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.

 

Energy Update: Columbus Day 2015

Friends,

 

Thank goodness it is Columbus Day, the holiday to celebrate Italian-Americans, because those of us that end in a vowel really do need more celebrating.  I don’t even know why I’m working today, because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.  But I decided that I would take advantage of the light traffic…and besides, I already watched both Godfather movies last night, so I’m smart, not dumb like everybody thinks.  When I went to bed around 1:00 a.m. (it is a 6+ hour marathon), my wife told me, “sure ‘cause like you haven’t seen that before.”  Not the point though… You must always watch the Godfather or Godfather II, especially if it is the Columbus Day Holiday, because this is the business we have chosen.  I didn’t ask who gave the order.

 

Since business is business, let’s get back to it because we’re all part of the same hypocrisy.   Late last week, we held our annual event at the Society of Environmental Journalists and it was a great success.  It makes no difference to me what a man does for a living, understand, but our friends in the environmental media enjoyed good fun and fellowship with a special thanks to our many sponsors.  We left a good time and took the cannoliBut I’m a superstitious man, so I think we may have jinxed Sooner Nation as they were shockingly upset by Texas Saturday in the Red River Classic.

 

Here in Washington it will be an interesting week with Congress out.  The most exciting event happens Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. when the Newsmakers Committee will host executives from GM and Domino’s Pizza on autonomous vehicles.  It’s an offer you can’t refuse.

 

There is rumor in the land that Wednesday may also be the day that the Administration’s GHG rule may publish in the Federal Register. Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this as a gift:  Should that occur, there are a series of events that will unfold regarding the legal challenges and we will be ready to be front and center.

 

Also Wednesday, the D.C. Bar will hold a forum in its Conference Center looking at the EPA’s GHG Rule with my colleague Jeff Holmstead and other experts trying to decide if the Rule is a masculine child or should sleep with the fishes.

 

Finally, approaching the one-year anniversary of a landmark agreement on reducing refrigerants use, including our friends at AHRI, the White House is holding a follow up event for stakeholders that participated in the agreement on Thursday.   I understand. You found paradise in America, you had a good trade, you made a good living.

 

Oh, and on Wednesday Chris Cornell is in town to play an acoustic show at the Strathmore.  That’s it…Call with questions.  I guess I’m getting too old for my job. Too grouchy. Can’t stand the aggravation.

Energy Update: Week of July 13

Friends,

Last week was pretty bizarre on Capitol Hill, marked by the pulling of the EPA-Interior funding bill.  We’ll see if it returns, but most experts expect to see it only when the Senate takes it up.

This week and last have been European Sports weeks.  Last weekend, the Tour d’ France launched only to get a massive crash in Stage 4, which knocked out the leader.  Stages roll through July 26th with the run into Paris.  Secondly, Wimbledon wrapped up this past weekend with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic both adding to their world tennis domination.  Williams has now won the last four majors and is currently holding the title Grand Slam.  She goes for the Calendar Grand Slam in September at the US Open.  This upcoming Thursday, the British Open kicks off from the historic St. Andrews, so I may not be paying attention much on Thursday and Friday morning.  Oh and don’t forget the trip to Spain for the running of the bulls.. it really gores me when people forget about that historic event.

Despite the delays in the Iran Nuclear Talks, this week is still about what happens with Iran.  We have excellent resources on the topic that can discuss politics, policy, implications, and Iran’s negotiating tactics.  If its not you, please let your colleagues covering know that we can help.

Also important this week is for you to exercise your voting rights… for the SAFE Energy Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  Vote for your favorite technology here.

Secondly, the comment period for the infamous DOE Furnace Rule ends on Friday, so I have responses and information from AHRI, AGA, and many more “hot furnace” items.

Several important hearings this week, including a House Energy grilling of PHMSA over pipeline issues tomorrow.  That feature new, interim Admin Stacy Cummings and our friend Andy Black of AOPL.  Also tomorrow, the House Resources Committee will host BOEM Director Abby Hopper and others to look at the use of seismic testing to explore for oil and gas deposits in the Outer Continental Shelf.

The House Agriculture Committee will vote tomorrow to advance a controversial bill to block state initiatives to label foods made with genetically modified organisms.  To that end, advocates for national, mandatory labeling including Stonyfield Farms Gary Hirshberg, will host a press call tomorrow at 1:30 PM ET to discuss the latest developments and next steps.  The latest version of this bill would overturn state GMO labeling laws, prevent local government from regulating the production of GMO crops, keep FDA from ever creating a mandatory GMO labeling standard, and create even more consumer confusion around the word “natural” on a food label.  EWG’s Scott Faber is great resource on this topic (202-939-9127).  They have a number of resources and experts who can address both the state labeling issues and other pesticide issues.

Wednesday will also feature a Resources Committee hearing on natgas drilling plans on public land while the Judiciary Committee will host OIRA’s Howard Shelanksi. On Thursday, Shelankski heads to the Senate Govt Affairs/Homeland Security panel on to improve the regulatory process, while two Foreign Affairs subcommittees will review renewal of the U.S.-China civil nuclear agreement.

Finally, start getting your GHG rule things together as there are only four weeks until August recess and we expect they will roll it out before.  And one bit of history:  Yesterday in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed former  Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in one of the most famous duels in American history.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

Excising your Right to Vote…for Energy Tech Prize — Voting is underway for the SAFE 2015  Energy Security Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil. The winner of the 2015 Prize will receive $125,000, the first runner up $35,000 and the second runner up $15,000.  SAFE is imploring the public to cast their votes for one of four semifinalists–FreeWire Technologies, Momentum Dynamics, Peloton Technology, and SeaChange Group—to determine the winners. Vote for your favorite technology here.

AHRI Says Furnace Run Impractical – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) late Friday filed comments in response to the DOE’s rule for Residential FurnacesFor many reasons, AHRI cannot support the proposed revised minimum 92% AFUE standard for non-weatherized and mobile home gas furnaces.  AHRI says the NOPR and associated Technical Support Document has identified significant errors and invalid assumptions that lead us to conclude the proposed standard is not economically justified.  They point to 1) DOE’s decision to use randomly assigned variables rather than actual market conditions to determine potential energy savings will result in 40 percent less energy saved, in our estimation; 2) DOE underestimating projected shipments of condensing furnaces in the absence of a new standard by 10%, while overestimating the percentage of the population that would be positively affected by the proposed new standard; 3) DOE’s estimate of the life-cycle costs to consumers for purchase and installation of these products is 2-3 times lower than what those costs would actually be, based on real-world cost data; 4) DOE’s estimate of the increase in manufacturer costs to comply with the proposed rule is too low by approximately 35%; and 5) In 15-20% of situations nationally, there will be installation issues that make it impractical and even impossible to install units that comply with the proposed standard.

AHRI President Says – “Since the passage of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, our furnace manufacturer members have worked continuously to include models at the highest levels of efficiency as part of expanded product lines that provide cost effective choices to meet the diverse heating needs of American consumers,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek.  “Even though the federal minimum efficiency standard for residential furnaces has been essentially unchanged since 1992, today one out of every two residential furnaces shipped by our members is a condensing model utilizing the most efficient technology currently available. It is apparent that consumers are making energy efficient choices, based on their own economic situations, rather than responding to a federal mandate,” he added.

AGA Hits Furnace Rule in Comments – AGA filed comments on DOE’s Furnace rule. The proposed rule would mandate that natural gas furnaces meet a 92 percent or higher specification for energy efficiency. At first glance, the rule appears to be a positive step forward for energy efficiency. In reality, DOE’s proposal would create a number of counterproductive and unintended consequences that could increase energy use.  “Natural gas utilities support energy conservation standards that are technologically feasible, economically justified, based on reasoned analysis and will result in significant conservation of energy as laid out in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act,” said Kathryn Clay, vice president, Policy Strategy for the American Gas Association. “This rule does not meet those standards. Due to flawed analysis and a raft of unintended consequences, this rule, if implemented, would place an undue burden on low-income customers and lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. We have laid out this analysis in detail in our comments submitted today and we urge the Department of Energy to rethink this rulemaking.”  Most furnaces in the U.S. are non-condensing and generally vent through the roof or chimney of a home. Furnaces that meet the 92 percent annual fuel utilization (AFUE) efficiency requirement are condensing furnaces and cannot be connected to the existing venting in a home. They require a new venting system and possible relocation of the equipment. In some homes this is impossible and in others it greatly increases the installation cost of the more energy efficient natural gas heating system options. On average, condensing furnaces cost about $350 more than non-condensing furnaces, along with an additional $1,500 to $2,200 in installation costs.

Complaints About DOE’s Economic Analysis in Rule – Both AGA, APGA and AHRI have complained loudly economic justification and energy savings has significant methodological and data flaws. A corrected analysis shows that a 92 percent AFUE standard is not economically justified and would impose significant costs on American consumers.  DOE’s analysis underestimates the number of consumers that are likely to switch away from natural gas heat and misidentifies which consumers are likely to switch due to the Proposed Rule. These methodological flaws have led DOE to overestimate the benefits, and underestimate the costs, of the proposed standard. Their analysis estimates that its proposed 92 percent AFUE standard would drive 16.3 percent of affected consumers that would otherwise purchase natural a non-condensing gas furnaces to shift to electric heat.  Such fuel switching increases primary energy consumption.  Under DOE’s analysis, the direct energy savings and emission benefits of increased furnace efficiency requirements are offset in very significant part by increased electricity usage from fuel switching caused by the rule.  Moreover, after correcting for DOE’s analytical errors, the proposed standard results in increased source energy use and increased carbon dioxide emissions.  According to DOE’s life-cycle cost analysis, many consumers are worse off under the proposed standard.  DOE projects that the “middle” 41 percent of American consumers would receive no benefit from the proposed standard while 20 percent of households would face higher costs.  In the replacement market, fully one quarter of all households would see a net cost increase. Low-income families and consumers in the Southern U.S. would be the hardest hit, with 39 percent of low-income households in the South bearing higher costs as a direct result of the proposed rule.

The Evidence – A recent study by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) that provides strong technical analysis and demonstrates that DOE’s economic and energy impact analyses use a materially flawed methodology to estimate the costs and benefits of the proposed standard.  These methodological flaws lead DOE to overestimate benefits, and underestimate the costs, of the proposed standard. GTI also conducted a study in June 2014 to evaluate the potential impact of fuel switching if new minimum efficiency standards for natural gas furnaces were to require condensing equipment in the replacement and new construction markets.

White House Praises Community Solar in Larger Rural Pitch – The White House announced a new initiative to increase solar access for rural America, highlighting a number of state, community and private efforts to expand solar.  One of the items highlighted in the White House materials addressed the more than 30 member-owned, not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives in 17 states across the country are committing to install community solar projects by the end of 2016.  This builds on the nearly 20 co-ops nationally that have already brought online community solar projects in the last year.  One of those key places where community solar is having an impact is in Roanoke County, NC where the co-op lead by Curtis Wynne has been a leader in developing solar options for local members.  See more here.

Senators Introduce Offshore Wind Legislation – Sens. Tom Carper and Susan Collins introduced legislation late last week to provide critical financial incentives to encourage investment in offshore wind energy. This legislation would create an investment tax credit that is redeemable for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, amounting to approximately 600 wind turbines.  In the past, Congress has offered a temporary credit for investments in wind power, the last extension of this credit expired December 31, 2014. This credit has been a lifeline to the nascent offshore wind industry, but it has only been extended by periods of one and two years at a time. This leaves the offshore wind industry without the predictability it needs to fully take advantage of the incentive. The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would give the industry the certainty needed to plan investments and maximize deployment of this clean power technology.  The legislation defines offshore facilities as any facility located in the inland navigable waters of the United States, including the Great Lakes, or in the coastal waters of the United States, including the territorial seas of the United States, the exclusive economic zone of United States, and the outer Continental Shelf of the United States.

Groups Urges State Commissions to Protect Consumers – The Institute for Energy Research is sending letters to public utility commissions in all 50 states urging them to protect American families from the imprudent costs of the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.” The letter highlights the findings of IER’s new report on electricity costs. Using data from EIA and FERC, the report finds that existing sources of electricity generation are more affordable than new sources. Electricity from even the least expensive new sources is nearly double the cost of that from existing coal power.  Public utility commissions, which have a responsibility to keep electricity rates affordable, should protect the American people from unnecessary electricity hikes by rejecting policies like the Clean Power Plan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Energy Discusses on Islanded Energy Systems – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to receive testimony on islanded energy systems, as well as energy and infrastructure challenges and opportunities in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Territories.

Forum to Look at Global Oil Issues – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow morning global oil issues. The sharp drop in oil prices is one of the most important global economic developments over the past year. While oil’s long term price outlook remains highly uncertain, a substantial part of its decline is expected to persist into the medium term. IMF’s Aasim M. Husain will discuss implications of these developments for the global economy and financial markets, as well as recommended policy responses for key country groups. He will be joined by BP’s Mark Finley and Carnegie’s Uri Dadush to discuss market trends as well as their economic and political implications for oil-exporting and oil-importing countries.

House Energy to Hear PHMSA Chief – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Energy will host Stacy Cummings, the interim head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, at a hearing tomorrow.  The hearing will explore PHMSA’s progress in implementing mandates included in a 2011 pipeline safety law.  Other witnesses will include Carl Weimer of the Pipeline Safety Trust, Santa Barbara planning director Dianne Black and AOPL head Andy Black.

House Resources to Look at Drilling – The House Resources Committee will host BOEM Director Abby Hopper and others tomorrow to look at the use of seismic testing to explore for oil and gas deposits in the Outer Continental Shelf.  The witnesses include BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper and Robert Gisiner, director of marine environment for the International Association of Geophysical Contractors.  Jim White, the president of Houston’s ARKeX Inc., which provides geospatial subsurface data, will also testify, along with Richie Miller, president of Spectrum Geo Inc., another seismic firm servicing the oil and gas industry from Houston.  Douglas Nowacek, a marine conservation professor from Duke University’s schools of engineering and the environment, will round out the panel.

DOE’s Kenderdine to Discuss QER – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host DOE’s Melanie Kenderdine tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss energy security in the first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).  The QER focuses on energy infrastructure and identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions. This discussion will highlight energy security in the QER, while examining ongoing work in the next installment.

Senate Small Biz to Look at Energy, Manufacturing – The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on the challenges and opportunities for small businesses engaged in energy development and energy intensive manufacturing.  Witnesses will include SOWELA Technical Community College Chancellor Neil Aspinwall, ASE’s Kateri Callahan, Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance CEO Toby Mack and Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen’s Energy Program

EWG’s Faber, Others to Discuss RFS – The DC Bar and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum tomorrow at Noon looking at the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program.  A panel of distinguished government, private sector and non-profit experts will explore recent developments in RFS. Topics will include an overview of the RFS program, the impact of EPA’s recently proposed 2014 and 2015 RFS production targets, the impact of fraud in the renewables fuel market, the so-called blend wall and legislative developments.  Speakers will Include EWG’s Scott Faber, API’s Erik Baptist and several others.

Forum to Look at China Climate Moves – EESI and the ChinaFAQs Project of the World Resources Institute will hold a briefing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. looking at China’s actions on climate change and clean energy and U.S.-China cooperation. Now the largest greenhouse gas emitter, and with a fast-growing economy and the world’s largest population, China will play a unique and vital role in the effort to address climate change.  University, government, and business experts will discuss the results of the recent U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as well as current actions and future prospects for China’s shift to low-carbon energy-including China’s recently announced contribution (“INDC”) to the international climate agreement in Paris this December.  Among the speakers for forum will be the State Department’s David Vance Wagner, China Counsellor at State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.

USEA Forum Looks at CO2 Storage – The US Energy Association will host a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at recent achievements of monitoring onshore CO2 Storage, as well as the prospects of offshore CCUS in U.S. & China.  The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin has been a leader in CCUS research for over a decade.  The GCCC gained extensive experiences in site characterization, project design and execution, and monitoring from several CO2 injection and EOR projects in the Gulf Coast Region. The GCCC has also been studying the prospects of CO2 sequestration and EOR in Texas offshore and recently completed a characterization project for site characterization in Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a proposal of integrated carbon capture and storage in the offshore Pearl River Mouth Basin in China is recently selected under the framework of US-China Climate Change Working Group. The GCCC, as one of the partners of the project, will provide technical support to the Chinese colleagues. This presentation reports the recent developments on these fronts.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE Event to Look at Mexico Energy Reforms – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will continue their Lunch & Learn Series on Wednesday July 22nd at Noon looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  These reforms provide an historic opportunity to revitalize its state-owned energy sector and bolster the overall economy. No Mexican assets will be privatized, but the nation’s vast oil resources, including offshore and unconventional fields, will open to international players. Offshore deep-water areas have generated excitement in the investor community, as has the potential for unconventional development. The electricity sector is also poised for major change, new investment and expansion. The essential elements of the reform will be discussed at this event.

EPA, CHP Groups Hold Webinar – On Wednesday, July 22nd at 2:00 p.m., the EPA CHP Partnership (CHPP) and the CHP Association (CHPA) will co-host a webinar about the LEED® point impact CHP can have on buildings seeking LEED® certification.  CHP, also known as cogeneration, has a long record of providing buildings with reliable electricity, steam, hot water, and cooling with lower cost and emissions than grid-supplied electricity and an on-site boiler. New modular CHP units, absorption chiller improvements, and 3rd party ownership models have also made CHP more viable for a wider array of applications. And, because of its superior energy efficiency and lower energy cost, CHP can earn buildings seeking LEED® certification significant LEED® points.

White House to Hold Rural Council Meeting –The White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will hold a meeting on July 24th  focused on advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in rural economies.  The discussion will include a broad range of federal resources that can potentially be leveraged by rural electric cooperatives for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment as they consider important investment decisions about their generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

NatGas Roundtable to Host FERC Chair – Next Tuesday, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Norman C. Bay will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club

Senate Energy to Look at Nuclear Issues – On August 4th the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and related legislation.

Forum to Look at Middle East Energy – Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10:00 a.m. looking at Energy markets in the Middle East.  The event will feature a discussion with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

Texas EnviroSuperconference Set – The 27th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday – August 6th and 7th  in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. This year’s theme is clichés and the conference is fittingly entitled “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread”; each topic has an appropriate cliché assigned to it.   Speakers include, from the federal government, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, EPA Principal Deputy Administrator Larry Starfield, and EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator Ron Curry, and, from the state, Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioner Toby Baker, Texas Parks & Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith, and the Governor’s Senior Legislative Advisor, Ashley Morgan, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors, including Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune.

CSIS Forum Looks at Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program to discuss the future of Russian gas exports.  Speakers will include Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and CSIS expert Ed Chow.

August Recess

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 6

Friends,

 

Welcome back from the July 4th recess week, which was supposed to be slow so I could enjoy watching my daughter play in the All-American Lacrosse tourney.  Unfortunately, the SCOTUS Mercury decision and the constant back-and-forth over the Iran Nuclear Talks kept us all hopping all the way to Saturday.  Then the two most exciting things happened and I’m not talking about Secretary Kerry Press briefing in Vienna on Sunday (although that was a little exciting).  No, I’m talking about the July RFK Concert with the Foo Fighters followed by the unbelievable Women’s World Cup Final.

 

Yes, like many of you, I missed the first part of the game because nothing really happens at the beginning anyway right?  Whoa… 4 US goals in 15-plus minutes and I thought it was a typo on my daughter’s phone.    Super props to the US Women for an awesome victory in Vancouver, and nicely done Canada for hosting a well-run event from coast-to- coast.  Really though, who thinks that FIFA trophy should be a little more substantial?  I mean it’s no Stanley Cup…

 

In case you were celebrating the 4th with family and didn’t hear, Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters played an unbelievable show for more than 50,000 at RFK Stadium in DC.  Grohl after getting six metal pins in his broken right leg when he tripped and fell off the stage last month, played the show from a specially-designed “throne”.  That wasn’t the only great show though over the weekend as our man in Havana, Josh Zive attended the one of the final Grateful Dead shows in Chicago as well and he says they were really excellent as well.

 

Back in the action, tomorrow marks the new deadline for a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the deadline slip to July 9, after which the Congressional review period doubles from 30 to 60 days.   We have some great bipartisan expert/resources on the topic and they were featured in a recent letter which appeared in the Congressional Record on June 24th.  The document is signed by 38 noteworthy individuals – US military and political leaders in both parties – calling for close engagement with key groups of Iranian opposition as an alternative to a foreign policy dominated by agreement with the current regime.

 

As Congress returns from fireworks, baseball and parades, this week they restart debate on the EPA-Interior appropriations bill.  The measure reduces EPA’s budget, blocks the agency’s new water and carbon rules, holds up an Interior Department hydraulic fracturing rule for public lands and restricts ESA rulemaking for the sage-grouse.  All these issues we know inside-and-out and have great experts, so feel free to call for perspective.

On the hearing side, it is a packed week, headlined by the Wednesday “climate showdown” in Senate Environment looking at the Administration’s pledge to reduce emissions 26-28%.  Former Sierra Club attorney David Bookbinder and my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead have both raised significant concerns about whether meeting the pledge is even possible and they will headline the discussion.  I would expect some fireworks.

 

Other great hearings include a Wednesday look in House Resources at the US Helium reserve, which was the subject of recent bipartisan concern.  The hearing features Air Liquide expert David Joyner among those on the witness stand.  A triple-decker on Thursday, with three hearings of significance starting with the Energy and Commerce Committee discussing the crude oil export ban, featuring USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold, who raised concerns about the move last month at a Sen Foreign relations Committee hearing.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will also be in the hot seat when she testifies before the House Science on EPA overreach and House Foreign Affairs looks at the aforementioned Iran Nuclear Deal if it goes down.

 

In addition to the hearing load this week, Wednesday at Old Ebbitt Grill, Just Label It will host a media breakfast on the public health and environmental costs of herbicides in the production of GMO crops. The briefing will cover recent findings on cancer connections and chemical proliferation, plus a legislative update.   As well, the 18th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Thursday in the Cannon House Office Building.

 

Finally, for you Caps/hockey fans, the National Press Club will be hosting Caps Coach Barry Trotz at a luncheon speech on Wednesday at Noon to look at head to next season.  It’s only been a month since the Cup final ended in Chicago, yet we still had the NHL awards, the draft and Hockey Hall-of- Fame inductee nominations, so it’s never too early to start talking hockey. Please don’t hesitate to call.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Finalizes AC Rule – In case you missed trying to escape early on Thursday, Late last week, EPA finalized a rule to prohibit certain uses of chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. This action responds to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.  In the United States, HFC emissions are expected to nearly double by 2020 and triple by 2030. New technologies and new climate-friendly refrigerants can significantly reduce these emission increases. EPA estimates this final rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 54 to 64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual energy use of more than 5.8 million homes.  AHRI, who represents manufacturers of AC and refrigeration equipment expressed concern about EPA holiday rule drop.   AHRI CEO Stephen Yurek: “Due to its pre-publication release shortly before the holiday weekend, AHRI members have not had sufficient opportunity to review the EPA rule and thus AHRI will not have a formal comment at this time.  However, it should be noted that in its comments on the proposed rule, AHRI requested at least 6 years for our member companies to comply (3 years for commercial refrigeration equipment) and while the EPA granted some additional compliance time, it still is likely to be inadequate in most cases.  As AHRI noted in their comments on the proposed rule, “a typical equipment design cycle takes on average 7 years from start to finish when non-flammable refrigerants are used. For flammable refrigerants, the design cycle is even longer, up to 11 years as more steps are needed to ensure that products and factories can handle these refrigerants safely.”  This means the rule will disproportionately affect smaller manufacturers in an adverse way and the final rule does very little to dispel that belief.

 

Climate Pledge Raises Concerns – In light of Wednesday’s hearing, just wanted to remind you of the questions at hand on the Administration’s climate pledge to reduce emissions by 26-28% and some of the concerns that have been raised about it.  Former Sierra Club lawyer David Bookbinder and former EPA Air chief Jeff Holmstead have argued that President Barack Obama’s 2025 climate change target is unattainable based on the plan the administration outlined to the United Nations earlier this year.  Bookbinder and Holmstead will testify on Wednesday at Senate Environment, pointing to an April blog post Bookbinder published on the Niskanen Center’s website that argues that the measures the Obama administration submitted to the UN earlier this year fall “dramatically short” of those needed to meet the U.S. target of cutting emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

 

Bipartisan Letter Raises Questions About Iran Nuclear Talks, Iranian Claims –  A bipartsian group of public officials including former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former DNC heads and Dem Govs. Howard Dean and Ed Rendell, former UN ambassador Bill Richardson and many other raise major concerns about Iran negotiations in a recent letter which appeared in the Congressional Record on June 24th.  The document  signed by 38 noteworthy US military and political leaders in both parties calls for close engagement with key groups of Iranian opposition as an alternative to a foreign policy dominated by agreement with the current regime.   In case you are looking for expert commenters on the Iran Nuclear Talks.  Just last week, the experts outlined major issues with the Iranian Government’s negotiating tactics.

White House Calls for Update to Biotech Regulation – The White House called for updates the system that evaluates the safety of crops and food produced by genetic engineering on Thursday saying it is a foundation for building a more transparent food system that includes mandatory GMO labeling.  The White House has directed EPA, Food and Drug and the Dept of Agriculture to update the Coordinated Framework, a regulatory policy that governs safety evaluations of plants, animals, and microbes that have been developed through genetic engineering. The Coordinated Framework was originally issued in 1986 and hasn’t been updated since 1992.  Scott Faber, senior Vice President of the Environmental Working Group called the move an important step saying the system for reviewing GMO crops is “badly outdated and long overdue” Faber:  “Today’s announcement confirms the need for more transparency in our food system and only further illustrates why mandatory GMO labeling is so necessary. The President should not wait to make good on his 2007 campaign pledge to require mandatory labeling, and he should make clear that he will reject legislation, notably the DARK Act, that would make it harder to label GMOs.”

 

CEOs, Celebs Send Letter on GMO Labeling – Speaking of GMOs, a coalition of 125 business leaders and celebrity advocates are calling on President Obama to keep his campaign promise and give Americans the right to know what’s in their food by directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue mandatory labeling rules for products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  The group organized by the GMO labeling advocacy groups Just Label It sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday urging him to fulfill the commitment he made in 2007 and veto any legislation that prevents federal labeling and deny states the right to enact their own labeling legislation.  The letter recalls President Obama’s 2007 campaign promise to “let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”  The letter: “As a candidate, you pledged to give consumers the right to know if their food contains GMOs. National polls show that nine out of ten Americans share your view. Regardless of age, income, education level or even party affiliation, Americans want the right to know what is in their food and how it was produced – the same right held by citizens in 64 other nations.”  The full text of the letter and the list of signatories is available here.  Learn more about the Just Label It campaign on the Just Label It website or by following @justlabelit on Twitter.

 

Bishop, Grijalva Urge BLM to Address Concerns Helium Law Implementation – The Leaders of the House Resources Committee sent a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze last week raising concerns with its implementation of the Helium Stewardship Act (HSA), which passed Congress on a bipartisan basis and was signed into law on October 2, 2013.  Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)  wrote Congress carefully crafted the law in a bipartisan manner that would ensure competitive access for all stakeholders to the federal helium supply, adding “we are concerned that (your) interpretation of the HSA has led to results counter to the intent of the Act.”  The Federal Helium Reserve, which is managed by BLM, was created in 1960 in part to ensure the federal government had an adequate stockpile of helium during the Cold War.  The Reserve was scheduled to close in October 2013, an event that would have adversely affected a range of economic sectors dependent on helium, including both the defense and medical industries. The HSA prevented the closure of the Reserve and instituted market-based reforms to increase competition in federal helium sales.  “Rather than moving toward increased market competition of helium, BLM’s implementation of the HSA has unfortunately resulted in less,” the Committee leaders write.  A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report on the BLM’s implementation of the HSA found the number of companies purchasing helium for fiscal year 2015 decreased by 50%.

Renewables Hit High – U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to solar, wind and biomass for their energy needs, driving domestic renewable energy consumption to its highest peak since the 1930s. A recent analysis by EIA found that renewables’ share of the nation’s energy consumption hit 9.8% in 2014. That percentage returns the country to its 1930 levels of renewable energy consumption, when wood was a larger contributor to domestic energy supplies. Year to year growth, on average, was 5% from 2001-2014 for renewable energy consumption, due in large part to the growing use of wind, solar and biofuels.  Wind energy grew by 70 trillion BTUs in 2001 to 1,700 trillion Btu in 2014, while solar energy grew from 64 trillion Btu to 427 trillion Btu.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

CSM to Host McCarthy on Paris Talks – Recharge, the Christian Science Monitor’s energy section, will host EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a talk on tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. looking at US energy and climate policy on the path to Paris negotiations.  As diplomats across the globe prepare for December’s climate talks, the US is working to meet its own ambitious emissions targets. Administrator McCarthy will outline progress to-date on greenhouse gas reductions, and will discuss what challenges remain for the world’s second-largest emitter.

 

WCEE Forum to Look at Grid Design – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon at Energetics looking at designing a successful transition to clean, renewable energy.  Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives’ Mid-Atlantic office will discuss the success stories of providing community-scale solar access at the local and regional scale, where there are often different rules, permitting and incentives.  She will discuss how GRID works with community partners, volunteers and job trainees to implement solar power and energy efficiency for low-income families, and describe what works in which areas and why, including low income solar rebate programs, single-family versus multi-family and community solar models, homeowners  versus renters, and innovative job training workforce development approaches involving schools or veteran communities.

 

Webinar to Discuss Northeast NatGas Supply, Demand – Pace Global will hold a webinar on Northeast natgas supply and demand tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.  Participants will include Pace’s Clair Behrens and Ben Hadden.

 

Experts to Discuss, GMO Labeling Issues –  Just Label It will host a media breakfast on Wednesday at Old Ebbitt Grill looking at the public health and environmental costs of herbicides in the production of GMO crops. The briefing will cover recent findings on cancer connections and chemical proliferation, plus a legislative update. New GMO labeling legislation is currently making its way through Congress and the House is expected to vote on it within the next couple of weeks.  This will be a rare opportunity to hear from and speak with experts, including Dr. Charles Benbrook – Program Leader at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) – Washington State University; Chenseng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D. –  Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at Harvard’s Department of Environmental Health; and EWG expert Mary Ellen Kustin.

 

Senate Environment to Look at U.S. Climate Promises – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday entitled President Obama’s international climate agenda and implications for environmental law.  The hearing will examine the President’s Climate Action Plan with a particular focus on his international goals in the context of the ongoing international climate negotiations.  Among the witnesses will be my B&G colleague and former EPA Air Administrator Jeff Holmstead and former Sierra Club general counsel David Bookbinder, who have aggressively argued that the US will have difficulty meeting its 26-28% obligation made for the Paris Meeting.  Other witnesses will be George Mason’s Jeremy Rabkin, WRI’s Karl Hausker and CSIS’s Sarah O. Ladislaw.

 

House Committee to Look at DHS Climate Focus – The House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency will hold a hearing on Wednesday examining DHS’s focus on climate change.

 

House Resources to Look at Helium Issues – The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on recent legislation on the US Helium reserve.   Witnesses will include Air Liquide’s expert David Joyner, as well as GAO’s Anne-Marie Fennell,  BLM’s Tim Spisak, Northwestern University’s William Halperin and GlobalHelium’s Walter Nelson.  Recently, leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee raised concern over BLM’s implementation of a 2013 law governing federal helium sales, saying the bureau’s new auction system may be limiting access to some companies.  Resources Chairman Rob Bishop and ranking member Raúl Grijalva outlined their complaints on the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 in a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze last week.  “Congress carefully crafted the HSA in a bipartisan manner that would ensure competitive access for all stakeholders to the federal helium supply,” the letter states. “However, we are concerned that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s interpretation of the HSA has led to results counter to the intent of the Act.”

 

House Ag to Look at Crude Exports, Rural Economy – While House Energy rips into Crude exports Issues/legislation on Thursday, the House Ag Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at the economic impact of exporting crude oil.  Obviously,  the same resources on can help here.

 

CSIS to Host BHP Commodity Expert – As part of the CSIS U.S.- Australia Speaker Series, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum featuring Dean Dalla Valle, Chief Commercial Officer at BHP Billiton.  Dalla Valle will discuss global commodity trends, including analysis and discussion of consumption and demand around the world, with a special focus on China. The diverse portfolio of BHP Billiton provides a unique perspective on the developments shaping energy and commodity sectors in the twenty first century.

 

House Foreign Affairs to Look at US-China Civil Nuclear Cooperation – The House Foreign Affairs Committee panels on Asia and the Pacific and Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a joint hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. reviewing the U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

Witnesses will State’s Thomas Countryman, DOE/NNSA undersecretary Lt Gen Frank Klotz, USAF, Retired, NEI’s Daniel Lipman, CSIS’s Sharon Squassoni and Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

 

Forum to Address IMF Sustainable Goals – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings will host International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde for keynote remarks and a subsequent panel discussion on IMF’s sustainable development goals. This month, the international community will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the policy reforms, financing, and international coordination challenges involved in implementing a new sustainable development agenda. The targets—the Sustainable Development Goals—driving that agenda are ambitious, and intended to be applicable to all countries.

 

Congressional Renewable Energy Forum, Expo Set – The 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Thursday in the Cannon House Office Building.  The exhibits will be in Cannon Caucus Room (Cannon 345) while the Policy Forum will be in 334 Cannon. The event brings together close to 50 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and is Co-Hosted by the House and Senate’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses, as well as the Sustainable Energy Coalition.

 

McCarthy Testifying at House Science – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday examining EPA’s regulatory overreach featuring EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

 

House Energy Committee Holds Hearing on Crude Oil Exports – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing new legislation to prohibit restrictions on the export of crude oil.  One of the key witnesses will Cmdr Kirk Lippold, former commander of the USS Cole, who has raised concerns about lifting the ban in testimony last month at Senate Foreign Relations

 

CAP to Discuss Climate Resilience – On Thursday morning, the Center for American Progress will hold a forum on cities, states, and tribes and the rising costs of climate change.  They will be joined by the National League of Cities for a discussion about the progress made on the task force recommendations, new resilience initiatives, and the challenges and opportunities for equitable climate resilience funding and action.  OMB Director Shaun Donovan will make opening remarks and the panel will feature Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Chairwoman Karen Diver and HUD’s Harriet Tregoning.

 

Wilson Forum Look at Iran, Middle East Energy – On Thursday at 10:00 am, the Wilson Center for Scholars will host a forum on Middle East energy beyond the Iran Nuclear Talks.  Iran hopes that the pending nuclear framework agreement will lead to much needed foreign investment in its oil and gas sector. Insofar as eased sanctions permit, billions of dollars will be needed to reverse production declines and re-establish production growth. How realistic are Iran’s aspirations to attract such investment, and what increased production and exports can be reasonably expected over the near to medium term.  As well, what will be the impact of increased Iranian exports on its neighbors, notably Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and their desire to secure a larger share of the global market? How will the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies react to Iranian moves? What are the implications of changes in Saudi national and energy leadership and of Kurdish moves to produce and export separately from Baghdad? What is the effect of these regional changes on the global energy balance?  Energy experts will explore these issues in this eighth event in the Wilson Center’s Regional and Global Energy Series and will include former State Dept official David Goldwyn, among others.

 

Company to Highlight Data Destruction Method – On Thursday on Capitol Hill, Phiston Technologies will be leading a discussion and technology demonstration of their High Security Data Storage Media Destruction machines.  They will encourage people to bring old computer hard drives, solid state drives, cell phones, CDs/DVDs and ID cards and we will destroy them safely in seconds.   The event will be in 210 Cannon.

 

CSIS to Host IEA Technology Expert – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum Friday at 10:00 a.m. featuring Jean-François Gagné, Head of Energy Technology Policy Division with the International Energy Agency. Gagné will present the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2015. As climate negotiators work towards a deal that would limit the increase in global temperatures, interest is growing in the essential role technology innovation can and must play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon energy system. The 2015 edition of Energy Technology Perspectives examines innovation in the energy technology sector and seeks to increase confidence in the feasibility of achieving short- and long-term climate change mitigation targets through effective research, development, demonstration and deployment. The report also shows how emerging economies, and China in particular, can foster a low-carbon transition through innovation in energy technologies and policy. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE to Host Key Energy Enviro Staff for Outlook – Next Monday morning, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold a forum looking at current energy and environmental legislation on Capitol Hill from key staffers.  This year, Congress is contemplating a variety of legislative initiatives in spite of a calendar that threatens to be constrained by must-pass legislation and the annual budget debate.  The conversation about these topics over breakfast will feature key Congressional staffers who will offer their insights and opinions on the busy summer and fall that lie ahead.  Speakers will include Senate EPW’s Majority policy advisor Annie Caputo, Senate EPW Minority staff head Bettina Poirier, House Energy and Commerce Committee Minority advisor Rick Kessler, Minority Senior Advisor, House Energy and Power Subcommittee Majority Chief Counsel Tom Hassenboehler and Senate Energy Majority/Minority staffers Kellie Donnelly and Angela Becker-Dippman.

 

Senate Energy Discusses on Islanded Energy Systems – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday to receive testimony on islanded energy systems, as well as energy and infrastructure challenges and opportunities in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Territories.

 

DOE’s Kenderdine to Discuss QER – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host DOE’s Melanie Kenderdine next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss energy security in the first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).  The QER focuses on energy infrastructure and identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions. This discussion will highlight energy security in the QER, while examining ongoing work in the next installment.

 

EWG’s Faber, Others to Discuss RFS – The DC Bar and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum Next Tuesday at Noon looking at the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program.  A panel of distinguished government, private sector and non-profit experts will explore recent developments in RFS. Topics will include an overview of the RFS program, the impact of EPA’s recently proposed 2014 and 2015 RFS production targets, the impact of fraud in the renewables fuel market, the so-called blend wall and legislative developments.  Speakers will Include EWG’s Scott Faber, API’s Erik Baptist and several others.

 

Forum to Look at China Climate Moves – EESI and the ChinaFAQs Project of the World Resources Institute will hold a briefing on Tuesday July 14th at 1:30 p.m. looking at China’s actions on climate change and clean energy and U.S.-China cooperation. Now the largest greenhouse gas emitter, and with a fast-growing economy and the world’s largest population, China will play a unique and vital role in the effort to address climate change.  University, government, and business experts will discuss the results of the recent U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as well as current actions and future prospects for China’s shift to low-carbon energy-including China’s recently announced contribution (“INDC”) to the international climate agreement in Paris this December.  Among the speakers for forum will be the State Department’s David Vance Wagner, China Counsellor at State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.

 

USEA Forum Looks at CO2 Storage – The US Energy Association will host a forum on Thursday, July 16th  at 2:00 p.m. looking at recent achievements of monitoring onshore CO2 Storage, as well as the prospects of offshore CCUS in U.S. & China.  The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin has been a leader in CCUS research for over a decade.  The GCCC gained extensive experiences in site characterization, project design and execution, and monitoring from several CO2 injection and EOR projects in the Gulf Coast Region. The GCCC has also been studying the prospects of CO2 sequestration and EOR in Texas offshore and recently completed a characterization project for site characterization in Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a proposal of integrated carbon capture and storage in the offshore Pearl River Mouth Basin in China is recently selected under the framework of US-China Climate Change Working Group. The GCCC, as one of the partners of the project, will provide technical support to the Chinese colleagues. This presentation reports the recent developments on these fronts.

Senate Energy to Look at Nuclear Issues – On August 4th the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and related legislation.

 

August Recess

 

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

Energy Update: Week of March 30

Friends,

 

How about those games over the weekend.  Undefeated Kentucky had their hands full with Notre Dame but managed to pull it out, while Wisconsin showed they are the “Real Cheese” making their second-consecutive trip to the Final Four besting a tough Arizona team.  Meanwhile yesterday, surprising, but tourney perennial Michigan State took out Louisville in OT and Duke overpowered Gonzaga, sending a third #1 seeds to Indianapolis.  All the action kicks off on Saturday with the winners meeting next Monday Night.  On the women’s side, the top teams have so far played out with #1-seed Notre Dame ousting #2 Baylor yesterday and #1 seed South Carolina moving on to Tampa.  Strongly favored #1 Maryland plays Tennessee tonight after the Lady Vols roared back from 20-points to beat Gonzaga Saturday and overall #1 seed UConn, who routed Texas by 51 points, plays 7th seed Dayton to lock in the Final Four.   UConn’s victory margins have been 66, 36 and 51.  That is domination.

 

And don’t forget the ice…There was some great action in the NCAA Men’s ice hockey tourney over the weekend including late game heroics by Boston U in games aGAINst Yale and Minnesota-Dulute (I know on the spelling, but that’s how they say it) to move on to the Frozen Four.  As well, a late controversial goal by Rochester Institute of Tech knocked out overall #1 seed Minnesota St.-Mankato.  The semis are set for TD Garden in Boston starting April 9th with BU taking on North Dakota and Providence playing UNebraska-Omaha, who bounced RIT after its big upset.  Finally, mark your calendar, two weeks until the quest begins for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

 

With Congress on recess ahead of the Passover and Easter holidays, there won’t be much action in DC this week, but we will keep you covered regarding any potential long-awaited but politically sensitive policy developments, like Iran and the DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review, which was supposed to arrive last week.

 

In a fun recess twist as the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln approaches on April 14th, my friend Rick Klein of ABC Politics conducted an extraordinary interview with Abraham Lincoln.  See it here.  I thought Rick should have told him to skip the theater that night, but I suppose he didn’t want to be like Marty McFly and alter history.

 

One good item today at 11:30 at The Newseum, POLITICO’s Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen takes Playbook live for an afternoon conversation with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about policy, politics and the news of the day.

 

And tomorrow, FERC holds its final GHG technical Conference in St. Louis.  Ameren CEO Warner Baxter is expected to present to the panel.  You may recall his recent white paper where they say some tweaks in the EPA rule can not only make the plan achievable, but also save consumers billions.  I will send you his testimony for tomorrow should you be interested.

 

Finally, congrats to our friend Dina Cappiello who leaves the AP enviro beat to join Edelman’s DC office today.   Who will Borenstein argue with now, Dina?  He is going to have to call Marc Morano!!!

 

Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

SCOTUS WRAP – A divided Supreme Court weighed new regulations aimed at reducing power plant emissions of mercury last week.  The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge brought by a bipartisan group of Attorneys General like by Michigan AG Bill Schuette.  My colleagues Jeff Holmstead and Scott Segal have been commenting since with Holmstead saying the Supreme Court was clearly divided in the MATS case.  Holmstead: “On the statutory issue – what does the word “appropriate” mean in context – it really seems as though industry and the states had the stronger side of the argument.  If the government prevails, necessary and appropriate would essentially have the same meaning.  And most experts on statutory construction believe that any interpretation of which renders a word meaningless is not to be preferred.”  Segal added once the Agency is forced to consider cost, it is clear that the regulatory outcome would be different.  The benefits of mercury control under the MATS rule is between $4 to $6 million on a cost of $9.6 billion – making the rule one of the most expensive in EPA history.  Segal: “All the while claiming they needn’t do a comprehensive cost analysis, EPA manages to claim the regulation will save billions.  But their process is to once again count particulate-matter benefits EPA has already claimed advancing other rules, a dubious accounting sleight-of-hand called double counting.  As the Chief Justice said, this approach raises “a red flag.”  24 states challenged this rule before the D.C. Circuit, including six Democratic attorneys general, making the opposition bipartisan and multi-regional.  Looking forward, Segal added if the Supreme Court rejects an EPA rule high in cost with very speculative benefits, that “can’t be good for the EPA’s plans on controlling carbon for existing power plants.”  Some of the best legal experts in the country, including Harvard Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe have argued that the carbon rule is on even shakier legal footing.

 

BLM Releases Nat Gas Drilling Rules – We all know that Interior, three years after its initial proposal, finalized new regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing activities on federal and Indian lands.  BLM previously released a draft proposed rule in May 2012 and revised draft in May 2013.   My colleagues Jason Hutt and Mike Weller do a DEEP DIVE on the rule.  Key aspects of the final rule include requirements to:  (1) request approval of hydraulic fracturing before commencement of operations; (2) disclose chemicals after completing hydraulic fracturing activities (preferably via FracFocus); (3) perform well integrity and cement evaluation tests and obtain approval if cement remediation is required; (4) use steel tanks for the storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing; and (5) supply information  on estimated fractures and existing wellbores to reduce the risk of impacts to existing wells, i.e., “frack-hits.”  The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance filed lawsuits the same day challenging the rule.  The state of Wyoming filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming on March 26, 2015.  The final rule is effective on June 24, 2015.

 

Mexico Says It Will Peak Emissions – A lot of climate advocates are perking up regarding late last week’s announcement by Mexico that they plan to “peak” emissions by 2026, then reduce by 22% by 2030.  The approach captures the new view that developing countries continue to do what they want for 10-15 years and then try to reduce.  It also follows the path of many climate pledges of past years that have been left wanting after the UN meetings conclude.   While folks like WWF’s Jen Morgan praised the action as a major turning point, they rightfully point out that the “devil is in the details.”  I, for one, have been at the rodeo before, and I’m skeptical the pledges will ever come to pass. I will be skeptical until people actually start to do what they say they’re going to do, which to date at UN Meetings has  been never.

 

DOE Meeting Coverage – Following the two-day member symposium, several AHRI furnace manufacturers like Rheem, Johnson Controls , Carrier, Lennox, Goodman and Ingersoll Rand remained in Washington to attend a hearing at DOE Headquarters on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for residential furnaces on Friday.  DOE got an earful from critics on the plan which AHRI, AGA and individual companies say will raise costs and unnecessarily burden consumers. Those challenging the rule say it will increase costs for consumers by $6-12 billion, with most of that burden falling “unevenly” on low and fixed-income residents.  The American Gas Association, who recently wrote in a blog post that while on the surface, the rule appears to be a positive step toward achieving greater energy efficiency, a closer examination reveals counterproductive and unintended consequences that conflict with DOE’s stated goal of improved efficiency and reduced emissions.

 

AHRI Member Companies Storm Capitol – Speaking of the two-day symposium, manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration (HVACR) and water heating equipment descended on Washington last week to meet with their representatives and learn more about the legislative process.  The manufacturers engaged in a Public Policy Symposium organized by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).  Attendees heard from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett at lunch on Wednesday, followed by panel sessions in the afternoon.  The visit to the nation’s capital came at a pivotal time for the industry.  The Department of Energy (DOE) has taken an extremely aggressive approach to rulemaking in the past two years, and is poised to issue some 18 new regulations on the industry over the next two years.   In Congressional and Senate meetings on Thursday, the AHRI members detailed that while the industry is not opposed to regulation, they have a right to expect that DOE conduct its rulemakings through a fair and transparent process – one that works to the benefit of manufacturers, consumers, and the environment.  Accordingly, the manufacturers will be advocating for legislation to amend the Energy Policy Act to accomplish that goal.

 

Reps Wants DOE, EPA Coordinating Better – A number of Congressmen are raising concerns about EPA and DOE coordination and conflicting mandates on several issues facing small and large manufacturers.  Rep Bill Heuzinga leads a group that includes Reps Pat Meehan, Bill Johnson, Chris Collins, Mike Fitzpatrick, Ryan Costello, Joe Wilson and David Rouzer.  They specific question is the timeline that is forcing manufacturers to fully integrate their compliance with all applicable energy efficiency requirements, for the of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program which in this case is focused on substitutes used in the commercial and residential refrigeration and foam-blowing sectors.

 

Gallup Says American Care Less About Environment – Americans’ concern about several major environmental threats has eased after increasing last year. As in the past, Americans express the greatest worry about pollution of drinking water, and the least about global warming or climate change. The results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment survey, conducted March 5-8. Gallup trends on many of these items stretch back more than two decades. Last year’s increased worry has proved temporary, with the current level of worry on each of the problems back to about where it was in 2013.

Despite ups and downs from year to year in the percentage worried about the various issues, the rank order of the environmental problems has remained fairly consistent over the decades. Americans express greater concern over more proximate threats – including pollution of drinking water, as well as pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and air pollution – than they do about longer-term threats such as global warming and plant and animal extinction. The amount Americans worry about the various threats tends to rise and recede in unison, with concern higher in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the revival of environmentalism, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s amid the economic boom. Since then, Americans’ worry has fallen, with concern dipping to record lows on most issues in 2010 or 2011. The current level of worry on each issue remains at or near those record lows.

 

NARUC Has New Comms Person – We knew that our friend Rob Thormeyer is headed to FERC, but now we know who will replace him at NARUC.  The utility commissioner group has hired Regina Davis as its new Director of Communications, effective April 13th.  Davis will be the Association’s main point-of-contact with the press and will help write, edit, and distribute press releases, speeches, testimony, and other official NARUC correspondence. She will also assist in promoting the Association’s three annual meetings.  Davis joins NARUC after several years as Communications Director for the Maryland PSC, where she served as the commission’s primary spokesperson in the media and at civic, non-profit, charitable, and educational organizations and community associations. Prior to joining the Maryland PSC in 2011, Davis worked in similar capacities at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the University of Maryland Dental School, and the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Office of External Affairs.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Foxx, McCarthy to Headline POLITICO PB Forum – POLITICO’s Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen takes Playbook live for an afternoon conversation with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about policy, politics and the news of the day.  The action begins at The Newseum at 11:30 a.m.

 

ELI, DC Bar to Host  Social Cost of Carbon Forum – ELI and the DC Bar will host a forum today at Noon on the social cost of carbon.  The SCC tool assesses the economic costs of greenhouse gas emissions.  The panel of experts will offer a primer on the tool and debate the advantages and shortcomings of relying on it as a factor in agency decision-making.  Richard Ayres is among the nation’s most knowledgeable and well-respected environmental attorneys and policy makers. He has significantly shaped the country’s environmental policies, including the Clean Air Act, and their implementation.  Dr. Kevin D. Dayaratna specializes in tax, energy and health policy issues as Senior Statistician and Research Programmer in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis (CDA). An applied statistician, he has researched and published on the use of high-powered statistical models in public policy.  Dr. Laurie Johnson is the chief economist at NRDC’s climate and clean air program in Washington, DC. She focuses on modeling the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts of environmental regulation on employment, economic analyses of regulation by industry, and macroeconomic modeling of climate change legislation and its distributional impacts.  Patrick Traylor practices in the area of environmental law, with a particular focus on the Clean Air Act, environmental litigation, and energy infrastructure development and climate change.

 

Roundtable to Look at Energy in Japan, Korea, China – The Energy Security Worldviews in Asia will hold a Roundtable tomorrow at Noon at GWU that examines how key actors with an influence on energy decision making in Japan, South Korea, and China view their country’s energy vulnerability and security.  Speakers will include GW experts Mike Mochizuki and Robert Sutter, as well as Korean Studies expert Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

WCEE to Discuss Cheap Oil, Gas prices with AAA – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environmental (WCEE) will hold a brown bag lunch tomorrow at Noon on low price oil and its impact on gasoline prices   Avery Ash, Director, Federal Relations at the American Automobile Association (AAA) will discuss the recent fluctuations in gas prices, expectations for the short term and long term and give some insight into the work AAA does to forecast prices for their members and the public.  Ash serves as Director of Federal Relations for AAA. In this capacity Avery is responsible for the Association’s work on energy issues, in particular crude oil and gasoline. This includes the publishing of AAA’s weekly Fuel Gauge Report, which provides analysis of prices and trends, and the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the most current and accurate source of gasoline prices surveying more than 100,000 stations every day. Avery has also led in development of the Association’s engagement strategy for electric vehicles. This includes the roll-out of AAA’s first-in-nation level 2 and level 3 charging services as well as an engagement and education strategy to serve AAA’s more than 53 million members. Prior to joining AAA, Avery served as Legislative and Special Assistant for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, where he focused on economic development issues.

 

NAS to Release reporters on Climate Intervention at USEA – The National Academy of Sciences will release two reports on Climate Intervention at the US Energy Association tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  Climate intervention is no substitute for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and adaptation efforts aimed at reducing the negative consequences of climate change. However, as our planet enters a period of changing climate never before experienced in recorded human history, interest is growing in the potential for deliberate intervention in the climate system to counter climate change. This study assesses the potential impacts, benefits, and costs of two different proposed classes of climate intervention: (1) carbon dioxide removal and (2) albedo modification (reflecting sunlight). Carbon dioxide removal strategies address a key driver of climate change, but research is needed to fully assess if any of these technologies could be appropriate for large-scale deployment. Albedo modification strategies could rapidly cool the planet’s surface but pose environmental and other risks that are not well understood and therefore should not be deployed at climate-altering scales; more research is needed to determine if albedo modification approaches could be viable in the future.    AAAS head Marcia McNutt will speak.

 

FERC GHG Technical Conference to Focus on EPA Rule – FERC holds its final GHG technical Conference in St. Louis tomorrow.  Ameren CEO Warner Baxter is expected to present to the panel.  You may recall his recent white paper in which Ameren, a coal-heavy utility in Missouri, feels like some tweaks in the EPA rule can not only make the plan achievable, but also save consumers billions. The full announcement, including a quote by FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, is available here.  The full text of the notice in the Federal Register, including instructions on how to register for the conferences, is available here.  Commissioner Tony Clark released his own statement, available here.

 

Nat Gas Roundtable to Host DOI Offshore Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at Interior (DOI), at its luncheon tomorrow, where she will discuss the current offshore energy production landscape.  Schneider oversees four DOI bureaus including BLM, BOEM, BSEE and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. In this capacity, she guides the Department’s management and use of federal lands and waters and their associated mineral and non-mineral resources, spanning approximately 245 million acres of federal surface lands, 700 million acres of federal mineral interests and the 1.7 billion-acre Outer Continental Shelf.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Prep – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing Wednesday in 485 Russell examining the recommendations of the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The bipartisan Task Force of 26 governors, mayors, tribal leaders, and other officials spent a year compiling recommendations on how the federal government could help local communities be more resilient to climate change impacts. From an initial 500 ideas, the Task Force produced a report of 35 concrete recommendations for tools, training, funding and services the Federal Government can provide to help the nation’s communities increase their resilience. Even without taking into account the effects of climate change, making communities more resilient saves lives-and saves money in the long run.  Speakers for this forum are Jennifer Jurado, Director, Environmental Planning & Community Resilience in Broward County; Governor Jay Inslee Washington DC Office Director Sam Ricketts and Carolyn Berndt, Program Director for Sustainability at the National League of Cities.

 

RFF to Host Offshore Energy Discussion – Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment will hold an RFF First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m., where leading experts will examine offshore oil and gas leasing reform in the US Arctic. Panelists will explore how these new regulations and strategies meet the need for integrated Arctic management and what work remains to be done to design a regulatory approach that appropriately balances resource development, environmental protection, and community livelihoods. The conversation will cover recommendations put forth in the National Petroleum Council’s Arctic study (to be released at the end of March) and lessons for the Arctic from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

 

Post to Host Energy, Innovation Future Event The Washington Post will gather leaders from the energy, defense and technology sectors Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at Charlie Palmer Steak  to discuss and debate innovative solutions for securing the country’s energy resources. This live event will explore threats to national security, including cyberattacks, as well as efforts to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on the energy ecosystem.  Speakers will include FERC commissioner Tony Clark and Robert “RJ” Johnston, Chief Executive of the Eurasia Group.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Crude, Refining Export Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a conference on Thursday morning focused on the latest developments in the crude oil export debate as well as the role of refining (both domestic and globally) in finding an economically viable home for US light oil production. As debates heat up over domestic policy choices affecting both the upstream and downstream sectors, the need for informed (and perhaps more detailed) discussion has become increasingly important. This conference seeks to both inform and supplement the debate on two issues that will have a large impact on the future domestic U.S. energy landscape as well as global investment going forward.  The Refining panel, featuring Joanne Shore, Chief Industry Analyst at AFPM, EnSys Energy’s Martin Tallett and Lynn Westfall, Petroleum Markets Analyst with EIA’s Office of Energy Markets and Financial Analysis, will provide a primer on the U.S. refining sector, addressing refinery configurations, operations and economics; the ability of the domestic and global refining system to accommodate additional light oil production and some of the implications of investment choices and oil flows in the near and medium terms. The Exports panel, featuring ClearView Energy’s Kevin Book and Sharon Burke of the New America Foundation, will address the current regulatory framework, the politics of exports and the potential geopolitical implications of allowing or impeding such activity. Frank Verrastro and Sarah Ladislaw of CSIS will moderate.

 

DOE’s Kenderline to Discuss QER – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a discussion on the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) with Melanie Kenderdine, Energy Counselor to US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, and Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.   On January 9, 2014, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the administration to conduct the first-ever QER to help the Federal Government better meet the nation’s energy goals. With a focus on energy infrastructure and US energy and climate security, the QER assists the government in translating energy policy goals into a set of integrated actions through improved interagency dialogue and increased engagement of external stakeholders.  Welcome remarks will be delivered by The Hon. Richard Morningstar, Founding Director of Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the discussion will be moderated by David Koranyi, Director of the Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Columbia to Host Panel on Sustainability – Columbia University’s Earth Institute will hold a forum on the state of sustainability policy on Tuesday April 7th at 6:00 p.m. in NYC at the Low Memorial Library.   The event will feature the Earth Institute’s Steve Cohen, Columbia researcher Dong Guo,; NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Director Nilda Mesa and our friend Andy Revkin.   This panel will explore the role that public policy plays in influencing behavior within organizations and among individuals, in order to facilitate and speed up that transition.

 

AGA to Release Gas Supply Report – The American Gas Association (AGA) and the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, April 8th at 9:00 a.m. to release the major findings of the PGC’s year-end 2014 biennial report: Potential Supply of Natural Gas in the United States, and discuss how customers and the nation can benefit from domestic natural gas resources. The report is expected to reveal that domestic estimates of undiscovered natural gas resources continue to grow, due largely to the existence of technologies that continue to unlock energy resources from shale and other producing formations. Dr. John B. Curtis, Director of the Potential Gas Agency and Colorado School of Mines and AGA Supply expert Chris McGill will discuss the report.

 

Solar Forum to Cover Solar Now, Future – Greentech Media will host a Solar Summit in Phoenix, AZ on April 14th – 16th at the Wigwam Resort.  Speakers will include SRP’s Lisa Singleton, Sun Power CEO Tom Werner and our friends Stephen Lacey of Greentech Media,  Shayle Kann of GTM Research, and Brad Heavner of the Cal Solar Energy Industry Assn, among many others.   The Summit focuses on what the solar industry needs to know and includes the research and economic analysis of GTM Research’s team.   This year’s agenda includes panels, engaging debates among the industry’s top thought leaders, and an interactive polling session.   Topics will include dynamics in the global solar market, system performance, asset management, technology integration given new energy customer and the  U.S. solar market in 2016 and beyond.

 

BNEF to Host Energy Summit – Bloomberg New Energy Finance will host a summit on April 13-15th focused on the future of energy at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.  The Future of Energy Summit 2015 is a unique forum providing an unrivaled meeting place at the intersection of the energy markets, regulation, industry, finance and policy.  A decade into the modern age of clean energy, and nearly a decade into the new age of shale gas abundance, the global energy system is not just growing, but shifting shape. At Summit 2015, the agenda will look at how phase change is likely to accelerate for the future.  Al Gore, former Duke CEO Jim Rogers, former Sen. Judd Gregg, former UN Climate head Connie Hedegaard, PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo CSIS expert Sarah Ladislaw and our friend Ethan Zindler of BNEF will speak among the many others.

 

Forum to Focus on Food, Water Nexus – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, National Geographic and Lockheed Martin are hosting the third in a series of roundtables, The Energy-Water-Food Nexus: Risks and Opportunities for the Private Sector on April 17th at 1:00 p.m. at National Geographic HQ. The roundtables identify the nexus risks to businesses, and examine why and how leadership from the private sector, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is critical to successfully managing the synergies and tradeoffs among water, food and energy infrastructure for the benefit of society, business and the environment.  This roundtable will focus on best practices and opportunities for harnessing innovation to address nexus challenges in the U.S., and globally.

 

FERC’s Honorable, Former Sen Bingaman Address Utility Issues Conference – On April 19th to 22nd in Santa Fe, NM, the Center for Public Utilities’ Advisory Council will hold a Current Issues conference dealing with important topics affecting the industry today. Through a series of panels, industry leaders and Commissioners discuss the current issues facing the Electric, Natural Gas, Telecommunications and Water industries. The panels are designed to create meaningful dialog between the panelists and audience in an informal setting conducive to audience participation.  Former NM Senator Jeff Bingaman, former Chairman, Energy & Natural Resources Committee and FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable speak Monday morning April 20. Lisa Edgar, NARUC President, will also be on the program, along with many NARUC Committee Chairman.

 

Fiorina To Address Lugar Speaker Series – On Monday, April 20th, the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series will hold its the 25th Annual Lugar Series Luncheon featuring Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Prospective Candidate as its keynote speaker.  The event will be held at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

 

Tillerson, Hess Kinder, Others Headline CERA WeekCERAWeek 2015 will be held on April 20th through 24th in Houston, TX.  CERA Week usually offers comprehensive insight on what’s ahead for global energy. The oil price collapse has created new risks and realities – with profound impacts on key regions, industries, and economies. The event features industry and thought leaders proving fresh understanding of geopolitics, technology, markets, investment, strategy and regulatory policy.  Speakers will include Peabody Energy’s Greg Boyce, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, BP’s Bob Dudley, Energy Secretary Moniz, former BrightSource exec now at Google John Woolard and many more.

 

MD OSW Meeting to Honor BOEM Director Hopper – The Business Network for Maryland Offshore Wind’s (BizMDOSW) will hold its annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on April 22-23, at Camden Yards.  The meeting is a 2-day gathering of European and American business executives, government officials, technical experts and academics brought together to build expertise among local companies. The event will have more than 150 participants from the U.S., Germany and Denmark including Dong Energy, Siemens, Bladt Industries, Blue Water Shipping and A2Sea.   The April 22nd dinner will be a celebration honoring U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management Director Abigail Hopper for outstanding achievement within the offshore wind industry.  The all-day April 23rd meeting will focus on creating jobs locally and regionally, including subcontracting opportunities for Maryland businesses and will also include reports on the East Coast regional offshore wind industry in Rhode Island, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland. The Maryland offshore wind development is projected to have steel in the water by 2019, and the development team expects to submit its OREC application to the state and to seek further permitting from U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  Among the speakers will be our friends Bill Wall of the Atlantic Wind Connection and Clint Plummer of Deepwater.

 

CSIS to Hold Global Development Forum – CSIS will hold its inaugural Global Development Forum (GDF) on Thursday April 23rd. With a significant reduction in extreme poverty and an increase in private financial flows to the developing world over the past two decades, the face of development is rapidly changing. Meeting today’s challenges calls for innovation and effective partnerships across sectors, with an emphasis on improving governance and leveraging the role of the private sector.  GDF will feature keynote addresses by Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank Group. Breakout panel discussions will foster dialogue on topics including private sector partnerships, capacity building and workforce development, innovative finance, the post-2015 global development agenda, Ebola recovery in West Africa, and the strategic role of development in overall U.S. foreign policy. GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.

 

Perino to Hold Book Event at Press Club – Our friend Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush and current co-host of The Five, will discuss and sign copies of her new book “And the Good News Is…:Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side” at an April 24th book rap scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the ballroom at the National Press Club.

 

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE will hold Its Renewable Energy Policy Forum on April 22-23 at the Westin City Center in Washington, DC.  ACORE’s Policy Forum champions the progress of the industry in reducing costs and deploying at scale, and will feature policymakers, industry leaders and other perspectives to outline challenges and highlight opportunities facing the sector. The Forum will drive bipartisan renewable energy policy priorities and strategy for the next two years, setting up a successful long-term outlook for the industry. The outcome of the Forum – the policy agenda for renewable energy policy – will be shared with the President and Congress, as well as governors, legislators, and regulators in the states.  Speakers will include Energy Secretary Moniz, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, former FERC Chair John Wellinghoff, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Georgia PSC Commissioner Bubba McDonald, and our friends, Joe Desmond of Brightsource Energy, Dan Reicher of Stanford, Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Coalition and AWEA’s Tom Kiernan.

 

NHA to Set Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association holds its annual conference at the Capitol Hilton on April 27-29th.  The Conference is a well-rounded conference program designed to discuss, prepare and foresee the future of hydropower throughout the nation. Speakers will include NY Rep. Paul Tonko and White House OSTP staff Cristin Dorgelo.

 

Marine Tech Conferences Alongside NHA Meeting – The 3rd Annual Marine Energy Technology Symposium (METS) will be held as part of the inaugural International Marine Renewable Energy Conference on April 27-29th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., and will be co-located with the National Hydropower Association’s annual conference.  METS provides a venue where technical experts can publish and present wave and water current energy research that helps accelerate the pace of technology development. Holding METS in conjunction with the International Marine Renewable Energy Conference will provide researchers with the invaluable opportunity to interact with public and private industry stakeholders.

 

 

 

FRANK MAISANO
Founding Partner
Ext. 5864
Policy Resolution Group