Energy Update: Week of October 24

Friends,

It is World Series time and isn’t this exciting: the Cubs are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years and are trying to break a 108-year WS drought.  The Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948, and haven’t been to the dance since 1997.  And with Cleveland’s NBA Championship and more importantly, it Calder Cup Championship for the Lake Erie (now the Cleveland) Monsters, it may be starting to challenge as the latest Championship City.   And certainly between the Bulls and Blackhawks championships, Chicago can also make its claim to Championship City.

And I know this may sound like it’s getting old, but Hannah scored ANOTHER OT Gamer winner on Saturday as her Wellesley field Hockey team closed out their conference play with a 3-2 victory over Clark University of Mass.  It is her third OT GWG this fall!!!  Must be something in the Lake Waban water up there…

While Washington remains a little slower because of the political focus, there is no doubt that talk of transitions has become significant, especially among a few Clinton campaign insiders.  There is also a steady build for the post-election legislative session that is expected to address tax and budget issues.  While there must be some action, it is still uncertain how much action will be taken as much still depends on the election results.   As you know, we are watching all the details and will have a full report running up to and after Election Day.

One important event this week that should definitely be on your radar screen is the SAFE event on Capitol Hill looking at autonomous vehicles policy and Washington’s regulatory impacts/possibilities.  The event on Wednesday in 2167 Rayburn and features auto trade assn head Mitch Bainwol, American Trucking CEO Chris Spear and auto author and journalist Steve Levine.  It will be moderated by SAFE’s Robbie Diamond.  Tomorrow is also the Environmental Law Institute Dinner and the preceding policy panels at the Omni.  Bracewell is a sponsor and my colleagues Jason Hutt, Ed Krenik and others will attend.

Out of town, AWEA hosts its annual Offshore WINDPOWER event in Rhode Island tomorrow and Wednesday.  It is significant because it is the first conference as the first U.S. wind farm connects to the grid.  Speakers will include Sen Sheldon Whitehouse, RI Gov. Gina Raimondo, BOEM Director Abby Hopper and DOE’s Jose Zayas, among many others.

 

We are on it…Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Saying that the U.S. should become more like Europe when it comes to energy policies has become a common refrain in some circles, so our report takes these politicians and interest groups at their word and presents the facts about what that would actually mean for our economy.  The types of policies being advocated by leading candidates, such as restricting energy production and imposing new mandates, would drive up energy prices and reduce America’s global competitiveness.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

 

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Energy Institute Looks at EU-Type Energy Price Impacts – With some politicians and interest groups heralding Europe’s energy policies as a model to follow, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy examined what would happen if the U.S. was forced to pay EU energy prices.  In this report, the Institute examined the policies and regulations which have led to much higher prices for energy in the Europe Union. The report found that European energy policies and prices would impose a $676 billion drag on the U.S. residential sector, with the average American household seeing price increases of $4,800 per year for their energy. This increase in prices would lead to the elimination of 7.7 million jobs in the United States.  The Energy Institute’s report identifies four key factors that make energy more costly in the European Union: 1) restrictions that inhibit access to low-cost, existing electricity supply and oil and natural gas supplies; 2) more generous subsidies provided by EU members for uneconomic technologies; 3) EU policies that place a tax on carbon emissions and 4) much higher taxes on energy consumption. These factors have driven EU prices over the past several years to rates that are 1.6 to 2.4 times greater than U.S. prices per unit of energy consumed.

Report also Looks at State Impacts – The Energy Institute’s report also provides state-level analyses of seven key states. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin would all see state GDP loses and less employment with EU energy prices. Florida would see the highest number of job losses (377,400) and annual GDP reduction ($28.5 billion), while Indiana households would see the biggest annual increases in energy prices ($5,450 per household.)  The report utilizes publically available data on jobs and production levels and the IMPLAN macro-economic model. A Technical Appendix to the report explains the methodology and sources of data.

HFC Agreement Will Likely Head to Senate for Approval – Last week we highlighted the historic Kigali UN agreement on limited HFCs, and today, our friends at POLITICO are reporting that a State Department official said they are reviewing whether the amendment requires approval as a treaty.  State is saying the deal is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and not an “adjustment.” Under the terms of the treaty, adjustments are small technical changes that automatically go into effect, while amendments require ratification by each country. The previous four amendments that were set at international meetings in the 1990s in London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing were all approved by the Senate, the latter two by voice vote.  It seems unlikely that the deal won’t get bipartisan support to win the approval of at least 67 senators since the announcement of the deal in Kigali drew little criticism from Republican senators, unlike the Paris climate agreement.   As we mentioned, both industry (AHRI) and environmental groups (NRDC) all supported the effort.  AHRI CEO Stephen Yurek said the goals are ambitious, but says his industry “is confident we can meet them and continue to provide quality, innovative, energy efficient products and equipment for the benefit of the world’s citizens.”

AGA Releases 2017 Winter Outlook The direct use of natural gas continues to be the most affordable energy option for home heating and offers lower greenhouse gas emissions than other home energy sources. The American Gas Association (AGA) held its annual winter outlook event today where the Association explored expectations for the 2016-17 winter heating season. After an extraordinarily warm winter last year, normal conditions would mean that residential customers this year would use more gas on average and therefore, see slightly higher bills. AGA consumers could experience a nine to eleven percent increase in overall heating bills this winter compared to the 2015-16 winter heating season.  Increased use of natural gas can achieve significant efficiency improvements and carbon emissions reductions. The production of natural gas through its delivery into buildings is more efficient than grid-delivered electricity, propane, or oil. Even as more renewable sources are added to our nation’s electric generation mix, the direct use of natural gas will remain an efficient, affordable and low-carbon option for consumers. Encouraging direct use is therefore a valuable way to meet efficiency and emissions goals.  According to AGA’s Chris McGill, the price of natural gas this winter is largely due to stable production and a strong underground storage position. Utilities work all year to prepare for the possibility of extreme temperatures and employ a portfolio approach to help ensure they can meet the needs of their customers at affordable prices on the coldest days of the year. Natural gas storage levels in the U.S. are nearing four trillion cubic feet and storage can provide as much as 20 percent of all gas consumed during a five-month winter heating season. You can view the entire presentation here.

Furnace Rule Challenged – The U. S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) held a hearing on its Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces.   The American Gas Association (AGA) has said the rule will place an undue burden on far too many low income consumers. AGA said a threshold of 70 kbtu rather than the proposed 55 kbtu – that would provide a superior balance between the goals of achieving energy efficiency nationally and the need to protect vulnerable consumers from unnecessary economic harm.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Engineers Conference Set for OK –The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK today through Wednesday. So the U.S. Presidential election will be only two weeks away and the election will be followed by many months of transition, with uncertainty as who will be in charge of what; how policies, spending, and contracting might change; and what expectations for those already working in government agencies will be.  Seasoned policy experts from both sides of the political aisle will offer their perspective on what lies ahead after Election Day.  The full program can be found online here.

Moniz to Headline CSIS Nuclear Conference – CSIS will host Nuclear Energy at a Crossroads conference this afternoon to examine different aspects of the economics of nuclear power generation. Speakers will discuss the characteristics of domestic and global markets where nuclear power is flourishing as well as the relative advantages and disadvantages of nuclear as an electricity generation technology. Where nuclear reactors are being shut down, what are the implications of decommissioning on a national economy. The discussion will also focus on how the rise of new suppliers and emerging global partnerships affect the viability of nuclear power generation and whether there are potential energy security implications. Finally, speakers will explore what low carbon pathways look like with and without nuclear energy.  Energy Secretary Moniz keynotes the lunch session while former NRC commissioner Allison Macfarlane will be among the other speakers.

Book Discussion to Look at Germany Renewables – The Goethe-Institut Washington will hold a book discussion today at 6:30 p.m. on energy democracy and Germany’s Energiewende to Renewables.  Arne Jungjohann, author and political scientist, will discuss the origins of the Energiewende movement in Germany from the Power Rebels of Schönau to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shutdown of eight nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. He will provide insights into how Germans convinced their politicians to pass laws allowing citizens to make their own energy, even though it hurt utility companies to do so. Jungjohann will offer evidence that the transition to renewables is a one-time opportunity to strengthen communities and democratize the energy sector – in Germany and around the world.

IEA to Release Investment Report at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) inaugural World Energy Investment 2016 report tomorrow.  The report looks at the level of investment in the global energy system in 2015 and will feature Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the IEA.  Varro leads the newly-created Economics and Investments Office, which aims to provide sound and consistent energy economics and methodological support for the Agency’s work. Varro also served as IEA Head of Gas, Coal and Power Markets.

Deepwater Project Connection Headline AWEA Offshore Conference – AWEA hosts its annual Offshore WINDPOWER Conference Crown Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick in Warwick, Rhode Island tomorrow and Wednesday.  It is a historic time as the first U.S. wind farm connects finally to the grid.  Speakers will include Sen Sheldon Whitehouse, RI Gov. Gina Raimondo, BOEM Director Abby Hopper and DOE’s Jose Zayas.  Industry leaders will also speak including Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski and Dr. Carolyn Heeps of RES.

ELI Annual Dinner Honors Paulson – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner tomorrow where they will honor former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson at the Omni Shoreham.  As usual, the event will launch in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. with the Business of Water forum.  ELI and an expert panel of business leaders, legal minds, academics, and nongovernmental advocates for an in-depth discussion about the law, policies, and private initiatives that will play important roles in the future of water resource governance.  Then at 3:30, ELI will host a multidisciplinary panel to discuss some of the complementary mechanisms that will facilitate the transition to a climate sensitive future. With special emphasis on implications and opportunities for law and policy, this discussion promises to add value to the emerging dialogue about what implementing and satisfying the Paris Agreement will mean for private actors and civil society. Experts will participate in a moderated discussion and field questions from the audience.

Atlantic Council to Host Climate Envoy Pershing – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. featuring US Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing.  Pershing will attend this historic conference to help set the agenda for implementation of the goals set by the signatories. Prior to his departure to Marrakech, he will join AC for a discussion on US climate policy priorities at COP22.  Our friend Coral Davenport will moderate the discussion.

Heritage to Host Energy Policy Forum – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum tomorrow at Noon that will look at what an aggressively pro-energy policy would look like.  Recent developments in smart-drilling technologies have led to a dramatic reappraisal of our energy resources. Instead of declining domestic production and ever-increasing dependency on unfriendly petroleum suppliers, the U.S. has the potential to be an energy powerhouse. Speakers will include Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, Energy In Depth spokesperson Katie Brown and heritage data specialist Kevin Dayaratna.

Forum to Look at Arctic Energy Issus – The Atlantic Council will convene a leading group of officials and experts tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. to address these challenges and take forward the debate on how the opening Arctic region impacts US national security.  Speakers will include White House Arctic Executive Steering Committee member and National Security Council Staff advisor Amy Pope, State’s Special Representative for the Arctic Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Sherri Goodman and several others.

McGinn to Address Energy Forum – The Alliance to Save Energy will host a Policy Perspectives Breakfast Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at AGA featuring Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, who has been a leader in the energy and efficiency industry throughout his career. Prior to his appointment by President Obama, Mr. McGinn served as the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), where he led efforts to communicate the significant economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy.

Solar Insight Conference Set – GTM will host the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference tomorrow and Wednesday at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA.  The event will provide industry thought leaders and insights into the U.S. solar industry.  NARUC’s Travis Kavulla will speak along with a number of others.

SAFE Panel to Look at AV Policy – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is convening leading thinkers for a panel discussion on Capitol Hill Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. to review the sweeping impacts of driverless mobility, explore the emerging policy challenges, and discuss the advantages of a hands-off regulatory approach that prioritizes innovation and prosperity.  Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE, will moderate a conversation that delves into the unique policy challenges that this technology creates. He will be joined by panelists AAM’s Mitch Bainwol, Disability advocate Henry Claypool, American Trucking CEO Chris Spear and Steve LeVine, Author of The Powerhouse and Washington Correspondent for Quartz.

ELI to Host DOI Asst Secretary – Wednesday at Noon, ELI will host a discussion with DOI’s Assistant Secretary for Land & Minerals Management Janice Schneider. In recent months as the Obama Administration reaches its close, the Department of the Interior has launched several regulatory initiatives relating to the public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. What has the DOI achieved and what remains to be done to cross the finish line?

GW to Host Electricity System Forum – On Wednesday, George Washington University Law School will convene top policy-makers and industry leaders for a one-day conference on the interface of state and federal initiatives addressing the way in which electricity in the U.S. will be produced, delivered and used in the future. The learning sessions will examine the work occurring in Minnesota, California and the Southeast and at FERC, NERC and U.S. DOE. Additional learning sessions will include remarks from a leading consumer advocate and a newer market entrant, plus a lunchtime presentation on grid architecture for the future grid. The facilitated discussion session, in which all are encouraged to participate, will address how federal, state, and local efforts complement or conflict, and seek ideas from the discussion panel and the audience for additional means for coordination across jurisdictions and regions.

Forum to Look at Arctic Policy – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a discussion Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. on Arctic policy challenges and opportunities. A distinguished group of Arctic policy leaders and the inaugural cohort of scholars from the Fulbright Arctic Initiative to discuss pressing Arctic policy challenges.

AAAS Enviro Lecture to Feature Lubchenco – The American Association for the Advancement of Science holds the 16th annual Barnard Lecture on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. looking at current environmental issues. The 2016 lecture is presented by the Honorable Dr. Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor and Advisor in Marine Studies, Oregon State University, and U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean, Department of State.

Forum to Look at Paris Commitments – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to look at the present and future clean energy plans that will help meet the Paris commitments.  ITIF to discuss what the United States has been doing to keep this promise and what may be on the horizon for federal clean energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in the next four years. ITIF will also release a new report on the need for an aggressive, smart energy innovation policy at the event.

CSIS to Host Forum on Energy Security issues – On Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program holds a discussion on global refining with Fereidun Fesharaki.  The global refining sector is in a period of adjustment that has far reaching implications for investment, regional and global trade, market developments, prices, and security considerations. Today refining assets provide businesses and countries with particular opportunities and advantages but also face challenges. U.S. refineries, among the most complex in the world, export to Latin America and Europe and will soon be exporting large volumes to Asia, which accounts for some two-thirds of the global oil demand growth.

USEA Look at CCS LegislationThe US Energy Assn will host a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Act (S. 3179), introduced by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This act would remove the cap currently on the Section 45Q federal tax credit. In addition, it would increase the value for each ton of CO2 captured and stored from power plants and industrial facilities. Lawmakers from both parties have endorsed this major legislation as it promotes domestic energy security and reduces carbon emissions. The panelists will explain why they support this bill and its significance in accelerating commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. Panelists include J with Sen. Capito, Sen. Whitehouse energy advisor Aaron Goldner, Shannon Angielski of the Coal Utilization Research Council, DOE’s David Mohler and Judi Greenwald.  , Deputy Director for Climate, Environment, and Energy Efficiency at DOE.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Brookings to Look at Post Paris Clean Energy Issues –Next Monday, the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2016.” This annual study examines how renewable energy in the power, heat, and transportation sectors will evolve over the next five years and explores recent renewable deployment and policy trends across different regions and countries.  IEA’s Heymi Bahar will present the findings of the report, after which Energy Security and Climate Initiative Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate a panel discussion and audience Q&A.

Former SEC Chief to Look at Climate Disclosure Issues – The Atlantic Council will host a forum next Monday at Noon to discuss two complimentary efforts to encourage the disclosure of climate-related risk information to stakeholders and increase transparency across sectors. These disclosures will allow the public and private sectors to be better equipped to measure and respond to climate-related risk and play an important role in a smoother transition to a lower-carbon economy.   The event will feature a conversation with former SEC Chair Mary Schapiro and White House OMB advisor for natural resources, energy and science Ali Zaidi.

Forum to Look at Party Energy Platforms – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. that features a panel discussion on the environmental and energy priorities of the major political parties, their potential implications post-election, as well as areas for potential coalition-building. As the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections near, the two major parties have outlined positions on key energy and environmental issues in their respective platforms. Unsurprisingly, there is stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic positions. Despite substantial differences, there are some aspects of the platforms that suggest opportunities for consensus-building. The Republicans cite conservation as being inherent to conservatism. Both parties mention the need to modernize the electrical grid, support increasing access to public lands, and recognize the important role of farmers to the country’s conservation efforts.  Speakers will include Cato’s Pat Michaels and LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

CSIS to Look at GHG Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting an expert discussion on November 2nd at 9:00 a.m. looking at some of the regulatory, legislative, international and subnational efforts that may be pursued to reduce future emissions. Kyle Danish from Van Ness Feldman will discuss the regulatory options; Adele Morris from the Brookings Institution will discuss the notion of a carbon tax or other market based mechanisms; and Bob Perciasepe from C2ES will focus on the feasibility of these approaches as well as how important local, state, and international actions are to achieving these emissions reduction goals. Each speaker will address the feasibility and merits of these approaches as well as the challenges they are likely to face.

USEA Forum to Look at CCS Future – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday, November 3rd at 2:00 p.m. to address the high fidelity modeling of carbon capture systems on fossil fueled power plants, and what can be gained via an accurate simulation of an existing or proposed plant.  TRAX has provided high fidelity, dynamic simulation models of both pre-combustion and post-combustion CO2 capture systems for plants in Korea and Canada.  These models provide unique tools for process design, control system design and optimization, examination of fault scenarios, and development of operating procedures.  Speakers will include TRAX, LLC expert John Coleman, John Kenney and Greg Kosowski.

COP 22 Marrakesh – November 7-21

ELECTION DAY – November 8th

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

Energy Update: Week of October 10

Friends,

After new year celebrations last week, we now turn to Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement on Wednesday.  Hopeful that everyone has an easy fast.  It is also Columbus Day today, the lonely Federal Holiday that celebrates Italian-Americans.  Add to it Family Weekend at Wellesley starting Friday for Hannah and we have a very busy week.

The debate last night was very interesting, especially in light of Friday’s Access Hollywood tapes.  BTW, as one who has been around politics for 25 years, it seems slightly crazy that Access Hollywood and Howard Stern tapes are the most important “October surprises.”  Is it just me?  Perhaps more leaks to the National Inquirer or even The Onion are next.   At least energy was mentioned in the second to last question, following up on 82 seconds from the first debate.  Trump talked about clean coal (although who knows if really knows anything about it) and certainly Clinton’s comments on NatGas are likely to worry activists.

Last week, the big news was the Aviation emissions agreement and the Paris Treaty becoming a reality.  The Paris agreement is not binding – and while politically important – remains largely symbolic.  More importantly this week, international negotiators will make the most significant gain against GHGs this year when they finalize an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will eliminate HFCs in Kigali.  An HFC pact is the biggest step nations can take this year to significantly reduce human impact on the environment.  Pound for pound, these chemicals trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide.  This is especially important because the world-wide demand for air conditioning and refrigeration is skyrocketing, making HFCs one of the fastest growing climate-impacting gases.  See our issues primer below.

AHRI President Steve Yurek will be in Rwanda as part of the industry effort to support the HFC reductions and will be holding a media call Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. (4pm Kigali time) to update reporters on the action.  If there is enough interest, we will hold additional calls.  Please let us know if you are interested.  Here is the call-in number: (703) 600-0385  And here is the access code: 893-0742

Light schedule this week in DC, but the American Coal Ash Association will release its annual Coal Ash Production and Use Survey on Wednesday at the National Press Club.  Also, the R Street Institute is hosting at Capitol Hill forum tomorrow on Autonomous Vehicles and the new government requirements. Finally, Veterans in Energy will hold a National Leadership Summit on Thursday and Friday featuring leaders from the energy industry and federal government.

Finally, if you haven’t heard his yet, this past weekend, there was a concert for all-time in Palm Springs.  Desert Trip featured Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Who, Bob Dylan and Roger Waters over three days at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA – the same place they hold the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival each spring (and USA Field Hockey’s “Festival”).  It guess maybe it was  “Old-Chella.”  If you missed it, you still have time to get out there: They will repeat the shows/lineup this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Call for questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”

Question from Missouri voter Ken Bone, the second to last question in the debate

 

“Energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Under absolutely siege. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is killing these energy companies.

Republican Candidate Donald Trump answering first

 

“We are producing a lot of natural gas that serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels and that’s an important transition. We have got to remain energy independent.”

Hillary Clinton in yesterday’s Presidential Debate.

 

THE BIG NEWS

UN HFC Meeting Launches – The UN MOP 28 on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer started today and will run all week in Kigali, Rwanda where negotiators aim to approved an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).

How to Stay Informed on the Action – Starting Wednesday, AHRI President Stephen Yurek will be holding a media call at 10:00 a.m. (4 p.m. Kigali time) to update reporters on the action.  Yurek has attended all the meetings and been a very active participant in the international negotiations.   If there is enough interest, we will hold additional calls.  Please let us Know if you are interested.  Here is the call-in number (703) 600-0385  And here is the access code: 893-0742

Who’s Going – EPA Administrator McCarthy leads the delegation and last week previewed EPA’s vision for the Meeting.  McCarthy highlighted financial support from 16 countries and 19 philanthropists aimed at helping poor countries make a swift transition away from HFCs.  She added technology-sharing mechanisms and money for developing nations are built-in assurances for skittish countries.   Secretary of State John Kerry will also be on the trip, but we are hoping he just doesn’t say that Much… (We’re not holding our breath, though!)

Industry, Enviros Agree? – Unlikely as it may seem, a global HFC phase-down is backed both by leading environmental groups and the industry that makes and uses these chemicals. Coming after last December’s Paris climate agreement, an HFC pact is the biggest step that will be taken today to significantly reduce climate impacts. Pound for pound, HFCs trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide. This is especially important because the world-wide demand for air conditioning and refrigeration is skyrocketing, making HFCs one of the fastest growing greenhouse gases.  AHRI President Stephen Yurek has attended all the meetings and been a very active participant in the international negotiations.  NRDC’s David Doniger Is also a major player and will be offer regular update on the NRDC blog.

Where Things Stand – The United States is well-positioned  to achieve a successful conclusion at this week’s international negotiations to curb refrigerants that contribute to global warming.  Significant groundwork has been laid for success on an amendment for a global phase down of HFCs.  The potential sticking points include:

    • The baselines, freeze dates, and reduction schedules to be used in the amendment, both for developed nations and for Article 5 nations.
    • The monetary incentives that might be available to help Article 5 countries to assist in the transition.
    • Intellection property issues.

Key Issues – A number of key issues underscore the need for a strong agreement:

  • Refrigerants are vital for safe, productive, comfortable life on Earth.  They are used in the air conditioning that keeps people safe and productive during hot weather; they are used in the commercial and transport refrigeration that keeps perishable food fresh over long journeys and in food stores; and they are used in hospitals and medical research facilities to keep medicines and samples safe.
  • The HVACR industry was at the forefront of support for the Montreal Protocol’s efforts to phase out HCFC refrigerants.  In fact, the industry-created and supported Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (AREP) was the effort that identified HFCs as the appropriate (at the time) successors for most air conditioning and refrigeration applications.
  • Those efforts have been an unqualified success and are the basis for industry’s efforts to include HFCs in the Montreal Protocol and to bring that success to our current challenge – beginning to plan for a phase down of HFCs.
  • The North American Proposal to include HFCs in the Montreal Protocol was spearheaded by the HVACR industry, which is also proactively researching suitable alternatives.
  • The Low-GWP AREP research program has been through two phases, during which several promising alternatives to HFCs have been identified for different applications.  This program was conceived by industry and is solely supported and funded by industry, with no assistance from government.
  • Many of the potential alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable and thus prohibited for use in all but a very few applications.  So the HVACR industry has spearheaded a collaborative research effort to field-test each one so that the data can be transmitted to building code developers for their use when they revise building codes.  AHRI, DOE, ASHRAE, and California are funding this research.
  • During the past decade, the industry has worked diligently to reduce the potential impact of refrigerants used in our equipment on the Earth’s climate.  We have invested close to $2 billion since 2009 researching energy-efficient equipment and the utilization of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.
  • The HVACR industry will renew and expand those efforts by investing $5 billion over the next decade for R&D and capital expenditures to develop and commercialize low-GWP technologies.  This commitment was made at a September 2015 White House event.
  • The HVACR industry is building awareness and developing best practices training and certification for technicians in other nations through the Global Refrigerant Management Initiative and the Europe-based Refrigerant Driving License program.

 

IN THE NEWS

NIH Emergency Med research Head Highlighted in NYT Letter – After its editorial last week highlighting driverless cars, the New York Times published a letter from Dr. Jeremy Brown, an emergency physician who serves as NIH’s director of Emergency Care Research and a member of SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety.  Brown praised the NYT for drawing important attention to the lifesaving potential of autonomous vehicle technology. He said that “even though 94% of car accidents are attributable to human error, recent polling shows that only a third of Americans understand that driverless cars have the potential to improve the driving experience, and 71% of older Americans are “worried” about the technology.  So there is clearly a need to better communicate with the public.   Dr. Brown also says the Times “rightly draws attention to the threats that extremes of regulation present. Overregulation may discourage investment in driverless cars. But a lack of directives at the federal level could lead to a counterproductive patchwork of state regulations.  He closes saying policymakers must carry out a clear regulatory policy that encourages innovation while protecting public safety. A failure to do so will deny us the benefits that driverless cars have to offer.

UMich Study Raise Concerns Over Biofuels Climate Impacts – Our SEJ friend Jennifer Weeks reports that a new study from the University of Michigan’s John DeCicco on the climate impacts of biofuels.  Transportation generates one-fourth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so addressing this sector’s impact is crucial for climate protection.  Many scientists view biofuels as inherently carbon-neutral: they assume the carbon dioxide (CO2) plants absorb from the air as they grow completely offsets, or “neutralizes,” the CO2 emitted when fuels made from plants burn. Many years of computer modeling based on this assumption, including work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, concluded that using biofuels to replace gasoline significantly reduced CO2 emissions from transportation. DiCicco’s new study takes a fresh look at this question as it examines crop data to evaluate whether enough CO2 was absorbed on farmland to balance out the CO2 emitted when biofuels are burned. It turns out that once all the emissions associated with growing feedstock crops and manufacturing biofuel are factored in, biofuels actually increase CO2 emissions rather than reducing them.

NOAA Study Says Natural Causes Play Larger Role in Methane – A new study from NOAA published Thursday in the journal Nature says that even though fossil fuels development has polluted the atmosphere with up to 60 percent more methane than scientists previously thought, the main culprits behind the rise in global methane levels are wetlands, landfills, rice fields and belching cows. He study adds biological sources such as cattle, landfills and agriculture account for up to 67% of total human-caused methane emissions.

New IER Report Questions Rooftop Solar – The Institute for Energy Research released a report highlighting the severe costs that rooftop solar subsidies and state net metering policies impose on the American people. The report titled, “The High Cost of Rooftop Solar Subsidies,” prepared by Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, noted that Solar subsidies force poorer Americans to foot the bill for wealthier Americans and Solar job growth is due to subsidies, but this likely results in fewer jobs overall.  The report cites an example Arizona solar customers avoid around $1,000 annually in electric grid costs. These costs are passed on to the average power users, who are typically less affluent.

E&E Legal Sues NY AG Schneiderman – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute filed suit against New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to compel release of public records relating to the climate push against Exxon. This latest action by E&E Legal follows several successful efforts to compel Democratic Attorneys General who were part of the “Green 20” coalition to comply with public records requests — who nonetheless do continue a collective slow-walk and even stonewall, agreed in advance as E&E Legal’s open records requests have demonstrated.  Revelations have nonetheless been startling, including the Democratic AGs collaborating with outside activist groups on this campaign to use their offices to investigate political opponents, efforts by AGs to mislead the media, and the Green 20 coalition attempt to enter into a secrecy pact masquerading as a “common-interest agreement” to keep public records reflecting their scheming from the public.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Kigali Montreal Protocol Talks Start – The UN MOP 28 on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer convenes this week in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting agenda encompasses the negotiations on a hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) amendment, nominations for critical-use and essential-use exemptions, and other decisions from the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG).

NOAA Official to Be Featured at RFF Event – Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Richard G. Newell and Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, as they discuss how environmental intelligence can preserve and improve human and environmental health as well as promote growth.  Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed by the Senate as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on March 6, 2014, having served as acting NOAA administrator since February 28, 2013. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut, and intrepid explorer.

Forum to look at AVs – The R Street Institute is hosting at Capitol Hill forum tomorrow on Autonomous Vehicles and the new government requirements posted last week.  Former NHTSA head David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro, GMU’s Adam Thierer and CEI’s Marc Scribner will all speak.

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

Vets in Energy Hold ConferenceVeterans in Energy will hold a National Leadership Summit on Thursday and Friday at the Capital Hilton, featuring leaders from the energy industry and federal government.  Speakers include Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall; Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training Mike Michaud; U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, a Paralympian and gold medalist swimmer; leaders from the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative; and utility executives. They will explore efforts to support the transition from military to civilian life and discuss how veterans can have strong, successful careers in energy.  Veterans in Energy is an outgrowth of the Utility Industry Workforce Initiative, a working group that brought together six utility industry trade associations (Nuclear Energy Institute, Edison Electric Institute, American Gas Association, American Public Power Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Center for Energy Workforce Development), four federal agencies (Departments of Energy, Labor, Defense and Veterans Affairs) and two labor groups (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Utility Workers Union of America) to identify new initiatives the energy industry can undertake to support veterans working in energy jobs.

BPC Forum to Look at Food Supply – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Kansas State University will hold a forum on Thursday for panel discussions on the threat of bio/agroterrorism, highlighting the importance of agriculture in biosecurity, as well as potential strategies, tactics, and policy solutions for the next administration.  The 2015 bipartisan report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense reported that, despite progress on many fronts, the nation remains highly vulnerable to biological threats. A critical consideration in the national dialogue on biodefense includes the need to protect American’s food supply and agriculture economy. A biological attack on the $1 trillion agriculture sector would have devastating economic, social, and political fallout, and it is critical to promote engagement and awareness in the biosecurity debate.

CEQ’s Goldfuss Featured in Women’s Event – The Women’s Energy Network will host a lunch on Thursday with Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Borenstein, Holt, Mann Headline Penn State Science Forum – Penn State University will hold a forum on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Science, climate and energy policy.  The panel will feature former Rep. and Princeton Physicist Rush Holt, controversial climate scientist Michael Mann, AP Science report Seth Borenstein and Penn State energy center director Peter Hudson.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden on October 17-18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CSIS to Host Fukushima Governor – The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program will host Governor Masao Uchibori next Monday to discuss the present situation of Fukushima Prefecture 2047 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as his efforts aimed at revitalization.  Governor Uchibori was elected as Governor of Fukushima in October 2014 and assumed office as Governor in November 2014. Uchibori’s mission is to ‘take back the Fukushima known for beauty and calm’. In accomplishing this mission, Governor Uchibori has visited all over the Prefecture and listened to the voices of the people of Fukushima to develop his bottom-up approach.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on October 18-19th In Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

Engineers Conference Set for OK – The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK on October 23-26.  The conference will provide an extensive debate and discussion, based on solid research and evidence, to facilitate deeper and broader understanding of the energy transformation for North America and the rest of the world.  The Tulsa conference will bring together business, government, academic and other professionals to explore these themes through a series of plenary, concurrent, and poster sessions. Speakers will address current issues and offer ideas for improved policies taking full account of the evolution of the North American energy sector and its implications for the rest of the world. There also will be offsite tours to provide a direct and close-up perspective on Oklahoma’s dynamic energy landscape.

IEA to Release Investment Report at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) inaugural World Energy Investment 2016 report.  The report looks at the level of investment in the global energy system in 2015 and will feature Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the IEA.  Varro leads the newly-created Economics and Investments Office, which aims to provide sound and consistent energy economics and methodological support for the Agency’s work. Varro also served as IEA Head of Gas, Coal and Power Markets.

Solar Insight Conference Set – GTM will host the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference on October 25th and 26th at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA.  The event will provide industry thought leaders and insights into the U.S. solar industry.  NARUC’s Travis Kavulla will speak along with a number of others.

GW to Host Electricity System Forum – On October 27th, George Washington University Law School will convene top policy-makers and industry leaders for a one-day conference on the interface of state and federal initiatives addressing the way in which electricity in the U.S. will be produced, delivered and used in the future. The learning sessions will examine the work occurring in Minnesota, California and the Southeast and at FERC, NERC and U.S. DOE. Additional learning sessions will include remarks from a leading consumer advocate and a newer market entrant, plus a lunchtime presentation on grid architecture for the future grid. The facilitated discussion session, in which all are encouraged to participate, will address how federal, state, and local efforts complement or conflict, and seek ideas from the discussion panel and the audience for additional means for coordination across jurisdictions and regions.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

COP 22 Marrakesh – November 7-21

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

Energy Update: Week of September 19

Friends,

With yesterday’s successes at the Emmys, it looks like the OJ Simpson case has returned to the spotlight.  Veep and Game of Thrones also scored big victories.  Jimmy Kimmel’s joke about OJ having a jailhouse watch party was the best of the night with the Matt Damon “apples” line a close second (one of my favorite lines from Good Will Hunting – especially now since Hannah seems to be hanging out in Cambridge on Saturday evenings nowadays).  On the sports front, it was pretty exciting to see hockey back with the opening weekend for the World Cup of Hockey.  I just love the look of the Under 23 North American Team.

The busy times continue this week on Capitol Hill with Congress racing through budgets and energy bill conference discussions, trying to get to an elections sprint (less than 50 days to Election Day).  Also, groups representing rural co-ops, distributed wind developers, air conditioning contractors, Geothermal Heat Pump manufacturers, home builders and others will be on Capitol Hill later in the week to push for extending expiring tax credits for renewables like geothermal heat pumps because they deserve tax parity with the solar/wind tax incentives extended in late-2015.

We expect to see new regulations this week on Autonomous Vehicles from NHTSA.  We are getting to an interesting point where the regulations will impact the way AVs are developed.  Last week, SAFE announced its new commission on the subject with a number of great experts including former NTSB Chair Mark Rosenker, NIH’s Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Jeremy Brown, former GM exec Bob Lange and Admiral Dennis Blair, among others. The Commission will study and recommend best practices for industry and other parties for testing and early deployment of autonomous vehicles in real-world conditions.  As the rules roll out, let me know if you need resources on the topic.

We also expect the Chamber will release another piece of its new Energy Accountability series this week.  Chamber President Tom Donohue penned a recent op-ed on the “keep it in the ground” movement, pointing to the Energy Institute’s recent Federal lands report. Another report is expected later this week so stay tuned.

The policy issues clash with the campaign trail in Pittsburgh Thursday when Donald Trump speaks at Shale Insight. Trump is scheduled to speak before almost 2,000 attendees, where insiders say he’s likely to delve deeper into a strategy that he first outlined in North Dakota earlier this year.

Finally, the annual SEJ Conference starts Wednesday in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.

CPP Arguments are next Tuesday at the DC Circuit.  Jeff Holmstead and Scott Segal are available to preview the key arguments for you this week.  We can probably also help you find others representing the Chamber and NRECA, so feel free to call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The technology being deployed at the Kemper County energy facility is tremendously important and highlights the benefits of 21st century coal as part of the full portfolio of energy resources.”

Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning.

 

IN THE NEWS

POLITICO Story Highlights Rural Co-op Renewable Efforts – A story in POLITICO this morning details ways that some rural electric cooperatives are looking to expand their renewable energy portfolios. Esther Whieldon reports that environmental regulations and the falling cost of renewable power are increasing pressure for cooperatives to add more wind, solar, electricity storage and hydropower to their systems. The cooperatives are trying to keep up with a changing customer base as the rural areas they brought electricity to become more urbanized. But many find their hands tied by supply contracts that typically last 40 years or more, as well as an institutional resistance to policies that can be seen as anti-coal.   NRECA CEO & former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson said “We have a number of our members who are in a number of different circumstances. It’s not our job to prefer one technology over another… It’s our job to make sure our members have the ability to make the best possible decisions, provide the best possible information to their consumers.”

Kemper Project Closes in on Commercial Operation – Southern Company said it has started producing syngas using the second gasifier at the Kemper County energy facility – continuing progress toward the project’s commercial operation.  Syngas is created when the locally-mined lignite is heated at high temperatures in the plant’s gasifiers, converting the coal to gas. The syngas, which is used similarly to natural gas, will produce electricity through the plant’s combustion turbines.  The company announced on July 15 that the project had produced its first syngas, demonstrating the viability of the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) technology which is being used for the first time at commercial scale at the facility. TRIG™ was developed by Southern Company, KBR and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Wilsonville, Ala. over the past two decades at the Power Systems Development Facility, a research facility operated in partnership between the DOE and Southern Company.  During the coming weeks, the Kemper team will be focused on proceeding toward operation at sustained capacity levels necessary for completion of the activities for the initial operations and testing of the syngas clean-up systems and the production of electricity using syngas. Ahead of using the syngas as fuel, it will be burned off using the plant’s flare stacks.

DTF to Look at Near-Zero Emissions at SEJ – The Diesel Technology Forum will be hosting an exhibition of advanced clean diesel technology and renewable diesel fuel at the Society of Environmental Journalist’s 26th Annual Conference in Sacramento, CA, on Thursday and Friday to showcase the most advanced near-zero emissions technology available in the transportation and off-road industries.  The Forum’s “Meeting the Climate and Clean Air Challenge for the Future” Learning Center brings together the largest and most diverse display of fuel-efficient commercial trucks, top-selling diesel pickup trucks, construction and agricultural machinery, and even a locomotive engine in California – the national leader in advancing clean air and climate protection policies.

CSU Study to Look at Well Emissions – A groundbreaking new study on air pollution from oil and gas wells along Colorado’s Front Range indicates that pollution levels are higher during relatively short periods of time before wells go into production than they are in the years that follow.  Jeffrey Collett, professor and head of Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, on Thursday presented the results of the study to the Air Quality Control Commission, part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

GM to Hopes to Power Facilities With Renewables – General Motors said it is committing to power all of its global operations completely by renewable energy by 2050.  GM said its goal is to generate or source electrical power for 350 facilities in 59 countries with renewable wind, sun and landfill gas energy during the next three-plus decades. This year, GM expects to have 3.8 % of electricity use come from renewable resources.

AHRI Releases July 2016 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data – AHRI released data from July 2016 regarding shipments of Residential Storage Water Heaters, Commercial Storage Water Heaters, Warm Air Furnaces and Central Air Conditioners and Air-Source Heat Pumps.   U.S. shipments of residential gas storage water heaters for July 2016 increased 3% to 339,690 units, up from 329,896 units shipped in July 2015. Residential electric storage water heater shipments increased 17.4% in July 2016 to 313,191 units, up from 266,777 units shipped in July 2015.   For the year-to-date, U.S. shipments of residential gas storage water heaters decreased 10.5 percent to 2,492,545, compared to 2,783,727 units shipped during the same period in 2015. Residential electric storage water heater shipments decreased 9.9 percent year-to-date to 2,325,314 units, compared to 2,579,986 units shipped during the same period in 2015.  Commercial gas storage water heater shipments increased 10.2% in July 2016 to 7,874 units, up from 7,143 units shipped in July 2015. Commercial electric storage water heater shipments increased 47.6 percent in July 2016 to 10,328 units, up from 6,999 units shipped in July 2015.  Year-to-date U.S. shipments of commercial gas storage water heaters decreased 1.5% to 59,176 units, compared with 60,071 units shipped during the same period in 2015. Year-to-date commercial electric storage water heater shipments increased 47.0 percent to 73,103 units, up from 49,732 units shipped during the same period in 2015.  U.S. shipments of gas warm air furnaces for July 2016 increased 4% to 230,486 units, up from 221,563 units shipped in July 2015. Oil warm air furnace shipments increased 11.2% to 2,111 units in July 2016, up from 1,899 units shipped in July 2015.   Year-to-date U.S. shipments of gas warm air furnaces increased 5.3% to 1,519,632 units, compared with 1,442,979 units shipped during the same period in 2015. Year-to-date U.S. shipments of oil warm air furnaces decreased 4.5% to 15,282, compared with 16,007 units shipped during the same period in 2015.   U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps totaled 785,255 units in July 2016, up 8.1% from 726,607 units shipped in July 2015. U.S. shipments of air conditioners increased 8.7 percent to 551,121 units, up from 506,914 units shipped in July 2015. U.S. shipments of air-source heat pumps increased 6.6 percent to 234,134 units, up from 219,693 units shipped in July 2015. Year-to-date combined shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps increased 2.7% to 4,774,720 units, up from 4,647,370 units shipped in July 2015. Year-to-date shipments of central air conditioners increased 4.4% to 3,232,815 units, up from 3,095,315 units shipped during the same period in 2015. The year-to-date total for heat pump shipments decreased 0.7% to 1,541,905 units, down from 1,552,055 units shipped during the same period in 2015.

US Solar Installments Grow – Growing 43% year-over-year, the U.S. saw 2,051 MW of solar photovoltaics installed in Q2 2016. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report, this marks the eleventh consecutive quarter in which more than 1 GW of PV was installed.  Click here to download the rest of the key findings from the Q3 2016 report.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AGA Food Truck Highlights NatGas Use – The American Gas Association (AGA) said its natural gas-fueled food truck will be cooking with natural gas and serving free grilled cheese sandwiches around Capitol Hill today through next Friday, September 30th. The modernized food truck will help to demonstrate the relationship between natural gas and daily American life by bringing the benefits of cooking with natural gas to the public during their lunch hour. In order to receive a free grilled cheese, all you have to do is tweet to eat. Follow AGA on Twitter at @aga_naturalgas to get the latest details on the location of the food truck. Show up during lunch, smart phone in hand, and tweet using the hashtag #NatGasFuelsUs. Step up to the window and show your tweet as part of the online dialogue about natural gas to the food truck team and you will receive a grilled cheese of your choice.

Georgetown Nuke Summit Set – The Georgetown University School of Medicine and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service ‘s Science, Technology & International Affairs (STIA) will host its 2016 Nuclear Security Summit today. The summit focuses on four topics: (1) Nuclear policy & international collaborations; (2) Nuclear security (weapons control); (3) Nuclear security (nuclear power plant safeties); (4) Tools to assess ionizing radiation and its impacts.  Ambassador Robert Gallucci, who served as the Dean of the School of Foreign Service for 13 years until 2009, kindly agreed to present a keynote address for this year’s summit.

SAFE, ATA to Host NatGas Fleet Webinar – Today at Noon, the American Trucking Association and SAFE will host a special Transport Topics LiveOnWeb program on the topic of natural gas technology and the use of natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel for America’s fleets.  The conversation will be headlined by Frederick W. Smith, President and CEO of FedEx Corporation and co-Chair of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council, and T. Boone Pickens, business magnate and financier, as well as Matt Godlewski, President of Natural Gas Vehicles for America.

Groups to Launch Nuclear Report –Today at Noon, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists will host the U.S. Launch of the 2016 World Nuclear Industry Status Report.  The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016 offers valuable insights of the global state of the nuclear industry by providing a comprehensive overview of nuclear plant data, including information on operation, production and construction, as well as an assessment of the financial status of many of the biggest industrial players in the sector.

Conference, Panel to Look at Lower Oil Prices, Impacts – Tonight at 5:00 p.m., the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington will host a conference on the impact of the protracted period of dramatically lower oil prices on the Gulf Arab states and oil producing countries around the world. This panel concludes the conference, “Petro Diplomacy: Challenges in the New Energy World,” which will focus on key drivers of the oil price outlook, upstream oil investment strategies, economic and energy policy reforms in the GCC, and the impact of lower prices on foreign policy agendas at the regional and global levels. Speakers will present highlights and recommendations from the day’s discussion.

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – YPE, Energy Storage Association, PJM Interconnection and others will host a discussion tonight at 6:00 p.m. focused on the rapidly developing world of energy storage. We will cover the major factors in technology and policy that have influenced the development of the energy storage market to date, and then explore potential drivers of future growth.

Drillers to Host Offshore 101 Forum – The International Association of Drilling Contractors will hold a discussion tomorrow at Noon in 406 Dirksen on Offshore Drilling Rigs 101.

BPC to Host Infrastructure Model Forum in CO – Tomorrow at Noon in Denver, the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a discussion to both explore how Colorado can continue to push the envelope and assess ways to systematically incentivize and implement new infrastructure investment models around the country.  Executive Council on Infrastructure recently released the report Bridging the Gap Together: A New Model to Modernize U.S. Infrastructure, which proposes a framework to unite projects that need funding with private capital that is ready to invest. Colorado has been a national leader in innovative infrastructure delivery, with a number of projects – both in development and completed – that demonstrate the value of partnering with the private sector.  Speakers will include former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and several others.

Hudson to Look at Nuclear Treaty – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Hudson Institute will host a panel to discuss the administration’s circumvention of the Senate on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, including the rationale and implications of such action. Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl and former Asst Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker will also review some of the reasons the Senate rejected the treaty in 1999 and why those concerns remain valid in the contemporary global environment. Hudson Fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs will moderate the discussion.

Event to Look at Paris Progress – Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis and E3G CEO Nick Mabey will host a discussion at the National Press Club with government leaders from the United States, Germany and Canada on the transatlantic vision for post-Paris climate ambition. These countries are playing a leadership role in defining the low carbon future, through mid-century strategies they plan to release this year.  The event will highlight the opportunity these groundbreaking strategies provide for setting a global standard for ambition over the long term, and in maintaining momentum on climate action post-COP21 and the Paris Agreement.

Wolf Blitzer Honored at 4th Estate Dinner – Tomorrow night, the National Press Club’s Journalism Institute will host the 44th annual Fourth Estate Award Dinner.  The event will honor longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.  CNN President Jeff Zucker and many others will toast/roast Blitzer’s career.

House Resource to Look at CEQ GHG Guidance – The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the impacts of the Obama CEQ’s Final Guidance for GHG emissions and the effects of climate change.  Witnesses will include CEQ’s Mike Boots.

House Science Look at DOE Intimidation of Scientists – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittees on Oversight and Energy will hold a joint hearing Wednesday examining misconduct and Intimidation of scientists by DOE officials.  Witnesses will include two DOE scientist who are raising concerns, Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax and Dr. Noelle Metting. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will also hold a hearing Thursday on “misconduct and mismanagement” at the National Park Service.  The hearing is part of the panel’s recent scrutiny of the agency and how it handles sexual harassment.

Atlantic Council to Host Inhofe, Whitehouse on Nuclear – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on bipartisan legislative efforts to preserve and strengthen US leadership at the cutting edge of nuclear energy technology. Senators Jim Inhofe and Sheldon Whitehouse will address efforts to promote public-private partnerships on advanced nuclear energy technology, to modernize the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s functions, and to accelerate the development of advanced nuclear reactors in the United States.  Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center, will deliver welcoming remarks and Ben Geman of the National Journal will moderate the discussion.

Air Regulators Hold Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Fall Business Meeting on Wednesday to Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – Brownstone – University.  Experts from AAPCA Member agencies and U.S. EPA, including the Office of General Counsel, Air Quality Assessment Division, Air Quality Policy Division, and Health and Environmental Impact Division, will provide updates on topics like best practices, air quality modeling, Clean Air Act legal issues, NAAQS and many other issues.

Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will convene a panel of experts to discuss the current state of the Southern Corridor and the challenges it faces in the future.  The Southern Gas Corridor has been years in the planning and its proposed completion date (2018-2020 timeframe) is rapidly approaching. Real progress has been made in recent years: confirmation of the route in 2013 and groundbreaking for construction in Turkey and Greece 2016.  But challenges remain, including regional security issues, local opposition along parts of the route, stagnant gas demand in Western Europe, and the decreasing cost of imported liquefied natural gas.

Conservatives to Hold Clean Energy Summit – On Wednesday evening and Thursday, the Christian Coalition and the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform is co-sponsoring an event at the Capitol Hill Hyatt that will bring together grassroots leaders and activists from across the country to hear key leaders from the legislative, military and business communities speak on energy reform and the effects it has on our economy, our national security and our environment.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be Wednesday to Sunday in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  There are a number of great panels with BrightSource’s Energy Joe Desmond, former CEQ chief Jim Connaughton, Cal EPA official Mary Nichols and former EPA #2 Bob Perciasepe among those on panels.

NY Ratification Event to Include World Leaders – Well if you thought the Paris Accord was not a treaty, you might not want to attend the event on Wednesday in New York where UN head Ban ki-Moon is asking countries to celebrate the ratification of the Accord.  In a recent letter, Ban asked countries to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year.  At least 20 countries have indicated they will formally join the Paris Agreement on Wednesday at a United Nations event in New York.

Energy Engineering Congress Set – The 39th World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) will be held on Wednesday to Friday at the Walter Washington Convention Center.  The WEEC looks at economic and market forces, new technologies, regulatory developments and industry trends.  Speakers include former Meet The Press host David Gregory, former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, Toyota Reg VP Tom Stricker and Tesla  Technology officer J.B. Straubel.  WCEE and Leaders in Energy will also host a reception on Thursday night of the event.

ASE to Host Efficiency Day on Hill – On Thursday on Capitol Hill, the ASE’s Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) will return to discuss the role of energy efficiency in an integrated grid.  For more than a decade, GEED has brought together hundreds of leaders from business, industry, academia and government for robust dialogues on energy efficiency’s most pressing issues.

North American Energy Summit Set – The Wilson Center’s Mexico and Canada Institutes are hosting their Third Annual North American Energy Forum on Thursday at the Wilson Center.  Keynote speaker is Cesar Hernández Ochoa, Mexican Undersecretary of Energy for Electricity in the Ministry of Energy.

House Energy to Look at CAFE Rules – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on US fuel efficiency rules to discuss whether the 2022 through 2025 model year requirements are reasonable or require changes.   The committee will review if next generation standards are impacting vehicle choices, raising prices, and most importantly whether they are pushing low-income consumers out of the car-buying market altogether.  Witnesses include EPA Air Chief Janet McCabe, NHTSA Counsel Paul Hemmersbaugh, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, NADA CEO Peter Welch, former OIRA Head and current IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs dean John Graham, John German of the International Council on Clean Transportation and Consumer Federation of America’s Mark Cooper.

CSIS Forum Look at Energy Transition in Germany – On Thursday, CSIS will host a discussion on energy transitions with perspectives on Germany and the United States with Rainer Baake, German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy.  White House energy expert Dan Utech and NREL Director Martin Keller will also speak.

Forum to Launch NatGas Book – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a forum to launch the book, “The Future of Natural Gas Markets & Geopolitics.”  The role of natural gas in the global energy mix has witnessed a remarkable evolution in the past few decades. In this context of rapid changes in the energy market and shifts in geopolitical relationships, The Future of Natural Gas: Markets and Geopolitics provides a comprehensive and rigorous analysis on the role of natural gas in the future global energy mix.

WCEE Forum to Look at Residential Energy Efficiency – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch forum on Thursday at the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility to look at residential sector energy use. Introducing innovative energy efficiency technologies in new and existing homes as well as multifamily buildings will contribute to reduce consumers’ energy bills, help address climate change, benefit the environment, and enhance the nation’s energy security.  Implementing energy efficiency practices, performing home energy audits, improving insulation, replacing water heaters and appliances are the most common solutions.   Speakers will include DOE’s Joan Glickman and Megan Houston of the Institute for Marketing Transformation.

JHU Election Forum to Look at Energy Platforms – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University will host a forum at the Rome Auditorium that will feature a panel will discuss the energy policies of both political parties before the upcoming election.

SHALE INSIGHT Set for Pittsburgh – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold its 6th annual SHALE INSIGHT Conference at the Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  The focus of this year’s conference is the next phase of the shale revolution and will emphasize end use and connecting the market place through infrastructure. The conference will feature keynote presentations, an interactive and robust exhibit floor, tailored panel discussions, the Technology Showcase and a Natural Gas Use Marketplace, which all present networking opportunities for attendees.

BGov Forum to Look at Nuclear Power – On Friday at 8:00 a.m. Bloomberg BNA and Nuclear Matters will host a breakfast event exploring the clean energy benefits and value of nuclear power. Our distinguished speakers will discuss nuclear energy’s role in cutting emissions as federal and state policies to reduce existing power plant emissions go into effect, and as the Supreme Court considers the Clean Power Plan.

Coal Council CEO to Address Energy Group – The U.S. Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) National Capital Area will host its monthly lunch on Friday featuring Janet Gellici of the National Coal Council.  Gellici will take a hard look at the current state of the coal industry and focus her remarks on market and policy hurdles confronting the coal industry.  She will also provide an overview of initiatives to overcome these challenges, including efforts to advance policy parity for low-carbon technology deployment and markets for CO2 utilization.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Transmission Forum to Look at Key Western Issues – Infocast’s 8th Transmission Summit West, will be Held on September 26-28 in San Diego, CA at the Marriott La Jolla.  The Summit brings together senior transmission industry owners, operators, generators, regulators, financiers and other key players to address the strategic, regulatory, investment and technology issues facing the industry, and explore strategies for maximizing the true value of their business.

Wilson to Host Climate Conflict Forum – Next Monday at 3:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will host a forum as part of an ongoing effort by ECSP to investigate the conflict and peace-building potential of climate change, including two reports: “Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Change Adaptation and Migration” and A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks.  The event will feature a roundtable discussion on current efforts to understand the potential “backdraft” effect of responses to climate change.

USEA to Look at CCS, Paris – Next Tuesday, USEA will host a forum featuring John Gale of IEA.  Gale will make presentations that will review the outcomes of the Paris Agreement with regard to mitigation needs and the role of CCS in any future mitigation strategies both short term and post 2030. The presentation will assess the research and policy needs to position CCS in future mitigation strategies that countries will provide to the UNFCCC as their Intended National Contributions.  It will examine the role that the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Program can play in  meeting those future research/policy needs to ensure that CCS technologies can be deployed effectively to meet both short term and long term climate strategies.

WCEE Forum to Look at Energy Security – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Brown Bag lunch next Tuesday looking at security of the energy industry.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers will be former DOE Officials Jeff Lane and Peter Tseronis, the former Chief Tech Officer.

Clean Power Plan Hits DC Circuit – The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments next Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in a case challenging the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. The hearing by the full court is the first time judges will hear arguments on the merits of the rule. Many expect the circuit court decision will be appealed to, and may ultimately be heard by, the U.S. Supreme Court. The Clean Power Plan is on hold while it makes its way through the legal system.

Foxx, Moniz to Host Infrastructure Forum – The Center for American Progress and NextGen Climate America will host a half-day conference on Wednesday September 28th featuring three-panel discussions centered on energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. Our distinguished speakers and experts will discuss how federal policymakers can update America’s infrastructure to create jobs, protect public health, and respond to the intensifying challenges of climate change.  Keynote speakers will include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Forum to Review CPP Oral Arguments – The DC Bar and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at Beveridge & Diamond to discuss the oral arguments from the Clean Power plan.  Speakers will include NRDC’s Dave Doniger, Peabody’s Tristan Duncan, WV Solicitor Elbert Lin, and EPA’s Ethan Shenkman.

CSIS to Host Maritime Security Discussion – The Maritime Security Dialogue will be held on October 3rd at 10:00 a.m. and will bring together CSIS and USNI, two of the nation’s most respected non-partisan institutions. The series is intended to highlight the particular challenges facing the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, from national level maritime policy to naval concept development and program design. Given budgetary challenges, technological opportunities, and ongoing strategic adjustments, the nature and employment of U.S. maritime forces are likely to undergo significant change over the next ten to fifteen years. The Maritime Security Dialogue provides an unmatched forum for discussion of these issues with the nation’s maritime leaders.  Admiral John M. Richardson, USN Chief of Naval Operations will be the speaker.

Holmstead to Lead BPC Panel on EPA Rule – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Tuesday October 4th for a panel discussion with leading legal experts to unpack the arguments presented to the circuit court on September 27 in a case challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  They will also be asked to read the tea leaves on the judges’ questions and reactions.  Speakers will include my Colleague Jeff Holmstead, Hunton’s Allison Wood, NRDC’s David Doniger and Chris Courchesne of the Massachusetts AG’s Office.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden on October 17-18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on October 18-19th In Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

Energy Update: Week of September 6

Friends,

“I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back.”

Welcome back…The Labor Day holiday means everyone is FINALLY back in school, the Fall college, NFL and high school sports season (football/field hockey/X-Country/soccer) are rolling and the US Open is headed to its championship weekend.   For those of you interested, my daughter Hannah launched her Wellesley field hockey career over the weekend with two victories in Maine. She started/played the entirety of both games and really had a great impact,  so we are really proud of her. Now she heads to the harder part –the classroom – which also launched last Thursday and really gets rolling today.

What an interesting August break.  While things seemed to slow down some on the DC Policy side, we really didn’t notice it that much as we were pretty busy.  There is no doubt that 1) Congress over the next few weeks, 2) the campaigns (hitting high gear) and 3) the exiting Obama Administration will all have their foot to the pedal on a number of initiatives, including many energy issues.  Congress has to finish budgets and has energy legislation is on the docket with a House-Senate conference set to start Thursday.  The President rolled into Southeast Asia and signed the Paris agreement alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping and bounced a couple more efficiency regs out of DOE.  The Administration, which has been the focus of several articles about the run to the finish line, has stepped up the efforts and pressure on the regulatory front.  We can help with those issues, especially on some of the more obscure issues like DOE efficiency regs.

On the politics front, it has been wild.  Democrats seem confident, but both campaigns seem a bit disheveled by the day-to-day back and forth. I find it surprising, but today CNN has a new poll that says the race is tied.  Despite that poll, Clinton seems to have confident leads in key states like VA, NC, PA and CO.  Speaking of Colorado, the HRC campaign tapped Ken Salazar, the former Interior secretary and senator, to lead her transition team which has annoyed some enviros who don’t like Salazar’s past approach to energy issues.

This is a little off topic, but on next Monday at the National Press Club at Noon, we are working with the National Brian Tumor Assn as they launch a major effort to defeat pediatric brain tumors.  The effort is a new bold approach that will focus on a new capital campaign for a major global R&D initiative to defeat most lethal form of childhood cancer.   Obama Moonshot Initiative board member David Arons, NBTA President will lead the discussion, so please pass on to any of your colleagues that cover health care issues.

While I’m on next week, stayed tuned for a lot of hearings including one featuring ClearPath head Jay Faison, a pen/pad with new NRECA head/former Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, a number of great events at think tanks like RFF, the Wilson Center and CSIS and finally big conferences out of town with SEIA in Vegas and APOL in Chicago.

Also, the annual SEJ Conference is right around the corner in Sacramento Sept 21-25.  As usual, we will host our usual reception although this year we are stepping up our game so I hope you be able to attend.

Finally, I know many of you have seen this, but for those of you that haven’t, Robin Bravender of E&E News wrote an embarrassingly nice profile on the work we do here at Bracewell that I thought you might find interesting.

Congress is back…Game on!  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As we continue to grow our companies both here in the U.S. and abroad, effectively managing our public policy issues and relationships with the federal government will be critical to our success. Maryam’s strong background in both federal energy policy and the energy industry will help guide and fortify these key activities.”

Steve Davis, executive vice president of External Affairs and Corporate Strategy for Sempra Energy on former Energy Advisor for Speaker Ryan Maryam Brown.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED AUGUST NEWS

DOE Moves Rulemaking on Cooler/Freezers – The Department of Energy issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on Tuesday for regulations on walk-in coolers and freezers, the result of a settlement with industry leaders who said a previously issued rule was unreasonable. The department’s proposed conservation standards are projected to save up to $3,294 in energy costs, depending on the refrigeration system, over the course of the unit’s lifetime, according to the draft published Tuesday. The rule also aims to reduce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. The proposal follows a settlement between the department and industry participants, including the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, over a rule issued in 2014. The plaintiffs said that rule had several unreasonable provisions. The two sides settled in July 2015, agreeing to several changes to the 2014 rule. Some standards were vacated, others will be put off until 2020, and the department agreed to reconsider how the rule would affect installers and smaller manufacturers.  AHRI President Stephen Yurek said in a statement that the group “hope and expects that it will follow the parameters set forth in the negotiations conducted under the [rulemaking] process. We are hopeful that the resulting negotiations are accurately represented in this draft rule.”

DOE Furnace Rule Rolls out on Labor Day Friday – Late Friday, DOE released new, controversial efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces trying to cut off industry and congressional concerns about the costs.  DOE issued its initial version of the proposal in March 2015 only to have manufacturers complain that the standard should have separated condensing and non-condensing furnaces, including a separate track for small furnaces. The proposal itself noted that the rule could drive up sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions as it reduces CO2 and NOx because some homeowners likely would switch from natural gas to electric furnaces. Both AHRI and AGA have fought back with more than 100 House lawmakers pushing DOE to reopen the rule for reconsideration and additional comments.

AHRI Responds to Furnace Rule – AHRI President Steve Yurek say they are pleased that happy that DOE made changes that “provide an alternative option for those of our customers for whom an ultra-efficient furnace does not make economic sense, but the alternative will be of little value to those customers it is intended to help.”   AHRI says the market for furnaces that have input rates of 55,000 BTU per hour or lower is quite small for the simple reason that most U.S. dwellings require greater heating capacity.  Therefore, at the levels proposed by DOE in this rule, many of our customers, particularly in southern states, will be forced to pay more for a larger, ultra-efficient furnace even though their monthly heating bill savings will not justify the higher purchase and installation costs.  And for many of our customers in the northern, Midwest, and mid-Atlantic states, the installation costs associated with an ultra-efficient, condensing furnace make them either prohibitively expensive or a practical impossibility.   Yurek also said while this revision appears to be “a substantial change from the original draft rule, which would have mandated a minimum standard of 92 percent AFUE across the board, from Minneapolis to Miami, in reality, it changes little and is in need of additional changes, which we will be seeking in the coming months.”

Ryan Aide To Head Sempra Energy DC Office – Maryam Sabbaghian Brown has been appointed Sempra Energy’s new vice president of Federal Government Affairs, based in Washington, D.C. Brown has experience as both a senior energy policy advisor in the U.S. Congress and in management within the energy industry, most recently serving as the senior energy and environment counsel for the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2012.  In her new role, Brown will report directly to Steve Davis, executive vice president of External Affairs and Corporate Strategy for Sempra Energy, and oversee representation of the Sempra family of companies with the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, as well as with federal agencies.  She start next Monday.

Truck Rules Finalized – EPA and NHTSA issued their final Phase 2 fuel economy rules for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, which will establish standards for trucks for model years 2021 through 2027. The rules will require certain large trucks to be up to 25% more fuel efficient, and are projected to reduce U.S. oil demand by 2 billion barrels.  While heavy-duty trucks account for only 4% of all vehicles on the road, they account for almost 22% of transportation oil demand. When the new standards were proposed last year, the administration estimated they could potentially conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil and lower fuel costs by about $170 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. Additionally, the originally proposed Phase 2 standards would reduce new heavy-duty vehicles’ fuel consumption by an additional 24%, on average, in 2027 as well as bring heavy-duty fuel consumption back below 2015 levels by 2030. However, the final rule is more stringent than what was proposed last year, boosting fuel savings.

SAFE Originally Proposed Similar Approach – SAFE originally proposed expanding fuel economy standards to include medium and heavy-duty vehicles in its 2006 report, Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence, and lobbied tirelessly for their inclusion in 2007’s historic Energy Independence and Security Act. Expanding the legislation to include heavy-duty trucks for the first time was complex, and required implementation through Phase 1 and Phase 2 rulemaking. SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond: “These rules are the finalization of this critical process, and SAFE is proud to have worked with industry and legislators every step of the way.”

Largest Companies are Mostly Supportive – In addition to SAFE, many of the industry’s largest players like Waste Management and FedEx, have proactively worked towards new fuel economy standards for trucks. Recent research from CALSTART surveyed over 250 heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the country and found the industry has “a desire for clear, strong, and long term efficiency regulations to de-risk investment.” Calstart’s research also highlighted the U.S.’s ability to lead in the sector.

China, US Sign Paris Agreement – On Saturday, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally joined the Paris Climate agreement, pledging a “continued bilateral climate cooperation.”  The leaders of the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases met Saturday at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

SoCo Adds Another OK Wind Project – Southern Company acquired the 147-megawatt (MW) Grant Plains wind facility in Oklahoma from Apex Clean Energy. The Grant Plains wind facility will be located in Grant County, Oklahoma, and is expected to utilize 64 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens. Grant Plains will be Southern Power’s third wind facility in Oklahoma, building on a portfolio that includes the adjacent 151-MW Grant Wind facility and the 299-MW Kay Wind facility, both also acquired from Apex with turbines produced by Siemens. Grant Plains fits Southern Power’s business strategy of growing its wholesale business through the acquisition and construction of generating assets substantially covered by long-term contracts.  With the addition of the Grant Plains wind facility, Southern Power owns more than 2,400 MW of renewable generation from 31 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction. Across its system, Southern Company has added or announced more than 4,000 MW of renewable generation since 2012.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Renewable Conference Set for Mexico City – The Mexican Energy Leaders conference is set for Mexico City on Wednesday and Thursday. The event has become the major meeting for both Mexican and international renewable energy experts to discuss the new opportunities opened after major reforms on energy in Mexico.

House Energy to Look at Federal Power Act – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing looking at historical perspectives on the “Federal Power Act. Witnesses will include former FERC Commissioner Clifford Naeve, former FERC General Counsel Doug Smith, former DOE Asst Secretary Linda Stuntz and former FERC General Counsel Susan Tomasky.

WV Members to Discuss Coal Pensions – The National Press Club hosts a Forum tomorrow at 1:00 a.m. to look at Congressional efforts to save pensions and retiree healthcare for thousands of retired coal miners.  The event will feature Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Rep. David McKinley.

WCEE Event to Help Energy Networking – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum on networking in the energy industry.  The event will feature John Easton, a former vice president of International Programs at the Edison Electric Institute who served in three Presidential appointed positions at DOE.

Former DuPont CEO Set for Smart Women Event – CSIS’s Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative will host a conversation with retired Chair and CE of DuPont Ellen Kullman on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, Chair of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.  The Smart Women, Smart Power (SWSP) initiative is designed to amplify the voices of women in foreign policy, national security, and international business.  It convenes top-level leaders to discuss critical and timely issues in their respective fields, reflect on their professional experiences, and share ideas.

Vilsack to Headline GreenGov – The GreenGov Symposium will be held on Thursday at George Washington University.  The event is led by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in partnership with GWU’s Sustainability Collaborative. The purpose of the symposium is to showcase how the Federal Government can lead by example in environmental sustainability, with a particular focus on how federal agencies can meet the ambitious goals established in the landmark March 2015 Executive Order, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will headline and speakers from the EPA and CEQ will focus on issues related to the future of energy efficiency, clean energy targets, sustainable transportation, waste mitigation, and the conservation of water.

House Energy Conference Set to Launch – The Senate and House conferees will have a meeting on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. regarding S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. The purpose of this meeting is to hear opening statements from the conferees. No bill text or amendments will be considered at this meeting of the conferees.

Joint House Hearing Target Mediterranean Energy – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., there will be a joint subcommittee hearing on Eastern Mediterranean Energy challenges and opportunities for U.S. priorities held by the Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy.  Witnesses will include State’s Amos Hochstein and DOE’s Jonathan Elkind, who serves as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.

House Foreign Affairs Looks at Asian Energy Demand – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific will hold a hearing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. on Asia’s growing hunger for energy looking at U.S. policy and supply opportunities.  Witnesses will include Mikkal Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research, Heritage’s David Kreutzer and NRDC’s Jake Schmidt.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

State of Solar Highlighted at Vegas Conference – Solar Power International 2016 (SPI 2016), the solar industry’s largest trade show and conference will be held in Las Vegas from September 12-15th.  SPI 2016 co-host Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) offers a slew of coverage opportunities. The topics and events will cover Net metering in Nevada, developing solar on federal land, elections 2016 and growth In the solar industry.  Our friend Ben Finzel has the detail at ben@renewpr.com or 202-277-6286.

Atlantic Council to Host US, India Clean Energy Discussion – The Atlantic Council will host a forum next Monday at Noon to discuss the implications of US-India cooperation on critical energy and climate issues and place these efforts in the context of the bilateral relationship. Speakers will address the challenges and opportunities surrounding clean energy deployment in India, evaluate the policy and financing mechanisms being used, assess the importance issue for U.S.-India bilateral relations, and highlight key priorities for ongoing collaboration between the United States and India.

Storage Forum Set – The EnergyStorage Global Innovation Forum will be held September 12-13 in Chicago bringing together top experts from ComEd, Oncor, PowerStream, PJM, Midwest ISO, ARPA-E, Argonne National Lab and many others to examine grid-level and behind-the-meter storage business models, technology innovations and opportunities. The Forum offers the latest updates on advanced storage technologies and systems for grid-level applications, as well as next-gen EV / smart transportation. These updates will be viewed through the lens of real-world deployments, business cases, and impacts on existing systems and operations.

CSIS to Host IEA Report – CSIS will host a forum on Tuesday September 13th at 8:30 a.m. featuring IEA.  For the first time, IEA is focusing on this critical topic in Energy and Air Pollution, providing a global outlook for energy and air pollution as well as profiles of key countries. Based on new data for pollutant emissions in 2015 and projections to 2040, the new report proposes a pragmatic and attainable strategy to reconcile the world’s energy requirements with its need for cleaner air. Alongside the multiple benefits to human health, this strategy shows that resolving the world’s air pollution problem can go hand-in-hand with progress towards other environmental and development goals.  Kamel Ben Naceur, Director of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks at IEA will present the findings and strategy of this new report, followed by a discussion moderated by for EIA Administrator Guy Caruso.

NGV American President To Headline NatGas RoundtableThe Natural Gas Roundtable will host Matthew Godlewski, President of Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) at the next Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, September 13th.  Godlewski is the president of NGVAmerica, the national trade association dedicated to the development of a growing and sustainable market for vehicles powered by natural gas.

Forum to Look at Environment Policies, Investments in Electricity – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Great Plains Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting a workshop in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday September 13th.  The event will feature experts, state officials and stakeholders from across the Eastern Interconnect for a one-day workshop exploring recent modeling analyses that provide new insights into trends in the electricity sector. The event will explore what these trends mean for state energy and environmental policy choices. Experts will present their findings and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reflect on those findings.

RFF, Stanford to Set Shale Series – Resources for the Future (RFF) and Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment will hold a special webinar series this fall looking at new research on the science and economics of natural gas. The first event will be on Tuesday September 13th looking at managing methane emissions.  At this webinar, Stanford’s Rob Jackson and Adam Brandt will present their work on methane leakage in natural gas distribution systems nationwide, while RFF’s Alan Krupnick will share highlights from RFF’s study of policy options for cost-effectively reducing methane emissions.  On October 18th the focus will be on Wastewater and on November 15th siting.  The series will explore some of the complex challenges and questions associated with the increasing reliance on unconventional gas in the United States. Topics include: technologies for detecting and preventing methane leakage; industry and policy options for mitigating emissions; wastewater disposal options and challenges; and optimal siting for new gas development.

AOPL to Hold Business Conference in Chicago – Next Tuesday through Friday, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines will hold its annual business conference at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.  The Annual Business Conference focuses on topical issues and the latest developments in the oil pipeline industry.  Speakers will include Rusty Braziel of RBN Energy, a renowned analyst and speaker on oil and gas issues including pipeline transportation and retiring FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, who has shown a deep interest in oil transportation issues at FERC and previously at the North Dakota Public Service Commission.  The event will also feature an executives roundtable featuring leaders at several AOPL-member companies.

Manchin To Headline Hill Discussion – The Hill will host a forum on Wednesday, September 14th at 8:00 a.m. at The Newseum to hear from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to discuss the recent flooding in West Virginia, who will share his first-hand experience with the disaster recovery process and his insight on community resilience and preparedness efforts at the local, state, and national level.

CHP Conference Set for National Park – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will host its 2016 Combined Heat & Power Conference.  This year’s conference will focus on creating fruitful and interesting discussion within the conference panels and between attendees about current challenges and opportunities for CHP, especially within the utility model. The conference will be held at Nationals Park in Southeast DC, with the conference proceedings taking place in the park’s conference center and the networking event in the PNC Diamond Club.

Senate Energy/Water Panel to Look at Nuclear – The Senate Energy and Water Approps panel will hold a hearing on nuclear issues on Wednesday September 14th.   Witnesses are expected to include ClearPath Founder Jay Faison among others.

Matheson to Discuss Rural Agenda, Co-ops – New NRECA CEO Jim Matheson will hold a media availability on September 14th at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the co-ops, energy issues, renewable development and the rural economy.  Immediately following the presser, Matheson will attend a NRECA Congressional reception that will include many of his former colleagues.  Both events will take place in the Longworth building on Capitol Hill.  Matheson, who took over NRECA in July, previously served seven terms as a U.S. Representative from Utah (2001-15), during which time he was Chief Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition, and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Energy, Tech, Education Conference Set – STEM4US is hosting the 3rd Annual Energy, Tech, and Education Festival on Wednesday September 14th at the Washington Convention Center.  The theme for #ETE16 is “Mission Critical: Training the Cybersecurity Workforce of Today, Tomorrow.”  #ETE16 provides a unique opportunity for executives and professionals in the energy, technology, and venture capital sectors to network with government, academic, and nonprofit leaders.  Guests can expect to enjoy interactive workshops, networking, and receptions.

Wilson Center to Look at Climate Assessments – On Thursday, September 15th at 4:00 p.m., the  Woodrow Wilson Center will host a forum on preparing the National Climate Assessment. Since 2000, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has produced three National Climate Assessments, a major Congressionally mandated report designed to inform the public about the current state of the climate, the nation’s preparedness, and future trends. Work on the fourth assessment has now begun. The event will feature a discussion with representatives from the USGCRP and White House about ways to engage in the production of the report and priorities, including the first chapter on international issues.

WCEE Forum to Look at Greenhouse Gas Protocols – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a luncheon forum on Thursday September 15th at Deloitte looking at Greenhouse Gas Protocols.  GHG Protocol sets the global standard for how to measure, manage, and report greenhouse gas emissions. Since its launching in 2001, more than 1000 organizations and governments have joined this initiative to be more efficient and resilient while benefitting the environment through climate change strategies. The 2010 GHG Workforce Survey reported that GHG Protocol is the second most important climate program after Kyoto Protocol in the successful measurement and management of climate change. The forum will feature WRI experts to discuss how the GHG Protocol is used as a decision-making tool when setting corporate sustainability targets and strategies; how corporate renewable energy purchasing can help reduce emission and how it supports corporate action.

ICF Breakfast to Look at Nanotech – On Friday, September 16th at the University Club, ICF will host an Energy Breakfast that brings together the heads of the two premier U.S. electricity and energy technology groups to discuss how new energy technologies and innovations are quickly reshaping the way we produce, transport, and utilize energy: “nanotechnology.

WRI Forum to Look at Sustainable Energy Future – The World Resources Institute (WRI) will host a forum Friday September 16th on how to produce, use and dispose of everyday products in a sustainable future.  In this presentation and panel discussion, European and American leaders in government and business will share their views on this emerging topic. In the spirit of the coinciding EU Climate Diplomacy Week, this event will include discussion of how a circular economy model can support global climate goals as outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

RFF Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Friday September 16th looking at the latest updates on carbon pricing developments in Canada, where provinces have led but the federal government is seeking to develop its own policy; Mexico, where a carbon tax has been in place since 2014 but an emissions trading system has recently been announced; and the United States, where carbon markets exist in a few states (like California), where more markets might emerge under the Clean Power Plan, and where a federal carbon tax continues to be debated.

CSIS to Host Book Discussion on Sustainable Development – The Center for Strategic & International Studies will host a public roundtable on Friday Sept 16th to discuss Dr. Stephen Macekura’s book, “Of Limits and Growth: The Rise of Global Sustainable Development in the Twentieth Century,” as well as his career leading up to this publication. Macekura is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies.  He is a historian of U.S. foreign policy, foreign aid, international development, and environmental politics and policy.  His first book Of Limits and Growth: The Rise of Global ‘Sustainable Development’ in the Twentieth Century, explores the role of environmental NGOs in attempting to reconcile the desire for economic growth with environmental protection after 1945. His second book will focus on the meaning and measurement of economic growth in the twentieth-century.

National Electric Drive Week Set – The National Electric Drive Week will begin on Sunday September 18th.  See more details here.

Air Regulators Hold Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Fall Business Meeting on September 21st – 23rd in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – Brownstone – University.  Experts from AAPCA Member agencies and U.S. EPA, including the Office of General Counsel, Air Quality Assessment Division, Air Quality Policy Division, and Health and Environmental Impact Division, will provide updates on topics like best practices, air quality modeling, Clean Air Act legal issues, NAAQS and many other issues.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be September 21-25 in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  More on this as we get closer.

CSIS Forum Look at Energy Transition in Germany – On September 22nd, CSIS will host a discussion on energy transitions with perspectives on Germany and the United States with Rainer Baake, German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy.

SHALE INSIGHT Set for Pittsburgh – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold its 6th annual SHALE INSIGHT Conference at the Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  The focus of this year’s conference is the next phase of the shale revolution and will emphasize end use and connecting the market place through infrastructure. The conference will feature keynote presentations, an interactive and robust exhibit floor, tailored panel discussions, the Technology Showcase and a Natural Gas Use Marketplace, which all present networking opportunities for attendees.

NY Ratification Event to Include World Leaders – Well if you thought the Paris Accord was not a treaty, you might not want to attend the event on September 21st in New York where UN head Ban ki-Moon is asking countries to celebrate the ratification of the Accord.  In a recent letter, Ban asked countries to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year.

Clean Power Plan Hits DC Circuit – On September 27th, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on September 27 in a case challenging the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. The hearing by the full court is the first time judges will hear arguments on the merits of the rule. Many expect the circuit court decision will be appealed to, and may ultimately be heard by, the U.S. Supreme Court. The Clean Power Plan is on hold while it makes its way through the legal system.

Holmstead to Lead BPC Panel on EPA Rule – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Tuesday October 4th for a panel discussion with leading legal experts to unpack the arguments presented to the circuit court on September 27 in a case challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  They will also be asked to read the tea leaves on the judges’ questions and reactions.  Speakers will include my Colleague Jeff Holmstead, Hunton’s Allison Wood, NRDC’s David Doniger and Chris Courchesne of the Massachusetts AG’s Office.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden on October 17-18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on October 18-19th In Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

Energy Update: Week of July 25

Friends,

I must say, we had a really good time in Cleveland last week at the RNC.  The people were wonderful and the convention went off without a hitch – logistically at least.  As for the substance and political results?…enough said. Either way, we’re watching closely to see if Michelle Obama cribs from our energy update for tonight’s DNC speech.

While there was definitely some party chaos in Cleveland, the Democratic National Convention in Phily starts with similar unrest as long-time DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigned last night after thousands of emails leaked showing evidence that the DNC was undermining the Sanders campaign.  All this has overshadowed Hillary Clinton naming current VA Sen./former Gov (and former DNC Chair) Tim Kaine to be her VP.  While Kaine is known as a somewhat progressive and has some street cred with the party faithful from his time at DNC, the Sanders wing is sure to see this as the beginning of a move away from their more extreme approach, especially on most energy issues.  Expect to not see the “brotherly love” tonight as Sanders and Elizabeth Warren take the stage.

Another sidebar for Phily that I thought might be of interest is a new group of Republicans – not affiliated with Democratic groups – that will be at the convention discussing their reasoning for supporting Hillary Clinton.  Along with several other like-minded Republicans, former Bush 43 White House advisors John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes launched R4C16, Republicans for Clinton after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President. Last Friday, John laid out his reasoning in an op-ed for the Washington PostWhy Republicans Should Vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you are going to Phily, make sure to stop at the POLITICO (historic Rittenhouse Square at 2001 Market Street, 2 Commerce Square) and the Washington Post (City Tap House Logan, 2 Logan Square) Hubs.  Both places were excellent for events, fellowship and serious reporting in Cleveland so I expect the same here.

As for energy events at DNC, POLITICO’s Elana Schor hosts CO Gov. John Hickenlooper, Hillary Energy advisor Trevor Houser, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, former PA Gov./Phily Mayor Ed Rendell and Heather Zichal on Wednesday and does a Breakfast Newsmaker with Tom Steyer on Thursday.  Hickenlooper also hits the WaPo’s Politics and Pints with Chris Cillizza tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. and WaPo look at the energy platform earlier in the day at 10:00 a.m. with Steve Stromberg.  Finally, on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz to discuss energy policies and priorities.  Besides a speech from Sanders tonight that is certain to tap the progressive “keep it in the ground” energy issues, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., John Podesta, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups will attend climate reception at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square.

Other events in DC this week: today at 2:30 pm, Heritage and CEI host a panel discussion in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs, the NatGas Roundtable is hosting BG&E CEO Calvin Butler tomorrow at lunch and tomorrow afternoon USEA looks at future global nuclear growth.

Finally, overseas in Vienna this weekend, Secretary Kerry (why do we let him talk), EPA Administrator McCarthy, our friends in the environmental community and AHRI made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.  The HVAC industry has been a strong player in these negotiations and AHRI President Steve Yurek was there all last week for the talks, which are the final prelude to October meeting in Kigali where parties will close the deal.  It is a huge success that likely will dwarf the uncertainty of cuts that the Paris Treaty may/may not produce.   There have been a number of stories on the progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details.

Remember, our PRG team will be covering elections closely and offering our analysis running up to and following the November vote.  So stay in touch on the topic.  Sounds like maybe one more short update next week as we hit August to wrap DNC week, but then off until September.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“That Trump’s run an awful campaign, alienated every group & still within striking distance makes you wonder who’s really a weaker candidate.”

Andrews Kaczynski of Buzzfeed yesterday on Twitter

____

“Charging infrastructure is an important priority when getting electric vehicles on the road, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle,” said “Dollar for dollar, infrastructure is most valuable when it is accompanied by robust consumer education, public-private partnerships, experiential marketing, and support from the business community.”

Robbie Diamond, CEO of the Electrification Coalition, responding to DOE announcement of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to expand the nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure

 

IN THE NEWS

World Leaders Make Progress on HFCs – With far less attention this past week, negotiators from almost 200 countries neared a deal that many say will be the most significant concrete action to reduce global warming in years. Parties, which will finalize the deal in Kigali in October, made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.

HVAC Industry Pushing for Strong Deal – The global HVAC industry has been one of the significant players pushing for a strong deal.  They have been promoting inclusion of an HFC phase down amendment to the Montreal Protocol for nearly six years, having already successfully phased out HCFCs under that global agreement.  A global agreement creates predictability for producers and manufacturers alike and eliminates the hodge-podge of different HFC reduction schemes that they would surely face as the world’s focus on climate change continues.  As well, an orderly phase down schedule provides the time necessary for manufacturers to conduct the necessary R&D on the next generation of equipment using the latest refrigerant replacements for HFCs and for producers to begin making sufficient supplies of replacements refrigerants.

Will the Replacement Actually Be Ready – Replacements will be ready to go when the time comes because industry anticipated the eventual action of the Montreal Protocol parties to phase down HFCs and thus began a major research program in 2011 to identify potential alternatives, which has recently completed its second phase.  Many of the most promising replacements, however, are classified as either flammable or mildly flammable and thus must be researched further to determine their performance in real-world conditions.  That research is about to commence under a funding agreement by AHRI, ASHRAE, the Department of Energy, and the state of California, which will collectively contribute nearly $6 million to study these refrigerants in advance of upcoming building code updates.

NYT Reports on the Progress – There have been a number of stories on the Vienna negotiations progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details very well.

DOE Promises Loans for EV Charging – On the heels of the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit, DOE announced $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to roll out a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations. The program will provide support for federal, state, and local governments, and it will partner with Ford, GM, Nissan and Tesla.

SAFE Says Decision Should Focus on Accelerator Communities – SAFE’s Electrification Coalition said the decision to allocate $4.5 billion is an urgent priority that will sever the nation’s dependence on oil and boost American energy security. The EC notes a number of important considerations when it comes to EV deployment and charging infrastructure:

  • The U.S. transportation sector relies on oil for more than 92% of its energy, a dependence that undermines national security and economic prosperity. Last year, the United States spent $500 billion on petroleum fuels.
  • Public investment is necessary to decouple our transport system from the global oil market, which continues to operate against free market principles under heavy influence from foreign governments and national oil companies.
  • Development of a robust charging network sends an important signal to potential buyers that EVs are a viable choice, not hindered by infrastructure availability.
  • Simultaneously, 90% of charging occurs at home and in the workplace.
  • Fast-charging is a key component of improving public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • The EC advocates for use of accelerator communities as a policy tool—targeted geographical regions for EV deployment in which everything necessary to support this important technology is deployed simultaneously.
  • Experiential marketing—putting motorists behind the wheel of an electric vehicle to familiarize them with the technology—has proven to be a highly effective method of increasing exposure and boosting electric vehicle sales.
  • EVs offer consumers an opportunity to opt-out of the uncertainties of the global oil market and rely instead on electricity for transportation, which is diverse and domestic in source and stable in price.

Chamber’s Energy Institute to Start Energy Accountability Series – In a new effort to educate voters about energy policy, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will be launching the “Energy Accountability Series.” This series of reports will explain what would actually happen if the policies proposed by candidates and groups were to be adopted.  With energy issues a major part of the U.S. Chamber’s voter education efforts this fall, the new series will hold candidates and groups accountable for the statements they make on energy policy. The Chamber has already launched advertisements on energy policy in the key Pennsylvania Senate race.  The Obama presidency has demonstrated clearly that a candidate’s views and things they say and do to win support of interest groups has a real impact on how policy is shaped and implemented. The Energy Accountability Series will ask the tough questions and provide quantitative answers on the full impacts and implications of these policies, irrespective of which candidates, groups, or political parties happen to support or oppose them.  For more information and to sign up for updates, visit  www.energyxxi.org/energy-accountability.

New Pipelines Will Force U.S. to Miss Paris Targets – Environmental groups said in a report last week that the U.S. will miss its emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement if 19 pending natural gas pipelines are built across eastern states.  The report pipelines are expected to move natural gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to states from Louisiana to New York would unlock at least 15.2 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas production.   Now that sounds Like a great Idea… Why wouldn’t we want to do that since increasing our natgas usage has reduce emissions by 50% already.   Unless of course, you just want to block use of natural gas.

Experts Discuss Fuel Economy Issues with Platts PodcastOn this week’s Platts Capitol Crude podcast Sam Ori, executive director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, Joshua Linn, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, and Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners discuss the US concerns about falling short of the 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency target and how low gasoline prices impacting efforts to boost fuel economy.  Finally, Scheid taps that all important questions with his dad: Does driving with your windows down increase or decrease your car’s fuel efficiency?

FirstEnergy Closing Smaller Coal Units – FirstEnergy on Friday said it will retire or sell five units at two of its coal-fired power plants by 2020, citing “challenging market conditions.”  The company that powers much of Cleveland and sponsors Browns Stadium will retire four units totaling 720 megawatts at its W.H. Sammis plant in Stratton, Ohio, by May 2020, and either sell or deactivate its 136-megawatt Bay Shore unit in Oregon, Ohio, by October 2020.  Collectively, the 856 megawatts constitute 5.6 percent of Ohio’s coal-fired electric capacity, which totals 15,394.5 megawatts, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Three remaining units at the W.H. Sammis plant will continue to provide 1,490 megawatts in base load power.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Democratic Convention –Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on today through Thursday. The action launches at 4 p.m. with First Lady Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders are set to address the crowd. Later in the week, headliners include President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former POTUS Bill Clinton.  Other favorites include CO Gov. John Hickenlooper (who is doing a couple of energy panels), NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Cali Gov. Jerry Brown, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

AAAS Forum to Look at Human Rights, Climate –All day today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a day-long forum on the human rights implications of climate change and the contributions scientists, engineers, and health professionals can make towards addressing these concerns.  The sessions will highlight examples of scientific research that is contributing to human rights-based policies for climate change prevention, mitigation, adaptation, and community relocation. In addition, panelists will share models for collaborative climate research in partnership with vulnerable communities. Coalition meetings convene scientists, engineers, and health professionals with human rights leaders and policy makers to discuss emerging issues at the nexus of science and human rights. The Coalition serves as a catalyst for the increased involvement of scientific, engineering, and health associations and their members in human rights-related activities.   The main speaker will be Robert Bullard, Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

Heritage, CEI Look at Biofuel Programs – The Heritage Foundation hosts a panel discussion this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs. U.S. biofuels policy is a case study in the unintended consequences of government intervention. In contrast to what politicians and special interest groups promised, biofuel policies have increased costs to taxpayers and drivers, had little-to-no impact on oil prices, hurt rural economies, and had unforeseen environmental costs. This panel will provide background on the RFS and other biofuels programs, analyzing the many harmful effects of these federal policies. Does the RFS reduce dependence on foreign oil? What impact does it have on food prices? What environmental harms are caused as a result of the RFS? Does the RFS actually hurt agricultural producers? The presenters will answer these questions and identify several critical solutions.  Speakers will include Heritage’s Nick Loris, CEI’s Marlo Lewis and Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research.

Forum to Look at Emissions at Chinese Ports – The Wilson Center’s China Energy Foundation (CEF) will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. with Green Port experts as they assess how China’s new policies and on-the-ground efforts—such as port/vessel emissions inventories and emission control zones—are reducing pollution and climate emissions at major Chinese ports. Dr. Peng Chuansheng (China Waterborne Transport Research Institute) will lead the discussion in exploring how and why China is taking action on green ports. Ms. Freda Fung (Natural Resources Defense Council) will highlight Hong Kong’s successes in controlling port pollution and discuss needed incentives for green port/vessel technology development and emission compliance in China. Dr. Dan Rutherford (ICCT) will draw on a port study in Shenzhen produced for the China Environment Forum to discuss how shore power and fuel-switching offer critical solutions in reducing port emissions in China.   This meeting – part of CEF’s Choke Point: Port Cities initiative – is co-sponsored with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

NatGas Roundtable Hosts BGE Exec – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Calvin Butler Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), as its speaker at the next NatGas Roundtable luncheon at the University Club on Tuesday July 26th. Butler became chief executive officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company on March 1, 2014 after serving as BGE’s senior vice president, regulatory and external affairs.

Forum to Look at Energy Potential – Future Tense and the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a conversation tomorrow at Noon at New America on what it will take for North America to fulfill its energy potential. People tend to obsess over the monthly gyrations of oil prices and the latest regulatory battle over shale or pipeline-building, but we want to look forward to 2050. What concerted steps should Canada, Mexico, and the United States be taking to ensure that North America will become the world’s leading energy power for generations? And how can this region lead the world not only in output and economic growth, but also in setting new standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability?  Speakers include Sharon Burke of New America, Arizona State’s Hector Moreira (Director of Energy Model for Mexico Initiative) and Laura Dawson of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute.

USEA to Host Global Nuke Discussion – The US Energy Assn will host a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at the global nuclear landscape to 2040 and the US role will be.  Affordable baseload electricity is crucial for countries to sustain the high level of economic growth they have experienced during the last decade. Government support, via regulations and financing, has been pivotal to the accelerated growth of nuclear energy. In China and India, as well as most of Asia and Europe, government enterprises are responsible for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The US cannot idly let its leadership position wither away in the global nuclear energy landscape. In the nuclear arena, leadership cannot be simply “restored” based on the old “push” model of Supply-side dominance from the 20th Century. Urban demand-side factors outside Europe and North America now are pulling nuclear power construction forward in the 21st Century to satisfy burgeoning electric demand, primarily in Asian cities, and for growing populations and water needs in the Middle East and Africa. USA and allies must redefine leadership in nuclear energy via international partnerships and alliances that are unfolding now. Speaker Andrew Paterson of the Environmental Business International will address the topic.

DEM Convention Forum Set – The New Policy Institute and NDN will host a major event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, tomorrow looking ahead at the future of America and American Politics.  This event will feature a dozen inspiring thought leaders who will offer their different perspectives on what is coming down the road for the US and our politics.  The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 204C, 200 Level Concourse, and run from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm If you would like to attend, please RSVP on our Eventbrite page today.  The event is free and open to the public.

Podesta to Headline Enviro Event at DNC – John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, will appear with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups at a Tuesday reception at 2:30 p.m. at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.  The reception, “winning on Climate Together” will also include Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, LCV President Gene Karpinski, and NRDC President Rhea Suh.

ELI Forum Look at Distributed Solar Battles – On Wednesday, July 27th, ELI will host a forum on the recent changes in net metering policies and the future of distributed solar at the D.C. Bar Conference Center.  Thousands of Nevada consumers purchased solar arrays expecting to sell their electricity back to the grid at the same rates they pay for power – called “net-metering.” Solar companies expected to continue booming sales – and leasing – based on this high rate of return. That all changed last December when the Nevada Public Utility Commission significantly reduced net-metering rates. Existing customers were furious and sales of new systems basically ground to a halt. A few months later, after a similar fight, the California Public Utilities Commission reached a different result, maintaining full net-metering rates until 2019. And just this April, a coalition including Con Edison, Solar City, and Sunpower, Inc., submitted a net-metering proposal to the New York Public Service Commission billed as a breakthrough in utility-solar collaboration. The coalition claims their proposal will continue to incentivize residential solar while also providing utilities with protections necessary to insure that distributed solar will not cause the ever-dreaded Death Spiral for the utility industry.  These recent developments are only a sample of the debates raging before Public Utility Commissions across the country, where numerous proposals to change net-metering policies are pending, with important implications for the future of residential solar. Please join us for a panel discussion of these ongoing developments.

Fanning, Moniz, Daschle Headline DNC BPC Energy Event – The Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host a forum at the Democratic National Convention in Phily. The discussion will feature some of our nation’s most influential leaders on energy innovation as we discuss the respective roles of the public and private sectors in realizing the full potential of this opportunity as well as growing congressional support for energy innovation.  The event will feature Southern’s Tom Fanning, former Senate leader Tom Daschle, and Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Annual Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference is set for August 4th and 5th at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX.  This year’s theme is Yogi Berra quotes and the conference is fittingly entitled “It’s like déjà vu all over again”; each topic has an appropriate quote assigned to it.   The event is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday, August 4th during the superconference with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.

Power-Gen Forum Set for Columbus – Regardless of the Democratic Platform challenge of natgas, Pennwell will host Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President, American Electric Power to discuss the growing role in natural gas in power generation at the upcoming GenForum scheduled August 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The half-day event is connected with PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

Forum to Look at Environment Policies, Investments in Electricity – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Great Plains Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting a workshop in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday September 13th.  The event will feature experts, state officials and stakeholders from across the Eastern Interconnect for a one-day workshop exploring recent modeling analyses that provide new insights into trends in the electricity sector. The event will explore what these trends mean for state energy and environmental policy choices. Experts will present their findings and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reflect on those findings.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be September 21-25 in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  More on this as we get closer.

Energy Update: Week of June 13

Friends,

We start this week by thinking of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.

Well, the long hockey season has come to an end with Pittsburgh’s victory in San Jose last night.  It is the Pens 4th Stanley Cup and Steel City can now celebrate.  Next up, Golden State looks to finish LeBron James and Cleveland tonight to complete back to back NBA titles.  And the Penguins weren’t the only winners last night as Hamilton collected 11 wins at the Tony awards.

The Belmont also provided some excitement on Saturday, but not the kind of excitement I was hoping for as favorite Exaggerator fell way back and blew up my superfecta.  I did manage to win a flyer on Creator, paying out at 34.80, so I was about even.  The mile-and-a-half at Belmont is always the toughest test and it showed its teeth on Saturday.

The Big News TODAY:  Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson has been named NRECA’s new CEO.  Matheson, a Democrat who served in the House from 2001 to 2015, was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.

Three weeks to go in the official Congressional calendar and lots to do.  The Interior funding bill takes up most of the time this week, while Senate Energy will look at pipeline issues with our Friend Andy Black and others. Also tomorrow, Senate Finance will discuss Tax extenders with the Chamber Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert testifying.

This week, EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday to finalize its report on EPA’s SDWA natgas water report.  Opponents had complained that EPA’s initial finding was too vague when they said there has been “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracturing.  WCEE hold events on energy security innovations (tomorrow) and international development leadership (Wed) and Carnegie host forums on driverless cars (tomorrow) and Oil prices and climate (Th).

Two other reports this week should shed some light on where energy markets are going amid low oil prices and aggressive climate policies. BP’s group chief economist Spencer Dale discusses this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy tomorrow morning and in the afternoon, Statoil’s chief economist Eirik Waerness will discuss energy perspectives for 2016 at CSIS.

Finally, as some of you may know, my colleague Scott Segal is finally getting hitched this weekend.  It is a great and important day.  In true fashion, I thought you might like reading this fun piece from today’s Washington Post’s Reliable Source that details the big event.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“”There’s bipartisanship on this issue, and the bipartisanship is in opposition to a carbon tax”

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, following Friday’s 237-163 House vote opposing a carbon tax.

“Jim Matheson will bring to the position a broad knowledge of the issues facing rural America and will be an inspirational leader for America’s Electric Cooperatives.”

NRECA member President Mel Coleman announcing former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will head the rural Co-Op trade group.

 

IN THE NEWS

Matheson to Head Rural Co-op Trade Group – The National Rural Electric Co-Op Assn (NRECA) said today that former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will be its next CEO.   Matheson is replacing former Missouri Rep. JoAnn Emerson who led NRECA for three years.   He will join the association and assume his duties as CEO in July.  Matheson, currently at Squire Patton Boggs, served in the House from 2001 to 2015 where he was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.  In addition to his extensive background in Congress and public policy, Matheson worked in the energy industry for several years.  He was a project development manager in the independent power industry. He worked at two consulting companies, including his own firm, providing services to large energy consumers.

AHRI Leads Reform Effort at House Panel – A Friday hearing in the House Energy subpanel questioned the continued effectiveness of DOE energy efficiency programs.  While DOE’s efficiency program is one of the most successful energy savers in history, industry representatives who have lead the success are calling for major reforms to the 40-year-old law governing efficiency rules that they say are leading to standards that are not “economically justified.”  Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute President Stephen Yurek said Congress should require DOE to convene stakeholders to “discuss and recommend a new regulatory framework.”

Consumers Paying Price –  Yurek also said that “consumers are paying a heavy price, both in real monetary costs and in comfort and safety” because of the continuous cycle of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. “When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford,” he said, “they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all.” Yurek told subcommittee members that while the Clinton Administration issued six major efficiency rules over eight years, the current administration issued eight such rules in 2014 alone.   Citing several examples of rulemakings in which job losses were forecast, Yurek charged that “American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part because of ever more stringent efficiency regulations.”

Ohio Statesman Voinovich Passes – The nation lost a great leader when George V. Voinovich, a former two-term United States senator, two-term governor of Ohio and Cleveland mayor, died on Sunday in Cleveland at 79.  Voinovich was known for his ability to bring people together and preached frugality in his personal and public life, as well as occasionally bucked the Republican establishment.

House Opposes Carbon, Oil Tax – The House passed resolutions Friday opposing a carbon Tax and a tax on oil proposed by President Obama.  One of the resolutions would express a sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the American economy, and the other opposes President Obama’s budget proposal for a $10.25-per-barrel oil fee. Six Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in opposing a carbon tax, including Reps. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico voted “present.”

SCOTUS Leaves Mercury Rule – The Supreme Court will not restart EPA’s overhaul of the mercury pollution rule for power plants.  The SCOTUS remanded the rule saying it should have considered costs when it first decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate.  The court rejected a request from Michigan and other states to take up a new challenge without explanation.

BH: Higher Prices Bringing Rigs Back Online – New rig data from Baker Hughes shows that oil producers brought rigs online for a second straight week last week as prices hover around the $50-a-barrel mark.  Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. rose by 3 to 328, after 9 were added last week.  The move is a watch point for reaction to the rising oil price and when companies when companies would start bringing rigs back on line.

Connecting Grids Will Increase Emissions – A new study by the California Independent System Operator says carbon emissions would likely rise across the West if a proposal to merge California’s energy market with PacifiCorp goes forward.  But operators say coordinating energy grids is key to keeping costs down, enhancing reliability and helping states meet clean energy requirements. An initial feasibility study found merging western grids could save customers almost $9 billion over the next 20 years.  Politicians like Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead worry the plan could allow California to import its policies of getting at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation.  As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.

Senate Finance to Look at Extra Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on tax extenders and existing tax credits.  Witnesses will include our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, as well as AEI’s Benjamin Zycher, Bulk Handling Systems CEO Steve Miller and Susan Kennedy, CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

Panels to Mark Up Interior Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a business meeting tomorrow to 9:30 a.m. to markup an original bill entitled, “Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2017.  On Wednesday, the full House Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Bill.

Senate Energy to Look at Pipeline Challenges – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine oil and gas pipeline infrastructure and the economic, safety, environmental, permitting, construction, and maintenance considerations associated with that infrastructure.  Witnesses will Include Andy Black of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Sean McGarvey of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, CRS’s Energy and Infrastructure specialist Paul Parfomak and EDF’s Jonathan Peress.

EPA SAB to Meet on Findings For NatGas Drilling – The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday in Alexandria, VA to finalize for submission comments which found that EPA’s SDWA fracking report was too vague in its assertion of no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracking.  This has been a controversial process but we’ll see where they land.

Forum to Look at Hydropower in Myanmar – The Stimson Center will host a case study forum on hydropower in Myanmar tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with WWF and the University of Manchester, demonstrated a system-scale planning framework that was applied in Myanmar and could be replicated worldwide, called Hydropower by Design, which seeks to compare alternative development scenarios upfront and identify those scenarios that can most effectively balance energy development with the protection of other social and environmental resources for better hydropower planning. The Stimson Center invites you to join us for a discussion. TNC’s Jeff Opperman, Director and Lead Scientist of the Great Rivers Program will discuss the Hydropower by Design approach as it was applied in Myanmar as well as the results and lessons learned from that effort. In addition, Jorge Gastelumendi, Policy Innovation Lead at TNC, will discuss the opportunity for innovative financial mechanisms that have the potential to enable and encourage this better, system-scale planning approach for hydropower. The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program Director Richard Cronin will moderate and provide discussion on the opportunities and challenges in applying the Hydropower by Design approach to a transnational river like the Mekong.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation tomorrow at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.  Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.

WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water.  Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.  BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.

Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.

Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion.  In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms.  Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.

BP Stat Review Set – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 with Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist for BP.  Global energy markets have entered a period of accelerating volatility. The US shale revolution has upended global oil and gas markets. Alternative energy sources are bourgeoning, and climate policies are reshaping energy systems. Dale will present key trends and findings from the 2016 Statistical Review. Following his presentation, Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center, will lead a moderated discussion.

House Science Looks at Solar Fuels, Storage – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing on Wednesday looking at innovation in solar fuels, electricity storage and advanced materials.  Witnesses will include Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, Daniel Scherson of Case Western Reserve University, Collin Broholm of Johns Hopkins University and Daniel Hallinan of Florida A&M University.

Carnegie to Release Report on Oil, Climate Issues – On Wednesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will release its new report, Smart-Tax: Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate. For the first time, it is possible to estimate the value and profile of GHG emissions from oils throughout their supply chain using an Oil-Climate Index. This allows for the replacement of blunt tax designs with a smart tax that captures oil’s total emissions with minimal economic cost and maximum efficiency.  The release of the report will be followed by a panel discussion about a smart-tax design, why U.S.—and North American—involvement will be critical, and why national policymaking must catch up to the new realities of today’s oil landscape.  Speakers will include Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, former Idaho Rep. Walter Minnick of the Partnership for Responsible Growth and Deborah Gordon, director of Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program.

WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world.  Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.

McKinley, Welch Headline Briefing For High Performance Buildings – On Wednesday at noon, as part of High Performance Building Week, there will be a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill featuring Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch.  Around the country States and cities are calling for high performance green residential and commercial buildings. But what exactly are high performance buildings, why is there a demand, what tools are available to meet this demand, what challenges exist, and how can Congress help? Join us for a fast-paced series of presentations from experts on cutting-edge trends in the building industry.  Other presentations include NASEO’s Todd Sims, Kara Saul Rinaldi of the Home Performance Coalition and Efficiency First, NAHB’s John Barrows and Lawrence Schoen, Vice Chair of ASHRAEO’s Standing Standard Project Committee.

Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400.  Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.

Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market.  He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.

USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2.  The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C.  Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology.  Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th.  The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts.  Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.

RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers.  In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program.  Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

July 4th Holiday

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st.  The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.

Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.

Energy Update: Week of June 6

Friends,

We start today by thanking and honoring Muhammad Ali, who was the original transcender of policy, politics, sports, character and humor.  He was a giant and is well-deserving of any and all praise (especially this type of Barbershop praise) he receives for changing the way we look at athletes.

We had a very exciting weekend at the Maisano House as Hannah finally crossed the stage to graduate from Severn School with Honors.  It is a very exciting first step as she prepares for Wellesley.  In the meantime, she was appointed to umpire USA Field Hockey’s two national championships – The National Futures (best individual players) and the National Club Championships (Best Teams).  And the Cherry on the dessert:  She will be umpiring USA Field Hockey/AAU Junior Olympics in Houston in August (Houston in August doesn’t sound very fun), but she is one of only 8 umpires across the nation to be selected for the event.  It is a great honor and we are very proud of her accomplishments both in school, sports and officiating.

Of course, Saturday brings us the final Triple Crown Jewell, the 148th Belmont Stakes.  Right now (and with Nyquist out), I like the looks of a well-rested Suddenbreakingnews (with HoF Jockey Mike Smith) to chase 6-5 favorite, Exaggerator.  Another horse that is rested and should be good if the pace is slow is Governor Malibu, who recently “placed” at the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont.  He is strong and runs close to pace.  He also fits the Belmont’s penchant for running an upset winner that hasn’t won any graded stakes.  Late closers Cherry Wine and Creator, as well as the speedy Stradivari will all challenge at the longer mile-and-a-half distance.  While all the closers benefited from the fast early pace in Baltimore, I suspect we won’t see that fast first quarter in New York.  Destin and Brody’s Cause both ran the Derby but passed on the Preakness and could be fresher than those that ran in Baltimore. Depending on weather, I’d box Exaggerator, Suddenbreakingnews and Governor Malibu for at least one trifecta.  I also might try one with Cherry Wine.  As for Superfecta, I might consider playing two, mixing the previous five or maybe swapping Stradivari in.  Straight up: A “win” flyer bet on Governor Malibu is probably worth it at 25-1, although I don’t suspect the line will stay there.   Of course, some of this may change as the positions are drawn (Wednesday), the weather forecast changes and the field firms up.  Post time is around 6:50 p.m. Saturday.

It will be a busy week in DC as Congress returns to run its final multi-week session before really breaking for the fall elections.  The main event is a Senate Environment hearing on Thursday on the SCOTUS stay of EPA’s GHG rule featuring Hunton expert Allison Wood and Tri-State Generation CEO Mike McInnes, among others.   Also Thursday, a House Foreign Affairs panel will hear from EIA Head Adam Sieminski and others on energy security in the Americas.  Tomorrow, a Senate Environment panel looks at EPA’s unfunded mandates.  Finally, Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., House Energy will host AHRI President Steve Yurek and others for a hearing on appliance energy standards.

The biggest event off the Hill this week is the US Energy Stream’s Washington Oil & Gas Conference on Thursday at the Cosmos Club featuring Republican House Whip Steve Scalise, former House Energy Chair Joe Barton and Resources Chair Rob Bishop. The Forum focuses on the international aspects of the American oil and gas industry and will address the international impact of the shale gas revolution.  Other events in town include Heritage hosting TX AG Ken Paxton on Friday while Bracewell hosts a WCEE forum on Wednesday looking at the future of Utilities.  There are also Clean Energy, Paris and oil-price events sponsored by The Atlantic, Brookings, Carnegie, USEA and Johns Hopkins throughout the week.  Everything is listed below.

Out of town on Wednesday, Kansas will host an EPA public meeting on the RFS’s RVO rule and the Geothermal industry gathers.

Finally, the US Chamber’s Energy Institute is expected to launch its International Index of Energy Security Risk sometime this week so stayed tuned for that.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s an election year.  Between the Trump energy event last week and a Mark Drajem  Interview with Bloomberg Analyst Rob Barnett on Sander’s Presidential Fracking position, got us thinking to start paying closer attention to energy-related action on the campaign trail (which many times is a little light on substance, historical perspective and reality) so keep us as a background resource.  We’ll have people at both conventions – yes we are a bipartisan group.  Anyway, the countdown is on: 42 days to Cleveland, 49 days to Philly and 155 days to Election Day.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“If we are serious about combating climate change, we need to put an end to fracking all over this country.”

Presidential Candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders last week after a speech in California.

 

IN THE NEWS

AHRI, ASHRAE, DOE Partner to Fund Flammable Refrigerant Research – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), ASHRAE, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to fund vital research that will establish a more robust fact base about the properties and the use of flammable refrigerants. This $5.2 million research program is part of an ongoing global effort to phase down the use of high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and identify appropriate climate-friendly alternatives. Of the total, DOE is contributing $3 million, ASHRAE $1.2 million, and AHRI $1 million.  In anticipation of a global plan to phase down high-GWP refrigerants, the industry has spent the past five years researching potential alternatives. Through that effort, several promising refrigerants were identified, many of which are low toxicity, but are classified as mildly flammable or flammable. This new research program will provide the technical knowledge needed to facilitate and accelerate the safe use of these refrigerants.

Industry Group May Challenge Methane Rule – The Western Energy Alliance is “exploring litigation” over the new EPA rules aimed that reducing methane for new oil and gas.  WEA official Kathleen Sgemma, said the alliance has been involved in litigation on a number of regulations that western oil and gas producers say would hobble the industry. Sgemma said the alliance was successful in suing against the first round of fracking regulations that the Bureau of Land Management tried to impose, winning a federal court injunction to stay the rules until a decision on the merits is made.

Interior to Open Up Waters Off NY for Offshore Wind – The federal government is expanding its offshore wind energy program to New York, the Department of Interior announced Thursday.  Interior said more than 81,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean off the New York coast will be available for wind energy leases.  The section of ocean is in the New York Wind Energy Area, a portion of the outer continental shelf 11 miles south of Long Island. The department will publish a sales notice in the Federal Register on Monday, opening a 60-day public comment period.  As with other WEAs, the question is not whether Interior can open it up, but if somebody will build any projects.  So far, not much luck.

Paris Is Now Banning All Pre-1997 Cars – While France gets most of its electricity from nuclear power, it still has some of the most polluted air in Paris because of traffic issues.    Paris has tried just about everything to combat its terrible smog problem. The city has launched attempts to take half the cars off its road, introduce regular car-free days, and close famous streets to vehicular traffic—but nothing has worked. Now a much bigger idea is going into effect: Kicking the oldest cars out of the city. Starting July 1, all cars registered before 1997 and motorcycles registered before 2000 will be banned from the city center during weekdays.

Platts Crude Discusses OPEC – This week’s Capitol Crude podcast is live from Vienna where Brian and Herman go inside last week’s OPEC meeting, the first for the new Saudi energy minister. What did the meeting mean for OPEC, as well as US producers and policy? The podcast also addresses the view from OPEC on the ongoing US presidential race and its impact on the world oil market. With appearances from Khalid al-Falih, Amos Hochstein and Joe McMonigle.

Exelon to Close IL Nuke Plants – Exelon says it will close two of its nuclear plants in the state starting next year because if the sustained low wholesale power prices, capacity auction results, regulatory uncertainty and questions regarding the future of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for its decision to close the two plants.  They also tried to convince the Illinois General Assembly to pass zero-carbon energy standard legislation that could have helped keep them competitive.  Exelon will close the Clinton nuclear plant on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities plant in 2018. The closures will come several years before the plants’ NRC licenses run out.

TVA Nuke Plant Finally Producing Energy – Speaking of Nukes, the long-awaited second reactor at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar nuclear plant has been synced to the grid and will next undergo systems and controls testing.  The next step is full-plant testing of systems and controls at increasing reactor power levels up to 100 percent power by this summer.  Combined with Watts Bar Unit 1, the plant will supply power to roughly 1.3 million homes in the TVA service area.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Fuel Cell Techs Under Review by DOE – This week, DOE will host a series on reviews on fuel cell vehicle technologies.  Each year, projects funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office are reviewed for their merit at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting (AMR). DOE uses the results of this merit review and peer evaluation, along with additional review processes, to make funding decisions for upcoming years.

Heritage to Look at Obama War On Fossil Fuels – Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on the Obama Administration’s efforts against fossil fuels. In only a few short years, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas; it has long been the Saudi Arabia of coal. America has more fossil fuels resources than any nation and can produce and utilize those resources with more environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency. Yet, highly politicized climate policies are pushing a grand-scale shift to unreliable, expensive renewable energy sources inherently incapable of replacing the vast energy services fossil fuels provide. Today, ‘fossil fuel’ has become such a dirty word that even fossil fuel companies feel compelled to apologize for their products. In Fueling Freedom, Kathleen Hartnett White and Stephen Moore make an unapologetic case for fossil fuels, turning around progressives’ protestations to prove that if fossil fuel energy is supplanted by ‘green’ alternatives for political reasons, humanity will take a giant step backwards and the planet will be less safe, less clean, and less free.

Energy, Education Forum Set – The National Council on Science and the Environment’s (NCSE) Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) will host the 2nd annual National Energy Education Summit tomorrow at the American University. Energy literate leaders in politics, labor, business, and religion must help citizens and the workforce cope with the challenges and embrace the opportunities of change. Despite the needs for energy literacy, very few college and university students in the United States or elsewhere systematically learn about energy as part of their education. New forms of energy education must become a fundamental part of undergraduate education, in the United States and everywhere else in the world.

Forum to Look at Climate, Air Quality Connections – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts a half-day event tomorrow on the connection between air quality and climate change and how it might be expected to shape the global energy innovation agenda in the years to come. Speakers will include Deborah Gordon, Judi Greenwald, Daniel Horton, David Livingston, Varun Rai, Seth Shonkoff.

Senate Enviro to Tackle Unfunded Mandates — The Senate Environment Committee’s Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow providing oversight of EPA Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Governments.  Witnesses include Tennessee state Senate majority Mark Norris representing the Council of State Governments, Berks County, PA Commission Chair Christian Leinbach on behalf of the National Association of Counties; Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma chair John Berrey, DC Water/Sewer Authority CEO George Hawkins and George Washington University environmental law professor Robert Glicksman.

Brookings Forum to Look at Paris Climate Deal – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., Brookings will host a panel to assess the challenges as well as the opportunities in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  The Paris agreement, recently signed onto by 196 countries, is a milestone in recognizing the threat posed by climate change and securing collective commitment to hold global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius.” The task now is to translate this ambitious commitment into a concrete implementation agenda.  This high level panel, which will include eminent climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and University of Maryland Dean Public Policy and longtime climate advisor Robert Orr, as well as Vice President Kemal Dervis and Senior Fellow Amar Bhattacharya of Global Economy and Development program at Brookings.

Geothermal Conference Set – The Baseload Renewable Energy Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV will examine key issues facing the geothermal, biomass and hydropower industries at the federal, state and local levels.  The event is Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) 5th annual National Geothermal Summit, but with a twist. This year, the leading forum for western state policy discussions will team up with the National Hydropower Association (NHA) and the Biomass Power Association (BPA) to create a new spin on the annual event. Wednesday will feature a full day program opening remarks by Rahm Orenstein, Vice President of Business Development, Ormat Technologies Inc. Following through the day panels of experts from power producers, utilities, government officials and others will examine key questions facing the future of the geothermal, biomass and hydropower industries.

EPA RFS Hearing In Kansas City – EPA announced it will hold a public hearing Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, on its proposed rule for the 2017 renewable fuels standard (RFS).  The EPA released its proposed rule to set 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS, along with the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel, on May 18. The agency has proposed to set the 2017 RVO for cellulosic biofuel at 312 million gallons, with the advanced biofuel RVO at 4 billion gallons and the RVO for total renewable fuel at 18.8 billion gallons. The 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel has been proposed at 2.1 billion gallons…

WCEE Forum on Future Utility of Future – On Wednesday at 12:00 noon in the swanky new office at Bracewell, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum on the utility of the future.  Based on data published by EIA, US demand for electricity hit a plateau in 2006 for a variety reasons – the transition of our economy from manufacturing towards services, improvements in energy efficiency, and changing building codes.  There are also growing regional trends to shift towards clean energy, in some cases driven by legislative mandates or the Clean Power Plan, and an increase in the popularity of customer generated electricity.  But, at its simplest, the utility business model, forged at the turn of the 20th century, is based on a perpetual increasing demand for electricity.  The event features DC Public Service Commissioner Joanne Doddy Fort, former Maryland PSC Chair and current Alliance to Save Energy official Kelly Speakes-Backman, Katharine Bond of Dominion Virginia Power and Cheryl Roberto of  Twenty First Century Utilities.

JHU to Look at Living with Lower Oil Prices – Johns Hopkins SAIS, the International Monetary Fund, and the Middle East Institute will host a high level discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. looking at living with cheaper oil and the policy adjustments necessary in Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil exporting countries.  The event features a presentation by Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and Martin Sommer, IMF’s Deputy Chief, Middle East and Central Asia Regional Studies Division.

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) will hold a briefing to discuss energy storage.  JCESR is a public/private partnership that brings together world-leading scientists, engineers, and manufacturers with an important mission: develop clean energy storage technologies for transportation and the electricity grid. The Center was established by the Department of Energy as an Energy Innovation Hub in 2012 and is led by Argonne National Laboratory. Their partners include five national laboratories, ten universities, and five industrial firms.  JCESR was launched with a bold vision: to create game-changing, next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid the way lithium-ion batteries transformed personal electronics.

Atlantic Forum to Look at Clean EnergyThe Atlantic will host a forum on Thursday morning called Access to Power: A Forum on Energy Equity at the Newseum. The Atlantic‘s Ron Brownstein and Rebecca Rosen will be joined on stage by Michelle Moore (Groundswell), Richard Kauffman (New York Governor’s Office), Jim Kapsis (Opower) and others to discuss making the future of clean energy accessible to all.

Senate Enviro to Look at GHG Rule – Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing Thursday on the implications of the Supreme Court Stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  Testifying will be Tri-State Generation CEO Mike McInnis, Hunton’s Allison Wood Missouri State House Rep. Jack Bondon, NYU’s Richard Revesz and Connecticut DEEP deputy commissioner Katie Dykes.

EIA, DOE, State to Talk Energy – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will convene a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the impact of low oil prices on energy security in the Americas.  Witnesses include EIA’s Adam Sieminski, DOE’s Melanie Kenderdine and State’s Amos Hochstein.

USEA Forum to Look at Paris, Future of Energy – On Thursday, USEA will host a forum looking at all sectors of the energy industry and the pressure from a combination of ultra-low prices, dislike of big business, accusations of crony capitalism and, last but not least, what for many are existential threats from environmental concerns.  The speakers, respectively the former Chief Climate Counsel for Sierra Club and Head of Climate Policy at ExxonMobil, talk frankly about what the future holds: what the Paris agreement means (and does not mean) for the energy industry; why the 2016 election may make less difference than many think – or hope – and what the reality of a carbon-constrained policy world means for the fossil and renewable energy industries. Former Sierra Club Counsel David Bookbinder has litigated cases under all of the major environmental statutes as Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel. He then represented environmental groups in both stationary- and mobile-source carbon matters, including California’s greenhouse gas vehicle standards. Bookbinder has helped lead efforts on both global warming legislation and Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulation, and has testified in front of House and Senate committees on these issues.  David Bailey has 35 years-experience in managing energy related issues around the world and has worked at literally every level of the coal and oil and gas industries, from the UK National Coal Board during the economic and labor upheavals under the Thatcher government to responsibility for ExxonMobil’s climate policy.

Scalise, Barton, Others Headline Oil, Gas Forum – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on Wednesday and Thursday at the Cosmos Club in DC.  Speakers will include Reps. Steve Scalise, Rob Bishop, Joe Barton, as well as State’s Amos Hochstein and DOE’s Paula Gant.  The Washington Oil & Gas Forum focuses on the international aspects of the American oil and gas industry and is the only commercial forum in Washington that addresses the international impact of the shale gas revolution.  This year’s primary focus is the impact of the U.S. LNG exports on global energy markets.  More specifically, the topics include U.S. LNG and crude oil exports; oil prices; the impact of shale gas on the global energy markets; U.S. energy independence; upstream developments in the major U.S. shale plays; U.S. oil and gas investments in the international energy markets.

House Energy Panel to Look at Energy Efficiency Standards – On Friday morning, the House Energy Panel will hold a hearing on stakeholder perspectives on Appliance EE standards.  Among those testifying will be Steve Yurek, President of AHRI.

TX AG Headlines Heritage Forum on Climate Speech Challenges– The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Friday at Noon featuring TX AG Ken Paxton discuss the recent efforts to attack scientific dissent.  A group of state attorneys general are targeting companies and others whom they claim “mislead the public about the dangers of climate change.” With the help of some private plaintiffs’ law firms, state AGs are opening up potential civil/criminal investigations. Other state AGs are objecting to these prosecutions as both ill-advised and violations of the First Amendment. The forum will look at whether this is a misuse of the law and are First Amendment rights being violated.

REFF Wall Street Meeting Set for NYC – REFF-Wall Street 2016 will be held on Saturday and Sunday at The Grand Hyatt, New York.  REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 decision makers, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists, and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance. Delek CEO Yaniv Friedman, Grover Norquist, AGA’s David Sweet and Columbia’s Jason Bordoff will also speak among the many others.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation.  As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation next Tuesday at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.  Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.

WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Next Tuesday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar on Tuesday, June 14th at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water.  Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.  BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.

Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum on Tuesday, June 14th at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.

Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday June 15th at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion.  In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms.  Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.

WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday June 15th at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world.  Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.

Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday, June 16th from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400.  Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.

Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday June 17th, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market.  He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.

USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday, June 17th at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2.  The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C.  Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology.  Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.

Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th.  The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities.

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts.  Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.

RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers.  In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program.  Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

July 4th Holiday

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st.  The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.

Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.

Energy Update: Week of May 9

Friends,

Now that was a great Kentucky Derby.  If you checked your update date last week, you’d notice that if you bet the four horses I mentioned (Nyquist, Exaggerator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen) in a superfecta box, you would have won some big money (it paid out at $542 on a $1 bet). THIS IS WHY YOU READ THE UPDATE EVERY WEEK!!!!.  My money did come in on Nyquist, who I felt really ran a tactically perfect race, and Exaggerator in an Exacta winner.  I might have tossed a few dollars at the Superfecta Box as well.  I almost can’t wait to see who heads to Baltimore for the Preakness on Saturday May 21 just two weeks away.  The hype is already started and since the Stanley Cup was in the Nyquist barn on Saturday, I’m treating the superstition issues just like the hockey playoffs, so I won’t be saying anything that could be a jinx for now.

This week EPA is expected to issue its regulations mandating cuts in methane emissions from oil and gas production, rules the industry says are unnecessary because it is already voluntarily managing them effectively.  For example, Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations.  The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period.  My colleague Sandra Snyder (202-828-5810) is the best methane expert in industry.  She is ready to handle your calls on the subject.

While Congress returns this week, the action is slower than normal with Energy and Water returning to the Senate Floor and House Science hosting the DOE Fossil Office.  Other good events in town include CSIS hosting EIA head Adam Sieminski Wednesday morning to present EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 and Thursday, SoCo CEO Tom Fanning headlines a CSM discussion on cybersecurity threats to the grid.  Out of town, after last week’s QER meeting in Iowa that featured Secretary Moniz, the public meeting roadshow and Moniz move to Austin, TX today.  There is also a QER hearing in LA tomorrow.

Remember to put on your schedule next week: John Krafcik, CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars, will join Securing America’s Future Energy, Fed Ex CEO Fred Smith and others next Thursday morning, May 19th at The Newseum for the release of its National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution.

And since your marking your calendars, take this one down too.  On the afternoon of Monday May 23rd in advance of the highly-anticipated Clean Power Plan oral arguments at the DC Circuit, West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey, who has coordinated a coalition of 30 states opposing the rule will speak at a National Press Club Newsmaker on the case with former EPA Air office Head Jeff Holmstead and Pedernales Electric Co-op CEO John Hewa, who was in DC last week discussing Pedernales’ brief in the case and their innovative approach on renewables.  One of his stops was on E&E TV and it is featured in today’s edition.

Finally, I am adding a new feature this week that I have successfully used in other outreach over the years: an interesting, timely, perhaps provocative public quote relevant to energy issues, policy or politics.  First edition below, enjoy and send if you have any good ones.

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

“At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious, and they warrant thoughtful action,” Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said at the U.S. Energy Association annual Policy Forum at the National Press Club last Thursday in Washington.

 

“It’s going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels. So I think to keep it in the ground is naive; to think we can shift to 100% renewables is naive. We’re really going to have a transition over time,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell told our friend Sammy Roth at the Desert Sun on Friday.

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Hydraulically fractured wells provide two-thirds of U.S. natural gas production – The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said last week over the past 10 years hydraulic fracturing has become the technique by which most natural gas is produced in the United States. Based on the most recent data from states, EIA estimates that natural gas production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about two-thirds of total U.S. marketed gas production. This share of production is even greater than the share of crude oil produced using that method, where hydraulic fracturing accounts for about half of current U.S. crude oil production. You can see the EIA graph and read more here.

 

POLL: Most People Don’t Know Obama GHG Rules – A new national poll from the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy found 7 in 10 voters have heard “just a little or nothing at all” about EPA’s regulation to rein in carbon emissions from power plants.  The results match another recent survey of Texas voters from the Texas Clean Energy Coalition that said 85% of respondents surveyed had not “seen, read or heard of a federal policy called the Clean Power Plan.”  After digging through the spin, the bottom line remains: there isn’t much universal, broad support for a plan that most know little or nothing about.

 

FERC Approves Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline – Despite last week’s denial of permits for the Constitution Pipeline in NY, FERC has given preliminary approval for construction of the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise pipeline after agreeing with environmental mitigation plans. The project is an expansion of the Transcontinental pipeline system and involves the construction of 197.7 miles of pipeline. FERC is taking comments on the environmental impact statement, and the project must still attain state environmental permits. Shockingly, environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the project. The Atlantic Sunrise is an expansion of the Transco system, which includes more than 10,000 miles of pipeline moving 10% of the nation’s natural gas across the country to utilities and power plants. Transco is operated by Williams, which submitted an application to FERC last year. The project includes construction of 197.7 miles of new pipeline, most of which would be in Pennsylvania, and designed to move Marcellus Shale gas from Northeast Pennsylvania as far south as Alabama. The new lines would cross through 10 Pennsylvania counties.

 

What’s Next for Atlantic? – The National Environmental Policy Act requires FERC to do the environmental impact statement. The 60-day public comment period closes on June 27, and FERC says it will issue the final EIS in October. In addition to federal regulatory approval, interstate pipelines also need state environmental permits. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has already challenged state water quality permits, calling the PDEP water quality certificates for the project a violation of the Clean Water Act.

 

Unions Says Give NJ Pipeline a Chance – In New Jersey, union leaders are urging support for another pipeline project running across New York and New Jersey.  Greg Lalevee of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825, argues in The Journal News that the Pilgrim pipeline should get a fair shake.

 

IRS Extends Renewables Construction Period – The IRS issued a notice detailing how wind projects qualify for the production tax credit (PTC) last week indicating projects now have four years or more to enter into service after their start-construction deadlines to qualify for the tax credit (up from two years or more).  This should benefit projects that are already getting ready to build and is consistent with standard IRS policy.  According to tax experts, the IRS had to update prior guidance in light of the PTC and ITC extensions late last year because some of the dates in prior guidance documents had come and gone making them no longer applicable.  AWEA says the change will provide “companies certainty about the rules, which are generally consistent with prior guidance, and can finalize business decisions and investments for this year and beyond.”  Of course, the regular opponents of the PTC were also commenting with IER President Tom Pyle calling the change “theft” from taxpayers.  Pyle: “The IRS is far more concerned about providing special interest handouts through the wind PTC than protecting the American families who actually pay taxes.” Pyle called on Congress “to clean up the taxpayer-funded mess this administration has made” but I think that may be a fight they would lose.  AWEA has chronicled the interest of Republicans in renewable energy.

 

West Virginia Coal Miners Not Wasting Time For Trump – While Many Republicans a concerned over apparent Presidential nominee Donald Trump, the West Virginia Coal Association is all in after presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s visit last week.  The group announced it’s all in for Trump, who promised to bring coal jobs back to Appalachia. “Trump has said he will reverse the Democratic regulatory assault that has cost the coal industry more than 40 percent of our production and jobs since 2008,” Bill Raney, the group’s president, said in a statement. (At his rally in West Virginia last night, Trump donned a hard hat and mimed shoveling coal.)

 

Exxon, FuelCell Venture to Capture CO2 – Exxon Mobil Corporation and FuelCell Energy said last week they are pursuing a novel technology in power plant carbon dioxide capture through a new application of carbonate fuel cells, which could substantially reduce costs and lead to a more economical pathway toward large-scale application globally.  Two years of comprehensive laboratory tests have demonstrated that the unique integration of two existing technologies – carbonate fuel cells and natural gas-fired power generation – captures carbon dioxide more efficiently than existing scrubber conventional capture technology. The potential breakthrough comes from an increase in electrical output using the fuel cells, which generate power, compared to a nearly equivalent decrease in electricity using conventional technology.  The resulting net benefit has the potential to substantially reduce costs associated with carbon capture for natural gas-fired power generation, compared to the expected costs associated with conventional separation technology. A key component of the research will be to validate initial projected savings of up to one-third.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

QER Meeting Set for Iowa, Texas – The Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder today in Austin, Texas and tomorrow in Los Angeles.  There will be a final meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

 

Forum to Discuss North American Manufacturing Issues –The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Canada Institute, and the International Monetary Fund are launching a new the book Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America today at 4:00 p.m.  Despite the recent fall in energy prices, fuller development of energy resources in North America has potentially important implications for global energy markets and the competitiveness of North American manufacturing industries. The book “Power Play: Energy and Manufacturing in North America” describes the transformation of the energy landscape in North America due to the upsurge in unconventional energy production since the mid-2000s and tells the story of the energy-manufacturing nexus from the perspective of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and the region as a whole.  Based on the research done at the International Monetary Fund, the book discusses the energy boom and its macroeconomic implications for the three countries individually and for the region overall, exploring also how the changing energy landscape can affect the potential benefits of greater integration across the three North American economies.

 

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

 

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

 

Climate Gala Set – The 2016 Earth Day Network Climate Leadership Gala will be held tomorrow evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event will feature women in climate leadership including CERES head Mindy Lubbers. On top of our two award winners, the night will include Melanne Verveer of Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, as well as Karuna Singh who leads Earth Day Network’s efforts all throughout India. We are also very excited to include Virginia Tech’s Dr. Amy Pruden who helped uncover the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

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

 

House Science Hosts DOE Fossil Office – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.  Chris Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, will testify.

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

 

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

 

 

Fanning to Headline CyberSecurity Discussion – The Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode will hold a forum on Thursday morning to at the Capitol Hyatt to explore protecting the power grid from today’s cyber threats. Speakers will include DOE Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, founder of Dragos Security Robert Lee and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) who will look closely at how hackers pulled off the Ukraine hack, whether we are prepared for similar attacks, and how industry and government are partnering to safeguard the US power supply.

 

Summit to Focus on Energy, Manufacturing – The Council on Competitiveness will hold its Northeast regional version of the American Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit on Thursday at City College of New York. Speakers include top executives, Dept. of Energy officials, and clean energy scientists. The Summits are packed days of moderated panels, keynote speakers and exhibits to address critical topics in energy and manufacturing, including the roles manufacturing and energy productivity in global, the effect of America’s domestic energy abundance on reshaping the global economy and strengthening US manufacturing and the importance of continued advanced research and technological innovation.

 

CAP to Host Ag Climate Forum – The Center for American Progress for a discussion on Thursday regarding agriculture, USDA actions and climate change. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and other distinguished guests will speak about the remarkable strides over the past seven years to address climate change, both domestically and internationally. Yet there is widespread agreement that more must be done to reduce pollution and increase resilience to an already changing climate.

 

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

 

Resources Panel to Look at State Views of BLM Policy – The House Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday will hear the views of state and county officials on how BLM’s proposal will affect their ability to influence agency decisions on land uses like grazing, energy development and recreation.  Testifying will be Pete Obermueller of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association; New Mexico secretary of environment and the natural resources Ryan Flynn, Humboldt County, NV commissioner Jim French and several others.

 

Senate Energy to Host IG Nominee – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Susan Beard to be Inspector General at the Department of Energy on Thursday. Beard has served as assistant general counsel for general law at DOE over the past 12 years and deputy assistant general counsel for standards of conduct, information law, legal counsel and general law.  Prior to DOE, she was an attorney at the Federal Election Commission.

 

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

 

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

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Look at Spent Nuclear Fuel Issues – The Precourt Institute for Energy, MacArthur Foundation, George Washington University, Center for International Security and Cooperation will hold a two-day conference next Tuesday and Wednesday on resetting U.S. nuclear waste management strategy and policy. The meeting will bring together U.S. and international speakers from industry, government, universities, national laboratories and broader community interests in a combination of presentation and panel discussion formats.  Speakers will discussion issues and address key questions including what barriers are preventing integration of the spent fuel management system, what a better-integrated spent fuel management system might look like for the US, the potential benefits, timing and cost of integrating spent fuel management and many more topics.  Speakers will be from National labs Like Sandia and Idaho, industry like NEI’s Rod McCallum and Exelon’s Adam Levine, officials from NRC and environmental groups experts like David Lochbaum of UCS.

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

 

SEIA Looks Solar in Africa with US AID Officials – On Wednesday, May 18th at Noon, the Solar Energy Industries Association will hold a forum featuring speakers from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to look at solar’s role in powering Africa. Power Africa brings together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power.   USAID’s goals include enabling electricity access by adding 60 million new electricity connections and 30,000 MW of new and cleaner power generation in sub-Saharan Africa.  USAID speakers Drew Bennett, Commerce Liaison & Portfolio Manager and Denise Mortimer of the Power Africa Policy Team will address these and other key issues.

 

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

 

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

 

Energy Economists Forum to Look at Oil Markets, OPEC – The NCAC Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host their May luncheon on Friday May 20th at Carmines Restaurant hosting Jamie Webster, Global Energy Expert, as he discusses the outlook for oil markets ahead of the next round of OPEC meetings in early June.  Jamie will address the following: “Although global oil prices have bounced off their January lows, this seems remarkably similar to 2015.  Is the balance really occurring and how has the perception and reality for US producers changed since last year?  Will the next OPEC meeting just be more Doha or is there any chance OPEC could re-exert itself?”  Webster has more than 15-years’ experience providing analysis and strategic advice on domestic and international energy markets, with a focus on oil, natural gas and electricity issues. Current work is centered on energy policy in the Americas, OPEC policy choices and Middle Eastern energy markets.

 

WV AG to Headline Press Club Newsmaker – With the looming Legal arguments In the Clean Power Plan case, the National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host an afternoon forum with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey to discuss his role in this hugely-important case.   More details on this next week.

 

WINDPOWER Set for New Orleans – AWEA Is hosting its annual WINDPOWER conference in New Orleans this year on May 23rd through 26th at the Convention Center.  This year over 400 exhibitors, many of them new firms, will be filling a show floor including GE Renewable Energy, Siemens, Vestas, Goldwind, Gamesa, Nordex and many more. But there will be over 100 smaller firms exhibiting as well. Among the speakers will be our friend Russ Gold of the Wall Street Journal.  Others include keynoter Steve Farber, former LA Senator Mary Landrieu,  Vestas CEO Chris Brown and many more.

 

USEA Forum to Look at Gas Exports – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on May 24th at 2:00 p.m. to Look at natgas export issues. US LNG exports are coming on to the global gas market at a time of a glut of supply, both pipeline and LNG, and low gas prices.  The outlook for demand – outside the US – is mostly pessimistic as well, suggesting the glut of supply could last for many years. Europe is seen as a key battleground for LNG against Russian pipeline gas but post 2020 China will come into that category as well.  What are the real prospects for US LNG exports with this background; could Russia engage in a price war in Europe, will there be any more FIDs on large scale LNG export projects before 2020, and what does all them imply for gas prices? Nexant Global Gas Principal Mike Fulwood will discuss.

 

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

 

USEA Forum to Look at Paris, Future of Energy – On Thursday June 9th, US EA will host former Sierra Club Counsel David Bookbinder to discuss Paris, the Presidential election and the future of energy.  As an environmental policy lawyer, Bookbinder has litigated cases under all of the major environmental statutes as Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel. He then represented environmental groups in both stationary- and mobile-source carbon matters, including California’s greenhouse gas vehicle standards. Bookbinder has helped lead efforts on both global warming legislation and Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulation, and has testified in front of House and Senate committees on these issues. In pursuing his goal of practical, cost-effective carbon solutions Bookbinder has frequently told environmental groups, members of Congress, and federal and state agencies things they did not want to hear.  In this briefing, Bookbinder will address the current complexities of carbon policy based upon his extensive experience in environmental law.

 

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

 

RFF Wall Street Meeting Set for NYC – REFF-Wall Street 2016 will be held on June 11th and 12th at The Grand Hyatt, New York.  REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 decision makers, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists, and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance.

Energy Update: Week of April 25

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

EARTH DAY EXTRAVAGANZA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of April 18

Friends,

With all the action last week, one might think that official Washington was trying to get everything possible it can done before Memorial Day.  Man, a lot of stuff happened last week including the FAA bill losing its energy/tax wings, the “other long-suffering” energy bill springing back to life, the final well control rule, GHG opposition briefs, a new/final-er (I know, it’s not a word) mercury rule and API outlining its items for the Party Platforms this summer.

The demise of the FAA tax credits was offset late last week by the sudden resurgence of the Senate Energy legislation.  The FAA failure seemed to catch too many headwinds after it just kept taking on more luggage/passengers than it could handle.   As for the new/old energy bill, many of the controversial provisions were just yanked out, so it appears that it may now be headed for final approval as early as next week.

I know many of you are following yesterday’s OPEC meetings in Doha, where 18 OPEC and non-OPEC nations gathered to try and freeze oil production at January levels – only to see talks collapse over Saudi Arabia’s insistence that Iran join the agreement.  Our friends at SAFE can speak to a number of the issues.  Check in with Ellen Carey at 202-461-2381.

It is a busy week on Capitol Hill.  Tomorrow, Senate Environment is hosting Gina McCarthy on the EPA Budget, Senate Energy Looks at oil/gas price determinations and House Homeland Security Looks at Pipeline Security.  USFWS head Dan Ashe talks ESA Designations/de-listing challenges as both House Oversight and House Resources hold three separate hearings on the topic this week (my colleague Eric Washburn is excellent on this topic: 202-412-5211).

On Wednesday, the Christian Science Monitor hosts another breakfast with DOE Secretary Moniz and Wilson Center talks hydrogen society/vehicles with Japanese experts while the Hudson Institute looks at Rural Broadband issues (something our friends at NRECA know very well).  On Thursday, POLITICO hosts a great energy event featuring my colleague Scott Segal, who will join Sen. Angus King and Rep. David McKinley on a panel to discuss the future of energy.

And so while Friday is Earth Day, it is also the big day for Secretary of State John Kerry when he will join other world leaders in New York to sign the Paris Climate agreement.  Sounds Like Gina McCarthy may not join him because she may have to be at the Senate Indians Affairs field hearing in Phoenix.

Finally, as I mentioned last week, today is the last day to file your taxes for 2015, so don’t forget since they gave us 3 extra days…And the Interior Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan public hearing started this morning in NOLA.  Here are the GEST Comments from Lori LeBlanc.  Another hearing is Wednesday in Houston and then next Tuesday in DC.

 

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Well Control Rule Released – BSEE released its long-awaited well control rule on Friday, just days before the six-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon accident.  The rule seeks to address safety concerns unearthed in the aftermath of the BP spill.  Interior claims to have addressed the concerns of industry enumerated by API and other groups in extensive comments on the proposed rule but that remains unclear.  issued a year ago.  The rule will go into effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

GEST LeBlanc: Rule Raises Significant Concerns – Lori LeBlanc, head of the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) said their experts are currently reviewing the final Well Control Rule to determine what changes BSEE has made and whether industry’s recommendations were incorporated into the final rule.  “GEST shares BSEE’s intent of adopting a rule that enhances safety and environmental protection and we hope that this final rule will have addressed those technical flaws that would have resulted in unintended consequences and could have made offshore operations less safe,” said GEST Executive Director Lori LeBlanc.  “We are very disappointed to see the Interior Department release such a major rule without resubmitting it for public comment and consultation. Given how far off the mark the previous version was, the sheer complexity of the issues at hand, and the lack of substantive dialogue with industry experts during this process, we are concerned that this rule may not be ready for prime time.  LeBlanc added that GEST remains concerned about the economic impacts of the rule if several of the provisions have not been corrected, which could result in Gulf energy companies that operate globally deciding to shift investment and jobs to other parts of the world.

WoodMac Study Shows Rules Likely Impacts – Remember, earlier this year, Wood Mackenzie analysts study the rule’s impacts on drilling activities and the economic impacts and the results were not so good.  The study found that if the rule as proposed could reduce industry investment in the Gulf by up to $11 billion annually; reduce government tax revenues up to $5 billion annually through 2030, jeopardizing coastal restoration efforts; and place over 100,000 jobs at risk by 2030.  “We are concerned that Interior’s decision to go forward with this rule will lead to stranded assets in the Gulf, harming U.S. energy security while dealing a potentially devastating blow to Gulf communities stung by the industry downturn,” said LeBlanc.

Court: BSEE Can’t Hold Contractors Liable – In other offshore drilling news from late last week, a Federal court in New Orleans ruled definitively that BSEE cannot enforce against offshore contractors.  BSEE’s claimed authority over offshore contractors that have no leasehold or other rights from the federal government has been in serious contention since the Macondo incident.  That’s when BSEE reversed decades of consistent practice and policy to try to regulate entities that Congress never intended.  Several offshore contractors have disputed BSEE’s arrogation of enforcement authority and pursued the matter through administrative appeal and federal court action.  This decision marks the first federal court decision on the question, and it definitively states and explains the limitations of BSEE’s authority.  This decision brings the agency back to core principles of Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and puts to rest the many uncertainties raised by BSEE’s abandonment of longstanding legal policy and precedent.  My colleague Kevin Ewing (202-828-7837) can address the issue in depth.

Opposition Reply Briefs Filed in GHG Case – While it is headed for oral arguments in June, another round of briefs from opponents of the rule were filed on Friday.  Petitioners representing the 28 states and numerous trade groups and industry supporters responded in the D.C. Circuit on Friday to EPA’s defense of the Clean Power Plan. Most argued the rule isn’t legal saying “EPA ties itself in knots, torn between touting the Rule’s significance and downplaying the extraordinary nature of what it seeks to do. On one hand, EPA describes the Rule as ‘a significant step forward in addressing the Nation’s most urgent environmental threat,’ necessary for ‘critically important reductions in carbon dioxide emissions’ from fossil fuel-fired power plants.  On the other hand, EPA claims the Rule is not ‘transform[ative],’ because ‘industry trends’ will result in ‘significant reductions in coal-fired generation … even in the Rule’s absence.'”   Intervenors representing six corporations, including the bankrupt Peabody Energy, and the Gulf Coast Lignite Coalition, a group of power and coal companies, filed an intervenor reply brief outlining some similar arguments.

NRECA Weighs In – Rural Coops filed a reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concerning the Clean Power Plan litigation.  NRECA Jeffrey Connor said the EPA has crossed a line by assigning itself vast regulatory authority that surpasses anything ever contemplated by Congress. “The agency wants to have it both ways, touting the Clean Power Plan as a major environmental milestone, while downplaying to the point of absurdity the rule’s unprecedented legal overreach. The fact is that EPA didn’t produce a rule simply to reduce emissions—it crafted a radical plan to restructure the U.S. power sector.”

Mercury Rule Finished by EPA – EPA today issued its Supreme Court-ordered fix for an error in its 2012 mercury pollution regulation.  The new “appropriate and necessary” finding – this time factoring compliance costs into EPA’s considerations – still concludes it’s proper to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. EPA would have written essentially the same regulation if it had made that finding when it originally considered the issue, it says, and thus the mercury rule will stay in place.

Read the finding here.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead said as expected, EPA responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in the MATS case (known as Michigan v EPA) with a new regulatory finding:  even taking into account the $9.6 billion a year in regulatory costs, it is “appropriate” to regulate coal-fired power plants under the air toxics provisions of the Clean Air Act.  In the Michigan case, the Supreme Court struck down EPA’s earlier finding because the Agency had refused to consider the cost of regulation when it determined that it was “appropriate” to regulate.  EPA said that the price tag is still a bargain because MATS will provide public health benefits of at least $37 billion a year.  But there is likely to be litigation over this new finding because virtually all of these claimed benefits come from reducing a type of pollution that EPA is not authorized to regulate under the air toxics provisions – so called “fine particle pollution.”  Holmstead says the Clean Air Act provides a very detailed regulatory process for regulating fine particles – a process that places clear limits on EPA’s authority.  He adds that opponents of last week’s finding are expected to argue that EPA is trying to circumvent those limits by using MATS to require reductions in fine particles that go well beyond what EPA is authorized to do under the fine particles provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Legal Group Claims Internal Emails Show Coordination by AGs on Climate –New York AG Eric Schneiderman and other politically-aligned AGs secretly teamed-up with anti-fossil fuel activists in their investigations against groups whose political speech challenged the global warming policy agenda, according to e-mails obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal).  E&E Legal released these emails on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report about a January meeting, in which groups funded by the anti-fossil fuel Rockefeller interests met to urge just this sort of government investigation and litigation against their political opponents.  After the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) criticized these AGs’ intimidation campaign, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Claude Earl Walker — one of the AGs working with Schneiderman — subpoenaed 10 years of CEI records relating to the global warming issue.  The e-mail correspondence between Schneiderman’s staff, the offices of several state attorneys general, and activists was obtained under Vermont’s Public Records Law, and also show Schneiderman’s office tried to obscure the involvement of outside activists.  His top environmental lawyer encouraged one green group lawyer who briefed the AGs before their March 29 “publicity stunt” press conference with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore not to tell the press about the coordination.  At that event the AGs announced they were teaming up to target opponents of the global warming agenda. The AGs went as far as trying to claim privilege for discussions and emails even with outside groups in this effort to go after shared political opponents, including each state that receives an open records request immediately alerting the rest to that fact.  In that case, according to the Schneiderman office’s draft, every state was to immediately return any records to New York.  To its credit Vermont objected to that as, naturally, being against state laws.  See the full slate of issues and emails here.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

5-YR Plan Public Meetings Start—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold public meetings in New Orleans and Houston today and Wednesday on its five-year plan.  There will be another in Washington next Tuesday on April 26th.  Recently, Interior rolled out the new five-year plan for drilling which set the scope of drilling for the years between 2017-2022. Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential during a news conference hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense.  It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone. Those of us on the Gulf Coast are proud to produce the energy to fuel America and we recognize that Gulf oil accounts for nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil production. The U.S. Treasury directly benefits to the tune of over $5 to $8 billion dollars each year from energy production in the Gulf — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.”

CEI to Discuss Green Climate Fund – Today at Noon, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will host a lunch on Capitol Hill to discuss what can be done about two Obama administration efforts to circumvent Congress and push its climate agenda: the Paris Climate Treaty and the Green Climate Fund.  The Obama Administration announced it will sign the Paris Climate Treaty along with 130 other nations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on April 22, 2016. The State Department also announced that the United States will officially become a party to the agreement later in the year. How can the United States become a party to the agreement without going through “its own national legislative requirements” to ratify it, as specified by the UN? CEI experts will discuss what is wrong with this agreement and how Congress can respond.  Congress did not appropriate any money for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for FY 2016. Nonetheless, in March the State Department re-programmed $500 million from the Economic Support Fund account to the GCF. Initial contributions by the United States and other developed countries are meant to prepare GCF for full funding of $100 billion per year beginning in 2020. CEI experts will discuss what the Green Climate Fund is and why Congress should not fund this initiative.

JHU to Look at Enviro Diplomacy –Tonight at 6:00 p.m., the Johns Hopkins SAIS program will host a forum on what environmental diplomacy entails and how it differs from standard notions of American diplomacy.  The forum will also look at the tactics necessary within negotiating historic agreements.  Speakers featured include former State Dept negotiator Dan Reifsnyder and SAIS alum Lynn Wager.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 tomorrow at the Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the uncertainties of shale resource development under low price environment.

Forum to Look at California EV, Grid Connections – Infocast is holding its 2nd Annual EVs & the Grid Summit in Long Beach Marriott in Cali tomorrow looking at transport and power convergence.  Automakers will share their views on the market, latest models, and how to overcome adoption hurdles.  Third-party solution providers will assess partnership opportunities and requirements for equipment, software, energy storage & conversion and on-site renewables.  Policy-makers & utilities will hash out potential business models for capturing new value streams from electrification and a digital, distributed grid.  Port & airport authorities, municipalities, fleet managers and commercial building owners will share perspectives and explore partnering opportunities with solution providers.

Senate Enviro to Look at EPA Budget – The Senate Environment Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. examining the President’s FY 2017 budget request for EPA.  The hearing will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Senate Energy to Look Oil, Gas Price – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments.  Witnesses with include Columbia Energy expert Jason Bordoff, Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Michael Ratner of CRS and several others in the oil/gas industry.

House Resources/Oversight to Look at ESA – The  House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow on recent changes to Endangered Species Critical Habitat Designation and Implementation.  The hearing will feature Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  My Colleague Eric Washburn is a great resource on the topics.  Also on Wednesday and Thursday, the House Oversight Committee looks at barriers to ESA de-listing after a species has recovered.  That hearing will be at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday and 9:00 a.m. Thursday in 2154 Rayburn.

House Homeland Security to Look at Pipeline Security – The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works with pipeline stakeholders to secure this critical infrastructure.  Witnesses will include our friend Andy Black of the AOPL, as well as DHS TSA security official Sonya Proctor, National Grid’s Kathleen Judge for AGA and CRS Energy/Infrastructure expert Paul Parfomak.

Jewell to Speak on National Park Week – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the National Geographic Society, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will deliver a major speech on the Obama Administration’s approach to conservation and the need for a course correction in order to ensure healthy lands, water and wildlife for the next century of American conservation. Following Jewell’s remarks, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Magazine Susan Goldberg will hold a one-on-one conversation with the Secretary on threats facing public lands and Jewell’s vision for the future of conservation. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will offer opening remarks to celebrate the 100-year milestone of America’s national parks, focusing on connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. As part of National Park Week (April 16-24), visitors can enjoy all national parks – from iconic landscape parks like Acadia National Park in Maine to urban cultural sites like San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California – for free.

Forum to Look at European Energy Security – Reuters will host a forum tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. on Europe’s Energy Security.  From worries about Russia to the collapse of global energy prices and the rise of renewables, what will Europe’s energy security picture look like in the years to come? This event will be contacted under Chatham House rules.  Reuters global affairs columnist Peter Apps will Moderate a panel that includes Roric McCorristin of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, energy analyst Patricia Schouker and Belgian deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Lambert.

Moniz to Headline CSM Breakfast – Following its last breakfast with EPA’s Gina McCarthy, the Christian Science Monitor hosts a live interview with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the impact of COP21 on Wedensday at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Regis.  The theme of the event will be the state of global energy and climate four months after last December’s historic summit in Paris, and just days before leaders convene in New York City for the official signing ceremony.  The talk with the Secretary will be followed by an expert panel featuring WRI President Andrew Steer, Georgetown’s Joanna Lewis, WRI’s Andrew Light, and C2ES’s Elliot Diringer.

Forum to Look at Rural Broadband – The Hudson Institute will host a discussion on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. about closing the urban-rural economic gap through enhancing rural broadband. Hudson Senior Fellow Hanns Kuttner will present a new Hudson report, The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband. Joining him to discuss the industry’s impact and prospects will be.  There will also be a panel featuring  Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA; Nancy White, CEO of a rural broadband company in Lafayette, Tenn.; and rural broadband consultant Leo Staurulakis.

Senate Approps Panel Looks at EPA Budget – Following up on Senate Enviro’s review of the EPA budget, the Senate Appropriations panel on Interior/Environment will take Its turn with EPA head Gina McCarthy.

House Science Looks at Fusion – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing that will be an overview of Fusion Energy Science.  Witnesses will include Dr. Bernard Bigot, Director General, ITER Organization; Dr. Stewart Prager, Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; and Dr. Scott Hsu, Scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NRC Commissioners Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the NRC Fiscal Year 2017 budget.  Commissioners will testify.

WCEE to Look at Solar Power Growth – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday looking at solar power growth over the next 25 years.  Forecasts for US solar power penetration in the next 25 years range from almost inconsequential levels to an exponential progression in which solar accounts for nearly all power generation. While these are two extremes and the actual path is likely somewhere in between, WCEE will look “under the hood” at some key projections and the assumptions behind them, based on the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions’ paper of US Solar Power Growth through 2040.  Following that,  the event will take an up-close look at what the DOE’s SunShot initiative is doing to reduce the soft costs of solar and ensure that solar is fully cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020.   Speaker will include Suzanna Sanborn of Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions and Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager of DOE’s SunShot.

Forum to Look at Electricity Pricing Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at time-variant electricity pricing as part of our ongoing series, “Electricity in Transition.” For a century, the retail rate structure in the United States has remained virtually unchanged. Nearly all retail customers in the U.S. pay a flat rate regardless of the time of day or the actual cost of electricity. While this pricing structure insulates consumers from price volatility, it may also lead to inefficiency in resource allocation. Enabled by the increasing deployment of smart meters, some states have been experimenting with new retail rate designs that reflect the fact that wholesale electricity prices vary over the course of the day. Time-variant pricing allows utilities and regulators accurately reflect market dynamics for customers, encouraging more efficient resource distribution. But do consumers actually respond to changing prices and Can time-variant pricing impact the adoption of new distributed energy technologies?   The panelists will discuss the objectives of moving to time-varying electricity rates, including the advantages and disadvantages of different rate structures, the distributional impacts of time-variant pricing, and the broader energy, environmental, and economic impacts of time-variant pricing. In addition, panelists will discuss recent experiences with time variant rates in different jurisdictions.

Segal, McKinley Headlining POLITICO Energy Forum – POLITICO hosting a forum Thursday, April 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the W Hotel focused on America’s Energy Agenda.  The event will look at new prices and new policies and examines the future of energy. Topics will include fluctuating energy costs and the calculus for Washington regulators and innovation.  Strategic priorities for building energy infrastructure and potential changes for a new administration.  Featured speakers include Sen. Angus King, Rep. David McKinley and my colleague Scott Segal, as well as BLM’s Neil Kornze, former AWEA head Denise Bode and BCSE’s Lisa Jacobsen.

Forum to Look at Hydrogen Economy – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Embassy of Japan will host a forum on hydrogen.  Dubbed “the energy of the future” by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has been investing heavily on the potential of hydrogen as an alternative energy source. With zero emissions, it is an element that is plentiful, and the prospect for hydrogen-powered cars and hydrogen fuel-cell use at home is alluring. But from advancing the technology to developing the needed infrastructure, the cost to make hydrogen society a reality is high. The event will be a discussion ahead of Earth Day on the prospects of using hydrogen energy, and the outlook for cooperation between the United States and Japan to make hydrogen society a reality.

Panel to Look at Advanced Nuclear Reactors – The Senate Environment Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing Thursday at 9:45 a.m. on enabling advanced reactors and legislation targeting advancing It.  Witnesses will include NRC’s Victor McCree, former NRC commissioner Jeff Merrifield, NEI’s Maria Korsnick, and several others.

USEA to Host Penn St Expert on CO2 Transformation – The US Energy Assn will host a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at turning CO2 into sustainable chemicals and fuels.  Capturing CO2 and converting it into chemicals, materials, and fuels using renewable energy, is an important path for sustainable development and a major challenge in 21st century. Concentrated CO2 can be used for manufacturing chemicals (lower olefins such as ethylene and propylene, methanol, and carbonates), and fuels (such as liquid transportation fuels or synthetic natural gas). Penn State expert Chunshan Song will be the featured speaker.

NGV Leader to Address NatGas Roundtable – On Thursday, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host Matthew Godlewski, President of NGVAmerica will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club. Godlewski’s topic will be: “Natural Gas Vehicles in Today’s Marketplace.”

Forum Look at Enrichment, Processing – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on limiting enrichment and processing of nuclear materials.  The United States has long had a policy of discouraging the further spread of dual-use technologies that can be used either to make fissile material for nuclear weapons or for peaceful uses like reactor fuel – that is, uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing.   The international community, on the other hand, has long resisted serious limits on enrichment and reprocessing beyond restraining nuclear trade.  And yet, the case of Iran illustrates just how close a country can get to a latent nuclear weapons capability in the absence of legally binding restrictions.  In light of these challenges, how well is the U.S. policy working?  What additional tools might we expect to employ in the coming years? Speakers will include Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State and Edward McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy, among several others.

EARTH DAY April 22 – Not only is this Earth Day, but it is expected to be the UN Paris Climate Agreement signing day in New York.  Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to be in New York as the President will be overseas.

Senate Indian Affairs Field Hearing to Blast EPA – While McCarthy was originally expected to join Kerry, there is rumor that she may have to be in Phoenix at the Senate Indian Affairs field hearing at 12:30 p.m. examining EPA’s unacceptable response to Indian tribes.  I guess Sen. McCain is the spoil sport on the signing.  While McCarthy may not come, EPA’s assistant administrator of Land/Emergency Management Mathy Stanislaus will for sure attend.  Navajo President Russell Begaye, Navajo Council member LoRenzo Bates and Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie, whose reservation is also downstream from Gold King Mine, will also testify.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

Forum to Look at Energy Policy In the 2016 – Election The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a day-long seminar on Tuesday, April 26th looking at U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections.  The event will feature panel discussions on the importance of bipartisan Energy Policy, oil/natgas production, distribution and refining, the electric power sector, the future of transportation and State and City leadership. Each election cycle affords policymakers an opportunity to assess the state of the nation’s energy sector in the context of shared objectives and within the context of a dynamic global energy landscape.  U.S. energy policy is driven by economic, security, and environmental priorities, but fundamental tensions continue to exist between those priorities and among the various constituencies involved in the nation’s energy sectors. The purpose of this conference is to inform the current debate on U.S. energy policymaking and assess what areas are ripe for action.

CSIS to Look at Financing Production Resilience – On Thursday, April 28th, CSIS Energy and the National Security program will host a conversation with former Vice Chairman of NY Mercantile Exchange Albert Helmig, Energy Intelligence Energy Casey Sattler and Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley, moderated by our friend Kevin Book.  Oil and gas producers have responded to six consecutive calendar quarters of price weakness by high-grading production, downsizing workforce and paring back capital spending. Financial investors’ continuing appetite for oil industry debt – and, more recently, equity – has continued to support U.S. production, too. Unexpectedly resilient output and stubbornly low commodity prices continue to erode corporate resources, however, raising several imminent questions.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

BPC to Focus on Water/Energy Book – On Thursday, April 28 at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a book session on “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival” by author Michael Webber and a discussion about the interconnections between energy and water, their vulnerabilities, and the path toward a more reliable and abundant future for humanity.  Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. A new book offers a fresh, holistic way of thinking about energy and water—a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both.

Forum to Look at LNG – The Atlantic Council hosts the US LNG Exports and European Energy Security Conference on Thursday April 28th.  The event takes place shortly after the inauguration ceremony of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana and will discuss the implications of US LNG exports on European energy security in the context of climate action post Paris COP21 and changing global energy markets.  There is an excellent list of great speakers, including a wide array of Foreign ministers from European countries on a panel moderated by our FP friend Keith Johnson.  A second panel moderated by our friend Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal will include API’s Marty Durbin and DOE’s Paula Gant among others.

Sustainable Factbook to Be Released – On Friday, April 29th at Noon in B-338 Rayburn, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that will provide information on the rapid changes occurring in the U.S. energy sector. The findings of the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” show that the U.S. energy sector, and the power sector in particular, have experienced unprecedented growth in newer, cleaner sources of energy.  The briefing will feature an overview presentation by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the findings from the Factbook, followed by a moderated industry panel with senior executives from a range of clean energy industries.  Speakers for this forum include BNEF’s Colleen Regan, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, Owen Smith of Ingersoll Rand, Covanta’s Paula Soos, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association.

WCEE to Look at Paris Implementation – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Friday, April 29th at Noon on the role of states in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  Maryland Public Service Commissioner Anne Hoskins, DOE Deputy Director for Climate, Environment & Energy Efficiency Judi Greenwald and EPRI’s Steve Rose  will all , Senior Research Economist, Electric Power Research Institute all look at the options states considering to continue de-carbonizing the electricity generation sector and what role of regulators will play in achieving these goals.

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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