Energy Update: Week of July 17

Friends,

How about a cheer for the old folks as Roger Federer continues to amaze with another Wimbledon title, his record breaking 8th victory.  And while Venus Williams came up just short in her 20th Wimbledon at age 37, they both deserve kudos for another great Grand Slam performance.   While I was working on the update last night, my house was abuzz with talk of the season premiere of Game of Thrones.  It sounded in the post-show discussion like the season opener didn’t disappoint.

This week, we will probably finally see the DOE Grid Study.  On Friday, our friends at Bloomberg got a draft which says renewables are not risking the grid.  The DOE and others say just wait for the report.  Sect. Perry is slated for a NPC event tomorrow morning, so that may be it.

Also in case you missed it on Sunday, with potential action soon in the Senate on incentives for nuclear power on the agenda, former Constellation nuclear executive Mike Wallace had an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun over the weekend urging focus on the nation’s nuclear current and future nuclear fleet and the important role It will play in providing reliable power, improving National Security and reducing emissions.

Capitol Hill this week is abuzz with budget items.  Senate Approps marks up Interior, AG and Energy/Water budgets.  Tomorrow, a House Energy Panel looks at the state of the electricity industry  and Senate Energy will discuss North American energy and security issues.  House Resources looks at Alaska oil and gas while on Wednesday, House Science looks at energy innovation.  Finally, on Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee takes up Interior and DOE Nominations, including our friend Mark Menezes at DOE.

A number of good other energy events also this week in DC led by Wednesday’s CSIS event on the RFS featuring our friend Kevin Book and Friday’s USEEE event with BP’s Mark Finley to discuss their 2017 Energy Outlook.

Congrats to our friend Bill Murray, who joined R Street Institute as federal energy policy manager after editing the RealClearEnergy website for two years.

Finally, on Thursday evening, Bracewell will host the Women’s Energy Network Summer Networking Happy Hour at 5:30 p.m. WEN DC is an organization that prides itself on supporting the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking. Come enjoy great food, networking, and policing wonkery with folks from across the energy industry.

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I think there has been way too much build up (regarding the DOE Study). The study has been built up the point no matter what it says it is likely to disappoint everybody.”

Tom Pyle, head of the American Energy Alliance commenting in a Bloomberg news after obtaining a draft of the long-awaited, upcoming DOE Grid Study.

 

IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg: Grid Study Says Not Much Impact From Renewable – Bloomberg reports that the new DOE Grid Study will say wind and solar power don’t pose a significant threat to the reliability of the U.S. power grid according to Energy Department staff members.  “The power system is more reliable today due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards,” according to a July draft of the study obtained by Bloomberg.  The findings are still under review by the department’s leadership.

Advanced Nuclear Highlighted in Op-Ed – Over the weekend, former Constellation exec and nuclear Power expert at CSIS Mike Wallace penned an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun extolling the importance of protecting our current nuclear fleet while expanding opportunities to develop new plants.  In the piece, Wallace argues that “an integrated nuclear energy infrastructure is necessary for geo-political relevance for any meaningful country in the 21st century. It is a fundamental strategic national asset, and just like the Pentagon, or the Interstate Highway System, it provides broad-based benefits to the whole country, including domestic energy, grid reliability, support for advanced academic physics and engineering programs, manufacturing, training programs for skilled labor, and providing geo-political influence on global standards for safety, security, operations, emergency response and nonproliferation.”

Groups Asks for Expedited Review of Projects – The Center for LNG and the Natural Gas Supply Association is asking DOE to speed up reviews for LNG applications.  The groups submitted comments to DOE, who is reviewing regulations. “Regulatory certainty is essential for the U.S. LNG industry and we are thankful that DOE is looking at the regulatory process. Our recommendations provide a framework for a more certain future for American LNG and the billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs it entails,” they wrote.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Discuss Self-Driving Cars – The R Street Institute will host an afternoon panel today at 2:00 p.m. featuring a discussion of policy questions surrounding self-driving technologies Self-driving vehicles have yet to be deployed en masse on America’s streets. But their potential to reduce auto fatalities drastically and free our morning commutes makes expediting this process and providing a permissive regulatory framework a top priority. In the halls of Congress, members of both the House and Senate are actively grappling with what enabling legislation is needed to deliver our autonomous future safely and securely. Panelists will include Paul Brubaker of ATI21, Paul Lewis of the Eno Center for Transportation, Daimler’s Jessica Nigro and David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

Perry to Discuss Global Security, Grid Study – Tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m., DOE Secretary Rick Perry and Dr. Fatih Birol will participate in a news conference on global security in the National Press Club’s Murrow Room.

House Energy to Discuss State of Electricity Industry – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing tomorrow examining the state of the electric industry through market participant perspectives.  Witnesses will include Duke’s Alex Glenn, NextEra’s Joe Kelliher, PSEG’s Tamara Linde, Lisa McAlister of American Municipal Power, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative head Jackson Reasor, Ken Schisler of EnerNOC and Steven Schleimer of Calpine.

Senate Energy Looks at Energy, Security Issues – The full Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to examine the status and outlook for U.S. and North American energy and resource security.

House Appropriations Committee Marks Interior Budget – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., the Full House Appropriations Committee will markup the FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill.

RFF to host Webinar On Cali Cap/Trade – Resources for the Future and other experts will hold an interactive online panel discussion tomorrow looking at the proposed changes to California’s cap-and-trade program, potential implications for the state’s carbon market, and the potential effects on linkage with the programs in Quebec, Ontario, and other jurisdictions that might consider linkage in the future.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, James Bushnell of UCal-Davis, Stewart Elgie of the uOttawa Institute of the Environment, Jan Mazurek of the ClimateWorks Foundation Duke Nicholas Institute expert Brian Murray and Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics.

WCEE to Host Sustainable City Event – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum with National Geographic’s Senior Manager of Sustainability, Susan Kolodziejczyk. Kolodziejczyk will present an interactive exploration of the intersection of urbanization and sustainability, what that means in terms of society’s choices and priorities, and examples of successful, innovative city solutions around the world.

House Resources to Look at Alaska Oil, Gas Issues – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on: promoting oil and gas development in Alaska.  Witnesses will Include Gary Dixon of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 959 Alaska, Richard Glenn of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and ConocoPhillips Alaska’s Scott Jepsen.

Senate Approps Panel Marks Energy/Water Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development will meet to markup the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

Webinar to Focus on NJ Solar Issues – Utility Dive is hosting a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. focused on the PSE&G approach to proactively studying and accommodating the impacts of DER on the PSE&G system.  NJ is experiencing some of the strongest solar PV growth in the U.S. NJ-based Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) takes an active role in understanding feeder and substation capacity to accommodate solar PV, and to avoid negative impacts to grid reliability, voltages, thermal capacity, flicker and more. The webinar will cover PSE&G’s method to study and accommodate the impacts of DER, in collaboration with Siemens PTI. An overview of the study and its methodologies and the distribution system at PSE&G, available DERs, challenges, the need for the study and the results.  Speakers include PSE&G’s Ahmed Mousa and Siemens PTI’s Hugo Bashualdo.

AGA to Discuss NatGas Supply – The American Gas Association (AGA) and the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 9:30 AM EDT, to release the major findings of the PGC’s year-end 2016 biennial report: Potential Supply of Natural Gas in the United. The report is expected to reveal that domestic estimates of undiscovered natural gas resources continue to grow, due largely to the existence of technologies that continue to unlock energy resources from shale and other producing formations.  Alexei V. Milkov, director of the Potential Gas Agency, Colorado School of Mines and AGA’s Chris McGill will speak.

Forum to Look at RFS – CSIS will host an update on the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  The event will feature Harvard’s James Stock and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView, a Senior Associate of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

Cramer to Headline Forum on Innovation – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a conversation on Wednesday looking at clean innovation and why it makes business sense. The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, government and civil society to discuss the business drivers for innovation in clean energy and low-carbon technologies across a broad range of industries.  Keynoter will be Rep Kevin Cramer, while a panel lead by Bob Perciasepe, will explore the business drivers and challenges associated with clean innovation across multiple sectors and geographies.  These issues include growing customer demand, competitiveness concerns, cost pressures, efficiency gains and enhanced performance.

House Science to Look at Energy Innovation – The House Committee on Science will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at energy innovation and letting technology lead.  Witnesses will include Jacob DeWitte of Oklo, UCLA’s Gaurav Sant, Harvard’s Venky Narayanamurti and Kiran Kumaraswamy of AES Energy Storage.

Atlantic Forum to Look at Russia Sanctions – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a conversation about the recently Senate-passed legislation on Russia sanctions on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The ongoing discussions in Congress provide an opportunity to take stock of existing sanctions policy, discussed the proposed legislative changes, and assess the current and future impact of sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.    Speakers will include the Atlantic Council Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center’s Ambassador Daniel Fried, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Mortlock,and Jeffrey Turner of Squire Patton Boggs.

Forum to Look at Energy, Transportation Systems – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS will hold a day-long conference on Thursday looking at the Atlantic Basin’s four ‘continental’ energy and transportation systems. This conference seeks to explore the drivers, dynamics and limits of this Atlantic Basin energy and transportation world, and to map its contemporary technical, economic, social and political contours. Current status quo configurations (geographical, technical, market, policy) and business-as-usual trajectories of these five transportation regimes – four ‘continental’ terrestrial systems and one pan-Atlantic Basin maritime transportation system which links them together – will be examined, along with the new types of energy policy and transportation infrastructure requirements (and new transnational and pan-Atlantic collaboration mechanisms) that could be demanded by any future Atlantic Basin pathways consistent with the Paris Accord’s objective to defend the 2-degree guardrail.

Senate Energy Holds Hearing on Energy Nominees – On Thursday, Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing to consider new energy nominations.  They include Brenda Burman of Arizona to be Commissioner of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior; Susan Combs of Texas to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Policy, Management and Budget); Paul Dabbar of New York to be Under Secretary for Science of the Department of Energy; Doug Domenech of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Insular Affairs); David Jonas of Pennsylvania to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy; and Mark Menezes of Virginia to be Under Secretary of the Department of Energy.

Senate Approps to Mark up Budgets – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the full Senate Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 as well as the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Act, 2018.

Forum to Feature BP’s Finley on Energy Report – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) will host BP’s Mark Finley for its July luncheon on Friday at the Chinatown Garden.  Finley will present the just-released 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Grid Evolution Summit Set – The Grid Evolution Summit is set for July 25th through 27th at the Washington Hilton.  The event, sponsored by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, will be a conversation of industry stakeholders that will determine how the electric sector evolves, modernizes the grid and better integrates distributed energy resources.  Speakers will include Rep Paul Tonko, House Energy Committee Counsels Rick Kessler and Tom Hassenboehler, PSE&G Renewable VP Courtney McCormick, Xcel’s Doug Benvento DOE’s Eric Lightner, Maryland PSC Chair Kevin Hughes, Kit Carson Electric Co-op CEO Luis Reyes and Utility Dive Editor Gavin Bade.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, July 26th at 10:00 a.m., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will release a new report assessing recent federal efforts to overcome Clean Energy Development challenges and consider how this record might be extended and improved upon in the future.  Transformational clean-energy innovations are required to achieve the nation’s economic, environmental, and national security goals. Smart grids that can integrate massive distributed resources, power plants that can capture and sequester carbon emissions, and other advanced technologies must be demonstrated at scale before they can be fully commercialized. Public-private partnerships are needed to cross this “valley of death” between prototype and commercialization and strengthen investor confidence in the affordability, reliability, and practicality of such innovations. Speakers will include William Bonvillian, Former Director of the MIT Washington Office; Joseph Hezir of the Energy Futures Initiative, Rice University Baker Institute’s Christopher Smith and our friend Sam Thernstrom, Founder and Executive Director of the Energy Innovation Reform Project.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA Energy Issues – On Wednesday July 26th at 10:00 a.m., CSIS will hold a forum on renegotiating NAFTA, looking at energy challenges and opportunities.  The event will feature CSIS experts Dave Pumphrey and Scott Miller.

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice.  Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.

USEA Energy Supply Forum Set – On Thursday, July 27th, USEA will hold its 10th Annual Energy Supply Forum in the Ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  This annual gathering brings together the country’s top energy industry and policy leaders to examine the current state of energy exploration and production, electricity generation, and global and domestic fuel supply. Detailed agenda coming soon.

INGAA Chair to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host INGAA Chair Diane Leopold as the guest speaker at its next luncheon on Thursday July 27th at Noon. Leopold is an executive vice president of Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Energy, and is the president and chief executive officer of the company’s Gas Infrastructure Group.

Texas EnviroSuperConference Set – The 29th annual edition of the always educational and entertaining Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 3rd and 4th in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The Superconference will cover an engaging array of practice areas and topics including air and water quality, endangered species, and environmental aspects of infrastructure projects and legal issues associated with oil and gas activities. Timely presentations from current and former government officials will give key insights on latest developments and priorities at state and federal agencies, and compelling ethics topics will include internal investigations and climate change.

Energy Update: Week of July 10

Friends,

With the July 4th holiday passing, it means we had some great fireworks (especially in DC) and that the Tour de France is rolling in France.  With 9 of 21 stages complete, the riders have reached the first rest day today with 4-time champ Chris Froome racing up the Mont du Chat yesterday to expand his lead in the yellow jersey.   Lots of time and many mountains to still climb.  You can watch all the action on NBCSN every day.  It was also Super Saturday at Wimbledon with Federer, Murray, Nadal and Djokovic all looking strong on the men’s side while Kerber, Halep, Wozniacki and Venus Williams (who has already advance today to the QF with a straight set win) have all advanced to the 4th round.  The All-Star break for major League baseball also start today and not too soon for the World Champion Cubs who gave up 10 runs in the first inning in their game yesterday against the Pirates.

Interesting action at the G-20 with some limited focus on climate. On Saturday, G-20 nations reached a compromise on climate change that declared the Paris climate change agreement is “irreversible” and must be implemented “swiftly.” The U.S., on the other hand, declared its intention to pull out and forced additional language in supporting fossil fuels alongside support for renewables. And as for the soon-expected grid study from DOE, we hear it won’t likely be this week, but we are still keeping our eyes open for paper.  And speaking of energy dominance, Platts Capitol Crude addresses the subject on this week’s podcast with ClearView’s Kevin Book, looking at whether it’s hollow rhetoric and what it could mean for policy and markets going forward.

Congress returns this week to more action on healthcare.  No expected action on the just re-introduced Senate Energy legislation but Sens Murkowski and Cantwell are hopeful that they will have something passed by August recess.   There will be votes on nominations for NRC and EPA on Wednesday, as well as a House Resources hearing on oil and gas development. Also Wednesday, the full House Approps Committee marks up its Ag and Energy/Water budgets.   Finally, tomorrow, the annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency expo will be held in the Rayburn Foyer.

Off the hill, our friend Coral Davenport discusses the Paris Agreement at a forum at the Embassy of Croatia tomorrow evening and Wednesday the Women’s Energy Network is hosting CFTC Commissioner Sharon Bowen for a lunch and learn” event.  And today, the EPA is holding a public hearing on methane regulation delays which should bring out the usual suspects on both sides if the debate.

Finally, Bracewell has brought on some new energy expertise in the civil Litigation arena by hiring David A. Super to lead our civil litigation practice in Washington, D.C.  Super joins Bracewell from Baker Botts where he practiced for 27 years.   Super as new head of civil litigation in DC is a first chair trial lawyer with fantastic experience acting for companies in the energy industry, including disputes with federal regulators on many energy and environmental issues.

I’m out for most of the week in Lancaster, PA, the home of USA Field Hockey, umpiring their National Championships.  We are taking a quick break to road trip to Detroit for Metallica on Wednesday.  Anyway, I will be fully connected, so feel free to call with questions.

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“AHRI encourages ratification of the Kigali Amendment, while also instituting the regulatory and tax reforms necessary to ensure predictability for manufacturers, distributors, and installers while providing incentives for consumers and businesses to replace their older, less efficient equipment with updated models.  Taken together, these steps can bring about significant energy reduction and environmental benefits.”

AHRI’s Francis Dietz following a new report by the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) that reviews HCFC/HFC regulatory frameworks, energy efficiency standards, and labeling programs in 19 countries that account for roughly 65% of global AC demand.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Study Highlights Quest for Improved AC Globally – The Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) in Washington, DC and Paris along with researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a report that addresses the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and hydrofluorocarbons regulatory frameworks, energy efficiency standards, and labeling programs in 19 countries that account for roughly 65% of global AC demand. The report, “Opportunities for Simultaneous Efficiency Improvement and Refrigerant Transition in Air Conditioning,” ranks the HFC transition as the single biggest climate mitigation opportunity available today.

AHRI Sees the Issue As Hugely Important – This is a hugely important transition that the HVAC industry has played a significant role in crafting with other stakeholders. As manufacturers of more than 90% of U.S. – and more than 70% of global – residential and commercial air conditioning and commercial refrigeration units, AHRI member companies are committed to producing more energy efficient products to help reduce global demand for energy, lower costs for consumers, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.  As the LBNL report indicates, there are many global opportunities to accomplish make significant progress on all those goals, beginning with ratification and implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and continuing with efforts to simultaneously reduce the energy impact of AC and commercial refrigeration equipment while increasing its availability and affordability for consumers around the world.  Also important are national and regional minimum energy performance standards backed by performance certification programs, such as the AHRI Certification Program, that help assure governments, businesses, and consumers of the accuracy of stated equipment efficiency.

What About Efficiency on Units though? – AHRI’s Francis Dietz adds current AC units are already super-efficient and in fact are nearing the technological limits of efficiency.  The issue really is getting efficient units in the hands of consumers at prices they can afford.  We can accomplish that gradually through MEPS, which is already being done all over the world, but to make bigger leaps through stronger tax incentives and rebate programs to induce people to change out their old equipment for newer, more efficient models.

DOE Releases Walk-In Freezer Rule – The Department of Energy is issuing the final rule for walk-in coolers and freezers, which was held up at DOE for months. It’s set to publish in the Federal Register today. The rule, issued in December of 2016 by the outgoing Obama Administration was delayed with several others as part of a review by the new Trump Administration.  AHRI said it understood why the new administration wanted to review the walk-in coolers and freezers rule before issuing it, but are pleased it is now being issued in the form that was agreed to in the ASRAC negotiations of which AHRI and Other key efficiency and environmental stakeholders played important roles.  AHRI’s Francis Dietz: “This is one less regulatory ball in the air for our industry and our members can now move forward in preparing for the rule’s implementation.”

Refiners Send Letter to Trump on Venezuela Crude, Potential Sanctions – Given the troubling political developments in Venezuela, the American Fuel & Petrochem Assn (AFPM) is sending a letter to President Trump and other key foreign policy advisors to highlight one critical consideration: a full or partial prohibition of Venezuelan crude imports.  The refiners group says it could have a significant negative effect on U.S. refiners, consumers, and our nation’s economy.  AFPM Prez Chet Thompson: “Sanctions limiting U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude would disadvantage many U.S. refineries, particularly those in the Gulf Coast and East Coast regions, that have optimized to utilize sour crudes produced in Venezuela. Restricting the supply of crude could also impact the price that U.S. consumers and businesses pay for their fuel.”  I can forward letter if want to review.

ACI Releases Sustainability Report – The American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) released its 4th Sustainability Report, “Foundations for Transformation,” showcases the steps the cleaning product supply chain is taking to address the industry’s core material issues.  The 2017 Report highlights the progress made by companies throughout the cleaning product supply chain to decrease the industry’s environmental footprint over the last two years.  Since its inception, ACI’s Sustainability Metrics Program has been tracking industry performance in categories including energy, water, waste and climate change/greenhouse gases, to showcase where member companies are doing well, and to highlight the areas in need of attention. The 2017 Report highlights include a 23% reduction during cleaning product formulation since 2011, an increase in renewable energy use by 46% since 2011 and a 64% of the waste from product formulation being reused or recycled in 2015.

Unions Weigh In on E15 Expansion Legislation – Following a hearing recently on legislation to allow year-round sale of E15 percent, the United Steelworkers union sent a letter Thursday to all 100 senators arguing that the RFS needs a complete overhaul rather than the modification in Sen. Deb Fischer’s bill.  A mark-up is planned for later this month.  Happy to forward letter if you need it.

Interior Pushes to Expand Drilling, Speed Permit Approvals – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday issued an order that instructs BLM to hold lease sales every quarter and establishes a 30-day approval time for oil and natural gas drilling permits. The approval time for a permit under the Obama administration was 257 days on average.  Christopher Guith at the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute said this is a much-needed change in U.S. policy, embracing America’s energy abundance and diversity instead of policies that pushed us to depend more on imported energy and exported jobs.  Guith: “The law has been pretty clear for a century–the Secretary of Interior is responsible for conducting quarterly lease sales on available BLM land and concluding the review process on an application for a permit to drill within 30 days.  The previous administration decided to ignore these legal requirements to the detriment of U.S. energy security and western jobs.  Secretary Zinke’s re-commitment to following the law is a tremendous step towards harnessing America’s status as a growing energy super-power.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wilson to Host Discussion on Religion, Climate in Small Island Nations – Today at 2:00 p.m., American University and the Wilson Center will host a forum exploring climate change as a basis for outreach and collaboration in the Caribbean and the Pacific and the added value religious voices might bring to this work.  In the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean and the Pacific, faith-based leaders, community stakeholders, and national policymakers work together to address pressing concerns associated with climate change, such as ensuring livelihoods and sustainability in the face of sea-level rise and other threats. Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States for Barbados Selwin Hart will be among the speakers.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 20th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum will be held tomorrow from at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Rayburn.  Among the speakers will be Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Paul Tonko.

NYT’s Davenport to Discuss Paris at WFPG Forum – The Women’s Foreign Policy Group will host a forum tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. at the Embassy of Croatia featuring our friend Coral Davenport of the New York Times to discuss President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Coral NYT colleague Elisabeth Bumiller will moderate.

House Resources to Focus on Oil, Gas on OCS – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday focused on evaluating federal offshore oil and gas development on the outer continental shelf.

Senate Committee to Vote on Nominees – The Senate Environment Committee will hold votes at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday on nominees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as EPA’s top enforcement officials.  EPW had originally slated the markup for the Wednesday before July 4th recess.  NRC nominees Annie Caputo and David Wright, and EPA nominee Susan Parker Bodine are awaiting committee approvals.

Group to Release Smarter Grid Report – Former Trump transition team member and Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure Chairman Brigham McCown will hold a press call Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. to discuss the release of Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure’s latest policy analysis, “Building a smarter electric grid: How investing in smarter electricity will energize America.”

House Appropos to Mark up Ag, Energy Budgets – The full House Appropriations Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. to markup the FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill and FY2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  Later at 3:00 p.m., the House interior Funding panel will mark up the 2018 Interior budget.

Forum to Feature CFTC Commissioner – The Washington DC Chapter of the Women’s Energy Network is hosting a forum at BP featuring U.S. Commodity Future Trading Commission Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen.  The “Lunch and Learn” even will feature Bowen discussing the day’s most critical energy issues before the CFTC, as well as sharing her experiences as a trailblazing lawyer, business woman and public servant.

Wilson to Host China Coal Transition Forum – The Wilson Center will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.to discuss China and its uncertain transition away from coal.  Speakers at this China Environmental Forum (CEF) event will discuss the massive reforms that are lessening the pollution and carbon emissions from China’s coal-fired power sector and the social and economic challenges. Melanie Hart (Center for America Progress) will speak on how China is transforming its coal sector to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, and reduce the nation’s dependence on coal.  Hongxia Duan and Lucy Kitson of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of such a large-scale transformation in Shanxi and the lessons China can draw from countries that have undergone the economic and social transition away from coal. Lisa Abbott (Kentuckians for the Commonwealth) will close out the discussion bringing in a comparative discussion on how her group promotes energy diversification in the Appalachians that keeps communities strong.

Forum to Look at Ukraine Energy – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. on important energy reforms in Ukraine.  The Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center will bring together top energy experts and policymakers to discuss the status of the Ukrainian energy sector in a series of thematic panels. The discussion will begin with a talk on the state of the hydrocarbon industry and will segue to an exchange on the development, challenges, and way forward for the electricity, coal and nuclear sectors in Ukraine.  Among the speakers will be DOE’s David Mohler.

Clean Energy Webinar Will Discuss Grid Report – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Analysis Group’s Susan Tierney and Paul Hibbard will present findings from their report on market forces driving our changing electric power system, commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and AWEA.  The report was submitted to DOE to inform the Department’s upcoming review of grid issues.

 

IN THE FUTURE

RFF to host Webinar On Cali Cap/Trade – Resources for the Future and other experts will hold an interactive online panel discussion on Tuesday July 18th looking at the proposed changes to California’s cap-and-trade program, potential implications for the state’s carbon market, and the potential effects on linkage with the programs in Quebec, Ontario, and other jurisdictions that might consider linkage in the future.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, James Bushnell of UCal-Davis, Stewart Elgie of the uOttawa Institute of the Environment, Jan Mazurek of the ClimateWorks Foundation Duke Nicholas Institute expert Brian Murray and Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics.

WCEE to Host Sustainable City Event – Next Tuesday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum with National Geographic’s Senior Manager of Sustainability, Susan Kolodziejczyk. Kolodziejczyk will present an interactive exploration of the intersection of urbanization and sustainability, what that means in terms of society’s choices and priorities, and examples of successful, innovative city solutions around the world.

Webinar to Focus on NJ Solar Issues – Utility Dive is hosting a webinar on Tuesday July 18th at 2:00 p.m. focused on the PSE&G approach to proactively studying and accommodating the impacts of DER on the PSE&G system.  NJ is experiencing some of the strongest solar PV growth in the U.S. NJ-based Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) takes an active role in understanding feeder and substation capacity to accommodate solar PV, and to avoid negative impacts to grid reliability, voltages, thermal capacity, flicker and more. The webinar will cover PSE&G’s method to study and accommodate the impacts of DER, in collaboration with Siemens PTI. An overview of the study and its methodologies and the distribution system at PSE&G, available DERs, challenges, the need for the study and the results.  Speakers include PSE&G’s Ahmed Mousa and Siemens PTI’s Hugo Bashualdo.

AGA to Discuss NatGas Supply – The American Gas Association (AGA) and the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, July 19 at 9:30 AM EDT, to release the major findings of the PGC’s year-end 2016 biennial report: Potential Supply of Natural Gas in the United. The report is expected to reveal that domestic estimates of undiscovered natural gas resources continue to grow, due largely to the existence of technologies that continue to unlock energy resources from shale and other producing formations.  Alexei V. Milkov, director of the Potential Gas Agency, Colorado School of Mines and AGA’s Chris McGill will speak.

Forum to Look at RFS – CSIS will host an update on the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard on Wednesday July 19th at 10:00 a.m.  The event will feature Harvard’s James Stock and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView, a Senior Associate of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

Cramer to Headline Forum on Innovation – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a conversation on Wednesday July 19th looking at clean innovation and why it makes business sense. The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, government and civil society to discuss the business drivers for innovation in clean energy and low-carbon technologies across a broad range of industries.  Keynoter will be Rep Kevin Cramer, while a panel lead by Bob Perciasepe, will explore the business drivers and challenges associated with clean innovation across multiple sectors and geographies.  These issues include growing customer demand, competitiveness concerns, cost pressures, efficiency gains and enhanced performance.

Forum to Feature BP’s Finley on Energy Report – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) will host BP’s Mark Finley for its July luncheon on Friday July 21st at the Chinatown Garden.  Finley will present the just-released 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Grid Evolution Summit Set – The Grid Evolution Summit is set for July 25th through 27th at the Washington Hilton.  The event, sponsored by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, will be a conversation of industry stakeholders that will determine how the electric sector evolves, modernizes the grid and better integrates distributed energy resources.  Speakers will include Rep Paul Tonko, House Energy Committee Counsels Rick Kessler and Tom Hassenboehler, PSE&G Renewable VP Courtney McCormick, Xcel’s Doug Benvento DOE’s Eric Lightner, Maryland PSC Chair Kevin Hughes, Kit Carson Electric Co-op CEO Luis Reyes and Utility Dive Editor Gavin Bade.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA Energy Issues – On Wednesday July 26th at 10:00 a.m., CSIS will hold a forum on renegotiating NAFTA, looking at energy challenges and opportunities.  The event will feature CSIS experts Dave Pumphrey and Scott Miller.

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice.  Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.

 

Energy Update: Week of June 26

Friends,

Despite the searing 100+ degree heat, the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships came to a stirring finale yesterday at Sacramento State.  Dalilah Muhammad led a scintillating 400M hurdle competition, Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs threw haymakers at each other in a crowd-pleasing shot put and Olympic 1500M Gold medalist Matt Centrowitz was clipped at the wire by Robby Andrews.  Other repeat winners included Jenny Simpson winning her 4th straight 1500M title and Evan Jager and Emma Coburn each took their 6th straight 3000m Steeplechase titles.  Top 3 in each event head to London for the World Championships in early August.   Tonight also launches the final “Best of 3” series of the College World Series in Omaha featuring Florida and LSU, who bounced out top-ranked Oregon State over the weekend.

While most of the focus this week will be on the Senate and its healthcare legislation, it is officially “Energy Week” at the White House.  Part one is today when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a trip to Washington DC in what is being characterized as a “get-to-know-Trump” visit involving the first meeting between the two leaders. Coal exports, clean energy and Paris will likely be on the agenda.  Wednesday, the President hosts Govs.  LePage (ME), Walker (WI), Pete Ricketts (NE) and other local and tribal Leaders to talk local issues and Thursday, the President speaks at DOE on his favorite topic – Energy Dominance – with Pruitt, Zinke and Perry.  Perry will also host labor and industry folks as well at the event.  Expect some discussions of energy exports, especially LNG to Eastern Europe.  My Colleague Eric Washburn is in the model of it.  No trips outside DC are planned despite earlier rumors (most suspect because of the healthcare debate), but DJT is headed to Poland soon, who just started receiving LNG shipments.

Hearings include a House Energy & Commerce hearing on autonomous vehicle policy on tomorrow following last year recommendations from our friends at SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, who are studying the issue and have recommend best practices for industry and other parties for testing autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions.  Also tomorrow, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will be before the Senate Approps EPA subpanel at 9:30 a.m.  Then Wednesday, the House Energy & Water Approps panel will mark up its FY2018 version of the budget.

While it was expected today, the Energy Department said it will delay a study on ensuring the reliability of baseload power generation on the electric grid until July.  Many of you have heard the rumors of a draft, but there is no real indication that there is much to that.  Secretary Perry will review a draft in early July.

The Senate will vote today to approve another five-year term for NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki, who needs to be confirmed by this Friday to ensure a stable quorum.  Unfortunately, with healthcare taking the bulk of the attention, it is unlikely we will see any action on other nominees like those that could provide a quorum to FERC, which is currently delaying nearly $50 billion in energy projects.

Starting Thursday, the region gets its only regular stop on the PGA tour with the Quicken Loans National at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms.  Rickie Fowler and Naval Academy grad/local story Billy Hurley (who won the tournament last year) will be among the stars at Avenel.  Hard to believe, but it is 4th of July coming up next week, which also means le Tour de France is also just around the corner!!!  Here is a look at the route which launches Saturday.

No update next week, but will be in touch if important news breaks.  Call with questions.

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“NuScale’s technology is one of the biggest opportunities for nuclear over the next decade and these reforms to 45(j) would significantly bolster their ability to demonstrate the first American small modular reactor.”

Spencer Nelson, policy associate with ClearPath Action on passage of legislation to expand the use of tax incentives for new nuclear power plants.

 

IN THE NEWS

House Moves Urgent Nuclear Tax Credit Legislation – House lawmakers swiftly gave broad approval Tuesday to a bill, H.R. 1551, from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) modifying the 45(j) production tax credit to remove a 2021 deadline for new reactors to be placed in service. “Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it today in this country,” Rice said, adding it may be “another 30 or 40 years before this country builds another cutting-edge nuclear facility” without this incentive. The reforms in this legislation were designed to allow more time for the nation’s four new nuclear reactors under construction to receive the credit. But it is also potentially beneficial for helping come online future advanced nuclear facilities using state-of-the-art small modular reactors, such as those being designed by NuScale Power. “NuScale’s technology is one of the biggest opportunities for nuclear over the next decade and these reforms to 45(j) would significantly bolster their ability to demonstrate the first American small modular reactor,” ClearPath Action Policy Associate Spencer Nelson said. The White House also supports the bill. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced a companion bill.

Groups Send Congress Letter on Advanced Energy – A number of groups promoting an advanced energy agenda sent a letter to Senate and House Appropriators last week.  ClearPath was part of joined a monster lineup that included Third Way, the Nuclear Energy Institute, Bipartisan Policy Center, Carbon Utilization Research Council, the American Council on Capital Formation, a number of environmental groups and several research universities in asking leading Senate appropriators to push through strong federal energy innovation funding. “While American innovators have a long history of developing and improving energy technologies, it is essential that the nation maintains its competitiveness,” the letter to Chairman Alexander and Energy Appropriations Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein states. “American historical leadership in this area is unparalleled, but it is not guaranteed. … If steps are not taken to bolster U.S. leadership in this sector, the nation could eventually need to import energy technologies from China, rather than domestically manufacture them and export them across the world.”

FERC Opens LNG Project Docket – FERC is seeking comments on Jordan Cove LNG export project in Oregon.  It a document published today, it asked for comments to be part of an extended environmental impact statement FERC is preparing for the Coos Bay, OR project.  Comments are due by July 10th.

EIA: Renewable Continue to Grow – The latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through April 30, 2017) reveals that – for the first time since the beginning of the nuclear era – renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar – inc. small-scale PV, wind) are now providing a greater share of the nation’s electrical generation than nuclear power.  For the first third of this year, renewables and nuclear power have been running neck-in-neck with renewables providing 20.20% of U.S. net electrical generation during the four-month period (January – April) compared to 20.75% for nuclear power. But in March and April, renewables surpassed nuclear power and have taken a growing lead: 21.60% (renewables) vs. 20.34% (nuclear) in March, and 22.98% (renewables) vs. 19.19% (nuclear) in April.  While renewables and nuclear are each likely to continue to provide roughly one-fifth of the nation’s electricity generation in the near-term, the trend line clearly favors a rapidly expanding market share by renewables. Electrical output by renewables during the first third of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 has increased by 12.1% whereas nuclear output has dropped by 2.9%.

Solar on the Line – The Smithsonian American History Museum has recently opened an ongoing exhibit on solar energy. The showcase will be on display through most of 2017.  A synopsis can be found on line at: http://invention.si.edu/solar-line

Rig Count Still RisingOilfield-services company Baker Hughes said the US oil-rig count rose by 11 to 758.  The oil-rig count has risen for 23 straight weeks, extending a record-long streak of increases.  The gas-rig count fell by three to 183, and miscellaneous rigs were unchanged at zero, making the total rig count 941.

Cap Crude Looks at Russia – Our friends at Platts’ Capitol Crude are focused on Russia’s energy sector this week.   The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved new sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector, but the effort has hit a major hurdle in the House and resistance from the Trump administration. Our friend Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security, talks about why this sanctions package, as proposed, could have disastrous consequences. Also, Nadia Rodova, Platts’ Moscow bureau chief, talks about the impact of current sanctions on Russian production and the view of the Trump administration from Moscow.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Conference of Mayors Meets in Miami – As it meets in Miami Beach for its 85th annual conference, the US conference of Mayors is certain to discuss climate change and role cities will play in addressing it.  The also intend on looking at Autonomous Vehicles.  The event will feature special guests such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.  They are expected to vote today on policy resolutions to send to federal lawmakers in Washington.  Bill Clinton spoke to the group yesterday and had an extensive discussion about climate change Issues.

EIA Energy Conference Set – The 2017 EIA Energy Conference is set for today and tomorrow at the Washington Hilton in DC.  The event features leaders from the coal, petroleum, natural gas, electric, renewable, and nuclear energy sectors, as well as policymakers shaping energy legislation and regulations, company executives developing and transporting energy resources, researchers finding energy solutions, and entrepreneurs pushing the latest energy technologies.  Main speakers will include FERC’s Colette Honorable, House Energy & Commerce Chair Greg Walden, International Energy Forum head Sun Xiansheng.  Walden and Pioneer’s Scott Sheffield will sit with EIA Head Howard Gruenspecht in the opening plenary next Monday.

Hudson to Hold Forum on India – The Hudson Institute’s South and Central Asia Program and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will host an event today at Noon on  building stronger trade relations between India and the United States. Rep. George Holding of North Carolina will give opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion.

Smart Cities Conference Headed for Austin – The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference will be in Austin, TX at the Convention Center tomorrow.  The event convenes more than 200 global city leaders to prospect and partner with innovative technology and service providers.

ClearPath Experts to Discuss Hydro at Conference – Tomorrow through Friday, Pennwell’s HydroVision will be held in Denver Colorado at the Colorado Convention Center.  Among the speakers will be ClearPath’s Rich Powell and Jeremy Harrell, as well as NHA’s Linda Church Ciocci and DOE’s Hydropower program manager Tim Welch.

Shimkus, Udall Headline Forum on TSCA – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a conference tomorrow at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health on chemical safety.  House Energy subpanel chair John Shimkus and Se. Tom Udall will headline the event, as well as former American Cleaning Institute CEO Ernie Rosenberg.

Pruitt Heads to Senate Approps Subpanel – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on the proposed fiscal 2018 budget estimates and justification for the EPA.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify.

House Resources to Mark up Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee holds a markup tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. moving on several bills, including H.R. 2053, the Mining School Enhancement Act; H.R. 2425, the Public Lands Telecommunications Act; and H.R. 2939, the Water Rights Protection Act.

House Energy Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at self-driving vehicle legislation.  Last year, our friends at SAFE formed a Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety who are studying the issue and have recommend best practices for industry and other parties for testing autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions. Witnesses will include Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella, the US Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center Tim Day, David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer, GWU Law Professor Alan Morrison, and Will Wallace of Consumers Union.

Stanford-Hoover event to Look at Nuclear – The Stanford University’s Hoover Institution hold a forum at Noon tomorrow in SVC 202 in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center looking at the necessity and viability of America’s nuclear power plants.  Among the speakers will be Ed McGinnis, DOE’s principal deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

Senate Enviro to Look at Advanced Clean Energy Tech – The Senate Environment Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety panel holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. looking at developing and deploying advanced clean energy technologies.

Global Security Forum Set – The Center for a New American Security hosts its 2017 Annual Conference in partnership with The Washington Post on Wednesday at The Mayflower Hotel. This year’s conference will bring together U.S. national security policymakers and experts to highlight major divides and identify potential bipartisan solutions. CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.

DOJ Enviro Lawyer Confirmation Hearing Set – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the confirmation hearing for Jeffrey Bossert Clark on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Clark is an attorney at law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP who represented BP during the litigation following the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Timothy Kelly and Trevor McFadden, nominees to be judges on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Beth Ann Williams, nominee to be assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy, will also be testifying at the hearing.

CSIS to Host IEF Head on Energy Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. will host Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), for a presentation and discussion on the forces impacting the security of global oil and gas supplies. Adam Sieminski will moderate the session that will focus on three key aspects of current markets: (1) why the volatile nature of the energy markets continues to pose many challenges for producers and consumers and (2) how, despite policy shifts in Washington, tightening greenhouse gas emission thresholds around the world could continue to shape many long-term decisions made by policy makers.  Dr. Sun has over 30 years of practical industry experience in oil & gas production, trading, and pipeline construction. He was elected Secretary General of the IEF in August 2016.

AHRI Hosts CA State Summit – The HVAC industry will also hold a California State Summit on Wednesday and Thursday looking at energy and efficiency issues relating to the industry at the Hyatt in Sacramento.  Speakers will include CARB member Dean Florez, House Assembly Republican Leader Chad Myers and Senate President Kevin de Leon.

House Approps to Look at Energy Water – After last week’s testimony from Secretary Perry, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee Energy and Water Development will meet Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. to markup the FY 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

House Resources to Look at Oil, Gas on Fed Lands – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing on Thursday examining access to oil and gas development on federal lands. Witnesses and will include Interior’s Land and Minerals Management Deputy Kate MacGregor, Ryan Flynn of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the Utah Governor’s Energy Advisor Laura Nelson and Mark Squillace, Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School.

CSIS to Discuss Energy Efficiency Issues – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Philippe Benoit, former head of Energy Efficiency and Environment Division of the International Energy Agency, to discuss some of the benefits and pitfalls in shifting the focus of energy efficiency from savings to growth. Ariel Yépez, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will discuss how the IDB is working to increase the appeal of energy efficiency as a development tool for its client countries by also emphasizing its potential to support expanded service delivery. Laura Van Wie McGrory, Alliance to Save Energy, will discuss how energy efficiency also brings important benefits other than just energy savings to the U.S. and other developed countries.

Water Threat Discussed at Forum – The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and Clean Water Action will hold a briefing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at federal protection for clean water, which is increasingly under threat from steep proposed EPA budget cuts and recent decisions rescinding key federal rules (including the rules that applied the Clean Water Act to smaller waterways and wetlands or prohibited discharge of coal mining waste into streams).  Speakers will discuss impacts of proposed funding cuts and rollbacks in clean water protections on public and environmental health, and how to undo the damage, including NY Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former EPA Environmental Justice official Mustafa Ali.

AEE Webinar to Look at PURPA – Advanced Energy Economy’s Arvin Ganesan and Davis Wright Tremaine’s Glenn Benson will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. featuring an overview of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a 1970s-era law that drives procurement of certain types of advanced energy generation.  Congress along with FERC are considering changes to this law and related regulations that could positively or adversely affect development of such generation projects. Join us to understand what PURPA is, how it’s implemented and what some of the contemplated and potential changes to the law may be.

USEA Forum to Look at Carbon Capture – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., US Energy Association will hold a forum on carbon capture.  This briefing will provide some insight into the development pathway for two of these technologies – MTR’s membrane-based approach and ION Engineering’s advanced solvent-based technology. Their developers will discuss the current status of their efforts and opportunities available given continued support of the development process.  Most of the CO2 captured to date has been used to support enhanced oil recovery efforts and has come from high-concentration sources where separation of CO2 is an inherent part of an industrial process, such as natural gas processing or fertilizer production. Costs associated with separating CO2 from lower-concentration sources, such as power generation, are too high to prompt widespread deployment of currently-available technologies. However, research and development efforts supported by the U.S. Department of Energy are leading to the development of 2nd generation technologies with substantially reduced costs and energy requirements. Further development and commercialization of these advanced technologies represents a large potential global market opportunity.  Among the speakers will Be Global CCS Institute expert Ron Munson.

Forum Looks at Energy, Transportation – The Government Affairs Industry Network (GAIN) announced its newest event series: Hot Topics in Public Policy. These events are a panel series focusing on issues currently — or soon-to-be — moving through the 115th Congress. These panels bring together thought leaders in the industry to discuss the state-of-play, providing insights and intel to help attendees stay ahead of the game in the current policy discussions heating up DC.  The first event in this series will be Thursday at the American Trucking Assn at 3:00 p.m. and will be a discussion of legislative and regulatory developments at the intersection of the energy and transportation industries. Among the panelists will be our friends Chris Guith of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy and Nick Juliano, Deputy Energy Editor of POLITICO.

 

IN THE FUTURE

JULY 4th Recess – June 30th to July 11th

Forum to Tackle Clean Power in Latin America – On Thursday, July 6th at 8:45 a.m., the Inter-American Dialogue will host a forum on clean energy in Latin America.  Latin America faces many challenges to decarboninzing the power sector, such as fossil fuel subsidies, the lack of a carbon tax or carbon market in most countries, and inadequate grid integration. However, expanding clean power could bring many benefits, such as energy security through the use of domestic energy resources, employment, and regional integration and technology development. A decarbonized power sector would also allow for reduced carbon emissions from the transport sector through the expansion of electric vehicles fueled by clean power.  The event will feature a discussion with Walter Vergara, senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, Samantha Gross, fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, and Gabriela Elizondo Azuela, senior energy specialist at the World Bank Group.

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

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice.  Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.

Energy Update: Week of March 6

Friends,

So tomorrow is National Pancake Day…Whether that is really a “day” or just something IHOP came up with, I’m fine with it and I’ll be ready to eat.

This week is another busy week with the full energy cabinet finalized with Perry and Zinke’s approval last week. It was great to see Sect. Zinke helping to take cars off the road (although I don’t think it likely helped reduce traffic congestion) on his first day.

It seems we will get executive orders on coal leasing and the climate action plan (with Clean Power Plan) this week.  Also late Friday, rumors abounded over whether the Administration or EPA/DOT will take some action this week to pushback against the previous Administration’s late move to extend fuel economy standards for Phase II 14-months ahead of schedule. (When does EPA ever do anything 14 months ahead of schedule?) We are on top of it with my friends at SAFE who are a good resources on the entire topic, including the opportunity to update and modernize fuel economy standards in a way that incorporates new technologies and business models.  One thing most are reporting and we are hearing will not be in the orders:  anything related to Paris.

Outside DC, this week is CERA Week, one of the biggest energy conferences of the year.  Speakers at the conference include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Th dinner), OPEC oil ministers, Trump adviser Peter Thiel (tmr dinner), SoCo CEO Tom Fanning (tmr 2:25) Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski (Fr 9:30), EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Th 2:10) and Duke CEO Lynn Good (Th 9:20). Our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute will also be there on Wednesday and Thursday and will be on a panel. Numerous other CEOs including new Exxon CEO Darren Woods (tdy 2:45), COP Ryan Lance (tmr 10:20), Range CEO Jeff Ventura (Wed 2:10) will speak as well.  See schedule here.

Speaking of CERA Week, Ben Geman launches Generate, the new Axios newsletter on the politics and business of energy from Houston.  And of course, as I mentioned last week, Amy Harder will join by on April 1st. Look for coverage all week in Generate and daily updates in the Axios Stream.  You can sign up here.

Congress tackles Transportation and Infrastructure funding issues in several committees this week, as well as rural energy issues at the House Ag Committee. Our friends at NRECA are a strong voice on this subject.  Senate Environment is also looking at nuclear legislation.  ClearPath’s Jay Faison is a good resource there after his speech last week at the Third Way Nuclear Summit.

With a couple of events this week on deep decarbonization issues (JHU tomorrow, EESI Thursday), our friends at the Energy Innovation Reform Project have done an outstanding, deep-dive review on what recent scholarship says about how to decarbonize the electric power sector.  There is a surprising convergence of thinking around a number of key points that are contrary to conventional wisdom in several respects. EIRP reviewed 30 recent studies of deep decarbonization and identified key insights from the literature.  I can send you the PDF or it will be posted here.

We are all over it this week, whether it is CPP, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We are pleased that the EPA has responded to our request and withdrawn its burdensome and unlawful information demand to oil and gas producers across the country. We applaud Administrator Pruitt for his adherence to the rule of law as he pursues the balance Congress has struck between preserving our environment and allowing our economy to grow.”

Texas AG Ken Paxton, responding to last week’s move by EPA to allow operators of oil and gas facilities to return an information request aimed at reducing methane emissions.

 

IN THE NEWS

Perry, Zinke Finally Approved – Late last week, both Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry were both confirmed and sworn into office.  Zinke rode into office on Thursday while Perry was on the job on Friday morning, making his first Speech to employees where he turned to self-deprecating humor and patriotism to tell DOE employees he will be their best friend if they want to solve problems.

ClearPath Weighs in on Perry Confirmation – In a blog post released Thursday, ClearPath’s Jay Faison praised Perry for his approach to lead DOE to foster carbon capture technologies, advanced nuclear reactors and innovation through our best-in-the-world national labs.  He also encouraged Perry to not micromanage our “world-class” national labs, but give them goals and hold them accountable to meet those goals.  See the blog here.

Others on Perry – A few others also weighed in on Perry:

AHRI’s Steve Yurek: “Governor Perry’s understanding of the energy economy and its relationship to economic growth will serve the nation well as the next Secretary of Energy. Because many of the HVACR products and equipment manufactured by our member companies are regulated, it is important that the Secretary ensure that the regulatory process, now 40 years old and in need of significant reform, operates fairly and consistently for all stakeholders.”

AWEA’s Tom Kiernan: “Secretary Perry’s leadership on wind energy infrastructure as governor of Texas helped attract tens of billions of dollars in private investment to rural communities, and create over 25,000 wind jobs in the state. When he became governor in 2000, the state had less than 200 megawatts (MW) of wind power. When he left there were over 14,000 MW, and there are over 20,000 MW today, after $32.7 billion of private investment. He created a pro-business environment and fostered that investment by supporting competitive markets, and the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines that tapped the low-cost wind power of West Texas. The result was a more diverse power grid that is more reliable, and that saves Texas consumers hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bills. The Texas success story with wind power has now become a model for America.”

NRECA’s Jim Matheson: “America’s electric cooperatives are working with DOE to advance renewable energy and carbon capture technologies, deliver affordable hydropower to rural America, and ensure the security and resiliency of the electric grid.  We look forward to working with Secretary Perry to continue these important efforts and provide the reliable and affordable electricity that drives economic growth in the communities served by electric co-ops.”

Sportsmen Leaders on Zinke – Eric Washburn (202-412-5211), a former Senate staffer and westerner who works on many lands, species and wildlife issues, should you have questions…  Eric is a great resource on Interior issues and has led a number of sportsmen’s groups, working on hunting, fishing and conservation issues as well, is available to discuss the Challenges that Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke may face after being named to head the Department of the Interior. “Zinke is an avid hunter and angler and someone who values the opportunity to spend time pursuing those activities on the vast federal lands estate.  As Secretary, he will be someone who will pay close attention to the conservation agenda promoted by sportsmen groups and will look for ways to balance conservation needs with energy development.  His heartfelt belief that the federal lands should stay under federal management and control will be especially appreciated by sportsmen across the country.  For a lot of hunters and anglers, it offers the best publicly-accessible places in the country in which to pursue their sports.  Interior Secretary is great job for anyone who likes the outdoors, and Congressman Zinke will enjoy even the daily turmoil of refereeing among the various users of the federal lands, which include renewable energy developers, oil and gas companies, pipeline developers, hikers, campers, back country skiers, snowmobiles, off road vehicle enthusiasts, sportsmen, bird watchers and others.”  Finally, while Eric has been able to address the land and species issues, my colleague Kevin Ewing is a great expert on NEPA, environmental law and offshore issues.  He can speak to some of the significant issues Zinke may face in those arenas.  He can be reached at 202-828-7638 or kevin.ewing@bracewelllaw.com

ERIP Look s at Deep Decarbonization Literature – With a couple of events this week on deep decarbonization issues, our friends at the Energy Innovation Reform Project have done an outstanding, deep-dive review on what recent scholarship says about how to decarbonize the electric power sector.  There is a surprising convergence of thinking around a number of key points that are contrary to conventional wisdom in several respects. EIRP reviewed 30 recent studies of deep decarbonization and identified key insights from the literature, which you can see here.   Key takeaways include 1) reaching near-zero emissions is much more challenging and may require a very different mix of resources; 2) a diversified mix of low-CO2 generation resources offers the best chance of affordably achieving deep decarbonization; 3) dispatchable low-carbon resources (nuclear and/or CCS) in the generation mix is virtually indispensible for any least-cost pathway to deep decarbonization; 4) intermittent renewables such as solar and wind will contribute most efficiently to decarbonization if they are not expected to power the entire grid; and finally 5) very large amounts of long-duration seasonal energy storage technologies do not currently exist in plausible form or scale.

Platts Releases Latest OPEC Survey – Our friends at Platts have released their the latest S&P Global Platts OPEC production survey, which shows the cartel moved closer to full compliance with the landmark production cut agreement signed late last year, as output in the month fell from January levels to average 32.03 million b/d.  In all, taking an average of January and February production, the 10 members obligated to reduce output under the deal have achieved 98.5% of their total combined cuts, according to the survey, up from 91% in January.  See the Table is here.  Saudi Arabia is leading the way on compliance, with its 9.85 million b/d output in February its lowest since February 2015. Its January and February average of 9.918 million b/d is 140,000 b/d below its cut quota.  Meanwhile, Iraq remains the farthest from compliance, producing 4.40 million b/d in February. Its two-month average of 4.442 million b/d is 91,000 b/d above its quota.

Community Solar Group Celebrates One-Year – The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) marked its one-year anniversary last month with the addition of nine new members. The nation’s first and only trade association for community solar now represents an even-larger cross-section of project developers, manufacturers, financiers, legal experts and advocates.  In its first year, CCSA and its growing membership have been actively involved in advocating for effective community solar policies in states across the country. Some of the recent action CCSA has engaged in includes implementation of a new program in Maryland, which opens in April and enables nearly 250 MW of community solar development, as well as new programs in Hawaii and Rhode Island.  They are also working with regulators to improve market structures in existing markets, including crucial financial mechanisms in Massachusetts and New York that will enable development of hundreds more MW in each state, bringing community solar to tens of thousands of new customers over the next few years.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held this week in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Cato to Host Transportation Infrastructure – Today at Noon, the Cato Institute hold a forum on setting transportation infrastructure priorities.  The event will focus on how we should decide what projects are funded, how much should we spend on new infrastructure and how much on reconstruction, as well as funding and finance priorities.  Finally, it will look at goals to create short-term jobs, long-term economic growth, or simply new transportation alternatives? Join four leading transportation experts in a discussion of highways, transit, intercity rail, airports and air traffic control, transportation finance, and regulation. They will also revisit the issue on Capitol Hill on Wednesday at Noon in 2045 Rayburn.

Forum to Look at Urban Planning, Climate – The Wilson Center will hold a forum today at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion about the latest research from the field on innovative urban approaches to climate change, accommodating refugees in urban areas, and inclusive city planning. Winning authors of the 2016 Graduate Student Reducing Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

Southern, NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held today through Wednesday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

Offshore Wind Leaders to Discuss Progress – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hosts a breakfast with Deepwater Wind Exec Clint Plummer and US Wind Exec Paul Rich tomorrow morning at the Maritime Conference Center-Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.  With the Nation’s first offshore wind project in the water, the Block Island Wind Farm has led the way to a U.S. offshore wind market.  More than 4 GW of offshore wind will be built off the Northeast coast. Maryland is poised to capture a significant portion of the estimated 58,000 jobs anticipated from the present regional 5-6 GW offshore wind pipeline, especially if Maryland moves forward with its own project.  Maryland ports, businesses and a workforce could assemble the heavy steel components: foundations, transition pieces, and towers as well manufacture cables and crew vessels, to become the main supply hub for the U.S. east coast.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC tomorrow.  GEA has annually provided leadership within the geothermal energy community and a platform for constructive dialogue and in-depth discussion on issues ranging from finance, market development, and policy to GHG emissions, new technology driving change and key markets to look out for. In light of the latest developments, the Association’s International Geothermal Forum is a recent spinoff from the traditional US & International Showcase.  For one day, the Forum will gather roughly sixty (60) top energy, finance, policy, government, ministry, and engineering experts to provide in-depth discussion and insight into the future of the geothermal market in the US and abroad.

Forum to Look at Advanced Energy – Microsoft and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute will host a conversation tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. looking at advanced energy as an economic driver.  The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, utilities, energy consumers, and state business organizations to discuss how advanced energy is driving economic development and job growth in states across the U.S.  The U.S. energy system is going through a transformational change—consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies, and new threats are causing the energy system, as we have known it for the past century, to evolve.  Speakers will include our friend AEE’s Malcolm Wolff, EEI’s Emily Fisher, Microsoft’s Michelle Patron, and many others.

Hydro Forum Set For Hill – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in 385 Russell, the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus will host a presentation and Q&A on marine hydrokinetic energy, and the Department of Energy’s recent Wave Energy Prize.   The briefing will cover the potential of renewable ocean energy to turn the motion of waves, currents, and tides into electricity, the Department of Energy’s use of the Wave Energy Prize to spur innovation, and how AquaHarmonics created the winning entry for the Wave Energy Prize.   Our friend and Virginia Tech energy expert George Hagerman will moderate a panel of experts.

NAS to Hold Public Meeting On Surface Coal Mining Health Issues – Tomorrow at 1:45 p.m., the National Academy of Sciences’ Surface Coal Mining and Human Health Committee will be conducting a public meeting at the NAS’s Keck Center.

WaPo to Look at Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Washington Post will discuss the promise to rebuild America’s highways, railways, bridges, airports, and pipelines. As his administration formulates its infrastructure plan and lawmakers in Congress voice their priorities, The Post will bring together industry experts and policymakers to examine what’s needed to modernize the nation’s transportation and energy infrastructure, and how different approaches may impact job creation.

CSIS to Host IEA Oil Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency on Wednesday to present the IEA’s Oil Market Report 2017.  In late 2016, leading oil producers put together the most comprehensive agreement to limit oil output seen since 2009 to ensure the stabilization of oil prices and avoid economic dislocation in producing countries. Underscored by well-supplied oil markets, and this new period of production management, the Oil Market Report projects the following trends through 2022 that oil demand is expected to grow strongly at least to 2022, with main developing economies leading the way; the need for more production capacity becomes apparent by the end of the decade, even if supply appears plentiful today; it is not clear that upstream projects will be completed in time due to the unprecedented two-year fall in investment in 2015 and 2016, although major reductions in costs will help and there is a  risk of prices rising more sharply by 2022 as the spare production cushion is eroded.  A discussion moderated by Kevin Book will follow.

Microgrid Forum Set – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), George Washington University and state, business and city leaders will join together on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to examine the opportunities and challenges of successful microgrid deployment. Microgrids are an innovative solution to reduce emissions, improve electricity system reliability and resilience, and tighten grid security. But financial, legal and technological barriers can slow their deployment.

Senate Approps Panel to Look at Transpo, Infrastructure Issues – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on investing in America’s transportation infrastructure needs.  Witnesses include Maine DOT Commissioner David Bernhardt, Jim Tymon of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, American Association of Airport Executives CEO Todd Hauptli, Chamber Transportation Infrastructure director Edward Mortimer and Beth Osborne of Transportation for America.

Senate Enviro Panel to Look at Nuclear – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. addressing on S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act.

JHU to Look at Carbon Fee/Dividend Program – The JHU SAIS program will hold a forum on carbon fees and dividend programs Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature a panel that includes RFF’s Marc Hafstead, WRI’s Noah Kaufman, Adele Morris from the Climate and Energy Economics Project and others.

House Ag to Look at Rural Energy Programs – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Ag panel that deals with energy will hold a public hearing on rural development and energy programs in the next Farm Bill.

Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. showcasing two new reports on how to transition the United States toward a low carbon economy. The reports, From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy and the United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, present a range of pathways that can achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2050. These pathways involve mixtures of: energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, increased carbon sequestration in U.S. lands, and reductions in non-CO2 emissions. These pathways rely on commercial or near-commercial technologies that American companies are adopting and developing. The briefing will explore how deeper investment in clean energy can yield long-term dividends for the American economy.  The speakers for this forum are WRI’s Karl Hausker and Noah Kaufman.

Forum to Look at Gas, Electricity – The Young Professionals in Energy will host a forum at PJM Interconnection’s DC office at 6:00 p.m. Thursday to explore the relationship between power and gas and for a conversation about new solutions to optimize reliability, security, and costs. In today’s world of abundant and low-cost natural gas, the electric power sector is becoming increasingly dependent on the natural gas sector. The further intertwining of the markets and operations of both sectors provides new challenges and opportunities for each industry.  PJM’s Brian Fitzpatrick is the featured speaker.

OAS Panel to Look at Food Security, Climate Migration – The Organization of American States hosts a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on food security and migration with climate change.  The event provides an opportunity for a dynamic and inclusive debate, in Davos-style format, on how climate change and food security can be factors for migration in the Americas.

ELI to Host Forum on Climate Justice – On Friday at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a forum on Climate Justice.  Climate justice can be defined generally as addressing the disproportionate burden of climate change impacts on poor and marginalized communities. It seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of these impacts at the local, national, and global levels through proactive regulatory initiatives and reactive judicial remedies that draw on international human rights and domestic environmental justice theories. Yet, efforts to define climate justice as a field of inquiry can be elusive and underinclusive because the concept is so vast in scope.  This seminar will begin with discussions of recent atmospheric trust litigation in the U.S., and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, as examples of the advantages and limitations of using domestic courts to promote climate justice objectives. It will then address topics outside the litigation context by exploring the climate justice implications of the new differentiation model between developed and developing nations as reflected in the Paris Agreement and the human rights dimensions of global deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Join the editor and three contributing authors of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges to learn about important and timely topics addressed in this recent publication.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Wilson to Premier Earth, Sky –The Wilson Center will host an environmental film premier of Between Earth and Sky on Wednesday March 15th at Noon.  Mixing interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming, Between Earth and Sky attempts to highlight the challenge of climate change in places in Alaska.

WCEE Event to Focus on BCSE Factbook – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host an event on Wednesday March 15th discussing the Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the United States. The Factbook is created to provide policymakers, journalists and industry professionals with up-to-date market information.  The Factbook is free and available to download at www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on March 16th at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

USEA to Discuss Fuel Cells, Carbon Capture – On Thursday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association hosts a forum on CO2 Capture Utilizing Fuel Cells.  Efficiently and affordably capturing CO2 from utility scale power generation is a global challenge and a large potential market opportunity.  Conventional carbon capture technologies use power and represent an expense.  FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil are advancing a novel application for installing carbonate fuel cells at combustion-based power plants to efficiently capture CO2 while simultaneously producing power from the fuel cells.  Affordable and scalable, fuel cell carbon capture is a potential game-changer. This presentation will explain fuel cell carbon capture supported with discussion of a demonstration project to be placed at Plant Barry, a mixed coal/gas-fired plant owned by Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.  Speakers include Exxon’s Michael Kerby and FuelCell Energy’s Tony Leo and Frank Wolak.

Forum to Look at Efficiency in Infrastructure – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold an event on Thursday, March 16th at 12:15 p.m. looking at the role of energy efficiency in infrastructure investments. The session will outline the role of energy efficiency policy as an indispensable element of what has been a major policy theme for the new administration and members of the 115th Congress: infrastructure. Briefing attendees will hear from business leaders about the importance of energy efficiency policy in a diverse range of energy sectors: transportation, utility, buildings, water and finance. Following panelist presentations, the moderator will open the briefing for questions from attendees.

Group to Toast Former EIA Head – The NCAC, USAEE, and IAEE will hold a special event on Thursday evening on Match 16th that will feature a roast ‘n Toast of former EIA Head Adam Sieminski.  The event will feature live music provided by former White House economist Bob McNally and his band “Sound Policy” featuring fellow NCAC members and energy wonks Dan Poneman and Kevin Book.

WAPA Gala Set – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual “non” gala on Thursday, March 16th at Pinstripes in Georgetown for an evening of drinks, dinner, networking, and some sporting fun courtesy of Nissan, with automotive journalism’s industry leaders from around the area and the nation.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of February 27

Friends,

I wasn’t watching, because I‘m deep into Homeland and Billions, but apparently there was a “Steve Harvey-moment” at last night’s Oscars when presenters read the wrong card and said La La Land won best picture at the Academy Awards rather than Moonlight, the real winner.  Warren Beatty says he paused so long before the name was read because the envelope read Emma Stone, La La Land. Actress Faye Dunaway read the name La La Land after chiding Beatty for taking so long to read the winner.  PricewaterhouseCoopers – not the Russians – issued a statement early Monday taking the blame and apologizing for card mix-up.  I was very glad to see Casey Affleck get the best actor award for his role in Manchester by the Sea, which I thought was gripping.  Vanity Fair has the full list of correct winners.

We start Mardi Gras week (Fat Tuesday is tomorrow) with the nation’s Governors in town, visiting with the President, EPA’s Scott Pruitt and others.  This morning, we see the roll out of the new top-line budget and the President speaks to a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow.  On the budget, just a reminder it is expected that agencies across the board will see proposed cuts.  But just like any budget, the President’s budget is often a visionary statement that outlines the direction of the Administration.   As always, Congress will thank the President for his approach and get to work on it themselves.  All this is to say while it is nice to see what the President will propose in his budget, it will change – probably dramatically.  On specifics EPA and DOE spending will likely include large cuts initially, including climate change programs.   More as this as it develops.

As for the President’s speech tomorrow, I would expect much focus energy and environmental issues other than to accent his focus on creating jobs.  Trump is expected to tout his efforts to broadly curtail government rules and the work his administration has already done to roll back some of the Obama administration’s energy policies.

Following the speech, we return to the confirmation game with Rep. Ryan Zinke’s long-delayed nomination to run the Interior Department.  The Senate is expected to take another key procedural vote late today in which tees up a final vote on his nomination in the early morning hours of Wednesday (if Democrats elect to run through the entire 30 hours of debate). Ben Carson’s confirmation to HUD is next then Rick Perry’s nomination to run DOE.  The House will be busy on more reg legislative action, while we also expect to see the long-awaited, much-reported enviro executive orders focused on EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. regulation and Interior’s federal moratorium on new coal leases.  E&E’s Emily Holden has a good explainer on CPP here.

Last week, conservatives roamed the Gaylord convention center (wonder how many headed over to the new casino) hearing President Trump, Pruitt, Bannon, Preibus, KAC and others. Today though launches DOE’s ARPA-E summit which focuses on energy innovation and will feature presentations from companies big and small.  Other events include tomorrow’s WAPA and Consumer Reports luncheon at the Press Club that announcing its 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards; an ACCF event tomorrow on FERC and Women’s Energy Network hosts a “Lunch and Learn” on Friday with Bloomberg energy reporter Jennifer and congressional reporter Elana Schor of Politico.  Also on Friday, BNEF and the Business Council on Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will roll out Its Factbook again for a regional audience in St. Thomas College in Minnesota.  Also all this week, NRECA celebrates 75 years of advocacy and service to America’s electric cooperatives with its annual meeting in San Diego.

So I know I mentioned this last week with our friend Ben Geman heading over to Axios to lead its energy coverage, its 5th vertical. But now the VandeHei-helmed startup will launch coverage of the energy sector in March with our friend Amy Harder from the Wall Street Journal as well.  Harder’s departure was announced via an internal memo at the Journal this morning.

Finally, on Thursday evening, the most important event of the week will take place at the Kettler Ice Arena in Arlington when Congressional Hockey Challenge – the annual battle between lobbyists and lawmakers – will face off for charity.  The game will feature former Caps players, USA Warriors players, Congressional Reps. Paulson, Emmer, Meehan, Bucshon and Katko and members of the Canadian Parliament.  For the 4th year in a row, I will be among the officiating crew.  In addition, some of you may remember my rendition of Oh Canada, last year when the singer was ill and did not make it.  I will reprise that role as well so I’ve been practicing when commuting in the car each day.  Please come as it is for a great cause.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA, because maybe for the first time ever – or at least in a long time – that agency…is going to do business as it should.  People across the country look at the EPA much like they look at the IRS. And I hope to be able to change that.  The previous administration was so focused on climate change and so focused on CO2, some of those other priorities were left behind.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressing CPAC on Saturday.

 

IN THE NEWS

More Members Weigh In on FERC Quorum – If we haven’t talked about FERC and its lack of a quorum enough, there continues to be more momentum to address it.  Already regulators at FERC, Stakeholders with business before FERC and Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski have all urged the President to get Moving on appointed new FERC Commissioners.  Now, 92 House members led by MI Rep. Tim Walberg (not related to Marky Mark) urged Trump in a letter to “prioritize the nomination and confirmation” of new FERC commissioners.  The lawmakers write the ongoing lack of a quorum at FERC leaves it “unable to serve its essential functions and effectively [halts] critical infrastructure investments in our nation’s energy infrastructure.”  Other bipartisan signers include Steve Scalise, Fred Upton, John Shimkus, Joe Barton, Gene Green, Cedric Richmond, Peter Welch and many more.

Ryan Jackson To Be EPA Chief – You may have seen the photo of Administrator Pruitt meeting with Governors yesterday morning.  Morning Energy and several others like us who know recognized a key face in the background.  Ryan Jackson, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s former chief-of-staff, has formally joined EPA as chief-of-staff.  We have also heard through reports that long-time Pruitt Advisor Samantha Dravis may be also taking an important policy position at EPA.

New Moves for Lefebvre – Our friend Ben Lefebvre has moved from the Wall Street Journal in Houston to POLITICO to cover pipelines, oil and gas issues.  And speaking of Ben, he has a good story today discussing concerns about the Border tax proposal from refiners like Tesoro.

Study Reveals Tradeoffs in Cost. Performance for HFC Replacements – A new study in Nature Communications discovered challenges for 27 “pure liquid” candidates to replace hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), chemicals currently used in refrigerators and air conditioners. Researchers spent years looking at millions of liquid candidates to replace the current HFCs, while accounting for various aspects, such as their “global warming potential (GWP), toxicity, energy efficiency, and flammability.” According to Mark McLinden, the study’s primary author at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, “There are no perfect options for low GWP refrigerants. There are tradeoffs and the biggest tradeoff is [between] GWP and flammability.” Chemical blends represent an additional option, but are more complicated and expensive than the pure liquid HFCs they are designed to replace, causing concern for less developed countries that may not be able to afford the transition. Under the recently approved Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, HFCs will be largely phased out by 2050, helping to avoid half a degree of global warming by 2100.  Of course, our experts at AHRI who are Involved in these issues we are happy to discuss.

Clearpath Takes on LCV Scorecard – The League of Conservation Voters’ National Environmental Scorecard for 2016, was released last week.  Clearpath’s Jay Faison blasted it for undervaluing or undermining realistic and meaningful clean energy policies.  “LCV is not an objective methodology premised on key votes,” Faison said. “The cherry picking is clearly designed to produce starkly partisan results, reflecting a bias against many of the most effective clean energy strategies available to pragmatic policymakers.”  Faison pointed to the absence of votes on widely-backed Republican-led proposals bolstering advanced nuclear power, clean coal technologies and hydropower.  Many votes scored were largely extraneous party-line exercises, including an amendment to the Senate energy bill from Sen. Al Franken to enact a national energy efficiency resource standard on top of the strong bipartisan efficiency language led by Sens. Portman and Shaheen that was already included in the measure.   And while Portman’s LCV score was negatively impacted for voting against Franken’s amendment, he received zero credit for leading the long and hard-fought effort with Shaheen to include the bill’s robust efficiency language. The scorecard also omits final passage of that Senate bill, which also bolstered advanced nuclear and hydropower and was an example of exactly the type of pragmatic compromise that is needed more on Capitol Hill.

NYT Looks at Clean Coal Project in Policy Agenda – Our friend Cliff Krauss has a good story in the New York Times looking at coal companies voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions and frame clean Coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda.

Cato Policy Handbook Ready – The Cato Instituted releases its 8th edition of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers — with 80 chapters of in-depth analysis and concrete recommendations – sets the standard in Washington for reducing the power of the federal government and expanding freedom.  From chapters on reviving growth, health care reform and the war on drugs, to education, foreign policy and the military budget, Cato’s Handbook is an invaluable resource for policymakers and for anyone interested in securing liberty and limiting government.

E&E Legal Sues State for Records – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) filed suit against the Trump Administration Department of State (State). This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeks specific records to, from or discussing green-group lobbyist Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute. The requests at issue followed up information obtained by E&E Legal about a coordinated effort, with State’s assistance, between green pressure groups and China to keep the climate gravy train chugging in the post-Obama world.  E&E Legal also sought copies of all electronic correspondence sent to or from six State officials sent to or from or referencing four parties involved in arranging a collaborative effort on the climate issue at China’s request.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held today through  Wednesday at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

NRECA Annual Meeting Rolls in San Diego – More than 5,500 representatives from electric co-ops across the nation are attending NRECA’s Annual Meeting celebrating its 75th  Anniversary this week in San Diego at the Convention Center. The meeting’s keynote speakers include historian Michael Beschloss and tech entrepreneur Josh Linkner. The broad array of breakout sessions includes the potential impact of the Trump Administration, rate design, rural broadband and cybersecurity.

TechAdvantage Expo Brings Energy Innovation – Alongside NRECA, TechAdvantage 2017 Conference and Expo kicked off today in San Diego. TechAdvantage is the leading technology conference designed exclusively for electric cooperative professionals engaged in C-level, engineering, operations, IT, purchasing and supply, and marketing decision-making.  This year’s conference will highlight technologies that are changing the electric grid. From distributed energy, cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems to energy storage, big data, system optimization and government regulation, there’s something for everyone.

AWEA to Roll Out Jobs Info in Webinar – Today at 1:00 p.m., American Wind Energy Association holds webinar to release new analysis on job creation from Navigant forecasting wind power’s economic benefits.  Sign up here.

BGov Panel to Look at Climate, Environmental Policy – Bloomberg Government holds a discussion tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on the next generation of climate conversations focusing on “the future of climate and environmental policy” with young leaders from across the political spectrum.

House Science Panel Look at Social Cost of Carbon – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight panels will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. examining the Social Cost of Carbon.,  Witnesses will include Brookings Ted Gayer, Heritage’s Kevin Dayaratna, Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago’s Interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute and Cato’s Patrick Michaels.

Forum to look at DERs – Tomorrow at 10:0 a.m., the US Energy Assn will hold a forum on how Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are impacting the U.S. electric sector. DERs which include solar, storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and CHP technologies, are disrupting the way electricity has traditionally been generated, transmitted and distributed for the last 100 plus years.  Continuing technological innovation and cost declines, together with customer demand, regulatory initiatives, and increasingly sophisticated third party participants, are causing utilities and their regulators to fundamentally rethink traditional business models and regulatory and rate structures.  ICF’s Steve Fine and Phil Mihlmester have been at the forefront of helping utilities in CA, NY and elsewhere, navigated many of these ongoing changes, and will be sharing their views on these industry-changing topics.

WAPA, CR to Announce Top 2017 Picks – WAPA and Consumer Reports will holds its February luncheon at the National Press Club tomorrow at Noon to announce the organization’s 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards. The event is one of the highlights of the year for WAPA. Each spring, consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for its Top Picks in cars and trucks. From best and worst in fuel economy, reliability and safety to tips on how to get the best deal, CR provides consumers unbiased ratings, recommendations, and advice that help consumers make informed decisions with their next car purchase.

Drilling Contractors Hold Onshore Drilling Forum – Tomorrow at Noon in 406 Dirksen, the International Association of Drilling Contractors hosts a lunch and learn on onshore drilling rigs and well construction.

Discussion Looks at Middle East Energy – The Middle East Institute holds a discussion tomorrow at Noon on geopolitical dynamics and Middle East energy.  MEI will host Justin Dargin (Univ. of Oxford), Rauf Mammadov (MEI), Jean-Francois Seznec (MEI), and Brenda Shaffer (Georgetown Univ.) for a discussion of how Middle Eastern states are navigating change in the global energy market and in relations between the players.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

UNFCCC Leader to Address Georgetown Forum – The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, the School of Foreign Service, and the Georgetown Environment Initiative will host a lecture and discussion tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and a distinguished panel including Lorena Aguilar of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Georgetown’s Joanna Lewis and Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director Vicki Arroyo.

Trump Speech to Congress – Tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., President Trump will make his first address to Congress.

Resources to Look at Water/Power Infrastructure – The House Resources Committee’s Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking modernizing western water and power infrastructure in the 21st Century.

BNEF, BCSE to Do Minnesota Rollout – On Friday, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will be in Minnesota at St. Thomas College to do a local release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook featuring local Minnesota businesses. The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment.

Forum to Look at Carbon Capture Future – On Friday at Noon, the American Energy Society hosts the next event in its series, Carbon Capture, Tomorrow Just Happened by holding a Congressional Briefing that provides scientific and technical overviews; offer first-mover insights suitable for any region in the country; emphasize potential business development and job creation opportunities, as well as environmental impacts.  Panelists include Stanford’s Sally Benson, Howard Herzog of the MIT Energy Initiative, UT-Austin’s Gary Rochelle and Nicholas Flanders, Co-Founder and CEO at Opus 12 and a member of Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

WEN Lunch to Feature Dlouhy, Schor – The Women’s Energy Network hosts a “Lunch and Learn” on Friday with Bloomberg energy reporter Jennifer and congressional reporter Elana Schor of Politico. WEN DC is an organization that prides itself on supporting the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking. Enjoy lunch provided at Forbes Tate as you hear from Jennifer and Elana about current topics in the energy industry and government and a Q&A with attendees.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Cato to Host Transportation Infrastructure – Next Monday at Noon, the Cato Institute hold a forum on setting transportation infrastructure priorities.  The event will focus on how we should decide what projects are funded, how much should we spend on new infrastructure and how much on reconstruction, as well as funding and finance priorities.  Finally, it will look at goals to create short-term jobs, long-term economic growth, or simply new transportation alternatives? Join four leading transportation experts in a discussion of highways, transit, intercity rail, airports and air traffic control, transportation finance, and regulation.

Forum to Look at Urban Planning, Climate – The Wilson Center will hold a forum next Monday at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion about the latest research from the field on innovative urban approaches to climate change, accommodating refugees in urban areas, and inclusive city planning. Winning authors of the 2016 Graduate Student Reducing Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On next Tuesday, March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC. GEA has annually provided leadership within the geothermal energy community and a platform for constructive dialogue and in-depth discussion on issues ranging from finance, market development, and policy to GHG emissions, new technology driving change and key markets to look out for. In light of the latest developments, the Association’s International Geothermal Forum is a recent spinoff from the traditional US & International Showcase.  For one day, the Forum will gather roughly sixty (60) top energy, finance, policy, government, ministry, and engineering experts to provide in-depth discussion and insight into the future of the geothermal market in the US and abroad.

Forum to Look at Advanced Energy – Microsoft and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute will host a conversation on Tuesday March 7th at 11:30 a.m. looking at advanced energy as an economic driver.  The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, utilities, energy consumers, and state business organizations to discuss how advanced energy is driving economic development and job growth in states across the U.S.  The U.S. energy system is going through a transformational change—consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies, and new threats are causing the energy system, as we have known it for the past century, to evolve.  Speakers will include our friend AEE’s Malcolm Wolff, EEI’s Emily Fisher, Microsoft’s Michelle Patron, and many others.

JHU Forum Looks at Deep Decarbonization Strategies – Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum next Tuesday, March 7th at 5:00 p.m. to review the US’ mid-century strategy to deeply decarbonize the US economy by 2050, released in November by the Obama Administration. A second recent study developed by the Risky Business Project, “From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy,” will also be presented and discussed.

CSIS to Host IEA Oil Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency, on March 8th to present the IEA’s Oil Market Report 2017.  In late 2016, leading oil producers put together the most comprehensive agreement to limit oil output seen since 2009 to ensure the stabilization of oil prices and avoid economic dislocation in producing countries. Underscored by well-supplied oil markets, and this new period of production management, the Oil Market Report projects the following trends through 2022 that oil demand is expected to grow strongly at least to 2022, with main developing economies leading the way; the need for more production capacity becomes apparent by the end of the decade, even if supply appears plentiful today; it is not clear that upstream projects will be completed in time due to the unprecedented two-year fall in investment in 2015 and 2016, although major reductions in costs will help and there is a  risk of prices rising more sharply by 2022 as the spare production cushion is eroded.  A discussion moderated by Kevin Book will follow.

Microgrid Forum Set – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), George Washington University and state, business and city leaders will join together on Wednesday, March 8th at 9:00 a.m. to examine the opportunities and challenges of successful microgrid deployment. Microgrids are an innovative solution to reduce emissions, improve electricity system reliability and resilience, and tighten grid security. But financial, legal and technological barriers can slow their deployment.

ELI to Host Forum on Climate Justice – On Friday, March 10th at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a forum on Climate Justice.  Climate justice can be defined generally as addressing the disproportionate burden of climate change impacts on poor and marginalized communities. It seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of these impacts at the local, national, and global levels through proactive regulatory initiatives and reactive judicial remedies that draw on international human rights and domestic environmental justice theories. Yet, efforts to define climate justice as a field of inquiry can be elusive and underinclusive because the concept is so vast in scope.  This seminar will begin with discussions of recent atmospheric trust litigation in the U.S., and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, as examples of the advantages and limitations of using domestic courts to promote climate justice objectives. It will then address topics outside the litigation context by exploring the climate justice implications of the new differentiation model between developed and developing nations as reflected in the Paris Agreement and the human rights dimensions of global deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Join the editor and three contributing authors of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges to learn about important and timely topics addressed in this recent publication.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on March 16th at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 13

Friends,

Hope you are ready for Valentine’s Day.   You should hurry up if you haven’t made plans yet…time is a-tickin’.

Last night’s Grammys went off without much of a hitch and Adele was the big winner.   James Corden was good, but he exposed perhaps my biggest takeaway:  How is it that these music stars (at least we know Neil Diamond knew) don’t know the words to Sweet Caroline.  I mean every person in Boston, my kids and millions of others know every word to this classic.  I, of course, thought the best part of the show was the Metallica-Lady GaGA’ duet on Moth Into Flame, even with the mic failure.  Speaking of Metallica, the US tour for Hardwired was announced today with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat warming up.  It is a similar line up from the 2012 Orion Festival in Atlantic City — which we attended and was AWESOME!   I am looking at May 10 in Baltimore, May 19 in Boston and possibly July 12 in Detroit.

It is a busy week in the run up to President’s Day recess on Capitol Hill with Senate nomination votes expected on up to 8 candidates.  While it is not totally clear because the Majority Leader is holding it close, expected on the plate are Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tonight and Linda McMahon’s nomination to lead the Small Business Administration tomorrow.  Timing remains unclear after that but we are hearing that EPA nominee Scott Pruitt may be next, with the expected floor battle to be drawn out.  While not in jeopardy, the only real question that remains is how many Democrats facing tough re-elections in Red States will support Pruitt.  In addition, timing of the nominations of Rick Perry for Energy and Ryan Zinke at Interior remain in flux despite being relatively non-controversial.  Also look out for the reintroduction of Shaheen-Portman this week, expected Wednesday.  Also we expect some discussion of the Methane CRA this week in the Senate and more interior-related CRAs in the House.  Chamber Energy Institute experts are monitoring closely and can discuss should you need details.

On the hearing calendar this week the schedule cranks up with several interesting hearings.  Tomorrow, House Energy looks at self-driving car technology (our friends at SAFE can help).  On Wednesday, House Science looks at the DOE Loan Guarantee program, House Energy tackles energy infrastructure and Senate Environment looks at modernizing the Endangered Species Act and Thursday the House Energy Committee will focus on the Clean Air Act and potential reforms.

Off the Hill, NARUC meets in Washington at its Winter Meetings, ACCF hosts Kevin Brady to talk taxes, my colleague Jeff Holmstead headlines a panel at the Duke’s Nicholas School Wednesday, Heritage looks at Climate models on Thursday and Friday the USEA hosts the World Coal Assn.

Finally, tonight, college hockey’s most important bragging rights will be decided when Harvard takes on BU in the finals in Boston’s Beanpot tournament at TD Gah-Den.  Game on – despite a wicked 18 inches of snow yesterday (as reported live by Hannah from Wellesley).  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The trend lines in the 2017 Factbook are clear: energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy are benefitting American consumers, American businesses and American manufacturers. And that adds up to one conclusion: clean energy wins for America.” 

Lisa Jacobson, head of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy at the release of the BNEF/BCSE 2017 Sustainable Energy FactBook.

 

IN THE NEWS

Energy Factbook Rolls Out – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook last week providing valued insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment. American consumers spent less than 4% of their total annual household spending on energy in 2016, the smallest share ever recorded by the U.S. government, a new study finds. Falling costs for electricity, gasoline and natural gas along with energy efficiency measures have contributed to a dramatic drop in consumer spending on energy. This finding, from the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, is supported by U.S. energy statistics highlighting improvements in energy efficiency, natural gas production and use and renewable energy deployment. The 2017 Factbook, compiled by research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), is the fifth edition of this annual resource. The Factbook outlines key trends influencing America’s investment and economics, energy supply and energy demand.

SAFE 4Q Fact Pack Hit OPEC, Looks at Oil Impacts – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released its Energy Security Fact Pack for the 4th quarter of 2016.  The Fact Pack gives readers a data-driven overview of the latest trends in energy security, including domestic and global oil production and consumption, oil market dynamics and prices, and up-to-date information on fuel efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles.  The Energy Security Fact Pack for 4Q 2016 examines the slow pace of the oil market’s rebalancing, continued price volatility, record electric vehicle sales, and more.

Chamber, Biz Groups Raise Reg Concerns – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter along with 616 groups to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanding action on the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) of 2017.  The letter says now is the time for Congress to reclaim its constitutional legislative authority by ensuring agencies implement congressional intent, not the intent of the agency. “With both the new presidential administration and the U.S. House of Representatives agreeing on the urgent need for regulatory reform, the Senate is presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass much-needed modernization of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), whose rulemaking provisions have remained virtually unchanged since it was enacted in 1946.  The Senate has a unique chance to bring real structural reform to the way agencies adopt the most costly rules that fundamentally change our nation.”  RAA would ensure that our regulatory environment is stabilized with a long term solution instead of a short term fix. By designing a process that achieves the maximum public benefit through the implementation of the most cost-effective rules, the executive branch would have a framework of accountability to pursue rules that actually make sense and avoid rules that one president’s administration may think is right and another may think is wrong. The legislative and executive branches have a unique opportunity to accomplish regulatory reform once and for all.  Here’s the full list of organizations who have signed on to the letter.

Former EPA Enforcement Official Looks at Trump EPA – The former head of EPA’s criminal investigation division Doug Parker, now President of Earth & Water Strategies, has a piece in this week’s BNA Daily Environment Report that offers perspective on the future of federal civil and criminal environmental enforcement in a Trump Administration.  Parker says the EPA administrator has minimal day-to-day impact on civil enforcement and no practical influence when it comes to what criminal cases to investigate and how to investigate them. He adds that innovation and market-based opportunities to advance environmental compliance will most likely find a receptive audience with both groups. You can read it here.

High-Profile Carbon Tax Plan Gets Focus – A group of prominent Republicans – including two former secretaries of state, James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz; two former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers, Martin S. Feldstein and N. Gregory Mankiw; and former treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. – were talking carbon taxes last week and created quite a splash.

Report: Community Solar Driving Market – GTM Research has released it latest solar report saying the community solar segment is on the cusp of becoming a mainstream driver of U.S. solar market growth. Starting in 2017, community solar is expected to consistently drive 20% – 25% of the annual non-residential PV market and become a half-gigawatt annual market by 2019. The report explores the primary drivers, risks and markets shaping how community solar will achieve scale, both in the complex policy landscape for third party-led community solar and with the emergence of megawatt-scale utility-led programs. Developers, financiers, installers and suppliers should read this report to learn more about the nearly 3 GW of community solar in development across 29 states.

Lincoln Group Lands Former Valero DC Office Head Felner – Lincoln Policy Group Founder, Former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln announced today that veteran Republican lobbyist and former Valero DC office head Craig Felner will join the Lincoln Policy Group effective February 13th.   Felner will add significant value to the team according to Lincoln.  “Craig is well known and highly respected within House and Senate Republican circles and offers a unique understanding of corporate dynamics that will add tremendous value to our current and future clients,” said former U.S. Senator Blanche L. Lincoln.  Prior to joining LPG, Craig ran the Washington, DC office of Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune-50 energy company based in San Antonio, TX. In that capacity, Craig oversaw all in-house staff and ran a robust team of outside consultants.  Felner arrived in Washington in 1995 as an intern for former Energy and Commerce Chair Joe Barton before moving across Capitol Hill to work for former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas as a Legislative Assistant for 6 years. Craig was later appointed by President George W. Bush to a high-ranking position in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NARUC Conference Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners hosts its yearly Winter Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. today through Wednesday at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  As usual, the groups has assembled an array of speakers and sessions that continue to advance the priorities and issues facing state utility regulators. Next Monday, PA PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson hosts a discussion on infrastructure with Exelon CEO Chris Crane, API’s Jack Gerard and others.  Other speakers include FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Chamber Energy CEO Karen Harbert, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Consumers of America, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, former EPA GC Roger Martella and many others.

ACCF to Host Brady for Tax Discussion – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a discussion tomorrow with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady.  This follows a recent panel on Border Tax issues slated for this Wednesday.

House Energy Looks at Committee Self-Driving Cars – The House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittees on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 looking at self-driving cars and the road to deployment.  Witnesses will include GM’s Mike Abelson, Dr. Nidhi Kalra of the RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Volvo’s Anders Karrberg, Joseph Okpaku of Lyft and Gill Pratt, Executive Technical Advisor and CEO of the Toyota Research Institute.

Former FERC Chair Bay to Address Energy Storage Forum – On Wednesday, the 3rd Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum will be held at the National Press Club.   The new Administration and Congress bring with it a new focus and new opportunities. Impending transitions at FERC, DOE, and other agencies have significant ramifications for the continued growth of energy storage.  Speakers will include retired FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, Mass Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman.

House Energy Looks at Energy, Electricity Infrastructure – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on modernizing energy and electricity delivery systems.  The hearing will focus on the challenges and opportunities to promote infrastructure improvement and expansion.  Witnesses will include IBEW’s Lonnie Stephenson, GE’s Ganesh Bell, EPRI’s Michael Howard, GridWise Alliance CEO Steve Hauser, LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan, Rex Ferry on behalf of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe councilman at large Chad Harrison and Joey Mahmoud of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

House Science to Look at Loan Guarantee Program – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program.  Witnesses will include Heritage’s Diane Katz, Cato’s Chris Edwards, Dan Reicher of the Stanford University Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Ryan Yonk of the Utah State University.

Senate Environment Launches ESA Discussion – The Senate Environment Committee will take a fresh look at reforming the Endangered Species Act in a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  While it is unclear how this will play out, the witnesses are a serious list of folks with great expertise.  Witnesses include former Wyoming Gov. David Freudenthal (D), former Clinton/Obama Interior official Jamie Rappaport Clark, now CEO of Defenders of Wildlife; Former Obama Fish & Wildlife Head Dan Ashe, now CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation president James Holte and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and president of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Brookings to Look at Global Risks – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Governance Studies at Brookings will host an event to discuss the management of global catastrophic risk. For decades, international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank have helped national, regional, and global leaders tackle these challenges. However, many believe that new approaches and fresh thinking are needed in the global governance arena. What are these different perspectives? Are the UN, IMF, World Bank, and other supranational organizations equipped to meet the new challenges of the modern era? Are there different organizations or institutions that are better suited for the problem-solving needed today?

Forum Look at Strategies for Power Sector Transition in US, Germany – The Atlantic Council hosts a conversation on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. with power sector experts from the United States and Germany to discuss the drivers of this transformation, to compare the challenges these innovative countries are facing, what approaches are being taken, and explore the emerging future of this critical part of our societies.

Holmstead, Others Address Southeast Power Challenges – Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will hold an event on Wednesday at Noon focused on the energy and environmental policy challenges facing the Southeast power sector as the next administration takes office. The event will gather stakeholders from across the region in Washington, D.C., to discuss the state of the electricity sector and key issues facing state and federal policymakers, including how market factors and federal policy will affect electricity sector planning in 2017 and beyond. Invitees include representatives from electric utilities, environmental NGOs, energy companies, and state agencies.  Speakers include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Clearpath’s Zack Baig, Georgia PSC Commissions Lauren McDonald, Entergy’s Rick Johnson, former Senate Staffer and Nicholas Institute expert Tim Profeta, among others.

Senate Commerce Panel Looks at Freight Rail Efficiency, Safety – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation panel on Surface Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in Russell 253 looking at  how to increase the efficiency and safety of our nation’s multimodal transportation system.  Witnesses will include BNSF Railway Chair Matt Rose, Schneider National CEO Chris Lofgren, Dow Chemical’s Tom Gurd and Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman.

House Energy Panel Looks Clean Air Act – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will start hearings Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on reforms to the Clean Air Act.  The panel is taking advantage of new authority to look at updating major environmental statutes, with an eye toward pruning any perceived barriers to economic growth. Among the witnesses will be NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, the Chamber’s Thomas Sullivan, Kevin Sunday of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and New Bedford, Mass Mayor Jon Mitchell.

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.

Panel Looks at African Americans in Energy – On Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in 121 Cannon, Rep. Marc Veasey hosts a panel discussion in observation of Black History Month looking at African Americans leaders in energy.  The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for African Americans in the energy sector. Moreover, the discussion seeks to educate Members, staffers, stakeholders and students pursuing STEM degrees or jobs in the energy industry, examine current energy policy issues and offer an outlook for the 115th Congress.  Panelists Include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, Volt Energy CEO Gilbert Campbell, Ray Dempsey of BP America, American Association of Blacks in Energy President Paula Glover and Chevron’s Telisa Toliver.

Heritage Forum to Look at Science, Modeling – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday at Noon on climate modeling, science, and economics behind climate change.  The event will feature Heritage’s Nick Loris and their in-house statistician Kevin Dayaratna, University of Guelph scientist Ross McKitrick and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.

Forum to Look at Climate Threats – In the February USAID Adaptation meeting on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Cardno principal Michael Bilney, MBA will discuss Cardno’s collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a risk-based method to screen hundreds of NOAA facilities and evaluate the most at-risk facilities’ vulnerability to potential climate change threats.  The approach combined qualitative risk assessment, and asset management facility condition and engineering assessments to identify site-specific vulnerabilities and related adaptation and resilience improvement actions. Bilney will summarize the phases of the analysis and provide key lessons learned, adaptation and resilience improvement measures and strategies developed during the recently completed project.  He will also summarize critical activities in the recommended process developed to guide future NOAA facility climate change vulnerability assessments.

RBN CEO to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its February luncheon on Friday at Noon at Carmines featuring RBN CEO Rusty Braziel. Braziel is President and CEO of RBN Energy, a leading energy market analysis and advisory firm and is the author of The Domino Effect, bestseller book about understanding energy markets. Braziel will address the economics of new drilling and the recovery.

USEA to Host World Coal CEO – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., USEA hosts Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association.  Sporton will look at how the global coal market is changing and what happens to the Paris Agreement under the new Trump administration.

 

IN THE FUTURE

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

Faison, Crane, Browner Headline Nuclear Summit – Third Way will host an Advanced Nuclear Summit on Tuesday, February 21st starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  The event will examine the massive opportunities that advanced nuclear offers the U.S., and the need for quick action in Washington to capture those opportunities. We’ll explore benefits like economic growth and competitiveness, job creation, and global leadership on issues like climate change, security, and poverty with a wide variety of leaders in this space.  Speakers will include ClearPath Foundation Jay Faison,  CEO Exelon CEO Chris Crane, NuScale CEO John Hopkins, Nobel-Prize winning physicist Burton Richter, the AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler and former EPA Administrator and Obama climate advisor Carol Browner.

SAFE, CTA to Discuss AV Benefits – The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in partnership with Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will hold a lunchtime briefing on Wednesday February 22nd at 12:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn on the benefits self-driving vehicles will have on improving everyday life.  The panel discussion features CTA CEO Gary Shapiro, SAFE AV Safety Commission member and former GM exec Bob Lange and Toyota’s Hilary Cain.  SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond will moderate.

USEA Looks At Distributed Energy Valuation – On Wednesday February 22nd at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Association hosts a briefing the various dimensions of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) valuation (with a particular focus on locational value), current efforts to employ these valuation methodologies, and the implications for utilities and regulators. The speaker will be Vazken Kassakhian, Research Analyst at the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

Webinar Looks at Capacity Market Reforms – On Wednesday, February 22nd at 2:00 p.m., Power Markets Today hosts a timely and insightful webinar looking at new capacity reforms.  Speakers will include PJM Independent Market Monitor and Monitoring Analytics President Dr. Joseph Bowring, New England Power Generators Association President Dan Dolan, NEPOOL Representative and Energy Market Advisors Principal Brian Forshaw and Advanced Energy Management Alliance Representative and Achieving Equilibrium Founder Tom Rutigliano.  Our friend James Downing hosts.

Panel Looks at Trump Energy Policy – The Cato Institute will host a lively look at energy policy in the new administration on Wednesday, February 22nd at 4:00 p.m.  The event will feature IER Founder Robert L. Bradley, Institute for Energy Research; Adele Morris of Brookings and Catrina Rorke, of the R Street Institute.

WCEE to Look at Wholesale Capacity Markets – On Friday, February 24th, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) hosts a lunch discussion with Emma Nicholson, Ph.D., an economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, and a WCEE member. Nicholson will provide an overview of capacity markets in the FERC-jurisdictional RTOs/ISOs that have them (Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)/Independent System Operators (ISO)). This overview will also explain the general concept of capacity as a product and explain recent changes to the design of FERC-jurisdictional capacity markets.  The event will be held at FERC.

WAPA, CR to Announce Top 2017 Picks – WAPA and Consumer Reports will holds its February luncheon at the National Press Club on February 28th at Noon to announce the organization’s 2017 Top Picks and Brand Reports Cards. The event is one of the highlights of the year for WAPA. Each spring, consumers and auto-industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue and website for its Top Picks in cars and trucks. From best and worst in fuel economy, reliability and safety to tips on how to get the best deal, CR provides consumers unbiased ratings, recommendations, and advice that help consumers make informed decisions with their next car purchase.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion on Tuesday, February 28th at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of February 6

Friends,

What looked to be a slow, blowout Super Bowl, turned into an outrageous game which featured a hard-to-believe comeback by the Patriots.  Despite me not winning any quarters this year in the pool, that last quarter (and first-ever OT) was one for the ages even, if you don’t like the Patriots.  I did win my bet on the “over” for Gisele Bündchen TV appearances with four.  Thank goodness the Pats came back because those three 4Q/OT appearances took me over the top of the 1.5 prop bet line.  What I didn’t bet on was the social media traffic on API’s Super Bowl ad…wow!!!  What a surprise success, generating positive and negative comments so much so that API held a presser this morning on the topic.  My ad winner was the KIA enviro ad spoof “Hero” on saving whales, trees, ice caps, etc featuring Melissa McCarthy.  Speaking of McCarthy, how about the SNL skit spoofing my friends Sean Spicer and Glenn Thrush. (I hope they laugh it off because it was hi-larious and I didn’t raise my hand Glenn!!!)

And if a Pats win wasn’t enough for Boston, the “social event of winter season” actually launches today when the Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament that features Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern, begins. It is the official battle for Boston’s hockey bragging rights.   BTW, for all you baseball fans, pitchers and catchers report starting Sunday to Florida and Arizona.

Congress this week will continue to move forward on approving cabinet nominees and disapproving federal regulations issued in the final months of the Obama Presidency using the Congressional Review Act.  It is a short week in Congress due to the Democratic conference retreat, which begins Wednesday evening in Baltimore. House floor activity this week will continue to focus on passage of resolutions of disapproval under the CRA to overturn regulations, with Interior’s Land-Use 2.0 rule on the agenda.  Meanwhile the Senate takes up the Methane Flaring rule passed by the House on Friday and votes on several cabinet appointees, with the big vote on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tomorrow.  We might see action later in the week on Perry, Zinke or Pruitt, but it seems unlikely.  Coral Davenport has a good story in the NY Times this morning on Scott Pruitt and his likely approach to EPA.  With FERC quorum story making news, we also have heard from our friend Rod Kuckro at E&E News (and several others) that former TX utility commissioner Barry Smitherman may be chosen to head the Commission in the near future.

The main event this week is Wednesday when the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release their 5th annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook at a Washington, D.C. press event.  The Factbook provides insight into key U.S. energy statistics related to energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy and outlines key factors influencing America’s energy infrastructure, economy and environment.  Speakers include BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobsen and SEIA’s Abby Hopper among others.   ACCF also hosts a great forum on Wednesday to discuss border tax policy questions.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu (202-828-5806) is a great resource on the topic if you have questions.

Finally, with the announcement of Neil Gorsuch last week as the nominee to the Supreme Court, I saw my friends in the enviro community sent lawmakers a letter today urging them to oppose Gorsuch.  For a better primer on the nominee – specifically on his call for the reassessment and potential revocation of Chevron deference to agency interpretation of its own statutes – my colleagues at Bracewell have provided info that may be more helpful to you over the next few months as Gorsuch goes through the confirmation process.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Nothing is over until we decide it is.  Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Bluto Blutarsky, Faber College, 1963.

 

IN THE NEWS

CRAs Move Forward – The Congress Passed Congressional Review Act legislation last week on the Interior Department Stream Rule.  Then, Friday, the Senate followed the House in killing rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform that require resource extractors to disclose payments made to the U.S. or foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals. The House also voted to kill a Methane Waste and Prevention Rule, which would prevent methane flaring and waste from oil drilling operations. The Methane Rule goes before the Senate early this week.

Chamber Comments on CRAs – The Chamber’s Energy Institute praised the actions with CEO Karen Harbert saying on the Stream Rule:  “Today’s vote to block the Obama Administration’s unnecessary and costly stream rule is a victory for common sense and American energy production. This rule interfered with state authorities and would have placed massive amounts of coal resources off limits for production, costing us jobs and higher energy prices.  We look forward to President Trump signing the resolution, and to continued scrutiny of the Obama Administration’s last minute regulations.  On the SEC extractive industries CRA effort, Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President for Policy, US Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy said “We’re pleased that, like the court before it, Congress blocked a rule that would have unfairly and needlessly harmed American companies and their shareholders. The SEC’s Extractive Industries rule would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with, have vast unintended consequences and ultimately harm those it is intended to protect.  There are existing laws and treaties ensuring transparency and disclosure, including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.  This one wasn’t necessary, and far too costly.  We look forward to President Trump’s signature.”  Expect comments on the Methane rule later today.

Bay Final Days Sees Pipeline Approvals – In FERC Chair Norman Bay’s final day, the Commission approved several key pipeline projects along with a slate of other items while the agency still had a quorum.  FERC approved Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise and Northern Access natural gas pipeline projects.

Atlantic, from Energy Transfer, is a $2.6 billion project, with work stretching across several states between Pennsylvania and South Carolina.  Northern Access, developed by National Fuel Gas Co is a $455 million project that would bring more gas into markets in New York, New England, the Midwest and Canada. One day earlier, FERC ruled in favor of Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ontario, a project estimated to cost $4.2 billion.  AP’s Matt Daly details the overall issues and challenges.

Groups Calls for CCS Tax Improvements – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) and its coalition partners have released a letter they sent to the House Ways and Means Committee calling on inclusion of 45Q legislation in any tax reform bills that move this Congress.  The letter Calls on Congress to “extend and strengthen” the 45Q tax credit because it “offers one of the most effective tools to protect and drive growth in the energy sector while also reducing CO2 emissions.  The opportunity represents a genuine win-win for our nation’s economy and environment, one that will bring high-paying and investment to energy producing and industrial states and regions of our country.  Among the signers is Jay Faison’s Clearpath Foundation, NRDC and a bunch of companies like Southern, Peabody and others.

Platts Capitol Crude Looks Southeast Asia, Energy – The Platts Capitol Crude Podcast this week looks at long-simmering tensions in the South China Sea and what new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may bring to the discussion.  Platts Brian Scheid interviews Zack Cooper, a fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where they discuss changing US policy ahead of the summer drilling season offshore China and Vietnam, Twitter diplomacy and the risks for oil.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

JHU to Host McNally Book Event – The Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS program will host Bob McNally this evening at 5:00 P.m. to discuss his new book, “Crude Volatility – The History and Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices.” World oil prices have fallen drastically over the last two years, spurred partly by the rise of tight oil production in the US, and by OPEC’s failure to cut production.  Recently, in an effort to raise oil prices, OPEC is attempting to regroup and has agreed to lower its production. Will it succeed? This is one of the questions to be discussed at this energy forum which will also review the history of oil prices.  Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director at Clearview Energy Partners will serve as the commentator.

House Science to Look at EPA Science Mission  – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the science mission of the EPA.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead will be among those testifying on potential reforms to the Scientific Advisory Board and other items. Others include former NJ Rep Rush Holt, a physicist who is now CEO of AAAS, ACC’s Kim White and Richard Belzer.

Forum to Look at RGGI Issues – The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center, and Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a webinar tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  States participating in RGGI are engaged in their 2016 program review to evaluate the emissions trading system and consider potential changes. In the course of this review, the idea of an emissions containment reserve (ECR) mechanism has been proposed to address a common issue confronting cap-and-trade programs worldwide: the prices for emissions allowances tend to be significantly lower than program designers anticipate in advance, making mid-course corrections necessary for it to perform as intended. This webinar will bring together experts and representatives from states, electric generators, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to consider this new approach for ensuring that the RGGI emissions trading program functions as designed and examine the finer points of how such a reserve might work and be implemented.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and UVa’s William Shobe.

German Enviro to Discuss Policy – The BMW Center for German and European Studies and the Science, Technology, and International Affairs Program of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown will host a presentation tomorrow at Noon by Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director / CEO, Environmental Action Germany.  Müller-Kraenner will discuss how the G20 Presidency might provide an opportunity to include the new U.S. administration in an international conversation around energy security, sustainable investments, and climate change. He will also discuss how international coalitions might get rearranged or shift — depending on whether the U.S. administration chooses a course of cautious engagement or disruptive confrontation. Lastly, he will shed light on how German energy policy might develop after the upcoming national elections.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Wednesday at Bloomberg’s offices at 9:30 a.m.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance team up for the fifth time to identify key U.S. energy statistics and trends.  There will also be a forum for stakeholders at Bloomberg at Noon.

Reporters Look at Enviro Priorities – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday at Noon at the DC Bar to look at the environmental priorities of Congress and the new Administration. Although these issues played a minor role in the election, they pose numerous challenges for federal policymakers. What will be the environmental priorities of the new administration? What environmental legislation might be enacted by the 115th Congress? Our friends John Siciliano of the Wash Examiner, Inside Washington’s Jeremy Bernstein and Josh Kurtz of E&E News will address these and other issues.

Energy Efficiency Day Set for Hill – The Alliance to Save Energy will host Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen.  The event returns to Capitol Hill for a dialogue on the keys to driving energy productivity and prosperity in the 115th Congress.  This year promises to be pivotal for both protecting the important policy and regulatory gains we have enjoyed in the past decade, but also and importantly, for securing innovative policies, funding and programs that advance energy efficiency in this new political environment. As we have seen over the last eight years, energy efficiency policies and initiatives have a proven track-record of increasing energy productivity and delivering a strong return on investment.  GEED will highlight policies and initiatives that are proven to increase energy productivity and have a strong ROI, while also identifying new legislative opportunities that fit within the 115th Congress’ and the incoming Administration’s focus areas of economic growth, tax reform and aging infrastructure.

ACCF Hosts Border Tax Panel – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in Dirksen G-50 looking at the potential impacts of Border Tax adjustments.  The panel will explore the theoretical aspects and potential economic impact of increased taxes on imports, as well as a look at how the potential real world implications could work for different industries.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

Energy Factbook Touted At Capitol – On Friday, EESI and the House and Senate Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Caucuses will host an event on Capitol Hill in Rayburn’s Gold Room to discuss the release of the BNEF-BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook.

 

IN THE FUTURE

NARUC Conference Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners hosts its yearly Winter Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. Sunday through next Wednesday at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  As usual, the groups has assembled an array of speakers and sessions that continue to advance the priorities and issues facing state utility regulators. Next Monday, PA PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson hosts a discussion on infrastructure with Exelon CEO Chris Crane, API’s Jack Gerard and others.  Other speakers include FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Chamber Energy CEO Karen Harbert, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Consumers of America, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, former EPA GC Roger Martella and many others.

ACCF to Host Brady for Tax Discussion – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will host a discussion on Tuesday, February 14th with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady.  This follows a recent panel on Border Tax issues slated for this Wednesday.

Former FERC Chair Bay to Address Energy Storage Forum – On February 15th, the 3rd Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum will be held at the National Press Club.   The new Administration and Congress bring with it a new focus and new opportunities. Impending transitions at FERC, DOE, and other agencies have significant ramifications for the continued growth of energy storage.  Speakers will include retired FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, Mass Dept of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman.

Holmstead, Others Address Southeast Power Challenges – Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will hold an event on Wednesday, February 15th at Noon focused on the energy and environmental policy challenges facing the Southeast power sector as the next administration takes office. The event will gather stakeholders from across the region in Washington, D.C., to discuss the state of the electricity sector and key issues facing state and federal policymakers, including how market factors and federal policy will affect electricity sector planning in 2017 and beyond. Invitees include representatives from electric utilities, environmental NGOs, energy companies, and state agencies.  Speakers include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Clearpath’s Zack Baig, Georgia PSC Commissions Lauren McDonald, Entergy’s Rick Johnson, former Senate Staffer and Nicholas Institute expert Tim Profeta, among others.

House Science to Look at Loan Guarantee Program – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 15th looking the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program.

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program holds a discussion on Thursday February 16th at 10:00 a.m. with President of RBN Energy Rusty Braziel, ESAI Energy’s Managing Principal of Petroleum & Alternative Fuels Sarah Emerson, and IHS Energy’s VP of Oil Markets (Midstream and Downstream) Kurt Barrow on where U.S. domestic and global oil and gas markets are heading in 2017. We enter the new year with higher oil prices, but also the continued questions around the implementation of and compliance with announced OPEC and non-OPEC supply cutbacks, resurgent U.S. production, enormous stocks, potential increases from Nigeria, Libya, and elsewhere, still-enormous stocks, and various forecasts of new demand growth.

Heritage Forum to Look at Science, Modeling – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday February 16th at Noon on climate modeling, science, and economics behind climate change.  The event will feature Heritage’s Nick Loris and their in-house statistician Kevin Dayaratna, University of Guelph scientist Ross McKitrick and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

RTOs Speak at Grid Forum – WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Speakers include Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), as well as Midcontinent ISO’s Clair Moeller, Southwest Power Pool’s Mike Ross and Craig Glazer of PJM Interconnection.

Forum to Look at Climate Threats – In the February USAID Adaptation meeting on Thursday February 16th at 4:00 p.m., Cardno principal Michael Bilney, MBA will discuss Cardno’s collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a risk-based method to screen hundreds of NOAA facilities and evaluate the most at-risk facilities’ vulnerability to potential climate change threats.  The approach combined qualitative risk assessment, and asset management facility condition and engineering assessments to identify site-specific vulnerabilities and related adaptation and resilience improvement actions. Bilney will summarize the phases of the analysis and provide key lessons learned, adaptation and resilience improvement measures and strategies developed during the recently completed project.  He will also summarize critical activities in the recommended process developed to guide future NOAA facility climate change vulnerability assessments.

RBN CEO to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its February luncheon on Friday, February 17th at Noon at Carmines featuring RBN CEO Rusty Braziel. Braziel is President and CEO of RBN Energy, a leading energy market analysis and advisory firm and is the author of The Domino Effect, bestseller book about understanding energy markets. Braziel will address the economics of new drilling and the recovery.

USEA to Host World Coal CEO – On Friday, February 17th at 2:00 p.m., USEA hosts Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association.  Sporton will look at how the global coal market is changing and what happens to the Paris Agreement under the new Trump administration.

RFA Ethanol Conference Set of San Diego – The Renewable Fuels Association hold its 2017 National Ethanol Conference on February 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The forum will address policy and market issues and what industry can do to develop both domestic and foreign markets, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.  At a key Panel on the first day, AFPM President Chet Thompson will join RFA CEO Bob Dinneen for a future of fuels policy discussion.  Our friend Rachel Gantz will also host a panel of journalists including WSJ’s Amy Harder to discuss media coverage of the policy issues.

ARPA-E Forum Set – The annual ARPA-E Innovation Forum will be held on February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord at National Harbor. Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eighth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.  Among the speakers will be Duke’s Lynn Good (who will be interviewed by our friend Bill Loveless), Sen. Cory Gardner and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, as well as somebody from the new Trump Administration.

ACCF Panel Hosts former Commissioners to Look at FERC Challenges – The American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research will moderate a discussion on Tuesday, February 28th at 12:30 p.m. in 485 Russell.  The event will feature former FERC Commissioners Philip Moeller and James Hoecker on a wide range of policy issues facing FERC.   The discussion comes at a particularly interesting time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which entered the new year with a full plate of issues, including the challenge of ensuring electric reliability in the face of increasing environmental pressures from outside advocacy groups. And the Commission does so without its full complement of commissioners, having now just two of its five seats filled after the sudden resignation of Norman Bay.  Our friend Glen Boshart will moderate.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of January 23

Friends,

This has been a very exciting weekend with the Inauguration on Friday, the Women’s Marches across the nation on Saturday and Super Bowl LI’s lineup getting finalized Sunday, which set for Houston in two weeks.  Also the 33rd Sundance Festival opens up this week featuring Al Gore’s climate sequel and several other climate-related movies.

The new Administration started with a bang Friday with a memo from new White House CoS Reince Priebus holding all regulations.  The Washington Post had a great article by Chris Mooney over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  Our friends at AHRI (703-600-0355, fdietz@ahrinet.org) and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718, salo.zelermyer@bracewelllaw.com) are watching DOE actions closely.

Today, we are likely to see a blast of executive action.  Already, we saw the web page change of the Obama Climate approach which led to several stories.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg and I have come to the same conclusion: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months, it should be obvious that the Trump administration takes a different view on climate change to the Obama team.  (And BTW, the Obama pages have been just moved to the archives.) As for actions, there seems to be a lot of interest in a transition memo that was reported by Axios today.  While it is interesting, just like the budget memo rolled out from Heritage/Republican Study Committee last week, I would encourage all of you to be careful chasing these items before Pruitt lands at the agency.  We are looking for focus on the White House Climate Action Plan, a pullback on CEQ climate guidance on NEPA and readjustment of the Social Cost of Carbon as immediate potential actions.  We are happy to help provide insights, information and resources.

We also know he is moving on trade issues including NAFTA and TPP.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838, josh.zive@bracewelllaw.com) is one of the best trade policy lawyers in DC and is happy to give you background information, perspective and even on-the-record comments.

On the Hill, we also expect more action on the nominations for EPA, State, Energy and Interior.  At 4:30 p.m. the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss the Tillerson nomination to be Secretary of State which seems to be assured now that Sens. Rubio, McCain and Graham will support him.  Senate Energy Chair Murkowski suggested hotlining the Zinke and Perry nominations so they can get floor votes early this week.  As for EPA, nominee Scott Pruitt will face opposition but is certain to be approved.  In fact, the most interesting story on the EPA nomination vote is what key Democrats facing tough re-elects in Trump states (Tester – MT, Donnelly – IN, Heitkamp – ND McCaskill – MO) will do.  Manchin is already supporting Pruitt.

As for events this week, on Thursday, my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead joins other tax experts at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss the viability of carbon tax.  Other events include the Washington Auto Show Policy Days on Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday a CSIS holds an event that presents IEA’s Global Gas Security Review.

Finally, two events to put on your radar screen for early February besides the Grammys and Super Bowl LI.  On February 3 and 4, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) will hold events in Washington focused on the 2017 Environmental/Energy agenda and covering the Trump Administration.  Finally, on February 8th, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release its 2017 Sustainable Energy Factbook.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned here.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“it is clear that self-driving cars will make it possible for millions more Americans to have better access to healthcare, live more independently and achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.”

Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the disability advocacy group Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco

 

IN THE NEWS

New CoS Memo Slows Regs – White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus released a memo on Friday to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations — giving the new administration time to review them.  The action is a fairly standard move for a new administration taking over from the other party. It effectively halts any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized.  For any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.  For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn. For regulations that have been published but have not reached their effective date, the memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review — with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.  The memo makes an exception for “critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can’t be delayed for other reasons.

AHRI Sees Benefits, Concerns with Memo – A great article by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  AHRI, who worked on both the walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF) rule and its accompanying test procedure rule and the commercial boiler rule, were recently submitted for publication, but delayed under the 45-day review rule.  The memo would appear to force the withdrawal and review of the rule by new personnel at DOE.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the action provides an opportunity discuss with the new DOE staff the various processes by which energy efficiency rules are developed.  “The walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated and its provisions were agreed to by all stakeholders, including AHRI.  The rule establishing the test procedure for WICFs, however, was not negotiated, and neither was the commercial boiler rule — both were developed with minimal interaction with stakeholders.  Consequently, we have many concerns about those two rules and will likely be seeking significant changes if and when they are redeveloped,” Yurek said.  This moratorium does not mean these and other rules will never be issued, only that they will be delayed for review and potential alteration. But Yurek said that, “Under the law, DOE is only required to review these and other rules, not make changes to them.  It is entirely possible that this administration will choose to merely leave current efficiency levels in place for some products,” he said.

Propane Rule Creates Burden – On the first working day of the Trump Administration, a rule imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) during the Obama Administration is set to impose $125 million in new costs on propane consumers.  To date, NPGA’s petition for an emergency stay to protect the industry and propane consumers has gone unanswered.  Today, approximately 5 million propane cylinders, including many that are used for home heating, forklifts, and even grill cylinders, are out of compliance with DOT regulations.  In 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) made a major change to a decades-old regulation that, without explanation or justification, reduces the time propane marketers have to initially requalify a propane cylinder from 12 years to 10 years.  This action is an unlawful violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires that affected parties have an opportunity to comment on any changes that might create new obligations for stakeholders.  DOT misled the propane industry in the initial notice of proposed rulemaking saying, “Costs associated with the rule are estimated to be negligible annually…. [T]hese requirements would not impose new requirements on current non-holders of SPs [special permits].”  In the rule PHMSA cites the number of affected business at 50.  The reality is this rule affects thousands of companies, starting with approximately 3,000 propane marketers.  In addition to the significant financial burden, this regulation will cause small business owners to choose between delivering fuel to more than 5 million homes that rely on propane for winter heating or keeping staff at the business to comply with this rule.

SAFE Report Says AVs will Help Those with Disabilities – A white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) has revealed that an astonishing two million employment opportunities could be opened and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved if people with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles. The paper, titled The Ruderman White Paper on Self-Driving Car Technologies: The Impact on People with Disabilities, also encourages a greater dialogue surrounding the potential benefits that these emerging transportation technologies can offer to people with disabilities. Despite those with disabilities representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population, the most recent government transport survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability have difficulty accessing the transportation they need. The transportation sector is one of the largest industries in the United States, interacting with nearly every facet of the economy, however this system still remains off-limits to many in the disability community, leading to much lower rates of employment, health care, and income. The report, co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of the Autonomous Vehicle Initiative at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE, calls on an urgent need to develop a common agenda at the intersection between autonomous vehicles and disability policy, requiring broad political organization, and eventually action, in order to make progress and ensure the voices of individuals with disabilities is heard.  The report’s authors also noted a legal commitment to be upheld as autonomous vehicles are developed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that if a private company offers such transportation services, equal access to public accommodations must be made to provide the same services to people with disabilities as those without.

Cramer Bipartisan commission to Limit OPEC – U.S. House of Representatives members Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) introduced legislation to establish a one-year commission to better understand the role of OPEC, its member nations, and other national oil companies (NOCs) in contributing to an unfree global oil market. OPEC, whose member nations along with other NOCs control 90% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, have the ability to exercise outsized influence over global oil supply, and therefore prices, to the detriment of non-members like the United States. The full text of H.R. 545 is available here.  OPEC’s decision in late 2016 to interrupt the low oil price environment by freezing crude production was reached after two years of the cartel maintaining record levels of production to consolidate market share. That policy placed significant strain on U.S. producers and the global economy, delaying nearly $400 billion in investment in future production capacity, causing thousands of domestic job losses and setting the stage for higher prices in the future. Unable to meet their fiscal obligations with declining oil revenues, major exporters are instead burning through billions in accumulated foreign reserves to maintain their social and defense spending, with the potential of amplifying already growing geopolitical unrest in the world’s most unstable regions. OPEC’s strong influence over the oil market translates to severe economic vulnerability for the United States, which depends on petroleum fuels for more than a third of its primary energy demand and for 92% of the energy used by the transportation sector. This singular dependence on oil, a resource whose price is frequently volatile and unpredictable, threatens the American economy with the specter of price spikes and undermines the nation’s ability to conduct effective foreign policy, including military action, in its own interest.

AHRI Announces HVAC Scholarships – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), announced scholarship awards totaling $55,000 to 35 students, including six veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  Each year, the Foundation provides aid to an increasing number of recipients, helping to promote careers in the industry and fill good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Defense Energy Forum Set – Today through Wednesday, the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement holds its Operational Energy Summit, with the theme “Enabling Global Power Projection at the Sheraton Pentagon City.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges –Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held starting Friday to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on Wednesday and Thursday.  The events of the Wednesday will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

SAE to Host Forum at Auto Show – SAE International holds its 2017 Government/Industry Forum in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show on “how technology, regulations and legislation affects the design of light and heavy duty vehicles.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Forum to Look at NatGas Diplomacy Strategy – The Energy Diplomacy Initiative (EDI), as part of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. featuring a discussion with conversation with former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly on her recommendations for the US administration on the role of natural gas, energy policies, and impacts on international diplomacy.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday January 31st looking at deep decarbonization scenarios.  Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.

USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum on Tuesday January 31st at the National Press Club Ballroom.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on February 1st to look at climate risks in Latin America.  The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts.  There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Feb.4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of January 16

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed an extra day to honor Martin Luther King and his great contributions to our country.  I always like the extra day because my birthday is actually the day after MLK’s (and the day before Ben Franklin).  And thanks to all of you who wished me well on my birthday.  I appreciate your kindness.  And special thanks to POLITICO for making me the subject of their new “Birthday of the Day” feature. (the advantage of not having anyone more important born on the same day as you).

Wow, this is a short, but busy week…  Everything is closed Friday for the Inaugural, but tomorrow afternoon Senate Energy takes up the Zinke nomination for Interior Secretary, Senate Environment hosts EPA nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday morning and Thursday, Senate Energy returns with former Texas Governor and DOE nominee Rick Perry.  Speaking of Pruitt, today, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) endorsed his nomination to head EPA calling Pruitt a “highly-professional, thoughtful and effective” leader who can “strike an appropriate balance of environmental and economic objectives.”

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Today at 1:00 p.m. SAFE and the Ruderman Family Foundation will release a white paper revealing that two million employment opportunities could be opened up, and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved, if individuals with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles.  Please dial (888) 567-1603 to participate.

Finally, since it is inauguration week, I have Included a primer of facts, trivia and interesting items on our inaugural history.  Enjoy and as usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

INAUGURATION PRIMER

Key Details: For those of you in town (or trying to get out of town), here are some key details on weather, road closures, maps, parade info and inaugural balls from our friends at WTOP:  http://wtop.com/inauguration/2017/01/inauguration-day-2017-survival-guide-street-closures-metro-service-parade-route/

Schedule: Here is the schedule of events and some other interesting facts for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States: http://www.newsweek.com/2017-donald-trump-inauguration-schedule-events-540650

Who’s Johns Are Portable – Our friend Matt Daly of AP may have the best story of the entire Inaugural.  Workers preparing for the inauguration on Friday have taped over the name of the company — “Don’s Johns” — that has long supplied portable restrooms for major outdoor events in the nation’s capital.  Yes…insert every joke you can.  You can’t make this s— up!!!  LATEST UPDATE: Apparently, a lot of the masking tape actually fell off with rain over the weekend.  Unknown whether, the cover crew will return with something more secure (like duct tape)

Hats Off to Texas Energy: We are Bracewell will be holding a special breakfast on Thursday Morning on Capitol Hill honoring the Texas delegation and others.  If you are interested in attending, Please let me know.

 

Fun Inaugural Facts/Trivia

  • Longest inauguration speech:  William Henry Harrison delivered a 1 hr 45 min stem-winder in 1841 during a snowstorm.  Of course, he came down with pneumonia and died one month later, making his the shortest Presidential tenure ever.
  • Shortest Speech: George Washington second inaugural address consisted of 135 words.
  • Warmest temp at inauguration time: Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981 at 55 degrees.
  • Coldest temp at inauguration time:  Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985. Noon temperature: 7 degrees
  • Who was the first president to be sworn in January? Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937
  • What caused the switch from March to January? The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on January 23, 1933 which moved Presidential and Congressional terms to begin in January.
  • Why did they initially have inaugural ceremonies in MarchThe original long lame duck period was a practical necessity for the White House and Congress at the end of the 18th Century, when any newly-elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and then undertake an arduous journey from his home to the national capital.
  • When was the inauguration held indoors?  Reagan’s second in 1985, Taft in 1909
  • Who were the only people that where not federal or Supreme Court justices to administer the oath of office: Chancellor of New York Robert Livingston who administered oath to Washington in 1789 and John Calvin Coolidge, a notary public and father of Calvin Coolidge who administered the oath to his son at their home in Vermont after Warren Harding’s death in 1923. (Coolidge returned to Washington the next day, and was sworn in again by SCOTUS Justice Adolph Hoehling to forestall any questions about the authority of a notary public administering the presidential oath.
  • Snowiest inaugurals: Taft 1909 (10 inches), Kennedy 1961 (8 inches)
  • Have any inaugurations ever be held outside Washington? If so when:  1789 (New York), 1793 (Philadelphia), 1797 (Philadelphia)
  • Who was the first to be sworn in on the West Facade of the Capitol? Reagan 1981
  • Where were they sworn in before that? East Facade of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Where was the 1817 oath administered while the Capitol was under construction because of damage caused by the War Of 1812?  The Old Brick House  (where SCOTUS now sits) where James Monroe was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall.
  • How many inaugurations occurred because of a president’s death or resignation?  9… after the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, and after the resignation of Richard Nixon.
  • Who was the only President sworn-in in the air?  Lyndon Johnson in 1963 by Texas federal judge Sarah T. Hughes.
  • Which inauguration had almost no ceremonies? FDR’s 4th inauguration in 1945.  Due to austerity measures in effect during World War II, the inauguration was held on the South Portico of the WH, rather than the Capitol and FDR delivered the shortest timed inaugural speech in history. The parade and other festivities were canceled.  Many speculated FDR was also ill, which bore out some 70 or days later when he passed away and Harry Truman was sworn–in.
  • Which president had the most inaugural balls? Bill Clinton in 1997 when there were 14.
  • What happens if January 20 occurs on Sunday? The Chief Justice administers the oath to the president on that day privately and then again in a public ceremony the next day, on Monday, January 21.
  • Who was the first First Lady to accompany her husband in the procession from the Capitol to the White House? William Taft’s wife Helen Herron Taft.
  • Which president was not sworn in on a Bible? Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 who was instead sworn in on a book of laws.
  • Which president was the first to “affirm”, rather than “swear” the oath of office? Franklin Pierce in 1853, followed by Herbert Hoover in 1929.
  • Which president was the only to walk to and from his inaugural? Thomas Jefferson in 1801.
  • Has any President ever incorrectly state the Oath of Office? At his second inauguration in 2013, Barack Obama incorrectly said “I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.” Unfortunately, the word “faithfully”  actually belongs between “will” and “execute.”
  • Who was the first president to feature a poet in the ceremony? John Kennedy had Robert Frost participate as the first poet in 1961; Bill Clinton followed suit in 1993 when Maya Angelou read at his inaugural.
  • Which inauguration was the first to be photographed? James Buchanan’s in 1857.
  • What was the first ceremony televised? Harry Truman’s in 1949.
  • How about the first on the internet? Bill Clinton’s second inauguration.
  • First President to Tweet from the stage?  Hmmmm, I wonder…

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We don’t know why it’s being done. We didn’t tell someone to do it.  We’re proud to have our name on the units.”

Robert Weghorst, chief operating officer for Don’s Johns, when asked by AP’s Matt Daly on why the logos were covered up on its portable toilet rentals used in the Presidential Inauguration.

 

IN THE NEWS

ERCC Endorses Pruitt – The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) endorsed EPA nominee Scott Pruitt calling him a “highly-professional, thoughtful and effective” leader who can “strike an appropriate balance of environmental and economic objectives.”  In a letter to the Senate Environment Committee on the eve of its confirmation hearing, ERCC executive director Scott Segal said there is little doubt that Pruitt has fully immersed himself in the intricacies of the environmental statues that form the basis of EPA’s authority.   “The public, the environment, and EPA itself are better served when the Agency adheres closely to the statues that define its mission without attempt to stretch those statues beyond there logical breaking point.  Pruitt’s noteworthy commitment to the rule of law and transparency in the administrative process should ensure that all sides are heard and that resulting regulations are firmly grounded and effective.”  Segal takes on several questions raised by Pruitt opponents including  General Pruitt’s previous opposition to particular EPA rules    See more details here.

EPA Releases Phase II CAFE Standards – EPA released its final CAFE standards for phase II 2022-2025 – 14 months ahead of schedule.  When do EPA ever release controversial and complex issues so far in advance.   Here is the Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) Comment from CEO Robbie Diamond:

“Vehicle efficiency standards are fundamental to reducing the nation’s oil dependence and its many associated costs for our economic and national security. But we must respect the process through which these standards are reviewed. American mobility is changing and companies such as Uber and Lyft that have become critical parts of our transportation system did not even exist when these standards were created. We look forward to working with the incoming administration as it examines the national security advantages of vehicle efficiency standards and finds innovative ways to leverage them to improve American competitiveness.”

NHTSA Also Releases Traffic Fatality Data for 2016 – NHTSA also released its traffic fatality data for 2016.  Of course, this underscores the need to develop a set of policies to advance autonomous vehicle program which most safety advocates and experts insist will dramatically decrease traffic fatalities.  SAFE’s Diamond:

“Recognizing the paramount importance of public safety while, at the same time, fostering the ability of innovation to save countless lives and transform our energy landscape is the critical balancing act for industry and policymakers in the years to come.  Today’s announcement from NHTSA makes clear that America’s roads are dangerous.  A transition to autonomous vehicles, which are estimated to reduce roadway fatalities by 94 percent, cannot come soon enough.

Just last week, SAFE released a report from its Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

NC Co-op CEO Wins National Leadership Award for Communication Innovation – Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, NC was awarded top honors in the cooperative industry’s “Spotlight on Excellence” program. Wynn’s selection for the 2017 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award was announced at the national leadership conference for co-op CEOs hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award, presented by NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, recognizes an electric co-op CEO who advances communication in the electric cooperative industry.  Wynn serves as secretary-treasurer for the NRECA Board of Directors. At Roanoke EC, Wynn expanded communications channels to more than 30 to include the cooperative’s blog, e-newsletter, mobile app and various social media platforms. He initiated “Straight Talk” Forums–a series in the co-op’s seven-county region giving Wynn the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with the membership. One judge praised Wynn for embracing “numerous platforms to reach the members and share the co-op message.”

NOLA to Hire Coastal Reporting Krewe – The New Orleans Times-Picayune will create a Louisiana Coastal Reporting Team in early 2017 dedicated to in-depth coverage of the state’s ongoing, devastating land loss.  Award-winning environment reporter Mark Schleifstein and state news editor Drew Broach will lead the new team, which also will include contributions from veteran outdoors reporter Todd Masson and photographer/videographer Ted Jackson. Schleifstein and Jackson previously collaborated on “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?,” which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for public service, and The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com staffs’ 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  Additionally, The Times-Picayune will add two full-time environmental journalists who will work exclusively on the Louisiana Coastal Reporting Team.  The creation of the Coastal Reporting Team is made possible in part by the Fund for Environmental Journalism, a grant-making program of the Society of Environmental Journalists.  Established in 2010, SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism has disbursed more than $640,000 for journalism projects including position grants and story projects selected through periodic competitions. The Times-Picayune retains full editorial independence and authority; independent and separate agreements are maintained between SEJ and its donors.

Report: States With Clean Energy Attract Businesses – A new study undertaken released by the nation’s retail and technology industries concludes that states that are investing in clean domestic energy production are also the most likely to attract businesses, creating thousands of jobs in their communities. The new analysis, released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) ranks all 50 U.S. states for the first time, based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy such as solar and wind for their operations.  The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings, written by Clean Edge on behalf of RILA and ITI, notes that demand for clean energy among retailers and technology companies is expected to increase to 60 GW by 2025, the equivalent of powering over 43 million homes. Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Walmart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean energy production due to fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. The index is intended to inform business leaders and guide state policymakers hoping to attract new job-creating businesses and foster economic growth.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Report to Detail Impact of AVs for Those with Disabilities – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and the Ruderman Family Foundation will release a white paper today at 1:00 p.m. revealing that two million employment opportunities could be opened up, and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved, if individuals with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles.  Despite those with disabilities representing almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, the most recent government survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability had difficulty with mobility access.  The report—co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of Autonomous Vehicle Initiatives at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE—contains a range of proposals for government and industry. Please dial (888) 567-1603 to participate.

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Energy Hosts Zinke, Perry – The Senate Energy Committee will hold hearing for both Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head DOE this week.  Zinke will testify this afternoon, while Perry will sit before the Committee on Thursday morning.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – The Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th at 9:00 a.m.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Taiwan, Energy – The Global Taiwan Institute holds its first public seminar of 2017 on Wednesday at Noon and will focus on Taiwan’s energy strategy. This timely seminar will look at the ways in which Taiwan is trying to re-orient its energy mix and potential opportunities to pursue energy cooperation in the Asia Pacific. The panel features Dr. Winston Dang, a former senior government official from Taiwan and thought leader in the field of energy politics and strategy in the Asia Pacific. The panel will be moderated by GTI Executive Director Russell Hsiao.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On Friday, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges – Next Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum next Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday ,January 25th at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with six leading reporters and editors from Associated Press, Politico, MongaBay, Washington Examiner, and more to be confirmed.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Febuary 4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA)  will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

Energy Update: Week of January 9

Friends,

Not really a surprising Golden Globes shows.  LaLa Land won big (which surprised me because we really didn’t think it was that great) as did Casey Affleck (who was really great in Manchester By The Sea).  The dresses and outfits were a big story as were the political statements, headlined by Meryl Streep. Once again politics drifts into Hollywood, but it seems lectures like these may be part of the reason Trump won.

Big Game rematch tonight when #2 Clemson takes on #1 Alabama in Tampa.  While I hate the current system for determining the NCAA DI Football Champ, there is no doubt this game features the two best college teams.  And if it is anything like last year’s game, that would be special…  Also Congrats to James Madison (I know there are a lot of Dukes that read this update) for knocking off Youngstown State (where our friend Ohio Dem Rep. Tim Ryan was a star QB back in college before suffering an injury) in the FCS Championship game over the weekend.

About 10 days to the inauguration of the new President.  This should be a crazy week as confirmation hearings begin for the new cabinet.  Nine confirmation hearings this week start with Sen. Jeff Sessions tomorrow.  EOM chief Rex Tillerson is slated for Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. at Sen Foreign Relations.  Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis should have minor environmental/energy discussions at their hearing on Thursday morning.  Most expect EPA nominee Scott Pruitt to be next Wednesday but that is still not set.

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Speaking of Energy, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz does his going-away newsmaker at the National Press Club on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Prior to that, at 9:30 a.m. just across Lafayette Park, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address.  Donohue will outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

The NAIAS “Detroit” Auto Show launched yesterday with a major focus on new technologies, but a lot of that was also previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show late last week.  It also featured a report from SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

Finally, big congrats to our friend Abby Hopper, former BOEM director, who will take over the head job at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) starting next Tuesday.

Last week, we highlighted a few key issues we expect to see for 2017.  As a lot of people were out, I’m resending the issues at the end of this update just in case you missed it.

As usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The novelty and complexity of autonomous vehicles has created gaps between regulators, industry, and the general public. With so much at stake, we urge AV developers to coalesce around common standards, metrics, and commitments to specific safety protocols in advance of widespread deployment and commercialization—as the technology is highly vulnerable in its current nascent state.”

SAFE AV Commission Chairman Mark Rosenker, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE AV Commission Releases Recommendations for Industry-Led Regulatory Framework – SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety released a report late last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.  The Commission is a committed group of former public officials and safety experts who bring decades of expertise towards their collective goal of improving the safety of early AV deployment, thus expediting the widespread adoption of AV technology. The members of the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety include former NTSB Chair Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, Alliance for Transportation Innovation CEO Paul Brubaker, former GM product safety exec Robert Lange and SAE Internat’l President Cuneyt Oge.

Their recommendations address the potential risks of public opposition and overregulation:

Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence

  1. The Commission recommends that AV providers move to on road testing and deployment only once confident that the vehicle’s performance is as safe as the average human driver, accounting for backup drivers, speed restrictions, geofencing and other safety measures.
  2. The Commission encourages AV providers to create safety milestones for AV development. The Commission further encourages public disclosure of achieved milestones and accompanying validation.
  3. The Commission encourages developers to deploy redundant layers of technology to increase safety beyond any minimum required standard.
  4. The Commission encourages developers to clearly define and effectively communicate autonomous features, including their limitations.

Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework

  1. The Commission encourages AV providers to formally collaborate through a technical data consortium to accelerate AV learning and safety through shared, anonymized information.
  2. The Commission recommends that industry formulate objective, practical, quantitative metrics for measuring AV safety.
  3. The Commission recommends that any future framework for regulating AVs rest on a modern foundation reflecting the advanced software-driven nature of vehicle automation.

DOE Releases QER Recommendations – The Department of Energy released its second Quadrennial Energy Review focusing on recommendations to harden the electricity grid from terrorist attacks.  Last year’s presidential election on Friday.  DOE said the power grid faces “imminent danger” from cyberattacks and called on Congress to empower federal regulators to impose new rules on the utility industry to help protect the nation’s energy network.  The proposals called for lawmakers to give FERC more authority over cyber defenses of the power grid and for a suite of programs to upgrade the network’s technology to make it more resilient against potential attacks.

Upton to Head Energy/Power – Former House Energy & Commerce Full Committee Chair Fred Upton will run the Energy and Commerce Committee’s newly renamed Subcommittee on Energy, while Rep. John Shimkus, who lost his bid to become full committee chairman to Rep. Greg Walden, will maintain his chairmanship of the environment panel. Upton was term limited from continuing as committee chair.

Report: New Transmission Can Help Wind Supply Third of U.S. Electricity – The Energy Department today released a report which confirms that adding even limited electricity transmission can significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy to supply 35% of U.S. electricity by 2050. The report, titled Reducing Wind Curtailment through Transmission Expansion in a Wind Vision Future and authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), affirms the findings of the Energy Department’s 2015 Wind Vision, which showed that a future in which wind provides 20% of U.S. electricity in 2030 and 35% in 2050 is achievable and would provide significant economic, energy security, and health benefits to the nation.

ClearPath Taps Morehouse As Government Affairs Director – ClearPath has tapped veteran House GOP aide Jeff Morehouse as the organization’s director of government affairs. In that role, Morehouse will help lead ClearPath’s growing DC-based effort to work with the new Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration on conservative clean energy policies.  He will be a key partner to ClearPath Managing Director-Government Affairs Zak Baig in working not just with House Republicans but also the Trump administration. Morehouse since 2010 has been chief of staff for Rep. Bill Flores, including managing the Texas Republican’s successful campaign to chair the conservative Republican Study Committee last Congress. Morehouse was also executive director of the House Conservatives Fund, overseeing the Republican leadership PAC for the 2014 election cycle. Morehouse was previously legislative director for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Among his honors, Morehouse received the 2014 Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Chief of Staff Appreciation Award.

German Emissions on Rise – German think tank Agora Energiewende released its annual energy assessment that says Germany’s emissions rose in 2016, largely driven by the industrial, heating and transport sectors.  Emissions from the country’s power sector, instead, continued the decline that started in 2014 as coal use falls.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will rolled out yesterday at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences began with Disney Pixar on Sunday.  The 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will include a host of events through tomorrow.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.  The show runs through January 22nd.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Today through Thursday, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – IFC and ESMAP will presented a new report on Energy Storage this morning.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session tomorrow at noon at the National Press Club that highlights clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.

WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – The World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Brookings Forum to Tackle Transportation Model – The Moving to Access initiative, a collaboration between Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Global Economy and Development program, is an extensive, multi-year effort that seeks to inform and promote an access-first approach to urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. They will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to bring together experts across three major disciplines—transportation, urban planning, and finance—and will explore where these disciplines agree, where they diverge, and what policies could support a more accessible built environment. The event will feature a panel discussion with current metropolitan leaders and distinguished scholars and close with a keynote dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Moniz to Address Press Club Newsmaker – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at a National Press Club newsmaker and take questions on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. on the Club’s Ballroom.  In one of his final public speaking appearances in Washington, Moniz will discuss how an increased focus on science and research and development has informed better policymaking and technology solutions, and how to protect the independence and integrity of scientists at the Department of Energy and its 17 National Labs.  Moniz will also unveil a new report on the work of the laboratories and policies that will encourage and empower scientists to continue to innovate new energy solutions, make new scientific discoveries, support private industry, and deliver for the American people.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

WRI to Host Urban Transpo Forum – The World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club looking at urban transportation planning.  This event will highlight the Danish experience in shaping great cities for cycling and public space, and what other cities such as Washington, DC and beyond are and could be doing to make streets more livable and sustainable for all.

STEM Forum Set for Capitol Hill – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in B-354 Rayburn, House Science leading Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson will host energy executives along with senior federal and local government officials for a briefing about the prospects for bipartisan STEM-based energy legislation in the 115th Congress and the impact of those proposals on local job creation. Also invited are representatives from Universities and schools to share their views on partnerships with the energy sector to better prepare the energy workforce of the future.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday and Friday.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

EPA to Hold Ozone Hearings – EPA will host a public meeting on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.  The hearing will focus on nonattainment area classifications and state implementation plan requirements.  It will be held at EPA HQ in Room 1117A.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Pew to Look at Military Power Issues – On Thursday at 3:30 a.m., Pew Charitable Trusts hosts representatives from each branch of the U.S. military to discuss steps they and the Department of Defense more broadly have taken to address the challenges and opportunities that energy presents to national security.  A presentation will follow on new research that shows how microgrids and clean energy technologies can improve energy efficiency and security at military installations.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

DOE to Honor Schlesinger Medal Winners – The Energy Department will hold the Schlesinger Medal of Energy Security awards ceremony on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  In December, Secretary Moniz said Charles Curtis was the third recipient of the James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security.  When the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were established on October 1, 1977, Schlesinger and Curtis were appointed by President Carter as the first DOE Secretary and FERC Chairman, respectively.  Later, Curtis served as Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.  He was a founding partner of the law firm Van Ness, Curtis, Feldman and Sutcliffe and was instrumental in the launch of important non-governmental organizations as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Forum Looks at Enviro Crime – The Henry L. Stimson Center holds a discussion on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Army and Navy Club focusing on national and global security implications of environmental crime and resource theft.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – While not locked in yet, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday January 18th at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday January 19th at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.