Energy Update: Week of 10/30

Friends,

Now that was a crazy World Series game last night…At two separate occasions, I thought the Dodgers had the game well in hand.   Welcome to Halloween week.  As many of you know, I have finished a batch my “annual treat” – home-made, uniquely-flavored pumpkin seeds.  This year so far: the usual Old Bay Special and a Cool Ranch.  I plan another round soon, maybe Buffalo-wing Flavor and Maple Bacon.  I must say with sadness that this is the first year we won’t be trick-or-treating with Adam and Hannah gone and Olivia now too “high school” cool.  The only ones who suffer are me and my colleagues who have grown used to the largesse of Snickers, M&Ms, etc…

Another big week on the Solar Tariff front.  Not only did USTR announce a public comment process with a hearing on Dec 6th, we will get a vote tomorrow at the ITC on remedy issues.  While we won’t expect to see the full details until November 13th, there will be action.  Our friends at SEIA will be all over it, as will our group of end users in the Energy Trade Action Coalition.  On Thursday, the experts at GTM will hold a webinar to help make some sense of it all.  Finally, the Wall Street Journal editorial page weighed in again on the topic saying “the solar industry doesn’t deserve punishing tariffs.”

On Capitol Hill, the ethanol battle wages on after it appeared the ethanol advocates scored.  But late last week, nine senators demanded a meeting with the President on RFS reform.  The Washington Post’s Energy 202 had a great synopsis of the action as of Friday and today Axios picks up new developments including a new ad campaign run by unions at NE Refineries.  Always happy to help you find sources on this one as it looks to be ripe for another Red-team/Blue-team discussion at EPA itself.  Or maybe it should be called a Black team/Maize Team exercise.

As for hearings, tomorrow Senate Energy discusses building efficiency with AHRI member Emerson and DOE’s Dan Simmons and Wednesday, Senate Commerce hosts nominees like Oklahoma Rep. and NASA appointee James Bridenstine (and other nominees from Transportation and the Consumer Product Safety Commission).  Our colleague Ed Krenik is all over the CPSC nominee issues if you or your colleagues need any additional Information.  Finally, on Thursday, Senate Energy meets to consider development in ANWR’s 1.5-million-acre coastal plain.

This week on the Hill is also TAX WEEK, with House Republicans unveiling details of their tax code overhaul plan on Wednesday. Again, our friends at Axios discussed some of the energy implications and we’ll soon find out how Congress intends to solve its revenue Rubik’s cube, as well as whose ox will be gored to make the math work. With the rate cut candy already on the table, it’s time to see what the veggies look like.  Our tax expert colleague Liam Donovan (202-828-5847, liam.donovan@bracewell.com) is in the middle of the discussion should you or your colleagues on the case need insights, background and quotes.

Around DC, the Bipartisan Policy Council starts thing off tomorrow with several ex FERC Commissioners, as well as experts like our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath talking about the recent developments in the DOE-FERC grid issue.  And on Wednesday, the National Science Foundation holds a meeting of its Large Scale Networking-Middleware and Grid Interagency Coordination Team.

Speaking of Powell, check out his great video released late last week that discusses the widely-popular and successful federal advanced energy agency now has its sights set on a new potential breakthrough: next-generation nuclear technologies, the Energy Department’s ARPA-E.  Powell explains how this new development is part of ARPA-E’s venture capitalist approach to addressing some of the biggest and toughest programs in the energy space.

Finally, I have added our Bracewell Podcast, the Lobby Shop, to the update, hoping you will check it out each week like you do the Update.  It is often fun, great Information on topics of the day.  This week, the podcast focuses on tax reform, NAFTA, Congressional retirements, the state of the GOP and Midterm elections.  See the various links below…

COP 23 Starts next Monday in Germany…Coincidently, the World Meteorological Organization released its latest report on GHGs which shoes that world CO2 levels are at their highest level ever.  Most interesting because the US (while not in Paris now) is actually reducing its GHGs because of renewables and natgas…Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

This week’s new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and now Google Play Music!  This means that Android users can open their built-in “Music” app to listen and subscribe.  The episode is in the Friday Five format with Liam and Josh hosting discussions on tax reform, NAFTA, Congressional retirements, the state of the GOP and Midterm elections.  Also, we’ve created an email address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.  Check it out!

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“This combination represents a transformative opportunity to create the leading integrated power company in the United States. Combining Vistra Energy’s leading retail and commercial operations with Dynegy’s leading CCGT fleet and geographically diverse portfolio is expected to create a company with significant earnings diversification and scale.”

Vistra Energy CEO Curt Morgan, announcing the merger of Dynegy and Vistra.

“As someone who has been the head of the Air Office, I am particularly happy that Bill Wehrum is one step closer to taking over that job.  Bill will be a huge help at the Agency and is the ideal person to shepherd Administrator Pruitt’s reforms through the regulatory process.  He has the trust and respect of both the political leadership and the career staff and will make sure that that all the reforms are done thoughtfully and in accordance with the law.

Former EPA Air Office head and Bracewell attorney Jeff Holmstead on Senate Environment Committee approval of EPA nominees including his former deputy Bill Wehrum.

 

IN THE NEWS

Vistra, Dynegy Merging – Vistra Energy, the parent company for TXU Energy and Luminant, and Dynegy Inc. announced today the companies will merge with Dynegy moving into Vistra Energy.  The move is a tax-free, all-stock transaction, creating the leading integrated power company across the key competitive US power markets.  The combined company is projected to have a market cap in excess of $10 billion and an enterprise value greater than $20 billion. The combination of Dynegy’s generation capacity and existing retail footprint with Vistra Energy’s integrated ERCOT model is expected to create the lowest-cost integrated power company in the industry and to position it as the leading integrated retail and generation platform throughout key competitive US power markets. Together with Dynegy, Vistra Energy will serve approximately 240,000 commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and 2.7 million residential customers in five top retail states, with estimated retail sales of 75 terawatt (TWh) hours in 2018. The combined company will also own approximately 40 GW of installed generation capacity. Of that capacity, more than 60% is natural gas-fueled, and 84% is in the ERCOT, PJM, and ISO-NE competitive power markets.

Wehrum, Other Noms Approved – The Senate Environment Committee today narrowly approved several EPA and other nominees, including EPA air office head Bill Wehrum and chemical office head Michael Dourson.  Other nominees were given the green light with a voice vote: Matthew Leopold to be EPA’s general counsel; David Ross to run EPA’s water office; Jeff Baran’s re-nomination to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and Paul Trombino to head the Federal Highway Administration.

US Offshore Wind Momentum Sparks Competition Among State Leaders, Businesses – Close to 1,000 business leaders, academics, environmental specialists, and high-ranking officials from around the world gathered in New York last week for the AWEA’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference. The conference comes at a time when the offshore wind industry is gaining traction in the U.S., fueled by the desire of many states and companies to scale up the industry and harness a new job-creating ocean energy resource.  The economic development potential of offshore wind can generate benefits nationwide. There are 17 U.S. offshore wind projects in various stages of development off the East and West Coasts as well as the Great Lakes, representing over 9,100 MW of capacity. And developing an American offshore wind manufacturing supply chain, factory jobs and shipbuilding further expands the scope of opportunity.

Statoil Names NY Project – The first major announcement from the conference was from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s opening remarks when she said she was proud Statoil named its NY project “Empire Wind.” The project site is located off the southern coast of Long Island, New York.  The 79,350 acre site, secured by Statoil in a federal auction in December 2016, has the potential to generate up to 1GW of offshore wind power, making it a key part of New York State’s plan to deploy renewable energy sources to meet the state’s electricity needs. Statoil also announced the launch of the Empire Wind website www.empirewind.com where members of the public can obtain information on the project and register to receive updates. Statoil is in the early stages of developing the offshore wind farm with the potential to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  The Empire Wind project team is currently conducting an extensive evaluation process, gathering detailed information about the seabed conditions, grid connection options and wind resources characteristic to the area.

Several Key Manufacturing Announcements Also Made – Leading offshore wind turbine manufacturers General Electric, MHI Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa were well represented at the conference. MHI Vestas announced a $35 million investment to test their most powerful 9.5 MW offshore wind turbines at Clemson University in South Carolina, a significant step that signals confidence in the U.S. market. Steel foundations for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, the first U.S. offshore wind project, were made-in-America by Gulf Island Fabrication. And another Gulf Coast-based company, Zentech Inc., recently announced plans to build the first U.S. offshore wind installation vessel.

AWEA Also Announced 3Q Capacity Growth – In its third quarter report, AWEA said US had wind farms with a combined capacity of 29,634 megawatts under various stages of development at the end of September.  It marks a 27% increase year-over-year and the biggest quarterly pipeline of projects under construction and in advanced development since the American Wind Energy Association began tracking the statistic in Q1 2016. The AWEA Market Report provides a snapshot view of U.S. wind industry activity and trends, including new wind capacity installed, wind projects under construction and in advanced development, along with new power purchase agreements signed and project acquisition activity.

BLS Says Solar, Wind Jobs will See Largest Growth – Speaking of capacity and jobs, new jobs data from the Bureau of Labor statistics shows that jobs in solar and wind are projected to grow fastest over the coming decade. Employment for solar installers and wind turbine technicians is expected to roughly double.  Solar leads the way with expected growth of 105% while wind jobs growth will grow by 96%.  See more charts and info here.

USTR to Take Comment on Solar Tariff – The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced they will take comments on the solar tariff recommendations expected in November from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).  ITC has determined that certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) are causing of injury, or the threat thereof, to the domestic industry.  The Commission will make a recommendation of a safeguard measure for the President to apply. USTR’s Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) starting a process so that, once the ITC makes its recommendation, domestic producers, importers, exporters, and other interested parties may submit their views and evidence on the appropriateness of the recommended safeguard measure and whether it would be in the public interest. USTR will hold a public hearing on December 6th and will take written comments until November 20th.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations today that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

IPCC Chair to Join RFF to Talk Climate – Today at 12:45 p.m. Resources for the Future hosts a conversation with Dr. Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Endowed Chair Professor at Korea University Graduate School of Energy and Environment in Seoul. Dr. Lee has chaired the IPCC since he was elected to the position in October 2015. His research encompasses the economics of climate change, energy, and sustainable development.

Atlantic Council to Host Climate Forum – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Future Europe Initiative and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany host a conversation about the current state of US climate action, as well as the transatlantic relationship more broadly. The expert panel will also discuss the challenges and opportunities of climate finance and overall economic imperatives and benefits of climate action. Panelists include former EPA official and MDE head Ben Grumbles, Dennis Tänzler of Adelphi and DC Environment head Tommy Wells.

BPC to Discuss Grid Options – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Sofitel Lafayette Square’s Paris Ballroom.  The featuring former FERC commissioners and stakeholders that unpacks the proposed grid reliability and resiliency pricing rule under consideration at FERC. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services – particularly some coal and nuclear plants.  Panelists will discuss what the Trump administration has proposed and how FERC might respond.  Speakers include our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath, API’s Marty Durbin, NRDC’s John Moore, and William Murray of Dominion, as well as former FERC Chairs James Hoecker, Pat Wood and Betsy Moler.

Senate Commerce Hosts CSPC, NASA, NOAA Nominees – The Senate Commerce Committee will hold two hearings tomorrow and Wednesday to hear from nominees at NASA, NOAA, the Department of Transportation and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The first hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. features Transportation nominees former Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, as well as Bruce Landsberg and Raymond Martinez.  Wednesday features NASA’s Bridenstine, CSPC’s Dana Baiocco and NOAA’s Neil Jacobs.

Senate Energy to Look at Efficiency in Buildings – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to examine new efficiency opportunities provided by advanced building management and control systems.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Dan Simmons, Pacific Northwest NL’s Jud Virden, Southern‘s Tracy West, Bruno Grunau of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and John Wallace of Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions.

Forum to Look at Global Energy Markets – The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security holds a forum at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow on the geopolitics of energy and the nexus of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the global oil market. The energy geopolitics of Russia and the Mideast have changed considerably since the lavish years of the mid to late 2000s, to the more recent, leaner years of lower global oil prices. The panel of military and business experts will examine some of the recent consequences of the new reality.

Forum to Look at SE Renewables – Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy 2017 is being held in Atlanta at the Downtown Hilton on Wednesday through Friday.  The entire southeast renewable energy community gathers to get the latest insights into the market and to learn about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in the Southeast, as well as meet with utility procurement and interconnection managers.  Key speakers will include Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Atlanta City Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey, Walmart’s John Federovitch, SC PSC Commissioner Elizabeth Fleming, Georgia Power’s Robin Lanier, Duke’s Gary Freeman and several others.

House Science Look sat Low Does Radiation Research – The House Science Committee will convene a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the future of low-dose radiation research.  Witnesses include GAO’s John Neumann, Northwestern University’s Dr. Gayle Woloschak and Dr. James Brink of the Harvard Medical School and radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Wilson to Look at MENA Region Energy, Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum looking at the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.  Experts will discuss fulfilling political, economic, and security objectives. Infrastructure investment decisions being made today will largely determine the region’s future vulnerability and should be informed by a comprehensive understanding of the region’s risk profile. MENA faces growing risks of instability and is highly vulnerable to climate impacts, food, and oil price shocks. Development strategies need to focus more strongly on building economic, climate, and social resilience alongside broader-based economic growth.

Expert to Discuss Financing EE Programs in New Markets – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum featuring a practitioner’s approach to financing energy efficiency in emerging markets.  Lack of national project-based financing represents one of the primary global barriers to energy efficiency. Drawing on her experience at the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Ms. Madeleine Varkay, Principal Private Sector Development Specialist, will discuss how upgrading regulatory frameworks can enable long-term investments in infrastructure and industries such as clean energy. She will examine the case study of ADB’s recent partnership with Indonesia Ex-Im Bank, which pioneered an attractive energy efficiency financing program for export-oriented industrial enterprises.

Forum to Look at Electric Vehicles – The Electric Drive Transportation Association continues its Beyond the Beltway series on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club.  Beyond the Beltway brings together state and municipal leaders, regional coalitions and private industry experts from across the country to talk about regional strategies to accelerate the growth of electric vehicles. The discussion will feature innovative public private collaborations, consumer education initiatives, plans to expand the national fast charging network, and the latest growth projections for electric vehicles in the U.S.

Forum to Look at Carbon Programs in Latin America – The Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at efforts to move toward a fossil fuel-free future in Latin America.  Wilson will hold a conversation with Walter Vergara, the author of the 2016 report and an expert on climate change mitigation efforts in Latin America. Vergara will present actions that could be taken to achieve net decarbonization – including in energy, transportation, land use, and industry – assess projects already being implemented across the region, and discuss the combinations of policy, technology innovation, and economic conditions that will impact this process.

ELI to Host Women in Energy Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and WilmerHale are co-sponsoring a conference featuring women thought leaders in energy and infrastructure on Thursday. This one-day event will provide a forum for discussions on policy and legal issues impacting the energy industry, as well as an exchange of ideas for powering the future of our nation’s infrastructure development. The keynote speaker for the conference will be Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Former US Trade Representative, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky will also lead a session featuring a discussion on US Energy Dominance on the World Economic Stage.  Speakers include Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management Kate MacGregor, OMB’s Angie Colamaria, API’s Stacy Linden, Amanda Neely of Sen. Portman’s Deputy Chief Counsel at US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, Dominion’s Ann Loomis, former Maine PUC Commissioner Carlisle McLean, and Interior’s Associate Solicitor Karen Hawbecker.

Senate Energy Tackles ANWR – After a 12-year delay, the Senate Energy Committee returns to ANWR in a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider development of the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain.

GTM to Host Solar Outlook Under Tariff – With the US International Trade Commission (ITC) set to vote on recommended safeguards for U.S. domestic solar manufacturing on October 31, GTM Research’s analyst team will hold a webinar on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. as they dissect the USITC’s vote and provide their immediate reactions to what the future of US solar under recommended remedies might hold.  GTM’s Shayle Kann, MJ Shaio and Cory Honeyman will tackle the subject.

Whitehouse to Appear at AU – American University’s School of International Service hosts the 2017 Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lecture on the Environment, featuring keynote remarks from U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

GWU Energy Conference Set – The Energy Club at George Washington U, the GW Net Impact Chapter, and the F. David Fowler Career Center holds the GW Energy Conference 2017 on Friday.  The conference will begin in the morning with registration and breakfast, followed by opening remarks and a keynote speaker. After the keynote speech, there will be two panels and a networking lunch. Each panel will have a moderator and 4-5 energy professionals encompassing a wide range of industry experience.  The first panel will examine the new U.S. Administration’s energy plan and its implications for the energy sector, with a focus on non-renewables.  The second panel will discuss the viability of a 100% U.S. renewable energy economy by the year 2050, considering the current political climate, effects on the environment, grid capacity, and job and skill considerations for the future workforce, among other factors.

WCEE to Discuss Markets with FERC Staff – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Lunch & Learn forum at FERC on Friday at Noon.  FERC staff Robin Broder Hytowitz will provide an overview of electricity pricing focusing on broad concepts that apply to all ISOs/RTOs. The overview will explain the concepts behind Locational Marginal Prices, uplift, and an extension used in some wholesale markets today.  Broder Hytowitz works in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC in the area of Operation Research Analysis. Her present focus is on current and proposed pricing models for wholesale electricity.

JHU Expert to Look at Eastern Nile Energy Issues – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University SAIS Global Agriculture Seminar Series and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) will present Dr. Ben Zaitchik on water, food and energy in the Eastern Nile Basin.  Zaitchik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research includes work on regional climate variability, water resource monitoring, disease early warning, and climate change adaptation. To address research questions in these areas, Dr. Zaitchik employs a combination of satellite data interpretation, atmospheric and hydrological modeling, and meteorological analysis.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Energy Trends – Next Monday, the German Marshall Fund of the United States hold a conference that will examine energy trends through three different lenses. The first session will examine the recent efforts, supported by the U.S. and the EU, to reform energy sectors in Black Sea states, notably but not exclusively in Ukraine and Georgia. Second, a panel of experts will discuss the ever-shifting energy politics of the broader Eurasia region, from Central Asia to the Black Sea and beyond. Finally, the conference will feature keynote remarks by Ambassador Mary Warlick, Acting Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Bureau of Energy Resources.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

Climate Change Meeting Set for Bonn – The next UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held starting next week, November 6th and run through November 17th in Bonn, Germany, which is home to the climate change secretariat and 18 other UN agencies that will be hosting the conference.  Presided over by the government of Fiji, COP 23 is slated to be a “working COP”, as negotiators continue to develop the Paris rulebook—the rules and working processes that will underpin the Paris Agreement’s implementation. With respect to the rulebook, no major decisions are expected to be made before 2018.

House Energy Panel to Look at ENERGY STAR – The House Energy Committee will look at ENERGY STAR and other efficiency programs next week on Tuesday.  Expects experts from enviro groups, AHRI and other sustainability groups to weigh in.

NEI’s Korsnick Headlines Stimson Forum – The Stimson Center hosts a forum next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. on re-energizing nuclear security.  Nuclear security is out of the spotlight since the end of the Nuclear Security Summit series. This forum will look at the future of nuclear development and how can industry, civil society, and international organizations facilitate the outstanding Security Summit commitments.  This event is an on-the-record discussion of trends in the nuclear industry and security and marks the official launch of a new Stimson publication: “Re-energizing Nuclear Security: Trends and Potential Collaborations Post Security Summits.”  Panelists include NEI CEO Maria Korsnick, Canadian Nuclear Association CEO John Barrett and Frank Saunders, Vice President of Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs at Bruce Power.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th, AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

SAFE Forum to Highlight Release of Trucking Report – On Thursday, November 9th at 9:30 a.m. at The Loft at 600 F, Securing America’s Future Energy hosts a forum and releases its trucking industry trend report, “Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, automation, and technology in the trucking sector.”  The trucking sector is a backbone of the American economy. 70% of the nation’s freight, representing more than $725 billion in annual revenue, are moved by the trucking industry. Freight levels are forecast to grow more than 40% by 2045, and energy and oil use are set to rise by 20% in the next 25 years.  New technologies offer an opportunity to dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking sector. Connectivity and platooning, advanced driver assistance systems, and design modifications are already creating opportunities to save lives and fuel while reducing costs, but regulatory changes are necessary to enable the industry and American economy to benefit.  SAFE’s Jeff Gerlach, as well as a number of industry experts including the American Trucking Assn’s Bill Sullivan will discuss how the trucking industry is changing, and the regulatory measures that should be taken to enable a safer and more efficient trucking future.

CSIS to Host Africa Power Panel – CSIS hosts a public panel discussion next Thursday, November 9th looking at the lessons that can be learned from Power Africa.  The Obama Administration’s Power Africa Initiative was arguably one of the more intriguing innovations in development in recent years. Described as an initiative that 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”, Power Africa has been an attempt to work more effectively between various government agencies. It also operated under the assumption that Africa presented both development challenges and business opportunities for American workers and companies. Following the welcome remarks from Daniel F. Runde, and the opening remarks from Jennifer G. Cooke, our expert panelists will assess Power Africa’s progress and look for opportunities to scale and replicate the initiative to other sectors and geographies.

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

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

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

Energy Update: Week of September 25

Friends,

L’Shana tova…  I hope all will have a good fast this Friday for Yom Kippur.  Starting today with the long ball… Yes, my friends Mike Allen and Fred Frommer tell me that Kansas City’s Alex Gordon last week broke Major League Baseball’s season home run record with 12 days to spare, hitting the 5,694th long ball of 2017.  No word on why the ball is flying out of the park more, but I wonder if can potentially be linked to climate change.

Welcome to National Clean Energy Week… And what a way to launch into the week with the Friday US International Trade Commission decision on the solar 201 tariff case. The ITC ruled that an injury did occur while considering a petition filed by two bankrupt companies.  Now the case moves on to the remedy phase where ITC, and eventually the Administration, will consider what to do.  In this phase, the Energy Trade Action Coalition – which represents other sectors impacted like utilities, contractors, cooperatives, retailers and conservative groups – will play a more aggressive role in highlighting economic impacts of higher tariffs on the broader economy, which is a factor the President must take into consideration in his final decision.   See a full round up below…

If we can stop talking about the NFL, this week Congress should dig into the health care and tax reform issues as we approach the end of the actual fiscal year on Saturday.  While budgets have been extended, reconciliation consideration of health care (meaning 50 votes to pass) ends. On energy, it is still busy with Clean Energy week including an event tomorrow featuring Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Perry, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers; a Senate Energy DOE nomination hearing and a House Oversight hearing on nuclear waste.  Wednesday events include Shale Insight in PA and Wilson’s North American Energy Forum.  On Thursday, there is a Clean Energy Forum at conservative group R Street and Friday at 11:30 a.m., Heritage hosting a major policy address by Zinke.

Speaking of the tax debate, check out this week’s edition of the Bracewell PRG podcast “The Lobby Shop” which host Josh Zive interviews Associated Builders and Contractors tax expert Liam Donovan on the upcoming tax debate in Congress.  (You can subscribe to it on iTunes and SoundCloud).  And don’t forget Platt’s Capitol Crude as well which this week features Windfall author Meghan O’Sullivan, the deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan.

And don’t forget that next week – Wednesday to Saturday – the Society of Environmental Journalists will hold its annual meeting in Pittsburgh.  Great day trips, policy/political Panels and the 15th annual Bracewell PRG Reception on Thursday evening.

 

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As the remedy phase moves forward, I am determined to reach a conclusion that will protect the solar industry, our workers and the American public from what amounts to a shakedown by these two companies. An improper remedy will devastate the burgeoning American solar economy and ultimately harm America’s manufacturers and 36,000 people currently engaged in solar manufacturing that don’t make cells and panels.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“Utilities, power co-ops, retailers, manufacturers and other large commercial users, along with conservative groups who have criticized federal solar subsidies, all agree that unwarranted tariffs would cause severe damage to the solar industry while setting a terrible precedent for future trade cases. Artificially raising the price of solar products would increase costs for solar power consumers and jeopardize tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.”

Paul Nathanson, spokesman for the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC), a group of companies, associations and organizations who joined together to oppose the trade petition.

“Policymakers and candidate who embrace clean energy showcase independent governing and smart thinking on actions that can be equally good for the economy, national security and environment.”

ClearPath Action Founder Jay Faison, in announcing new GOP polling results on clean energy.

THE BIG NEWS

Solar Case to Move Forward – On Friday, the US International Trade Commission found that imported solar panels have harmed domestic solar manufacturers, setting up a high-stakes decision on tariffs for the Trump administration. The ITC will submit formal recommendations to the White House by November, after which President Trump has two months to decide on a final policy.

Some Video – Renewable Energy World has a great explanation on the case with some video.  They will also host a webinar on the next phase on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. featuring SEIA’s Hopper and others.  See more details here.

SEIA Calls Case Deeply-Flawed, Harmful to Industry – SEIA’s Abby Hopper said the ITC’s decision was disappointing for nearly 9,000 U.S. solar companies and the 260,000 Americans they employ. Foreign-owned companies that brought business failures on themselves are attempting to exploit American trade laws to gain a bailout for their bad investments.   Hopper: “Analysts say Suniva’s remedy proposal will double the price of solar, destroy two-thirds of demand, erode billions of dollars in investment and unnecessarily force 88,000 Americans to lose their jobs in 2018.  While we continue to believe that this is the wrong decision, based on Suniva and SolarWorld’s mismanagement, we respect the commission’s vote and we will continue to lead the effort to protect the solar industry from damaging trade relief. We expect to be front and center in the ITC remedy process, and in the administration’s consideration of this deeply-flawed case.”

Coalition Also Hits Back at Ruling – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) expressed disappointment at the vote to continue the case.  ETAC also pledged to remain fully engaged in the trade case to strongly advocate that the ITC and President Trump avoid imposing any remedies that would threaten the U.S. solar industry and the many related industry sectors that use solar. “The ITC decision to find injury is disappointing because the facts presented made it clear that the two companies who brought this trade case were injured by their own history of poor business decisions rather than global competition, and that the petition is an attempt to recover lost funds for their own financial gain at the expense of the rest of the solar industry,” said ETAC Spokesperson Paul Nathanson. “ETAC will continue to fight vigorously during the remedy phase, encouraging Administration officials and Members of Congress to help ensure that no remedies are imposed that would threaten the solar industry’s ability to compete with other energy sources.”

Some Other Key Views

Scott Segal, Executive Director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council,

“The imposition of trade remedies on solar technology sought by the two petitioners in this case, Suniva and SolarWorld, could fundamentally change those carefully calibrated assessments of grid stability — and do so without any consequent societal benefits. Ill-conceived energy protectionism in the guise of a trade remedy, on the other hand, will only do more harm than good. We would all do well to take heed of recent events and remember to prioritize the importance of maintaining a diverse and resilient electric grid. The government should say no to the Section 201 trade petition for solar.”

(ERCC is a group of utilities that includes Ameren, Southern, DTE and several others.) 

Diane V. Denton, Managing Director of Federal Policy for Duke Energy

“In the event that imported modules are subject to an artificial floor price or significant import tariff as requested by the petitioners in this case, the module market, and Duke Energy’s plans to procure modules, will likely be significantly disrupted. If such a remedial floor price or tariff is imposed, we expect that the installed cost of solar projects will increase 30% or more and that demand for modules would contract precipitously. As solar energy is just approaching parity with the traditional grid resources in a number of states, a significant reduction in demand for new solar projects could deliver a serious blow to continuing development and evolution of this market.”

John M. Grau, CEO of the National Electrical Contractors Association

“Solar energy is one of the most promising sectors in the American economy, providing good construction and manufacturing jobs and valuable products at a low cost to consumers. It’s been creating jobs for electricians who install utility scale and roof top solar systems around the country.  These are good, middle-class jobs that promote apprenticeship, community based hiring, and veterans. All this progress would be placed at risk if the government decided to cut off the cells and modules that form the basic ingredients of the U.S. solar supply chain.”

Paul Spencer, CEO/Founder of Clean Energy Collective

The trade barriers proposed would needlessly make solar more expensive at a time when we are seeing record low prices that make solar cheaper for consumers and provide ever-increasing benefits for the global environment.

(CEC works with rural cooperatives and others to develop Community Solar projects)

David French, Senior Vice President, Government Relations at the National Retail Federation

The trade restrictions that would result from this petition would raise the price of solar cells and modules, the basic ingredients of solar panels, brought into the U.S. from anywhere in the world. This trade case threatens the competitiveness of solar power and could negatively impact retailers across the country who have proactively moved to diversify their energy sources.

Karla Jones, Director of International Relations & Federalism, American Legislative Exchange Council

“Long a champion of free markets, ALEC opposes the ITC’s decision as protectionism that will ultimately harm the U.S. economy and cost American jobs. We urge the President, who will make the final determination on whether to accept or reject the ITC’s recommendation, to choose free market principles over protectionism.”

Katie Tubb, trade policy specialist at the Heritage Foundation

“The tariffs requested by Suniva and SolarWorld will make solar products and services in America more expensive and less competitive by removing inexpensive, often imported choices from other solar companies and their customers.”

 

Some Great Links

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE NEWS

ClearPath Polling Shows Strong GOP Support for Clean Energy – A survey of GOP and independent voters in states key to the 2018 congressional midterm election show strong support for Republican candidates who take action on clean energy.  In the eight states surveyed, Republicans gained a 25% swing on average over the generic ballot after focused messaging on clean energy, according to the early June poll commissioned by ClearPath Action. Among those who voted for President Trump, 77 percent said they support accelerating clean energy, with 39 percent citing strong support. Nearly 90 percent of independents said they support accelerating clean energy, with more than 60 percent citing strong support.  ClearPath Action Founder Jay Faison said the polling results are far stronger than what he expected and stronger than what he saw last cycle.  Faison: “Policymakers and candidate who embrace clean energy showcase independent governing and smart thinking on actions that can be equally good for the economy, national security and environment.”  The survey shows significant ballot movement and momentum favoring Republicans who back clean energy across all eight states. That includes more than a 25-point ballot movement statewide in Nevada, Michigan and Arizona using a sample of all likely voters.  Full details and More specifics here.

Senate Energy Approves Final Two FERC Noms – The Senate Energy Committee unanimously approved Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to serve on FERC. The panel also approved Ryan Nelson to be solicitor of the Interior Department, David Jonas to serve as general counsel of the Energy Department and Joseph Balash to be assistant secretary for land and minerals management at Interior, thus advancing all five nominees to the full Senate.

SMU Expert: Oil/Gas Resilient Through Hurricane – US oil and natural gas markets will shrug off the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma soon and move further along the path to stability and possibly modest growth this year and next, according to analysts.  Our friend Bud Weinstein of the SMU Maguire Energy Institute recently wrote the oil and gas infrastructure along the Gulf Coast also sustained very little damage, certainly compared with Hurricane Katrina.  Weinstein said overall, the refining and petrochemical industries along the Gulf Coast, as well as pipelines and offshore production platforms, proved to be extraordinarily resilient as more than 50 inches of rain inundated Houston and Beaumont-Port Arthur over four days. “The untold story is that after Hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Ike the energy industry spent billions upgrading their facilities along the Gulf Coast so they could withstand future catastrophic storms,” Weinstein wrote.

Partners Conducting Wildlife Study at RI Offshore ProjectDeepwater Wind is partnering with researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on studies of bird and bat activity off the Atlantic Coast. The studies, funded by BOEM, provide data on offshore movements of high-priority species to inform conservation efforts, says Deepwater.  In August, Deepwater Wind installed a wildlife tracking station on the easternmost foundation platform at the Block Island Wind Farm, located three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I. The tracking station contains four antennas, plus a receiver that collects data on migrating patterns of birds and bats that scientists have previously tagged with tiny, very high-frequency (VHF) transmitters, weighing less than 1.5 grams each. These transmitters provide data on any tagged species that fly within a 20-mile radius of the wind farm.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEKSeptember 25-29th.  Hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Sects. Perry and Zinke will launch the event tomorrow at the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill in a discussion moderated by former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Also expected to speak throughout the day are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Sen. Tom Carper and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Wharton DC Hosts Innovation Summit – The Wharton DC Innovation Summit will be held today at the Marriott Bethesda North Conference Center.  The Wharton DC Summit has a rich history of getting at key questions for venture capitalists, a seasoned entrepreneurs, an aspiring entrepreneurs or the intellectually-intrigued by innovation.  Interesting panels on transportation, (AVs), drones and many other topics.

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference today at the College for Creative Studies in downtown Detroit.  The global market for mobility solutions is growing rapidly, building on innovation, information technology, and new transportation business models. Focusing on this convergence, the event, sponsored by our friends at DTE Energy, will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. While other conferences have explored these issues independently, the Michigan Energy Future Conference will be the first comprehensive look at the synergies between sectors, exploring opportunities for the U.S. to benefit as the pace of convergence between these sectors accelerates.

Forum to Look at Petro Diplomacy – The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington will hold a conference this afternoon looking at critical issues facing the oil industry against the background of the shifting economic and political landscape in the region.  The Lunch Keynote will feature Majid Al-Moneef, former Secretary General of the Supreme Economic Council of Saudi Arabia and Member of the Board of Directors of Saudi Aramco.  Then a panel featuring Columbia University energy policy expert Jason Bordoff and others will follow.

Senate Energy to Hear from DOE Noms – The Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to consider the DOE nominations for the office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and Fossil Energy.  Nominees Bruce Walker and Steve Winberg will testify.

WCEE Event to Look at MD Offshore Wind – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a lunch forum tomorrow at Dentons looking at the latest insights into the Maryland PSC’s work on offshore wind and energy efficiency, the political challenges faced and the businesses opportunities created. Marissa Gillett, Senior Advisor to the Public Service Commission’s Chairman, will be the speaker.

ELI to Look at Ocean Energy – Tomorrow at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) under development.  Wave and tidal energy developers claim that federal subsidies and tax cuts are insufficient to promote research and development, and some of the most successful ocean energy companies have moved overseas.  A panel of experts will look at key questions to improve development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.  Among the panelists, Annie Jones, FERC Energy Projects advisor.

Gas Tech CEO to Address Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host that David Carroll, president of the International Gas Union at its next luncheon tomorrow.  Carroll is the President and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute. He oversees the company’s operations and directs its programs for developing technologies, products, and services for customers in the natural gas and related industries.  Carroll assumed the additional role of President of IGU for a three-year term in 2015.

Forum to Look at Future of Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a special workshop tomorrow looking at the future of nuclear power globally, focusing on technological, security, and geopolitical considerations.  Achieving progress towards decarbonizing and reducing the environmental impact of energy generation is arguably impossible without a significant expansion of nuclear power internationally. However, improving and strengthening the global nuclear governance system and maintaining high international standards in nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are essential for nuclear power to become a more integral part of the world’s energy portfolio. Speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Kenneth Luongo and NEI’s Everett Redmond.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held tomorrow and Wednesday at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference tomorrow through Thursday.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

House Oversight to Look at Nuclear Waste – The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment will convene a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. examining America’s nuclear waste management and storage to examine the management of the nation’s increasing amount of nuclear waste and to highlight the challenges communities across the country face when dealing with nuclear waste.  Witnesses will include Maryland PSC Commissioner Anthony O’Donnell, Aiken County, SC Councilmember Chuck Smith, David Victor of UC-San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy (who also chairs San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s Community Engagement Panel and our friend Katie Tubb of the Heritage Foundation.

Wilson to Hold Energy Forum – The Mexico and Canada Institutes will host the Wilson Center’s 2017 North America Energy Forum on Wednesday. The Forum is now in its fourth year and will focus on the major challenges and opportunities facing energy producers and consumers in the region, with a strong focus on innovation in the energy sector.  Chamber Energy President Karen Harbert and NOIA head Randy Luthi will be among the speakers.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on Wednesday to Friday at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The event focuses on trading, legislation and regulation of environmental markets. The agenda includes panel sessions covering Carbon / RGGI, what’s next after the Clean Power Plan, update on current developments and trends in other existing environmental markets such as the SO2 and Nox programs and a general REC Market Overview that provides an update on supply and demand as well as estimates on potential growth as the market faces pricing pressure.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The event holds the most important discussions on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. Influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders will work through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.

Forum to Look at Storage During Hurricanes – The Congressional Advanced Energy Storage Caucus will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on potential issues with storage and hurricanes.  Caucus co-chairs Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) will provide an update on the U.S. energy storage market, and a briefing on the role of energy storage in electric infrastructure resilience.

Smart Mobility Forum Set – The C3 Group hosts the 3rd annual Smart Mobility Forum on Capitol Hill on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center.  The Forum will include presentations by experts on the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on automotive, transportation, society and policy followed by an interactive Q&A.  Featured Speakers include C3 Group President and smart mobility expert Doug Newcomb, Autotrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs and Dushyant Wadivkar of Bosch Automated Vehicles.

Senate Ag Looks at Energy Programs in Farm Bill – The Senate Committee on Agriculture will convene a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on rural development and energy programs.  They will focus on perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.

R Street Hosts Clean Energy Event R Street will host a forum on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with panelists from Microsoft, the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES), Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) to discuss clean energy opportunities. Affordable clean energy future rests with the advancement of competitive energy markets and consumer choice. Such policies provide better opportunities to facilitate distributed generation and rest at the intersection of conservative and green agendas.  Speakers will include Microsoft’s Michelle Patton, AEE’s Dylan Reed, Devin Hartman of R Street and Frank Caliva of ACCES.

Trade Expert to Discuss Solar Case Next StepsRenewable Energy World holds a webinar on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at what happens next following the Sept. 22 ITC ruling.  The webcast will include SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper; NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar and Matthew Nicely, the trade lawyer arguing against the petition.
CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative holds a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).  The topics will include North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and other global hotspots with Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.  The event is – as always – moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune.

JHU to Host Italian CEO on NatGas Europe – On Friday at 9:45 a.m., the Johns Hopkins University Center for Trans-Atlantic Relations will hold a discussion with Marco Alverà, CEO at Snam to discuss natgas in Europe.  He will join JHU SAIS Dean Vali Nasr.  Introductory remarks will be given by Daniel Hamilton, Executive Director of Johns Hopkins SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations.  Alverà has been the Chief Executive Officer of Snam, a European leader in the construction and integrated management of natural gas infrastructure, since April 2016. He also serves as Managing Director of Snam Rete Gas and as ad interim Chief Industrial Assets Officer of Snam.

Wilson to Host Arctic Enviro Forum – The Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative will host a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on the future of the Arctic Environment.  Leading Arctic scientists, policymakers, and emergency response officials will present and discuss the most recent research on Arctic change, extreme weather, indigenous communities, and emergency response operations.  Among the Speakers will be former State Department Official Sherri Goodman among others.

Heritage to Host Zinke – On Friday at 11:30 a.m., the Heritage Foundation will host a major policy address by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke in its Allison Auditorium.  Secretary Zinke will discuss President Donald Trump’s American energy dominance agenda, focusing specifically on the importance of American energy production and how the federal government can be a better business partner.

IN THE FUTURE

Geothermal Conference Set for Utah – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is holding GEOEXPO+ on October 1-4th at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT.  The meeting will be held in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting.

WCEE Hosts Federal Lands Discussion – Next Monday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a forum to discuss current opportunities and challenges for the development of energy and mineral resources under the new Administration. Among other hotly debated topics, the event will cover the role of climate change considerations in decision-making, potential changes in mitigation requirements, issues regarding royalty valuation and payment, and still unresolved issues regarding the scope of Presidential withdrawal authority onshore and offshore under decades-old statutes.

CCS Forum to Look at Norway Success Story – The Global CCS Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 3rd at 9:00 p.m. in National Press Club’s Zenger Room on the Innovation and low-carbon policies that are driving the development of clean energy technologies around the world.  The discussion will explore how Norway has fostered the development of its carbon capture infrastructure, as well as the emerging business case for carbon capture in the U.S. and globally.  Featured speakers Gassnova CEO Trude Sundset, Rich Powell of ClearPath Foundation, Thina Saltvedt of Nordea Bank Norge and Statoil VP of New Energy Solutions Steinar Eikaas, who operates the world’s most successful carbon capture project in the North Sea.

Forum to Look at Iran Deal – On Tuesday, October 3rd from 1:30 p.m., the Center for a New American Security will hold two panel discussions on the implications of the potential collapse of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The discussion will focus on what happens if President Trump begins unraveling the nuclear agreement in mid-October by not certifying Iranian compliance to Congress and will also examine other potential collapse scenarios. Our friend Elizabeth Rosenberg is among the panelists.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for October 4-8 in Steel City.

Vets in Energy Forum Set – Veterans In Energy will hold a forum on October 5th through 7th at NRECA in Arlington. VIE provide transition, retention and professional development support to the growing population of military veterans who have chosen energy careers.  Speakers will include Chris Hale of GI Jobs and Gen. John Allen, former Dep Commander of US Central Command.

CSIS to Look at Electricfication – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday October 5th at 9:30 a.m. looking at the future of electrification with Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  Mansoor will provide an overview of the recent EPRI report, The Integrated Energy Network: Connecting Customers with Reliable, Affordable and Cleaner Energy, which calls for a more interconnected and integrated energy system through greater electrification. Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research and Analysis at the MIT Energy Initiative, and Ken Colburn, Principal and U.S. Program Director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, will follow with views on the opportunities and benefits, as well as obstacles and potential drawbacks of a path to a more electrified economy.  This event is part of CSIS’s ongoing work on Electricity in Transition, which surveys the current landscape of the U.S. and global electricity sector.

Forum to Look at LNG in Latin America – The Atlantic Council hosts a forum on Thursday, October 5th at Noon looking at the Growing Role of LNG in Latin America.  Natural gas is emerging as a critical source of energy in the Americas and around the world, and Latin America is rapidly becoming a key destination for US LNG exports. Latin America is currently the number one destination for US LNG exports, accounting for over 40%. Many governments in the region see natural gas as a low-carbon energy option that can support their increasing turn towards renewables. Additionally, lower global LNG prices, the impacts of drought conditions on the region’s hydropower sector, and a departure from industries such as coal and diesel have driven the demand for LNG and calls into question whether this is an opportunity for Latin America to become more integrated.  The forum will feature a conversation with Argentinian Ministry of Energy and Mining Transport Director Gonzalo Aguirre, Jose Luis Castro of Sociedad Portuaria El Cayao (SPEC), Giovani Machado of Empresa de Pesquisa Energética and the State Department’s acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Resources Sue Saarnio.

ELI, DC Bar to Look at Policy Reversals – The Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar are hosting a forum on Thursday October 5th on how agencies often reverse policy.  Since the presidential transition, EPA and other agencies have used a variety of tools to change policies and regulations. Three common tools they have used are stays, remands, and reconsideration. Agencies administratively stay the effective date of rules preventing them from going into effect, seek voluntary remand of rules in litigation to revisit rules administratively while avoiding a judicial decision, and administratively reconsider rules. Some of these actions have been the subject of the heated litigation, and the courts have acted to constrain agency discretion, including in an important D.C. Circuit decision rejecting EPA’s stay of the oil and gas methane rule. Expert panelists will discuss the use of these legal tools in changing agency policy, and offer cutting-edge perspectives from the government, the private sector, and the environmental advocacy community.

ACORE Finance Forum Set – The American Council on Renewable Energy will hold forum on the state of the renewable energy public policy, financial markets and corporate renewables strategy when they hold ACORE Finance West on October 12th at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco.  This annual conference convenes senior investors, industry executives, and other top transactional professionals to address market trends in the context of renewable investment opportunities in the Western U.S.

Bloomberg Hosts Sustainability Forum – Bloomberg holds its 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit on October 12-13th in its New York offices to discuss how companies are yielding positive returns for investors, creating sustainably valuable products and processes, and developing innovative sustainable business models.  Uniquely positioned at the intersection of sustainable business and sustainable investing, the summit will explore the challenges and even greater opportunities emerging across industries.

WAPA to Host Road Rally – The Washington Automotive Press Association holds its 2017 WAPA Rally on October 12th.  This year’s event will be a drive event on the roads just beyond the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the scenic Eastern Shore of Maryland. The event provides the opportunity to drive or ride in the latest and greatest cars, trucks and SUVs provided by WAPA’s automotive partners.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 24

Friends,

It was an exciting close to the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport England with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kutcher dueling over the final 18 holes. Trailing for the first time all weekend after a 13th-hole bogey, Spieth shot 5-under over the final five holes to pull away to win his first Claret Jug.  Not as exciting, but certainly no less impressive, Chris Froome rode into Paris and closed his 4th Tour de France victory after three grueling weeks.

A quick update on our summer concert road trip series: Adam, Hannah and I finished the effort with a weekend visit to Brooklyn to see Iron Maiden close its US Book of Souls tour.  While in NY, we hit Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown and I made Adam order for us in Chinese (after his two years of taking Chinese at his school and living with a Chinese roommate).  And he was great, as we got all the right food and weren’t tossed out of the restaurant.  Just prior, we drove up to Camden to see Incubus, which was also a great show.

Much has been speculated and now reported on the expected nomination of Andy Wheeler (EPA #2) and Bill Wehrum (air office).  We expect to hear more about that this week, as well as CPP action at OMB and in EPA’s forthcoming review that will propose revoking it.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is back in the saddle after shaking off an illness last week.

This week, Congress continues to roll on budget issues (with the full House taking up Energy Approps) and hopefully moving some nominations (PLEASE….) as health care issues seem temporarily to be moved to the background.  What isn’t happening this week is the mark up of Sen. Fischer’s ethanol expansion legislation S.517.  Lots of back and forth on that issue last week, including more union opposition and an interesting letter from former House Energy Chair Henry Waxman urging Senate Environment Committee Dems to oppose the legislation.  On the hearing front, House Science will take up ethanol tomorrow with Emily Skor, Heritage’s Nick Loris and folks from Energy labs.  Also tomorrow, Senate Environment look at advanced nuclear and CCS and on Wednesday, the seven major grid operator come to House Energy to testify on security. (Watch for discussions of the recently released NAS report on vulnerabilities)

Much more fun will be several energy events this week around town, including a major new study on advanced nuclear rolled out at NEI tomorrow (speaking of advanced nuclear) and the discussion of new carbon tax legislation from Sens. Whitehouse and Schatz at AEI.  Wednesday has CSIS forum on NAFTA energy issues and Thursday, the US Energy Association hosts its 10th annual Energy Supply Forum at the Press Club.

Finally, I close this week with the saddest of sad notes.  My friend and great editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal Joe Rago passed away completely unexpectedly late last week in NYC.  Joe was a great guy; and really the kind of guy you wanted to share a beer or a cab with because you would always learn something new.  To honor Joe, the WSJ board wrote a moving tribute here and also highlighted some of his best work here.  We will miss him…

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Protectionism is never the solution for an inability to compete globally. Our country’s trade laws should never be co-opted into causing widespread pain for the broader U.S. economy.”

Bill Gaskin, former President of the Precision Metalforming Association on its participation in the new Energy Trade Action Council, a groups that will oppose the ITC solar tariff petition.

 

“Tariffs meant to protect one industry can, and often do, have significant damaging effects on other domestic industries. Imposing tariffs under Section 201, as Suniva and SolarWorld request, would be a step backward by adding another layer of federal subsidies which is something the Heritage Foundation opposes in all instances.”

Tori K. Whiting, Research Associate at The Heritage Foundation.

 

“The solar case is an example of the worst kind of trade protectionism. We’re delighted to stand for freedom and free markets.”

Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.

 

“The Section 201 solar industry trade case will undermine one of the fastest growing “all-of-the-above” Energy jobs sectors in states across the country, solar energy installation.  We must avoid rewarding this opportunistic use of U.S. trade laws.”

Sarah E. Hunt, Director of the Center for Innovation and Technology at ALEC.

 

IN THE NEWS

Coalition to Fight Solar Petition Activates – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) was launched today to fight the misuse of trade remedies with an initial focus on the Section 201 trade petition on imported solar components.  Filed by two heavily indebted solar companies, the 201 trade petition asks the Trump Administration to impose a drastic mix of tariffs and a floor price that would double the price of solar equipment and damage the U.S. solar industry.  The Section 201 Petition seeks a tariff of 40 cents per watt on all foreign-made solar cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on all foreign-made panels, doubling the price for the basic ingredients of the broader U.S. solar industry.  The $23 billion U.S. solar industry employs 260,000 American workers in good-paying jobs across the country.  If successful, this petition would slash demand for new projects and make solar less competitive with other sources of power. A recent study showed that an estimated 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current American solar workforce, would be lost if trade protections proposed in the petition are granted.  ETAC will actively engage with the Trump administration, Congress, the media and public to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining access to globally priced products to support American energy industry competitiveness, sustain tens of thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs and preserve the principles of free trade in a global marketplace. The Coalition membership will consist of a variety of trade associations, companies and groups, covering utilities, co-ops, manufacturers, supply chain suppliers, solar companies/developers, retailers, local union workers, small businesses, venture capital groups and conservative free-trade advocates. Please see the press release online here.   For regular updates and more background, follow the Coalition on Twitter at @EnergyTradeAC

House Science Comms Head Moves to Chevron Chem – Communications director for the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Kristina Baum leaving to join Chevron Phillips Chemical, a joint venture between Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66.  Before moving to the House, Baum was the communications chief in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under Sen. Inhofe.

Waxman Blasts S.517 in Letter to Senate EPW Dems – Former House Energy Committee Chair Henry Waxman urged his fellow Democrats on the Senate Environment Committee to oppose S.517.  Waxman says he is committed to addressing climate change and protecting the environment. Unfortunately, supporting S.517 would expand markets for corn ethanol – now known to drive major land conversion and to have little if any carbon reduction advantages – while also undermining efforts to craft broad legislative reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  He added the 2007 RFS that he supported but have failed to significantly materialize. Waxman encouraged committee members to oppose S. 517 and to instead back broad change on biofuel policy, change that is in line with the climate and environmental protections they have so consistently supported.  Can send letter if you want to see it.

Unions Weigh in Against Ethanol Expansion – Last week, two major international unions weighed in against the E15 expansion legislation sponsor by Sen. Deb Fischer. Last week, Mark McManus, General President of the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry said “rather than pushing through an increase in the ethanol concentration in gasoline, Congress should consider reforming the RFS to rectify the threats to domestic refining jobs and address the skyrocketing cost for credits needed to comply with the RFS that have put refining jobs, particularly on the East Coast, at risk. One refinery has already laid off employees and cut benefits in part due to these costs. This creates a serious concern that others could follow suit.”  Another key international union group also weighed in when the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey said in a letter to Sens. Barrasso and Carper that the skyrocketing costs for credits needed to comply with RFS has already put East Coast refining jobs at risk.  “Congress should consider reforming the RFS to address the threats to domestic refining jobs in the Northeast and across the nation before rolling back Clean Air Act restrictions to allow for fuel with Greater concentrations of ethanol.”  I can forward the letters if you want to see them.

Cap Crude Look at Ethanol Issues – Speaking of ethanol and E15, on this week’s Platts Capitol Crude, RFA’s Bob Dinneen talks with Brian Schied about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard under the Trump administration, the state of Brazilian biofuels trade and future sales of E15 gasoline.

Lawmakers Give Big Vote For Small Hydro – House lawmakers made a big move for small hydropower in approving a bill from Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) that would expedite federal reviews of conduit (or energy-recovery) projects. There is enormous potential in these projects to provide clean and reliable power. The Promoting Conduit Hydropower Facilities Act (H.R. 2786), approved 420-2, aims to aid projects that are typically low impact because they are constructed as part of existing water infrastructure, such as irrigation canals and pipes that deliver water to cities and for industrial and agricultural use.  Sen. Steve Daines is expected to introduce a Senate version of a bipartisan push to expedite federal reviews for small conduit (or energy-recovery) hydropower projects later this week.

National Academies Report Finds Grid Vulnerable to Cyber, Physical Attacks – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes the United States’ electric grid is vulnerable to a range of threats, including terrorism or natural disasters that could potentially cause long-term and widespread blackouts. The report, commissioned by Congress, called on DOE and Homeland Security to work with utility operators and other stakeholders to improve cyber and physical security and resilience.  Expect more on this when grid operator come to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Senate Appropriators Stress Energy Innovation – Senate appropriators included language in their Energy Department spending plan for next year stressing that advanced nuclear technologies “hold great promise for reliable, safe, emission-free energy and should be a priority for the Department.” Specifically, the department is directed to provide Congress a strategy “that sets aggressive, but achievable goals to demonstrate a variety of private-sector advanced reactor designs and fuel types by the late 2020s.” The committee also expressed support for “grid-scale field demonstration of energy storage projects” and encouraged the department to prioritize research that resolve key cost and performance challenges.” The Senate spending bill specifies that these efforts “should also have very clear goals.” Our friends at ClearPath have been specifically pushing for federal goals of demonstrating four different private advanced nuclear reactor technologies and three advanced energy storage solutions by 2027.

NRC Approves Safety Platform for NuScale Small Modular Reactor – NRC has approved the highly integrated protection system (HIPS) platform developed for NuScale Power’s small modular reactor, saying it is acceptable for use in plant safety-related instrumentation and control systems.  The HIPS platform is a protective system architecture designed by NuScale and Rock Creek Innovations. The hybrid analog and digital logic-based system comprises the safety function, communications, and equipment interface and hardwired modules.  The platform also uses field programmable gate array technology that is not vulnerable to internet cyber-attacks.  NuScale is planning to use the HIPS platform – which does not utilize software or microprocessors for operation – for the module protection system of its SMR.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Aspen Energy Forum Kicks Off – The Aspen Institute’s Forum on Global Energy, Economy, and Security kicks off in Colorado today through Wednesday.  The event is an annual convening to discuss changes in global energy markets and the strong links between energy and national economic and security concerns. This year, the forum will focus on: international oil and natural gas markets, resource development and transportation, geopolitical issues, and many other topics. This year, the forum will be co-chaired by Mary Landrieu, Senior Policy Advisor for Van Ness Feldman and former United States Senator, and Marvin Odum, former President of Shell Oil Company.

House Grid Innovation Expo Set – The Edison Electric Institute, GridWise Alliance and National Electrical Manufacturers Association host Grid Innovation Expo in the Rayburn Foyer tomorrow starting at 9:30 a.m. in conjunction with the U.S. House Grid Innovation Caucus.  The hands-on House Grid Innovation Expo will feature the latest innovative technologies and projects that are transforming the energy grid. Exhibitors will include; ABB, American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, Florida Power & Light Co., G&W Electric, General Electric, Innovari, Itron, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, S&C Electric Company, Siemens, Southern California Edison, Tesla, Vermont Electric Power Company, Xcel Energy, and others.

Report to Highlight Advanced Nuclear Opportunities – The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is hosting a session tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore findings of the report from the Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP) and Energy Options Network (EON) on the potential cost of advanced nuclear technology.  Panelists, including representatives from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), will join authors from EIRP and EON.  Innovation within the nuclear industry is opening the imagination for tomorrow’s advanced technologies that promise improved performance, safety and economics. Yet questions remain about what it will take to get new technologies to commercialization, including the costs of new reactor designs. The report analyzes data received from a number of advanced reactor companies using a standardized cost model that normalizes the collected data.

House Science Panels Look at Ethanol – The House Science Committee panels on Energy and Environment will hold a join hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore the balance between federal biofuels research and the impact of federal intervention in energy markets   Witnesses will include Paul Gilna, director of BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; John DeCicco of the University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI) Growth Energy’s Emily Skor and Heritage’s Nick Loris.

House Committee Tackle “Sue, Settle” – The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Subcommittee on Interior, Energy and Environment will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the so-called sue-and-settle phenomenon that Republican lawmakers have challenged during the previous administration.

Senate Enviro Panel Dives Into Nukes CCS – The Senate Environment panel on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will examine carbon capture and advanced nuclear technologies tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. The panel will hear from representatives from national labs and state groups to “inform potential future legislative proposals and review regulatory activities.  Among those testifying is Jason Begger, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, which oversees the Wyoming Integrated Test Center. Other witnesses include WVU Energy Institute director Brian Anderson, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Global Security E-Program manager Steve Bohlen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Moe Khaleel and Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at the Idaho National Laboratory.

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

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

Grid Operator Testify at House Energy Panel – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing featuring senior officials at the seven major grid operators as they evaluate the current state of electricity markets.  The executives, whose organizations oversee and manage the country’s electricity markets and transmission systems, will give their takes on issues including grid reliability and transmission planning.  Witnesses include Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, Cal ISO CEO Keith Casey, Midcontinent ISO CEO Richard Doying, PJM exec Craig Glazer, NY ISO CEO Brad Jones, ERCOT exec Cheryl Mele and ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie.

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

CAP to Discuss Trump Reg Agenda – The Center for American Progress will host a discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to detail how in their mind, the Trump regulatory agenda hurts people.  Not much new there.  DC Attorney General Karl Racine and a panel of experts will discuss the implications.

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

Trade petition Hearing Set – The US International Trade Commission will hold its first hearing on the injury phase of the Solar 201 trade petition filed by Suniva on August 15th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the USITC in Washington, DC. In the event that the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination or is equally divided on the question of injury in this investigation, a second hearing on the question of remedy will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. on October 3rd.

Platts Forum to Look at Pipeline Issues – Platts will hold its 12th annual conference in Houston at the Houstonian on September 7th and 8th looking at pipeline development and expansion.   During the conference, my colleague George Felcyn and our friend George Stark of Cabot will be featured on a panel on building pipeline support from the grassroots.   This workshop will focus on ways for pipeline companies to build public support, shape media coverage, influence regulators and successfully see their planned projects through to completion.

TX Renewable Summit Set – On September 18th – 20th, the Texas Renewable Energy Summit will be held in Austin at Omni Southpark.  The summit will offer the latest insights into the market and hear from key players about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in Texas.  The falling price of solar panels is driving a surge in interest by public utilities and corporate customers in contracting for solar power, while a huge queue of wind projects is forming. As much as 16 GW of new wind and solar projects could come to fruition in Texas.  However, development and financing challenges must be surmounted to assure project success and bankability. Large quantities of solar may drive the dispatch curve and market prices in unpredictable directions.

Energy Update: Week of June 26

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of June 5

Friends,

The jet lag of the red eye last Monday/Tuesday helped me overlook a big happening in the lax world last week.  On Monday, Maryland’s Men’s team broke a 42-year drought of “almost wons” by beating Ohio State 9-6 to take the NCAA title.  The day before, the Maryland Women won their 3rd title in 4 years with a 16-13 Win over Boston College, with Hannah’s old Severn School teammate Caroline Steele scoring 6 goals in the final.  Finally, Terrapins completed the four-pack when seniors Matt Rambo and Zoe Stukenberg swept Tewaaraton Awards as NCAA DI’s top lacrosse players.   Toss in Salisbury taking the DIII title for the 12th time and no doubt that MD is the center of lax world today.

As I mentioned in the post Memorial Day update, while Congress was in recess, the Big Story was Paris and the President didn’t (or maybe he did) disappoint revealing the big decision.  On Thursday, Trump took to the Rose Garden for a speech withdrawing the US from the Paris Accord.  A full analysis is below.  But pay special attention to Scott Segal’s analysis in our Bracewell podcast.  We are happy to continue our ongoing discussion of what all this may mean.

With Congress returning, it is budget time.  But before then, Senate Energy will likely approve FERC nominees Neal Chatterjee and Robert Powleson, along with DOE Deputy Dan Brouillette and Interior #2 David Bernhardt tomorrow.  On Wednesday, Senate EPW hosts three nominees for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as Susan Bodine for EPA’s Enforcement office.  Budget hearings include Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appearing before the House Interior Appropriations panel on Thursday and NRC Commissioners at the table on Wednesday at Senate Energy.

On Saturday, we get the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown at Belmont Park.  While Preakness winner Cloud Computing and Derby winner Always Dreaming won’t run on Saturday, it clear that Classic Empire and Lookin At Lee are both racing. So far, I’ve slept on Lookin At Lee but his strong finishing kick in both races make him another likely box bet. It is also confirmed that Patch, the one-eyed feel good story will be back in the field in New York, despite his 14th place showing in Louisville.  Tapwrit will also run again (6th in Derby) and could be a sleeper given his sire, Tapit was a Belmont winner.  Also Irish War Cry, a strong Derby favorite who was hindered during the start, would be a great pick after his 5-week rest. Finally, you cannot sleep on two others: Senior Investment ran hard against high odds to the finish to Show in the Preakness and Gotham Stakes winner J Boys Echo, who had a disappointing Derby, has performed well in New York.  Finally, Japan’s Epicharis is worth a look, but don’t put too much into his odds.  He is seeing heavy money from Japan which will simulcast the Belmont for the first time ever and that will impact his odds favorably despite not having a great record on the track.  This field will be a step up in class so beware. Post positions on Wednesday from the Rockefeller Center. Here is my tri-box: Classic Empire, Irish, Lee, and I’ll take Irish to outrun both in the stretch.  I may also try a box or Super with Tapwrit. Also putting a $2 flyer on fresh, NY homer J Boys Echo at 30-1. Good luck.

Special congrats to my energy/env colleagues that were named to the 2017 edition of Legalease’s The Legal 500 for the United States.  Jason Hutt, Jeff Holmstead, Kevin Ewing, Cathy McCarthy, Dave Poe, David Perlman, Mark Lewis , Kirk Morgan, Matt Paulson, Tim Wilkins, John Klauberg and Michael Brooks were all honored and are among the expert resources that you have all spoken to over the years.

Finally, I was out at Jiffy Lube Live on Saturday for the opening of the US Tour for Iron Maiden’s Book of Souls Tour.  It was a pretty awesome show and I posted a few picts and videos.  But I must say, every time I see them (this is my fourth time), I continually think of the 1984 American rock music mockumentary comedy film This is Spinal Tap.  Rock On…and call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The Council and its members remain resolute in their commitment to taking action on climate change, and will continue to work with the inter-governmental process as well as national and sub-national governments to advance policies that accelerate the deployment of American clean energy technologies and business solutions that are at the heart of the modern infrastructure of the global, low-carbon economy.”

Business Council for Sustainable Energy CEO Lisa Jacobson on the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

 

IN THE NEWS

Maybe We Won’t Always Have Paris…or Maybe We Might? – In a major (and pretty political) Rose Garden speech, President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.  There has been mountains of TV coverage (terrible) and some much better news coverage of the action.  The WaPo has a lot of good stuff, most of it captured in Dino Grandoni’s Energy 202 blog, Amy Harder’s constant Axios reporting and Brad Plumer’s work at NYT.  Also there has been some great trade press work by E&E, Energy Daily, BNA, The Hill and many others.  And the FT did some great work with an international focus and our friend Zack Colman returned for Climate Home with a zinger story.  Finally, while we heard lots of banter about Ivanka/Brannon internal White House palace intrigue, Juliet Eilperin looked at the increasing strength of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in the decision process.

Political Impacts? – While much of the coverage and many activists claim this will have a HUGE political impact for the midterms and the 2020 Presidential, there is no historical evidence that that is true.  We have been following this issue for nearly 20 years and we always hear this kind of conversation in the moment.  While this will certainly help spur activist organizing and enviro fundraising, it often doesn’t translates to the ballot box – especially 18 month from now.   It may, but we shall see…

Bracewell Podcast Features Segal Detailing Paris Announcement Impacts – Bracewell environmental policy expert Scott Segal is the guest on Bracewell’s Lobby Shop podcast this week.  TV and the internet has been filled with hot takes about Paris, but very few efforts to explain what the Paris Accord is and how it really operates. Segal’s take offers a complete understanding of the agreement, it issues and the symbolic and Substantive impacts.  It is not punditry, but a serious explanation aimed at helping support informed policy discussions.

Chamber Pushes Back on the NERA Study Attacks – In his Rose Garden speech withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Trump referenced the NERA report on industrial sector GHG/Paris pledge impacts.  Subsequently, the report was unfairly attacked by activists and political opponents disappointed by the President’s decision.  The Chamber’s Energy Institute, one of its primary sponsors along with the American Council on Capital Formation, put together a comprehensive response to address questions and concerns.   You can see the response here.

Business Groups Will Stay Engaged in International Climate Talks – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy said it would stay involved in the International discussion despite the White House move on Paris.  BCSE and other have historical perspective from 2001 when President George W. Bush pulled the US out of Kyoto, which they say hurt the US reputation and the US’s role in future discussions on energy and climate change for many years. In the current environment, we are concerned that it could impact the US government’s ability to protect US commercial interests in these discussions as well as other important international negotiations. “Among the reasons cited for leaving the Paris Agreement, President Trump indicated that reducing emissions will increase household costs and result in lost jobs. However, over the past decade, the US has made significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions while keeping household spending on energy low and supporting a vast American workforce. In fact, household spending on energy as a proportion of total household spending is currently at the lowest it has been since the records began in 1959, and jobs in clean energy sectors are growing, with clean energy industries supporting over 3 million American jobs.”

Factbook Details Show GHG reductions haven’t Increased Electricity Costs – Earlier this year, the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) showed that significant greenhouses gas emissions reductions that have been made in the US, without increasing electricity costs. And, importantly, household spending on energy across the board as a proportion of total household spending is the lowest it has been since the records were started in 1959.  Please see the charts from the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook below that show this:

GTM Podcast Details Impacts of Solar Trade Case – Speaking of podcasts, Greentech Media’s Interchange podcast this week unpacks the consequences of a sweeping solar trade complaint now under review by the Trump administration.  Last week, the U.S. government officially accepted Suniva’s request to review the impact of imported cells and modules on domestic solar manufacturers. If trade officials request tariffs and minimum prices at the levels suggested by Suniva, it could set industry equipment pricing back to 2012 levels and installed system pricing at 2015 levels.  That would harm a lot of planned utility-scale solar projects as well as a number of state markets for residential installers.  Solar industry expert Shayle Kann joins GTM host Stephen Lacey for an insightful, detailed discussion of the potential impacts of trade case.

Tesoro, Western to Become Andeavor Refining – Tesoro and Western Refining will become Andeavor on August 1, 2017, a premier refining, marketing and logistics company in the western United States. Andeavor will have 13,000 employees, operate 10 refineries with a combined capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day, and have ownership in two logistics businesses. Andeavor’s retail marketing system will include more than 3,000 stations throughout the western U.S.

USGS Study: Fracking Not Source of Chemicals in Wells – A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows hydraulic fracturing is not a significant source of dangerous chemicals in drinking water wells.  USGS said the study looked at a significant section of oil and gas production areas in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, including the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shale formations. It did not take into account areas of the Marcellus Shale.  The study found low concentrations of benzene but in relatively high frequencies, which could mostly be attributed to natural sources.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Security Implications of Climate – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) will hold a forum today at 2:00 p.m. discussing the role of climate change as a “threat multiplier” in the geopolitical landscape and the implications that has for U.S. national security. The briefing will explore the risk management and planning considerations facing the Department of Defense (DOD) as it seeks to maintain force readiness and bolster infrastructure resilience. The panel will also discuss the need for investments in preventive measures today to prepare for future needs concerning disaster assistance, the Arctic, and the displacement of vulnerable populations due to climate change.  The speakers for this forum are US Army Brigadier General Gerald Galloway (former Dean of the Academic Board at West Point), former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security Sherri Goodman, USAF General Ron Keys, US Navy Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, United States Navy and former Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John Conger.

Forum to Host Fireside Chat With Ford – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council hosts a fireside chat on the future of mobility and its global implications, featuring Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company Bill Ford.

Senate Energy To Vote on FERC Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will vote on four of President Trump’s energy nominees tomorrow and likely approve the candidates for a full floor vote.  On tap are Dan Brouillette to serve in the second-highest post at the Energy Department and David Bernhardt for the job of deputy Interior secretary. Also up for a vote are Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to fill two Republican vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Brooking to Discuss Paris Move – The Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a conversation tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on what Trump’s withdrawal means going forward. Speakers from across the Institution’s research programs will give their takes on impacts ranging from clean power and the domestic energy industry to U.S. foreign policy. Our friend Lisa Friedman, editor of ClimateWire, will moderate the panel and audience Q&A.

Carper Roundtable to Look at Energy Jobs – Senate Environment ranking Democrat Tom Carper is hosting a roundtable tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. focused on clean air regulations and how it can spur cleaner air, innovation and economic opportunities. Witnesses will include Energy Innovation CEO Hal Harvey, Ameresco’s Michael Bakas, Corning’s Tim Johnson and George Howard, co-owner and board member of Inovateus Solar.

Caucus to Host Building Efficiency WeekHigh Performance Building Week is next week on Capitol Hill from Tuesday through Friday.  The week is an annual event sponsored by the High-Performance Buildings Caucus of the U.S. Congress. The Caucus was formed to heighten awareness and inform policymakers about the major impact buildings have on our health, safety and welfare and the opportunities to design, construct and operate high-performance buildings that reflect our concern for these impacts.  Fundamental to these concerns include protecting life and property, developing novel building technologies, facilitating and enhancing U.S. economic competitiveness, increasing energy efficiency in the built environment, assuring buildings have minimal climate change impacts and are able to respond to changes in the environment.

CSIS to Host Norway Energy Minister – Tomorrow at 2:45 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Norwegian Minister of Climate and the Environment Vidar Helgesen for a discussion on Norway’s climate policy, challenges, and opportunities.  A top global producer of natural gas and the leading European producer of petroleum liquids, Norway is a champion of sustainable development and climate action. Norway continues to move forward on climate policy through its ambitious goal of a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral. A key element is the engagement by industry and other stakeholders in “the green transition,” making use of the new economic opportunities that a low-carbon future entails. Multilateral engagement on climate is also key for Norway, which recognizes the potential security challenges related to climate change.

Forum to Look at Europe Energy Issues – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a half-day conference on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. looking at the implications of the changing global LNG market, progression of the European Energy Union concept, and priorities of the new administration in Washington, DC for Central and Eastern European energy security. Among the speakers will be Cheniere’s Robert Fee, former State Department official Melanie Kenderdine, current State official Mary Warlick, Lithuanian Energy minister Simonas Šatūnas and Foreign Policy editor Keith Johnson, among others.

Senate Environment Host NRC Nominees, EPA Enforcement Official – The Senate Environment Committee will host a nomination hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on three NRC nominees and EPA enforcement chief Susan Bodine. The NRC nominees include current commissioner Kristin Svinicki and new appointees Annie Caputo, a former Exelon Corp. executive who now works for the EPW Committee and David Wright, a former South Carolina Public Service commissioner.

House Foreign Affairs to Look at Energy Issues – The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in 2172 Rayburn looking at energy opportunities in North America.  Witnesses include CSIS energy expert Sarah Ladislaw, API’s tax expert Stephen Comstock and Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

OMB Nominees Head to Senate – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a nomination hearing on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. for Russell Vought, nominee for Office of Management and Budget deputy director, and Neomi Rao, nominee to lead the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The Budget Committee will hold a separate hearing on Vought in the afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

House Resources Look at Abandon Mine Renewal – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is holding a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the Interior Department’s Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program.  Witnesses include John Dawes, executive director, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds; Glenda Owens, acting director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement; Todd Parfitt, director, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality; Hal Quinn, CEO, National Mining Association; and Rob Rice, chief, West Virginia Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation.

Senate Approps Panel to Look at NRC Budget – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development will convene a hearing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to review the FY2018 budget request for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Witnesses will be NRC Commissioners Kristine Svinicki, Jeff Baran and Stephen Burns.

House Resources to Look at Fire, Forest Management – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands takes testimony on Thursday looking at the effects of lawsuits and government red tape on forest management.  The hearing will address burdensome litigation and federal bureaucratic roadblocks to manage our nation’s overgrown, fire-prone national forests.

Senate Energy to Look at Emerging Energy Tech – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. will examine cost reductions in emerging technologies.  The hearing will look at would be on how recent trends may affect today’s energy landscape.

Panel to Look at Nuke Issues – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum on nuclear proliferation, safety, and security. Thomas Wood, Robert Otto, and Tristan Volpe will discuss their recent articles in the “Nonproliferation Review” on positive inducements for nuclear proliferation, safety, and security. James Casterton will respond by addressing the policy and global governance implications of these proposals in a moderated discussion with Joshua Pollack.

Forum to Look at Infrastructure – The Hudson Institute will host a timely conversation on Thursday at Noon about the importance of modernizing America’s infrastructure to spur sustained economic growth and job creation and improve the quality of life for all Americans. U.S. Senator John Boozman will offer his perspective in opening remarks drawing on his experiences serving on the Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.  A panel discussion will follow the senator’s remarks featuring the Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation;, former Federal Transit Administration chief counsel David Horner; former senior deputy mayor and COO of Indianapolis under Mayor Steve Goldsmith Skip Stitt, author of Hudson’s recent report Infrastructure Spending and Public-Private Partnerships and Jennifer Aument, a commissioner for the Virginia Port Authority and Group General Manager, North America at Transubran.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Climate Lobby Meetings, Hill Day Set – The Citizens Climate Lobby hold its 8th annual conference in Washington, DC on Sunday June 11th though next Tuesday at the Omni Shoreham.  The keynote speaker will be Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.  Most of Tuesday will be on Capitol Hill.

Wilson Center to Discuss China Green Grid – Next Monday at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center hosts a forum on the Chinese green grid and its outcome. Panelists at the meeting will discuss what can be done to help China move towards a more market-oriented electricity system without making pollution and water quality worse. Mun Ho (Resources for the Future) will open up the panel reviewing the challenges power grid reforms have faced in China, particularly around power dispatch. While Chris James (Regulatory Assistance Project/RAP) will talk about the potential solutions to promote green electricity dispatch in China. As the United States went through a similar transition to market-based electricity systems starting in the mid-1990s, perspectives of a state regulator are important. Eleanor Stein (Albany Law School) will discuss New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision process, and whether principles and concepts from that process might be considered for China.

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

Senate Energy to Discuss Hydro Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee’s Water and Power Panel will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday June 14th at 2:30 p.m. looking at several hydropower bills.

RFF to Host Webinar of RGGI Emissions Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a webinar on June 14th at 10:15 a.m. to discuss emissions containment reserve (ECR) concepts with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  Researchers at Resources for the Future (RFF) and the University of Virginia have been working hard on further analysis and modeling of the ECR and the webinar will present the results of this research; a final report will be released in early summer.  The webinar will begin with an introduction and brief review of the ECR concept. Dallas Burtraw (RFF) and William Shobe (UVA) will then present results from simulation modeling and laboratory experiments that illustrate how the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) market would work with the addition of an ECR.

Following the presentations, representatives from industry, environmental advocacy groups, think tanks, and state environmental agencies will respond to the analyses with a look at what they view as opportunities, as well as potential challenges, of introducing an ECR program as part of RGGI. The webinar will conclude with time to respond to questions and comments from the audience.

Senate to Look at RFS – The Senate Environment Committee Is expected to hold a hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard on June 15th.

Forum to Launch BP Energy Review – The Atlantic Council will launch of the 2017 BP Statistical Review of Energy on Thursday June 15th at 9:30 a.m. featuring BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. From the shift to low-carbon fuels to the proliferation of renewables to the future of coal, BP’s Statistical Review of Energy continually provides authoritative and in-depth information and insightful analysis that is invaluable in understanding changing energy markets and production and consumption patterns.

BP’s Dale Also Addresses NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will also BP’s Dale as its guest speaker at its next luncheon at Noon on Thursday June 15th where he will continue the public rollout of this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy Markets.

WCEE to Look at Western Energy Markets – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Friday June 16th to get an overview of the Western Energy Imbalance Market from FERC staff Elizabeth Olson who worked in the California electricity market during EIM implementation.

BNEF to Release Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting the launch of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017 on June 21st at 10:00 a.m. The report is BNEF’s annual economic forecast for the world’s power mix to 2040. Built over nine months, it is the result of a major collaboration of more than 65 market and technical experts from BNEF’s 11 offices around the world.  Seb Henbest (NEO Lead Author and Head of Europe, Middle East, & Africa; BNEF) and Elena Giannakopoulou (Lead Energy Economist; BNEF) will present on the NEO 2017 findings, followed by Q&A and discussion.

BNEF Energy Outlook Report to Launch – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on June 21st to launch Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017. The report is BNEF’s annual economic forecast for the world’s power mix to 2040. Built over nine months, it is the result of a major collaboration of more than 65 market and technical experts from BNEF’s 11 offices around the world.  Seb Henbest (NEO Lead Author and Head of Europe, Middle East, & Africa; BNEF) and Elena Giannakopoulou (Lead Energy Economist; BNEF) will present on the NEO 2017 findings, followed by Q&A and discussion. This year, NEO 2017 highlights the long-term ramifications of competitive offshore wind and what cheaper batteries mean for the uptake of electric vehicles, consumer photovoltaic systems, and managing peak demand, among other stories.

CA Energy Forum Set – Advanced Energy Economy’s (AEE) annual California energy policy event, Pathway to 2050, will be held on June 21st in Sacramento.  The event brings together an influential group of advanced energy business leaders and state policy-makers to discuss opportunities to accelerate California’s economy through the growth of advanced energy.  Speakers will include our friends Caroline Choi of SoCalEd, Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee and Greentech’s Katie Fehrenbacher. Other speakers include SoCal Ed CEO Kevin Payne, GE’s Deb Frodl, Cal Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, CPUC President Michael Picker, Cal Energy Commissioner Janea Scott and Tom Steyer.

CSIS to Host Statoil Energy Report – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on June 22nd at 1:00 p.m. featuring Eirik Wærness, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2017.  The Energy Perspectives report summarizes different narratives about global energy demand and energy mix for the future decades, scenarios, based on different assumptions about regional and global economic growth, conflict levels and implications, technological development and energy and climate policies. In the 2017 version, models have been adjusted with last year’s developments in the energy and climate policy area, technology costs and maturity, more thorough assessments of GDP forecasts, as well as included adjustments made to historic global CO2 emissions. The modelling runs to 2050 with 2014 as baseline year, and provides a forecast for global energy demand and energy mix, economic growth, CO2 emissions, and more.

Forum to Hear Energy Demand Expert – On Friday June 23rd at Chinatown Garden, the National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will host physicist, venture capitalist, author, government advisor, and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Mark Mills.  Mills will discuss energy demand disruptions and the aspirations versus the reality. Mills says we are nearing an era of ‘peak energy demand’ requires believing that innovation is over, and similarly that we’ve seen the end of normal economic and social behaviors.  Technology and demographic trends in fact suggest that the recent past is in an interregnum, not a ‘new normal’ when it comes to energy demand.

EIA Energy Conference Set – The 2017 EIA Energy Conference is scheduled for June 26-27 in Washington, DC.

Smart Cities Conference Headed for Austin – The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference will be in Austin, TX at the Convention Center on June 27th.  The event convenes more than 200 global city leaders to prospect and partner with innovative technology and service providers.

Global Security Forum Set – The Center for a New American Security hosts its 2017 Annual Conference in partnership with The Washington Post on Wednesday, June 28th at The Mayflower Hotel. This year’s conference will bring together U.S. national security policymakers and experts to highlight major divides and identify potential bipartisan solutions. CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.

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

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

Energy Update: Week of January 9

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence

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

Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

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

Energy Update: Week of April 11

Friends,

What a shocking Masters finish!  With it seemingly on cruise control after 3 days of domination and 4 straight birdies just prior to making the turn, Jordan Spieth dropped six shots on the next three holes – including a 7 on the famous par 3 12th Hole at Amen Corner.  Wow!!! I was totally in shock.  While Spieth righted the ship and hobbled home to tie for second, take nothing away from unknown Brit Danny Willet, who made a number of huge shots down the stretch to hold off Spieth and Lee Westwood to win his first Green Jacket.

After watching the drama at the first PGA Major of the year unfold, we headed out to Game #2460 of the regular NHL season (the very last) watching the Caps-Ducks play the makeup game postponed by the Snowmageddon Blizzard from February.  Of course, that Game 2460 means the real hockey season begins for 16 teams, including the Caps, who long clinched as the NHL’s top team.  They will Player a rough-and-tumble Flyers team who fought hard to make the playoffs.  Other matchups in the east include Detroit (for the 25th straight year) taking on an injury-depleted, but favored Tampa team, the surprise Florida Panthers taking on the NY Islanders and the NY Rangers-Pittsburgh, which might be the best and nastiest of the Eastern Conference.  Who knows what will happen in the much more difficult West, but it seems the St. Louis-Chicago series may be the most intriguing first round match up.  Chicago is the defending Stanley Cup Champion, while the Blues are desperate to stop underachieving in the Cup chase.  Other great series will include Anaheim-Nashville, the LA Kings-San Jose and Dallas-Minnesota.  It takes 16 wins to bring home the toughest trophy in all major sports…Here we go!!!!  Games start Wednesday.

And finally on the sports page, congrats to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux…ooops, I mean the University of North Dakota _________s (it’s a long story which you can read here) who defeated Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, 5-1, in Tampa Saturday to win the NCAA’s Frozen Four Hockey National Championship.  A Quinnipiac (and NCAA) poll had the Bobcats #1 but I guess, NoDak was within the margin of error.

Congress returns in full for the four-week push to Memorial Day.   The action in the Senate is on the FAA authorization and the expected agreement surrounding extending a few additional energy tax credits.  The most high-profile hearing this week is the House Energy & Commerce’s return to the Flint water issues on Wednesday.  Other important hearings this week include tomorrow’s Senate Enviro Committee look at EPA regs impact on small businesses and a Senate Energy hearing on advanced manufacturing.  On Wednesday, House Ag hearing on oil and gas impacts on the rural economy.  And Thursday, a House Transportation Committee subpanel looks at managing the aftermath of a cyber-attack or other electric grid failure featuring Bobbi Kilmer, President & CEO of Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative in NE PA, while the House Energy & Commerce Energy subpanel will hold an ozone hearing with state officials testifying.

Good events off the Hill include tomorrow’s Pipeline Infrastructure Report from INGAA at the Press Club at 9:30 a.m.  And Wednesday, the US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.  Finally, on Wednesday morning, API’s Jack Gerard will again talk politics and 2016 at the W Hotel’s Altitude Ballroom.

Finally, get those taxes ready as Friday is really tax day (although since it is a Friday, the IRS is giving you until Monday midnight to get them in).  Hopefully, it is not a long weekend of searching for receipts, W-2s and bank statements.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Wetlands Groups Raises Concerns About Well Control Rule – The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) is raising concerns that some provisions of the proposed Well Control Rule proposed by BSEE could have unintended consequences leading to less safety and environmental protection and a reduction in overall revenue sharing directed to financing coastal restoration.  In a statement today, AWF said “highly prescriptive guidelines mandated in the rule deviate from the application of revised industry-accepted practices and may fail to take into account individual well conditions and monitoring. There is a reasonable debate about whether requirements actually increase the risk of compromised casing and cementing. AWF urges that engineering and environmental certainty prevail in rule requirements.”  AWF added all parties and interests benefit by a process in which best practice and expertise are employed to clarity rule making. AWF encourages BSEE to allow further vetting of the rule requirements that could result in unintended consequences and to engage in further dialogue with informed experts to consider potential changes that will result in safe OCS oil and gas operations, environmental protection and public safety.

AWF History – Through the years, AWF has aggressively advocated for the sharing of offshore oil and gas revenues and for dedication of those future funds to coastal restoration. And, the Foundation continues to encourage private sector participation in restoration initiatives focused on sustaining both environmental and economic assets. However, there is concern that the new rule may take advantage of momentum following the oil spill and create administrative delays that could effectively establish a de facto moratorium on oil and gas drilling and jeopardize the amount of revenues that could be shared with the state.  On September 21, 2010, AWF issued a report, “Secure Gulf Project: Sustaining Natural Resources and the Communities of America’s Energy Coast.” The report was a quick response to the BP Oil Spill and recommended both regulatory and voluntary actions. It also noted President Obama’s comment on the spill in August 2010, when he said, “The real protection for New Orleans and the coast are wetlands. The oil spill is a new opportunity for us to take a look comprehensively and ask how do we do things better and how do we do things smarter than we have done.”  AWF’s report, which focused on response, recovery and resiliency, sounded the call for cooperation and encouraged industry working with federal and state agencies to voluntarily address environmental, safety and health issues laid bare by the BP spill. The report also cited the necessity in building greater agency capacity to understand the complexities of the highly technical industry. Our hope is that for optimum safety the rule meets the proper balance of technical expertise and government oversight. In other words, let’s retain what’s working in favor of untried or speculative procedures.

HVAC Groups, WH to Fund Effort to Research Refrigerants – The White House announced $3 million in funding for flammable refrigerants research at the Montreal Protocol plenary session last week. HVAC professional society ASHRAE and AHRI are contributing $1 million as well for research to support the responsible deployment of flammable refrigerants around the globe.

GHP, Others Ask for Tax Credit Extension – Following the extension of the ITC in the Omnibus legislation in December, Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs), Combined Heat & Power (CHP), microturbines, small wind and fuel cells are all looking for renewal of their tax credits in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization. In a letter to Senator Wyden, Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) head Doug Dougherty said the 25D and 48(a) tax provisions are essential to the GHP industry.  GHPs, which are recognized as among the most efficient home-heating/cooling  system for homes and buildings, saves consumers money, conserves energy and reduces fossil fuel use.   Buildings are the largest single sector of total U.S. energy consumption, accounting for 41% of primary energy use in 2010. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) can efficiently and significantly reduce the heating and cooling loads of buildings, with positive benefits for our environment and economy. Though approximately 2 million GHP systems have been installed, higher “first cost” remains the most problematic competitive barrier to the nascent industry.  GHP tax credits are already helping the nation with consumer cost savings, good jobs, more efficient energy use, enhanced electric utility operations, improved air quality and a better environment for all Americans. And more GHPs mean more benefits accrued to building owners and the nation with the renewable energy they produce, energy cost savings, flattening of electric utility load patterns, and reduction of pollution from burning fossil fuels.  If you have questions on the issues surrounding the tax provisions, you can discuss the background and politics with my Colleague Curt Beaulieu, a former Senate Finance Staffer who has the issue covered end-to-end.  You can reach him at 202-828-5806.

AHRI Raises DOE Concerns Regarding Process on Boiler Rule – The HVAC industry is urging the Energy Department to follow its own procedures when making new rules, while calling for the current rulemaking for revising commercial boiler efficiency standards to be delayed.  In an April 1 letter to the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, AHRI Chief Technical Advisor Frank Stanonik decried DOE’s continuing pattern of “violating its own procedures” that govern how the Department goes about setting and amending regulations.  In the letter, Stanonik noted that DOE is in the process of accepting comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for Commercial Boilers while it is also accepting comments on its NOPR for the test procedures for that equipment.  The Process Rule specifically states that “Final modified test procedures will be issued prior to the NOPR on proposed standards,” which clearly did not occur in this case.   Stanonik stated that “proceeding with the standard rulemaking prior to finalization of the test procedure creates confusion for stakeholders and an inability to effectively comment on the standard rulemaking.”  He went on to ask, “If stakeholders, and DOE, do not know the exact procedure for testing equipment to determine compliance with the standard, how can they adequately comment on and evaluate the impact of the efficiency standard?” Here he noted that the Process Rule was put in place precisely to avoid such confusion.

New Polls Shows Bipartisan Concerns About RFS Failures – API has new polling that 77% of registered voters are concerned that breaching the ethanol blend wall could drive up the cost of gasoline for consumers and reduce the nation’s fuel supply (85% of Republicans, 75% of Democrats and 71% of Independents).  It also says 77% are concerned that auto manufacturers have said they may not warranty their vehicles if the car’s owner fuels up with an ethanol blend that is over 10 percent. (84% of Republicans, 75% of Democrats and 68% of Independents).  Finally, the polling Shows that 76% are concerned that diverting more corn to energy production rather than to food could result in higher food costs and contribute to world hunger. (81% of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 74% of Independents).

BOEM Director Featured on Capitol Crude – On Platts Capitol Crude this week, our friends Brian Scheid and Herman Wang speak with BOEM Director Abby Hopper about the future of drilling in federal waters and Jason Kowalski, 350.org’s policy director, on the impact Gulf production may have on President Obama’s climate legacy.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

JHU Energy Program to Discuss Energy in Eastern Mediterranean – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum today at 5:00 p.m. featuring Sir Michael Leigh is a senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund and runs GMF’s program on Eastern Mediterranean Energy. He was formerly director-general for enlargement with the European Commission and has held other senior positions at EU institutions for more than 30 years. He has taught at John Hopkins SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy, as well as the University of Sussex and Wellesley College.  Leigh will focus on energy and geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Defense Sector – The Atlantic Council and The Fuse, a group within the think Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will host a panel discussion tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on energy technology and innovation in the U.S. defense sector. The demand for energy security and evolving geopolitical risks have already impacted the strategic approach of defense institutions, which are actively developing technology and policy alternatives to respond to these challenges. By integrating expertise in both security and energy issues, institutions such as the United States Navy provide a critical perspective in efforts to secure a reliable and sustainable energy supply. Speakers will include Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy – Energy, Installations, & Environment, Pew’s Clean Energy Initiative Director Phyllis Cuttino and the Atlantic Council’s Dan Chiu.

INGAA to Unveil Oil, Natgas Infrastructure Needs – The INGAA Foundation President and CEO Don Santa, INGAA Foundation Chairman Robert Riess Sr. (President and CEO of Sheehan Pipe Line Construction) and ICF International Vice President Kevin Petak will unveil the Foundation’s newest projections for U.S. and Canadian oil, natural gas and NGL midstream infrastructure needs through 2035 in a briefing at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at the National Press Club’s Murrow Room.

Chamber to Hold Invest in American Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds its Invest in America! Summit tomorrow, focusing on “opportunities for investment and partnerships that encourage sustainable growth in the U.S. economy.” The goal of the Invest in America! initiative is to promote opportunities for investment and partnerships that encourage sustainable growth in the U.S. economy. The inaugural Invest in America! summit on April 12 will kick-off this initiative by convening international institutional investors with important U.S. stakeholders including governors, mayors, development authorities and local chambers of commerce.  Panel discussions will focus on: State Success Stories & New Opportunities, Navigating the Committee on Foreign Investment in U.S. (CFIUS), Public Private Partnerships and Foreign Direct Investment.

Senate Energy to Host Manufacturing Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will host a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to focus on innovative technologies and advanced manufacturing.

Senate Enviro to Look at Enviro Reg Impacts on Small Biz – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow on American small business’s perspectives on EPA regulatory actions. Witnesses will include Alloy Bellows & Precision Welding CEO Michael Canty, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Federation President Tom Buchanan, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp Jr. and Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs.

CSIS Forum to Look at Energy Developments in Brazil, Venezuela – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on regional energy developments in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil and Venezuela. Our expert panel will examine the political dynamics and economic outlook, highlighting analyses of political issues impacting the oil sector, including production profiles and the outlook for investment.  Following the initial presentations, the panelists will engage in an informal conversation focusing on the latest developments in both countries, and the impact on domestic policy as well as oil markets more generally.

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum – The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago tomorrow featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

Gates to Receive Honor – CSIS and the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy will host the Inaugural Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize and Lecture tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  The Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize honors the legacy of Dr. Brzezinski by recognizing and promoting the importance of geostrategic thinking with a transcending moral purpose.  This year’s inaugural Prize Recipient is former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. The mission of the Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy is to examine the unique interaction of history, geography, and strategy, with a goal of developing policy-relevant analysis and recommendations. The Institute seeks to further the study of geostrategy and to develop a new generation of strategic policy thinkers in the United States and abroad.

Catching Sun Film Screened – Tomorrow evening, the Institute for Policy Studies will host a screening of Catching the Sun, with a post-film Q&A led by the Director of IPS’ Climate Policy Program, Janet Redman.  An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. But who wins and who loses the battle for power in the 21st century? Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, Catching the Sun is a feature length documentary that explores the global race to a clean energy future. The film follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry and sheds light on the path to an economically and environmentally sustainable future. Through personal stories that illuminate the universal theme of hope for a better life, and set against the struggle to build a ‘green economy,’ Catching the Sun will engage new audiences in solutions to climate change and income inequality.

USAEE Washington Energy Conference Set for Georgetown – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.

API Head to Look at Energy Policy Recommendations – American Petroleum Institute (API) President & CEO Jack Gerard will make a presentation of the 2016 Platform Committee Report on Wednesday at the W Hotel at 8:30 a.m.  The morning’s briefing will reveal API’s energy policy recommendations to the platform committees of the Democratic and Republican parties and set the stage for the corresponding panel discussions to follow.

Ethanol Supporters to Hold Washington Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol is organizing a series of briefings and meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with congressional offices to advocate for continued support of ethanol fuel. The meetings will take place at the Washington Court Hotel and on Capitol Hill.

House Ag to Look at Oil, Gas Issues – Following last week’s RFS/Rural Economy hearing, the House Agriculture Committee will hold another hearing on Wednesday on the impacts of oil and gas production.

Forum Looks at Renewables in EU – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on renewables deployment in the EU.  The European Union has decided an ambitious program to transform its energy system. A binding target of at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has been endorsed – compared with 1990 emission levels. Further targets include doubling the share of renewable energy in total consumption and increasing energy efficiency. Due to strong governmental support, the share of renewables in total EU power demand has doubled within the last ten years, from 15% in 2005 to 30% in 2015. But this strong development has a price. Net subsidy paid by the customers to plant operators reached, alone in Germany, which has one of the most ambitious programs in favor of renewables, $23 billion in 2015 and $140 billion in total for the period 2000 to 2015. This has led to power prices in the EU, which are twice as high as the U.S. average. Power producers, too, have to face new challenges.

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

Forum Looks at Philanthropy, Climate – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., the German Marshall Fund of the United States will hold a forum that will explore the ways philanthropy and government can link the equity and climate policy agendas at the city, national, and global level. The dialogue will feature speakers working on this issue in the United States and Europe and build a discussion led by GMF as part of the Paris Climate Summit for Local Leaders.

Ocean Film Screening Set – George Mason University will host a special screening of “Ocean Frontiers II” Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Founders Hall Auditorium, followed by a Q & A on ocean planning with a panel of regional and international experts. In a region steeped in old maritime tradition, the film tells the story of a modern wave of big ships, offshore wind energy and a changing climate, and how people are coming together to plan for a healthy ocean off their coast.  The interactive panel discussion with regional and international experts includes Beth Kerttula of the National Ocean Council, John T. Kennedy of DOT’s Maritime Administration, GMU’s Chris Parsons and Amy Trice of Ocean Conservancy.

House Transpo Look at Grid Security – On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management will hold a hearing on Blackout preparation and managing the aftermath of a cyber-attack or any other failure of the electrical grid. Bobbi Kilmer, President & CEO of Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative in NE PA will be among the witnesses.

House Energy Panel Looks at Ozone Regs – The House Energy & Commerce Energy subpanel will hold a hearing Thursday at 10:15 to look at the Administration’s ozone regulations and legislation to limit the impact on state implementation.

Argentine, US Ambassadors Look at Country Relations – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Americas Program will host a conversation with Noah B. Mamet, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, and Martín Lousteau, Argentine Ambassador to the United States, on the future of the U.S.-Argentina bilateral relationship.  After four short months in office, Mauricio Macri, the new President of Argentina, has undertaken broad economic and political reforms and has dramatically reoriented Argentina’s foreign policy. President Barack Obama traveled to Argentina for a state visit March 23-24 and articulated his strong support for President Macri and his new vision for Argentina. Together, the two presidents committed to significant new cooperation and joint work in trade, investment, energy, and security. We will hear first-hand from Ambassadors Noah B. Mamet and Martín Lousteau about the bilateral talks and about what a new and closer relationship means for both countries – and for the Americas.

Kurdistan Gov PM to Address Forum – The U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at Kurdistan regional government’s challenges from terrorism to declining oil prices.  The event features a discussion with Qubad Talabani, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG).

Holdren, Moniz Address AAAS Policy Forum – The American Association for the Advancement of Science holds its 41st annual Forum on Science and Technology Policy on Thursday and Friday.  Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at 10:00 a.m. and OSTP head John Holdren will Keynote just prior.  NOAA head Kathryn Sullivan speaks at the end of the day.

Moniz Headline Boston QER Stakeholder Meeting – The Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Marriott Long Wharf, Salons DEFL. The Marriott Long Wharf is located at 296 State Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will also be livestreamed at energy.gov/live. Energy Secretary Moniz, who Is expected to attend will have to make a quick jump to Boston from his speech at AAAS the same morning.  The purpose of the meeting is to solicit stakeholder input for the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which will be an integrated study of the electricity system from generation to end-use. The meeting will feature remarks by government officials, moderated panel discussions from a diverse group of energy policy experts from the private and public sector, and an opportunity for comments during an open microphone session.

Climate Hustle Film to Premier in DC – The premiere of CFACT’s new documentary, Climate Hustle, will take place at a Capitol Hill briefing in Rayburn Office Building, including a riveting panel discussion on climate change featuring Gov. Sarah Palin and other notable guests. The briefing and panel discussion will be held on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. The event comes just a week prior to the opening for signature of the U.N. Paris Agreement on climate change on Earth Day (April 22), and just a short time before Climate Hustle is seen in select U.S. cinemas for a one-night presentation by Fathom Events and SpectiCast on May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. local time.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and former Alaska Gov and VP candidate Gov. Sarah Palin will join a taped panel that will be shown during the national theater event.  The discussion will be moderated by Brent Bozell, Founder and President of the Media Research Center, and will also include other notable experts including respected climatologist Dr. David Legates and a special video appearance by Emmy Award-winning educator Bill Nye, the Science Guy. The panel will further examine some of the science, politics, and media coverage of the climate issue, and go far toward helping debunk much of the alarmism and hype exposed in the Climate Hustle film.

Forum to Look at Sanctions, Security – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law will hold a public conference on U.S. sanctions and national security on Friday at the NYU DC Office.  The event will feature an overview of administration policy on sanctions and a discussion among distinguished former policy leaders on the role for coercive economic measures in tackling the security challenges of the future. The event coincides with the release of a CNAS report on the effects and effectiveness of sanctions since 9/11, which will be presented by our friend Elizabeth Rosenberg. Some questions this conference will explore include: how can the United States measure and achieve intended effects from the use of coercive economic measures? What place should sanctions have in the U.S. national security arsenal? And as American rivals become more familiar with the tools of economic statecraft, what defensive measures are available to protect U.S. interests from retaliation for the imposition of sanctions?   The keynote address will be provided by acting Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin.  There will also be a distinguished panel discussion with former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Sue Eckert (now at Brown U), former Deputy Treasury Secretary Ambassador Robert Kimmitt and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Matt Spence (now at Yale).

More 350K Celebrate Science Expo – The 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest and only national science festival, will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center in DC.  The event features nationwide contests and school programs, including the popular ‘Nifty 50’ science speaker program and X-STEM Symposium. The Festival will culminate in a Grand Finale Expo with Sneak Peek Friday kicking off the weekend.  More than 350,000 attendees will celebrate science at the Expo, and engage in activities with some of the biggest names in STEM, hear stories of inspiration and courage, and rock out to science during our incredible stage show performances.  See full agenda here.

Skulnik to Speak on MD Solar Law – On Sunday at 2:15 p.m. in the Aspen Hill Library, our friend Gary Skulnik will discuss the new Maryland community solar law.  Skulnik is the founder of a new social enterprise called Neighborhood Sun, www.neighborhoodsun.solar. As President of Clean Currents, Gary started the movement for clean power in Maryland and the region.  Last week, Skulnik spoke at a similar event in Silver Spring.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Group to Host Nuclear Week Activities – The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is hosting its 27th annual DC Days Sunday April 17th through Wednesday April 20th to voice concerns about nuclear weapons, power, and waste.  Of course, you can always get that info with our friends at NEI.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th 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 on April 19th 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.

Forum to Look at Electricity Pricing Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday April 20th 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 Rep. David McKinley and my colleague Scott Segal, among 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 and EPA head Gina McCarthy are expected to be in New York as the

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.

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.

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.

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 January 19

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call if you have questions and are not snowed in…

Best,

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

The first night of Hanukah (seems early this year) was overshadowed last night by the Kennedy Center Honors award that feature some real music and Hollywood star power in DC.  With the latest rendition of Star Wars less than two weeks from theaters, George Lucas was praised for his contributions to all our childhood memories.  And December 7th also reminds us of our loss at Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941 that launched our participation in WW II.  Next year, it will be 75 years and starting today the National WWII Museum is raising awareness for events leading up to next year’s commemoration which features a weeklong tour and four-part symposium focusing on the event incidents leading up to that fateful day.  The events will include visits to historic sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, a private dinner on the deck of the USS Missouri and a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

It will remain busy this week in Washington and Paris.  In DC, Congress is negotiating a budget package while across the pond in France, the Administration’s top energy and environment officials are in Paris to highlight its carbon reduction pledges and press for a deal to address climate change.

We have a full report on Paris below after negotiators released the latest draft agreement for Ministers as they begin the final push.  The draft discusses provisions on climate finance, liability, carbon reductions, but still hasn’t been able to overcome concerns about temperature limits, the divide between developed nations and developing countries and whether it should be legally binding.

Here is DC, look for the budget deal making to hit high gear this week.  One of the key talking points is focused a possible swap to allow the crude oil export ban to be lifted.  Still a lot to do on this though and late last week, Kirk Lippold, the former Commander of the USS Cole (which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000) sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.

As for Committees, House Science goes into Biotech issues tomorrow, while Presidential candidate and Commerce panel Chair Senator Ted Cruz will chair a hearing on Climate change tomorrow afternoon.    Senate Energy looks in to terrorism and oil on Thursday.

Busy week…  I’m monitoring Paris closely (and have good resources on the ground) so let me know if you have questions or need sources.  Taking a break for the Detroit Red Wings and the Capitals tomorrow night.  STILL HAVE A TICKET OR TWO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME.  Let me know.

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CONTINUES ON

New Draft Text Out – Over the weekend, negotiators managed to submit a new draft text, which will now move onto the ministerial level for approving the final package. The new draft text includes a 21-page legally-binding “agreement,” a 22-page non-binding “decision” and a five-page “annex.” While to many the text is seen as a sign of progress, it does not meaningfully remedy the core issues facing negotiators. For example, the issues of climate financing, global temperature goals in centigrade, and long-term goals have yet been fully dealt with. Currently, the document contains more than 900 square brackets, used to note areas of considerable disagreement. “That’s how you can track progress in the negotiations — is where the brackets are,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. “All the difficult political issues remain unsolved, and will be solved by the ministers,” said Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s Climate Commissioner. “Next week is the week of compromise; it’s a difficult week,” he told a news conference. “Nothing has been decided and nothing will be left behind,” said French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. “This text marks the will of all to reach an agreement. We are not at the end of the route. Major political issues are yet to be resolved,” she warned. Others, including Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the chair of the influential G77 and China bloc of developing countries praised the text. She said on Twitter that she “welcomes that we now have a Party-driven negotiating text.”  Negotiators are due to reach a final accord on Friday, but the talks are widely expected to run into overtime, as previous summits have. A full copy of the draft text can be found on the UNFCCC website, available here.

Some Specific issues –

  • Finance – This will remain a controversial issues until the end, but it seems it will be divided into two or three options.  On the first point, the options are either to say that financial flows have to follow towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future depending on countries’ “sustainable development priorities and efforts to eradicate poverty,” or will be provided from wealthy countries on the U.N.’s Annex 2 list of OECD countries that were not deemed “economies in transition” in 1992.
  • Responsibilities –  The phrase first proposed by the U.S. and China in November 2014, “in the light of different national circumstances,” is still there at the beginning of the agreement, and the square brackets are now gone. The language is aimed at breaking down the rigid divide between the wealthy, who have traditionally shouldered the brunt of responsibility for climate change, and poorer countries that are still industrializing.
  • Loss, Damages – Developing countries would like to see the developed world – which emitted most of the CO2, historically – help them deal with damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. But while the U.S. and European Union are willing to pony up, they don’t want to expose themselves to massive legal liability. Delegates are arguing over two matters: 1) A plan to address losses and damages for both ‘extreme events’ and ‘slow onset events’ caused by climate change. Or 2) simply offer no reference to loss and damage, a position likely unacceptable to the G77.
  • 1.5 or 2 C degree – Still undecided (see more below on the island nations), there remains a large challenge over whether the temperature rise goal will be less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Those words are mentioned throughout the text.  There is also text requiring the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 or 2019 on the effects of a 1.5 degree temperature rise and the emissions cuts needed to reach that limit. Saudi Arabia blocked the inclusion of 1.5 degrees in yesterday’s discussion, saying it was in the interest of developing countries.  US lead Negotiator Todd Stern says today the limit will stay at 2C.
  • Intellectual Property – Still nothing on IP issues yet.  This remains a major problem in the tech transfer debate but still remains in flux.

How It Works – The French have really taken over the administration of the negotiations and lead official Laurent Fabius is running the show under a stern, precise schedule.  Our friends from POLITICO say negotiators have formed a committee (almost like the Committee of the Whole House when the House of Reps legislates) where much of the draft text will be negotiated.  While the Committee is meeting for the first time now, closed door meetings remain a constant.  Fabius has been clear that officials must be finalized by the weekend, trying to avoid the typical overtime sessions that these events often run into.  Finally, Fabius has also developed a team of 14 “facilitators” pairing negotiators from a developed and developing country, with each responsible for the central policy areas still in play.

 

EVENTS

Sen Dems In Paris – Speaking of Senators, Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Cory Booker (NJ) traveled to Paris over the weekend, returning today in time for Senate Budget action.  Led by Cardin, the delegation met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the U.S. negotiating team and delegates from other countries during their trip.

EPA, Energy Kerry In the House – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and Sect of State Kerry are all in Paris for the second week push.  McCarthy arrived on Saturday and will be in Paris through December 10, While in Paris, McCarthy will highlight the Obama administration’s new greenhouse gas rules for power plants. She’ll appear with Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s Energy and Climate Action commissioner for an event on the rule today.   Tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. EDT, Moniz will participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial on implementation and ambition beyond Paris, while at 6:45 a.m., McCarthy will hold a side event on EPA’s role in meeting the US climate action plan.  Finally, McCarthy will lead a White House CEQ side event on implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday at 7:15 a.m.

You can see news and each day’s agenda Here:  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/

You can watch live here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

Monday – Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference tonight at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary, Climate Hustle.

Tuesday – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will host a presser at 1:00 pm Paris time, Room 3 to issue a call to action to governments to create strong signals for clean energy investment in the Paris climate change agreement. Press conference participants will also discuss the actions taken by these companies and sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the speakers BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, Johnson Controls’ Clay Nester and Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar.  You can see live steam here.

Tuesday – Former VP and climate gadfly Al Gore delivers a slide presentation on the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis, La Loire, Blue Zone

Wednesday – Moniz, California Gov. Jerry Brown, UN official Christiana Figueres and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria will hold a side-event discussion on the future of energy.

Wednesday – OSTP Director John Holdren, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan discuss the climate and the Energy-Water-Food Nexus solving interdisciplinary problems with interdisciplinary solutions.

Wednesday –  EEI and the International Emissions Trading Association co-sponsor an event to highlight how utilities might use carbon trading markets to meet CPP targets.  Officials from PG&E, Calpine Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway will participate, and EPA air chief Janet McCabe will speak.

Thursday – Business leaders will hold a side event in Room 5 at 3:00 pm Paris time which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

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

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

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

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

NRECA Joins Event to Highlight Co-op Role – Yesterday, NRECA’s Martin Lowery joined cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.  At the event, leaders discussed the intrinsic qualities of co-operatives that allows them to be natural allies in fighting climate change, especially considering their long-term commitment, their resilience, and their capacity to simultaneously act on several levels. Firstly, co-operatives have long-term commitment. As they are not listed on the stock exchange, they are under no obligation to act according to their share price, nor are they dependent upon the opinions of analysts.  Naturally, to be commercially viable, they must be cost-efficient, but they are able to invest according to a broader horizon. They can consider the consequences of their actions for future generations, a determining skill when fighting climate change.  As businesses serving individuals and communities, co-operatives have proven their great resilience and their capacity to endure crises. In doing so, they contribute to stable economies. Their model can be adapted and used anywhere in the world.

Harbert Takes on Climate Issues – Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the Energy Institute, was on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show on Monday explaining why American consumers and businesses should be seriously concerned about the COP21 negotiations.  She outlined the consequences America will face if the Obama administration continues its push for an unrealistic and lopsided climate agreement, including:

  • How the Obama Administration is making promises it won’t be able to keep.
  • How a lopsided agreement would favor U.S. competitors and put America’s energy advantage at risk.
  • How some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, like China and India, get a free pass to emit as much as they want.
  • How the pledges countries have made will have no real impact on emissions.
  • How the Obama Administration will most likely commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions without advice or approval from Congress.

Chamber Launches Site to Monitor Talks – One way you can stay informed about how this conference is to visit the new Chamber  COP21 webpage to learn more about the conference, learn the Obama administrations’ plans, and get updates throughout the two-week meeting.   USCoC’s Steve Eule is headed to Paris and will be reporting.

Barrasso releases Senate Report – Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, released a new report entitled: Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015. The report outlines how President Obama plans to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. It also highlights how the president is undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris.

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

  • The president is forcing American taxpayers to pay for past economic success through his contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • The president and foreign nations in Paris plan to bypass Congress to reach a climate change deal, thus eliminating the voice of the American people who are opposed to his climate change policies.
  • The president is demonstrating failed leadership as he is making false promises to foreign countries about his capability to meet his greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • By undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris, the president is threatening jobs, industries and communities at home.  

11 Countries Still Haven’t Made Pledges – Only 11 countries, for varying reasons, have yet to submit their individual pledges for carbon emissions reductions at the international climate summit in Paris.

Nicaragua, which has a booming renewable energy sector, refused to submit a goal because the developed world needs to take “historic responsibility” and make deeper cuts than it has proposed so far.  Venezuela’s minister of eco-socialism, Guillermo Barreto, said his country is waiting to see what other countries promise before submitting a target.  Other countries that have not submitted goals include North Korea, which isn’t participating in the climate talks; Syria, which is gripped by civil war; Libya, which remains politically unstable; and Nepal, which usually plays a key role in climate negotiations but is recovering from this year’s devastating earthquake.  The other holdouts are Uzbekistan, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and East Timor, the only country of the 40 aided by the United Nations Development Program.

Bhutan is Biggest Pledge – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made the world’s most far-reaching climate promise to the Paris climate summit, according to the ‘carbon comparator’ tool developed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).  Almost three quarters of the mountainous nation is covered in forests, often watered by snowmelt rivers, and Bhutan has pledged to reforest its land even further. Last summer, it set a world record for the most trees planted in one hour – nearly 50,000.  The country is now an unparalleled carbon sink, absorbing three times more CO2 emissions than its 700,000 population produces, mostly through hydropower. A substantial portion of the country lacks access to the electricity grid, however.

Kerry Rolling Stone Interview – Some much for actually discussing music, Rolling Stone after featuring Al Gore, James Hansen and President Obama, have Now turned their praise to John  Kerry.  Kerry, in his infinite brilliance, says climate change is the fight of our times.   Here is the Jeff Goodell Interview.

UN Report Favors Renewables –A head-to-head U.N. Environment Program analysis comparing the environmental impacts of six power generation sources found that while no electricity fuel is benign, renewable resources such as wind and solar present a tiny fraction of the environmental downsides of coal and natural gas. The report found  that renewable energy produces only 5 to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions of comparably sized coal-fired power generation under a life-cycle scenario. Wind and solar fared similarly well against natural gas, producing only 8 to 10% of the greenhouse gases of comparable gas-fired power plants.  Other environmental damages — including impacts of water and mineral resources — were three to eight times lower for renewable energy resources than for fossil fuels based on a life-cycle evaluation, the analysis found. In addition to coal, natural gas, wind and solar, the analysis evaluated the impacts of hydropower and geothermal energy. It did not evaluate nuclear power.

Bill Gates Weighs in On Nuclear – One person was talking nuclear.  Following the big Breakthrough Coalition roll out, Bill Gates said nuclear power must be a part any clean energy future.  Gates joined with Nuclear for Climate, an initiative launched by members of the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS). It now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 140 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.  They outline a number of key principles on nuclear power and is role as part of the solution.  You can see those here.

Re-Write May include Public/Private Funding– With the Still divisions between developing and developed countries as wide as ever, the G77 and China have expressed specific concern that developed countries are trying to re-write the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change by aiming to include private as well as public money to pay for climate change costs (developing countries prefer government cash) and make better-off developing countries shoulder more of the burden.

Island Nations Demanding 1.5 C Limit – Negotiators from small island nations and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are pushing to include language in the agreement that lowers the current target for limiting the rise in global temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Media reports say tensions over the issue continue to boil over in closed-door meetings in the backroom negotiations.  here last night and

UN Climate Head Temp Demand Won’t Crash Deal – Given the realization already expressed by US and other leaders, delegates have been raising significant concerns whether it could threaten the outcome of the talks.  The buzz has caught the attention of UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres, who told reporters, “No, we do not think that that is going to block [a final deal]. Everyone here agrees that we do need to head for the deepest decarbonization pathways.”  She said there is room to negotiate a compromise on the issue, adding, “It is not a discussion about the temperatures. That is just a proxy. It is a discussion about the decarbonization of the economy.” Of course, the type of disagreement won’t collapse the talks because most countries are likely to agree to anything that will create a deal without any real intention of following through anyway, so it won’t matter if it is 2 or 1.5 C, it will be whatever it takes.

Report: Island Residents Will Relocate – Speaking of Island countries, a new first-of-its-kind survey by the U.N. University and the European Union says many residents of low-lying Pacific islands would consider moving if the impacts of climate change — like storms and rising seas — worsen, yet few have enough money to do so.  Respondents from more than 70% of households surveyed in Kiribati and Tuvalu and 35% of those in Nauru said they would be willing to move if climate change worsened. With average monthly earnings at $12 per capita, only 26% of the 6,852 people surveyed in the three nations believed they had enough savings to migrate.

Can’t Please Them All – Tuvalu’s prime minister and a top climate negotiator Enele Sosene Sopoaga was annoyed He wasn’t Invite to President Obama’s Island Meeting last week and he accused the President of trying to divide island nations at the climate change negotiations.  He also said that vulnerable countries should to stand firm in their push for recognition of the losses and damage faced by poor countries.

Cuts by Cities, Regions, Companies Alone Surpass Total Global Iron/Steel Sector – Global action in support of a new, universal climate change agreement that unlocks faster progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future for all was revealed today in a report by Yale University which underscores the speed, breadth and depth of growing alignment between government, cities, business and civil society.

The report by Yale’s Data Driven Environmental Solutions finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two UN-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector.  Released on the eve of the UN climate conference’s Action Day-COP21, the report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

Polls Show Low Concern Over Climate – Opinion polls taken in the run-up to the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris show battling climate change is not high on the agenda for many people around the world.  GlobeScan surveyed approximately 1,000 people in each of 20 countries and found majorities in only four – Canada, France, Spain, and the UK – would have their governments set ambitious targets at the Paris climate conference. GlobeScan found less than half of those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem in 2015, compared with 63 percent who did so in a similar GlobeScan survey taken just before an international climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2009, majorities in eight countries wanted strong climate action. The number of survey participants rating climate change as a very serious issue meriting strong action has increased in only four of the 20 countries polled, declining in the other 16 countries.  Closer to home, a November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters in the United States found only 3 percent listed “climate change” as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Six percent of registered Democrats surveyed listed global warming as their top concern, as did 1 percent of registered Republicans.

 

MORE RESOURCES

Special thanks to my long-time friend and former NYT science reporter Andy Revkin for his resource suggestions.  He is covering for NYT and Pace University at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?_r=0

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

Twitter: A recommended first stop, of course, is Twitter, through the hashtag #COP21. For important secondary issues, there’s #climatefinance and #climatejustice.

What’s Going On: For basic developments at the negotiations, there’s no better source than the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, with a name dating from when it was a hastily printed flyer in the early days of environmental treaty-making. It’s now an excellent online portal and has a very active Twitter feed, @IISDRSClimate Home is similar and similarly helpful.

Website On Paris: One of the most significant signs that this round of talks was different than in previous years came when Climate Nexus, a climate communication initiative set up in 2011 by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, launched a website on the talks called TheRoadThroughParis.org. It could as easily have been The Road to Paris, but in that subtle shift, made the important point that what is being created is a long-term process more than some grand outcome. The related Twitter feed is @ClimateNexus.  Even if you reject the policy prescriptions or science interpretations of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the director, Benny Peiser, is an energetic aggregator of climate coverage that you might otherwise miss. I tell my communication students at Pace University that it’s important to recognize the “filter bubble” we tend to create around ourselves and poke one’s head out on occasion.

NYT Portal on Paris: The Times news desk has also set up a portal for running coverage called “Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris.”
IN THE NEWS

USS Cole Commander to Ryan, McConnell:  Crude Exports are Risk – Given the Congressional budget discussions surrounding a possible crude exports deal, the former commander of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.  Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was bombed by al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Solar Report Shows Corporate Growth – Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183% among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59% growth in solar installations since just last year.  For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked #1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.  Other top companies recognized for both their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota.

UMich Study Questions CCS Economics – A new study from University of Michigan researchers  says there are serious flaws in a decade’s worth of studies about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate.  The U-M researchers have found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency.   The new analysis puts the cost of reducing carbon emissions with CCS-equipped coal plants higher than any previous study—and most importantly, higher than wind and comparable to solar power. It’s the first study to confront the so-called “energy loop” inherent in the CCS process.  Beyond a one-time “energy penalty” these plants pay because they have to burn more coal to power devices that capture carbon, the researchers say the disadvantage compounds until fuel costs leap to four times today’s accepted estimates. The paper on the findings, titled Reassessing the Efficiency Penalty from Carbon Capture in Coal-Fired Power Plants was published in Environmental Science and Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Pompeo Calls for Reg Moratorium – Following last week’s roll out of the Administration’s overburdensome regulatory agenda,  Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote Speaker Ryan urging him to consider an 18-month “pause” on Energy Department efficiency rulemaking into the omnibus spending bill.   In his letter, the Kansas Republican said that while the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, DOE’s efficiency rules were being rushed out with little recognition of the costs.  Pompeo praised amendments to the original fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill from his GOP colleagues that would defund DOE regulatory work on ceiling fans, incandescent lamps and residential furnaces. But he’s opted to go for everything on the whole menu.

Oil Jobs Taking a Hit – While the economy’s job number improved in November, the number of people employed in the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector fell by 2,400 in November to 184,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The November figure was 16,200 down from the 201,000 people who were employed in the sector a year earlier, when the industry began sharply ramping back spending on oil drilling as oil prices tumbled.  Employment levels in the coal extraction sector also continued to decline, slipping 1,300 in November to 64,900. Those workers had numbered 72,700 a year ago.  For years, while the economy struggled, the oil and gas sector carried the job number on its back, but with low global prices still struggling to rebound, the sector continues to lose jobs.

PSEG Exec to Head AGA Board – While assuming the 2016 Board Chairmanship of the  American Gas Association (AGA), PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said the US has an opportunity to create jobs and revitalize our economy through increased use of natural gas.  At an event at AGA headquarters in Washington, DC this morning, LaRossa shared his vision for investing in the next generation of the energy workforce.   “A diverse and motivated workforce is the key to continued success in the energy sector,” LaRossa said. “People who are dedicated and focused on delivering good quality service are going to serve the customers in the best way possible.”  LaRossa also discussed several priorities for making his vision a reality, including the continued improvement and efficiency of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, the recently introduced SAFE PIPES ACT, the significant role natural gas plays in spurring economic growth, and helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place to expand delivery of natural gas to more homes and businesses.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at GHG Rules – POWER magazine is hosting a one-day conference in Las Vegas today that will provide power generators and industry partners with access to the latest developments and insights concerning the legal aspects of compliance with environmental regulations.  The conference looks at existing power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations.  EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow and former Air Office head Bob Meyers are among the speakers.

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

House Science Panel to Look at Biotech – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on the future of biotechnology.  The hearing will look at solutions for energy, agriculture and manufacturing.  Witnesses will include Mary Maxon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steve Evans of Dow AgroSciences, Martin Dickman of Texas A&M’s  Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotech and several others.

Senate Commerce to Take on Climate – The Senate Commerce Committee Panel on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the debate over the magnitude of human impact on Earth’s climate. The hearing will focus on the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.  Witnesses will include John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, Princeton’s Will Happer, author Mark Steyn and Penn State’s David Titley, who serves are the director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

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

Heritage to Look at New Silk Road Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum on Wednesday looking at transportation and energy issues in the 21st Century in the traditional “Silk Road” region.  The area from the Baltic and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is more active than ever. In the area includes the Southern Gas Corridor, will significantly affect the political climate in Eurasia. The Gas Corridor is especially important in light of the complicated relationships between Russia and the European Union and Turkey.  The Heritage forum will focus on the future of The New Silk Road and new transportation projects such as the Port of Baku and the Kars-Tbilisi-Erzurum railroad. Our speakers will address the technical, political, economic, and security concerns related to each of the projects and routes as well as the infrastructure needs, potential pitfalls, and opportunity costs.  Keynote speakers will include State Department Energy official Amos Hochstein and Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidashell.

Group to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global Nexus Initiative will hold a briefing at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Wednesday at noon on the role of nuclear power in addressing climate change, expectations for the UNFCCC COP-21, and release of policy memo and recommendations.  Featured speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Ken Luongo, NEI’s Mary Pietrzyk and former Natsource exec Richard Rosenzweig.

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

NAPE Hits Denver – The National Assn of Petroleum Engineers (NAPE) will hold their annual conference and expo in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Business Conference will hear from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and will feature other  leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its Thursday Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

Senate Energy to Look at Terrorism, Oil – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine terrorism and the global oil markets.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Energy – The Howard Baker Forum, the United States-Japan Roundtable and the Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies will host a forum on Thursday addressing the US-Japanese challenges of energy security and climate change.   The event will focus on how the two strategic partners address challenges like  what role must nuclear power play and mitigating climate concerns.

Event Looks at Demand-Side Innovations – The George Washington University and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will host a forum on Thursday looking at demand-side innovations.  For many years, innovation policy has focused on the support of the supply side, looking at market and system failures that prevent those generating innovation from doing so effectively and efficiently enough. In recent years, however, demand side policies have had a revival in the innovation policy debate. However, their application is still contested, and the roll out of those measures does not keep pace with the rhetoric about them. University of Manchester Alliance Business School’s Jakob Edler will speak.  He is the director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research.  Edler will introduce the concept of demand side innovation policy, explain why and when they are justified and present and discuss a typology of instruments. It will then discuss the major challenges of demand side policy instruments which all too often are not known to or underestimated by policy makers. The lecture will highlight some of those challenges using the example of public procurement of innovation, and will close with an appeal to a radically new way of understanding and applying innovation policy.

CNAS Forum to Look at Climate Security, Mitgration – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for New American Security will host an event on climate security and migration. The event will explore questions of how the United States, in collaboration with foreign partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society, should tackle future climate migration. Climate-related issues are  become increasingly severe and manifest in issues such as migration that policy leaders will need to address in the near and mid-term. Potential mass migration events in the future will have global and local implications from governance, policy, technical, legal and financial perspectives, and may feature a climate or weather nexus in managing the causes and consequences of migration. The events over the summer and fall in Europe, albeit not due to climate change, were illustrative of the scale of the challenges involved for policymakers and security leaders. Climatic change will add another layer to the challenges the global community will face in addressing migration, including explicitly climate change-driven migration, in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, CNAS’s event looks to bring together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the ways in which members of the international community can partner together to address the impacts of climate change and migration.  Speakers will include Richard Fontaine, Lars Bo Møller, Sharon E. Burke, Daniel Chiu, Sherri Goodman, and more.

Carnegie Event to Look at Oil, Climate – On Friday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Bloomberg Intelligence are co-hosting an event to discuss the future of oil and climate change in the twenty-first century. This event will be held in conjunction with the COP21 climate conference. The event takes place in Salle 10 of the “Climate Generations” area at the COP21 facilities in Le Bourget.  Speakers include Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon and Bloomberg Intelligence’s Rob Barrett, as well as several others.

Forum to Look at DoD Climate Readiness – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon featuring Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health.  Sullivan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.  Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.
FUTURE EVENTS

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

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

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

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday December 16th at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

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

Energy Update: Week of April 13

Friends,

 

Washington becomes a much busier place this week but not before we were treated to a great week of sports.  The week started with Duke and UConn rolling to NCAA National Hoops Championships, saw a great kick off to the 2015 MLB season, an even better close to the NHL regular season, an unbelievable NCAA Frozen Four outcome, then ended with Jordan Spieth’s amazing wire-to-wire Masters victory.   The 21 year-old Dallas native become the youngest Champ since 1997 when Tiger won and the first to lead wire-to-wire since (my father-in-law’s Florida golf/sporting clays partner) Ray Floyd did it in 1976.  He also managed a safe cushion all day Sunday over venerable 3-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson, who finished 2nd in a major for the 10th time to go along with his 5 wins.

 

The second NHL season begins Wednesday after 1,230 regular season games to pursue the most coveted prize in hockey, Lord Stanley’s Cup, who I recently visited with at the Press Club.  It didn’t offer any insights to me about where it expected to land in July, but for good measure, I didn’t touch it just in case.  Of course, I’ll be paying close attention to the Red Wings-Lightning series and headed to Caps-Isles Game 2 at Verizon on Friday.  I know my friends who are Ranger fans love that they are getting Pittsburgh.  Similarly, I don’t know if Montreal is too excited to get Ottawa who was the hottest team in the NHL down the stretch.  And finally, without LA and San Jose, look for a rough and tumble series between Anaheim and Winnipeg, as well as a battle in Western Canada with Vancouver and Calgary.   This is the first time since 2004 that Canada has 5 teams make the post season.

 

Finally, if you missed the incredible NCAA Frozen Four Final, the 4-3 Providence victory over Boston U goes to show you that just about anything can happen in hockey.   Check out 1:40 into this summary of the game for the most unlikely of bounces that turned the game.  Providence was the 15th of 16 teams in the tourney and won its first national championship.

 

The big news in the political world is Hillary Clinton’s long-expected entry into the 2016 Presidential race.  Then, she was joined by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.  Both have set off a whirl in environmental/energy circles.  Enviros are already attacking Rubio as a science denier, while they are also trying to pin down Clinton on a number of initiatives including Keystone.  Our friends at SEJ have a great round up on the Clinton nerves/hopes which I noticed when posted by Andy Revkin.

 

While Washington is lighting up this week, I want to start in NYC where our friends at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance are holding their Future of Energy Summit.  Former VP Al Gore kicks off a laundry list of top speakers on the energy issues today and tomorrow.

 

Congress returns after a two-week recess, facing a busy slate.  But, the big event will be the roll out of EIA’s 2015 Energy Outlook at CSIS tomorrow.  It will spur a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday in the Senate Energy Committee.  As well, tomorrow, the House Energy & Commerce panel takes up thermal water heater legislation that has widespread support from industry, efficiency groups and environmental activists, as well as coal ash legislation, while other E&C panels will tackle GHG issues in states and ratepayers and new TSCA legislation that follows on the recent Senate action.  Other important hearings including tomorrow’s Senate EPW’s Oversight Panel hosting IGs on EPA and the Chem Safety Board and House Transpo hosting Federal officials on railcar rules; Wednesday looks in House Resources on Interior’s 5-year drilling plan, several appropriations markups including energy/water and a House Science Hearing on the Obama administration’s United Nations climate pledge; and finally Senate Environment on Wednesday hearing from NRC Chairman Stephen Burns and three commissioners — Kristine Svinicki, William Ostendorff and Jeff Baran on budget and Yucca.

 

On Thursday, the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments on the challenge to EPA’s GHG authority under 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act or the Murray Energy Case.  The case certainly underscores the many legal, political, and practical hurdles EPA faces on the way to implementation of its rules. Holmstead and Segal are monitoring it and the mercury rule compliance which also kicks in on Thursday, so call if you have questions.

 

Finally, lots of late action last week with refiners settling the long-awaited RFS situation and a spat of editorial work from the Wall Street Journal on EPA GHG rules and Sen. McConnell, states and Reliability; the White House Blackout last week and the Bloomberg anti-coal gift to Sierra Club; and finally an opinion piece from Ameren CEO Warner Baxter on a better way to fix EPA’s effort on GHGs.

 

Congrats to our friend David Roberts, who has left Grist to join Vox.  Maybe we’ll be able to get him to use a phone now…  On Twitter you can catch him @drvox.  That’s Doctor Vox to you…

 

Get those taxes in by Wednesday…  Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

House to Move on Water Heater Bill – With Congress back in town, a group of businesses, trade associations and electric grid operators are urging the House to move quickly on effort to avoid an impending Energy Department deadline for large-volume electric resistance water heaters as reported by our friend Kevin Rogers of EnergyGuardian.  The effort is part of legislation introduced and passed by Sens. Shaheen and Portman which includes a number of other measures aimed to boost energy efficiency.  The standards would prevent the manufacture of such heaters, used by electric cooperatives to cope with spikes in demand.  The 57 organizations, in a Thursday letter to House leaders, called for swift action on the legislation to beat out the deadline.   Bipartisan legislation to exempt the heaters is to be marked up this week. That bill would exempt heaters larger than 75 gallons or larger used for demand response programs.  The bill has the support of industry groups, manufacturers and some environmental groups, who say the benefits of the heaters outweigh their inefficiency. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, one of the signers, said the heaters that would get exemption under both the Shaheen-Portman and the House bills serve an important purpose for cooperatives. The effort to exempt the water heaters has the support of efficiency and environmental groups, who say the benefits of the grid-enabled heaters outweigh their inefficiency across cooperative systems.

 

RFS Timeline Agreement Set…Maybe – The EPA reached agreement with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) to issue long overdue rules implementing the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The annual RFS rules set the volumes of ethanol and biodiesel that must be blended into the U.S. transportation fuel supply. The consent decree obligates the Environmental Protection Agency to issue final RFS rules for 2014 and 2015 by November 30 of this year. EPA’s delay in issuing the rules, which in the case of 2014 is more than a year late, has forced refiners to guess at their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels, and resulted in unnecessary market uncertainty that ultimately harms the U.S. refining industry, biofuel producers, and consumers.

 

Refiners Still Have Concerns – And why not…it’s not like this is the first time EPA missed deadlines on issue.  Either way, AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz raised concerns.  “While we are pleased that we were able to negotiate a deadline that requires EPA to issue the overdue RFS rules, we remain concerned with the government’s implementation of this broken program.  EPA’s failure to comply with the statutory deadlines injures refiners and exacerbates the problems associated with this unreasonable government mandate.  We hope that this outcome will enable EPA to issue future RFS implementation rules in accordance with the Congressionally-mandated deadlines that were designed to provide refiners with some regulatory certainty and the ability to adjust their compliance strategies throughout the compliance period.”

 

Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Focuses on Climate Issues – The Wall Street Journal Editorial page has taking up the climate change issue recently featuring three separate pieces focused on the topic:

 

GHGs, States, Sen McConnell – On Thursday, the page editorialized on EPA’s GHG rule and its resistance in the statesWSJ: For the first time the EPA is also telling states to roam “outside the fence line” of power plants to force coal and eventually natural gas to shut down, mandate quotas for renewables like wind and solar, and impose energy conservation.  The problem is that the federal government has no legal power outside the fence line. Last year the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals slapped down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s bid to claim authority over “demand response” on the electric grid.   The EPA’s imperiousness is creating the case for noncooperation. States can only protect their energy futures by declining to do the EPA’s dirty work.

 

Blackouts and Beyond Coal? – Then Friday, they weighed in on the recent blackout that affected Potomac River areas of Washington DC Including the White House and State Department and former NYC mayor Bloomberg $30 million gift to anti-coal activists saying blackout was relatively minor, but it likely could have been prevented if D.C. was still served by a coal-fired power plant called Potomac River Generating Station in Alexandria, Virginia. That “must run” 482-megawatt unit used to help manage electric demand in downtown Washington at peak times and would have been tripped as a substitute in emergencies like the one in Maryland. While the 60-year-old Potomac station was rarely run, it was a particular target of the anti-fossil fuel movement given its proximity to Washington. In 2011 Michael Bloomberg even announced a $50 million donation to the Sierra Club on a boat docked in front of the station, with its smoke stacks as the political backdrop.

 

Ameren CEO Op-Ed Shows a Better Way to Get GHG Reductions – Finally, this morning, the WSJ published an op-ed by Ameren CEO Warner Baxter that says EPA could fix the rule and still get significant reductions in GHGs.  Baxter: A few solutions would significantly reduce the reliability and cost risks of the EPA’s proposed plan. A critical first step is that the EPA must replace its aggressive interim targets with a process that allows states to set their own paths toward the final goals. Each state should be allowed to tailor its compliance plan to local circumstances, balancing unique factors such as cost, fuel diversity and environmental benefits. In exchange for this flexibility, enhanced interim reporting requirements would help the EPA monitor the progress while providing a more accurate idea of the work under way—and challenges involved—in achieving the targets.  He added additional mechanisms to deal with reliability issues and a reliability safety valve will offer assurances that utilities won’t be penalized for keeping the lights on.

 

President Called to Mat on Asthma by USA Today – The President boldly tied health issues to climate change last week by linking his daughter’s asthma to global warming.  But was a little too much for USA Today Columnist James Robbins who wrote that  our air quality has substantially improved; aggregate emissions of common pollutants have decreased 62% between 1980 and 2013. It is unlikely that cleaner air is causing the increase in asthma.  Robbins then adds the President might look in the mirror for the asthma cause.  Robbins: “The president, who quit smoking years ago, has long kept his tobacco use out of doors. That’s a common-sense tactic…but sometimes, science can show that common sense has less sense than you think.  Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that smoking outside doesn’t totally protect children from secondhand smoke. Even when smoking is done outside, nicotine in infants’ hair is five times higher for babies with outside smoking parents than non-smoking parents. Smoking-related chemicals in infants’ urine is seven times higher. Other studies have found similar results.

 

BOEM Opens Comment Period on Shell Arctic Drilling Plan – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has deemed submitted Shell Gulf of Mexico’s revised multi-year Exploration Plan (EP), and opened up public review and comment. The revised EP describes Shell’s proposal to conduct exploration drilling in the shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, off the northwest coast of Alaska. An EP describes all exploration activities planned by the operator for a specific lease or leases, including the timing of these activities, information concerning drilling vessels, the location of each planned well, and actions to be taken to meet important safety and environmental standards and to protect access to subsistence resources. Shell’s revised EP proposes to continue the multi-year Chukchi Sea exploration drilling program the company began in July 2012. This program includes drilling up to six wells within the Burger Prospect, located in approximately 140 feet of water about 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright. Shell would conduct its operations using the drillship M/V Noble Discoverer and the semi-submersible drilling unit Transocean Polar Pioneer, with each vessel providing relief-well capability for the other. The two drilling units and their supporting vessels would depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of each exploration drilling season.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

BNEF to Host Energy Summit – Bloomberg New Energy Finance will host a summit today and tomorrow focused on the future of energy at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.  The Future of Energy Summit 2015 is a unique forum providing an unrivaled meeting place at the intersection of the energy markets, regulation, industry, finance and policy.  A decade into the modern age of clean energy, and nearly a decade into the new age of shale gas abundance, the global energy system is not just growing, but shifting shape. At Summit 2015, the agenda will look at how phase change is likely to accelerate for the future.  Al Gore, former Duke CEO Jim Rogers, former Sen. Judd Gregg, former UN Climate head Connie Hedegaard, PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo CSIS expert Sarah Ladislaw and our friend Ethan Zindler of BNEF will speak among the many others.

 

McCarthy to Address Water Policy Forum – EPA Chief Gina McCarthy will address the National Assn of Clean Water Agencies’ 2015 National Water Policy Forum today at the Westin in DC.   Tomorrow they head to Capitol Hill to here rom Members on transportation and water issues.

 

Worldwatch to Release Report on Threats to Sustainability –Today at 1:00 p.m., the Worldwatch Institute will release of the latest edition of its annual publication, State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability.  Speakers include Worldwatch Project directors Michael Renner and Tom Prugh, as well as Catherine Machalaba of EcoHealth Alliance, Nathan John Hagens of the University of Minnesota and York University’s Peter Victor.

 

Green Jobs Conference Set – The Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Washington Hilton The conference focuses on renewables and other climate issues, as well as creating New Jobs.  The forum is presented by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation.  Elizabeth warren and our friend Clint Plummer of Deepwater Wind will speak.

 

JHU Forum to Look at Biofuels, Sustainability – Johns Hopkins SAIS Global Issues in Agriculture Speaker Series will host Simo Honkanen, Senior Vice President of Neste Corporation, Sustainability and Public Affairs tomorrow at Noon.  Honkanen will speak on the sustainability of biofuels – a global operator’s perspective.

 

Solar Forum to Cover Solar Now, Future – Greentech Media will host a Solar Summit in Phoenix, AZ tomorrow through Thursday at the Wigwam Resort.  Speakers will include SRP’s Lisa Singleton, Sun Power CEO Tom Werner and our friends Stephen Lacey of Greentech Media,  Shayle Kann of GTM Research, and Brad Heavner of the Cal Solar Energy Industry Assn, among many others.   The Summit focuses on what the solar industry needs to know and includes the research and economic analysis of GTM Research’s team.   This year’s agenda includes panels, engaging debates among the industry’s top thought leaders, and an interactive polling session.   Topics will include dynamics in the global solar market, system performance, asset management, technology integration given new energy customer and the  U.S. solar market in 2016 and beyond.

 

Forum to Look at China Climate, Energy Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on China’s energy and climate goals  The event will feature Frederick Weston, Principal and China Program Director with the Regulatory Assistance Project, Trevor Houser, Partner with the Rhodium Group, and Chris Johnson, Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China Studies with CSIS to discuss the challenges and opportunities arising out of the interplay between China’s energy sector and climate goals. Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

Senate Environment to Host IGs on EPA, CSB, Interior – The Senate Environment Oversight Panel will dive into oversight of inspector General report of EPA, the Chemical safety Board and Interior tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins and Interior Department Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall testify.

 

House Panel to Talk GHGs, Judicial Review, Ratepayer Protections – The Energy Panel of the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  on legislation allowing Judicial review of the EPA’s GHG rule before forcing compliance.  The legislation will also allow states to consider adverse impacts of the rules on reliability and ratepayers.  Witnesses will include EPA Air Office head Janet McCabe, Union Coal attorney Gene Trisko, Seminole Electric CEO Lisa Johnson, Kevin Sunday of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Industrial Energy Consumers of America President Paul Cicio, former DOE official Sue Tierney and Mass AG Energy bureau chief Melissa Hoffer.

 

House Transpo Looks at Rail, Pipeline Oversight – The House Transportation Committee’s panel on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials will hold a hearing on oversight of the ongoing rail, pipeline and hazmat rulemakings.  Witnesses will include Federal Railroad Administration Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg, PHMSA Administrator Tim Butters and Chris Hart, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

House Enviro Panel Takes Up TSCA Legislation – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), will hold a legislative hearing on a discussion draft of the TSCA Modernization Act tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn. Shimkus put forward the new discussion draft last week, which builds off the subcommittee’s work to reform chemical management last Congress and further bipartisan negotiations this year.  The draft legislation seeks to reform the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in an effort to improve the safety of chemicals while encouraging continued innovation and economic growth. The draft bill will provide a new system by which EPA will evaluate risks associated with chemicals already on the market. EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Jones and a panel of stakeholders are expected to testify.

 

House Foreign Affairs to Look at Oil Exports – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. looking at the crude oil export ban.  Witnesses will include Michèle Flournoy, Co-Founder and CEO of Center for a New American Security, BPC head Jason Grumet and Columbia’s Jason Bordoff.

 

WCEE Event to Focus on Dairy Issues – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold an event at the World Wildlife Fund on international dairy sustainability. Today, 7.2 billion people consume one-and-a-half times what the Earth’s natural resources can supply. By 2050, the world’s population will exceed 9 billion and the demand for food will double. According to the United Nations, the global demand for dairy alone will increase 58 percent by that time. It’s up to the world’s farmers to meet this demand while reducing waste and conserving land, water, and energy. How will dairy producers accomplish this.  WWF’s Sandra Vijn, lead of the dairy program of the Sustainable Food Team of the World Wildlife Fund, to discuss challenges, opportunities and innovative solutions around the world to reduce the impact of dairy production on our environment and to learn how the humble dairy cow herself can be productive and sustainable.

 

EIA to Release Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to present the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO). The EIA report presents long-term projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices through 2040. The projections focus on the factors that shape the U.S. energy system over the long term. Under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain unchanged throughout the projections, the Outlook’s Reference case projections provide the basis for examination and discussion of energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends and the direction they may take in the future. It also serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in energy policies. CSIS’s Frank Verrastro will moderate.

 

House Resources Looks at Water Issues – A House Resources panel will hold an oversight hearing on water issues tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.  Witnesses will include  Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan Lopez, Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon, Jennings, Louisiana Electric Co-op GM Mike Heinen, Clear Creek County, Colorado Commissioner Tim Mauck, Washington State Water Resources Association President Tom Myrum and Jim Ogsbury of the Western Governors’ Association will testify.

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Southern Energy Corridor – Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., the Wilson Center will hold a function on the Southern European energy corridor at the Reagan Center.  New pipelines are carrying natural gas and oil from the Caspian and Russia to Turkey and beyond to Europe.  In this southern European landscape, pipeline proposals like Nabucco and South Stream have given way to more focused initiatives, including the Southern Corridor Pipeline and a newly proposed “Turkish Stream” to parallel the Blue Stream pipeline from Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey. At stake is the energy security of Central and Eastern Europe, which historically have depended almost entirely on Russia for their energy supplies.  The European Union is stepping up its efforts to diversify its energy supplies with the vision of an energy union at the end of the process, but EU members vary in their approach.  Senior experts from industry, government and think tanks will assess the status, prospects and geopolitics of the Southern European Energy Corridor.  Opening Speakers will be the State Department’s Amos Hochstein and BP’s Joe Murphy.   Other speakers include former US Ambassadors to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich and Richard Morningstar, among others.

 

Forum to Look at Climate, Central Asia – The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute will host a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. at  JHU’s Rome Building on climate change and central Asia.  Speakers will include Central Asia-Caucasus Institute chair Fred Starr, Chairman,  World Bank expert Kulsum Ahmed and Bucknell professor Amanda Wooden.

 

Cheniere CEO to Address Forum – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council continues its Global Energy Center’s CEO Series hosting a discussion with Charif Souki, President, CEO, and Chairman of Cheniere Energy. Souki will focus on the changing role of the United States in global energy markets and the need for adaptation by industry to a new phase of cyclical volatility. Fred Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, will provide welcome remarks and moderate the discussion.

 

House Resources Panel Looking at Offshore Drilling Plans – The House Resources panel on Energy will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on examining the future impacts of President Obama’s offshore energy plan.  NC Gov Pat McCrory, offshore industry advocates and BOEM’s Abby Hopper, Shell’s  Mark Shuster, Greater Lafourche Port Commission head Chett Chiasson and other will testify.

 

House Science Looks at Obama Climate Pledge – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s United Nations climate pledge, which Chairman Lamar Smith says is not based on scientific justification. Witnesses include Georgia Tech climate expert Judith Curry, Chamber Energy expert Karen Harbert, NRDC’s Jake Schmidt and Margo Thorning of the American Council for Capital Formation.

 

Conference to Look at European Energy Security – The American Security Project will host a half-day conference on Wednesday to examine the energy security challenges faced in the Eastern Mediterranean. Over the course of three panel discussions, the event will first examine the geopolitical importance of the region, focusing on the recent discovery of major natural gas fields in Israel. The next panel will look at the challenges of promoting energy cooperation throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, and will attempt to offer prescriptions for increasing energy security. The final panel will discuss the potential role that the US can play in the region in terms of investment opportunities and regional cooperation.

 

Forum to Look at GHG Rule Implementation – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a forum on Wednesday that brings together state leaders and industry experts to explore market-based approaches to implementing EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.  Speakers include  Rhode Island DEM Director Janet Coit, Virginia DEQ Director David Paylor, Colorado DPHE Director of Environmental Programs Martha Rudolph, DTE’s Skiles Boyd, Holcim’s Erika Guerra, Duke Energy’s Kevin Leahy, Exelon’s Kathleen Robertson, Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution, Michael Wara of the Stanford Law School and former EPA #2 and current C2ES head Bob Perciasepe.

 

ACORE to Discuss Offshore Wind in Webinar – ACORE will hold a webinar on Wednesday at Noon on opportunities for offshore wind farm projects.  Off-shore projects are confronting a number of hurdles that undermine their ability to attract construction financing.  In some cases, local opposition has resulted in protracted permitting delays.  In others, design and engineering challenges threaten the ability of turnkey contractors to make “fixed price/date certain” commitments.  Advances in scientific knowledge, engineering know-how and equipment/software technology are advancing wind farm developments for both large and small projects.  ACORE’s Todd Foley will provide a legislative update, and EDF Renewables Jared Kassebaum and Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition will speak.

 

JHU forum Set to Tackle International Financing – On Wednesday at  4:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on International financing framework.  From the viewpoint of an electric power business active in these regions, Dr. Onoi, a senior J-POWER officer, will discuss the future for investment in power assets including gas thermal, coal thermal, renewable energy and nuclear power generation. He will also discuss related questions concerning an international financing framework.

 

Senate Energy Looks at 2015 EIA Outlook – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a committee hearing to receive testimony on the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2015.  EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will testify.

 

DC Oral arguments for Murray Energy Case – Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Following the event on Thursday afternoon, the DC bar will host a round up on the arguments. Speakers will include Mark DeLaquil of Baker & Hostetler, NRDC’s Ben Longstreth and EPA Deputy General Counsel Ethan Shenkman.

 

Forum to Look at Arctic Council – On Thursday at Noon, the Ecologic Institute will host Caitlyn Antrim — Executive Director, Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans — and Arne Riedel — Coordinator Arctic Issues, Ecologic Institute Berlin — for presentations and a discussion on how to protect the Arctic region while providing opportunities to the indigenous populations.  The United States will assume the Chair of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum to address issues specific to the Arctic region and its peoples. However, discussions around climate change have heightened the need for cooperative action and evidence-based solutions. Additionally, more international actors, such as the EU and China, have begun asserting their agendas in the region.

 

Science Museum to Host Discussion on Electricity Generation Balance – On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the Marian Koshland Science Museum will host an interactive program exploring the tradeoffs we face as our nation endeavors to meet electricity demands of the 21st century. Speakers include DOE’s Douglas Hollett and Kathryn Clay of AGA.  After brief introductions from the speakers about the present and future of energy technologies, work in teams to explore the benefits and tradeoffs of various technologies, share ideas and propose potential solutions. The program will wrap up with a question and answer session with all participants.

 

Press Club to Host Dinner with UN Chief – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will speak at a National Press Club dinner Thursday.  Ban, who succeeded Kofi Annan in 2007 and won a re-election in 2011, will become the sixth UN secretary-general to speak at the NPC.  The event will follow the typical NPC luncheon format, except that it will be a dinner. The event will begin with a VIP reception at 6 p.m.

 

Forum to Focus on Food, Water Nexus – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, National Geographic and Lockheed Martin are hosting the third in a series of roundtables, The Energy-Water-Food Nexus: Risks and Opportunities for the Private Sector on Friday at 1:00 p.m. at National Geographic HQ. The roundtables identify the nexus risks to businesses, and examine why and how leadership from the private sector, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is critical to successfully managing the synergies and tradeoffs among water, food and energy infrastructure for the benefit of society, business and the environment.  This roundtable will focus on best practices and opportunities for harnessing innovation to address nexus challenges in the U.S., and globally.

 

Murkowski to address Arctic Chairmanship Goals, Objectives – On Friday morning, CSIS will host a forum on the upcoming Arctic Council Chairmanship the US assumes next week.  The forum will feature keynote remarks by Senator Lisa Murkowski followed by a discussion on the future of offshore energy development in the American Arctic based on the recent release of the National Petroleum Council’s Arctic Study as well as a discussion on developments in Arctic health and well-being upon the occasion of the release of a new CSIS policy report on Arctic Health and the U.S. Arctic Council Chairmanship.

 

Forest Report, Discussion Set – On Friday morning, the World Resources Institute releases its first “State Of Global Forest” report.  Global Forest Watch will release the analysis of global tree cover loss for 2013, produced by Global Forest Watch partners at the University of Maryland and Google.   The event will provide the exclusive opportunity to hear about this new data from leading scientist Matt Hansen, preview emerging trends in global forest change and forest monitoring with Nigel Sizer, and participate in discussion between top land use experts.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Tillerson, Hess Kinder, Others Headline CERA WeekCERAWeek 2015 will be held on April 20th through 24th in Houston, TX.  CERA Week usually offers comprehensive insight on what’s ahead for global energy. The oil price collapse has created new risks and realities – with profound impacts on key regions, industries, and economies. The event features industry and thought leaders proving fresh understanding of geopolitics, technology, markets, investment, strategy and regulatory policy.  Speakers will include Peabody Energy’s Greg Boyce, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, BP’s Bob Dudley, Energy Secretary Moniz, former BrightSource exec now at Google John Woolard and many more.

 

FERC’s Honorable, Former Sen Bingaman Address Utility Issues Conference – Next Monday to Wednesday, in Santa Fe, NM, the Center for Public Utilities’ Advisory Council will hold a Current Issues conference dealing with important topics affecting the industry today. Through a series of panels, industry leaders and Commissioners discuss the current issues facing the Electric, Natural Gas, Telecommunications and Water industries. The panels are designed to create meaningful dialog between the panelists and audience in an informal setting conducive to audience participation.  Former NM Senator Jeff Bingaman, former Chairman, Energy & Natural Resources Committee and FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable speak Monday morning April 20. Lisa Edgar, NARUC President, will also be on the program, along with many NARUC Committee Chairman.

 

Fiorina To Address Lugar Speaker Series – On Monday, April 20th, the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series will hold its the 25th Annual Lugar Series Luncheon featuring Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Prospective Candidate as its keynote speaker.  The event will be held at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

 

CSIS to Look at Ukraine Energy – On Monday April 20th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Alan Riley, Professor of Law at the City Law School with City University in London, to discuss the status of reforms to the Ukrainian energy sector and to provide an update on the European Union’s antitrust case against Gazprom. Following the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych in early 2014, a pro-reform and pro-Western government emerged. Despite the Russian annexation of Crimea and ensuing conflict in eastern Ukraine, much hope is placed in the new Ukrainian government’s ability to institute wide-ranging domestic reforms, particularly in the energy sector. Nonetheless, concrete, effectual changes have yet to materialize.  Simultaneously, the EU is looking to move ahead with its antitrust case against Russian gas giant Gazprom anti-competitive business practices. A well-known authority on both subjects, Professor Riley will provide an overview of the progress being made and the hurdles undermining energy reform in Ukraine as well as the status of the antitrust proceedings against Gazprom. Following Mr. Riley’s presentation, Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Founding Director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, former Ambassador to the European Union and former Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, will provide comments on the issues addressed. Edward Chow, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

RFF Forum to Look at China Renewable Scenario – Resources for the Future (RFF) will release the China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study on Monday April 20th at 10:30 a.m.   Wang Zhongying, director of CNREC, will present an overview of the methods, data, and key findings of the study. A panel of experts from China and the United States will offer additional perspectives.  The study was supported by Energy Foundation China with guidance from China’s National Energy Administration. This event is hosted by RFF and sponsored by Energy Foundation China.  Samuel Baldwin, Chief Science Officer in the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will join Zhongying on the panel.

 

Forum to Look at Native American Climate Plans – Next Monday at 3:00 p.m., EESI hold a briefing on the impacts of sea level rise and oil and gas extraction on Native American communities.   The briefing will examine some of the recommendations from tribal communities, such as encouraging the incorporation of climate resilience into land use development and management practices.  Speakers for this forum are Albert Naquin, Chief of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana; Bob Gough of the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy and anthropologist and climate justice expert Julie Maldonado.

 

Commerce Secretary to Address AMS Washington Forum – Next week, Tuesday to Thursday, the 2015 American Meteorological Society Washington Forum will focus on end users of weather, water and climate data, returning to the theme of past years’ User Forum events conducted by the AMS. As the enterprise evolves and adapts to changes in budgets and cost-sharing paradigms, heightened attention to the needs of its end users is key to success for all stakeholders. Particular attention must be given to key areas of industry, such as health and the various modes of transportation. The 2015 forum will promote dialogue between the enterprise and its end users toward that end.  Keynote Speakers will be Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite Information Services Stephen Volz.

 

Forum to Look at EU Energy – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Tuesday morning, April 21st looking at global issues of European Energy Union.  The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent establishment of the European Energy Union raise serious political, legal, and economic questions as Europe attempts to advance its objectives of increasing competition and ensuring a secure energy supply. Understanding the implications of the new European Energy Union and the energy regulatory framework is a precondition for understanding the future role of all energy supplies in Europe as well as Europe’s internal and external strategic relationships.  Two panels of European energy experts, including one of the chief architects of EU energy and competition law, will address the intricacies of EU law and assess the legal, political, and geopolitical implications of the European Energy Union.

 

RFF, Sweden to Host Climate Forum – The Swedish Embassy and Resources For the Future (RFF) will hold a forum at the embassy on Tuesday, April 21st at 1:30 p.m. to look at international perspectives on national commitments from the European Union, the United States, and China.  Later this year, the world will focus its attention on Paris for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference. In the meantime, countries are determining how they can mitigate the effects of climate change in their own jurisdictions, and how these actions can be used to demonstrate their commitment to a new climate agreement in Paris.  This policy dialogue will examine these issues and feature comments from experts who play key roles in crafting an international agreement that can be signed in Paris.

 

EARTH DAY – April 22

 

AEI Looks at Carbon Taxes – AEI will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 22nd at 12:00 p.m. on the practicality and prospects for carbon taxes. Carbon taxes are potentially the most efficient instrument for mitigating climate change and represent a practical extension of fuel excise taxes. At the same time, carbon taxes can be part of a broader fiscal reform enabling decreases in other taxes and reducing the need for future fiscal consolidation. Falling energy prices, rising debt-to-GDP ratios, and the need for countries to pledge emissions mitigation actions in the run-up to the December 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris have all heightened interest in carbon taxes and similar instruments.  A new International Monetary Fund–Brookings Institution–Resources for the Future book, “Implementing a US Carbon Tax: Challenges and Debates,” containing papers written by leading experts in the field, will be presented. Complimentary copies will be available at the event.

 

Webinar to Look at Coal Ash Rule – The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Kutak Rock LLP, Nova Engineering and Environmental, Schiff Hardin LLP, TetraTech, and B2BWebinars.com will hold a webinar on Wednesday, April 22nd at 1:00 p.m. looking at the new coal ash regulations.  The long-delayed EPA final coal ash CCR has been issued, and coal generators throughout the nation will soon move to comply with its provisions.

 

MD OSW Meeting to Honor BOEM Director Hopper – The Business Network for Maryland Offshore Wind’s (BizMDOSW) will hold its annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on April 22-23, at Camden Yards.  The meeting is a 2-day gathering of European and American business executives, government officials, technical experts and academics brought together to build expertise among local companies. The event will have more than 150 participants from the U.S., Germany and Denmark including Dong Energy, Siemens, Bladt Industries, Blue Water Shipping and A2Sea.   The April 22nd dinner will be a celebration honoring U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management Director Abigail Hopper for outstanding achievement within the offshore wind industry.  The all-day April 23rd meeting will focus on creating jobs locally and regionally, including subcontracting opportunities for Maryland businesses and will also include reports on the East Coast regional offshore wind industry in Rhode Island, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland. The Maryland offshore wind development is projected to have steel in the water by 2019, and the development team expects to submit its OREC application to the state and to seek further permitting from U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  Among the speakers will be our friends Bill Wall of the Atlantic Wind Connection and Clint Plummer of Deepwater.

 

CSIS to Hold Global Development Forum – CSIS will hold its inaugural Global Development Forum (GDF) on Thursday April 23rd. With a significant reduction in extreme poverty and an increase in private financial flows to the developing world over the past two decades, the face of development is rapidly changing. Meeting today’s challenges calls for innovation and effective partnerships across sectors, with an emphasis on improving governance and leveraging the role of the private sector.  GDF will feature keynote addresses by Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank Group. Breakout panel discussions will foster dialogue on topics including private sector partnerships, capacity building and workforce development, innovative finance, the post-2015 global development agenda, Ebola recovery in West Africa, and the strategic role of development in overall U.S. foreign policy. 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.

 

Wilson Center to Host Discussion on Enviro Behavior – The Wilson Center will hold a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on April 23rd about how psychology and behavioral economics can help us begin to address our most pressing energy and environmental challenges – and how this can potentially improve policy choices in government and beyond.   The panel, moderated by Ruth Greenspan Bell, a Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center, will examine which sorts of strategies encourage energy efficiency, how they can best be implemented and how one branch of the military is looking at incorporating these strategies to improve operational reach. Event panelists include Per Espen Stoknes, a psychologist and economist at the BI Norwegian Business School, will discuss how strategies rooted in human psychology might help address climate change; Elke Weber of the Columbia University School of Business will discuss how these strategies can be applied across institutions and within policymaking and Capt. James Goudreau, director of policy and partnerships in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, will discuss how these insights can help the Navy forge a culture of energy and water efficiency

 

Perino to Hold Book Event at Press Club – Our friend Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush and current co-host of The Five, will discuss and sign copies of her new book “And the Good News Is…:Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side” at an April 24th book rap scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the ballroom at the National Press Club.

 

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE will hold Its Renewable Energy Policy Forum on April 22-23rd at the Westin City Center in Washington, DC.  ACORE’s Policy Forum champions the progress of the industry in reducing costs and deploying at scale, and will feature policymakers, industry leaders and other perspectives to outline challenges and highlight opportunities facing the sector. The Forum will drive bipartisan renewable energy policy priorities and strategy for the next two years, setting up a successful long-term outlook for the industry. The outcome of the Forum – the policy agenda for renewable energy policy – will be shared with the President and Congress, as well as governors, legislators, and regulators in the states.  Speakers will include Energy Secretary Moniz, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, former FERC Chair John Wellinghoff, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Georgia PSC Commissioner Bubba McDonald, and our friends, Joe Desmond of Brightsource Energy, Dan Reicher of Stanford, Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Coalition and AWEA’s Tom Kiernan.

 

Arctic Council Ministerial Set for Iqaluit – On April 24-25th, Secretary of State John Kerry, his fellow Arctic Council Foreign Ministers and indigenous representatives will gather in Iqaluit, Canada for a ministerial meeting focused on the Arctic.  Following the meeting, the United States will assume its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

 

NHA to Set Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association holds its annual conference at the Capitol Hilton on April 27-29th.  The Conference is a well-rounded conference program designed to discuss, prepare and foresee the future of hydropower throughout the nation. Speakers will include NY Rep. Paul Tonko and White House OSTP staff Cristin Dorgelo.

 

Navy Sect to Address Press Club – The Press Club will host an NPC Luncheon with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on April 30th at Noon.  Mabus will discuss the state of America’s sea services and the maritime, budgetary and resource challenges facing the force in the 21st century.

 

Marine Tech Conferences Alongside NHA Meeting – The 3rd Annual Marine Energy Technology Symposium (METS) will be held as part of the inaugural International Marine Renewable Energy Conference on April 27-29th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., and will be co-located with the National Hydropower Association’s annual conference.  METS provides a venue where technical experts can publish and present wave and water current energy research that helps accelerate the pace of technology development. Holding METS in conjunction with the International Marine Renewable Energy Conference will provide researchers with the invaluable opportunity to interact with public and private industry stakeholders.

 

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

 

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

 

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