Energy Update: Week of May 4

Friends,

 

This weekend was a super sports weekend with the hockey and basketball playoffs, the Kentucky Derby (American Pharoah held off Firing Line and BTW see the 811 info below on AP jockey Victor Espinoza) and the big Mayweather-Pacquiao fight (Mayweather won) in Vegas.  Even after the busy sports weekend (plus all the kids’ sports events), my daughter Hannah and I did manage to slip out to Merriweather Post yesterday evening to catch the last few acts of the DC101 KerfufflePanic at the Disco (who I hadn’t heard of) offered a brilliant cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, while The Offspring was totally entertaining and super fun. (You don’t realize how many of Offspring songs you know and are big hits) But the night was capped with an unbelievable performance from one of my favorite groups Incubus, who were absolutely brilliant playing most of their classic hits.  It was a great treat.  Off to Caps-Rangers Game 3 tonight.

 

Down to Business:  After moving its first funding bill through the House early Friday morning, the lower chamber moves into a district work period this week.  The Senate remains in action though and will have a key hearing tomorrow in Senate Environment on legal implications of the new GHG rule.  Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey lead a panel of folks to discuss.

 

Other hearings in the Senate this week include a hugely-important mark up and budget hearing in the full Senate Environment Committee on Sage Grouse and other ESA items where FWS Head Dan Ashe testifies.  My colleague Eric Washburn is in the middle of these issues and can be a huge help.  As well, the Senate Small Business looks at seafood safety standards on Wednesday (my colleague Paul Nathanson can help with sources there).

 

Even though the House is out, rural coops will be fanning out on Capitol Hill during the early part of the week to talk about the EPA’s GHG plan and its impact on rural communities and electric reliability.  They will also highlight demand side management issues (including last week’s legislative victory over DOE on thermal water heaters) and focus aggressively on their expanding efforts to offer renewable energy options to the rural customers.  Also on the Hill tomorrow, our friends at Air Liquide will be among the folks spotlighted at the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Policy Forum in Rayburn.  Look for some cool vehicles…

 

Off the Hill, there are several good events including Thursday events at the Hudson Institute featuring my colleague Scott Segal as lunch keynote and American Action Forum  featuring Jeff Holmstead, both looking more closely at the EPA’s GHG plan for power plants.  Encana CEO Doug Suttles speaks at the Chamber of Commerce’s CEO series on Wednesday and CSIS hosts DOE’s Chris Smith to address the future of the SPR, with our friend Kevin Book and others on a panel following.

 

Finally this morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear FERC’s appeal of a lower court decision that supported a challenge to its 2011 “demand response” rule, known as Order No. 745.  Last year, the court said FERC had waded into state-regulated retail electricity markets too much.  Our FERC electricity experts can be helpful if you need them.

 

Have a great “Cinco de Mayo” tomorrow.   Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Court Hits EPA on Backup Generator Rule – The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said EPA must reconsider parts of a 2013 emissions rules for backup generators used in emergency demand response programs. The EPA had revised rules concerning reciprocating internal combustion engines that usually run on diesel and are used by major power users, including oil and gas facilities and industrial sites.   My colleague Scott Segal told reporters the decision is interesting and has some profound implications for the EPA Clean Power Plan.  Segal “EPA has increasingly admitted that it must address reliability concerns.  It claims to do so through some program flexibility and through multi-state plans (which it mentions over a 100 times in the proposal’s preamble).  The Agency appears also to be considering some form of safety valve.  But as almost every ISO and NERC have indicated, the Agency needs to do far more.  It needs to address the actual suggested emission rates and time frames.  Segal also adds that EPA was chastised in this case by the court for failing to coordinate with real reliability experts.  Recently, NERC released a series of scenarios that demonstrated significant reliability issues with the proposal.  Rather than thanking NERC and seeking to adopt strategies to avoid these outcomes, EPA bristled at NERC claiming that it should have kept its thoughts to itself until EPA finalizes the rule.  But of course by then all the key decisions will be made, and it will be too late.  That is just the kind of “having it both ways” that this court strongly rejected.

 

Co-Benefits Study Says EPA Rules will Improve Health – A new study in Nature Climate Change says carbon dioxide EPA’s emissions standards for power plants will influence the fuels and technologies used to generate electricity, alter emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and therefore improve ambient air quality and public health.  The report calculates about 3,500 premature deaths prevented from smog and soot reductions from the president’s clean power plan.  My colleague Scott Segal responded though saying “over the course of the last several years, the Administration has used the exact same health benefits to justify the adoption of several overlapping rules that increase the cost of energy substantially.”  Supporters of EPA rules that have little if any direct health benefit argue that the rules reduce small particle emissions and therefore produce secondary health benefits.  However, the Administration has already claimed these exact same indirect health benefits to support lots of other rules – rules dealing with air toxics, visibility, interstate emissions, and others.  That’s called double counting – and corporations get in trouble if they do that on their balance sheets,” according to Segal.  He added that EPA knows these health benefits aren’t really linear as there is a point at which the level of particles is fully protective of human health and the environment with an adequate margin of safety.

 

And Don’t Forget This Point – Segal raises on other interesting point about the study.  EPA and supporters of its rules are more than happy to double count inflated secondary benefits from their proposed rules.  However, they steadfastly refuse to consider real world human health effects associated with compliance costs and reliability impacts associated with their rules.  For example, Dr. Harvey Brenner, an internationally known epidemiologist, has estimated the relationship between unemployment, loss of income and premature mortality.  Applying that model to environmental policy that increases the cost of electricity by backing out coal, Brenner found that “the adverse impact on household income and unemployment could result in 195,000 premature deaths annually.”   But these indirect health consequences of the EPA carbon rules are not included for even studied by EPA and its supporters.

 

DOT Puts Forth New Train Regs – The Obama administration imposed tougher safety regulations Friday for trains carrying crude oil, responding to growing alarm about the spread of oil-by-rail traffic and a series of fiery derailments across the U.S. and Canada.  The rules include tougher construction standards for rail tank cars made after October 1st, requirements for phasing out older cars as soon as January 2018, mandates for using advanced brakes and permanent versions of the speed limits that DOT had previously announced.  My colleague and rail transport expert Lowell Rothschild said the proposed rule strikes a balance – it imposes significant enhancement to rail car reliability – both in terms of car sturdiness and electronic braking – that are on the high end of that proposed (and even a bit beyond that probably envisioned by industry).  But, on the other side, the rule recognizes the logistical difficulties (and cost) associated with the improvements, giving industry a longer period to make the changes than originally proposed.  In particular, it allows the 1232 cars currently in service to operate for a considerable period of time before upgrading, apparently recognizing the investment industry has made in these cars and (presumably), their general reliability.

 

Co-ops, Public Power Welcome EPA Small Biz Review for GHG Rules – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) have urged EPA to initiate a full Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) process for the federal implementation plan for the 111(d) proposed regulation and now the agency has agreed to conduct it.  NRECA head Jo Ann Emerson said the co-ops welcome news that the EPA will hold a small business review panel for the GHG reg for power plans.  Emerson: “We strongly urge that it be a comprehensive process to fully understand the impact that the federal implementation plan will have on small businesses. 62% of electric generation and transmission cooperatives qualify as small business entities and stand to experience enormous challenges, if not closure, from this regulation. It is imperative EPA fully and completely hear from all small entity parties as to the impact of this regulation before finalizing the rule.”  APPA represents many small government entities that own or operate boilers, integrated gasification combined cycle systems, or combustion turbines that may be subject to this rule.   APPA President Sue Kelly said it is only fair that EPA give public power utilities that qualify as small businesses an opportunity to be heard.  Kelly: “Imposing undue burdens on these not-for-profit entities will adversely impact their ability to provide reliable electricity at affordable rates.”  APPA and NRECA submitted letters to the EPA requesting a SBAR on April 3 and 29, respectively.

 

Southern Adds More Solar With North Star Project – The Southern Company has surpassed 1,000MW of renewable energy development with the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 60-MW North Star Solar Facility in California from First Solar. First Solar will build, operate and maintain the North Star Solar Facility. Construction began in July 2014, and the plant is expected to enter commercial operation this June. The facility is expected to be capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of more than 21,000 average homes.  Southern Power’s fifth solar acquisition in California, the North Star Solar Facility will be located on 626 acres in Fresno County and is expected to consist of approximately 750,000 of First Solar’s thin-film photovoltaic solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables. This is the first facility in Fresno County for Southern Power and First Solar.

 

811 Derby Jockey Brings Home Roses for Second Straight Year – For the second year in a row, jockey Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby – terrific feat for him and his sponsor, Call 811.  811 is a national number for people to call to locate utility lines before beginning any digging project, no matter how small. Espinoza has been very supportive of this cause, wearing 811 gear, on and off the track and recording this video.  Last year, he rode California Chrome to a victory in the Preakness as well while sporting the 811 logo.  A utility line is damaged once every eight minutes in the United States due to excavation. Striking a single line can cause injury and outages, and incur repair costs and fines. In fact, excavation damage remains the leading cause of pipeline incidents in the United States.  AGA, INGAA and others are sponsors of the 811 program

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

BPC to Feature Governor Senators – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold the next installment of its Agenda Setters Series tomorrow morning featuring former governors and current senators, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD).  In a candid conversation with BPC’s Jason Grumet, the sitting senators will reflect on lessons learned from their tenures as governors, as well as offer their unique perspectives and current goals for the 114th Congress.  Launched in tandem with the start of the new Congress, the Agenda Setters series explores timely, compelling and impactful issues in policymaking and politics for 2015. Each series segment highlights leaders and decision-makers putting forth innovative thinking about how to solve present day challenges.

 

Senate to Hear Legal Issues on GHG Rule – A Senate Environment Committee panel will hold a hearing on the legal issues surrounding the Administration’s GHG plan for power plants.  West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt , former EPA officials Roger Martella and Lisa Heinzerling and Maryland PSC Chair Kelly Speakes-Backman will testify.

 

Forum to Look at Oil, Venezuela, China – On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the Carnegie Institute will hold a forum looking at ties between China and Venezuela.  Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, and the United States and China are the world’s largest oil importers, yet Venezuela’s relations with Beijing and Washington couldn’t be more different. China has built a massive state-to-state, loans-for-oil relationship with Venezuela, while U.S. oil imports from the country continue to decline as diplomatic ties further fray.  Matt Ferchen will present his findings from his recent Carnegie article, Crude Complications: Venezuela, China, and the United States, and Francisco Gonzalez will offer comments. He is a resident scholar at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, where he runs the China and the Developing World Program.

 

Air Liquide Vehicle Expert to Speak at Fuel Cell, Hydrogen Forum – The 2015 Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Policy Forum will be held tomorrow  at 11:30 a.m. in B-340 Rayburn.  The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association is co-hosting  lunch briefing with the House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus.  Industry representatives will provide updates on the latest fuel cell advancements, Discussion will cover fuel cell electric vehicles, hydrogen infrastructure, stationary fuel cell power, materials handling, and backup power.  Speakers our friend Andrew Temple of Air Liquide, as well as Bloom Energy’s Jon Powers, Gerry Conway of Plug Power and Toyota’s Charlie Ing.

 

Encana CEO Headline Chamber Event – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will continue its CEO Leadership Series Wednesday at Noon with a luncheon featuring Doug Suttles, President and CEO of Encana. The energy renaissance, brought on by innovation in the American oil and gas industry, has positioned the United States once again as a global energy superpower. Suttles will discuss the value that domestic production of oil and natural gas brings to the country and local communities. He will highlight the importance of infrastructure and lifting the 40-year old crude oil export ban to realizing the full benefits of the oil and gas renaissance.

 

Senate Enviro Holds Fish/Wildlife Budget Hearing, Markup – The Senate Environment will hold a budget hearing on the US Fish and Wildlife’s budget where USFWS head Dan Ashe will testify.  At the hearing, the Committee will also mark up several pieces of legislation aimed at increasing transparency regarding the ESA process.   One is legislation by Sen. Cory Gardner to delay any FWS listing of the sage grouse for at least six years in Western states that have proposed their own sage grouse conservation plans.  My colleague Eric Washburn is in the middle of these discussions and can be a huge help.

 

RFF to Host Forum on Environment, Jobs – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar at 12:45 p.m. on how environmental policies impact employment.  RFF researchers recently developed a new model to more accurately study how environmental regulation affects employment and unemployment. At this event, they will join a panel of experts to discuss the new RFF model, the challenges of measuring the impacts of regulation on unemployment, and the implications of the research results for future environmental regulations and jobs.  Presenters will include RFF’s Richard Morgenstern and Roberton Williams with additional panelists including Anne Smith of NERA and CBO’s Terry Dinan.

 

DOE Fossil Head to Talk SPR – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Christopher Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at DOE, on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to deliver a keynote address on the future of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), and current Department of Energy work on the functionality and strategic purpose of the SPR.   Following the keynote, an expert panel will further discuss how the SPR is designed to work as well as domestic policy challenges and prospects for reform of the SPR. Additionally, the panel will examine global strategic stocks systems, and current positions in the changing global crude and product supply system. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the groups which includes DOE’s Bob Corbin, Martin Tallett of EnSys Energy, IEA’s Martin Young and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners.

 

Senate Small Biz to Look at Seafood Safety – The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee will hold a Wednesday hearing at 2:30 p.m. on the Food and Drug Administration’s role in ensuring that imported seafood meets U.S. safety standards.  Witnesses will include FDA’s Steven Solomon and Assistant Labor Secretary Portia Wu of the Employment and Training Administration.

 

Indian Spiritual Leader to Address Climate, Himalayas – The Organization for Asian Studies will be hosting a conversation at GWU’s Elliot School at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday with His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Lineage, one of the main schools of Buddhism. This discussion will focus on the effects of climate change on the ecology of the Himalayas and the challenges the region faces.  Drukpa is a humanitarian and the spiritual head of the Drukpa Lineage, one of the main schools of Buddhism. He is the founder of Live to Love International, a global network of non-profit organizations focusing on developing sustainable solutions in the areas of environmental preservation, disaster relief and aid, education, medical services, and heritage preservation. In 2010, he received a United Nations Millennium Development Goals Award in recognition of his work throughout the Himalayas as well as the Green Hero Award, given by the President of India. He is currently working with the Observer Research Foundation, a think-tank in India, on an initiative called The Future of the Himalayas, to raise discussion on the strategic, ecological, and cultural importance of the Himalayas.

 

DOE Official to Address Efficiency – The ACCO Climate & Energy Roundtable Series continues on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. hen DOE’s Kathleen Hogan speaks to the group.  The Series is a bi-monthly roundtable featuring discussions on critical climate change and energy initiatives in a town hall format.

 

Segal Headlines Hudson Fuels, Energy Forum – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on Thursday starting at 9:00 a.m.  The day-long conference will address the critical economic, political, and technological issues surrounding future fuels and their impact on America’s energy security. My Bracewell colleague Scott Segal will be the Luncheon speaker and John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil Company, will deliver the keynote address.  Panelists will discuss the lessons the U.S. can learn from other countries—and from its own automotive industry—in transitioning to alcohol fuels for vehicles and evaluate the risks and opportunities on the road ahead for a future fuel-driven transportation system. Panelists will also shed new light on the steps policymakers can take to create a common competitive market for future fuels that preserves the advantages of the free market while embracing technological breakthroughs.  Other speakers along with Segal and Hofmeister include DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, GM biofuels manager Coleman Jones, Oak Ridge National Labs Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center Deputy Director Brian West, John Eichberger  of the National Association of Convenience Store Owners, Methanol Institute CEO Greg Dolan and many more.

 

Sen Alexander, Holmstead lead Forum on EPA, Financial Reg Reform Issues – The American Action Forum is holding an event on Thursday looking at regulatory reform that will offer a broad analysis of options in the areas of health care, EPA, and financial services.   The event will start with keynote remarks from Senator Lamar Alexander and move to a panel of experts that can shed light on the regulatory processes in each area and offer a critique of how that process might be improved. We’re envisioning opening remarks from each panelist followed by a discussion moderated by Doug Holtz-Eakin and a member of the press.    My Colleague Jeff Holmstead will join the panel on the Clean Power Plan, while BRT’s Mike Ryan will discuss financial services.  Finally, my old friend Mark Merritt, President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, will discuss health care regs.

 

DOE’s Kenderdine to Talk QER – On Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on the DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). At this special event, QER lead framer and coordinator Melanie Kenderdine, Counselor to the US Secretary of Energy and Director, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at DOE, will discuss the main findings and recommendations of the first annual QER installment.

 

Honorable, NERC Head to Speak at BPC Event – On Friday morning, the Bipartisan Policy Committee will hold forum at the National Press Club on the reliability mechanisms for the Clean Power Plan. Over the past few months, FERC held a series of technical conferences across the country to explore the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. While FERC’s technical conferences covered a broad array of issues, reliability emerged as a key topic. Two reliability-related proposals in particular were discussed by a number of speakers: the reliability assurance mechanism (RAM) and the reliability safety valve (RSV). These mechanisms have been proposed by several stakeholders in their comments to the EPA, including the ISO/RTO Council, PJM, Ameren, and others. Stakeholders have proposed that FERC play a significant role in implementing either or both of these mechanisms.  Following on from the questions and issues raised during FERC’s technical conferences, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will host a half-day technical workshop in Washington, D.C. to delve into the details of designing and implementing an RSV and/or RAM, and FERC’s potential role in implementing these mechanisms.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, NERC head Gerry Cauley, Kentucky Public Service Commission James Gardner (NARUC Vice Chair), NRDC’s John Moore and former DOE official Sue Tierney.

 

Draft Report on Health, Climate to Be Discussed – On Friday, the National Research Council will review a draft interagency report on the impacts of climate change on human health.  HEI’s Dan Greenbaum will lead the discussion.

 

Forum to Discuss Driverless Cars – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings and the U.S. Department of State will convene industry experts and research scientists to discuss how the United States and Germany, two of the world’s leading markets for advanced automobiles, are leveraging research and development to promote innovation and inform regulation of driverless cars. Panelists will also explore the balance between competition and cooperation when transforming the global technological landscape for next generation automobiles.  Speakers will include State’s Jonathan Margolis and several others.  Last week, SAFE board members Michael Granoff and Olaf Sakkers addressed this topic in an op-ed in the Detroit News.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

US, China Renewable Energy Industry Forum Set – Next week in Washington, DC, ACORE will host the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industry Forum will convene private and public sector leaders from the U.S. and Chinese renewable energy industries on project financing and cross-border investment.

 

Forum Looks at NatGas, Low Prices – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion next Monday at 3:00 p.m. on how low oil prices have impacted fracking and the shale boom in the United States and the potential for fracking to spread across the globe and succeed in Europe and countries like Mexico, Argentina, and China.  Panelists include Subash Chandra, Managing Director and Senior Equity Analyst at Guggenheim Partners, Dr. Terry Engelder, Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University, known as the “Father of Fracking”, and Russell Gold, Senior Energy Reporter at the Wall Street Journal and author of The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Cynthia Quarterman, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, will moderate the discussion.

 

Energy Efficiency Forum Set – Next week at the Walter Washington Convention Center in DC, EE Global’s 2015 Energy Efficiency Global Forum will be held to convene hundreds of energy efficiency influencers for two-days of unparalleled discussion and networking aimed at driving actionable plans for the next generation of energy efficiency.  EE Global hand selects high caliber industry professionals, academics and policy makers looking to exchange the latest technology and information forge partnerships and develop “best practices” policies and strategies for global implementation of energy efficiency.

 

Forum to Look at Costs of Divesture – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to focus on a new study on fossil divesture issues.  As opponents of oil and gas development continue to urge colleges and universities to divest their endowments of fossil-fuel related stocks, a new study suggests the costs associated with adopting such policies are real and enormous. Authored by Professor Daniel R. Fischel, president of Compass Lexecon and a professor emeritus of law and business at the University of Chicago Law School, this first-of-its-kind report compares two investment portfolios over a 50-year period: one that included energy-related stocks, and another that did not.  Based on those models, Prof. Fischel and his team found the costs of divestment will result in the displacement of billions annually from school endowments that could be otherwise used to improve services, enhance academic programs, and provide support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, all while having no discernible effect on the companies actually being targeted by these divestment policies.

 

ANGA to Look at Energy Infrastructure – On Thursday morning, May 14th, ANGA will hold a forum on the energy infrastructure.  Our nation’s pipeline infrastructure must be expanded and modernized—to power growth and economic opportunity in industrial/manufacturing corridors and bring the many benefits of clean, affordable, domestic energy to communities across our country.

 

FERC’s LaFleur to Address Energy Breakfast – On Friday, May 15th at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, ICF International holds another Energy and Environment Breakfast that hosts former FERC Chair and current commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.  She will discuss FERC’s agenda—one of the key fulcrums of the energy universe today.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Production Issues – On Friday, May 15th at Noon, the Cato Institute will hold a forum on energy production and natgas. Since 2008, oil production has more than doubled and natural gas production is up about 24 percent, according to the Energy Information Agency. Advances in technology have driven this remarkable achievement. Three major techniques that have revolutionized both onshore and offshore oil and gas production are directional drilling, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” In addition, offshore drilling in a record 10,500 feet of water — and then through thousands of feet of sediment below the seafloor — has been made possible by radical new advances in offshore platform technology tied in with global positioning software. These advances in technology have required considerable capital investment that would have been less likely in a nation constrained by a cap-and-trade or carbon-tax system.  The forum will look at recent successes in energy production and their implications for public policy and features Ned Mamula, Petroleum Geologist, formerly with the U.S. Geological Survey, Minerals Management Service, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

 

Driving Energy Efficiency With IT – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a morning forum on Monday, May 18th that will brings together state, city and business leaders to explore implementing EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan through energy efficiency, and how information technologies can help, in the second of a three-part clean power series. Speakers include PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo; Jessica Burdette, Minnesota Department of Commerce Conservation Improvement Program Supervisor; Alyssa Caddle, Principle Program Manager of EMC’s Office of Sustainability; Rick Counihan, Nest Head of Energy Regulatory and Government Affairs; Katherine Gajewski, City of Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability; Steve Harper, Intel Corporation Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy; and Nate Hurst, HP Global Director of Sustainability and Social Innovation

 

EIA Annual Energy Conference Set – EIA will hold its 2015 Energy Conference on June 15 – 16th in Washington, DC.  Keynote Speakers will DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, Mexican Energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, among others.

 

Bay, Clark, Moeller Headline Utility Commissioners Education Forum – The 20th Annual Education Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) will be held on June 21 – 24 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Virginia.  Speakers will include former Senator/Governor Evan Bayh, FERC Commissioners Norman Bay, Tony Clark and Philip Moeller, NARUC President and Florida PSC Chair Lisa Edgar, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell, PSE&G President  Ralph LaRossa, and American Water Works CEO Susan Story.

 

Energy CyberSecurity Forum Set for Houston – The 3rd Annual Cyber Security for Oil and Gas Summit will be held in Houston on June 22-24th.  The event brings together the oil and gas industry to address critical concerns and trends with regard to the development of cyber security practices.  The complex nature of cyberattacks and those specifically levied against the oil and gas industry have been increasing over the years and while the industry is well prepared, continuous improvement is always necessary to maintain an edge on the nefarious actors working against the industry.

Energy Update Week of January 21

Friends,

A short week after yesterday’s MLK holiday, expected to be slowed by some winter storm activity and cold.  After the polar vortex, I thought we might have been in the clear since college lacrosse teams are already starting practices.  But no such luck I think looking at today’s weather forecast/radar.

Our weekend was buoyed by a visit to see the new Panda cub at the National Zoo.  It was crowded but pretty exciting.  Here is the panda cam link should you want to check in on Bao Bao.

The Washington Auto show kicks off this week with some policy follow up to last week’s NAIAS Detroit Show.  All the muscle cars and the policy wonkness in one place.  Sounds like dream for a kid from Detroit that has spent the second half of his life in DC’s policy circles…  Am I talking about Dave Shepardson or myself???

Also two events this week on Arctic issues including our friends at the Bipartisan Policy Commission, who are hosting a major forum on tight oil supply on Thursday and a CSIS/UN Environmental Program event on the future of the Arctic on Wednesday.

Perhaps though, the most important event of the week is Friday’s environmental policy press forum at the Wilson Center hosted by our friends at the Society of Environmental Journalists.  It features real environmental media experts like NYT report Coral Davenport, Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, C&EN’s Cheryl Hogue and former NYT science expert Andy Revkin, among others. Bloomberg BNA Larry Pearl will moderate.

Finally on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and Environmental (WCEE) will hosts its January Happy Hour at the Bar at the Mayflower Hotel.  It is a good group that does a number of great events so I hope if you are interested you will join them.

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Ivanpah Featured in Solar Expansion Story – With all the discussion of solar in the media last week (remember, I focused on the glass half vs. glass half approaches in the LAT and CNBC), The Washington Post ran an excellent, balanced and significant A1 story on solar projects starting to come on in the West.  The report featured a look at the BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project (where reported Lenny Bernstein visited) and not only had some cool pictures, but a nicely done info graphic (kudos to the Post’s designers for that one.

SAFE Commission on Energy, Geopolitics Releases Oil Security 2025 – Securing America’s Future Energy’s Commission on Energy and Geopolitics released its inaugural report last week.  Oil Security 2025: U.S. National Security Policy in an Era of Domestic Oil Abundance is the first product to be released in association with SAFE’s new P.X. Kelley Center for Energy Security. We are proud to provide you with some of the top broadcast coverage of the Commission, including interviews on CNBC and MSNBC, as well as print articles covering the report’s release by leading investigative reporters in oil and petroleum politics. We hope you enjoy the report and coverage, and thank you for your continued support of SAFE and our work to improve America’s energy security.

Nebraska Files CCS, NSPS Lawsuit – The state of Nebraska is filing suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas standards for new power plants.   “The impossible standards imposed by the EPA will ensure no new power plants are built in Nebraska,” Attorney General Jon Bruning said.  “This federal agency continues to overstep its authority at the detriment of Nebraska businesses.”  Bruning’s challenge comes under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which prohibits the EPA from considering federally-funded projects when determining the appropriate form of control technology. Contrary to the Act, the EPA proposed greenhouse gas standards based on three inoperable coal plants which have received more than $2.5 billion in federal subsidies. The EPA referenced the inoperable plants as evidence to support Carbon Capture and Storage technology should be the standard for all new coal plants.  A copy of the complaint can be found here.

B&G Launches ShalePlay App – In response to the shale energy boom taking place in the United States and around the world, Bracewell & Giuliani has launched the ShalePlay app. Powered by the firm’s energy law and environmental law attorneys and government relations professionals, the ShalePlay app is the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive resource on news and information related to shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, including the latest industry trends and updates.  With oil and gas production near record levels as a result of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a drilling technique that frees trapped hydrocarbons by injecting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock, this free app will prove vital to companies and individuals interested in keeping up to date with developments in the sector.  The ShalePlay app includes 1) News aggregated from a variety of key sources’ 2) Legislation/regulation

Shale studies, 3) Interactive map of shale plays, 4) Glossary of common terms, 5) Historical timeline of hydraulic fracturing, 6) Analysis from Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys.  The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. An Android version will be available in the first half of 2014.

FOIA Documents Hit EPA, Sierra Club Over Coordination – A 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), has produced several hundred documents affirming an uncomfortably close working relationship between the current EPA officials and environmental activists in their effort to undercut energy resources, particularly coal.  Mostly e-mails between EPA top officials and the Sierra Club, the records illustrate how certain EPA employees with backgrounds working for green pressure groups serve as liaisons to those groups in advancing a shared agenda. Other documents affirm the close advisory role the pressure groups play in key EPA actions, like EPA’s recently published New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal-fired plants.

How Are They Working Together – The collaboration takes place in many forms: emails providing, e.g., a list of coal plants the green groups insist any EPA standards block from coming or staying on-line, meetings at EPA and at the green groups’ offices where EPA comes to brief them, frequent conference calls, and at the Starbucks at Washington’s J.W. Marriott, across the street from EPA.  The latter is reminiscent of the Caribou Coffee revelations about this most transparent, White House, in history arranging off-site meetings with other lobbyists to avoid signing them in to the building. Numerous other emails show close collaboration on EPA public hearings to generate support for the rule.

Who’s Mostly Involved – The e-mails show the central players to be two EPA officials who worked in the agency’s policy office at the time of the e-mails, Michael Goo (former legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who left EPA for a senior Department of Energy post), Alex Baron, and EPA senior counsel Joe Goffman (a former EDF lawyer).  They all work closely with John Coequyt, who heads the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.  In one e-mail Coequyt sent to Goo and Barron, he said, “Attached is a list of plants that companies said were shelved because of uncertainty around GHG [greenhouse gas] regulations.  If a standard is set that these plants could meet, there is a small chance that they [sic] company could decide to revive the proposal.”  Coequyt is clearly signaling that that if the EPA sets achievable standards, proposed power plants on hold as the new standards are developed could ultimately be built, which is contrary to his group’s agenda.

Who to Call for More Info, Copies of E-mails – The actions have been spearheaded by FOIA gadfly Chris Horner, Counsel to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), formerly the American Tradition Institute.   Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.  For More info, you can call Craig Richardson at Richardson@eelegal.org; 703-981-5553.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BGov Holds Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will held Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing this morning.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Ritter, Zichal, Esty to Discuss New Report on Energy – Colorado State’s Center for the New Energy Economy led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Tuesday will discuss a new report this morning at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. The report provides a guide to removing or restructuring legal, economic and regulatory barriers to clean energy and climate action. The plan is designed to unleash private capital and unshackle state governments and would require no action from Congress.  Over the past few days, officials representing the executive branch have been briefed on a new plan to push climate and energy policy forward in the United States.  Speakers will include Ritter, former White House Climate advisor Heather Zichal, Connecticut DEP head and former Yale Climate expert Dan Esty and former DOE official Sue Tierney.

Sen. Small Biz Field Hearing to Look at Impacts on Domestic Production – In one of her final hearings as chair, Mary Landrieu will hold a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing today at 3:00 p.m. in Lafayette, LA to discuss empowering small businesses to impact domestic production.  Witnesses will include API’s Stephen Comstock, Gigi Lazenby of Bretagne,  Southwestern Energy’s Jennifer Stewart, Lee Jackson of Jackson Offshore Operators, PerPetro Energy’s  Joe LeBlanc, and Stephen Landry of Ernst & Young.

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. After four hearing last week, they continue in Washington County Wednesday, Indiana County on Thursday and Wyoming County next Monday.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show in Detroit launched last week in Detroit with a flood of public officials and parties.  Vice President Biden, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy all attended last week.  The public show runs through Sunday of this week.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference today from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar today at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Program to Look at Energy, Environment in Turkmenistan The Central Asia Program at IERES will host a forum tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412 to discuss environment, human rights, and oil development in Turkmenistan.  Kate Watters, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Crude Accountability will discuss the links between environmental and human rights violations and oil and gas development in Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most opaque and authoritarian countries. She will focus on the various responses of international financial institutions, multi-national oil companies and western governments to Turkmenistan’s official policies, and discuss the role of civil society in highlighting and uncovering environmental and human rights abuses.

CSIS to Host Arctic Forum – Center for Strategic and International Studies and the United Nations Environment Program will hold the second session of its Arctic Speaker Series forum on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. aimed at understanding the 21st Century Arctic.  The series is designed to provide important information on critical political, environmental, economic, and governance developments in the Arctic.  This particular session will gather leading environmental scientists and U.S. government officials to examine the dramatic environmental changes confronting the Arctic region and their implications for Arctic and non-Arctic states alike.  The expert panel will address what the environmental, economic, and security consequences of the rapidly melting ice in the High North could be and how the phenomenon affect Arctic and non-Arctic actors.  Speakers will be OSTP’s Brendan Kelly, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan W. White and United States Arctic Research Commission advisor Martin Jeffries.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on  Wednesday through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

McCarthy to Head to World Economic Forum in Davos – The World Economic Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday through Saturday and why wide-ranging in its issues scope, it will likely touch on environmental and energy issues.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be there to highlight President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and discuss the business and economic opportunities that come from addressing climate change.

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker at the University Club to address a wide range of topics pertinent to DOE’s current and future roles, including energy policy and systems analysis office, quadrennial energy review and the President’s climate action plan.  Additional discussion topics include new energy technologies, the impact of expanded oil and gas production, and grid reliability.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

SEIA will Host “Shout Out” Day on Social Media – On Friday, the Solar Energy Industry Association will host its National “Shout Out For Solar” Day. Supported by both business and environmental groups, hundreds of thousands of people from across the United States and around the world are expected to take part in the event taking place on Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues. The event coincides with SEIA’s 40th anniversary as a national trade association and the “voice” of solar energy in America.  It will also mark the launch of a new “America Supports Solar” campaign, which will highlight solar energy’s explosive growth across the United States, as well as its record-shattering year in 2013.  It’s estimated that the U.S. now has 13 gigawatts of installed solar capacity – enough to power more than 2 million American homes.  What’s more, when all of the numbers are in, solar is expected to account for more new electric capacity in the U.S. in 2013 than any other renewable energy source. To participate: 1. Take a picture with your sign
2. Upload your picture to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #GoSolar.  Today, there are nearly 120,000 Americans employed by the U.S. solar industry at more than 6,100 American companies.  While 2013 was a record-breaking year, 2014 may be even better, with 30 percent growth being forecast. Part of this unprecedented growth is due to the fact that the average price of a solar system has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2010, benefitting consumers, businesses, schools and government entities.

JHU Forum to Discuss GHGs from Cars – The Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies program hosts an event on Friday at 4:30 p.m. featuring Antonio Bento, associate professor with the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.  Bento will discuss “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles: Evidence from Programs around the World”.

  

FUTURE EVENTS

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

Alt Fuels Workshops Set for Next Week at DC Auto Show – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition and the Washington Auto Show are partnering Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30 to provide alternative fuels training, workshops, and panels during this year’s show. This represents the first time that the Coalition is partnering with the Auto Show in this way, and we will be providing alternative fuels training, panels, and workshops relevant to the needs of fleets and organizations in our region.

The agenda is available here.

Conference to Look at Science, Climate Solutions – The 14th  National Conference & Global Forum on Science, Policy & the Environment will be held on Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  Over 1,200 key individuals from many fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to climate change.  The conference will be organized around two areas: [1] The Built Environment; and, [2] Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Forum to Look at 2014 Energy Choices – The American Security Project will host a forum on Tuesday, January 28th at 8:30 a.m. to look at America’s Energy Choices for 2014.  The way America uses and produces energy remains a hotly debated issue in Washington and around the country. We will discuss the various energy choices available to the United States currently and in the years to come.  A range of speakers from across multiple energy producing industries will be announced shortly.

Krosnick, Sharp to Discuss Climate Public Attitudes – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing Tuesday, January 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 2325 Rayburn discussing American perceptions of climate change following a new in-depth survey conducted in December by Resources for the Future, Stanford University, and USA Today. For the first time, the survey explored in detail the public’s attitudes toward generating electricity from various sources and its attitude toward fracking in particular.  Speakers will include Stanford’s  Jon Krosnick and RFF President Phil Sharp.  Initial results from the survey were featured in the December 20 issue of USA Today, but Dr. Krosnick will present a wide array of additional results, including whether the public believes climate change has been happening, what should and should not be done about it, whether the public supports or opposes specific government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and more. RFF President Phil Sharp will discuss the poll results in the context of the current U.S. climate and energy policy landscape.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Energy Happy Hour Set – The Leaders in Energy LinkedIn and CSRinDC (Corporate Social Responsibility) Meetup group will be co-hosting their professional networking Happy Hour on Tuesday, January 28th at 6:00 p.m. at the Banana Cafe & Piano Bar.  The mission of the Leaders in Energy group is to gather people together who delight in thinking about, discussing, and collaborating on energy, environmental and sustainability topics.

IEA Coal Report to be Released at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will release the IAE’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report from 2013 in Wednesday January 29th.  The event will feature Keisuke Sadamori, Director for Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present IEA’s Report. The report, part of the IEA’s Medium-Term Reports series, provides IEA forecasts on coal markets for the coming five years as well as an in-depth analysis of recent developments in global coal demand, supply, and trade.  This third annual report shows that while coal continues to be a growing source of primary energy worldwide, its future is increasingly tied to developments in non-OECD countries, led by China. The current low prices for coal add a new challenge to the sector, which is facing uncertainty due to increasing environmental legislation and competition from other fuels, like US shale gas or European renewables. The report addresses significant questions including whether depressed prices for coal will boost the fuel’s consumption; if other developing countries will follow in China’s footsteps by increasingly relying on coal to fuel economic growth; and, above all, whether the strong growth of coal in China will continue between now and 2018. Jane Nakano, Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Fusion Power to Be Focus of Forum – The American Security Project will host a forum on Wednesday, January 29th at Noon in 2325 Rayburn (House Energy/Commerce) focused on fusion power.  Sustainable and controlled fusion power has been a dream for the scientific community for decades. However, recent advances in research and technology have raised hopes that fusion could become a new source of electricity. U.S. ITER Project Office Director Ned Sauthoff will discuss the topic with a panel.

RFF Event to Look at Forest, GHG Management – Resources for the Future will host an event on Wednesday, January 29th 12:30 p.m. in its First Floor Conference Center on the contributions of forest on GHG management. Responsible management of temperate forests in the United States can play an important and ongoing role in climate change mitigation at a national and international scale. This RFF Seminar, co-sponsored by Resources for the Future and the Society of American Foresters, will delve into some of the questions that surround carbon accounting and forest management. The event, moderated by RFF Senior Fellow Roger Sedjo, will feature presentations by David Cleaves, explaining the integral role of the US Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Program in determining carbon stocks; William Stewart, describing the results of new research comparing best practices and regulators’ assumptions about the carbon profiles of managed forests and the harvested products from such forests in northern California; and Robert Malmsheimer, discussing the recent work of the SAF’s Carbon Accounting Team to dissect the latest science underlying these discussions.

Forum, Report to Look at Arctic Energy – The Canada Institute, the Kennan Institute, and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program will launch of “In Search of Arctic Energy” on Wednesday, January 29th at 1:00 p.m.  The program will discuss the findings of the new paper and delve into the implications that arctic energy exploration will have for the region and the globe’s energy economy.  Speakers will include Mikkal Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research, Chevron’s Bill Scott, RFF’s Joel Darmstadter and State of Alaska State-Federal Relations Director Kip Knudson, among others.

Forum to Discuss Energy Security Book – Georgetown University will host a book launch Wednesday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. in the Mortara Building Boardroom to celebrate the recent publication of Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition  (co-editors Jan Kalicki and David Goldwyn) by Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press.  Goldwyn, Kalicki, Dr. Raad Alkadiri and Dr. Brenda Shaffer will also join in a panel discussion.

USDA Industry Day to Focus on Biofuels – The USDA will host an industry day on Thursday, January 30th for the newly established Farm to Fleet program. Under the Navy Biofuels program established through the Defense Production Act Title III, the USDA is required to support one-third of the total $510 million program. Through the Farm to Fleet program, the USDA will commit Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to purchase 70 million gallons of JP-5 or F-76 fuel for the Navy from biofuel blends ranging up to 50 percent. If biofuels meeting these specifications have a higher cost than the bulk fuel purchase made by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), CCC funds will be used to offset this price difference and result in an overall price-equivalent biofuel portion of the total 700 million gallons of JP-5 and F-76 to be purchased in this round of contracts.  The Industry Day will include discussions on which feedstocks are eligible or preferred, as well as partnerships between experienced biofuel developers who have worked with the Navy, Air Force, or DLA and traditional suppliers of bulk fuel contracts. Sample contracts may become available as soon as this month.

EEI, ELI to Host GHG Emissions Conference – The Edison Electric Institute and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a day-long conference on Thursday, January 30th to look at GHG regulations. As you know, the President aims at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 by using Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to reduce both new and existing power plant greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of implementing regulations before the end of his term in office.  The legal issues inherent in undertaking this task are extremely complex with significant economic, environmental, and social implications. And the timetable laid out by the President is extremely ambitious.  This conference brings together top experts in the field of energy and environmental law to discuss the legal hurdles and possibilities as well as the real-world ramifications of using Section 111 to address power plant greenhouse gas emissions.  Discussion leaders will focus on the legal uncertainties EPA and power producers will face as well as the day-to-day implications these regulations and the regulatory uncertainty will have for power producers, users, and state regulators as this new regulatory regime is constructed.  In a wrap up session, panelists will discuss relevant legislative history and review likely legal arguments to be made in response to and in support of proposed GHG rules for the power sector.

Senate to Tackle Crude Exports – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, January 30th to examine opportunities and challenges associated with lifting the ban on United States crude oil exports.  Already, Senator Murkowski has made several important speeches on the topic, which is fast becoming an issue of importance.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependent on Russia, as well as politically-independent transit states. Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (oligarchs), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependent on Russia, as well as politically-independent transit states. Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (oligarchs), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

ELI Panel to Look at 2014 Enviro Agenda – The Environmental Law Institute will hold an ELI Research Seminar on February 5th to discuss of what effects the next Obama Administration will have on environmental law, policy, and practice in 2014. Four expert practitioners will have an “inside-baseball” discussion about upcoming policies and regulatory agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Interior, among other regulatory agencies.  Panelists will include former EPA GC Scott Fulton, former White House CEQ expert Gary Guzy, former FERC enforcement expert Sheila Slocum Hollis and Bill Meadows of the Wilderness Society.

NASEO Policy Outlook Conference Set for DC – The National Assn of state Energy Officials will hold its 2014 Energy Policy Outlook Conference at the Fairmont on February 4th through 7th.   The conference will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future.   The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.  Our energy system is being stressed in order to meet complex operational demands, such as grid integration, shifts in resources and energy flows, cybersecurity, and an infusion of digital technologies across every sector of the economy.

NARUC Winter Meetings Set – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will host its Winter Meetings on February 9th through 12th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Speakers will Include Sens. Lamar Alexander, Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Pryor, as well as EPRI CEO Mike Howard, among others.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20th, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on February 27th and 28th in Boulder.  People from different disciplines and backgrounds will discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future.  Speakers will include Jeff Bingaman, former Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and U.S. Senator from New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Designate Michael Connor, former Governor of Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, former Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Ken Salazar.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel. Against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders – on fuel choices.

Energy Update Week of January 13

Friends,

Last night, the Golden Globes were entertaining…And out just in time for the 11:00 news.  I thought the winners were a good mix that showed what a quality year it was for film and TV.  The funniest part of the excellent low-key hosting from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was watching Poehler make out with Bono.  How great are the members of U2 to still be such important players on our cultural and political scene after all these years.  Pretty impressive.

Many people are focus on the chemical spill in West Virginia.  While some in the enviro community played their usual political theater, our friend David Biello at Scientific American has a terrific, matter-of-fact piece that discusses the issue and the potential hazards.

The Senate jumps back in this week with a hearing on the President’s Climate Plan on Thursday as a birthday gift to me.  While I love going to EPW to celebrate, unfortunately some of the expert witnesses are scientists like Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, so who knows what they will be saying about the President’s Policy.  Usually, most scientists will steer clear of the policy game (in the past, Curry has tended not to be one of them).  Of course, that may be a bit of the plan for Chairwoman Boxer, if our past experience of these climate hearings bears out.

In town this week, we continue the 2014 preview events after last week’s Chamber of Commerce and API speeches.  On the docket, the US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy group will roll out Energy Works For US, its new plan to move the energy revolution forward on Wednesday.  That same day, ACCCE/Real Clear Politics holds a 2014 energy preview and Black & Veatch releases its Electricity Market Perspective in the evening.  The US Energy Assn’s State of the Energy Industry event will be at the Press Club on Thursday afternoon.   Finally, given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 a.m. Friday meeting hosted by DOT and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will look at current and future research projects.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit opens today with previews for press, government officials before public opening tomorrow. Earlier talk is focused on EVs and lighter weight material use, such as aluminum, in additional to the usual concept cars and product lines.  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx attends today with Vice President Biden, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy attending later in the week.  Of course, they will also play a bigger role later this month when the products move to DC for the Washington Auto show, which has become the auto policy version of the Detroit Product show.   Speaking of Auto Policy, keep your eyes peeled for a BGov even next Tuesday on the subject.

 

Finally, in case you missed it last week, I am re-sending the top 14 issues for 2014.  Call with questions.

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

 

Top 14 Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  Its availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

Rockefeller, Wyden Look for Rail Investigation on Oil Incidents – In the wake of a series of explosive train derailments containing crude oil – including two in the last two weeks – Chairman Rockefeller (Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) and Chairman Wyden (Senate Committee on Energy) wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urging prompt and decisive action on crude oil transportation.  In the letter, Rockefeller and Wyden request the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Energy (DOE) begin an investigation to thoroughly understand the current and future volumes of crude oil that will be shipped on railroads; evaluate the crudes to understand whether they require special precautions and handling; evaluate and update safety requirements to ensure they adequately address the risks of carrying crude oil and finalize DOT’s rule implementing the rail risk reduction program that was signed into law in 2008.

Vogtle Plant Video on Mother Nature Network – I mentioned Vogtle above in the Top 14 in ’14 as being essential to the future of nuclear power.  That being said, Southern Company and Mother Nature Network have collaborated on a video highlighting the size and scope of the Vogtle 3 and 4 project.  When completed, the Vogtle complex will be the largest nuclear generating station in the US. Walking across it will be equivalent to walking from the Washington monument to the Lincoln Memorial.  It runs for about two minutes and has a really great narrator…

UK Looking to NatGas Drilling –The French oil giant Total is on the verge of becoming the first major oil company to explore for natural gas and oil in shale rock in Britain. Under the deal, which may be announced as soon as today, Total would commit about $50 million for a roughly 40% stake in licenses held by a group of companies.  I know this won’t surprise you, but the Bracewell London Office has some of the best natgas experts in the region who are very familiar with what is happening in Britain.  I can connect you if you are interested or look here for Jason Fox, Olivia Caddy and several others.

Solar Glass Half Full, Half Empty – The LA Times’ Julie Cart has another piece today hitting the solar industry this time over the pace of utility project development.  Citing the uncertainty of the future of federal tax credits and the cost of solar power, Cart says development of big solar projects have slowed to a standstill.  While acknowledging several major projects coming on-line this year (including the innovative CSP Ivanpah project) she still strings together a number of separate facts to fit her thesis.  But while the LA Times highlights supposed woes, the business network CNBC has a very different take saying  even as the U.S. churns out more fossil fuels, evidence abounds that alternative energy in general—and solar in particular—is staging a comeback of sorts.  CNBC: “Observers credit an increase in solar capacity, falling photovoltaic (PV) costs and the extension of tax credits for renewable energy for the sector’s revival.  Rather than mounting a competitive threat to oil and gas, solar energy is instead carving a niche in creating electricity, experts say.”   The story goes on to highlight how the solar revival is sending solar stocks on a tear.  It even uses some of the same Cart stats about utility use of solar slowing.  But just shows whether you are looking at the glass half full or half empty, it matters in how you view the larger picture.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. The first hearing was last Thursday in West Chester, and tonight, there will be a hearing in Williamsport, with two others on Wednesday and Thursday in Crawford County and Cumberland County respectively.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches Monday through January 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

Whitfield, Manchin GHG Legislation Gets to House Energy Mark Up – The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will mark up legislation from Chairman Whitfield and Sen. Joe Manchin that targets EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

NSF Meeting to Focus on Science, Math – National Science Foundation will hold a meeting tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. of the Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences to study data, programs, policies, and other information pertinent to the National Science Foundation and to provide advice and recommendations concerning research in mathematics and physical sciences.

BPC Forum to Look at Ukraine – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Ukraine democracy, geopolitics, economics and energy.  Our friend and former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky will speak along with Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States Ryszard Schnepf and Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian Russian & East European Studies at Georgetown University.

Brookings Event to Look at US, Japan Energy – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the overall energy security implications for Japan resulting from the hydrocarbon “renaissance” in the U.S. Panelists will include Mikkal Herberg, research director in the Energy Security Program of the National Bureau of Asian Research; James Jensen, principal of Jensen Associates, Inc.; Hidehiro Muramatsu, general manager of the Washington Office of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation; and Shoichi Itoh, senior researcher of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how the grid will incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

Chamber Energy Group to Roll out Agenda – The US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy Institute will roll out its 2014 agenda on Wednesday morning.

ACCCE, RCP to Host Energy Policy Event – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Real Clear Politics will host an event on Wednesday at Noon at the Newseum looking the road ahead on U.S. Energy Policy.  The event features a keynote by Senator Joe Manchin, and a panel discussion moderated by Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics. Panelists will be Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers, Daniel Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, Peter Ogden of the Center for American Progress and William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Webinar to Tackle Key Energy Issues for 2035 – Energy Outlook 2035 webinar will be held Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The Energy Outlook 2035 examines the wider debate on global energy issues by asking key questions.

UN Climate Chief to Address Investor Action – Global financial leaders gather in New York at the United Nations to discuss climate change and investor actions that are needed to mitigate economic risks Wednesday.  At 1:00, they will hold a news conference to discuss the agenda.  Among those speaking will be UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance President Michael Liebreich.

B&V to Release 2014 Energy Market Perspective – Black & Veatch holds a briefing on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at the National Press Club to preview the 2014 Energy Market Perspective. The report provides an integrated long term outlook of the U.S. energy market.  Dean Oskvig, CEO of Black & Veatch, will speak.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

AGA to Release New NatGas Study – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the American Gas Association will release a new IHS CERA study on the availability of domestic natural gas and its impact on consumers, businesses and industries.   AGA President Dave McCurdy, Chris Johns of Pacific Gas & Electric and IHS CERA gas/coal/renewables expert Tim Gardner.    The event will be held at 101 Constitution Ave.

Senate Environment to Look at Climate Plan – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:15 a.m. looking at the President’s Climate Action Plan.  Panel one witnesses will include EPA’s Gina McCarthy, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  On panel two, witnesses include former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (who directs Colorado State’s Center for the New Economy, Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M, NRDC’s Dan Lashof, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Senate Banking to Look at MAP 21, Pubic Transportation – The Senate Banking Committee will meet in open session to hold a hearing on Thursday at January 16th at 10:00 a.m., providing a progress report on public transportation under MAP-21.  Witnesses will include Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff and GAO’s Director of the Physical Infrastructure Team, David Wise.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday starting at Noon, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

McGinn to Focus on Powering Navy Energy Future – On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Heritage Center, Dennis McGinn will discuss what steps can be taken to enhance the department’s energy posture and improve operational effectiveness.  McGinn was recently confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and the Environment.

Transportation, PHMSA Meeting Set to Look at Future Research – Given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 Friday meeting hosted by the Transportation Department (DOT); Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will present the results of recently completed and current research projects and to solicit comments relative to potential new research projects which may be considered for inclusion in its future work.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference on Tuesday January 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

BGov to Hold Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will hold Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing on Tuesday, January 21st at 8:00 a.m.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar on Tuesday January 21st at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22nd through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday, January 23rd in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday, January 23rd at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday January 23rd at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday, January 24th at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel. Against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices.

Energy Update Week of December 2

Friends,

I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah Holiday.  I came out of a turkey coma just in time to see some great football on Friday and Saturday.  On Friday night, I was on the field for the Maryland State 4A Semifinal as the game’s back judge and while it was cold, I stayed warm by running nonstop.  The score of the game was 35-30 and that was just halftime.  We ended up two 93-yd TD runs and 13 more plays of over 50 yards with both teams effectively running spread offenses  (and tiring me out as the only guy back there.)

My game Friday was clearly outdone by the two Saturday classics at the Big House and in the Iron Bowl.  Michigan and Ohio State’s epic battle came down to M Coach Brady Hoke’s call to unsuccessfully go for two and the win in the final seconds, setting up an instant Big 10/M-OSU classic.  And boy are the Buckeyes glad they hung on to win after watching the evening Auburn-‘Bama game.  Wow!!!  Probably the most exciting end to a college football game EVER.

Then, I topped the weekend off with a full Sunday of lacrosse as my 10-year-old Olivia’s Crofton 5th/6th grade team smoked the entire field at the Fairfax Fall Brawl winning all six games comfortably en route to free “Champions” T-shirts and their picture on the Web and Facebook.

We slowly start back this week to begin the four-week roll to Christmas/New Years.  Not much Congressional action other than a few mark ups and a House Energy panel hearing on FERC’s role in the energy landscape on Thursday, but definitely some other good events to think about.

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., CSIS will host IEA’s Fatih Birol to present the IEA’s 2013 World Energy Outlook 2013.  On Wednesday morning, WCEE will host a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring new FERC Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur.

Also Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., I will host a Press Club Newsmaker with FBI agents that will discuss how sequestration’s mandated budget cuts are affecting daily FBI operations and hampering criminal and national security investigations.

Thursday, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on GHG power plant regulations focusing on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts.   Finally, after opening its 60-day comment period Black Friday on its latest, controversial RFS proposal, EPA will hold a public hearing Thursday on the topic at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  Look for the usual suspects.

And more on this next week, but for you energy geeks, next Tuesday, December 10th, Houston Mayor Annise Parker will make a luncheon speech at the National Press Club and the city’s energy renaissance will be among the items she will be discussing.  Bracewell’s PRG is hosting a table at the event.

Finally, today is three months to my daughter Hannah’s 16th Birthday.  Now, in Maryland at least, you know what that means.  Yes, I am getting the update out a little early today in order to pick her up from school and attempt to negotiate the Maryland DMV’s new driver/permit process.   Stay tuned for the details on this and other items at @FrankTalk19 and stay off the roads in the Annapolis area!!!!

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Congrats to Friends Making Media Moves – In case you hadn’t heard, major Congrats to our friends on the move in the press.  Coral Davenport, Ben Geman and Keith Johnson are all making moves to new outlets.  Coral is headed to fill the spot of John Broder at The New York Times, while Ben, who has been at The Hill what seems like forever, will take Coral’s place at National Journal.  Ben move comes on the heels of Zac Colman’s move from The Hill to The Washington Examiner.    Finally, longtime Wall Street Journal vet Johnson is moving over to Foreign Policy to cover geopolitics of energy.

Top Oil Companies Ranked, Shale Gains – Our friends at Energy Intelligence, the publishers of scribes like Oil Daily and Petroleum Intelligence Weekly have just released this year’s rankings of the world’s 50 largest oil companies. The ranking sees Russia’s Gazprom moving ahead of international majors Chevron and Total to eighth place, while Rosneft climbed three places and is poised to enter the top 10 following its acquisition of TNK-BP earlier this year. Saudi Aramco remains in the top spot, followed by Iran’s NIOC and Exxon Mobil.   This year’s rankings also demonstrate the impact of the US shale revolution for the first time, with a number of large US independents doing especially well due to their shale exposure. Anadarko jumped two spots to #44 and Apache rose one spot to #40. Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy broke into the Top 50 for the first time, ranking #47 and Devon Energy rose three places to #41. These companies have all managed to improve their performance despite low natural gas prices, write-downs of gas reserves and sales of assets as they refocused investment on higher-value liquids plays.   By contrast to the dynamic performance of some key national oil companies and US independents, the international majors are not keeping up. While Chevron and Total declined in the rankings, Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell stood still.  EI has produced an infographic of the report, which highlights some of news stories from the ranking.  The PIW Top 50 ranking has an unrivaled pedigree, having been executed annually for the last 25 years. The ranking is based on six operational criteria and, unlike other corporate ranking systems in this industry, it allows for comparisons of both national oil companies and private sector firms. These Top 50 companies represent over 70% of global oil production and fully two-thirds of global refined product sales, making these rankings truly comprehensive and global. The rankings are based on 2012 data, the latest annual figures available.

Report Cites Importance of “Loophole” in Shale Revolution – Speaking of Energy Intelligence, our friend Bill Murray has a new report out with his colleague Lauren Craft on the legislative genesis of the shale revolution.  The special report is focused on ‘Halliburton Loophole’ and its key role in spawning the current Shale Boom.  Murray and Craft argue that the technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that are largely credited with clearing the path for the US unconventional gas revolution find their origins in language buried within a 551-page energy bill enacted in 2005 that limited EPA from regulating hydraulic fracturing under its underground injection control program.  This move spared oil and gas firms from red tape and litigation that would have likely occurred – even on private land – where shale gas has blossomed in recent years.  Craft and Murray say the provision would be very difficult to scrap now given the powerful role of shale in the forefront of our energy picture.  For copies or more info, Please feel free to contact Bill at bmurray@energyintel.com

IER Hits Wind PTC Issue – The Conservative anti-wind crusaders from the Institute for Energy Research said today in a new study that that 30 states and the District of Columbia are marking up net losses to fund the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and pour millions of their taxpayer dollars into the pockets of wind producers.   According to IER researchers, five U.S. states were net payers of more than $100 million in 2012, meaning that the burden of these states to pay for the wind Production Tax Credit surpassed the subsidy benefit received by producers in those states. Meanwhile, producers in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa are being paid hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidy transfers from poorer states. On a regional basis, the Northeast and Southeast were the biggest net payers, subsidizing other areas with net losses of $591.8 million and $559.3 million, respectively.

Wind: Study Overlooks Manufacturing Benefit – The wind industry says the study is too narrow and doesn’t account for the broader positive impact of wind energy on the economy and the environment.   Wind is one of the most broadly dispersed energy sources, with manufacturing in 44 states now and turbines installed in 39 states plus Puerto Rico.  The wind industry currently employs 80,000 people across construction, development, engineering, operations with tens of thousands employed at 550 U.S. manufacturing facilities. A Navigant study said that extending the PTC will create an additional 17,000 new American jobs, boosting the manufacturing sector by one-third. In addition, U.S. wind investment will grow to $16.3 billion in 2016, and annual wind installations will be 8-10 GW through 2016.  On the environmental side, in 2012, the roughly 140 million MWh generated by wind energy avoided 79.9 million metric tons of CO2 – the equivalent of reducing power-sector CO2 emissions by 3.6%, or taking over 14 million cars off the road.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

DOE, NASEO to Discuss Energy Systems at Workshop – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and National Association of State Energy Officials, will host the 2013 Energy Assurance and Interdependency Workshop today at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC.  The purpose of the one and a half day workshop is to inform and educate participants on interconnected energy systems and their cascading impacts on other critical infrastructure and essential public services.    The workshop will feature a variety of scenarios and their immediate and long-term effects. The interactive workshop will also feature presentations and perspectives from industry owners and operators as well as public officials who are responsible for restoring life-line services after a catastrophic event.  State and local governments will have the opportunity to evaluate their energy emergency preparedness and energy assurance plans against potential energy emergency conditions.  Speakers will include ERCOT’s John Adams, DOE’s Pat Hoffman, and Judi Greenwald, CITGO’s Jack McCrossin and NASEO Executive Director David Terry.

NAS to Look at Markets, Clean Energy – The National Academy of Sciences will host a meeting on today at the Keck Center on market adoption of advanced energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.

IEA Head to Speak at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s 2013 World Energy tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.  The outlook presents a full update of energy projects through to 2035 and insights into what they mean for energy security, climate change, economic development, and universal access to modern energy services. Oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear power are all covered, along with an update on developments for fossil fuels and renewable energy. This year, the World Energy Outlook also gives a special focus to topical energy sector issues including the implications for economic competitiveness of the changing energy map, oil supply, demand, and trade, and energy in Brazil. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

NAS to Hold Seminar on EVs – The National Academies of Science will hold a forum tomorrow and Wednesday at its Keck Center on overcoming barriers to electric vehicle deployment.   Speakers will include MIT’s John Kassakian, NRC’s John Holmes, Russ Musgrove of FedEx and several auto dealers.

Heritage to Host Hillsdale College Author – The Heritage Foundation will hold a Book Event tomorrow at Noon for Hillsdale College author David J. Bobb on his new book, Humility An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue.  In our current age of arrogance, humility is associated with wimps and wallflowers not success. A culture of narcissism and a society of self-promoters has obscured our past, blinding us to the hidden strength of humility.  not success. A culture of narcissism and a society of self-promoters has obscured our past, blinding us to the hidden strength of humility.  David Bobb is Executive Director of Citizen Education for Hillsdale College and lecturer in politics. He is the Founding Director of two national centers for Hillsdale, the Washington, D.C.-based Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence.

Forum to Look at German Move to Renewables – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold at event tomorrow at the National Press Club’s McClendon Room at 12:30 p.m. to discuss Germany’s transition from traditional to renewable sources of energy this program, its costs, benefits and prospects, plus lessons for the U.S. and other nations.  Dr. Georg Maue, German First Secretary for Climate and Energy Policy, will speak.

LaFleur Headlines WCEE Breakfast – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club for a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring FERC Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur.   LaFleur has an impressive resume and may be the next FERC Chair.  She will speak on a number of important energy issues over which FERC has authority as well as her career and offer insight on how she came to the important role she now plays.

Press Club to Host FBI Agents on Sequestration Impacts on Law Enforcement – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host FBI agents on Wednesday to discuss how sequestration’s mandated budget cuts are affecting daily FBI operations and hampering criminal and national security investigations, as well as the risks associated with additional budget cuts and furloughs expected early next year.  Leaders of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) will also update the group’s recent report Voices from the Field: FBI Agent Accounts of the Real Consequences of Budget Cuts. The report contains field reports from FBI Special Agents illustrating the impact of budget cuts on their work.  Speaking at the Newsmaker news conference will be FBIAA President Reynaldo Tariche and several active duty FBI agents from around the country.

RFF Seminar to Look at ESA, Species ConservationOn Wednesday at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar looking at the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and species conservation.  ESA has provided a critical safety net for conserving the nation’s species in the 40 years since it was passed. However, effective implementation of the ESA remains a challenge in light of increasing threats to species; uncertainties about the pace, scope, and extent of environmental changes and their impacts on species; and limited resources for implementing species protection. Furthermore, the ESA traditionally has taken a species-by-species approach that constrains the ability to focus on the health of ecosystems and address complex threats that often unfold at the landscape scale. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar brings together diverse panelists to discuss strategies and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. Panelists will draw on examples of success and new strategies to suggest paths for increasing the effectiveness of ESA implementation going forward.  Panelists will include US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Brad Gruver of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, EDF’s David Festa and Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.  National Wildlife Federation VP John Kostyack and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy will also provide comments.

JHU Forum To Hear From WRI Expert on Climate Risk – The Johns Hopkins Washington, DC Center will hold a forum on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. featuring Mark Trexler from the World Resources Institute.  Trexler will address climate risk management issues. Trexler joined the World Resources Institute’s nascent Climate, Energy and Pollution Program in 1988, and focused for many years on climate change mitigation options and strategies. He was a Lead Author for the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, is widely published across mitigation and adaptation topics, and has worked with companies around the world on climate risk management efforts. He was Director of Climate Risk for the global risk management firm of Det Norske Veritas (DNV) from 2009 through 2012. His current work focuses on the application of knowledge management tools to the communication and management of climate risk. More information is available at his website.

Buick, WAPA to Host Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) and Buick will hold an end-of-the-year drive opportunity and the 2013 WAPA Holiday Reception at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown on Wednesday, starting at 2:00 p.m.  Vehicles include the Buick Regal, Regal GS, LaCrosse and Verano.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – Wednesday Night

EPA to Hold RFS Public Hearing – EPA will hold a public hearing Thursday on its proposed 2014 mandate for the renewable fuel standard program at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington. EPA announced recently that it plans to cut the amount of ethanol required to be blended into fuel.

CSIS to Host Clean Report Release – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program will host Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Carrie McKellogg, Chief of Access to Basic Services & Green Growth at the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The two will present Climatescope 2013, a new report, online tool, and data resource profiling clean energy market and investment conditions in 26 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.  Sponsored by the MIF and researched by BNEF, Climatescope assesses low-carbon energy markets from Mexico south within the western hemisphere. First released in 2012, it scores nations on their local conditions for attracting capital in support of clean energy development. Climatescope takes into account 39 data points encompassing a country’s enabling framework for clean energy investment, its history of clean energy investment and climate financing, its availability of low-carbon business and clean energy value chain segments, and its greenhouse gas management efforts. Zindler and McKellogg will discuss which countries scored highest in the Climatescope, which lagged behind, and why.

SEIA Webinar to Discuss Solar Integration – SEIA will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. for a timely discussion on the recent regulatory changes for energy storage and how these changes will affect grid integration, solar energy expansion, and improvements to grid reliability. Both the FERC and CPUC have adopted new rules and procurement requirements to encourage energy storage as a resource, enhance power system operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.  FERC adopted these rule changes with the intent of fostering opportunities for energy storage technologies such as compressed air energy storage, regenerative fuel cells, batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels and thermal energy storage systems to participate in electricity markets and supply ancillary services to wholesale electric market participants and electric transmission providers.  CPUC adopted energy storage procurement requirements for the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities, retail electric suppliers and its community aggregators. The state’s investor-owned utilities will begin procuring energy storage assets or services in 2014.  The expert speakers will discuss these regulatory changes and implications from the regulatory, company, and technology perspective, including Joel Meister of Solar Grid Storage and Carrie Cullen Hitt of SEIA, among others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop –Thursday, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  The event will also explore the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG regulations.  The three panels will focus on: 1) state considerations and policy design issues; 2) important drivers that could impact carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector and 3) modeling impacts of different proposals under section 111(d). BPC will include participants from state organizations, industry and environmental organizations. Former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly, a BPC’s Energy Project Co-chair, will keynote.   Other speakers will include ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, Exelon’s Kathleen Barron, AEP’s Bruce Braine, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, NRDC’s Dan Lashoff and Jason Grumet.

Forum to Look at Renewable Investments – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a congressional briefing on Friday in B-369 Rayburn looking at renewable energy market investments and policy trends.  This event is being put on in cooperation with the United States House of Representatives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Houston Mayor to Address Press Club –The National Press Club will host a luncheon with Houston mayor Annise Parker on Tuesday, December 10th at Noon.  Parker, one of the first openly gay mayors in the U.S. and the head of the “energy capital of America” will talk about her political future and past, the renaissance of American oil and gas energy industry, Texas’s thriving economy and the challenges of managing city finances.

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda.  Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.

Forum to Look at IPCC Document – George Washington University’s IERES program will host a presentation on Friday, December 6th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Oleg Anisimov, Professor of Physical Geography at the Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.  His presentation will start with a brief discussion of the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report, where he served as a coordinating author. The report is almost ready, and will be officially released at the end of March 2014. The discussion will focus on the impacts of the changing climate in the polar regions, including the socio-economical dimension in the Arctic. It will then provide two examples of impacts that escaped the IPCC s attention. The first is the potential impact on the Arctic urban population (the current emphasis is on indigenous peoples). The second is related to the drivers of climate change associated with the potential release of methane, with implications for environmental policy making, particularly the post-Kyoto negotiation process.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Forum to Look at Energy InfrastructureThe Atlantic will hold an Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit on the morning of Thursday, December 12th in Washington, D.C.  The event will include a select group of senior leaders from a diversity of sectors, this year’s summit will cover topics including innovative water conservation efforts, evolving green building standards, and the future of energy policy and infrastructure investment. We will feature one-on-one interviews and panel discussions exploring these topics from all angles and make time for audience engagement through Q&A.  Speakers will include Brendan FitzSimons of EDF, AT&T’s John Schultz and Lee McIntire of CH2M HILL.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches January 13th through the 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22, 2014 through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

 

Energy Update Week of November 25

Friends,

We slow down this week for two of my favorite eating holidays: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Rather than outline the history of both, let me give you some history on the amazing day we celebrate this year:  Thanksgivukkah.  Yes, the convergence this week of Thanksgiving falling on the first day of Hanukkah happens only once in a lifetime.  Don’t hold your breath for the next one — it will not occur again for more than 70,000 years.

Why?  Because Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday in November. Hanukkah is the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.  The 4th Thursday in November can range from the 22nd to the 28th. If the 29th is a Thursday, then so is the 1st, so the 29th would be the fifth Thursday, not the fourth. And if the 21st is a Thursday, then it’s only the third Thursday. On average, then, Thanksgiving falls on the 28th about every seven years. It will fall on the 28th this year, then again in 2019, 2024, 2030, and 2041, or four times in the next 28 years. (It’s not exactly every seven years because leap days throw things off a little.)

On the other hand, the Jewish month of Kislev can currently start as early as November 3 or as late as December 2, which means that the first day of Hanukkah can come as early as November 28 or as late as December 27.  The reason for the broad range of possible dates is that the Jewish calendar is lunar-solar. The months are based on the cycles of the moon. But the calendar changes the lengths of those months, and even how many months are in a year, to make sure that Passover always falls in the spring. This complex system ensures that the Jewish date and the secular date match up every 19 years.

Because of this Jewish 19-year cycle, 19 years from now, in the year 2032, Hanukkah will again fall on November 28th, but Thanksgiving in that year falls three days earlier, on the 25th.  On average, we would expect the 19-year Jewish cycle and the 7-year Thanksgiving-on-November-28 cycle to coincide about every 19×7 years, which is to say, approximately every 133 years. And they sort of do.  152 years ago, in 1861, the first day of Hanukkah and the 4th Thursday in November were both on November 28th. But there was no “”official” Thanksgiving back then.  In 152 years from now, in 2165, Thanksgiving falls on the 28th, and you’d expect Hanukkah also to fall on the 28th, but it doesn’t.  The reason centers around an extra 11 minutes each year (3 days over those 19 years) that are generally not accounted for in the Jewish calendar, but were in Pope Gregory’s calendar in 1582.

Whatever the reasons, travel safely, count your blessings with family and get ready for Turkey, Brisket, mashed potatoes, Latkes, stuffing and some candle lighting.

On some policy stuff, if you thought ethanol would be off the radar screen this week with last week’s announcement and nest week’s Public hearing (Dec 5th), our friends at the Associated Press dropped another excellent piece in their series, this time exploring ethanol’s waning political clout.  Secondly, the Supreme Court said this morning that it will hear one hour of oral arguments on Monday, February 24th on a case focused on a narrow part of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.  The court will look at whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.  A pretty important question for the current issues going forward.

Remember, the Monday return on December 2nd has a number of good events that MORNING including a 9:30 a.m. CAP/Gina McCarthy Forum on US/China Cooperation and a 10:00 a.m. Energy Innovation Reform Project event in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

UN Meetings Wrap Up – With the same flurry of hand-wringing negotiations and the talks on the “brink of collapse”, UN pols once again pulled the climate negotiations from the brink of death.  (If I had an emissions reduction for every time that happened…) With Paris on the schedule for December 2015 when nations will need to extend the Kyoto Treaty, the U.S. and other countries agreed that by early 2015, they will put forward individual country plans for lowering emissions.   At some point, we just need to stop holding these silly meetings which have produced very little expense some awesome expense reports since the mid-1990s.  Our friend Lenny Bernstein of The Washington Post has a good summary here.

Former Iowa Gov. Pitches Importance of Wind to NJ Economy, Gov. Christie – While most expect NJ Gov. Chris Christie to be headed to Iowa, former Iowa Governor Chet Culver headed to New Jersey last week to tell local leaders and officials his Iowa wind energy success story, highlighting how New Jersey can achieve the same success with offshore wind energy and the New Jersey Energy Link offshore transmission line.  And as you know, maybe there is little road through Iowa that matters for a certain NJ politician in 2016.  During his term as Governor starting in 2007, Culver committed to making Iowa a leading state for wind projects and bringing new, innovative industries to the State. Within four years, Iowa became the first state to reach 20% electricity from wind, powering the equivalent of more than a million Iowa homes. Today, Iowa is generating 25% of its electricity from wind farms in the State.  Iowa’s focus and commitment to developing its wind resource proved to be the key factor in attracting wind-related businesses. Today two turbine manufacturers, two major blade manufacturers, and a tower manufacturer have located in Iowa, making Iowa a major distribution hub for wind farms in a 500-mile radius of the State.  More than 200 companies in the state supply the industry, including businesses in 80 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa’s wind industry has created over 7,000 jobs for Iowans across the state, with over $300 million invested in manufacturing facilities and billions of dollars in new infrastructure.  Focusing on job creation and public-private partnerships, Forbes magazine ranked Iowa under Culver the “No. 1 place in America for businesses and careers and CNBC said Iowa was one of the “Top States for Business.”

LaFleur to Head FERC – FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur has been named acting chairwoman of U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this morning replacing previous chairman, Jon Wellinghoff, who announced he would be departing during last Thursday’s meeting.  Earlier this year, Wellinghoff announced he was going to be employed by renewable energy law firm Stoel Rives, which created conflict concerns among some.  LaFleur joined the commission in 2010 and worked in the electric and natural gas industry.

Interior Says Drilling Generated Billions – The Interior Department collected and disbursed more than $14.2 billion in revenue generated by energy production on public lands and offshore waters in Fiscal Year 2013 – a $2 billion or 17% increase over the previous year. The revenues were distributed to state, local, federal and tribal accounts to support critical reclamation, conservation, recreation and historic preservation projects. Local governments apply the revenues to meet a variety of needs, ranging from school funding to infrastructure improvements and water conservation projects.  The FY 2013 increase in disbursements is attributed primarily to $2.77 billion in bonus bids received for new oil and gas leases in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Overall disbursements totaled $12.15 billion in FY 2012.

Ark PSC Commish to Head NARUC – Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Colette Honorable was elected by her peers as the leader of the national association representing State utility regulators across the country at the conclusion of the NARUC 125th Annual Meeting.  She succeeds outgoing NARUC Philip Jones of Washington, whose one-year term expired today.  As President, Honorable will provide general oversight of the Association, serving as the primary voice of the Association, leading NARUC before Congress, the courts, and administrative agencies. She will also be responsible for designating members to the NARUC Board of Directors, committee leadership positions, and other Association appointments as necessary.  Honorable was appointed to the Arkansas PSC by Governor Mike Beebe in October 2007, and was designated Chairman in January 2011. Within NARUC, she completed her term as Second Vice President of the Association. She also recently served as the Association’s Treasurer.  Honorable has also been discussed as a possible replacement for FERC after the failure of the Ron Binz nomination.

NARUC Seeks Flexibility as EPA Drafts Emissions Rules for Existing Plants – Speaking of NARUC, they also are urging EPA to be flexible and seek input across all levels of State government as it develops emissions reduction rules for existing power plants.  In a resolution, NARUC “urges the EPA, in developing any emissions guidelines for regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants, to recognize the primacy of States to rely on both State utility and environmental regulators to lead the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, economic conditions of each State and region.”  The resolution was one of several passed by NARUC membership at the conclusion of the Association’s 125th Annual Meeting. The resolutions are now considered NARUC policy, providing guidance and positions for the Association’s advocacy before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and the courts.

Duke Settles Bird Death Issues at Wyoming Wind Farms – Duke Energy’s wind energy subsidiary pleaded guilty in Wyoming late Friday for several bird deaths at wind Projects there.  Two projects there were connected to the death of 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds between 2009 and 2013. The plea is the first time a company has been held responsible for bird deaths at wind projects. Duke Energy Renewables will pay $1 million in fines, restitution and community service, and is on probation for five years, during which it must develop a compliance plan to prevent more bird deaths.  At the same time, the company was praised for working to address the issue.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Thanksgiving/First Night Of Hanukkah – November 28th

Maisano Officiates Md High School State Football Semifinal – On Friday night, I will be the Back Judge for the MPSSAA 4A State Semifinal playoff game on Saturday at Paint Branch HS in Montgomery County.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

McCarthy to Headline CAP China Event – The Center for American Progress will hold a forum on Monday December 2nd at 9:30 a.m. where EPA head Gina McCarthy to discuss the importance of US-China cooperation on the environment and climate pollution. Administrator McCarthy will also highlight recent progress on the President’s Climate Action Plan and steps the United States is taking to reduce carbon pollution and drive sustainable U.S. economic growth.

Forum to Look at Renewables Intermittency, PTC – The Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a Chatham House-rules workshop on December 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables.  The forum will discuss the European and American experiences, and consider recommendations for how we can better account for cost and reliability issues in electricity policies and debates.  Speakers will include NARUC President Phil Jones, Exelon’s Dave Brown, Montana PSC Commissioner Travis Kavulla and NREL’s Brian Hannegan, among several others.   As intermittent renewables become larger players in the electric system, they raise new issues that were often unanticipated when today’s policies were first formulated. Policymakers and the public need to better understand the cost, reliability, and infrastructure implications of these policies, as well as potential opportunities to address these emerging concerns through policy reforms.

DOE, NASEO to Discuss Energy Systems at Workshop – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and National Association of State Energy Officials, will host the 2013 Energy Assurance and Interdependency Workshop at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC on Monday, December 2nd.  The purpose of the one and a half day workshop is to inform and educate participants on interconnected energy systems and their cascading impacts on other critical infrastructure and essential public services.    The workshop will feature a variety of scenarios and their immediate and long-term effects. The interactive workshop will also feature presentations and perspectives from industry owners and operators as well as public officials who are responsible for restoring life-line services after a catastrophic event.  State and local governments will have the opportunity to evaluate their energy emergency preparedness and energy assurance plans against potential energy emergency conditions.  Speakers will include ERCOT’s John Adams, DOE’s Pat Hoffman, and Judi Greenwald, CITGO’s Jack McCrossin and NASEO Executive Director David Terry.

NAS to Look at Markets, Clean Energy – The National Academy of Sciences will host a meeting on Monday, December 2nd at the Keck Center on market adoption of advanced energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.

IEA Head to Speak at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s 2013 World Energy on Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 a.m.  The outlook presents a full update of energy projects through to 2035 and insights into what they mean for energy security, climate change, economic development, and universal access to modern energy services. Oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear power are all covered, along with an update on developments for fossil fuels and renewable energy. This year, the World Energy Outlook also gives a special focus to topical energy sector issues including the implications for economic competitiveness of the changing energy map, oil supply, demand, and trade, and energy in Brazil. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

NAS to Hold Seminar on EVs – The National Academies of Science will hold a forum on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4th/5th at its Keck Center on overcoming barriers to electric vehicle deployment.   Speakers will include MIT’s John Kassakian, NRC’s John Holmes, Russ Musgrove of FedEx and several auto dealers.

LaFleur Headlines WCEE Breakfast – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday December 4th at 8:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club for a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring FERC Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur.   LaFleur has an impressive resume and may be the next FERC Chair.  She will  speak on a number of important energy issues over which FERC has authority as well as her career and offer insight on how she came to the important role she now plays.

RFF Seminar to Look at ESA, Species ConservationOn Thursday December 4th at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar looking at the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and species conservation.  ESA has provided a critical safety net for conserving the nation’s species in the 40 years since it was passed. However, effective implementation of the ESA remains a challenge in light of increasing threats to species; uncertainties about the pace, scope, and extent of environmental changes and their impacts on species; and limited resources for implementing species protection. Furthermore, the ESA traditionally has taken a species-by-species approach that constrains the ability to focus on the health of ecosystems and address complex threats that often unfold at the landscape scale. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar brings together diverse panelists to discuss strategies and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. Panelists will draw on examples of success and new strategies to suggest paths for increasing the effectiveness of ESA implementation going forward.  Panelists will include US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Brad Gruver of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, EDF’s David Festa and Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.  National Wildlife Federation VP John Kostyack and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy will also provide comments.

JHU Forum To Hear From WRI Expert on Climate Risk – The Johns Hopkins Washington, DC Center will hold a forum on Wednesday, December 4th at 12:00 p.m. featuring Mark Trexler from the World Resources Institute.  Trexler will address climate risk management issues. Trexler joined the World Resources Institute’s nascent Climate, Energy and Pollution Program in 1988, and focused for many years on climate change mitigation options and strategies. He was a Lead Author for the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, is widely published across mitigation and adaptation topics, and has worked with companies around the world on climate risk management efforts. He was Director of Climate Risk for the global risk management firm of Det Norske Veritas (DNV) from 2009 through 2012. His current work focuses on the application of knowledge management tools to the communication and management of climate risk. More information is available at his website.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

EPA to Hold RFS Public Hearing – EPA will hold a public hearing December 5th on its proposed 2014 mandate for the renewable fuel standard program at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington. EPA announced recently that it plans to cut the amount of ethanol required to be blended into fuel.

CSIS to Host Clean Report Release – On Thursday December 5th at 9:30 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program will host Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Carrie McKellogg, Chief of Access to Basic Services & Green Growth at the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The two will present Climatescope 2013, a new report, online tool, and data resource profiling clean energy market and investment conditions in 26 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.  Sponsored by the MIF and researched by BNEF, Climatescope assesses low-carbon energy markets from Mexico south within the western hemisphere. First released in 2012, it scores nations on their local conditions for attracting capital in support of clean energy development. Climatescope takes into account 39 data points encompassing a country’s enabling framework for clean energy investment, its history of clean energy investment and climate financing, its availability of low-carbon business and clean energy value chain segments, and its greenhouse gas management efforts. Zindler and McKellogg will discuss which countries scored highest in the Climatescope, which lagged behind, and why.

SEIA Webinar to Discuss Solar Integration – SEIA will hold a webinar on Thursday, December 5th at 1:00 p.m. for a timely discussion on the recent regulatory changes for energy storage and how these changes will affect grid integration, solar energy expansion, and improvements to grid reliability. Both the FERC and CPUC have adopted new rules and procurement requirements to encourage energy storage as a resource, enhance power system operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.  FERC adopted these rule changes with the intent of fostering opportunities for energy storage technologies such as compressed air energy storage, regenerative fuel cells, batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels and thermal energy storage systems to participate in electricity markets and supply ancillary services to wholesale electric market participants and electric transmission providers.  CPUC adopted energy storage procurement requirements for the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities, retail electric suppliers and its community aggregators. The state’s investor-owned utilities will begin procuring energy storage assets or services in 2014.  The expert speakers will discuss these regulatory changes and implications from the regulatory, company, and technology perspective, including Joel Meister of Solar Grid Storage and Carrie Cullen Hitt of SEIA, among others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  The event will also explore the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG regulations.  The three panels will focus on: 1) state considerations and policy design issues; 2) important drivers that could impact carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector and 3) modeling impacts of different proposals under section 111(d). BPC will include participants from state organizations, industry and environmental organizations. Former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly, a BPC’s Energy Project Co-chair, will keynote.   Other speakers will include ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, Exelon’s Kathleen Barron, AEP’s Bruce Braine, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, NRDC’s Dan Lashoff and Jason Grumet.

Forum to Look at Renewable Investments – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a congressional briefing on Friday December 6th in B-369 Rayburn looking at renewable energy market investments and policy trends.  This event is being put on in cooperation with the United States House of Representatives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda.  Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.

Forum to Look at IPCC Document – George Washington University’s IERES program will host a presentation on Friday, December 6th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Oleg Anisimov, Professor of Physical Geography at the Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia  His presentation will start with a brief discussion of the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report, where he served as a coordinating author. The report is almost ready, and will be officially released at the end of March 2014. The discussion will focus on the impacts of the changing climate in the polar regions, including the socio-economical dimension in the Arctic. It will then provide two examples of impacts that escaped the IPCC s attention. The first is the potential impact on the Arctic urban population (the current emphasis is on indigenous peoples). The second is related to the drivers of climate change associated with the potential release of methane, with implications for environmental policy making, particularly the post-Kyoto negotiation process.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Forum to Look at Energy InfrastructureThe Atlantic will hold an Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit on the morning of Thursday, December 12th in Washington, D.C.  The event will include a select group of senior leaders from a diversity of sectors, this year’s summit will cover topics including innovative water conservation efforts, evolving green building standards, and the future of energy policy and infrastructure investment. We will feature one-on-one interviews and panel discussions exploring these topics from all angles and make time for audience engagement through Q&A.  Speakers will include Brendan FitzSimons of EDF, AT&T’s John Schultz and Lee McIntire of CH2M HILL.

 

Energy Update Week of November 18

Friends,

I never thought while the Maple Leafs were actually winning for once (it’s been since 1968 since they won their last Cup), they could ever be overshadowed, but apparently I was wrong.  Toronto Mayor Ford has taken over the top spot of scorn and scrutiny in the Great White North (and on the cable news station), giving the current Leafs goaltenders, coach and GM a welcome respite as the usual target.

South of border, I don’t even know where to start after the three-plus days of Kabuki Theater surrounding Friday afternoon’s EPA announcement on the RFS.  I have a full report below, including some additional facts and resources.

This week, things begin the slowdown to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Outside of the tug-o-war over Obamacare, there are a few things in the energy arena that are ongoing, including a House Energy mark up on Tuesday evening and Wednesday on Chairman Fred Upton’s North American Energy Infrastructure Act.  There will also be action on H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act which accelerates onshore drilling permit decision and leasing and H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act which would block Interior NatGas drilling regulations. Finally on Thursday, the Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on NRC’s implementation of post-Fukushima safety recommendations.

The second week of UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland rolls on this week, but folks are pretty down (and it’s not just the cold weather) according to sources that I’ve talked to on the ground and several media accounts.  Talks also hit another roadblock Friday when Japan announced it was backtracking on its Kyoto targets due to its move away from nuclear (see below).  Maybe they get a little more excitement out of the World Coal Forum which also launches today over there.  CEQ head Nancy Sutley will attend the UN meeting along with mainstays Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing.

Don’t forget on Saturday evening, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell will be doing an acoustic show at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington DC.  A Cornell acoustic show is really a “must see” if you are a fan of the grunge music/Seattle Sound of the 1990s.  He collects some of the best hits from his solo career, Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog days and performs them with soul and great gusto.  Well worth the trip.  I, of course, will miss the show because Hannah and I will be at the Disney Sports complex in Orlando on Saturday and Sunday at the President’s Cup, one of the final fall lacrosse recruiting tournaments (with nearly every college lacrosse coach in the country in attendance).

 

Call with questions.

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

 

THE BIG NEWS – ETHANOL

Finally, EPA Ethanol Proposal Announced Late Friday, the long-awaited Ethanol RFS proposal was released.  The biofuels mandate is proposed a range that could reduce it by about 8% next year.  The proposal marks the first time biofuels use has been scaled back under current RFS law.  It is be characterized by media and third parties as a significant victory for refiners, food groups and engine makers that oppose the law.

Highlights from Proposal Under the Clean Air Act, the total renewable fuel obligation for 2014 is 18.15 bg of total renewable fuel, 1.75 bg cellulosic, at least 1 bg biodiesel and 3.75 bg advanced biofuel.  Under EPA’s proposal Friday, EPA proposes ranges for each of the categories below but also proposes the following amount within those ranges including 15.21 bg of total renewable fuel,  17 mg cellulosic, 1.28 bg biodiesel and 2.2 bg advanced biofuel.

EPA Legal Justifications – EPA justified its rule with the CAA section that allows EPA to lower total and advanced fuel amounts when the cellulosic total is lowered. They also used the general waiver authority if EPA finds economic harm or inadequate supply.  EPA is interpreting the term “inadequate domestic supply” to include consideration of factors that affect consumption of renewable fuel.  This is in reference to the “blend wall” concerns that EPA acknowledges impact the amount of renewable fuel that can flow into the transportation sector.

Timing – 60 days of comments and final rule by Spring 2014.

Going Forward After Next Year – Beyond 2014, EPA is framing the legal argument over its waiver authority as the basis for its future RVO rules in 2015 and beyond with a 3-Step process.  EPA will (1) determine the level of ethanol that can be produced and supplied to consumers;  (2) determine projected volume level of all advanced biofuels that can be reasonably achieved; and (3) propose an appropriate advanced biofuel volume at or below the projected volume available in step 2.

A Great Resource on the Topic – My Colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718), a former DOE senior Counsel and ethanol expert can be helpful if you have additional questions.  His initial take said “EPA’s proposal, if finalized, would alter how EPA determines the year-over-year RFS obligations by using its legal authorities to consider issues like the blend wall to determine the total renewable volume amounts.   Zelermyer said he expects legal challenges to EPA’s eventual final rule is likely, “especially as EPA is proposing this calculation method as the legal basis for all future RFS rulemakings and determinations.”   Zelermyer also says it will be interesting to follow the EPA litigation on a final rule and the continuing push for reform legislation on Capitol Hill.

Refiners Talk – While AFPM and API both responded on Friday, two other great resources are Tesoro’s Stephen Brown (202-744-5578) and Valero’s Bill Day (210-345-2928).  Brown is a great insider who always is helpful and Valero is of course the largest independent refiner, as well as one of the largest ethanol producers in the US.  Valero CEO Bill Klesse has been very active on the topic sending a recent letter to EPA head Gina McCarthy where he reminded her of EPA’s flexibility to reduce waiver volumes and therefore lower the price of RINs, a controversial renewable compliance trading program.

Waxman, Upton Agree? – In a Joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton and ranking member Henry Waxman praised EPA’s overall handling of its decision to cut into the biofuels mandate next year.  “As our white papers and hearings made clear, the status quo is no longer workable,” Upton said. “Many of the issues raised by EPA, stakeholders, and consumer advocates are now reflected in the agency’s proposed rule.”  Waxman said EPA “is thoughtfully addressing concerns about the RFS.  As we continue to look at this policy, I encourage EPA to implement the RFS in ways that increase environmental benefits, especially by reducing carbon pollution, both through supporting cellulosic and other low-carbon fuels and by minimizing emissions from indirect effects on land use,” Waxman said.  Both he and Upton suggested the committee would continue to examine possible legislative changes to the overall mandate.

WSJ, Wash Post Ed Board, Agree? – Perhaps even more strange in the “Strange Bedfellows” category, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post editorial boards agree with EPA, but also want Congress to take action limiting ethanol.  WSJ: “The EPA’s modest reduction is a nod in the direction of market and technological reality. Democrats and Republicans who don’t bow to Big Ethanol should unite to repeal the mandate for the good of consumers, business and the environment.”  WashPost: “the public benefits do not offset the market distortions. In the case of ethanol subsidies, the benefits do not outweigh the costs.  What’s really needed is a repeal of the ethanol mandate, which was enacted in a different time, on the basis of projections about energy markets that have not panned out.”

AAA Says Drivers Need Changes – AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet praised EPA’s proposed 2014 renewable fuels volume requirements today, saying the targets in the 2007 law “are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk. The EPA has finally put consumers first. Their proposal will support the continued development of alternative fuels, while also recognizing the needs of the millions of people that drive every day.”   AAA says the majority of cars on the road cannot run on gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol, and it would be irresponsible to offer wide-spread sales of higher blends, such as E15 and E85.

Ethanol Cries Foul – The ethanol industry quickly blasted the EPA’s proposal, arguing the move amounts to a handout to the oil industry.  RFA President Bob Dinneen was quoted in several news stories with a punch drunk quote: “Boy, my goodness are the oil companies going to benefit from this.  We’re all just sort of scratching our heads here wondering why this administration is telling us to produce less of a clean-burning American fuel.”  The ethanol industry vowed today to push for changes to the EPA’s proposal, also adding they are prepared to take legal action if EPA finalizes a proposal in line with the one it released Friday.

Ag Sect Vilsack, Sen. Ag Chair Stabenow Agree – Ethanol supporters got some solace from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  A former Iowa Governor, Vilsack says important to take a long-term approach to the RFS saying “improved distribution and increased consumer use of renewable fuels are critical to the future of this industry.”  Stabenow said blasted the EPA plan saying the “so-called blend wall is a crisis manufactured by the oil industry, which is interested in eliminating the competition so they can continue reaping even greater windfall profits.” She added “the proposed rule could cost thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs and mean less competition at the pump.”

 

IN THE NEWS

Japan Rolls Back on Kyoto Targets, Nuclear – Japan back off earlier pledges to slash its greenhouse gas emissions on Friday, saying a shutdown of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster has made previous targets unattainable.   Japan’s new target is a 3.8% reduction from 2005 and was announced by Minister of the Environment Nobuteru Ishihara in Tokyo.  The reduction actually represents a 3% increase from 1990 if that year is used as a baseline. In contrast, the country’s previous commitment, set in 2009, sought to reduce emissions 25% by 2020 from 1990 levels.

New Colorado Group to Focus on NatGas Drilling – As all eyes continue to turn to Colorado for insight on the fracking debate, our friend Jon Haubert has jumped over to a new 501c(6) education effort called Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED).  While CRED is not involved in any campaign activity, it has seen heavy website traffic before and after the November 5th election.  In only two short months since its launch, CRED has amassed nearly 7,500 Facebook fans and Twitter followers.   CRED seeks to inform the general public about the energy, economic and environmental benefits of safe and responsible oil and natural gas development carrying a simple and clear message: get the facts on fracking first before making a decision.  Haubert is heading up CRED’s communications and media efforts and will be winding down at the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance (WEA) by the end of the year.  You can connect with him at jon@cred.org

SoCo Named Top Veteran Employer – G.I. Jobs has named Southern Company the highest-ranked utility in its 2014 Top 100 Military Friendly Employer listing.  It is 7th consecutive year Southern has ranked as the nation’s best utility for veterans, guardsmen and reservists.  The Top 100 Military Friendly Employer list is compiled from 5,000 companies. Criteria for selection include the strength of the company’s military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with prior military service, retention programs and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service.  Eleven percent of Southern Company’s 26,000 employees — and 12 percent of new hires in 2013, to date — are veterans, guardsmen or reservists.

Kemper, Vogtle Projects Lead Way – This year’s SoCo numbers are even stronger at its two flagship construction projects: Plant Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia and the Kemper County CCS coal energy facility in Mississippi.  At Vogtle, where Southern Company is leading the U.S. nuclear renaissance through subsidiary Georgia Power by building the first new nuclear units in a generation, 23% of new hires are veterans.  At Kemper County, where subsidiary Mississippi Power is advancing energy innovation with construction of a 21st Century coal plant, 20% of new hires have prior military service.

SC Johnson Reports Looks at Renewables – SC Johnson recently released its 2013 sustainability report highlighting the company’s ongoing efforts to improve its environmental and social practices. Among the company’s initiatives is to receive 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2016. Contributing to that goal, this year SC Johnson added two wind turbines to its Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin facility, the largest of the company’s global manufacturing plants. The turbines are expected to produce 8,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year; combined with two previously installed cogeneration plants, the facility will now be capable of receiving 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. The company also expanded its purchase of wind power for its Toluca, Mexico facility which is now powered by 86 percent renewables, an increase of 65%.

Another Solar Success Rolls Out in AZ – Abengoa has completed commercial operation tests on Solana, its 280-MW concentrating solar plant near Gila Bend, Arizona. The plant uses parabolic shaped mirrors mounted on sun-tracking structures to concentrate the sun’s heat on a central tower. The heat is used to transform water into steam which powers a steam turbine to produce electricity. The plant has been designed to capture and store thermal energy so electricity can be produced for up to six hours without any sunshine. Arizona Public Service (APS) has entered into a 30 years power purchase agreement to acquire all of the electricity produced by the plant. The six hours of dispatchable energy production is expected to help APS satisfy its peak demand hours during summer evenings.  The project is the third project all successful loan guarantee projects to be completed and start commercial operation in the Southwest, including the BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

UN Climate Meetings Continue – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-19) for the UN Climate negotiations Continues in Warsaw, Poland.  The meetings, expected to be low-key foundation building for the 2015 Meetings slated for Paris next year, took a turn for the worse when Japan announced a major step back from their Kyoto targets.  In Paris, negotiators are trying to forge an extension of the Kyoto Treaty.

World Coal Meeting Held in Poland As Well – As I mentioned last week, Poland gets 88% of its power from coal, so while it hosts the UN Climate meetings this week, Next week it is also hosting the World Coal meeting.  UN chief Christine Figures is expected to speak and is getting significant grief from enviro activists for doing so.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting launched yesterday in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek and continues through Wednesday.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation.  Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley.  Follow Rob Thormeyer on Twitter at @RThormeyer for regular updates.

Forum to Look at Persian Gulf, Oil Security – George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies will hold a forum this evening in the Linder Family Commons, Room 602 oil security and U.S. Military commitment to the Persian Gulf.  The U.S. strategic objective of protecting Persian Gulf oil has generated little controversy since the Gulf became a focus of U.S. military deployments over three decades ago. This may seem unsurprising given the widely-appreciated importance of oil to the global economy. Nevertheless, quite dramatic changes have occurred in the regional balance of power, the nature of security threats, and the global oil market since the U.S. made its commitment  raising the possibility that the U.S. role should be revisited.  The conference panels examine the key rationales driving current U.S. policies, the costs and benefits of alternative approaches, and options for revising the U.S. military stance in the region.

Energy Security, Military Issues Focus on Conference – The U.S. Army War College will gather experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters in Washington, DC tomorrow and Wednesday at the Reserve Officers Association’s Minuteman Memorial Building to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications.  Following the conclusion of the conference, the U.S. Army War College will produce an edited volume consisting of contributor comments/papers, as well as a series of two-page decision-maker executive summaries that will be designed to shape U.S. national security policy and the American response to the ‘new realities.’

House Transpo Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at autonomous vehicles and how they may shape the future of surface transportation. The panel plans to hear testimony from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a representative of state departments of transportation, representatives of the automobile manufacturing industry, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Eno Center for Transportation.  Witnesses will include NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, Michigan DOT head Kirk Steudle, GM’s Mike Robinson, Nissan technical planning expert Andrew Christensen, Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University and Joshua Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation.

Webinar to Look at Solar Contract Templates – An NREL-organized working group representing solar industry stakeholders will hold a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that will focus on standardized solar contract templates that lower transaction costs and make it easier to access low-cost financing for residential and commercial solar power projects.  These contract templates should allow national and regional solar developers alike to increase business opportunities and enable the creation of tradable investment vehicles desired by pension funds and other institutional investors.  The standardized contract templates developed to date include residential leases and commercial power purchase agreements.  The standardized residential lease contract templates will be discussed by Nick Mack, General Counsel of Clean Power Finance, and Seth Weissman, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of SolarCity.  The commercial power purchase agreement contract template will be described by Dirk Michels, Partner at K&L Gates.  Paul Schwabe from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will also introduce the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group, which is facilitating securitization of solar photovoltaic assets through standardized contracts and other efforts.

JHU Forum to Discuss Turkey – Johns Hopkins University will hold an event tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in its Rome Building, Room 806 on Turkey and regional global energy geopolitics. Memduh Karakullukçu, vice chairman and president of Global Relations Forum, will discuss Turkey and regional/global energy geopolitics.

House to Vote on Energy Bill – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will meet tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to mark up and vote on H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act.

Forum to Look at Data Centers, Energy  – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign will hold a panel of leading industry and academic experts on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  in 122 Cannon to discuss the nature and importance of next-gen data center technologies and the role government can play as an early adopter.  Increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing federal agencies to investigate ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. At the same time, new Executive Orders and Congressional actions have mandated increased energy efficiency for government. These two forces have come together to create new opportunities for next-generation ICT technologies, particularly innovative data centers. In an effort to keep government at the leading edge of ICT innovation, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R. 540) to advance public-private partnerships to increase the energy efficiency of federal data centers.   Rep. Anna Eshoo will speak, as well as HP’s Colin Coyle, ITIC President Dean Garfield, Northwestern U’s Eric Masanet, Cathy Snyder of Lockheed Martin and EMC’s Kathrin Winkler.

NAM, SoCo Speakers Headline Energy Efficiency Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute in coordination with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a forum on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn to focus on energy efficiency. The United States is already much more efficient than it was 40 years ago, when the first oil crisis hit. It takes about 52 percent less energy to produce the same amount of GDP than it took in 1973. And we can do even better. In a 2012 study, ACEEE ranked the world’s 12 major economies (including Brazil, China and Germany) based on how energy efficient they were. The United States came in ninth.  Speakers will discuss some of the innovative solutions businesses have developed to cut their energy usage, and to design highly energy efficient products and services for our buildings and industrial sectors. They will also consider what policymakers can do to further promote energy efficiency gains.   They include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Paul Hamilton of Schneider Electric and Southern Energy Management Company Co-founder and CEO Maria Kingery.

Portman, Shaheen to Headline 2013 Energy Efficiency Day – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold its annual Great Energy Efficiency Day on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the House Cannon Caucus Room to discuss doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030 through efforts at the local, state, and federal levels.  Speakers will include Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Michael Burgess, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan, and many others.

DOE to Host Webinar on Offshore Wind Jobs – The Energy Department’s EERE Wind and Water Power Technologies Office will present a live webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at the job and economic development impacts of offshore wind.  More than a year ago, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated work to expand the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to include fixed-bottom offshore wind technology. Following the model’s completion (and in partnership with the Energy Department’s Wind Program, Illinois State University, and James Madison University), NREL supported the analysis of the regional jobs and economic impacts of offshore wind for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. This webinar will provide an overview of the new offshore wind JEDI model and review the four completed assessments.

Senate Enviro Committee to Look at NRC Nuclear Recommendations – The full Senate Environment Committee and its panel on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a joint oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to examine the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Implementation of the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendations and other Actions to Enhance and Maintain Nuclear Safety.

Discussion to Cover Renewables – ACORE’s International Programs, the Global America Business Institute (GABI), and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) will hold a roundtable discussion on Thursday at Noon looking at the role of renewable energy within a diverse energy portfolio around the globe. The discussion will be led by Todd Foley, ACORE’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, and by Mari Angeles Major-Sosias, Fuel Market & Uranium Resource Analyst, Energy and Minerals Consulting.

Webinar Focused on Solar Contracts – The Solar Energy Industries Assn (SEIA) will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. that will focus on renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Currently, 29 states plus D.C. have RPS policies and 17 states plus D.C. have solar and distributed generation provisions. Because RPS policies are key to driving solar development, SEIA is focused on defending and expanding RPS policies around the country.  Join Galen Barbose, Principle Scientific Engineering Associate of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Rick Umoff, Counsel and Regulatory Affairs Manager of SEIA’s State Affairs team, for an in-depth look at the current status of RPS policies. Galen Barbose will lead a data-driven discussion focused on RPS compliance levels, the impact on solar and distributed generation, and lessons learned from RPS policies thus far. Rick Umoff will identify opportunities and threats related to RPS policies, updating members on SEIA’s approach and discussing how members can make an impact.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Renewables Intermittency, PTC – The Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a Chatham House-rules workshop on December 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables.  The forum will discuss the European and American experiences, and consider recommendations for how we can better account for cost and reliability issues in electricity policies and debates.  Speakers will include NARUC President Phil Jones, Exelon’s Dave Brown, Montana PSC Commissioner Travis Kavulla and NREL’s Bran Hannegan, among several others.   As intermittent renewables become larger players in the electric system, they raise new issues that were often unanticipated when today’s policies were first formulated. Policymakers and the public need to better understand the cost, reliability, and infrastructure implications of these policies, as well as potential opportunities to address these emerging concerns through policy reforms.

RFF Seminar to Look at ESA, Species ConservationOn Thursday December 4th at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar looking at the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and species conservation.  ESA has provided a critical safety net for conserving the nation’s species in the 40 years since it was passed. However, effective implementation of the ESA remains a challenge in light of increasing threats to species; uncertainties about the pace, scope, and extent of environmental changes and their impacts on species; and limited resources for implementing species protection. Furthermore, the ESA traditionally has taken a species-by-species approach that constrains the ability to focus on the health of ecosystems and address complex threats that often unfold at the landscape scale. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar brings together diverse panelists to discuss strategies and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. Panelists will draw on examples of success and new strategies to suggest paths for increasing the effectiveness of ESA implementation going forward.  Panelists will include US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Brad Gruver of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, EDF’s David Festa and Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.  National Wildlife Federation VP John Kostyack and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy will also provide comments.

LaFleur Headlines WCEE Breakfast – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday December 4th at 8:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club for a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring FERC Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur.   LaFleur has an impressive resume and may be the next FERC Chair.  She will  speak on a number of important energy issues over which FERC has authority as well as her career and offer insight on how she came to the important role she now plays.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on the BPC/NARUC websites.

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda.  Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Energy Update Week of November 11

Friends,

Today is Veterans Day…A special day to say thanks to our living veterans.  While we say thanks today, we should be saying thanks every day.

By the way, I meant to report this last week, but it really struck me hard later last Monday after I received the notice of his e-mail bouncing back.  My friend, Scott Harper, 51, the longtime environmental reporter for the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, died after a long battle of pancreatic cancer on October 26th. He had been a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot for 17 years covering the environment as good as anyone.  More importantly, he was an all-around genuine guy.  He leaves behind his wife of 22 years and three children, the oldest of whom is in his first year of college at Cornell.

Former Balt Sun reporter Rona Kobell may have captured my thoughts better than I could when she wrote that: “Scott was a tough reporter, but he never stopped being likable, even to the people he covered. It is the mark of someone truly good at what they do that, when they expose truths you would rather not be known, you still like them.”  I hope you are interested in helping Scott’s family in this time of need.  You prayers, well wishes and generosity would be appreciated.  I can forward you the information should you want it.

Last week was super busy with the EPA hearings across the country and Energy Secretary Moniz’s visit to Kemper after the CCS ministerial meeting.   This week, the schedule presses on both at the UN climate meetings, which kick off today in Poland amidst the response to the typhoon in the Philippines, and here in DC with Thursday hearings featuring EPA’s Gina McCarthy at House Science and bipartisan legislation to undo the GHG rules in the House Energy Committee.

This also looks to be a busy ethanol week.  Not only is EPA expected to make its RFS announcements any time now, the Associated Press is releasing a hard-hitting, detailed analysis of ethanol’s environmental and land-use impacts.  Of course, the RFA says it is a “smear campaign” but that seems like the same old tired argument.

Finally, congrats to our friend Dan Utech, who takes over today at the White House for the just-departed Heather Zichal as climate and energy policy advisor to the President.   Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Moniz Heads to Kemper – The Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz went to Southern Co.’s Kemper County, Miss., carbon capture project last Friday to further a discussion of the technology started earlier in the week at energy Ministerial meetings on the topic.  The project also has received heighted attention because of its significant mentions in EPA’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.  The event followed the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., where the Kemper project was endorsed by the CSLF and added to its portfolio of pioneering activities

International Leaders Joined Moniz – Moniz led an international delegation of government and industry leaders on a tour of Kemper to see firsthand the innovative 21stcentury coal technology under construction in southeast Mississippi. During the visit, international energy ministry officials representing more than a half dozen countries discussed opportunities to leverage the facility’s technology to cleanly and efficiently meet their nations’ energy needs.

Who Was There – Joining Secretary Moniz at the Kemper facility were Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning, Mississippi Power President and CEO Ed Holland and energy ministry officials from around the world, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

The Moni-Money Quote – Following the visit, Secretary Moniz praised the SoCo effort: “Southern Company is, in many ways, leading all towards a 21st century generation portfolio.”

Kemper Worker, On-line Vitals –There are currently 6,000 workers onsite and more than 480 Mississippi companies involved in the Kemper project. Most recently the project met major milestones by testing the power generation portion of the plant and connection of its largest electric transmission lines. The facility is scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2014.

DOE To Roll Out Fossil Loan Guarantees – Just prior to rolling to Kemper, the DOE announced 18 projects across the country to research innovative, second-generation technologies that will help improve the efficiency and drive down costs of carbon capture processes for new and existing coal-fired power plants.  With nearly $84 million in investments from the Energy Department – and additional cost-share from industry, universities, and other research institutions – the projects will support the development of advanced technologies that will help enable efficient, cost-effective application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes for new and existing coal-fired power plants.  Projects will conduct carbon capture research for two different fossil power generation processes. For traditional, combustion-based power plants – like most coal-fired plants today – research will focus on more efficiently capturing carbon emissions post combustion. More advanced, gasification-based electric power plants break down coal – or almost any carbon-based feedstock – into its chemical constituents before any combustion takes place. Research into this technology will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of pre-combustion carbon capture.

SoCo Adds Another CA Solar Project to Portfolio – Speaking of Southern Company, its subsidiary Southern Power acquired the company’s second solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in California – the 20-megawatt (MW) Adobe Solar Facility – in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy. The Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership’s sixth solar project acquisition is expected to close upon the successful completion of construction, which is anticipated in spring 2014. The Adobe Solar Facility will be built, operated and maintained by SunEdison, a leading global solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar technology and solar energy services. Construction of the project began this fall.   Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, teamed with Southern Company through a subsidiary in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States. The partnership has primarily focused on developing and investing in solar PV projects where solar resources are most favorable.   The Adobe Solar Facility will be located on a 160-acre site in Kern County, Calif. Electricity generated by the plant will serve a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International, through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in infrastructure and energy assets, including renewable energy.

Industry Testifies at EPA Hearings – So last week, there were hearings across the country at EPA offices on the new GHG rules.  My colleague Scott Segal testified at the DC hearings, saying “EPA regulations that hamper or stifle innovation in the coal-powered sector represent a significant challenge to energy security, electric reliability, and job creation in the United States.”    Segal added that industrials and power plants are already in transition as a result of numerous EPA rules, and GHG requirements must not penalize the investments companies have already made to reduce environmental impact.  Segal says additional benefits to an ill-considered rule for existing power plants may be few and far between.  Segal: “Carbon-emission rules are not designed to produce local air quality benefits.  The fact that these potential rules are being advanced on a unilateral basis means that continued and expanding coal use from Asia to Europe will result in no real impact on global warming.  Further, as energy costs increase in the US, and manufacturing assets move overseas to areas less sensitive to energy efficiency, carbon emissions might even go up as a result of the rules.  Certainly, if we have to import more goods back to the United States as we lose manufacturing capacity, carbon emissions will increase.”

In-depth AP Story Hits Ethanol – Speaking of the RFS, for years, ethanol has been a centerpiece of America’s political and green energy strategy. It has been described as homegrown fuel that can reduce greenhouse gases and to wean the country off foreign sources of oil. But an Associated Press investigation just out highlights the environmental impact of ethanol production.   As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they touched off a cascade of unintended consequences, including the elimination of many acres of conservation land.  A months-long reporting effort into the hidden cost of this green energy source was led by Washington bureau reporters Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, but represents the efforts of dozens of AP journalists, photographers, video producers, data experts, editors and others across the country. AP used its footprint in the 50 states to interview farmers, politicians, environmentalists, scientists and many others. AP’s data experts also burrowed deep into statistics to tell a comprehensive story.

Ethanol Industry Pushes Back – The ethanol industry is doing what you might expect: Calling the ethanol exposé a misleading lie and blaming ethanol’s woes on others.  I don’t think the oil industry own the AP last time I checked though…  RFA says the AP story “uses disproven myths, skewed data, and outright fabrications to suggest biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard have not lived up to their promise.”  Last time I checked, most folks think it really hasn’t.   RFA goes on to counter many of the claims about land issues and impacts in a detailed fact sheet, as well as provided reports and scientists that have found ethanol significantly reduces GHG emissions relative to gasoline and looked at the full range of ethanol’s impacts on air, land, and water compared to gasoline.

Study Show Developing Countries to Pass Developed Countries in Emissions – A new recent study of global emission trends by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, research group Ecofys and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, found that developing countries will soon be responsible for the greatest world share of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The study predicted that developing countries will account for 51 percent of world cumulative CO2 emissions by 2020, marginally surpassing emissions from developed nations. Developing countries accounted for 48 percent of cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2010. November 11, nearly 200 governments will meet in Warsaw, Poland to discuss a global deal for fighting climate change to be agreed on by 2015, and put into action starting 2020. The study notes that discussions at UN climate negotiations tend to focus on the biggest climate change contributors – putting developing nations at the focus of the talks, along with the long-standing large CO2 emitters United States, the European Union, and Russia. Separately, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency noted a remarkable slowdown in worldwide CO2 emissions despite substantial economic growth.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

UN Climate Meetings Set for Next Week – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Climate negotiations will be held this week and next in Warsaw, Poland.  This meetings is expected to be low-key foundation building for the 2015 Meetings slated for Paris next year.  In Paris, negotiators are trying to forge an extension of the Kyoto Treaty.

Local Solar Conference Set – MDV-SEIA will hold its 7th annual Solar Focus Conference today and tomorrow at the Marriott at Metro Center.  To mark the milestone, they will have an exciting lineup of speakers and panels.  This year’s theme is “The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar.” It will highlight the unprecedented, exponential growth of distributed solar in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The event begins with a Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, and Keynote Address and then leads into a full day of educational panels on the 12th.  Panels will cover the federal policy outlook and federal opportunities, state by state market opportunities, solutions for managing SREC volatility, energy storage & its potential to transform the solar sector, tax equity, overcoming development barriers in Maryland and D.C., and many others.   FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff will address the group tomorrow.

USEA to Host Afghan Power Execs – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association will host representatives from Afghanistan’s national power utility and respective government ministries to present on the status of the Afghanistan power sector. The delegation includes senior executives from  Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Energy and Water, and Mines and Petroleum.

JHU to Discuss Solar, Utilities – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program will host a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. on expanding rooftop solar among traditional electric utilities.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Bob Gibson, Dominion’s Bill Murray, former D.C. PSC Commissioner Rick Morgan and NREL’s Robert Margolis will speak.

Manchin to Headline NJ Innovation ForumNational Journal LIVE will host a forum on innovation, technology and our energy future on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.  in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Pavilion Room.  Recent energy debates in Washington have focused mostly on government policies, including climate and clean energy standards, that could help increase the use of American resources, shift to cleaner sources of energy and help reduce air emissions.  Buried in these debates is the importance of research and development of new energy technologies for both fossil fuels and renewables.  National Journal will explore the importance of R&D in America’s new energy landscape and what the right role for the federal government will be to trigger new energy technologies.  Our friend Amy Harder moderates a panel featuring Sen. Joe Manchin, BPC expert Margot Anderson and Janet Peace of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Cadillac, WAPA to Hold Ride/Drive – The Washington Auto  Press Assn (WAPA) will hold the November luncheon for a luncheon Cadillac and its luxury brand’s sedans at the  Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.  Drives available starting at 11:00am, followed by lunch at 12:00pm and more driving.  Vurpillat, Cadillac’s Global Director of Marketing will discuss the CTS (including Vsport), XTS (including Vsport) and the award-winning ATS.   Under Vurpillat, Cadillac has successfully launched a number of new vehicles in the past eight years starting with the CTS and SRX, and now the new XTS luxury sedan and ATS luxury sports sedan. In addition to his work in the U.S., Jim is focused on Cadillac’s growth emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim held a number of positions at General Motors ranging from managing major brand partnerships and sponsorships; to advertising campaigns; to market research.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

Lindzen to Discuss Science at Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on science progress on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. featuring Richard S. Lindzen, Emeritus Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.  For many fields of science, there is little doubt that the period 1830-1965 was a golden age. There is also little doubt that changes in the support structure for science since the late 60’s have powerful elements that serve to inhibit major developments. Dr. Lindzen will discuss these changes from the personal perspective of a climate scientist, and place them in the historical perspective of other areas of study.

Forum to Look at Shale, Asia – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday to look at growing abundance of domestic shale gas and Its impacts on Asia. This opportunity presents new questions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens such as the cost and business factors that make U.S. LNG competitive in global markets and the potential geostrategic consequences of this resource for the economies and countries across Asia.  Bill Loveless, Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy at Platts and host of Platts Energy Week TV will moderate the panel including Dominion’s Bill Allen, Jane Nakano of CSIS, API’s Robin Rorick and Kate Williams of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.

Reporters to Discuss Climate Coverage at Forum – As the UN meeting continue this week, Georgetown University’s climate center will host a briefing Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. in GU’s Mortara Building to discuss media coverage of climate change issues.  Georgetown Climate Center’s  Vicki Arroyo hosts our friends Richard Harris of NPR, USA Today’s Wendy Koch and former Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporter John Carey.

Senate Energy to Discuss Energy, Interior Nominations – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Energy Committee will hold a nominations convene a hearing.  DOE General Counsel Nominee Steven P. Croley, Chris Smith, nominated to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy and Esther Kia’aina (Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas) will each testify.

House Energy to Take Up Legislation on GHG Rules – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power panel holds a hearing on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions rule for new power plants and the Whitfield-Manchin bill that would repeal such rules and give Congress more authority over upcoming regulations.

McCarthy to Headline House Science Hearing – House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday that will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy focusing on strengthening transparency and accountability.  On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. the committee’s research panel holds a hearing on federal investments in science and technology research.

CSIS to Look at Energy Picture – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. looking at the changing North American energy markets and implications for policies and regulations. North American oil and gas production is growing at rates unforeseen a decade ago. With this new production comes the realization the traditional framework of energy scarcity no longer applies. Are the current policies flexible enough to manage these new energy dynamics? How do policymakers, regulators, and industry manage the new circumstances to safely and prudently allow for the continued development of these resources? Frank Verrastro and David Manning of the Government of Alberta will present.

NRC to Take Comment on Waste – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., NRC will provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comments on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule.

EIA’s Sieminski to Headline Georgetown Cleantech Conference – Georgetown University’s annual conference on energy and Cleantech issues will begin on Friday.  The conference is for students, energy industry professionals, government officials and business leaders to discuss the latest developments in the energy industry. This year’s conference will feature keynote remarks by Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as well as panels on regulation of oil shale and gas production, renewable energy financing, innovative business strategies to procure energy, and a discussion of whether or not the U.S. should grant additional export permits for domestic natural gas.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

World Coal Meeting Held in Poland As Well – As I Mentioned last week, Poland gets 88% of its power from coal, so while it hosts the UN Climate meetings this week, Next week it is also hosting the World Coal meeting.  UN chief Christine Figures is expected to speak and is getting significant grief from enviro activists for doing so.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation.  Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley.

Forum to Look at Persian Gulf, Oil Security – George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies will hold a forum on Monday November 18th in the Linder Family Commons, Room 602 oil security and U.S. Military commitment to the Persian Gulf.  The U.S. strategic objective of protecting Persian Gulf oil has generated little controversy since the Gulf became a focus of U.S. military deployments over three decades ago. This may seem unsurprising given the widely-appreciated importance of oil to the global economy. Nevertheless, quite dramatic changes have occurred in the regional balance of power, the nature of security threats, and the global oil market since the U.S. made its commitment  raising the possibility that the U.S. role should be revisited.  The conference panels examine the key rationales driving current U.S. policies, the costs and benefits of alternative approaches, and options for revising the U.S. military stance in the region.

Energy Security, Military Issues Focus on Conference – The U.S. Army War College will gather experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday and Wednesday November 19th and 20th at the Reserve Officers Association’s Minuteman Memorial Building to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications.  Following the conclusion of the conference, the U.S. Army War College will produce an edited volume consisting of contributor comments/papers, as well as a series of two-page decision-maker executive summaries that will be designed to shape U.S. national security policy and the American response to the ‘new realities.’

House Transpo Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing on Tuesday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. looking at autonomous vehicles and how they may shape the future of surface transportation.

Forum to Look at Data Centers, Energy  – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign will hold a panel of leading industry and academic experts on Wednesday, November 20th at 9:00 a.m.  at 122 Cannon to discuss the nature and importance of next-gen data center technologies and the role government can play as an early adopter.  Increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing federal agencies to investigate ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. At the same time, new Executive Orders and Congressional actions have mandated increased energy efficiency for government. These two forces have come together to create new opportunities for next-generation ICT technologies, particularly innovative data centers. In an effort to keep government at the leading edge of ICT innovation, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R. 540) to advance public-private partnerships to increase the energy efficiency of federal data centers.   Rep. Anna Eshoo will speak, as well as HP’s Colin Coyle, ITIC President Dean Garfield, Northwestern U’s Eric Masanet, Cathy Snyder of Lockheed Martin and EMC’s Kathrin Winkler.

NAM, SoCo Speakers Headline Energy Efficiency Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute in coordination with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a forum on Wednesday, November 20th at 11:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn to focus on energy efficiency. The United States is already much more efficient than it was 40 years ago, when the first oil crisis hit. It takes about 52 percent less energy to produce the same amount of GDP than it took in 1973. And we can do even better. In a 2012 study, ACEEE ranked the world’s 12 major economies (including Brazil, China and Germany) based on how energy efficient they were. The United States came in ninth.  Speakers will discuss some of the innovative solutions businesses have developed to cut their energy usage, and to design highly energy efficient products and services for our buildings and industrial sectors. They will also consider what policymakers can do to further promote energy efficiency gains.   They include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Paul Hamilton of Schneider Electric and Southern Energy Management Company Co-founder and CEO Maria Kingery.

DOE to Host Webinar on Offshore Wind Jobs – The Energy Department’s EERE Wind and Water Power Technologies Office will present a live webinar on Wednesday, November 20th at 3:00 p.m. looking at the job and economic development impacts of offshore wind.  More than a year ago, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated work to expand the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to include fixed-bottom offshore wind technology. Following the model’s completion (and in partnership with the Energy Department’s Wind Program, Illinois State University, and James Madison University), NREL supported the analysis of the regional jobs and economic impacts of offshore wind for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. This webinar will provide an overview of the new offshore wind JEDI model and review the four completed assessments.

Portman, Shaheen to Headline 2013 Energy Efficiency Day – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold its annual Great Energy Efficiency Day on Wednesday, November 20th at 1:30 p.m. in the House Cannon Caucus Room to discuss doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030 through efforts at the local, state, and federal levels.  Speakers will include Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Michael Burgess, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan, and many others.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on the BPC/NARUC websites.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Energy Update Week of November 4

Friends,

Congrats to the Red Sox for the huge World Series victory last week and fun parade on Saturday.  And also a shout out to the 48,000 runners in yesterday’s ING NYC marathon, which was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Sandy.  Now that the fall sports season (field hockey, soccer and most football, outside playoffs) is now over, this week we launch in the Fall lacrosse season here which will keep us hopping… Each of my kids has two lax tournaments this weekend.  Still wondering how I’m going to get to all those places.

And the same goes for EPA, who has an action-packed week this week with public listening meetings to solicit ideas and input about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  EPA has a full week starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston.  Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday at EPA HQ in DC, as well as Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday.  Of course, Boston and Philly were added to this week after their original dates were delayed by the government shutdown.   We have resources that can (and will) be commenting at many of these sites.  Headlining will be my colleague Scott Segal, who takes his 3 minutes at the DC session.

Second major agenda item this week is the energy ministerial meeting in Washington on Carbon Capture and Storage technologies hosted by Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.  See more specifics below, but expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project in Mississippi and I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow ended up down there.  For background on Kemper, look here.

In Congress, the House is out until after Veteran’s Day next week, while the Senate is in session and has a hearing tomorrow on methane emissions in Senate Environment featuring EPA and industry experts.

Also tomorrow, voters hit the polls in New Jersey, NYC and Virginia.  Gov. Christie seems to be headed to a solid victory, while the Virginia Governor’s race…  well after being flooded with ads in the DC TV markets for months, let’s just say I can’t wait for tomorrow.  But my enviro friends are excited because former UVa climate scientist Michael Mann is a mainstay of McAuliffe ads.

For you C-SPAN junkies, keep your eyes peeled on Thursday morning at 9:30 when Joe Desmond of BrightSource will be on Washington Journal to discuss solar energy policies as well as some of the exciting projects reaching the finish line, including BSE’s Ivanpah project.

Finally, keep on the lookout for decisions on Keystone and the RFS, both of which should see action before the end of the year and as soon as next week.  As well, in advance of upcoming UN Climate meetings which start next week in Poland, continue to look for the type of news/advocacy banter on climate issues like yesterday’s IPCC “leak”, which seems to seems to show “widespread and consequential” impacts.  Of course there is much more to the story that often gets left in the footnotes according to my friend and respected science writer Andy Revkin.  Moral of Story:  Just don’t believe most of the stuff you hear about climate change as we get close to a UN meeting.  BTW, Poland gets 88% of Its electricity from coal, nearly 2/3 of it from Russia.  Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Coal Ash Decision Tells EPA to Set Date for Decision – A Federal district court ruled late last week that EPA has 60 days to propose a deadline for finishing its long-suffering coal ash rules.  EPA has to submit a proposed schedule to review and revise Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle D regulations on coal ash, along with a legal justification.  Environmentalists and public health groups that sued the agency over its delay in finishing a rule proposed in 2010.  The rule has been stuck in limbo because of the sticky wicket that regulating coal ash would cause among the many consumer and industrial re-uses and the legal morass that changing its status could cause.  My colleague Lisa Jaeger, a former EPA GC, says this is a split decision though and that it will be likely be a focus of attention in the future

GSA Offers Path for SFI-Certified Wood in Federal Construction – Late last week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a recommendation to the U.S. Department of Energy that federal agencies have the option to use either the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating tools or Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes when choosing a third-party green building certification system.  The recommendation is a very positive outcome, putting Green Globes on par with LEED in federal use of green building rating systems. GSA policy for many years had been to use only LEED, which awards its certified wood credit only for products certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Green Globes, on the other hand, recognizes Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Canadian Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and FSC standards in awarding points for certified wood. This opens the door to greater use of SFI-certified wood in federal building construction and renovation.  SFI supports policies that expand adoption of green building and consider use of other globally accepted, credible certification standards like SFI. This GSA announcement was triggered by a requirement in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that GSA issue a recommendation to DOE every five years on how the federal government can best use certification systems to measure the design and performance of the federal government’s construction and major renovation projects.

EIA: Drilling Efficiency Key Driver of Oil, NatGas – I have seen this chart before, but EIA just released a new one that I thought would be valuable.  The Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) analyzes drilling efficiency using the average number of wells a rig can drill over a period of time as well as a measure of how productive each new well is expected to be. (See Charts)  Increases in drilling efficiency have contributed to the breakdown of traditional methods that seek to estimate oil and natural gas production based principally on rig counts.   The DPR focuses on the expected values for all rigs and wells in a play allows for a useful and relevant analysis of how the rig count seen today contributes to the overall change in oil and natural gas production.  EIA estimates drilling efficiency (the number of wells drilled per rig each month) by tracking the number of rigs in a play as well as the number of new wells started each month. Using an appropriate lag for each region based on changes in the rig count relative to changes in new-well counts, this measure of drilling efficiency can be used to estimate how many new wells were started and should start producing in the coming months.

Deepwater Focuses on Completing RI Project – In what will likely be the first offshore wind project to complete construction, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski says the offshore wind developer has moved well beyond the early stages of development and is now squarely focusing on completing the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I.  He says construction activities will begin in late 2014, beginning with the “transmission piece of the project,” which includes a 21-mile, medium-voltage submarine cable connecting the offshore wind farm to the mainland. Although details have yet to be finalized, Deepwater says the subcable will make landfall in Narragansett, R.I.  The jacket foundations will begin arriving in spring 2015, with Siemens delivering five 6 MW direct-drive turbines that summer, with grid completion expected in the fall. That time frame would make Deepwater’s Block Island Wind Farm among the first, if not the first, offshore wind farm in the U.S.   National Grid has agreed to buy the project’s output, making Deepwater one of two U.S. offshore wind developers to secure a power purchase agreement.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EPA GHG Listening Sessions– EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country this week with meetings everyday, starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston.  Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., today through Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel.  This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF,  will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS.  The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology.  The Ministerial meeting on Thursday will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute.  The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.

Panel to Discussion Geoengineering – From 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, the Civil Society Meeting on Geoengineering will convene a half-day of moderated discussion on the fast evolving topic of geoengineering. This invite-only meeting will be open to a range of civil society actors in Washington, DC. The goal is to prompt an open conversation that fosters a broad and ongoing dialogue about this important emerging issue. AU and JHU are sponsors and will host at JHU’s SAIS Nitze building.  Joe Romm and our friend Kate Sheppard will sit on a panel with Wil Burns of JHU and Simon Nicholson Of AU.

Eni CEO to Address Impacts of Energy Revolution – Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum today at 5:30 p.m. featuring Paolo Scaroni, CEO of the Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni.  Scaroni will focus on geopolitical impacts of the new energy issues in countries around the world.

Senate Energy Panel to Look at Methane for Oil, Gas Operations – The Senate Environment Committee panel on Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  Witnesses will include EPA’s Sarah Durham, UT-Austin’s David Allen, Texas A&M’s Daniel Hill, Southwestern Energy‘s Mark Boling, Devon’s Darren Smith and NRDC’s  Vignesh Gowrishankar.

JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro group’s focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics.  Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.

WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum tomorrow at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination.   Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.

AU Forum to Look at Energy, Enviro Health – The American University Washington College of Law will hold a symposium on Wednesday that will explore the balance between effectively meeting the demands of a growing population and the importance of promoting sustainable and environmentally compatible measures to protect the health of future generations.  The first panel (9:30 – 10:30 am) is entitled “Big Energy: Costs and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracking.” It will be moderated by our friend Amanda Leiter.

Groups to Open E85 Flex Fuel Station – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, Maryland Clean Cities Coalition, and Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties, LLC will hold the Grand Opening of W Express’s Potomac Sunoco’s 11th Flex Fuel (E85) Station Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  Festivities will begin with a press event, speakers, and ribbon-cutting, followed by a retailer educational question and answer session. This exciting and well-publicized event will feature E85 fuel-fuel sold to drivers of FlexFuel vehicles at a reduced price on November 6. Invited speakers include several senior level Federal and State officials. Moderated by the Maryland Energy Administration’s Abby Hopper, invited speakers include representatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the state Assembly, the Montgomery County Council, and other Government and Industry Officials.  MAPP, as the distributor of E85, has partnered with the Maryland Clean Cities Program; GWRCCC; Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board; FlexFuel Awareness Campaign; Growth Energy; Sustainable Energy Strategies, Inc.; the Clean Fuels Development Coalition; Protec Fuels; and local auto dealers to celebrate the opening of this station.

RESCHEDULED: Senate Energy to Look Columbia River Treaty – On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on recommendations for the Columbia River Treaty.  The hearing, originally rescheduled because of the government shutdown, will be held at 9:30 a.m. and webcast live on the committee’s website.

CSIS to Host IEA Energy Efficiency Expert – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday featuring Phillipe Benoit, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the IEA.  Benoit will discuss the IEA’s recently released inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report 2013. The report provides a practical basis for understanding energy efficiency market activities, a review of the methodological and practical challenges associated with measuring the market and its components, and statistical analysis of energy efficiency and its impact on energy demand. It also highlights a specific technology sector in which there is significant energy efficiency market activity, in this instance appliances and ICT.  The energy efficiency market is diffuse, varied and involves all energy-consuming sectors of the economy. A comprehensive overview of market activity is complicated by the challenges associated with quantifying the components of the market and the paucity of comparable reported data. This report underscores how vital high-quality and timely energy efficiency data is to understanding this market. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

GU Forum to Look at Hydropower Impacts – Georgetown University will host a seminar on Thursday on campus in the Reiss Science Building, Room 112, looking at fish, hydropower, the Columbia, and The Mekong’ with guest speaker Mark Giordano, PhD from STIA, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.   GU Professor Anne Rosenwald hosts the event.

Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power.  Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market.  The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like.  SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.

Forum to Discuss Russia, NatGas – On Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University’s Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative will host Rawi Abdelal, the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School.  Abdelal will discuss Russia, Europe and the gas revolution, looking at firms and geopolitics in the age of shale.

FUTURE EVENTS 

UN Climate Meetings Set for Next Week – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Climate negotiations will be held from November 11 – 22 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

Local Solar Conference Set – MDV-SEIA will hold its 7th annual Solar Focus Conference on Monday-Tuesday, November 11-12th at the Marriott at Metro Center.  To mark the milestone, they will have an exciting lineup of speakers and panels.  This year’s theme is “The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar.” It will highlight the unprecedented, exponential growth of distributed solar in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The event begins with a Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, and Keynote Address and then leads into a full day of educational panels on the 12th.  Panels will cover the federal policy outlook and federal opportunities, state by state market opportunities, solutions for managing SREC volatility, energy storage & its potential to transform the solar sector, tax equity, overcoming development barriers in Maryland and D.C., and many others.

USEA to Host Afghan Power Execs – On Tuesday, November 12th at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association will host representatives from Afghanistan’s national power utility and respective government ministries to present on the status of the Afghanistan power sector. The delegation includes senior executives from  Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Energy and Water, and Mines and Petroleum.

Manchin to Headline NJ Innovation ForumNational Journal LIVE will host a forum on innovation, technology and our energy future on Wednesday, November 13th at 8:00 a.m.  in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Pavilion Room.  Recent energy debates in Washington have focused mostly on government policies, including climate and clean energy standards, that could help increase the use of American resources, shift to cleaner sources of energy and help reduce air emissions.  Buried in these debates is the importance of research and development of new energy technologies for both fossil fuels and renewables.  National Journal will explore the importance of R&D in America’s new energy landscape and what the right role for the federal government will be to trigger new energy technologies.  Our friend Amy Harder moderates a panel featuring Sen. Joe Manchin, BPC expert Margot Anderson and Janet Peace of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Cadillac, WAPA to Hold Ride/Drive – The Washington Auto  Press Assn (WAPA) will hold the November luncheon for a luncheon Cadillac and its luxury brand’s sedans at the  Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. Wednesday, November 13th at 11:00 a.m.  Drives available starting at 11:00am, followed by lunch at 12:00pm and more driving.  Vurpillat, Cadillac’s Global Director of Marketing will discuss the CTS (including Vsport), XTS (including Vsport) and the award-winning ATS.   Under Vurpillat, Cadillac has successfully launched a number of new vehicles in the past eight years starting with the CTS and SRX, and now the new XTS luxury sedan and ATS luxury sports sedan. In addition to his work in the U.S., Jim is focused on Cadillac’s growth emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim held a number of positions at General Motors ranging from managing major brand partnerships and sponsorships; to advertising campaigns; to market research.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

Lindzen to Discuss Science at Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on science progress on Wednesday November 13 at 4:00 p.m. featuring Richard S. Lindzen, Emeritus Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.  For many fields of science, there is little doubt that the period 1830-1965 was a golden age. There is also little doubt that changes in the support structure for science since the late 60’s have powerful elements that serve to inhibit major developments. Dr. Lindzen will discuss these changes from the personal perspective of a climate scientist, and place them in the historical perspective of other areas of study.

Forum to Look at Shale, Asia – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday November 13th to look at growing abundance of domestic shale gas and Its impacts on Asia. This opportunity presents new questions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens such as the cost and business factors that make U.S. LNG competitive in global markets and the potential geostrategic consequences of this resource for the economies and countries across Asia.  Bill Loveless, Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy at Platts and host of Platts Energy Week TV will moderate the panel including Dominion’s Bill Allen, Jane Nakano of CSIS, API’s Robin Rorick and Kate Williams of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.

CSIS to Look at Energy Picture – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday, November 14th at 1:30 p.m. looking at the changing North American energy markets and implications for policies and regulations. North American oil and gas production is growing at rates unforeseen a decade ago. With this new production comes the realization the traditional framework of energy scarcity no longer applies. Are the current policies flexible enough to manage these new energy dynamics? How do policymakers, regulators, and industry manage the new circumstances to safely and prudently allow for the continued development of these resources? Frank Verrastro and David Manning of the Government of Alberta will present.

NRC to Take Comment on Waste – On Thursday, November 14th at 2:00 p.m., NRC will provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comments on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation.  Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on the BPC/NARUC websites.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

 

Energy Update Week of October 28

Friends,

Just a short note today as I am still tired from last night’s trek to the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore to catch the Pearl Jam show.  That was on top of close to 500 miles of driving, hauling kids around to the first of several fall lax tournaments and college recruit play days.

The show was terrific and included many of the classics (Corduroy, Daughter, Better Man, Elderly Woman…), a number of the new songs off Lightning Bolt and a few covers including The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, Neil Young’s Rocking in the Free World and a few lines of English Beat’s Save it for Later during Better Man.   I always liked Pearl Jam but was more of a Soundgarden/Alice in Chains guy when listening to the Seattle sound.  But last night, I really respected Pearl Jam for their honoring of Lou Reed, who passed away yesterday.  Not only did they do a cover of the Velvet Underground classic I’m Waiting for the Man, they also sprinkled a “Walk on the Side” tag during Daughter.   Obviously a big influence on them and really classy…

On the Hill this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will really turn to health care and the President’s struggle over ACA implementation when Kathleen Sibelius visits for what will be somewhat uncomfortable testimony.  Before that though, the focus on coal returns when the Committee’s Energy panel holds a hearing tomorrow on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants.  Also on this theme tomorrow, the House Science Committee looks at the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project.  For background on Kemper, look here.  Both hearings coincide with coal rallies in Washington aimed at highlighting the potential harm to coal country, as well as an expected ministerial meeting on CCS technologies next week.  Finally tomorrow, also in House Energy, the Committee returns to bipartisan legislation aimed at speeding reviews for pipeline and transmission infrastructure.

Today, the National Academy of Sciences released a report today saying the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement program to identify best practices for offshore drilling needs to tap a wide variety of experts and have sustained funding in order to be effective.  As we work on these issues, we have resources, including Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition expert Jim Noe.  I also have a recent letter from the 6 trade associations that represent oil and gas producers who conduct essentially all of the OCS oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico that has thoughts on similar topics.  Can forward if you want to see.

Finally, congrats to our friend Andrew Light, a great climate/foreign affairs expert at CAP, who is heading over to help the climate negotiation team headed by Todd Stern at the State Department.  I don’t know, Warsaw in late November/December sounds a little chilly… (h/t POLITCOPro).

Spooks and Ghouls roll on Thursday.  We’re looking to set a volume and time record this year for our 500 home neighborhood (Halloween is an opportunity for a cardio workout in our house).   Next week I’ll give you my annual Pumpkin Seed flavor update.  I am busy digging in, flavoring and Cooking all this week.  (For those of you that don’t know, each Halloween, my kids and I dig through about 20 pumpkins and I make different flavored seeds.  It is almost as rich a tradition in my office as the update itself). Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Report Says Funding, Industry Expertise Needed for New Offshore Institute – A new report from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council says BSEE will need to draw on expertise outside the government to help it improve efforts to identify and develop the “best available and safest technologies” for offshore oil and gas production.  The agency’s plans for forming an independent institute to enhance safe and responsible offshore operations across the oil and gas industry could be a “suitable vehicle” for evaluating and developing new technologies to meet the mandate, the report says, but the institute’s scope should be significantly expanded.  The report says  BSEE should enlist a multidisciplinary group of individuals with the necessary skills to perform critical technical assessments, economic analysis, and independent reviews when needed, the report says. The planned institute would greatly aid in tapping the additional talent BSEE needs, as long as OESI is properly organized, staffed, and supported.  However, the proposed funding level of up to $5 million over five years to launch OESI is likely to be insufficient for purposes other than planning and could limit BSEE’s ability to attract and retain key personnel. To strengthen in-house talent, BSEE should consider hiring a reputable chief engineer or chief scientist with expertise in offshore drilling and production activities to work within the bureau and serve as an interface with OESI.  The report also says BSEE could recruit industry retirees and develop a “cross-posting” system with technical staff rotating between government and industry, similar to the one used by the FAA.

EIA, EPA Data Show Drop in Carbon Emissions – EPA and EIA both reported last week that carbon emissions have dropped last year. Carbon emissions from energy use fell in 2012 to, EIA released its annual report saying emissions were down 3.8% from the previous year, to 5,290 million metric tons. It was the second consecutive year energy emissions declined and the lowest since 1994.  EIA said the decline to a 2.4% reduction in energy consumption, despite gross domestic product growth of about 2.8%.   The following day, EPA said domestic GHGs from the power sector fell for the second year in a row because of greater reliance on natural gas over coal.  The data was gathered through information submitted by 1,611 plants in the GHG Reporting Program, showing emissions declined 5.9% over the previous year.

Rural Utilities to Get Loan Guarantees – At the NRECA meeting in San Antonio, the USDA Rural Utilities Service says it will provide funding for rural electric utility system improvements that will benefit residential and business customers in 23 states. The projects include more than $14.3 million to implement smart grid technology and nearly $11 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.   The $960 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will help build 3,587 miles of line, benefit approximately 17,000 rural residential and business customers, and make other system improvements. Including today’s announcement, the Obama Administration has invested $152 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.  View the list of recipients. USDA funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

MSC Announces New Chief – After a two-month search process, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) said David Spigelmyer will serve as its president.  Spigelmyer, with a 30-year career in the energy industry, takes the position today.  Spigelmyer served as Vice President of Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s Appalachia division, where he was responsible for government relations, regulatory policy, stakeholder engagement and communications efforts. Prior to Chesapeake, he served in similar roles at EQT Corporation and Dominion Resources and held other energy industry-related positions in New York State as well as in Washington, DC. A Clearfield County native, Mr. Spigelmyer is a Penn State University graduate and an active outdoorsman.  Spigelmyer said safe shale development has been one of the most transformative turning points in PA’s history. “Led by Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry and a robust and diverse membership of the MSC, we can and will have energy security, job growth, and environmental protection – without a false choice among any of the three.”

EIA Rolls out New Gas Shale Data – EIA began publication of a new monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) to provide region-specific insights into rig efficiency, new well productivity, decline rates at previously existing wells, and overall production trends. The DPR information, which initially will cover six regions, will also inform EIA’s own short-term production outlook. In 2011-12, these six regions accounted for 90% of domestic oil production growth and virtually all domestic natural gas production growth.  The DPR synthesizes several different types of information to shed light on the current rate of growth or decline in production based on indicators including the active rig count, drilling efficiency and the productivity of new wells, and production and depletion trends for previously producing wells. The DPR metrics are intended to be more informative than traditional indicators such as simple counts of oil-directed and gas-directed drilling rigs in use.   Future TIE articles will discuss the individual metrics included in the DPR and explain their relationship to traditional measures. Additional articles will periodically report on significant changes in DPR data and estimates as warranted.

Racing Legend/Philanthropist Hendrick to Be Honor at DC Auto Show in 2014 – Philanthropist, creator of an automotive empire and the most successful NASCAR owner of the modern era, Rick Hendrick has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at The Washington Auto Show early next year.  Hendrick is the founder and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s second-largest privately held automotive dealership group and the sixth-largest automotive dealership group overall and Hendrick Motorsports, winners of 13 NASCAR owner’s championships and more than 200 victories in the elite Sprint cup Series.  Hendrick Automotive Group operates 87 dealerships representing 28 nameplates, 121 franchises and 24 collision centers and three accessories distributor installers in 13 states. The company employs more than 9,000 people. Hendrick Motorsports currently fields four teams that are in embroiled in NASCAR’s playoffs, The Chase for the Sprint Cup, with drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.  Hendrick also established the Hendrick Marrow Program in 1997 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Even though he did not need a marrow transplant himself, he wanted to help other patients waiting to find a marrow match and a second chance at life.  The Hendrick Marrow Program works with Be The Match Foundation to support the work of the National Marrow Donor Program®. Specifically it raises money to add more potential marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, increasing the chances that more patients can find their match. It also helps patients with uninsured transplant costs, which are often a barrier to treatment.  Since inception, the Hendrick Marrow Program has raised more than $12 million, added more than 100,000 marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, and eased the financial burden of over 8,000 patients with grants from the Hendrick Family Fund for Patient Assistance.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next today at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum today in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit today through Wednesday at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas today through Wednesday at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

House Energy to Discuss Coal Issues, Pipelines – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Energy will hold  two hearing tomorrow.  In the morning at 10:00 a.m., they will take up bipartisan legislation to expedite federal reviews of border-crossing pipelines and electric transmission lines.  Witnesses include FERC’s Jeff Wright, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner David Mears, Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute, Canadian Electricity Association President Jim Burpee, Plains All American Pipeline exec John Kyles for AOPL, former EIA official Mary Hutzler and Blackcreek Environmental regulatory expert Paul Blackburn.  In the afternoon, the panel will focus on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants. Witnesses include Bell County KY Judge Executive Albey Brock, Raymond Ventrone of Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh, Roger Horton of Citizens for Coal, Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO John Pippy, former Delta County, CO commissioner Olen Lund and Braddock, PA Mayor John Fetterman.

House Science to Tackle CCS, GHG Tech Issues –  Also tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., two subpanels of the House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow focused on the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Obviously, expect a significant discussion of Mississippi Power’s Kemper project.  Witnesses include Rice University’s Charles McConnell, National Research Center for Coal and Energy Director Richard Bajura of West Virginia University, Kurt Waltzer of the Clean Air Task Force and former EPA General Counsel Roger Martella.   On Wednesday, the Committee’s panel on Energy will convene a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on funding basic energy research.  Witnesses will include DOE Deputy Director for Science Programs Pat Dehmer, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon and Dr. John Hemminger, Chairman of the DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee.

House Resources to Look at Hydro, Storage – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on increasing water and hydropower supplies and the : the need for new or expanded multi-purpose surface storage facilities.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum tomorrow at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

Chamber to Look at Trade Supply Chain – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is proud to host the Chief Executive Officer of Brambles, Tom Gorman, as a part of the CEO Leadership Series. At the luncheon event, Mr. Gorman will speak to the importance of global supply chains and trade facilitation and the critical link to the competitiveness of business.  He will also cover the opportunities Brambles sees with the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to producing a robust global economy.

JHU to Host Keystone Debate – Johns Hopkins University will host a debate in its Kenney Auditorium of its Nitze Building tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  Charles Doran, director of the SAIS Canadian Studies Program, will take the pro side, Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, will take the con side, and Debbie Bleviss, acting director of the SAIS Energy, Resources and Environment Program, will moderate.

MD LCV to Host Annual Dinner – Tomorrow night at the US Navy Stadium, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters holds its annual Kabler Dinner, starting at 6:00 p.m.  This year, the group honors Dru Schmidt Perkins, Del. Maggie McIntosh and Gov. O’Malley.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country in Denver Wednesday to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Other meetings include, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS and Boston, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Forum to Look at Cross Border Energy Issues – The University of Colorado Law School’s Silicon Flatirons Center will hold a forum Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on trends, challenges, and opportunities in North America cross-border energy transactions.  The conference will explore key aspects of the growing business of cross-border energy transactions across North America and the prospects for continued integration of North American energy markets.  Academics, industry leaders, and practicing attorneys will come together to discuss the current state of energy transactions and share their thoughts on the future during a time of dramatic changes in the global energy industry. Panelists and speakers will address the recent growth in unconventional oil and gas development and its implications for cross-border transactions, changing regulatory contexts for cross-border energy investments and project development, and the policy and regulatory changes necessary to spur additional integration of North American energy markets.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on Friday at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

Atomic Energy Chief To Speak at Wilson Forum – On Friday at Noon, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano speaks at the Wilson Center about the essential role of the IAEA in promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy worldwide, helping to promote nuclear safety and monitoring national nuclear programs. It is expected that the discussion will also touch on safeguard activities of the Agency, including developments with regard to Iran.  In addition to Amano, speakers include former Rep. Jane Harman and former Correspondent in Vienna for Agence France-Presse News Agency Michael Adler.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., November 4-7th.  This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF,  will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS.  The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology.  The Ministerial meeting on November 7 will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute.  The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.

JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 on Tuesday, November 5th at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics.  Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.

WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum on Tuesday, Nov 5th at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination.   Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.

Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday, November 7th at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power.  Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market.  The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like.  SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on our the BPC/NARUC websites.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Energy Update Week of October 21

Friends,

 

Now that the government shutdown has been resolved (at least until after Christmas), we can return our focus to the business at hand: the new health care law, climate change and most importantly, the World Series.   The Red Sox and Cardinals clash starting Wednesday at Fenway Park in Boston after timely hitting launched them past the solid starting pitching of the Detroit Tigers.  The Cardinals return to the World Series for the 4th time in 10 years after dispatching the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS.  Should be a very good series.

In case you missed it, on the policy issues there are lot of good items shaking out.  While we don’t pay that much attention to the health care law, we do follow the climate issue pretty closely last time I checked.  And last week, the Supreme Court granted a petition to hear an important case regarding the use of Clean Air Act permitting authority to advance the EPA’s carbon agenda during the court’s 2013-2014 term.

My colleague Scott Segal said by granting cert, “the Court indicates that there is real substance behind the notion that EPA may have stretched its legal authority to the breaking point in order to address carbon issues beyond what was intended under the Clean Air Act.  Given that significant and well-crafted legal challenges are doubtless on the way for the power plant rules, the EPA would be well advised to take the opportunity to develop regulations that stick to the clear intent of the Act rather than pushing the envelope in favor of a political carbon agenda.”   You can always Call Scott (202-828-5845) or Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) for more background and quotes.

This week is slow in Washington on Capitol Hill as the government starts to ramp back up, but there are a few good events around town, including the ELI annual dinner and forum tomorrow.  Our friend and former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith discusses her and Austin A-S colleague Asher Price’s book, The Great Texas Windrush on Wednesday at the New America Foundation.  Also Wednesday, Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC with our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy among the speakers.  Finally, Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes.

On the Out-of-town scoreboard, this is AWEA’s Offshore Wind Week in Providence, Rhode Island with social events getting rolling tonight, and tomorrow/Wednesday featuring a number of great policy, technology and industry issue panels.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is slated to speak, following in the Ken Salazar tradition. News-wise, the Atlantic Wind Connection said today it is unveiling a new contracting portal for its New Jersey Energy Link project, the multi-year offshore transmission backbone, to help local contracting and service businesses to connect with one of New Jersey’s most exciting opportunities for new jobs.  (see below)

And with the government back on, EPA reloads its 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants with Wednesday forums in New York and Atlanta.  Last week, it cancelled its two sessions in Boston and Philadelphia, which have been rescheduled for November 4th and November 8th respectively.

Finally, the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013 will host nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, the annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

New “The Fray” Video Features Ivanpah Images – As many of you know, we  were potentially going to Host a Newsmaker with the band, The Fray, today to discuss their new record and their interest in renewable energy.  But schedules got the better of us for the short time line.  In fact, I think the Today Show (slated for Wednesday) probably won out over a nerdy, wonkish energy policy discussion at the National Press Club.  But they will be back and with a little more time, the event will be scheduled for a future date.   BTW, their show Saturday at the Smith Center was very good.  Here’s a link to their new single video “Love Don’t Die”, which was released today and has some cool images of Ivanpah.

NJ Energy Link Contractor Portal Open for Biz – A new contracting portal for the New Jersey Energy Link will help local contracting and service businesses to connect to opportunities for new jobs.  The New Jersey Energy Link is a state-of-the-art electric transmission system buried underground and under the seabed connecting southern and northern New Jersey to fix long-standing problems that are causing higher cost electricity.  Building this storm-hardened facility will require all facets of engineering and construction disciplines.   The process of building the submarine and underground cable system and related electric substations is expected to employ approximately 1,100 New Jersey workers for three to four years, plus a permanent operations and maintenance staff of about 75 workers.  Because it runs at sea through New Jersey’s wind energy area, the New Jersey Energy Link also can be used to efficiently connect and deliver power from future offshore wind farms.   The New Jersey Energy Link could become the foundation for many thousands of future jobs in a new New Jersey offshore wind industry.  According to a study by IHS Global Insight, a large, multi-year build out of offshore wind farms could create between 10 and 20 thousand jobs in the state, pump $9 billion into the State economy and bolster state and local tax revenues by $2.2 billion.  Building an offshore electrical substation platform to connect the wind turbines to the transmission system would employ an additional 500-600 New Jersey workers for two years for each platform according to estimates by Bechtel, the project’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

NY Times Looks at Success of Solar Projects – The New York Times had a story late last week underscoring the successes of two loan guarantee solar projects, Ivanpah and Solana.  It discussed the successes and the role storage may play in expanding future endeavors in the desert.  Solana is a $2-billion project built with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Close behind is the Ivanpah project in California, which uses a field of mirrors mounted on thousands of pillars to focus the sun’s light on a tower with a tank. Engineers say that design could incorporate storage efficiently, because the tank reaches very high temperatures. That plant will enter commercial operation by the end of the year.

Report: Pipelines Safest Method of Oil Transportation – A new report from Canada’s Fraser Institute authored by our friend Ken Green and his colleague Diana Furchtgott-Roth says pipelines are the safest option when it comes to transporting oil.  The study says a greater reliance on pipelines is much safer that transportation on trains or trucks.  The study, Intermodal Safety in the Transport of Oil, determined that the rate of injury requiring hospitalization was 30 times lower among oil pipeline workers compared to rail workers involved in the transport of oil, based on extensive data collected in the United States. Road transport fared even worse, with an injury rate 37 times higher than pipelines based on reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the period 2005-2009.  The study also found the risk of spill incidents is lower for pipelines per billion ton-miles of oil movement compared to rail and road.  Resistance to pipeline infrastructure expansion is putting more pressure on road and rail systems as growth in North American oil production outpaces pipeline capacity. Petroleum production is now nearly 18 million barrels a day, and could climb to 27 million barrels a day by 2020. Road transport had the highest chance of a spill, almost 20 incidents per billion ton-miles. Rail had slightly over two incidents per billion ton-miles annually while pipelines had less than 0.6 per billion ton-miles annually.  The above report’s timing proved perfect as this weekend another CN train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude derailed just west of Edmonton.

Report Hits Supermarkets for HFCs – A new report from NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency says supermarkets are major sources of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.  It also adds that the biggest U.S. supermarkets aren’t doing enough to stop leaks or transition to alternatives.  The report is timely since Montreal Protocol implementation discussions ramp up in Bangkok (insert any Hangover II joke) this week.

Renewable Energy Provides 30% Of New U.S. Electrical Generating Capacity in 2013 – According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 30.03% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first nine months of 2013 for a total of 3,218 MW.  Natural gas dominated the first three-quarters of 2013 with 5,854 MW of new capacity (54.62%).  Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first nine months of 2013 with 146 new “units” totaling 1,935 MW followed by wind with 9 units totaling 961 MW. Biomass added 57 new units totaling 192 MW while water  had 11 new units with an installed capacity of 116 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit (14 MW).  The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 77.36% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BIOCYCLE To look at Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling – The American Biogas Council will hold the 13th annual BIOCYCLE Conference today through Wednesday in Columbus, OH at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.  Biocycle is the official conference of ABC and will have industry experts and policy makers providing the latest technological information on how to turn municipal, industrial and agricultural organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.  For press credentials, contact Rill Ann Miller, at 610-967-4135, ext. 22, or biocycle@jgpress.com.

JHU Forum to Discuss Rare Earth Elements – The Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its Rome Building Auditorium on Rare Earth Elements (REEs).  REEs are chemical elements that are critical for your mobile phones, laptops, green technologies, and even defense systems. Despite the fact that REEs are more abundant than silver and gold with known reserves in Australia and the U.S., China continues to monopolize global REE supplies, which could negatively impact the national security interests of other countries.  Leigh Hendrix, associate at Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC; Marc Humphries, specialist in energy and mineral policy at the Congressional Research Service; and Michael Mazza, research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, will discuss chemical elements that are critical for mobile phones, laptops, green technologies and defense systems.

EIA, World Bank Highlight AAAS Panel on Sustainability – Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society continue the Sustainability Challenge: Energy, Resilience, & Conservation series at the AAAS Auditorium tonight at 5:00 p.m.  Our friend Richard Harris of NPR hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, Rob Gardner of ExxonMobil and the World Bank’s Vivien Foster.

Lott, Dorgan Headline Global Energy Summit – DLA Piper will hold its annual energy summit today and tomorrow, featuring BPC co-chairs and former senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott.  BPC co-founder and former senator Thomas Daschle, will speak tomorrow on a looking at American’s energy resurgence.  It addresses a February BPC report that looked at sustaining success and confronting challenges in the energy sector. The event will be held at the Park Hyatt Washington. Other speakers include House Energy Panel Chair Ed Whitfield, BP’s Mark Finley, API’s Kyle Isakower and our friend Pete Sheffield of Spectra Energy, among several others.

NatGeo to Screen Blackout Film – National Geographic will hold a panel session and screening of its new film American Blackout.  The film examines the repercussions of a cyberattack that shuts down the electric power grid by weaving together fictional stories of everyday Americans with video from recent, real blackouts.   Following the screening is a panel discussion on the potential for an actual cyberattack, the steps power companies have already taken to prevent damage to the electric grid and what additional actions are needed to respond effectively in the event of a potential, successful attack.  Our friend Matt Wald of the New York Times moderates a panel which includes NSA/CIA head Gen. Michael Hayden.

Women-In-Manufacturing Summit Heads to Detroit, Feature Auto Speakers – Nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country will meet in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday for the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013, hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, this third annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.  This year’s SUMMIT will include timely panel and roundtable discussions as well as valuable track sessions on topics including employee engagement, mentoring, networking, marketing, team building, online and digital training resources for manufacturers, and emerging issues in the manufacturing supply chain.  There also will be stimulating keynote presentations and a networking reception and dinner.  Featured speakers at the 2013 SUMMIT will include Carhartt COO Linda Hubbard, Toyota exec Latondra Newton,

Gwenne Henricks of Caterpillar and General Motors SVP Alicia Boler Davis.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – The EPA cancelled its two session in Boston and Philadelphia last week , but it looks like this week’s meeting of the 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will be on.  They will be Wednesday in New York and Atlanta.  The cancelled meetings have been rescheduled for November 4th Boston and November 8th in Philadelphia.  No word on whether requests from members from coal states, who called for more sessions in their regions (which they say was purposely left off the list) will be set..  Other meetings include Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

Nissan EVs to Be Focus of Oct WAPA Event – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold a luncheon with Nissan tomorrow at the National Press Club.  Erik Gottfried, Director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America will speak about the growing adoption of Nissan LEAF in markets across the U.S. With LEAF now price competitive with comparable gas-powered cars, people can easily see the benefit of giving up buying gas and driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF.  While sales have continued to rise in the traditional EV strongholds on the west coast like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle and Portland, a new wave of EV markets in the eastern half of the country have started to emerge. Sales are growing quickly in markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington D.C., driven by a number of factors.  Gottfried will discuss this phenomenon, some of the reasons behind it for D.C. and other markets, and how factors such as infrastructure development are getting even more customers to consider driving electric

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner tomorrow at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.  The event will also feature a forum on energy issues and big data which will include comments from Intel’s Stephen Harper, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and others.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff will hold a workshop tomorrow to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI tomorrow through Thursday.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.  Interior Sect.  Sally Jewell will speak.

Galbraith Book Forum Set – The New America Foundation will hold a forum for our former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. discussing her book, The Great Texas Windrush.  Our friends Galbraith and Asher tell the fascinating story behind Texas’ unlikely wind-energy boom. In the late 1990s the small towns of Texas were being decimated by the oil crisis and few would have thought alternative energies might be the solution. But in a state known for bristling at environmental regulation, entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmentalists – from T. Boone Pickens to George W. Bush – saw the potential and began to embrace wind farming. By 2012, Texas was generating about 9 percent of its electricity from wind, and some of those same towns are now thriving in the shadow of 300-foot-tall turbines.

Forum to Discuss Clean Energy Deployment – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the roots of the Clean Energy deployment.  The Deployment Consensus, the reasons why a “deployment-first” strategy will fail, and why innovation-driven energy policies are the solution will be discussed.  A majority of clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies it needs to address climate change; what we lack is the political will to mandate and subsidize their deployment. To support this view advocates of this “Clean Energy Deployment Consensus” point to a number of studies assessing the technical readiness of clean energy technologies. Unfortunately, as ITIF shows in its new report Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus these reports often gloss over major challenges facing clean energy, including significantly higher costs, sub-optimal performance, and challenges in grid integration and storage. In addition many advocates miss the critical message of the need for innovation inherent in the literature. Without a comprehensive and aggressive innovation strategy clean energy will not be cheap enough and good enough to be adopted voluntarily around the planet.

Hispanic Energy Group to Hold National Summit – Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC on Wednesday and Thursday at the Heritage Center.  The groups launched the National Energy Policy Series in Sacramento, CA on June 24th.  Our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Discuss Energy Security Since Embargo – Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes on the anniversary of the Arab Oil Embargo.  The embargo dramatically impacted energy policy developments in the U.S. and elsewhere, spurring  investments in energy efficiency and alternative fuels, the creation of the SPR, the establishment of the IEA, and the creation of the Department of Energy. It also put in place a framework for viewing U.S. oil and gas resources as one of scarcity and energy imports as being inevitable. With new unconventional resource development in the United States, however, the framework is shifting to one of abundance.

Georgetown Alumni Group to Hold Climate Change Discussion – In the context of President Obama’s climate change speech at Georgetown this past spring, the Georgetown Club of DC welcomes to its luncheon lecture series a panel of distinguished alumni and faculty to address policies aimed at carbon pollution reduction, health, and conservation of water resources. Lunch will be provided; event is free for current students at Clyde’s Gallery Place on Wednesday 12:15 p.m.  Featured presenters include Michelle Moore (MSFS’99), Senior Fellow at the Council on Competitiveness and former advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget; Laura Anderko in the School of Nursing & Health Studies; and Andrew Deutz (F’91) of The Nature Conservancy.

Luthi to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting its October Forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club, featuring Randy Luthi, President of National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).  Luthi will discuss offshore oil and natural gas development, the Administration’s current 5-Year plan and views of Interior from outside.  Luthi became President of the National Ocean Industries Association on March 1, 2010 after serving as the Director of the Minerals Management Service at DOI.

Wilson Forum to Look at Greece Economy, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on the future economic & energy prospects in Greece & the Eastern Mediterranean.  Speakers will include Asimakis Papageorgiou, Deputy Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic of Greece and Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, The Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Hellenic Republic of Greece.

World Watch to Launch Central America Renewables Report – The Worldwatch Institute will hold the launch and discussion of a new report The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America.  The event will be hosted by the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C.  The report, produced jointly by Worldwatch and INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), and generously supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Energy and Environment Partnership in Central America (EEP), focuses on the status of renewable energy technologies in Central America and analyzes the conditions for their advancement in the future. It identifies important knowledge and information gaps and evaluates key finance and policy barriers, making suggestions for how to overcome both.  Speakers will include Alex Ochs of Worldwatch Institute, Christiaan Gischler of the Inter-American Development Bank  and Mark Lambrides of the Organization of American States.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next Monday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 29th at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday, October 30th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday, October 31st at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31 – November 1st at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on our the BPC/NARUC websites.