Energy Update: Week of May 2

Friends,

What a great evening on Saturday at the WHCA Dinner.  The president was definitely on his game, both in the speech and in the awesome video featuring former House Speaker John Boehner.  I also have included President Bush’s final 2008 WHCA dinner which also was pretty awesome just for historical perspective.

For those of you I saw, it was great to see you.  For those of you I missed, sorry we couldn’t connect this time but we’ll have other opportunities.  I wish I would have hung around long enough to see the fight between Fox News and HuffPost at all places but the Institute of Peace (you just can’t make this stuff up).  Seems like maybe a scene from the Anchorman movies.

Rural Co-op execs are in DC this week today and tomorrow.  This morning they talk politics and 2016 with operative Charlie Black and tomorrow they will take to the Hill to discuss their efforts on expanding use of renewables, efforts to limit the GHG impacts on their members and their focus on cybersecurity.   Also in town in this week are advocates from the National Brain Tumor Association, whose CEO has just landed on the White House, Biden-led “Moonshot” Initiative.

This week, the signature event seems to be the Climate Action Summit 2016 on Thursday and Friday, although many have wondered aloud what this group of big names (or usual suspects) will be summiting that they already haven’t summited in the last 6 months.  Al Gore and Ban ki-Moon are on the agenda and many side events are centered around it.

Speaking of Thursday, USEA holds a more interesting Public Policy forum at the National Press Club.  That will feature ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, as well as NRC Chair Stephen Burns, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable and DOE Energy office Director Melanie Kenderdine, among others.

Tomorrow, CSIS hosts Marie Therese Dominguez, the new PHMSA administrator to discuss what she’s doing to restore lawmakers’ and residents’ faith in the pipeline regulator.  Given the recent pipeline news, it should be a lively discussion.

Wednesday, WCEE hosts a discussion of waste fuels, while ELI features a discussion of Sage Grouse/ESA issues with our former Bracewell colleague Matt Haynie among the panel experts.

This evening, if you are not watching Game 3 of the entertaining, tight Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Caps series, you could go see the Marc Morano film Climate Hustle as it makes its one-night debut in theaters across the country.  It is sure to annoy activists in the environmental community but I think that is reason he does it.

Finally, Saturday is the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby.  Following last year’s record, streak-breaking Triple Crown run by American Pharoah, this year’s Run for the Roses may have trouble living up last year’s hype.  But for 2016, I am especially excited given the race favorite is named for Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist.  Nyquist is owned by SoCal’s Paul Reddam, a rabid Red Wings fans.  In fact, they will have the Stanley Cup in his barn on Saturday morning for inspiration.  You know that link has former NHL star, current NBC commentator and horse expert Eddie Olczyk fired up.   The clear favorite this year, Nyquist has won all seven of his career races and is currently 10-3 to win, ahead of Gun Runner (Derby points leader), Mohaymen (who Nyquist thrashed in the Florida Derby) and Exaggerator (who is a serious threat because of his previous competition).  Race officials draw for post positions on Wednesday, with the Kentucky Oaks Race on Friday and Derby Post Time at 6:34 p.m. Saturday.  It still is the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Call with policy, political or betting questions and Happy Cinco de Mayo

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Groups Join Together for Carbon Research Center – NRECA joined with members of a public-private partnership in Gillette, WY last week to break ground on an industrial-scale laboratory that will test innovative methods for removing and utilizing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The center’s projected completion date is the summer of 2017. The Wyoming Integrated Test Center (ITC) will allow researchers to test the capture, utilization and sequestration of carbon. The center will use flue gas from the Dry Fork Station, a 422-megawatt generation facility owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative. NRECA contributed $1 million to the project.  Joining NRECA and Basin Electric in the ITC partnership are Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE and the state of Wyoming, which contributed $15 million to the project. Tri-State contributed $5 million to the ITC.  XPRIZE will use the facility for the final phase of its $10 million carbon competition. It will award prize money to the developer of the most successful new technology for transforming coal based flue gas into a commercial product. Transforming carbon dioxide emissions into revenue-producing products could offset the high cost of carbon removal and go a long way toward solving the carbon challenge, while potentially keeping energy plants in operation, saving jobs and sparing local communities from economic hardship. Products made from waste carbon dioxide could include chemicals, fuels, building materials and graphene, an exotic allotrope of carbon that has extraordinary properties, such as being 100 times stronger than steel.  The XPRIZE competition will conclude in 2020.

Consumer Group Paper Cites Benefits of Community Solar Projects – A white paper prepared by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) last week lauded public power companies and rural electric co-ops for their leadership on community (or “shared”) solar. The paper,  Public Power and Rural Electric Leadership on Community Solar Initiatives, represents a third solar option to rooftop panels and utility-installed farms  While still in its infancy, these community solar blocks have provided key benefits to consumers, especially to the roughly 50% for whom rooftop solar is not available.  The white paper reports that a disproportionate share of the more than 100 community solar projects have been initiated by rural electric co-ops and public power companies.  This fact helps explain the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Guide to Community Solar” assessment that “in general, public owned utilities have taken the lead in deploying community solar projects.”  A recent article in PVTECH concurred:  “The push for community solar has largely been driven by cooperative and municipal utilities.”  Community solar involves customer investment in the purchase of power from solar panels in the same geographical area.  These customers receive a credit on their monthly bills reflecting the amount of electricity they use and the amount produced by their purchase.  In most cases, electric utilities or non-profit community organizations initiate community solar.  Participating consumers have the opportunity not only to invest in solar power but also, typically, to obtain long-term rate stability. Community solar offers several advantages compared to rooftop solar including:

  • It can be made available to everyone in a utility service area. Roughly 50 percent of all residences are not suitable for rooftop panels because of one or more factors, including insufficient sunlight.
  • Because of economies of scale, community solar can be produced much less expensively than rooftop solar.
  • Participating consumers are not directly responsible for the installation and maintenance of the solar panels.
  • There are fewer potential conflicts between customers with solar investments and those without a solar stake.

New EPIC Partnership With Forbes – The experts at the Energy Policy institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has partnered with Forbes.com, where you can now access the latest energy insights.  EPIC’s posts will target policymakers, influencers and the public and offer a direct connection to its research findings and latest analysis on today’s energy issues. .  You can see the first few posts here.   And while we are on the EPIC subject, its director, our friend Sam Ori had another piece in the Wall St. Journal on how emerging nations can use data to curb pollution.

ACCCE Hits Clinton During Appalachia Tour – Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton is embarking on a two-day tour of Appalachia, making campaign stops in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio.  The former Secretary of State is a vocal supporter of President Obama’s costly power plan – a plan with a price tag approaching $300 billion that will raise electricity prices in 48 states including Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio yet does nothing to prevent global climate change.  “It’s a bold move to stand before the very communities that will be devastated by the policies Secretary Clinton supports continuing and ask that they put their trust in her,” said Laura Sheehan, senior vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  “This isn’t even political misdirection; Sec. Clinton has made it very clear that she would be a virtual Obama 2.0, backing regulations that would stunt economic growth and hurt those who can least afford it the most.”  Clinton had previously boasted that coal miners would lose their jobs if she were elected President.  She has since backtracked after being chastised by a member of her own party, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D).  “We can only hope that as this election cycle continues and Secretary Clinton meets first hand with those she proposes to put of work, that she takes a step back and asks herself if the cost of Obama’s illegal carbon regulations, which will have no meaningful effect on global climate change, are worth the risk to everyday hardworking Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said Sheehan.

Buffet Group Rejects Climate Shareholder Resolution – Berkshire Hathaway shareholders reject a climate resolution despite testimony from James Hansen and others last week.   The AP reported that Buffett agrees that dealing with climate change is important for society, but he doesn’t think climate change creates serious risks for Berkshire’s insurance businesses.  Buffett said the fact that Berkshire generally writes insurance policies for one-year periods allows it to regularly re-evaluate risks, such as climate change.  The activists who proposed the motion tried to urge Buffett to take a public stance in favor of measures to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, but he resisted.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

IEEE to Host Transmission Technology Conference – IEEE will hold its annual Transmission PES Conference in Dallas at the Convention Center today through Thursday.  The electric grid is undergoing transformations enabled by the integration of new technologies, such as advanced communication and power electronic devices and the increasing penetration of distributed generation. Such changes introduce a new paradigm in the cultural infrastructure of power systems, which requires a great deal of cooperation between utilities, power generation companies, consumers, governments and regulators.

Cato Host Forum on Critical Minerals – The Cato Institute is hosting a forum today at 4:00 p.m. on critical and strategic minerals. The forum will focus on our dependence despite federal land management policies have become increasingly restrictive. New efforts are needed to help increase domestic supply and limit our reliance on foreign imports of critical and strategic minerals that come from hostile or unstable nations. Speakers will address the renewed emphasis on exploration and distribution of critical mineral deposits; quantifying domestic and global supply and demand; path to responsible mining of critical minerals; and issues of stewardship on federal lands.  The event will feature Cato’s Ned Mamula and CRS Specialist in Mineral Policy Marc Humphries.

Climate Hustle Film Makes Debut – The Marc Morano film Climate Hustle will make its one-night national theater debut at an event tonight.  Last week, the film was screened at an event at the House Science Committee. A pre-film panel discussion featured Governor Sarah Palin, University of Delaware climatologist Dr. David Legates, and film host Marc Morano, and was moderated by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. It also included a special video appearance by Bill Nye “the Science Guy.”

Atlantic Council Caribbean Energy Summit – Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on these developments one day before leaders gather in Washington, DC for the US-Caribbean-Central America Energy Summit. The discussion will address opportunities for increased cooperation in the region’s energy integration. It will also launch the latest Atlantic Council report on the subject, The Waning of Petrocaribe?: Central America and Caribbean Energy in Transition, written by David L. Goldwyn and Cory R. Gill.  Energy security remains at the forefront of issues facing the Caribbean and Central America. With Venezuela’s economy in a tailspin, the eleven-year-old Petrocaribe oil alliance could suffer an abrupt demise. This could have serious regional consequences even though Central American and Caribbean member-nations have taken strides to diversify and transition into cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Speakers also include State Department expert Amos Hochstein.

PHMSA Head to Focus on Future of Pipeline Activity, Safety – Tomorrow at 1:30 pm., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA). As administrator, Ms. Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.

Forum Looks at Fukushima, Chernobyl – The Goethe-Institut Washington will hold a forum tomorrow afternoon focusing on nuclear issues in light of the 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine and 5 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in Japan. Leading scientists, medical personnel and policy experts will present their findings on the lasting impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

MD Climate Conference Set – The University of Maryland is hosting the Climate Action 2016 forum on Wednesday as a public conference in support of the objectives of the Climate Action 2016 multi-stakeholder summit to be held in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday.  The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion among academia as well as a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advancing the climate implementation agenda.  The Climate Action 2016 forum will feature both, the thematic areas of Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, DC, as well as cross-cutting discussions on effective implementation of climate and sustainable development goals.

Transport Forum Set – On Wednesday at the Mayflower Hotel, the World Bank, World Resources Institute and the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) are co-organizing a Transport Workday. This event, ahead of the Climate Action 2016 Summit, aims to inform the transport discussions at the Summit.  At this Transport Workday, leaders from government, business, cities, and civil society as they look into the future interaction of mobility and climate change. With the Paris Climate agreement as a backdrop, this meeting will discuss a global vision, a set of objectives, and a roadmap of action to transform the world’s mobility.

Moniz, EU Officials Headline Energy Forum – The Delegation of the European Union to the United States will host a climate action event on Wednesday at the Newseum to highlight and promote global clean energy transition as a formidable transatlantic opportunity for economic growth, innovation, and climate action.  The conference, organized on the eve of the Climate Action Summit, will bring together the public, private, and non-profit sectors from both sides of the Atlantic, highlighting the critical role played by the EU and the U.S. in both securing the Paris Agreement and the need for a strong transatlantic partnership to ensure its successful implementation.  The Going Green Conference will include Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission for the Energy Union; Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz; Miguel Arias Canete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and State Department Climate Envoy Official Jonathan Pershing.  Others will include WRI’s Andrew Steer, ACORE’s Greg Wetstone, Altanta Mayor Kasim Reed and former EPA official Bob Perciasepe of C2ES.

Brookings Forum to Look at Zika, Climate – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Brookings Institution will hold a forum on potential links between Zika and climate change.  Princeton University and the Brookings Institution will release the spring 2016 issue of The Future of Children. The title of the issue is “Children and Climate Change.” The journal contains nine chapters dealing with various effects of climate change on children.  Also released will be a policy brief, “Children and Temperature: Taking Action Now,” which reviews the threat posed to children’s health by rising temperatures, especially the link between rising temperatures and the spread of mosquitoes and the Zika virus.  The event will focus on the Obama administration’s initiative and will include a keynote address by Debra Lubar, Director, of the Office of Appropriations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event will also feature remarks by a panel of experts with extensive knowledge about the impact of rising temperatures on children’s health. All participants will take questions from the audience.

CSIS to Look at Oil/Gas Risk, Reform – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on risk and reform for oil and gas exporting.  As energy prices seem set to remain low in the medium term, countries dependent on oil and gas export revenue face the challenge of reforming their economies and repairing their finances, while facing political and security risks. This event reviews the menu of reform options available to countries facing fiscal difficulties resulting from low hydrocarbon prices, as well as the particular challenges faced by Nigeria, Iraq, and Algeria, and the reform pathways those countries’ governments are undertaking.  The discussion will feature Benedict Clements, Aaron Sayne, Jared Levy and Haim Malka, moderated by Sarah Ladislaw.

ELI to Host Sage Grouse Discussion – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a discussion Wednesday at Noon on “eco-pragmatism” and state conservation efforts related to the Endangered Species Act.   Speakers will include our former Bracewell colleague Matt Haynie, now a Counsel at API, as well as USFWS Assistant Director for Endangered Species Gary Frazer and the Center for Biological Diversity’s Brett Hartl.

WCEE to Look at Waste Fuels – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on substantial organic waste streams and recycled products (e.g. food scraps, manures, recycled fats oils & grease [FOG]).  These fuels are produced within our urban and rural areas. These waste streams are already being converted to renewable energy, transportation fuels, and bio-products – and they have tremendous potential for growth.  The event will focus on companies working to convert waste to fuels, what roadblocks they are encountering, what the policy landscape looks like, and what the future holds for this industry.  Speakers will include Pernille Hager, who has been supporting the global development and launch of a production platform for sustainable synthetic fuels from household waste. She currently works with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a CA based company in the process of building a first-of-its-kind Biofuels plant in Sierra Nevada producing synthetic jet fuel from MSW.  Joining her will be Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

Forum Looks at Light Water Reactors – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) regularly hosts roundtables on nuclear energy issues. These roundtables are intimate, off-the-record discussions on the various policy, technical, and commercial aspects of nuclear power.  On Wednesday at Noon, GABI is hosting a roundtable on the prospects for small modular reactors (SMRs) based on non light-water reactor (LWR) technologies. Next-generation non LWR concepts have the potential for enhanced passive safety, more manageable waste streams, non-electricity applications, and greater resource utilization and sustainability. In the U.S., nuclear regulators have paid greater attention towards light water SMRs, although it is recognized that many of the issues being examined may be applicable for non-LWR designs in the future. The roundtable seeks to spur discussion on the regulatory, R&D, and economic factors that currently impact the future outlook for non-LWR SMRs.

Forum to Discuss EU-US Energy Relations – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at outcomes of the EU-U.S. Energy Council.  The event will feature Amos Hochstein, special envoy at the U.S. Department of State and Dominique Ristori, director general for energy at the European Commission.

Ban, Gore, Others to Headline DC Climate Summit – The Climate Action 2016 Summit will convene global leaders from government, business and civil society on Thursday and Friday in Washington, DC to showcase and discuss actions all sectors are taking regarding the Paris Climate Agreement.  Climate Action 2016 is co-hosted by a broad coalition of partners and will include dynamic plenary and working sessions with leaders and luminaries who have been at the forefront of the climate battle.  In addition to the co-hosts listed below, speakers include Ban Ki-moon, Sen. Ben Cardin, OMB Head Shaun Donovan, Al Gore, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, White House Office of Science & Technology head John Holdren, Bill Nye, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, and Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development and Energy, who also served as President of COP21. For the full list of speakers and the Summit agenda go to Climateaction2016.org/#program.

Wilson Forum Looks at Paris Agreement – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Paris agreement and whether it can successfully address climate, conflict and development. The forum features Nick Mabey, founder and Chief Executive of E3G, will provide his analysis of these processes with commentary by Ken Conca, author of An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance, and Sherri Goodman, former deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security and current Wilson Center public policy fellow.

High Profile Energy Speakers Headline USEA Policy Forum – The U.S. Energy Association holds its annual membership meeting and public Policy forum at the National Press Club on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Speakers will include NRC Chair Stephen Burns, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, DOE Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis Director Melanie Kenderdine, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia Thomas Melia, AEP COO Robert Powers, ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, and William Von Hoene, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Exelon Corporation.

EPIC to Hold GHG Forum – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., the Energy Policy Center at the University of Chicago (EPIC) will hold a forum that will be an insider’s debate over the legal merits of the Clean Power Plan and its likely path through the courts with lawyers representing opposite sides of the case.  Environmental lawyer Sean Donahue and former Justice Department official Thomas Lorenzen will discuss the legal arguments and briefs have been flying in preparation for a hearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in early June. Lorenzen is representing rural co-operatives.

Forum Look at Climate Challenges – The International Bar Association is hosting a forum on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. looking at companies and climate change and its legal liability and human rights challenges.  It is an official side event of Climate Action 2016, a multi-stakeholder summit.  Summit co-hosts include the United Nations, World Bank, University of Maryland, and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.  Speakers will include Chris Jochnick of Landsea and former EPA official and industry attorney Roger Martella.

NAS Host Social Cost of Carbon Meeting – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host the 5th meeting of the Committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Keck Center.

Wilson Forum Looks at Climate Security Risks – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on climate change, sustainable development, and peace-building. Where are the opportunities at the intersection of these processes to address climate security risks and build peace? What needs to happen in the next five years for these frameworks to achieve their long-term goals?  Nick Mabey, founder and Chief Executive of E3G, will provide his analysis of these processes with commentary by Ken Conca, author of An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance, and Sherri Goodman, former deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security and current Wilson Center public policy fellow.

QER Meeting Set for Iowa, Texas – The Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa.  The will also be meetings next Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas and next Tuesday, May 10th in Los Angeles.  There will be a final meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

Green Expo Set for DC – Starting Friday and running through the weekend, the Green Festival Expo will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  Green Festival is the largest and longest-running sustainability event in the United States, now in its 15th year. Its mission is to bring together the world’s most trusted companies, innovative speakers, national and local innovative businesses, conscious consumers and pioneering thinkers in one place to promote the best in sustainability and green living.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Discuss North American Manufacturing Issues –The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Canada Institute, and the International Monetary Fund are launching a new the book Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America. Despite the recent fall in energy prices, fuller development of energy resources in North America has potentially important implications for global energy markets and the competitiveness of North American manufacturing industries. The book “Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America” describes the transformation of the energy landscape in North America due to the upsurge in unconventional energy production since the mid-2000s and tells the story of the energy-manufacturing nexus from the perspective of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and the region as a whole.  Based on the research done at the International Monetary Fund, the book discusses the energy boom and its macroeconomic implications for the three countries individually and for the region overall, exploring also how the changing energy landscape can affect the potential benefits of greater integration across the three North American economies.

Forum to Look at Mitigating Climate Risks – Next Tuesday at Noon, Climate Advisers and DC Net Impact will host a panel discussion about climate risk, how investors address these risks, and how firms present potential financial solutions which can mitigate climate risk. During the discussion, the panelists will discuss various case studies specific to palm oil and Southeast Asia. There will be breakout sessions with each of the panelists following the panel discussion. Sarah Conway, Lead Climate Finance Negotiator at the State Department will lead the discussion.

Event to Focus on Climate, Cities – Next Tuesday afternoon, Worldwatch Institute will launch a new forum/publication: “State of the World: Can a City Be Sustainable?”  Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population– 3.7 billion people– are urban dwellers and that number is expected to double by 2050. Will the world invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities?  The discussion aims to discover the most pressing challenges facing cities and the most promising solutions currently being developed.

EIA to Present International Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday May 11th at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016).  The EO2016 includes projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source through 2040; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.  Among other topics, Sieminski will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, energy demand growth among developing nations, and key uncertainties that may alter the long-term projections.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

CSIS to host NatGas, Low Carbon Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on Wednesday May 11th at 4:00 p.m. with Doug Arent, Executive Director, Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA), on the potential role that natural gas may play in various low carbon pathways in the United States.  Earlier this spring, JISEA released analysis on natural gas and the electricity sector and explores the question of natural gas as a bridge to a more sustainable electricity sector. Arent will provide an overview of the JISEA work has underway and as well as present the findings from this recent report. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.

USEA to Talk Smart Grid in Emerging Markets – The U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on Thursday, May 12th at 10:00 a.m. on smart grid infrastructure in emerging markets.  Utilities across the world are in the process of modernizing their assets, including significant investment in smart grid infrastructure. This includes smart metering, or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation and other advancements in transmission and distribution infrastructure that leverage two-way communications and sensors. To-date, the majority of smart grid deployments have taken place in North America and Western Europe. However, over the course of the next decade, investment is shifting to emerging market countries. By 2026, smart grid investment in emerging markets will exceed that of developed countries, with $226 billion in cumulative investment over the period 2016-2026. In this briefing, Northeast Group’s Ben Gardner will present the results from its 5th annual Emerging Markets Smart Grid: Outlook 2016 study and highlight some of the leading countries deploying smart grid infrastructure over the next decade.

NAS Looks at Fuel Transportation – The Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences’ Transportation Research Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will meet on Thursday, May 12th to discuss domestic transportation of petroleum, natgas and ethanol.

Enviros Rally Against Drilling – On Sunday, May 15th at 1:00 p.m., activists will return to the White House to rally for keeping all fossil fuels in the ground with a primary focus on all offshore drilling.  With a previous success On Keystone, the groups, which includes 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, CREDO, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, World Wildlife Fund and many others.  With the economic, revenue and energy independence benefits of established Gulf of Mexico drilling as well as many of the Shale drilling in the US readily apparent, it will be hard to imagine that will be covered by this group. Of course, we are happy to provide that perspective.

RFF, Duke Host Oil, Gas Impacts Forum – Resources for the Future (RFF) and Duke University will host a seminar on Wednesday May 18th at 12:30 p.m. to explore the key issues facing local governments in this new era of oil and gas development.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick will describe RFF’s Community Impacts Initiative. Richard Newell and Daniel Raimi from Duke University will present the results of their Shale Public Finance project, which examines the fiscal impacts of oil and gas development on local governments in every major producing region of the United States. The seminar will also feature comments by Aliza Wasserman of the National Governors Association and further discussion with the presenters and the audience on key findings and implications.

CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on May 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.  The 2016 GDF seeks to address the complex issues highlighted by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of global trends including rising incomes, rapid urbanization, uneven economic growth, and widespread unemployment. In particular, discussions will explore ways in which official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions can improve livelihoods, strengthen governance, and facilitate access to key resources including food, energy, and infrastructure.

SAFE to Release Autonomous Car Strategy Report – John Krafcik, CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars, will join Securing America’s Future Energy on Thursday May 19th at 9:00 a.m. at The Newseum for the release of its National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution.  The United States’ near-total dependence on oil to power our mobility destabilizes our economy and weakens our national security. Fortunately, America is on the cusp of an innovation revolution, one in which increased fuel diversity in transportation improves our country’s energy security and the rapid emergence of driverless cars enhances safety and redefines mobility for millions.  FedEx CEO Fred Smith, General James T. Conway and members of the Energy Security Leadership Council will the launch of the report. The event will feature the country’s foremost experts across the spectrum of energy and transportation, from the founders of the American shale revolution to the innovators redefining transportation through self-driving cars.

Forum to Look at TX Green Energy – The Bi-National Energy Committee along with the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, the North American Development Bank (NADB) and other organizations will hold the Bi-National Green Energy Forum on June 2nd in San Antonio, TX.  Focusing on green energy projects: from renewable sources of energy to new technologies for energy efficiencies, the Forum is great opportunity to learn and discuss with experts and successful companies of Mexico and the US about cross-border opportunities in this vibrant growing bi-national market.

Oil, Gas Forum Set – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on June 8th and 9th at the Cosmos Club in DC.  More on this as it gets closer, but you can go here: http://www.energystreamcmg.com/

Energy Update: Week of April 25

Friends,

I hope everyone enjoyed a quiet, reflective launch to Passover this past weekend, enjoying family/friends and maybe watching a little golf at the Valero Texas Open, some playoff basketball or even the near wrap up of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

First, I need to bounce back to last week.  I must be getting lame because last Monday I missed the Boston Marathon and the release of the Pulitzer Prize winners/finalists.  My daughter Hannah, who is headed for Wellesley next year, reminded me of the Marathon because she received videos from her friends on campus of the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel” at Mile 13 (a proud annual tradition that dates back to the original Boston Marathon in 1897).  On the Pulitzers, congrats to our friends who were winners, including The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick for his book on ISIS called Black Flag and T. Miller for his examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly and to comprehend the traumatic effects on its victims.

The Congress focuses this week energy and water appropriations while there are a number of interesting Congressional hearings.  Tomorrow, Interior hold its DC Five-Year Drilling Plan public meeting following two last week in New Orleans and Houston.  Last week, Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential.  Also tomorrow, NRECA’s Jeff Leahey heads a panel session at the National Hydro Assn’s annual conference which starts today and featured keynotes from Sen. Cantwell and Rep. McNerney.  Senate Energy also revisits a hearing rescheduled from last week on oil/gas production and development.

On Wednesday, BGov hosts EPA Air office head Janet McCabe discussing the nearing release of methane rules.  Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund and Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy will join at the event.  The House Resources Committee hits the topic right after at 10:00 a.m. and will look at pump storage and other Hydropower issues at 2:00 p.m.

And on Friday, EESI and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that releases the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.”

Finally, last Friday was Earth Day, or should we call it UN “Signing Day.”  It kind of seems like national letter of intent signing day for all the high school athletes committing to their future colleges.   Of course, almost of all of them will go to the colleges and compete, while those that sign the UN agreement will probably (if history is any guide) will do nothing more than sign away.  Anyway, I forwarded a few items and added a few more for this morning in case you may have missed it.

 

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

EARTH DAY EXTRAVAGANZA

UN Paris Agreement Signing – Representatives from nearly 170 countries, including the United States, are slated to sign the Paris climate change deal at a ceremony in New York today – The UN event will feature a bevy of speeches from heads of state and high-ranking officials and celebrities, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President François Hollande and even Leonardo DiCaprio.  John Kerry signs for the US.

Timing – Our friends at the World Resources Institute have produced a great interactive map that tracks which countries have signed and joined the agreement in real time.   You can see the map here.

What’s Next – Friday’s signing ceremony only a first, symbolic step toward ratification. Now countries will have to present formal ratification documents to their respective governments.  The Paris Agreement takes effect when 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse-gas emissions have ratified.

Europe Won’t Be Ratifying Soon– Both E&E News and now POLITICO are highlighting that internal politics within the European Union are delaying ratification there. The problem for the EU is that corralling all 28 countries into ratifying the agreement is difficult because there are deep divisions within the bloc over the EU’s internal climate targets for cutting emissions and how these should be distributed among countries.  Shockingly, that seems to be the same problem we’ve had for more than 20 years outside the EU.  Of course, they just say they’ll agree to ratify it and then don’t.

Green Analysis: Paris, CPP Distract from Climate Problem Solving – Speaking of Better ways to address climate, I came across this interesting analysis on how both Paris and CPP may be counterproductive because they distract time, attention, and resources away from adaptation.  In light of today’s Paris signing, the author, Chris Cooper definitively says that he is not optimistic that it will have the intended impact.  Cooper served as an international spokesperson for the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), a New York-based energy and environmental nonprofit with official consultative status before the United Nations.  He was also Executive Director of the Network for New Energy Choices, a nonprofit advocacy group that pushed for a national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and spearheaded efforts in dozens of states to reform net metering laws.  He still works for regional and national enviro groups as an expert witness on regulatory stuff and has written several books on renewable power.  If you can’t get the link to work, I have a pdf that I can send for you…

NYT: Climate Plans Won’t Have Much Impact – Our friends Coral Davenport and Justin Gillis have an in-depth piece in the New York Times that says despite the hard work and negotiations of international leaders, their planned actions, even if faithfully carried out, will likely fall far short of cutting emissions enough to meet the Paris goal.  Worth a good read.

Q&A With UN Sect General – Our friend Elana Schor has an interesting Q&A with UN Secretary-Generale Ban Ki-moon.  Would love to have a few tougher Qs though than pinned Ban down on the 20-year history of missed agreements and the future changes that will be required beyond the Paris agreement.

Rural Coops Highlight International Efforts to Provide Reliable, Clean Energy – On Earth Day, America’s Electric Cooperatives celebrate the community of cooperatives around the world.  From member-owned electric cooperatives in Bangladesh and Haiti to agricultural cooperatives in Ghana and Kenya, the cooperative business model puts the needs of members first, improving the quality of life and strengthening local economies.  Fifty years ago, the newly developed U.S. Agency for International Development joined forces with NRECA International to bring electricity to developing countries worldwide.  More than 110 million people around the globe have benefited from access to electricity. Increased access to electricity in more than 42 countries has boosted agricultural productivity, created new jobs in micro and small enterprises and raised both incomes and quality of life.  Co-ops consumer-centric utility model, a model that aligns the goals of the utility with the interests of consumers, promotes innovation and mitigates the risks that come with rapid technological change. Consistent with this consumer-centric model, cooperatives are leading the industry in the development of community approaches to solar and energy storage.  Co-ops own or purchase 6700 megawatts of renewable capacity. As of March of this year, 96 distribution co-ops in 29 states have developed or are planning community solar programs.

CCS Technology Still Opportunity – Our friend Ben Finzel reminds that Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology is key to successful implementation of the Paris agreement. To that end, leaders from Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Great Plains Institute, Clean Air Task Force and Third Way that says technological innovation will be critical in meeting the goal the world’s nations set out in the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.  In a statement on CCUS, leaders of these enviro groups say CCUS technology can capture and safely store CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities that the IPCC and International Energy Agency have concluded are essential to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.  They also add it’s worth highlighting that CCUS projects are now operating or under construction in eight countries with several new plants on the way around the world. And countries as diverse as Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Norway have specifically included CCUS technology in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to the agreement. The United States has adopted an “all-of-the-above” strategy that includes CCUS.

Third Way Video Highlights Challenges, Opportunities in Climate Issues – Third Way also has a new video out that says getting beyond 30% renewables will be a challenge.   Josh Freed says they love solar and wind energy as they are essential pieces of the effort to decarbonize the grid and meet our aggressive climate goals.  But, he adds, TW is also a pretty practical bunch, underscoring the notion that to get to 100% clean energy, we will need a mix of other low and zero-emissions energy sources to solve the climate challenge. You might recognize that voice in the video, it former Manchin staffer, Erin Burns.

ACCCE Takes on Power Plan AS UN Signing Continues – Speaking of videos, our friends at ACCCE are also discussing the COP21 agreement signing at UN Headquarters in New York City. The president and his allies are touting this agreement as a historic undertaking, in which American leadership is paving the way forward in the global effort to combat climate change.  Unfortunately, ACCCE is highlighting some of the smoke, mirrors and weaknesses in a new video that says it promotes false promises & puts politics over American families.   See the video here.

More ACCCE: Signing is Purely Symbolic – American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity president and CEO Mike Duncan said today’s signing of the Paris Climate Agreement is “nothing more than a parlor game lacking consequence or purpose; it’s purely symbolic.  The simple truth of the matter is that the agreement is an exercise in futility as the reduction targets are wholly unachievable.”  Duncan added that while the agreement is being signed, the president’s power plan on which the global agreement is based, has been halted by the U.S. Supreme Court until legal challenges to the rule are resolved.  Duncan: “A hallmark of President Obama’s second term has been action through executive fiat. As a result, we’ve seen one bad policy follow another with the Power Plan being the most egregious,” continued Duncan.  “The COP21 agreement isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on but will result in billions of dollars spent denying people access to the affordable, reliable power needed to grow economies and overcome poverty. That’s a sad state of affairs that should not be allowed to take place.”

It’s Wonderful Energy – The Chamber Energy Institute’s climate expert Steve Eule has a great piece in RealClearEnergy today that is a take on It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1946 American Christmas classic based on the short story “The Greatest Gift.” The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.  Eule spoofs the format in It’s A Wonderful Fuel, offering a fun read and important context for Earth Day and any day.

Diesel Techs Getting Cleaner – On Earth Day, Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum has a great column focused on clean diesel technology ion the marketplace and the industry’s now near-zero in emissions.  See the piece plus a great picture of the industry’s “clean white handkerchief” test.

AEI Paper Lists Questionable Earth Day ClaimsAEI’s Mark Perry looks at 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 that set the tone for the way we may want to consider the claims we hear today.   “In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey.”

 

IN THE NEWS

NY Denies Constitution Pipeline Water Permits – On Friday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) denied the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Constitution Pipeline Project.  Constitution builders say they remain steadfastly committed to pursuing the federally-approved energy infrastructure project.  “In spite of NYSDEC’s unprecedented decision, we remain absolutely committed to building this important energy infrastructure project, which will create an important connection between consumers and reliable supplies of clean, affordable natural gas. We believe NYSDEC’s stated rationale for the denial includes flagrant misstatements and inaccurate allegations, and appears to be driven more by New York State politics than by environmental science,” the project sponsors said in a joint statement.

Where will they get there Energy? – With opponents blocking natgas drilling, pipelines, fighting Indian Point and Other nuclear projects, questions remain where NY will get power/energy to meet its needs.  Constitution Pipeline worked closely with NYSDEC staff for more than three years to ensure that water quality measures are met before, during and after construction. As a result of that dialogue, Constitution Pipeline voluntarily agreed to the agency’s requests to incorporate re-routes, adopt trenchless construction methodologies, commit to site-specific trout stream restoration and agreed to fund approximately $18 million for wetland mitigation and banking and approximately $8.6 million for the restoration and preservation of migratory bird habitats.  The FERC-certificated route was developed after extensive environmental and engineering analysis, which included a comprehensive review of route alternatives. In its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the FERC concluded that environmental impacts associated with these alternatives were significantly greater than the preferred route. Despite this, in the spirit of collaboration we followed NYSDEC guidance and further altered our preferred route to adopt NYSDEC staff recommendations.

NY Never Discussed Outstanding Issues – Developers also said the decision was a surprise given the ongoing dialogue.  “Contrary to NYSDEC statements, the company was not informed of any outstanding issues that it had not agreed to address as a condition of the permit. In fact, during the past nine months, weekly inquiries were made to the department to ensure no additional data was needed. Those inquiries were either ignored or responded to in the negative. It is obvious that the NYSDEC deliberately chose to remain silent to bolster the political campaign of the State.”  The developers also took serious issue with claims that its application lacked information related to stream crossings, depth of pipe, or blasting.  The project sponsors continued, “Completely contrary to NYSDEC’s assertion, we provided detailed drawings and profiles for every stream crossing in New York, including showing depth of pipe.  In fact, all stream crossings were fully vetted with the NYSDEC throughout the review process. We are appalled with the comments that Constitution failed to provide sufficient data to ensure every crossing was totally in compliance with the NYSDEC guidelines.”

DOE Proposes Revised Commercial Water Heater Efficiency Standards – The Department of Energy (DOE) issued the pre-publication version of its notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to revise efficiency standards for commercial water heaters (CWH). The proposed standards increase the stringency of the current minimum thermal efficiency and maximum standby loss requirements for all gas water heaters and hot water supply boilers. The proposed minimum thermal efficiency for these products will require the use of condensing technology. The NOPR also lowers the maximum standby loss requirement for all electric storage water heaters and proposes minimum uniform energy factor standards for residential-duty commercial water heaters. No changes are proposed for the minimum efficiency standards for the remaining CWH equipment classes. The effective date will likely be in late 2019 or early 2020, which would be three years after the publication of the final rule, which is expected late this year or in early 2017.  A public meeting to discuss the NOPR will be held on June 6, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at DOE’s offices in Washington, D.C.

ACI Biofuel Subsidies Distort Soap Industry Marketplace – The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) said it supports legislation that would eliminate tax credits for biofuels produced with animal fats.  As part of the 2015 year-end legislative package of tax extenders, biodiesel and renewable diesel that is produced from animal fats is eligible for a $1 per gallon tax credit. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates eliminating the tax credit for biofuels that use animal fats would save $299 million in fiscal year 2016. Douglas Troutman, ACI General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs said ACI is not opposed to biofuels, but oppose misguided government subsidies that negatively affect the price and availability of animal fats, a key feedstock for the oleochemical industry.”  ACI represents the producers of oleochemicals, such as fatty acids and alcohols made from seed oils and animal fats, historically used in soaps and detergents.  The biofuel subsidy in question distorts the domestic market for animal fats by diverting this important raw material away from use in the manufacturing of cleaning products and towards the production of biodiesel. As a result, animal fats have seen a 116 percent increase in cost since 2006, the year the tax credit first became law.  Animal fats are the traditional feedstock for cleaning and personal care products such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, bar soap, bath gels and shampoos. Animal fats provide domestic chemical producers with a raw material that affords them a cost advantage over foreign manufacturers that use palm oil and similar materials as their primary feedstock. This industry supports approximately 25,000 American jobs. The supply of animal fats in the U.S. is largely inelastic (animals are raised for their meat, not fat), therefore the increased demand has rapidly outstripped supply, placing American cleaning product manufacturers at a tremendous market disadvantage.

EIA Updates State Energy Profiles – The Energy Information Administration has updated its State Energy Profiles with new data, including series for electricity, petroleum, and natural gas.  Activities covered by these series include prices, supply, and consumption.  The Profiles also feature updated annual data covering consumption, expenditures, emissions, vehicle fueling stations, and weather.  Quick Facts and analytical narratives have been updated for four states.  Puerto Rico also features an updated narrative.  Users can learn facts such Kentucky, the third-largest coal-mining state, produced more than 61 million short tons of bituminous coal in 2015; In 2014, Michigan had more underground natural gas storage capacity – almost 1.1 trillion cubic feet – than any other state in the nation; The Utica Shale has contributed to the rapid increase in natural gas production in Ohio, which was more than 12 times greater in 2015 than 2011; In 2015, 8.4% of Wisconsin’s net electricity generation came from renewable energy resources, split among biomass, wind, and conventional hydroelectric power; From July 2012 to April 2015, distributed solar photovoltaic generating capacity in Puerto Rico increased by a factor of nine, bringing distributed solar capacity to 37 megawatts. Solar capacity at utility-scale installations totaled 52 megawatts.  State and Territory Energy Profiles provide Quick Facts and an analytical narrative for each of the 56 states and territories.  In addition, the Profiles offer 91 key data series for each state, including state rankings for 10 of the series.  To view all 56 Profiles, visit the State Energy Profiles home page.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Arctic Chairmanship at Half Point – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. for a keynote address on the state and future of U.S. leadership in the Arctic. ESCI Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate the discussion and audience Q&A.

QER Meeting Set for Utah – On April 25 at 8:30 a.m., the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder meeting at Western Electricity Coordinating Council, 155 North 400 West, Salt Lake City, Utah. It will also be livestreamed at energy.gov/live. The meeting is the second of six regional QER public input meetings (scroll down for dates and locations for the rest), all of which are based on wholesale market footprints as a convenient approach to capturing and assisting the Interagency QER Task Force in understanding the nation’s regional electricity diversity, which is characterized by differing resource mixes, state policies, and a host of other factors.  The Salt Lake City meeting covers the footprint of thirteen of the fourteen states (outside California) which are, all or in part, in the Western Interconnection, and represented by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Electricity issues related to California will be covered during a May 10th QER meeting in Los Angeles. In addition to today’s meeting in Salt Lake City the QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – Today through Wednesday, the all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. NRECA’s will be Jeff Leahey featured speaker on a panel on Congressional activities while keynotes will come from Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jerry McNerney.

5-YR Plan Public Meetings Start—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold public meetings in Washington DC tomorrow on its five-year plan.  There were two meetings last week in New Orleans and Houston.  Recently, Interior rolled out the new five-year plan for drilling which set the scope of drilling for the years between 2017-2022. Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential during a news conference hosted last week by the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense.  It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone. Those of us on the Gulf Coast are proud to produce the energy to fuel America and we recognize that Gulf oil accounts for nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil production. The U.S. Treasury directly benefits to the tune of over $5 to $8 billion dollars each year from energy production in the Gulf — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.”

Forum to Look at Energy Policy In the 2016 Election – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a day-long seminar tomorrow looking at U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections.  The event will feature panel discussions on the importance of bipartisan Energy Policy, oil/natgas production, distribution and refining, the electric power sector, the future of transportation and State and City leadership. Each election cycle affords policymakers an opportunity to assess the state of the nation’s energy sector in the context of shared objectives and within the context of a dynamic global energy landscape.  U.S. energy policy is driven by economic, security, and environmental priorities, but fundamental tensions continue to exist between those priorities and among the various constituencies involved in the nation’s energy sectors. The purpose of this conference is to inform the current debate on U.S. energy policymaking and assess what areas are ripe for action.

Senate Energy Looks at Oil/Gas Development – After last week’s delay, the Senate Energy Committee tomorrow will return to hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments.  Witnesses with include Columbia Energy expert Jason Bordoff, Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Michael Ratner of CRS and several others in the oil/gas industry.

House Energy Takes up Pipeline Safety Reauth – The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday will mark up legislation to reauthorize PHMSA’s pipeline safety program. Similar legislation cleared the Transportation committee last week.  Both would force PHMSA to regulate natural gas storage and grant the Transportation secretary authority to issue emergency orders. Opening statements will be on Tuesday afternoon, with the markup scheduled for Wednesday morning.

McCabe to Headline BGov Methane Breakfast Forum – BGov hosts EPA Air office Head Janet McCabe and others for a panel discussion on the role methane plays in future climate discussions and the impact of the administration’s environmental initiatives.  Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy and Mark Brownstein of EDF will join McCabe.

Discussion to Look at Paris, Climate Action – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a lively discussion Wednesday at 8:30 that will bring together senior representatives from various sectors to discuss innovative and proactive solutions to climate change, what Paris means four months later, and how to move from agreement to action on climate change.  Speakers will include former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio of  Microsoft, Cathy Woollums of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Alex Liftman of Bank of America.

Forum to Look at Russian Energy Politics – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a day-long conference on energy and geopolitics in the Black Sea and South Caucasus.  Panels will cover all the different potential energy issues facing the region, including pipeline, supply and transportation issues.  Greg Saunders of BP will be a key speaker.

House Resources to Look at Methane Regulations – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Bureau of Land Management’s regulatory overreach into methane emissions regulation.  Witnesses will include Interior’s Amanda Leiter, Mark Watson of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Rio Blanco County, CO commissioner Shawn Bolton, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms and La Plata County, CO commissioner Gwen Lachelt.

Senate Small Biz to Look at Water Rule Impact – The Senate Small Business Committee will examine the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, on Wednesday looking at small business impacts and reforms to the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  Following Senate Environment’s recent hearing on the topic, RFA requires federal agencies to consider the impact of regulations on small businesses and consider less burdensome options if that effect is significant.  Witnesses will include NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, Darryl DePriest of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, NFIB’s Elizabeth Milito and South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp.

DOE Hosts Pumped Storage Hydro Public Meeting – The Wind and Water Power Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Request for Information to identify the challenges and opportunities faced by the pumped storage hydropower industry. Now DOE will host a public meeting on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. for individual stakeholder insight into the technical and market challenges and potential pathways to facilitate the development of pumped storage in the United States.

House Resources Looks at Hydropower Issues – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on realizing the potential of hydropower as a clean, renewable and domestic energy resource.  The hearing will focus on the barriers to nonfederal hydropower development.  Witnesses will include Steve Boyd of the Turlock Irrigation District, Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Jessica Matlock, and Debbie Powell of Pacific Gas and Electric.

CSIS to Look at Financing Production Resilience – On Thursday, CSIS Energy and the National Security program will host a conversation with former Vice Chairman of NY Mercantile Exchange Albert Helmig, Energy Intelligence Energy Casey Sattler and Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley, moderated by our friend Kevin Book.  Oil and gas producers have responded to six consecutive calendar quarters of price weakness by high-grading production, downsizing workforce and paring back capital spending. Financial investors’ continuing appetite for oil industry debt – and, more recently, equity – has continued to support U.S. production, too. Unexpectedly resilient output and stubbornly low commodity prices continue to erode corporate resources, however, raising several imminent questions.

Group to Discuss Nuclear Waste Storage – Waste Control Specialists will hold a news conference on storage facilities for nuclear waste on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. A little over a year ago Waste Control Specialists (WCS) filed a Notice of Intent with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and announced it would submit an application to the NRC for a license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel in 2016. WCS President Rod Baltzer will discuss the recent announcement that WCS expects to meet that timetable.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on Thursday and Friday at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

BPC to Focus on Water/Energy Book – On Thursday 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a book session on “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival” by author Michael Webber and a discussion about the interconnections between energy and water, their vulnerabilities, and the path toward a more reliable and abundant future for humanity.  Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. A new book offers a fresh, holistic way of thinking about energy and water—a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both.

Forum to Look at LNG – The Atlantic Council hosts the US LNG Exports and European Energy Security Conference on Thursday.  The event takes place shortly after the inauguration ceremony of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana and will discuss the implications of US LNG exports on European energy security in the context of climate action post Paris COP21 and changing global energy markets.  There is an excellent list of great speakers, including a wide array of Foreign ministers from European countries on a panel moderated by our FP friend Keith Johnson.  A second panel moderated by our friend Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal will include API’s Marty Durbin and DOE’s Paula Gant among others.

Anti-Nuke Groups Look at Indian Point – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. the anti-nuclear group Nuclear Information & Resource Service will host a webinar that features the Union of Concerned Scientists’ nuclear safety expert David Lochbaum.  Lochbaum will review the recent discovery of a major safety issue: hundreds of missing and degraded bolts in the reactor vessel of Indian Point unit 2, which has implications for reactors across the country.

House Energy Panel to Look at Nuclear Legislation – The House Energy and Committee Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on upcoming nuclear legislation on the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016 and the Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act.

Sustainable Factbook to Be Released – On Friday at Noon in B-338 Rayburn, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that will provide information on the rapid changes occurring in the U.S. energy sector. The findings of the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” show that the U.S. energy sector, and the power sector in particular, have experienced unprecedented growth in newer, cleaner sources of energy.  The briefing will feature an overview presentation by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the findings from the Factbook, followed by a moderated industry panel with senior executives from a range of clean energy industries.  Speakers for this forum include BNEF’s Colleen Regan, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, Owen Smith of Ingersoll Rand, Covanta’s Paula Soos, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association.

WCEE to Look at Paris Implementation – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Friday at Noon on the role of states in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  Maryland Public Service Commissioner Anne Hoskins, DOE Deputy Director for Climate, Environment & Energy Efficiency Judi Greenwald and EPRI’s Steve Rose  will all , Senior Research Economist, Electric Power Research Institute all look at the options states considering to continue de-carbonizing the electricity generation sector and what role of regulators will play in achieving these goals.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

IEEE to Host Transmission Technology Conference – IEEE will hold its annual Transmission PES Conference in Dallas at the Convention Center May 2-5.  The electric grid is undergoing transformations enabled by the integration of new technologies, such as advanced communication and power electronic devices and the increasing penetration of distributed generation. Such changes introduce a new paradigm in the cultural infrastructure of power systems, which requires a great deal of cooperation between utilities, power generation companies, consumers, governments and regulators.

Climate Hustle Film Makes Debut – The Marc Morano film Climate Hustle will make its one-night national theater debut at an event on May 2nd.  Last week, the film was screened at an event at the House Science Committee. A pre-film panel discussion featured Governor Sarah Palin, University of Delaware climatologist Dr. David Legates, and film host Marc Morano, and was moderated by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. It also included a special video appearance by Bill Nye “the Science Guy.”

Atlantic Council Caribbean Energy Summit – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 8:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on these developments one day before leaders gather in Washington, DC for the US-Caribbean-Central America Energy Summit. The discussion will address opportunities for increased cooperation in the region’s energy integration. It will also launch the latest Atlantic Council report on the subject, The Waning of Petrocaribe?: Central America and Caribbean Energy in Transition, written by David L. Goldwyn and Cory R. Gill.  Energy security remains at the forefront of issues facing the Caribbean and Central America. With Venezuela’s economy in a tailspin, the eleven-year-old Petrocaribe oil alliance could suffer an abrupt demise. This could have serious regional consequences even though Central American and Caribbean member-nations have taken strides to diversify and transition into cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Speakers also include State Department expert Amos Hochstein.

PHMSA Head to Focus on Future of Pipeline Activity, Safety – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 1:30 pm., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA). As administrator, Ms. Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.

Forum Looks at Fukushima, Chernobyl – The Goethe-Institut Washington will hold a forum Next Tuesday afternoon focusing on nuclear issues in light of the 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine and 5 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in Japan. Leading scientists, medical personnel and policy experts will present their findings on the lasting impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

MD Climate Conference Set – The University of Maryland is hosting the Climate Action 2016 forum on Wednesday May 4th as a public conference in support of the objectives of the Climate Action 2016 multi-stakeholder summit to be held in Washington, DC on May 5-6.  The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion among academia as well as a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advancing the climate implementation agenda.  The Climate Action 2016 forum will feature both, the thematic areas of Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, DC, as well as cross-cutting discussions on effective implementation of climate and sustainable development goals.

Brookings Forum to Look at Zika, Climate – Next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Brookings Institution will hold a forum on potential links between Zika and climate change.  Princeton University and the Brookings Institution will release the spring 2016 issue of The Future of Children. The title of the issue is “Children and Climate Change.” The journal contains nine chapters dealing with various effects of climate change on children.  Also released will be a policy brief, “Children and Temperature: Taking Action Now,” which reviews the threat posed to children’s health by rising temperatures, especially the link between rising temperatures and the spread of mosquitoes and the Zika virus.  The event will focus on the Obama administration’s initiative and will include a keynote address by Debra Lubar, Director, of the Office of Appropriations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event will also feature remarks by a panel of experts with extensive knowledge about the impact of rising temperatures on children’s health. All participants will take questions from the audience.

CSIS to Look at Oil/Gas Risk, Reform – Next Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on risk and reform for oil and gas exporting.  As energy prices seem set to remain low in the medium term, countries dependent on oil and gas export revenue face the challenge of reforming their economies and repairing their finances, while facing political and security risks. This event reviews the menu of reform options available to countries facing fiscal difficulties resulting from low hydrocarbon prices, as well as the particular challenges faced by Nigeria, Iraq, and Algeria, and the reform pathways those countries’ governments are undertaking.  The discussion will feature Benedict Clements, Aaron Sayne, Jared Levy and Haim Malka, moderated by Sarah Ladislaw.

WCEE to Look at Waste Fuels – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on substantial organic waste streams and recycled products (e.g. food scraps, manures, recycled fats oils & grease [FOG]).  These fuels are produced within our urban and rural areas. These waste streams are already being converted to renewable energy, transportation fuels, and bio-products – and they have tremendous potential for growth.  The event will focus on companies working to convert waste to fuels, what roadblocks they are encountering, what the policy landscape looks like, and what the future holds for this industry.  Speakers will include Pernille Hager, who has been supporting the global development and launch of a production platform for sustainable synthetic fuels from household waste. She currently works with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a CA based company in the process of building a first-of-its-kind Biofuels plant in Sierra Nevada producing synthetic jet fuel from MSW.  Joining her will be Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

High Profile Energy Speakers Headline USEA Policy Forum – The U.S. Energy Association holds its annual membership meeting and public Policy forum at the National Press Club on Thursday May 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Speakers will include NRC Chair Stephen Burns, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, DOE Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis Director Melanie Kenderdine, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia Thomas Melia, AEP COO Robert Powers, ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, and William Von Hoene, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Exelon Corporation.

QER Meetings Set for Iowa, Texas, LA, Atlanta – The DOE’s QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

EIA to Present International Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday May 11th at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016).  The IEO2016 includes projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source through 2040; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.  Among other topics, Sieminski will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, energy demand growth among developing nations, and key uncertainties that may alter the long-term projections.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on May 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.  The 2016 GDF seeks to address the complex issues highlighted by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of global trends including rising incomes, rapid urbanization, uneven economic growth, and widespread unemployment. In particular, discussions will explore ways in which official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions can improve livelihoods, strengthen governance, and facilitate access to key resources including food, energy, and infrastructure.

The Bi-National Energy Committee along with the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, the North American Development Bank (NADB) and other organizations will hold the Bi-National Green Energy Forum on June 2nd in San Antonio, TX.  Focusing on green energy projects: from renewable sources of energy to new technologies for energy efficiencies, the Forum is great opportunity to learn and discuss with experts and successful companies of Mexico and the US about cross-border opportunities in this vibrant growing bi-national market.

Oil, Gas Forum Set – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on June 8th and 9th at the Cosmos Club in DC.  More on this as it gets closer, but you can go here: http://www.energystreamcmg.com/

Energy Update: Week of February 15

Friends,

With the snow and ice in the Mid-Atlantic yesterday, I was grounded in Florida for an extra day when our President’s Day return flight was cancelled.  I guess it’s not so bad to be stuck in FL when there is bad weather in DC – especially with the region’s less-than-competent, foul-weather driving skills.  But, I did finally make it back.

Has our energy world changed in the past week?  Wow… First, the SCOTUS stayed the Clean Power Plan and then on Saturday, conservative legal icon Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away on a hunting trip in Texas.

I initially planned to have a primer on the SCOTUS decision, but I have altered some that given Justice Scalia’s passing.  There has been plenty of reporting and analysis on Scalia, the court impact and the politics, so we won’t weigh in there other than to point out an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post from Legal scholar and friend Jonathan Adler and say that Tom Goldstein’s SCOTUS blog is a great place to keep pace with the action. My colleague Scott Segal adds his thoughts on Scalia below. You can use them “On-the-Record” or on background.

With President’s Day, the Congress is in a recess (maybe it’s last for the year to avoid any recess appointments).  It is a slow week, but NARUC Commissioners are here for their Winter Meetings and there are still a few good events on the schedule.  CSIS hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht on the state of the oil markets and WCEE looks at government and business views on sustainability tomorrow, while the Atlantic Council discusses the implications of falling oil prices and CSIS hosts the BP Energy Outlook on Thursday.

And mark your calendars for Leap Day when ARPA-E launches it annual innovation conference with three days of R&D/Technology policy discussions.  Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat” with FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher, who interviews Graff and BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz, former VP Al Gore, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons.

Finally, this week, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training 2016, the first informal part of the change of seasons and baseball’s annual sign of eternal World Series hope.  Hoping the Nationals will be able to rebound this year and, as always at the beginning of the season, the Cubs are still tied for first.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

THE BIG NEWS

Segal on Impacts of Passing of Scalia – The were numerous stories about the impacts of Justice Scalia.  My colleague Scott Segal adding to that with focus on its relation to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan.    Segal: “The truth is that there are significant legal problems with the Clean Power Plan that would raise questions with any composition of the Supreme Court.  Liberal legal scholars like Harvard’s Laurence Tribe have pointed to statutory and constitutional shortcomings that will need to be resolved.   For its part, the panel assigned to the case at the D.C. Circuit may not have entered a stay, but they did adopt an unusually expedited schedule for the case which may reflect misgivings with the rule, and a desire to resolve them before compliance became a foregone conclusion.  And of course, the Supreme Court stay remains in place likely until an eventual Supreme Court judgment after the end of the Obama Administration.  While Justice Scalia’s untimely passing creates more uncertainty, the Clean Power Plan is still predicated on an extraordinarily shaky legal foundation.

Adler Pens Solution to Political Dilemma – Case Western University law Professor and former EPA lawyer Jonathan Adler addressed the political problem a new SCOTUS appointment faces in an interesting, thought-provoking Washington Post Op-ed.   Adler’s academic piece is unlikely to sway partisans but It is an eye-opener to the challenge that faces both the President and the Senate.   Adler argues “the long run of continuing to escalate the current brinkmanship in judicial nominations are significant, however. Republicans should recall that Senate obstruction of judicial nominees has kept several highly qualified conservative nominees from the federal bench as well, and that refusing to allow Scalia’s seat to be filled for a year would further politicize an already soiled process.”

SCOTUS Stays Obama GHG Rule – In an unprecedented move on an environmental rule, The Supreme Court of the U.S. granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon regulations for the electricity sector while the regulations are under review by the courts.

Some Key Reacts – Here were a few of the major reacts:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: Morrisey hailed today’s decision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency as a monumental victory.  Morrisey praised the decision saying it provides immediate relief for workers and businesses across the country. It also reinforces confidence in the broader challenge as the Supreme Court found the coalition’s arguments strong enough to stop EPA even before the lawsuit concludes.  “Make no mistake – this is a great victory for West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.”

Scott Segal, ERCC: “We have long maintained that the legal rationale for the Clean Power Plan stood on extremely weak ground.  Some 40 years of precedent contradicted the rule.  Problems of statutory interpretation were apparent from the moment of the architecture of the rule was proposed.  While stays of administrative rules are rare, they are not unknown and in this case the outcome was richly deserved.  The Court has held that the rule be stayed not only through DC Circuit consideration, but also through ultimate Supreme Court judgment should appeal to the High Court ultimately be sought.  There are many things that can be done to cost-effectively encourage the use of renewables and efficiency projects, but the Clean Power Plan was not the right approach.  The threats it posed to state prerogatives, reliability and energy security concerns made the rule a bad bet for policy reasons as well.”

Mike Duncan of the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): “We are pleased the Supreme Court took this unprecedented step to protect the states from further economic harm while the courts are deciding whether the administration’s Power Plan is unlawful and unconstitutional,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE. “The stay is a signal the Supreme Court has serious concerns with the Power Plan. We’re optimistic the Power Plan will ultimately be rejected.”

Jeff Conner of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn (NRECA): “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan would have caused immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Had the stay not been granted, co-ops would have been forced to take costly and irreversible steps to comply with the rule, which is a huge overreach of EPA’s legal authority. The Clean Power Plan is a direct threat to co-ops’ ability to provide affordable and reliable electricity to their member consumers and should be erased from the books.”

Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce President: “We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay the EPA’s unlawful greenhouse gas rule for the power sector. The Supreme Court’s stay of this rule and the D.C. Circuit’s order to hear the case quickly will ensure that America will not be forced to make costly and irreversible implementation decisions based upon an unprecedented regulation until judicial review is complete.  The EPA’s rule would put the government in control of our energy choices, drive up electricity costs for American businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness. Staying this rule is the right decision.”

AGs Lead Fight – Attorneys General from 28 states lead by West Virginia and Texas lead the effort to block the rule saying EPA exceeded its authority by double regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation among other reasons. Those joining West Virginia and Texas were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Holmstead, Segal Weigh in USAT – The USA Today featured an op-ed from former EPA Air head Jeff Holmstead and ERCC director Scott Segal on the decision that said the Court’s order to stay the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan”  was “something it has never done before” when they put the regulation on hold until the courts can decide whether it is legal. They add the rule would mean higher energy costs and a less reliable electricity system for average Americans.

Chamber Official Point Out Paris Pledge Short Fall Already – Steve Eule, US Chamber climate expert who was in Paris, discussed the Stay decision in the context of the US UN pledge made in Paris.  Eule said the implications of this decision are likely to extend well beyond the United States and call into question the durability of the Obama Administration’s pledge to the United Nations (UN) to slash U.S. net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% to 28% by 2025 from the 2005 level.”    He added at the Paris climate talks, administration officials spent considerably energy assuring anyone who would listen that the Clean Power Plan was legally unassailable.  See the Blog Here.

 

IN THE NEWS

Loveless Launches Columbia Energy Exchange Podcast – Our friend Bill Loveless, former Platts TV host has launched a new podcast program with Columbia University.  Expanding on its existing programming, Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.  Examples of recent guests on Columbia Energy Exchange have included EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Southern CEO Tom Fanning, Duke CEO Lynn Good and many more.

AFPM Hits RFS – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) also filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rulemaking for 2014-2016.  AFPM President Chet Thompson said despite EPA’s best efforts, certain aspects of the final RFS rule still run afoul of the Clean Air Act. Thompson:  “EPA failed to provide obligated parties with requisite lead time and used flawed methodologies in establishing volume requirements. This rule further confirms that the RFS program is dysfunctional and that the only real solution is full repeal by Congress.”

Co-ops, NRDC Launch “Community Storage” Initiative – The nation’s 50 million residential electric water heaters collectively represent a significant – and vastly underutilized – energy storage resource capable of leveraging substantial environmental and cost benefits according to new research commissioned NRECA, NRDC, the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) and Great River Energy (GRE).  This finding from the global economic consulting firm The Brattle Group was announced today (Feb. 10, 2016) at the launch of an initiative designed to promote growth in a novel, community-based approach to energy storage, dubbed “community storage.” By aggregating distributed energy technologies and home appliances, electric cooperatives are developing community storage to increase energy efficiency, better integrate renewable energy resources onto the grid, and reduce customers’ monthly electric bill.

One such community storage program managed by Minnesota-based generation and transmission cooperative Great River Energy has been able to store a gigawatt of energy each night by controlling the electric resistance water heaters of 65,000 end-use members.  Even in regions heavily reliant on coal and natural gas to generate electricity, the Brattle research shows that consumers have options for saving money on their electric bills and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with their water heating. Consumers can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent using their water heater as a thermal battery. Consumers can reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent using heat pump water heaters.  These same consumers will be enabling integration of clean, renewable resources. Further, the emission reductions of community storage will compound as more consumers participate and the electricity sector transitions to cleaner fuels and generation technologies.

Rural Co-ops Launch Major Vote Initiative – Speaking of NRECA, they also launched a major initiative to enhance voter engagement. The goal of the “Co-ops Vote” campaign is to boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer members to exercise one of their most basic rights—the right to vote.  Working in collaboration with states and local co-ops, this non-partisan campaign will educate and engage all voters on important issues, such as ensuring continued access to reliable electricity, promoting co-ops’ development of innovative renewable energy solutions, and expanding broadband coverage throughout rural America.  Co-ops Vote will provide a wide variety of tools to its more than 900, not-for-profit members to help educate and engage employees and communities, including voter registration information, candidate information and a campaign video. Co-ops are urged to take simple steps, such as encouraging employees to register to vote, hosting voter registration drives at co-op offices, and partnering with local civic groups to plan voter registration efforts.  For more information, visit www.vote.coop and follow #CoopsVote.

AHRI Releases Refrigerant Management Research Report – AHRI recently published research project AHRI 8018: Review of Refrigerant Management Programs. This project characterized refrigerant management and recycling programs implemented in key regions of the world, evaluated their effectiveness, and determined best practices as they relate to the U.S. refrigerant landscape.  The report provides clarity and insights on seven primary jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, California, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report also includes a high-level review of activities in China and Brazil. The focus areas of research included characterizing the current processes for original equipment manufacturers, contractors, end users, and reclaimers to handle refrigerants, how and where refrigerant recycling happens, and the amount of refrigerants ultimately destroyed.  Navigant Consulting, Inc., conducted a literature review and interviewed key personnel in the target jurisdictions to develop the detailed content of this report. Research covered the regulations, roles and responsibilities, funding sources, incentive and enforcement mechanisms, performance, refrigerant recovery, tracking and reporting, outreach, training, and flow of refrigerants in the nine jurisdictions.

New Data Highlights Natural Gas Savings for Consumers and Our Economy – Low domestic natural gas prices led to savings of almost $69 billion for residential natural gas customers over the past four years, according to the 2016 American Gas Association Playbook, released last week. Filled with new data and detailed graphics, this essential handbook provides a comprehensive explanation about the role natural gas plays in American’s daily lives and how it can help our nation achieve economic prosperity.  The 2016 AGA Playbook includes the latest data surrounding natural gas and its role in changing the way Americans use energy. It includes pertinent information about pipeline safety, natural gas supply and usage, industry safety, energy efficiency, economic growth, cybersecurity and more. It also details information on the latest natural gas utility initiatives to enhance cyber and physical security including the AGA Peer Review Program, the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

National Trade Association for Community Solar Launched – Leading energy companies in the solar market today announced the formation of the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the first-ever national trade association for community solar. The Coalition’s founding leadership includes Clean Energy Collective, Community Energy, Ecoplexus, Ethical Electric, First Solar, and Recurrent Energy.  CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced.  Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building.  These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households.  CCSA will work in partnership with consumers, local stakeholders, and utilities to promote smart policies and innovative program models to give all Americans in every community the ability to directly benefit from clean, affordable, and reliable solar power. CCSA’s initial goals are: to open markets in key states; serve as the resource for policymakers, utilities and advocates who seek clear, practical options for establishing community solar programs; and to be the messenger to highlight the growing success of the community solar market.   CCSA will target several key states in 2016, including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and broaden its reach as the organization and the community solar market grows. The coalition will work with legislators, regulators and utilities to help develop fair policy and regulatory frameworks to drive sustainable growth for community solar.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Federal Leaders, “Lights Out” Talk Highlight NARUC Winter Meetings – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its 2016 Winter Meeting today and tomorrow at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Meetings will feature talks from FERC Chair Norman Bay, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. The federal representatives will discuss current rulemakings, priorities within their agencies, and the role of state regulators.  Also among the General Session speakers is USAID Power Africa Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones. Power Africa is a federal interagency effort working to significantly increase access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program works with public and private entities to decrease barriers to energy resources coming online and supports necessary reforms in regulatory and political structures to ensure the long-term viability of energy sectors. NARUC President Travis Kavulla of Montana will lead well-known author and journalist Ted Koppel in a thought-provoking question-and-answer session on his book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.  Along with cybersecurity, panel topics will cover high-profile regulatory matters such as the Clean Power Plan, pipeline safety, decarbonization, broadband, natural gas, and transportation issues. Panel participants include state commissioners, subject-matter experts and consumer advocates.

NE ISO Chief to Address Dinner – This evening, the National Capitol Area of the US Assn Of Energy Economists will host its annual dinner featuring a presentation by Gordon van Welie of ISO-New England on balancing clean energy integration with reliable and competitive power markets.  van Welie is president and chief executive officer of ISO New England Inc., having previously served at Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution LLC, where he served as vice president and general manager of the Power Systems Control Division and was responsible for managing information technology solutions for electric companies.

WCEE to Feature Sustainability Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:00 noon at Johnson Control DC office, the Women’s Council on Energy and the  Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch focused on the challenges and opportunities of leading the sustainability function within organizations.  From defining sustainability, to embedding it into the organization’s values and strategy, to operationalizing it, the event will explore some of the current issues faced by these sustainability officers.  Speakers will include GWU Sustainability Director Meghan Chapple Brown, CEQ’s Christine Harada, WRI’s Kevin Moss and Johnson Controls Catherine Potter.

CSIS to Look at Oil Markets for 2016 – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a public session on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to preview what 2016 may look like and the state of the oil market. The panel will discuss updated forecasts of supply and demand, the outlook for U.S. unconventionals production, and the implications for the midstream and refining sector. A month into the new year, oil and gas markets, companies, and lenders are off to a turbulent start, in many ways continuing trends from over the past 18 months. Despite the risk of supply disruptions around the globe and the most recent uptick in oil prices, resilient production, especially from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iraq, combined with the reentry of Iranian volumes, a strong dollar, abundant inventories, and the uncertainty surrounding new demand growth are likely to sustain low prices well into this year.  Speakers will include EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht and several others.

Forum to Look at Climate Innovation, Partnerships – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on Innovation in solving climate goals.  Debra Knopman and Zhimin Mao from RAND will discuss how RAND has worked with the Guangdong Provincial Department of Housing and Rural Development since 2011 to develop a system of quality of life indicators and identify policy options to advance sustainability in the Pearl River Delta region. Mark Ginsberg, Senior Fellow at U.S. Green Building Council and Principal of Ginsberg Green Strategies, will discuss how various LEED certification and scoring mechanisms are helping Chinese cities and professionals better measure and manage buildings and other urban systems. Abby Watrous, Senior ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will discuss how DOE is working with the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to deploy low-carbon development policy and planning tools for cities across China.

Forum to Tackle Strategic Impact of Falling Oil Price on Middle East – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Thursday 9:00 a.m. focused on the strategic implications of the fall of crude oil prices on the security and stability of the Middle East.  With the recent escalation of tensions between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Iran, there are many challenges.  Riyadh and Tehran are at odds in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as Iranian officials boast about their plans to increase oil production by as many as one million barrels per day. As the Kingdom and its Gulf partners pursue costly security efforts abroad, low oil prices have forced them to consider painful and traditionally unpopular economic reforms at home. Middle Eastern oil producers could very well face a dual threat – can they continue to balance demanding security challenges at home and abroad?  Speakers will include former WSJ Publisher Karen Elliot House, IHS Petroleum Risk Director Raad Alkadiri and Atlantic’s Sherri Goodman.

CSIS Hears BP Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. of the BP Energy Outlook – 2016 Edition with Spencer Dale , Group Chief Economist with BP p.l.c. The BP Energy Outlook attempts to describe the “most likely” trajectory of the global energy system – based upon assumptions around economic and population growth as well as developments in policy and technology – as well as examining key uncertainties. Questions to be addressed in the 2016 edition include: what factors will shape energy markets over the next 20 years? What impact would a slowdown in global economic growth have on energy demand? How could agreements reached at COP21 affect energy consumption?

Forum to Look at Russia, Oil Price Crash – On Thursday, the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum Russian and the impacts of the oil price crash. Like every energy exporter, Russia is suffering from low commodity prices. But, since the beginning of the slump (mid-2014), Russia’s economic policy response has been reasonably effective. Drawing on policies developed over the past 15 years, Russia has let its currency fall against the dollar, helping to balance the budget, and has continued adjusting oil taxation to incentivize exports. With Duma elections coming this fall, 2016 is likely to be a more difficult environment for Russian policy makers.  Yale’s Chris Miller will speak.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Price Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will hold a discussion on Friday at 12:30 p.m. the impact of low oil prices on economic and political stability in Latin America. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with far-reaching economic implications in Latin America. Today, governments across the region face fiscal constraints, market upheaval, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and lagging economic growth. Some are adapting creatively, while others are not. With this volatile landscape as a backdrop, panelists will address the following questions about impacts of the low-price environment.

RFF Policy Leadership Forum to feature Québec Premier – On Friday at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Phil Sharp and the Premier of Québec, Mr. Philippe Couillard, as they discuss critical environmental and energy issues facing North America.  Elected leader of his party and Premier of Québec in 2014, Premier Philippe Couillard is a neurosurgeon, former cabinet minister, member of Parliament, and respected leader, both in Canada and on the world stage.  Highlighting both the actions of state-level initiatives in addressing climate change—such as the Québec and California linked emissions trading system—as well as their roles on the world stage at COP21 in Paris, Québec has exercised significant leadership in the global community as part of the collective effort to solve the climate crisis.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NACo to Meet – The National Assn of Counties holds it legislative meetings In Washington next week at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

WCEE Tackles Solar – Next Monday, February 22nd at Noon, WCEE will host a forum on the many opportunities and challenges for the solar industry in the coming year. This event is first in a series about solar power.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, SEPA CEO Julia Hamm and EEI’s Lola Infante, who directs EEI’s Generation Fuels and Market Analysis.

Forum Looks at Enviros, Nuclear – The New America Foundation and Future Tense will host a lunch and conversation next Monday at Noon in Washington, D.C., to consider whether you can truly be an environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy.  Speakers will including for WSJ reporter and author Steve Levine, Aaron VanDevender of the Founders Fund, ASU’s Jennifer Richter and Argonne’s Nuclear R&D Technical Director Robert Hill.

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – On February 22, at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is rescheduling its GHG briefing cancelled by the January snow storm.  The forum will be a webinar and discuss how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

Brooking to Look at GHG Rules, State Implementation – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the Economic Studies group at Brookings will host an event to key issues related to state implementation of EPA’s GHG rules.  EPA has given states some flexibility in how they achieve their targets, and some states can continue work on implementation plans that balance the objectives of compliance, reliability, affordability, cross-state coordination, safety, and efficient long term low-carbon capital investment in the sector. States’ nearer term strategies could influence the evolution of the electricity sector for decades to come, well past the targeted 32 percent reduction in 2030 emissions from the sector relative to levels in 2005. Former Colorado Gov Bill Ritter will keynote, followed by a panel that includes former NJ Gov. and EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, NARUC Executive Director Greg White, Jonas Monast of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and RFF’s Josh Linn.

Senate Energy to Hear Jewel on Interior Budget – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the Department of the Interior’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.  Secretary Jewell will testify.

ELI Looks at Circular Economy Issues – Environmental Law Institute holds an afternoon forum regulatory and commercial law implications of a “circular economy” next Tuesday.  In response to the resource constraints, environmental pressures and economic barriers that characterize our “take and dispose” economy, many have put forward a vision for a “circular economy” that would not only conserve and recycle materials, but also contribute to new technological, financial and environmental innovations.  This session looks at the approach to supplant the way global production and energy systems operate. The purpose of this program is to explain the meaning of the “circular economy” and how it is being applied at the intersection of energy, environment and materials management and present some of the specific regulatory, procurement, financial structuring, and other legal initiatives that are emerging to help actualize its objectives globally.

Women in Solar Event Set – Women in Solar Energy (WISE) will hold its second annual NationWISE event on Tuesday, February 23rd  at 6:00 p.m. The goal of NationWISE is to discuss stories of women in different areas of the solar industry to show their diverse career paths and experiences and to prompt open discussion about female-friendly work environments. WISE is hoping to use this discussion to baseline its “best practices” that solar companies can adopt for human resources guidelines, female recruitment, and opportunities for women to excel in the solar energy industry.  Speakers include SEPA CEO Julia Hamm, Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke and DOE SunShot Initiative head Lidija Sekaric.

Forum  to Look at CPP – New America and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a forum on February 24th for a close look at the current gap between climate goals and climate action, and ways that gap can be filled.  John Larsen of the Rhodium Group will present a new analysis of progress toward meeting the U.S. climate target. Then an expert group, convened by C2ES President Bob Perciasepe and New America Senior Advisor Sharon Burke, will explore how technology innovation and stronger action by cities, states and the federal government can help reach the goal.  Speakers include Scott Fulton, President of the Environmental Law Institute, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, and Dr. Ellen Williams (invited), Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Senate Environment to Tackle RFS – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 24th to examine the renewable fuel standard.

IEA Medium-Term Oil Report Released – On Wednesday, February 24th at 1:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Office for Energy Markets and Security with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to present the IEA’s 2016 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director with ClearView Energy Partners LLC, and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.

House Resources to Look at Enviro Mitigation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday February 24th on new environmental mitigation regulations.

Distributed Wind Assn Hits Capitol – The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) holds its annual Capitol Hill Reception in S-115, The Capitol on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

NatGas Roundtable Feature Berkeley Research Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February lunch on Thursday, February 25th featuring James Koehler, Associate Director of Berkeley Research Group. Koehler is an energy finance, markets, and policy expert in Berkeley Research Group’s international Energy and Natural Resources practice, based in Washington, D.C.

Paper Details NatGas, Propane In PA – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at natural gas and propane and their increasing foothold as alternative fuel sources for Pennsylvania’s transportation sector. Across the state, transit agencies and other large fleets are converting from gasoline to natural gas or propane because of cost and environmental benefits. However, use of natural gas or propane is not limited to large fleets. Opportunities exist for small fleets or individual vehicles such as mid-size delivery vans and trucks, taxis, and high-mileage commercial vehicles. Opportunities also exist to become a station owner.  This paper was written as an educational tool for Pennsylvanians on the options for fuel conversions, refueling options, and a summary of what is available in the market. This paper covers a broad range of topics concerning natural gas and propane opportunities within the Commonwealth.

USEA to Look at Australia, US Competition Issues – Next Friday, February 26th at 10:30 a.m., the US Energy Association will hold a briefing to discuss similarities and differences between the US and Australian energy industries and other competition issues.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a Congressional Briefing next Friday on the Role of Benchmarking, Transparency and Codes in Driving a More Efficient Built Environment. The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Air Liquide CEO, Others Headline ARPA-E Event — On February 29th, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat.”  Graff will be interviewed by FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher along with BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore on Tuesday, March 1st.  EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons will speak on Wednesday, March 2nd.

Canada Energy Future Highlighted – The CSIS Energy Program will feature a discussion on March 2nd of Canada’s 2016 energy future.  The event will feature members of the Canadian National Energy Board, including Abha Bhargava, Director of Energy Integration, as well as Energy Futures Project Managers Bryce Van Sluys and Matthew Hansen.

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th  Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Energy Update: Week of January 25

Friends,

Happy Snow!!!!  Now that was a good snow storm.  But the difference between here and the North (Detroit for me) is that you usually have weeks/months of freezing cold temps and more snow still ahead of you.  Here, we had two straight days of sunny and 45 degrees following the storm, and today we are getting rain.  That should help clear some of the snow off the roads, even if the plowing isn’t quite as good as the colder climates.  Speaking of plowing, while I think Maryland did a good job, my drive (in the Volt, mind you) into the Capital today showed that DC still has a lot of catching up to do, as the downtown area remains basically gridlocked with minimal open lanes.  Thinking I might be on the MARC train/Metro for a few days.

Speaking of the storm, as the Mid-Atlantic region digs out, AHRI reminded local residents to protect their furnace vents and heat pumps by clearing piled up snow away from them:

“With a massive winter storm blasting the Nation’s Capital, it is important clear away snow and other debris that block airflow through the outdoor part of your heat pump.” said AHRI President Stephen Yurek. “We have so many things on our minds during a massive storm like this, but it is very important for those who use heat pumps to keep warm, to keep the outdoor part of their unit clear of snow.  Yurek also reminded those who have highly-efficient furnaces (those that require through-the-wall venting) to keep the vents clear of snow and ice for their safety and that of their loved ones. Failure to do so can result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.”

With school off another day, I just had to get back to work.  And the Senate does too, launching its energy reform package tomorrow.  The legislation, a bipartisan measure that cleared committee on an 18-4 vote last year, and includes provisions pushed by both Republicans and Democrats. They include measures to expedite liquefied natural gas exports, reform federal energy programs and improve the reliability of the electric grid.  While Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski said she hopes the legislation will move forward in a bipartisan manner, that may be wishful thinking in this election year.  Lots of rumors about amendments and they may take all forms from simple fixes in a manager’s amendment to off-the-wall political bombshells.  We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple weeks.

Many events are cancelled especially today and tomorrow, including the two House hearings and the Senate EPW markup/hearing.  I have provided a list of other events below but check them events before you venture out because Uber and Cabs are still up-charging I think.

Finally, if you want to think WARM, remember next week launches the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Weather report from TPC Scottsdale says SUNNY and 70s all week.  WM launches with its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, Celeb Pro-Am on Wednesday and real PGA golf starting Thursday.

Call if you have energy bill questions, need driving tips or are wondering how to prevent snow plows from covering your driveway after you’ve already shoveled it… and be safe out there.

Best,

Frank Maisano

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

 

IN THE NEWS

SCOTUS Lets FERC DR Rule Stand – The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a FERC rule  that promotes electricity conservation, handing a big victory to environmentalists and federal power regulators.  The 6-2 decision overturned a federal appeals panel ruling and affirmed the commission’s authority to offer incentives to reduce power consumption during peak demand periods by paying large users to curb their electricity use, policies that green groups say help open the power grid up to more renewable sources like wind and solar.

Bracewell FERC Experts Weigh In – My colleagues who are FERC experts weighed in with an Energy Blog Post yesterday. They say the Court was persuaded that FERC had taken care not trample on state regulatory authority by the fact that FERC’s DR regime permitted retail purchaser’s to participate in wholesale markets only if state regulators did not forbid them from doing so. They added that although it is early to tell, this decision appears to affirm a broader view of FERC’s jurisdiction over wholesale power markets than previously understood.

NRECA Protests Ruling – NRECA expressed disappointment over the Court’s ruling.  NRECA had challenged FERC Order 745 on the grounds that the Commission overstepped its jurisdictional authority.  “For decades, co-ops have been able to save co-op member-owners millions of dollars by creating robust demand response programs. We are concerned that by giving this pricing authority squarely to FERC, the Court has diminished the ability of state public utility commissions and the cooperative and municipal boards, to protect the interest of consumers. NRECA will continue to advocate for compensation levels that benefit co-op owner-members,” said Jay Morrison, vice president of regulatory affairs.  Electric cooperatives have aggressively pursued cost savings for consumer-members by offering a wide range of demand response programs; in fact in 2012, co-ops’ share of total retail electric sales was 11%, yet they were responsible for 19% of actual peak reduction,” he added.

Segal Looks at Impact on CPP Consideration – My Bracewell colleague Scott Segal, also the director of the ERCC read the opinion and found it interesting looking for implications towards future consideration of arguments on the CPP.  Segal said the Court says there is still a substantial statutory separation between FERC’s wholesale authority and state retail rate-making and recognized demand response as an exception noting that FERC was responding to a market-developed concept that had been approved by Congress and had a consumer protection and reliability rationale.  Segal adds that is a pretty limited view.  Segal: “The Court’s reasoning should give no comfort to supporters of the Clean Power Plan.  First, CPP in no sense was developed by the market.  Far from approved by Congress, it has been roundly opposed by Congress as inconsistent with 40 years of Clean Air Act precedent.  And rather than protecting consumers and reliability, a broad consensus of impartial third parties has found that CPP will have the opposite effect.”

BLM Rolls Methane Rules Just Before Big Storm – Talk about clearing the decks… Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed updates on Friday to 30-year-old natural gas emissions regulations for oil and gas operations on public and Native American lands, including a requirement that producers adopt modern techniques and equipment to limit flaring.   My expert colleague Sandra Snyder said if adopted, BLM’s regulations may have the unintended effect of deterring development on federal lands, thereby decreasing federal royalties.  The BLM rule BLM announced today rule proposes to add additional requirements to the already onerous process of obtaining an Application for Permit to Drill (APD).  Since 2010, it has taken industry on average well over 200 days to obtain an APD from BLM.  Adding additional requirements will inevitably lead to additional delays.  Moreover, she adds BLM needs to make good on its pledge to avoid redundant requirements, while also recognizing the voluntary efforts of industry to reduce emissions through the implementation of innovative technologies.  The financial benefit of capturing more of its product is not news to oil and gas production companies — they’ve been ahead of the government on this issue for quite some time.

Cabot Already Ahead of BLM Rules – As Sandra mentioned, the fact is, industry has been ahead of the curve on this for years, working diligently on its own to reduce methane emissions.  It’s both good environmental stewardship and makes sense from a business standpoint; since companies strive for efficiency, it makes sense to capture as much product as you can.  To cite one example: Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations.  The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period.  A big part of the trick involves optimizing “green completions,” which means minimizing natural gas flaring during the cleanup phase after a well is completed by diverting gas into a pipeline.

IPAA Says Rule’s Timing is Bad – The IPAA said the reduction of emissions through limited venting and flaring is in the government and the industry’s best interest. Financially, no oil or natural gas producer would choose to lose valuable resources that could otherwise be sold. And when the product is sold, the U.S. treasury receives a royalty. Further, increased natural gas production and use have resulted in cleaner air for the United States. We are concerned that these new rules could create a regulatory regime that prevents the extension of the financial and important environmental benefits generated by American oil and natural gas production.  “This is the latest in the string of bad policies released by this administration showing a lack of knowledge of how the oil and gas industry truly works. Imposing these new regulations will make it more expensive and harder for independent producers to operate, reducing America’s total energy production and preventing additional receipts from going back to the US Treasury. Making matters worse, lifting the royalty rate ceiling simply leaves the door open for the federal government to increase rates on producers down the road. This will change the predictability and certainty for operators on federal lands, making it harder to plan and commit to long-term projects. With oil and natural gas prices currently at their lowest in decades, now is the worst time to raise fees on America’s independent producers.”

Court Denies Stay Request for CPP – Last Thursday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for expedited briefing in the case regarding the carbon rules for the power sector, while denying the imposition of an immediate stay.  My colleague Scott Segal said the expedited briefing schedule is indicative of the seriousness with which the court is taking the case and the very substantial legal issues that need to be resolved in order to safeguard electric reliability and consumer interests.  He added a record 27 states are challenging the GHG plan, along with some 25 national and state trade associations, 39 rural cooperatives, 12 major corporations, and three labor unions with combined membership nearing one million.”

WV AG Considers SCOTUS Review on Stay Request – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office will consider urging the U.S. Supreme Court to halt ongoing, irreversible harm caused by EPA’s Power Plan.  Morrisey says if left intact, the plan will lead to skyrocketing electricity bills and devastate West Virginia’s coal industry and the countless jobs depending upon its success.  “We are disappointed in today’s decision, but believe we will ultimately prevail in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues. We are pleased, however, that the court has agreed to expedite hearing the case.”

Rural Co-ops Say Stay Important to Protect Rural Consumers – NRECA also expressed deep disappointment with a court’s refusal to halt implementation of EPA’s rule. NRECA was among those that petitioned the court to stay the rule while a separate battle over its legality plays out: “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan will cause immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “While the rule’s emission reduction requirements don’t kick in for several years, co-ops must start taking immediate costly and irreversible steps to achieve the goals set forth in the EPA’s overreaching regulations. The result will be lost jobs, economic harm to rural communities and significant electric rate increases for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens—families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.”

Chamber Says Expedited Review of CPP Essential – The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the D.C. Circuit Court decision to expedite legal review of carbon regulations indicates that the court agrees that it is important to review the rules quickly. As the Chamber and its partners have argued all along, the rule is already hurting American businesses. The Court’s decision to deny the stay motion is about procedure. The Chamber says it looks forward to presenting our arguments to the Court as part of an expedited review process, and we will continue our efforts to halt the EPA’s unprecedented effort to restructure the American economy.

AEA: Don’t File a Plan – AEA President Thomas Pyle penned an op-ed in Morning Consult cautioning state leaders against submitting a state plan for EPA’s carbon regulation–what EPA calls the “Clean Power Plan.” EPA, environmental groups, and utilities are pressuring state leaders to submit state plans by implying that a federal plan will be much worse for their citizens. But as Pyle points out, state and federal plans are essentially the same. The only major difference is that a state plan locks citizens in to this costly regulation—even if the rule is thrown out in court—while a federal plan does not.  Click here to continue reading the op-ed.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – After the Snow out over the weekend, the Washington Auto Show continues really launched this week.  The opening on Friday was delayed due to the weather.  The show runs through Sunday.

AHRI Forum To Highlight New Technologies – Our friends at AHRI were lucky to miss the storm by decamping to Orlando for their annual AHR Expo, an annual trade show co-sponsored by AHRI and ASHRAE. It is one of the largest industry expos, drawing over 1400 exhibitors and over 60,000 HVAC professionals.  The event focuses on highlighting advancements that address the dynamic requirements of today’s HVACR industry.  Over 80% of the Show Exhibitors are introducing new or upgraded products, systems and technologies that are being unveiled and showcased on the 2016 AHR Expo floor.  Spanning categories from indoor air quality to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.

CANCELLED — House Ag to Host EPA’s McCarthy – The House Agriculture Committee hearing today on the impact of EPA regulations on the rural economy featuring EPA Chief Gina McCarthy will be rescheduled

CANCELLED – SAFE Forum to Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict – Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Capitol Hill lunch event tomorrow has been postponed to February 12th pending speaker confirmations.  The event was to discuss the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and U.S. energy and national security interests in the region and feature  SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council member General Charles F. Wald (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), former NSC head John Hannah, former National Economic Council official Bob McNally and FP Correspondent Indira Lakshmanan.

NAS Social Cost of Carbon Presser – CANCELLED

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event tomorrow that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

CANCELLED – House Oversight to Look at RFS – The House Oversight Hearing On the RFS will also be rescheduled to a Later date.

NAM State of Manufacturing Tour to Start in NH, FL – The National Association of Manufacturers, the unified voice of more than 14,000 manufacturers in the United States, will tour the country for the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour starting tomorrow in Manchester, New Hampshire and Tampa, Florida.  See full schedule here.  NAM is showcasing modern manufacturing, highlighting the importance of manufacturing to America and laying out solutions that will create more jobs, seize global leadership and expand the circle of opportunity so wide that the American Dream is available to everyone.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, DC on Wednesday at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Prices, Middle East Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the impact of low oil prices in the Middle East. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with sweeping economic and political implications for the Middle East. Amidst falling oil revenues, governments from the Gulf to Iraq and beyond face fiscal crises, market upheaval, disruption of traditional ways of doing business, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and slumping economic growth. In the midst of this volatile landscape, energy producers in the region face an uncertain future that will have ramifications in the years to come.  Our friend Jamie Webster of IHS will be among the speakers.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Battery Storage 101 Features ESA, Tesla – On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the Battery Energy Storage Caucus and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a “Battery Energy Storage 101 and Introduction to the Battery Storage Industry” briefing.  The future of renewables comes in a battery. Companies across the country are developing batteries for home storage connected to solar panels, grid scale storage and automobiles. From Tesla’s lithium ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada to Michigan-based Sakti3 which is commercializing a high-energy density battery, the storage revolution is upon us.  The event will discuss how exactly battery energy storage works with the Energy Storage Association and learn what leaders in the industry are doing in the grid side application of storage to make our grid more secure and cost effective.

FUTURE EVENTS

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Panel to Look at Geoengineering – Next Monday, February 1st at 12:15 p.m., Future Tense New America will hold a book lunch on Geoengineering and how it could change the world.  Geoengineering is the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate and might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial.  In his new book, “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World,” Oliver Morton argues that the risks of climate change merit serious action. According to Morton, geoengineering is not a simple or singular solution to the problem, but it is worth exploring, even if it’s never actually deployed.

Wilson Forum to Look at Middle East Oil Price Equation – The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host a forum next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. on the implications of the collapse of oil prices for the Middle East.  The collapse of the oil prices has shocked both producers and consumers worldwide. As the most important producing region of the world, the Middle East has been particularly affected; state revenues are down, and cutthroat competition for market share and low global demand translates into greater challenges and uncertainty. The regional economic outlook is unclear, and questions remain about the potential long-term impact of sustained low oil prices. Three experts will analyze the geopolitical and financial aspects of the sharp decline in oil prices on both importing and exporting countries in the Middle East.

WCEE Forum with FERC ALJs – The Women’s Council on Energy & Environment will host a Litigation Roundtable next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. with the women Administrative Law Judges at FERC and EPA. The Judges will discuss why and how they became Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and how they have mentored others, and share the dos and don’ts regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Jacobson to Address Anti-Nuclear Group – The anti-nuclear group NIRS will hold a tele-briefing next Tuesday on “Paris and the path forward to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.  As if there is one…  The discussion will feature controversial advocate/academic Mark Jacobson of Stanford and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani, both of who will explain what the climate agreement achieved and what its implications are for our energy future and nuclear power here in the U.S.

BPC Event to Look at Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the American Energy Innovation Council of the BPC will hold an event that will examine the rationale and implications of expanding federal support for energy innovation. The first panel will explore the economic impact of federal investments in energy innovation, focusing on how these investments can best leverage additional investments and ensure America’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving global energy marketplace. Phil Giudice, CEO at Ambri, will join to discuss how his grid storage company is working to develop transformative innovations in energy storage. A second panel will review new, collaborative institutional models that are working to create better bridges across the “valleys of death,” while aligning public and private sector priorities. ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams and our friends Kevin Kolevar of Dow Chemical and author Steve LeVine,

Forum to Discuss Transformations in Energy Technology – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion reflecting on BP’s Technology Outlook and its insights on how we may identify, extract, store, and ultimately consume our energy. The event will feature a presentation and panel with David Eyton, Head of Technology at BP, and Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy and Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz.

NAS Hosts Meeting on Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, NatGas, Ethanol – On February 4th  and 5th, the National Academies of Science will host a meeting on domestic transportation of fuels.  Given a number of recent events, look for a candid discussion of potential policies.

Sustainable Energy Factbook Release – For the fourth year in a row, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas & renewable energy sectors in the United States. On Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 p.m., a panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from BNEF will discuss why 2015 was a watershed year for the US clean energy economy,

WCEE Feature World Bank Expert on Green Bonds – The Women’s Council On Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 noon on Green Bonds featuring World Bank expert Akiko Nakagawa. Nakagawa shares her work on developing and supervising projects financed through green bonds as well as how these bonds are placed in the climate negotiation’s context.  Laura Tlaiye will explain the requirements of green bond eligible projects and how bonds are structured.

Woolsey to Headline Lecture – On Friday, February 5th at 5:30 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host the third Brian Kelley Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Energy Security in the 21st Century.”  The year’s lecture will feature Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.  Woolsey has been one of the most prominent analysts of national security issues, as well as energy policy. He has been a proponent of US energy independence and the protection of major infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as our electric grid upon which everything in our civilization depends.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak Ridge, TN. Continuing on the important work of the 2015 Advanced Reactors Technical Summit II at UMass Lowell and the inaugural 2014 Special Technical Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory, the Technical Summit III will continue the discussion on approaches for improving the cost and deployment time frame of advanced reactors. Specifically the Summit III will engage in a discussion of common ground practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly accelerating advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations. The Technical Summit III features the leading advanced reactor concepts as well as key thought and policy leaders.  Speakers will include NRC Commissioner William Ostroff and DOE’s John Kotek, among many others.

Energy Update: Week of January 19

Friends,

As we prep for the “massive” snow headed toward the East Coast (hurry up and rush out to get your bread and milk) we should remember that it is winter.  Regardless, stay tuned and we’ll be ready to report to you next week regardless of the weather.

Keeping it short this week because I’m still on a birthday downer.  As I get older, I just see it as another day, but I feel really humbled and blessed by all the folks who took a minute out of their day to wish me well over the weekend.  Thanks for that.  Presents:  A great new USA Field Hockey pullover for umpiring and a new visor for my Hockey helmet.  Can’t ask for more than that…other than a few more grants to help pay for Hannah’s Wellesley tuition this summer.

We are two weeks away from Iowa votes and it is getting really busy including tomorrow’s annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.  The Nation’s mayors are in DC this week for the 84th Winter Meeting so you can expect to hear about climate actions and other energy issues.

Meantime, the Senate returns this week while the House returns next .  A couple of good hearings in Senate Energy  this week with EIA’s Adam Sieminski and our friend Jim Lucier on Energy markets today and Thursday experts on auto innovations.  Tomorrow, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee digs into Iran issues following the weekend’s moves on sanctions and swapping prisoners.  We can cover a lot of issues from human rights to Iran oil issues, so please let us know.

Off the Hill, FTC holds a panel this morning on emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, which will feature SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond following the DOT announcements last week for $4B self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span.

Kudos to Rep./Dr. Phil Sharp, RFF President and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, who will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security from Energy Secretary Moniz tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.  Cato holds a forum at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  And the Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media day will be Thursday.

Also on Thursday, US Energy Assn hosts its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.

Finally, on Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Wilson Center will hold its 4th annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016.

Call if you have questions and are not snowed in…

Best,

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Industry, Advocates Reach Agreement on AC Efficiency Standard – Industry and efficiency advocates reached an agreement last week on a new energy efficiency rule for residential central air-conditioners and heat pumps. The deal will save around 2.8 quadrillion Btu over the 30-year life of the new standard (for reference, the U.S. consumed about 97 quads in 2011). The previous version was finalized in 2011 and the Energy Department is required to complete a new standard for the equipment by June 2017 or state that one isn’t economically justified given current technology. But in an effort to keep the rule on schedule, DOE organized a negotiated rulemaking process last year between industry and advocates. While the agreement is a big deal, other approvals are needed and DOE still has to turn the details into a proposed rule.

White House Proposes $4B for Self-Driving Cars – In an announcement at the Detroit Auto Show, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the 2017 budget proposal will include $4B for self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span. Among other things, the funds would cover a program to test self-driving cars on technologically advanced roads.  To encourage tests, the DOT also plans to make up to 2,500 self-driving cars exempt from some proposed safety rules for up to two years, and to work with state governments to create state regulations for autonomous vehicles.  Remember, last year in October, there was a NPC Newsmaker on the topic that including Google advisor and former GM exec Larry Burns, Domino’s Pizza EVP Lynn Liddle and Robbie Diamond, President of SAFE, who respectively spoke to the implications of driverless cars for the business community and the opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on oil.  SAFE also formed an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a group of leading experts that are guiding action plans to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.

SAFE CEO Says DOT Regs Good Start – In response to DOT Secretary Foxx’s announcement of pending regulations on driverless and connected cars, SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said the United States is crossing the threshold into the largest transformation in transportation since the invention of the automobile. Diamond: “Driverless, connected cars will save lives, reducing road fatalities by 90 percent. They will also encourage the mass deployment of electric vehicles and lessen America’s dependence on oil through improved fuel efficiency, diversity and drastically different ownership models.   With the government setting aside $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to put the rubber to the road, it demonstrates the need to test and prove this technology immediately on public streets. This does not, however, need to be a large, expensive government program. Any future rules at the national or state level should be minimal until proven necessary to give businesses the space to continue their investment in transportation innovation. Accelerating driverless vehicle technology will reduce fatalities and injuries, drastically lower healthcare costs, offer more fuel choice, cut congestion, and give mobility to millions of people who currently have none due to age or disability.”  We can find you great resources on this topic, so please let me know if you are covering it.

Solar Jobs Expanding – The Solar Foundation released its highly anticipated jobs report, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed about 209,000 people last year.  SF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015 is the 6th annual update of current employment, trends and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. Census 2015 found that the industry continues to exceed growth expectations, adding workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy and accounting for 1.2% of all jobs created in the U.S. over the past year. Our long-term research shows that solar industry employment has grown by 123% in the past six years, resulting in nearly 115,000 domestic living-wage jobs.  The solar workforce is larger than the oil and gas extraction industry, which shed 13,800 jobs in 2015 and now employs 187,200 people. The oil and gas pipeline construction industry, which employs 129,500 workers, lost 9,500 jobs (U.S. BLS) during the same period. The solar industry is already three times larger than the coal-mining industry, which employs 67,929 people (JobsEQ 2015Q3). Solar employers surveyed expect to add more than 30,000 jobs over the next 12 months. The expected increase of 14.7% would bring the count of U.S. solar workers to 239,625 by the end of 2016.

Foundation Awards Scholarships to HVACR Students, Veterans – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr., Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), today announced $60,500 in scholarship funds to 35 students, including five veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  The awards are for qualified and dedicated students that are pursuing careers in the HVACR and water heating industry that can help close the employment and skills gaps, according to AHRI CEO Steve Yurek.   Since the Rees Scholarship Foundation was founded in 2003, it has awarded almost $440,000 in scholarships to more than 250 deserving students and instructors. For a list of past scholarship recipients, click here.   The Rees Scholarship Foundation was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians by awarding scholarships to qualified students enrolled in an institutionally accredited school. Eligible students must be preparing for a career in either residential or light commercial air conditioning, heating, or water heating, or commercial refrigeration.

Murkowski, Faison Set Marker for Republican Climate Energy – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and a conservative clean-energy advocate say there is vast untapped potential for hydropower across the country in a New York Times op-ed that ran last week. Murkowski and Jay Faison call on the president to back the energy bill for its hydropower provisions. Murkowski and Faison say they “believe climate change is a threat, and appreciate [Obama’s] offer to collaborate.” They argue that the president should back the energy bill because it clears away bureaucratic red tape that slows the growth of hydropower, a zero-emission power source that faces opposition from environmentalists and a costly relicensing process.

DOE Awards Southern to Grant to Lead Advanced Nuclear Tech Development – Southern Company was awarded up to $40 million from DOE to explore, develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear reactor technologies through subsidiary Southern Company Services.  The effort will be managed through a new public-private partnership with TerraPower, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute and Vanderbilt University. Housed at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the research will bolster the development of molten chloride fast reactors (MCFR), an advanced concept for nuclear generation.  Researchers believe MCFRs could provide enhanced operational performance, safety, security and economic value, relative to other advanced reactor concepts. The MCFR project is one of two DOE cost-shared advanced reactor concept development projects awarded $6 million in 2016, with an opportunity for $40 million each in total funding over multiple years.  A long-standing proponent of nuclear power, Southern Company – through its subsidiaries – is the only electric utility in America today developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including being one of the first to build new nuclear units in more than 30 years. The company is building the two new nuclear units at subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle, which are expected to provide enough emission-free generation to power 500,000 homes and businesses.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) continues this week in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview today and tomorrow. Last week was press week and to see a the full 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule look under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Food, Energy, Water Conference Set –The Food-Energy-Water Nexus conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Hyatt at Reagan National Airport.  The conference will feature 1,200 other leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that transform ideas into action.

EIA Head to Discuss Energy Markets at Senate Energy – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing this morning to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski will testify along with several others including our friends Jim Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners and Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

SAFE CEO, Others to Join FTC Forum –The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a one-day workshop today to explore competition and related issues in the U.S. auto distribution system, including how consumers and businesses may be affected by state regulations and emerging trends in the industry. The event will take place in Washington, D.C. at the FTC’s Constitution Center Auditorium.  The January workshop will focus primarily on exploring the competition issues arising from state level regulation of auto distribution.  It also will explore emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on how those trends will affect the current regulatory system that governs the auto industry.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Markets – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing today to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.

Heritage to Look at Western Lands – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion today at Noon on rethinking Federal Management of Western Lands. Utah House Speaker Gregory H. Hughes will be the main speaker.

Forum to Look at GMOs – Cato will hold a forum tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  The event will feature Monsanto’s  Robert Fraley, North Carolina State’s  Jennifer Kuzma and Marian Tupy, Editor of  www.humanprogress.org.   For thousands of years, farmers used selective breeding to produce more plentiful harvests and increase the usefulness of domesticated animals. Today, genetic engineering allows businesses to do the same—but more cheaply, precisely and speedily. Unbeknownst to most people, the use of genetically modified organisms is not limited to agriculture. GMO technology is all around us, helping to produce life-enhancing products, such as synthetic insulin, and life-saving medicines, such as cancer-fighting Avastin. Still, controversy surrounding GMOs persists. Join us to hear our two distinguished speakers discuss the risks and benefits associated with GMO science.

Energy to Hold Appliance Efficiency Meeting –  DOE and its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will hold a meeting of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Moniz to Present Schlesinger Energy Medal – On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., Energy Secretary Moniz will present the “Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security,”  at Forrestal.  The James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security honors an individual’s distinguished contributions to advancing our understanding of the threats, opportunities and energy policy choices impacting the domestic and international energy security interests of the United States through analysis, policy or practice.   The first Medal was given to Daniel Yergin on October 1, 2014, the 37th anniversary of the Energy Department’s formal opening in 1977.  Wednesday, Dr. Phil Sharp, President of Resources for the Future and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security .

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – The Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media Day will be Thursday.

Forum to Look at Climate, Food Security – The American Meteorological Society the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America will hold a briefing on climate change and food security in Russell 485 at 3:00 p.m.

Senate Energy to Look at Auto Tech innovations – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry. Witnesses for Thursday include DOE’s David Friedman, AAMA’s Mitch Bainwol, Electric Drive Transportation Association President Genevieve Cullen, NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart and Xavier Mosquet of the Boston Consulting Group.

USEA Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at Noon in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.  Speakers will include NEI’s Marvin Fertel, API’s Jack Gerard, APPA’s Susan Kelly, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AGA’s Dave McCurdy, NMA’s Hal Quinn, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AFPM’s Chet Thompson and INGAA’s Don Santa among others.

Brookings Expert to Look at Climate Economics – Brookings Institution Climate and Energy Economics Project Director Adele Morris delivers remarks at a National Economists Club luncheon on Thursday at Noon in Chinatown Garden Restaurant.  Morris will focus on climate change economics and policy.

Forum to Look at African Energy Finance – On Thursday afternoon, the US Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum on the future of energy investment in Africa. The event will explore a variety of deep-dive topics related to energy investment and development in Africa, and will host attendance from both major players in various energy markets on the continent, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) currently operating within the energy sector in Africa and the U.S. See below for the panel schedule.

Green Car Journal to Announce Winner at Auto ShowGreen Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on Thursday . Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Forum to Look at Energy, Russia Relations – The Wilson Center will hold a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on how energy/environment issues impact prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations.

EPRI’s Tyrant to Address Grid Issues – On Friday at Noon at Carmines, the US Assn of Energy Economists will host Barbara Tyran of EPRI at its monthly lunch to discuss grid interconnect issues.  Tyran is the principal liaison between EPRI executive management, and Congress, the Administration, the national trade associations, the national leadership of the state public utility commissions, state legislators/regulators, and the Washington energy community.

SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its fourth annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists from National Geographic, Huffington Post, Bloomberg BNA, Environment & Energy Daily, and more to be confirmed.  Speakers will Include our friends Meaghan Parker, Jeff  Burnside and Doug Fischer.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – Next Monday at 11:00 a.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing discussing how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

GU Group to Look at Paris Results – Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold a forum on next Tuesday to assess COP 21’s results.  The panel will feature GU Prof Featuring Joanna Lewis, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center and students Norah Berk, SFS ’15 and Alexandra Donovan, SFS ’17.

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event on Wednesday January 27th that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, Dc on Wednesday January 27th at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday, January 27th at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday, January 27th at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, January 27th, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday January 28th to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak ridge, TN.

Energy Update: Week of December 14

Friends,

That was a very busy weekend — way more busy than it should be around the middle of December…  At least the weather was beautiful for Mid-December.

Anyway, the Paris Climate deal is done although we really don’t know what it will really “should” or “shall”  do.  It certainly isn’t clear that the agreement is as historic as the initial coverage has portrayed.   Full details and links below.

The second major issue comes to a head today when the budget discussions surrounding crude oil exports, refiner credits and tax incentives for renewables hit a deadline.  The Senate and House are both in session this week primarily working to complete a $1.1 trillion spending measure to fund the government. Members have until midnight Wednesday to agree to and pass the omnibus spending bill.   We are happy to offer the latest thoughts, perspective and timing.

This is really the last week for events around town as before the holidays roll in.  Tomorrow, CSIS will host a panel discussion looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure.   On Wednesday the Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  also Wednesday, the Wilson Center gets into the just-approved UN Climate plan.  Finally, on Friday, former EIA head and current CSIS energy expert Guy Caruso will discuss the current energy state of the play.

So while, the UN climate deal and the Congressional budget deal might seem like big news to us today, we might expect it to be off the radar by Thursday when the new Stars Wars movie rolls out.  While there are three world premieres tonight, it will be in already sold-out theaters on Thursday.  Speaking of Star Wars, perhaps my favorite Bill Murray song as Saturday Night Live’s Nick Winters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqedbxGxfgE

Call with questions…And May the Force Be With You

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The Deal – 196 nations agreed to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future in Paris over the weekend.  For the first time, the accord brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.  The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Here is the text: http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600008831

The Word “Shall” – As you may have seen, there has been wide-spread reporting of the one-word change that was essential to getting an agreement.  US negotiators discovered in the final draft text in Article 4 a line declaring that wealthier countries “shall” set economy-wide targets for cutting their greenhouse gas pollution.  But the word shall Implied a legal obligation and the as you know, that would force the hand of the President to submit the agreement to Congress.

French Negotiator Rams in Through as Technical Correction –French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius worked the words into the technical changes where the wording was read aloud by a delegate in the plenary hall and lost in a package of other technical revisions.   Prior to that Fabius had worked the room on several key negotiating teams and already received approval (or at least no objection to) the change and the deal was inked.  Minutes later, French banged his gavel and the most significant international climate change deal in history won the resounding approval of 196 governments, representing nearly every country on the planet.

President Obama Speaks form Oval Office – While this speech was as bold and important as his speech to the nation on terrorism issues last week, President Barack Obama made a statement Saturday Night from the Oval Office.  “We came together around the strong agreement the world needed,” Obama said from the White House. “We met the moment.  He added “the American people can be proud — because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership.”

Chamber Expert in Paris Offers Comment – Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy:   “The Paris climate conference delivered more of the same—lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved.  While we are reviewing the final agreement, it’s clear that implementation still faces the same obstacles that we’ve been warning about for years.  None of the commitments made, including those by the U.S., are binding, and many aren’t even complete. Moreover, Congress must appropriate any funds that the Obama administration has pledged.  The White House’s overall domestic strategy of making energy more expensive and less abundant to satisfy international constituencies, many of whom compete against the United States, should worry the business community, American workers, and consumers. We will continue our efforts to understand how this deal affects the U.S. jobs and growth.”

Not Every Enviro is On Board – While most enviro groups swallowed hard, put on a happy face and supported the agreement, some wouldn’t go so quietly.  In response to the final agreement reached, Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute unloaded: “The plain truth is that Paris didn’t produce the strong, just and binding treaty we need to protect the planet’s most climate-vulnerable people and our very web of life from climate chaos. But the summit did highlight the growing power of a global movement for true climate justice.”  You can see the full extent of their complaints here.

 

With the climate agreement, here is some initial analysis.  

Historic? No So Much – It is impressive to get 195 nations to agree on anything and clearly a positive to have them all at a table talking about the issue of climate change.  I remain skeptical that this is a historic agreement but yet another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than many advocates would ever have found remotely acceptable.  It is clear that nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.

Signal to Business – Secretary of State Kerry said the deal didn’t need to be mandatory because it still sends a strong signal to business that clean energy is only future.  “The result will be a very clear signal to the marketplace of the world, that people are moving into low-carbon, no-carbon, alternative, renewable energy, and I think it’s going to create millions of jobs, enormous investments into R&D, and that R&D is going to create the solutions, not government,” Kerry said.  Given the broad and always-changing nature of our energy picture, there may be some truth to his statement, but it is clear not as clear as Kerry says given the volatility of energy pricing, the key questions of infrastructure and reliability and the nature of regional differences in our energy mix.

Temperatures – As for the temperature goal, the vague wording remains as aspirational as ever with little hope of achieving the target through this agreement or any ensuing actions, especially since nobody will be bound to them.  Maybe emissions reductions, new technologies or increased political will can meet these goals, but it is unlikely and nearly every one participating in the UN process knows that.

Process is Flawed – This agreement underscores what I have argued since Kyoto in 1997.  Only small incremental steps can be achieved in this flawed UN Climate process, unless there is a new global dedication to innovation and technology advancement that is moved to the front and center.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like the one detailed at the beginning the Paris conference by world and business leaders can achieve success.

I find the following section intriguing, not to mention the parts in bold seem like great quotes:

1.    17. Notes with concern that the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels in 2025 and 2030 resulting from the intended nationally determined contributions do not fall within least-cost 2 ˚C scenarios but rather lead to a projected level of 55 gigatonnes in 2030, and also notes that much greater emission reduction efforts will be required than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions in order to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions to 40 gigatonnes or to 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing to a level to be identified in the special report referred to in paragraph 21 below;

2. The terms “invites” and “requests,” among others point to the degree to which this agreement lacks teeth.

3. ABC reprinted a summary that provides some interesting information http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/key-points-landmark-paris-climate-agreement-35735723>

Here are some of the key elements of the deal:

—LONG-TERM GOAL: The long-term objective of the agreement is to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures have already increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. To achieve that goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible.” By some point after 2050, the agreement says, man-made emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb.

—EMISSIONS TARGETS: In order to reach the long-term goal, countries agreed to set national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions every five years. More than 180 countries have already submitted targets for the first cycle beginning in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms; developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time. Until then, they are expected only to rein in the growth of emissions as their economies develop. The Paris deal doesn’t make national emissions reduction targets legally binding, so its success will largely depend on the effectiveness of a new system to revisit each country’s progress and raise targets every five years.

—REVIEWING TARGETS: The initial targets won’t be enough to put the world on a path to meet the long-term temperature goal. So the agreement asks governments to review their targets in the next four years and see if they can “update” them. That doesn’t require governments to deepen their cuts. But the hope is that it will be possible for them to do so if renewable energy sources become more affordable and effective. The Paris agreement attempts to lay down new rules to make sure all countries calculate and publicly report their emissions reductions in the same way after 2020, making it possible to keep track of global progress.  The US already has a sophisticated GHG tracking inventory and reports annually.  But developing countries are still new to international reporting on climate policies as evidenced by reports recently that large and sophisticated developing countries like China have been already underreporting emissions.

—TRANSPARENCY: There is no penalty for countries that miss their emissions targets. But the agreement has transparency rules to help encourage countries to actually do what they say they will do. That was one of the most difficult pieces to agree on, with China asking for softer requirements for developing countries. The agreement says all countries must report on their emissions and their efforts the reduce them. But it allows for some “flexibility” for developing countries that “need it.”

—MONEY: The agreement says wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. It also encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis. That paves the way for emerging economies such as China to contribute, even though it doesn’t require them to do so. Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the agreement itself, but wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020.

—LOSS AND DAMAGE: In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing “loss and damage” associated with climate-related disasters. The U.S. long objected to addressing the issue in the agreement, worried that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events. In the end, the issue was included, but a footnote specifically stated that loss and damage does not involve liability or compensation.

—INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:  The business community won on IP issues when direct references to IPR have been banished from the text. But that pleasure is tempered by the language that found its way into the text: “Accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change and promoting economic growth and sustainable development. Such effort shall be, as appropriate, supported, including through financial means by the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, for collaborative approaches to research and development, and facilitating access to technology, in particular for early stages of the technology cycle, to developing countries.”  Translation: We would like for developed countries to give us more money to buy down IPR and, who knows, maybe even provide compulsory licensing.

 

Enhanced Action Prior to 2020 – The whole section either “urges” or “recognizes.” For example, it “Urges host and purchasing Parties to report transparently on internationally transferred mitigation outcomes, including outcomes used to meet international pledges, and emission units issued under the Kyoto Protocol with a view to promoting environmental integrity and avoiding double counting;”

Can I have a strongly urges? –  Resolves to enhance the provision of urgent and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties in order to enhance the level of ambition of pre-2020 action by Parties, and in this regard strongly urges developed country Parties to scale up their level of financial support, with a concrete roadmap to achieve the goal of jointly providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support;

Asks for Another High Level Meeting before 2020 – “121. Agrees to convene, pursuant to decision 1/CP.20, paragraph 21, building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and in conjunction with each session of the Conference of the Parties during the period 2016–2020, a high-level event that:”… “Provides an opportunity for announcing new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions.”

What Comes Next – First, there will be a signature ceremony on April 22, 2016 that lays out the basic template for “ratification, acceptance, approval or accession,” and sets up a template for future dialogue.  Negotiators will meet again in Morocco next year in early November 7, 2016 in Marrakesh.  It will be the second time they have been to Marrakesh where the COP was held in 2001.  Many delegates never attended the Morocco meeting following the terrorists attacks in U.S. in September of that year.  Next year they will focus on innovation and adaption while continuing efforts to limit emissions.

One Significant Success on HFCs, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – One great success that will probably achieve more than the entire Paris agreement was reached midway through the two week session.   Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

 The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing today at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

US AID Head Addresses Climate, Asia Developing Countries – The Stimson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at climate change and developing countries in Asia.  USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia Jonathan Stivers will discuss the challenges that climate change and environmental protection pose for developing countries in Asia and the cooperative and leadership opportunities that it creates for the US Rebalance. Stimson’s Brian Eyler will provide regional context and moderate questions.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion tomorrow looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

TX Co-Op CEO Feature in Energy times Webinar – The Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  In a recent interview, Hewa laid out his vision for crafting effective strategies to achieve advancements in demand response, energy efficiency and increased renewable partnerships in its central Texas territory, including fast-growing regions outside of Austin and San Antonio.  You can register here.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

STEM Reception to Honor Efforts – STEM4US! will host a Talk & Congressional Reception om Thursday evening in B-369 Rayburn on investing in STEM.   The event will feature executives from some of the most well-known brands in energy, technology/telecom, and health sciences along with Members of Congress and other leaders for a conversation about the impact of their investments in STEM and growing the pipeline of diverse workers in the energy, tech, and telecom fields.  Particular focus will be given to initiatives in exciting and inspiring youth about good-paying, sustainable STEM jobs as a way of stemming the spike in violence sweeping the nation.  STEM4US! is an advocacy organization formed to provide universities, schools, and parents with the tools to excite and prepare young people for careers in energy, technology, and other STEM fields.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – The US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, on Friday at Noon for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Thanksgiving Energy Update

Friends,

 

It is a slow week with the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday.  But the opening of the Paris Climate meeting and the impending RFS roll out will take the majority of the upcoming attention.

Below I am offering a few quick points on the Paris Climate Meetings to set up the November 30th  launch.  We will have more next week as the meetings kick off.  Most importantly, please let me know if you will be in Paris at any point over the next two weeks so I can add you to my list of reporters on-site and stay in touch on activities.

As for the RFS, sources are reporting the latest rumor is that the rule will be released next week on its due date, November 30th.  There were some rumors that it may be released Wednesday or even Friday, but that was tamped down last week.  With the President arriving in Paris on the same day and speaking December 1st on his negotiating priorities, there are some thoughts that White House will want any political indigestion from the RFS under cover from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Just in case it rolls, I have included a quick primer with contacts for you to reach over the holiday.

Finally, enjoy your family over Thanksgiving.  Enjoy some football and remember, the first American “President” to call for a national day of thanksgiving was Maryland native (eastcoast beach Route 50 namesake) John Hanson in 1782, seven years before Geo Washington’s first proclamation.

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PRE-PARIS PRIMER

Who’s Going – The U.N. expects the COP-21 to draw some 10,000 government representatives to the Le Bourget conference center in a northeastern Parisian suburb, plus 7,000 observers per week and 3,000 journalists.  Just Last week, more than 1,000 other reporters were cut from the list of accredited media.  We will be in contact with several industry people on the ground in Paris and will be happy to provide you their thoughts and posit your questions to them.

Side Events Will Go On – Despite French officials canceling an outdoor climate march due to security concerns in the aftermath of the terror attacks, French and UN officials announced that indoor events organized by civil society during international global warming negotiations in Paris can proceed. One of those events will be NEXT Thursday, December 10th 3:00 p.m.  Business Side Event in Room 5 which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

Leaders to Arrive Early – This year, world leaders will arrive at the beginning of the event with leaders like French President Francois Hollande and President Obama making kick off speeches.  Most will conduct ministerial meetings, like the one held with Obama and India Prime Minister Modi.  Most of the opening will be ceremonial with key negotiations and draft text due heading into the second week.

Some Key Points – There are several key points to keep on your agenda:

 

  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – The Paris agreement is anticipated to be a bottom-up treaty, with each country setting goals based on their unique national circumstances. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, will form the basis of the country-specific commitments under the new UN climate treaty. It is also expected that periodic review of these commitments will be instituted along with measuring, reporting, and verification to ensure the integrity and ambition of the commitments.  While may seem to be making INDCs, there are many questions as to whether countries will live up to these commitments.  Even the US commitment is being questions by experts as not adding up to the 26-28% reduction.

 

  • Green Climate Fund – Financing issues are among the most controversial in Paris, and they could easily derail any agreement. Many developing country INDCs are conditioned on financial support and technology transfer.  The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was proposed at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, refined in subsequent meetings, and became operational in 2014. GCF aims to provide support to developing country efforts to reduce their GHG emissions and to adapt climate change.  However, this breaks down, it is clear that a significant portion of the expected funds—certainly tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars over many years—would be coming from public sources and would have to be appropriated by Congress.

 

  • Intellectual property – Developing countries have used this provision deftly to justify their attempts to weaken intellectual property rights (IPR) protections, ostensibly to remove the supposed “barriers” to technology transfer raised by IPR. Compulsory licensing and a fund supported by developed countries to buy down IP are two of many proposals being bruited. IPR serve as a fundamental catalyst of innovation, and study after study has shown that it is not a barrier to technology transfer. A weakened IPR regime such as that being proposed above would provide precious little incentive for companies to invest in advanced technologies if after years of research and development and millions or even billions of dollars invested, their inventions could be expropriated outright by companies in developing countries and manufactured and sold around the world at reduced cost. Under such a circumstance, some of the most innovative companies in the developed world would simply abandon the development of advanced energy technologies.

 

  • Technology Transfer – Tied to INDCs and the Green Fund, Technology Transfer is one fundamental issue that could bridge the gap.  It frankly is a better way to move toward a positive goal transforming our energy economy:  engage developing countries with advanced technology transfer to help them grow their economies more efficiently and cleanly.  Rather than going to Paris and trying to shame everyone into doing, this approach could be an important way to move forward.  In fact, we are already doing in many ways.  Look at the Clean Coal, Solar and offshore wind technologies that have struggled to catch on here in the US.  While we have struggled, developing nations, specifically China, have looked for these opportunities even without the promise of billions in funds (that will likely not ever come).

 

  • Verification – An issue that does not receive the attention it deserves is measuring, reporting, and verification of climate policies. As things stand now, the system of MRV that is likely to come out of Paris will focus not on whether a country meets its emissions goal, but on whether it implements the policies and measures designed to meet its goal. In other words, MRV is more about process than results. MRV will be especially challenging in developing countries. Transparency is a key to open markets and planning, and businesses will be reticent to invest in developing economies without assurances that its investments in emission reduction and offset projects are real and that government activities in support of INDCs have integrity.

 

  • Binding Legal Commitments Or Non-binding Political Agreement – In a recently interview, Secretary of State John Kerry said recently the Paris agreement is “definitively not going to be a treaty.” While it has not been finalized, we can already say that the Paris Agreement will be a multilateral international agreement that will include almost every country in the world. In testimony last week, Hofstra Constitutional Law Professor Julian Ku said If the outcome of the Paris Conference is to make these promises to reduce emissions legally binding, it is my view that the Paris Agreement must be submitted to the Senate for approval as a treaty under Article II.  This will continue to be a contentious point of negotiating among parties and one that US Senators will be watching Closely.  Last week, Senator Barrasso and Inhofe said the any funding for climate initiatives would be tied to Senate review.

Staying in Touch – I will be monitoring activities and providing resources for those in Paris as well as those covering from Afar.  Again, IF YOU WILL BE IN PARIS , please let me know so I can add you to my list of resources in Paris.  Please feel free to stay in touch.

 

 

RFS PRIMER

 

EPA’s RFS rules must be finalized by November 30th, per a court-approved consent decree. The rules will set final mandates for the entire program for 2014 and 2015 (retroactively) through 2016, and set final biodiesel mandates through 2017. We expect the release on Monday the 30th but it is possible EPA rolls out the rule around the Thanksgiving holiday this week.   It is important to remember that Paris climate negotiations begin on the November 30 RFS deadline. In case EPA moves this week, keep this primer handy for contacts and background on EPA’s RFS move.

 

1) Talk to Scott Segal, one of the best and most savvy RFS experts in town: 202-262-5845; scott.segal@bgllp.com

 

2) Have a conversation with Environmental Working Group expert Scott Faber or one of the experts on his team.  You can reach Faber at (202) 939-9127 (direct); (202) 384-4280 (cell) or sfaber@ewg.org

 

3) Talk to Stephen Brown of Tesoro, also one of the best and most savvy industry RFS experts in town: 202-744-5578; stephen.h.brown@tsocorp.com

 

4) Another great resource for comments are energy analysts like Jim Lucier: 202-548-0072; james.lucier@capalphadc.com, and Kevin Book: 202-506-5744; book@CVEnergy.com, who have previewed the decision and I am certain will have pieces out after EPA’s final move.

IN THE NEWS

 

Air Liquide will buy US-based Airgas – Air Liquide announced an agreement under which it will acquire Airgas. Combining Air Liquide and Airgas will bring together two highly complementary businesses to deliver greater value, service and innovation to customers in North America and around the world. In the U.S., Airgas’ leadership in the packaged gases business and associated products and services and Air Liquide’s strong footprint in complementary activities will increase the scope and competitiveness of the combined companies’ product offering.  This acquisition gives Air Liquide a greater presence in the U.S. market, the largest for industrial gases  worldwide, and will ideally position Air Liquide for future growth. In addition, there is potential for further growth using Airgas’ footprint to accelerate the deployment of Air Liquide’s technologies.  The combination builds on Air Liquide’s longstanding track record of successfully operating in the U.S. and will benefit from Airgas’ unmatched national presence and its more than 1 million customers in the U.S., as well as from its leading customer-facing platform including e-commerce and telesales capabilities. The combined entity will be able to better serve customers with the most advanced multi-distribution networks in the U.S. and more competitive product offerings thanks to an integrated upstream-downstream model.

 

EIA: China , India Drive Recent Changes in World Coal Trade – DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Global trade of coal grew dramatically from 2008 to 2013, but in 2014, it declined for the first time in 21 years. Interestingly though, EIA said China and India accounted for 98% of the increase in world coal trade from 2008 to 2013, but declines in China’s import demand have led to declines in total world coal trade in 2014 and, based on preliminary data, in 2015 as well.  Some experts suggest that the slowdownis in part credited to slower growth in China and protections for its domestic coal industry.  One thing is clear:  there is no slowdown regarding the fact they will continue using coal.

 

Second Study This Month Projects Significant Costs, Few Benefits of GHG Rule – Another new analysis of the Obama administration’s GHG rule for power plants shows the policy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power sector will raise electricity costs significantly for families and businesses throughout the nation.   The study, by Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA), finds consumers will pay an additional $214 billion by 2030, with 45 states facing double digit increases in wholesale electricity costs and 16 states saddled with a 25 percent increase or more. Added to this total will be a projected $64 billion bill to replace an estimated 41,000 MW of power plant capacity that will be forced to close, enough to power 24 million homes.  The analysis, commissioned by the National Mining Association (NMA), identifies the flaws in the CPP that ignore actual costs likely to result from replacing existing power plants using affordable fuel with plants using costlier fuel sources.  The findings demonstrate EPA has substantially understated the plan’s costs to consumers in at least three ways: 1) by failing to acknowledge the higher cost of natural gas required to replace the coal generation displaced in base load power; 2) by failing to recognize the cost impact on industrial and other natural gas customers who are outside the power sector and 3) by failing to fully account for the costs that consumers will pay for new power generation and transmission infrastructure necessary to replace coal generation that will be prematurely retired by the rule.

 

Dartmouth Study: Regional NatGas Impact Significant – A new National Bureau of Economic Research study led by Dartmouth College experts examines the economic and job-creating impact of shale development, enabled by fracking, within 100 miles of active drilling locations.  Commenting on the study’s findings, Dartmouth economics professor Bruce Sacerdote notes that “It’s surprising just how much of the revenue, how large the benefits are in the county and within 100 miles of the county.” Key study takeaways include 1) over a third of fracking revenue stays within the regional economy; 2)  between 2005 to 2012 within 100 miles of new production, $1 million of extracted oil and gas generates $243,000 in wages, $117,000 in royalties and 2.49 jobs; and 3) impact on jobs and income at the state level was approximately five times larger than the county impact; 4) within the county, every $1 million generates $66,000 in wage income, $61,000 in royalty payments and 0.78 jobs within the county and 5) with the creation of 725,000 jobs associated with the new oil and gas extraction between 2005 and 2012, the study findings indicate that U.S. unemployment was lowered by 0.5 percent during the significant economic downturn.

 

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Moniz to Address Energy Technology – 1776 will hold a special afternoon event today at 3:00 p.m. with the Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz where he will announce a significant Department of Energy investment in cutting-edge energy technologies. The Secretary will also discuss the Department’s role in driving technological solutions that will allow ambitious commitments to help achieve our climate goals ahead of global climate negotiations at COP21 in Paris. The Secretary’s remarks will be followed by a distinguished panel talking about energy innovation and how startup companies and government R&D can transform the industry.

 

Cheniere Exec to Discuss LNG at NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Cheniere’s vice president of finance, Tarek Souki to be the guest speaker at tomorrow’s natgas luncheon.  He will discuss the outlook for natural gas exports from the US and the dynamics of the global LNG market including supply, demand and pricing linkages to Henry Hub.

 

UCS to Hold Paris Webinar – Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., the Union of Concerned Scientists will hold a webinar on the U.S. role in international climate negotiations.

 

Georgetown Report to Look at Transpo Issues – The Georgetown Climate Center will release a new report tomorrow at Noon on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, looking opportunities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

 

THANKSGIVING – November 26

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th  to December 11th

 

IEA Outlook Discussed at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 on Monday November 30th at 1:00 p.m. The presentation will include updated projections for the evolution of the global energy system to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, as well as detailed insights on the prospects for fossil fuels, renewables, the power sector and energy efficiency and analysis on trends in CO2 emissions and fossil-fuel and renewable energy subsidies.   In addition, the WEO 2015 includes in-depth analysis on several key issues including the implications of a lower oil price future, India’s energy sector, on the competitive position of fast-growing renewable energy technologies in different markets, new analysis of energy efficiency policies, and unconventional gas with a particular focus on China.

 

Bank Report to Look at Latin America Infrastructure – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, China Development Bank, and others will discuss ways to provide billions in finance for much-needed transportation, energy, water, sanitation, and other projects throughout the region in recent years.  In their newest report, Fei Yuan and Kevin Gallagher of Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative’s (GEGI) compare development bank commitments to “green” finance in Latin America. Although some institutions have made great strides in promoting sustainable development in Latin America, much more will need to be done to scale up green finance and to adequately safeguard both green and conventional development projects.

 

Forum to Look at Indonesia, Energy – Next Tuesday, December 1st at 8:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn, the National Bureau of Asia Research will hold a forum on Indonesia and its energy issues. Indonesia’s successful democratic transition and strong economy have made the country a major political and economic power in both Southeast Asia and the broader region. Indonesia is now a key strategic and economic partner for the United States, as well as Japan and other countries in Asia, and has played an increasingly important role in shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific.

 

Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – The Senate Energy Committee  will hold an oversight hearing on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production on Tuesday, December 1st.

DC Bar Panel to Look at Fracking Rule  Case – Next Tuesday, December 1st at 1:00 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum on the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming decision to prevent enforcement of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recently issued hydraulic fracturing rule. BLM issued the rule in March, attempting to exert jurisdiction over hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The district court’s decision prohibits the BLM from implementing the new rule while litigation over the rule’s legality is pending. The lawsuit, filed shortly after BLM issued the hydraulic fracturing rule, was originally brought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance. The lawsuit now includes challenges from four states—Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and Utah—and the Ute Indian Tribe.  This panel will discuss the impact of the court’s decision and their thoughts regarding future developments in the case.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Hearing on Energy Nominee – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet next Tuesday to consider several nominations including Amos Hochstein appointment to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources.

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held December 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.

Panel to Look at Offshore Wind in the U.S.  – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) will hold a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 1st at 6:30 p.m. looking at offshore wind in the U.S.  CELI and panelists from the U.S. Department of the Interior, EDF Renewable Energy, and the American Wind Energy Association, will hold a discussion on the potential benefits of and challenges facing offshore wind.  The panel will feature Interior’s Joshua Kaplowitz, EDF Renewable’s Doug Copeland and AWEA’s  Hannah Hunt.

 

Atlantic Council CEO Series Continues with GDF Suez’s Smati – The Atlantic Council will continue its CEO Series with a discussion on Wednesday, December 2nd at 1:30 p.m. on the future of power markets and energy technology with Zin Smati, the President and CEO of GDF SUEZ Energy North America. As Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Zin Smati is tasked with navigating his company through an era of profound change in the world of energy. He brings his perspective to the Atlantic Council to discuss the sweeping energy transition now underway and to assess the future of power markets and energy technology.

 

NASA’s Chief Scientist Helping Countries Build Climate Resilience – Next Wednesday, December 2nd at 2:00 p.m. Georgetown University will host NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, who will discuss NASA’s International Programs and how they are using data to help countries develop climate resilience. Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.

 

RFF to Look at Vehicle Fleet, Regs – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on December 2nd where panelists will analyze some of the emerging information, including consumer demand for fuel economy and how lower gasoline prices can affect future fuel savings from the regulations. Manufacturer responses will also be discussed, including how the production of different vehicle sizes and types can affect regulatory compliance strategies, and how the new markets for emissions and fuel economy credits are developing.  Speakers will include RFF fellows Virginia McConnell and Joshua Linn, as well as Chris Knittel of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT and Gopal Duleep of H-D Systems.

 

Southern Company Holiday Party – Wednesday, December 2nd Union Station.

 

Hill Hosts Policy Discussion on Microgrid Technology – On Thursday, December 3rd 8:00 a.m. at The Newseum, The Hill hosts a discussion on the future of energy delivery. Policymakers, researchers, and technology and energy industry experts will discuss the value of microgrids in the event of a natural disaster or homeland security threat, how microgrids allow for integration of alternative energy sources, and what policy and regulatory reforms are necessary to facilitate the integration of microgrids into the larger power supply system.  Speakers will include Sens. Martin Heinrich and Lisa Murkowski, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment Katherine Hammack and others.

 

Forum to Look at Barriers to Renewables – On Thursday, December 3rd at 2:00 p.m. in 334 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) will host a briefing discussing how all levels of governments in the European Union and United States can expand collaboration on renewable electricity market penetration to meet energy, economic, and environmental needs. The briefing will feature an upcoming report by CCS, funded by the European Union Delegation to the United States, which examines high-priority common challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector that are prime candidates for new or enhanced forms of transatlantic collaboration at the regional and Member State/U.S. state levels. Attendees will be invited to provide comments and input for the report; join us to discuss how enhanced transatlantic cooperation can help set the stage for new investments and technologies through greater thought leadership, information sharing, technical assistance, and collaboration.

 

Mercury Case Arguments Set – The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments to determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule on Friday, December 4th at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.  Judges Garland, Judith Rogers and Kavanaugh will hear the case, the same panel of judges who initially upheld the mercury rule 2-1.  EPA has suggested remanding the rule without vacating it so it can fix the problem identified by the Supreme Court that it should have considered the cost of regulating when issuing an initial “appropriate and necessary” finding.  Late last week, EPA proposed a fix using data collected during the implementation of the rule, and says it can finalize the new finding by next spring.  Opponents say the court should make EPA start from scratch, arguing that if the initial “appropriate and necessary” finding was improper then the entire rule must be trashed.

 

Clean Energy Leaders Honored – On Friday evening at Bier Baron, Leaders in Energy will honor Four Generations of leadership in clean energy and sustainability.  They will recognize leaders from World War II (1927-1945), Baby Boomer (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Millennial (1981-2000) generations who exemplify leadership in the energy and sustainability arena. Leaders from each generation will discuss “Leading Through Adversity,” our theme. .  Shira Harrington, Founder and CEO, Purposeful HireFounder and President, Purposeful Hire, is the keynote speaker for this event. She will explore the changing world of work and the impact multigenerations are having on the workforce. Building on the understanding of what makes each generation unique, Shira will highlight how the four generations can embrace what they have in common to work together to create a more sustainable world.

 

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum on December 8th on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be Held in December 8th and 9th in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

 

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday, December 9th at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

 

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its December 10th Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda.

Energy Update: Week of November 16

Friends,

 

Last Friday’s attack in Paris have now taken up a large portion of the news coverage and cast a long shadow on the upcoming Paris Climate meetings.  While most leaders are dedicated to forging on, reports are showing that the security will be much tighter and many outside groups that had planned to attend are now reconsider plans.  Already, the French have suggested that side events will be cancelled.  We will keep you In the loop as to what we hear.

 

With Paris two weeks away, leaders of the G20 countries were meeting in Turkey this weekend and upcoming climate talks did make the agenda as a major topic.  One interesting twist out of the meeting so far seems to be an unwillingness from India and Saudi Arabia to agree to five-year reviews.  This may be a signal as to how some will approach the talks in Paris.

 

Congress returns this week for a pre-Thanksgiving session and there will be significant action on the climate issues.  Both the Senate Environment Committee and the House Science Committee will hold hearings Wednesday on the negotiations.  Meanwhile, the House Energy & Commerce Committee will move resolutions of disapproval on the Administration’s GHG rule for new and existing power plants through Committee and to the Floor, although the House Schedulers have said the resolutions will not get a vote this week – the last days in session before the beginning of the Paris conference.    Many are expecting a House vote the week following Thanksgiving while the President is in Paris.

 

Finally, throughout the week, EPA will hold public hearings in Denver, DC and Atlanta on the controversial Federal portion of the GHG rule.  The Denver action starts today while DC is Wednesday/Thursday and Atlanta is Thursday and Friday.  We have folks sharing their views at all the hearings, including our friends at Tri-State in Denver and Segal here in DC.

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Miss State Report: Energy Security is Viable through Use of CO2-EOR – Using CO2-EOR as a framework could lead to energy security and result in a new United States energy policy, according to a new report from the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center, a research unit (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University. “CO2-EOR can advance a “triple e” approach resulting in energy security, environmental quality and economic viability,” said Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of NSPARC.  Parisi said CO2-EOR is a mature technology that creates a safe, secure and economically viable supply of fossil fuel-based energy and reduces CO2-EOR emissions. The CO2-EOR technology generates around 300,000 barrels of oil each day in the U.S., or about three percent of all the oil produced, leaving room for substantial growth. In Mississippi, in the latest year reported, around 50 percent of oil produced was extracted by means of CO2-EOR, said Parisi. Another economic advantage of the CO2-EOR technology in Mississippi, added Parisi, is that pipeline infrastructure continues to expand with private sector investment, which has the advantage of not being subject to common carrier provisions.

 

Kemper Cost Agreement Set – Speaking of Kemper, last week Mississippi Power and Mississippi Public Service Commission staff reached an agreement related to the recovery of certain costs for portions of the Kemper County energy facility that are already in service. While the innovative coal gasification project is expected to be completed next year, the facility has already been generating electricity to meet Mississippi Power customers’ energy needs using natural gas for more than a year. The agreement is contingent upon PSC approval.  Part of the deal includes Mississippi Power Co. accepting a smaller rate increase for part of Kemper.  The agreement will reduce the increase to 15% from 18%. For a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, rates would fall from $144 a month to about $138. More on this here.

 

House Energy Leaders Question EPA Delay of Routine, Nonpartisan Codification of Law – House Energy Committee leaders sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking further information concerning apparent efforts by the agency to prevent the codification of an important provision of the Clean Air Act. Based on documents introduced at a House Judiciary Committee markup earlier this week, it appears that EPA officials may have inhibited the nonpartisan congressional Office of Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) as it sought to fulfill its responsibility to codify the language used in the Clean Air Act and other statutory provisions. OLRC has been undertaking a systematic, multi-year process and EPA has declined for almost seven years to review the codification bills submitted by the OLRC to the Judiciary Committee. During this time period the agency was developing its proposed (Clean Air Act section) 111(d) rule for existing power plants. The correspondence appears to show that EPA may have been blocking this routine, statutorily-prescribed process because it would undermine the agency’s legal arguments supporting its 111(d) rulemaking.

 

Wisconsin Field Hearing Blasts CPP, Water Rule – Sen. Ron Johnson hosted a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee field hearing at the Dreyfus University Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on Friday.  Johnson, chairman of the panel who is locked in a reelection battle, heard from state government and trade group officials that hammered EPA for its rules, specifically the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Bruce Ramme, a vice president at WEC Energy Group Inc., said EPA’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants could lead to higher energy costs: “One thing is certain: Costs will increase for our customers,” Ramme said.  The Wisconsin Farm Bureau blasted the water rule and Wisconsin assistant deputy attorney general Danielle Breuer called the rule “the largest overreach we have seen in decades.”

 

AGA Report Shows Growth, Success of Federal Pipeline Safety Program – America’s natural gas pipeline network is safer and more reliable today than at any other point in history. According to a report published last week by the American Gas Foundation entitled Natural Gas Pipeline Safety and Reliability: An Assessment of Progress, this is due to collaborative efforts between industry, federal and local regulators and programs set forth in federal legislation passed in 2006 and 2011 that are still being instituted. The report states that observations to date indicate that these new approaches are making meaningful contributions to the safety of customers and communities.  The report charts the growth of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) oversight of the nation’s federal pipeline safety program for more than five decades. The program has expanded significantly, growing from a fledgling agency with a handful of federal employees and very limited financial resources to a more robust regulator with a projected federal workforce of more than 300 federal employees and almost $150 million in annual funding. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the DOT, shows a significant reduction over the last two decades in the number of natural gas pipeline incidents per year involving fatalities or injuries.

 

IEA Details Oil Price Forecast – The International Energy Agency predicted last week that oil prices will likely to remain flat until demand catches up to supply in 2020.  Then, IEA says they expect crude prices to go back to around $80 per barrel.  In its annual energy outlook, the IEA also predicted that China would increasingly rely on natural gas while demand for oil in developed countries like the United States will continue to decline.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 today.  It will feature John Brennan as Keynote and will have an energy panel that features EIA Director Adam Sieminski as a panelist.

 

Hudson Forum to Look at China, US Emission, Energy – The Hudson Institute will host a day-long conference today featuring energy policy experts from both China and the U.S.  As the world’s second largest economy, China’s energy demands are growing fast. In the next fifteen years, China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest oil consumer, and Russia as the world’s second largest natural gas consumer. By 2035, China is expected to become the world’s largest energy importer, as its energy production rises 47%, while consumption rises by 60%. China’s oil import dependence is projected to rise from 60% in 2013 to 75% in 2035.

 

Fuel Cell Seminar Set for LA – The 2015 Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition will be held in Los Angeles this week at the Westin Bonaventure.  The event is the premier U.S. conference for the fuel cell and hydrogen industry and attracts an international audience.  The Fuel Cell Seminar features the latest fuel cell and hydrogen products, technical and market research, policy updates and commercialization strategies for all applications and market sectors. The Fuel Cell Seminar is the foremost event for networking with industry representatives, customers, stakeholders and decision makers interested in the clean, reliable, and resilient power potential of fuel cells.

 

Solar Groups Look at Green Building – The SunShot Initiative, SEIA, and PVMC are hosting a Green Building Solar Summit today at 1:00 p.m. that will coincide with Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which will bring thousands of architects, builders, and real estate professionals to Washington DC.  The Summit will feature a mix of panels and facilitated discussion to explore critical structural, contractual and financial barriers and identify opportunities to work collaboratively to find innovative solutions and expand the commercial solar market.  Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager, Soft Costs with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and Rhone Resch, President & CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, will open the day with introductory remarks followed by a series of lighting talks to provide context on the trends and issues across the solar and green building communities. PVMC will also provide a preview of its 2016 Commercial Solar Initiative.  The second part of the afternoon will be dedicated to engaging the commercial real estate and green building communities in discussion on innovative financing instruments. SEIA will also present its new Finance Initiative, spearheaded by the organization’s Senior Director, Project Finance, and Mike Mendelsohn.

 

VLS Forum to Look at CPP –The Vermont Law School tomorrow holds its second annual alumni in Energy Symposium will look at EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the lawsuits challenging it. This panel will discuss the ongoing litigation related to the Clean Power Plan and likely outcomes.  Speakers will include NRDC’s David Doniger, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, former EPA General Counsel and industry Coalition legal lead Roger Martella and NYU’s Richard Revesz.

 

Wilson Center to Focus on Climate, Security Issues – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will release a report exploring the intersection of climate change, drivers of insecurity, and U.S. national security priorities in the Asia-Pacific region.  As the United States reorients its foreign policy approach to the Asia-Pacific region, it must seriously consider the impacts of climate change, argues a new report from the Center for Climate and Security. How can the United States help improve the region’s climate resilience, and at the same time, strategically adapt to a rapidly changing security environment?

 

EPA CAAAC to Meet on Ozone Implementation, CPP – EPA will host a CAAAC and Air Toxics Work Group meetings tomorrow and Wednesday.

 

McCarthy to Talk Energy with Bloomberg – On Wednesday, Bloomberg will host a breakfast conversation with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, managing editors of Bloomberg Politics and hosts of “With All Due Respect” on Bloomberg Television, to discuss the future of energy and where the 2016 candidates stand.   EPA’s Gina McCarthy will sit down with Mark and John for an interview about the state of energy and climate policy in America, followed by a wide-ranging panel discussion about how policy and politics intersect to shape the energy marketplace, featuring former South Carolina Republican Congressman and Executive Director of republicEn.org Bob Inglis, GE Ventures’ Senior Executive Director of Energy Ventures Colleen Calhoun, and more.

 

EPA to Host DC Public Hearing On Power Plant  Rule – WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY

 

Senate Enviro to Hold Climate Hearing – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing examining the International Climate negotiations.  Witnesses will include Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy VP Steve Eule, Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and several others.

 

Former EPA Official to Address Climate Issues – ICF will host an Energy Breakfast on Thursday at the National Press Club to look at the Paris Climate Meeting.  Starting in late November, the 21st  meeting of the Council of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Paris to deliberate on how countries can individually and collectively mitigate global climate change.  Former EPA #2 Bob Perciasepe, a regular participant in these negotiations, as he handicaps the negotiations and informs us about what will be the “make or break” issues in Paris this time.

 

House Science Tackle Paris Climate Meeting – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the international climate discussions.  Witnesses will include NERA Expert Anne Smith, ERCOT General Counsel Bill Magness, CT DEEP Deputy Commissioner Katie Dykes, and Cato’s Paul Knappenberger.

 

Science Looks at National Labs – Later that afternoon at 2:00 p.m., House Science will hold a hearing to examine the recommendations of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories.  Witnesses will include TJ Glauthier and Jared Cohon, Co-Chairs of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, as well as Peter Littlewood, Director of the Argonne National Laboratory.

 

POSTPONED — Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – Thursday’s Senate Energy Committee oversight hearing on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production has been postponed to early December.

 

Carolina Climate on My Mind – The UNC Institute for the Environment (IE) Energy and Environment Seminar Series will host an energy discussion with Wall Street Journal reporter Amy Harder on Thursday.  The seminar presents speakers working in the nexus between issues of energy management, policy and technology, and environmental concerns.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Solutions – DC Net Impact will hold a discussion on Thursday looking at how donor agencies and implementers are adapting to, and mitigating the effects of, climate change in the energy and agriculture sectors. In addition to discussing climate change, the panelists will describe their career paths and answer your questions.

 

Forum to Look at Russian Oil Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Tatiana Mitrova, Head of the Oil and Gas Department at the Energy Research Institute in Moscow  on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss her latest paper on the Russian energy sector. Russia remains one of the of the world’s largest hydrocarbon resource holders, producers, and exporters. It is a dominant supplier both for Europe and for its neighbors. Russia is now going through an uncertain economic and energy transition.  Mitrova will present the initial findings of her research on how the Russian oil and gas sector is evolving, including an examination of future potential changes under a range of oil price scenarios and potential ways Russia might use to overcome those challenges.

 

Rep. Beyer to Host Climate Forum I Arlington – On Thursday at 7:00 p.m.,  U.S. Rep. Don Beyer will host a forum on climate change in the auditorium of George Mason University’s Arlington campus.  Panelists will include experts from government, academia and nonprofit organizations, including Megan Ceronsky of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, EPA’s Shawn Garvin, GMU’s Mona Sarfaty and NRDC’s Aliya Haq.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Cheniere Exec to Discuss LNG at NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Cheniere’s vice president of finance, Tarek Souki to be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, November 24th luncheon.  He will discuss the outlook for natural gas exports from the US and the dynamics of the global LNG market including supply, demand and pricing linkages to Henry Hub.

 

THANKSGIVING – November 26

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th  to December 11th

 

IEA Outlook Discussed at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 on Monday November 30th at 1:00 p.m. The presentation will include updated projections for the evolution of the global energy system to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, as well as detailed insights on the prospects for fossil fuels, renewables, the power sector and energy efficiency and analysis on trends in CO2 emissions and fossil-fuel and renewable energy subsidies.   In addition, the WEO 2015 includes in-depth analysis on several key issues including the implications of a lower oil price future, India’s energy sector, on the competitive position of fast-growing renewable energy technologies in different markets, new analysis of energy efficiency policies, and unconventional gas with a particular focus on China.

 

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held December 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be Held in December 8th and 9th in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

 

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday, December 9th at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

 

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its December 10th Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda.

 

Energy Update: Week of October 19

Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the baseball playoffs, mid-season football and the launch of the hockey season.  While I know you all tune in for the energy news, I also know you REALLY tune in for the family sports issues and Concerts.  On that front, I am excited to report that all the years of blood, sweat and tears for my daughter Hannah has finally paid off.  She has committed to play field hockey and lacrosse at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.  Both academics and sports are strong at Wellesley (they are a highly-ranked D III field hockey program) so it will be a challenging and exciting opportunity for her.

As I mentioned last week, we remain on-guard for the publishing of the Administration’s GHG rule for power plants in the Federal Register — which when live — will begin the long-anticipated legal wrangling over rule.  We continue to have it covered from end to end and will be available the moment things break.

To that end, today there is a summit at the White House focused on climate issues that featured a CEO meeting with President Obama and comments by VP Biden, DOE Secretary Moniz, John Holdren and Brian Deese that is all part of the Administrations’ campaign to create momentum for Paris negotiations.  Tomorrow, the discussions move over to Foggy Bottom when Secretary of State Kerry hosts his climate and clean energy forum.

Congress is returning this week and it will be busy.  There are several really good hearings you should have on your agenda.  Tomorrow, State Climate Envoy Todd Stern heads to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to talk Paris Climate discussions which should generate some heat given the recent letter from Chairman Corker.  On Wednesday, Senate Environment Hosts a hearing on EPA regulatory analysis featuring the U.S. Chamber’s Bill Kovacs and reg expert Sam Batkins of American Action Forum.  Also on Wednesday, Senate Agriculture will feature a discussion of GMOs and other biotech foods with Stonyfield Farms’ CEO Gary Hirshberg and USDA, EPA and FDA experts.  Finally, on Thursday, my colleague Jeff Holmstead will be testifying at House Science on the new Ozone rule, and House E&C’s Energy and Power panel  will continue its examination of the two final rules and a third proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Off the Hill, tomorrow, ELI hosts its annual dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park, which features its annual afternoon policy panel which this year is focused on climate issues approaching Paris.  Wednesday includes an afternoon RFF forum on real outcomes of federal regulations, featuring GWU’s Susan Dudley.  And, there is also a great event Thursday at Johns Hopkins SAIS program featuring a conversation with EU Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic.

Finally, with discussions ongoing this week in Bonn, Germany on the four corners of the upcoming climate talks, see the important announcement below from Southern Company late last week that outlined  an MOU with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to jointly explore the deployment of clean coal power generation and carbon capture and storage technologies.  It is the same as type of agreement they already have with China, underscoring a key missing discussion point in many UN climate discussions: technology transfer issues.  We’ll be talking more about this in the upcoming weeks.

Call with questions…

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Korea, Southern Sign Clean Coal MOUs – Southern Company signed an MOU with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to jointly explore the deployment of clean coal power generation and carbon capture and storage technologies. Through the agreement, the companies will jointly explore opportunities for these and other technologies in the U.S., the Republic of Korea and in developing nations where the environmentally acceptable utilization of coal could strengthen energy security.   Among the technologies to be evaluated is Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™), the 21st century coal technology at the center of subsidiary Mississippi Power’s Kemper County energy facility that Southern Company and KBR are jointly marketing to energy companies around the world. The Kemper facility is designed to generate electricity using low-rank coal with resulting carbon emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant. At least 65 percent of the plant’s carbon emissions are expected to be captured and repurposed through enhanced oil recovery.   The agreement also provides for the testing of KEPCO’s carbon capture technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Alabama, which is operated by Southern Company Services. Aligned with efforts by the U.S. and Korea to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the NCCC conducts research and development (R&D) to evaluate and advance emerging carbon capture technologies through integration with a coal-fired power plant and a pilot gasification facility.   The MOU with KEPCO is the Southern Company system’s fifth such agreement with a leading international energy company. Last year Southern Company announced similar agreements with Shenhua Group Corporation Limited and China Huaneng Group – two of China’s largest energy companies – as well as with Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute. Earlier this year, Southern Company Services entered into a research agreement with the Korea Institute of Energy Research, a Korean government-funded research institute which collaborates with KEPCO in the development of advanced green energy technologies.

AHRI Reinforces Refrigerant R&D Commitment at White House Event – At a White House Industry Leader Roundtable, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) offered a progress report on its 2014 pledge to invest $5 billion in research over the next 10 years for new refrigerants and heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment to support energy efficiency.  During the White House event, AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek reported that the industry spent more than $255 million in 2015 toward a 10-year, $5 billion commitment in research and development and capital expenditures to develop and commercialize low-global warming potential (GWP) technologies, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship.  He noted that the $5 billion pledge is in addition to the nearly $2 billion that was spent on such research in the previous five years. The yearly totals are expected to grow as spending moves from research into development and testing of equipment using the new refrigerants. For more information on AHRI’s refrigerant research, visit www.ahrinet.org/arep.

SAFE Forms Autonomous Vehicle Task Force – SAFE is forming an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a group of leading experts who will guide SAFE as it develops an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology. Taking full advantage of the safety, economic and national security benefits of driverless cars and trucks will require a concerted effort on the part of the public and policymakers to allow the technology to flourish, avoiding excessive regulation and creating policy only if necessary. As with all new products, autonomous vehicles will experience constant evolution, and it is important to get them on the road as soon as possible.  The Autonomous Vehicle Task Force was announced at a Newsmaker event hosted by the National Press Club. Advisor to Google and former Corporate Vice President for Research and Development at General Motors Larry Burns hailed the creation of a new “Automotive DNA,” through which cars are connected and driverless, offering consumers and businesses an entirely new and improved value proposition. Burns was joined by Lynn Liddle, Executive Vice President at Domino’s Pizza, and Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE, who respectively spoke to the implications of driverless cars for the business community and the opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on oil.  Driverless cars present a compelling case for consumers and businesses, affecting nearly every industry. For Domino’s Pizza, the global leader in pizza delivery, the implications are enormous, as autonomous vehicles would transform the model on which it and its competitors operate. The lure of newly liberated free time, lower fuel costs, and reduced or eliminated operations and maintenance expenses—as well as the unparalleled benefits to U.S. energy security—illustrate the importance of getting these vehicles to market.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BPC to Hold Little Rock GHG Workshop – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute will hold another one-day workshop today in Little Rock Arkansas to discuss implementation options for EPA’s GHG rules for power plants in the Midcontinent region.  The workshop will feature a keynote address by Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette D. Honorable.  Other confirmed speakers include WPPI Energy’s Andy Kellen, Scott Weaver of American Electric Power, EDF’s Nicholas Bianco, PJM’s Paul Sotkiewicz, Roxanne Brown of the United Steelworkers and  Nathaniel Baer of the Iowa Environmental Council.   States and stakeholders in the region have been working to evaluate the policy options available to states for inclusion in state plans. In the Midcontinent region, state officials have been active in the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators (MSEER) group, with support from experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute. In addition, the Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative, convened by the Great Plains Institute, brings a subset of states and stakeholders together to explore and engage on these policy issues.  This workshop will gather states, stakeholders, and experts, including those participating in MSEER and the Power Sector Collaborative, to explore policy pathways for achieving compliance under the final Clean Power Plan as well as opportunities and challenges for multi-state collaboration.

Goffman to Headline GHG Conference – Infocast is hosting the 2nd EPA Clean Power Plan Implementation Summit today through Wednesday at the Renaissance Hotel in Dupont.   Joseph Goffman, Associate Administrator and Senior Counsel of the EPA will deliver the keynote address and will discuss the implications of the final rule, and the challenges ahead on the road to compliance.  Participants will include environmental and state regulators, ISOs and RTOs, utilities, local distribution companies, IPPs, renewable energy providers, environmental engineering firms, legal experts and environmental consultants to discuss the final 111(d) rule and its direct impacts on power prices, system reliability, natural gas markets and infrastructure.

Senate FR Hosts Stern on Climate – Following a recent letter raising serious questions about approaching climate negotiations in Paris, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel will host Todd Stern, the State Department’s top global warming negotiator tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. for a hearing on the Obama administration’s efforts to reach an international climate change deal later this year.

Rogers, Goffman Headline New Energy Summit – The 2015 New Energy Summit will be held today and tomorrow looking at the growth of the renewable energy marketplace.  The agenda includes keynote guests, presentations and thought-provoking, informative discussions about the latest trends in deal origination and finance, risk evaluation, regulatory developments and common practices.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and EPA’s Joe Goffman.

CSIS to Look at China Summit – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will Host its Schieffer Series Dialogues tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. assessing US-China relations after the Obama-Xi Summit.  Former CBS newsman Bob Schieffer hosts panelists former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and our friend from the Financial Times, Demetri Sevastopulo.

ELI Dinner, Policy Forum Set – The annual Environmental Law Institute Dinner is tomorrow night and as usual, ELI will host the 2015 ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m. at the Marriot Wardman Park hotel.  This year, the topic will be “Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security” and feature DoD’s John Conger and Security, NSC’s Alice Hill, as well as several others.

Woolard to Headline Discussion of Energy, Technologies – The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. on innovative work that non-energy technology companies are doing at the cutting edge of today’s most pressing energy and climate issues. In this installment of the “Road to Paris Climate Series,” John Woolard, Vice President of Energy at Google, will assess the ways in which technology, data, and innovative financing are changing the global energy landscape. In particular, the discussion will center on Google’s efforts, which include more than $2 billion in investment, to make clean energy more accessible, scalable, and affordable across the world.   You may recall that Woolard was the former CEO of BrightSource Energy, developer of the Ivanpah Solar Project in California.

Whitman Featured in WCEE Clean Energy Forum – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a breakfast with Governor Christine Todd Whitman, co-chair of The Clean and Safe Energy (CASEnergy) Coalition, and former governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator.  The discussion will surround the future of clean energy, including nuclear energy.   As the co-chair of The CASEnergy Coalition, Gov. Whitman is keenly attuned to the growing role that nuclear energy will play in our nation’s energy portfolio, especially in light of the finalized Clean Power Plan (CPP). As states create their plans to meet the CPP’s targets, they will increasingly rely upon clean sources of electricity like the power generated from nuclear facilities. As America’s leading source of emission-free energy, nuclear power must be a part of America’s – and the world’s – to tackle climate change.

Brattle to Release Colorado Solar Report – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at Paul Hastings, Peter Fox-Penner, Principal of The Brattle Group, will host a breakfast presentation to review the key findings of a recent Brattle study, “Comparative Generation Costs of Utility-Scale and Residential-Scale PV in Xcel Energy Colorado’s Service Area.”  The event will provide an opportunity to review and discuss the report’s findings.

Panel to Look at EPA Reg Analysis – The Senate Environment Committee Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at oversight of regulatory impact analyses for EPA.  Witnesses include Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, the US Chamber’s Bill Kovacs, Sam Batkins of American Action Forum (who recently released a great report on DOE Regs). Mary Rice of the Harvard Medical School and Rena Steinzor of Maryland’s Carey Law School.

Senate Ag to Talk GMOs – The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at the federal regulation of agriculture biotechnology with perspectives from producers and consumers.  USDA’s Michael Gregoire, EPA’s William Jordan and FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Director Susan Mayne will testify along with Stonyfield Farms’ CEO Gary Hirshberg and several others.

NAS Forum to Look at Extreme Weather – The National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences & Climate will host a workshop on Wednesday and Thursday focused on extreme weather events and climate change attribution.

RFF Forum to Look at Reg Impacts – Resources for the Future holds an afternoon forum on real outcomes of federal regulations.   Before federal environmental regulations are issued, they are subject to extensive analysis to estimate the costs, benefits, and other outcomes. However, remarkably little is known about the actual performance of such regulations after the final rules are announced. Experts at this forum will present the results of RFF’s Regulatory Performance Initiative, a multi-year effort to analyze the actual impacts of a series of regulations issued by EPA, Energy, Interior and FDA.  Speakers will Include GW’s Susan Dudley, former OIRA head, as well as other experts like MIT’s Richard Schmalensee, RFF’s Art Fraas and NRDC’s David Hawkins, among many others.

CSIS to Look at Asian Urbanization – The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development will host a forum on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on driving sustainable urbanization in Asia.  Rapid urbanization in Asia has created an unprecedented challenge for the development community. From 2000 to 2010, nearly 200 million people moved into East Asian cities, according to the World Bank. Through this panel discussion, we hope to determine ways in which urbanization can become a driver of development and stability, through targeted investments from donors, host country governments, civil society, and the private sector, with a special focus on infrastructure, technology, and financial services.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security Issues – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the Wilson Center a discussion of the lessons learned from this Climate Security Dialogue, and presentations on the latest MAB research on emerging threats to homeland and national security and the resulting impact on our military’s readiness and potential missions. Joining two highly regarded U.S. generals will be EU Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan to put U.S. leadership in perspective before the pivotal UN climate summit this December.  Climate change is a complex, multi-decade challenge with implications for U.S. national security as well as transatlantic and global security. Yet comprehensive climate and energy security policy remains a political “third rail” in the United States.  In 2014 and 2015, members of the CNA Military Advisory Board (MAB) traveled throughout the United States to engage state and local governments, business leaders, and industry on the threats that climate change poses to U.S. national security, and to learn what local actors are doing in their communities to address energy and climate challenges.

EU Energy Commissioner Making First DC Visit at JHU Forum – On Thursday at 9:45 a.m., Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President for Energy will be making his first ever official visit to Washington and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations will be hosting him at a public forum.  JHU is co-hosting the public event with the Peterson Institute.  Building the Energy Union is one of the highest priorities of the European Commission. Last February, the Commission set out its vision of an Energy Union which will allow citizens and businesses access to reliable, competitive, affordable and sustainable energy, with ambitious climate targets at its core. The Energy Union means a new European energy governance, free flow of energy across borders and a secure supply in every EU country in gas and electricity. The development of a new European energy diplomacy will allow the EU to speak with one voice on the international stage. Developing regional cooperation is essential, but transatlantic energy relations and cooperation have a special and important role to play in reaching the Union’s objective.

IEA Report Featured at Brookings Forum – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Heymi Bahar and Michael Waldron for the U.S. launch of the IEA’s “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015.” This report assesses the trends in the electricity, transportation, and heat sectors, identifying drivers and challenges to deployment of renewable energy. It also assesses the potential impacts of enhanced policy actions under an accelerated case for renewable power, which would put the world more firmly on a path to a more sustainable and secure energy system.

House Science Reschedules Ozone Hearing – On Wednesday Thursday, the House Science Committee will hold its rescheduled hearing on the EPA’s Ozone Rule.  The committee will look at concerns regarding science and implementation with my colleague Jeff Holmstead as a witness, as well as Michael Honeycutt of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Seyed Sadredin of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

House Energy Panel to Look at GHG Rule – On Thursday, the Energy and Power Subcommittee will continue its examination of the two final rules and a third proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. The hearing is entitled, “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants: Legal Perspectives.” More information can be found online here as it becomes available.

McCarthy to Talk Methane at CAP – The Center for American Progress will host a conversation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss how the proposed limits on methane pollution from the oil and gas sector can benefit the climate, human health, and worker safety.  In August, EPA proposed the first-ever methane pollution standards that will require new and modified oil and gas facilities to use readily available technology to curb these harmful and wasteful leaks.  Fortunately, most companies are already implementing the rules and most find EPA intrusion unnecessary.

Forum to Look at Ocean Technologies – The Marine Technology Society and the House Ocean Caucus are holing a briefing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in 2168 Rayburn looking at the five areas most commonly identified with ocean technology: Robotic/Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, Ocean Observing, Offshore Renewables, Offshore O&G and STEM Issues.  Our friend ken Satterlee of Shell will be among the speakers.

USEA Forum Look at NatGas to Methanol – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will look at Shale gas to Methanol Possibilities.  Thanks to shale gas, cheap and plentiful natural gas has led to new attention and interest in various natural gas monetization options. One promising option is the production of methanol using small-scale plants, which offer many advantages. The first advantage is that methanol prices track those of oil thereby providing a significant arbitrage to exploit if the natural gas feedstock is available as cheaply as it is in the U.S. Second, small-scale methanol plants have lower capital costs in comparison to traditional large plants making them attractive to a wider range of investors. Third, methanol is a liquid chemical product that can be transported easily and cost-effectively offering the ability to monetize natural gas from fields that are remote, have limited pipeline connectivity, or have relatively poor production or economics. Finally, methanol is a versatile chemical with multiple applications and end-uses.  This presentation will explore the potential of small-scale methanol plants in North America.

Webinar to Look at Demand Response Issues – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., our friend James Downing of Utility Markets Today will host a timely, relevant webinar looking at the Supreme Court’s EPSA v FERC case.  Speakers will include independent energy expert Robert Borlick, New England Power Generators Association President Dan Dolan, California Public Utilities Commission Principal Counsel Elizabeth Dorman and CPower Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Market Strategy Frank Lacey.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Solar Workshops Set – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will host the first of 2 upcoming workshops on solar energy for the DMV local and regional businesses on Monday at 10:00 a.m. . The goal of these sessions is to convene stakeholders to discuss resources, opportunities, and barriers for commercial projects in the solar market. Invited participants include local government clean energy program representatives, experts from the DOE SunShot Initiative, building owners and commercial business leaders.

USAEE/IAEE North American Energy Conference – On October 25-28 in Pittsburgh, the US Association for Energy Economics will hold a conference  featuring high-level business, government and academic opinion shapers exploring today’s dynamic energy landscape. Speakers include Don Santa, President and CEO, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, US Energy Information Administrator Adam Sieminski, Guy Caruso, Senior Advisor, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS and Edward Morse Managing Director, Citigroup. John Kingston, President of the McGraw-Hill Financial Global Institute and former director of news for Platts  to receive IAEE Journalism Award.  For full conference details check @usenergyecon or #USAEE2015

Wilson Forum to Look at Renewables in Developing World – Next Tuesday, October 27th at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center is hosting a forum on scaling up renewables in the developing world.  The forum will be a day-long exploration of the innovative tools being harnessed by the public and private sectors to scale up renewable energy in the developing world.  Speakers will also explore how renewable energy will help countries meet the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and support their climate change commitments.  They include Sen. Ed Markey, US AID’s Eric Postel, EEI’s David Owens and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Ethan Zindler.

Spectra Exec to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host William Yardley, president of Spectra Energy’s U.S. transmission business, as guest speaker at the Tuesday, October 27 luncheon.  Yardley will speak about the benefits of natural gas, and the important role of pipelines and related infrastructure in addressing energy security, economic and environmental policy challenges facing our nation.  He leads the business development, project execution, operations and environment, health and safety efforts associated with Spectra Energy’s U.S. portfolio of natural gas transmission and storage businesses.

Gibson to Headline Climate Focus – The Friends Committee on National Legislation, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, RepublicEN and the American Security Project hosts a briefing next Tuesday, October 27th at 12:00 noon in B340 Rayburn that highlights solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences  which are already being implemented by members of the business, national security, and faith communities.  The briefing will create awareness of the risks and opportunities that climate change offers to business, national security, and faith communities, and hopes to inspire bipartisan cooperation in Congress to catalyze solutions.  Among the speakers will be Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY).

Pew Forum to Look at Industrial EE – The Pew Charitable Trusts, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Heat is Power Association, and the CHP Association will host a forum next Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. on the impact of the Power Efficiency and Resiliency (POWER) Act on the deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP) systems. CHP and WHP, which capture waste heat to produce electricity and/or heat or cool buildings, are distributed generation technologies that help achieve national economic, environmental, and energy goals.   A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Initiative, Distributed Generation: Cleaner, Cheaper, Stronger – Industrial Efficiency in the Changing Utility Landscape details how an array of technological, competitive, and market forces are changing how the U.S. generates power and the ways that Americans interact with the electric grid. As part of their research, Pew commissioned ICF International Inc. to analyze the POWER Act’s impact on future market deployment of CHP and WHP, key distributed technologies used in industrial, institutional or manufacturing facilities. The results of this study will be presented at this event.  Speakers for this event include NY Rep. Tom Reed, among others.

BPC to Host CEO Forum on Sustainable Food, Climate – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will launches a new CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation on Thursday October 29th and will hold a panel at 2:00 p.m. to hear leading food and agriculture CEOs discuss the rationale behind their innovative approaches to a achieving a sustainable future.  Companies all along the food supply chain are on the front lines of addressing the challenges associated with a changing climate, a growing population and other threats to a stable food supply. Many companies are already dealing with the impacts of weather variability and supply chain disruptions, while also tackling higher and more volatile costs and an increasingly global customer base.  Speakers will include Land O’ Lakes CEO Chris Policinski, Kellogg CEO John Bryant and Elanco President Jeff Simmons.

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on October 30th in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

Energy Summit Set for Houston – The Energy Summit Series which will take place on November 1-3 at the JW Marriott Houston. The event will be co-located Transmission & Distribution and Distribution Technology & Innovation Summits.

Fall Wind Symposium Set – AWEA is hosting its annual Fall Symposium in Albuquerque, NM on November 5th at the Tamaya Resort.  The event will feature a community engagement seminar among the many other panels.

Women, Money, Power Summit Set for Press Club – On November 5th, the Feminist Majority is hosting its annual Women, Money, Power Summit in DC at the National Press Club at noon.  Speakers will include Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Louise Slaughter and Donna Edwards, among others.

REFF West to Focus on Key Renewable Financing Issues – The 8th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West) 2015 will be held at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, CA on November 5th and 6th.  With a focus on renewable energy development in the Western U.S., REFF-West will highlight financing trends in renewable power, energy storage, system integration, and transportation; review important developments in Western power market expansion and in the role of the emerging corporate customer market segment; and discuss renewable energy’s role in smarter resource use and response to the Western water crisis.

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 on Monday, November 16th.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 20

Friends,

 

The British Open seems to be the tournament that just didn’t want to end.  After a major delay, we were able to get an extra day of golf this morning with a delayed final round.  While Jordan Spieth came up 1-stroke short, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen headed for a 4-hole playoff that Johnson took to win his 2nd major.

 

Some sad news: There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know…As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this…is the business…we’ve chosen; I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!  RIP Moe Greene (Alex Rocco).

 

After last week’s Iran Deal, this week is still about what happens when Congress starts the 60-day clock.  There will be an important briefing sponsored by Iranian-American groups  tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate Kennedy Caucus room that will raise concerns from the Iranian people about the agreement. Senator Blunt will open up the panel that will feature former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former CIA director Jim Woolsley and many more.  A Persian Lunch will be served so please join us in the Russell Building.

 

On Wednesday, the National Press Club is hosting a morning news conference at 9:30 a.m. to mark the first anniversary of the imprisonment of Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief, Jason Rezaian with Wash Post Exec Editor Martin Baron.  As well, House Financial Services looks into Iran Nuclear Deal and its Impact on terrorism financing.  On Thursday, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Muniz, and Secretary Jack Lew will defend the Iran nuclear deal before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  And next week, the Senate Armed Services Committee is planning to take up the issue of Camp Liberty and the issues related to that in a hearing.  A lot going on with the Iran Nuclear Deal and we have excellent resources on the topic that can discuss politics, policy, implications, and Iran’s negotiating tactics.  If it’s not you, please let your colleagues covering know that we can help.

 

In non-Iran news in Congress, tomorrow, the House may take up a rule to bring the both the State GMO labeling ban and the McKinley Coal Ash legislation to the floor.  On Wednesday, House Resources takes up the Social Cost of Carbon and the hearing will feature my expert colleague Scott Segal.  Our friend Bridgette Bourge of NRECA testifies at Senate Homeland Security on energy infrastructure issues.  And another big House Science hearing with take pace Thursday when they look into the EPA’s RFS.

 

Speaking of GMO Labeling, later this week look for specific state opinion polling on requiring labels for foods that have been genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients. The Environmental Working Group and the Just Label It campaign will have data from a handful of key states.  The legislation mentioned above in the Rules Committee consideration not only restricts the FDA’s ability to develop a national GMO labeling system, but would also block states from establishing their own GMO labeling laws and regulating the production of GMO crops.

 

This is also that last week is for you to exercise your voting rights… for the SAFE Energy Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  Vote for your favorite technology at www.secureenergy.org. This morning, Cleantechnica ran a five part “op-ed” about the Prize and then 250-word pitches from the semifinalists. Please check it out.

 

Finally, Congrats to our friends Lauren Gardner and Matt Piotrowski.  Lauren is moving from CQ-Rollcall to POLITICO to cover transportation and Matt moved on from Energy Intelligence and just started at SAFE’s new site The Fuse.

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Rural Coop Execs Meet With OMB – CEO’s and Generation and Transmission Managers representing electric cooperatives met with OMB on Friday to address concerns with the Administration’s soon-to-be-released Clean Power Plan.  They addressed the following issues the importance of preserving the remaining useful life of co-op power plants and avoiding stranding those assets, shortcomings in each of the 4 Building Blocks and the need to modify the interim goals, the importance of including a dynamic Reliability Safety Valve and ideas for how one would work and the impact of 111(d) on co-ops (i.e. prematurely forcing existing plants to retire) and the impact on co-op member consumers.  Member-owned co-ops are an integral part of America’s rural communities, providing power to approximately 42 million people in 47 states. There are nearly 850 distribution co-ops and 65 generation and transmission co-ops in the United States.  Electric cooperatives are private, independent, non-profit electric utilities that are owned by the customers they serve.  They were established to provide at-cost electric service, mostly to rural communities that are underserved.  Electric co-ops reach 12 percent of the nation’s population cover 75% Of the country’s land mass.  They also include 93% of the counties that are persistent poverty counties.  The Cooperative Executives attending today’s meeting included Seminole Electric (FL) CEO Lisa Johnson, Arizona G&T Cooperatives CEO Patrick Ledger, Hoosier Energy CEO Steve Smith, East Kentucky Power Cooperative CEO Tony Campbell and South Mississippi Electric Power Association CEO Jim Compton.

 

Keep Voting…for Energy Tech Prize – The voting continues for the SAFE 2015  Energy Security Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil. The winner of the 2015 Prize will receive $125,000, the first runner up $35,000 and the second runner up $15,000.  SAFE is imploring the public to cast their votes for one of four semifinalists–FreeWire Technologies, Momentum Dynamics, Peloton Technology, and SeaChange Group—to determine the winners. Vote for your favorite technology at www.secureenergy.org. This morning, Cleantechnica ran a five part “op-ed” about the Prize and then 250-word pitches from the semifinalists. Please check it out.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

ACCF to Hold Climate Forum – The American Council for Capital Formation will hold a briefing tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club on the impacts of limiting greenhouse gases.  A panel of experts with the American Council for Capital Formation will provide their views on domestic economic, legal, and political issues that are crucial in determining the success or failure of the U.S. pledge and other climate-related commitments. Panelists will include the Chamber’s Stephen Eule, former EPA Counsel Roger Martella, McConnell climate policy advisor Neil Chatterjee and Derrick Freeman of the Progressive Policy Institute.

 

NatGas Roundtable to Host FERC Chair – Tomorrow, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Norman C. Bay will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club.

 

Forum to Look at Middle East Energy – Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at Energy markets in the Middle East.  The event will feature a discussion with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

 

Forum to Look at Middle East Issues – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Wednesday with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

 

Senate Homeland Security Looks at Grid Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will convene a hearing protecting the electric grid from the potential threats of solar storms and electromagnetic pulse.  Witnesses include former CIA Director James Woolsey, FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Joe McClelland, GAO’s Chris Currie and NRECA’s Bridgette Bourge.

 

Segal to Testify at House Resources on the Social Cost of Carbon – The House Resources Committee will conduct an oversight hearing on Wednesday looking at the Obama Administration’s use of the Social Cost of Carbon.  Bracewell’s Scott Segal will be among the witnesses.

 

WCEE Event to Look at Mexico Energy Reforms – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will continue their Lunch & Learn Series on Wednesday at Noon looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  These reforms provide an historic opportunity to revitalize its state-owned energy sector and bolster the overall economy. No Mexican assets will be privatized, but the nation’s vast oil resources, including offshore and unconventional fields, will open to international players. Offshore deep-water areas have generated excitement in the investor community, as has the potential for unconventional development. The electricity sector is also poised for major change, new investment and expansion. The essential elements of the reform will be discussed at this event.

 

CSIS to Look at Future of Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the future of Russian gas exports. Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and Edward Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS will speak.

 

EPA, CHP Groups Hold Webinar – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the EPA CHP Partnership (CHPP) and the CHP Association (CHPA) will co-host a webinar about the LEED® point impact CHP can have on buildings seeking LEED® certification.  CHP, also known as cogeneration, has a long record of providing buildings with reliable electricity, steam, hot water, and cooling with lower cost and emissions than grid-supplied electricity and an on-site boiler. New modular CHP units, absorption chiller improvements, and 3rd party ownership models have also made CHP more viable for a wider array of applications. And, because of its superior energy efficiency and lower energy cost, CHP can earn buildings seeking LEED® certification significant LEED® points.

House Science Tackles RFS – The House Science Committee panels on Energy and Oversight will hold a joint hearing Thursday entitled on EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Mandate.  Witnesses will include Matthew Smorch of CountryMark Refining, Jason Hill of the University of Minnesota, Chuck Red of Applied Research Associates and Mercury Marine’s Tim Reid.

 

Cato Book Forum Looks at Environmental Progress – The Cato Institute will hold a Book Forum on Thursday at Noon featuring authors Ronald Bailey, Science Correspondent, Reason magazine and Indur M. Goklany, Author, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet. Throughout the past five decades there have been many forecasts of impending environmental doom. These projections have universally been proven wrong. Those who have bet on human resourcefulness, however„ have almost always been correct. In his book, Bailey provides a detailed examination of the theories, studies, and assumptions currently spurring forecasts of calamity and shaping environmental policy.

 

House Foreign Affairs Looks at Mexico Energy Reforms – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. pursuing North American energy independence by looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Witnesses include former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, Thomas Tunstall of the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development, Rice’s Tony Payan of the Baker Institute for Public Policy Mexico Center and Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.

 

White House to Hold Rural Council Meeting – The White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will hold a meeting on Friday focused on advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in rural economies.  The discussion will include a broad range of federal resources that can potentially be leveraged by rural electric cooperatives for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment as they consider important investment decisions about their generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Look at Nuclear Future – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and Nuclear Matters is holding a forum next Monday on the future of the U.S. nuclear industry featuring former Inidiana Sen. Evan Bayh.  It faces significant uncertainty today – a perfect storm of economic and policy challenges brought on by the unintended consequences of market structure, government policies, and public perception. These factors challenge the potential of this reliable source of carbon-free energy and our Nation’s goal of energy security.  Bayh will explore these issues, discuss some of the approaches being undertaken in different states, and explain the important role that education and public engagement can play in shaping the future of the industry.

 

Wilson Center to Look at Arctic – The Wilson Center will hold a forum exploring how human and economic capital can be developed in Arctic regions and how communities work with various levels of government, particularly when decisions made by sub-federal entities must rely on far-away federal capitals with varying degrees of knowledge of the Far North.  This event co-sponsored by the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, and Canada Institute and will feature speakers Anthony Speca of Polar Aspect (Nunavut), Alaska Governor Bill Walker advisor Craig Fleener, Anita Parlow of the Harvard-MIT Arctic Fisheries Project and David Biette of the Polar Initiative and Canada Institute.

 

Wilson Look at Latin America, Climate – Also next Tuesday, Wilson will hold a forum on climate change adaptation and population dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The Latin America and Caribbean region is particularly vulnerable to some of the most challenging aspects of climate change—sea-level rise affecting coastal cities, changes in precipitation impacting agriculture, glacial melting threatening water reserves. Population trends—like migration and urbanization—can exacerbate these challenges or, in some cases, serve as methods of adaptation. Building resilience to climate change through adaptation efforts and women’s empowerment are key strategies for enabling continued development across the region in climate-uncertain times.  The Wilson Center has worked closely with USAID Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past two years to convene key stakeholders in the region and to explore promising tools in climate change adaptation through a series of seminars. On July 28, we bring to Washington top experts and policymakers from those seminars in Colombia, Barbados, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Peru, to further broaden the dialogue about climate adaptation and population dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean; and to encourage the development of new policy and programmatic tools that help countries of the region meet the financial, organizational, and political challenges that climate change presents.

 

NJ to Host Upton – The National Journal and Fawn Johnson, National Journal’s domestic policy reporter will host an in-depth conversation with Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  The discussion will focus on the energy and commerce priorities for the committee— including a conversation about the possibility of a bipartisan energy bill this year. That measure would address energy production, regulatory issues, workforce development, energy efficiency and environmentally sound infrastructure upgrades. On the commerce front, we’ll ask the Chairman about his 21st Century Cures Act which seeks to encourage health care innovation. Other topics of discussion will include next steps for Obamacare, and transparency at the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Co-Ops to Highlight Renewables – EESI and NRECA will hold a briefing On Thursday, July 30th at 10:00 a.m. featuring rural electric cooperatives which are taking significant action on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Member-owned, not-for-profit electric co-ops are typically smaller than investor-owned utilities, and they are less likely to have significant capital reserves or other resources to implement clean energy programs. But their small size and strong relationships with their member-consumers allow co-ops to be nimble and innovative, particularly with programs directly involving co-op members. As a result, many electric co-ops around the country have become successful clean energy laboratories.  The briefing will feature Great River Energy Gary Connett and Roanoke Electric CEO Curtis Wynn (G&T) co-ops discussing their clean energy innovations, including community solar programs, demand response initiatives, energy efficiency financing, and more.  Other speakers will include MN Sen. and Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus co-chair Amy Klobuchar, Kenneth Colburn of the New Hampshire Electric Coop and NRECA’s Martin Lowery.   Speakers will describe the impacts and challenges of each strategy, and why these strategies work for their members.   NRECA found that co-ops had 95 megawatts of solar capacity online in 34 states as of October 2014, with another 144 megawatts in development. EESI has identified at least 50 co-ops in 23 states offering residential on-bill financing programs, where members repay their co-op for energy project investments via their utility bills, often using the savings achieved by the project. While many older programs targeted heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) replacements, newer programs include broad energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Abundance, Strengthening U.S. Leadership – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday, July 30th looking at US energy issues and its impact on global leadership.  The forum will feature Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Mark Warner as they launch the task force report: Empowering America: How Energy Abundance Can Strengthen US Global Leadership.  Over the past few months, with the Senators as the Co-Chairs, the Atlantic Council convened foreign policy, defense, and energy experts to assess the foreign policy considerations of the US energy boom. The task force details the nature of our energy abundance, the importance of deploying our prowess in energy innovation and technology to others, and the ways in which we can pursue our responsibilities as a global leader on energy and the environment, while leveraging our supply abundance at the same time. It unequivocally determines that America must embrace this new tool to advance our global leadership on trade and security.

 

Webinar on “Industrial Energy Efficiency, CPP – On Friday, July 31st at Noon, efficiency advocates will host a webinar on how industrial energy efficiency can make manufacturers more competitive, enhance electric reliability, and reduce emissions.  It will look at NACAA’s Menu of Options, ACEEE’s State and Utility Pollution Reduction (SUPR) Calculator, compliance templates, and State 111 (d) Resource Hub and the CHP Pathway report produced for the American Gas Association, American Chemistry Council, and American Forest & Paper Association

 

Senate Energy to Look at Nuclear Issues – On August 4th the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and related legislation.

 

Texas EnviroSuperconference Set – The 27th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday – August 6th and 7th  in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. This year’s theme is clichés and the conference is fittingly entitled “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread”; each topic has an appropriate cliché assigned to it.   Speakers include, from the federal government, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, EPA Principal Deputy Administrator Larry Starfield, and EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator Ron Curry, and, from the state, Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioner Toby Baker, Texas Parks & Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith, and the Governor’s Senior Legislative Advisor, Ashley Morgan, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors, including Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune.

 

CSIS Forum Looks at Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program to discuss the future of Russian gas exports.  Speakers will include Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and CSIS expert Ed Chow.

 

August Recess

 

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

Giuliani to Address Shale Insight – The 2015 Shale Insight Conference will be held in Philadelphia on September 16th & 17th Over the past five years, the conference has built a reputation for strong programmatic content, including an impressive speaker roster of nearly 100 industry experts, political figures and concurrent technical and public affairs session panelists who share their expertise.  Attendees at the 2015 conference will hear from featured presenters, including: Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and former mayor of New York City, as well as Robert Bryce, journalist, author and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.