Energy Update: Week of November 10

Friends

 

The midterm elections are now behind us (except for Louisiana and a few undecided House races in Arizona, California and New York).  But before we head to Sesame Street, I am forwarding in one last blast (like a November Minnesota snow storm), our election recap and video analysis in a special section below, as well as an interviews with energy analyst Kevin Book, several trade association heads and a renewable energy summary from our friend Craig Cox.  The Hill hosts a policy forum on the Energy on Thursday morning.

 

So yes, on this day in 1969, Sesame Street introduced us and now our kids, to Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster and the rest of the gang, teaching us how to spell, count, do arithmetic, have manners, respect others and express feelings.  Psychologist Lloyd Morrisett and NYC public TV producer Joan Ganz created the Children’s Television Workshop and developed a format that had “frequent repetition, clever visual presentation, brevity, and clarity” could potentially be used to teach preschool-aged children, especially with infectious songs that kids could easily recall and match to the educational content.  Hard to argue it hasn’t been a huge success.

 

Veterans’ Day is tomorrow and while that improves traffic, it is truly an important day to honor those who fight for us.  In honor of our Veterans, HBO and Starbucks will hold the Concert for Valor live on the Mall in Washington, D.C. rolling out a bunch of great stars like Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Eminem and Rihanna are among the artists who will play.  The gates open at 10:00 a.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m.  While it is snowing like mad in Minnesota/North Dakota, the weather in DC is expected to be fabulous.

 

With the President in Beijing, China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC), it is interesting to mention that BrightSource Energy’s Joe Desmond is also in China signing a joint venture agreement with Shanghai Electric Group (SEC) to construct two 135 megawatt (MW) CSP plants as part of the first phase of the Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project.   Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews was there with Desmond for the signing.

 

Congress returns this week for the “lame duck” session on starting Wednesday. They will spend the first week deciding what to do on a range of issues, including tax extenders, the PTC and a continuing resolution which is necessary by December 11 to keep the government running.  Most hearings this week focus on ISIL and Ebola issues.   Next week, the Senate will be in for a full five-day work week while the House will be in for four days through Thursday, November 20th.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu (202-828-5806) is fresh off the Hill’s Senate Finance Committee and can give you great insights on where things stand.   We also expect to see on the House Floor “secret science” legislation to prevent EPA from using science, data, and other information that is not publicly-available, peer-reviewed, and/or independently evaluated to justify the promulgation of new, costly rulemakings.

 

Outside Congress in DC, we expect to see EPA release the 2014 RFS final rule, continue to watch DOE rules on furnaces and other energy efficiency issues and have the roll out the final coal ash rule (which must happen by December 19).  We can be helpful on all of these items with my expert colleagues and other industry sources.

 

Finally, on Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to take up challenges to the D.C. Circuit’s April ruling upholding the controversial MATS rule.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is available to comment.  And speaking of interesting papers, there is a new one from the Federalists Society that offers a heady discussion of the EPA effort to compel states to become the enablers of the Administration’s GHG plan.  Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

2014 MID-TERM ELECTION WRAP UP

 

Republicans Win Big On Election Night – Republicans won big victories in the 2014 Midterm Elections, winning key gubernatorial and congressional races in what many are viewing as a “wave election.”

 

Senate – In the Senate, Republicans took the majority, picking up 7 seats that were previously held by Democrats, giving the GOP 52 Senate seats in the 114th Congress.  Republicans won in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado. They also managed to hold Republican seats in the hotly-contested states of Georgia, where Republican David Perdue will succeed retiring GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss; Kansas, where Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) managed to hold on despite a strong challenge from independent Greg Orman; and in Kentucky, a top target for Democrats seeking to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is expected to be elected the next Senate Majority Leader.  Democrats were able to hold off strong challenges in the states of Virginia, where it took 3 days to finalized the 16,000-vote victory by incumbent Mark Warner who was almost surprised by former White House/RNC official Ed Gillespie; New Hampshire, where former Senator Scott Brown challenged incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Michigan, where Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI-14) defeated GOP candidate Terri Lynn Land to hold on to the seat of retiring Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); and in Oregon, where incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) easily overcame a challenge from Republican Monica Wehby.

 

House of Representatives – In the House of Representatives, Republicans added at least ten seats to their existing majority, moving it to nearly 243 seats depending on the undecided races.  One key note:  former GM lobbyist Debbie Dingell won the seat of husband John Dingell, keeping the Dingell name in that seat for every Congress since 1933…that’s the 72nd  Congress or 81 years.

 

Governors – There were big wins in State Capitals for many Republicans closely –fought incumbent wins in Florida (Scott), Michigan (Snyder), Maine (LePage), Wisconsin (Walker), Kansas (Brownback) and Georgia (Deal).  They also won big in the key states of Ohio (Kasich), Texas (Abbott), Nevada (Sandoval), New Mexico (Martinez) and Iowa (Branstad).   Finally, they won big surprising victories in blue states of Illinois (Rauner), Massachusetts (Baker) and Maryland (Hogan) and came up just short in Connecticut and Vermont.  Democrats defended incumbents in generally close races in New York (Cuomo), New Hampshire (Hassan), California (Brown), Hawaii (Ige, who knocked out incumbent Abercrombie in primary), Minnesota (Dayton), Oregon (Kitzhaber) and, after a few days, Colorado (Hickenlooper).  The big pick up for Democrats was in Pennsylvania, where Tom Wolf swamped incumbent Tom Corbett despite the State Legislature going overwhelmingly Republican.   Two races remain open: Vermont where incumbent Peter Shumlin leads in a race that will go to the State Legislature to be decided and Alaska, where Republican incumbent Sean Parnell trails challenger Bill Walker by a narrow margin.  In the end, Republicans picked up 3 state Houses giving them 31, while Democrats sit at 17, with Ds leading in the two races undecided.

 

What to Expect in the 114th Congress – Scott Segal says in a video that several changes are anticipated in the new Congress, with both chambers set for Republican control.  He adds key factors include more oversight of key Administration initiatives, notably in energy, the environment, and immigration; a return to a more traditional appropriations process; and the prospects for negotiations between the White House and Congress on key policy initiatives.

 

Insights on McConnell from former Rep. Anne Northup – Fresh off the campaign trail with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former U.S. Representative Anne Northup provides insights on what can be expected from a Republican-controlled Senate. In this discussion with fellow PRG partner Scott Segal, she discusses some of the new Senate Majority leader’s policy priorities and how the Senate and House will work together.

 

Energy, Environment in the Next Congress – The President, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), and soon-to-be Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have all expressed interest in tackling energy issues in the 114th Congress, according to Segal. With Sen. Murkowski as Senate Energy chair and Sen. Inhofe as Senate Environment chair, both Committees will undoubtedly step up their oversight of EPA, with a particular focus on the President’s “Clean Power Plan.” Murkowski is a strong advocate of oil and natural gas development on federal lands, will work aggressively on reliability issues.  If Sen. Mary Landrieu prevails in her December runoff, she and Murkowski will continue their strong working relationship. If Landrieu loses, however, the position of Ranking Member will fall to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), whose state has no oil and gas production and plans to soon close its only coal-fired power plant.  While Cantwell is also a more staunch supporter of environmental regulation than Landrieu, she and Murkowski also have a history of working together to facilitate the Committee’s work.

 

Keystone, GHG Rules in Focus – In the new session in 2015, a bill to finalize the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a virtual certainty, whether as a separate legislative item or an attachment to must-pass legislation. It remains to be seen what legislative amendments and/or riders will be advanced to curtail the scope and speed of the Clean Power Plan, but it is likely one or more of these provisions will reach the floor of both chambers. Points of focus for States and Republican legislators include: the interim targets for emissions reductions states must meet by 2020, the impact the Clean Power Plan is likely to have on electrical reliability, and the enforceability of the Clean Power Plan in light of widespread opposition from numerous governors.  Because the success or failure of the Clean Power Plan is highly dependent on the States, the outcomes in a number of gubernatorial races will also be felt in the coming years. Governors’ mansions fell to Republicans in Democratic strongholds like Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Gas-rich Pennsylvania flipped the other way. But the net effect probably amplifies the chorus of opposition to implementation of the Clean Power Plan and other EPA rules.  Finally, we anticipate the volume obligations and the credits program under the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard, the ethanol mandate, to be subject to greater scrutiny and perhaps legislative reform in the new Congress. Further oversight is likely on ozone, regional haze, coal ash, and the waters of the United States as well.

 

Full Analysis on Key issues on PRG Site – There are several other detailed background papers and video analyses from key Bracewell PRG experts on issues like crude oil exports, shale oil/gas production, LNG exports, renewable energy, offshore oil/gas energy, tax issues and endangered species issues.  Click On the Link to review the details

 

PRG webinar review – Nearly 200 people tuned in to hear our 2014 midterms post-election analysis webinar Wednesday morning. Slides are available here: PRG_2014_Midterm_Elections_Webinar_PPT An audio file of the presentation is available for download here.

 

List of experts – PRG Speakers are listed here.  I have also added a number of additional experts that Bracewell’s PRG has In-house and available to provide you background expertise.  Our experts include:

 

1) Scott Segal (202-828-5845) on election results /implications, energy/environmental regulations;

2)former EPA Air chief Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) on energy issues and environmental regulations; 3) former Daschle/Reid energy staffer Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) wildlife issues, Democratic Politics;

4) former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) on LNG exports, energy efficiency, biofuels;

5) trade expert Josh Zive (202-828-5838) on crude exports

6) former Senate Finance Committee Republican Tax staffer Curtis Beaulieu (202-828-5806) on Tax Issues

7) former KY Rep. Anne Northup on election results, implications, Mitch McConnell

8) Jason Hutt (202-828-5850), Lowell Rothschild (202-828-5817) on natgas, fracking issues

9) Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) Offshore drilling

10) Ed Krenik (202-828-5877) Appropriation, Congressional politics, energy efficiency technologies

11) Cathy McCarthy (202-828-5839) Transmission, FERC

12) Mark Lewis (202-828-5834) FERC Oil/Gas Pipeline issues

13) David Perlman (202-828-5804) CFTC issues

 

Book Comments on Election FalloutE&E TV’s OnPoint featured Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, the day after the election where he discusses committee shake-ups, the future of U.S. EPA air and water regulations, exports policy, and Keystone XL. He also gives his take on Tom Steyer’s effectiveness in the midterms and talks about how the environmental community should refocus its spending strategy heading into 2016. The power shift in Washington is expected to have direct impacts on some of the most debated energy and environment policies.

 

Energy Leaders Address Election Issues/Results – Story Partners released election impact insights from top energy industry leaders. If you haven’t had a chance, you can view the video interviews  here.  Videos include Cal Dooley, President & CEO, American Chemistry Council; Frank Macchiarola, EVP, Government Affairs, ANGA; Brian Wolff, EVP Public Policy & External Affairs, EEI; and Karen Alderman Harbert, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy to explore the political implications of the 2014 elections on the U.S. energy industry. We also spoke with leading journalists and pollsters.  The interviews look at what a shift in the Senate means for the energy economy; how candidates framed energy issues through the election cycle; what energy policy will look like in the next congressional session; and many other critical issues.

 

Renewable Election Update, Summary – Our friend Craig Cox, former head of the Interwest Energy Alliance, has forwarded his 2014 Clean Energy Election Summaries for the West, Midwest, South, and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  The clean energy or climate policy positions of each winning gubernatorial candidate are also included in each regional summary as are the policy positions of utility regulators who won in states where the regulatory commissions are elected.

 

IN THE NEWS

 

BSE Enters JV on Solar with China – BrightSource Energy and Shanghai Electric Group (SEC) announced today in Beijing that they have signed an agreement forming a joint venture for building utility-scale CSP plants in China. Under the agreement, the joint venture will leverage both partners’ contributions to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for projects featuring BrightSource’s solar power tower technology in China. The joint venture’s first proposal is for the construction of two 135 megawatt (MW) CSP plants as part of the first phase of the Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project, of which the majority owner is Huanghe Hydropower Development Co. (Huanghe), a subsidiary of the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI). The announcement and signing ceremony was witnessed by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce H. Andrews during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Beijing, China.  The Qinghai Delingha project will be located in China’s Qinghai province and is planned for six 135 MW CSP tower plants. The first phase will include two 135 MW solar thermal plants with thermal energy storage. Construction of the first two plants is expected to begin in 2015 and be completed in 2017.

 

BSE’s Desmond to Join Commerce Panel –  Speaking of BrightSource and Joe, Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker appointed Desmond to the agency’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee. He will serve as a representative of U.S. solar energy companies in renewable energy and efficiency sector through June 12, 2016.   The committee was formed on June 19, 2012 to provide consensus recommendations from the private sector to the Secretary of Commerce that will enhance export competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products.  Participation from private sector companies strengthens the Department of Commerce’s efforts on the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative, as well as the National Export Initiative.  Nominations  are based on the ability of the member to carry out the committee’s goal of increasing U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products in the global market.  Desmond, along with the BrightSource Energy team, combines nearly three decades of experience designing, building, and operating the world largest solar energy plants to minimize the impact on the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

 

NERC Report Underscores Grid Reliability Concerns Over EPA Rule – The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) said in a new study that EPA’s estimates that more than 100 gigawatts in power capacity may be shut down may be too conservative.  NERC also said EPA’s assumptions about achievable power plant efficiencies underestimates the amount of work already done, and that the rule could lead to a greater need for new electric transmission.  “Based on our preliminary assessment of the proposed rule, we believe there must be further detailed engineering analysis to demonstrate whether the assumptions and targets are feasible in the timeframe proposed,” NERC chief Gerry Cauley said in a statement.

 

S&P Study Says Fuel Switching Likely to Increase Price – A new study from the Brattle Group says the loss of the cheaper coal units will boost power prices by as much as 25% on grids that serve about a third of the nation’s population.  Our friends at Bloomberg report the biggest impact may be in the Midwest and Northeast, where demand for gas for heating jumps during the cold-weather months. Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which manages the electricity network that runs from Manitoba to Louisiana, expects its power reserves to fall short of targets by about 2,000 megawatts by 2016, with deficits mounting after that. Even with the shale boom that’s cut gas prices, power generated with the fuel costs $30 to $35 a megawatt-hour, compared with about $25 for coal, according to Brattle.  The MISO concerns are similar to those expressed above by NERC and in recent reports by grid operators PJM and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

 

McGinty to Become PA Gov CoS – Our friend Katie McGinty will become Chief of Staff in Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s administration.  McGinty has more than 25 years of experience in public service. She has served in many capacities, including at the White House during the Clinton Administration and as Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Secretary. McGinty has also spent time in the private sector.  McGinty will become Chief of Staff following Wolf’s inauguration on January 20, 2015. Until then, she will assist Gov.-elect Wolf as he builds his administration.

 

Oil, Gas Jobs Keep Growing – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that oil and gas sector had increased it employment again, reporting with 215,600 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 213,100 a month earlier and 200,600 a year ago.  To that end, a new API study says more women have opportunities to make careers in the oil and natural gas industry.  API’s Rayola Dougher, senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, said at a Women’s Leadership conference last week in Houston that while women constitute approximately 19% of the industry’s current workforce today, about 185,000 jobs are expected to be available for them over the next 15 years.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Concert for Valor Set – On Veterans’ Day, HBO and Starbucks will hold the Concert for Valor live on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Eminem and Rihanna are among the artists who will play.

 

Military Enviro Leaders to Address Conference – The Defense Energy Summit will be held today through Wednesday in Austin, TX.  Speakers will include, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Edward Thomas Morehouse, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Energy & Sustainability) Richard Kidd and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations & Environment Dennis McGinn (VADM, Ret).

 

MD Offshore Wind Group to Highlight Opportunities – The Maryland Offshore Wind Business groups is holding an International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum tomorrow through Thursday at the Pier 5 Hotel in Baltimore.  The event will offer thoughtful keynotes and workshops that cover everything from new technologies to managing risk in the OSW industry.  Speakers will include MD Gov Martin O’Malley, MD Sen. Ben Cardin, and our friend and O’Malley Energy advisor Abby Hopper, among many others.

 

CSIS to Host Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold its 5th annual Global Security Forum 2014 on Wednesday starting at 8:00 a.m. which will address top challenges facing US and global security issues.   The forum will feature a role-playing simulation on Russian oil crisis.  The keynote speaker will be Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.  Speakers will include former CIA head John McLaughlin, former approps staffer Jim Dyer, David Sanger from the New York Times and CBS’s Bob Schieffer.

 

Georgetown Forum to Discuss Paris Climate Meetings – The Georgetown University Mortara Center for International Studies and the McCourt School of Public Policy are hosting a seminar on Wednesday focused on the Paris COP Meetings and climate agreement  The event will feature Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).  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.  The Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar is co-chaired by Joanna Lewis (SFS) and David Konisky (McCourt).

 

RFF to Host Nobel Laureate Mario Molina on Understanding Climate Risk – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will host a special lecture on understanding climate risk. RFF President Phil Sharp and AAAS CEO Alan Leshner will host a conversation with 1995 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Mario Molina about how the nation should prepare for the risks posed by a changing climate.  Molina is Director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego; and Professor at the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

 

PJM’s Boston to Address Polar Vortex – On Thursday,  ICF International will host its energy and environment breakfast featuring energy expert Terry Boston of PJM.  Boston will discuss the next polar vortex—and what we need to do to ensure reliable supplies of power at prices we can afford during extreme weather events.  At this time last year, we thought we were well prepared for winter weather—even very cold weather—in the Mid-Atlantic region. But then the polar vortex hit in two waves in January 2014, and the concept of “well prepared” seemed to change. While the system held together—no significant blackouts were recorded—the extreme cold snaps revealed vulnerabilities in the system, including more than 20% of the PJM’s generation shuttered due to the cold, planned closures were higher than they should have been, and gas supplies were so constrained that many consumers paid the highest recorded gas and wholesale power prices in history.  With more generation capacity due to retire soon, and an aging grid, Boston will address where we now stand in our ability to withstand winter’s frigid temperatures and storms.

 

IEA to Release Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Philippe Benoit, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the IEA, to discuss the IEA’s recently released inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014. The report finds that the global energy efficiency market is worth at least $310 billion a year and is expected to grow. The annual report from the International Energy Agency, now in its second year, confirms the position of energy efficiency as the “first fuel” in the IEA’s largest economies.   Benoit will also present a related IEA study, Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency, which shows that the benefits of energy efficiency go well beyond the simple scaling back of energy demand. The study reframes the discussion about energy efficiency and shows how it has the potential to support economic growth, enhance social development, advance environmental sustainability, ensure energy-system security and help build wealth. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

Hill Forum to Look at Election Results, Impacts on Energy – On Thursday at 8:00 a.m., The Hill will host a discussion of what’s next in the energy sector. Business analysts and innovators will offer perspectives on the energy industry’s next 5 years. Policymakers and government leaders will explore the energy agenda for the 114th Congress and will look ahead to anticipate energy priorities and initiatives in 2016. Keynote Speaker will Include Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL-15), Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY-01).  Other speakers will include ClearView Energy analyst Kevin Book, Jennifer Dlouhy of The Houston Chronicle, API’s Jack Gerard, Tom Hassenboehler of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change Heather Zichal.

 

ELI to Look at EPA Methane Rule – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a webinar on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on controlling methane from the oil and gas sector.  This past March, the White House put forth a new strategy to reduce methane emissions as part of its comprehensive Climate Action Plan, and EPA is following up by developing both regulatory and voluntary approaches to controlling methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  This seminar brings together a diverse panel of experts to weigh the pros and cons of different approaches to methane control. The panel will explain how the oil and gas sector can be an active partner in new initiatives and how the reduction of methane fits into the larger strategy for addressing climate change.  The event will feature EPA Air Office Head Janet McCabe, API’s Howard Feldman and EDF’s Tomás Carbonell.

 

Markey to Headline Energy Forum – The International Institute for Energy Conservation will hold a 30th anniversary and symposium on Thursday afternoon at The Liaison Capitol Hill.  The Symposium will feature presentations and panel discussions on how energy efficiency and other clean energy policies and technologies can provide climate change solutions.  Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts headlines a long list of speakers. The event is co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program, the Climate Registry, the United Nations Foundation, SmartPower, The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and Home Performance Coalition

 

Forum to Look at Climate Resilience – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Chino Cienega Foundation, I. M. Systems Group, Inc., Global Gender Program of the Elliott School, The George Washington University Alumni Association, World Wildlife Fund will host a forum on building a climate resilience from the beginning.  This event is part of the Myanmar Advanced Leadership Institute on Climate Change (MALICC), which brings a delegation of 14 government officials and civil society leaders to Washington. MALICC builds on a two-year partnership between PISA and ALARM, Myanmar’s leading environmental organization, in order to help mainstream climate change into the nation’s policy-making.  Roger-Mark De Souza, director of population, environmental security and resilience at the Wilson Center will speak.

 

CHP Policy Forum Set – On Thursday and Friday at the Park Hyatt Washington, the annual Combined Heat & Policy Association Policy Forum will kick off with a reception and trade show Thursday.  The next day attendees will hear a series of presentations about how local, state, and federal policies have enabled CHP. Each panel will feature a case study of a cooperative effort that worked to successfully get more CHP in the marketplace. With CHP being a solution that could solve a variety of energy needs, attendees will hear about small scale, medium scale, and large scale projects ranging from public buildings to industrial installations to hospitals.  Agenda highlights include Keynote Speech by Rep. Paul Tonko and DOE’s Jay Wrobel.

 

Forum to Look at Mexico Energy Plans – The Woodrow Wilson Center and the Atlantic Council will host a forum on Friday on Mexico’s Energy Reform.  The Mexican energy industry is set for transformation after President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law the reform’s secondary legislation in August. The event will feature the first major policy address in the United States by one of the top Mexican officials leading this reform.  The event also follows two publications in step with the reform process and written by the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s nonresident senior energy fellow, David Goldwyn, Mexico’s Energy Reform: Ready to Launch (August 2014) and Mexico Rising: Comprehensive Energy Reform at Last? (December 2013).  Keynote speakers will include Secretariat of Energy of Mexico María de Lourdes Melgar Palacios, Federal Commission of Electricity of Mexico (CFE) Director General Enrique Ochoa Reza, and Goldwyn, as well as our friend Bill Loveless, Platts Energy Week Host.

 

CSIS to Highlight Seimens CEO – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. with Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.  Kaeser will discuss recent developments in the global energy landscape. In the context of dynamic economic, political, environmental and technology-based trends all serving to shape current and future energy markets, we very much welcome the opportunity to hear Mr. Kaeser’s perspective on these timely issues. Frank Verrastro, Senior Vice President and James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics at CSIS, will moderate.

 

House Foreign Affairs to Look at Africa, Energy – The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Friday at noon looking at the future of energy in Africa.  Witnesses include Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Ichord, US AID’s Eric Postel, Acting Assistant Energy Secretary Jonathan Elkind, Leadership Africa USA CEO Walker Williams and Dianne Sutherland, owner of Petroleum Africa Magazine.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

MacFarlane to Make Final Address at Press Club – Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who recently announced she will leave the commission at the end of December, will deliver her final public address at a National Press Club luncheon next Monday, November 17th.  She will reflect on the agency’s accomplishments and challenges during her tenure and talk about the issues facing the agency going forward.

 

Bingaman, Moeller Headline NARUC Meeting – The 126th Annual NARUC Meeting will be held November 16th – 19th at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.  In addition to the usual topics, the event will look at topics like distributed generation,  emergency phone calls, alternative-fuel vehicles and ride-sharing services.   The meeting agenda is nearly final, though new speakers and panels will be announced over the several weeks. Panel discussions will be held on the proposed Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, Next Generation 911 services, workforce development, methane emissions, and much more.  A complete agenda is available online.   In addition, NARUC members will elect a new slate of officers for 2014-2015. Current NARUC President Colette D. Honorable of Arkansas’s term will conclude, with new officers being voted in during the meeting.   Confirmed speakers will include former Senate Energy Chair Jeff Bingaman, FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller, EPA Air counsel Joe Goffman, National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell and Uber General Counsel Salle Yoo.

 

Webinar Set to Cover Offshore – WINDExchange, the DOE Wind Program’s platform for disseminating credible information about wind energy, is hosting a webinar on November 19th at 3:00 p.m.  Guest speakers will focus on recent developments in the economics of offshore wind. They will discuss the 2014 Offshore Wind Market Report, U.S. wind energy manufacturing, and potential impacts of wind project development on job growth. The webinar is the first in a series designed to inform participants about offshore wind’s technological and industry developments, recent Energy Department-funded research results, and opportunities to move the industry forward in the United States.

 

NJ to Host Power Forum – The National Journal will host a policy summit on Powering the 21st Century: what the next decade will mean for industry, consumers, tech-driven innovations, and action in Washington on Thursday November 20th at 8:00 a.m.  There’s an ‘energy renaissance’ underway in the U.S., thanks in part to a variety of innovative technologies that have improved access to new energy sources. These advances mean the U.S. will be able to meet all its own energy needs by 2035, if not sooner.   These innovations are taking place while the Obama administration attempts to regulate emissions and lower greenhouse gasses by 17% by 2020. The event will focus on the new energy boom’s meaning for sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, as well as power distribution and reliability.  Our friend Ben Geman will moderate a panel that will include CEQ’s Mike Boots, PG&E’s Helen Burt, NRDC’s David Goldston, SEIA’s Rhone Resch and WRI’s

Andrew Steer.  I suppose it will be an interesting panel of all the panelists agreeing with each other…

 

IEA Chief to Headline CSIS Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Monday November 24th at 9:30 a.m., hosting Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA).  Birol will present the IEA’s 2014 World Energy Outlook. The global energy landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, reshaping long-held expectations for our energy future. Dr. Birol will help shed light on the rapidly evolving global energy landscape, presenting the WEO’s comprehensive analysis of medium- and longer-term energy trends. This year’s edition of the WEO also has a special focus on the outlook for nuclear power and its implications, and an in-depth study of sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the prospects for improving access to modern energy services and for developing the region’s huge resource potential in a way that contributes not only to regional and global energy balances, but also to local and social well-being. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

GenForum Set to Discuss GHG, Reliability, NatGas – PennWell’s GenForum will be held on December 8th in Orlando, Florida.  At the event, there will be a panel  discussion on the future of coal power during a dash to gas, as well as EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA rule proposal is meant to have states implement plans to cut power sector emissions 30% by 2030. GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. GenForum brings together power generation executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in power generation systems in North America. Other speakers will include PJM Interconnection Chief Economist Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., will kick off GenForum with a keynote presentation on electric power demand. Julie Turner, Duke Energy general manager for combined-cycle gas generation in North and South Carolina will be part of a panel discussion on natural gas generation. Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) President and CEO John Shelk will discuss issues surrounding competitive power in today’s marketplace. Florida PSC Commissioner Eduardo Balbis will discuss the Florida electric power landscape. ScottMadden Consulting Partner Stuart Pearman will discuss issues posed by distributed generation.

 

Energy Update Week of May 27

Friends,

How about that for an acronym-heavy Subject Line…Hope you enjoyed the Memorial Day Holiday.  I have launched my summer wear in full force, sporting the pink, seersucker-striped pants today (and there is more where that came from).  What a glorious weekend:  Fabulous weather, great sports, an extra day off and lots of “honey-do” (planting, weeding, changing broken doors, etc).  Congrats to the Maryland women and Duke men laxers who brought home championships in Baltimore.  Now the NCAA turns to the men’s and women’s College World Series.

First the most important news from last week:  Following the announcement that Hess Corporation is selling its retail business to Marathon, Hess confirmed that it will STILL produce a 2014 Hess Toy Truck that it sells during the holiday season.  This year is the 50th anniversary edition.

The other big news of the weekend was in the rock ‘n roll world.  You all know I like my music pretty heavier (currently I’m enjoying the 20-year, re-release of Soundgarden’s Superunknown), but I am a product of the 80s and always listened to the bands like Foreigner, REO and Journey.  (okay, yes, even Loverboy)  Anyway, you may know that Journey’s Steve Perry has been absent from the stage for more than 20 years.  But on Sunday, Perry re-emerged in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Fitzgerald Theater.  He joined the alternative rock band, The Eels, during an encore of their show. After a brief introduction, Perry sang one of the band’s songs, but then went on to sing the Journey classics, Open Arms and Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’. The YouTube video of the full performance is here.

As for the GHG rule for Existing Power plants, Don’t Stop Believin’ that my colleagues Scott Segal and Jeff Holmstead are Faithfully your Wheel In The Sky regarding the Lights of the EPA rule, so if you’re Feeling that Way, feel free to reach out with Open Arms.  They will offer their insights Anyway Way You Want It.

The GHG curtain raisers are turning into curtain calls for media stories.  POLITICO started it all last Monday, with the Washington Post and Bloomberg reporting last week and the Wall Street Journal today.  Our friend Coral Davenport had another angle in the NYT yesterday looking at foreign governments’ interest in next week’s announcement.   Not a lot new in the early reports, with talks of state flexibility, use of cap and trade efficiency and renewable energy plans.  Later this week, the US Chamber is expected to unveil a new study that will start to associate costs with the wide-ranging rule.  Countdown six days to the release with the expected involvement of the President.

Today in New Orleans, the DOE continues its Quadrennial Energy Review with a focus on oil and gas issues.  The event will include Secretary Moniz, who also attended previous meetings in Rhode Island/Connecticut.  Our friend Lori LeBlanc, who directs offshore programs for Louisiana’s oil/gas trade assn will be testifying at the event saying as implementation of strict new safety and environmental standards continues, Gulf of Mexico energy production is getting stronger and stronger.   For a full copy of LeBlanc’s testimony, visit LMOGA’s website at www.LMOGA.com.

While the Senate stays out during the short week, the House returns with several important hearings.  On Thursday, House Science will discuss the IPCC review process, hearing from scientists involved in the process, while House Foreign Affairs look at LNG exports and Asia and Small Business tackles EPA’s “Waters of the US” Rule.  My colleague Lowell Rothschild (202-828-5817) is an expert on the topic should you need a good resource.  Finally, on Friday, E&C’s oversight panel returns to DOE’s loan programs.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled later this week for an analysis of the economic impacts of the GHG rule.   Call with Q’s…

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

LA Oil, Gas Offshore Head LeBlanc Discusses Gulf Energy Future at DOE QER Meeting –  Louisiana oil trade executive Lori LeBlanc said as implementation of strict new safety and environmental standards continues, Gulf of Mexico energy production is getting stronger and stronger at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) meeting in New Orleans.  LeBlanc served as one of four panelists discussing “Gulf Coast Energy Transmission, Storage and Distribution Infrastructure.”  DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz lead off the forum, the third in a series of meetings examining different aspects of today’s U.S. energy picture, focused on offshore energy development and regional conservation efforts.  LeBlanc said “between 2014 and 2019, output from the Gulf is expected to rise another 26%, from around 1.5 million bpd to 1.9 million bpd.  There have been nine new discoveries of oil formations in the Central Gulf since June 2012, spurring significant bids in the most recent lease sale that garnered over $850 million for the Department of the Interior and signaled strong continued business interest in the offshore. Federal revenue from offshore energy production from 2003 to 2012 totaled more than $47 Billion in lease sales and royalties – a major source of revenue for the U.S. Treasury.”

And What About Oil’s Economic Impacts – LeBlanc also focused on the Economic impacts of the drilling and production.  “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense.  It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone.  The offshore oil and gas industry has a $44 billion annual impact to Louisiana per year and a $70 billion annual impact when you factor in the related pipeline and refining industries.”

PJM Auction Double Electricity Prices for Future, NJ Still Highest – The PJM Interconnection said  the results of the 2017-18 auction will result in higher prices over the 2016 auction, with prices doubling.  The result of the annual auction were posted Friday and will have PJM garner 167,004 megawatts of capacity resources to serve the region from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018, a reserve margin of 19.7%. Interestingly, much like last year’s auction, there was price separation in northern New Jersey, actually throughout PSEG’s zone.  The price separation in PSEG is caused by transmission constraints and therefore must run higher priced generators to meet capacity. This year – prices levelized across all regions of PJM, except for PSEG. PSEG cleared at $215 MW-day, while all other PJM regions cleared at $120 MW-day.  There are two main ways to fix this problem – build new local gas-fired generation or build new transmission.   New Jersey  already tried to fix the price problem by incentivizing the creation of new, in-state gas-fired generation with their LCAPP program, but that was met with stiff opposition by incumbent generators (and PJM) and the courts ultimately blocked the State’s program.   The PJM region covers 61 million people over 13 states and D.C. that features a transmission grid of more than 62,500 miles.

Marcellus Drillers Innovate Ways To Benefit From Field-Gas-Powered Operations – A good article by Alex Benedetto at SNL Energy said that although many producers in the Marcellus Shale can source natural gas to fuel their operations, infrastructure limitations have made it hard for them to use field gas on a large scale and transport it to the rig from the source. Driven by low cost, producers have thought of alternative ways to shift to field gas in powering their rigs. “We’ve been drilling for five years, which has allowed us to stretch the pipeline system in such a way that we are able to find locations to drill in our acreage where field gas is available, or the drilling rig is out there drilling on tube trailer gas and at the same time a pipeline is being constructed to it,” said George Stark, spokesman for Cabot Oil and Gas.

Fracking Hits Websters – The annual addition of new words to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and the company’s free online database was hit energy this year.  Fracking and cap and trade were among 150 new words announced Monday by the Springfield, Massachusetts, company.  Many of the other new words and terms stem from digital life and social media — spoiler alert, hashtag, selfie and tweep — while others are food driven, including pho and turducken, a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey.  Of course, as a Michigan native, my favorite new word is Yooper, the moniker for native or longtime residents of the Lake Superior region known for a distinctive manner of speaking.

Dems Oppose GHG Rule, Questions CCS Viability – Seven red-state Democrats sent EPA a letter last week saying its proposed rule for new power plants is “not based on technology that has been adequately demonstrated on a commercial scale.  Senators, led by ND’s Heidi  Hietkamp and IN’s Joe Donnelly  said they “strongly recommend that you evaluate more appropriate ways to regulate emissions in order to truly support the development of CCS and other clean coal technologies. Long-term thinking is essential to ensure that every U.S. citizen will have access to affordable and reliable energy while encouraging energy solutions that lower our carbon footprint.”  Others signing the Letter include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Warner of Virginia.

45 Sens Ask for Comment Period Delay – Meanwhile, 45 Senators including a number of key Democrats are asking EPA to extend the comment period for the GHG rule for new power plants.  The letter says EPA should grant the request because of the “significant impact this rule could have on our nation’s electricity providers and consumers, on jobs in communities that have existing coal-based power plants, and on the economy as a whole.”

GA Power to Bring Wind to State – The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has granted unanimous approval for utility Georgia Power to purchase power from two wind farms in Oklahoma.  Starting in 2016, the utility will buy a total 250 MW of wind energy from EDP Renewables North America’s Blue Canyon Phase II and VI wind farms. The contracts were initially announced in April 2013 but required PSC approval.  According to Georgia Power, these wind purchases are cheaper than other forms of electric generation already on the grid and will put downward pressure on rates. Utility spokesperson John Kraft says, “It is significant anytime we can diversify our generation resources by adding cost effective renewables. This is an exciting time to add wind generation to our portfolio.”  The Sierra Club, an environmental organization, has also welcomed the PSC approval.

Poll Shows Americas Energy Knowledge Low – Americans have taken a wide range of energy saving behaviors in the past six months, and overall energy knowledge is relatively low, according to a recent national poll by Morning Consult Energy.  The poll was conducted from April 24-27, 2014, among a national sample of 2,045 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, region, annual household income, home ownership status, and marital status. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.  Overall, 11% of Americans say they feel they know ‘a lot’ about energy issues and problems, 48% say they know ‘a fair amount, 36% say they know ‘only a little, and 5% say they know ‘practically nothing’ about energy issues. Two in 10 tea party supporters, and nearly two in 10 self-described environmentalists say they feel they know ‘a lot’ about energy issues.

Podcast Look at Energy Issues – In case you missed it last week, our friends at the Energy Gang are doing a fresh pod cast each week on Greentech Media that features three current stories on clean energy. Stephen Lacey, Jigar Shah and Katherine Hamilton engage in lively discussion of technologies, policies and market forces driving energy and environmental issues. The Gang often brings on guests who contribute to the conversation.  See: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheEnergyGang..  You can also find The Energy Gang on Greentech Media (http://www.greentechmedia.com).

API: US Crude Output, Refining Growth Strong in April – API said U.S. crude oil production in April rose 12.6% year-on-year, reaching nearly 8.3 million barrels per day, the highest seen in that month since 1988. Refined oil product gross inputs and exports also reached 16.1 million barrels per day, a 5.1% increase from April of last year.  API said April brought strong year-over-year growth in both the production and refining sectors, adding that the oil and natural gas industry continues to provide a solid base for growth in the larger economy.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Brooking Forum to Discuss Russian Gas Matrix – The Brookings Energy Security Initiative (ESI) and the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings will host a discussion this morning to launch the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies’ (OIES) new book on The Russian Gas Matrix: How Markets are Driving Change. This study looks at the shifting relationship between supply and demand for Russian gas and Russia’s influence in the European and Asian energy sectors. James Henderson, co-editor of the study, will present OIES’s findings along with Jonathan Stern, one of the book’s contributors and chairman of the Natural Gas Research Program at OIES. After their remarks, Edward C. Chow, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, will serve as a discussant and Charles K. Ebinger, senior fellow and director of ESI, will moderate the discussion.

Forum to Look at Second Gen Biofuel Risks – The George Washington University Environmental Law Studies Program, the Society for Risk Analysis National Capital Area Chapter, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE); Risk, Policy and Law Specialty Group, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA RPLSG); and USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis (ORACBA) will host an event tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Burns Hall Room 505 on the risk regarding increasing demand for sustainable bioenergy feedstocks (other than corn) to meet U.S. renewable fuel mandates.   Practitioners will discuss the challenges of navigating the need for ecological protection while also fostering the development of renewable bio-based sources of energy and chemicals, and what role risk analysis can play in the process.

FERC NRC to Discuss Reliability of Grid – Commissioners and staff from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a joint meeting tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Rockville. The meeting is the seventh time the two commissions have met to discuss issues of mutual concern to their respective agencies and underscores the commitment of these two agencies to the safe and reliable operation of the bulk power system. The public meeting will focus on grid reliability, nuclear power plant license renewals and dam safety. It will include presentations by FERC and NRC staff, as well as participation by staff of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

RFF Seminar to Look at Ecology – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. focused on natural resources, ecology and public policy. Demographers emphasize that the population growth rate has steadily declined over the last four decades and is expected to continue declining at a rapid rate. What does this demographic phenomenon signify for demands on natural resources and ecological systems? What other factors may concurrently come into play? This moderated panel discussion will draw on the emerging insight that humankind may be in the era of the “Anthropocene,” prompting us to reconsider interrelationships among people, resources, ecology, and the way public policies shape these linkages. Jack Bobo will discuss some of the key demographic trends. Erle Ellis, who has developed the still more recent concept of the “anthrome,” will discuss implications for ecological systems, including whether the potential to conserve biodiversity may, paradoxically, be increased by rapid urbanization and more intensive use of agricultural land. Roger Sedjo and Joel Darmstadter will emphasize the joint influence of markets and policy intervention, particularly in the cases of forests, agriculture, and energy.

Forum to Look at Financing the Green Economy – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. with Nick Robins, director of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC, and Simon Zadek, visiting scholar at Tsinghua School of Economics and Management and a senior fellow at the Global Green Growth Institute.  Both will discuss financing the green economy and changing the rules of the game.

Green to Headline Hudson Energy Infrastructure Forum – The Hudson Institute will host Rep Gene Green of Texas on Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. to discuss energy infrastructure.  In the last few years, North America has experienced an energy renaissance as advances in technology and techniques have spurred major increases in oil and natural gas production. However, these abundant energy resources will only substantially benefit the North American economy and consumers in the long run if necessary infrastructure is planned, permitted, and built to integrate supply and demand in an efficient and expeditious manner. The recent rail accidents involving petroleum tank cars have focused more concern on the issue of energy infrastructure, particularly in the United States. Moreover, without expanding energy logistics capacity North American competitiveness may suffer as energy markets in Asia and Europe advance.  Green is principal co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301), which aims to modernize the current permitting process for the construction of natural gas and petroleum pipelines and electrical power lines that would cross the boundaries of the United States. Rep. Green will join Senior Fellow Christopher Sands to discuss the status of North American energy infrastructure and prospects for congressional action this year related to U.S. energy policy.

House Approps to Move AG Funding – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the full House Appropriations Committee will meet to mark up the FY 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

House Science Looks at UN IPCC Report, Process – On Thursday at 11:00 a.m., the House Science Committee will hold a hearing to examine the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process.  Witnesses will include Richard Tol of the University of Sussex, Princeton’s Michael Oppenheimer, UCSB’s Dan Botkin and Roger Pielke Sr. of Colorado State University.

NOIA’s Luthi, Others Featured on Oil Pollution Act Update Panel – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., a panel of experts will the Oil Pollution Act and attempts to update it given recent spill activity.  In 1990, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, President George H.W. Bush signed the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) into law to strengthen the federal government’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills, establish financial resources to aid response, and raise standards for contingency planning.  In 2010, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order to establish the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. This bipartisan presidential commission “tasked with providing recommendations on how the United States can prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.” Three years after the Commission’s 2011 report, much has happened in the area of oil pollution law, though only one aspect of OPA has been amended.  An expert panel will discuss developments in oil pollution law, including discussions on developments in the Houston Ship Channel oil spill, the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the pending civil penalty action, the oil transport disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and the status of claims made under the BP compensation Fund.  Panelists will include DOJ’s Assistant Chief of Environmental Enforcement William Brighton, NOIA’s Randy Luthi and Cynthia Sarthou of the Gulf Restoration Network.

House Small Biz Look at EPA’s “Waters of US” Rule – The Small Business Committee holds a hearing on Thursday looking at the small business impact of EPA’s new Waters of the United States rule on Clean Water Act jurisdiction.  My colleague Lowell Rothschild (202-828-5817) is an expert on the topic should you need a good resource.

House FA Panel to Look at Asia, LNG – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on LNG and energy needs in Asia.  Witnesses will include Mikkal Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research, CSIS’s Jane Nakano and Diane Leopold of Dominion Energy.

House Energy Panel Takes on DOE Loan Program – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on Friday morning looking at the Department of Energy’s loan programs.

Green Festival Set of DC Convention Center – The Washington, DC Green Festival will celebrate its 10th year on Saturday and Sunday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  The event features the widest selection of products and services to work green, play green and live green – from food, fashion and health, to energy, construction and design. Enjoy vegan and vegetarian cooking demos, educational activities for kids and families, panels featuring inspirational speakers, and live music and entertainment. Shop in our unique marketplace of more than 300 eco-friendly businesses – everything from all-natural body care products and organic clothing to Fair Trade gifts, beautiful home renovations made from renewable resources, plus vegan and vegetarian offerings based on organic, non-GMO or local, artisanal foods.

FERC to Hold Cove Point LNG Public Meeting – FERC will hold a public meeting on the Dominion LNG project on Saturday at Patuxent High School in Lusby, Md.  Last week FERC approved the project saying it would have virtually no impact on the environment.  A contingent of environmental activists oppose the project and will likely organize in full force for the public meeting.

FUTURE EVENTS

GHG Existing Power Plants Rule Roll Out – June 2.  Last week, POLITICO reported that EPA Head Gina McCarthy has been told by the President that he will make next week’s announcement.

WCEE Panel to Look at Energy Priorities – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a panel of thought-leaders in policy, non-profit, and industry next Monday at Noon, who will share ideas and priorities for U.S. energy policy.  They will provide insight into their respective organization’s energy policy perspectives, and opportunities and expectations for the future.  The event is not structured as a debate but rather as the opportunity to hear the speakers’ varying perspectives and to ask questions of the three energy policy experts.  Speakers will include PG&E’s Melissa Lavinson, Janet Peace of Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Veronika Rabl of IEEE-USA

Brookings Study Looks at Economic Impacts of Delays in Climate Policy – Next Tuesday, June 3rd at 1:30 p.m., Economic Studies at Brookings will host an event to present the results of a new study on the economic effects of delaying implementation of US climate policy. Non-Resident Senior Fellows Warwick McKibbin and Peter Wilcoxen and Fellow and Policy Director Adele Morris will present the new research, which will be followed by a panel discussion.  A delay in the implementation of U.S. climate policy, whether the policy is an EPA regulation or a carbon tax, could mean more stringent policies are necessary later. Brookings scholars have conducted this new economic modeling to compare the economic outcomes of modest climate policy action now with the potential consequences of more stringent policies later, including effects on consumption, investment, and labor markets.

Conference to Focus on Energy Storage – The Energy Storage Association will hold its 24th Annual Conference on June 4-6th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  They will launch the conference with a reception on Tuesday, June 3rd in Union Station’s Columbus Club the industry, allies, and supporters will discuss energy storage advances in policy and commercialization.

RFF to Look at Insurance – Resources for the Future will hold a seminar on Wednesday, June 4th  at 12:45 p.m. looking at the future of insurance.  Insurance is a fundamental tool for managing risks, improving resiliency after disaster events, and opening up economic opportunities that otherwise may not be possible.  Yet, not all risks are insurable. Society has struggled in the past with risks that are highly correlated among insureds, as is the case with natural disaster events, or where losses could be so severe as to be unmanageable by the private insurance market because they could threaten the solvency of companies, as would be the case with a nuclear accident.  Recently, the twin forces of climate change, altering weather patterns around the globe, and globalization, in terms of increased migration, interconnected supply chains, and rapidly changing technologies, have raised the question as to whether disaster events are becoming increasingly uninsurable.  Exposure is concentrating as development in risky areas continues, and systems previously thought independent are becoming linked, whether due to relationships in the climate system, deployment of the same vulnerable technology, or reliance on a single supplier.  These trends are leading to ever-increasing disaster losses worldwide.

Forum to Look at Geothermal in Developing World – The Society for International Development’s Energy & Infrastructure Workgroup will hold a workshop on Wednesday, June 5th  at 12:00 p.m., looking at geothermal energy opportunities and challenges in the developing world.  Geothermal energy production is heating up around the world, with great potential to meet growing energy needs both here and abroad. A panel of industry leaders will discuss this potential, the trends in geothermal production and the benefits it has over other energy sources. Because much of this energy is being produced in the developing world, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in areas where we must adapt to often complex social, political, and economic contexts.

AAAS to Focus Summit on Governance – American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a summit on climate change resilience in its Auditorium, Thursday-Friday, June 5-6th.  This two-day summit is for government officials and staff, civil society, community, corporate, and thought leaders, journalists, and others interested in the governance issues raised by climate change resilience. Come if you work on climate issues and want to engage more on governance. Come if you work on and want to better understand the tensions climate change may increase.  Issues of governance—how collective decisions are made, interpreted, implemented, and challenged—will enable or impede activities to increase resilience.

SEIA to Hold Webinar on Q1 2014 Solar Market Insight Report Overview – The Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research will hold a webinar on Thursday, June 5th at 1:00 p.m. covering the highlights of the “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2014 Report. The U.S. solar market has burst out of the gate in 2014 by recording the second-largest quarter in history.  This growth was led by the strong performance of the utility segment- both in the PV and CSP markets.  The webinar will highlight emerging trends in Q1, at the national level and in some of the top state markets. The discussion will also include detailed PV and CSP market forecasts for the rest of 2014 and beyond.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Shawn Rumery and Cory Honeyman of GTM Research.

Forbes Exec to Keynote Energy Capital Conference – The 7th annual Energy Capital Conference will be held June 9-10th at the Omni Houston Hotel.  The event addresses effective strategies for oil and gas executives interested in expanding their knowledge of how to successfully access and deploy capital.  The keynote speaker will be entrepreneur-turned-publisher, columnist, television commentator, private investor and board director, Rich Karlgaard.  Karlgaard has a unique vantage point on the trends driving the business and investment climates. His insights help audiences see the global marketplace with new eyes.

WAPA to Hold Chrysler Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA)and Chrysler will host a ride and drive on June 12th to drive the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 at River Farm. Simple elegance, an exhilarating driving experience, state-of-the-art technology and beautifully crafted, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 charts a new course for mid-size sedan customers who have earned a little luxury in their life, but demand value for their money.  The Chrysler 200 team will share key information on the Chrysler 200 and answer questions.

EIA Head to Keynote International Energy Conference in NYC – Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration will address the international implications of the U.S. energy renaissance at the 37th annual International Association for Energy Economics conference at the New Yorker Hotel in the big apple on June 16th.  The conference goes through June 18 and also features thought leaders across business, government and academia including representatives from Statoil, National Renewable Energy Labs, IMF, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, UC Davis, Baker Hughes, Citi Research, SunEdison and many more. See the Detailed conference schedule here.

FERC Commissioners to Address Regional Regulators Conference – The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) will hold its 19th  Annual Education Conference on June 22nd through 25th at the Hotel Hershey.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners John Norris and Phil Moeller, as well as NARUC head Colette Honorable, New Jersey Natural Gas CEO Laurence Downes, Bill Colton of ExxonMobil, Walter Lynch of American Water and Exelon Utilities CEO Denis O’Brien.

Summit to Target Crude By Rail Issues – American Business Conferences will hold a Crude By Rail summit on June 24-25 in Houston to focus specifically on how each stakeholder can cost effectively optimize safety in their operations to restore confidence and promote reliability.  As the only crude by rail event specifically focused on optimizing safety, the Crude By Rail Safety Initiative 2014 host speakers from every key stakeholder group, including regulators, shippers, railroad operators, transloaders and refiners to quantify the cost-impacts of improving the safety of crude by rail operations.  Expert speakers will breakdown railroad strategies for improving safety and shipper strategies for crude testing, classification and transloading, provide a cost-analysis of railcar upgrades, clarify how the emerging regulatory landscape will impact each stakeholder and examine best practice emergency response and hazmat training.

Energy Update Week of January 7

Friends,

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  While we all survived the Fiscal Cliff Hurricanes, it seems as if there will be more political trouble down the road from Debt Black Hawks in Congress.  Remembers the Devils are always in the details.  While I took Flyers on the whole fiscal mess, it couldn’t nearly Bruin the controversy over the NHL lockout, which is finally resolved.   The 48-game season is set to start in a few weeks, so let’s get it on…  Too bad Nick Lidstrom didn’t keep his Red Wings for this shortened season.  I bet he would be a Predator in a shortened 48-game season.  It would have been much better for his older Jets than the long-regular season and playoffs.  Anyway, Canadians, Canucks and Maple Leafs of all stripes are finally breathing a sigh of relief that the OHL is not playing on Hockey Night in Canada anymore (they couldn’t even watch the Canadian Jrs lose to the USA at the World Junior Championships in Russia).

Speaking of Capitals, the beginning of January also signals the beginning for the Stars of the state legislatures across the nation.  Look for an Avalanche of local legislation that sometimes Ducks logic.  In Maryland, Islanders looking for new offshore wind legislation are expected to push local Senators, Kings and other officials with a new effort to reignite the issue that went up in Flames last year in the State Senator, which truly gave supporters the Blues.  Perhaps Lightning will strike this year.   Like Panthers on the prowl, we will be trying to monitor key issues, but if you Coyotes out there hear of local state legislative issues that you need us to report on or want to mention, please let me know and we’ll report with our Sabres of truth.  

We are keeping our eyes peeled for movement from the White House on a new EPA Administrator.  We were are a bit surprised as Penguins without ice to see Christine Gregoire’s name mentioned by Washington State types last week who obviously are hearing about her being vetted.  We’re only a little surprised because we were thinking she would be better for Energy with her strong past experience on Hanford/nuclear waste issues, but if she was being vetted, that wouldn’t necessary mean for which job either…Oh yes, but that’s right…the Energy Secretary job is not open…yet…  See any Sharks circling? 

Tomorrow, two good events:  API’s Jack Gerard will be presenting the Oilers’ State of industry at the Mellon Auditorium at Noon.   Secondly, a bunch of Conservative Energy Rangers will be starting a Wild new group aimed at reigniting conservative leadership on conservation and the environment at the Reserve Officers Assn at 10:00 a.m.  I’ll be breaking owwwwt my Blue Jacket for these events, so see you there. 

Finally, this week is the first Energy Update of 2013 so we are unveiling our Lucky 13 issues for ’13 to watch.  In the meantime, honk – honk – honk… (if you’ve ever been waiting in a DC parking garage after a hockey game, you’ll know what I mean…)

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932 

The Lucky 13 for ‘13

1. Offshore Wind is Make or Break – This is a very important year for offshore wind.  While the industry has held unchecked promise for years, it is now time to start “putting up” projects that have long been delayed.  There is no doubt that 2012 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year, while government pushes forward on administrative and regulatory support, 2013 will be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

2. Wind PTC Change in Timing Will Make Big Difference Going Forward – In the final Fiscal Cliff deal, the PTC was renewed for another year.  But a more significant change was made that will change the dynamic on how we go forward with wind projects.  The negotiators changed the definition of when a wind project gets the credit from “In Service” to “Commence Construction.”  That change alone will buy projects another year, but in the long-run, it will redefine the timeline for projects as they look for new ways to phase out the credit.  Look for the phase out discussion to begin as Congress starts considering major tax legislation this summer.  The industry has laid down a six-year marker to start, while even supporters in the Senate see it as maybe a little less.  The process and timeline of the phaseout will help create industry and developer certainty that will be important to keeping a strong long-term future for the thousands of manufacturing jobs created by the wind industry and its supply chains.  

3. No Nukes – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While many lagged, some are not throwing in the towel yet.  Currently, there are five under construction by three companies and consortia, but most development remains on life support with only Southern Company advancing its effort at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle with some success.  Problems abound even for Southern as lawsuits, activist opponents and costs make these expansions more treacherous.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important. 

4. Nat Gas Revolution – The natural gas revolution is here and is for real.  We have heard sputtering about it from all corners of the political and policy worlds, but the numbers are in. There are abundant supplies of natural gas in the world, and many of these supplies can be developed and produced at relatively low cost. In the U.S., despite their relative maturity, natural gas resources continue to grow, and the development of low-cost and abundant unconventional natural gas resources, particularly shale gas, has a material impact on future availability and price. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas plays a major role in most sectors of the modern economy — power generation, industrial, commercial, and residential. It is clean and flexible. The role of natural gas in the world is likely to continue to expand under almost all circumstances, as a result of its availability, its utility, and its comparatively low cost.  There is a lot to watch, but what regulatory burdens are imposed by items like EPA’s mandated study and what opponents do through the local political and legal system could slow the juggernaut.  

5. LNG, other Energy Exports Open for Business – One of the key questions this year will be whether the US energy industry will be allowed to export energy to nations that desperately need it.  In some cases it will be China, in other cases, maybe Japan or Europe.  Whatever, this fight is shaping up to be a real battle, with the Senate Energy committee stepping into it on its very first days of the 113th Congress.  Already, they are planning hearings on LNG Exports and DOE’s recent report, as well as looking at royalties from coal exports.  Energy exports can help our trade deficit and keep jobs rolling in the US even if our demand drops, especially in light of the widely-discussed natural gas revolution.  Look for the key fight to be over price and when enough is enough.  The key group to watch is the chemical manufacturing sector.  They will be the canary in the coal mine.

6. Climate G20 – With the real expiration of the Kyoto Treaty and indifference among most nations towards replacing it with a real policy, it is likely that international discussions around climate change will take on new meaning this year.  But even with the Administration superficially focused on climate change to address its activist base, look for more aggressive focus on the new real playing field for these discussions:  the G20 economic forum process. Not only are the right people at the table, but it places the climate issue in its proper context among other major issues like the global economy, technology partnership and international competitiveness. We know activists think John Kerry’s presence at State will make a difference, but don’t count on it, unless he and the President takes the fight to the next G20 Meeting in Russia in September 2013. 

7. Low Gasoline Demand – With 2012 seeing the highest average price for gasoline ever, we are seeing changing dynamics in the gasoline market that will likely change it forever going forward.  The problem has two unknowns: the fuel economy of the vehicle fleet itself, which hinges on how many new, efficient cars replace old, inefficient cars and the vehicle miles traveled.  EPA’s “real world” vehicle efficiency estimates show that demand is shrinking to an expected 108 billion gallons per year of U.S. demand by 2022. And with new fuel economy standards likely to be implemented next year, that demand will fall exponentially more. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute estimates that new vehicle fuel economy rose 1 mpg in 2012, with new CAFE standards and consumer choice contributing to that outcome.  Expect greater gains in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Ultimately, a smaller domestic gasoline marketplace means changing the products available for sale or intended for export – and both will involve plenty of economic and political challenges. 

8. GHGs for Everyone? – Maybe the biggest story of 2013 will be what happens with the new proposed greenhouse gas rules for new power plants that were proposed in 2012.  In addition to that, what is next in EPA’s target list?  Many experts think it will be GHG emissions at existing power plants.  There is also potential for GHGs at refiners and other manufacturing facilities, but impacts on gasoline supply and consumer goods could be a factor here in delaying these as targets.  Whatever it is, the ultimate goal seems to be wide-ranging GHG regulations that will eventually have a broad impact on the entire economy.  2013 will see the first real steps implementing this enviro vision. 

9. Solar Successes Reaping Benefits – Solar has arrived: really…2013 will be a great year as jobs continue to be created and several important projects in the pipeline become a reality.  With the mistakes of Solyndra fading away and the successes of projects like BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project (which will go live in 2013) and big name Utility investors like Southern Company and Warren Buffet’s Mid-American buying in, solar is really ready to burst into the positive spotlight. 

10. New Natgas Drilling Technologies Will Make Things Move Faster, Better – For years, we have quietly watched a revolution on natural gas drilling.  With louder opponents, new political battlegrounds and silly movies like Gasland, one thing you can expect the industry technologists to do is to continue to build a better natural gas drilling mousetrap to get more out with less environmental impact.  Already, new technologies on water use, land impacts and air emissions are emerging faster than opponents claim to block drilling.  2013 will be a great year to watch these technologies emerge on the big stage to keep the natgas revolution alive and strong.

11. Keystone A Done Deal? – It’s funny how the biggest political issue stays hot.  As EPA’s Lisa Jackson resigns, enviros immediately claimed that it was because of Keystone.  How convenient for their cause.  It would be more believable if EPA had more than a sidebar role in the Keystone deal.  It is probably also more believable to think she left over getting rolled on NAAQS or the potential e-mail scandal questions.  It is most likely though, she was just done after four hard years (and who could blame her).  Anyway, back to Keystone, the biggest Administration questions remaining were resolved by Nebraska so that political fig leaf is gone.  Enviros are hanging hopes on John Kerry coming into the State Department but good luck with that: the cake is already baked.  Here’s the wiggle-room catch: Look for a final decision that leaves loose ends that can foster litigation.  The President gets his cake and the enviro lawsuit machine eats it too. 

12. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits – Speaking of lawsuits, it is widely expected that litigation will be the new “fiscal cliff” of 2013.  With the Administration taking more and more leeway with regulation and Congress arguing at every turn, both industry and enviro groups better pack on the funding to sue and be sued.  Already we have seen significant battles over the CASPR rule, auto CAFE standards, RFS changes/requirements and other EPA mobile source rules.  These will be small potatoes when compared to upcoming fights on GHG rules or new soot/particulate standards. 

13. Drilling Will Expand, Safety Will Be Focus – New U.S. energy growth will continue to propel significant economic expansion in the US.  This growth developing our domestic resources strengthens our energy security, creates good-paying jobs and generates needed revenue for the U.S. Treasury.  Ramping up the level of safe and responsible production in our federal waters/land is critical to that increase. Long-term investment requires confidence in the regulatory regime.  While the number of permits being issued for drilling has increased over the past year, there are still insufficient approved permits in the queue to support robust rig activity. Operators are getting permits approved “just in time” as a rig moves to its destination, and there is serious concern those approvals could slip to “not in time,” resulting in idle rigs waiting for approved permits. Given the costs, look for industry to keep fighting so permits are flowing to support an influx of new rigs.  Of course, with safety as Interior’s top priority, industry hasn’t been waiting around for a policy document to build a strong safety culture.  Despite the failures that led to Macondo, 2013 will show a drilling industry at large has long since been a leader on building and maintaining a strong culture of safety to make sure its employees are protected. 

IN THE NEWS

Gore Sells Current TV to Al Jazeera – Former VP Al Gore has sold Current TV, the small cable news channel that he co-founded to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based media company.  The acquisition gives Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatar government and one of the largest fossil fuel producers in the world, the opportunity to establish a footprint in the United States, where it already has an English-language version.  Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Gore.  It was also reported that Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by December 31 to avoid being subject to higher tax rates.  Unfortunately for them, the deal was not signed until Wednesday. Aren’t both of those facts rich with irony?  I think I’ll just leave it at that. 

Promised Land Continues to Be Panned – The widely-touted Matt Damon melodrama Promised Land isn’t getting very good reviews and it’s not just natural gas companies that are complaining.  Houston Chronicle Columnist Loren Steffy said it “doesn’t live up to its promise,” while even liberal press like Grist and Huff Post hammered it as well.    Grist says it landed in theaters with a resounding “meh!”  Other pre-release showings weren’t so hot.  And Box Office Mojo said after a middling performance in limited release, Promised Land expanded to 1,676 locations this weekend but could only muster $4.3 million (good for 10th place). “While Matt Damon is obviously a star, audiences aren’t going to show up for anything he does, especially when the marketing fails to present any semblance of an interesting story. With its “B” CinemaScore, and without any Academy Award nominations (that’s an assumption based on its poor reviews and lack of any previous awards recognition), the movie should disappear quickly from theaters.”  It lost out badly to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D.  That says a lot…

NY Report Finds No Harm from NatGas “Fracking” – Speaking of natural gas drilling and controversy, over the past few months frustration has mounted in New York as the state struggles to finalize its natural gas regulations. What may have originally been an attempt at a pragmatic review has quickly devolved into political theater, with each day bringing new information to light on the actions – or, all too often, inactions – of state officials who seem content to let the issue drag on indefinitely. The latest example? A secret health review from Governor Cuomo’s hand-picked Health Secretary which found that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF operations.” 

Hagel Nominee Brings Back Byrd-Hagel Memories – While enviros groups are swooning over John Kerry’s nomination to the State Department, they have to be a bit worried over the President’s suggestion that Chuck Hagel become the Defense Secretary.  While it will really have little impact on major environmental policy issues, just the mere mention of Chuck Hagel brings up memories of the long-standing Senate resolution Byrd-Hagel’s S Res. 98 that garnered a 95-0 vote in the Senate and has guided our international climate policy since 1997 (through several administrations and much to the chagrin of enviros).  Interesting Sponsors include Jay Rockefeller, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Barbara Mikulski, among many others who have left the Senate and some even who have passed on.  See the list in the Link.

Kansas’ Largest Wind Farm Starts Up – The largest wind farm ever built in Kansas has started operations.  Flat Ridge 2, jointly owned by BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, has 274 wind turbines, each with capacity to generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity or a total of 438 megawatts. That’s enough to supply electricity to 160,000 homes.   Besides being the largest wind farm in Kansas, the $800 million project is the largest ever to be built all at once, instead of in phases. 

Georgia Power to Retire Plants – Georgia Power will retire 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at four plants totaling 2,061 megawatts (MW) over the next few years.  The request includes units 3 and 4 at Plant Branch in Putnam County; units 1-5 at Plant Yates in Coweta County; units 1 and 2 at Plant McManus in Glynn County; and units 1-4 at Plant Kraft in Chatham County.  Branch, Yates and 3 of the 4 Kraft units are coal-fired, while the other Kraft Unit is oil- or natural gas-fired and McManus is oil-fired.  Plants will be retired by the April 16, 2015 effective date of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule. Georgia Power expects to seek a one-year extension of the MATS compliance date for Plant Kraft, and retire those units by April 16, 2016.  Several factors, including the cost to comply with existing and future environmental regulations, recent and forecasted economic conditions, and lower natural gas prices contributed to the decision to close these units.  My colleague Scott Segal said it also should be noted that Georgia Power has had a number of major investments over the last several years designed to diversify the portfolio of energy sources it uses.  Segal: “In the future, Georgia consumers and businesses will benefit from investments in state-of-the-art fossil fuel facilities, renewables, energy efficiency projects – as well as one of the only new builds in the nuclear sector.  In Washington, we theorize about an all-of-the-above energy policy; for Georgia Power and the Southern family, it looks like theory is moving into practice.” 

Chinese Restart Nuke Plant Construction – We may be struggling to build them here, but China has resumed construction on a “fourth generation” nuclear power plant, suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which will be its biggest-ever nuclear facility.  Construction on the coastal Shidao Bay nuclear plant in Rongcheng, a city in eastern China’s Shandong province, resumed last month.  The plant, which will be cooled by high temperature gas, will become the world’s first successfully commercialized fourth generation nuclear technology demonstration project.  The plant, expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017, will have a final generating capacity of 6,600 megawatts with initial investment in the project will be three billion yuan ($480 million).

GOING ON THIS WEEK 

FrackNation Opens in NY – Given the poor Promised Land showings, journalist Phelim McAleer releases his documentary, FrackNation, today in New York City. FrackNation is an antidote to GasLand, and Promised Land. McAleer begins with a revealing public exchange with Fox at a GasLand screening in 2011, then visits the residents of the bucolic farmlands where fracking is done, or could be done.  Fox repeatedly refuses an interview, so McAleer executes a Michael Moore–style ambush. Fox scurries away, and gets security to remove McAleer and his team from a public building. In running, Fox only indicts himself. FrackNation eviscerates one after another of Fox’s claims, including an assertion that breast-cancer rates soared around Texas’ shale-oil fields. The AP has reported the Texas Cancer Registry shows no such fact. 

New Leadership Group to Discuss Environment, Conservation – Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former Secretary Of Agriculture Ed Schafer and former Deputy Secretary Of The Interior Lynn Scarlett and the new CONSERVATION LEADERSHIP COUNCIL will host a forum and lunch tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association’s Top of the Hill Conference Center on how conservatives are rebuilding leadership on conservation and the environment.   The CLC will showcase a new national dialogue among conservative leaders about innovative solutions to America’s environmental and conservation challenges. The CLC event will engage political and policy leaders in an interactive conversation about conservation and stewardship through policies rooted in fiscal responsibility, limited government, market entrepreneurship, community leadership, and public-private partnerships.  The CLC also will release a set of commissioned academic papers on topics ranging from energy and water security to species protection and land management – offering a set of actionable recommendations that focus on private-sector and community initiatives as federal budgets tighten.  Invited participants include dozens of leaders from federal, state and local government, the private sector, conservation groups and academia who share an interest in advancing policy solutions that reflect the CLC’s principles. Others on the CLC include former CEQ Chair Jim Connaughton, former EPA official Mary Gade, former Energy assistant Sect Kevin Kolevar, former Augusta , Georgia Mayor Bob Young and many others. 

API to Hold State of Energy – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its state of the energy industry tomorrow at Noon in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium.  API CEO Jack Gerard will outline the new realities of energy in America and the ways the oil and natural gas industry is working and investing every day to ensure the safe exploration, production and delivery of American-made energy. Energy that is vital to creating jobs, growing businesses and ensuring our quality of life. 

Calvert’s Freeman to address GreenBiz Roundtable – The Wharton Club of DC’s Green Business Roundtable will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s McClendon Room to discuss the intersection of business and our environment.  The speaker will be Calvert’s Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy.  Freeman leads Calvert’s Sustainability Research Department and oversees its company research and analysis as well as its policy and advocacy work. From 2003 until early 2006, he led Burson-Marsteller’s Global Corporate Responsibility practice advising multinationals on policy development, stakeholder engagement and communications strategies related to human rights, labor rights and sustainable development. During the Clinton Administration he served in three positions as a presidential appointee in the State Department, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999 to early 2001. 

Utah Energy Forum to Look at All of the Above Energy – The Utah Office of Energy Development will hold the 2013 Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit on Thursday and Friday in Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center.  The Summit is the premier energy event for Utah and the greater Rocky Mountain area. Join Governor Gary R. Herbert and other national energy leaders as they highlight energy priorities, hot topics, and emerging energy issues. 

FUTURE EVENTS

Reicher to Headline AWEA West Event – Focusing on California and surrounding states, the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit – West will be held in La Jolla on January 14th, providing a comprehensive and timely analysis of critical topics in Western wind, including the renewable portfolio standard, wind energy market opportunities, and regional transmission planning.  This event gives you a regional perspective, access to experts who are embedded in the industry and geographical area.  Speakers will include our friend Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He has more than 25 years of experience in energy technology, policy, and finance, including serving in the Clinton administration at the Department of Energy as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and recently as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team. Reicher came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives.  Following the conference, AWEA will also hold an Environmental Health and Safety seminar and a wind project maintenance and reliability seminar as well. 

WRI Looks at Big Stories for 2013 – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, January 15th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Room on what stories will impact people and the planet in 2013.  Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, will present his views for where the world is headed in international development, climate change, energy, sustainable business, natural resources, and more. 

USEA Holds Annual State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on January 16th (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations as they present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2013.  Speakers will include Marv Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute), Jack Gerard, President & CEO, American Petroleum Institute), Regina Hopper (America’s Natural Gas Alliance), Skip Horvath (Natural Gas Supply Association), Tom Kuhn (Edison Electric Institute), Hal Quinn (National Mining Association), Dave McCurdy (American Gas Association), Joe Nipper (American Public Power Association), Rhone Resch (Solar Energy Industries Association), Don Santa (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America),

John Shelk (Electric Power Supply Association) and JoAnne Emerson (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association). 

Detroit Auto Show Ready to Roll –Global automakers have saved their best for the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) which begins with the annual press preview on Monday, January 14th at Detroit’s famous Cobo Hall.  The show is a reflection of the positive changes that are occurring in our industry according to 2013 NAIAS chairman Jim Seavitt. “Automakers from around the world continue to place NAIAS at the top of their global auto show strategies, and have committed to more than 50 vehicle debuts with the majority being worldwide unveilings, ” he said.  The official NAIAS Press Conference Schedule, features nearly 40 official events to be held at Press Preview, January 14-15th.  Together, the more than 50 worldwide and North American unveilings are a major demonstration of confidence in the NAIAS, which is frequently compared with shows in Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing/Shanghai.    Most NAIAS press conferences will take place at Detroit’s Cobo Center, which is currently in the second of a three-phase expansion plan. Some events will take place in the new three-story glass atrium facing the Detroit River. The lone offsite press conference will be presented by Ford Motor Company at neighboring Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 15.  With more than 6,000 journalists from around the globe expected to attend NAIAS, the show continues to be at the forefront as a venue for manufacturers and Tier One suppliers to announce new vehicles and make industry news.  

Olmos, Nash to Host Urban Wheel Awards at NAIAS – Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, producer, director and Latino activist, Edward James Olmos, will join Daytime Emmy award-winning actress Niecy Nash to host the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel inside the Sound Board theatre during the North American International Auto Show’s (NAIAS) press preview week. The Urban Wheel Awards is the official multicultural event of the NAIAS.  The Urban Wheel Awards (UWA) is the only Official Multicultural Event held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.  The UWA brings together celebrities, automotive executives, international media, government representatives, and the multicultural community.  This year the UWA will honor women in the automotive industry.  The evening begins with a vehicle display at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Celebrity Red Carpet at 5:00 p.m.; VIP and General receptions start at 5:30 p.m., immediately followed by the awards from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  An afterglow networking reception will conclude the evening.  Proceeds from the event support the Emerging Diversity Education Fund, which provides internships, scholarships, and mentoring to students pursuing careers in communications and the auto industry.  

API’s Felmy to Headline ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International continues its Energy Breakfast Series with an event on Thursday, January 17th featuring Dr. John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute (API).  Felmy will draw on his unique perspective to discuss petroleum market issues and how they may affect the petroleum industry, the economy, and consumers.  We are in an unprecedented period of transition. The International Energy Agency has projected that the U.S. could be self-sufficient in petroleum supplies by 2030. Current market trends and supply developments have substantial implications for world petroleum markets, energy security, trade deficits, and our personal pocketbooks. 

NJ to Hold Offshore Wind, Jobs Forum – The New Jersey Alliance for Action will hold a forum on January 17th at the PNC Bank Arts Center’s Meyner Reception Center looking at offshore wind energy and transmission.  It will be a supply chain forum for the burgeoning wind industry.  Speakers will include AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Offshore Wind Development Coalition head Jim Lanard and Fishermen’s Energy Chris Wissemann, among others.  

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – EMBARQ and the World Bank will co-host the tenth annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday, January 17th and 18th.  There is more work to be done within the transport community to achieve scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  The conference will address topics including improving health & safety in cities, capitalizing on the multilateral development banks’ $175b commitment for sustainable transport at Rio+20, integrating urban transport and development and the benefits of high quality urban design, among others.

Green Inaugural Ball Set for Newseum – The Green Inaugural Ball will be held at The Newseum on Sunday, January 20th, bringing together the broad environmental, conservation and clean tech community to celebrate the past four years and look forward to the future.  The dress code is black or Green tie.  The event is sponsored by a bunch of environmental and clean energy groups. 

January 21st – Presidential Inauguration Day

Salazar to Attend Clean Energy Ball – On Monday evening, the 7th Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball will be held from 8:00 p.m. to Midnight at Sequoia Restaurant in Georgetown’s Washington Harbor waterfront.  This black tie, bi-partisan celebration has become a Washington tradition over the past 24 years as the environmental and clean energy communities gather to welcome a new Administration and make headway towards a more sustainable future.  In 2009, guests included Energy Secretary Chu and Lisa Jackson from EPA. In 2013, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be a Special Honored Guest. 

VA Clean Energy Day Set – Thursday January 24th will be the third annual Clean Energy Lobby Day in the state legislature in Richmond, Virginia. 

Oregon Clean Energy Conference Set – The 12th annual Harvesting Clean Energy Summit will be held at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR at the Hilton Garden Inn on January 27-29th.  Participants from a diverse range of fields – from motivated farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners to professionals from agriculture and forestry associations, rural utilities, tribes, economic development agencies, and research institutions, to lenders, energy developers and consultants, and representatives of federal, state and local government will attend to discuss Clean Energy strategies.  Drawing on several dozen top-notch speakers, Harvesting Clean Energy focuses on the practical steps to successful project development, from economic and feasibility assessments, to accessing technical support and securing financing amidst tough finance markets.  Learn about wind power, a range of bio-energy technologies, solar and geothermal resources, microhydro, energy innovation in the food processing sector, and efficiency technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance profitability.  Hear about strategies to maximize local job creation and economic benefits from developing our clean energy resources.

Washington Auto Show, Policy Forums Set – The Washington Auto Show, the policy auto show, will be held starting February 1st for 10 days.  The largest public show in Washington is scheduled from Feb. 1 -10, with January 30th and 31st serving as special preview days for media, government and industry.  On January 30th, the show will hold its annual Public Policy Day on Capitol Hill.  The Policy Summit will be presented by National Journal and The Washington Auto Show in Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.  “Only The Washington Auto Show can bring together the latest in safety and technology as well as consumer promotions and lots of fun; indeed, “It is the hottest ticket” in town,” said Robert Fogarty, show chairman and CEO of Sport Automotive.  In 2013, the show will have a new floor plan and many new features, including a Luxury Showcase with 11 luxury brands together on the first level and the Exotic Car area. The Advanced Technology SuperHighway Café will house the latest innovations in safety, sustainability and technology.  At the same time, the show draws a massive, diverse and affluent audience with its showcase of stars and cars, cutting-edge technologies, contests and car giveaways.  Look for the display of more than 700 new vehicles by over 42 domestic and import manufacturers offering a showcase of cars, trucks, mini-vans, sport utility vehicles. The show fills the 750,000 square-foot space with two-levels of advanced exhibits. 

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set – ACORE will hold its National Renewable Energy Policy Forum on February 5th and 6th on Capitol Hill.  The form strategically occurring after the election at the start of the 113th Congress, which will chart the path forward for pro-growth, constructive and bipartisan renewable energy policy.  Renewable energy leaders from Capitol Hill and across the country will assess the volatile state of renewable energy policy and provide a call to action for policymakers for 2013 and beyond.  Some of the Policy Co-Chairs include our friends, Katie McGinty (unless she has a new job), BrightSource Energy’s Joe Desmond and Stanford’s Dan Reicher. 

February 3rd  – Super Bowl Sunday 

AWEA To Go To Capitol Hill – On February 5th and 6th, AWEA will return to Capitol Hill for its annual lobby days.  The November 2012 elections will bring new faces to Congress and change the dynamics of Congressional committees that are key to the wind industry.  AWEA members will conduct meetings on Capitol Hill, sharing company perspectives on pressing legislative issues with legislators in whose states they live, and/or has offices, projects, or manufacturing facilities.

Co-ops to Hold Technology Conference in NOLA – The National Rural Electric Co-op Assn (NRECA) will hold its annual TechAdvantage Conference & Expo in New Orleans on February 18th and 19th to highlight the latest technologies available to electric cooperative engineers, information technology staff, and supply chain and member service professionals.

Special Energy Update – December 21

Friends,

Just a short note today to mention that the preliminary results of EPA‘s HF/natural gas drilling study was released today as well as EPA’s long-awaited final Boiler MACT rule.

Here are resources for each:

1)      EPA Natural Gas Study: Jason Hutt (202) 255-2042, Jason.hutt@bgllp.com, and Mike Weller (202) 828-5812, michael.weller@bgllp.com

2)      The long awaited Boiler MACT rule reconsideration was released: Bob Bessette (703) 231-5496, bessette@cibo.org, Lisa Jaeger (202) 828-5844, lisa.jaeger@bgllp.com  (STATEMENT BELOW)

3)      Sen. Kerry is likely to be named Secretary of State.  Given that I expect enviros will be hailing it for climate change issues, we also would be happy to offer perspective, should you need.  Feel free to call me, or Scott Segal (202-828-5845), scott.segal@bgllp.com

I hope everyone has a great holiday.  We’ll see you next week on the edge of the fiscal cliff.

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS  

CIBO Statement on EPA Final Reconsidered Boiler MACT Rules – Bob Bessette, the President of the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) released the following statement on today’s EPA announcement issuing final reconsidered Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators, known as the Boiler MACT rules:

“EPA made some significant modifications to its previous rules.  These changes will greatly improve the ability of facilities to comply.  CIBO worked with EPA to provide data and technical expertise on a number of difficult issues, to address problems in the original final and then the reconsidered rules.  Boilers that power manufacturing plants and provide steam energy to all types of facilities are complex operations.  We appreciate EPA’s effort and time in analyzing additional data and working through the many operational challenges our members face.

“Hopefully, the changes EPA has made will decrease the economic and jobs impact on the still-struggling manufacturing, commercial, and institutional sectors and national economy. Originally the 2010 proposed Boiler MACT rule would have imposed a $20 billion capital cost on affected sources, putting over 337,000 jobs at risk. EPA’s reconsidered proposed rule was still a costly $14 billion.  CIBO is reviewing the final rule to determine what its cost will be.

“These rules are complicated and we will look at them closely to see whether the standards can be met by the diverse boiler types our members operate and fuels they use.  The Clean Air Act requires that EPA set emission limits that can be achieved in practice by real facilities, so that is the standard we will use to assess whether the rules satisfy the mandate of the Act.”

FUTURE EVENTS

API to Hold State of Energy – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its state of the energy industry on January 8th at Noon in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium.  API CEO Jack Gerard will outline the new realities of energy in America and the ways the oil and natural gas industry is working and investing every day to ensure the safe exploration, production and delivery of American-made energy. Energy that is vital to creating jobs, growing businesses and ensuring our quality of life.

USEA Holds Annual State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on January 16th (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations as they present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2013.  Speakers will include Marv Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute), Jack Gerard, President & CEO, American Petroleum Institute), Regina Hopper (America’s Natural Gas Alliance), Skip Horvath (Natural Gas Supply Association), Tom Kuhn (Edison Electric Institute), Hal Quinn (National Mining Association), Dave McCurdy (American Gas Association), Joe Nipper (American Public Power Association), Rhone Resch (Solar Energy Industries Association), Don Santa (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America),

John Shelk (Electric Power Supply Association) and JoAnne Emerson (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association).

Energy Update Week of December 17

Friends,

It was a tough weekend with the Connecticut school shooting and the ensuing media coverage.  I know all our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are/will endure heartache over their losses.  Clearly overshadowed as events in Connecticut were unfolding was EPA’s Friday announcement rolling out its new soot/PM 2.5 rule.  We cover that below.

With the Fiscal Cliff Discussions still on going, it seems like there are things going on, but really, the activities are winding down rapidly.  Only one other major energy discussion appeared last week and that was centered around the wind PTC.  There are lots of discussions about how it will move forward and what it will entail.  It seems likely that a short-term extension gets you to next year when a longer-term phase out becomes part of the discussion of larger upcoming tax reform next year.  It seems the price of admission for extension is some sort of phase out.

In that same breathe, AWEA’s leader Denise Bode announced her resignation from the wind industry lobby after four tumultuous years.  Denise really helped elevate AWEA to a much-needed higher level in the DC lobby game, but also rankled some at times, which any good industry trade association leader does.  Needless to say, AWEA is in a stronger position today in part because of Denise Bode’s approach and good staff work by folks like Rob Gramlich and the many others that supported and implemented her vision for the group during her tenure.

Two interesting developments as well that you ought to keep track of:

1) Today, South Carolina Nikki Haley appointed African-American/Conservative GOP congressman Tim Scott to the Senate seat occupied by conservative agitator Jim DeMint who left to go to the Heritage Foundation.  While it won’t be much of a change from a political ideology standpoint, Scott will be the first African-American Senator in more than 30 years and only the 7th in history.  He also becomes Republicans 4th (Massachusetts Edward Brooke, 1967-1979 and Mississippi’s Blanche Bruce, 1875-1881 and Hiram Revels, 1870-71).  You are surprised that there are only three Democrats?  And they were all from Illinois and in the same seat: Carol Mosely-Braun (1992-98), President Obama (2004-2008) and Roland Burris (2008-10), now currently occupied by Republican Mark Kirk.

2) The New York Times had an editorial yesterday on the recent DOE natural gas export issue that said it would be good for the economy, highlighting a potential $47 billion boost to the economy by 2020.  It challenged opponents of exports, especially those opposed to natural gas drilling, to address their concerns through tighter regulations on drilling rather than limiting exports.  Finally it called on the President to speed up the terminal approval process and “greenlight” to the four pending terminal permits.

Now with the eight days of Hanukkah complete, there is still lots of shopping to do with Part II of the holiday extravaganza upon us.  For some reason, my wife and kids insist in celebrating both holidays.  I personally think it has to do with presents, but I dare not make that accusation (Oh, did I just do it in a public e-mail to thousands…Oooops)

Regardless of the shopping/holiday agendas, we are still available to discuss both known and unknown issues over the next three weeks.  I, of course, will be busy with holiday wrestling, field hockey, lacrosse and ice hockey tournaments. (My 15th straight year at DC’s Gonzaga HS Purple Puck Tournament, but we also have the Crabtown holiday shootout as well)  Lots to do.

Finally, congrats to our long-time friend Josh Sheinkman who was recently named Senate Energy Committee staff director by incoming Chairman Ron Wyden. Sheinkman served as Wyden’s legislative director since 2006, and he joined Wyden’s staff as an energy and environment adviser in 1993, when Wyden was a congressman.  As well, congrats to our friend and ace Bloomberg transpo reporter Angela Greiling Keane who was elected the 106th president of the National Press Club.

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS  

EPA Tightens PM 2.5 Rule – EPA tightened airborne fine soot pollution standards for the first time since 1997.  EPA said its new annual fine particulate matter standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter would bring health benefits of between $4 billion and $9 billion annually by 2020. Costs are estimated to range between $53 million and $350 million annually.  It had proposed setting the standard from 12-to-13 micrograms, compared to 15 micrograms currently. The standards will primarily affect Clean Air Act regulation of power plants, industrial sources and diesel trucks and buses.  The agency did not change the current 24-hour standard of 35 micrograms set in 2006 and, as previously stated, did not change the standard for larger coarse particles.

Holmstead Says Rule Will Be Harmful – My colleague Jeff Holmstead, former Air Administrator at EPA, currently representing power companies at Bracewell Giuliani’s Environmental Strategies Group said the standard will be harmful going forward.  Holmstead said the standard is really quite different from other air quality standards.  “You can’t just look at the change in the number – from 15 to 12 – and understand what the impact will be.  It all depends on how EPA decides to implement the new standard.  Normally, a new standard means a rash of new regulations, but EPA claims that virtually every area of the country will meet the new standard without the need for new regulatory requirements.  If so, then maybe the new standard won’t cause the type of economic disruption that we’ve seen in the past. In recent years, a new air quality standard like this one has caused big delays for companies trying to build new plants or expand existing operations.  I think a lot of people are holding their breath and hoping that we won’t see the same thing this time around.”

Power Groups Says Rule has no Scientific Basis – Power companies in the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) said the scientific and legal issues that have come to light during public comment threaten the legal standing of the rule and asked to delay its release.  ERCC head Scott Segal said “there are a diverse range of uncertainties about PM claims and these uncertainties need to be more fully addressed and resolved before the PM NAAQS rule is finalized.  Segal added increasing the cost of doing business and jeopardizing quality manufacturing jobs in new nonattainment areas will come at a heavy price. As a recent report from the Maguire Energy Institute at the Southern Methodist University states, “Numerous studies find that regulatory burdens of this sort imposed on energy prices and energy supply cause plant closures and maximize the potential that manufacturing jobs will move overseas. For each manufacturing job lost, many other dependent jobs will also exit the economy. One in eight private sector jobs rely upon our manufacturing base.”

API: Rule is First of Many – API’s Howard Feldman pulled no punches as well: “We fear this new rule may be just the beginning of a ‘regulatory cliff’ that includes forthcoming ozone rules, the refinery sector rules, pending greenhouse gas regulations for refineries and the delayed boiler MACT rules.  There is no compelling scientific evidence for the policy decision to develop more stringent standards,” he said, also questioning the agency’s regulatory impact analysis. API also called on the administration to release the scientific data used in the EPA review, charging it would expose the “lack of certainty EPA is applying when changing these standards.”

Enviros, Health Groups Praise Rules – Of course, health and environmental groups praised the new rule.  Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council quickly backed EPA’s decision on soot saying almost half of all Americans are considered to be especially vulnerable to the harmful impacts of soot,” said EDF health scientist Elena Craft. “We’re proud that the EPA has finalized this new clean air standard in the face of intense opposition from corporate polluters and their allies,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Because of the Obama administration’s updated standard, our air will be cleaner and thousands of Americans won’t have to face the dangerous health impacts of soot pollution from dirty sources like power plants and diesel trucks.”  Meanwhile the American Lung Association and the American Public Health Association praised the EPA decision saying “The public health community applauds these long overdue stronger standards.”

DOE Announces Offshore Wind Projects – The DOE Wind Program today announced $168 million in advanced technology demonstration awards for offshore wind projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. As part of DOE’s broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States These projects will evaluate innovative technologies, establish key siting and permitting pathways, validate construction and operation costs, and reduce uncertainties associated with these factors, with the ultimate impact of reducing the overall costs of offshore wind project development in the United States.  In the initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design, and permitting phase of this award. DOE will select up to three of these projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction, and installation and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. Each of these three projects will receive an additional $47 million over four years, subject to congressional appropriations.  The seven projects selected for the first phase of this six-year initiative are 1) Baryonyx Corporation’s Gulf Offshore Wind (GOWind) Project, 2) Dominion Virginia Power’s Demonstration Project, 3) our friends at Fishermen’s Atlantic City Windfarm, 4) Lake Erie Development Corporation’s (LEEDCO’s) Icebreaker Project, 5) Principle Power’s WindFloat Pacific Offshore Wind Demonstration Project, 6) our friends at Statoil North America’s Hywind Maine Project and 7) the University of Maine’s New England Aqua Ventus Project.

Two Studies Also Support Offshore Wind – At the same time that DOE announced it grants, they also rolled out two new reports that chart offshore wind’s path forward.  The Navigant Consortium released two DOE-funded reports that show great promise for the U.S. offshore wind market—including the potential for thousands of jobs in four major coastal regions and the use of larger, more efficient turbines in offshore farms, increasing the amount of electricity delivered to consumers.  The first is an Offshore Wind Market Analysis that provides a comprehensive annual assessment of the U.S. offshore wind market. They will update and publish this report annually for a three-year period.  The second is a Supply Chain report that examines the existing U.S. offshore wind supply chain, identifies current and anticipated gaps, considers the barriers to filling these gaps, and identifies market-entry pathways for new manufacturers.  The Market Analysis report has sections on the role of transmission and transmission policy, which includes several mentions of AWC, praises the project as an innovative way to potentially lower future costs.

Offshore Groups to Consider Whales in Development – Groups developing offshore wind farms from New Jersey to Virginia have agreed to try to protect North Atlantic right whales.  The voluntary measures are the first of their kind.  The developers are pledging to reduce or avoid loud noises that could affect the whales by avoiding building towers and doing other activities at the peak of whales’ migratory season.  The companies also agree to watch for whales and to use tools and technologies to keep the work as quiet as possible.  While environmentalists like the idea of wind energy, many are concerned about the turbines’ effects on migrating birds and sea life.

PTC Debate Picks Up – There was some good back and forth this week on the wind production tax credit (PTC).  AWEA sent a letter to the members of the Senate Finance Committee outlining an analysis of a six-year phase-out of the wind-energy Production Tax Credit with continued priority for a one-year extension for projects that start construction next year, as passed by the Senate Finance Committee. The gradual phase-down “will allow the industry to invest in the cost-saving technologies required to finish the job,” while addressing concerns that the PTC might become a permanent part of the tax code, AWEA said. Under the analysis, the PTC would keep 100% of its value in 2013, declining to 90% in 2014 and 60% in both 2017 and 2018. The credit would end in 2019.  Of course, that phase out isn’t enough for conservatives and others that oppose the credit, including Exelon.

A Plan For Dealing with PTC – Interestingly, Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin said any long-term PTC renewal in the Congressional Lame Duck would be too much to swallow in the fiscal cliff discussions, urging a one-year extension instead.  This plays right into what we have been predicting for a while now.  A short-term extension gets you to the next year (with a potential change from in-service to commerce construction) with a longer-term phase out  becoming part of the larger upcoming tax reform discussion next year. While AWEA asked for 6 years and opponents said zero, a key to watch is Sen. Grassley who mentioned 4 years in a recent interview with our friends at Energy Daily.

Bipartisan Support for MLPs for Renewables – Not to be outdone, Several politicos sent a letter to President Barack Obama pushing for tax structures known as master limited partnerships and real estate investment trusts to be opened up to renewable energy projects. The partnerships allow access to lower-cost capital and other benefits and are only available under law for investors in oil, natural gas, coal extraction and pipeline projects and explicitly prevented from applying to renewable energy investors.  The lawmakers include Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.)  This mirrors a study from SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute earlier this year that held that MLPs could hold incredible potential for renewables.

Gov, AGs Target Interior NatGas Rule – We know recently that a number of more liberal attorneys general threatened to file suit to force EPA to regulate methane emissions from natural gas drilling operations.  Again not to be outdone, the Republican Governors Association and the Republican Attorneys General Association want the proposed Interior rule at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule to regulate natural gas drilling operations withdrawn because they say it ignores states’ track records for regulating the practice and would discourage future development. The groups wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying the rule institutes “sweeping new regulations” without an expressed need.

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON 

Defense Asst Sect to Address Cybersecurity – The Homeland Security Policy Institute will host an event tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in GWU’s Elliott School of International Affairs as part of the Capstone Series on Cyber Strategy.  The event will feature Paul Stockton, Assistant Secretary for Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs. Assistant Secretary Stockton will discuss how to best address vulnerabilities of the electric power grid from physical and cyber threats.

Forum to Look at Senate Foreign Relations Report – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with the authors of the recently released Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, “Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe.” Marik String, deputy chief counsel of the Committee, and Neil Brown, senior professional staff member of the Committee, were commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) to assess the next installment of the Southern Corridor pipeline intended to bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe. David Koranyi, deputy director, Patriciu Eurasia Center and Adnan Vatansever, independent analyst, will be discussants. Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Ian Brzezinski will moderate.  The report examines the impact of the Obama Administration’s decision to effectively eliminate the position of US Envoy for Eurasian Energy Security; assesses competing pipeline proposals under consideration; and examines the prospect of including gas from Turkmenistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, and the Eastern Mediterranean in the Southern Corridor. The report will be released in conjunction with legislation offered by Senator Lugar that is intended to increase US exports of liquefied natural gas to NATO allies.  The event will be live-streamed at: www.livestream.com/atlanticcouncil

Chamber to Host Farm Innovation Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation will co-host a program on Wednesday, December 19th highlighting the innovations and emerging opportunities that today’s agriculture industry are presenting. This program will identify many of the latest innovations and advances in agriculture and show how America’s agriculture community continues to feed an ever growing global population while at the same time supporting American job creation and competitiveness.  Speakers include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Chamber President Tom Donohue, former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings (current President of the National Chamber Foundation), Peter Klein of the University of Missouri, AEI’s Nick Schulz, John Deere FarmSight Director Jerry Roell and Blake Hurst of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Korean Forum to Look at Green Economy in Developing Countries – The Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Korea Economic Institute will hold a seminar tomorrow at Noon to discuss green business opportunities in developing countries.  Developing countries present an ideal platform for green business opportunities given their natural resources, economic development, and policy agendas. Korea also has a unique set of green policies that enable green businesses.  The event will feature representatives from the World Bank, Korea Energy Economics Institute, and Inter-American Development Bank share their expertise in green growth and energy policies, sustainable development, and green technology.  Speakers include IADB’s energy chief Leandro Feliciano Alves, KEI’s Energy Woongtae Chung, Korea’s Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Sang-Pyo Suh, Korean Embassy Economic Minister Gheewhan Kim and KEI President Abraham Kim.

Wind Program to Discuss Next-Year Agenda – DOE’s Wind Powering America Director Jonathan Bartlett and National Technical Director Ian Baring-Gould will provide an overview of programmatic plans for the upcoming year Wednesday, December 19th at 3”00 p.m.   The discussion will include the soon-to-be-released request for proposal for the inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition and new Regional Resource Centers. This free webinar is part of Wind Powering America’s 2012 webinar series and follows a tradition of fall webinars that provide an overview of program activities for the upcoming year. Ample Q&A time will be available.

Senate Banking to Review Infrastructure Question – The Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development will conduct a hearing on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in 538 Dirksen focused on recovering from Superstorm Sandy and looking at rebuilding infrastructure.  Witnesses will include MTA CEO Joseph Lhota, NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein and several other additional witnesses.

Dorgan, NREL Head to Highlight Energy R&D in Webinar – Energy Central will host a webinar on Thursday at Noon looking at the research and development in the energy sector.  The era of massive subsidies may be waning, but the federal government is putting its mighty resources behind a new vision for America’s energy future. Yet tight federal budgets will restrict how money is deployed.  The seminar will focus on what kind of energy R&D will be supported and what are the implications will be to the utility industry.  Speakers will include NREL’s Dan Arvizu and former North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan, now at the Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Project.

FUTURE EVENTS

API to Hold State Of Energy – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its state of the energy industry on January 8th at Noon in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium.  API CEO Jack Gerard will outline the new realities of energy in America and the ways the oil and natural gas industry is working and investing every day to ensure the safe exploration, production and delivery of American-made energy. Energy that is vital to creating jobs, growing businesses and ensuring our quality of life.

USEA Holds Annual State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on January 16th (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations as they present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2013.  Speakers will include Marv Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute), Jack Gerard, President & CEO, American Petroleum Institute), Regina Hopper (America’s Natural Gas Alliance), Skip Horvath (Natural Gas Supply Association), Tom Kuhn (Edison Electric Institute), Hal Quinn (National Mining Association), Dave McCurdy (American Gas Association), Joe Nipper (American Public Power Association), Rhone Resch (Solar Energy Industries Association), Don Santa (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America),

John Shelk (Electric Power Supply Association) and JoAnne Emerson (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association).

Special Update – September 4

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day weekend and an extra day off.  No big intro today as we sit in between conventions with lots of great energy events getting under way in Charlotte. My colleagues Dee Martin, Paul Nathanson and Caitlin Andrews are on the ground in the Queen City if you need anything.  As for RNC, I discuss below more, but whether you really think climate change is a top tier issues or not, you have to appreciate the multiple meanings in Mitt Romney climate zinger in his RNC speech targeting the President’s grander view, but more out-of-touch view.  The evidence of its effectiveness: the hysterical, hair on-fire reaction of many of my enviro friends.   

I wanted to mention one other event tomorrow in DC when WCEE hosts Heather Zichal to talk energy issues at the Capitol Hilton. 

Finally, one little update on getting older…My daughter player her first High School field hockey game on Friday.  If that wasn’t bad enough, while that game was ongoing (actually, I wasn’t there, I was refereeing a high school football game), my son took a shot to the head during his 12U football game and made a (questionable in my mind) trip to the emergency room via ambulance.  He was fine, of course, but you can never be too sure, especially when they couldn’t get ahold of us.  I knew he was really okay when he told me that it was cool to ride in the ambulance and that he asked the driver to turn on the siren and run some red lights.  I guess he won’t be getting a license until he turns 20.

Happy to talk about the role of energy/environment in this race.  Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS 

Most Drilling Operation Back in Action Anyway – Most drilling operation, shut in by Isaac for a few days have started back up throughout the weekend.   Inspections were done Thursday and Friday and most are ready to get back to work.   My friend Jim Noe (713-301-6797) at Hercules Offshore can walk you through some of the particulars of the getting back up and running if you are interested. 

Energy Plays Role in Romney Speech – Mitt Romney in his convention speech dove into energy issues calling for greater production of fossil fuels one of the key elements of his plan to create jobs and restore the economy.  He made it all as part of a call to attain energy independence by 2020.  He also infuriated most enviros with his signature line of the speech saying: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”  In one line, he both hinted at the President being out-of-touch on real issues while also giving him a shot for soaring rhetoric and tendency toward self-aggrandizement.   Of course, the enviro blogosphere erupted with outrage, completely proving the point of how effective the line was and how self-flatulating they are.

Energy Events Make Splash at RNC – There were a several good energy events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa that outlined several interesting issues.  They included:

POLITICO Event with T. Boone, API’s Durbin, ASE’s Callahan – POLITICO held an energy policy luncheon Wednesday that feature Boone Pickens, API’s Marty Durbin and Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan.  Pickens said that natural gas vehicles will prosper even without his so-called Pickens Plan.  Durbin highlighted a number of challenges in the offshore oil/gas market while praising the effort to create jobs with shale production.  Callahan praised Mitt Romney for his energy efficient policies as governor of Massachusetts. She said he had a “record that is really good on energy efficiency” as governor, including support of a 50 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standard and investing in building efficiency. 

Bloomberg Forums Feature Gerard, Pickens – Pickens also held a one-on-one at Bloomberg’s Link (which had some of the best food by the way).  Pickens hit many of the same themes he discussed at the POLITICO forum highlighting natural gas vehicles, natgas prices and current efforts on wind.    The day prior, API’s Jack Gerard also visited the same forum and led a spirited discussion of offshore drilling, natgas/ shale issues and the job growth in the oil/gas industry.

National Journal Events with Southern, Capito, Others – Perhaps one of the best events was a panel discussion Tuesday lead by National Journal’s Coral Davenport featuring Cap Alpha’s Jim Lucier, CAP’s Richard Caperton, Jerry Taylor of Cato and EPRI’s Mike Howard.  The panel was an outstanding mix of policy and politics, with lots of energy, both in discussion and in temperament.   It followed a one-on-one with WV Rep. Shelly Moor Capito.  Southern Tom fanning led the discussion with comments about the current state of energy policy.  Any earlier event focused on green buildings and energy use and featured Lucier, AGA’s Larry Borgard, former Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan and Green Building Council exec Roger Platt. 

Dems Will Host Energy Events – Many of the above events will also have a sister event in Charlotte this week at the Democratic National Convention.  In fact this morning, The Washington Post hosted a great panel discussion on energy issues with Reps. Ed Markey and Ben Lujan, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Paul Bledsoe of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, Joshua Freed of Third Way and Margo Thorning of the American Council for Capital Formation at the Ritz-Carlton.  Mary Landrieu was supposed to be there but stayed home to tend to Hurricane Isaac issues.   Also this morning, National Journal and The Atlantic host a forum on America’s energy outlook.  Our friend Amy Harder interviewed Senate Energy Committee new top Democrat Ron Wyden, and then lead a panel discussion with NEI chief Marv Fertel, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, EPRI CEO Mike Howard (who also participated last week with Southern) and former EIA head Richard Newell, now a professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment.   Also today, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell will be on a panel of folks hosted by POLITICO discussing Jobs and the economy and it is certain that Markell will discuss offshore wind as a major opportunity for his state and the Mid-Atlantic region.  Finally, speaking of POLITICO, they and AWEA will reprise their energy event on Wednesday. 

Speakers Line Up – Finally to some of the speeches, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Speaks tonight, while Duke Energy CEO – and convention co-chair – Jim Rogers will discuss energy issues on Thursday prior to President Obama’s speech at Bank of America Stadium. 

Dems Release Energy Platform – Democrats released a platform focused On an “all-of the-above” strategy.   While it mentions fossil fuels slightly, it leans heavily on clean energy for job creation, as well as natural gas resources.  I’m sure that won’t go over well with the Josh Fox crowd.  It also spends a significant amount of time attacking Republicans.  See it here.   

Shell Gets Start in Alaska on Drilling – Shockingly, just before Romney’s speech that was to talk about energy independence and oil/gas jobs, the Interior Department announced that Shell received permission to perform “limited preparatory activities” in the Chukchi Sea. The permit allows Shell to begin work to create a mud-line cellar and install two segments of pipe — actions to help install and protect the blowout preventer during production — in non-oil-containing formations.  Salazar speaks tonight and my bet is he mentions this and other drilling items many times. 

EVENTS  

WCEE to Host Zichal – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a luncheon tomorrow at Noon featuring Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. The WCEE Women in Leadership series, sponsored by our friends at ClearView Energy and Southern Company, showcases successful women who are leaders in their fields, and Ms. Zichal is certainly outstanding.   The event is  at the Capitol Hilton (16th/K St., NW). 

RFF Forum to Look at International Climate Issues – Resources for the Future will host a panel tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. in its First Floor Conference Center to look at the role of border measures in the design of unilateral climate policy.  Issues of competitiveness and emissions leakage have been at the fore of the climate policy debate in all the major economies implementing or proposing to implement significant emissions cap-and-trade programs. While unilateral policy cannot directly impose emissions prices on foreign sources, it can complement domestic emissions pricing with border carbon adjustments to reduce leakage and increase global cost-effectiveness. Theory suggests that border adjustment measures constitute a second-best instrument to complement unilateral emissions pricing. Although border measures have a theoretical efficiency rationale, their practical implementation is subject to serious caveats.  Against this background, panelists at this RFF First Wednesday Seminar will highlight recent research on the efficiency and distributional impacts of border measures, offer design guidelines to ensure their environmental effectiveness while limiting the scope for protectionism, and discuss the implications of such measures for international climate policymaking and negotiations.  RFF’s Carolyn Fischer hosts panelists Thomas Rutherford of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Aaron Cosbey of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and Nigel Purvis of Climate Advisers. 

House Resource to Get Chu on Power Marketing Memo – The full House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on entitled Tuesday, September 11th at 11:30 a.m. to discuss DOE Secretary Steven Chu’s Power Marketing Administration Memorandum directives and their potential impact on increasing electricity costs for over 40 million families and small businesses.  Chairman Doc Hastings sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu inviting him to testify at the Full Committee hearing on his Memorandum, which mandates new missions for the Power Marketing Administrations and could raise energy costs for over 40 million Americans. Secretary Chu was originally invited to testify at a hearing on April 26, 2012, but declined due to foreign travel. In June, over 160 House members and Senators sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary Chu expressing concerns with the missions outlined in his Memorandum. The House also passed bipartisan appropriations language prohibiting funding for any new activities in the document. 

O’Malley, Wellinghoff to Headline Retail Energy Event – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff are featured speakers at the Retail Energy Supply Association’s 2012 Energy Competition Symposium in Baltimore on Sept. 12. The half-day event will explore the state of play for retail energy competition nationally. Other featured speakers include Douglas Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, Douglas Nazarian, chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, Todd Snitchler, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Rob Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, William Massey, former FERC commissioner and counsel to the COMPETE Coalition, and Itron’s Daniel Pfeiffer.  The symposium will feature panel discussions on the value of customer choice in retail energy markets, the future outlook for customer choice in energy, and an overview of the innovative product and service offerings being developed in competitive retail energy markets. The afternoon event will close with a cocktail reception. 

Senate Energy Committee Hearing on Nuclear Waste Bill – The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing Wednesday, September 12 at 9:30 a.m. to receive testimony on S. 3469, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2012. 

Ohio Shale Gas Conference to Look at Successes, Challenges – Infocast will host Black Gold Ohio, a conference focused on shale gas development in the Utica Shale region at the Westin Columbus on September 12-13th.  The conference will look at the revival of Ohio manufacturing with the Utica and Marcellus booms.  As a result, Ohio has seen a significant rise in demand for steel mills, surveyors, pipe makers, tankers for hauling water, trailers for transporting frac sand and other supporting manufacturing and development.  It’s predicated that by 2015, the Utica and Marcellus shale booms will have created 200,000 jobs, generated a $12 billion growth in overall wages in the State and increased $22 billion in economic output of the Ohio State.  Speakers will include the Ohio Oil & Gas Assn head Tom Stewart and Chesapeake Energy’s Scott Rotruck, among many others. 

Spill Containment Conference Set for Caribbean Drilling – OPEN FORUM and the Energy Chamber of Trinidad will hold the first-ever regional conference on emergency response issues for offshore drilling in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, September 13th.   The event will focus on the critical issues related to emergency spill response procedures and protocols following the BP/Deepwater Horizon incident two years ago. Speakers will include former BOEMRE chief Michael Bromwich and John Slaughter of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Among other experts, our friends at Helix, former IADC head Lee Hunt and Bracewell’s very own Kevin Ewing.  Hunt, who joined with Helix to organize the conference said “While the international focus has been largely an effort by the United States to protect its shores, this conference will give Caribbean nations the opportunity to focus on how they can learn from each other and work together to build deepwater response capabilities.” 

WAPA to Feature KIA at September Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn‘s September luncheon will be held on Friday at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room at 12:00pm.  Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, and Tom Loveless, executive vice president of sales of Kia Motors will tell the story of Kia’s brand transformation and share insights about the company’s commitment to world-class design and standout from the crowd marketing initiatives that have delivered unprecedented growth and momentum and turned Kia into the seventh largest auto brand in the U.S.  During the meeting members and guests also will have a first look at the new Soul Ad Campaign, new vehicles and future technologies from Kia Motors. 

Corbett, Koppel Headline NatGas Conference – Following last year’s inaugural success, the Marcellus Shale Coalition will return to Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center to host the SHALE GAS INSIGHT™ 2012 Conference on September 20-21 to offer insights on natural gas development in in the region.  Industry and policy experts from top producing, midstream, and supply chain firms; academia; government; and the NGO community will provide the latest insights and analysis on state and federal policies, technological advancements in the industry, and much more.  Speakers will include veteran newsman Ted Koppel, PA Gov. Tom Corbett, our WSJ friend Russell Gold and many more.

AWEA Offshore Conference Set for VA Beach – AWEA will host its annual offshore wind conference in Virginia Beach on October 11-13th.  Stay tuned for more details, but  BOEM’s Tommy Beaudreau will kick off the event and AWC President Bob Mitchell will speak on Thursday morning, providing a development update on the project and its implications for accelerating offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic.

SEJ Ready for Lubbock – SEJ Kicks off at Texas Tech in Lubbock on October 17 through the 22nd.  Bracewell will of course be sponsoring its Thursday night event, so we hope to see you there.

Energy Update Week of May 14

Friends, 

A little shorter version of the usual Monday update because I was offsite yesterday, but certainly not enough to avoid Interior’s announcement about the Atlantic Wind Connection.  Interior declared there to be no competitive interest for the use of certain areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to construct an offshore transmission system which will speed permitting efforts.  Please feel free to follow up with Bob Mitchell (202-258-0960) if you have lingering questions. 

I tweeted (@FrankTalk19) a couple of the most excellent shots of the Hercules offshore rig with my friends at CBS Sunday.    They are doing a feature on islands this Sunday and always feature one “man-made” island which this year is the 173.  Looking forward to seeing the story as it captures day-to-day life on the working rig.  Incidentally, today the White House is releasing another report saying leases are going unused.  Funny how that works, because having been out there yesterday, I’d say that if there is oil or natural gas liquids in the ground, companies are trying to get it as fast as possible.  See more below, but our friend Jim Noe is happy to discuss (713-301-6797) 

Big hearing in Senate Energy Thursday on the Clean Energy Standard, perhaps the first of several as we understand it.  My colleagues Scott Segal and Jeff Holmstead think it will be very different to do in an election year and still see a lot of homework to do.  They are happy to discuss the issue.  In addition, we’re keeping track of Lisa Jackson at Senate Approps, the House Oversight Committee and the Friday farm bill hearing.  Also, we may here more recommendations for tariffs in the solar dumping case against China by Thursday.  Already both sides are out in full force trying to apply last minute public pressure to shape the debate

NCAA lacrosse first rounds were awesome setting up a classic JHU-Maryland matchup on the men’s side at Navy Marine Corps Stadium Saturday at high noon.  Not to be outdone, the women’s side will feature a Maryland-Loyola matchup where former UMD great Jen Adams will coach against her alma mater (also at high noon).  Which way to go?  Oh the drama in my house…  Girls want to go to College Park, Adam is demanding heading to Annapolis.  Either way, it will be great.  The NY Rangers barely finished off the Caps (but give them credit that they did) and the LA Kings look unstoppable.  Hard to believe from a team that snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the season.  By the way, does the NBA even exist anymore?  Are they still in a lockout?  Seriously, can the NBA playoffs be any more boring compared to the NHL?  I would rather watch the action during a rain delay at Nationals Park than watch the first few rounds of the NBA playoffs.  I hope to finals can get a little better.

Call will questions.  You should also follow our Bracewell DC crew on Twitter @PolicyRez as well.

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
C. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

White House Report Says Leases Going Unused – The White is releasing a new report today that says nearly 72% of the Outer Continental Shelf land leased for oil and gas development is “not producing or not subject to pending or approved exploration or development plans.” As for onshore leases, about 56% of federal land leased in the continental U.S. was idle as of the end of 2011.  This one again, underscores the fundamental misunderstanding this administration continues to show about the oil/gas industry.  And they don’t really care right now, because they are trying to inoculate themselves from a political weakness with misleading statistics and political rhetoric.  Apparently, according the energy “experts” in the White House’s definition of “idle” doesn’t include exploratory work and environmental reviews that must take place before drilling can begin.   My friend Jim Noe can discuss the issue (713-301-6797).

Final EPA Dimock Testing Shows No Impacts from Drilling – A final batch of EPA drilling tests said there was no water with unsafe levels of chemicals and that none of the levels that are there can be associated with drilling.  EPA has been testing water in Dimock, Pa. from January to March, and has been unveiling them in a series of late afternoon Friday releases.  As with the previous three sampling results, EPA found that Dimock drinking water meets all regulatory standards.  The EPA again did not indicate that those contaminants that were detected bore any relationship to gas development in the Dimock area.  These contaminants are more likely indicative of naturally-occurring background levels or other unrelated activities.  Cabot said it was pleased that EPA has now reached the same conclusion of Cabot and state and local authorities resulting from the collection of more than 10,000 pages of hard data — that the water in Dimock meets all regulatory standards.

Interior Moves Offshore Wind Transmission Project Forward – Continuing its significant momentum supporting offshore wind energy and transmission, the Department of Interior today declared there to be no competitive interest for the use of certain areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to construct an offshore transmission system being proposed by the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC).  After a year of intensive internal and public review, the decision allows the project to move forward in its permitting process.  AWC CEO Bob Mitchell praised the Administration’s effort on renewable energy, saying the decision is an important step to advancing what could be the world’s first integrated electric transmission superhighway for offshore wind.  Mitchell: “This milestone allows the AWC to proceed to intelligently plan for the backbone transmission system that is necessary for an entirely new robust offshore wind industry to develop in America. There is no reason for the United States to have to yield all of the factories and jobs to Europe and China.”  A Determination of No Competitive Interest (DNCI) has been made by Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), after soliciting input from other potential competitors and the public.  The DNCI issuance allows BOEM to grant the project a right-of-way (ROW) on the OCS once the environmental impact of the project is reviewed under NEPA, and with further public input.  The lack of competitive interest means that the delays associated with an auction are avoided.

Brattle Study Cites Concerns for Midwest in Mercury Rule – A new study for the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) by The Brattle Group found that compliance with the MATS rule poses significant challenges for generators in the Midwest.  The feasibility assessment took into account the historical level of actual retrofits and new generation construction, typical timelines to complete various types of projects, potential bottlenecks in specialized types of labor, and the required planned outages in coal plants to install and test the environment control equipment. The study finds that the projected amount of retrofits on coal units and the amount of new generation to replace retiring coal units in the MISO region will exceed the historical maximum achieved for simultaneous deployments of retrofits and new builds by 51% to 162%, based on MISO’s current projections of retrofit requirements and announced projects. For nationwide retrofits, the requirements imposed by MATS would be below historical maximums if the EPA’s projections are correct, or up to 93% above historical maximums if industry estimates are more accurate.  With respect to the timeline needed for retrofits, the study finds that some types of upgrades can be completed before 2015 without difficulty, including activated carbon injection (ACI) and dry sorbent injection (DSI), which can be implemented within approximately a year and a half. Most projects, however, have a longer lead time of approximately three to four years, including wet and dry scrubber, baghouse, electrostatic precipitator (ESP), and selective catalytic reduction (SCR), as well as new gas combustion turbines (CTs) and combined cycles (CCs). Some of these longer lead time projects may not be completed by the MATS compliance date (April 2015, with a potential one-year extension) to the extent they have not already started. 

Brattle Also Raises Concerns about Labor to Upgrade – The Brattle study also evaluated the potential for craft labor to become a bottleneck that could introduce project delays and increase costs. Comparing the projected labor needs against the current labor supply for each craft revealed that boilermakers are the most likely bottleneck. As many as 7,590 boilermakers (or 40% of boilermakers currently employed nationally) could be needed to complete the projected retrofits and new generation construction by 2015. This potential demand is more than four times the number of boilermakers currently employed in the Utility System Construction Industry. Therefore, meeting the projected demand for boilermakers will likely require a combination of adjustments on the supply side, including training new labor, relocation, extending work hours, and attracting craft labor from other industries.  With respect to the incremental outage periods necessary to implement the projected retrofits, the study estimates that some upgrades, such as dry scrubber, DSI, selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR), and ACI, require that the outage duration need only be extended a few days or a week, although some types of upgrades impose much longer outages. Wet FGD, baghouse, and SCR retrofits are likely to require that outages be extended by approximately three weeks. Considering the fleet-wide impacts of these outages, it appears that MISO may have to schedule approximately 45% more MW of coal outages per season for MATS compliance by fall 2015, assuming that many plants will gain a one-year compliance extension. These additional outage requirements appear to be feasible to implement under MISO’s low-retirement scenarios without causing system reliability concerns. The study notes, however, that implementing the incremental outages under scenarios with higher coal retirement scenarios (12 GW and 19 GW) would likely require a combination of extending the six-month outage season to nine months and requesting an additional one-year reliability extension to 2017 for MATS compliance.

Get the Study Here – The Brattle study, “Supply Chain and Outage Analysis of MISO Coal Retrofits for MATS,” was prepared by Brattle economists Metin Celebi, Kathleen Spees, and Quincy Liao, with assistance from Steve Eisenhart at the VATIC Associates. It is available for download at www.brattle.com.

RFA Says Ethanol Reduced Gas Price – The Renewable Fuels Association will release a report today that says ethanol reduced the price of gasoline in 2011 by an average of $1.09 per gallon – up from $0.89 per gallon in 2010.  The finding is in according to updated research conducted by economics professors at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University.  Surprisingly, those economic found that three primary factors are responsible for “price benefit:”  higher oil and gasoline prices, higher ethanol inclusion and ethanol being priced at a larger-than-normal discount to gasoline.  Refiners said the study is flawed and is based on false assumptions and distorted statistics to reach the predetermined conclusion.  Charlie Drevna: “ Today’s study is just an update of an equally flawed 2009 study that even the authors conceded is not a reflection of reality. In their original 2009 report, the authors of the study wrote:  ‘…it would be wrong to extrapolate the results to today’s markets.’   AFPM says increased amounts of ethanol in gasoline will likely lead to consumers paying even more at the pump. According to the AAA daily fuel gauge report, fuel that is 85% ethanol, E85, significantly decreases fuel economy and is more expensive than gasoline on a miles-per-gallon basis due to its lower energy content, even at today’s prices. The AAA report notes that if consumers were to use E85 today, they would be paying nearly 60 cents per gallon more than if they filled up with regular gasoline.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

MD to Hold Public Meetings on Climate Change – Maryland continues its public meetings today on its climate change law in Centreville in Queen Anne’s County.  In 2009, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act that requires the State to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2020. Last week the meetings kicked off in Elkton, MD.  Other meetings will be in Fredrick on May 24th, Annapolis on May 31st and Baltimore on June 5th

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold two more hearings Wednesday in Albion tomorrow and in Central City on Thursday to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed. NDEQ  held meetings last week in O’Neill and in Neligh

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

Great Efficiency Day Set – The first installment of the 2012 Great Energy Efficiency Day Series, will be held on Wednesday morning at Union Station’s Columbus Club, as representatives from diverse industries convene a discussion on the business case for energy efficiency. Learn how and why all sectors of business – from automakers to utility providers to product manufacturers – are adopting energy-efficient practices to increase profitability, productivity, and security. And, gain insight into how the public sector is driving efficiency through keynote addresses from Congressional, Administration, and State officials.   Launched in 2004, Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) has quickly become a “must attend” public discussion on the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency. In 2012, GEED is expanding to a twice-a-year series on Capitol Hill to provide more public opportunity for energy efficiency discourse.  GEED events draw more than 400 stakeholders from business, industry, government, academia, and media to discuss the most pressing issues and advances in energy efficiency.  Confirmed speakers include Sen. Mark Warner, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy, ACC’s Cal Dooley, BRT President and former MI Governor John Engler, EEI head Tom Kuhn, AGA President Dave McCurdy, DOE’s Maria Vargas and many more. 

House Oversight to Look at Clean Tech, Loan Guarantees – The House Oversight panel on Regulation chaired by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.    Witnesses will include Craig Witsoe of Abound Solar, Brian Fairbank of Nevada Geothermal Power Inc., BrightSource Energy CEO John Woolard, FirstSolar’s Michael Ahearn, and James Nelson of Solar 3D and Gregory Kats of Capital-E.

AEI to Look at Cuba Issues – While it isn’t only about energy, the American Enterprise Institute will hold an event tomorrow that will look at Cuba after Castro and I fully expect there will be some discussion on Cuba’s plan to drill for oil off its Northern coast.  The event will be at 10:00 a.m. and will feature

Senate Approps Panel to Host Jackson – EPA’s Lisa Jackson will be featured at a Senate Appropriations environmental panel hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to discuss EPA budget issues.

Senate Environment to Highlight Role of Corporate Responsibility – The Senate Committee on Environment’s panel on Children’s Health and Environmental Responsibility will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. looking at corporate environmental responsibility and innovation.  Witnesses will include Intel’s Todd Brady, GE Power & Water’s , Len Sauers of Procter & Gamble, Eastman Chemical’s Parker Smith and Mitch Jackson of FedEx.

Blackburn, Shaheen Headline Women’s Energy Council Forum – The Women’s Energy Resource Council  will hold its 2nd Annual Leadership Forum  on Wednesday  at Noon at the Phoenix Park Hotel.  The forum will include a variety of speakers and panelists from Capitol Hill, the Administration, and the private sector.  Registration and lunch begin at 11:30am with Representative Marsha Blackburn starting the program at 12:00.  Some of the other speakers will include Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Politics Daily’s Patricia Murphy, and Pia Carusone, Chief of Staff to former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who will discuss crisis management during the Tucson shooting. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

ELI Panel to Look at Litigation, Environmental Exposure – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion on tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. focused on environmental litigation and the bar for injury in environmental exposure cases.  Panelists will include Carla Burke of Baron & Budd, John Guttmann of Beveridge & Diamond and Robert Percival of the Environmental Law Program of University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

Solar Expert Featured at ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International will host its May Energy and Environment Breakfast on Thursday morning featuring Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). The outlook for solar power and for specific projects is being buffeted by many factors, including sharp declines in the cost of photovoltaics, low prices for natural gas, state Renewable Portfolio Standards, and Federal tax credits and research programs (such as the SunShot Initiative). Hamm will discuss the role can solar electricity play in the future of the U.S. power mix and what issues need to be addressed for it to reach its full potential, as well as the best prospects and opportunities for development. 

Green Week Panels Cover Array of Issues — The Institute for Policy Analysis and Interpretation will hold DuPont Green Week activities on Thursday and Friday at Johns Hopkins University with panels on financing, carbon markets and many other topics. 

DOE to Headline Industrial Efficiency Forum – The Alliance to Save Energy’s honoring its 35th Anniversary, will hold an Industrial Energy Efficiency Forum on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at EEI.  The event will include experts from a diverse set of industries who will discuss energy efficiency within the industrial sector – from their early efforts to current energy efficiency and management programs being implemented across U.S. industry.  Discover how manufacturers have improved energy efficiency at their plants and what types of mechanisms and technologies will be important in achieving additional gains in energy efficiency, industrial productivity, and energy security. Valuable insights into Superior Energy Performance and Better Buildings/Better Plants will be provided along with the recognition of several plants in the Southeast that have achieved Superior Energy Performance certification through ISO 50001 energy management and verified energy Speakers will include DOE’s Kathleen Hogan and many others. 

Senate Energy to hold Clean Energy Standard Hearing – The full Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing on Thursday to focus on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 and receive testimony on S. 2146. Witnesses include DOE’s David Sandalow and EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, as well as RFF’s Karen Palmer, Judy Greenwald from the former Pew Climate Group now named the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, DE DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara, American Iron and Steel Institute CEO Tom Gibson, Duke Energy’s Keith Trent and Jacksonville Electric Authority CEO James Dickenson.  My colleague Scott Segal says a federal standard mandating certain energy investments is a difficult policy to get right.  He adds that supporters must take into account geographic differences and must incentivize a sensible mix of technologies, including both energy-generating and energy-saving approaches.  A CES must be based on realistic assumptions about the future of nuclear power and the real costs of certain renewables.  Segal: “In a down economy,  costs to consumers must be a paramount consideration.  Unfortunately, the whole range of final and proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the power sector have already ensured that energy costs will be increasing.  There is not a single study that evaluates the cost of a federal CES against the backdrop of these regulations.  There is a lot of homework yet to be done, and not much time to do it during this election year.”

SAFE Group to Unveil Report – On Thursday, the Diplomatic Council on Energy Security (DCES) will formally launch with its report on oil’s impact on the trade deficit, followed by a discussion energy security with DCES members at the Hay Adams Hotel at 10:00 a.m.  The DCES, a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), is a bipartisan coalition of former U.S. ambassadors who have come together to call attention to the diplomatic and foreign policy constraints posed by America’s dependence on oil.

Brookings Forum to Look at Clean tech Innovations – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., Global Economy and Development at Brookings will host a discussion on how international organizations can help fill capacity building and financing gaps in clean technology innovation in developing and least developed countries. Panelists will include Tim Richards, managing director for International Energy Policy at General Electric Company; Alfred Watkins, executive chairman of the Global Innovation Summit; Dr. Romain Murenzi, executive director of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World; and Brookings Nonresident Fellow Nathan Hultman, director of the Environmental Policy Program at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Brookings Senior Fellow Katherine Sierra will moderate the discussion.

EPA Economists Discuss Electronic Reporting on Water – Resource for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at Noon  in its 7th Floor Conference Room on electronic reporting of water discharge monitoring report data and whether it affects compliance behavior of regulated entities. Ron Shadbegian and Ann Wolverton of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics exam whether or not the adoption of an electronic reporting requirement increases on-time reporting of monthly discharge data and the probability that regulated entities are in compliance, and reduces their overall discharges relative to the permitted amount.

Reps. to Highlight Energy Storage Efforts – The Electricity Storage Association along with the Copper Development Association, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, National Hydropower Association, and NY-BEST will host an event on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in 1300 Longworth to look at energy storage technologies.  Reps. Chris Gibson and Mike Thompson are expected to attend.

Biofuels Roundtable Set – USDA, along with the Department of Energy and the Department of Navy, will co-host an Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable, Friday.  The Roundtable will focus on efforts to accelerate the production of bio-based fuels for military and commercial purposes. Last year, USDA, and the Departments of Energy and the Navy announced that – through the Defense Production Act – they will collaborate to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in aviation and marine biofuels and marine diesel to help power our military. Participants in this roundtable will discuss next steps for those interested in pursuing the production of aviation biofuels and marine diesel. Topics will include production, distribution and contracting, and best practices. This roundtable follows a “match making” event hosted last week at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks, and biorefineries.   In August 2011, the agencies announced plans to invest up to $510 million during the next three years to produce drop-in aviation and marine biofuels. 

In December, the Navy announced “the single largest purchase of advanced drop-in biofuel in government history by the Defense Logistics Agency,” for 450,000 gallons of fuel.   This roundtable follows a matchmaking event hosted on March 30 at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks and biorefineries.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Forum Set to Discuss Science, Future Enterprise – The New American Foundation will hold a forum on Science issues on Monday afternoon, May 21st.  Science and technology in America have been guided by the same set of ideas for more than half a century. The conventional wisdom is that if we feed more money and more scientists into our existing “knowledge enterprise” complex, society will derive proportionately more benefits. In the face of the global economic downturn, political disarray at the national level, and protracted challenges to the nation’s public health, environmental quality, industrial base, and energy system, this simplistic assumption is long overdue for a reckoning.   Today’s challenges demand new ways of thinking about science and technology, and the government’s role in advancing them. The problem, any honest inquiry will suggest, isn’t always money, or the number of scientists, but the very way we do science.   Speakers will include our friend Andy Revkin, GWU President Emeritus Stephen Trachtenberg and many others.

Columbia U to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and Columbia University Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

Brookings Forum to Look at Shipping Industry, Climate – On Thursday, May 24th, Global Economy and Development at Brookings, Oxfam America, World Wildlife Fund and ActionAid will host a discussion on how mechanisms in the shipping industry can be designed to mobilize new public resources to help developing countries confront the climate crisis while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Panelists will include Ambassador Charles Rudolph Paul, Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United States of America; Michael Keen, deputy director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund; Nigel Purvis, president and CEO of Climate Advisers; and Heather Coleman, senior policy advisor at Oxfam America. Brookings Senior Fellow Katherine Sierra will moderate the discussion.

RFF to Host Economics Nobel Prize Winner for Lecture – In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Resources for the Future is presenting Resources 2020 on Friday, June 1st at 2:00 p.m. in National Geographic Museum’s  Grosvenor Auditorium and features  2009 Nobel Economic Sciences Laureate Elinor Ostrom.  Resources 2020 is a year-long distinguished lecture series featuring Nobel Laureates in Economics.  The inaugural event in the series will both honor the memory of Hans Landsberg, a pioneer in energy and mineral economics, and recognize Elinor Ostrom’s groundbreaking role as the first, and to date the only, woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Dr. Ostrom’s presentation will highlight the environmental and natural resource challenges facing the world through the end of this decade and the role that economic inquiry can play in helping decisionmakers address these issues.

WINDPOWER heads to Atlanta – AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER conference will be held in  Atlanta on June 3rd through 6th.  WINDPOWER is being held in the Southeast for the first time this year in recognition of the fact that it has emerged as a hot spot for wind energy manufacturing. The theme of the overall conference is “Manufacturing the Future Today.” Factories in the wind supply chain now employ 30,000 Americans, out of 75,000 currently working in wind energy. But those jobs are now in jeopardy because of uncertainty over the Production Tax Credit, due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends it.  In a year of partisan politics, two leading partisans will seek common ground at the biggest annual gathering of the wind industry – which is counting on bipartisan support to continue its rapid growth in the United States.  Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs will address thousands of attendees together June 5 in Atlanta at WINDPOWER 2012.  Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and longtime senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will jointly keynote in the Tuesday morning General Session of the annual conference and exposition.  Their conversation will touch on many sides of the energy policy debate, and point out where party perspectives overlap — highlighting the opportunity for bipartisan agreement in support of wind power, one of the fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs in America, which draws over $15 billion a year of private investment in the U.S. economy.

Aspen Forum to look at Clean Energy Issues – Montreaux Energy’s 13th Aspen Clean Energy Roundtable will be held June 4-6th  at the historic Hotel Jerome in Aspen.  The Aspen Clean Energy Roundtable will convene 100 key industry partners and investors, along with leading government policy-makers and regulators. Our theme will be Clean Energy, Mobility, and Power Generation: Leadership in Energy Investment.  Confirmed Speakers include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Shell natgas VP Dave Todd, Waste Management Organic Growth SVP Carl Rush,  GE Energy Renewable Energy Strategy & Analysis head Brandon Owens, EPA Region 8 Energy & Climate advisor Kate Fay, Toyota Environmental Vehicles Product Planning Manager Craig Scott and NASCAR Green Innovation Director Michael Lynch, as well as many more.

Mining Summit to Look at Future of Industry – The Mining Americas Summit 2012 will be held in Denver, Colorado on June 5th and 6th at the Denver Marriott City Centre.   Senior executive leadership will gather to discuss the capital management strategies, cutting edge technologies and operational investments that will drive the mining industry for years to come.  Issues will include adopting leading policies and techniques to improve access to capital and attract investment; assessing emerging technologies on cost and operational metrics; managing political risk in mine operations – both domestic and abroad; exploring the latest geographical hotspots and resource opportunities and incorporating sustainability and safety.

NJ to Hold Clean Air DebateNational Journal will host a debate Wednesday, June 6th at The Newseum looking at clean air standards and their broader impact on the nation’s public health, the environment, and the economy.  The event, moderated by our friend Coral Davenport, will feature Peter LaPuma, of George Washington University and NRDC’s John Walke.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Offshore Safety Summit Set for Houston – The Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will be held in Houston on June 11-13th. Since the GOM Deepwater Horizon incident, oil and gas companies have once again come under the spotlight. Issues such as preventing hydrocarbon releases, oil spill response, risk assessment and management, process and human safety and personnel training have surfaced as key priority items that require immediate attention.  To meet the heightened focus on safety, oil and gas companies are reassessing and reshaping their HSE strategies to balance profit with safety, while developing a plan that is both technically compliant to new standards and humanly ergonomic in its application.  This conference will address the latest insights and case studies on effectively managing offshore HSE risk and creating a rigorous system to pre-empt major and costly accidents. Through real-life, practical case studies, Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will help oil and gas operators and contractors understand the human and technical factors involved in process safety and ensure a solid hazard prevention framework.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Washington Fuel Cell Summit to Look at Technologies – On June 19th, the Hydrogen Education Foundation is hosting a one-day summit in the nation’s capital featuring panel discussions, an expo and a Ride and Drive with fuel cell vehicles.  Government and industry will convene to discuss the latest advancements and keys to market successes for fuel cells, including open discussion around remaining challenges and obstacles.  Speakers will include CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Ballard CEO John Sheridan, Ed Cohen of Honda, Justin Ward of Toyota, National Fuel Cell Research Director Scott Samuelson and many others.

REFF-Wall Street to Look at Renewable Challenges – The 9th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street will be on June 19th and 20th in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria. With disappearing Federal support and several high-profile bankruptcies, there are challenges ahead for the sector.  On the agenda include panels on Solar finance, the interplay between renewables and other fuels, Federal support for renewables and new finance trends for renewables.  The keynote speakers include CT DEEP head Dan Esty , US Army Installations Asst Secretary Katherine Hammack and Dennis McGinn of ACORE.  Other speakers include NRG’s Steve Corneli, MidAmerican’s Jonathan Weisgall, SEIA’s Rhone Resch and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Michel DiCapua, among other.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.

Special Update – May 10

Friends,

Again, a couple more interesting items that I wanted to push out given that I will not be sending an update on Monday because will be wearing fire-retardant clothing that day on the Hercules 173 in the Gulf.  Just so you know, I will have my name of my FRC outfit, because I’m kind of a big deal.  Now I just need you guys to give me an offshore rig nickname…or maybe not.

Speaking of drilling, one other thing…It seems the drilling activities off the coast of Cuba are getting close to completing the first well.  It may happen in the next week or so.  Regardless, our friends at Helix are talking more about the containment system that Repsol has contracted in case there is a spill.   If you are covering this issue, don’t hesitate to call as we can provide materials and in some case provide a detailed briefing on the system.

Finally, I hope all of you saw the recent spoof in The Onion on the Natural Gas drilling industry employing all the new college PR grads…  As I told One of my enviro friends: Finally, some help on the way…  Pretty funny stuff.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

President Announcement Executive Order to Reduce Regs –  Today, the President will order changing or eliminating a handful of regulations that his administration says could have cost the economy $6 billion over five years, part of a regulatory overhaul that will require agencies to periodically scrub their rule books in search of unnecessary mandates. See the EO here.  My colleague Scott Segal, Director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council discussion the implications for energy/environment issues in the statement: “The President has again explicitly recognized that the performance of the economy is directly related to how reasonable our regulatory burdens are.  Unfortunately, in the case of recent power-sector rules, this commitment has not been evident.  The recently-finalized air toxics rule is the most expensive air rule measured in direct costs and has very little incremental health benefits associated with it.  Millions of jobs depend on the recovery of industries that require affordable and reliable electric power.”  Segal: “Today’s executive order deals with periodic retroactive review of regulations.  Even if this is achieved, the real threat for the power sector and manufacturers and workers that depend upon it lies in the rash of new rules advanced by the Administration.  These include air toxics rules for utilities and boiler owners, interstate rules, greenhouse gas rules, as well as rules on waste and water – all coming together to foreclose on some of America’s most dependable options.”   You can call Scott (202-262-5845) or me if you have questions.

Inhofe Introduces Armendariz Legislation – As a fallout of the Dr. Al Armendariz EPA blow up, Sen. Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee introduced a simple two-page bill that will require that the President appoint the EPA’s regional administrators “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”  Currently EPA regional directors are appointed by the President without having to undergo Senate confirmation. Senator Inhofe was joined by Senators John Boozman, David Vitter, James Risch, Jim DeMint, Roger Wicker, Mike Enzi, Thad Cochran, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Roy Blunt, John Cornyn,  John Hoeven, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Patrick Toomey, Mitch McConnell, Tom Coburn, John Barrasso, Saxby Chambliss and John Thune.  The legislation will provide an important opportunity to shine the light on recent EPA actions underway at the regional offices, according to Inhofe while establishing better accountability and responsibility.  My former EPA colleagues Jeff Holmstead (202-0828-5852) or Rich Alonso (202-828-5861) , as well as Scott Segal think it is a good idea that will create better accountability.  They are happy to discuss the legislation.

Here are some events for Early next week:

ACC Dooley to Speak at Nat Gas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Calvin Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council as the guest speaker at the next luncheon on Monday May 14th in B-338/339 Rayburn. He will discuss the impact of increased natural gas production on the US chemical industry.  Dooley has been the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), since September 2008. Prior to joining ACC, Mr. Dooley served as President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as a member of Congress representing the 20th District of California.

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CEI, Others Host Transportation Forum – On Tuesday, May 15, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Independent Institute, and Reason Foundation will host a Capitol Hill briefing on the reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs in B-369 Rayburn at Noon.  A panel of transportation policy scholars will discuss several possible solutions, including returning funding responsibility to the states, replacing fuel taxes with more sustainable revenue-collection mechanisms, and expanding private-sector participation in the provision of transportation facilities.  Panelists include Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation, Cato’s Randal O’Toole and Gabriel Roth of the Independent Institute.

AAAS to Host Science Europe Leader – The American Association for the Advancement of Science will host Science Europe President Paul Boyle Tuesday, May 15 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss how the newly-formed Science Europe will engage in science policy, promote funding collaboration, and improve research conditions in Europe. His presentation will be followed by a discussion with National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh and AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner. The event is co-sponsored by the Washington Offices of Research Councils UK, the German Research Foundation, and the AAAS Center of Science, Policy & Society Programs.

MD to Hold Public Meetings on Climate Change – Maryland continues its public meetings Tuesday on its climate change law in Centreville in Queen Anne’s County.  In 2009, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act that requires the State to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2020. Last week the meetings kicked off in Elkton, MD.  Other meetings will be in Fredrick on May 24th, Annapolis on May 31st and Baltimore on June 5th.

 

 

Energy Update Week of May 7

Friends,

It is another sad opening this week as Friday Rap/Rock revolutionary, “Cool” Jewish kid Adam Yauch (MCA of the Beastie Boys), lost his 3-year bout with cancer.  The BBs were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year and had the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart, License to Ill.  Introducing the group at the Rock Hall, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D said the Beastie Boys “broke the mold.”  “The Beastie Boys are indeed three bad brothers who made history,” Chuck D said. “They brought a whole new look to rap and hip-hop. They proved that rap could come from any street — not just a few.”  I love being able to quote Chuck D in an update since I think of myself as Harry Allen.  (You PE fans know what I mean)

Hope everybody has recovered from Cinco de Mayo.  If you were able to catch that Kentucky Derby on Saturday, you would have seen one of the more exciting finishes at Churchill Downs in years.  Next leg at Pimlico in Baltimore in two weeks.  Don’t know if you’ve ever been to either (I have), but let’s just say there is quite a difference in the crowds…and leave it at that. 

Speaking of Baltimore (home of the US lacrosse Hall of Fame), the NCAA brackets are out for Men’s and Women’s lacrosse.  For the Men, Baltimore’s Loyola University Greyhounds are the #1 seed with Johns Hopkins #2, Duke #3 and defending champ UVa #5.  Others include Maryland, Ivy leaguers Yale and Princeton, Notre Dame and 2011 final four qualifier Denver.  On the Women’s side,  upstart Florida gets the #1 seed while 6-time champion over seven years Northwestern is #2 and Maryland, the only team to beat Northwestern in that stretch, is #3.  Other notables include Big East Champ Syracuse at #4, Jen Adams-coached Loyola, Towson, Ivy League champ Dartmouth, UVa, Notre Dame and both Penn and Penn State.  Men head for Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass and Women’s Championships will be in Stony Brook, NY over Memorial Day Weekend.  (yes, Memorial Day and the official start of summer, the beach season and club lacrosse is just three weeks away…dust off the pastels linen pants ).

In case you missed it on Friday, The Washington Post Editorial Board had a scathing editorial blasting EPA for its handling of Region XI Admin. Dr. Al Armendariz and his view of enforcement.  They also said he made the right decision to resign while adding the agency “must have a clear sense when to deploy its mighty power and when to exercise discretion” for the sake of the economy and its mission.  Question is has The Post turned over a new leaf or is EPA action with Dr. Al really that bad…  Check out the Article.

The President made a splash this weekend when announced his bid for re-election.  And then the Vice President ruined the momentum the following day on “Meet the Press.”  Congress rolls back into town this week to start the fight over the Transportation legislation featuring the Keystone XL pipeline with the action starting in 216 Hart tomorrow afternoon.   Two good hearings as well: on Wednesday, the House Energy subpanel will look at FERC-EPA reliability rules (our friend Deb Raggio of GenOn will testify), while on Thursday, Senate Energy will look at the national helium reserve issues/legislation, providing free balloon animals to all attending reporters.

Next week, I won’t have an update on Monday because I will be parading around the Gulf of Mexico with a news crew visiting an offshore drilling rig.   I expect to have something short on Tuesday. 

If you have any questions about the natgas rule from Interior or the EPA diesel rules rolled out Friday, please don’t hesitate to call me or my colleague Jason Hutt directly (202-828-5850)

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
C. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

Interior Rolls Out Rules on Nat Gas Drilling on Public Land – The Department of Interior unveiled its proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, which would require oil and natural gas firms to disclose the chemicals used in the drilling technique, improve well integrity and address flowback-water-related concerns.  My colleague Jason Hutt says the structure and approach of BLM’s proposed rule marks a significant change in its approach to regulating the oil and gas industry.  He adds in the past, operators entrusted with extracting the resource navigated a regulatory framework that called for the use of approved methods and the submission of information sufficient for the Agency to track the activity being conducted.  Hutt: “The proposed rule shifts dramatically to a framework where the operator must first follow a prescriptive process for demonstrating in advance that it will do no harm, then later submit a record to the Agency detailing how the process was performed as well as a certifying that no harm was caused.”  You can call Jason (202-828-5850) if you have additional questions

EPA Releases HF Diesel Rules – Speaking of Natgas, EPA also decided on Friday that it was rolling out new rules for the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing processes for natural gas drilling. EPA developed the draft guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.  The draft guidance outlines requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells, and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting.  Most drilling don’t use diesel in HF operations anymore.  Again, my expert Colleague Jason Hutt says EPA’s proposed definition of diesel takes a broad stab at defining its permitting authority and will likely trigger substantial commentary from all sides.  Also Hutt adds, issuance of the draft permitting guidance further undermines the notion that failure to obtain a UIC permit for the historical use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing activities could have somehow constituted a violation of law.  How can the industry fail to obtain a permit that the Agency did not know how to issue?  You can call him at (202) 828-5850.

AP: Marcellus Has Generated Billions for PA, WV – An analysis by The Associated Press shows that Marcellus shale gas wells in Pennsylvania generated about $3.5 billion in gross revenues for drillers in 2011, along with about $1.2 billion in West Virginia.  But not all the news is good as experts say that a sharp drop in wholesale prices over the last year means that in the future much more money will be made — and more jobs created —by petrochemical companies that process the gas into other industrial and consumer compounds.  AP says in 2011, the formation produced just over 1 trillion cubic feet of gas in Pennsylvania, and about 350 billion cubic feet in West Virginia. Ohio expects similar numbers in its Utica Shale field. New York hasn’t allowed drilling.

AWEA 1Q Report Still Shows Strong Growth Despite PTC Pressures – The wind power industry posted one of its busiest first quarters ever as the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) released its first-quarter market report for 2012. The U.S. saw 1,695 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity installed in the first quarter, with 788 additional turbines—largely made in the USA—producing clean, affordable, power in 17 states. No other first quarter has been as strong for the American wind power industry, which has tapped the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the industry’s primary policy driver, to establish a strong and efficient—and still growing—manufacturing supply chain here in the U.S. The 1,695 MW installed brings the total installed wind power capacity in the U.S. to 48,611 MW.  But in spite of the success of the industry and the PTC, policy uncertainty threatens the very future of American wind power. The PTC, which keeps taxes low on one of the greatest sources of new American manufacturing jobs and has broad bipartisan support, is set to expire at the end of the year, and already the supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty. A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will eliminate 37,000 jobs.

TransCanada files new Keystone XL application – TransCanada submitted a new application to the State Department Friday for its Keystone XL pipeline, and it includes a new route that steers clear of an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska. The company is confident the department will give its final decision on the project early next year.  The company will ask the State Department for permission to build the pipeline to carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to a company hub in Steele City, Neb. From there, the project would link up with other pipelines operated by the company to carry oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Utilities NatGas Use on Record Increase – Our friends Naureen Malik and Julie Johnsson of Bloomberg have an excellent piece on increased natural gas use by utilities and the fact that it really hasn’t impacted prices yet.  The historic switch to gas is set to peak this year without fulfilling industry predictions that it would eat up inventory and drive up gas prices, according to the story.  They say it’s because of unparalleled output from new shale fields is oversupplying the U.S. gas market.   Some don’t expect that to hold though, feeling the price increase just may take a longer term to develop.  Of course, many gas producers would like to see a bit of an increase sooner.   

New Research Emphasizes Role of Global Economic Growth in Warming – It’s a message no one wants to hear.  To slow down global warming, we’ll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world’s economies work.  That’s the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the evolution of atmospheric CO2, the most likely cause of climate change.  The study, conducted by José Tapia Granados and Edward Ionides of U-M and Óscar Carpintero of the University of Valladolid, Spain, was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Policy. It is the first analysis to use measurable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to assess fluctuations in the gas, rather than estimates of CO2 emissions, which are less accurate.

E15 Study Highlights Infrastructure Worries – A collection of new studies show that EPA’s decision to allow the use and sale of blends of 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol will place the country’s fueling infrastructure at risk, according to API.  Third-party testing of E15 “shows this higher concentration would not be fully compatible with much of the dispensing and storage infrastructure at our nation’s gas stations,” said our friend Bob Greco in recent testimony to Congress. “EPA has not done its homework before introducing E15 to America.”  The analysis of work from GAO, Oak Ridge National Labs, EPA and NREL among others concludes very few sites will be able to sell E15 fuel with existing equipment because retailers are required by OSHA and fire codes to use listed equipment that must be proven compatible with E15.  Equipment modifications could be as little as new hanging hardware (i.e., hose, nozzle, etc.) or as much as an entirely new fuel dispensing system.  Additionally, selling E15 may increase the risk for staff and customer safety, and present environmental consequences. The possibility of customer misfueling and the adverse effects of E15 on vehicle engines are also issues that should be considered. The only alternative is to not store E15 at the facility.

Gamesa Suspends Efforts to Develop Offshore Wind Turbine – The market and regulatory conditions regarding offshore wind in the U.S. have prompted Gamesa to freeze installation of an offshore wind turbine prototype in the U.S.  Since September 2010, Gamesa has been working with its collaboration partner, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, to design an offshore wind prototype, the G11X-5.0 MW, with plans to install a test turbine off the mid-Atlantic coast.  The collaborative effort has focused on turbine reliability, low maintenance and servicing requirements, civil engineering efficiencies in infrastructure development, and cost of energy. Now, Gamesa and Newport News Shipbuilding are approaching completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR). The 60 Hz version of the G11X-5.0 MW platform would enable them to build components for the wind turbine prototype.   In 2010, both companies saw the future of offshore wind as promising, with the commercial market just a few short years away.  However, an analysis of current conditions indicates that a viable commercial market in the United States is still farther out, as much as three or four years away, at the earliest.  While there have been improvements to siting in federal waters, regulatory issues still affect the level and speed at which projects can be approved. The pace of growth is further delayed by the lack of an offshore grid. In addition, uncertainty surrounding the Production Tax Credit, which will expire at the end of the year without congressional action, and the lack of a federal energy policy, hamper companies’ ability to secure financing for projects.

SAFE Study Highlights America Oil Boom, Challenges – A new report from business and former military leaders on the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) says the current oil boom is creating tremendous economic benefits for the nation, but unfortunately, it won’t shield the United States from the price volatility that is inherent in the global oil market.  The ESLC report, “The New American Oil Boom: Implications for Energy Security,” examines the notion of energy independence, which is typically defined as ending reliance on foreign oil, in light of the renaissance in domestic liquid fuel production, rising demand from developing nations, and increased geopolitical tensions in oil-rich regions of the world.  The report comes at a time when the American energy landscape is experiencing a tectonic shift—especially in the outlook for oil imports. The U.S. now imports less than 50% of its oil, which is down from more than 60% in 2005. This growth in domestic production will help reduce the trade deficit and be a source for job growth in the U.S. However, the report details how a dramatic increase in domestic oil production won’t shield consumers from the economic damages inflicted by high oil prices and price volatility.  As an example, countries that produce more oil than they consume, like Canada and Norway, meet the typical definition of being energy independent. Yet, because the oil market is global, these exporting nations still must pay the going price for oil—currently around $100 per barrel. This dependence on the global oil market demonstrates that the true measure of energy security is not how much oil a nation produces, but how much it consumes.

Bloomberg Report Focus on Coal Impacts of EPA Rules – Bloomberg Government has a new report on the future of coal-fired generation in light of NSPS for GHGs.  The essential findings are that 1) New coal plants would effectively be banned because their emission rate is almost double that of the proposed NSPS standard; 2) The new policy probably wouldn’t shift current investment patterns in the power sector. Natural-gas plants already have a compelling price advantage, AND 3) Although the rule makes room to build coal plants that incorporate carbon capture and storage technology, coal plants with CCS probably won’t be built unless Congress enacts new programs to subsidize them.  The report was done by Rob Barnett, an energy analyst at Bloomberg Government. He was an associate director of climate change and clean energy at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.  I have a pdf of the report should you want to see it.

EPA to Hold Public Hearings on NSPS – Speaking of NSPS for GHGs, EPA will hold two public hearings on the proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants. The hearings will be May 24, 2012 in Washington DC and Chicago. EPA is also extending the comment period on this proposed rule until June 25, 2012 to provide for 30 days for the public to comment after the public hearing. Each public hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. (local time). The public may preregister to speak at the hearings at a specific time. People also may register in person on the day of the hearing, and will be accommodated as time allows.

Forum to Focus on Cuba Drilling – The Center for International Policy will host a discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to look at oil drilling off Cuba’s North Coast.  A panel will look at what the U.S. must do to forestall the impact of a major spill should one occur.  The panel will feature former co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling, and former EPA administrator Bill Reilly, former president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors Lee Hunt, EDF Cuba director Dan Whittle, Robert Muse (an Expert on laws and regulations governing the U.S. embargo against Cuba) and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado of the University of Nebraska, a specialist in Cuban energy development.  Our friends Helix will also be in attendance, given they have developed a containment system to address any potential spill.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Kelliher to Headline NE Energy Conference – The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society will host the 19th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition today and tomorrow in Boston at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel looking at energy policy at the crossroads.  The two-day conference will bring together public officials and energy industry leaders to discuss and debate the key issues facing the industry. With the economy remaining slow to recover and the end of incentive programs supporting certain types of resources, policy makers and industry participants are faced with some hard choices. More than ever, the need to balance long-term policy considerations against near-term economic consequences is driving much of the decision making in our industry. This conference will consider how these conditions are shaping the energy landscape in New England.  Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs for NextEra Energy and a former FERC Chairman, will lead off the conference discussing federal regulatory issues and their impact on our region. Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc., will provide his outlook on issues affecting the wholesale power markets in the region.

Ban Ki-Moon to Speak at CSIS – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation held a Forum today at 11:00 a.m. with His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Ban Ki-moon will focus on the UN Role in post-conflict situations. 

House Science Panel to Look at Green Building Ratings—The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the science behind green building rating systems.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan and GSA Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings Kevin Kampschroer.  Others also testifying Include  U.S. Green Building Institute President Ward Hubbell, Roger Platt of the U.S. Green Building Council, Oberlin College Professor John Scofield, Victor Olgyay of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Tom Talbot, CEO of Glen Oak Lumber and Milling in Wisconsin.

Heritage Forum to Look at Implications of Middle East Oil Disruption – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium tomorrow at 12:00 Noon to look at the potential implications of oil disruption in Saudi Arabia.  If an “Arab Spring” uprising completely disrupted Saudi oil production, the U.S. and the global economy would face a massive economic and strategic crisis. A crisis in Saudi Arabia would have drastic implications for the United States, its economy, and the whole world.  The U.S. must plan ahead and develop pro-active, multi-layered preventive and responsive strategies to deal with political threats to the security of oil supply. These would combine intelligence, military, and diplomatic tools as well as outline domestic steps the United States should take in such a crisis. A distinguished panel of experts will discuss strategic threats to oil supply; policy options available to the United States and to the oil consuming and producing states; and examine lessons learned from other Heritage Foundation energy crisis simulation exercises.  Heritage’s energy expert David Kreutzer will Ariel Cohen of Heritage, Bruce Everett of the Tufts University Fletcher School and Simon Henderson of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Chamber to Discuss Economy, Data – The US Chamber will hold a first quarter report for its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. to look at the first quarters economic data.   The briefings led by Martin Regalia, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will focus on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.  In addition to Regalia, speakers will include GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem and Dan Meckstroth, Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

House Energy Panel to Look at Grid Reliability – The House Energy subpanel will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at  H.R. 4273, the “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2012”, and a Discussion Draft of the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012.”  The first bill introduced by Rep. Gene Green and others focuses on conflicts between DOE/FERC “must run” reliability orders and EPA enforcement.   Among those testifying include Deb Raggio of GenOn, whose company was put in this situation a few years ago with its Alexandria power station.   

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold two hearings Wednesday in O’Neill, Nebraska and Thursday in Neligh to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed. NDEQ  will also hold meeting on May 16th in Albion and May 17th in Central City.

House Resources to Host Beaudreau on Offshore Plan – The House Natural Resources Committee meets on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to go over the administration’s offshore drilling plan.  BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau will testify.

Wilson Forum to Look at China, US Energy Issues – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum on Wednesday at its Ronald Reagan Building offices to discuss the current state of US-China clean energy relations in the wake of recent trade investigations.  While significant progress has been made under the clean energy cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama in the fall of 2009, The United States and China may be on the verge of a clean energy trade war.  The seven new bilateral clean energy initiatives launched in 2009 focused on many key technology areas and including renewable energy, advanced coal technology, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and have propelled numerous other collaborations within the private sector. However, at the end of last year the United States initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into China’s practices in the solar and wind sectors, and the Department of Commerce recently decided to impose duties on Chinese solar panels.   In the meantime, election year politics and a slow economic recovery are fueling competitive tensions. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would establish a new trade enforcement unit to speed investigations of unfair trading practices by China. Beijing has (not surprisingly) responded with its own investigation into American clean energy support programs. This comes as the U.S. renewable energy industry is increasingly divided over China’s role. The event features leading experts from government, industry and academia including Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, Georgetown University prof and Wilson Center Fellow Joanna Lewis and Jigar Shah of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

ASE to Hold Forum on Green Button Initiative – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon to discuss the Green Button Initiative and how companies and consumers can get involved.  Speakers will include Monisha Shah, deputy associate director of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, and Arkadi Gerney, senior director of policy at Opower.  The Green Button Initiative gives energy users the ability to see and track their home energy usage with the click of a mouse. In March, President Obama introduced this exciting new resource to the American people as a way to motivate citizens to control home energy usage.  Companies across the country are joining this groundbreaking initiative and helping consumers learn about their energy usage. Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan has hailed the program, noting, “more people will be empowered to understand their energy use and take advantage of energy efficiency – which we see as the ‘first fuel’ and the key to managing our nation’s energy consumption.”

Small Biz to Look at Gasoline Price Impacts – The full House Committee on Small Business will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to look at the effects of high gasoline prices on small businesses.  Persistently high gasoline prices are draining family budgets and putting increased stress on small businesses. According to a recent survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, 72% of small businesses report they are affected by high energy prices. Of these businesses, 41 percent report that they have altered hiring plans and another 22% report reducing employee hours. Small businesses are the historic source of new job creation in the economy, but are currently facing many challenges, including the burden of high fuel prices, that inhibit their ability to invest, grow and hire new workers. The hearing will study the relationship between high gasoline prices and small businesses.  Witnesses will include Jamie Smith of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in Baltimore, MD; Robert McNally of the Rapidan Group in Bethesda, MD and C. Cookie Driscoll of Fairfield, PA.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s State of the Industry Series continues on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Room looking at “Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends.”  The BCSE forum is an educational briefing with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available clean energy technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries.  Panelists will discuss 1) Commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, 2) New innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, 3) Opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and 4) How Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.   Speakers include Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, George Williams of Sempra Energy, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines.

MD to Hold Public Meetings on Climate Change – In 2009, Maryland Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009. The law requires the State to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2020. The public comment period for Maryland’s climate change plan is now open.  In that spirit, the state is hosting a series of public meetings on the plan starting Wednesday in Elkton, MD.  Other meetings will be in Queen Anne’s County on May 15th, Fredrick on May 24th, Annapolis on May 31st and Baltimore on June 5th

House Science Panel to Look at Oil Sands – The House Science Committee’s panel on Energy and Environment will hold a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to look at challenges and opportunities of unconventional resources technology.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Charles McConnell, Utah Office of Energy Development Director Samantha Mary Julian, U.S. Seismic Systems CEO Jim Andersen, U.S. Oil Sands CEO Cameron Todd, and several others

Senate Energy to Look at Legislation on Helium Reserves – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on S. 2374, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2012.  Witnesses include Timothy Spisak, deputy assistant director of Minerals and Realty Management, Bureau of Land Management; Walter Nelson, director of helium sourcing and supply chain, Air Products and Chemicals; David Joyner, Air Liquide Helium America, Inc.; and Tom Rauch, Global Sourcing Manager Services and Aftermarket Solutions, GE Healthcare.

RFF Academic Series to Look at Enviro Tax Reform – Resources for the Future will hold an academic forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. in its 7th Floor Conference Room to look at principles from theory and practice to date on environmental tax reform.  This paper produced by experts at Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund recommends a system of upstream taxes on fossil fuels, combined with refunds for downstream emissions capture, to reduce carbon and local pollution emissions. Motor fuel taxes should also account for congestion and other externalities associated with vehicle use, at least until mileage-based taxes are widely introduced. An examination of existing energy/environmental tax systems in Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Vietnam suggests there is substantial scope for policy reform. This includes harmonizing taxes for pollution content across different fuels and end-users, better aligning tax rates with (albeit crude) values for externalities, and scaling back taxes on vehicle ownership and electricity use that are redundant (on environmental grounds) in the presence of more targeted taxes.  Presenters include Dirk Heine and John Norregaard of IMF and RFF’s Ian Parry.

Detroit Good Jobs Conference will Tackle Clean Energy, Auto Jobs – Following their event in Philadelphia, the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Regional Conferences will continue in Detroit on Thursday and Friday.  The regional meetings reflect the character and uniqueness of their locations and will bring together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders working in their area and around the country to promote, preserve, and build coalitions that create good jobs and preserve our economic and environmental future. The Regional Conferences provide a renewed focus on networking opportunities and showcase the best and most innovative ideas and strategies in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  See the agenda and speakers here.

Pascual to Speak at Wilson Event on Mexico, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and Latin American Program will hold a public discussion on “Energy in the Americas” on Friday at 9:00 a.m.  Ambassador Carlos Pascual will offer a keynote address on hemispheric energy affairs and the development of renewable energy in the Americas.  The Mexico Institute’s Senior Advisor for its Renewable Energy Initiative, Duncan Wood, will also launch a series of new reports, RE-Energizing the Border: Renewable Energy, Green Jobs and Border Infrastructure.

 THE WEEKS AHEAD:

ACC Dooley to Speak at Nat Gas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Calvin Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council as the guest speaker at the next luncheon on Monday May 14th in B-338/339 Rayburn. He will discuss the impact of increased natural gas production on the US chemical industry.  Dooley has been the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), since September 2008. Prior to joining ACC, Mr. Dooley served as President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as a member of Congress representing the 20th District of California.    

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

Great Efficiency Day Set – The first installment of the 2012 Great Energy Efficiency Day Series, will be held on Wednesday morning May 16th at Union Station’s Columbus Club, as representatives from diverse industries convene a discussion on the business case for energy efficiency. Learn how and why all sectors of business – from automakers to utility providers to product manufacturers – are adopting energy-efficient practices to increase profitability, productivity, and security. And, gain insight into how the public sector is driving efficiency through keynote addresses from Congressional, Administration, and State officials.   Launched in 2004, Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) has quickly become a “must attend” public discussion on the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency. In 2012, GEED is expanding to a twice-a-year series on Capitol Hill to provide more public opportunity for energy efficiency discourse.  GEED events draw more than 400 stakeholders from business, industry, government, academia, and media to discuss the most pressing issues and advances in energy efficiency.  Confirmed speakers include Sen. Mark Warner, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy, ACC’s Cal Dooley, BRT President and former MI Governor John Engler, EEI head Tom Kuhn, AGA President Dave McCurdy, DOE’s Maria Vargas and many more. 

Blackburn, Shaheen Headline Women’s Energy Council Forum – The Women’s Energy Resource Council  will hold its 2nd Annual Leadership Forum  on May 16th at Noon at the Phoenix Park Hotel.  The forum will include a variety of speakers and panelists from Capitol Hill, the Administration, and the private sector.  Registration and lunch begin at 11:30am with Representative Marsha Blackburn starting the program at 12:00.  Some of the other speakers will include Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Politics Daily’s Patricia Murphy, and Pia Carusone, Chief of Staff to former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who will discuss crisis management during the Tucson shooting. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday May 16th at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

Solar Expert Featured at ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International will host its May Energy and Environment Breakfast on Thursday morning May 17th featuring Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). The outlook for solar power and for specific projects is being buffeted by many factors, including sharp declines in the cost of photovoltaics, low prices for natural gas, state Renewable Portfolio Standards, and Federal tax credits and research programs (such as the SunShot Initiative). Hamm will discuss the role can solar electricity play in the future of the U.S. power mix and what issues need to be addressed for it to reach its full potential, as well as the best prospects and opportunities for development. 

DOE to Headline Industrial Efficiency Forum – The Alliance to Save Energy’s honoring its 35th Anniversary, will hold an Industrial Energy Efficiency Forum on Thursday May 17th at 8:00 a.m. at EEI.  The event will include experts from a diverse set of industries who will discuss energy efficiency within the industrial sector – from their early efforts to current energy efficiency and management programs being implemented across U.S. industry.  Discover how manufacturers have improved energy efficiency at their plants and what types of mechanisms and technologies will be important in achieving additional gains in energy efficiency, industrial productivity, and energy security. Valuable insights into Superior Energy Performance and Better Buildings/Better Plants will be provided along with the recognition of several plants in the Southeast that have achieved Superior Energy Performance certification through ISO 50001 energy management and verified energy Speakers will include DOE’s Kathleen Hogan and many others. 

Senate Energy to hold Clean Energy Standard Hearing – The full Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing on Thursday May 17th to focus on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 and receive testimony on S. 2146.

Biofuels Roundtable Set – USDA, along with the Department of Energy and the Department of Navy, will co-host an Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable, Friday May 18th.  The Roundtable will focus on efforts to accelerate the production of bio-based fuels for military and commercial purposes. Last year, USDA, and the Departments of Energy and the Navy announced that – through the Defense Production Act – they will collaborate to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in aviation and marine biofuels and marine diesel to help power our military. Participants in this roundtable will discuss next steps for those interested in pursuing the production of aviation biofuels and marine diesel. Topics will include production, distribution and contracting, and best practices. This roundtable follows a “match making” event hosted last week at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks, and biorefineries.   In August 2011, the agencies announced plans to invest up to $510 million during the next three years to produce drop-in aviation and marine biofuels. 

In December, the Navy announced “the single largest purchase of advanced drop-in biofuel in government history by the Defense Logistics Agency,” for 450,000 gallons of fuel.   This roundtable follows a matchmaking event hosted on March 30 at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks and biorefineries.

Columbia U to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and Columbia University Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

RFF to Host Economics Nobel Prize Winner for Lecture – In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Resources for the Future is presenting Resources 2020 on Friday, June 1st at 2:00 p.m. in National Geographic Museum’s  Grosvenor Auditorium and features  2009 Nobel Economic Sciences Laureate Elinor Ostrom.  Resources 2020 is a year-long distinguished lecture series featuring Nobel Laureates in Economics.  The inaugural event in the series will both honor the memory of Hans Landsberg, a pioneer in energy and mineral economics, and recognize Elinor Ostrom’s groundbreaking role as the first, and to date the only, woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Dr. Ostrom’s presentation will highlight the environmental and natural resource challenges facing the world through the end of this decade and the role that economic inquiry can play in helping decisionmakers address these issues.

WINDPOWER heads to Atlanta – AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER conference will be held in  Atlanta on June 3rd through 6th.  WINDPOWER is being held in the Southeast for the first time this year in recognition of the fact that it has emerged as a hot spot for wind energy manufacturing. The theme of the overall conference is “Manufacturing the Future Today.” Factories in the wind supply chain now employ 30,000 Americans, out of 75,000 currently working in wind energy. But those jobs are now in jeopardy because of uncertainty over the Production Tax Credit, due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends it.  In a year of partisan politics, two leading partisans will seek common ground at the biggest annual gathering of the wind industry – which is counting on bipartisan support to continue its rapid growth in the United States.  Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs will address thousands of attendees together June 5 in Atlanta at WINDPOWER 2012.  Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and longtime senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will jointly keynote in the Tuesday morning General Session of the annual conference and exposition.  Their conversation will touch on many sides of the energy policy debate, and point out where party perspectives overlap — highlighting the opportunity for bipartisan agreement in support of wind power, one of the fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs in America, which draws over $15 billion a year of private investment in the U.S. economy.

Mining Summit to Look at Future of Industry – The Mining Americas Summit 2012 will be held in Denver, Colorado on June 5th and 6th at the Denver Marriott City Centre.   Senior executive leadership will gather to discuss the capital management strategies, cutting edge technologies and operational investments that will drive the mining industry for years to come.  Issues will include adopting leading policies and techniques to improve access to capital and attract investment; assessing emerging technologies on cost and operational metrics; managing political risk in mine operations – both domestic and abroad; exploring the latest geographical hotspots and resource opportunities and incorporating sustainability and safety.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Offshore Safety Summit Set for Houston – The Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will be held in Houston on June 11-13th. Since the GOM Deepwater Horizon incident, oil and gas companies have once again come under the spotlight. Issues such as preventing hydrocarbon releases, oil spill response, risk assessment and management, process and human safety and personnel training have surfaced as key priority items that require immediate attention.  To meet the heightened focus on safety, oil and gas companies are reassessing and reshaping their HSE strategies to balance profit with safety, while developing a plan that is both technically compliant to new standards and humanly ergonomic in its application.  This conference will address the latest insights and case studies on effectively managing offshore HSE risk and creating a rigorous system to pre-empt major and costly accidents. Through real-life, practical case studies, Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will help oil and gas operators and contractors understand the human and technical factors involved in process safety and ensure a solid hazard prevention framework.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Washington Fuel Cell Summit to Look at Technologies – On June 19th, the Hydrogen Education Foundation is hosting a one-day summit in the nation’s capital featuring panel discussions, an expo and a Ride and Drive with fuel cell vehicles.  Government and industry will convene to discuss the latest advancements and keys to market successes for fuel cells, including open discussion around remaining challenges and obstacles.  Speakers will include CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Ballard CEO John Sheridan, Ed Cohen of Honda, Justin Ward of Toyota, National Fuel Cell Research Director Scott Samuelson and many others.

REFF-Wall Street to Look at Renewable Challenges – The 9th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street will be on June 19th and 20th in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria. With disappearing Federal support and several high-profile bankruptcies, there are challenges ahead for the sector.  On the agenda include panels on Solar finance, the interplay between renewables and other fuels, Federal support for renewables and new finance trends for renewables.  The keynote speaker is Dennis McGinn of ACORE.  Other speakers include NRG’s Steve Corneli, MidAmerican’s Jonathan Weisgall, SEIA’s Rhone Resch and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Michel DiCapua, among other.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.

Energy Update Week of April 30

Friends,

Well, it sounds like the President was a big hit at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.  I, of course, missed this year because I was sitting in the rain at a lacrosse game (so unfair, but you do what you have to do to make sure you can go to the Caps game).  Anyway, President was solid with his jibes at Donald Trump, GSA, Mitt Romney, the secret service and Hillary Clinton texting.  Not to be outdone, host Jimmy Kimmel also blasted away on a bunch of folks, including the President, telling him “there’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms.”  Kimmel also skewered Keith Olberman who didn’t take it so kindly.   Anyway, it seems a good time was had by all at one of DC biggest nights.  In fact, one of my colleagues celebrating a birthday dinner with his wife at Café Milano was showered with stars at a pre-dinner dinners, rubbing elbows with new Redskins Draft pick RG3, Reece Witherspoon, Mayor Bloomberg and Ivanka Trump, among others.

With Congress out this week (must be an election year), there is less action in DC, but that hasn’t slowed the firestorm around EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, the former enviro advocate that has been under fire after controversial comments about “crucifying” the oil & gas industry.  Dr. Al, EPA and the Administration apparently have had enough and Armendariz just resigned.  More detail on this below. 

We are still hearing a lot about gas prices despite a slight price drop, which has consumers feeling a little better.  It must be all the hard work politicians and the President have done in the last three weeks to lower the price… (I hope I don’t need to mention that I’m kidding).  Also with Congress out, many of you may focus on the DC Court of Appeals which will hear arguments regarding NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., its second Yucca case in as many weeks.

Also, check out the new CNN iReport on drilling in Dimock.  Remember, EPA has released three sets of water samples already in Dimock, PA, most in late Friday afternoon releases, that say the water doesn’t possess a threat to human health and the environment, are consistent with literally thousands of pages of water quality data accumulated by state and local authorities and have no relationship to oil and gas development in the area. 

Finally, today the President is scheduled to speak to the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades during their 2012 National Legislative Conference.  Of course, the unions have taken him to task over the Keystone Pipeline decision so that might be a little uncomfortable.  Certainly, the President’s opponents at RNC and other places are already making hay over it, as evidenced by a HuffPost piece from RNC Chair Reince Priebus.  Not too often HuffPost and Union leaders side with RNC, especially in even-numbered years.

We’re talking energy politics, Dr. Al, hockey playoffs (Caps/Rangers looks to be a great epic battle) and the NFL draft (It seems that the Redskins are already ready for the Super Bowl now that RG3 is here). 

By the way, this weekend features a couple of cool items.  Saturday is Cinco de Mayo so you should get out and celebrate.  I’m heading to a great new Mexican Restaurant Poncho & Pepe’s that has taken over the old Jaspers in Crofton on Rt 3 just north of Rt 50 for you “east of DC” folks.  Secondly, NCAA lacrosse men’s and women’s brackets are chosen Sunday night in the run up to the finals over Memorial Day weekend.  And finally, if you’re into battlebots and you happen to be in Indianapolis, head over to the National Tooling and Machining Association’s 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships, a robot combat competition that connects students with local manufacturers to build robots designed to do battle.  (there should be a TV show on that!)

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
C. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS

EPA Regional Admin Under Fire, Resigns – Last week, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz under fire for remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe his approach to enforcement, resigned today at Noon.  Armendariz, often at odds with many folks in his region over recusals and other issues as well, was the EPA ‘s top environmental official in Texas and the parts of the Southwest.  Over the weekend, Armendariz sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Armendariz was particularly under attack for his aggressive attack on Range Resources in which the EPA had to completely backtrack.  Of course enviro groups that love his work had already started online petition efforts to support Armendariz, but after but EPA’s top enforcement official and Administrator Jackson both rejected his view and offered only lukewarm support for Armendariz, the writing seemed to be on the wall for him in this contested  election year.   Senate Environment Ranking Member Jim Inhofe, who assailed Armendariz in a floor speech last week exposing the issue, said it was only right for Armendariz to resign today, but  he isn’t backing down just yet because “his resignation in no way solves the problem of President Obama and his EPA’s crucifixion philosophy.”  Inhofe: “Armendariz was just being honest: his choice of words revealed the truth about the war that EPA has been waging on American energy producers under President Obama.   Inhofe added he will continue his investigation into the situations surrounding EPA’s apparent crucifixion victims, saying “the American people deserve to know why, in at least three separate cases, EPA tarnished the reputation of companies by accusing them of water contamination; then when the results of their study did not turn out the way they hoped, and they had no definitive evidence to make that link, they quietly walked back their accusations.”

CNN iReports Video Highlights Positive Impacts on Drilling on Dimock – Speaking of Dimock, supporters of drilling miffed at recent opponent’s CNN iReport that they say mischaracterized the drilling impacts on water and the community have completed their own iReport that CNN has now posted.    The five-minute video talks about the water in the region and has its own “flaming moment” when an interviewee actually lights their creek on fire.  See the video here.  

IER Releases Energy Primer – The Institute for Energy Research has released a comprehensive energy primer that assesses the U.S. production and consumption levels of all major sources. Grounded in IER’s free market-based approach to global energy and environmental policy, “Hard Facts: An Energy Primer” lays out an in-depth explanation of domestically-produced fossil fuel and renewable energy sources.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Offshore Tech Conference Starts in Houston – The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) starts today in Houston at the Reliant Center running Thursday.  The event is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.  The show offers cutting edge technology, presentations from experts across the industry

and over 2,500 companies offering impressive booth displays. The OTC technical sessions have grown to include new topics, such as standards for jackups and platforms, global LNG, offshore offloading solutions, drilling over 15,000 psi and deepwater cementing.  Also on the agenda are new developments in offshore wind energy and local power generation for offshore facilities. Steve Balint from Shell International is this year’s OTC Chair.

Rendell to Sustainable Cities Workshop – The Environmental Law Institute, World Business Council on Sustainable Development and World Environment Center will hold a workshop today at the Pew Charitable Trusts D.C. Conference Center to look at driving innovation to build sustainable cities.  Many experts envision that cities of the future will utilize more sustainable water, waste, energy, and transportation infrastructures. But, what will drive the innovation needed to create these cities? And, what role will government, industry, and NGOs play in bringing about this innovation?  Focusing on case studies related to sustainable transportation and energy efficiency, the workshop will bring together representatives from corporations, NGOs, and federal, state and local governments to discuss the various technologies and products that corporations have created for more sustainable cities. Participants will also discuss what has driven and will be needed to drive innovation and the expansion of these technologies and products across the country and globe.  Speaker will include former PA Governor Ed Rendell and many others. 

Sustainable Energy Conference Set for Boston – The 3rd Annual Sustainable Energy Conference will be held in Boston today at The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  SEC is designed to advance the knowledge, perspective and networks of all sector leaders and others working to create a sustainable economy, improve economic recovery and growth, reduce operation costs, drive job creation, build sustainable communities and expand the green economy in Massachusetts. This is achieved with interactive panels, roundtable discussions and single-leader sessions on diverse and relevant topics with distinguished Conversation Leaders.  Keynote speaker will be EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding.

Sunstein to Visit NYU Law School for Meeting – The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law will hold a conversation with Cass Sunstein today at 5:00 p.m.  Sunstein is the Administrator of OMB’s OIRA office, where he oversees the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda.  The NYU event will be one of only a few public speaking engagements this spring.

USEA to Host German EE Innovators – The US Energy Assn will host several energy efficiency technology innovators from the German cites of Bottrop and Lingen, Germany for a discussion on implementing efficient technologies for the benefit of municipalities tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. at USEA.  Winner of the InnovationCity Ruhr project, Bottrop has developed a credible plan to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020 while maintaining the city’s quality of life and enhancing its economic competitiveness. Technologies tested in Lingen include biogas-powered sewage treatment systems, hydrothermal carbonization and hydrogen from biogas.  Presenters will include Bernd Tischler, Lord Mayor of the City of Bottrop; Ekkehard Pfeiffer, Head of River Basin Management at the Emscher River Collaborative; Arno Ester of Stadtwerke Lingen GmbH and Purdue University professor Klaus Hermann.  The same panel will also focus on energy from sewage at 2:30 in an event sponsored by the German Embassy, USEA and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

ELI to Release “Harvesting Wind” Book – The Environmental Law Institute will hold forum to celebrate the release of “Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability,” a new book by former ELI Senior Attorney Philip Warburg at the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

Hill Hosts OH Jobs Forum – The Hill will host an Ohio Energy Jobs Summit on Wednesday in the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square.  The forum will feature a half-day, balanced discussion of the economic benefits of energy production in Ohio.   Speakers will include Associate Editor for The Hill A.B. Stoddard, Gov. John Kasich, Reps. Bill Johnson and Marcy Kaptur.  There will also be a state Elected-Officials Panel which will include Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R), Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R), Ohio Senator Lou Gentile (D) (Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee) and State Rep. Dave Hall (R), Chairman of House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  There will also be a manufacturing jobs and natural gas production panel featuring Mark Kvamme of JobsOhio, Jeff Daniels of The Ohio State University, Jerry James of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council.

JHU Hosts Brazilian Official to Talk Rio+20 – The Johns Hopkins University Center for Transatlantic Relations will host a speech Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Bernstein-Offit Building featuring Alfredo Sirkis, a journalist and Brazilian congressman representing the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Sirkis will discuss sustainable development perspectives for the RIO+20.

DC Court to Tackle NRC Yucca Decision – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the D.C. Court of Appeals will hear arguments regarding the NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application. Whereas the first court hearing on last Friday dealt with the payments into the Nuclear Waste Fund, this case is straightforward.  NARUC, along with Aiken County, S.C., and the State of Washington, are asking the court to force NRC to make a decision, yes or no, on the Department of Energy’s June 2008 application to build a nuclear-repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev.   Of course the battle has been waging for some time.  For a full brief, reach out to our friend at NARUC, Rob Thormeyer rthormeyer@naruc.org (202-898-9382)

WCEE to Host Renewable Energy Experts – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a luncheon discussion on Wednesday at the downtown Washington DC office of Deloitte looking at renewable energy featuring Dr. Benjamin Zycher, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, and Heidi Van Genderen, Director, National & Regional Outreach, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).  The speakers are very well respected thought leaders who will examine the challenges and opportunities facing renewable energy, particularly in light of the scheduled 2012 expiration of the wind energy production tax credit. 

RFF to Host Forum to Discuss Speculators, Oil Prices – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold their May First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to address speculators and oil prices.  Concerns have been raised in the popular press and elsewhere that an influx of speculators drove the price of oil to unprecedented heights in 2008, and that it may now be happening again. Although futures markets play an important role in our economy, do we need more safeguards to prevent financial traders from manipulating prices? Panelists will review the claims and counterclaims, present evidence gleaned from ongoing research, and discuss the still-to-be completed process of reform that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.  Panelists will include RFF’s James Smith, Syracuse University Whitman School of Management professor Jeffrey Harris, American University’s Michel Robe and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy.

Brookings to Release LNG Export Report, Host Panel – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host the release of the new report on “Liquid Markets: Assessing the Case for U.S. Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas”  Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Senior Fellow and ESI Director Charles Ebinger, lead author, will present the report’s conclusions and recommendations. Following his presentation, Ebinger will moderate a discussion featuring three representatives from the report’s expert task force, including our friend Kevin Book of Clearview Energy Partners, MIT Energy Initiative Executive Director Melanie Kenderdine and Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations.  The boom in domestic natural gas production has raised the prospect of the United States becoming a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Proponents of natural gas exports argue that it would provide valuable foreign exchange income, a strategic asset for U.S. foreign policy, and a source of economic growth and job creation. Some domestic natural gas consumers contend that exporting U.S. gas would increase domestic natural gas prices, resulting in higher prices and reduced competitiveness for domestic businesses. The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings (ESI) has conducted a year-long study into the feasibility and implications of potential U.S. LNG exports.

RFF Forum to Look at Biofuel Impact on Food Prices, Poverty – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at Noon taking on the topic of effects of biofuel policy on food prices and poverty.  More than 40% of US grain is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for recent increases in world food prices. Many studies have shown that these energy mandates in the US and EU may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. In this paper we show that demand-side effects – in the form of population growth and income-driven preferences for meat and dairy products rather than cereals – may play as much of a role in raising food prices as biofuel policy. Because of new land that can be brought under farming, the rise in food prices is likely to be much smaller than predicted by other studies. However, biofuels may increase aggregate world carbon emissions, due to leakage and conversion of new land for farming.  Presenters will include Ujjayant Chakravorty, University Professor and Canada Research Chair at the Alberta School of Business and Department of Economics Fellow at the Toulouse School of Economics.  Chakravorty also heads the Institute for Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas.

Conference to Highlight Asian Americans in Energy – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will hold its first annual conference Friday at EEI featuring with a series of distinguished speakers. They will share insights about energy projects in Asia, U.S. and China relations, and global flows of capital and personnel.  Speakers include Tseming Yang, Deputy General Counsel, US EPA (keynote) Gary Zheng, CEO, Lubbock Power & Light; Colin Tam, CEO, Crystal Vision Energy Ltd.; Sarav Periasamy, President & CEO, Peri Software, Inc.; Jimmy Rhee, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Rachelle Chong, Former Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission. Speakers will address the value of diversity in maintaining and growing a workforce for clean energy.  

WRI to Release Climate Book Based on International Weapons, Trade Regimes – The World Resources Institute will launch Building International Climate Cooperation on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The effort will focus on lessons from the weapons and trade regimes for achieving international climate goals. This new book, coauthored by Ruth Greenspan Bell and Micah S. Ziegler of WRI, Barry Blechman and Brian Finlay of the Stimson Center, and Thomas Cottier of the World Trade Institute, explores the question of what the climate change community can learn from the experiences of other regimes that have had some success and by their nature require global action.

JHU Forum to Look at Global Oil Consumption – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program Global Leaders Forum will host a speech Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Rome Building Auditorium featuring Leonardo Maugeri, a research fellow at the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Maugeri will discuss the unnoticed revolution in global oil markets, looking at the new trend of global oil supply outpacing consumption.

Robot Battle Contest to Highlight Manufacturing – The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) will head to Indiana for its annual mayhem in the ring contest featuring robot gladiators collide at the 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships at the Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis on Saturday and Sunday.  NTMA created the NRL, a robot combat competition, to introduce a new generation of Americans to manufacturing.  This is the second year in a row that the National Championships will be held in Indianapolis.  Schools participating include Bloomsburg (PA) Area High School, Cambridge Springs (PA) High School, Centerville (OH) High School, Conneaut Lake (PA) High School, Dunwoody (MN) College of Technology, Milford (OH) High School, N. St. Paul (MN) High School, Plum (PA) Senior High School, Prosser Career Education Center (IN), Slinger (WI) High School, Somerset County (PA) Technology Center, Springboro (OH) High School, Penn State University-University, University of South Florida, Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua (OH), Wright State University in Dayton and Celina, OH.  NTMA founded the NRL to help change misperceptions about manufacturing and attract a new generation of students to well-paying technical careers.  The program partners teams of middle school, high school, and post-secondary school students with local NTMA manufacturers to work together to build robots designed to do battle.  The result is not only a destruction-driven face-off of incredible machines, but also an opportunity to develop high-tech skills and cultivate the interest of a new generation of students who will determine the future of manufacturing.  The National Championship matches will feature student teams who have competed in NRL-sanctioned competitions across the U.S.  Clashes begin Saturday, May 5 with preliminary rounds followed by quarterfinals, semi-finals and final rounds that will take place through Sunday, May 6.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Kelliher to Headline NE Energy Conference – The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society will host the 19th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition May 7th and 8th in Boston at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel looking at energy policy at the crossroads.  The two-day conference will bring together public officials and energy industry leaders to discuss and debate the key issues facing the industry. With the economy remaining slow to recover and the end of incentive programs supporting certain types of resources, policy makers and industry participants are faced with some hard choices. More than ever, the need to balance long-term policy considerations against near-term economic consequences is driving much of the decision making in our industry. This conference will consider how these conditions are shaping the energy landscape in New England.  Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs for NextEra Energy and a former FERC Chairman, will lead off the conference discussing federal regulatory issues and their impact on our region. Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc., will provide his outlook on issues affecting the wholesale power markets in the region.

Heritage Forum to Look at Implications of Middle East Oil Disruption – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium on Tuesday, May 8th at 12:00 Noon to look at the potential implications of oil disruption in Saudi Arabia.  If an “Arab Spring” uprising completely disrupted Saudi oil production, the U.S. and the global economy would face a massive economic and strategic crisis. A crisis in Saudi Arabia would have drastic implications for the United States, its economy, and the whole world.  The U.S. must plan ahead and develop pro-active, multi-layered preventive and responsive strategies to deal with political threats to the security of oil supply. These would combine intelligence, military, and diplomatic tools as well as outline domestic steps the United States should take in such a crisis. A distinguished panel of experts will discuss strategic threats to oil supply; policy options available to the United States and to the oil consuming and producing states; and examine lessons learned from other Heritage Foundation energy crisis simulation exercises.  Heritage’s energy expert David Kreutzer will Ariel Cohen of Heritage, Bruce Everett of the Tufts University Fletcher School and Simon Henderson of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Chamber to Discuss Economy, Data – The US Chamber will hold a first quarter report for its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series on Wednesday May 9th at 8:45 a.m. to look at the first quarters economic data.   The briefings led by Martin Regalia, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will focus on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.  In addition to Regalia, speakers will include GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem and Dan Meckstroth, Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold four hearings between May 9th and May 17th in O’Neill, Neligh, Albion and Central City to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed.

Wilson Forum to Look at China, US Energy Issues – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum on Wednesday, May 9th at its Ronald Reagan Building offices to discuss the current state of US-China clean energy relations in the wake of recent trade investigations.  While significant progress has been made under the clean energy cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama in the fall of 2009, The United States and China may be on the verge of a clean energy trade war.  The seven new bilateral clean energy initiatives launched in 2009 focused on many key technology areas and including renewable energy, advanced coal technology, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and have propelled numerous other collaborations within the private sector. However, at the end of last year the United States initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into China’s practices in the solar and wind sectors, and the Department of Commerce recently decided to impose duties on Chinese solar panels.   In the meantime, election year politics and a slow economic recovery are fueling competitive tensions. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would establish a new trade enforcement unit to speed investigations of unfair trading practices by China. Beijing has (not surprisingly) responded with its own investigation into American clean energy support programs. This comes as the U.S. renewable energy industry is increasingly divided over China’s role. The event features leading experts from government, industry and academia including Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, Georgetown University prof and Wilson Center Fellow Joanna Lewis and Jigar Shah of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s State of the Industry Series continues on Wednesday May 9th at 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Room looking at “Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends.”  The BCSE forum is an educational briefing with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available clean energy technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries.  Panelists will discuss 1) Commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, 2) New innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, 3) Opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and 4) How Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.   Speakers include Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, George Williams of Sempra Energy, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines.

Detroit Good Jobs Conference will Tackle Clean Energy, Auto Jobs – Following their event in Philadelphia, the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Regional Conferences will continue in Detroit on May 10-11th.  The regional meetings reflect the character and uniqueness of their locations and will bring together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders working in their area and around the country to promote, preserve, and build coalitions that create good jobs and preserve our economic and environmental future. The Regional Conferences provide a renewed focus on networking opportunities and showcase the best and most innovative ideas and strategies in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  See the agenda and speakers here.

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday May 16th at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

NYU to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and New York University’s Columbia Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.