Energy Update Week of April 23

Friends,

Just a short note this week because I am on my way to Miami to speak on an Energy panel at the 3rd annual Impact Conference at Sustainatopia.  The conference runs through Wednesday, but I will be on the agenda later today with our SEJ friend Jeff Burnside moderating.  Should be fun, and frankly mask the pain of watching the Red Wings be the first to exit the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I was ready to celebrate a Caps victory on Sunday but was left hanging shortly into overtime.  How disappointing is it when you sit down to fold clothes and watch the OT and then they score just after the first pair of socks are together?  That is the risk though with OT.  Several others on the brink include my friends Paul Nathanson’s Chicago Blackhawks and Mark Del Franco’s NY Rangers. 

It will also be nice to get down there, if only for a day, to get away from this cold weather.  Spending most of Sunday morning standing in the freezing cold rain while watching Adam get pelted with lacrosse balls is nerve-racking and not fun.  The boy only gave up two goals though and mercifully; we were out of there in just over 90 minutes with a win to move to 3-0.  Sorry if some of you are being pelted with snow with this weather.  Funny how this works: early October snowstorm, nothing for months and then, late April snowstorm.  As well, how ironic is it that we haven’t had rain for months, and then when my friends in the enviro community plan their biggest event on Earth Day Sunday, the heavens open up and wash them out.   I do love seeing “B” movie stars soaked to the bone with hat-head.  Where are the paparazzi when you need them?

This week, expect more energy political back-and-forth.  What will come of it?  Who knows, but I certainly don’t expect the Senate to rush into any legislation with the Keystone pipeline in it.   The Senate Approps panel on Energy and Water will mark its version of the E&W spending provisions tomorrow, while the House panel will go on Wednesday.  Senate Energy should approve of FERC nominations of Tony Clark and John Norris (and a couple others) on Thursday.   Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Sen. Casey gets his hearing on NE refining issues in the Joint Economic Committee, an issue we have been discussing here for weeks. 

We are still circling on the NSPS issues for new coal plants and now for oil and gas drilling.  As well, new concerns about legislation providing liability protection for E15 sellers has re-opened some old wounds on America’s most misunderstood molecule, MTBE.  The trial lawyers (excuse me, I mean the American Alliance for Justice, HA!) are all up in a dander over the legislation so it must be pretty reasonable.   And in case you lost track, this past weekend was not only Earth Day, but also the two-year anniversary of the Macondo blow out in the Gulf.  Secretary Salazar hits the speech circuit tomorrow at the National Press Club and Wednesday at NDN/NPI.  There will be lots of coverage on environmental impacts, economic impacts and regulatory/political moves.  Having been in the mix on much of the action, we are happy to help.

Finally, congrats to our friend Christina Lee who Friday left E&E TV after a stint at Platts Energy Week to join the Washington Post’s video desk. 

Best, 

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

IN THE NEWS

EPA Releases Third Data Set on Dimock Wells – The EPA released the third set of water samples compiled at 16 more private drinking water wells in Dimock, PA.  The late Friday afternoon releases are becoming routine, with the data again confirming the two earlier EPA findings that levels of contaminants found do not possess a threat to human health and the environment.  Again, these findings are consistent with literally thousands of pages of water quality data accumulated by state and local authorities and by Cabot Oil and Gas.  As with the other findings, EPA did not indicate that those contaminants that were detected bore any relationship to oil and gas development in the Dimock area. 

Judges Question Timing, Interpretation in Nuclear-Waste Fund Case – Federal judges appeared sympathetic to arguments that the Department of Energy has not justified its continued assessment of fees associated with the stalled Yucca Mountain, Nev., nuclear-waste repository program.  In oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the judges hearing the case questioned whether the Energy Department performed the required analysis when it determined that the fees—assessed on nuclear utilities and their consumers—are still necessary, even though the program no longer exists.  The case revolves around the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which determined that the U.S. would store commercial and certain defense nuclear waste in a geologic repository, which eventually became Yucca Mountain, Nev. Congress required nuclear utilities to pay for the program, and these fees are passed onto their consumers. The fees are collected in the Nuclear Waste Fund. The law also requires the Energy Department to perform annual assessments of whether the fees are “adequate” enough for the program. These assessments generally consist of rigorous arithmetic and analysis to support their determinations. Since 1983, the government has collected more than $31 billion from consumers through the Nuclear Waste Fund fees.   In late 2009, NARUC and the Nuclear Energy Institute asked the Department of Energy to suspend the fees, since it had apparently suspended the program. The Energy Department denied these requests, determining that all funds remain essential, even though it sought to end the Yucca Mountain project.  During today’s oral arguments, attorneys for NEI and NARUC said the Energy Department’s most recent analysis does not justify the continued use of the fees. The agency’s determinations are “inexplicable and inexcusable” because they do not acknowledge the program’s apparent termination, said plaintiff attorney Jay Silberg of Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, and Pittman LLP. In addition, DOE in its latest assessment said it will continue charging the fees simply because there is no evidence to do otherwise.

EPA Settles Some RINs Cases – EPA has entered administrative settlement agreements to resolve a number of issues from the use of invalid biomass-based diesel RINs.  As you may recall, a number of cases dealt with fraud by several companies that were swelling the RINs to fuel manufacturers to meet the requirement s of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program.  The program requires producers or importers of renewable fuel to generate fuel credits, known as RINs, in proportion to the amount and type of renewable fuel they produced or imported. The EPA has placed the burden on refiners and importers to ensure that the credits they purchase are valid. The industry says penalizing refiners who unknowingly bought fraudulent RINs from sellers registered with EPA is unfair.   Some were involved in the settlement while others have not.  We can help you get background information if you are interested.

 THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK: 

Miami Conference to Look at Sustainability, Energy Policy – The 3rd annual Impact Conference at Sustainatopia will be held in Miami today through Wednesday. The Conference is the largest in the Eastern United States, Latin America & the Caribbean focusing on impact investing as well as social, financial & environmental sustainability.  I will be speaking at the conference on a panel on National Energy policy today. 

Conference to Look at Healthy Chesapeake Bay – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE), the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)- Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) and the National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC) of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) are jointly organizing an this upcoming Spring 2012 meeting today and tomorrow on managing human and ecological risk for a healthy and sustainable Chesapeake Bay. The two-day meeting at the University of Maryland-College Park will bring together professionals and students from the sciences (environmental toxicology, chemistry, earth and health sciences, social sciences, risk analysis, and information systems) to present their research and to discuss our evolving understanding of the Chesapeake Bay, its current state of health and functionality. Members and experts from key government and non-governmental organizations will be invited to present much needed context for understanding the inherent difficulty in managing the Bay on local, watershed, regional and Bay-wide scales. In addition to technical presentations, the joint SETAC/SRA meeting will include overviews of current state and federal EPA programs and Congressional initiatives to promote remediation, restoration, environmental health, and regulate pollutants across the multi-state watershed.  Confirmed invited speakers include SETAC-North America President Dr. Barnett Rattner of the USGS-Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, SRA Secretary Dr. Christina McLaughlin of the Food and Drug Administration and Ms. Katherine Wallace Antos of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

FERC Commissioner to Speak to NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Commissioner The Honorable Cheryl A. LaFleur as the guest speaker at the next luncheon today at Noon at the University Club.  

Forum to Tackle Challenges of Low Carbon Innovation – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the group formerly known as the Pew Climate Center will hold a low-carbon innovation forum tomorrow morning at the Newseum.  Innovating the next generation of low-carbon technologies is essential for combating climate change. It is also an enormous economic opportunity, especially for early market leaders. The troubles encountered by clean tech ventures such as Solyndra have sparked debate in Washington over government’s role in advancing low-carbon technologies.  The Forum brings together representatives of industry and government to explore the vital roles played by each along the path to commercialization – from development and demonstration to scale-up, then mass deployment – and how to ensure U.S. success in the growing low-carbon market. Topics will include collaborative R&D in electric power, the military’s role in driving energy efficiency, and how tougher fuel economy standards have helped revitalize the U.S. auto industry.  Speakers include C2ES President Eileen Claussen, ARPA-E’s Cheryl Martin, Duke Energy’s Chief Technology Officer, David Mohler, EPRI’s Revis James, Defense Deputy Undersecretary for Installations & Environment Dorothy Robyn, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Ronald Medford and several others. 

Salazar to Speak at Press Club – Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees energy development on the nation’s public lands and oceans, will speak to a National Press Club luncheon tomorrow at Noon.  Salazar is expected to discuss gas prices, offshore drilling, domestic energy development and other energy-related issues.

Fulbright Scholars Featured At CSIS – The CSIS Americas Program, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is hosting a forum tomorrow on leveraging research networks in the Americas.  The event is part of the Fulbright NEXUS Scholars Conference and will showcase the research projects of the Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Scholars.  The sessions will address innovative research to, the role of research in shaping public policy and sustainable energy.  The conference starts today at the US State Department. 

Salazar to Address Forum – The New Democratic Network/New Policy Institute will host for a special luncheon on Wednesday featuring remarks by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  Sec. Salazar’s remarks will touch on the progress being made by the Department of Interior to develop American energy resources.   The Secretary’s speech is expected to cover Interior’s initiatives to expand responsible domestic oil and gas production and smart development of renewable and alternative energy sources on public lands.

ELI Forum to Look at Energy Policy – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss energy policy in the U.S.   Speakers will include for EPA insider Don Elliott, now at Yale Law School, Energy Department Attorney-Adviser Ari Altman and Columbia Law School professor Michael J. Graetz, author of The End of Energy, which argues that 40 years of energy incompetence is the result of consistently looking for a silver bullet, rather than developing policies that would gradually produce the changes we need. 

Forum to Look at Climate, Energy Water in Denmark – The Royal Danish Embassy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a Congressional forum on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. focused on how Denmark, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union (EU), is meeting the economic, environmental, and energy challenges of the 21st Century.  Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Investment, Pia Olsen Dyhr, will keynote the event.  Minister Dyhr will focus on the nexus of energy, water and climate.  These are issues important in the Congressional discussion underway on the Farm Bill and other energy and environmental legislation. Moreover, trade, investment, and international competitiveness are major concerns of Congress and the country overall, and Minister Dyhr will make the case for long-term, stable investment as the gateway to job creation and economic growth. 

Senate Energy to Look at Electrical Outages; Vote on Nominees – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to look at weather-related electrical outages at 9:30 a.m.  Witnesses will include a representative from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; DOE’s Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary, John Bilda of the Norwich (CT) Public Utilities and Thomas B. Getz, former chair of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.  Immediately preceding the hearing (or as soon as a voting quorum is reached), the committee will hold a business meeting to vote on four pending nominees: Adam Sieminski to be Administrator of the Energy Information Administration; Marcilynn Burke to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior; Anthony Clark and John Norris to be members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

House Resources to Look at PMA Memo from Chu – The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the increased electricity costs because of the recent memorandum from DOE Sect. Steven Chu about Power Marketing Administrations being forcing to buy more expensive power.  Chairman Hastings has invited Energy Secretary Chu to testify on PMA memorandum. 

Chamber to Host AEP CEO – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the National Chamber Foundation will hold an upcoming CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Thursday at Noon at the Chamber featuring Nick Akins, President and CEO of American Electric Power.  

Forum to Look at Green Trade, Euro Crisis – The Brookings Institution will hold a forum in its Falk Auditorium on Thursday at 10:45 to discuss advancing green trade against the backdrop of the Euro crisis.  A key challenge for the international trade agenda is how to liberalize green trade without stifling growth. As the Eurozone crisis continues, European leaders must find the best way to move this agenda forward without adversely affecting economic recovery. European Union trade ministers will meet in late May to discuss the options for tackling these challenges at the international level, including reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to green goods and services.  Accordingly, Global Economy and Development at Brookings will host a discussion on the possibilities for cooperation between the EU, U.S. and the business sector for green trade liberalization. Danish Minister of Trade Pia Olsen-Dyhr will deliver keynote remarks, followed by a panel discussion with Jennifer Hillman, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Brookings Fellow Joshua Meltzer. Brookings Vice President Kemal Derviş will introduce the event and Brookings Senior Fellow Katherine Sierra will moderate the discussion.

Forum to Look at Renewable Gases – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in 1334 Longworth to discuss several renewable energy resources which often do not receive much attention and yet are in plentiful supply across the United States:  renewable gas, hydropower, and geothermal.   Each of them can provide base load electricity, and each of these renewable energy resources comes from a variety of sources and can deliver energy through a range of energy technology applications.  The briefing will explore the status of these resources, how they are used and why, and what the market drivers are for them. Speakers for the event include Kathryn Clay of the American Gas Foundation, Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association and Karl Gawell of the Geothermal Energy Association. 

JEC to Look at NE Refining Issues – The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing Thursday at 2:15 p.m. in Dirksen G-50 to look at gas prices in the Northeast. The hearing will focus on the impact potential closures of petroleum refineries serving the Northeast could have on prices at the pump in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.  The hearing will analyze whether the centralization of refining activities in the Gulf Coast region will affect the price of gasoline, diesel or heating oil or lead to potential shortages of those fuels in the Northeast, which we know that it will likely not if you have been paying attention to this column.  Sen. Casey will preside with witnesses including Diana Moss of the American Antitrust Institute, API’s Bob Greco, PBF Energy Thomas D. O’Malley and MIT’s Michael Greenstone, Director of the Hamilton Project. 

THE WEEKS AHEAD: 

Rendell to Sustainable Cities Workshop – The Environmental Law Institute, World Business Council on Sustainable Development and World Environment Center will hold a workshop on Monday April 30th 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 on Monday April 30th 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 on April 30th 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. 

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, May 2nd 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. 

WCEE to Host Renewable Energy Experts – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a luncheon discussion on Wednesday, May 2nd 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 May 2 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. 

Conference to Highlight Asian Americans in Energy – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will hold its first annual conference Friday, May 4 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.   

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 May 5-6, 2012.  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. 

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. 

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). 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

Energy Update: Week of January 3

Friends,

Happy New Year to everyone!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days to relax, watch some football and ring in 2012.  But now that that’s over, let’s get busy. 

As you know, each year, I try to help you decide what may be key issues for the upcoming year.  You’ll see this year is no different, as I am posting my “Top 12 issues for ‘12.”  You’ll notice, I actually got in 13 because of some clever headline writing.  Don’t worry, I know:  you didn’t write the headlines…it just happen to work out that way.  How many times have you reporters used that to respond to the complaints of a PR guy?

Anyway, not much action this week, except a good forum over at CSIS on the DOE critical materials agenda and API’s big “State of the Oil/Gas Industry”  speech tomorrow.

We’re around to follow up on the recent EPA CSAPR ruling in the DC Circuit and the California LCF ruling if you have questions.  My expert lawyer friends tell me that stays are hard to come by in the world of Clean Air Act litigation, which makes the stay of the cross-state rule all the more significant.

We are also happy to help with political, policy and any background questions on issues for the upcoming year.  Don’t hesitate to call.

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

Top 12 for ‘12

1. Keystone Cops – The biggest energy story of the first quarter without a doubt will be the Keystone pipeline.  Not only has this issue blossomed into a larger-than-reality political issue, the President has finally been boxed into a corner on the issue that will force him to choose between two major constituencies – labor and enviros – just after he thought he got the political break he needed to delay the decision, thanks to Nebraska Republicans.  Now that is quality staff work at the White House, way to go.  Nonetheless, the battle will rage as the decision approaches, but regardless of the final result after 60 days, (I’m predicting politics/jobs will throw enviros under the bus) the legal battle will likely begin then – and that will be the real fight – of course likely delaying it until after the election anyway. 

2. End of a NM Energy Era – For the better part of the 30-plus years, New Mexico has had a major role in formulating our national energy policy from a perch on the Senate Energy Committee.  But this year will be the last in that run as Senator/two-time Committee Chair/noted professorial policy wonk and all-around great guy Jeff Bingaman retires.  It will be nearly 12 years straight of either Bingaman or former NM Republican Sen.  Pete Domenici running the Committee, at times together with each as Chair/ranking member.  While I’m certain it will be a sad day for New Mexico, more likely, it may be another little notch out of the long history of great collaboration and statesmanship that the committee has exhibited during that time, including the great work done by the Committee staff as well.  Keeping my fingers crossed for 2013. 

3. NatGas Battle is Hitting Full Stride – I read today that NY drilling opponents are trying to work local elections to ban drilling, Ohio is worried about earthquakes and industry is in a full-fledged campaign mode.  All this really means is that in 2012, natural gas drilling has arrived as Led Zepplin’s “Mothership” as an issue.  No more sleepy, unchallenged decisions, leases or permits.  Game On…  As well, the big O/G giants are now sweeping in as well, with Exxon, Shell, BP and others looking to take big pieces of action on the shale plays.  Look for increased scrutiny, but also increased openness, collaboration and industry partnership.  With EPA and enviros caught in the “cleaner gas” box and the crazy job and revenue benefits hitting states like PA and OH, look for the battle to rage on as a political football.

4a. How Long Will a $4 Gas Price Survive, Part I? – Very much in line with #3, one of the major questions for 2012 will be the continued persistence of the $4 price for natural gas.  If it stays there, there will be significant willingness in the utility market to move toward gas.  But that low price will also continue to pinch drillers who in many cases are getting more for the liquids they get out shale wells.  Regardless, the price of natural gas and its ability to stay low in the face of expanding utility use, potential export and  increasing scrutiny will be a key issue for 2012.

4b. How Long Will a $4 Gas Price Survive, Part II? – One the other hand, the other $4 gas price also will pose significant problems for politicians and consumers in 2012.  Rising domestic demand as the U.S. economy improves, the regular  resource competition from China/India and the potential renewed unrest in the Middle East/Iran’s saber-rattling all create a potential for political trouble.  As you well know during an election year summer, not all the facts may be evident in the gasoline-price political/PR fight come late spring/summer.  Look for the usual suspects to make the usual calls for investigations in 2012, of course, only to be released after November and showing nothing but the regular market order. 

5. Offshore Drilling Returns…and So Do Jobs, Economic Recovery – One major issue that has lagged the last two years has been offshore drilling.  The Administration has been slow to pull the trigger on any real timely drilling because of the 2010 Macondo spill. But if 2011 was down because of reaction, look for 2012 to rebound because the President is on the ballot and jobs are important to his success.  Interior’s recent Western Gulf oil/gas lease sale attracted more than $337 million in high bids, and now they are hot to trot with 10 more.   A recent IHS study concluded that an efficient process to review and approve applications for Gulf energy activity could create over 200,000 new jobs in the U.S., one third of which would be generated in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York.  The fact is, without equal commitment to running an efficient permitting regime, the objectives will be tough to meet in 2012.

6. Offshore Wind Woes Saved by Infrastructure Project – In late December, Interior Sect. Salazar held a press call to tout the Administration’s commitment to renewables, but most of the event focused on the Atlantic Wind Connection, a massive offshore transmission project that will be essential to establishing an infrastructure for new offshore wind projects and the jobs they will create.   The project has drawn backing from big players including Google, Good Energies, Marubeni Corporation and Elia and is being built by leaders from Trans-Elect.  In the face of recent  offshore wind industry struggles, like the backtrack from NRG on its Delaware project, the AWC project may be just what the budding offshore wind industry needs to make it through 2012.  Look for more key decisions starting in 60 days (end of Feb.) 

7. President, Enviros Coal Battle Finally Hitting Home – The enviros have had coal in their sites for years, and after chipping away slowly, this year they may be poised to push another step further with the slate of EPA rules pending.  With outside forcing like financial markets and low gas prices adding additional pushes, coal as a resources in the U.S. may face hard times in 2012.  Certainly it won’t matter much globally as developing countries continue to use coal in record numbers and US Companies are exporting more, but affordable energy in many parts of the country that rely on coal are truly being threatened.  With that comes the loss of jobs and economic activity in these regions.  Look for stories on the future of coal for 2012: given our current state of play, they may pose trouble in spite of the environmental community’s self-congratulations over the fight. 

8. The End of the Ethanol Political Ear-a – As you’ll see below, in the political shocker of the last several decades, Congress declined to renew both the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for corn-based ethanol or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol as well.  And interestingly, they did it just a few days before the nation opens Presidential politicking in Iowa.  While the ethanol industry finally (and quietly) gave up the jig, both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, longtime critics who have rarely found agreement on other issues, celebrated the demise.   Interesting for 2012 will be how they move forward.  With cellulosic ethanol woefully short on its requirements, look for things to be stable for now even as the RFS requirements increase.  The key will be to watch for increased import from places like the Caribbean and Brazil.

9. Solar Resurgence Post-Solyndra – While the Solyndra issue has cast a pall on the solar outlook right now, it seems the worst has passed despite the best efforts of Republicans in the House.  While I expect there will be minor resurgences in the political heat of the battle, the reality for the solar industry is it has likely survived the toughest part.   Recently, GTM Resources released a report that said the solar industry achieved a new record for installations and growth in the third quarter of 2011 thanks to utility-scale project completions, a strong residential market, effective policies and the plummeting price of solar panels.  And it is happening across the board in the industry. Grid-connected PV installations grew 39% over the previous quarter and 140% over 2010. The utility PV market installed more than 200 MW in the quarter, an increase of more than 400% over the previous quarter, and the residential PV market grew 21% to reach nearly 75 MW.  While they may be slowed slightly by the loss of the 1603 Treasury grant program, the solar industry will likely be stronger in 2012 because of increasing demand for their products.

10. Nuclear Renaissance Hangs on Vogtle, Southern – With NRC’s late-year decision to approve the AP1000’s use at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle plant, it is now getting close to “put up or shut up” time for the nuclear renaissance.  With many others who had promising projects but lacked demand, strong financial support or regulated markets now fallen by the wayside, it looks like Southern’s Vogtle project expansion may be the place where the rubber meets the nuclear future’s road.  In fact, if Southern is able to move forward, we may look back at 2012 as the key point that made future nuclear projects a reality.  There still are uncertainties like Yucca Mountain and financing that may affect the size of the long-term expansion, but right now all eyes are on Southern.  Ironically, the utilities with the most nuclear assets, and therefore the most hope for a strong nuclear future, have been busily undercutting Southern on the remainder of its fleet by supporting tougher EPA regs on coal plants.  Maybe nobody will notice…

11. Busy Courtrooms in Election Year – Well, the action has already started a few days early when EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule was stayed by the DC Circuit Court and California’s LCF Standard was blocked by a District Court in Fresno.  Expect a lot more of this for 2012, and much of it will likely be welcomed by the Obama Administration who may be happy to have a reason for many of these politically unpopular hot potatoes to be put off until after Election Day.  They already tried delays with the Keystone pipeline, so with others especially like the GHG rules, look for a busy year in the courtroom.  

12. GHG Glorious Mess – What can I really say that House Dean John Dingell hasn’t already said… Delay after delay has lead us to GHGs reaching the election year.  Look for more delays this year because as my colleague Jeff Holmstead (a guy who knows something about EPA’s inner workings) told me over a year ago, writing GHG rules for everything is not an easy task, there are significant unintended consequences and it will take way longer than the political types at EPA think it will take.  Given the ozone decision released on Friday before Labor Day last year, my bet is 2012 will see the GHG rules slip as well given the political stakes. 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Rule Stayed – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed EPA’s controversial Cross-State Air Pollution Rule last week, effectively postponing a cap-and-trade program for much of the eastern half of the United States aimed at aggressively slashing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants. My expert lawyer friends tell me that stays are hard to come by in the world of Clean Air Act litigation, which makes the stay of the cross-state rule all the more significant.  Stays are granted when there is a strong chance of success on the merits and when parties can be injured without preliminary relief.  According to my colleague Scott Segal: “here, the underlying rule was the subject of hasty process, poor technical support, unequal application, and substantial threat to jobs, power bills and reliability.” Segal added the court’s action is the first step to setting it right.  Segal also said environmentalist fears about increased emissions were unfounded: “even as litigation proceeds, Americans will have substantial protections in place against interstate pollution from existing Clean Air Act rules.”  The rule was to go into effect on January 1st.  One immediate issues is that Texas power company Luminant will continuing to operate its coal-fired Monticello plant as well as lignite mining operations that fuel the station in the wake of the decision.  Luminant had said they were going to close the plant which would have impacted more than 500 jobs. 

California Low Carbon Gas Rule Blocked By Court – The Fresno-based U.S. District Court struck down California’s low-carbon fuel rules because they violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against crude oil and biofuels producers located outside California. Refiners said the decision is a victory for the millions of Californians who travel the state every day in vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel fuel.  Experts say California’s low-carbon fuel standards would have raised gasoline and diesel fuel costs for Californians, who already pay the highest fuel prices in the nation. If fully implemented, the standards would have hurt consumers by discriminating against their use of renewable fuels from the Midwest and crude oil from our neighbor and ally Canada.  NPRA President Charlie Drevna:  “If these standards had remained in place they would have done nothing for the environment and done nothing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but would have created a regulatory nightmare for fuel manufacturers. Different states could have followed California’s example and created a patchwork quilt of varying fuel standards that would have raised the costs of manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel across the United States. This would have resulted in all pain and no gain for the American people.”   

Ethanol Tax Credits, Tariff Expires –While the 1603 grant program – which qualifies renewable developers for dollars in lieu of future tax credits expired on December 31st, probably more shockingly, Congress declined to renew both the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for corn-based ethanol or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol as well.  Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, who have rarely found agreement on many issues celebrated the demise of the preferred tax status and trade protections for ethanol.   

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

API to Look at State of Oil Industry – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its 2012 State of America Energy luncheon tomorrow at the Newseum.

CSIS to Discuss DOE Critical Minerals Strategy – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  for the roll out of the second edition of DOE’s Critical Materials Strategy. For more information on the DOE Strategy, please click here.

Brookings Panel to Look at Post-Durban Agenda – The Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement will host a discussion on Friday in its Falk Auditorium at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the post-Durban way forward for climate change adaptation activities, including the Green Climate Fund, National Adaptation Plans and the Adaptation Committee. Panelists will include Andrew Steer, special envoy for climate change at the World Bank; Koko Warner, head of the environmental migration, social vulnerability and adaptation section at the United Nations University, Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development; and Brookings Nonresident Fellow Nathan Hultman. With a focus on human mobility, panelists will also discuss the potential impacts of these decisions on displacement, migration and planned relocation, as outlined in last year’s COP16 Cancun agreement. Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.  Most of the debate at the recent climate change conference in Durban, South Africa-the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP17-focused on the future of the climate change regime after the current Kyoto protocol expires. While not at the forefront of media coverage, COP17 also took important steps on the funding and planning of climate change adaptation activities.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

WRI Expert to Highlight Enviro Issues for 2012 – Manish Bapna, Interim President, World Resources Institute, will hold a briefing for journalists on Tuesday, January 10th at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge to preview key environmental issues in 2012.  He will discuss topics such as: What does the U.S. presidential election mean for key environmental issues, including the future of the EPA? What will be the key drivers for renewable energy in 2012? What does China’s upcoming leadership transition mean? How will the expanding global population impact scarce natural resources, including forests? What will happen at the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio?  Bapna has been with WRI for five years, previously serving as its managing director. Bapna is an internationally recognized expert on environmental and sustainability issues, with a background in international development, rural poverty and natural resources.

Forum to Feature IEA Experts – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Didier Houssin, Director for Energy Markets and Security, International Energy Agency, and Laszlo Varro, Head of the Gas, Coal and Power Division, IEA, to present the IEA’s new annual publication, the “Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2011” on Wednesday January 11th at 9:30 a.m. at CSIS.   Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.  Global demand for coal will continue to expand aggressively over the next five years despite public calls in many countries for reducing reliance on the high-carbon fuel as a primary energy source. Coal is already the single-largest source of electricity generation globally, and the surging power generation in emerging economies is projected to increase coal demand over the next five years.   The report, which presents a comprehensive analysis of recent trends in coal demand, supply and trade, as well as an IEA outlook for coal market fundamentals for the coming five years, serves as a reminder of the significant challenges facing efforts to transform the global energy system to one that is sustainable, secure and low-carbon. The report also raises concerns about the global implications of China’s massive appetite for coal, noting that events and decisions in China could have an outsized effect on coal prices – and thus electricity prices – around the world over the next five years. 

Brazilian Environment Official to Look at Rio+20 – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday, January 12th at 3:00 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to discuss what to expect from Rio+20.  The event will feature a conversation with Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Izabella Teixeira.  After leading the Brazilian delegation at the recently concluded UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, Teixeira is now focused on preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, to take place next June in the former Brazilian capital.  A biologist with a PhD in Environmental Planning and two decades of government service, Teixeira has been deeply involved in key domestic and international environmental policy deliberations in the past decade.  She will return to the Wilson Center to present the Brazilian government’s vision for the upcoming Rio+20 and discuss the prospects for the conference in the wake of the surprising progress achieved in Durban.  Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute, will join her on the panel.

Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Finance and Development Forum, hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.  The event brings together an audience of U.S. and international geothermal industry leaders with the renewable energy finance community to discuss the investment opportunities that come from reliable, renewable geothermal power. The day’s agenda includes presentations and panel discussion on; state and federal policy, geothermal market trends, project and technology development, financing and investment, geothermal risk and reward, global financial markets, and government finance and incentives.

McCarthy to Address EPA Rules at Breakfast – ICF International will host a breakfast on January 19th at 8:00 a.m. featuring  EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy  to speak on the series of air regulations moving forward at EPA.  EPA is in the midst of a series of regulations about the power sector, having recently issued standards for air toxics, NOx, SOx, and ozone (the MATS and CSAPR rules), with regulations of water, ash, and CO2 under development.

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  Where the automotive industry meets public policy, The Washington Auto Show is known as the “public policy show” on the global auto show circuit. Produced by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), The Washington Auto Show convenes thought leaders in government and industry for two Public Policy Preview Days that launch with a Capitol Hill summit.

NJ to Hold Panels on Auto Industry – Speaking of the Washington Auto Show, the National Journal will hold a live Policy Summit.  Created for The Washington Auto Show, the National Journal Live Policy Summit will take place from 8:00-10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January . 25th at the Cannon House Office Building. Entitled “Driving Innovation “The Role of the Auto Industry in the Green Economy,” the Summit will feature a multi-panel conversation on restoring strength to the auto industry through sustainable strategies.  The panels will be moderated by the National Journal’s Economics Correspondent Jim Tankersley and Energy and Environment Correspondent Amy Harder.  As policymakers debate ideas to boost job creation and American manufacturing, advances in technological innovation, global competition and changing public attitudes are accelerating the demand for more environmentally sustainable automobiles. What is the state of manufacturing in the U.S. auto sector? What are the latest trends in green technology?  And, how are they affecting the auto industry’s financial health and historic reliance on fossil fuels? This Summit will feature a panel of members of Congress, industry leaders, and experts exploring job creation and innovation in the automotive industry today.

Energy Update: Week of December 12

Friends,

It seems totally appropriate this week as Metallica closed a week of the 30th anniversary shows in San Francisco’s Fillmore that the new Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame nominees were announced.  For those of you who missed the Fillmore jamfest, it was pretty awesome.  While not in SF because of outstanding warrants for my past support of MTBE, I followed it very closely and was impressed with the broad coverage of the different Metallica eras.  Here is a little portion of Tuesday’s show featuring (Detroit native) Kid Rock helping on the (Detroit native) Bob Seger classic “Turn the Page.”  Other special guests included former bassist Jason Newsted (featured here on Harvester of Sorrow), Ozzy, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, Lou Reed and former guitarist Dave Mustaine, among others.  Here is a video of the final two songs Saturday which featured the original line up of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Mustaine and Ron McGovney.

As for the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame , its seems first balloters Guns ‘N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys will make for a good induction ceremony.  Still unbelievable to me that three Jewish kids from the Upper East Side of NY could have such an overwhelming influence on Rock/Rap music.   Mazel tov…

This morning, my friends at AWEA released a new study from Navigant on the Production Tax Credit says that if it expires on schedule at the end of 2012, direct manufacturing jobs will decline by one-third.  I know they had a call this morning with experts from wind companies, supply-chain manufacturers and Liz Salerno, AWEA’s in-house economist/number crunching genius (she is awesome if you haven’t met or spoken to her yet).  Call Ellen Carey if you need more at 202-249-7357.

On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., I will be moderating a Press Club newsmaker event with several solar company CEOs and the Solar Energy Industry Assn head Rhone Resch.   GTM Research will also unveil results from the quarterly “U.S. Solar Market Insight” report, which provides detailed analysis of the U.S. solar market’s historic growth.  Unfortunately, the Senate Finance Committee kicks off a year-long PTC debate at 9:45 a.m. in 215 Dirksen, but you should come to the Newsmaker first as it is more timely.

The big news continues to be the back and forth over the budget and Continuing Resolution (CR) that must be completed by Friday.  This has picked up some energy flavor with the addition of “the Keystone-pipeline-for-payroll-tax” to the mix.  The President continues to reject the Keystone issue for the very political reasons that we already know, but we’ll see if the payroll tax cut is big enough bait for him to roll his environmental friends.  (I’m not making any predictions given the election-year desperation).  The one other piece added to the CR mix is the Boiler MACT delay legislation that also is part of the deal.  Of all the anti-EPA votes in the House, this one actually may have a chance in the Senate with moderate folks like Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden supporting it.

As EPA is expected to make its final call on the utility MACT issue next Monday, there will be lots of back and forth this week over the final rule, which is not absolutely locked down, but likely in-line with most expectations for a tough rule.  We’ll see, but I wouldn’t expect many changes other than some throwaways to the concerns about reliability.  To that end, our friends at EEI filed their FERC comments on the topic

Speaking of action, the pipeline safety reauthorization – one of the few bright spots in the energy agenda this year – will clear the House as soon as this evening. The bill has been pre-conferenced with the Senate through weeks of negotiations. That means it should be on the President’s desk by end of the week.  We have an excellent summary of the legislation that I can forward.  As well, we have several great pipeline experts available depending on your questions.

Finally, with the close of the climate talks in Durban, I greeted the “big news”  of Saturday’s “landmark” deal with a collective yawn after 15 years of the same broken record.  When will we really stop paying attention to the this ridiculous comedy act (or is it a tragedy) that is continually on the brink of ruin, but then miraculously produces “consensus agreements” that are great for a press release, but then forgotten as soon as the jets stream away from the location (as is highly likely with this agreement).  It is why enviros are biting their lip when they say that there is a lot of work to do to make it work.  Of course there is, because it’s meaningless and nobody will follow through on it!!!  Welcome to the UN Climate Jungle to paraphrase the Rock ‘n Roll HoFers.

Please call with your questions, media requests or political inquiries. And don’t forget that the Press Club hosts The Onion Report for its political Stories of the Year on Friday at 7:00 p.m.  Now that will be funny. 

Frank Maisano

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

IN THE NEWS

Study: Wind PTC Expiring Will Cost Jobs – A new study from Navigant for the American Wind Energy Association on the Production Tax Credit says that if it expires on schedule, it will kill around 37,000 jobs or about half of the domestic wind industry. The PTC has expired three times before, and each time installations fell off dramatically that year.   My good friend Ellen Carey at AWEA (202-249-7357) is all over this for you, so give her a call if you haven’t already heard from them. 

VLS Top 10 List Kicks off List Parade – Why not now for the first of many.  While I’ll do Top 12 in ’12, our friends at the Vermont Law School (B&G NatGas expert Jason Hutt is Alum) have gotten an early jump on the list of naughty and nice with their Top 10 Environmental Watch List 2012.    

EPA Draft Study Hits Nat Gas Drilling – A new draft EPA study from an investigation into possible groundwater contamination from hydraulically-fractured natural gas wells in Pavillion, Wyoming made a splash last week.  But as with EPA’s prior, preliminary reports, the draft does not establish a conclusive, causal link between fracking and contamination of Pavillion’s water wells.   There has been a quick response to the study from Congress and industry who call the report “political science.”   Nothing presented by EPA this week is any way new or different from what was presented last year except for the fact they drilled their two monitoring wells into a hydrocarbon zone.   EPA first started testing water wells in Pavillion back in 2008. In 2010, EPA installed two monitoring wells. Data released by EPA last week simply represent the findings of phase three and four of that program – findings that do not differ in any material way from what was released during phase one and two last year.  Water quality in the area has always been suspect.  At no point in the past, and no point last week, has EPA implicated hydraulic fracturing as a source of contamination in Pavillion.  Finally, our friends at Encana released a bunch of information today that says EPA conceded to “finding” petroleum-based contaminants in ”blank” water samples, among many other things.  Blank samples are “ultra-purified water samples commonly used in testing to ensure no contamination from field sampling procedures.” How is it possible to detect compounds of concern from crystal-clear, ultra-purified water? Good question.

Durban Platform Sets Plans for Future Emissions Reductions…Maybe – A final agreement from UN climate Talks in Durban, South Africa has roughly outlined a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades.  Its “major” agreement will lock the 194-party UN bureaucracy into agreement to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases by 2020 at the latest.  The deal also set up the bodies that will collect, govern and distribute tens of billions of dollars a year for poor countries. Other documents in the package lay out rules for monitoring and verifying emissions reductions, protecting forests, transferring clean technologies to developing countries and scores of technical issues.   The Kyoto agreement, which was set to expire this year, will also be extended for five years. 

Commissioners Blast NRC Chair – Four bipartisan commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a unprecedented  letter to the White House on October 13th where they expressed deep concerns that “erratic” behavior by Chair Greg Jaczko was endangering the NRC’s ability to function.  The letter was released Friday evening when the House Oversight Committee  slipped it into a request to  White House Chief of Staff William Daley asking for him to designate a witness for a Wednesday Committee hearing on NRC.   The two-page letter stops short of calling for the chairman to resign, but says he “intimidated and bullied” senior career staff, ordered staff to withhold information and ignored the will of the panel’s majority.  Should make for a fun hearing on Wednesday.

Cement Wins Appeal Against EPA Rules – The Portland Cement Industry won a nice victory last week when a federal appeals court remanded an new rules because EPA improperly issued emissions standards for cement kilns without considering the effects of a related ongoing rulemaking to define solid waste incinerators.  In its money quote, the court said “It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for EPA to claim it had no time to be careful—after ten years of work on NESHAP—when it waited to propose a CISWI definition until after the NESHAP comment period had closed.”  Can forward you the decision if you want to see it.

Study Raises Concerns about White House Oil, Gas Policies – The Institute for Energy Research released today a groundbreaking North American Energy Inventory exposing the decades-long myth that the U.S. is running out of coal, oil, and natural gas because of inadequate domestic supplies. As a part of IER’s year-long “Energy for America” campaign, the report details the vast energy resources that could power the nation’s future, if not for government policy that stands in the way.  Among the report’s findings are the total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels. That’s more than the entire world has used in 150 years, and sufficient to fuel the present needs in the United States for the next 250 years.  In the last 30 years, the United States produced 77 billion barrels of oil, which was more than 150% of the estimated reserves in 1980.  The total amount of recoverable natural gas in North America is approximately 4.2 quadrillion (4,244 trillion) cubic feet. That is enough natural gas in North America to last for the next 175 years at current rates of consumption.  There is more recoverable natural gas in North America, Canada, and Mexico than the combined proved reserves in Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan.  North America has more than 497 billion short tons of recoverable coal, or nearly three times as much as Russia, which has the world’s second largest reserves. In fact, North America’s recoverable coal resources are bigger than the five largest non-North American countries’ reserves combined (Russia, China, Australia, India, Ukraine.)

Report Says NatGas Will Create Jobs – A new report by IHS Global Insight expert John Larsen says the booming natural gas industry will create 900,000 jobs and add about $1,000 to annual household budgets by 2015.  The study, commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), focused on the industry’s national impact, whereas previous reports have focused on statewide or regional effects. The IHS report is the most definitive study to date tracking the long-term economic impact of U.S. shale gas production and confirms that abundant, domestic shale gas is an economic and employment engine for the United States.   Also among the key findings, shale gas supported 600,000 American jobs in 2010. By 2035, the figure will top 1.6 million.  Shale gas will also generate more than $940 billion in federal, state, and local tax and royalty revenues over the next 25 years.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Policy Briefing to Look at Key Issues – The first United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll policy briefing will be held tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and will explore how Americans view national policymakers at the conclusion of the 2011 legislative session. The event will examine who the public believes has displayed more responsible leadership in 2011 – President Obama or congressional Republicans. It will coincide with fresh polling data on the subject, exploring those findings and tracking how the newest data compares to earlier results. A follow-up panel will include interviews with national Democratic and Republican pollsters. The event will be moderated by National Journal’s Matthew Cooper and Ron Brownstein, and will feature a keynote interview with Sen. John Kerry, a conversation with Rep. Marsha Blackburn and an experts panel featuring pollsters Whit Ayres and Mark Mellman.

Report to Look at Nuclear Suppliers – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to look at a new report on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is responsible for establishing guidelines that govern the transfer of nuclear-related materials, equipment, and technology. The NSG today faces a host of challenges ranging from questions about its credibility and future membership to its relationship with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other multilateral arrangements.  Mark Hibbs will discuss his latest report, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which offers unrivaled insights on the NSG’s dilemmas and possible ways to resolve them. Drawn from a high-level workshop of NSG member states, the report is a must read for officials, experts, and industry stakeholders. Carnegie’s George Perkovich will moderate.

Power-Gen Conference Set – The POWER-GEN International Conference is set for the Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV  tomorrow through Thursday.  POWER-GEN International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector. As the need to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively becomes increasingly important, no other event bridges challenges with solutions like POWER-GEN International.  More than 1,200 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year and more than 19,000 attendees come together at POWER-GEN International for a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future.  Speakers will include  Mitsubishi Power Systems’ David Walsh, Don Karner of ECOtality North America and NRC’s Jack Grobe. 

Hudson to Look at Climate, Religion Clashes – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. to discuss clashing secular religions and stubborn economic realities of dealing with climate issues .  The event will feature three experts address these issues.  Robert Nelson, Professor at the University of Maryland and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, and author of The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion Vs. Environmental Religion, who will comment on the clash of economic and environmental approaches to climate.  Former AEI expert Lee Lane, Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow and author of the forthcoming report, History, Ideology, and U.S. Climate Policy: Beyond the Orthodoxies of the Left and Right, will compare the political economy of halting emissions with that of learning to live with them. Finally, Joel Garreau, Fellow at The New America Foundation and author of Radical Evolution, will discuss reason and values as factors in the public discourse on climate.   Hudson President & CEO Kenneth Weinstein will moderate the discussion.

Grid Expert, FERC to Focus on Electricity Storage – The Electricity Storage Association will host a forum tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in Capitol Visitor’s Center SVC 203-02 with policymakers, energy storage companies, a FERC commissioner, and an independent system operator.  The panel will engage in a discussion about smart public policy for energy storage policies that make the electric grid more reliable, cost-effective, and clean.

MD Town Meetings for Offshore Wind Continue – In preparation for the upcoming state legislative session, the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter continues its town hall meetings across the state on offshore wind.  Advancing state legislation to promote offshore wind was considered last year and in an on-going summer session.  It is expected to be revisited again next year.  The final meeting will be held tomorrow in East Baltimore County.   Meetings we already held in Salisbury, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties and in western Maryland. 

Clinton, Rogers, Others at Aspen Forum – The Aspen Institute, PBS NewsHour and Intel will hold a forum on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. to have a discussion on American innovation, trade and the next 10 million jobs.  The event will explore the critical connections between American jobs, economic growth and U.S. relationships around the world, through issues like trade agreements, public diplomacy, global innovation patterns and policies, the impact of technology on international relationships and geopolitics, and the rapidly changing global marketplace.  The keynote speaker will be U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, interviewed by Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor, PBS NewsHour.  Several panels will follow with speakers like US Small Business Administration head Karen Mills, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and former Clinton Commerce Secretary Bob Shapiro. 

Senate Finance Start Energy Tax Debate – The Senate Finance Committee will meet Wednesday at  9:45 a.m. in 215 Dirksen to discuss the effect expiring renewable energy tax incentives will have on the alternative energy sector.  Witnesses will include CRS energy tax policy specialist Molly Sherlock, Will Coleman of Mohr Davidow Ventures, Martha Wyrsch of Vestas-American Wind Technology, Paul Soanes of Renewable Biofuels and Margo Thorning of the American Council for Capital Formation.

Solar Newsmaker to Feature CEOs – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host (and I will be moderating) a newsmaker event on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Murrow Room featuring several solar company CEOS and the Solar Energy Industry Assn head Rhone Resch.   GTM Research will also unveil results from the quarterly “U.S. Solar Market Insight” report, which provides detailed analysis of the U.S. solar market’s historic growth. The third quarter was the best quarter ever for the U.S. solar industry, which is doing well despite the Solyndra bankruptcy and subsequent speculation about the health of the sector.  The panel will include Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industry Association; Tony Clifford, chief executive officer of Standard Solar; Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy and Shayle Kann of GTM Research. 

House Oversight to Look at NRC, Jaczko Controversy – The House Oversight Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.   Just Friday, the Committee  released an October 13th letter from four Bi-partisan commissioners to the White House where they expressed deep concerns about Chairman Jaczko and his leadership style.  The two-page letter stops short of calling for the chairman to resign, but says he “intimidated and bullied” senior career staff, ordered staff to withhold information and ignored the will of the panel’s majority.

DOE to Discuss New 2012 Light Bulb Standards – Dr. Henry Kelly, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Roland Risser, Program Manager for the Building Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy, will lead a Congressional briefing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in 121 Cannon to discuss the 2012 light bulb standards set to take effect January 1. The briefing will provide an overview of the work DOE has done to support lighting choices that are available on the market and highlight the technical aspects of new bulb designs and how they can save consumers money.  

Press Club to Host Weather Channel Star – Jim Cantore, on-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel, will share highlights from his 25 years of covering severe weather during a National Press Club Speakers Luncheon on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

Energy Efficiency Status Check – The Alliance to Save Energy will host its EE Noon lunch Wednesday to focus on the current status of energy efficiency legislation, as well as the prospects for 2012. From PACE Assessment Protection to the E-Know Act to the Shaheen-Portman bill, energy efficiency legislation has crossed the halls of Congress many times this year. Where do these bills, and others, currently stand? And, what are the hopes for passage of energy efficiency legislation in the upcoming 2012 election year?  The Alliance to Save Energy’s Director of Government Affairs Robert Mosher and Director of Policy & Research Lowell Ungar will speak.

GSA’s Johnson to Address Government Sustainability – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum featuring General Services Administration head Martha Johnson on Wednesday at  3:00 p.m. in its Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center office to look at government leadership in sustainability.  As the Administrator GSA, Johnson is responsible for annual government purchases of over $65 billion and more than 360 million square feet of federal real estate. She will discuss GSA’s initiative to aggressively pursue a zero environmental footprint that will reduce waste, support innovation, and boost efficiency across federal buildings, operations, and acquisition.  Administrator Johnson will explore the opportunities for partnership among government, business, and academia to support sustainable design and efficiencies with the goal of supporting a clean, green 21st Century American economy.

Forum to look at Research on Green Jobs – ICF continues its Energy Breakfast series in Thursday at 8:00 a.m. with a seminar on the policy implications of green jobs featuring Jonathan Rothwell of the Brookings Institute.   Green jobs have been in the news constantly over the past few years, but there is little agreement on how they should be defined, and little data on their characteristics and location. The Brookings Institution attempted to resolve these questions in research released in summer 2011. By collecting data from a wide variety of sources, Brookings researchers, in partnership with Battelle, compiled a database of green jobs for almost 50,000 companies. The research finds that green jobs represent a modest but significant part of the U.S. economy, that growth has varied greatly across technological segments, and that the jobs are disproportionately in decent paying “green collar” occupations, often with export potential. This presentation will summarize this research and discuss policy implications at the federal, state, and regional levels in light of recent developments.

Senate Energy to Move Energy Legislation Nomination – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a mark-up on Thursday to consider move pending energy efficiency legislation, as well as the nomination of Arunava Majumdar to be under secretary of energy.  Bills to be on the agenda include S. 1142 from Sen. Jon Tester,  committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would promote geothermal energy development by setting up a federal loan program to finance mapping and development of high-risk exploration wells and improving geothermal technologies.  Others will address solar power installations and DOE administration. 

Shah to Speak at Green Biz Roundtable – The December Green Business Roundtable, in partnership with the Wharton Club of DC, will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday at Winthrop Pillsbury Shaw Pittman featuring Jigar Shah, CEO of The Carbon War Room, a worldwide NGO founded by Sir Richard Branson. The Carbon War Room harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change. The War Room aims to bring together successful entrepreneurs in collaboration with the most respected institutions, scientists, national security experts, and business leaders to implement the change required to avoid catastrophic climate change. A renowned visionary committed to renewable energy, Jigar Shah launched SunEdison in 2003 based upon a business plan he developed in 1999 for a university class.

EPA Utility Mercury Rule Due – December 16th but most people expect EPA may make an announcement on Monday December 19th after Congress is expected to be recessed.

Current Continuing Resolution Expires – December 16th

House Foreign Affairs to Investigate Energy Markets, National Security – A House Foreign Affairs panel meets on Friday at 10:00 a.m. to hold a hearing on shifting energy markets and their implications for national security.  Witnesses will include CRS Energy Policy Specialist Neelesh Nerurkar, Robert McNally and Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Forum to Address European Energy Security – The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies will hold a seminar on Friday at Noon with Passau University security expert Arne Schröer on European energy security, focusing on achievements, shortcomings and potential improvements.  While the U.S. is focused on energy independence, Europe’s dependence on energy imports is constantly increasing. The European Union has launched various initiatives during the last five years to develop a common energy policy and codified it in EU treaties. But neither the current mix of policy instruments, nor the design of its legal foundations in the Treaty of Lisbon adequately meet the present and future challenges of European energy security. While some of the implemented policies work, others have severe shortcomings. While member states undermine a common policy by pursuing their national interests, the European Commission plays an ambivalent role. Some of its most reasonable attempts to address current problems have failed because of strong resistance from the member states, however it has also caused some of the shortcomings of European energy policy itself.  This seminar will discuss recent developments in European energy policy and examine the potential and likelihood of future improvements.

Onion to Discuss Stories of the Year – At 7:00 p.m. on Friday, the National Press Club’s Young Members will host The Onion Report, a satirical take on the year’s most “important” news stories hosted by The Onion editors Brian Janosch and Baratunde Thurston in the Ballroom.   Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members, with all proceeds going to support the National Press Club Journalism Institute, a non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting journalism education and a free press.  Since 1756, The Onion has served as America’s Finest News Source, providing unparalleled reporting and insights on the major events shaping our world. With an ever-expanding news gathering empire that spans radio, television, print and the Inter-Net, this fine team of writers, editors, producers and violently-abused unpaid interns reviews 2011.   From the heartbreaking mauling at the Puppy Bowl to the death and resurrection of Osama Bin Laden, two members of the editorial team will look back at the most important stories covered by this most important media organization.  My bet is that it will be pretty funny…

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Wilson Forum to Look at Climate Conflicts – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Monday, December 19th at 9:00 a.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Climate and conflicts.  Global climate change has the potential to significantly alter the relationship between people and their environments, as it could undermine the resource base upon which people have built their livelihoods and socio-political institutions. There are at least three ways by which climate change could potentially contribute to armed conflict or violent social unrest: by exacerbating existing conflict dynamics and patterns of grievance, by instigating new environmental or resource problems that overwhelm existing systems, or by leading to interventions for climate change adaptation or mitigation which themselves exacerbate or instigate destructive conflict dynamics or trajectories.   Columbia University Earth Institute’s Marc Levy will assess research on climate change and conflict links. UT professor Joshua Busby will present new work from the Climate Change and African Political Security climate security vulnerability index for Africa. Princeton’s Solomon Hsiang will discuss his recent Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences study that links the global climate cycle to global patterns of civil conflict. USAID’s Joseph Hewitt will speak to climate and conflict links in the context of wider conflict research.

Hanukkah Begins – December 20th and runs through December 28th

Christmas – December 25th

Renewable Tax Credits Expire –The 1603 grant program – which qualifies renewable developers for dollars in lieu of future tax credits will expire on December 31st.  Production Tax Credits have one more year until 2012.

API to Look at State of Oil Industry – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its 2012 State of America Energy luncheon on Wednesday, January 4th at the Newseum.

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  More on this in the near future.

Energy Update: Week of December 5

Friends,

So, the Saturday State final football game I officiated was a great thrill with Dunbar defeating Perryville 32-11, although two late touchdowns in the final two minutes made the game seem more lopsided than it really was.  You can check out the story here if you want and if you watch the video, at about 2:35 that is me flagging the Dunbar player for his “Aaron Rodgers Championship Belt” celebration on the Poets last TD.  You may be able to do that on Sunday, but not with State observers watching. 

The UN continues its 17th annual COP meetings in Durban, South Africa, running through Friday.  Of course, the U.S. is getting bashed as the roadblock at the talks, but I think it is about time that the UN process itself get bashed as the actual roadblock toward achieving a goal that is politically possible.   Remember too, all this week, our good friends at The Energy Daily will be providing Chris Holly’s Durban coverage starting today for free on their Web site, including nonsubscribers because it is sponsored by AEP, NextEra Energy and Covanta.

Lots of votes on Capitol Hill this week on the REINS Act (which aims to slow the reg burden), a number of bills from House Resources and an expected vote on the elusive “farm dust” regs.  Despite these votes, most are focused on the December 16th deadlines for Utility MACT rules and the CR that can keep the government operating and whether it will include a host of tax/grant provisions that expire.

In news today at the 2011 Gulf of Mexico Summit in Houston, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the Gulf of Mexico coastal task force recommended that most civil penalties paid for the Gulf spill be used for long-term restoration.  Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Gulf coast legislators have long called for a “significant portion” of civil penalties from the Deepwater Horizon disaster go to affected states.  House Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at Rep. Scalise’s legislation that would direct 80% of penalties to the states affected by last year’s spill.  

Finally, I think Republicans may have finally crossed the budget line.  The Republican’s “You Cut’s website” is targeting Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and other beloved characters representing US Forest Service Conservation Education programs.  While cutting those programs would save only $50 million over 10 years, it seems they could make more by selling the rights to the lovable characters.  Maybe they will add Smokey Bear to the ESA list at the House Natural Resources hearing on the Endangered Species Act tomorrow.  Give a Hoot…

Please call with your questions, media requests or political inquiries.

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

IN THE NEWS

Boiler MACT Re-Released – The EPA released its reconsidered Boiler MACT rule on Friday. CIBO President Robert Bessette said they appreciate the time and effort that EPA and OMB took to reconsider the Boiler MACT rules, and hopes that the reconsidered standards will be achievable and that the compliance costs imposed on sources will be fully supported by environmental benefits. Bessette:  “At first glance, it looks like EPA made some adjustments to the rules that will improve the ability of sources to comply.  We look forward to reviewing the rules fully and assessing whether the standards will be achievable, and what their impact will be on companies’ bottom lines.”  The earlier March 2011 rules would have imposed such large capital costs ($14 billion) that many plants faced possible relocation or closure of some operations.  In addition, those rules set standards that manufacturing and other industrial sources could not achieve under real world operating conditions, even though the Clean Air Act requires EPA to set the standards based on the emission limits that existing boilers can achieve.  These December 2011 rules replace the March 2011 rules and will be separately evaluated for achievability and cost impact on the tens of thousands of boilers covered by the rules.

MIT Report Says Future of Grid is Cloudy – Members of the MIT study team presented the results of a new study on the Future of the Electric Grid today at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club.  The Future of the Electric Grid, the sixth in the MIT Energy Initiative’s “Future of” series, aims to provide a comprehensive, objective portrait of the U.S. electric grid and the challenges and opportunities it is likely to face over the next two decades. It also highlights a number of areas in which policy changes, focused research and demonstration, and the collection and sharing of important data can facilitate meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the grid will face.   The report says that over the next two decades, the U.S. electric grid will face unprecedented technological challenges stemming from the growth of distributed and intermittent new energy sources such as solar and wind power, as well as an expected influx of electric and hybrid vehicles that require frequent recharging. But as long as some specific policy changes are made, the report says the grid is most likely up to the challenge.

energyNOW! to Close by Year’s End – Disappointing news for our friends at energyNOW! who will be off the air by year’s end.  The American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF) announced plans to transform its program in 2012.  The plans include a new grant program to underwrite the production and distribution of original TV, film and web content on clean energy and related topics, including feature – full length documentaries and shorter subjects.   They also plan to transition the weekly public affairs program energyNOW!, which currently airs nationwide on Bloomberg TV and on ABC 7 in Washington, DC into a multi-part series called “Energy Now: The Innovators”.  The series will be cosponsored by ACSF and will air nationally on Bloomberg TV in 2012.

Terry Legislation Pushes Faster Keystone Solution – Legislation from Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry introduced the North American Energy Access Act (H.R. 3548), legislation transferring permitting approval authority over the Keystone XL Pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The Act creates a structured process by which FERC would approve the pipeline, including the route modification to be worked out with Nebraska. Under this legislation, the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would remain in harmony with the National Environmental Policy Act, while still enabling construction to begin on the non-Nebraskan portion of the pipeline, while details and approval of the Nebraska route modification are worked out.

Dynegy Chairman Steps Down – Our friends at Dynegy said Friday that Board Chair E. Hunter Harrison will step down , effective Dec. 16. Harrison, a private investor and former president and CEO of Canadian National Railway Co., took over as a nonexecutive chairman of Dynegy in June after briefly serving as interim president and CEO.  Thomas Elward, an independent member of the Dynegy board, has been appointed as nonexecutive chairman. He is a member of the board’s audit and compliance committee and serves as chair of the corporate governance and nominating committee.  In a statement, Dynegy said: “Mr. Elward’s experience in the power generation industry will be constructive as Dynegy seeks to return to normal operations after an extended period of corporate reorganization activities.”

Task Force Releases Final Strategy for Reversing Deterioration of Gulf Ecosystem – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force today released its final strategy for long term ecosystem restoration for the Gulf Coast, following extensive feedback from citizens throughout the region. The Task Force delivered the final strategy on Friday to President Barack Obama. The group is made up of representatives from the five Gulf States and 11 federal agencies, including EPA, CEQ, DoD, USDA, Interior, Justice, Commerce, Transportation, OMB and OSTP.  The strategy is the first restoration blueprint ever developed for the Gulf to include input from states, tribes, federal agencies, local governments and thousands of involved citizens and organizations across the region. The plan represents a commitment by all parties to continue to work together in an unprecedented collaboration to prepare the Gulf region to transition from response to recovery and address the decades-long decline that the Gulf’s ecosystem has endured. With the release of the final strategy today, the Task Force marks the beginning of the implementation phase of the strategy by announcing new initiatives, including $50 million in assistance from USDA.  The Task Force has also begun reviewing existing policy, program and regulatory issues that are slowing down restoration progress, particularly in the habitat restoration area. The Task Force will continue to explore innovative ways to implement restoration, measure success and support the restoration with science.

Consumers Cuts Michigan Coal Plant – Consumers Energy announced Friday that it is canceling a $2-billion project to build a coal-fired plant near Bay City.  While our friends at Sierra Club took full credit for the action, it is more likely the true reasons the project was cancelled were a result of the brutal Michigan economy, a reduced demand for the electricity and lower natural gas prices.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Gulf Summit Features Laura Bush, Jackson, Others – Speaking of the Gulf Task Force Report, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute will hold its State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit today, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday looking at to the ecological and economic interests in the Gulf of Mexico. Focused on action, SGM 2011 brings together leaders in government, industry, science, and non-governmental organizations to assess current conditions and build sound strategies for the future.  Following today’s speaker EPA Administrator Jackson, NOAA’s Jane Lubcheno and CEQ’s Nancy Sutley will also speak.  Former First Lady Laura Bush will also speak Wednesday.

COP Meeting Set for South Africa The UN continues its 17th annual  COP meetings in Durban, South Africa, running through Friday.  See more on the meetings here.  Of course, the U.S. is getting bashed as the roadblock at the talks, but I think it is about time that talks themselves get bashed as the actual roadblock towards achieving a goal that is politically possible.  

MD Town Meetings for Offshore Wind Continue – in preparation for the upcoming state legislative session, the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter continues its town hall meetings across the state on offshore wind.  Advancing state legislation to promote offshore wind was considered last year and in an on-going summer session.  It is expected to be revisited again next year.  The meetings roll on today on the Eastern Shore at Salisbury University and December 13th in East Baltimore County.   Meetings we already held in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties and in western Maryland. 

EPA Administrator and Task Force Chair Lisa P. Jackson, partnering with Task Force Co-Chair Garret Graves, made the announcement today during keynote remarks at the 2011 State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit in Houston. Administrator Jackson was joined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman and several other Task Force members.

ACORE Hill Forum Set –ACORE will hold its annual Congressional Meeting tomorrow and Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  This year’s renewable energy national policy conference takes place at a critical juncture.  Our nation’s economy teeters on the balance as Congress and the public await the recommendations of the Super Committee to reduce the massive budget deficit.  Accompanied by rapidly declining costs and intensified international competition, the U.S. renewable energy market is accelerating, fostering much needed investment and jobs. The Department of Defense is investing heavily in renewable energy while regulatory policies are opening new market opportunities in the utility and transportation sectors.  Panels will focus on the next generation of energy issues and their future possibilities. 

Annual Rate Forum Features Federal, State Regulators, Comms Experts – SNL Financial will hold its 4th annual Utility Rate Case Symposium tomorrow and Wednesday at the Marriott at Metro Center to discuss the environment surrounding rate cases.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner John Norris, Missouri PSC Commissioner Jeff Davis, Larry Brenner of the Maryland PSC and our communications colleagues Andy Hallmark of Potomac Communications and Chet Wade of Dominion, who will do a special forum on communications issues surrounding a rate case.

House Resources to Tackle ESA Suits, Jobs – The House Natural Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the Endangered Species Act and the impacts of ESA-related lawsuits dragging down employment and the economy. 

EPA Administrator Heads to Duke for Speech – Tomorrow, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be at Duke University at 1:00 p.m. to discuss current EPA policies and recent challenges to environmental laws in a conversation with students and faculty. The event is sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment. 

Jackson Honored at POLITICO Awards Dinner – Our friends at POLITICO are hosting a “Year in Review” conference and policy awards dinner tomorrow evening at the Mandarin Oriental.  The event starts at 4:30 p.m. with the Year in Review from POLITICO’s experts and will be followed by Policy panels on energy, health care and technology.  The energy panel will feature former Interior Department BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich, climate activist Bill McKibben and Nebraska Republican Rep. Lee Terry. The event will honor Policymaker of the Year in each category as well with EPA’s Lisa Jackson being honored in Energy, House Budget Chair Paul Ryan being honored on health care issues and Sen. Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy and House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith sharing the Technology honor.   

Forum to Look at Electric Car – NDN/New Policy Institute will host a forum tomorrow at Noon looking at the progress and promise of the electric car and electric vehicle industry.  This lunchtime discussion will highlight the recent emergence of the electric vehicle in today’s economy and showcase how innovations in clean energy have opened doors for growth and opportunities of the electric car.  Leading this discussion will be a group of well-known leaders and opinion makers in this arena, including EPRI’s Barbara Baumann Tyran, NARUC’s Miles Keogh, Genevieve Cullen of the Electric Drive Vehicle Association, Kyle Davis of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company and GM’s Mary Beth Stanek.  The  panel on the burgeoning commercialization of electric vehicles will coincide with the DC premiere of Chris Paine’s highly acclaimed new documentary, ‘The Revenge of the Electric Car’.  This Electric Vehicle Panel is the fifth in our “Clean Energy Solution Series” to showcase the leaders, companies, ideas and policies who are hastening our transition to a cleaner, safer and more distributed energy paradigm of the 21st Century.

House Science to Look at Critical Energy Materials – The House Science Committee’s energy panel holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on critical minerals for energy technology. Assistant Energy Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow, as well as MIT’s Dr. Robert Jaffe, Heritage’s Derek Scissors, Ames National Laboratory’s Karl Gschneidner and Luka Erceg of Simbol Materials.

Forum to Look at Canadian-US Hydro Partnerships – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in SVC 201/200 Capitol Visitor Center on the growing cooperative relationship between U.S. utilities and the Canadian hydroelectric industry.  Hydropower is a proven technology, with a history of reliability and affordability. In addition, hydropower can store energy, it can respond to fluctuating demands for electricity and, therefore, can be a backstop source to more intermittent U.S. resources like wind and solar.  The briefing will cover topics such as the existing regional relationships between states and provinces, a comparison of development practices and regulations, and how U.S.-Canadian partnerships bolster U.S. economic development.  Speakers at this event will include Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, David McMillan of Minnesota Power, Manitoba Hydro’s Ed Wojczynski (Chair of the Canadian Hydropower Association and Jim Robb of Northeast Utilities.

House Transportation to Look at Gulf Penalty Legislation – In light of the recent report of the President’s Gulf Coast Task Force, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on legislation by Rep. Steve Scalise that would send 80% of the Deepwater Horizon spill fines to the five Gulf Coast states for environmental and economic restoration efforts.  The Task Force recently urged similar policy goals. 

Forum to Look at State/Federal Partnerships – On Wednesday at Noon, NDN’s Next Economy Partnership Project, a program devoted to advancing an economy based on bottom-up development and low-carbon outcomes, will hold a forum to discuss how states, the federal government and the private sector can work together to accelerate the ideas that work to create the Next Economy.   America needs a plan to accelerate job creation, get gas prices under control and raise our game in the more competitive 21st Century energy economy. The panel will address how we can create the Next Economy when skeptical Americans have lost faith in top-down mandates and empty promises from Washington.  The panel will include Dan Carol, the Director of Multi-State Initiatives for Oregon Governor John Kitzhabe and Karl Agne of GBA Strategies.

Forum to Explore Global Trade Direction – The Carnegie Institute will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon to look at global trade and where it is headed.  The eighth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in mid-December will be held at a time when the global trading system faces considerable challenges. The global economic environment is deteriorating, trade tensions are mounting, and regional trade agreements continue to proliferate as progress on the Doha round has stalled.  A distinguished panel of experts will discuss the prospect of greater protectionism, the future of Doha, the significance of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the relationship between WTO and regional trade agreements.  Speakers include AEI’s Claude Barfield, World Bank trade expert Bernard Hoekman, Jeff Schott of the Peterson Institute and Uri Dadush of Carnegie.

RFF Seminar to Look at GHGs – The Resources For the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to present some of the results of their research into Greenhouse Gas Regulations, along with a broader discussion of the Clean Air Act as a pathway for climate policy. RFF’s Nathan Richardson will put EPA’s agenda into legal and policy context, while Joshua Linn will discuss the results of new economic modeling that shows the costs and magnitude of possible emissions reductions and the cost savings of a flexible approach.  Art Fraas and Dallas Burtraw will also discuss practical design of a flexible compliance program. A panel discussion will follow including former EPA Air chief Bill Wehrum of Hunton and Williams and Brian McLean, former director of EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs.

Webcast to Focus on GHG Reporting – Environmental Leader will host a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on greenhouse gas reporting.  Recently, EPA delayed rules impacting GHGs.  When it proposed the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule, the EPA stated that a key aspect was to help the agency understand the breadth and scope of GHG emissions such that it could make informed decisions about regulatory options for GHG in the US. Subsequently, EPA initiated three GHG regulatory pathways: vehicle standards to address emissions of GHG from transportation sources; PSD and Title V applicability for new major sources (The Tailoring Rule and related PSD actions); New Source Performance Standards (required of the agency via consent decrees in settlement of lawsuits initiated by states and environmental groups).   The webinar will focus on background and timeline information of the EPA GHG Regulations, impacts of these regulations to US companies, takeaways from the last two years under the current Administration in regards to GHG regulations and considerations on the path the EPA might take in regulating GHG emissions.  Speakers will be AEP’s John McManus and Greg Gasperecz of Enviance.

CSIS Forum to Look at Bakken Shale Development – On Wednesday, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will convene a group of experts to discuss the resource and production potential of these plays as well as many of the key infrastructure and local/regional impact challenges that must be addressed to make this promise a reality. Topics for discussion include: resource and production outlook, the NPC white paper, infrastructure and transportation, local impacts, concerns and policies, and tight oil development beyond the Bakken.  Panelists include Shell’s Andrew Slaughter, Jim Sorenson of the Energy & Environmental Research Center, Ben Montalbano of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Dunn County, ND Commissioner Daryl Dukart and Danny Brown of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

Small Biz Forum to Look at Job OpportunitiesThe Atlantic will hold a High Growth Business Forum on Wednesday in Washington  with a keynote address by Karen Mills, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration and LA Sen. Mary Landrieu.  The Forum will also host panel discussions and case studies demonstrating the power of high-growth businesses in fueling the economy.

Senate Energy to Consider Majumdar, Water Supply – On Thursday, December 8, the Senate Energy Committee will consider the nomination of Arunava Majumdar to be Under Secretary of Energy on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.  Majumdar is currently head of the ARPA-E.  That afternoon, the Committee’s Water and Power panel  will receive testimony on opportunities and challenges to address domestic and global water supply issues.  Witnesses include Interior’s Anne Castle, L. Jerry Hansen of the U.S. Army Corps, State’s Aaron Salzberg, Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, Tony Willardson of the Western States Water Council and Thomas Stanley, chief technology officer at GE Water.  

Forum to Look at Offshore Drilling in Canada, U.S.  – The Canada Institute will hold a launch in Washington Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the Wilson Center for Scholars of the 14th publication of our One Issue, Two Voices series, which compares the topic of offshore drilling regulation in the United States and Canada.  Authors Alexander MacDonald, a partner in the St. John’s office of Cox & Palmer, and James Coan, a research associate at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston, will discuss the issue. David Longly Bernhardt, with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, will moderate the discussion.

Forum to Look at Transatlantic Energy Futures – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Nitze Building’s Kenney Auditorium on a new Book looking at strategic perspectives on energy security, climate change and new technologies in Europe and the United States.  Jonathan Elkind, U.S. Department of Energy principal deputy assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, will deliver the keynote address. 

Panel Highlights Stationary Fuel Cells – The National Fuel Cell Research Center and the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association will hold a forum on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol SVC 210-12 on stationary fuel cell applications.  The panel is the third of a three-part Briefing Series looking at emerging markets, American leadership in manufacturing, and shaping the Smart Grid.  Speakers include Jim Warner of the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association and Scott Samuelsen, Director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC-Irvine. An expert industry panel will also feature reps from UTC Power, Fuel Cell Energy, Bloomenergy and ClearEdge Power.

ELI Forum To Look at Jobs, Economy, EPA – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Friday at Noon on the effect of the EPA on the economy and jobs. Expert panelists will discuss the economic ramifications of EPA’s regulations, whether regulations create or kill jobs, and recent legislative attempts—such as the REINS Act, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011, and the use of the Congressional Review Act—to increase Congressional oversight and restrain EPA action.  Speakers include AEI’s Ken Green, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and Isaac Shapiro of the Economic Policy Institute.

VW to Host December WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn with hold its December luncheon at Volkswagen of America’s U.S. headquarters in Herndon on Friday at Noon.  Experiencing a double digit sales increase for the year, the brand has held strong momentum in its quest to grow U.S. presence. Executive Vice President and Chief Product and Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney will take a look at the brand’s stride this year. He’ll also provide his perspective on the brand’s advertising history before sharing some plans for the year ahead.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Report to Look at Nuclear Suppliers – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum on Tuesday December 13th at 3:00 p.m. to look at a new report on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is responsible for establishing guidelines that govern the transfer of nuclear-related materials, equipment, and technology. The NSG today faces a host of challenges ranging from questions about its credibility and future membership to its relationship with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other multilateral arrangements.  Mark Hibbs will discuss his latest report, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which offers unrivaled insights on the NSG’s dilemmas and possible ways to resolve them. Drawn from a high-level workshop of NSG member states, the report is a must read for officials, experts, and industry stakeholders. Carnegie’s George Perkovich will moderate.

Power-Gen Conference Set – The POWER-GEN International Conference is set for the Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV  on December 13-15th.  POWER-GEN International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector. As the need to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively becomes increasingly important, no other event bridges challenges with solutions like POWER-GEN International.  More than 1,200 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year and more than 19,000 attendees come together at POWER-GEN International for a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future.  Speakers will include  Mitsubishi Power Systems’ David Walsh, Don Karner of ECOtality North America and NRC’s Jack Grobe. 

Solar Newsmaker to Feature CEOs – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host (and I will be moderating) a newsmaker event on December 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Murrow Room featuring several solar company CEOS and the Solar Energy Industry Assn head Rhone Resch.  With the focus on Solyndra, the industry intends to release their third quarter construction numbers as well as discuss pressing issues like the Treasury grant program that is set to expire at the end of December.

Energy Efficiency Status Check – The Alliance to Save Energy will host its EE Noon lunch to focus on the current status of energy efficiency legislation, as well as the prospects for 2012. From PACE Assessment Protection to the E-Know Act to the Shaheen-Portman bill, energy efficiency legislation has crossed the halls of Congress many times this year. Where do these bills, and others, currently stand? And, what are the hopes for passage of energy efficiency legislation in the upcoming 2012 election year?  The Alliance to Save Energy’s Director of Government Affairs Robert Mosher and Director of Policy & Research Lowell Ungar will speak.

GSA’s Johnson to Address Government Sustainability – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum featuring General Services Administration head Martha Johnson on Wednesday, December 14th at 3:00 p.m. in its Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center office to look at government leadership in sustainability.  As the Administrator GSA, Johnson is responsible for annual government purchases of over $65 billion and more than 360 million square feet of federal real estate. She will discuss GSA’s initiative to aggressively pursue a zero environmental footprint that will reduce waste, support innovation, and boost efficiency across federal buildings, operations, and acquisition.  Administrator Johnson will explore the opportunities for partnership among government, business, and academia to support sustainable design and efficiencies with the goal of supporting a clean, green 21st Century American economy.

Forum To look at Research on Green Jobs – ICF continues its Energy Breakfast series in Thursday, December 15th at 8:00 a.m. with a seminar on the policy implications of green jobs featuring Jonathan Rothwell of the Brookings Institute.   Green jobs have been in the news constantly over the past few years, but there is little agreement on how they should be defined, and little data on their characteristics and location. The Brookings Institution attempted to resolve these questions in research released in summer 2011. By collecting data from a wide variety of sources, Brookings researchers, in partnership with Battelle, compiled a database of green jobs for almost 50,000 companies. The research finds that green jobs represent a modest but significant part of the U.S. economy, that growth has varied greatly across technological segments, and that the jobs are disproportionately in decent paying “green collar” occupations, often with export potential. This presentation will summarize this research and discuss policy implications at the federal, state, and regional levels in light of recent developments.

EPA Utility Mercury Rule Due – December 16th

Current Continuing Resolution Expires – December 16th

Hanukkah Begins – December 20th and runs through December 28th

Christmas – December 25th

Renewable Tax Credits Expire –The 1603 grant program – which qualifies renewable developers for dollars in lieu of future tax credits will expire on December 31st.  Production Tax Credits have one more year until 2012.

API to Look at State of Oil Industry – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its 2012 State of America Energy luncheon on Wednesday, January 4th at the Newseum.

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  More on this in the near future.

Energy Update: Week of August 29

Friends,

Well, we survived Hurricane Irene – barely.  I know our good friends in the Gulf coast are making fun of us here on the eastern seaboard just like the folks in California were earlier in the week when we had wall-to-wall coverage of the earthquake.  All that made for one crazy week.  With millions of folks out of power, be patient with our friends in the utility industry who are working hard to get all the lights on.

Couple this with Texas’ surge on power because of the continuous heat which may lead to significant rolling blackouts, and you see why the reliability of the power grid has become such an important talking point at FERC, the North American Reliability Council (NERC) and grid operators like PJM and ERCOT.    In addition to the industry jobs impacts (which will be discussed in more detail below), this reliability concern is why so many people are raising concerns about the EPA’s broad suite of onerous rules on utilities.  Remember, the Administration’s Wellinghoff-lead FERC said more than 81 GW of power will go off-line because of the rules. (That was actually higher than industry’s estimate) 

I actually spent most of Hurricane Saturday with my 11-year old son Adam at the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Semi-finals in Annapolis at Navy’s football stadium. It only poured for 7 hours straight, but hats off to the players who dealt with the elements to provide two very entertaining games.  We were safely protected in the owner’s skybox thanks to Adam’s pull with the Bayhawks (seriously).  For those of you who didn’t watch in person or on ESPN, but rather watched the 24-hour endless coverage of Hurricane Irene on every other station, the Boston Cannons defeated the Chesapeake Bayhawks 13-12 on a goal with 1.2 seconds remaining.  In the second game monsoon, Hamilton (Ont) defeated Denver, 11-9.  Boston won the championship on a gorgeous sunny Sunday 10-9 to capture the Steinfeld Trophy named for league founder and fitness icon (Body by) Jake Steinfeld.  

After the earthquake and the hurricane, the most interesting other news last week was the State Department’s approval of the EIS for the Keystone Pipeline, despite days of protests by environmentalists.  There was non-stop tweeting and reporting on this Friday so I won’t rehash.  I will say though, that it was an irony that the day the hurricane approached, much of the discussion focused on east coast refiners shutting down.  With only 7% of our gas coming from these refiners, most have shut down already due to higher costs, burdensome regulations and competition from supply brought in from low-cost, low-regulatory areas. But what makes the hurricane an irony you ask: enviros were protesting and Obama folks were greenlighting a pipeline that would help us address challenges to our gasoline supply from natural disasters like the very one we were about to face. 

Programming note:  with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, America’s favorite Mayor and our friend/partner Rudy Giuliani will be speaking at the National Press Club next Tuesday, September 6th.  More than just talking about the experience of that day and its aftermath, we also expect the Mayor will talk about another of his favorite subjects: energy and the security/jobs issues surrounding it.  So mark your calendar for the day after Labor Day.

As well, Giuliani pal and new Presidential entrant Rick Perry keeps making waves in new primary polling.  Why is this important to the energy/environment issues?  Because Perry and the Obama EPA have been engaged in a two-year long battle over environmental issues, including the most recent outrage, EPA adding Texas to the Cross-State Air Pollution rule (the rule formerly known as CAIR).  At least they didn’t change the rule’s name to a symbol.   Expect this “Texas vs. EPA battle” to continue to play out in legal, policy and political forums throughout the rest of the year for sure.  With the Perry’s “job creation in the energy marketplace” theme rampant in his speechifying, there are ample opportunities for stories and we can help. 

Finally, speaking of jobs, the President is expected to make jobs the most important piece of his agenda starting as Congress returns after the Labor Day holiday.  Still no sense yet of when the actual “Jobs Speech” will take place, but it won’t be soon enough for some who still are struggling.  Keep your eyes peeled on this during the upcoming weeks as discussion will continue to range from the utility/coal job impacts of regulations, cement industry jobs hurt by a suite of unattainable EPA rules and by the double positive impact possibilities (jobs/revenue) from new offshore and onshore oil  and natural gas drilling. 

Please call with your lacrosse, jobs, or EPA questions…   

Best,  

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

IN THE NEWS

NRDC Punches Up Ads – Our friends at NRDC launch an eight-week ad campaign today targeting Sens. Scott Brown and Bob Casey urging them to support stricter air pollution rules. This follows efforts in Michigan targeting House Energy Committee Chair Fred Upton.   Largely ineffective at swaying any public opinion, they do get the political media’s attention which achieves the goal for NRDC.  One problem with the ads is they say don’t weaken the “Clean Air Act” which of course is different from preventing environmental groups from making it unworkable, overly-burdensome and costly to consumers.

Cantor Outlines House Agenda for Fall – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor outline the agenda for the fall as Congress returns to Capitol after Labor Day.  Cantor said in a memo to House Republicans that topping the list will be tax proposals and repealing a host of regulations to spur business growth.  He offered up a top 10 list “Job-Destroying Regulations” including Utility MACT/cross-state air pollution rule (week of Sept 19), Boiler MACT/Cement MACT (Oct 3), Coal Ash (Oct/Nov) and other efforts on zone, farm dust and GHGs later toward winter. 

IHS: EPA, Cornell Overstated Shale Emissions Data – A new study from IHS CERA say the EPA and Cornell University “significantly overstated” greenhouse gas emissions from shale production estimates.  The study said the previous work relies on assumptions that do not reflect industry practice, were not supported by data and would be unreliable to decision-making.

DOE Invests $41M in CCS Projects – The U.S. Department of Energy selected 16 projects aimed at developing advanced post-combustion technologies for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal–fired power plants.  The projects, valued at $41 million over three years, are focused on reducing the energy and cost penalties associated with applying currently available carbon capture technologies to existing and new power plants.   The selections will focus on developing carbon capture technologies that can achieve at least 90% CO2 removal and reduce the added costs at power plants with carbon capture systems to no more than a 35% increase in the cost of electricity produced at the plant. The Obama Administration has made a goal of developing cost-effective deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies within 10 years, with an objective of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016.

CA Solar Project Gets Loan Guarantee from DOE – Speaking of Energy, they also greenlighted a partial guarantee for an $852 million loan to support the development of NextEra Energy Resources’ Genesis Solar Project in California. The project is a 250 megawatt (MW) parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) facility that will increase the nation’s currently installed CSP capacity by about 50%.  Our friends at NextEra say it will create about 800 construction jobs and 47 operating jobs.  The project is located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, California.   The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power over 48,000 homes and avoid over 320,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. 

Interesting Opinions – Two great opinion pieces of interest for you today:  1)  PJM senior VP of Operations Mike Kormos advocates for the new transmission planning rules and the need for new transmission to accommodate renewables in today’s Baltimore Sun.  Google’s investment in the Atlantic Wind Connection is mentioned in relation to offshore wind. A number of phrases sound quite familiar, such as “our transmission system operates like the country’s network of local roads and multilane interstates” and “effective planning by grid organizations is so important – to ensure that the transmission required to meet reliability, economic and public-policy goals is carefully considered and then built to be ready when needed”.   2) The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says today that President Obama should reconsider the EPA’s new ozone standard and place a moratorium on new EPA rules “at least until hiring and investment rebound for an extended period.”

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Reid Host Clean Energy Summit 4.0 – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Center for American Progress Clean Energy Project, MGM Resorts International and UNLV will host the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in the ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas.  The theme of this year’s summit is on shaping the future of clean energy policy, as well as efforts to boost clean tech jobs.  Veteran business executives, energy policy innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and senior public officials from both parties, along with citizens, students, and the media, will gather for the fourth version of the day-long clean energy summit.  Speakers include Vice President Joe Biden, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.

USDA to Host Biotech, Ag Forum – The Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics; Agricultural Research Service will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture tomorrow and Wednesday. 

Forum to Host Brazil Fuels Expert – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a discussion with Allan Kardec Duailibi Barros, Director of Brazil’s Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis in its Ronald Reagan Building offices on Wednesday, August 31st at 10:00 a.m.  Two years ago, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency regulatory mandate was expanded to include biofuels. The new task has been a challenge for the agency, which was created in 1998 to regulate the production and distribution of traditional non-renewable oil derivatives. President Dilma Rousseff has proposed legislation currently under consideration in the Brazilian Congress that aims at strengthening ANPs role over biofuels. ANP director Allan Kardec Duailibi will discuss the implications of his agency’s broad mandate as Brazil works to develop its huge offshore pre-salt oil fields and prepares to benefit from the emergence of a global biofuels market in the coming years, made likely by the political exhaustion of protectionist policies in the United States and the opening of the American market.

Georgetown to Host Clean Energy Forum – On Friday, Georgetown University hosts its 2011 Energy and Cleantech Conference in its Rafik Hariri Building. Speakers at the all-day event, which looks at world events and how they transform the energy business and policy, include Assistant Energy Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons and BP America Executive Vice President David Nagel.  

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Giuliani to Speak at Nat’l Press Club – Our friend, partner and former two-term New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will address a National Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 6th.   Giuliani will assess where U.S. security stands as the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon approaches.  Giuliani, a former Presidential candidate, received international recognition for his leadership after the September 11th terrorist attacks, will address a National Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, September 6th.  Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m., with the speech beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

Climate Event to Look at Durbin Climate Meeting Goals – The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, in partnership with the World Resources Institute will host a seminar on September 6th at Noon on international climate change solutions.  They will also discuss the upcoming Durbin climate meetings with speaker Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director of NRDC   This is the first in a Yale webinar series highlights the current state of climate change policy actions through speakers who provide unique insight into the latest policy developments in the world’s highest greenhouse gas emitting countries.

Hill, API Host Energy Jobs Summit – The Hill and API will hold a breakfast briefing on Wednesday September 7th at 8:30 a.m. for an on-the-record Energy Jobs Summit that will examine policy solutions that will put our energy resources to work.  While policymakers in Washington will return to work after Labor Day, there are 14 million unemployed Americans who would like to as well. As Washington struggles to find solutions to the 9.1% unemployment rate, the energy industry is poised to do its part – provided it is allowed to develop energy resources here in North America. The nation is waiting for job creation solutions.  Speakers will include House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings,

Sen. Ben Nelson, Don Graves of the , President’s Council on Jobs & Competitiveness, Chevron CEO John Watson, Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress. AEI’s Ken Green and API’s Kyle Isakower.

Newsmakers to host EU, NOAA Directors on Fishery Issues – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host an event with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and European Union Fisheries Minister Maria Damanaki on September 7th.  Together, they will discuss efforts to reverse decades, if not centuries, of overfishing and poor management. They are at similar points in their tenures and face many similar challenges. The US has much to learn from the EU, and the EU has much to learn from the US.   For Dr. Lubchenco’s part, this year is the 35th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the seminal piece of legislation that drives fisheries management. We are just now beginning to see positive signs that the US fishing industry—commercial and recreational—is turning the corner. At stake are hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. However, there are many challenges fishermen and communities continue to face, and Dr. Lubchenco would talk about real examples of successes and challenges. She would also speak about seafood safety (including in the Gulf), consumer choices, advances in aquaculture, enforcement, and other issues.

Nat Gas Conference Set for Phily – The Marcellus Shale Coalition is holding its Shale Gas Insight 2011 Conference on September 7-8th in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  The conference provides interaction with industry-leading CEOs, elected officials and thought leaders integral to advancing shale gas development. Roundtables, panel discussions and receptions will provide tremendous networking opportunity for invigorating discussions, insights into the legislative and regulatory arenas and learning firsthand the innovative technologies that will advance shale gas development.  Speakers will include PA Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who recently lead a panel that made natural gas drilling recommendations.  The opening keynote address will be by former PA Gov. and first Homeland Security Sect. Tom Ridge.  Ridge will focus on the industry’s commitment to blending science with technology to protect the environment and create family-sustaining jobs.  Other speakers will include CONSOL CEO Brett Harvey, Christopher Helms of NiSource, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon,  and many others.  If that is not enough excitement for you, it is expected that Josh Fox, producer HBO Doc Gasland, is also expected to lead a protest outside the conference.  He’s is probably still blaming the industry for costing him an Oscar.  I just chalked it up to a horrible, uninformed film.

House Energy Commerce to Look at Cement MACT – As it considers moving legislation to slow EPA’s regulatory charge, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold a hearing on Thursday September 8th to discuss the Cement MACT, among other EPA MACT issues.  More on this next week. 

House Science to Look at Smart Grid, Ozone – The House Science & Technology Committee’s Technology and Innovation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday, September 8th at 10:00 a.m. that will look at empowering consumers and promoting innovation through the Smart Grid.  Witnesses will include NIST’s George Arnold, the National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability, as well as Texas PUC Chair Donna Nelson and John Caskey of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, among others.  On Friday, September 9th at 9:30 a.m., the Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on ozone science.  More on this next week

Clean Energy Summit Set for Hawaii – The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo will be held September 13-15th at the Hawaii Convention Center, in the heart of Honolulu at the gateway to Waikiki. Hawaii is one of the world’s leading incubators for clean technology development through strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations, U.S. military energy programs and the Hawaiian Electric Industries multiple renewable and microgrid pilot programs.  Learn more or register here.

Murkowski Headlines RETECH 2011 – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) hosts the 3rd annual RETECH Conference and exhibition will be held in the Walter Washington Convention Center in DC on September 20-22.  More than 3,000 government, business and technology leaders from 51 countries attended RETECH 2010, the world’s premier event for the renewable energy technology industry.  U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski will deliver the Keynote speech on Tuesday, September 20th at 2:00 p.m.

GRIDWEEK Set – GRIDWEEK is set for September 12-15 in Washington, DC.  Globally recognized as the best Smart Grid gathering, GRIDWEEK is the only event that attracts the complete diversity of global Smart Grid stakeholders to explore Smart Grid’s impact on the economy, utility infrastructure, consumers and the environment. Planned by a representative committee of 14 industry stakeholder groups, GRIDWEEK’s agenda is focused on the most pressing industry topics.  More than 200 speakers will address numerous topics including DOE’s Pat Hoffman and our friend Christine Tezak, electricity/energy analyst at RW Baird.

Renewable Energy Financing Conference Set – The 4th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West) will be held in San Francisco on September 26-27 at the Four Seasons Hotel.  REFF-West will feature leading financiers, policy-makers, and CEOs from across the country, using this opportunity to develop definitive takeaway strategies to get your renewable energy projects moving. In addition to covering large-scale deals and projects, the revamped and revitalized program for 2011 will discuss financing for projects in the $9-$25 million range, offering practical advice on bridging the gap between late-stage venture capital and project finance.  U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Bob Charette and Google’s Rick Needham will keynote the event.  Needham will talk about Google’s vision for accelerating the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy through the dedication of resources to developing new technologies, making investments in both early-stage and mature renewable energy companies, and pushing for energy policies that strengthen the innovation pipeline.  Colonel Charette will speak about the U.S. Marine Corps’ strategy to harness renewables—particularly solar energy—to save money and lives down range and on base.

Gas Summit to Feature Industry Experts – Energy Exchange is hosting the North America Gas Summit (NAGS) October 3-5 in Washington to address the latest regulatory issues shaping the future of the North American gas market, share best practices and discuss the impact of gas prices on shale gas development, public and media perception around hydraulic fracturing, demand creation through natural gas vehicle development and infrastructure needs, the potential of LNG exports and technology needs of liquefaction facilities, natural gas trading and pricing patterns, EPA regulations and expected outcomes of the current study undertaken, as well as the inherent realities of alternative energy.

Scalia, Daley Bloomberg Headline Ideas Conference – The Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and the Newseum, are hosting their 3rd annual Washington Ideas Forum on October 5-6th at The Newseum in Washington, DC.  Speaker are expected to include Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, White House Chief of Staff  William Daley, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Presidents of ABC, CBS and NBC News, and journalists James Bennet of The Atlantic, Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams of NBC News and David Brooks of The New York Times.

VA Governors Conference to Focus on Energy – Governor Bob McDonnell, the VA Chamber of Commerce and the VA Alternative & Renewable Energy Assn will host the 2nd annual Governor’s Conference on Energy in Richmond on October 17-19th

SEJ Conference Set for Miami – The Annual Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting will be held at the University of Miami on October 19-23.  Bracewell will hold its annual Thursday night reception.  More on this as we get closer.

Energy Update: Week of July 11, 2011

Friends,

We are really back in full swing now with the sole focus of the next few weeks likely to be on the debt ceiling issue (of course, now that the Casey Anthony jury has rendered its decision and Princess Kate and her Prince husband – what’s his name – have returned back to England).  I doubt it will mean much running room for the number of energy issues we are dealing addressing, but that will not be for a lack of trying.

First, the sports report: how about those US Women’s soccer players?  Don’t want to get my hopes up yet, but that was a thrilling victory on Sunday morning.  And forget about the debt ceiling deadline, what about the football lock out deadline.  The Hall of Fame game is set for August 7th when the Bears and Rams open the season and 7 new members are inducted.  Seriously, how does Deion Sanders really make the grade?  The latest speculation for resolution is July 21st.  No worries for me though, I have already taken my required NCAA and High School Federation rules tests and plan to be on the field for a pre-season game August 25th when Suitland takes on Douglass (That is a pretty hard hitting HS game in this area.)  You may be able to get more on lockouts and free agents on Wednesday the National Press Club when our friend Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards will speak at 12:30 p.m.

This morning, NOIA and API released a study from independent Quest Offshore that shows the important nationwide jobs and economic impact of the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas industry and reveals the effect of permitting on those figures.  According to the study, the Gulf offshore oil and gas industry supported more than 240,000 jobs across the country while contributing more than $26 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2010.  Our friend Jim Noe gave the Guv a Harrumph, (tell me if you know that movie without linking) saying: “It is hard to understand why the Administration would not act decisively to seize the benefits of an improved permitting process.  As the Quest study reveals, thousands of good-paying jobs are literally on hold in the Gulf thanks to the government’s regulatory sluggishness.”

 

The mark-up for the TRAIN and Coal Ash legislation launches today at 5:00 p.m. with opening statements after a brief delay from last week.  My Colleague Scott Segal was one of the early testifiers on this legislation.  No predictions on the Senate’s interest, but they have to get it moving soon or the EPA TRAIN may be out of the station.  Coal ash on the other hand seems to be lost in the mail at EPA until after the next election despite the catcalls of the environmental community.  That said, some analysts are also predicting increased odds for Boiler MACT and maybe even Utility MACT delays by Congress. The FY 2012 Energy and Water spending bill is also on the House Floor starting today and the open rule process will be, well, very open, so expect a lot of time consumed and lots of amendments.

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee is back in action on geothermal and solar legislation.  Our friend Dan Ellis of ClimateMaster, the industry’s leading manufacturer of geothermal heat pump, will be on the panel.  On Thursday, they may turn to the long-awaited oil and gas drilling legislation.  BOEMRE head Michael Bromwich will also go to House Resources on Friday morning to discuss the current state of the agency’s reform and permitting.

On Wednesday, the SAFE National Energy Security Summit will finally launch.  There will be a CEO panel moderated by NBC’s Meet The Press host David Gregory, as well as an Oil Shockwave simulation that will take pace. I will be moderating an afternoon panel that will focus on the future of offshore drilling featuring Thad Allen, Helix CEO Owen Kratz, BP’s Michael Finley and Peter Slaiby from the Shell Alaska team.

Some baseball news beyond Derrick Jeter’s 3,000th hit and the All-Star game approaching tomorrow night in Arizona (some much for the protests about Arizona hosting the game).  Our great B&G nuclear/loan guarantee expert Salo Zelermyer proudly traveled to Boston’s famed Fenway Park last week to watch his brother Gideon sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the Red Sox-Toronto Blue Jays game on July 5th.  This is the second time Gid has lead the sporting masses in patriotic anthemness.  Last February, he did the anthem double at a home Montreal Canadians game (including the full second verse in French, nice)  See the video on the link above ’cause the dude can sing…Sources say he did not have a Red Sox kipa though.

Only three days to the Harry Potter launch of the “Final Chapter” and how great are minor league baseball promotions.  Take a look at the Fresno Grizzlies “Harry Potter” jerseys which they wore Saturday night and eventually auctioned off for local charity.  Gotta love that.

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for another new announcement some time this week on the offshore wind backbone project called the Atlantic Wind Connection.  We’ll keep you posted.  Please call with questions on this and other issues.

IN THE NEWS

NOIA, API Study Says Offshore Drilling Delays Cost Jobs – A new study released today by the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and API that says the Gulf offshore oil and gas industry supported more than 240,000 jobs across the country while contributing more than $26 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2010.  But offshore industry-related jobs are down from 2008, the study shows, due in part to the poor economy, the deepwater moratorium, and the continuing slow pace of new drilling permits in the gulf. More than 60,000 jobs have been lost in the Gulf States alone since 2008, according to the study. There is potential for good news, though: the study also projects that if exploration and development permitting return to historic levels and backlogged projects are processed, the Gulf offshore industry could help create an additional 190,000 jobs by 2013 for a total of more than 400,000 industry supported jobs across the United States. The Gulf offshore industry could also contribute nearly $45 billion dollars to the nation’s GDP by 2013.  The study also found that the vast majority of industry-related spending, more than 95 percent, stays right here in the United States, creating more jobs and more economic growth at home, instead of sending it overseas.

Shallow Water Energy Group Calls for Action on Permitting – Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, said today’s Quest Offshore Resources study’s projected employment growth is contingent upon the ability of BOEMRE regulators to resume the timely and efficient permitting process last seen pre-Macondo.  In other words, failure to improve the government’s offshore permitting process will leave jobs on the table and economic activity bottled up at a time that the country is scrambling to create new jobs and stimulate growth.  Noe: “It is hard to understand why the Administration would not act decisively to seize the benefits of an improved permitting process.  As the Quest study reveals, thousands of good-paying jobs are literally on hold in the Gulf thanks to the government’s regulatory sluggishness.  The Gulf is also poised to make a major contribution to America’s energy security for years to come, but only if the regulatory climate improves. This is low-hanging fruit for the Obama administration – substantial job growth and economic improvement that benefits America’s energy security is within reach.  All that is needed is to fix the permitting process in the Gulf right now.”

Indian Point Closure Would Make NYC Dirtier, Increase Costs – A new report from Charles River Associates says that NY Gov. Mario Cuomo’s plan to close the Indian Point nuclear Power plant would hurt air quality in New York City, increase the cost of electricity and make the city more susceptible to power shortages.  The report for the City of New York says shutting down the plant would increase the amount of carbon emissions in city and state air by at least 5-10%. Carbon emissions could jump as high as 15% if none of Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts are replaced by sustainable power sources like wind farms.  It could increase wholesale electricity prices by 10% in the state, which would translate into a 5-10% increase in prices for New York consumers. Indian Point supplies 25% of the power for a service area that includes New York City and Westchester County.

TX Inclusion in EPA Rule Sparks Controversy – The EPA announced its new transport rule last Thursday and while the rules adds another layer on the trainwreck of issues facing utilities and the energy industry, it also strikes another significant blow at the battle between EPA and State of Texas.   The Lone Star state was told they will have to follow extra rules requiring them to make a 47% cut in their SO2 emissions by next year.  It is different from what EPA proposed last year, and that has Texas fuming, especially since a major of the jobs that have been created in the U.S. recently, have been in Texas.  TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw testified the week prior at the Senate Environment Committee and said EPA’s own data showed Texas power plant emissions have no negative impact on downwind states and only result in negative consequences.  The also complained that EPA failed to give sufficient or adequate notice regarding the potential details of Texas inclusion. The TCEQ requested a meeting with Administrator Jackson on June 7 to address these issues, but the EPA did not respond. The TCEQ and PUC wrote a joint letter to White House Office of Management and Budget Administrator Cass Sunstein on June 9 asking that he fully consider the effects of this rule upon Texas. TCEQ is concerned this rule will result in significant increases in the cost of power as well as curtailment or shutdowns of existing coal-fired plants in Texas. Other sources of electricity will not compensate for these shutdowns, especially in light of the Jan. 2012 compliance date. A large percentage of Texas coal fired generation is lignite or lignite blended with Wyoming coal, with 18 plants totaling over 11,000 MW of generation could prematurely shut down.  The consequences will be far-reaching on energy consumers, particularly elderly and low-income populations whose health and welfare are dependent on reliable energy without which they would face increased incidences of heat stress, heat stroke, and death.

Ethanol Deal Looks Done – Late last week, Senators John Thune, Amy Klobuchar and Diane Feinstein announced they had reached an agreement to reform the $0.45/gal volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC) and the $0.54/gal secondary ethanol import duty. The deal would generate a notional budget savings of $2 billion by ending the VEETC five months before its December 31, 2011 termination and allocate roughly $1.3 billion to deficit reduction and the remainder to ethanol (and alternative fuels) infrastructure.  Our friend and super analyst Kevin Book argued that U.S. resource politics are such that ethanol might be able to get a deal even without giving up all of the VEETC. He adds though that Senator Chuck Grassley’s support for the deal suggests that the strongest veteran industry backers aren’t willing to take the risk, a likely consequence of the 73-27 Senate stampede last month to rescind the VEETC.

Offshore Wind Costs Set To Fall Over Next Decade – A report by the wind and marine energy trade association RenewableUK says the cost for offshore wind projects will drop significantly over the next 10 years.  The report, compiled by independent technical consultancy BVG Associates, examines the whole-life cost of offshore wind projects, which includes capital expenditure, operational costs and the energy yield from the wind farms.  The whole-life cost of energy from U.K. offshore wind projects is expected to be driven down by more than 15% in real terms between now and 2022 under normal market conditions. Under favorable conditions, such as increased competition, lower exchange rates and stable commodity prices, the decrease in cost would be as much as 33%, according to the report.  The report also states that growing a dedicated supply chain in and around ports would be beneficial to lowering overall costs.

Health Agencies Issue Grants to Study Gulf Spill Impacts – National Institute of Health’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are providing a $25.2 million, five-year federal grant to study health effects from the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and subsequent cleanup, with a focus on women and children.  The Louisiana State University, Tulane University, the University of Florida and the University of Texas-Galveston will conduct research to evaluate the level of potentially harmful contaminants in air, water, and seafood, and assess their relationship to health outcomes.  The studies, first reported by our friends at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, will be the first joint research effort of its kind to study the effects on the general population along the affected coastline. The NIEHS is in the subject recruitment stage of an $18 million-plus, multiyear study — the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) — designed to track cleanup workers who had direct exposure to the crude oil or chemical dispersants. To ensure research activities are responsive to the needs of local communities in the Gulf Coast region, the universities will partner with more than a dozen community organizations to incorporate local concerns and more effectively communicate research findings.

Duke, Progress Merger Votes Set – Duke Energy and Progress Energy have scheduled meetings on August 23rd for shareholders to vote on the merger of the two utilities.  The companies are mailing a joint proxy statement to shareholders today.  The meetings will take place in Charlotte and in Raleigh, respectively.  The combined utility would be the nation’s largest electrical utility and have more than 7.1 million electric customers in six states.  Progress CEO Bill Johnson is expected to lead the new company.

NC Gov Vetoes Legislation to Speed NatGas Drilling – Speaking of North Carolina, our friend Jim Brumm reports that the latest political attempt to put North Carolina on an energy fast track on hydraulic fracturing ended last week under the governor’s veto stamp.  One of 15 bills vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue removed existing restrictions on fracking wells drilled into shale formations known to contain natural gas and encourage exploration of the state’s offshore energy reserves, thought to be mostly natural gas.  North Carolina has 64 million federal offshore acres, the most of any East Coast state and the fourth largest acreage among the U.S. coastal states.  The legislation called for a report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by May 2012 on regulatory changes needed to allow development of North Carolina’s shale gas resources.  It also directed the governor to begin negotiating a tri-state pact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to encourage President Obama to allow offshore energy exploration. She was also directed to work with North Carolina’s Congressional delegation to advocate for state revenue-sharing for resources off the coast.

Iowa Poll Shows Strong Support for Wind – A new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the American Wind Energy Association Voters in Iowa – a state where 18.8% of the electricity has been generated by wind this year – overwhelmingly approves of wind energy and the companies that make it.  Results of the survey include that 85% of voters statewide have a favorable impression of wind energy and wind power companies, including 62% with a “very favorable” impression, a majority of Iowa voters choose wind as their preferred energy source for the state (more than a 3-to-1) over all other sources and over eight in 10 voters (81%) say wind energy companies have been good for the state’s economy, while 77% say these companies have helped bring new jobs to the state.  This really shouldn’t be a surprise since wind has been a great opportunity in Iowa where it remains among the fastest growing wind state in both production and manufacturing.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

WV Wind Turbines Start to Arrive at Site – The wind turbines for the new Pinnacle Wind Project at New Page in Keyser, WV begin to arrive at the site today.  Turbine deliveries are expected to continue through mid-August. When completed later this year, the wind farm will generate approximately 55 megawatts of electricity, enough power for over 14,000 households.  Pinnacle is being jointly developed by US Wind Force and Edison Mission Energy and represents a total investment of approximately $130 million.  It will be one of Mineral County’s largest taxpayers with property tax payments of approximately $10.7 million over the next 25 years.  The project has also established a Community Benefit Fund that will provide locally-controlled financial resources for worthy community projects.

Chamber to Host Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 2nd annual Jobs for America Summit 2011 today at 1:00 p.m. to focus on new jobs and manufacturing.  It will livestreamed on Facebook.   Experts will discuss how free enterprise can be unleashed to create the jobs America needs. Speakers will include GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue, Speaker Boehner Chief of Staff Barry Jackson, Harry Reid Chief of Staff David Krone, Chamber experts Bruce Josten and Bill Miller and Carol Haney of Harris Interactive.

Demand Response, Smart Grid Meeting – The National Town Meeting on demand response and smart grid issues will be held today and tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The National Town Meeting is a non-profit event that pulls in top stakeholders from utilities, technology companies, RTOs, Congress, federal and state agencies, environmental groups, consumer groups, and research and consulting firms. They will all be there to assess the state of the industry and, with your help, to set the agenda for the years to come.  Topics to be covered include efficiency, demand response, Smart Grid, long-term planning, data access, electric vehicles and regional policies.  New for 2011, the National Town Meeting will feature an additional day dedicated to the effort of implementing FERC and DOE’s National Action Plan on Demand Response. The NAP Day Pre-Conference Workshop, on July 12, will be hosted by the National Action Plan Coalition.  The are numerous speakers lead by FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LeFleur, Sen. Mark Udall, DOE’s Patricia Hoffman, EDF’s Fred Krupp and many others.

Coal Ash, TRAIN Act Get Mark Up – After a brief delay, the House Energy and Commerce Committee starts its markup of two energy bills that prohibit the EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste and the TRAIN act, which would set up an interagency panel to study the costs of EPA regulations.  Open statements will be heard starting today at 5:00 p.m., while the committee convenes tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to consider amendments and hold votes.

POLITICO Experts Talk Energy – Who cares about the baseball All-Stars when you can hear from the energy media All stars?  On Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., our friends Darren Samuelsohn, Robin Bravender, Darren Goode and their spiritual leader Dan Berman will hold their first POLITICO Pro Energy Breakfast Briefing.  Special guest will be Senate Energy staff Director Bob Simon.  The interactive conversation will cover the policies, politics and priorities in energy today.   You can view it here.

Energy Outlook Discussion Set – SNR Denton continues its “Energy Outlook Series: Summer 2011” tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.  Participants in the discussion include Assistant Energy Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow; Clinton Vince, co-chairman of energy, transport, and infrastructure practice at SNR Denton; Michael Yackira, CEO of NV Energy; Darren Samuelsohn of Politico; Rick Smead, director of Navigant; Christopher McGee-Osborne, co-chairman of energy, transport and infrastructure practice at SNR Practice; Diana DePinto, senior adviser at Navigant; and James Dallas, partner at SNR Denton.

CSIS Forum to Address Arctic Oil, Gas Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program is holding a forum on Arctic oil and gas development starting tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in its B1 Conference Level.  It will be the final session in its Impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill Series, which will evaluate the development of Arctic oil and gas resources.  The oil and gas resources of the Arctic region represent one of the most promising, largely untapped hydrocarbon resources in the world.  A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study estimated the recoverable oil resources of the Arctic region at 90 billion barrels, about 13 percent of the world’s remaining oil resources and the gas resource at 1,670 trillion cubic feet, about 30 percent of the world’s remaining gas resource.  These oil and gas resources are located throughout the Arctic region and each of the five Arctic nations has prospective areas.  However, the development of these oil and gas resources faces a number of daunting issues.  The conference will examine several key issue areas including: the state of play in development plans and activities in each of the Arctic countries, oil spill risks, and the possibilities for international cooperation to reduce the risk of major accidents and contain accidents that do occur.   Panel Discussions will cover 1) Development and Infrastructure Options in Alaska’s Arctic and Market Challenges; 2) International Arctic Resource Developments and Opportunities and 3) Environmental Challenges for Arctic Development.  Confirmed speakers include Senate Energy’s Lisa Murkowski, Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes and U.S. Arctic Research Commission chair Fran Ulmer, who also served on the BP Oil Spill Commission.

Senate Energy to Tackle Solar, Geothermal – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 am to examine S.1160, to improve the administration of the Department of Energy, S.1108, to provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more efficient, and S.1142, to promote the mapping and development of the United States geothermal resources by establishing a direct loan program for high risk geothermal exploration wells, to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to improve geothermal energy technology and demonstrate the use of geothermal energy in large scale thermal applications.

Senate Environment to Look at Safe Drinking Water Act – The Senate Environment and Public Works’ Environment panel will hold a hearing on the EPA’s safe drinking water program at 10:00 a.m. in 406 Dirksen to review how EPA has gone about implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Unregulated Drinking Water Contaminants Program. Witnesses will include EPA’s Robert Perciasepe, GAO’s David Trimble, GWU’s Lynn Goldman of the American Public Health Association, A.W. “Butch” Araiza of the West Valley Water District, expert Joseph Cotruvo, Steven Patierno of the George Washington University Cancer Institute and Jeffrey Griffiths of Tufts University.

Resources to Markup Energy Bills – The House Natural Resources will hold mark up Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. that includes a trio of energy bills from Chairman Doc Hastings that will streamline permitting for renewable energy projects. The committee is also slated to vote on a pro-drilling bill dealing with the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a critical minerals bill and a measure that would pave the way for Resolution Copper’s long-sought after copper mine in southern Arizona.

SAFE to Hold Energy Security Summit – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a National Summit on Energy Security tomorrow evening and Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC.  The event will bring together military leaders, CEOs and policymakers to address the threats posed by US dependence on oil.  Event will include a welcome dinner to kick off the event and feature a discussion on the national security and economic threats posed by our dependence on oil; an executive crisis simulation call Oil ShockWave, a fast-paced wargame simulation featuring a cutting-edge graphics package and sophisticated modeling delivered in a life-like environment, including participation from Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret.), former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Cheney National Security Advisor John Hannah, former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, past US Trade Rep Susan Schwab and General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command; a CEO Forum Luncheon featuring Fred Smith of FedEx and Andrew C. Taylor of Enterprise Holdings; Moderated panel discussions on specific aspects of the energy security issue spectrum and formulate paths forward; and a Capitol Hill reception featuring members of Congress who are leaders on energy security and electrification issues.

Electric Vehicle Ride, Drive Set – Smith Electric Vehicles is holding an event tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. to showcase vehicles and educate attendees on S.1285, the “Hybrid and Electric Trucks and Infrastructure Act.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) and Smith Electric CEO of Vehicles Bryan Hansel will be present. The event will take place at First and C Streets.

Brookings to Release Report on Clean Energy – On Wednesday morning July 13th, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings will bring together business, economic development and political leaders to review the progress of clean industries, identify policy issues and opportunities, and consider how faster and broader growth of the clean economy could be encouraged at the national, state and regional level. A report and first-of-its-kind database, produced in collaboration with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, will be released at the event, providing new measures of the clean economy at the national and metropolitan levels. Also featured will be an interactive web tool that will allow users to track jobs, growth, segments, and other variables nationally, by state and by region.  Brookings Managing Director William Antholis will welcome participants and Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, will present the findings of this major new report on the status of the U.S. clean economy. Panel discussions will follow, presenting the corporate and regional perspective.  Our friend, Andy Revkin of New York Times’ dotEarth will moderate a panel that will feature ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, among others.

NJ to Host Innovation SummitNational Journal will host an Innovation Works conference on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Building to look at the link between new cutting-edge innovations and the public policy environment that incubates these new technologies.   Among the speakers will be ARPA-E head Dr. Arun Majumdar, Simon Tripp of Battelle and US House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

ASE to Host Forum on PACE – The Alliance to Save Energy will host another noon lunch on Wednesday featuring Alan Strachan, co-founder of Ygrene Energy Fund, and Greg Caplan, Senior Program Manager for Lockheed Martin Energy Solutions, discuss an innovative financing model for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).  American business is poised to launch a massive Retooling America campaign, with at least $500 billion of new capital investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits of existing buildings, plants and operations, 100% privately financed, producing 5 million jobs and reducing CO2 in the process. The driver behind this is the demand represented by roughly $1 trillion sitting on the sidelines, earning extremely low returns, and needing a safe place to park. The Commercial and Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C&I PACE) laws in states covering two thirds of the country’s population provide a vehicle to move that money off the sidelines and place it safely and responsibly in energy efficiency and renewable energy capital assets. Retooling America with 100% private financing will dramatically reduce the federal deficit, while simultaneously moving the country toward energy independence and reducing American business’ exposure to fossil fuel price volatility. No federal legislation or funding is required or requested.  No state or local funding is needed.

Biomass Heat Symposium Set – The Alliance for Green Heat is organizing this stakeholder symposium on Wednesday afternoon at the Yates Training room of the US Forest Service to bring together non-profits, industry, government and forestry and air quality experts to explore how America can maximize the renewable energy potential of wood and pellet heat, and minimize associated drawbacks.  At the Symposium, they will also release a new report, “Transforming Wood Heat In America: A Toolkit of Policy Options.”  While residential wood heat is the dominant player in residential renewable energy, most wood heat appliances in America are outdated and emit too many particulates. Robust deployment of modern, high efficiency appliances in Europe has succeeded in helping make substantial strides towards energy independence.  Wood heat provides 80% of residential renewable energy in America, solar PV 15% and geothermal 5%. While older wood burning appliances are common, bringing modern, low-emission appliances to scale is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce residential fossil fuel use. Wood heat enjoys a deep cultural acceptance in America but policies to harness and transform it are lacking. This symposium explores the opportunities for policy makers to maximize the potential of residential wood heat to reduce fossil fuel use in a tight fiscal climate, while minimizing its drawbacks. The speakers will cover the policy landscape, sustainability and emissions issues, state and federal case studies and results of a new study on thermal biomass incentives.

House Energy Targets Regulations – The House Energy and Commerce’s environment and economy panel will hold a hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday to look at legislation intended to slim down federal regulations. The committee has been focused on trimming regulations after hearing from OIRA head Cass Sunstein.

Senate Energy Finally Looks To Tackle Offshore Drilling – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold the long-awaited markup of its offshore drilling legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The effort has been delayed as Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski search for a compromise measure over revenue sharing for coastal states.  The agenda still remains uncertain though and my friend Bill Wicker’s words should be taken to heart: “Bills will be dropped and bills will be added right up until Thursday.”

House T&I Look at Pipeline Safety – Given the discussion around the ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Montana, the Transportation and Infrastructure meets to review pipeline safety on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn.  Expect a lot of discuss about this and the Keystone pipeline discussion.

Senate Ag to Focus on Rural Jobs – The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in G-50 to focus on creating jobs in rural areas.

House Science to Look at IRIS – The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to review EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).  Those of you who remember the fuel additive MTBE may remember that the IRIS was one of the tools opponents were using to attempt to block its use.  Witnesses include EPA Office of Research and Development AA Paul Anastas, GAO’s David Trimble, Jonathan Samet and Flora Thornton of the University of Southern California (they lead a recent NAS study), ACC President Cal Dooley, Rena Steinzor of the Center for Progressive Reform; Gail Charnley of HealthRisk Strategies and Elizabeth, NJ mayor Christian Bollwage.

Ridge to Address Natural Gas – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host a forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club featuring former PA Governor and first Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.  Governor Ridge will discuss natural gas issues, something he has been working on with the Marcellus Shale Coalition.  Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Before the events of September 11th, Tom Ridge was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania.

Nuke Panel to Address State of Industry – The US Nuclear Infrastructure Council is holding a Nuclear Roundtable luncheon at Monocle Restaurant on Thursday at noon to discuss the current on-going nuclear issues.  Participants include Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) and Llewellyn King, executive producer and host of the “White House Chronicle” on PBS.

Forum to Look at Oil DependenceOurEnergyPolicy.org, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Rep. Peter Welch – co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Peak Oil Caucus – will host an expert discussion on Thursday at Noon in 2325 Rayburn to look at the economics of America’s oil dependence.  From industrial productivity to the daily commute to putting food on the table, the price of oil has a huge impact on the American people and economy. Oil prices correlate to food prices and home foreclosures; and oil price shocks tend to precede — and many suspect cause — recessions and spikes in unemployment. Factor in government incentives, geopolitical realities, environmental impacts, and the military deployments needed to keep the oil flowing, and the true cost of America’s reliance on oil starts to come into focus.  Speakers will include former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Co-Author of The Impending World Energy Mess Roger Bezdek, and Eyal Aronoff, Co-Founder of Quest Software.

House Oversight to Look at Mining Permit Problems – A House Oversight and Government Reform panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the EPA’s new standards for issuing Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop removal coal mines.

Bromwich to Appear at House Resources – The House Natural Resources Committee hold a hearing on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to review Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s plans to revamp the agency responsible oversight of offshore oil and gas development.  The hearing will focus on Interior’s ongoing efforts to separate MMS into three separate bureaus tasked with revenue collection, leasing and permitting, and environmental enforcement.  Witnesses will include Administrator Bromwich as well as others.

House Energy Panel to Look at Pipeline Safety – The House Energy and Commerce’s power subpanel meets Friday at 9:30 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn to review a draft pipeline safety bill. A draft plan released Friday by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) echoes key provisions of a pipeline bill that Senate Democrats advanced in May while taking a stronger tack in at least one respect — requiring that companies notify the National Response Center “not later than one hour” after any spill of oil or gas along their lines.

Forum to Look at Transmission’s Economic Impacts – EESI and WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) will hold a briefing on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Congressional Meeting Room North of the Capitol Visitor Center to discuss how the manufacture and construction of electric transmission infrastructure can make a major contribution to reversing the nation’s stagnation in employment and economic activity. The electric transmission system is a critical and strategic asset for our nation. As policymakers focus on infrastructure development as an engine of new jobs and economic activity, this panel is a reminder that electric transmission – developed at the levels that experts project the country will need over the next two decades – is at the center of economic revitalization. This briefing will focus on WIRES’ recent study with the Brattle Group, Employment and Economic Benefits of Transmission Infrastructure Investment in the U.S. and Canada, and the work of other organizations that demonstrate that new transmission will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next 20 years and that this impetus will be supplied largely by private capital. Speakers for this event include Brattle Groups principal Hannes Pfeifenberger, IBEW’s Jim Hunter, NREL analyst Eric Lantz and Randy Fordice of Great River Energy and CapX2020.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security – The Environmental Law Institute will host a brown bag lunch at 12:30 p.m. on Friday to address the security implications of climate change.  The beginning of the year 2011 was marked by climate related disasters with serious implications for human well-being. In Queensland, Australia, floods surged through the region, setting Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, under water, and killing at least 19 people. In Brazil, more than 500 people perished when mudslides caused by heavy rain covered and destroyed their homes, making it the worst natural disaster in several decades. Politics has recognized this trend, with the UN Security Council debating the security implications of climate change in July 2011. Observed climate change is a fact, with scientists linking observations in sea level rise and global mean temperatures to increasing CO2 emissions. Whereas the science on anthropogenic climate change has advanced quickly, an analysis of the impacts for (human) security is lagging.  Christian Webersik will describe his work to fill this gap in the literature by examining the impacts of climate change on security, resource scarcity, natural hazards, and environmentally-induced migration, with evidence from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Strategies to mitigate climate change, such as the production of biofuels or nuclear energy, will have unintended consequences, affecting food security and nuclear safety. These developments have been under-researched, and will play an important role if societies decide to reduce emissions drastically.  Webersik is currently working at the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Agder as Associate Professor. His general research interests are the role of natural resources in armed conflict, climate change and security, natural hazards and development, and post-conflict economic recovery.

AOL, HuffPost Execs Address Journalism Issues – Less than six months since the biggest merger in online news history, The National Press Club will hold a luncheon speech on Friday featuring AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington to discuss the deal, its aftermath and the future of journalism.  Since its $315 million purchase of Huffington Post in February, AOL has hired some of the biggest names in journalism (including our friend Tom Zeller from the NY Times) while simultaneously eliminating the jobs of hundreds of full and part-time writers, editors and other employees across the country.  Along with remaking its own business, AOL is reshaping the entire news industry with outlets such as Patch, Huffington Post and AOL specialty brands such as AOL Energy, AOL Defense and the planned AOL Government. AOL can now boast a news staff is as large as that of the New York Times, and recently Huffington Post surpassed the Times in unique monthly online visitors for the first time ever.   As chairman and CEO, Tim Armstrong is responsible for setting strategy and overseeing the businesses and day-to-day operations of AOL. He joined the company in April 2009 from Google, were he had been in charge of Google’s North American advertising sales. Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of AOL’s new Huffington Post Media Group, which includes the Huffington Post, AOL Media and AOL Local Properties. Her life has crisscrossed the worlds of politics and media. Remarks by Armstrong and Huffington will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

Forum to Look at Defense Dept’s Energy Use – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group will hold a forum on Friday at 2:30 p.m. featuring Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs to present key details of the Defense Department’s strategy on operation energy.  Burke’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion. On Thursday, the Department of Defense released its first ever “Operational Energy Strategy” which outlines how the department can better use energy resources to support their strategic goals, the country’s broader energy security goal, lower risks to the warfighter, and more efficiency allocate and save taxpayer resources.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Jaczko to Address Nuke Issues at Press Club – Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Monday, July 18th.  Jaczko will talk about lessons learned by the nuclear power industry in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which stands as the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The NRC is scheduled to meet on July 19th to consider a report on the Fukushima disaster and how it pertains to the US nuclear industry.  In May of 2009, President Obama appointed Jaczko chairman of the NRC, where he had served as a commissioner since 2005. Before Fukushima, Jaczko and the commission had been working to reinvigorate the US nuclear sector. Electric utilities had been planning to begin building nuclear plants again after 30 years of inactivity, but in light of the Japan disaster, new questions have arisen.  The July 18 luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and Jaczko’s remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

Woodruff to Headline NACo Meeting – NACo’s 76th Annual Conference and Exposition will be held next Monday and Tuesday in Multnomah County, (Portland) Oregon. The Annual Conference’s keynote speaker will be ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film 127 Hours.  The meeting provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security, Mitigation – The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars will host a forum on Monday July 18th at 3:00 p.m. in it Reagan Building offices that will look at efforts to address climate change through mitigation and adaptation often fail to include analysis of the conflict or peacebuilding potential of such actions. Developing this analysis will help provide practical input to decision-making in a variety of arenas: choosing among alternative energy technologies in specific settings; implementing conflict-sensitive ecosystem services schemes; sourcing inputs to green technologies; strengthening natural resource management institutions for adapting to greater variability; or negotiating use norms for large-scale technology deployments.  Through a series of convening and publishing activities entitled Backdraft, the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program is facilitating a debate on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses. Join us for a discussion with three authors featured in a forthcoming set of Backdraft articles from the Environmental Change and Security Program Report. The Wilson Center’s Geoff Dabelko will lay out the case for incorporating these conflict considerations into mitigation and adaptation decision-making. Drawing from their analyses of specific interventions, Dennis Taenzler from the Berlin-based Adelphi Research, will analyze Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes through a conflict lens, and Christian Webersik, author of the 2010 book Climate Change and Security, will examine the impacts of biofuels, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.

AT&T’s Stephenson, ARPA-E’s Majumdar at July NARUC Meeting – Top federal officials, CEOs from major telecommunications firms, energy producers, and renewable developers will address the nation’s State public service commissioners during the July 17-20, 2011, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Summer Committee Meetings.  The meetings, held at the JW Marriott at the new LA Live! complex in Los Angeles, will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on meeting global energy supply, building out the nation’s utility infrastructure, and the state of the U.S. telecommunications sector.  Confirmed speakers for the Summer Committee Meetings include AT&T Chairman, President, and CEO Randall Stephenson, Chesapeake Energy Chairman, CEO Aubrey McClendon, Peabody Energy Chairman, CEO Gregory Boyce, American Water Works CEO Jeff Sterba, Comcast Corp. Executive Vice President David Cohen, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode, Solar Alliance President Carrie Cullen Hitt, American Electric Power President Nick Akins, and many more.  Dr. Arum Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, will deliver keynote remarks as well.  The Summer Meetings will feature three crucial general sessions: 1) Monday, July 18: Global Energy Supply: How Will We Meet what the World Needs in a Time of Uncertainty? 2) Tuesday, July 19: The State of Telecommunications, 2011 and 3) Wednesday, July 20: The Money Pit: How do you Finance the Future, and Who Pays for It?  In addition, NARUC’s committees will conduct business meetings, consider policy resolutions, and hold a number of additional panel discussions. For a complete list, please visit the NARUC Meetings Webpage.  Please note committee agendas are subject to change.

Forum Looks at Next Farm Bill – The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold two briefings on Tuesday, July 19th on the energy title of the Farm Bill, with a special focus on the Rural Energy for America Program.  The first will be at 10:00 a.m. in 1300 Longworth and the second will be in 188 Russell at 2:00 p.m.  Big decisions loom in the next Farm Bill, including for key farm energy programs. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) incentivizes a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for all agricultural sectors across the country. As a result, thousands of rural producers and businesses are slashing energy costs with energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also are earning new income from renewable energy and creating new jobs, income, and wealth across rural America. This briefing will provide an overview of the Farm Bill Energy Title, as well as specific examples of dairy and poultry producers, rural electric cooperatives, and other rural producers and small businesses from across the country that have benefitted from the REAP program.  Speakers will include Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Bennie Huchins of Mississippi’s Ag Energy Resources, former Natural Resource Conservation Service chief Bruce Knight and Andy Olsen of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Hydro Conference Set for Sacramento – HydroVision International will be held on July 19-22 in Sacramento, CA and will address the effects, solutions and the plan for advancing sustainable hydropower throughout the world.  HydroVision International will highlight perspectives on the role of hydropower, explore issues affecting hydro resources, and help participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro. This event will bring together a broad range of global hydro professionals with environmental, technical, social, and regulatory perspectives

Ford To Talk Fuel Efficiency at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host its July luncheon on Wednesday, July 20th at Noon in the National Press Club.  Ford’s Susan Cischke, Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will discuss fuel efficient products and safety innovations.

Forum on Cool Roofs Set – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday, July 21st at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center to look at the potential for solar-reflective roofs and other “cool-roofing” techniques to lower the surface temperature of buildings and entire cities. Cool roofs improve comfort on hot summer days and reduce the amount of energy used for air-conditioning – thereby reducing energy costs and improving air quality. Whitening flat roofs is a low-cost solution which, if implemented in certain cities across the globe, has been estimated to have the potential to offset the carbon emissions of 300 million automobiles. At this briefing, renowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will discuss research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that for the first time quantifies the reflective power (albedo) of urban surfaces that would be necessary to mitigate the urban heat-island effect and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Panelists also will discuss insulated and vegetated (“green”) roofs and how different types of cool roofs may be combined or integrated with solar-roofing systems, photovoltaics (PV) and/or solar thermal technology.  Introductory remarks will be by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Panel speakers will include Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, James Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Buildings and Energy expert in NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Laurie Kerr and GSA’s Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings.

Forum to Look at Transportation Electrification – IEEE will hold its 2011 Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting on July 24 – 28 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI to look at the electrification of transportation and the grid of the future.  The meeting will feature power engineers, executives, policy makers and academics from all over the world who will promote, share, and discuss various issues and developments in the field of electrical power engineering. Speakers will include DTE’s Tony Earley and Ford’s Nancy Gioia.

Aspen Institute Security Forum Set – As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Program, in partnership with The New York Times, will hold its second annual Aspen Security Forum, July 27-30. The Forum will bring together top-level government officials, industry leaders, and leading thinkers for three days of in-depth discussions at our Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado on the state of aviation security, maritime security, border security, mass transit security, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, counterterrorism strategy, terrorism finance, and much more. The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, is confirmed to speak at this summer’s Aspen Security Forum.  Other speakers include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and many other great security experts.

Chamber Energy Group to Host Shell CEO – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the National Chamber Foundation will hold another CEO Leadership Series luncheon event featuring Marvin E. Odum, President of Shell Oil Company, and Director of Royal Dutch Shell’s Upstream companies in the Americas on Thursday July 28th at Noon.  Odum is responsible for Shell’s exploration and production businesses in the western hemisphere, including unconventional gas and oil sands projects.

WCEE to Look at Alternative Technologies – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum at Johnny on the Half Shell on Friday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. looking at enhancing America’s energy independence through electric vehicles and other modes of clean, alternative transportation  .  It is part of WCEE’s Summer 2011 Legislative Roundtable Discussion featuring key Congressional staff involved in drafting legislation that is focused on the US goal of enhancing energy security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and the rapid promotion of clean, alternative transportation, such as electric and natural gas-powered vehicles.  This event will provide an opportunity to hear directly from, and interact with, the staff of the key authors of such legislation and to meet other experts in the field.

CIBO Meeting on Emissions Set for Portland – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will hold its Industrial Emissions Conference in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn hotel on August 1st – 4th.  Expected topics will include discussions the current policy status of Boiler MACT issues.