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

 

Primer for DOE Furnace Rule Hearing

Friends,

 

DOE will hold a public meeting on the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding energy conservation standards for certain residential furnaces, tomorrow, Friday, March 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, Room 8E-089, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW.  There is a link to the Federal Register notice for the rule here.

 

To attend, please notify Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586–2945.  The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar. Please register for the webinar here.

 

The public comment period closes June 10, 2015.

 

Please feel free to call with questions.  I expect to be at DOE in the morning.  As well if you are doing anything On the water heater rules and legislation recently introduced, we can provide additional information for that as well.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 997-5932.

 

AHRI Has Concerns

 

In advance of the DOE hearing on the proposed furnace rule, scheduled for Friday, March 27, AHRI is issuing the following statement, which can be attributed to AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek:

 

“AHRI and its members have a proud history of working on a consensus basis on efficiency standards that make sense for consumers, manufacturers and the environment.  DOE’s proposed rule makes no sense for anyone, and America’s furnace manufacturers intend to fight – and fight hard – to protect our customers from this economically and environmentally devastating rule.  We will work diligently with our members and with like-minded industry associations to advocate for standards that are not only technically feasible but economically justified for consumers and manufacturers.”

 

On March 12, DOE issued a proposed rule that would set new standards, but at a sharply higher level than the department had agreed to less than four years prior: 92 percent AFUE for the entire nation, from Michigan to Miami, from Seattle to San Antonio.

 

If allowed to go into effect unchanged, this rule would have devastating effects on manufacturers and consumers alike.

 

  • The cost of purchasing and installing a new furnace would skyrocket for every consumer across the nation.  Heating is not a luxury but a necessity for health and safety. So when consumers cannot afford to replace their current furnace with the ultra-efficient products mandated by DOE, they will make other choices, that maybe less safe (using electric space heaters) or endanger their health (repair their current furnace or go without).  The end result would be an increase rather than decrease in the energy consumed to heat a home.
  • Condensing furnaces, which are all that would be allowed under the new rule, have significant installation challenges in some homes, and installation for every homeowner would be more difficult and costly than it is now simply because of different venting requirements than exist for non-condensing furnaces.
  • This over-reach by DOE will result in reduced furnace shipments for manufacturers, inevitably causing job losses.

 

Background for Reporters


In 2011, DOE issued a Direct Final Rule adopting the language in a consensus agreement reached by AHRI and several efficiency groups that recommended the following regional efficiency standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces:  90 percent average fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) for the northern region (defined as > 5,000 heating degree days) and 80 percent AFUE in the south and southwest regions (defined as < 5,000 HDDs).

 

  • Several organizations filed suit against DOE seeking to derail the rule (AHRI and several advocacy groups intervened on behalf of DOE in support of the rule) and in 2014, a settlement was reached through which DOE withdrew the rule and agreed to issue a new rule at a later date.

 

AHRI Members Testifying/Attending Tomorrow

 

These are the companies that will have reps at the hearing tomorrow.  Also present will be contractor members of ACCA- air conditioning contractors of America, and reps from HARDI –heating, airconditioning, and refrigeration distributors International.

 

  • Carrier Corporation
  • Goodman Manufacturing Company
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • Lennox International Inc.
  • Nortek Global HVAC
  • Rheem Manufacturing

 

Link to American Gas Association Blog

 

Another group with significant concern is 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.

 

According to AGA, These counterproductive and unintended consequences include:

 

  • An economic burden on consumers required to bear the prohibitive costs of the expensive equipment and installation.
  • The undermining of efficiency programs and the financial incentives that enable consumers to purchase high-efficiency furnaces.
  • Wasted energy and higher emissions because customers are induced to switch to cheaper equipment, such as electric furnaces, which has a much higher full-fuel-cycle energy and emissions footprint.

 

Additional Expert Resource

 

My colleague Salo Zelermyer (salo.zelermyer@bgllp.com, c. 202-294-2720), former DOE Senior Counsel and attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani who represents energy efficiency and technology clients will be out of town, but is available to provide insights via phone or e-mail.  When the rule was released, Salo said “DOE’s proposed rule clearly admits that increasing the standards on residential furnaces leads to increased switching from natural gas to electric furnaces. Such an approach would actually increase lifecycle GHG emissions and stands in stark contrast to the goals of the President’s climate action plan.”  We are working on a number of these DOE rules with many different members of the EE and HVAC industries and these are items that Salo watched closely when he was at DOE.  He is a great resource.

 

Energy Update: Week of March 23

Friends,

 

Here we go again…A great round of NCAA tournament games this past weekend, taking us down to the Sweet 16.  Some of the surprise winners are familiar names like UCLA, Xavier and Michigan State.  And of course, among the “Shockers” were Kansas, UVa and Villanova’s early exits.  Maybe a little surprising, but not totally.  Big names like UK, Duke, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Louisville, etc continue on.  On the women’s side, top seeds are rolling with So Carolina and Notre Dame through to the Round of 16.  Today, Maryland should have their hands full with undefeated Princeton and UConn takes on Rutgers as they advance the second 8.

 

On March Madness, our friends at Iberdrola are having some fun with the idea.  Last week they rolled out Megawatt Madness tourney – matching up our 64 renewable locations around the country (mostly Iberdrola wind and solar fleet).   They have moved to the Sweet 16 so click and vote…

 

Finally, the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four hockey pairings were announced yesterday.  WCHA Champ Minnesota State-Mankato is top seed with North Dakota, Boston and Miami, getting No. 1 seeds. Regional play begins Friday and Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota (West Regional), Manchester, New Hampshire (Northeast), Providence, Rhode Island (East), and South Bend, Indiana (Midwest). The Frozen Four will be played in Boston at TD Garden on April 9th and April 11th.  Sleeper this year could be Harvard who won the ECAC and the UP’s Michigan Tech who are solid and return to the tourney for the first time since 1981.

 

Speaking of hockey, there is a big game in town (actually Kettler Arena in Arlington, VA) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.   The Congressional Hockey Challenge will feature members of Congress and staff (including a couple of ringers from the Canadian Parliament) playing a team of lobbyists to raise funds for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (the legendary SCOTUS justice was a huge hockey fan), USA Warriors Hockey and DC inner city youth hockey program Ft. Dupont.  POLITICO Playbook’s Dan Lippman profiles the event and I will be on the ice as part of the officiating crew.  Tickets are $10 so please turn out for this fun event and great cause.

 

Besides lacing up their skates, members will be active this week with several important hearings.  It all started this morning in West Virginia where Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, member of the both Sen. Energy and Enviro Committees held a field hearing in Beckley on EPA’s Clean Power Plan.   There is also a Small Business Committee field hearing in Louisiana with Chair Dave Vitter today on how small businesses are supporting America’s energy renaissance.  Following last week’s hearing on coal ash legislation, EPA’s OSW head Mathy Stanislaus discusses the EPA Rule/legislation in the much anticipated Round 2 tomorrow.   Also tomorrow, Senate Ag hits at the EPA’s Waters of the US rule where my colleague Lowell Rothschild (202-828-1711) is an outstanding resource.  Finally, House Ag will hold two hearings this week on the reauthorization of the CFTC.  My colleagues Bob Pease (202-828-5824) and Dave Perlman (202-828-5804) are great experts on the topic.

 

With the DOE Quadrennial Energy Review being released any day now, Secretary Moniz is supposed to visit Senate Energy on Thursday.   The hearing is not yet for sure as the QER may be delayed.  What is not delayed at Senate Energy is the RETURN of our friend Rosemarie Calabro Tully, who has been energy press secretary for the Bipartisan Policy Center since leaving the Committee when Chairman Bingaman retired, to ENR where she will communications for ranking member Maria Cantwell.

 

The big legal event in DC this week is the Supreme Court of the US hearing the long-awaited mercury rule challenge on Wednesday.  Michigan AG Bill Schuette leads 19 other states in arguing the rule is not attainable and too costly.  My colleagues Jeff Holmstead, Rich Alonso and Scott Segal can respond to any and all of your questions.

 

There are budget hearings this week on Forest Service, DOE with Secretary Moniz on Wednesday, PHSMA, House Energy Approps with all four NRC Commissioners and FBI Director James Comey.

 

Our friends at the Wall Street Journal are hosting ECO:nomics in Cali this week while Heating and AC company leaders flood DC for AHRI annual Washington DC Symposium (#AHRISymposium on Twitter).  If fact, some of those HVAC guys will likely weigh in at Friday’s DOE public hearing on the hotly-contested new Furnace efficiency rule.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, former DOE Senior Counsel and attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani who represents energy efficiency and technology clients highlighted that DOE’s proposed rule clearly admits that increasing the standards on residential furnaces leads to increased switching from natural gas to electric furnaces which actually increases GHG emissions.  Expect this argument to continue to come up on Friday.  American Gas Assn and furnace-makers at AHRI both have expressed serious concerns about the effectiveness of DOE’s rule as well.

 

Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Iberdrola Promoting Renewables with “Megawatt Madness”  – Iberdrola Renewables launched a bracket-style tournament last week called Megawatt Madness, which features 64 of our renewable power sites across the United States. The tournament allows employees, landowners, community members and the general public to vote for and share their favorite sites from the Iberdrola Renewables fleet.  This campaign features a website-based bracket, where participants can vote based on images, descriptions, and facts about each site. Participants are encouraged to share on social media to spread the word about what makes their site so special using the hashtag #IR64.  The winners of each round of the tournament will be determined by the amount of votes and social media shares they receive. Bracket match-ups will occur for one month, with the champion being selected after April 10.  Starting today, the sweet 16 are out there so go vote.

 

Atlantic Sunrise Will Create Jobs, Economic Growth –A new study from Penn State University says that the design and construction of Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project will generate approximately $1.6 billion in additional wages, revenues and investments to the regional and state economies of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  The report clearly shows how vital this project and others like it are for Pennsylvania’s economy.  “Economic Impacts of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project,” lead author Seth Blumsack, Associate Professor of Energy Policy at Penn State, finds that the proposed project would have a major, positive economic impact on the Pennsylvania and Virginia economies where new pipeline facilities would be built and operated.   According to the researchers, the design and construction of the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project could support approximately 8,000 jobs and an associated $870 million in economic value added during the construction period. Additionally, the ongoing operation of the pipeline would generate approximately $1.9 million in annual economic impact, supporting 29 jobs.   In a related report titled “Estimating the Impact of the Atlantic Sunrise Project on Natural Gas Consumers,” lead author Andrew Kleit, Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at Penn State, found that consumers served by the Transco pipeline in the southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions could have saved $2.6 billion from 2012-2014 due to increased access to lower-priced Pennsylvania gas supply because of Atlantic Sunrise.

 

Interior Issues BLM NatGas Fracturing Rule – In another Friday afternoon release special, the Interior Department released its long-awaited rule governing hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on federal and American Indian lands.  The rule, issued by the Bureau of Land Management, will require companies using the process to strengthen wells with concrete barriers to prevent water zones; disclose the chemicals used to the online FracFocus database; and secure recovered waste fluid with stronger interim storage tanks.  The rule will also require companies to submit more information on preexisting wells to prevent cross-well contamination.

 

IER Hammers Rule, Administration – The Institute for Energy Research President said the Administration’s hydraulic fracturing regulation saying the Obama administration is being “dishonest” about its intentions. IER President Tom Pyle: “This new hydraulic fracturing rule isn’t about protecting the environment, but rather about curtailing domestic energy production, which has been this administration’s goal all along.” IER said production on federal lands has actually declined under this administration in the midst of record energy production on state and private lands.  Pyle: “Imposing federal controls on hydraulic fracturing is this administration’s latest regulatory scheme for disrupting America’s domestic energy boom. From proposing to block off ANWR and parts of Alaska’s energy-rich offshore areas to slow-walking drilling permits and fast-tracking green energy leases, President Obama remains determined to strangle domestic energy production by any means necessary.  Pyle Finished by saying the administration’s hydraulic fracturing rule is a solution in search of a problem and states are already regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands and have done so successfully for years without federal interference.

 

Drillers Sue Over Rule – Not wasting any time, IPAA and the Western Energy Alliance filed a federal lawsuit against the Interior regulations, challenging BLM’s issuance of regulations related to hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The Complaint, filed in federal district court in Wyoming, characterizes BLM’s rulemaking as “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns” and requests the regulations be set aside because the administrative record lacks the factual, scientific, or engineering evidence necessary to sustain the agency’s action. States have an outstanding record of protecting the environment and safeguarding the public. This new rule is simply another regulatory overreach by the Obama Administration that will hurt America’s oil and natural gas producers. WEA President Tim Wigley: Interior “struggles to meet its current workload of leasing, environmental analysis, permitting, monitoring, inspecting, and otherwise administering the federal onshore oil and natural gas program.  Yet it is undertaking an entirely new regulatory regime that it has neither the resources nor the expertise to implement.”

 

Bracewell Experts are Available – Despite another Friday policy announcement from this Administration; this one while NCAA basketball games will be filling most offices on Capitol Hill, in DC and around the nation., we have experts at B&G.  Should you need to discuss this long-awaited announcement on regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Federal land natgas drilling, feel free to call my colleagues Jason Hutt (202-828-5850, Jason.hutt@bgllp.com) and Lowell Rothschild (202-828-5817, lowell.rothschild@bgllp.com).  They will be happy to provide background information, on-the-record quote and policy/legal analysis.

 

More Drama on the Post Fact Check – You may recall last week, we detailed the March 13th Post Fact Checker article by Michelle Ye Hee Lee on recent remarks made by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.   ACCCE fired back a strongly-worded response highlighting several factual errors and omitted other important facts on state opposition to EPA’s proposal.  Now, ACCCE submitted a Letter to the Editor to The Washington Post, however, the paper rejected the letter as the original article did not appear in print.  Now ACCCE is releasing their L to E from ACCCE head Mike Duncan.

 

The Letter –The letter from Duncan reads: Your Fact Checker’s article “Inhofe’s misleading statements on carbon emissions rule” on March 13 was remarkable for two reasons.   First and foremost, the Fact Checker failed to check any facts with ACCCE or NERA. A single call or email was never even attempted, despite a lengthy piece which criticizes analyses by both organizations.  Secondly, there are a large number of facts the Fact Checker got wrong. For example, the Fact Checker incorrectly claims NERA assumed only a “worst-case scenario” when analyzing the economic impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. NERA’s report, however, makes it crystal clear that several scenarios were modeled, including a best case scenario (referred to in NERA’s report as the “state unconstrained” scenario). The Fact Checker also claims NERA did not analyze regional compliance approaches. Had the Fact Checker read the report or checked with us, she would know for a fact that NERA devoted an entire 10-page appendix to explain its analysis of a regional compliance scenario and the impacts (for example, 41 states would experience double-digit electricity price increases).  In light of the numerous errors in this reporting, we can only assume the Fact Checker’s nose is growing by the moment.

 

Moniz, Pritzker Lead Trade Mission to China – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will lead a delegation of 25 American companies on a Business Development Trade Mission to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, China next month.  The trade mission will help U.S. companies launch or increase their business operations in China for Smart Cities – Smart Growth products and services, such as smart buildings, green data centers, carbon capture utilization and storage, energy efficiency technologies, clean air and water technologies, waste treatment technologies, smart grid and green transportation.  Southern Company and Brightsource Energy are among the companies already working innovative energy technologies with China and others internationally.

 

Platts Cap Crude Looks at Exports – Our friends at Platts Capitol Crude podcast takes a deep dive into the ongoing debate over crude exports following last week’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. The debate has dipped into the future of US oil production, current refining capacity and the influence exports may have on foreign policy. It also comes as the US fossil fuel industry finds itself in the midst of a “body swap” movie where policy has not kept pace with a radical change.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

IHS Execs to Discuss Current Oil Issues at CSIS – As part of its ongoing assessment of the impact of low oil prices and policy on the sustainability of domestic energy production, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Dan Yergin, Kurt Barrow and Rick Bott of IHS today at 1:00 p.m. to present their most recent analysis looking at the oil export question in light of the fall in oil prices and the impact on investment and in terms of the supply chains in the non-oil producing states. The analysis considers 60 separate supply chain industries and provides granular impact analysis to fully understand the economic and job growth impact across the nation. Frank Verrastro, Senior Vice President and James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics at CSIS, will moderate.

 

House Ag to Look at CFTC – The House Agriculture Committee will hold two hearings tomorrow and Wednesday on the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  The CFTC — whose oversight of futures markets expanded significantly under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — has been awaiting reauthorization since September 2013.  My Colleagues Bob Pease (202-828-5824) and Dave Perlman (202-828-5804) are great experts on the topic.

 

NRC Commissioners Head to House Approps for Budget, Yucca – The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel will hear from NRC Chairman Stephen Burns and his fellow commissioners Kristine Svinicki, William Ostendorff and Jeff Baran about the agency’s fiscal 2016 budget request.  Topics concerns include Yucca Mountain, Nevada repository and many other topics.

 

Senate Ag Tackles WOTUS – The highly-controversial Water of the US Rule will be the subject of a hearing at Senate Ag tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.   Vocal critic and ag advocate Pat Roberts will chair the Hearing.  Witnesses will include Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary Donald van der Vaart, Kansas Department of Agriculture assistant secretary Susan Metzger, Josh Baldi of the Washington State Department of Ecology,  Ouray County, CO commissioner Lynn Padgett and several other farmers representing different sectors.

 

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear Future – The Bipartisan Policy Commission will hold a discussion tomorrow morning with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz looking at the progress to date and examining pathways forward on the future of nuclear waste disposal.   In January 2012, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future recommended a phased, adaptive, consent-based approach for finding a safe, permanent solution for managing nuclear materials.  BPC head Jason Grumet will host the discussion with Moniz.

 

ELI to Look at Coal Ash Rule – The Enviro Law Institute will host a forum tomorrow at Noon for an in-depth examination of the final coal ash rule. ELI’s expert panel will explain the rule’s workings and answer questions on safety, environmental guidelines and other topics.  On December 19, 2014, EPA’s Administrator signed the first ever federal rule regulating the disposal of coal ash, a combustion byproduct from coal-fired power plants.  EPA’s final rule determines that coal ash should be regulated as a solid waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), not a hazardous waste, and provides new national minimum criteria for the coal ash disposal.

 

AHRI to Host Annual DC Meeting – The Heating and Air Conditioning trade association AHRI will hold its annual Washington Conference Wednesday and Thursday.  Speakers will include Bracewell’s Scott Segal and folks from Congress and the Administration.

 

Forum to Look at Indigenous People, Industry – The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development will host a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  that will look at maximizing partnerships between indigenous communities and the extractive sector.  The discussion will focus on ways companies in the extractive industry engage indigenous communities in their areas of operation. Many extractive companies find themselves operating in close proximity to indigenous people and their territories. Working constructively with these communities is now a major business priority. The panelists will offer their perspectives on how both companies and indigenous communities can benefit from greater cooperation, whether through creating new education opportunities, offering extractive industry-related job training to potential indigenous employees, and by encouraging local economic growth.  The panel features Simon Boyce of the Navajo Nation, BHP Billiton’s Maria “Malala” Recart and former Canadian House of Commons Member Gary Merasty.

 

WSJ ECO:nomics Conference to Feature Leaders –  Wednesday to Friday, the editors of The Wall Street Journal will hold its ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, CA.  The event brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy makers and leading thinkers at ECO:nomics 2015 to identify and assess the most compelling opportunities — and pressing risks— emerging around the world in businesses impacted by the environment.  Through on-stage interviews with leading figures and interactive sessions with peers in diverse industries, participants at ECO:nomics 2015 will debate, discuss and get the inside story on essential issues: investing in innovation, disrupting current business models, the new meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading.  Speakers will include  Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, WV Sen. Jo e Manchin, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, coal magnate Bob Murray, former Brightsource CEO and current Google exec John Woolard, Dan Yergin, T. Boone Pickens and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute.

 

SCOTUS to Hear Mercury Case – The Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) will hear the long-awaited mercury rule challenge on Wednesday morning.  Michigan AG Bill Schuette leads 19 other states in arguing the rule is not attainable and too costly.  My colleagues Jeff Holmstead, Rich Alonso and Scott Segal can respond to any and all of your questions.

 

Moniz to Head to Senate Approps Panel – Secretary Moniz returns the Senate Approps panel on Energy and Water with Science advisor Frank Orr on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the DOE Budget.

 

Marcellus Shale Meeting Set for NE PA – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Tax proposals from new PA Gov. Tom Wolf will be a significant topic of discussion.

 

Senate Energy to Hear From Moniz on QER – The Senate Energy Committee will review the upcoming release of DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review in a hearing on Thursday featuring Secretary Ernie Moniz.  The hearing was scheduled but may be delayed if the report is delayed.  Stayed tuned on whether it makes.

 

O’Connor to Address Law Symposium – ELI, ECOS, GWU’s Journal of Energy and Environmental Law and Environmental Law Association, RSM Eramus University Rotterdam  and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement will host the Shapiro Enviro Law Symposium at GW Law School on Thursday and Friday.  Former SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be among the many speakers.

 

NCAA “Sweet 16” Games Start – 12:10 p.m. Thursday.

 

DOE Furnace Public Hearing Set – DOE will host its public hearing on its Furnace Rule on Friday.  DOE rolled out its new efficiency proposal for certain residential natural gas-fired furnaces in Mid -February.  Here is the link for the rule.   My colleague Salo Zelermyer, former DOE Senior Counsel and attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani who represents energy efficiency and technology clients said “DOE’s proposed rule clearly admits that increasing the standards on residential furnaces leads to increased switching from natural gas to electric furnaces. Such an approach would actually increase lifecycle GHG emissions and stands in stark contrast to the goals of the President’s climate action plan.”  We are working on a number of these EE rules with many different members of the EE and HVAC industries and these are items that Salo watched closely when he was at DOE.  He is a great resource.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

FERC GHG Technical Conference to Focus on EPA Rule – FERC holds its final GHG technical Conference in St. Louis on March 31st.  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 is pleased to announce that Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at Interior (DOI), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 31st, where she will discuss the current offshore energy production landscape.  Schneider oversees four DOI bureaus including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 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.

 

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 April 1st 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Energy Update: Week of March 16

Friends,

This is a busy week on a number of fronts.  First, think Green on St. Patrick’s day tomorrow, then St Joseph’s Day for us Italians (which is essential knowledge if you are selling your house), then Friday is the first day of Spring (think Green again) with the vernal equinox falling at 6:45 p.m.

But the big news today is NCAA Hoops March Madness starting tomorrow with 16-seeds Manhattan and Hampton tipping off at 6:40 and 11-seeds BYU/Mississippi live at 9:10.  16s N Florida and Robert Morris and 11s Boise State and Dayton play-in on Wednesday.  The heavy action starts Thursday just after Noon.   It looks like a great tournament with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke and Villanova taking the top seeds.  Each is very strong, but Kentucky seems to have an added edge going into the tournament undefeated.  Although the last team to finish undefeated was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers led by Kent Bentson and Quinn Buckner.  Look out for Arizona who has also been strong all year.   With Justin Anderson a little rusty from his latest medical issues, I would not put a lot of gold on UVa, while North Carolina will likely have its hands full with Harvard.

Some sleeper teams to watch include 11-seed Texas, the always tough/tourney-savvy Michigan State, first-time tourney team Buffalo coached by former Duke floor general Bobby Hurley and Wyoming, who won the Mountain West and plays a controlled pace that will keep them in most games.  As you know, we at Bracewell always have experts for you and we are no different on college basketball, where our trade/campaign finance expert Josh Zive also doubles as a great resource for your NCAA pool.  I am certain that he will only take a small fee and percentage of your earnings should you need his hoops knowledge.

On the Women’s side, top seeds will be determined tonight on ESPN, but most seem to think Maryland, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Baylor, maybe South Carolina are the likely top seeds.   Everything concludes in early April with Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis and Women’s in Tampa.

The craziness translates to Congress as well with a jam-packed hearing schedule in DC – especially given that Thursday most people will be watching basketball.  I have been promised though that all action will cease just after Noon on Thursday!!!!   I’m sure the Senate Majority Leader will want to watch both Louisville and top-seeded Kentucky…but which one will he really root for???

That being said, there are several very important hearings in the House Energy & Commerce Committee this week including tomorrow’s climate legal issues hearing featuring Harvard legal eagle Laurence Tribe, who recently wrote that his protégé President Obama is wrongly using the Clean Air Act on climate issues; a legislative hearing on the bipartisan Coal Ash legislation on Wednesday and a Thursday hearing on thermal water heaters and DOE energy efficiency rules that will feature AHRI member Stephen Koep of Vaughn Thermal Corporation in Massachusetts.

Other important hearings will include a House Science Committee hearing on Ozone impacts tomorrow and the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday looking at regulations and their impacts on small businesses.  The hearing will feature a significant discussion on DOE’s slew of regulations moving forward in the next two years.  AHRI member Vicktor Anderson, of Western Michigan’s Structural Concepts Corporation will be testifying  that the new regs will severely impact his ability to retain current employees and economically produce cost-effective, energy efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration products.  Keeping the regulations theme, Senate Homeland Security/Govt Affairs will discuss overhauling the government regs’ rulemaking process featuring former OIRA head and Dean at Indiana U’s School of Environment and Public Affairs John Graham.  Senate Energy will focus on grid upgrades and security tomorrow featuring transmission experts like FL PSC/NARUC head Lisa Edgar and EPRI’s Mike Howard.  Senate Energy takes up crude exports with refiners’ Charlie Drevna and CP CEO Ryan Lance on Thursday and tomorrow state officials will be at House Transportation to discuss the highway bill and its importance to state and local officials, led by NC Gov Pat McCrory and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.  Finally, the Senate takes up Sportsmen legislation on Wednesday and our resident expert, Eric Washburn can comment (202-412-5211).

Budget hearings this week include tomorrow’s hearings featuring Ag Secretary Vilsack (where ethanol questions will likely come up), offshore’s BOEM and BSEE; National Park Service chief Jon Jarvis, and DOE subcabinet officials and science folks.  Transportation Secretary Foxx goes on Wednesday and Federal Highway, Federal Transit, NHTSA and Maritime Administration officials on testify Thursday.  FWS head Dan Ashe is tomorrow and Thursday, while DOE’s Environmental Management issues are heard on Wednesday.  Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell also goes Wednesday and NOAA’s Kathryn Sullivan will be at House Approps Wednesday and House Resources Thursday.  Probably missed a hearing or two in there so keep checking.

If you can pull yourself away from the Hill before Thursday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visits CSIS tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., WCEE holds a forum on Wednesday at the National Grange looking at energy storage and Thursday morning, The Energy Times will hold an executive energy briefing focused on utilities and how they are changing featuring PSE&G CEO Ralph Izzo and NH Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, among other.

Finally, I noticed again this morning that The Analysis Group, headed by Sue Tierney, seem to be the only folks  that think the EPA Clean Power Rule will be no problem for grid operators like PJM, who have expressed serious concerns about reliability.  I’m sure Jeff Holmstead and Scott Segal would be happy to offer thoughts regarding the topic.

Clear the decks for Thursday and Friday and get those NCAA pools in to your administrator soon…Call with questions.

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-586
(202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

Wash Post Fact Checker on Climate Taken to TaskThe Washington Post Fact Check is usually a pretty reasonable place to check the verity of the back and forth in the policy, political or advertising battles.  On Friday, it published a piece last on what they called Sen. Inhofe’s “Misleading Statements on Carbon Emission Rule.”  WPFC took Inhofe’s comment: “EPA also intends to pursue a legislative proposal for an additional $4 billion in mandatory spending for EPA to enforce its climate change regulations … which 32 states oppose and will result in double-digit electricity price increases in 43 states” and applied its scrutiny.  Unfortunately, while claiming to not take a position on the Clean Power Plan, the WPFC in fact advocated several positions in favor of the CPP, hyperlinked to an NRDC site supporting it and didn’t make a similar link to the widespread available links that oppose the plan.  As well, WPFC downplayed state opposition by claiming not all the states really oppose the rules because they have some agencies considering how to implement them.  Of course, that assumption is suspect given the that regulators will always consider what has to be done to comply.  The fact is, the 32-state figure IS as dramatic as it sounds.

ACCCE Fires Back – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) pushed back on the WPFC saying they conducted analysis showing widespread opposition from state officials to the EPA proposal. ACCCE also commissioned a detailed economic analysis of the CPP by NERA Economic Consulting (NERA).  Both analyses have been cited in Congressional hearings and were referenced in the WPFC piece.  The article disputed ACCCE’s analysis of state opposition to the EPA proposal, as well as NERA’s economic analysis. However, the Fact Checker did not check any facts with either ACCCE or NERA. The Fact Checker got facts wrong in the article and omitted other important facts. Applying the Fact Checker’s own criteria to the article, ACCCE says the article deserves at least three Pinocchios for “significant factual errors,” as well as bias.  See the full Fact Check Response here.

Drones Moving into Energy Space – The rage over drones are not just for weddings or the White House lawn.  The energy industry is also recognizing the economic and safety benefits of deploying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or “drones” for tasks such as pipeline surveys, pipeline inspections or even tracking ice and aquatic life movement prior to drilling offshore.  Taking it further, FAA recently released  a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking focused on the Operation and Certification of Small UAS, which my colleague Mike Weller has discussed in a recent blog.  The FAA is accepting comments on its proposal through April 24, 2015 and in the meantime continues to process case-by-cases requests for authorization under exemptions, which Mike has discussed in another recent blog here.  The blogs are on the record if you are covering this issue.  Should you have questions, you can also talk to Weller at 202-828-5812 or Mike.Weller@bgllp.com

Fallout from RFS Reform Splash Last Week – At the ABLC annual forum last Wednesday, Advance Biofuels head Mike McAdams made a giant splash when he declared that the current dysfunctional RFS program needed fixing.  The comments were the first breech of the ethanol side and the starch ethanol gang respond with volumes of fire and vitriol.  Of course, they only people who are trying to maintain the current program as it clearly is not working.  With a lot expected on this issue this summer, I thought I would forward the text of McAdams speech which make some strong points about the need for RFS reform.  Whatever happens, expect this to be a major fight.

Durbin Introduces Innovation Legislation – Sen. Dick Durbin introduced legislation today that would lift federal budget caps to increase funding for basic scientific research.  Durbin cited China’s outpacing the United States in such spending during the past decade as the main reason for stepping up to issue.  Five programs are targeted by Durbin’s bill: the Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science Directorate and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research.

SoCo CEO Fanning already Talking Energy Innovation – Speaking of Innovation, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning made that the centerpiece of a discussion at the Atlantic Council last week.  Fanning highlighted the company’s effort to drive energy innovation including the development of new clean coal technologies in Mississippi, new nuclear in Georgia, advanced renewables across their portfolio and the largest biomass plant operating in Texas, among a number of other initiatives.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Symposium to Look at Climate Resilience – USAID’s Global Climate Change Office will host the opening session of the Advancing Climate-Resilient Development Symposium in Washington, D.C., today through Thursday.  A host of speakers will discuss key issues during the four-day long symposium.

OMB Talks Budget at House Approps – The House Approps panel on Financial Services and General Government  will hold a hearing today at 3:00 p.m. on the budget for the Office of Management and Budget featuring OMB head Shaun Donovan.

Ashe to Look at Fish/Wildlife Budget – The House Appropriations Interior subpanel will host US FWS head Dan Ashe and budget office Chris Nolan tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.  Ashe will also appear before House Resources on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in 1334 Longworth.  Of course, our own Eric Washburn can discuss issues like Sage grouse listings that will likely be part of the discussion.

Senate Energy to Focus on Electric Grid – The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow to evaluate the state of technological innovation related to the electrical grid.   Witnesses will include AEP’s Transmission’s Lisa Barton, Florida PSC Commissioner and NARUC President Lisa Edgar, EPRI CEO Michael Howard, Argonne National Laboratory Director Peter Littlewood and Jeff Taft of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

House Transpo to Look at State Impacts – House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on the surface transportation reauthorization looking at the state and local impacts of transportation on economic growth and job creation.  The hearing will feature Gov. Pat McCrory, D-N.C., on behalf of the National Governors Association; Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, on behalf of the National League of Cities; and John Cox, director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

House Energy Panel to Look at Power Plan Legal, Cost Issues – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on legal and cost issues with EPA Clean Power Plan.   Harvard Legal Expert Laurence Tribe, who recently wrote that his protégé President Obama is wrongly using the Clean Air Act on climate issues, will testify while NYU’s Richard Revesz will counter Tribe.  Revesz responded to Tribes’s Wall Street Journal piece with one in The Hill attacking Tribe.  (publications tell you a little about their target audiences don’t they).  Hunton’s Allison Wood, Florida PSC Chair Art Graham, Maryland PSC Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman,

Ohio EPA head Craig Butler, North Carolina DENR Secretary Donald van der Vaart will also testify.

House Science Looks at Ozone Rule Issues – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on EPA’s proposed ozone standard, its impact and achievability.  Witnesses include Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Ray Keating of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Harvard Medical School’s Mary B. Rice and Eldon Heaston of the Mojave Desert and Antelope Valley AQMD.

Resources to Look at Offshore Agency Budgets – The House Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to review the missions and spending priorities of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and Office of Natural Resources Revenue.  BOEM head Abbie Hopper, BSEE head Brian Salerno and Office of Natural Resource Revenue head Greg Gould will testify.  Expect questions on the recently announced 5-year leasing/drilling plans.

Sportsmen Legislation on Tap in Senate EPW Panel – The Senate Environment’s Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow on Sportsmen legislation to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.  Witnesses will include Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited; and Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  And our resident Sportsman, Eric Washburn can address all your questions (202-412-5211, eric.wasburn@bgllp.com)

Vilsack Hit Senate Approps – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Ag panel  will host USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on the proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2016 for the Agriculture Department.  Vilsack will be joined by Chief Economist Robert Johansson and Budget Officer Michael Young.  Expect some ethanol discussion here.

House Approps to Look at DOE Sub Budgets – After visiting with DOE Secretary Moniz, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development will hold a budget hearing on DOE’s Applied Energy Programs with its sub cabinet officials tomorrow.  Witnesses will include Franklin Orr (Science and Energy), David Danielson (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), Peter Lyons (Nuclear Energy), Christopher Smith (Fossil Energy) and Patricia Hoffman (Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability).   Orr and Deputy Director Pat Dehmer will also return at 1:00 p.m. to specifically discuss the DOE Science budget in further detail.

Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit tomorrow at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.

Jewell to Address Public Lands, Water – Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., CSIS will host Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for a public address on Interior’s energy priorities for the next two years. The Department serves as a significant steward of the nation’s public lands, managing one-fifth of the landmass and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf.

Members Launch of House Caucus on Carbon, Enhanced Oil Recovery – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., a group of bipartisan members will launch a Congressional caucus to educate members on the energy security, economic, and environmental benefits of enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide. Speakers at the event in 1302 Longworth include organizers Reps. Michael Conaway, Gregg Harper and Marc Veasey, as well as Keith Bowman of Tellus Operating Group, Sasha Mackler of Summit Power, Domenico Parisi of the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center, Bob Perciasepe of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, John Risch of SMART (formerly the United Transportation Union), and Kyle Simpson of Hogan Lovells.

Senate Moves on TCSA Legislation – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reauthorize and modernize the act.  Witnesses will include EPA’s Jim Jones, EDF’s Richard Denison, March of Dimes Foundation chief medical officer Edward McCabe, GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health dean Lynn Goldman, EWG’s Ken Cook and new MD AG Brian Frosh.  Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Bonnie Lautenberg will also deliver statements.  The legislation aims to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 and has 7 Democrats and 9 Republicans as sponsors.

House Energy Panel to Look at Coal Ash Rule, Legislation – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Environment will hold a hearing tomorrow on Rep McKinley’s legislation “Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015.”

Foxx, Transpo Officials Hit Hill Approps – The Senate Approps panel on Transportation will host DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in 562 Dirksen for a budget hearing.   Meanwhile the next day,  Federal Highway Administration acting administrator Gregory Nadeau, Federal Transit Administration acting administrator Therese McMillan, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind and U.S. Maritime Administration administrator Paul Jaenichen will testify before the House Approps Transportation panel at 10:00 a.m. in 2358-A Rayburn .

EPA Officials to Head to House Transpo – Speaking of transportation, on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will convene a hearing on the FY 2016 Budget for EPA.

House Small Biz Tackles Regulations, Impacts – The House Small Business Committee will hold a committee hearing at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday on regulatory red tape and the challenges for small manufacturers. Those testifying include AHRI member Viktor Anderson, director of engineering for Structural Concepts in Muskegon, Michigan, who will say that new regulations will severely impact his ability to retain current employees and economically produce cost-effective, energy efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration products.  Other also on the panel include Cynthia Reichard of Arylessence Inc., Janis Herschkowitz of PRL in Cornwall, Pa., representing the American Foundry Association and James Goodwin at the Center for Progressive Reform.

WCEE Forum to Look at Grid Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold a forum on Wednesday at the National Grange looking at energy storage.  The event will feature Katherine Hamilton, who will describe the industry players and technologies and update us on the exciting developments from the technological and policy perspective for energy storage.   Hamilton is the Policy Director of the Energy Storage Association. Katherine served as President of the GridWise Alliance, advocating for nearly $5 billion in funding for smart grid projects in the Recovery Act. Prior to that role, Katherine was a policy advisor for Good Energies, Inc., a private investment company with a portfolio in clean energy technologies of nearly $6 billion.  She co-directed the American Bioenergy Association, working with the states of Maryland and New Jersey to develop renewable portfolio standards. At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Katherine led buildings research and then managed government relations in Washington, DC. Katherine spent a decade at Virginia Power, designing overhead and underground electrical systems for commercial and residential developments. Katherine studied electrical engineering at Northern Virginia Community College and holds degrees from Cornell University and the Sorbonne. Katherine is part of The Energy Gang podcast through Greentech Media.

Forum, Simulation to Address Cybersecurity Risks – The 3rd Annual Information and Cyber Governance, Data Analytics and Privacy Briefing will be held at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  The program will focus on identifying, protecting and responding to  today’s growing internal and external cybersecurity risks.  SEC Deputy Director Scott Bauguess and FTC General Counsel David Shonka will headline a number of speakers.  During the conference in addition to the moderated Q and A format, the audience will participate in an exercise using a hacking simulator. It has the strategic rigor of chess and the feel of a turn-based card game.  The “Game of Threats™” allows executives to better understand the complexity and fast-paced nature of deciphering threats and crafting the proper response, highlighting the importance of making the right move at the right time to thwart the hackers. My Bracewell colleague and expert on cybersecurity Shamoil Shipchandler is a great resource on the issue.

Foxx, Shuster Head NJ Forum on Transportation – On Thursday at the Newseum, National Journal will host a forum of key stakeholders and experts for a robust discussion about the prospect of finding consensus to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure.  Speakers will include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and House T&I Chair Bill Shuster, as well as Casey Dinges of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Standard & Poor’s Steve Dryer, BPC Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative Director Aaron Klein, ARTBA’s Pete Ruane and Frederick “Bud” Wright of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Forum to Look at Ex-Im Bank – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development will host a reschedule forum  on the Export-Import Bank’s contribution to the U.S. economy, future directions and challenges, and ways the U.S. Congress continue to support the Bank. Since 2009, the Export-Import Bank has helped create 1.2 million private-sector jobs by financing small business exporters. Over the last five years, it has generated $2 billion more than the cost of its operations. However, the Bank is currently operating on a short term extension of its charter which expires on June 30, 2015. Given the forthcoming deadline, a conversation on the role the Bank plays in growing American jobs and its contribution to the global economy is needed to spur further support from the U.S. government.   Illinois Rep. Robert Dold will make keynote remarks, while Other speakers will include Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg, Ex-Im Advisory Committee Member Don Nelson, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia President and Former Ex-Im Vice Chair Linda Conlin and NAM’s Linda Dempsey.

House Energy Panel to Look at Water Heater Efficiency – The House Energy panel  of the Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to modify the efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters.  NERCA and AHRI members are expected to participate, including AHRI member Steve Koep of Vaughn in Massachusetts.

PSE&G’s Izzo, Sen. Shaheen  to Headline Energy Briefing – On Thursday morning, the Energy Times will hold an executive energy briefing focused on utilities and how they are changing. Innovators and policymakers will be speak including PSE&G CEO Ralph Izzo, NH Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, NY State PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman and NIST’s Steven Busby.

Sen Energy to Tackle Crude Exports – The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing to receive testimony on U.S. crude oil export policy on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.   Last year at this time, Murkowski offered her thoughts on crude exports at CERA Week.  Witnesses will include former State Dept official Carlos Pascual, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance, Jeff Warman of Monroe Energy and our friends Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Center for a New American Security and AFPM President Charlie Drevna.

Senate Govt Comm Look sat Rulemaking Improvements – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to explore some ways to revamp the government’s rulemaking process. The committee will hear from experts including John Graham, who led the White House regulatory review office during the George W. Bush administration, as well as Neil Eisner, senior fellow at the Administrative Conference of the United States; NAM’s Drew Greenblatt and former executive director of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Pamela Gilbert.

NCAA Games Start – 12:10 p.m. Thursday.

FUTURE EVENTS

AHRI to Host Annual DC Meeting – The Heating and Air Conditioning trade association AHRI will hold its annual Washington Conference on March 24-25th.  More on this as it comes into shape.

Forum to Look at Indigenous People, Industry – The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development will host a forum on Wednesday, March 25th at 10:00 a.m.  that will look at maximizing partnerships between indigenous communities and the extractive sector.  The discussion will focus on ways companies in the extractive industry engage indigenous communities in their areas of operation. Many extractive companies find themselves operating in close proximity to indigenous people and their territories. Working constructively with these communities is now a major business priority. The panelists will offer their perspectives on how both companies and indigenous communities can benefit from greater cooperation, whether through creating new education opportunities, offering extractive industry-related job training to potential indigenous employees, and by encouraging local economic growth.  The panel features Simon Boyce of the Navajo Nation, BHP Billiton’s Maria “Malala” Recart and former Canadian House of Commons Member Gary Merasty.

WSJ ECO:nomics Conference to Feature Leaders –  On March 25th to 27th, the editors of The Wall Street Journal will hold its ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, CA.  The event brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy makers and leading thinkers at ECO:nomics 2015 to identify and assess the most compelling opportunities — and pressing risks— emerging around the world in businesses impacted by the environment.  Through on-stage interviews with leading figures and interactive sessions with peers in diverse industries, participants at ECO:nomics 2015 will debate, discuss and get the inside story on essential issues: investing in innovation, disrupting current business models, the new meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading.  Speakers will include  Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, WV Sen. Jo e Manchin, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, coal magnate Bob Murray, former Brightsource CEO and current Google exec John Woolard, Dan Yergin, T. Boone Pickens and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute.

Marcellus Shale Meeting Set for NE PA – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold a meeting on March 26 and 27th in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Tax proposals from new PA Gov. Tom Wolf will be a significant topic of discussion.

FERC GHG Technical Conference to Focus on EPA Rule – FERC holds its final GHG technical Conference in St. Louis on March 31st.  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 is pleased to announce that Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at Interior (DOI), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 31st, where she will discuss the current offshore energy production landscape.  Schneider oversees four DOI bureaus including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 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.

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.

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.

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.