time which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – on Friday, Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

NRECA Joins Event to Highlight Co-op Role – Yesterday, NRECA’s Martin Lowery joined cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.  At the event, leaders discussed the intrinsic qualities of co-operatives that allows them to be natural allies in fighting climate change, especially considering their long-term commitment, their resilience, and their capacity to simultaneously act on several levels. Firstly, co-operatives have long-term commitment. As they are not listed on the stock exchange, they are under no obligation to act according to their share price, nor are they dependent upon the opinions of analysts.  Naturally, to be commercially viable, they must be cost-efficient, but they are able to invest according to a broader horizon. They can consider the consequences of their actions for future generations, a determining skill when fighting climate change.  As businesses serving individuals and communities, co-operatives have proven their great resilience and their capacity to endure crises. In doing so, they contribute to stable economies. Their model can be adapted and used anywhere in the world.

Harbert Takes on Climate Issues – Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the Energy Institute, was on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show on Monday explaining why American consumers and businesses should be seriously concerned about the COP21 negotiations.  She outlined the consequences America will face if the Obama administration continues its push for an unrealistic and lopsided climate agreement, including:

  • How the Obama Administration is making promises it won’t be able to keep.
  • How a lopsided agreement would favor U.S. competitors and put America’s energy advantage at risk.
  • How some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, like China and India, get a free pass to emit as much as they want.
  • How the pledges countries have made will have no real impact on emissions.
  • How the Obama Administration will most likely commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions without advice or approval from Congress.

Chamber Launches Site to Monitor Talks – One way you can stay informed about how this conference is to visit the new Chamber  COP21 webpage to learn more about the conference, learn the Obama administrations’ plans, and get updates throughout the two-week meeting.   USCoC’s Steve Eule is headed to Paris and will be reporting.

Barrasso releases Senate Report – Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, released a new report entitled: Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015. The report outlines how President Obama plans to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. It also highlights how the president is undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris.

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

  • The president is forcing American taxpayers to pay for past economic success through his contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • The president and foreign nations in Paris plan to bypass Congress to reach a climate change deal, thus eliminating the voice of the American people who are opposed to his climate change policies.
  • The president is demonstrating failed leadership as he is making false promises to foreign countries about his capability to meet his greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • By undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris, the president is threatening jobs, industries and communities at home.  

11 Countries Still Haven’t Made Pledges – Only 11 countries, for varying reasons, have yet to submit their individual pledges for carbon emissions reductions at the international climate summit in Paris.

Nicaragua, which has a booming renewable energy sector, refused to submit a goal because the developed world needs to take “historic responsibility” and make deeper cuts than it has proposed so far.  Venezuela’s minister of eco-socialism, Guillermo Barreto, said his country is waiting to see what other countries promise before submitting a target.  Other countries that have not submitted goals include North Korea, which isn’t participating in the climate talks; Syria, which is gripped by civil war; Libya, which remains politically unstable; and Nepal, which usually plays a key role in climate negotiations but is recovering from this year’s devastating earthquake.  The other holdouts are Uzbekistan, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and East Timor, the only country of the 40 aided by the United Nations Development Program.

Bhutan is Biggest Pledge – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made the world’s most far-reaching climate promise to the Paris climate summit, according to the ‘carbon comparator’ tool developed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).  Almost three quarters of the mountainous nation is covered in forests, often watered by snowmelt rivers, and Bhutan has pledged to reforest its land even further. Last summer, it set a world record for the most trees planted in one hour – nearly 50,000.  The country is now an unparalleled carbon sink, absorbing three times more CO2 emissions than its 700,000 population produces, mostly through hydropower. A substantial portion of the country lacks access to the electricity grid, however.

Kerry Rolling Stone Interview – Some much for actually discussing music, Rolling Stone after featuring Al Gore, James Hansen and President Obama, have Now turned their praise to John  Kerry.  Kerry, in his infinite brilliance, says climate change is the fight of our times.   Here is the Jeff Goodell Interview.

UN Report Favors Renewables –A head-to-head U.N. Environment Program analysis comparing the environmental impacts of six power generation sources found that while no electricity fuel is benign, renewable resources such as wind and solar present a tiny fraction of the environmental downsides of coal and natural gas. The report found  that renewable energy produces only 5 to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions of comparably sized coal-fired power generation under a life-cycle scenario. Wind and solar fared similarly well against natural gas, producing only 8 to 10% of the greenhouse gases of comparable gas-fired power plants.  Other environmental damages — including impacts of water and mineral resources — were three to eight times lower for renewable energy resources than for fossil fuels based on a life-cycle evaluation, the analysis found. In addition to coal, natural gas, wind and solar, the analysis evaluated the impacts of hydropower and geothermal energy. It did not evaluate nuclear power.

Bill Gates Weighs in On Nuclear – One person was talking nuclear.  Following the big Breakthrough Coalition roll out, Bill Gates said nuclear power must be a part any clean energy future.  Gates joined with Nuclear for Climate, an initiative launched by members of the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS). It now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 140 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.  They outline a number of key principles on nuclear power and is role as part of the solution.  You can see those here.

Re-Write May include Public/Private Funding– With the Still divisions between developing and developed countries as wide as ever, the G77 and China have expressed specific concern that developed countries are trying to re-write the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change by aiming to include private as well as public money to pay for climate change costs (developing countries prefer government cash) and make better-off developing countries shoulder more of the burden.

Island Nations Demanding 1.5 C Limit – Negotiators from small island nations and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are pushing to include language in the agreement that lowers the current target for limiting the rise in global temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Media reports say tensions over the issue continue to boil over in closed-door meetings in the backroom negotiations.  here last night and

UN Climate Head Temp Demand Won’t Crash Deal – Given the realization already expressed by US and other leaders, delegates have been raising significant concerns whether it could threaten the outcome of the talks.  The buzz has caught the attention of UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres, who told reporters, “No, we do not think that that is going to block [a final deal]. Everyone here agrees that we do need to head for the deepest decarbonization pathways.”  She said there is room to negotiate a compromise on the issue, adding, “It is not a discussion about the temperatures. That is just a proxy. It is a discussion about the decarbonization of the economy.” Of course, the type of disagreement won’t collapse the talks because most countries are likely to agree to anything that will create a deal without any real intention of following through anyway, so it won’t matter if it is 2 or 1.5 C, it will be whatever it takes.

Report: Island Residents Will Relocate – Speaking of Island countries, a new first-of-its-kind survey by the U.N. University and the European Union says many residents of low-lying Pacific islands would consider moving if the impacts of climate change — like storms and rising seas — worsen, yet few have enough money to do so.  Respondents from more than 70% of households surveyed in Kiribati and Tuvalu and 35% of those in Nauru said they would be willing to move if climate change worsened. With average monthly earnings at $12 per capita, only 26% of the 6,852 people surveyed in the three nations believed they had enough savings to migrate.

Can’t Please Them All – Tuvalu’s prime minister and a top climate negotiator Enele Sosene Sopoaga was annoyed He wasn’t Invite to President Obama’s Island Meeting last week and he accused the President of trying to divide island nations at the climate change negotiations.  He also said that vulnerable countries should to stand firm in their push for recognition of the losses and damage faced by poor countries.

Cuts by Cities, Regions, Companies Alone Surpass Total Global Iron/Steel Sector – Global action in support of a new, universal climate change agreement that unlocks faster progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future for all was revealed today in a report by Yale University which underscores the speed, breadth and depth of growing alignment between government, cities, business and civil society.

The report by Yale’s Data Driven Environmental Solutions finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two UN-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector.  Released on the eve of the UN climate conference’s Action Day-COP21, the report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

Polls Show Low Concern Over Climate – Opinion polls taken in the run-up to the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris show battling climate change is not high on the agenda for many people around the world.  GlobeScan surveyed approximately 1,000 people in each of 20 countries and found majorities in only four – Canada, France, Spain, and the UK – would have their governments set ambitious targets at the Paris climate conference. GlobeScan found less than half of those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem in 2015, compared with 63 percent who did so in a similar GlobeScan survey taken just before an international climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2009, majorities in eight countries wanted strong climate action. The number of survey participants rating climate change as a very serious issue meriting strong action has increased in only four of the 20 countries polled, declining in the other 16 countries.  Closer to home, a November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters in the United States found only 3 percent listed “climate change” as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Six percent of registered Democrats surveyed listed global warming as their top concern, as did 1 percent of registered Republicans.

 

MORE RESOURCES

Special thanks to my long-time friend and former NYT science reporter Andy Revkin for his resource suggestions.  He is covering for NYT and Pace University at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?_r=0

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

Twitter: A recommended first stop, of course, is Twitter, through the hashtag #COP21. For important secondary issues, there’s #climatefinance and #climatejustice.

What’s Going On: For basic developments at the negotiations, there’s no better source than the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, with a name dating from when it was a hastily printed flyer in the early days of environmental treaty-making. It’s now an excellent online portal and has a very active Twitter feed, @IISDRSClimate Home is similar and similarly helpful.

Website On Paris: One of the most significant signs that this round of talks was different than in previous years came when Climate Nexus, a climate communication initiative set up in 2011 by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, launched a website on the talks called TheRoadThroughParis.org. It could as easily have been The Road to Paris, but in that subtle shift, made the important point that what is being created is a long-term process more than some grand outcome. The related Twitter feed is @ClimateNexus.  Even if you reject the policy prescriptions or science interpretations of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the director, Benny Peiser, is an energetic aggregator of climate coverage that you might otherwise miss. I tell my communication students at Pace University that it’s important to recognize the “filter bubble” we tend to create around ourselves and poke one’s head out on occasion.

NYT Portal on Paris: The Times news desk has also set up a portal for running coverage called “Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris.”
IN THE NEWS

USS Cole Commander to Ryan, McConnell:  Crude Exports are Risk – Given the Congressional budget discussions surrounding a possible crude exports deal, the former commander of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.  Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was bombed by al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Solar Report Shows Corporate Growth – Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183% among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59% growth in solar installations since just last year.  For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked #1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.  Other top companies recognized for both their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota.

UMich Study Questions CCS Economics – A new study from University of Michigan researchers  says there are serious flaws in a decade’s worth of studies about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate.  The U-M researchers have found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency.   The new analysis puts the cost of reducing carbon emissions with CCS-equipped coal plants higher than any previous study—and most importantly, higher than wind and comparable to solar power. It’s the first study to confront the so-called “energy loop” inherent in the CCS process.  Beyond a one-time “energy penalty” these plants pay because they have to burn more coal to power devices that capture carbon, the researchers say the disadvantage compounds until fuel costs leap to four times today’s accepted estimates. The paper on the findings, titled Reassessing the Efficiency Penalty from Carbon Capture in Coal-Fired Power Plants was published in Environmental Science and Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Pompeo Calls for Reg Moratorium – Following last week’s roll out of the Administration’s overburdensome regulatory agenda,  Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote Speaker Ryan urging him to consider an 18-month “pause” on Energy Department efficiency rulemaking into the omnibus spending bill.   In his letter, the Kansas Republican said that while the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, DOE’s efficiency rules were being rushed out with little recognition of the costs.  Pompeo praised amendments to the original fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill from his GOP colleagues that would defund DOE regulatory work on ceiling fans, incandescent lamps and residential furnaces. But he’s opted to go for everything on the whole menu.

Oil Jobs Taking a Hit – While the economy’s job number improved in November, the number of people employed in the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector fell by 2,400 in November to 184,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The November figure was 16,200 down from the 201,000 people who were employed in the sector a year earlier, when the industry began sharply ramping back spending on oil drilling as oil prices tumbled.  Employment levels in the coal extraction sector also continued to decline, slipping 1,300 in November to 64,900. Those workers had numbered 72,700 a year ago.  For years, while the economy struggled, the oil and gas sector carried the job number on its back, but with low global prices still struggling to rebound, the sector continues to lose jobs.

PSEG Exec to Head AGA Board – While assuming the 2016 Board Chairmanship of the  American Gas Association (AGA), PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said the US has an opportunity to create jobs and revitalize our economy through increased use of natural gas.  At an event at AGA headquarters in Washington, DC this morning, LaRossa shared his vision for investing in the next generation of the energy workforce.   “A diverse and motivated workforce is the key to continued success in the energy sector,” LaRossa said. “People who are dedicated and focused on delivering good quality service are going to serve the customers in the best way possible.”  LaRossa also discussed several priorities for making his vision a reality, including the continued improvement and efficiency of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, the recently introduced SAFE PIPES ACT, the significant role natural gas plays in spurring economic growth, and helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place to expand delivery of natural gas to more homes and businesses.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at GHG Rules – POWER magazine is hosting a one-day conference in Las Vegas today that will provide power generators and industry partners with access to the latest developments and insights concerning the legal aspects of compliance with environmental regulations.  The conference looks at existing power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations.  EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow and former Air Office head Bob Meyers are among the speakers.

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum tomorrow on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp, DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

House Science Panel to Look at Biotech – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on the future of biotechnology.  The hearing will look at solutions for energy, agriculture and manufacturing.  Witnesses will include Mary Maxon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steve Evans of Dow AgroSciences, Martin Dickman of Texas A&M’s  Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotech and several others.

Senate Commerce to Take on Climate – The Senate Commerce Committee Panel on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the debate over the magnitude of human impact on Earth’s climate. The hearing will focus on the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.  Witnesses will include John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, Princeton’s Will Happer, author Mark Steyn and Penn State’s David Titley, who serves are the director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

Heritage to Look at New Silk Road Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum on Wednesday looking at transportation and energy issues in the 21st Century in the traditional “Silk Road” region.  The area from the Baltic and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is more active than ever. In the area includes the Southern Gas Corridor, will significantly affect the political climate in Eurasia. The Gas Corridor is especially important in light of the complicated relationships between Russia and the European Union and Turkey.  The Heritage forum will focus on the future of The New Silk Road and new transportation projects such as the Port of Baku and the Kars-Tbilisi-Erzurum railroad. Our speakers will address the technical, political, economic, and security concerns related to each of the projects and routes as well as the infrastructure needs, potential pitfalls, and opportunity costs.  Keynote speakers will include State Department Energy official Amos Hochstein and Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidashell.

Group to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global Nexus Initiative will hold a briefing at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Wednesday at noon on the role of nuclear power in addressing climate change, expectations for the UNFCCC COP-21, and release of policy memo and recommendations.  Featured speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Ken Luongo, NEI’s Mary Pietrzyk and former Natsource exec Richard Rosenzweig.

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

NAPE Hits Denver – The National Assn of Petroleum Engineers (NAPE) will hold their annual conference and expo in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Business Conference will hear from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and will feature other  leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its Thursday Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

Senate Energy to Look at Terrorism, Oil – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine terrorism and the global oil markets.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Energy – The Howard Baker Forum, the United States-Japan Roundtable and the Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies will host a forum on Thursday addressing the US-Japanese challenges of energy security and climate change.   The event will focus on how the two strategic partners address challenges like  what role must nuclear power play and mitigating climate concerns.

Event Looks at Demand-Side Innovations – The George Washington University and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will host a forum on Thursday looking at demand-side innovations.  For many years, innovation policy has focused on the support of the supply side, looking at market and system failures that prevent those generating innovation from doing so effectively and efficiently enough. In recent years, however, demand side policies have had a revival in the innovation policy debate. However, their application is still contested, and the roll out of those measures does not keep pace with the rhetoric about them. University of Manchester Alliance Business School’s Jakob Edler will speak.  He is the director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research.  Edler will introduce the concept of demand side innovation policy, explain why and when they are justified and present and discuss a typology of instruments. It will then discuss the major challenges of demand side policy instruments which all too often are not known to or underestimated by policy makers. The lecture will highlight some of those challenges using the example of public procurement of innovation, and will close with an appeal to a radically new way of understanding and applying innovation policy.

CNAS Forum to Look at Climate Security, Mitgration – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for New American Security will host an event on climate security and migration. The event will explore questions of how the United States, in collaboration with foreign partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society, should tackle future climate migration. Climate-related issues are  become increasingly severe and manifest in issues such as migration that policy leaders will need to address in the near and mid-term. Potential mass migration events in the future will have global and local implications from governance, policy, technical, legal and financial perspectives, and may feature a climate or weather nexus in managing the causes and consequences of migration. The events over the summer and fall in Europe, albeit not due to climate change, were illustrative of the scale of the challenges involved for policymakers and security leaders. Climatic change will add another layer to the challenges the global community will face in addressing migration, including explicitly climate change-driven migration, in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, CNAS’s event looks to bring together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the ways in which members of the international community can partner together to address the impacts of climate change and migration.  Speakers will include Richard Fontaine, Lars Bo Møller, Sharon E. Burke, Daniel Chiu, Sherri Goodman, and more.

Carnegie Event to Look at Oil, Climate – On Friday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Bloomberg Intelligence are co-hosting an event to discuss the future of oil and climate change in the twenty-first century. This event will be held in conjunction with the COP21 climate conference. The event takes place in Salle 10 of the “Climate Generations” area at the COP21 facilities in Le Bourget.  Speakers include Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon and Bloomberg Intelligence’s Rob Barrett, as well as several others.

Forum to Look at DoD Climate Readiness – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon featuring Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health.  Sullivan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.  Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.
FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing next Monday at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday December 16th at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – Next Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Energy Update: Week of November 9

Friends,

 

Well that was a bizarre week last week…  Finally, the Keystone Pipeline.  While it was somewhat expected, the decision regarding Keystone sends a bad signal to the energy sector.  The Administration’s major plans for new energy sources – from bringing natural gas to market to developing alternative renewable energy to enhancing the benefit of shale development – all require commitments to overcoming obstacles to new infrastructure.  But the lesson of Keystone is that support for infrastructure in certain circles extends only as far as the politics of the moment.

 

One more final item on Keystone timing:  certainly its timing prior to Paris is relevant, but perhaps more important is the pass that it gives newly-elected Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who likely opposes Keystone but could never really say that.  How will Canada respond in Paris to this favor?  Maybe a good questions to ask.  All right, let’s really say no more about this after reading my friend Dave Roberts’ final column on it.   The only thing that may remain is the litigation that will likely follow.

 

In case you missed it with shiny objections of Exxon and Keystone, you may have missed an actual important issue:  countries took a historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change.  AHRI President Steve Yurek was in Dubai ahead of negotiators and industry support helped paved the way for success.

 

No action in Congress this week as Members return home to Congressional districts to celebrate our veterans on Wednesday.  Always a great opportunity to thank veterans for our freedoms, but in reality every day ought to be Veterans Day.

 

NARUC is going full bore already in Austin starting yesterday.  They have Gina McCarthy in the house today.  IPAA is holding its 86th annual meeting in New Orleans today and tomorrow.  Finally, EPA launches its FIP rule public hearings starting in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.  They roll on next week in Denver (M, Tu), DC (W, Th) and Atlanta (Th, F).  Speaking of GHGs, our friends at E&E News are featuring a new map on their Power Plan Hub focusing on which states are suing and including a chart explaining whether they are writing compliance plans.  As well, the Council on Foreign Relations had a great piece from Jeff Colgan on why last week’s China Coal miscalculation really matters.

 

Get ready for next week as Congress returns for another busy week session before the Thanksgiving break.   Expect hearings on GHG regs, climate change, Paris, the oil & gas well control rule and RFS among other items.  And remember:  the RFS rule is due by the end of November, but you may recall, the decision was dropped last year the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (…I’m just sayin’… )  Last week a bipartisan group of 184 House members sent a letter that calls on the EPA to set the final level for ethanol in 2016 at a level that would account for the 10% blendwall.

 

Finally today, there is a new NERA analysis shows EPA’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation. The state-by-state breakdown shows consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20%.

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

World Leaders to Expand Montreal Protocol to Include HFCs – You may have missed it last week, but countries took a historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. Reaching agreement on this decision by the Parties will pave the way to help all countries transition to alternatives and away from HFCs.  The decision charts a course for additional high-level dialogue to reach consensus on setting a timeframe for freezing and ultimately phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs.  The U.S., with the HVAC industry in support, has been pushing for this for a number of years now, only to meet with determined opposition from many developing nations. The fact we now have agreement on parameters for what would be acceptable in an amendment next year is the fruit of long and serious negotiation and persuasion by the government and NGOs.

 

Refrigerants Industry Paved the Way for the Deal – Stephen Yurek, President & CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, was in Dubai using industry support to pave the way for the negotiations.   Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate  refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal.”

 

NERA Report Shows Tough ImpactsNew analysis from NERA Economic Consulting shows EPA’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation.  Despite these enormous costs, the rule does nothing to prevent global climate change.  Despite the fact that the president’s plan will have virtually no effect on climate change, NERA’s analysis shows that all of the Lower 48 states will see electricity price increases because of the rule.  Consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20 percent. The annual cost of at least $30 billion per year for the plan is three times greater than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics rule, which the U.S. Supreme Court criticized by saying, “It is not rational … to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in … benefits.”

 

EWG Report Says 2nd Gen Biofuels Crowded out by Ethanol – EWG and University of California experts have released a new report that says compared to corn ethanol, biofuels from next-generation feedstocks could greatly reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.  EWG measured the carbon emitted over the life cycle of ethanol made from switchgrass and from corn stover, the stalks and leaves left on fields after harvest. EWG’s analysis found that the life-cycle carbon intensity of corn stover ethanol is 96% lower than gasoline and that of switchgrass ethanol is 47% lower than gasoline.

By contrast, EPA studies show that the life-cycle carbon intensity of conventional corn ethanol is greater than gasoline. Yet current federal policy – the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, established in 2005 – strongly favors the production of corn ethanol at the expense of cleaner alternatives.

 

States File Suit Against New Power Plant Rule – West Virginia today led 22 other states in suing over EPA’s carbon rule for new power plants, expanding its litigation into the second of the two power plant carbon rules published last month.  The suit says only that the rule – which requires new coal-fired power plants to use partial carbon capture technology to limit their emissions – oversteps EPA’s authority and is “not in accordance with law.”  The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate new sources of pollution before existing sources, meaning that if the new plant rule is tossed out by a court, the larger Clean Power Plan goes down as well.  The states involved in the suit are West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Also party to the suit are the Arizona Corporation Commission, and environmental agencies for Louisiana and North Carolina. New Jersey, which joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging EPA’s carbon rules for existing plants, did not participate in today’s filing. The new lawsuit likely will be joined with one brought against the new plant rule last month by North Dakota. Murray Energy and the Energy & Environment Legal Institute have also sued over the new plant rule.

 

FOIA Gadflies Connect Enviro, EPA Collaboration – New Litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has revealed more damning and highly relevant facts regarding the Clean Power Plan’s impact and connection between environmental activists and EPA staff.   E&E Legal’s Chris Horner: “Collusion with green groups is the hallmark of this EPA; here it affirms these rules were plainly created clearly outside of the law, and warrant an immediate stay.”  EPA’s GHG rules have already caused numerous plants to close, according to an email and XLS spreadsheet attachment sent by Sierra Club lobbyist John Coequyt to a senior EPA official and former Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawyer, Michael Goo.  Goo was featured in a New York Times article as part of the “NRDC mafia” which made its way into government and was tasked with drafting EPA’s Options Memo.  E&E Legal added internal Sierra spreadsheet’s “comments: for review and deletion” section, the group privately acknowledges that the prospect of these rules had already led to the shelving of 16 advanced coal-fired plants in 13 states, although “there is not a small chance that they [sic] company could decide to revive the proposal” if the rules were not sufficiently tight.  In turn, and again recalling the Pebble Mine scandal, Goo turned to his private Yahoo email account to send draft “new source” Options language to Coequyt.  All during the time that this was supposedly a purely internal EPA process.  Goo emails only came to light because of a FOIA suit.  Among the correspondence is an email from Coequyt stating, “Attached is a memo that I didn’t want to send in public” (hence Yahoo).  That memo created a roadmap regarding existing sources, explaining the mechanics and concluding, “EPA can therefore establish a performance standard for existing plants that is not achievable.”  EPA has done just that.  Also at key moments in the rules’ timeline, NRDC officials David Hawkins and Dan Lashof (the latter now working for Tom Steyer’s climate advocacy empire) used Goo’s Yahoo account to provide internal NRDC analyses regarding what standards EPA might impose.

WSJ Hammers EPA Rule – In an editorial last week the Wall Street Journal hammer the EPA and President Obama over his carbon rule pointing to as 26 states and dozens of business groups that filed suits against “his takeover of the carbon economy.”  The Journal says EPA has earned a stay and deserves no administrative deference because it rewrote the “definition to direct states to regulate ‘outside the fence line’ of power plants well beyond the best tech. They must not only decommission sources of carbon energy, but they must also run the green gamut from mandating a new fleet of wind and solar, building new transmission lines, creating more efficiency subsidy programs for consumers and much else.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

IPAA Hosts 86th Annual Meeting in New Orleans – The Independent Petroleum Association of America will host its 86th annual meeting at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, La today and tomorrow. Speakers will include The Honorable Edward Djerejian, Alex Epstein, David Wasserman with The Cook Political Report, and John England, among others.

 

McCarthy to Address NARUC Meeting – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioner (NARUC) hold its 127th annual meeting  today through Wednesday at the JW Marriot in Austin, Texas.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners Tony Clark, Cheryl LaFleur and Collette Honorable, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and climate official Joe Goffman, North American Electric Reliability Corp’s Thomas Coleman and our friend Larry Monroe of Southern Company.

 

ANS Winter Meeting to Feature NRC Chair – The American Nuclear Society is holding its winter meetings today through Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park.  NRC Chair Stephen Burns and former NH Sen Judd Gregg will speak

 

France Hosts Pre-COP UN Meeting – France hosts a pre-COP meeting in Paris today and tomorrow where UN Ministers will focus on issues ranging from how to mitigate climate change to providing financial aid to help poorer countries adapt to its effects after 2020.  Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s climate and energy commissioner, will attend the pre-COP and hold meetings on the sidelines with Fabius, Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, and ministers from the Alliance of Small Island States and African Group.

 

AEI to Host UK Foreign Secretary on Climate Innovation – The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host as the UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss conservative beliefs in innovation and free markets — and how they shape his approach to the risks and opportunities of a changing climate.

USEA to Host Forum On Crude Exports – Tomorrow at Noon, the U.S. Energy Association will host Brookings expert Charles Ebinger to speak on the potential for U.S. crude oil exports.  Ebinger will discuss the economic advantages of lifting the crude oil export ban as well as Keystone XL, falling oil prices, and drilling in Alaska.

 

Georgetown Forum Looks at Arctic, Climate – The Mortara Center for International Studies host the next meeting of the Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at Georgetown looking at the impacts and effects of climate change in the Arctic.  The energy and climate policy research seminar aims to enhance intellectual exchange among faculty and students by providing a forum to discuss research and policy topics related to the international and domestic dimensions of energy and climate change policy. Speakers will include members of the Georgetown community as well as invited faculty and practitioners from the Washington area and beyond.

 

Groups to Discuss Paris Climate Meeting – The U.S. Climate Action Network will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to discuss key issues for the UN Climate negotiations, including national commitments to cut emissions and expand clean energy, fairness and equity considerations, and initiatives to build resilience in highly vulnerable countries.   Speakers will include Jose Aguto of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Oxfam America’s Heather Coleman, the NAACP’s Kathy Egland and Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

AU Symposium to Look at UN Paris Meeting – The American University Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication will hold its annual symposium on Wednesday looking at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris taking place in December of this year. This conference will be of ultimate importance in determining how to move the world forward in addressing climate change. The 195 countries that are parties to the UNFCCC committed to create a new international climate agreement by the end of COP-21. The symposium will include panels featuring leading experts on climate change, domestic environmental law, and international environmental law who will discuss various issues surrounding the negotiations. The topics will include particular focus on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, economic implications of the negotiations, the 2- degree goal and whether it is feasible, and the means for reaching the goals and purposes of the UNFCCC.

 

JHU to Look at Climate in Caucuses – Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. in the Rome Building, the Johns Hopkins University will host a forum that will discuss climate change in the Caucasus.

 

Forum Looking at Energy Project Finance Set – The Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment (WCEE), AE2C and Johns Hopkins’ SAIS program will host a lunchtime seminar on Thursday featuring Jenny Hou, a General Partner at SunEnergi Capital.  Hou will provide an overview of the energy project finance decision-making process and offers insight as to why some energy projects are successful while others are not.

 

BPC Forum to Discuss Nuclear Waste – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. the Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on novel approaches, solutions and considerations to nuclear waste.  The event will focus on innovations in Korea.

 

Goodell to Address AU Forum – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, the Global Environmental Politics Program at American University’s School of International Service, American University, and Eco-Sense, American University’s student run environmental organization, is hosting a forum with Jeff Goodell on Thursday.  Goodell will join Professor Paul Wapner to talk about his conversation with the President, the prospects for a climate agreement in Paris and what comes next, and his thoughts on the world’s options for avoiding catastrophic climate change.

 

NAS Social Carbon Cost Board to Meet – On Friday at noon, the National Academies of Science’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education – Board on Environmental Change and Society is convening the third meeting of its Committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon.  More on this next week.

 

On Friday at Noon, the Heritage Foundation will hold a forum on the movement on many college campuses urging schools to divest their endowment funds of any companies that produce fossil fuels. The protesters argue we must dramatically reduce the amount of fossil fuels used each year in order to prevent climate change. In their view, schools have a moral imperative to purge their portfolios of companies that produce such fuels.  When politicians, protestors and activists attack fossil fuel companies and their profitability, it’s important to remember who owns these companies and where that money goes: to the American people, toward retirement funds and toward school endowments to build stronger institutions. Join us for a panel discussion to learn more about the problems with the push for fossil divestment and who it hurts the most.  Speakers Rachelle Peterson of the National Association of Scholars, Stan Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, AFPM’s Brendan Williams and Heritage expert David Kreutzer.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 on Monday, November 16th.

 

Hudson Forum to Look at China, US Emission, Energy – Next, Monday, the Hudson Institute will host a day-long conference featuring energy policy experts from both China and the U.S.  As the world’s second largest economy, China’s energy demands are growing fast. In the next fifteen years, China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest oil consumer, and Russia as the world’s second largest natural gas consumer. By 2035, China is expected to become the world’s largest energy importer, as its energy production rises 47%, while consumption rises by 60%. China’s oil import dependence is projected to rise from 60% in 2013 to 75% in 2035.

 

Solar Groups Look at Green Building – The SunShot Initiative, SEIA, and PVMC are hosting a Green Building Solar Summit next Monday at 1:00 p.m. that will coincide with Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which will bring thousands of architects, builders, and real estate professionals to Washington DC.  The Summit will feature a mix of panels and facilitated discussion to explore critical structural, contractual and financial barriers and identify opportunities to work collaboratively to find innovative solutions and expand the commercial solar market.  Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager, Soft Costs with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and Rhone Resch, President & CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, will open the day with introductory remarks followed by a series of lighting talks to provide context on the trends and issues across the solar and green building communities. PVMC will also provide a preview of its 2016 Commercial Solar Initiative.  The second part of the afternoon will be dedicated to engaging the commercial real estate and green building communities in discussion on innovative financing instruments. SEIA will also present its new Finance Initiative, spearheaded by the organization’s Senior Director, Project Finance, and Mike Mendelsohn.

 

VLS Forum to Look at CPP – Next Tuesday, the Vermont Law School’s second annual Alumni in Energy Symposium will look at EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the lawsuits challenging it. This panel will discuss the ongoing litigation related to the Clean Power Plan and likely outcomes.  Speakers will include NRDC’s David Doniger, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, former EPA General Counsel and industry Coalition legal lead Roger Martella and NYU’s Richard Revesz.

 

Wilson Center to Focus on Climate, Security Issues – Next Tuesday, November 17th at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will release a report exploring the intersection of climate change, drivers of insecurity, and U.S. national security priorities in the Asia-Pacific region.  As the United States reorients its foreign policy approach to the Asia-Pacific region, it must seriously consider the impacts of climate change, argues a new report from the Center for Climate and Security. How can the United States help improve the region’s climate resilience, and at the same time, strategically adapt to a rapidly changing security environment?

 

 

EPA CAAAC to Meet on Ozone Implementation, CPP – EPA will host a CAAAC and Air Toxics Work Group meetings on November 17th and 18th.

 

House Science to Dig Back Into Climate, GHG Plan – The House Science Committee will host a hearing on Wednesday November 18th on the President’s Clean Power Plan and its role in Paris negotiations.

 

McCarthy to Talk Energy with Bloomberg – On Wednesday, November 18th, Bloomberg will host a breakfast conversation with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, managing editors of Bloomberg Politics and hosts of “With All Due Respect” on Bloomberg Television, to discuss the future of energy and where the 2016 candidates stand.   EPA’s Gina McCarthy will sit down with Mark and John for an interview about the state of energy and climate policy in America, followed by a wide-ranging panel discussion about how policy and politics intersect to shape the energy marketplace, featuring former South Carolina Republican Congressman and Executive Director of republicEn.org Bob Inglis, GE Ventures’ Senior Executive Director of Energy Ventures Colleen Calhoun, and more.

 

Former EPA Official to Address Climate Issues – ICF will host an Energy Breakfast on Thursday November 19th at the National Press Club to look at the Paris Climate Meeting.  Starting in late November, the 21st  meeting of the Council of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Paris to deliberate on how countries can individually and collectively mitigate global climate change.  Former EPA #2 Bob Perciasepe, a regular participant in these negotiations, as he handicaps the negotiations and informs us about what will be the “make or break” issues in Paris this time.

 

Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold an oversight hearing to receive testimony on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production.  We will have more on this next week.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Solutions – DC Net Impact will hold a discussion on Thursday November 19th looking at how donor agencies and implementers are adapting to, and mitigating the effects of, climate change in the energy and agriculture sectors. In addition to discussing climate change, the panelists will describe their career paths and answer your questions.

 

Rep. Beyer to Host Climate Forum I Arlington – On Thursday, November 19th at 7:00 p.m.,  U.S. Rep. Don Beyer will host a forum on climate change in the auditorium of George Mason University’s Arlington campus.  Panelists will include experts from government, academia and nonprofit organizations, including Megan Ceronsky of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, EPA’s Shawn Garvin, GMU’s Mona Sarfaty and NRDC’s Aliya Haq.

 

THANKSGIVING – November 26

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th to December 11th

 

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held December 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.