Energy Update: Week of September 17

Friends,

Well, that was an interesting weekend.  While I was umpiring my own NCAA games and watching Hannah’s in Boston, Hurricane (and now “heavy-rain storm’) Florence was battering the Carolinas.  We have a full report in a separate section below.  I am doing regular reports that include information from Duke, EEI, EIA, NRECA and others, so please let me know if you are interested and I will add you to the list.

Meanwhile, on Friday, lots of movement in the RFS discussion.  Ag economist Scott Irwin of the U of Illinois (generally very favorable to the ethanol folks surprised many when he released a paper that said small refiner exemptions have not had any significant impact of ethanol demand.  It echoed another paper also released Friday by Charles River Associates that argued the same point. Finally, Sen Pat Toomey invited EPA chief Andy Wheeler to come to a Pennsylvania refinery.  All of this detailed below.

The House is out this week because Wednesday is Yom Kippur – which I will “celebrate” by taking my son Adam for his final on-road driving test at the Motor Vehicle Administration in MD.  Talk about a Day of Atonement…that is it.  Senate is in tomorrow and Thursday and in fact could vote as early as this week on a water infrastructure package that passed the House last week.  And don’t sleep on the vernal equinox – fall hits on Saturday evening.

Exciting Bracewell News: top Interior Department lawyer Ann Navaro (a Wellesley alumni) has joined Bracewell’s Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. She has also held senior legal/policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and spent 14 years handling litigation in DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  She will be a great resource for you on these issues so let me know if you are interested in connecting with her.

Finally, this is not about energy, but as you know, as a member of the National Press Club, I help promote Club-sponsored events like luncheons, newsmakers, etc.  Given recent issues that have supercharged the SCOTUS nomination hearings, I wanted to mention a great one tomorrow at the Club featuring EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, who will discuss the mid-term election, politics and the role of women this fall.  The luncheon starts at 12:30 pm, comments start at 1:00 p.m. and I hope you can attend.

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally-envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits or improved energy independence.  Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector, and domestic oil refiners. To achieve RFS compliance, merchant refineries must spend millions of dollars each year on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), money which would otherwise go toward needed capital investments and the hiring of additional workers. The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy, and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers.”

Senator Pat Toomey in a letter inviting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to visit Pennsylvania refiners to discuss the RFS.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – With EPA announcing its new public hearing for its ACE rule on October 1st, I am resending a great Bracewell PRG explainer podcast with Scott Segal of Commerce Global Energy Institute President Karen Harbert and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Ag Economist’s Paper on Ethanol Demand Causes Waves – U. of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin has almost always a supporter of the ethanol industry, but he shook up both sides on Friday with a new paper that undercuts the ethanol industry’s long-standing claim that small refiner waivers have hurt demand.  Today in FarmdocDaily, Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  As he said in a tweet on the info, “I just as well say it up front.  This ain’t gonna make me any friends in the corn ethanol industry.  But this is what the data tells us to date: Hard to detect any physical demand destruction for ethanol due to small refinery exemptions.”

HURRICANE FLORENCE UPDATE

Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression, but it continues to be a dangerous storm. The threat of catastrophic flooding is real. The storm continues to dump record amounts of rain, and streams and rivers are expected to flood even after the storm has passed.

As of 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, approximately 664,000 customers were without power in North and South Carolina. Power outages will continue to fluctuate as flooding moves or limbs and trees continue to fall.  Crews are working around the clock to restore power where it is safe and conditions allow. Impacted electric companies are reporting that they already have restored power to more than 1 million customers since the storm began. As the storm progresses, electric companies are reallocating resources strategically to ensure a safe and efficient response.

Other Important Safety Tips for Recovery, Restoration – A few important tips about power restoration and recovery:

  • In hard-hit areas, estimated restoration times will be determined after field crews first complete damage assessments. That process could take several days due to road closures caused by severe flooding and storm debris, especially in the coastal areas of both states, limiting travel for crews.
  • Never bring a generator indoors, and if rising water threatens your home or you evacuate, turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.  Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
  • Utilities are asking customers for their patience ahead of what will be a lengthy period of power restoration and recovery from this major storm.

HVACR Units and Flooding – Flooding creates a unique and dangerous power restoration environment. In many cases, crews are not able to gain access to the most heavily damaged and flooded areas until the storm clears and it is deemed safe for them to enter.  It is also important for consumers when they return to their homes or businesses.  After a flood or storm surge from a hurricane, homeowners must take important safety precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling systems. A house or basement exposed to standing water or storm surge can damage your home’s water heater, furnace, boiler, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat pump system and put your family at risk.  The HVACR industry reminds people how to handle flooding and your home’s HVAC systems safely.  Here is a full account of things to consider: http://bit.ly/2rg0xky

EEI Can Help With Process Questions – Should you have any questions about the electric power industry’s restoration efforts, our friends at EEI can help with background, historical perspective and details.  Their team is closely coordinating with the electric companies impacted by Florence.  Check out the EEI Storm Center here to see important information, details and safety tips. You can contact Brian Reil (breil@eei.org; 508-414-5794) to connect.

EIA Continues to Monitor Power – EIA is monitoring the Hurricane in its Hurricane Florence Electricity Status Report

Electricity: Load forecasts in the east (CPLE, SCEG, SC) show load beginning to recover today as the storm moves west and restoration efforts continue. CPLW and DUK in the west expect lower or similar loads today compared to yesterday.

Generators: Solar generation has declined over the past few days, particularly in CPLE and SCEG. Coal and natural gas generation has varied by balancing authority. One of the McGuire nuclear plant’s two units shut down beginning Friday night for planned maintenance unrelated to Florence. The Brunswick nuclear plant remains offline as of Saturday night.

Customers: As of 10:52 a.m., about 703,000 customers in North Carolina and about 52,000 customers in South Carolina have reported electricity outages, roughly 14% and 2% of the customers in the states, respectively. Outage numbers are falling in some counties and rising in others as the storm moves inland and restoration is underway.

Sutton Power Station and Coal Ash Ponds – The Sutton Power Station in Wilmington saw a minor storm related water overflow in its coal ash pond.  Here are the full details from Duke Officials: https://news.duke-energy.com/releases/historic-rains-from-hurricane-florence-cause-water-release-at-sutton-power-plant-in-wilmington-n-c  

 

Release Text:

Historic rains from Hurricane Florence caused the release of stormwater, which may have come into contact with coal ash from a lined landfill, at the company’s Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington. Because of the heavy rainfall amounts, it is difficult to calculate the amount of water that may have reached Sutton Lake, the cooling pond that was constructed to support plant operations.

Inspections today identified a slope failure and erosion in one section of the coal ash landfill, which displaced about 2,000 cubic yards of material and would fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The majority of displaced ash was collected in a perimeter ditch and haul road that surrounds the landfill and is on plant property.

Coal ash is non-hazardous, and the company does not believe this incident poses a risk to public health or the environment. The company is conducting environmental sampling as well.

Site personnel are managing the situation and will proceed with a full repair as weather conditions improve.

Ash basins, which are being excavated, and the cooling pond continue to operate safely.

IN THE NEWS

Navaro Joins Bracewell – Bracewell said that Ann D. Navaro has joined its Washington, DC office as a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. For the last two years, she has held senior positions at the US Department of the Interior, including most recently as Counselor to the Solicitor.  In her distinguished career with the federal government, Navaro has worked on a wide range of issues with federal agencies, including litigation, regulation, legislation and the implementation of environmental and natural resources programs. She has held senior legal and policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior. Navaro spent 14 years handling litigation in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the US Department of Justice, as well as 10 years litigating and overseeing civil works litigation for the Army Corps.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  At Bracewell, Navaro will focus her practice in four areas: (1) development projects, (2) regulatory counseling, (3) policy advocacy and (4) government litigation.

Three Reports Undercut Ethanol Demand Destruction Claim – Three reports on Friday said ethanol demand is not be lost and one of them is the work of Agricultural economist Scott Irwin, who usually supports ethanol views.

Irwin Paper – Today in FarmdocDaily, U. Illinois Ag Economist Scott release a paper on SREs and ethanol demand destruction.  To date, Irwin says he cannot find much if any drop based on ethanol blend rates.  He added there may be E10 ethanol demand destruction with SREs in the future if price of ethanol goes above price of gasoline.  SREs have reduced the demand for E15 and E85 but Irwin says it’s hard to measure since it is so small, but adds further expansion of the demand for higher ethanol blends is not in the cards so long as SREs are granted (and not reallocated).  Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  See the full paper with charts here: https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2018/09/small-refinery-exemptions-and-ethanol-demand-destruction.html

Charles River Paper – Irwin’s views are underscored by another new report released today as well from Charles River Associates that in essence, comes to the same conclusion.

The report from Charles River Associates (CRA), just released, dated September 2018, and entitled, “Economics of Small Refinery Exemptions under the RFS.”   You can see the full report here:

Among the noteworthy conclusions of the recent CRA report are the following:

  • “This report shows that increased SREs and lower ethanol RIN prices have not caused ethanol demand destruction. This is supported by a review of RIN pricing economics and an analysis of ethanol blend rates, which have continued to increase after SRE announcements.”
  • Even outside of the RFS, “There is a significant base level of demand for ethanol blending unrelated to the annual RFS obligations. Drivers of this demand include octane enhancement and serving as oxygenate, as well as direct price competition between ethanol and refined petroleum products.”
  • This base level of demand ensures that SREs and normalization of RINs prices have no impact of ethanol demand.  Indeed, RINs prices could literally fall to zero without impacting ethanol blend rates.
  • CRA continues:  “Simply put, changes in D6 RIN prices do not impact ethanol blend rates as long as the RIN price remains above the level needed to support ethanol blending. We demonstrate that actual D6 RIN prices have been above the ‘needed’ RIN prices for the majority of the RFS program’s history. In fact, for the past several months, fuel economics have driven the ‘needed’ RIN price below $0/RIN.”

The conclusion is clear – “Since D6 RIN prices have remained above the “needed” D6 RIN price, there has been no change in incentives for ethanol blending. This is supported by a review of ethanol volumes and blend rates, both of which have been increasing over time.”

Former EIA Analyst Joanne Shore Finds Similar Issues with Demand – Irwin and CRA’s findings are also backed up by similar, recent analysis from Joanne Shore, the long-time former chief analyst for fuels and refining issues at the Energy Information Administration.  Her September 11, 2018, conclusion:

“The data show that there is no evidence of domestic biofuel demand destruction from RFS waivers to small refiners. Biofuel demand is robust and increasing, likely as a result of what RFA recognizes in its own analysis: the low price of ethanol relative to gasoline. As numerous studies have indicated, ethanol blending will remain economic, even in the absence of a mandate. These facts strongly suggest that both Congress and the administration can take action to control the cost of the RFS and RINs in a manner that protects refining jobs, without adversely impacting the biofuel sector.”

Toomey Issues Invite to EPA Chief – Speaking of ethanol, Sen. Pat Toomey invited the top EPA official Andy Wheeler to visit the oil refineries in the Philadelphia area. In a letter sent to Wheeler, Toomey wrote that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is a federal mandate requiring gasoline to contain up to ten percent ethanol, is imposing such high costs on refiners that it threatens local employment and the greater Philadelphia economy.   Monroe Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refining complex on the East Coast, are both located in the Philadelphia area and employ a combined 1,600 people. To comply with the RFS, these two refiners must spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to acquire so-called RINs. High and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs. Earlier this year, PES declared bankruptcy in large part due to the unsustainable compliance costs associated with the RFS.

IER Unveils Green Grant Tracker – The Institute for Energy Research released a new grant tracker today called “Big Green, Inc.”, a powerful new research tool that shines a long overdue spotlight on the money that is fueling the massive national environmental lobby.  Big Green, Inc. uncovers the scope of the environmental movement’s funding as well as the role this interrelated network of organizations has had on energy policy. Taking the form of a searchable database, Big Green, Inc. tracks 8,821 environmental grants from 2008-2016 adding up to $3.7 billion. This money flowed from ten left-leaning foundations to over 1,500 environmental activist groups spanning all 50 states.  The map allows users to track the funding sources across a variety of dimensions including state and year, and identifies the issue areas for which these organizations received money, for example, climate change advocacy, anti-coal initiatives, and political activism.

Energy Funding Passes – Congress passed the FY2019 “Minibus” spending bill Thursday. The funding bill address programs for energy and water programs, including clean energy programs at DOE.  The Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Lisa Jacobson said “the market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE’s world class research, both pure and applied. Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets.”    And Clearpath’s Rich Powell added “Congress again sent an undeniable message that lawmakers are serious about keeping the U.S. in the top tier of countries pursuing clean and reliable energy breakthroughs. While steady and sufficient funding is essential, providing important direction and reforms to the DOE to make sure that dollars are well spent is equally vital to spurring energy innovation.”

House Passed Key Senate Advanced Nuke Legislation – And while they were passing legislation, House approval of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which would strengthen partnerships between the private sector and government researchers to test and demonstrate the next generation of clean advanced nuclear reactor concepts.  The bill, led by Sens. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and others, was approved by the Senate in March and now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign the legislation.  NEICA authorizes the development of a versatile neutron source for advanced reactor testing. Many of the promising new reactor designs currently being developed utilize “fast neutrons,” so the test bed created under NEICA is essential to developing those new fuel designs. A versatile neutron source can also allow accelerated research for all new advanced reactors. It is important to note that this R&D capability is only available for civilian use in Russia, so a domestic U.S. facility is essential to advancing American technologies. “NEICA will create a strong new foundation for global nuclear innovation leadership. By preparing a test bed for our advanced reactor entrepreneurs, we have thrown down the gauntlet to our Russian and Chinese competitors that the United States will not be out-innovated in the technology we invented,” ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell said.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launched yesterday in Washington on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW) with presentations about electric vehicles and the latest models on the National Mall.  There will be more events this week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – This afternoon, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Forum to Look at Energy Future – The Hoover Institution hosts “MIT-Stanford Energy Game Changers Symposium” tomorrow at 8:45 a.m.  Recent progress in energy technology research and development in the United States has been substantial-the past decade has seen dramatic reductions in the costs of emerging technologies alongside similar improvements in energy security and environmental performance. Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz alongside scientists and engineers from two leading American research universities and DOE national labs will explore the potential for energy “game changers”: inexpensive and abundant clean electricity production, affordable grid energy storage at scale, secure electrochemical fuel manufacturing, less intensive fossil energy through carbon capture, and more.

DOE to Host Energy Storage Forum – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) InnovationXLab Energy Storage Summit will take place tomorrow and Wednesday at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA. Energy storage is one of the biggest challenges to unlocking the potential from the next generation of transportation and electricity grid technologies. The Summit will showcase the broad array of technical resources available from across DOE’s National Lab complex that can be leveraged by industry to address these challenges.

Senate Enviro to Look at Legislation – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a Business Meeting  tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. to consider a bill to establish a compliance deadline of May 15, 2023, for Step 2 emissions standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces as well as several other bills.

Heritage Looks at SCOTUS Fall Term – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion for a Supreme Court Preview of the 2018 Term.  The Supreme Court returns October 1st for its 2018-2019 Term, and the justices will tackle of number of important issues. Supreme Court litigators Paul Clement and Joseph Palmore will discuss what is likely to unfold in the next Supreme Court term.

ITIF to Host Clean Energy Forum – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will host an expert panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on carbon emissions and clean energy. ITIF Senior Fellow Joe Kennedy, author of the recent report “How Induced Innovation Lowers the Cost of a Carbon Tax,” will moderate a discussion on innovation, carbon taxes and clean energy.

Philly Forum to Look at GHG Neutrality – Tomorrow at Noon in Philly, the Kleinman Center Energy Forum hosts an expert look at greenhouse gas neutrality featuring Oliver Geden, a lead author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Harder, LeVine Headline Clean Energy Discussion – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a lively conversation on the future of energy and the role of innovation and new technologies tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.  The discussion will feature three leading minds to shine a light on future energy trends. Steve LeVine, a veteran journalist of geopolitics and energy and whose most recent book The Powerhouse is a deep dive into the race to build a super battery; Akshat Rathi, whose award-winning series The Race to Zero Emissions masterfully deconstructs the energy technologies our futures need; and Amy Harder, whose weekly column “Harder Line” reports trends, scoops, and news driving the energy and climate debate, will explore future scenarios for the energy sector.

Senate Committee to Look at Infrastructure Cyber Issues – The Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee will hold a closed-door hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and will feature testimony from senior energy and homeland security officials, including DOE Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Bruce Walker, DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications Jeanette Manfra and Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security at the Defense Department.

WaPo Mooney Headline WRI Forum – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a major forum in Washington, DC reflecting on the challenging and important topic of carbon removal.  Tailored for a policy audience and featuring leading voices in technology, conservation and the environment, the event will tackle the big questions head on – how can carbon removal help in the fight against climate change? What are the different land management and technological approaches, and how can they be brought to scale in a safe and prudent manner? And finally, what practical steps can U.S. policymakers take to foster action?  The event will include a presentation on WRI’s latest research findings on carbon removal followed by a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Chris Mooney, Climate and Energy Reporter at The Washington Post.

CSIS Will Hold Forum Private Sector Sustainable Development – CSIS will hold a forum on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. role of the private sector in achieving the sustainable development goals.  The private sector provides 9 out of 10 jobs in developing countries and has an important role to play in achieving the SDGs and solving global problems. Many private sector actors support the SDGs and have joined the UN Global Compact. At the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference in 2015, it became clear that it would take trillions not billions of dollars of financing of all types to achieve the SDGs. Private sector participation is critical to strengthening the economies in developing countries, employing the growing youth bulge in Africa, and solving global challenges like migration.

FERC Meeting – FERC Commissioners will meet on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Coal Marketing Days Forum Set for PA – S&P Global Platts 41st Annual Coal Marketing Days Conference is set for the Westin in Pittsburgh, PA.  This long-standing event attracts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts and investors who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets.

Forum to Look at China Sludge – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on urban waste policies, pilots and innovation. Chen Meian will open up discussing the challenges low-carbon cities face in reigning in greenhouse gasses, and how her think tank is creating a platform for innovative, bottom-up, clean energy solutions. One of the most successful sludge-to-energy plants in China is in Xiangyang City in a plant run by Dou Wenlong. Mr. Dou will explain how his company has built partnerships with the local government to turn captured methane into CNG for a local taxi fleet. Liu Jinghao will give an overview of national-level drivers creating opportunities for methane recovery from MSW and sludge in China. Finally, Liu Xiao will tell a story of how one low-carbon city pilot is sparking climate action in the MSW industry. The speakers are in the United States participating in a technical research exchange sponsored by the Global Methane Initiative.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

Forum to Look at Advanced Nuke Test Reactor – The Global American Business Institute will hold a Capitol Hill briefing on Friday at Noon on the Versatile test reactor.  Mr. Donald Wolf – Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO, ARC Nuclear and Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu – Executive Director, The Versatile Test Reactor, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will speak.

Heritage to Look at Bloom Energy Challenges – The Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on Friday at Noon featuring University of Delaware Professor and former Delaware State Climatologist David Legates, at a forum on challenges with Delaware’s Bloom Energy.  Legates has challenges the fuel cell “promise” of inexpensive, clean energy is that it is actually very expensive and not very clean.

Forum to Preview SCOTUS 2018 – On Friday at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds another discussion on “Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2018.  US Solicitor General Noel Francisco will offer opening remarks followed by a panel featuring SCOTUS attorneys John Adams, Tom Goldstein, Jennifer Mascott, and Elizabeth Papez. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams will moderate.

JHU Forum to Look at Developing World Sustainable Energy Utility – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on utility models in the energy sector in meeting global economic, environmental and social challenges. Anmol Vanamali of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation will discuss the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) model.  There will also be a panel to discuss the impacts on Delaware.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Building Policies – Next Tuesday morning at the US Green Buildings Council, DOE, the Environment, New Buildings Institute and several partners are hosting the interactive session, which aims to stimulate collaboration, highlight leading local buildings and policies, and foster knowledge sharing regarding net-zero energy practice and policy.

Baltic Energy Forum Set – The Jamestown Foundation will hold a conference on energy security in the wider Baltic region next Tuesday at the University Club.  The conference will address the challenge to European security posed by Russia’s Nord Stream Two natural gas pipeline project as well as discuss Northern Gate, an alternative energy transit corridor championed by Poland that will open up the region to Norwegian gas supplies and U.S. and international LNG shipments, blunting Gazprom’s market monopoly position.

MIT Expert to Talk CCS – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on carbon capture next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring MIT Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog.  Herzog will give an overview of the current state of technology and policy related to Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) and cover seven aspects of CCS:  (1) the role of CCS in addressing the climate change challenge, (2) a summary of large CCS projects in operation, (3) the current status and future directions for capture technology, (4) the current status and future directions for storage technology, (5) how to view negative emissions, (6) the policies and politics around CCS, and (7) what the future may hold.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Clean Energy Week Forum Set – The 2018 National Clean Energy Week Policy Makers Symposium will be held on Wednesday at the National Press Club Ballroom. Speakers include Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Daines and Murkowski and many more.

Forum to Look at Energy Cybersecurity – RealClearPolitics will hold a forum on energy cybersecurity Wednesday September 26th at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum. The keynote speaker is Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and INGAA’s Don Santa and AGA’s Dave McCurdy will speak.

Forum to Look at Transportation – The Alliance to Save Energy’s 50×50 Commission will hold an event Wednesday, September 26th at 8:30 a.m. in 2255 Rayburn to roll out a new alliance that will unveil its full suite of policy recommendations on Capitol Hill to encourage policymakers to better prepare for the coming transformation. The Commission is a group of business, government, and civil society leaders that has been working to develop a pathway to capitalize on the opportunities of a rapidly changing industry by setting an ambitious goal of cutting the U.S. transportation sector’s energy use by 50% by 2050 while meeting future mobility needs. The Commission will unveil.  Keynote speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.  The event looks at the key shifts in the industry, why their organization is participating in the Commission, and the importance of cohesive policies in securing the Commission’s vision of the transportation future.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

Forum to Look at Cyber Resilience – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday, September 27th at 10:00 a.m. on cyber resilience in the energy sector.  Speakers from Marsh & McLennan Companies will present, including Paul Mee, North America Cyber Lead, Oliver Wyman, and Matt McCabe, Assistant General Counsel on Cyber Policy, will discuss how they work with companies in the energy sector to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks, thus helping them build true cyber resilience.

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax Study – REMI will host a carbon tax discussion at its Washington, DC policy luncheon on Thursday September 27th with guest presenter Scott Nystrom, a Director at FTI Consulting, Inc.  Alliance for Market Solutions commissioned FTI Consulting to evaluate the economic, fiscal and emission effects of a national revenue-neutral carbon tax. The study’s authors applied this tax at the point of extraction or import, and simulated the implications of raising the cost of fossil fuels on the national, state, and industry levels.  Nystrom, a co-author on the report, will review the proposal and the potential implications for the U.S. and state economies and major industries. He will also describe the methodologies behind the analysis of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Conservatives to Discuss Nuclear – Experts from the Breakthrough Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the ClearPath Foundation and R Street will hold a forum on Thursday September 27th at 3:00 p.m. looking at innovation and reform to the nuclear industry. After many years of failed attempts, a new path to an economically competitive domestic nuclear industry is close at hand. Nuclear micro-reactors (10 MW and smaller) allow for safe operation with radically simplified designs, making the case for far-reaching licensing and regulatory reform much stronger.  Policy elements needed for a better future include licensing reforms at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, extending the duration of federal purchase power agreements, and supporting construction of new fast reactors and advanced nuclear fuels.

Group to Honor Clean Energy Champs – On Thursday, September 27th at 5:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) will recognize its 2018 Clean Energy Champions.  They include Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tim Scott (R-SC), Reps Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and Govs. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Gary Herbert (R-UT).

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

Cato Hosts Public Transit Debate – On Monday October 1st, the Cato Institute holds a Capitol Hill forum on the Federal role in public transit. Cato’s Randall O’Toole and Jarrett Walker will debate.

Ideas Forum Set for DC – The Atlantic Council and Aspen Institute are hosting the Atlantic Festival on October 2-4th at Sidney Harman Hall n DC.  Atlantic editor Jeffery Goldberg, former Secretary of State Sen. John Kerry and NYT reporter/author Mark Leibovich are among the numerous speakers.  In its 10th year, Washington Ideas has become The Atlantic Festival.  The conference always includes in-depth interviews with some of today’s biggest thinkers and leaders in technology, politics, business and the arts, we will illuminate new ideas, and grapple with the most consequential issues of our time.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

ClearPath, EPIC, ACCF host Forum on R&D Investments – On October 10, The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), in partnership with ClearPath and the American Council for Capital Formation, will hosting discussions on lessons gleaned from research and practical experiences. The conversations will provide insight into how to translate research findings into actionable policy and industry approaches that can drive clean energy innovation.

Forum to Look at Wood – In recognition of National Forest Products Week, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts an innovative class of structural wood building materials. This briefing will bring together experts to tell the emerging story of the U.S. mass timber industry and how to capitalize on its potential.  Speakers will include Sen Angus King.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitor’s unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of September 10

Friends,

L’Shana Tovah to all…  Last night at Sundown began the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the “beginning the year.” It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days which culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur.  I’m thinking about tomorrow too as it has been 17 years since the terror attacks on 9/11 in NYC and DC.

Maybe a New Year or Day of Atonement is an appropriate transition to the Saturday Women’s US Open final. I am a big fan of Serena and think she and Venus have done fabulous things for tennis.  While I agree with her that the umpire was wrong and will likely never get another important match (I have some experience in officiating as you all know), I still have problems with her meltdown which has completely overshadowed the first ever grand slam win by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who by the way has a great story.  My take: She is definitely a role model and should have swallowed the umpire’s terrible call on the coaching warning and tried to overcome it.  After Serena let down her mental game – impacted by a bad umpiring decision – Osaka, who had the upper hand in the match, taking the first set 6-2, finished her off.  Lots of columns and opinions on this in the media from great sports reporters like Christine Brennan and Sally Jenkins, but bottom line for me is, the umpire was terrible, you have to deal with it.  BTW, Novak Djokovic blasted past Juan Martin del Potro for a straight set win 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 on Sunday for the Men’s title that was much less controversial.

Before we look at this week, just a word about Sunday’s Washington Post article about EPA staff leaving in droves.  First, my friends Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin wrote a very good story, but I am shocked it made it to the front page/above-the-fold Sunday.  As one who has watched EPA for many years, it seems likely that this EPA staff would be expected to leave as they are.  In other words, it should not surprise anyone.  The staff at EPA has be experienced and aging for some time and we expected this type of exodus.  Many thought it would happen sooner, but perhaps the Obama EPA’s second-term aggressiveness on environmental policy may have kept some there a little longer.  I’m sure it is also partly ideological: certainly is not surprising to think that some of the EPA retirements are driven by the Trump approach.  Finally, the Trump team all along has said they were going to reduce staff at EPA.  In fact some have wanted to reduce it much more that 8%.  The fact that it is only down by about 1,000 employees is not really that much given the on-going planning/reorganizing.  We have great experts on this, so happy to discuss.

Light schedule this week as Congress looks for the exits for the Midterm elections on tap and the Jewish holidays. On Wednesday, the votes begin on the budget.  Majority Leader McCarthy told the media the House will vote on the final first minibus which contains Energy and Water budgets. Both chambers will only be in town for a few days, with the House and Senate out until Wednesday for Rosh Hashanah. POLITICO adds the schedule leaves just seven working days when both chambers are in session before the Sept. 30 funding deadline.  More budget mini-buses in the coming days…

Also today, in a special edition episode of our great Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop, Scott Segal tackles the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule with Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and former EPA Air office head Jeff Holmstead.  Check out the details here.

The biggest story this week is out in the Golden State where Gov. Jerry Brown is hosting big climate summit. Beyond the summit, there are a ton of political and policy events running sidebar including one from our friends at C2ES and many more. Speakers include Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and many more.  I have discussed this with some of you already and I am happy to do more should you need comment, historical perspective and climate policy background.

Finally, sad news to lose our friend Sam Bodman who served as Energy Secretary during the Bush Administration, who passed away over the weekend at 79.  Hurricane Florence is growing and is expected to potentially hit the North/South Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday.  We’ll will keep an eye on it and stay safe. Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Sam had a brilliant mind, and we are fortunate that he put his intellect to work for our country as Secretary of Energy. I am proud that he was a member of my Cabinet, and I am proud that he was my friend.”

Former President George Bush and former first lady Laura Bush mourned the loss of former Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in a statement marking his passing on Saturday.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – In a special edition episode of The Lobby Shop, Bracewell PRG Co-Head Scott Segal takes the reigns with an interview of President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, Karen Harbert, and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Wash Times Has Special Section on RFS Reform The Washington Times had a special section last week which detail need for renewable fuel standard (RFS) reform.  Among the writing on the issue were key comments from Senators who raised concerns about the current RFS and why it needs to be fixed.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the federal mandate for corn ethanol is “both unwise and unworkable” adding roughly 40% of corn in the United States is currently used for fuel, which increases the price of food and animal feed while also damaging the environment. Additionally, oil companies are unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for some gas stations and older automobiles.  Feinstein: “Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.”  Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) added that the RFS is outdated, created when energy consumption relied heavily on foreign imports.  Cassidy: “It was thought that the Renewable Fuel Standard would be good for our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint. But in the last 10 years, our energy landscape has changed dramatically. We now have more domestic oil than almost ever before, and the drawbacks of the RFS greatly outweigh its benefits.”  Finally, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said while a well-intentioned idea, the “promised environmental benefits of the RFS have yet to be realized” and in fact, “may well be hurting” the environment. Udall says we need a forward-looking plan that offers “visionary reforms to put us on a cleaner and more sustainable path. The changes represent a giant step forward to combat the urgent threat of climate change, cut pollution, and protect our planet for future generations.”  There is much more from Congress on the need for reform HERE.

IN THE NEWS

MIT Tool Helps Building Planning Reduce Climate Emissions – A new software tool from researchers at MIT was rolled out last week to help architects or engineers design a new building to better reduce climate emissions.  Often, it’s done only at the end of the process — if ever — that a lifecycle analysis of the building’s environmental impact is carried out. And by then, it may be too late to make significant changes. Now, a faster and easier system for doing such analyses could change all that, making the analysis an integral part of the design process from the beginning. The new process, described in the journal Building and Environment in a paper by MIT researchers Jeremy Gregory, Franz-Josef Ulm and Randolph Kirchain, and recent graduate Joshua Hester PhD ’18, is simple enough that it could be integrated into the software already used by building designers so that it becomes a seamless addition to their design process.  Lifecycle analysis, known as LCA, is a process of examining all the materials; design elements; location and orientation; heating, cooling, and other energy systems; and expected ultimate disposal of a building, in terms of costs, environmental impacts, or both. Ulm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH), says that typically LCA is applied “only when a building is fully designed, so it is rather a post-mortem tool but not an actual design tool.” That’s what the team set out to correct with this new tool.  To the researchers’ surprise, they found use of their LCA system had very little impact on reducing the range of design choices. “That’s the most remarkable result,” Ulm says. When introducing the LCA into the early stages of the design process, “you barely touch the design flexibility,” he says.

Senator Unveil Advance Nuke Blueprint – A bipartisan group of senators led by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), a comprehensive blueprint for the U.S. to once again lead the world in next-generation nuclear power.  The bill (S. 3422) would direct the Department of Energy to establish specific goals to align the federal government, national labs and private sector in efforts to accelerate advanced nuclear technologies. The language echoes the Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act (S. 1457) from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Booker, which the Senate energy panel approved in March.  It would also require DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan that supports advanced nuclear R&D goals. NELA addresses the lack of domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which will be needed to fuel most advanced reactors being designed. NELA establishes a program to provide a minimum amount of HA-LEU to U.S. advanced reactor developers from DOE stockpiles until a new long-term supply is developed. NELA also initiates a long-term power purchase agreement pilot between the DOE and utilities to procure nuclear power and reauthorizes nuclear engineering scholarships to maintain a robust pipeline of nuclear engineering talent.

EIA Report Says CO2 Emissions Continue to Drop – Newly released Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. CO2 emissions from energy dropped by roughly 1% last year. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past 10 years, and they are now 14% lower than in 2005.  Last year, emissions from electricity production fell by 4.6%. The shift toward natural gas from coal lowers CO2 emissions because natural gas produces fewer emissions per unit of energy consumed than coal and because natural gas generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatthour of electricity. Electricity generation from renewable energy technologies has increased; these technologies do not directly emit CO2 as part of their electricity generation. In EIA’s emissions data series, emissions from biomass combustion are excluded from reported energy-related emissions according to international convention.

DOE Announces Advanced Vehicle Research – The Department of Energy said the selection of 42 projects totaling $80 million to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance U.S. economic growth. This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give families and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WAPA, DTF Forum to Highlight Diesel Issues –Today at 11:30 a.m. at Engine Co 12 in NW DC, the Washington Automotive Press Association and the Diesel Technology Forum held a lunch to look at the true ‘state of diesel’ in the U.S. automotive market.  Speakers include GM’s Global Diesel Executive Director, Pierpaolo Antonioli and GM’s Regional Chief, Engineer, Mike Siegrist.  You will also hear the very latest IHS Markit diesel vehicles-in-use data for the United States; and get details about new research on the benefits of new-technology diesel pickup trucks.

Interior Official Addresses ESA at Heritage Forum – Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will address a forum at The Heritage Foundation today at Noon to discuss the department’s proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

JHU to Feature Rockefeller Foundation President – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) host a forum next Monday at 12:30 pm in its Kenney Herter Auditorium featuring Dean Vali Nasr and a conversation on affordable and clean energy with the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah.

Field Hearing to Look at Salmon Runs, River Policy – The House Natural Resources Oversight Subcommittee holds a field hearing today at 1:00 p.m. in Pasco, Wash focused on the federal Columbia River power system.  The hearing will review a dispute that played out in Congress in the minibus that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington State. Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington Association of Wheat Growers and Nez Perce Tribe will testify.

SF CLIMATE EVENTS Tomorrow:

Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.

Forum to Look at Smart Cities in Latin America – The Inter-American Dialogue holds a discussion tomorrow on smart cities in Latin America.

Methanol Forum Set – Argus hosts its Methanol Forum Wednesday and Thursday in Houston at the Westin, Memorial City.  Issues include trends in the methanol industry, the potential impact from crude and natural gas markets, regional perspectives, including in-depth analysis of China and the emerging Indian market and the outlook for methanol derivatives including biodiesel and olefins.  Our friend Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute is among the speakers.

BioEnergy Conference Set – The Mid-Atlantic Bioenergy Council (MABEC) holds a conference and expo at CityView in Philadelphia Wednesday through Friday.

Coal Council Meets in Norfolk – On Wednesday and Thursday, the National Coal Council meets in Norfolk for its Fall meeting to discuss coal-related issues.  Lou Hrkman of DOE will speak.

Climate Summit Set for SF – The Global Climate Action Summit will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday through Friday.  The forum will bring leaders and people together from around the world to support action on climate change.  It will also feature action by states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.  It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020, setting the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury.​​  Speakers include Gov. Jerry Brown, UNFCCC head Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Canadian Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna, musician Dave Matthews, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Alec Baldwin, Jane Goodall, Andrea Mitchell, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

SF Wednesday/Thursday/Friday Events:

WCEE to Host Forum to Highlight Women in Energy Stories – Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s (WCEE) Career Building Section hosts a reception and discussion at USEA about challenges and opportunities for women working in energy. Our friends Vicky Bailey and Sheila Slocum Hollis will share their expertise on overcoming obstacles, discuss skills required for convening stakeholders, and bring examples of leading towards practical solutions for the real world.

Forum to Look at AVsAxios hosts a conversation on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the Long View Gallery looking at how autonomous vehicles and transportation technology will impact the future.  Speakers will include Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella and SAE International CEO David Schutt.

Senate Enviro Looks at Advanced Nuclear – Following last week’s introduction of bipartisan energy legislation, the Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on advanced nuclear technology.  The hearing will look closely at safety and associated benefits of licensing accident tolerant fuels for commercial nuclear reactors.

House Science Panel Look at EPA Glider Truck Rule – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees hold a joint hearing on Thursday examining the underlying science and impacts of glider truck regulations.  Witnesses include regulation, risk, economics expert Richard Belzer and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer.

Senate Energy to Look at European LNG – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the role of U.S. LNG in meeting European energy demand.

House Oversight to Look at Disaster Response –The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. evaluating Federal disaster response and recovery efforts.  FEMA Administrator Brock Long Army Corps of Engineers Scott Spellman and Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute will testify.

Post to Host Space Forum – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., The Washington Post along with American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will bring together key government officials, renowned scientists and leaders in the field of space exploration for a program examining the many factors shaping American leadership in space, the new “space race,” the future of space tourism and exploration that could lead to a future beyond Earth.  Speakers include VP Mike Pence, NASA head Jim Bridenstine, Bill Nye and many more including current and former astronauts.

ABA to Host SCOTUS Enviro Event – Friday at Noon, the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the Section’s Constitutional Law Committee will hold an in-depth review of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions effecting environmental issues.  Panelists will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s environmental jurisprudence and his potential impact on the Supreme Court.

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launches in Washington on Sunday with events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW).  At the event, you will learn about electric vehicles and see the latest models on the National Mall.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Next Monday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Plant Oil Powered Diesel, Inc. is hosting a panel discussion on the carbon tax, featuring industry, environmentalist and citizen views.  More on the panelists as we get closer next week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on September 20th at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday September 21st in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of February 26

Friends,

I cannot start today without a mention of the Winter Olympics. I just love all the personal stories and herculean efforts. While there were many ups (X Games-type events) and downs (men’s hockey, figure skating), my top three US moments were 1) Women’s Hockey Gold; 2) Jessie Diggins epic gold medal final sprint in the X-country Sprint relay and 3) the surprise US Men’s Curling Gold.  And overall, how amazing is Norway’s almost 38-year old cross country skier/mom Marit Bjoergen who won five medals, including two golds, becoming the most decorated career Winter Olympian ever with 15 medals.  And how about Czech skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka, who is the first competitor to win Golds on each.

Congress returns today with focus on gun control issues, infrastructure and budget/dreamers (underscored by this morning’s SCOTUS decision).  No votes on Wednesday and Thursday as Rev. Billy Graham – who passed away last week – will lie in The Capitol for a public viewing.

On the environment/energy front, tomorrow morning House Energy handles energy infrastructure and House Oversight hears from Govs Hebert, Martinez and Otter on Federalism, while in the afternoon, House Resources looks at LNG exports with our friend Chris Smith of Cheniere.  On Wednesday, the House Energy Committee’s oversight panel will examine the state of Puerto Rico’s electric grid rebuilding after Hurricane Maria, while Senate Energy digs into energy legislation including one that promotes smaller hydropower projects supported by Clearpath’s Rich Powell who cited the “enormous potential in these projects to provide clean and reliable power.”  Finally, Thursday the Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing on rebuilding infrastructure featuring Transportation Sect Chao, while Senate energy looks at cybersecurity on energy infrastructure.

And if you are headed to the Senate side any way Thursday, you should come to the other big infrastructure event: the Bracewell infrastructure symposium in 902 Hart which starts at 8:30 a.m.  Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Will Hurd will lead off the discussion, followed by panels of experts including the White House’s Paul Teller, CEQ’s Alex Hergott, INGAA’s Don Santa, House T&I staff Chris Vieson and DOT’s Jim Wray.

Today is the deadline for comments to be filed on repeal of the Clean Power Plan, so keep your eyes peeled for that.  Meanwhile, Wednesday the CPP repeal gets its second additional hearing in San Francisco. I expect that our friends in the enviro community will go all out for this one.

Finally, if you have been watching the ethanol debate lately, you’ll have noticed a lot of action.  And again, the temp ramps up tomorrow when Sens. Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst head to the White House to meet with President Trump, EPA’s Scott Pruitt and USDA’s Sonny Perdue. They are trying to solve tensions over the RFS’s RINs program. Reports say Pruitt/Perdue will propose capping the price of biofuel credits, a year-round waiver for the sale of 15% ethanol, the creation of credits for exported ethanol and new transparency measures hoping to reduce speculators trading in the program.

 

We are all over it. See you on Thursday and call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Rep. Curbelo and Sen. Heller have really put their shoulders to the wheel for clean energy, for the good of their constituents and for the country.  We need them on Capitol Hill and remain leading Republican voices in Congress for responsible ways to reduce carbon emissions, while strengthening our economy.”

ClearPath Action Fund Founder Jay Faison endorsing Curbelo and Heller.

ON THE POD

Yours Truly on Press Pool – This week On the Pod, I am sharing my recent visit to Sirius XM’s The Press Pool with my Friend Julie Mason.  Julie and I talk Olympics, Infrastructure, Trump, gas prices, energy and environment.  Check it out here on SoundCloud.

IN THE NEWS

Clearpath to Push Curbelo, Heller –ClearPath Action Fund is endorsing Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), pledging to make major investments to help their re-election campaigns.  Curbelo is a foremost congressional advocate for the need to accelerate carbon capture technology, and broadly has championed innovation for clean energy technology.  He is also the original co-sponsor of the Carbon Capture Act, which would expand a crucial tax incentive for carbon capture that was signed into law in the recent budget deal and co-founded the growing bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus.  Heller has been an indisputable clean energy champion. His lengthy legislative history includes sponsoring a bipartisan bill streamlining permitting for clean energy projects on public lands and a separate Senate-approved plan quickening environmental reviews for geothermal projects. His crowning achievement may have been a five-year extension of the renewable energy tax credit signed into law in 2015. He has also been a major advocate of energy storage legislation, including as a top GOP cosponsor of two bipartisan bills authorizing investment tax credits for businesses and homes and coordinating R&D efforts at the Department of Energy. A Public Opinion Strategies survey last year showed an overwhelming 88% of Nevada voters support clean energy and that Republican candidates can win on the issue. After messaging on clean energy issues, the ballot moved 32 points toward a generic Republican candidate in Nevada.

Carbon Capture Coalition Launches – A diverse, non-partisan national coalition dedicated to fostering widespread adoption of carbon capture technologies launched on Friday. Building on growing momentum and political support that culminated in passage of landmark legislation in Congress earlier this month, the Carbon Capture Coalition becomes the new brand for the six-year-old National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI). The Coalition will now undertake a more expansive agenda following accomplishment of NEORI’s signature priority, the reform and extension of the federal Section 45Q tax credit for carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. The Carbon Capture Coalition was announced at a press briefing at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. that featured speakers and participants from a broad cross-section of energy, environmental, technology, industrial and agricultural interests who advocate for carbon capture technologies.  Speakers included Coalition participants Tom Trotter of the AFL-CIO, BPC’s Jason Grumet, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, and several others. The new Coalition participants are: Bipartisan Policy Center, Carbon Wrangler, LLC, ClearPath Foundation, EnergyBlue Project, LanzaTech, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, National Farmers Union, NET Power, New Steel International, Renewable Fuels Association, Shell and Third Way.

Rig Count Up – Baker Hughes Rig Count says the number of US oil and natural gas rigs rose by three to 978 last week as drillers added two gas rigs and one oil rig. The Permian Basin in Texas as well as other oilfields in Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico and Ohio posted gains.

Cabot Moving NatGas in PA – Cabot Oil & Gas plans to drill 85 net wells and complete 95 net wells in the Marcellus Shale in 2018 at a cost per well of $8.3 million for drilling, completion and facilities. Cabot has about 179,000 net acres in the dry gas window of the Marcellus shale, primarily in Susquehanna County, Pa., with two rigs running. The average lateral length for the 2018 Marcellus shale drilling program is 8,300 ft and the expected average well cost is $8.3 million for drilling, completion, and facilities.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

CSIS to Look at Short-Term Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a conference tomorrow on the short-term outlook for U.S. tight oil production and its implications for global oil markets.  As we enter the new year with renewed commitment from the OPEC/non-OPEC partnership, Brent has continued to climb from $45 per barrel low in 2017 to $70 in January 2018. Global economic growth continues to look robust, oil stocks are clearly in decline, geopolitical challenges remain ever-present, and market sentiment looks bullish (for now). However, persistently higher prices have the potential to bring on additional supply from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources.  In this context, much attention is being directed to prospective U.S. supply growth. Based on assessments of resource strength, well productivity, hedging activity, cash flow, break even costs, and a sizeable backlog in drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), estimates of U.S. near-term output vary widely and challenges remain. Against this backdrop, the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a distinguished group of experts to discuss the outlook moving forward.  Our friend Paul Sankey will speak at the event.

ERCOT Market Forum Set – The ERCOT Market Summit will be held tomorrow to Thursday. The forum will look at perspectives on ERCOT Market Reform, end-use customers, Plant Retirements, Resource Adequacy and Reliability and dealing with the Impacts of Wholesale Price Volatility in ERCOT.

Forum to Look at Coal Issues – Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., New York University Washington, DC Center marks the release of the Winter 2018 Issues in Science and Technology with comments from Charles Herrick and Ana Unruh Cohen.  Herrick and Cohen will discuss how US greenhouse gas regulations affect the coal industry and other energy sectors. They will look at what other factors have led to a decline in the country’s coal use, and how these forces might shape US energy production in the future.

House Energy to Look at Energy Infrastructure – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. featuring a broad discussion of pipelines, transmission lines, hydropower and more.  The focus will be what Congress should do to improve the infrastructure. Witnesses will include ITC’s Brian Slocum, IBEW’s Jim Ross, Director, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer, HDR’s John Devine, NRDC’s Jennifer Chen and Schenectady NY Mayor Gary McCarthy.

House Oversight to Explore Federalism – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the roles of states in the federal decision-making process.  Witnesses will be Utah Gov Gary Herbert, NM Gov Susana Martinez and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

ANS Head to Address Nuke Issues – Tomorrow at Noon, Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington hosts a speech by Dr. John E. Kelly, Vice-President/President-Elect of the American Nuclear Society.  Kelly recently retired from the U.S. Department of Energy as the Chief Technology and was responsible for establishing the strategic technical direction for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s research, development, demonstration, and deployment portfolios.

House Resources to Focus on LNG Exports – The House Natural Resources Committee’s energy and mineral resources subpanel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. to discuss liquefied natural gas exports and their impact on geopolitics.  Witnesses will include Peter Doran of the Center for European Policy Analysis, Tellurian CEO Meg Gentle, David Livingston of the Atlantic Council and Cheniere’s Christopher Smith, a former Obama DOE official.

House Energy to Update PR Electricity Situation – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy Committee’s oversight panel will examine the state of Puerto Rico’s electric grid rebuilding after Hurricane Maria.

House Transpo to Look at Water Infrastructure projects – The House Transportation Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at America’s water resources infrastructure projects and policies.

Chemical Conference Set – American Chemistry Council holds its Global Chemical Regulations conference starting Wednesday and running through Friday at the Omni Shoreham.  GlobalChem has been the chemical industry’s policy and regulatory conference. Each year, this annual gathering of industry professionals offers a valuable opportunity to review key developments in the global chemicals management arena while looking ahead to some of the most pressing issues the industry faces.

DTE CEO, McCarthy, Canadian Climate Leader to Address Denver Conference – The 2018 Climate Leadership Conference is set for Denver, CO starting Wednesday. DTE CEO Gerry Anderson, Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are among the speakers. Others speakers at the annual gathering include Energy Department Senior Policy Adviser Craig Zamuda, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and California EPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez. Topics include state efforts to meet climate-change goals and local economies’ collaborations on resilience planning.

EPA Hosts CPP Repeal Hearing – EPA holds its second Clean Power plan repeal listening session on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan on Wednesday in San Francisco. The session will run from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. PST. At the San Francisco Main Public Library.  I say get some video in this meeting, that’s for sure…

Bracewell to Host Infrastructure Event – Bracewell will hold an infrastructure symposium on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in 902 Hart. The event will feature Sen. Ted Cruz, CEQ Infrastructure lead Alex Hergott and many other Bracewell experts.

Wilson to Look at Climate, Women – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a discussion of how climate displacement is changing the role of women in their communities and how women are leading their communities to overcome its impacts. With panelists from the development sector, academia, and journalism, we will look at this issue globally and dive into individual stories of resilience and leadership.

Senate Enviro Tackles Key Energy Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on rebuilding infrastructure.  Elaine Chao will testify.

Sen Energy to Address Cybersecurity, Energy Infrastructure – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking into the state of cybersecurity in the nation’s critical energy infrastructure.  Dragos CEO Robert Lee will testify.

RFF, Stanford Experts Launch Climate, Policy Book – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hold the public launch of Confronting the Climate Challenge: US Policy Options, a new book that presents a unique framework for evaluating the impacts of a range of US climate-policy options, both for the economy overall and for particular household groups, industries, and regions.  Authors Marc Hafstead and Lawrence Goulder will discuss the book, followed by a moderated Q&A session.

Forum to Look at Resilient Buildings – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) hold a briefing on Friday at Noon looking at the public/private drive toward resilient buildings.  These are structures that are located, designed and built (or renovated) to withstand extreme weather, cyberterrorism, and other hazards now and for years to come. This briefing will explore what makes buildings resilient; why resilience is important for multiple policy challenges, including infrastructure modernization, emergency preparedness, disaster response, and research funding; and how public-private sector collaboration in research, worker training and investment partnerships benefit society now and well into the future.  Speakers will include National Roofing Contractors Association head and former Rep. Reid Ribble, Debra Ballen of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Paul Totten of WSP USA.

WCEE to Discuss Western Energy Imbalance – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a lunch and learn forum on Friday at Noon to get an overview of the Western Energy Imbalance Market from FERC staff Elisabeth Olson who worked in the California electricity market during EIM implementation.

IN THE FUTURE

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

Wilson to Look at Green Finance – On Monday, March 6th at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center ‘s China Environment Forum hosts a discussion of China’s rapid rise as a green finance champion.  CEF is bringing in three experts to delve into the financial and environmental opportunities and risks as China moves into this new era of green financing. Derek Ip, a Senior Analyst at Trucost, will discuss the findings of a recently published report on the financial and water risks in China’s coal-to-chemical sector in western China, and how this risk approach could spur better environmental performance from other pollution- and energy-intense industries in China. Alan Xiangrui Meng, a market analyst in Climate Bonds Initiative’s London office will explore the expanding green bond market in China, which is spurring new environmental protection and clean energy industries, as well as some greyer industries. Carolyn Szum, who heads the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) Integrated Team on Systems, Economic Analysis, and Modeling, will explain how CERC-BEE is working with U.S. and Chinese financial institutions to develop and pilot innovative financing mechanisms to scale up energy efficiency in China.

Third Way Forum to Look at Future Nukes – Third Way holds its third annual Advanced Nuclear Summit on March 6th in Washington, DC.  As the advanced nuclear sector gets closer to licensing and constructing new power plants, we will explore how nuclear leaders can engage with communities on the ground, how these technologies can help meet their needs, and how to address the challenges that concern them.  The forum is co-hosted by GAIN and the Idaho, Oak Ridge, and Argonne National Labs.

Wind Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold a forum on March 6th at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel.  The forum will look at the regional offshore wind market, discuss opportunities for US developers and Tier 1 and 2 supplier, and listen to available State resources.  Speakers include MEA’s Mary Beth Tung, BOEM’s Daryl Francois and our friends Clint Plummer of Deepwater Wind and Raul Rich of US Wind.

Transmission Forum Set – Infocast’s 21st annual Transmission Summit East will be held on March 7th through 9th to discuss the latest transmission business strategies and the changing policy landscape.  More than 20 interactive panels and presentations will address topics including the new FERC Commission’s impacts on Transmission, new FERC ROE frameworks affecting project economics and financing, resiliency, renewables growth and grid modernization needs and co-opting generation and transmission.  Speakers include Clean Line’s Michael Skelly, Southern Transmission’s John Lucas, PJM’s Paul McGlynn and many others.

EESI, BSCE to Host Staff Brief on Factbook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosts a lunch briefing on Friday March 9th In 2168 Rayburn focused on the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. A panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance will discuss.

AFPM Annual Meeting Set for New Orleans – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers will hold its 2018 annual meeting in New Orleans on March 11 -13th at the Hilton Riverside.  The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives, decision-makers, and technical experts from refining businesses, technology providers, contracting and consulting firms, and equipment manufacturers around the world. It will address current issues of importance to the industry, including industry and community impacts of the 2017 hurricane season. The breakout sessions will feature presentations and panels on process safety, key regulatory issues, innovation, workforce development, economic/commercial issues, the use of big data and emerging technologies.  Speakers include former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, NFL CMO Dawn Hudson, political analyst Charlie Cook Koch CEO Brad Razook and GM’s Dan Nicholson.

BPC Infrastructure Hub Sets Innovation Forum – The BPC Infrastructure Lab hold its second event in a series on Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations on Tuesday March 13th at 10:00 a.m. The American economy is increasingly driven by a powerful network of billions of “smart” and connected devices, ranging from miniscule sensors to massive industrial machines. From autonomous vehicles to smart water meters, today’s innovations are transforming how we live and how our core industries do business.  These technological advancements also raise important policy questions: What infrastructure investments must be made to ensure that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), the infrastructure that underlies the innovation, has the powerful and reliable communications network needed to sustain it? How can we incorporate IIoT innovations, such as custom private networks that combine satellite-terrestrial technologies, to improve the quality and competitiveness of our infrastructure?

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Solar Operations Conference Set – On March 13-14th, Solar Asset Management North America will hold its 5th edition in San Francisco. The event is the leading conference focused on the operational phase of solar plants and portfolios. The recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case as well as the new tax provisions will also affect the existing assets, budgets and O&M. The conference aims to fully assess and quantify the impact on the future of the solar industry.

International PetroChem Conference Ready – AFPM holds its 2018 International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio on March 25-27th.  The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry. The meeting consists of a variety of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry. The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics, and politics.

EPA Clean Power Plan Repeal Hearing Heads for WY – EPA’s final listening sessions for its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan start in Gillette, Wyoming on March 27th.  The EPA had already held one two-day meeting in West Virginia in late 2017.

Offshore Wind Partnership Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum on April 3rd to 6th in Princeton New Jersey.  The IPF is the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States and is dedicated to moving the industry forward.  Among the speakers will be BOEM’s Walter Cruickshank and James Bennett, Statoil’s Sebastian Bringsværd, U of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone, NYSERDA’s Greg Lampman, Recharge’s Darius Snieckus Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski and NWF’s Collin O’Mara.

Refiners Security Conference Set – The annual AFPM Security Conference will be held on April 23-25 in New Orleans and presents current topics of vital importance to critical infrastructure, keeping security professionals up to date on security issues, policies, and future regulations. The event will relay the latest information on security regulations from DHS and the Coast Guard. This year’s conference will also go beyond just the regulations with sessions on hurricane response efforts, environmental NGO activism, cybersecurity and other emerging security and terror threats.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

 

Energy Update 1/16

Friends,

Holy cow…I still can’t believe Minnesota stayed alive by winning that playoff football game on Sunday.  NHL All-Star game in Tampa this weekend (with the awesome 3-on-3 format), Super Bowl Sunday is just three weeks away and the Winter Olympics starts right after in South Korea.

We are early today because of a number of events in this short week. The bulk of the oxygen this week will focus on the budget with a Friday deadline to extend government funding.  There is also a lot of activity on the trade issues with NAFTA, aluminum, steel, washing machine and solar issues all seeing discussions.  In fact, in an editorial Friday, the Washington Post hit the President’s approach to trade, saying that it be exceedingly difficult to achieve his goal of tearing down international trade actions.  The Post said not all trade deals were perfect, but “broadly speaking, increasingly free trade over the past 70-plus years has brought tremendous benefits both to the hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America and to Americans who have enjoyed a wider choice of quality products, at lower cost, and high wages in export industries.”

As mentioned, Congress is in town despite the MLK holiday yesterday to deal with the budget. Hearings include this morning’s Senate Energy hearing on the domestic/global energy outlook with IEA’s Faith Birol and a Senate Environment hearing on water infrastructure tomorrow.  House Energy looks at Superfund and House Resources looks at onshore energy burdens on Thursday and Friday, a House Energy panel looks at LNG exports.

The Detroit Auto Show started yesterday (Washington’s policy show starts next week) while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, Heritage hosts a NAFTA forum and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 today.  Thursday, the US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club, the Chamber holds an infrastructure summit featuring INGAA’s Don Santa and RFF hosts author/expert Daniel Raimi for a book event on his new natgas drilling book.  On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the natgas and battery revolutions.

Finally, after last week’s reacts to the new 5-year drilling plan and the Florida removal, public hearings start today with a meetings in Annapolis and Jackson Mississippi.  Richmond hosts tomorrow and Thursday, things move to Dover, DE.  More hearings next week and through the end of February.

One last time: we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and electricity markets.

Finally, you know what today is…  I’ve already had a singing gorilla wish me happy 50th in our morning meeting that to my wife Stacey.  Here is a copy of last year’s POLITICO Playbook Birthday of the Day Q&A.  And I noticed that I have dropped to #2 on Playbook’s Jan 16th birthday list…  Labor Sect Acosta shares the day although I have him by one year.  Damn you, Carl’s Jr.!!!!

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We’ve decided that the best thing for our family and for me and I think, frankly, for North Dakota is for me to seek reelection to the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer in deciding against running for North Dakota’s US Senate seat and incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.

“Mayor de Blasio turned his back on millions of first responders, police officers, firefighters and other public employees who depend on their pensions to provide for themselves and their families in retirement. Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have historically delivered a higher return than other investments. Deliberately hurting pension holders, like the fine men and women who keep our city safe, is a disgraceful way to score cheap political points.”

API New York Executive Director Karen Moreau, commenting on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement to divest the city’s pensions from oil and natural gas.

IN THE NEWS

White House Names Fannon to State Energy Gig – So much a for a move to the consulting…Our friend Frank Fannon has been nominated to be an assistant secretary of State on energy resources. Fannon worked at Senate Environment under Jim Inhofe and had an instrumental role in the drafting and passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Previously, Fannon was head of BHP Billiton’s DC office and also worked at Murphy Oil Corporation.

ALEC Chair Hit Solar Tariffs – The national chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), North Carolina State Rep. Jason Saine urged the President reject solar tariffs in a letter late last week.  Saine wrote Increasing tariffs on solar panels risks shuttering one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. According to recent estimates, the solar industry is creating jobs at a rate 17 times faster than the broader economy and employs over a quarter of a million people across the country.  He also added for utilities like Duke Energy, which must select cost-competitive resources (whether they be fuel-based or renewable) when selecting new generation resources to meet customer demand requirements, such cost increases may eliminate solar generation from its evaluation processes entirely.

ETAC Pushes Back On Protectionist Coalition Claims – In additional to the ALEC letter from Saine, the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) responded to a letter from the protectionist Coalition for a Prosperous America urging the president to impose a “global tariff” on imports.  ETAC released a letter that strongly encourages Trump to reject the attempt of two foreign-owned bankrupt solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, to use the Section 201 trade law process to bail out their creditors and shareholders. “Tens of thousands of U.S. solar industry jobs in the United States now hang in the balance. A decision to impose tariffs and/or quotas on imported solar components may offer Suniva and SolarWorld the short-term lifeline they seek, but it will do so at the cost of undermining virtually the entire rest of the industry, including hundreds of U.S. solar companies that are healthy, productive and providing good-paying jobs in communities across the country.”

China Imports Actually Increasing – A New piece in RealClearMarkets, Allan Golombek argues unilateral reduction of tariffs last month by China on almost 200 consumer products provides further testimony to the fact that the goal of its trade is not just to increase exports, but also imports. Golombek says after years as the world’s biggest exporter, China is on track to becoming the world’s biggest importer over the next few years, according to a paper prepared by two leading economists for the China International Capital Corporation.

EIA Net Exporter of NatGas – The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the U.S. is now a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957.  Net exports averaged about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8 billion in 2016.  EIA also said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook for January, which the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to rise from 32% in 2017 to 33% in 2018 and to 34% in 2019, as a result of low natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast generation share falls from 30% in 2017 to slightly lower than 30% in 2018 and 28% in 2019. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to average 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Renewables provided almost 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and its 2018 share is expected be similar before increasing to almost 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was more than 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be slightly lower than 7% in both 2018 and 2019.  Finally, EIA added that after declining by 1.0% in 2017, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are forecast to increase by 1.7% in 2018 and by 0.2% in 2019. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth and energy prices.

EPA Delays Climate Rule Comment Deadline – EPA will soon announce dates for additional public hearings on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan and extend the deadline to submit comments. As previously reported, additional hearings will be held in Kansas City, MO on Feb 21, San Francisco on Feb 28 and Gillette, WY on March 27.   EPA will keep the record open for an additional 30 days after the last one.

Wind Group Says More Transmission Necessary – POLITICO outlines a new report from the Wind Energy Foundation finds more U.S. transmission lines are needed to meet the growing demand for renewables. Specifically, the report found transmission planners are not accounting for up to 51 gigawatts of potential near-term procurement.  Can send you copy of report if you need it.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show is underway and runs until to January 28th.  The event serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

POLITICO to Host Future of Mobility Event – POLITICO holds an event on “Driverless Cars and the Future of Mobility” today at 10:45 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The United States’ roads and highways will soon be driven by autonomous vehicles, which will fundamentally transform the transportation landscape in this country. This technology has the potential to reshape the communities that we live in and create stronger transportation networks for people of all ages and abilities. POLITICO addressing such questions as: When it comes to mobility, what are the sticking points? Will self-driving cars be a mobility revolution for older Americans and for people with disabilities?

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – This morning at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule which was announced last week.  FERC scrapped DOE’s plan and has now undertaken its own process.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Outlook – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. to look at the domestic and global energy outlook from the International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues –Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Today at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings today to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings today in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott), Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on tomorrow and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday.  Other meetings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) and Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future meetings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to look at water infrastructure.  The hearing will feature a panel of witnesses to focus on Federal issues and impacts including Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for water and science Austin Ewell, Idaho Water Users Association executive director Paul Arrington, Contra Costa Water District GM Jerry Brown, Mike DeVries of the Provo River Water Users Association and Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips.

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on tomorrow and Thursday in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Chamber to Host Infrastructure Forum – U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue will headline a summit on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on modernizing America’s Infrastructure. This dynamic, high energy day-long event will serve to jumpstart important conversations on revitalizing America’s infrastructure, ensure that infrastructure is a top policy priority for 2018, and bring together the business community to voice broad industry support.

Senate Energy to Review DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a nomination hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), and Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary (Environmental Management), both of the Department of Energy.

Small Biz Committee to Look at DOE Energy Assistance – The House Small Business Committee’s panel on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on small business resources at the Department of Energy. The hearing will examine the resources available to small businesses in the energy sector through the Department of Energy.  This hearing will analyze the degree to which these programs are effective at minimizing confusion regarding participation in the federal contracting process and department-specific small business programs.  DOE’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Director Charles Smith will testify.

House Energy Panel to Look at Superfund – A House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to focus on efforts to reform U.S. EPA’s Superfund program.   Witnesses will Include EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management Barry Breen, Steve Cobb of the land division at Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management, former EPA Superfund director and expert Win Porter, Portland Harbor policy analyst  for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown James McKenna, Debbie Mans of the NY/NJ Baykeeper and expert Katherine Probst.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

House Resources Looks at Onshore Energy Burdens – The House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. examining the Department of the Interior’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens.  Witnesses will focus on seismic testing, with drilling proponents vowing to improve the ability to conduct the tests that can find oil under the ocean floor.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

House Energy Panel to Look at LNG – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:15 a.m. looking at legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

IN THE FUTURE

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – On January 23rd at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum on insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment. Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto Policy, on policy day next Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held on January 23-26th in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday, January 26th at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: Week of 1/8

Friends,

SO…it looked to me like Seth Meyers wanted to say a lot more last night at the Golden Globes… but the event was calmly empowering.  Besides great wins for James Franco (Disaster Artist) and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) – which were both fabulous movies; it seems Oprah Winfrey is all the talk of politics, presidents and Hollywood. Let’s watch CBS This Morning with Oprah whisperer Gayle King for more insight on her next move.

Before we get into It, let me first say I was sad but also excited to hear that my long-time friend and fellow Detroit native, Bob Semple, is retiring after 54 years – that right – 54 years at the New York Times.  Many of you will know Bob from his biting and tough editorial wit, as well as deep substance.  While Bob was usually tough on us with his rapid fire questions, he always had time to hear our views – in fact many times to probably pre-counter our argument – and ALWAYS gave us a fair shake.  Bob is a legend and still as sharp as tack.  He says “the page” invited him to still “write when the spirit moves me” so we will may hear from him occasionally, but we will all miss Bob Semple’s daily input.  Congrats to our friend John Broder who steps up to take over Bob’s role.

Last week, the Interior Department rolled out its new five-year drilling plan, which was overly expansive and drew criticism both Republicans and Democrats from most coastal states. The plan Thursday suggests opening vast new stretches of federal waters to oil and gas drilling.  The public hearings start next week on Tuesday in Annapolis and will cover every coastal state over the next two months.  More on the action “In the News.”

The Hill returns back to full action this week with budget discussions taking center stage (maybe if Washington can stop talking about Michael Wolff) with a January 19th funding deadline.  We also have important pending trade decisions on solar and steel, as well as action at FERC on the DOE resiliency proposal all expected to see some action this week.  Speaking of DOE, House Energy has a hearing tomorrow on the DOE Mission where I expect there will be plenty of discussion on the FERC/DOE rule.  Among DOE witnesses will be experts like Clearpath’s Rich Powell.   Then, Wednesday, Senate Environment starts up the infrastructure discussion with focus on water resources issues.

This week, API holds its annual State of Energy Address tomorrow while NY City holds its Clean Power Plan “hearing”.  U.S. Chamber head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address on Wednesday and CSIS hosts former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday.

Next week, the Detroit Auto Show starts on Sunday while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you again so you don’t forget…

In case you missed it last week, we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

Finally, our good friend and retired energy reporter Gerry Karey has a great new book out called Meanderings: Inventions, Fripperies, Bits, & Bobs.  The book is a collection of blogs and essays that is hilarious and thoughtful.  Check out a review here.

The Consumer Electronics show is underway in Vegas. While you might be looking for the latest phones, AI, VR or games, there is a lot of autonomous/electric vehicle technology that is part of show.  Our friends at SAFE are on the ground there and are happy to keep you up to speed.  Stay up late because ‘Bama-Georgia should be pretty good tonight.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“By proposing to open up nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas exploration, the United States can advance the goal of moving from aspiring for energy independence to attaining energy dominance,” said. “This decision could bring unprecedented access to America’s extensive offshore oil and gas resources and allows us to better compete with other oil-rich nations.”

Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at Interior on the Department’s new 5-year plan.  

 

IN THE NEWS

Admin Suggests New Areas in 5-Yr Drilling Plan – The Department of Interior announced the next step for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90% of the total OCS acreage and more than 98% of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development. By comparison, the current program puts 94% of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history.

Public Meetings Set – Interior will hold public meetings will take place at locations across the country. Using an open-house format allows participants to arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time and to talk with our team members one-on-one. At the meetings you can ask questions, share information and learn more about the National Program.  The public hearings start next Tuesday and will be in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other hearings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future hearings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Chamber Energy Institutes Commends Expansion – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute Karen Harbert said the Administration’s Draft Proposed Program unlocks the vast potential of American energy and expands our ability to export oil and gas to our allies around the world. Harbert added the plan is a long-term commitment to securing future US energy and would help cement America’s role as an energy superpower, creating jobs and contributing to the economy.  Harbert: “For decades, our nation has needlessly limited our own ability to harness oil and gas resources. This new plan sets a much different course, allowing far greater access to offshore areas that haven’t been previously accessible using advanced technology to determine where to safely drill.”

Gulf Group Expresses Optimism – Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team,

Recognized the new plan as a major sign of optimism for our country’s potential in being the world-leader in energy production. LeBlanc says with increasing OCS access, our country has the opportunity to maximize those natural resources in order to continue producing dependable energy, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and providing immense economic stability for our nation.  “The new plan allows us to maximize America’s abundant OCS oil and gas resources and benefit from the revenues generated by offshore production.”  She added that the Gulf accounts for nearly 20% of our nation’s oil production and contributes over $5 to $8 billion dollars directly to the U.S. Treasury each year — making it the second largest revenue stream for the federal government.”

Ocean Industry Group Praises New PlanNational Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi said the new plan is a long anticipated first step towards what could mean more jobs, energy and revenue to the people of the United States.  Luthi said the current Five-Year Program that expires in 2017 included no new access, and put the U.S. far behind many other nations that are actively pursuing offshore oil and natural gas energy development – – particularly in the Atlantic basin and the Arctic.  “The energy resources on the OCS are vital to the nation’s economic prosperity.  Allowing oil and natural gas development in federal waters in the Atlantic alone could result in as many as 280,000 new jobs, $24 billion annually to the economy, $51 billion in government revenue, and the safe production of 1.3 million barrels per day of oil and natural gas.  But frankly, these numbers likely underestimate the potential.

API Welcomes New PlanAPI President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed the first step in developing a new five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program.  Gerard said smart, effective policies, such as prioritizing U.S. potential for expanding natural gas exports will help create jobs here at home and provide energy security to U.S. allies, all while allowing our nation’s energy renaissance to continue benefitting American consumers, workers and the environment. “Developing our abundant offshore energy resources is also a critical part of a forward-looking energy policy, which is why we look forward to working with the administration and Congress on an offshore leasing plan that will fully embrace our nation’s energy potential. Eighty percent of American voters support increased domestic oil and natural gas production, which will help keep energy affordable for consumers, create jobs, and strengthen our national security.  Gerard closed saying it’s important that the next five-year plan includes the ability to explore the resources in the Arctic, Atlantic, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which would spur investment and economic activity, could create thousands of jobs, and provide billions in government revenue.

NatGas Setting Records – Over the past few weeks with the cold temps, the US has been setting natural gas use records.  AGA has been doing some analysis of it on their blog and in the news. Here is a post from last week about how January 1 set the all-time record for single-day gas consumption and we expect it to be beat in the days since.   There will be much more analysis on the next weeks, looking at the factors behind this trend.  More on the projections about Winter here.

Wind Cranking It Out In Cold, Too – The wind industry is doing well in the cold as well. Wind output is up and was strongest during the coldest part last Thursday and Friday, as is typical with extreme weather events.  Consider PJM, where wind output from January 1st to 4th averaged over 3,500MW, 40% above average wind production in January 2016. Further, wind energy generation exceeded forecasts in MISO and PJM on Thursday, January 4. In late 2017, wind power even broke output records in several regions.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

House Energy Panel to Look at DOE Mission – The House Energy & Commerce Panel on Energy will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn looking at DOE Modernization and advancing its mission for national, economic and energy security.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Dan Brouillette, Science office head Paul Dabbar, Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes and NNSA head Frank Klotz, as well as CSIS’s Sarah Ladislaw, ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Don Levy of UChicago, former EERE head and Stanford Steyer-Taylor Director Dan Reicher, Oak Ridge’s Tom Zacharia and Lilly Research’s Steve Wasserman.

Wilson to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts tomorrow at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – The New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting tomorrow afternoon to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

Chamber to Discuss State of American Business – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will deliver his annual “State of American Business” address, highlighting the emerging opportunities and top challenges facing the business community in the coming year – and beyond. Donohue will also introduce the Chamber’s 2018 policy agenda. Following his remarks, Donohue and Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and chief policy officer, will participate in a press conference.

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges.  Witnesses

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from Saturday to January 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Next Tuesday January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings starting next Tuesday to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other meetings will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25), Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on January 17th and 18th in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday January 18th at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday January 18th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday January 18th in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday January 18th to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday January 19th, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: 1/2/18

Friends,

Welcome to 2018 and back to the action… ALMOST.  Don’t expect we’ll see much going on in this short week, but the Senate does return tomorrow to swear in new members Tina Smith and Doug Jones.

With it being the first week of the New Year, we are rolling out our top 10 Issues for 2018.   Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

One issue that is important but I didn’t mention is rising crude prices. My friends at Platts did touch on that issue with former EIA head Adam Sieminski and others though in their weekly Podcast. These experts see prices ending 2018 as low as $52/b and as high as $70/b, but a number of factors could significantly alter their path, from OPEC compliance to oil demand in Asia to US trade policy.  My friends at SAFE are always focused on this issue (you can talk to Leslie Hayward) or Kevin Book at ClearView, has also weighed in on this topic.

Mark your calendar for events starting next week, including API holding its annual State of Energy Address and the NY City Clean Power Plan “hearing” next Tuesday, CSIS hosting former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday January 11th, the Detroit Auto Show starting January 14th and BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, while CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you now because I am accepting presents all month…

Finally, I hope you noticed the super cool super moon last night/this morning.  I knew it was out there but I really didn’t get the full impact until I was driving up Massachusetts Avenue this morning and saw it perched over Washington DC.  Pretty awesome.  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

The Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It’s a good context to revisit things like siting, permitting, certainly some of the export terminal issues.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer talking Infrastructure to POLITICO.

 

IN THE NEWS

EIA talking Year-end Oil – Last week,  the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that after decreasing nearly 20% in the first half of 2017, the spot energy index in the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) ended 2017 16% higher than the beginning of the year. Higher crude oil and petroleum product prices in the second half of 2017 were responsible for the increase in the S&P GSCI energy index.  EIA also reported that total U.S. production was slightly over 9.75 million barrels per day in the week ending December 22nd.  Our friends at Axios point out that this is actually 35,000 barrels per day less than the prior-week average, signaling the first weekly dip since Hurricane Nate took a bunch of Gulf of Mexico production temporarily offline in mid-October.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Returns, Jones, Smith Sworn in – The Senate returns for the second session of the 115th Congress on Wednesday when they will swear in new Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Minnesota LG Tina Smith. Smith is replacing Sen. Franken who resigns today and Jones defeated Roy Moore to give Democrats a win to replace AG Jeff Sessions.  The House returns next Monday.

IN THE FUTURE

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – On January 9th, New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion on next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday, January 10th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday, January 11th at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from January 13th to 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on January 14th where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – On Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Energy Update: Week of 12/11

Friends,

It is Hanukkah week which begins on tomorrow night at sunset and ends next Wednesday.  Hanukkah is a Jewish Festival of Lights is celebrated for eight days and nights.  It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

An info-packed “In the News” section this week after last week’s busy-ness.  It includes some reaction to the solar trade hearing, more on the Cruz-White House RFS meeting, a new view from EPA on the New Source review program, and finally an extension for 30 days (requested by new FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre) for FERC to consider the DOE resiliency proposal aimed at supporting coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The big political news this week is the Alabama Senate race and the tax reform conference committee, which will meet publicly for the first time on Wednesday.  While tax negotiations continue behind the scenes, Congress is also going full bore on a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown before Christmas.

We still have a big week in the Energy space (hopefully our last before gliding into the holidays).  Tomorrow, the White House rolls out what we hear will be “the most aggressive” 5-year offshore drilling plan ever.  While we all look for the HUGE tweet, we remind that will can answer many of your questions about the impacts and possibilities.

Also tomorrow, House Energy panels hosts automakers and auto dealers to discuss fuel standard and CAFE’s relook.  Senate Energy looks at FERC/Interior permitting and we will see committee votes on EIA’s Linda Capuano, Interior assistant secretary Tim Petty and NOAA’s Barry Myers (Wed in Senate Commerce).

Also Wednesday, the House Energy Subcommittee looks at NAFTA with our friends’ Karen Harbert of the Chamber Global Energy Institute and APFM’s Chet Thompson among those testifying, and Senate Environment hosts NRC Commissions to discuss nuclear.

Speaking of NAFTA and energy, National Journal hosts a webinar on it Thursday and Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet.

And then TAKE THE REST OF FRIDAY OFF AND GO SEE THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!!

Finally, this morning, there are two interesting New York Times pieces worth reading: one is an internal look at Trump’s mindset and interactions from Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker which I found fascinating and informative; and the second looks at EPA’s enforcement and unfortunately picks up a usual theme backed by misleading stats.  In the second case, there is clearly a different (and just as reasonable) approach in this EPA which shouldn’t be a surprise to advocates or reporters. We are happy to discuss.

And in case you weren’t able to get there this morning at the Newseum, our friend and Axios Energy Reporter Amy Harder led a conversation on energy policies and priorities under President Trump with FERC’s Neil Chatterjee, Rep Paul Tonko and Heritage’s Nick Loris.  Check out the details…

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THE LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week’s episode features Special Agent Tom O’Connor, President of the FBI Agents Association.  Tom discusses developments within the Bureau and FBIAA after Director Chris Wray’s nomination, how FBIAA is able to support active, retired, and deceased Special Agents and their families, and what issues are foremost in the minds of FBI personnel lately.  Since it is tax legislation season, we also have a bonus episode featuring PRG’s resident tax expert Liam Donovan on the latest in tax reform and what’s up next for the Conference Committee, final vote, and beyond. Tune in for a look behind the scenes and lots of seasonal analogies.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It makes no sense to effectively tax tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs out of existence, solely to benefit the commercially unskilled Chinese and German owners of Suniva and SolarWorld, who will cut and run.”

Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development at NextEra Energy.

IN THE NEWS

EPA Rolls Out Redefined NSR Focus in Memo – The EPA issued a memo on Friday saying the agency won’t “second guess” the analyses that companies have to conduct before construction projects on their plants to determine whether they might emit more pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The well-constructed memo is the first step in a major initiative revise the New Source Review program, which governs permits for new or reconstructed plants’ emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The Supreme Court this morning declined to hear the major case involving EPA’s enforcement of the NSR program.  My Colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Office head is happy to discuss the details.

WSJ Blasts Ethanol – The Wall Street Journal Ed Board blasted the “hostage taking” over ethanol policy in an editorial last Thursday.  The piece discusses the back-and-forth over ethanol policy that first involved Corn State Senators blocking Trump EPA nominees, then oil state Senators pushing back by blocking Iowa-favored Ag nominees, including one that would clear a path for Sen. Grassley’s grandson to become Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture.  The Journal says the “Senate hostage-taking is unfortunate, not least because it undermines the ability of the executive branch to govern. But this is what happens when politicians decide to favor certain industries like ethanol at the expense of others. The political and economic damage will grow as long as this policy continues.” It also adds that America’s independent refiners and manufacturers deserve at least as much consideration as the Trump Administration has given ethanol interests. WSJ: “The RINs regime has imperiled the jobs of many blue-collar union voters who swung for Mr. Trump in 2016.”

AEI Report Hits RFS – The American Enterprise Institute has a new report looking at policymaking lessons from the RFS, saying the RFS would be better as a rate standard than a volume standard.  AEI also adds that EPA should issue multi-year rules rather than annual rules in order to improve certainty and that uncertainty should be explicitly incorporated into future rulemakings.

EPA to Hold Additional CPP Hearings – EPA said it would hold additional public hearings on the repeal the Clean Power Plan.  The hearing will be in San Francisco, Gillette, WY and Kansas City. The hearing were added due to the “overwhelming response” to the recent hearing in Charleston.  Dates and locations of the meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

Companies Roll Out Landmark Methane Effort – API rolled out a landmark partnership to accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country. Focused initially on reducing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, who produce a significant portion of American energy resources. Participating companies will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018.  Collectively, at the time of launch, the participating companies represent operations in every major U.S. natural gas and oil basin. The Environmental Partnership is a historic agreement bringing together American natural gas and oil companies of all sizes to take action, learn and collaborate in an effort to further improve our environmental performance.

What Methane Program Will Address – The three Environmental Performance Programs include:

  1. Leak Program for Natural Gas and Oil Production Sources: Participants will implement monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions at selected sites utilizing detection methods and technologies such as Method 21 or Optical Gas Imaging cameras.
  2. Program to Replace, Remove or Retrofit High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers: Participants will replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low-or zero-emitting devices.
  3. Program for Manual Liquids Unloading for Natural Gas Production Sources: Participants will minimize emissions associated with the removal of liquids that, as a well ages, can build up and restrict natural gas flow.

Who is in? – Participants at launch include: Anadarko, Apache, BHP, BP, Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chevron, Cimarex Energy, ConocoPhillips, CrownQuest, Devon Energy, Encana, EOG Resources, Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy, Hess, Marathon Oil, Murphy Oil, Newfield, Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, TOTAL and Western Gas Partners.  To view more information about the program and companies’ commitments, visit www.TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.

SAFE Looks at Expand EV Markets – Securing America’s Future Energy released its quarterly update to the Energy Security Fact Pack, a data-driven overview of the latest trends in energy security. The Fact Pack includes charts on domestic and global oil production and consumption patterns, oil market dynamics and prices, and up-to-date information on fuel efficiency and advanced fuel vehicles.  The latest Fact Pack highlights developments in the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market, which is poised to see significant growth in the coming years as a result of new models, lower battery costs, increased range, and growing consumer awareness. Demand for EVs has continued to rise in 2017, setting new records for purchases and vehicle model availability. Although six models currently account for nearly two-thirds of sales, consumers have a fuller range of choices with 37 models available, thanks to marked declines in battery technology costs and enhanced range.  See the Charts.

SAFE, Mayors Support of Federal EV Tax Credit – Speaking of SAFE, it has worked in collaboration with the City of Atlanta to recruit 22 mayors from cities across the country to sign a joint letter in support of the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. The mayors’ letter was sent to the appointed members of the conference committee following recent passage of the House and Senate tax reform legislation. It called for the preservation of the Section 30D Federal Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Tax Credit, which offers a $7,500 discount on purchase of a new electric vehicle.  SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a coalition of CEOs and retired military leaders concerned with threats to America’s economic and national security through our continued oil dependence, have also express strong support of the EV tax credit citing it as a cornerstone to energy security policy.

Solar Growth Continues…. – The EIA said its latest monthly report shows that U.S. PV output in the first nine months of 2017 grew 47% over the same period in 2016, with market growth across the nation. PV represented 1.9% of total generation during this period. Every state in the U.S. increased its output from solar, from South Dakota, the only remaining state that did not generate more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) or one gigawatt-hour (GWh) in the nine month period, to perennial PV giant California.  California, with its 24.8 M mw, more than laps the field over next place Arizona, with 4.6M. However, as PV output growth across the U.S. accelerates, the Golden State’s share of PV generation, shrank from 48% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. Rounding out the top 10 generators are North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah and Colorado. Of those top 10 states, Georgia had the highest year to year percentage growth, increasing 186% from 2016 to 2017, followed by Texas with 165% and Utah with 123%. Other states that made impressive percentage and quantity growth gains in the same time period are Minnesota, Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.

…But Trade Case Creates Worry – Folks are worried though about solar in the face of new potential tariffs.  More than 60 witnesses testified in a cramped conference room at USTR during a final eight-hour public hearing on the Section 201 trade case.  A new GTM Research report finds that the average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price has since edged back above of DOE’s price target, amid market uncertainty surrounding the Section 201 solar trade case. The recent price increase stems from a rush to procure “tariff-free” solar panels over the summer with the potential for new tariffs looming. The National Electrical Contractors told the Hill that thousands of high-tech, high-skilled, and good-paying electrical contractors’ jobs are at risk.

Third Way Releases CCS Map – Third Way has a new map and database that is the most comprehensive tracking site for projects working to capture carbon emissions. Third Way says there are 100 carbon capture projects globally, with 51 in the United States. These projects can capture, store, and utilize emissions from power and bioenergy plants, industrial facilities, and even directly from the air. Some are innovative new concepts being developed by startups, and others have been operating at commercial scale for decades. One thing they have in common: we’ll likely need this full suite of technologies to meet international and domestic climate goals.

ACCF Paper Focuses on Regs – The American Council for Capital Formation released a paper by former OIRA head John Graham outlining 10 ideas for improving the regulatory process. It’s the product of a November 2016 roundtable with Sens. Mike Rounds, Angus King, James Lankford and others. Graham, who now heads Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said the themes of this paper are increasing transparency at regulatory agencies, enhancing public, congressional and judicial oversight of agencies, stimulating retrospective review of old regulations, and ensuring evidential support for new regulations.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Paris Forum to Focus on Anniversary – French President Macron will host the One Planet Summit tomorrow in Paris, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus specifically on climate finance. Heads of State will be invited to attend this meeting.

Nuclear Weapons Triad Forum Set – The Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC) will host the Inaugural morning forum on Capitol Hill tomorrow.  The event will feature key Members of Congress representing nuclear triad communities at Air Force and Naval bases, and NNSA sites, The group will also outline a series of 11 more 2018 forums and roundtables with key government officials, industry leaders and suppliers, and academic experts on the triad issues of the day, Each of these events will tackle the nuclear triad’s emerging issues and challenges, while sharing the successes, in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise modernization.

House Panels to Look at Fuel Standards, GHGs – The House Energy & Commerce panels on Environment and on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss updates on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and GHG emissions standards for motor vehicles.  Witnesses include our friend and Montgomery, AL Honda/Acura dealer Forrest McConnell representing the National Automotive Dealers Assn.  Others include AAM’s Mitch Bainwol, Global Automakers John Bozzella and Dave Cooke of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Senate Energy to Look FERC, Interior Permitting; Vote on Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the infrastructure permitting processes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Department of the Interior.  Testifying will be Interior’s Jim Cason, FERC’s Terry Turpin and Janet Pfleegar of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, along with several others.  The Committee will also vote on nominations Linda Capuano to head the DOE’s Energy Information Administration and Tim Petty to be assistant secretary of the Interior Department before the hearing.

Senate Foreign Relations to Focus on European Security – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on European energy security focused on U.S. Interests and coercive Russian diplomacy.  Witnesses include the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell and State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resource John McCarrick.

WH Infrastructure Aide Headlines Forum – The Hudson Institute will host an event tomorrow at Noon on the future of U.S. public transit systems keynoted by D.J. Gribbin, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy. Following Gribbin’s remarks, David Horner will moderate a panel discussion featuring Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Phillip A. Washington.

Resources Looks at Dependence on Foreign Metals, Minerals – The House Resources panel on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the consequences of relying on other countries for a growing number of metals and minerals.  Witnesses include DoD’s Ronnie Favors, USGS’s Murray Hitzman, RAND’s Richard Silberglitt, NMA’s Katie Sweeney and Havasupai Tribe Council member Carletta Tilousi.

Webinar to Look at Digital Grid – Utility Dive will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on discussion on how digital agility can help utilities improve operational excellence and deliver superior customer engagement and experience.  Speakers will include experts from MIT, PG&E and Siemens Digital Grid.  Key topics covered in the webinar will include adopting new grid modernization strategies, building new revenue streams, extreme weather and grid resilience among other issues.

Energy Storage Forum Set –The 3rd annual U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held in San Francisco tomorrow and Wednesday at the Hilton Union Square.  The forum will bring together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.  Speakers will Include APRA-E’s Susan Babinec, Peter Klauer of Cal ISO, Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, ESA CEO (and former MD PSC Chair) Kelly Speakes-Backman and our friends Shayle Kann of GTM Research, Stephen Lacey and Justin Gerdes of Greentech Media.

Forum Set to Look at NatGas – Tomorrow and Wednesday, the Energy Institute at Colorado State University (CSU) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) will be co-hosting the CH4 Connections conference at CSU’s campus in Fort Collins. This conference, now in its fourth year, will focus on methane emissions quantification, mitigation, and capture for the natural gas industry, and will include a tour of the Methane Emissions Test and Evaluation Center (METEC) that will showcase the solutions under development and in field testing at the center.

House Energy Panel Looks at NAFTA, Energy – The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn on the impacts and future of North American energy trade and NAFTA.  Our friends Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and refiners Assn Head Chet Thompson will be among those testifying.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick and ABB’s Allen Burchett (repping NAM) will also join the panel.

Senate Environment Hosts NRC Commissioners – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  NRC Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki, Commissioner Jeff Baran and Commissioner Stephen Burns will testify.

Senate Commerce to Vote on NOAA Head – The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to approve President Trump’s choice of AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

RFF Seminar to Look at CPP – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to explore the implications of social cost of carbon revisions for the Clean Power Plan itself and for potential future energy and climate policies.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick will reflect on the decision’s treatment of health benefits, and Harvard University’s Kathy Fallon Lambert will present new research on how repealing the Clean Power Plan would impact public health. RFF’s Dallas Burtraw will conclude the seminar with a discussion of how a revised “inside the fence line” approach to Clean Power Plan compliance might work.

House Science to Look at Solar Programs Focus – The House Science Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on advancing solar energy technology.  The hearing will look at research and deployment, while examining DOE’s efforts to shift solar energy funding toward early-stage research.  Witnesses include DOE’s EERE head Dan Simmons, NREL’s Martin Keller, Stanford University’s Steve Eglash and Kenny Stein of the Institute for Energy Research.

Energy Stakeholder Breakfast Set – The Advanced Energy Stakeholder Series continues on Thursday morning with an event supported by stakeholder member organizations across New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C. and Boston.  The breakfast will focus on energy, mobility & transportation and will include Rachel Healy of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Jigar Shah, PEPCO’s Robert Stewart, Marissa Gillett of the Maryland Public Service Commission and David Schatz of ChargePoint.

NJ to Host NAFTA WebinarNational Journal will host a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to look at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.  In this webinar, speakers will examine NAFTA’s history, development, and future, and address the major players involved, each side’s key demands, the timeline, potential outcomes and the impact of President Trump’s rhetoric on the process.

Forum to Look at US-Mexico NatGas – The Latin American Dialogue hosts a panel discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. aimed at understanding the role of LNG for US energy exports and commercial ties in Latin America, as well as the US-Mexico energy relationship. As global energy trade grows and the United States looks to expand oil and gas exports, Latin American countries provide significant commercial opportunities for exporters and investors alike. It remains imperative that Latin American countries and the United States strive to find mutually beneficial opportunities in order to boost energy ties and expand energy cooperation.  Speakers include State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resources John McCarrick, Sempra’s Mark Nelson, Leslie Palti-Guzman of the Rapidan Group and several others.

BPC to Host FERC Chair – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services. The proposal calls on FERC to take action on the rulemaking by today.

NatGas Roundtable Panel to Discuss Energy Security – On Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Embassy of Mexico and the Natural Gas Roundtable of Washington will hold a panel session on natural gas and North American energy security. A Holiday Reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – MIDNIGHT, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host World Coal Report – On December 18th at 3:30 p.m., CSIS will host the launch of the IEA’s new report analyzing coal’s recent trends and forecasting its demand, supply, and trade through 2022.  Coal remains world’s dominant fuel. Under pressure from decarbonization, cheaper alternatives, and geopolitical shifts in demand, coal continues to be one of the most pressing questions in energy. Peter Fraser, Head of Division for Gas, Coal, and Power Markets at the International Energy Agency, will present the IEA’s report.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31, 2018, making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

Energy Update: Week of 11/20

Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving Week!!!!  So, as usual, you can expect some announcements – perhaps like the RVOs which are due at the end of the month, but always seem to find their way into pre-Thanksgiving roll out.

First off, special congrats to Jeff Holmstead’s son Eli, whose BYU Soccer team won the National Club Championship over the weekend by beating Cal-Poly 4-1 in Phoenix. Eli had 3 goals as the Cougars rolled through Michigan State, Penn, UNC, NC State and Wisconsin before blasting Cal-Poly.

Breaking this late this morning, the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve the Keystone pipeline route through the state to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude from Canada’s oil sands and North Dakota’s shale fields to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.  It is the last key approval. Head of the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute Karen Harbert said: “the Keystone XL pipeline project has unfortunately become the poster child for the need to reform our permitting process so that we may fully realize North America’s energy potential. After years of government delays, the decision as to whether to move forward with the pipeline now rests with the company that will be making the investment.”  Connect with Matt Letourneau for more at 202-463-5945.

The Bonn climate conference has ended and one of the few items that garnered attention was the Friday announcement by 19 countries and six states and provinces that they were forming an international alliance to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030. Key nations in the alliance, such as Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Italy, Austria, Mexico and the Netherlands, aren’t using very much coal anyway. In fact, members account for less than 3% of global coal use as my friends Brad Plumer and Lisa Friedman point out in the New York Times.  Notably missing in the groups are some of the world’s biggest coal-consuming countries, including Germany (who got significant heat on the topic during Bonn), China, India and the United States.

Perhaps more significant on Friday in Bonn was that Sweden became the 20th country to ratify the Kigali amendment, an agreement to phase down emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that will allow the plan to go into effect in 2019.  Given this move, we expect to see potential US action on the agreement that was forged in partnership and requires developing/developed country reductions, unlike Paris.    With the world using more and more refrigerants, and heating and cooling equipment, the move is expected to hold down climate change by 0.5° C [0.9° F] by 2100.  Francis Dietz (703-600-0355) at AHRI can connect you with its President Steve Yurek, who was one of the key stakeholder negotiators.

Finally from Bonn, scientists actually remain skeptical that political leaders can reduce emission increase to 1.5-degree, according to our friend Eric Roston of Bloomberg (who by the way is heading back to the policy team…Welcome Back Eric!)

Despite it being Thanksgiving week, there are a few events on the table including a NAFTA field hearing in Texas today at 10:30e/9:30c featuring Texas trade and industry leaders and the annual release of the American Coal Ash Assn’s Coal Ash Production & Use Survey at the National Press Club at 9:30 tomorrow.  Finally, tonight at Midnight, the first comment period for the US Trade Representatives public comment period will close.  Reply comments are due November 29th and the public hearing will be on December 6th.  The Energy Trade Action Coalition, a group of utilities, contractors, retailers and Conservative groups, filed comments to add their voices to the opposition. You can see the ETAC comments here.

Enjoy the week to relax, watch some football and eat some turkey and the fixins’ because next week we go right back to the grind with Clean Power Plan hearings in Charleston,WV, a SAFE Oil discussion with former EIA Head Adam Sieminski and much more…. Stay tuned…Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week’s episode features my colleagues Scott Segal and Dee Martin, The Hill’s 2017 Top Lobbyists and explores the world of Washington lobbying, what it takes to be an effective lobbyist, and how they got into the field.  Remember our address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“There are many examples of a country switching from being a net energy exporter to a net importer: it is very rare to see the opposite, especially when the country in question is one of the world’s largest importers of oil.  Yet this is precisely what is happening as a result of the U.S. shale revolution — both for oil and for natural gas.  A remarkable ability to unlock new resources cost-effectively pushes combined United States oil and gas output to a level 50% higher than any other country has ever managed. ”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook.

We would need an incredibly dramatic reduction in emissions in the very near future. The 1.5-degree target is a little ridiculous and implausible.”

Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist with Berkeley Earth in a Bloomberg story on climate change and science

IN THE NEWS

House Passes Tax Legislation – The House passed a bill to significantly change taxation, including $1.5 trillion in cuts for individuals and companies. The overhaul, backed by President Trump, heads to the Senate, which is developing a bill that has major differences from the House measure.  My colleague Liam Donovan has been in the nitty-gritty details – as well as the politics of it all – and can answer all your questions.  Liam.donovan@bracewell.com or (202-828-5847)

Wind Urges Senate to Stand Firm on PTC Deal – Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said the House missed an opportunity to stand up for 60,000 American workers and preserve $50 billion in private infrastructure investment. The tax reform bill passed by the House retroactively changes how businesses can qualify for wind energy’s primary investment tools, the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which are already on a path to phase out by 2019.  The House bill undermines wind development by implementing a retroactive change to qualification rules for wind energy tax credits. Because businesses can’t go back in time to requalify for the credits after ordering wind turbines and inking construction contracts, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment could be lost, and new business has stalled. The House bill would also terminate an inflation adjustment, significantly cutting the value of the PTC.  The Senate tax proposal that passed the Finance committee last night does not retroactively alter the wind energy PTC or ITC, leaving in place the phase out terms set in the bi-partisan PATH Act of 2015, keeping American workers on the job.

AHRI Weighs In – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the trade association representing HVACR and water heating manufacturers, applauded House tax package passage. “Our member manufacturers strongly support Congress’s efforts to simplify the tax code and reduce rates,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “AHRI applauds the inclusion in H.R. 1 of full and immediate expensing, a permanent reduction in the corporate rate to 20 percent rate, a reduced rate for pass-through entities, repeal of the estate tax, and extension of the tax credit for geothermal HVAC equipment – all of which will serve to make the U.S. a more competitive place to do business,” he added. AHRI believes these provisions are all crucial to the continued growth of manufacturing in the United States, and we urge the Senate to follow the lead of the House to enact substantive reforms that will allow our industry and others to continue to innovate and create jobs.

Chamber, Partners Launch Gas Export Infrastructure Initiative – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute hosted the U.S. Trade Development Authority (USTDA), LNG Allies and others at U.S. Chamber Headquarters for the launch of the U.S. Gas Infrastructure Exports Initiative Friday.  The goal of the initiative is to connect American companies to new export opportunities, with a particular focus on emerging economies.  USTDA acting director Thomas Hardy focused on the goal of using American technology and innovation to advance gas infrastructure in partner countries, while providing new opportunities for U.S. companies. As part of the Initiative, USTDA announced a call for gas-related project proposals for U.S. companies that have identified project sponsors in high growth emerging markets.  The Agency will be conducting gas sector reverse trade missions to bring prospective LNG buyers to the U.S. for site visits and meetings.  Delegates from Senegal, China and others are already slated to participate.  GEI is a natural partner for the Exports Initiative.  We are strong advocates for policies and activities that strengthen America’s global energy leadership, which is good for both our economy and for global security.  The continued export of American natural gas creates opportunities at home and contributes to stability abroad.  For more information on the Initiative, visit www.ustda.gov/program/us-gas-infrastructure-exports-initative

IEA Says Shale Gas Boom Will Last – The International Energy Agency says the shale gas boom has positioned the US to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by the middle of the next decade in its 2017 World Energy Outlook. By the late 2020s, the U.S. — which only lifted its ban on oil exports in 2015 — will ship more oil to foreign markets than it imports. IEA predicts that US shale oil producers will boost their output by 8 million barrels a day between 2010 and 2025, an increase that “would match the highest sustained period of oil output growth by a single country in the history of oil markets” — rivaling even the massive increase posted by Saudi Arabia between 1966 and 1981. The expected U.S. surge will account for 80% of the increase in global supply over the time period.

Powell in WSJ Debate: Nuclear is Essential – ClearPath Executive Director Rich Powell argued this week in the Wall Street Journal that the future of U.S. nuclear power is not only bright— it’s non-negotiable.  A robust civilian nuclear sector is mandatory for the U.S. to remain a major geopolitical, economic, military and environmental leader, Rich wrote. After decades of policy neglect, Washington is finally addressing what is both a national and global necessity and a tremendous opportunity.  That includes growing bipartisan support to reform new reactor licensing and improve tax incentives for new nuclear facilities, led in Congress by clean-energy advocates as well as national-security and energy-reliability hawks.

Henkel, Novozymes, P&G, Sasol Execs Named to ACI Board of Directors – Four executives from leading companies across the cleaning product supply chain were elected to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) Board of Directors:  Mike Clark, Vice President, Organics – Sasol Performance Chemicals; Charles Crawford, Ph.D., Head of R&D, Laundry and Home Care, North America – Henkel Consumer Goods Inc.;  Rene Garza, Vice President, Household Care, Americas – Novozymes and Sundar Raman, Vice President, North America Fabric Care – Procter & Gamble.  At its meeting in Washington, D.C., the ACI Board elected the new Directors to fill existing vacancies.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

USTR Comment Deadline on Solar Trade Case – November 20th

USEA Forum to Look at Carbon IRA – The US Energy Assn will held a forum today at 10:00 a.m. focused on a new idea that rewards reductions in Carbon footprint with funds deposited into a retirement account.   Guest Speaker, Jason Makansi, President of consulting firm Pearl Street, will introduce the concept, describe the four broad steps required and provide simple examples of how to implement the concept.

Forum to Look at Puerto Power Situation – Power 4 Puerto Rico will held a briefing today at 10:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room to discuss the ongoing effort to restore power on the hurricane-ravaged island.

Senate Finance to Hold NAFTA Field Hearing – The Senate Finance Committee holds a field hearing today at 9:30 a.m. Central Time in San Antonio at the Marriott Plaza Hotel’s Cavalier Room looking at modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Witnesses will include USTR’s Stephen Vaugh, Auto Alliance head Mitch Bainwol, Paola Avila of The Border Trade Alliance, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Perez, Texas Association of Business head Jeff Moseley, Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening and Todd Staples of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

WRI to Host Forum on Energy Access – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum today at Noon on how energy access for all benefits the economy and the environment.  Michael Westphal will present his paper on energy access – another chapter of the “World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City.” Millions of residents in some of the fastest growing cities in the world don’t have access to clean, reliable energy, and the challenge of reaching them is not getting easier. In 2012, only 58 percent of the urban population had access to electricity in low-income countries, and nearly 500 million urban residents worldwide used dirty and harmful cooking fuels like charcoal and wood.

Coal Ash Annual Production and Use Survey Results – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club, the American Coal Ash Association will release its annual Coal Ash Production & Use Survey results. Conducted since the early 1960s, the survey provides the most complete data available on the volume of coal ash materials that are produced and beneficially used in a variety of applications. ACAA officials will also discuss impacts of environmental regulation and changing electric utility markets on coal ash production and use.  Tom Adams and John Ward of ACCA roll out the report.

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

 

IN THE FUTURE

EPA to Hold CPP Public Hearing in WV – EPA will hold a public hearing regarding the withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan in West Virginia on Nov. 28th and 29th.  EPA said it will convene two daylong sessions at the state capitol in Charleston. The agency said it “may also hold an additional hearing to be announced at a later date.”  EPA also extended the comment period on the proposal to Jan. 16, 2018.

CCS Report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch on November 28th at 9:30 a.m. This year, the Institute is partnering with one of the top think tanks in the city, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to promote and discuss the release of the Institute’s signature report, the globally recognized annual guide to the current progress and prospects for carbon capture and storage.  Speakers will include Global CCS’s Jeff Erikson and IEA’s Samantha McCulloch.

Forum to Look at Asia-Pacific Security – The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) hosts a high-level discussion on the security risks of climate change in the Asia-Pacific on Tuesday November 28th at 10:00 a.m. This discussion will explore these risks, how US military installations, operations, and strategies in the region may be shaped by them, and their influence on US bilateral and multilateral relationships.

Tillerson to Speak at Wilson Center – The Wilson Center will host US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson next Tuesday, November 28th at 11:00 a.m. for an address on the future of U.S. relations with Europe by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, followed by a conversation with Wilson Center President and CEO Jane Harman.

Heritage Hosts Climate Discussion – The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion next Tuesday at Noon on the long history and politics of climate activism. Speaker Rupert Darwell will address the topic.

CSIS to Release New Energy Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will hold a presentation of its latest report, Energy and Development: Providing Access and Growth on Next Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.  Based on findings from several workshops conducted by CSIS over the last two years, Energy and Development explores several of the most important shifts underpinning the energy access issue. By exploring the role of emerging economies as the primary drivers of future energy demand, the influence of sustainability and climate change concerns in crafting development strategies, and changes to how energy access and growth are measured, the report provides a unique survey of energy and economic growth in the developing world.  Sarah Ladislaw (CSIS) will present the report, followed by a panel discussion with Morgan Bazilian (World Bank; CSIS), Morgan Landy (International Finance Corporation), and Philippe Benoit (GIAS2050; CSIS). CSIS’s Erol Yayboke, co-author of the report, will moderate.

Forum on Tax Reform to Discuss Carbon Tax – The Brookings Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday November 28th at 2:00 p.m. regarding tax reform that will discuss a possible carbon tax. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the Cross Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, congressional leaders, and top experts for a discussion on the prospects for tax reform and the potential to include a carbon tax in a broader bipartisan bill.   The event will feature a keynote address by Rep. John Larson and panelists include Niskanen’s Jerry Taylor and our friend Amy Harder of Axios.

SAFE Event to Feature Oil Discussion with Former EIA Head – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will host a panel discussion on next Tuesday, November 28th at 4:30 p.m. at the National Union Building exploring how market uncertainty, underinvestment, geopolitical risk, OPEC intervention, rising global demand, and other market forces undermine oil market stability. The panel will discuss the likelihood of a return to high and volatile oil prices, implications for American economic and national security, and domestic policy solutions.  Moderated by our friend Ben Geman of Axios, the panel will feature former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski – now at CSIS – and Jonathan Chanis, SAFE’s Senior Vice President of Policy.

USTR Reply Comments Deadline – November 29th

National Academies Review Climate Assessment – On Wednesday afternoon, the National Academies will review the 4th draft of the National Climate Assessment in an open meeting at the NAS building.

NYT to host Climate Summit – On November 29th and 30th in San Francisco at the Metreon, The New York Times will hold ClimateTECH, a groundbreaking summit that brings together influential leaders from key industries to assess bold, cutting-edge technologies that could help keep global warming below the two-degree threshold.  Hosted by top Times journalists, ClimateTECH’s focus on innovation will also encompass the dramatic changes downstream (in finance, policy, consumer behavior, infrastructure) that are vital for these new technologies to gain adoption and succeed.  The program will feature on-stage interviews with celebrated entrepreneurs and inventors along with policy makers, economists and subject-matter experts. Designed for an audience of decision-makers, ClimateTECH will also include an early-stage technology showcase of the newest innovations, along with other experiential activities.  The Speaker list is long, but it includes California Gov. Jerry Brown, Statoil’s Irene Rummelhoff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Tom Steyer and many others.

Solar Festival Set for Austin – The 2nd annual Solar Business Festival will be held on November 29th and 30th in Austin, Texas at the Thompson Conference Center. The two-day conference segment features a wide variety of sessions on, components of doing a solar and storage business in Texas, microgrids and energy storage, distributed grid, project financing, sustainable buildings, smart grids, solar initiatives and innovations, utility integration, community solar projects, policies, incentives and goals, market growth opportunities, regulatory framework, international solar market opportunities/challenges, sustainable farming and more.

CSIS Look at Zero-Emissions Fuels – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum on Thursday November 30th at 8:00 a.m. onhydrogen, green shipping and zero-emission fuel in the maritime sector. The discussion will center on the development and implementation of hydrogen fuel technology, the important role it could play for shipping in the transition to a low-carbon future, and ongoing U.S.-Norwegian cooperation in the area.  Shipping accounts for more than 2% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions today and is set to increase up to 17% by 2050. This session will explore the concrete cooperation and projects being pursued in Norway and the United States.  Norwegian Ambassador Kåre R. Aas will give introductory remarks, followed by a discussion with Elisabet Bøe (Sogn og Fjordane), Joseph Pratt (Sandia National Lab), Lars Endre Gimmestad (Brodrene Aa), and Martin Grimnes (Arcadia Alliance) on the present and future of hydrogen technology and what a low-carbon future for maritime transport may look like.

Forum to Look at Energy Crossroads – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heritage Foundation host the “At the Crossroads IV: Energy and Climate Policy Summit” on Thursday.  The conversation will feature the world’s leading scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and energy experts, who will gather to explore this turning point in energy history and the long-lasting potential it holds for America and beyond. Speakers include Sens. Jim Inhofe, Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith and many others.

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

Chatterjee to Address NatGas Roundtable – On Thursday at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee as the guest speaker at the next luncheon.

R Street Hosts Clean Energy Event on Capitol Hill – R Street hosts a forum on Thursday, November 30th in 122 Cannon featuring a discussion on clean energy with panelists from Microsoft, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES) and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions  Across the country, clean energy is growing rapidly in states that allow customers to choose their electricity supplier. This system of ‘retail choice’ grants customers more options and allows them to generate their own energy on-site. Importantly, large corporations have been leading the charge for distributed energy generation, marking a refreshing intersection of conservative and green agendas.

RFF to Look at Energy Security – Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a forum on Thursday November 30th focused on the new realities on energy security given our shale resources.  This RFF seminar will open with a presentation from former Department of Energy official Howard Gruenspecht on the economic and political factors that have led to a very different oil security picture than the country faced decades ago. RFF President Richard Newell will present new research on how the shale oil boom has altered the flexibility of the US supply, as well as how price and inventory dynamics can inform Strategic Petroleum Reserve policy. RFF University Fellow Stephen Brown will then discuss an RFF project that produced new estimates for the value of the oil security premium—a key metric used in benefit–cost analyses of related regulations. RFF Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick will wrap up with a discussion of the new energy security paradigm, which broadens the definition of US energy security beyond oil to include natural gas, electricity, and other energy systems.

Clean Edge, GridWise Alliance Host gridCONNEXT – GridWise Alliance and Clean Edge will host gridCONNEXT on December 4th through 6th in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of regulators, utility executives, corporations, and other industry stakeholders to explore the many grid modernization.

Solar Tariff Opponents to Weigh-in at Press Club – Opponents of tariffs on solar imports will hold a briefing on Tuesday December 5th at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.  The event will feature solar industry advocates, as well as members of the Energy Trade Action Coalition like the National Electrical Contractors Association, utilities, retailers and Conservative free-trade groups. More next week.

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

Pruitt to Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on December 7th with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifying.  The appearance will be Pruitt’s first before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

IPAA Exec to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area members of the US Assn of Energy Economist will host Fred Lawrence for their December 8th lunch.  Lawrence, VP at the Independent Petroleum Association of America, will discuss the outlook for U.S. oil and natural gas, including shale export trends over the past two years, focus on the Independents in a Sector and demand and geopolitical reality vs. ideology.

Paris Forum to Focus on Anniversary – Forum to French President Macron will host the One Planet Summit on December 12 in Paris, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus specifically on climate finance. Heads of State will be invited to attend this meeting.

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31, 2018, making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation

Energy Update: Week of May 1

Friends,

Can you believe it is May 1st already!  Less than four weeks to the unofficial beginning of summer.  Although it kind of felt like summer this weekend, which worked out great for climate marchers on Saturday and my weekend sports activities.

There was a lot of sports and policy action this weekend in addition to the march.  We have a longer-term budget deal to get us to the end of the Fiscal year (October 1).  The Caps are struggling against the defending Cup champs Pittsburgh and, despite last night’s home loss, Edmonton with their young stars, looks great.   And in the Nats game yesterday, Anthony Rendon had a box score line for the ages, going 6-for-6 with 3 homers and 10 RBIs as the Nationals hammered the Mets 23-5.

All morning/afternoon we were in Delaware watching Olivia play field hockey, sprinkled in between watching Hannah’s NEWMAC lax playoff victory online.  But the big event was Saturday evening when I returned to attend the WH Correspondents Dinner thanks to my friends at the Dallas Morning News who were kind to invite me.  It was a fun evening despite the President not being there.  Hasan Minhaj was a little biting at times, but very funny overall.  It was good to see many of you there, including a bunch of my GWU SMPA students who were able to attend because of former CNN personality and current SMPA head Frank Sesno.  As usual, it was very crowded, so I’m sorry for those of who were there that I missed.

This week, the Senate tackles the budget deal.  There is still a lot of discussion in the White House regarding the Paris Climate Agreement and today a new analysis from former State legal advisor Susan Biniaz says the provisions of the Paris framework preserve national discretion over both a Party’s international target and its domestic policymaking. (I can send PDF if interested)  In the House, hearings Wednesday is the busy day with House Energy dealing with legislation including some good hydro legislation by Rep. Hudson making long-sought reforms to permitting of small conduit hydro projects.  House Transpo Tackles marine reforms and House Science looks at oil & gas technology innovation.  There has also be rumor floating around that we may see RFS RVOs this week, but that remains to be seen.

Finally, Friday is Cinco de Mayo, always a fun celebration commemorating the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  Then, on Saturday late afternoon, we return for the “most exciting two minutes in sports’ in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.  As many of you know, I may have some interest in the track and I am providing the Kentucky Derby Preview below.  Call me if you need to place any bets.  I might know a guy…

Remember, don’t mix the cerveza and Mint Juleps.  After Friday and Saturday, we’ll need Sunday to recover. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

KENTUCKY DERBY PREVIEW

This year, the 143rd Kentucky Derby should be wide open.  A number of big players have suffered injuries that have taken them off the track, including highly-touted Syndergaard, Klimt and Not This Time.  So expect big odds and the potential for a big payout.  Also this year, Bob Baffert will have no horses in the race for only second time since 2005, and it is likely that the winner will not be a California horse – which took the last four run for the roses.

So here we go:

I like McCraken.  He has been the steadiest of the favorites and seems healthy and strong.  He was second in Derby qualifying points and is well-rested with only two races in this year.  His home track is Churchill and he has won three races there.

Classic Empire is the clear favorite at 4-1, but he has been erratic and tends to struggle in a big pack that may do something crazy. He has an impressive resume as last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion 2-year-old.  He has missed a few weeks of training and has had minor injuries, but his willingness to train has been a red flag.

Hold off on points leader Girvin.  The Louisiana Derby winner has been struggling lately and may be not be fully-recovered from an earlier injury. Hence was an impressive winner of the important Grade III Sunland Derby on March 26th and is trained by Steve Asmussen.

Irap won the stacked Bluegrass Stakes on April 8th at 33-1 and is a stalker with good finishing speed.  Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry is a New Jersey-bred horse won his first three races, including the Holy Bull Stakes Feb 4 at Gulfstream Park, leading from gate to wire in defeating Gunnevera and Classic Empire.

Tapwrit is good sleeper.  He’s a son of Tapit and he’s trained by legendary Todd Pletcher.  Another Pletcher sleeper with solid top 3 potential is Always Dreaming, who won the Florida Derby and likes to run from the front.   He should be perfect for your box bets.

Finally, Gunnevera should be on your radar.  He was second in the Florida Derby (from an outside post spot), won the Saratoga special in August last year, has a great jockey and is the son of Dialled In, who was a leading sire last year.  If you are looking at foreign horses, UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow is coming to Churchill and is in pretty good form. Sonneteer is the only maiden in the race which hasn’t seen a maiden win since Brokers Tip in 1933.

The Derby field will likely change some until Wednesday, when the post draw occurs. Here is the Full Field.  Post time: 6:34 Saturday.  This year, Harry Connick Jr sings the National Anthem and leads “My Old Kentucky Home.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The Paris Agreement has no bearing on whether domestic law allows the President to scrap the Clean Power Plan. Under the Charming Betsy doctrine, courts are supposed to interpret domestic law, wherever possible, to be consistent with international law. But since neither downward revision of the U.S. NDC nor withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan would violate international law, the Charming Betsy doctrine would be inapplicable.

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Issue Brief written by former U.S. State Department Deputy Legal Adviser Susan Biniaz and Arizona State University Law Professor Daniel Bodansky.

 

IN THE NEWS

Bracewell Podcast Addresses Tax Issues, NAFTA – With the new Trump tax proposals being rolled out last week and discussions regarding NAFTA continuing to swirl, my colleagues Curt Beaulieu and Josh Zive have recorded a short podcast discussing key questions/issues surrounding the tax proposal and the NAFTA rumors.   Beaulieu is a former Senate Finance tax counsel for Chairman Hatch and Zive is one of Washington DC’s foremost trade law experts.  The podcast is new Bracewell feature and will occur weekly as well as on special issues.  They are on the record…Please feel free to call if you have additional questions.

CPP Case Delayed – The Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has halted the Clean Power Plan case for 60 days while EPA works through the process of repealing the CPP.  My Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Administrator said: “This is obviously important but not terribly surprising. I don’t think the DC Circuit has ever gone ahead and decided on the legality of a rule when a new administration says it plans to rescind or revise it. The only question now is whether the case will be held in abeyance or remanded back to EPA.  If the Court had upheld the rule, it wouldn’t have prevented the new Administration from revoking it, but it might have made this effort harder.  At the very least, today’s ruling means that it will not take as long for the Administration to undo the Clean Power Plan.

Memo from Legal Scholars Detail Paris Issues – Both my colleague Scott Segal and former NRC commissioner Jeff Merrifield have detailed issues surrounding the Paris commitment and its relationship to domestic policies like the Clean Power Plan.  Then, late yesterday, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions released an analysis from former State Department legal advisor Susan Biniaz and Arizona State law prof Dan Bodansky that explains in detail why the US can stay in Paris without restriction to the domestic agenda.  First the memo argues that while downward adjustments to a country’s NDC are likely to “draw criticism, it is a legally available option.”  It also argues that the Paris Agreement would likely be held non-self-executing, which means it has no domestic force of law, and therefore imposes no domestic legal obligations.  Even if the Paris Agreement were found by a court to be self-executing, the agreement does not require that a party achieve its NDC, or put in place any particular implementing measures.  I have a PDF and can send if you need it.

Trump Changes Offshore Drilling Plans – On Friday, President Trump signed an order asking the Interior Department to open the Arctic waters for offshore oil and gas drilling and review the five-year offshore leasing plan the Obama administration passed in its final days.  The order also tells Interior to review areas along the Pacific and Atlantic outer continental shelves that the previous administration put off limits for oil and gas development.  The Chamber Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert said the Trump administration’s actions today “will lead to greater development of our energy resources, which is good for our economy and for our security.”  The Chamber release can be found here on EI’s website.  My colleague Jason Hutt (202-828-5850) is also a good resource on this topic should you have additional questions on the legal issues.

Bernhardt Nominated to Interior Deputy – Speaking of Interior, President Trump nominated lobbyist and former George W. Bush administration official David Bernhardt to be deputy secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt worked as solicitor, Interior’s third-highest position, for the full eight years under Bush.

Hergott Added to CEQ as Infrastructure Lead – Alex Herrgott, another long-time aide to Sen. Jim Inhofe will move over to the White House Council on Environmental Quality to be the associate director for infrastructure.   Herrgott served as deputy staff director for the Senate Environment Committee.

DOE Approves LNG Terminal – The Department of Energy has signed an order authorizing Golden Pass Products LLC (Golden Pass) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.  Golden Pass is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.21 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to any non-FTA country not prohibited by U.S. law or policy from the Golden Pass Terminal near Sabine Pass, in Jefferson County, Texas.  With the dramatic increase in domestic natural gas production, the United States is transitioning to become a net exporter of natural gas.  The Department of Energy has authorized a total of 19.2 Bcf/d of natural gas exports to non-FTA countries from planned facilities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland. Golden Pass estimates the construction of its facility will provide 45,000 direct and indirect jobs over five years, and the project will provide 3,800 direct and indirect permanent jobs over the next 25 years of operational activity. Golden Pass also estimates the cumulative impact of construction and 25 years of operation will provide up to $2.4 billion in federal tax revenues and $1.2 billion in state tax revenues.

Goldston Heads to MIT DC office – The NRDC’s director of government David Goldston will head the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington office.  Goldston also was the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Science and Policy Project head, as well as working for the House Science Committee under Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY).

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be today through Wednesday, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

FERC to Host Power Conference – FERC will host a two-day conference today and tomorrow look at eastern power markets and challenges those are posing.  Our friend Christi Tezak, of ClearView Energy Partners told POLITICO she expects “two days of weeping, moaning and the gnashing of teeth from all sides.” The play by play is on the webcast here.

JHU Hosts Canadian Energy Forum –The Johns Hopkins SAIS will host the first annual Johns Hopkins SAIS Canadian Energy Conference today sponsored by the Canadian Gas Association.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ghana – The U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the USEA Executive Conference Room on the current status and future plans for the energy sector in Ghana. The speakers will be Benjamin Kwame Ahunu, Principal Engineer of GridCo and ICF’s Bernard Modey.

Resources to Look at Antiquities Act, Land Issues – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow on the Antiquities Act that will feature Maine Gov. Paul LePage.  Just last week, President Trump ordered the Interior Department to review the status of dozens of national monuments created by his White House predecessors, including controversial designations at Bears Ears in Utah and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.  In addition to LePage, Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Director Kathleen Clarke, Elliotsville Plantation President Lucas St. Clair and Murphy Timber Investments Vice President of Resources Knox Marshall.

Nuclear Report Released Tomorrow – Tomorrow at Noon, the Nuclear Energy Institute and Partnership for Global Security will host a forum on nuclear for the next generation at the National Press Club.  The groups will release the release GNI’s final report, Nuclear for the Next Generation and will feature NEI CEO Maria Korsnick, as well as GNI Working Group members Kenneth Luongo and Richard Rosenzweig.

WRI to Look at Environmental Policy Challenges – The World Resources Institute hosts a tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to discuss Earth Day and American environmental policy, and how we can replicate transformational change to curb global warming and environmental degradation.  It will also look at Paris and other EPA policy actions.  Speakers include Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Sustainable Development Robert Repetto, who will examine past tipping points in environmental policy. He will outline the political, institutional and legal factors that contribute to unprecedented policy breakthroughs.  Neelam Singh, a Senior Associate from WRI’s Climate Program, will join Repetto on the panel to share her work on transformational change in the context of climate change mitigation and sustainable development policies. Together, they will discuss the application of this approach to understanding tipping points and identifying opportunities for protecting the global commons.

Senate Energy to Look at PILTs, EMPs – The Senate Energy Committee will hold two hearings this week. The first hearing tomorrow will focus on the Secure Rural Schools program and the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The second on Thursday will examine the threat to energy infrastructure from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and policy options to improve system restoration. More information on the hearings can be found at the links below or by visiting the committee’s website.

Murkowski, Cantwell Headline New CSIS Energy Speaker Series – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a new speaker series, Energy in America on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.  The launch of this series feature Senate Energy Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski and Committee ranking member Maria Cantwell. As Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senators Murkowski and Cantwell are uniquely positioned to provide a view from their states and of U.S. energy policy.  This series will feature congressional and state-level perspectives on the energy issues that matter most in various regions across the country. Additionally, Energy in America will highlight the social and economic impacts of energy and the challenges facing policymakers as they attempt to harness U.S. energy resources to create and foster economic opportunities.

House Energy to Tackle Energy Legislative Effort – The House Energy and Commerce Energy panel will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn. The hearing will focus on four bills and six legislative drafts, including one that takes the State Department out of oversight decisions regarding pipelines or electric transmission lines seeking to cross into Canada or Mexico.

House Transpo to Look at Marine Reg Programs – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to question witnesses on dozens of topics, including shipping, offshore liability, dockside safety exams and towing vessel inspections. Witnesses will include Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, acting chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission Michael Khouri, Todd Schauer of the American Salvage Association, former president of the National Response Corp Steven Candito, the Rapid Ocean Response Corp CEO Nicholas Nedeau, Norman “Buddy” Custard of the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network, Thomas Allegretti, American Waterways Operators, Peter Ford of Ports America and World Shipping Council president John Butler.

House Science to Look at Oil, Gas Tech – The House Science Committee will examine the Department of Energy’s role in fostering innovation in the oil and gas sector in a Wednesday hearing at 10:00 a.m.   The hearing will focus on technology development led by private industry and consider the “appropriate” role for DOE in partnering with oil and gas companies on applied research.  Witnesses will include Edward Johnston of the Gas Technology Institute, Astro Tech founder David Brower, Walker Dimmig of 8 Rivers Capital and Ramanan Krishnamoorti, interim vice president and interim vice chancellor for research and technology transfer at the University of Houston.

House Resources Looks at Hydro – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the challenges facing the hydropower industry. Witnesses will include Voith Hydro CEO Bob Gallo, Randy Howard of the Northern California Power Agency, National Hydropower Association president Herbie Johnson and David Montagne of the Sabine River Authority of Texas.

CMU Hosts Energy, Transportation Briefing – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., Carnegie Mellon University will host a policy briefing on several studies that provide guidance to policymakers for decisions they make related to energy and transportation in the Cannon House Office Building.

Forum to Look at Energy Partnerships – The United States Energy Association (USEA) will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss energy partnerships to improve global security.  USEA implements the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Energy Partnership Program (EPP), which brings U.S. and non-U.S. utilities and energy companies together to promote energy security, improve access to renewable energy and increase financial viability of utilities and energy related institutions.  USAID takes a holistic approach to supporting the development of energy sectors in emerging markets, by creating a more secure regulatory and financial investment environment to attract private capital for long-term economic development.  Investors seek stable legal and regulatory environments, competitive markets, credit-worthy utilities, fair and transparent procurement processes and reliable financial institutions that can invest and lend in these emerging markets.

Nebraska Keystone Hearings Launch – On Wednesday, the State of Nebraska will hold a 10-hour, short speech open mic public meeting focused on the Keystone Pipeline.

House Approps Panel Hears from Public on Budget – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies will convene a public witness hearing on Wednesday to look at issues related to the energy budget.

SEJ Member Palmer to Launch Book at Wilson Event – Wednesday at the Wilson Center, our SEJ friend Lisa Palmer will launch of her new book, Hot, Hungry Planet, where she shares what she has learned from her research and reporting. She focuses on three key concepts that support food security and resilience in a changing world: social, educational, and agricultural advances; land use and technical actions by farmers; and policy nudges that have the greatest potential for reducing adverse environmental impacts of agriculture while providing more food.  Palmer will be joined by experts on global food security for a panel discussion and will take questions from the audience.

USEA Annual Meeting Set – US Energy Assn hosts its annual meeting on Thursday from 11:00 am to 5:30 p.m. in the National Press Club Ballroom. This meeting will bring together USEA members and distinguished guests to discuss energy policy developments, share industry updates and celebrate the achievements of the 2017 U.S. Energy Award and Volunteer Award recipients.

Panel to Look at Brazil Oil/Gas Issues – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the Inter-American Dialogue hosts a panel on Brazil and its oil and gas reserves.  Despite resources, the energy sector has been plagued in recent years by low oil prices, stagnant production and mounting debts at state company Petrobras. The Temer government has sought to boost oil production by eliminating barriers to private investment and introducing reforms at Petrobras, but with presidential elections on the horizon, the political scenario is uncertain. The forum will look at what the outlook is for Brazil’s oil and gas sector and how recent reforms affect upstream bid rounds planned for this year.  Speakers include Jorge Camargo, President of Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute (IBP) and Jed Bailey of the Energy Narrative.

 

IN THE FUTURE

DC Green Biz Council to Honor Women Leaders – Next Monday, US Green Business Council National Capital Region will host a breakfast for the 2nd annual Women in Green. Panelists will discuss what it means to be a woman working to advance green building in the DC metro area and celebrate women in local sustainability. The panel discussion and facilitated sessions will focus on the complexities of women’s leadership and proven leadership principles practiced by female executives who are changing the way we think and build in the national capital region.

CSIS to Host EU Climate/Energy Head – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, on Thursday May 11th at 11:00 a.m. for a discussion on the main opportunities and challenges for energy and climate change policy facing Europe in the coming decade.  The European Union (EU) remains one of the largest producers and consumers of energy in the world and thus a central voice in the global discourse on climate change. Climate action continues to be a fundamental piece of the EU’s policy agenda, which over the last few years has consistently championed ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets via renewables, energy efficiency, and sustainable development.

WAPA to Host Jeep Presentation – On May 16th, at Osteria Morini (near Nationials Park),  the Washington Automotive Press Association will host Jeep® for the introduction of its latest and highly anticipated compact-SUV:  the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass. Compass expands the Jeep brand’s global vehicle lineup as it will be built in four countries for consumers around the world. As the most capable compact-SUV ever, the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass features legendary Jeep 4×4 capability, a sophisticated design that evokes the premium side of the Jeep family, outstanding on-road dynamics, fuel-efficient powertrains, and a host of advanced safety and technology features.

Faison, Murkowski Featured in ACCF Forum – The American Council on Council Formation will hold a forum on May 17th at the Newseum on energy policy in the 115th Congress.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, ClearPath’s Jay Faison and Alaska coop exec Meera Kohler will discuss energy strategies aimed at innovation and production, rather than regulation.  The panel will be moderated by POLITICO Deputy Energy Editor Nick Juliano.

WINDPOWER Set for Anaheim – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the national trade association that represents the interests of America’s wind energy industry, will hold its annual WINDPOWER 2017 Forum in Anaheim on May 22nd to 25th.   Cali Senate President Kevin de León, the California Senate’s most powerful member and legislative champion of the state’s hallmark 50% renewable energy standard law passed in 2015, will provide a keynote address at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, directly preceding AWEA’s Industry Leaders Panel – the marquee General Session panel at WINDPOWER. The discussion will feature Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy and incoming Board Chair of AWEA; Pete McCabe, Vice President, Onshore Wind, GE Renewable Energy; Karen Lane, CFO, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Onshore Americas; and Greg Wolf, CEO of Leeward Renewable Energy. This year’s panel will cover implementation of wind energy into the 2020s, opportunities in tax reform, emerging political issues, and more.

Security Experts to Address Methanol Policy Forum – The Methanol Institute will hold its Methanol Policy Forum on June 13th at the National Press Club.  The Forum will include a special luncheon discussion:  Energy Security through Fuel Choice, which features a conversation with the U.S. Energy Security Council experts like former National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former President of Shell Oil Company John Hofmeister, former White House Counsel and Ambassador to the EU C. Boyden Gray and former Louisiana Senator and Senate Energy Bennett Johnston.  Our friend Joe Cannon and other will speak on panels as well.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 20th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Tuesday, July 11th from at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Rayburn.

Energy Update: Week of April 3

Friends,

So much going on…let’s start with the sports. This is among the most exciting weeks in the sports with the NCAA Championship game tipping off tonight at 9:20 pm. Gonzaga takes on UNC after two barnburner semifinals on Saturday. But the most unbelievable event of the weekend was Mississippi State snapping UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the NCAA women’s semifinal. Then yesterday, South Carolina defeated the giant killer to win its first NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship.

But it doesn’t end there. Today is opening day for Major League Baseball teams with 12 games set, including the Washington Nationals at 1:05 pm and the Orioles at 3:05 pm. Yesterday, the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays launched the 2017 season with a 7-3 Rays victory. The World Champ Cubs vs. the Cardinals and the SF Giants/Arizona also opened up yesterday.  And this is also Masters Week with practice rounds today and tomorrow, the Par 3 Tourney on Wednesday and the Full Action on Thursday.  Thursday the Frozen Four starts in Chicago and we are only a couple weeks from the Boston Marathon, where we will have a report next week on preparations for the Wellesley scream tunnel at Mile 13 from an actual Wellesley student.

Wow, after all that action, how are we going to get back to work, especially after the climate executive order was launched last week and we seem to be off the radar screen again?

One note from Friday in case you missed it: the natural gas/water case in Dimock, PA that you may recall was touted with such fanfare by drilling opponents like Josh Fox, Mark Ruffalo, and others when they won a year ago, was officially had the verdict thrown out because a judge determined that the jury decision and $4.24 million award was unjust and unfair.

This week, Congress runs towards its Spring/Easter/Passover break with the major focus on SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch.  While on its edges, it has environmental/energy implications, the key points focus on other items. Tomorrow, though, Senate Energy takes up grid infrastructure and security questions in a hearing featuring NRECA member executive Duane Highley of the Arkansas Co-op and AGA’s Dave McCurdy, among others.  Also tomorrow, Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon to assess opportunities around trade and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the power of innovation featuring NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. WCEE also holds a panel of energy journalists from E&E News, S&P Global Platts and Politico to discuss the trends in the energy sector.

GWU will holds its Planet Forward Summit on Thursday and Friday hosted by SMPA Head and former CNN personality Frank Sesno and featuring our friend Andy Revkin.  Also, the World Energy Council’s Secretary General, Christoph Frei, reveals the results of the 2017 World Energy Issues Monitor at USEA.  The Nat’l Cap Area Chapter of Energy Economists will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall and ECOS holds their spring meeting Thursday to Saturday.

Finally, our friend Amy Harder joins the Axios energy team this week…Back on the beat after a couple of weeks of world traveling…Next week is Easter week, so a lot of folks may be headed for the last effort at Spring Break.

Call with questions… Play Ball!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Cabot felt confident that once a thorough review of the overwhelming scientific evidence and a full legal analysis of the conduct of the plaintiff’s counsel was conducted, the flaws in the verdict would be understood.”

Cabot spokesman George Stark

 

IN THE NEWS

Dimock Jury Verdict Thrown Out As Unfair – You may not have seen this play out with as much fanfare as the initial trial, but a federal judge has thrown out a $4.24 million jury verdict against Cabot Oil & Gas in Dimock, PA.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson on Friday set aside the verdict reached a year ago by a jury in Scranton, saying the evidence presented by the Dimock homeowners “was spare, sometimes contradictory, frequently rebutted by other scientific expert testimony, and relied in some measure upon tenuous inferences.”  Carlson also said the plaintiffs presented no evidence that would justify a multi-million dollar award. In his decision, the judge also said the plaintiffs’ acknowledgements that there had been problems with their water before the company started drilling made it hard to argue that Cabot was the sole cause of any problems. He said their expert witnesses offered at best “inferences that had weak factual support” while failing to contest Cabot’s rebuttal evidence. Finally, Carlson said the jury’s decision went against the “great weight of the evidence that was presented” and ordered a new trial if the two sides could not resolve their differences.

Pruitt Challenged on Fox News Sunday – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced tough questioning from Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace yesterday.  Pruitt on Sunday defended the administration’s positions on climate change and ending domestic energy policies.   Pruitt clarified his position, amid outcry from environmental activists, that humans indeed contribute to climate change.  He also argued that Congress provides the EPA with the authority to make rules and that former President Obama overstepped that authority with his 2015 Clean Power Plan, which is now subject to a Supreme Court stay.

Grid Paper Outlines Resource Risks – Mid-Atlantic Grid Operator PJM Released a new issue paper says that natgas and renewables are displacing coal and nuclear.  But changing the resource mix, it said, comes with drawbacks and risks.  Low-cost gas and renewables driving those other power-generating resources into premature “retirement” in the PJM area, which stretches from the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The PJM paper analyzes what impact that will have on electricity reliability. With less coal and nukes, some frequency response falls, but flexibility and ramping increases, it says. A huge increase in natural gas (theoretically up to 86% of the portfolio) provided enough reliability; a significant increase in wind and solar comes with some risks, though. “Heavy reliance on one resource type, raises questions about electric system resilience, which are beyond the reliability questions this paper sought to address. Resilience is the capability of an energy system to tolerate disturbance and to continue to deliver energy services to consumers. Relying too heavily on any one fuel type may negatively impact resilience because resources do not provide generator reliability attributes equally. External drivers have impacted and could continue to impact the resource mix.”

Wall Street Journal Editorial Looks at Icahn IssuesThe Wall Street Journal had an editorial in the paper on Friday focused on Carl Icahn and the ethics questions on which some Democrats are pressing him regarding the ethanol program and its RIN trading credits.   The Journal Ed board said Icahn happens to believe that the RINs market is rigged to generate “windfall profits” for “Wall Street, Big Oil and large gas-station chains” at the expense of small and medium refiners like CVR, as he wrote in the Journal. The system is “full of manipulation, speculation and fraud.”  The Journal editors say that seems like a familiar line from the very Democrats challenging Icahn.  They close by saying “Democrats can’t blame Icahn for passing along their own opinions. Meanwhile, reform is overdue at the EPA.”

Global Renewable Energy Report Released – The International Renewable Energy Agency has a new report showing that solar energy capacity installed around the world last year has surpassed wind energy.  There statistics say total renewable energy capacity grew by 8% in 2016, with a record of 71 gigawatts of solar power leading the growth. Wind capacity stood at 51GW, while hydropower and bioenergy capacities increased 30 GW and 9 GW respectively.

Platts Capitol Crude Targets Trump Policy Questions – Platts Capitol Crude today is focused on the Trump energy policy issues. After 10 weeks in the White House, the Trump administration has moved to revoke efforts to combat climate change, approved key pipelines and taken steps to bolster production of US oil, natural gas and coal. Tracking the shift in energy policy has been a challenge, so on this week’s episode Senior oil editors Brian Scheid and Meghan Gordon break down Trump’s energy policy changes, identify which ones will have “bigly” impacts on energy markets and which ones look like losers.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on today through Wednesday in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Solar Foundation to Talk Solar Census – The Solar Foundation will hold a bipartisan briefing and Q&A session today at 2:00 p.m. on their updated data for the 2016 Solar Jobs Census. The National Solar Jobs Census is the first and most authoritative national benchmark for solar jobs research.  Briefing will include insight on the Solar Jobs Map, an interactive tool that visualizes how solar jobs are growing in your state, county, metro area or legislative district. The Solar Foundation’s President and Executive Director, Andrea Luecke, and Senior Director of Programs, Ed Gilliland will speak.

Senate Energy to Look at Cyber Threats – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine efforts to protect U.S. energy delivery systems from cybersecurity threats.  Witnesses will include DOE veteran Patricia Hoffman, Andrew Bochman of the Idaho National Laboratory, NERC CEO Gerry Cauley, NRECA expert and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation CEO Duane D. Highley, AGA CEO Dave McCurdy,  and Washington National Guard Commander Colonel Gent Welsh.

House Resources to Look at Hydro, Pumped Storage Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow at 10:00 on hydro and pumped storage legislation.  You can see the legislation to be discussed here.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold the next event of its nuclear energy roundtable series tomorrow at Noon. Although the predominant use of nuclear energy worldwide is electricity generation, nuclear can be utilized for a broad range of applications, including but not limited to: district heating, water desalination, hydrogen production, and industrial heat. Given present trends and future uncertainties in global electricity markets, there has been growing interest in exploring non-electricity uses for nuclear. Development of advanced nuclear designs, many pushing the envelope on passive safety and temperature output, may further expand the horizon of possibilities.  The speaker will be Jeff Harper of X-energy.  Harper is Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at X-energy, where he directs long-term business plans specifically focused on customers, partners, and markets.

Press Club to Host AFL-CIO Head – Richard Trumka, Head of the AFL-CIO will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Trumka will assess opportunities around trade and infrastructure that could create jobs, as well as possible threats to workers’ rights. He will also talk about the labor movement’s strategy to create a unifying agenda for workers and their families, as well as collective bargaining right for all workers to achieve better wages and working conditions.  Since 2009, Trumka has served as president of the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country.

BPC Forum to Focus on Innovation – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the power of innovation.  With smart federal support for research, advanced energy technologies represent another potentially transformative moment for the American economy.  BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council will host leading experts to discuss how to make the most of this opportunity.  The forum will feature a conversation with Norm Augustine, the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, who also served as the Undersecretary of the Army.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg will also moderate a panel with NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, former MIT Washington Office Director William Bonvillian, Ames Laboratory Critical Materials Institute Director Alex King and GE Energy Financial Services investment expert Alta Yen.

WCEE to Host Energy Journalists Panel – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a panel of energy journalists from E&E News, S&P Global Platts and Politico on Wednesday to discuss the trends in the energy sector today and for the next four years. Some of the trends that will be discussed are NAFTA and oil and gas pipelines in North America, FERC enforcement and the changing political outlook for CFTC, the fate of the Clean Power Plan, rollback of regulatory efforts by the Trump Administration in the energy sector, future of renewables, and energy industry and Department of Interior’s public land use management debate.  Speakers will include E&E News Jenny Mandel, Platts’ Jasmin Melvin and Maya Weber and POLITICO’s Esther Whieldon.

GW to Host Timor-Leste Diplomat – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs will host Natercia Coelho, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Timor-Leste, the smallest country in East or Southeast Asia.  Timor-Leste is already subject to numerous extreme weather events every year, including cyclones and typhoons that result in intense flooding. Climate change is exacerbating these issues, with rising sea levels speeding up soil erosion, damaging crops, and leading to food shortages in a country which still ranks 120 out of 169 in the U.N.’s Human Development Index. This talk will cover the Timor-Leste’s Government Plan for Development and its legal framework for addressing climate change.

GU to Host Ambassadors Panel – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. Georgetown University hosts a conference on the intersectionality of Climate Change and Security. As a threat to national security, climate change acts as a threat multiplier, aggravating problems such as poverty, racial and social tensions, environmental degradation, and further destabilize states.  The conference will feature an Ambassadors panel, featuring the German Ambassador Peter Wittig, Danish Ambassador Lars Gert Lose, and Barbadian Ambassador Selwin Hart. The keynote speaker will be General James L. Jones, Obama’s National Security Advisor and former Supreme Commander of NATO Allied Forces. The discussion will be moderated by Kathleen Hicks, Senior VP at CSIS.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include our friends Tom Pyle of IER, ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro, among others.

SEIA Forum to Look at Women in Solar – On Thursday, SEIA’s Women’s Empowerment committee will hold a summit that focuses on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Key industry leaders will cover topics including Women Leading Solar- Executives Spearheading the Industry (led by our friend Abby Hopper), Women Running for Office & Careers in Public Service; Diversity – The Bottom Line ; Making Solar a Story – Energy Journalists Shaping the Industry; Interactive Speed Networking and Regional Policy Update – What’s Happening in Capitol Hill.

GW to Host Planet Forward Summit – The George Washington University will holds its Planet Forward Summit at GW on Thursday and Friday that will focus on how we can communicate to inform, inspire, and act.  The summit will look at how we tell the story of our planet and how we communicate to inspire action.  Speakers will include SMPA Director Frank Sesno, my friend Andy Revkin and many more.

GW, APHA to Host Climate/Health Discussion – The GW Milken Institute School of Public Health and the American Public Health Association (APHA) will also host a panel Thursday at 10:00 a.m. discussing the intersection of climate change and public health.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on Thursday to Saturday. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

World Energy Council Head to Discuss Issues Monitor – The World Energy Council’s Secretary General, Dr. Christoph Frei, will reveal the results of the 2017 World Energy Issues Monitor at a briefing at the U.S. Energy Association in Washington Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The report assesses the degree of impact and uncertainty around more than 40 key issues in the energy sector in four categories including macroeconomic risks, geopolitics and regional issues, business environment and energy innovation and technologies.  Frei will also discuss the findings of the World Energy Trilemma Index, which will reveal how the U.S. ranks among 125 countries on energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. Last year, the U.S. ranked among the top 10 in energy security.

Climate Assessment Authors to Discuss Next Report – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Chemonics, scientists will come together to discuss the International Chapter of the 4th National Climate Assessment.  The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that, every four years, the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) “prepare and submit to the President and Congress” an assessment that summarizes the effects from global change on the U.S. The fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) is due in 2018. For the first time, the NCA will include a chapter on climate impacts on U.S. international interests. This international chapter will look at climate impacts on U.S. interests abroad including trade, security, development and humanitarian assistance investments, and scientific research.  The authors will share plans and invite input on the content of the chapter.

GU, UN Association to Hold Green Finance Forum – On Saturday, United Nations Association and Georgetown Law will hold a brunch and round tables discussing the challenges regarding the integration of renewable energy and the implementation of carbon pricing.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Atlantic Council Report to Look at Oil Theft – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a forum next Monday at 12:30 p.m. for a discussion about how hydrocarbons crime impacts global security, the market, the environment, and communities around the world, and how stakeholders can work together to address this under-recognized issue.  The will also release a report, Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends, and Remedies, by Dr. Ian M. Ralby, is the first major study of refined oil theft around the globe. Launched at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in January, this report explores the many ways that hydrocarbons crime presents a threat not only to local and regional prosperity, but also to global stability and security. Following up on this study, Dr. Ralby has written an additional report outlining the steps that need to be taken to effectively address this issue.

EESI Forum to Look at Foreign Aid, Climate Help – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in 485 Russell discussing benefits to the United States from deploying foreign aid to vulnerable regions to help them become more resilient to climate change impacts. The briefing will also explore the inner workings of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a multi-lateral effort to mobilize $100 billion in public and private financing for adaptation and mitigation projects in developing nations.

Wilson Event to Look China Energy Finance – The Wilson Center will host a forum on Thursday April 13th at 9:30 a.m. to look at China Energy Finance investments.  Since 2000, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have emerged as major global funders of energy infrastructure providing upwards of $160 billion in energy finance to governments across the world. To better understand the size and types of this energy investment, Kevin Gallagher and his research team at Boston University have launched a new interactive China’s Global Energy Finance database that tracks international energy investments by Chinese banks.  The database has revealed that nearly 80% of Chinese bank investment goes into power plant construction -two-thirds of which were coal plants. Besides presenting insights from the database, Dr. Gallagher will discuss how Chinese energy finance compares to other global energy financiers. Dr. Wang Yan (Peking University) will put this energy financing in a larger context by explaining the non-concessional finance approach China’s global banks are taking to promote industrial and infrastructure development around the world. Paulina Garzon will provide examples of positive and negative impacts that Chinese energy investments are having on communities in Latin America.

Forum to Look at New Fuel Economy Approaches – The R Street Institute will host a panel discussion of these recent developments in fuel economy regulations, the existing triune approach to it and what alternatives the future might hold on Friday April 14th at 12:30 p.m.  Speakers will include CEI’s Marlo Lewis, AAM’s Chris Nevers, Rod Richardson of the Grace Richardson Fund, Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute and R Street’s Ian Adams.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.