Energy Update: Week of Nov 6

Friends,

First off, our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Texas as they deal with this weekend’s terrible incident.  It puts a damper on the earlier celebrations for our Houston/Texas colleagues’ World Series Game 7 victory and parade last week for the Astros in what ended up being a thrilling World Series (that makes two-in-a-row.)  And even with last week’s New York terrorist’s attack, the NYC Marathon went on without a hitch with Shalane Flanagan becoming the first American women to win in 40 years.

The tax bill has rolled out and is expected to see action this week.  We have a bunch of good “Tax Fax” in the update below, but bottom-line, my colleague Liam Donovan has ALL the bases covered and will be happy to discuss “on-“ or “off-the-record” as the action continues.  You can reach him at 202-828-5847 or liam.donovan@bracewell.com.  And, finally we have a full FERC, with final Senate approval of Rich Glick and Kevin McIntyre late Thursday and “Swearing-In” ceremonies expected this week.

The next UN climate change conference starts today (and runs through next Fri) in Bonn, Germany and there have been plenty of stories about Friday’s climate report.   While interesting and comprehensive, it really doesn’t add much more than we’ve heard before, doesn’t consider significant policy or political challenges and change that the US has been reducing emissions dramatically through market and technology advances.  Something to remember.

As for the meeting, it is a working meeting so don’t expect a big splash.  The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) industry members are sharing the progress of the rapid transformation that is occurring in the energy sector in the United States. It will also showcase how the suite of existing clean energy solutions can help take that transformation around the world, and help meet a country’s nationally-determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute and its climate expert Steve Eule participates in a side event on Wednesday sponsored by the international business community.

We starting the week off today with a ClearPath event focused on US-China Clean Energy issues at 11:30 a.m. in CVC Congressional Meeting Room North.  Given the President’s trip to China and upcoming trade issues in the news, this seems like a great time to hear some key experts, including Congressman Ryan Costello, ClearPath’s Rich Powell and Christopher Guith of Chamber’s Global Energy Institute.  Amy Harder of Axios moderates. For those unable to attend this morning’s event, there will be a livestream.  Speaking of trade, check out the WaPo editorial today urging President Trump to reject strong solar tariffs.

Tomorrow, House Energy looks at ENERGY STAR and features AHRI Chairman Chris Drew testifying.  Also, House Resources takes up broad offshore energy legislation that will attempt to define parameters for wind and oil/gas projects with a hearing tomorrow and mark up on Wednesday.

The next big nomination hearing is Wednesday for CEQ nominee Kathleen Harnett-White and EPA #2 Andy Wheeler.  I don’t even know what to say other than put your seatbelts on because of the expected turbulence.  Dems will oppose both aggressively over views on climate while ethanol Republicans Deb Fisher and Joni Ernst are smarting over Harnett’s positions on ethanol and the recent retaliatory hold on a USDA nominee they support.  House Science also discusses geoengineering.

Then on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., our friends at SAFE host a forum and release their trucking industry trend report, “Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, automation, and technology in the trucking sector.”  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.

Finally, our friends at AGA launched the #CookingWithGas campaign recently with Chef Fitz Tallon from Eataly Flatiron in New York. AGA is traveling around the country meeting professional chefs and talking to them about why they prefer cooking with gas.  Check out the video of Tallon talking about why he prefers #cookingwithgas.

Call with questions.  Tomorrow is Election Day in many places including Virginia and New Jersey.  Please vote…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This episode is very brief (14 minutes) and covers the House tax bill released Thursday morning.  It’s a great opportunity to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you prefer – this episode is pretty quick and not a deep dive, but we will be doing more nitty-gritty analysis in future episodes.  Remember our  address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Mr. Trump clearly believes that the government should restrict Americans’ freedom to trade. But agreeing with the complainers in this case would obviously contradict his avowed motive — to support middle-class U.S. jobs.  The risks of helping a narrow slice of the industry at the expense of the rest of it simply outweigh the benefits.”

Washington Post Editorial Board on the upcoming solar tariff decision in front of President Trump.

 

“This proposal reneges on the tax reform deal that was already agreed to, and would impose a retroactive tax hike on an entire industry.  The House proposal would pull the rug out from under 100,000 U.S. wind workers and 500 American factories, including some of the fastest growing jobs in the country. We expect members of the House and Senate to oppose any proposal that fails to honor that commitment, and we will fight hard to see that wind energy continues to work for America.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

 

TAX FAX

Tax Reform Rolling – House Republicans released a tax-reform bill today that would cut the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%. The plan also includes cuts to individual tax rates and increases the standard deduction for individuals and families.  Retirement plans including 401(k)s appear to be untouched and the top tax rate for wealthy Americans would remain the same.  My colleague Liam Donovan has ALL the bases covered and will be happy to discuss “on-“ or “off-the-record.”  You can reach him at 202-828-5847 or liam.donovan@bracewell.com

Wind Has Concerns – The House tax bill raised the ire of the wind industry who said reneging on the previous deal would threaten American job growth and energy dominance. By derailing a bipartisan agreement to phase out the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), the House proposal strips away the investment certainty Congress promised wind developers just two years ago. The proposal puts at risk over $50 billion in planned investment supporting manufacturing, rural jobs and homegrown energy growth.  The wind industry worked with Congress in 2015, reaching a bipartisan agreement on tax reform that phased out the PTC over five years. Investors, taking Congress at their word, banked on stable investment policy and poured billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.

What’s the PTC Controversy? – The wind energy PTC, which allows for a tax credit for each kilowatt hour (kWh) generated, was the tool Congress created for wind developers to access capital needed to grow wind power in the U.S. This successful policy has driven domestic infrastructure investment and manufacturing, delivering U.S. jobs and driving down the costs to produce electricity. Recognizing the policy was working and success was near, Congress passed a bipartisan five-year extension and phase out of the credit in 2015, which is proceeding on an 80%-60%-40% schedule, ending after 2019.  The bill changes the terms of PTC qualification defining start of construction. Investors who put billions of dollars into factory orders and construction contracts cannot go back in time to meet the revised requirements. The House tax proposal would also terminate an inflation adjustment, cutting the value of the credit by half or more.

Navigant Study Says Roll Back Risks 50K JobsNavigant Consulting projects that maintaining stable investment policy through the five-year PTC phase out will create $85 billion in economic activity and help grow another 50,000 American jobs, including 8,000 jobs at U.S. factories, through the end of President Trump’s first term.  Boosting production of U.S. wind energy helps increase American energy independence and security. The majority of the value of an American wind farm is made-in-the USA by 102,500 workers and 500 factories across all 50 states.  View a map of every wind farm and factory in America.

CCS Says Include 45Q – A diverse, bipartisan group of carbon capture advocates today called on the Senate Finance Committee to include legislation to extend and reform the Section 45Q of the tax code to boost carbon capture in any tax plan considered by the committee.  The letter specifically calls for inclusion of the FUTURE Act, legislation introduced in July by Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Shelley Moore Capito, Sheldon Whitehouse, John Barrasso and 21 other Senators from both parties, in the Senate Finance Committee Chairman’s Mark.  The letter was signed by companies, labor unions, NGOs and other advocates including Occidental, Peabody Energy, Utility Workers Union of America, IBEW, NRECA, Clean Air Task Force, C2ES, ClearPath and many others.

Orphans are Included – The “orphan” tax credits – credits left out of the 2015 wind/solar PTC deal – were also in the tax bill, mirroring language found in Rep. Tom Reed’s H.R. 1090, which extends the residential and commercial tax credits until January 1, 2022 for geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, microturbines, small wind and combined heat and power. The residential income tax credit would be retroactive back to January 1, 2017 at 30% and continue at that level until 2020 when it would drop to 26% and then at 22% for 2021 and end December 31, 2021. The 10% commercial investment tax credit would be extended until January 1, 2022 and change the language for placed in service to “property the construction of which begins before January 1, 2022.” Thousands of jobs among geothermal and other “orphaned” clean energy industries are in jeopardy and GHP manufacturers alone saw a sales decline significantly this past year.

Advanced Nuclear Credit Included In Tax Reform – The tax reform plan also includes a modification to the 45J tax credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities that is vital to the expansion of the U.S. fleet. It at least largely mirrors a bipartisan bill from Reps. Tom Rice and Earl Blumenauer lawmakers approved by voice vote in June modifying the credit to allow more time for the nation’s new reactors under construction to utilize the credit and allow transferability of the credit to other partners of the utilities.

A GOOD READ on Winners, Losers – Energy Winners, Losers in House Tax Plan: WASHINGTON EXAMINER

IN THE NEWS

BCSE to Release Priorities Paper at COP23 – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released a policy paper today that outlines its COP 23 priorities as the meeting launches in Bonn.   The Council released the final version of the BCSE COP 23 policy position paper, Powering Ambition at COP 23. The BCSE at COP 23 website is also live: www.bcse.org/cop23.  This page will include all of BCSE events, public statements, delegation information and case studies of clean energy in action.

Vistra Head on CNBC’s Mad Money – Last Week, we mentioned the Vistra-Dynegy merger and later in the week on CNBC’s Mad Money, Curt Morgan discussed the deal with Jim Cramer, who called the deal a “game-changer.”  Morgan highlighted the national focus and diverse fuel mix that the new company will have and said it will be strong in both low and high gas price environments.

Chamber Highlights Efforts to Restore Power After Hurricanes – Speaking of videos, the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute released a series of videos last week looking at during and after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, everyday Americans assumed the role of first responders as their family and friends faced sheets of rain, catastrophic flooding and destructive winds. In its new video series titled “Energy Strong” GEI highlights the many ways America’s energy industry stepped up and responded.

GA Lawmakers Urge Nuclear Tax Credits – Georgia lawmakers are asking for an extension on tax credits for the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion project.  All but two members of the state’s House delegation sent a letter to the head of the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

They want the tax plan to include a measure that would lift the 2020 expiration date on a tax credit for new nuclear energy production. Two reactors at Vogtle now under construction won’t be up and running until after that deadline.

Biotech Company to Protect Palm Trees, Dates – ISCA Tech and the University of California-Riverside scientists will work to develop environmentally-friendly pest controls to save California’s iconic palm trees and protect the date palm industry from the invasive South American palm weevil. With a new grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).  FFAR is a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, today awarded $150,000 to fund research to combat this emerging pest. The FFAR grant is being matched by funds from UCR, ISCA, California Date Commission, and the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association, for a total $300,000 investment in addressing this pest.  The South American palm weevil first spread from Mexico’s Tijuana area into San Diego County in 2011, where it is now killing Canary Island date palm trees. Surveys also have detected the weevil in California’s Imperial County, as well as in the Yuma, Ariz., and Alamo, Texas counties.  At risk are several palm species, including commercial date trees that contribute about $89 million a year to California’s and Arizona’s economies. Other at-risk palms include Canary Islands date, coconut, African oil, sago and California fan palms. The national market for landscape, decorative and potted palm trees is valued at more than $280 million a year.

IAEA Head Says Speed Up Nuke Projects – The global nuclear power industry needs to accelerate growth to satisfy the world’s energy demands and contribute to climate change goals, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano told the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. “More use of nuclear power will be needed to provide the steady supply of baseload electricity to power modern economies if countries are to meet the goals for greenhouse gas emissions which they set for themselves in the Paris Agreement,” he said

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Change Meeting Set for Bonn – The next UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held starting today 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. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will lead a delegation of its industry members to COP 23.  The Council will participate in COP 23 to share the progress of the rapid transformation that is occurring in the energy sector in the United States. It will also seek to showcase how the suite of existing clean energy solutions can help take that transformation around the world, and help meet a country’s nationally-determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute and its climate expert Steve Eule participates in a side event on Wednesday sponsored by the international business community.

Forum to Look at Energy Trends –The German Marshall Fund of the United States hold a conference today 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 tomorrow and Wednesday 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.

Fuel Cell Expo Set – The Fuel Cell Seminar and Energy Expo will be held tomorrow through Thursday in Long Beach, CA.  Hear from top names in industry and government, including Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh; NASEO Executive Director Dave Terry; California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott; NCSL Energy Director Glen Anderson; Division Chief, CARB Annette Hebert and more.  There will be more than 180 Technical Sessions and more than 40 Posters on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons by our industry’s top researchers, scientists, and speakers.  Session tracks will cover a wide-range of topics including international, state, regional hydrogen infrastructure plans, technology advances, transportation deployment, hydrogen generation and energy storage.

House Energy Panel to Look at ENERGY STAR – The House Energy Committee will look at ENERGY STAR and other efficiency programs tomorrow.  Expects experts from enviro groups, AHRI and other sustainability groups to weigh in.  AHRI Chairman Chris Drew will say there is a strong industry preference to retain both the product program and the buildings programs at EPA and that the program needs adequate funding preserved, among other items.  Others testifying include ASE’s Kateri Callahan, Doug Johnson of the Consumer Tech Association, AHAM’s Joe McGuire and Greg Merritt of Cree.

GU Presenter to Discuss China, Wind – Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies will present at this Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. with Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford Business School. She has studied the role of global innovation networks in China’s wind turbine industry, the case of Chinese industrial upgrading within the green energy sector, the societal acceptability of wind power (in Denmark and China), and contestations over expertise and science communication. In her research at Stanford, she is investigating the role of expertise and experts in the emergence of R&D and innovation networks.

House Resources Looks OCS Drilling Draft – The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Outer Continental Shelf Discussion Draft.  The draft legislation aims to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal States, to require sale of approved and scheduled offshore oil and gas leases, to establish offshore wind lease sale requirements, and to empower States to manage the development and production of oil and gas on available Federal lands.  Witnesses will include Ray Brady of the Argonne National Lab, North Dakota Industrial Commission Director Lynn Helms, David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance and the Tulane Energy Institute’s Eric Smith.  Mark up will follow on tomorrow and Wednesday.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium tomorrow through Thursday 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.

NEI’s Korsnick Headlines Stimson Forum – The Stimson Center hosts a forum tomorrow 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.

Wheeler, Harnett-White Set to Go to Senate Environment – Senate Environment will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  It will also address the confirmation of Andy Wheeler to serve as EPA deputy administrator at the same time.

House Science Looks at GeoEngineering – The House Science Committee’s Energy Subcommittee and Environment Subcommittee hold a joint hearing on geoengineering innovation, research and technology. discussion draft legislation to “Overhaul Federal Lands Energy Policy” to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal States, to require sale of approved and scheduled offshore oil and gas leases, to establish offshore wind lease sale requirements, and to empower States to manage the development and production of oil and gas on available Federal land, and for other purposes. Witnesses include Phil Rasch of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joseph Majkut of the Niskanen Center, Cornell’s Douglas MacMartin, and Kelly Wanser of the University of Washington.

ITC to Look at Biodiesel Tariffs – The U.S. International Trade Commission holds a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on the final phase of countervailing duty and anti-dumping duty investigations regarding biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

SAFE Forum to Highlight Release of Trucking Report – On Thursday 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.

Chatterjee Hits Platts Presser – S&P Global Platts hosts its Energy Podium forum on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. with FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee.  Chatterjee will discuss a broad range of issues facing the Commission with Platts reporters and other press.

CSIS to Host Africa Power Panel – CSIS hosts a public panel discussion Thursday 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.

GW to Hold Book Launches, Panels – George Washington University holds two book Launches on Thursday.  At Noon, authors will discuss their findings and conclusions on energy security debates in China, India, Japan, Russia and the political economy and transit security of the region. Then at 5:00 p.m., the Brazil Initiative and the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy hold a book launch and guest lecture by Dr. Sergio Salles, with Dr. Nicholas Vonortas as discussant on bioethanol evolution, risks and uncertainties.

IN THE FUTURE

NARUC Annual Meeting to Dig Into Issues – Next week, the National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will hold its 129th annual meeting at the Hilton Baltimore and will feature panels on energy policy, telecommunications, and other utility topics are issues at the forefront of trade and mainstream news. The event will feature stakeholders, informed experts, representatives from industry, federal policymakers, and dedicated state regulators for robust, timely discussions.  Key speakers include Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, former Commissioners Marc Spitzer and Tony Clark, DOE’s Travis Fisher and many others.

Solar Trade Breakfast at NARUC – The Solar Energy Industries Association and Cypress Creek Renewables holds a breakfast panel discussion next Monday morning on the Solar Section 201 trade petition on imported solar components.  The event discussed the effect of the ITC ruling on the $23 billion U.S. solar industry, which employs 260,000 American workers in good-paying jobs including manufacturers, is unmistakable. It would decimate one of the least expensive energy sources in America by doubling the price of solar panels in the U.S., thereby crippling demand, diminishing local investment and costing up to 88,000 jobs across the country.   The panel includes GA PSC Chair Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, utility representatives and exec and developers working with rural cooperatives.

Forum to Look at CAFE, High Octane Fuels – Next Monday, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing in 106 Dirksen examining how high-octane, low-carbon fuel can enable CAFE compliance. Research suggests that high-octane, low-carbon fuel is the lowest-cost compliance option for both consumers and the automotive industry.  Speakers for this forum are NREL’s Robert McCormick, Oak Ridge National Lab’s Brian West, Dean Drake of the Defour Group and Andrew Varcoe of Boyden Gray & Associates.  Higher-octane, low-carbon fuels enable greater engine efficiencies, thereby lowering GHG and toxic emissions and improving fuel economy. Automotive engineers have expressed interest in raising the octane level of gasoline, which would enable the design and sale of these more efficient engines, but the administration must act to enable a viable pathway for these fuels to enter the marketplace.

USEA Forum to Discuss CURC Study – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Association and the Carbon Utilization Research Council (CURC) hold a forum on CURC’s recent CCS study analyzing options to overcome barriers to large-pilot projects for power plants equipped with CCS.  The purpose of the report was to study innovative options for governments and industry to fund projects that test coal-based power generation and carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies at the large-pilot scale. The panel discussion will provide an overview of the key findings of the report and an illustration of current case study examples of international collaboration by industry stakeholders and governments.  Panelists include CURC’s Shannon Angielski, DOE’s John Litynski, Frank Morton of the National Carbon Capture Center, Chris Romans of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Don Stevenson of the Gas Technology Institute.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil – Next Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Global Energy Center holds a timely conversation on Venezuela’s declining oil industry, the increasing presence of Russia and China in the country, and what lies ahead. Keynote remarks will be offered by House Energy & Commerce member Jeff Duncan.

JHU to Discuss Nuclear – The Johns Hopkins University holds a forum on Tuesday November 14th at 5:00 p.m. looking at the status and prospects for U.S. Nuclear Power. Westinghouse, a leader in the industry, entered bankruptcy and two reactors that were under construction in South Carolina have been abandoned because of cost overruns. The US still has not solved the problem of long term storage of high level nuclear waste. An interesting possibility for the future is the development of advanced nuclear reactors that would be smaller, safer and cheaper to build. These and other issues will be discussed by speaker, NEI’s Matthew Crozat.

Forum to Look at Energy – On Wednesday Morning, Roll Call will host a forum on energy called Energy Decoded at the Newseum. Roll Call Live, in partnership with CQ News hosts a packed morning of expert analysis and bipartisan discussion to examine the many questions that energy stakeholders and policymakers will face in the new administration.   Topics will include the future of climate policy, energy tax reform, coal and domestic oil production and renewable energy initiatives.  Speakers will include FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee, Sen. Joe Manchin and our friend Jeanette Pablo, among others.

ITIF to Look at ARPA-E – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) holds a discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at ARPA-E’s versatile role in clean energy innovation featuring a new study on the topic.  Authors David Hart and Michael Kearney, along with an expert panel of energy innovators and thought leaders discuss.

WRI to Discuss Powering Cities – On Wednesday, November 15th at Noon, the World Resources Institute hosts Michael Westphal to present his paper on energy access – another chapter of the World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City. Millions of residents in some of the fastest growing cities in the world don’t have access to clean, reliable energy, and the challenge of reaching them is not getting easier. In 2012, only 58 percent of the urban population had access to electricity in low-income countries, and nearly 500 million urban residents worldwide used dirty and harmful cooking fuels like charcoal and wood.

Forum on European Gas Projects Set – On Wednesday afternoon November 15th, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts the Jamestown conference on “Nord Stream and European Energy Security.” It will provide a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Russian objectives, European responses, and American policies related to this large project.

Forum to Discuss Brazil Oil, Gas – The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute hosts a forum on Thursday November 16th at 10:00 a.m. looking T pre-salt auctions in Brazil’s oil and gas industry.  The Director-General of ANP, Decio Fabrício Oddone da Costa, will discuss the objectives of Brazil’s new regulatory framework for the oil & gas policy.

Webinar to Look at EVs – National Journal holds webinar on Thursday November 16th at 11:00 a.m. on the rise of electric vehicles.  The webinar will examine the industry’s history, development and future, and address the major players and policymakers and what policies have fostered the industry’s growth so far, and which state and federal actions could help—or hinder—its development.  It will also look at how the Trump administration’s deregulatory drive impact the development of EVs in the US, as well as the feasibility of the ambitious goals laid out by countries like France and India.

Clark to Headline USAEE Lunch – On Friday, November 17th, the NCAC of the US Assn of Energy Economists host its November lunch with former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at Chinatown Gardens.  Clark will discuss the forces that are shaping electricity markets today, with an emphasis on the implications of the regulatory crossroads of federal jurisdiction and state public policy choices.

USTR Comment Deadline on Solar Trade Case – November 20th

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

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

CCS Report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch on November 28th, 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.

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

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

 

Energy Update: Week of 10/23

Friends,

Hard to believe already, but our colleague Scott Segal is back from his extended European Vacation so we’re spending most of the day hearing stories while talking CPP and ethanol, since they were both in the news so much recently.  Thought you might want to catch some of the follow ups on ethanol in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Axios, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, the Washington Times and the Washington Examiner.

It is a busy week.  Comments are due today for the FERC grid study initiated by DOE. You will remember two recent hits from a large number of trade association including renewables and natgas as well as a letter last week from a number of former FERC Commissioners.  Others key filers include the Ohio Coal Association, union groups, our friends at Clearpath, grid operator PJM, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Also today, as the Trump administration moves forward with an ambitious energy and environmental reform agenda, the US Chamber’s Global Energy Institute launched a comprehensive Energy Tracker to help follow key regulatory, judicial, and legislative developments.  The user-friendly Energy Tracker contains a sortable database of federal energy and environmental actions tracked by date, agency, topic, and issue area.   The Energy Tracker will continuously monitor and quantify the progress of energy-related regulatory and policy reforms, including administrative, legislative and legal activity.  If you are covering, following or working on these issues, you will want to view the Energy Tracker here and sign up for updates via email.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, AWEA holds its popular Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in New York.  I will be heading up for tomorrow’s launch so I look forward to seeing you.  Lot’s going on in the space including the Deepwater Rhode Island effort, progress on the lease/projects being undertaken by Statoil, supply chain manufacturing updates and the current Administration’s approach to OSW.  AWEA turns the stage over on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday to its Finance Conference as well.

In DC, finally votes on EPA nominees in Senate EPW on Wednesday after last week’s ethanol “disagreement” delayed action.  Tax issues also remain on the agenda here, especially after last week’s Budget vote in the Senate.  Our new colleague Liam Donovan is right smack in the middle of all of it…and luckily, he is happy to help reporters interested in getting the tax low down.  You can reach him at liam.donovan@bracewell.com and/or 202-828-5847.

Finally, World Series kicks off tonight with the Dodgers and Bracewell’s home Houston Astros in what will be – if the weather forecast is right –  the warmest world series game ever.  Has to be global warming…Call with questions.

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I voted Donald Trump, I urged my members to vote for Donald Trump, and I urged them to ask their families and friends to vote for Donald Trump. As a union president, to support a Republican candidate for president, there was some backlash. And now we’re left out in the cold. It’s very disappointing. It feels like the government has the chips stacked against us. We’re crushed in between Big Oil and Big Ethanol. I thought President Trump would be able to see through that. Hopefully he changes his mind and goes with workers.”

United Steelworkers Local 10-1 President Ryan O’Callaghan in a Wall Street Editorial on the recent ethanol fight.

“Given the rapid pace that the administration has been working over the past ten months, we believe there is a need for an objective clearinghouse of regulatory actions.  This tool will be valuable for businesses, policymakers, stakeholders, journalists, and anyone else who would like to keep track of regulatory, legal, and policy actions on energy and environment.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute on the release of its new Energy Tracker website

 

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Releases Energy Tracker Database – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute has released a new user-friendly Energy Tracker that can help follow key regulatory, judicial, and legislative developments as the Trump administration moves forward with an ambitious energy and environmental reform agenda.  The user-friendly Energy Tracker contains a sortable database of federal energy and environmental actions tracked by date, agency, topic, and issue area.

What’s Included – The Energy Tracker will continuously monitor and quantify the progress of energy-related regulatory and policy reforms. At the time of launch, the Tracker includes eight executive orders, four presidential memoranda, and three public laws.  In addition, the Tracker identifies 16 energy-related regulatory and policy reforms that have been initiated or are under review, five reforms formally proposed, and 12 actions that have been finalized or completed (not including project-specific actions such as leases or permit approvals).  Also included in the Tracker is litigation pertaining to at least 15 ongoing energy actions, including seven regulatory-related court cases being held in abeyance, and three court actions that have overturned executive branch postponement of regulatory implementation.

Valuable to Check Out – This tool will be valuable for businesses, policymakers, stakeholders, journalists, and anyone else who would like to keep track of regulatory, legal, and policy actions on energy and environment.  To view the Energy Tracker, click here.  You can also sign up to receive periodic updates via email.

California Biotech Firm Gets Grants For Pest-Control Innovations – California-based biotech company ISCA Technologies will advance eight environmentally-friendly innovations to control damaging insect pests and improve crop yields thanks to grants it received this year from USDA.  ISCA Tech received six “Phase 1” grants from the department’s Small Business Innovation Research Program to develop and test five new pest control products and one that improves fruit blossom pollination rates. ISCA also received two “Phase 2” grants to prepare for the commercial market products already shown to have worked in field trials.  The Phase 1 grants are highly competitive with only 14% of the grant applicants receiving funding. Phase 2 grants are awarded competitively only after the successful completion of a Phase 1 project.  The grants will support technologies that are economical, effective and ground-breaking.

Statoil’s Hywind Project Underway – Statoil has opened the first floating wind farm in the world, has started to deliver electricity to the Scottish grid. Today the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opens the wind farm.  The 30MW wind farm, is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and will power approximately 20,000 households.  In an opening event in Aberdeen today the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opens the world’s first floating wind farm saying “Hywind will provide clean energy to over twenty thousand homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets. This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.  Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation.” The onshore operations and maintenance base for Hywind Scotland is located in Peterhead, while the operations center is located in Great Yarmouth. Linked to the Hywind Scotland project Statoil and partner Masdar will also install Batwind, a 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy.  Battery storage has the potential to mitigate intermittency and optimize output.

ACCF Report Says Tax Plan Will Help Clean Energy – A new report from the American Council for Capital Formation says tax changes could improve the investment climate in three ways, including through enactment of lower tax rates and elimination of interest deductions.  As you may know, ACCF is the former home of Trump energy advisor George David Banks, as well as joining a chorus of other conservative voices that are looking for ways to connect on clean energy issues.  Finally, ACCF also launched a new program on energy innovation of which this report is first public release on the topic.

Report: Grid Policy Might Not Help Coal – A new report by The Brattle Group says the Trump administration’s plan to boost coal plants will ultimately disadvantage the sector because it wouldn’t curtail competition from natural gas.

FERC Commissioners Weigh In on DOE Grid Plan – A bipartisan group of former FERC Commissioners opposed DOE recent grid move to provide resilience credits for some plants.  The former commissioners’ letter to FERC said the proposal “would be a significant step backward from the Commission’s long and bipartisan evolution to transparent, open, competitive wholesale markets” and that it “would instead disrupt decades of substantial investment made in the modern electric power system, raise costs for customers, and do so in a  manner directly counter to the Commission’s long experience.”Signing the letter were former FERC chairs Betsy Moler, Jim Hoecker, Pat Wood, Joe Kelliher and Jon Wellinghoff, as well as former commissioners Don Santa, Linda Key Breathitt and Nora Mead Brownell.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 today at 10 on the Park in New York City.  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.

Forum to Look at US-Korea Nuclear Relations – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a special Capitol Hill briefing today on Noon on opportunities for U.S.-Korea Cooperation in advanced nuclear, looking at industrial, R&D and other collaboration.  Exploring opportunities for industrial and R&D cooperation between the two countries may be an important pathway towards accelerating the development and ultimate commercialization of these innovative technologies. Former Rep Ed Whitfield offers opening remarks and comments will be made by former NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff.

WCEE to Look at Clean Energy Jobs – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a brown bag lunch tomorrow in Arlington at Accenture focused on clean energy jobs, locally and globally.  Recently, there has been a boom in clean energy and, with costs decreasing and adoption accelerating, the impact on jobs has been significant. U.S. solar and wind jobs are growing 12x faster than their peer average; with the fastest growing single profession being wind turbine technician, and an increase to over 260,000 solar workers in the U.S. alone last year. Join a great WCEE panel to hear more about where growth is happening and what skills are needed; how it’s empowering women and communities, and how innovative business models are helping it scale. Speakers will provide a range of private sector to non-profit perspectives on the following topics and encourage the audience to dive in and discuss.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil Issues – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on how oil riches ruined Venezuela.  In the past decade and a half, the government of Venezuela received over $1 trillion in oil revenues, and yet the country is now suffering from a deep humanitarian crisis with its population struggling to feed itself. As a correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Raúl Gallegos witnessed first-hand how the mismanagement of oil riches during the rule of Hugo Chávez led to Venezuela’s current misery. Gallegos will explain how mismanaged oil has created perverse incentives in the political system, the business community, and among ordinary Venezuelans. Gustavo Coronel will offer his insights on what should be the future of the oil sector in a democratic Venezuela.

Offshore Wind Conference to Feature Statoil, DOE, Others – AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference will also be held in NYC tomorrow and Wednesday with Statoil’s Knut Aanstad as a program co-chair.  The event will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.  Statoil is expected to make a significant announcement about its NY project at the event.

AWEA Finance Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC tomorrow through Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities.

Grid Security Forum Set at George Mason – The Schar School of Policy and Government and the College of Science at George Mason University are hosting a symposium on Wednesday on grid security.  The event will be hosted by the Center for Energy Science and Policy (CESP) to advance understanding of the opportunities and challenges connected with multiple technologies that are transforming the electrical grid. There will be two panels that address how to frame grid security for scholarship and research; and the intersection of cyber and grid security. The panelists are from the National Defense University, government laboratories and agencies, Mason faculty engaged in cyber and grid security, and the private sector. The lunch speaker will be Brigham McCown, Chairman, and Founder of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure.

Banks, Rep. Duncan Headline Latin America Energy Conference – On Wednesday, the Inter-American Dialogue will host a Latin America Energy Conference that will convene government officials from Latin America and the United States, corporate executives, and international and non-governmental organizations to discuss the most critical energy policy issues in the region.  Rep Jeff Duncan and White House Energy Advisor Dave Banks will be among the speakers.

Resources to Look at Sage Grouse – The full House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on empowering state based management solutions for greater sage grouse recovery.  My Colleague Eric Washburn is in the middle of many of these discussions so please call if you need help (Eric: 202-412-5211)

Senate Environment to Vote on Nominees – After last week’s ethanol delay, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to vote Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on EPA nominees, as well as Jan Baran for NRC and Paul Trombino to head the Federal Highway Administration.

Cato Forum to Look at Future of Public Transit – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the Cato Institute hosts a forum on the future of public transit.  The nation’s public transit industry faces some of its greatest challenges: ridership has been declining; infrastructure is deteriorating; rivals such as Uber and Lyft are taking transit customers. Debaters Art Guzzetti, Vice President–Policy, American Public Transportation Association and Randal O’Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute will discuss whether transit has a future.

WCEE to Host Battery Tech Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Women in Leadership Forum at Winston & Strawn on Wednesday that hosts Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and chief executive officer of Cadenza Innovation.   Lampe-Önnerud will discuss the unprecedented development of advanced battery technology and the opportunities this presents for future innovative solutions in energy production and storage and the opportunities and challenges she faced in the competitive energy and environmental fields, and share “lessons learned” along her path to leadership.

Forum to Explore Canada’s Nuclear Fuel Management – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will host a special event on Wednesday at Noon looking at Canada’s approach to long-term management of used nuclear fuel.  Speakers for the event will include Laurie Swami and Elena Mantagaris, both of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Canada.

Senate Energy to Look at Cyber Security Issues – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine cyber technology and energy infrastructure.

NatGas Roundtable to Feature Trade Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host USTDA’s Energy Sector Worldwide Team Lead Carl Kress on Thursday as the guest speaker at its next luncheon. Kress is the Energy Sector Worldwide Team Leader at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, coordinating all energy-related agency programs and strategy with U.S. industry. He is also the Regional Director for East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia, responsible for developing and implementing the USTDA economic development program throughout these regions.

ASE Forum to Look at New EE Workforce – On Thursday at Noon in SVC 209 of the Capitol Visitors Center, the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) will hold a forum on developing the 21st century energy efficiency workforce. The energy efficiency sector’s aging workforce coupled with a growing market for energy efficient buildings, services and products, evidences the need for skilled workers more than ever before. This discussion will bring together leaders in the energy sector to discuss how workforce development programs can help to address not only a gap in the number of workers available to meet the needs of the industry, but also combat the ever present problem of insufficient qualifications, certifications and education among energy efficiency job applicants.

AEE Experts to Discuss California Energy Policy –The Advanced Energy Economy’s (AEE) state policy team and in-state lobbyists will recap the legislative breakthroughs of 2017, and what remains to be done in 2018 in a webinar Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Topics include Cap and Trade, transportation electrification, RPS, energy efficiency, energy storage and CAISO regionalization.  Panelists include AEE’s California Policy senior director Amisha Rai, Sacramento lobbyist Andrew Antwih and state policy associate Ray Fakhoury.

IN THE FUTURE

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 on Monday October 30th 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 – Next Monday 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.

BPC to Discuss Grid Options – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Tuesday October 31st 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.

Forum to Look at SE Renewables – Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy 2017 is being held in Atlanta at the Downtown Hilton on November 1st through the 3rd.  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.

Expert to Discuss Financing EE Programs in New Markets – On Wednesday, November 1st 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, November 1st 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, November 1st 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.

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 November 3rd 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, November 3rd 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.

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.

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.

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.

Energy Update: Week of 10/16/17

Friends,

I am still stunned over the interesting and exciting games in the MLB playoffs over the past week.  There has been some really great games.  And now, college basketball is underway with Midnight Madness across the country occurring over the weekend.

Last week, among the big stories was the withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan.  Our colleague Jeff Holmstead did a couple of great explainers on the CPP withdrawal.  First, he sat down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep for Morning Edition.  He also did a longer, more detailed discussion on the Bracewell podcast, The Lobby Shop, with Josh Zive.  You can listen to Jeff’s dulcet tones on NPR here and on The Lobby Shop here on iTunes and SoundCloud.  (You can sign up to receive it every week in your podcast app.)

This week, there are two events that everyone is keeping an eye on: 1) Tomorrow’s Grassley/Pruitt meeting on biofuels issues and 2) an EPA briefing today on changes to sue/settle.  On Grassley, we’ve seen a flurry of activity, including a letter from PA Senators on risk to NE refineries, another letter from more Senators on biofuels on lowering the RVO, a new RFA paper (which surprising thinks ethanol is not the problem) and pushback from the small “mom-and-pop” retailers who argue the program is unfairly slanted toward large retailers.  As for “sue/settle”, it is an issue our friends at the US Chamber have raised major concerns about with a recent report in September.  Our experts are also ready to help.

Starting tomorrow in Congress, the Senate Approps panel is moving the Interior/EPA budget with full Committee on Thursday.  We expect committee votes on in Senate Environment on EPA nominees, as well as NRC’s Jan Baran Wednesday morning.

Other events include AGA hosting a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The ELI annual awards dinner and policy forums Wednesday as well as former DOE Sect Moniz visiting with the Bipartisan Policy Center on nuclear. Finally on Thursday, CSIS hosts forum on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation featuring our friends Jim Connaughton, former Rep. Phil Sharp and former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Here is a great homecoming photo from Olivia’s weekend… And she scored twice during the Friday Night Lights 4-2 field hockey victory, including the game winner.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As the first stewards of the environment, U.S. farmers have invested in solar energy to diversify their sources of power and reduce their impacts. They are joining a wide range of other U.S. industries who are opposed to the U.S. government intervening in the energy market to artificially raise the cost of using solar power.  It’s clear that any tariffs or price floors to protect two solar companies will cause widespread damage to many sectors of the U.S. economy.”

ETAC spokesperson Paul Nathanson on Ag Groups Opposed Solar Tariff.

“Agriculture is most prevalent in rural areas that have high energy cost or limited grid access; solar adoption has been vital to keeping many family farms competitive in this world market along with the jobs that these small communities depend upon. Tariffs would create a massive setback in this progress and potentially take away the opportunity for farmers to invest in solar.”

Roger Isom, President and CEO of California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, emphasized the acute strain this proposed tariffs would put on rural areas.

“The proposed tariffs and minimum prices would double the cost of imported solar cells and modules used in farming operations thus jeopardizing the financial viability of planned and future solar investments by citrus growers and packers.”

Joel Nelson, President of California Citrus Mutual.

 

IN THE NEWS

Ag Groups Oppose Solar Trade Tariffs – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) today highlighted a broad array of agricultural groups that are opposing the Section 201 solar tariff petition.  Six agricultural groups recently submitted letters to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) opposing remedies that would raise solar energy costs.  Agricultural groups that have submitted letters to the ITC include the Almond Alliance of California, California Citrus Mutual, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Poultry Federation, and Western Agricultural Processors Association.  Kelly Covello, President of the Almond Alliance of California wrote they are deeply concerned the petition’s proposed trade remedy “would be harmful by raising energy costs while eliminating economically viable means to comply with California’s strict carbon dioxide limits, water restrictions and renewable energy mandates.”  These groups join other manufacturers, energy utilities and local, state and federal government officials who are warning about the serious consequences of solar tariffs to the American economy and to the thousands of jobs that depend on solar investments.  A sample of the letters submitted to the ITC is attached and to learn more about ETAC and its mission, visit www.energytradeaction.org.

Harnett-White Named CEQ Nominee – The White House has appointed Kathleen Hartnett White, a former Texas regulator to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. My colleague Scott Segal said White’s distinguished career as both a state regulator and as an expert on national policy development combines analytical skills with the practical thinking required of a state regulator.  As a TCEQ commissioner, she was well known to the regulated and public interest communities.  Given the importance of Texas manufacturing and energy production to the economy of the entire nation, environmental regulation in Texas must address cutting-edge concerns thoroughly, competently and pragmatically.  Dr. White was at the forefront of that process.  Segal said some have focused on particular statements attributed to Dr. White regarding climate science.  The truth is that she has written on a broader spectrum of environmental issues and has typically supported policies that advance energy, environmental and economic priorities.  I am sure her confirmation hearing will offer opportunities to further clarify her views.

Segal: CEQ Already Working Hard – Segal added on last item on the CEQ to date. “Since the beginning of the Administration, CEQ staff has done a tremendous job advancing an agenda to bring more rationality to the regulatory and permitting process,” he said.  “CEQ staff has familiarized itself with some of the real, practical challenges presented by the National Environmental Policy Act.   Dr. White joins a team already undertaking a serious-minded and capable review of the federal government’s role in energy and environmental projects.”

TX Utility to Close Two More Coal Plants – Following last week’s announcement about its Monticello Plant, Vistra Energy said today that it will close two additional coal-fueled power plants in Central Texas: its two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and its two-unit Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County. In total, approximately 2,300 MW of nameplate power will be taken offline in early 2018.  The two plants are economically challenged in the competitive ERCOT market. Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors, have contributed to this decision.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wilson Center to Host Events on Resilience Week – The Wilson Center’s Global Sustainability and Resilience Program is hosting the 2017 Resilience Academy Capstone Conference this week in cooperation with the Munich Re Foundation, UN University-Institute for Environment and Human Security, and International Centre for Climate Change and Development. Among the event will be three public sessions of the Academy, covering the many ways in which resilience is vital for communities around the world.

JHU to Host Sustainable Energy Institute –Today at Noon, Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS launched its Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) to conduct policy analysis that will help governments universalize energy access at minimal environmental impact. Directed by Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, ISEP offers bold ideas, rigorous policy analysis, and sustained engagement with policymakers and other change agents.

AGA to Discuss Winter Heating Season Report – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The annual AGA Winter Outlook takes factors such as supply, demand, temperature, weather events and pipeline capacity and calculates how these factors may impact customer bills. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation. Chris McGill, vice president, Energy Analysis & Standards and Bruce McDowell, managing director, Energy Analysis & Standards, will make the presentations.

Wilson Forum to Look at Cities, Cars, Air – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on how cities are confronting the challenges of adapting a transportation system to new sustainability concerns. Simon Ng, an independent researcher formerly with Civic Exchange, will reflect on Los Angeles’ and Hong Kong’s quests for sustainable mobility and urban livability while also shedding light on the similar challenges faced by ever-growing Chinese megacities. Drawing on years of International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) engagement in the PRD lowering vehicular emissions, Zifei Yang will introduce the increasingly effective vehicle emission control programs that Shenzhen and other PRD cities have instituted.

Senate Approps Panel to Mark up Interior Budget – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will meet to markup the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.  Full Committee mark up on Thursday.

Norway Oil, Gas Minister at CSIS – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Lars Erik Aamot, Director General for Oil and Gas in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Aamot will discuss Norway’s experiences, current activities, and future opportunities in developing the oil and gas resources of the Norwegian Arctic. Former EIA head Adam Sieminski will moderate.  Aamot has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, primarily from various roles in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Since 2009, he has been the Director General for Oil and Gas in the Ministry.

National Bioenergy Day 2017 – The Department of Energy (DOE) will celebrate its 5th annual National Bioenergy Day on Wednesday to celebrate bioenergy, a form of renewable energy derived from biomass—organic material—that can be used to produce transportation fuels, products, heat, and electricity. This is an opportunity to showcase bioenergy facilities and the bioenergy supply chain around the United States.

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a conversation on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the vital role U.S. nuclear energy plays in achieving national security objectives. The conversation will highlight the key takeaways from The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler, a report issued by Sec. Moniz’s new Energy Futures Initiative.

USEA Hosts Energy Transition Outlook – The US Energy Assn will roll out the DNV GL Energy Transition Outlook on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Fourth Estate Room at the National Press Club.  The Outlook provides a balanced forecast of our energy future through to 2050 and draws on DNV GL’s independence and its broad involvement across the entire supply chain, spanning complex offshore infrastructure, onshore oil & gas installations, large-scale wind, solar and energy efficiency projects and the world’s most advanced electricity transmission and distribution grids. The report forecasts energy demand and supply globally, and in 10 world regions.

Press Club to Host Comms Summit – On Wednesday, the National Press Club will host its annual Communicators’ Summit at the Club’s First Amendment Lounge.  This year’s theme is “Content is King.” Leading experts will share insights on producing content suited to the unique strengths of different digital, online and social media channels, as well as emerging technologies. We’ll discuss the challenges of developing credible and compelling content at a time when trust in corporations, government, NGO’s and the media is being tested more than any time in a generation.  Speakers will include AARP’s Bill Walsh, AXIOS Editor Nicholas Johnston, Twitter‘s head of Global Public Policy Communications Emily Horne, Richard Levick, Scripps News Washington Bureau investigative correspondent Mark Greenblatt and several more.  The Luncheon Keynote speaker will be Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman.  Special kudos to our friend Tim Brown of GE Renewable who is helping put the program together.

ELI Hosts Annual Dinner, Forums – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual awards dinner honoring  Achim Steiner, Administrator for the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday at the Omni Shoreham in DC.  At 2:00 p.m., they will host a discussion about “cooperative federalism” and the need to ensure that environmental program administration reflects the significant expertise and experience state environmental agencies now have after decades of administrating environmental protection laws.  Panelists will include ECOS’s Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Chevron’s Richard DeSanti, BNSF’s John Lovenburg, Todd Parfitt of the Wyoming DEQ, C2ES’s Janet Peace and Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  They will also hold the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum on cooperative Federalism, featuring GE’s Neil Kemkar, Bob Martineau of the Tennessee DEC and several others.

JHU to Look at EVs – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on electric cars.  Speakers will address range, infrastructure, environmental impacts and other Issues.

CSIS to Look at Vehicle Issues – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are hosting a conference Thursday on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today.  Panels will include former Energy Committee Chair and RFF Head Phil Sharp, former Bush 43 CEQ chief Jim Connaughton and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, as well as former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Hydro, Climate Discussion Set – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Chemonics International hosts a forum on hydropower and climate risks.  The benefits of hydropower are especially salient for smaller-scale hydro, given its smaller environmental and social footprint. New financial instruments, such as green bonds and payments for water services, along with engagement from multilateral agencies also make smaller-scale hydropower investment more attractive and feasible. But what does a changing climate mean for hydropower? Molly Hellmuth, the focal point on water and Africa for ICF’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience team, will present.

DOE, NEI Host Nuclear Forum – The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute will host the Millennial Nuclear Caucus on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

Forum to Look at Storage, Micro Grids – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at EEI, Leaders in Energy, along with Resilient Virginia, will be sponsoring a forum on improving resilience through microgrids and battery storage.  The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is seen increasingly by public and private organizations as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in the age of intense hurricanes and cybersecurity threats.  Topics include: technology that supports the utility/microgrid interface, tools for developers to assess microgrid viability based on existing infrastructure and regulations, how local governments in the DMV are working with private companies to make microgrid development financially feasible, and how our regional Department of Defense installations are utilizing microgrids as part of their energy security systems. Speakers include EEI’s John Caldwell, USGBC’s Brendan Owens, Dan Ton of DOE’s Smart Grid R&D and Michael Yambrach, the Energy and Sustainability director in Montgomery County, MD.

Economists to Host Weather Hedge Specialist – The National Capitol Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host their October forum with Munich Re’s Edward Byrne on Friday at Carmines.  Ed Byrns has specialized in weather hedging for many years. His talk focuses on how the new world of big data is creating innovative weather risk products to manage business exposure.

This presentation is a journey from the past to the present and on to the future. Throughout this journey, we will learn what weather risk management is, where market capabilities are today and how future solutions could target micro-level risks.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – On Saturday, 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.

IN THE FUTURE

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.

WCEE to Look at Clean Energy Jobs – Next Tuesday, WCEE holds a brown bag lunch in Arlington at Accenture focused on clean energy jobs, locally and globally.  Recently, there has been a boom in clean energy and, with costs decreasing and adoption accelerating, the impact on jobs has been significant. U.S. solar and wind jobs are growing 12x faster than their peer average; with the fastest growing single profession being wind turbine technician, and an increase to over 260,000 solar workers in the U.S. alone last year. Join a great WCEE panel to hear more about where growth is happening and what skills are needed; how it’s empowering women and communities, and how innovative business models are helping it scale. Speakers will provide a range of private sector to non-profit perspectives on the following topics and encourage the audience to dive in and discuss.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil Issues – Next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on how oil riches ruined Venezuela.  In the past decade and a half, the government of Venezuela received over $1 trillion in oil revenues, and yet the country is now suffering from a deep humanitarian crisis with its population struggling to feed itself. As a correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Raúl Gallegos witnessed first-hand how the mismanagement of oil riches during the rule of Hugo Chávez led to Venezuela’s current misery. Gallegos will explain how mismanaged oil has created perverse incentives in the political system, the business community, and among ordinary Venezuelans. Gustavo Coronel will offer his insights on what should be the future of the oil sector in a democratic Venezuela.

AWEA Finance, Offshore Conferences Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC on October 24-26th at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities. The event will also be co-located with AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference, which will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.  Statoil, who is looking to build in NY is among the focuses of the conference.

WCEE to Host Battery Tech Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Women in Leadership Forum at Winston & Strawn on Wednesday, October 25th that hosts Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and chief executive officer of Cadenza Innovation.   Lampe-Önnerud will discuss the unprecedented development of advanced battery technology and the opportunities this presents for future innovative solutions in energy production and storage and the opportunities and challenges she faced in the competitive energy and environmental fields, and share “lessons learned” along her path to leadership.

NatGas Roundtable to Feature Trade Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host USTDA’s Energy Sector Worldwide Team Lead Carl Kress on Thursday October 26th as the guest speaker at its next luncheon. Kress is the Energy Sector Worldwide Team Leader at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, coordinating all energy-related agency programs and strategy with U.S. industry. He is also the Regional Director for East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia, responsible for developing and implementing the USTDA economic development program throughout these regions.

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 on Monday October 30th 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.

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.

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.

 

Energy Update: Week of September 11th

Friends,

This week, we first start with thoughts of the importance of 9-11, remembering the loss of that day 16 years ago, and thinking about how it changed us.

Now, we face our latest challenge at the peak of hurricane season (which was yesterday), Hurricane Irma, which slammed into Florida Saturday.  We still are unsure of what the full damage will be but it looks like it may be better than expected given the initial size and speed of the storm, as well as the damage in caused in the Caribbean.  Still another day or so to go as it moves up into Georgia and South Carolina.  Just as we did with Harvey and refinery outages, we will likely be able to help with impacts as it moves into Georgia.  Let me know if you need anything.

As we deal with Irma, we are still helping with Harvey in Texas.  I wanted to pass along the good work of the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association, which has set up a relief fund for energy-related needs of Harvey’s victims.  CFEBA is working with the EBA’s Houston chapter to assure the money all goes straight to helping people. Any and all tax deductible contributions are appreciated can be made to the CFEBA’s Relief Fund through the CFEBA online store or by mail or fax using the Hurricane Harvey Relief Donation Form.  There are many opportunities to help both Texas and Florida through the Red Cross and others, so please do.  Texas oil and gas companies have contributed $27.3 million toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with Valero among the donors.

Back in DC, official Washington really cranks back up this week.  Last week, Congress easily cleared a package today to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months.   This will likely clear to decks for a discussion of tax reform which is expected to see behind-the-scenes work at least until around Columbus Day.  Energy issues will play a role in the discussions and we will have all the bases covered.

After last week’s FERC nomination hearing for Kevin McIntyre and Rich Glick, it seems we may have a vote on them in the Senate Energy Committee as soon as late this week.  We also saw Bill Wehrum finally being named to head EPA’s Air Office late last week.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is happy to discuss Wehrum should you need background and comments.  He also sent a letter to the Senate Environment Committee Leadership recommending Wehrum.  (Can forward if you haven’t seen it.) Remember, Wehrum worked for Jeff when Holmstead headed the EPA Air Office.

On the hearing slate, tomorrow, House Energy holds the biggest action in a hearing about the electric grid reliability.  The follow up to the recent DOE grid study will feature an all-star cast of energy sector experts, as well as FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee, DOE’s Pat Hoffman and NERC’s Gerry Cauley.  Other hearings include Senate Energy on the National Labs tomorrow and House Energy looking at small business energy reg reform, Senate Commerce looking at AV Trucks and Senate Energy on carbon capture, all on Wednesday.

If you are following trade, tomorrow at the National Press Club at 2:00 p.m., the leading voice for the steel supply chain, the American Institute for International Steel, will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  And, on Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017.  POLITICO also holds it Pro Policy Summit all day Thursday.

Speaking of trade petitions, I’m sure the solar trade petition will be a hot topic at the biggest event outside the Beltway, Solar Power International, which runs in Las Vegas today through Wednesday.  The event is the solar Industry’s biggest event and given Friday’s Q2 installation success story and  the Axios blurb about the White House leaning toward imposing solar tariffs (which mind you, seems to be a bit premature), folks should have a lot to talk about out in Vegas.

As many of you know, our friend Scott Segal has launched on a long-term Europe/Israel excursion. While he is out, (we will hear from him occasionally), please note that our full team is available for comment, political/policy insight and background.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Bill is well-respected and well-liked by the career staff at EPA – and by anyone who has ever worked with him. During his almost 6 years at EPA, he worked closely with career staff on a wide range of issues and was known for rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the details of the Agency’s regulations and permitting programs. From his work as an environmental engineer, his time at the Agency, and his many years of counseling clients, he has a comprehensive understanding of EPA’s regulatory programs and the many technical issues involved in implementing the Clean Air Act.”

Former EPA Air Administrator and Bracewell partner Jeff Holmstead in a letter to Senate Environment Committee Chair John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper supporting Bill Wehrum to be EPA Air Administrator.

“This report shows once again that solar is on the rise and will continue to add to its share of electricity generation.  Last year, solar companies added jobs 17 times faster than the rest of the economy and increased our GDP by billions of dollars. We are going to continue to fight for policies that allow the industry to continue this phenomenal growth.”

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, speaking about GTM Research’s Q2 report on solar installations.

IN THE NEWS

Wehrum Nominated to Head EPA Air Office – The White House nominated Bill Wehrum to serve as the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at EPA.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, who has known Wehrum for more than 20 years, worked with him previously at EPA when he headed the Air Office previously.  Holmstead said praised Wehrum as the only person ever to have worked on Clean Air Act issues as an environmental engineer at a major chemical plant, a young attorney in private practice, a senior policy maker at EPA, and the head of the environmental group at a major law firm.  On Friday, Holmstead sent a letter to Capitol Hill (which I can send): “Bill is committed to the goals of the Clean Air Act and to the rule of law. He is also a person of the highest integrity. I am confident that, within the framework established by Congress, he will work to protect public health and the environment while at the same time pursuing regulatory reforms that will reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.  Truly, there is no better person to serve as the Assistant  Administrator of EPA for Air and Radiation.”

Q2 Report: Solar Growth Strong, Trade Barrier Puts Growth At Risk – GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said the US solar market continued its years-long expansion in the Q2 of 2017 as the industry installed 2,387 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV), the largest total in a second quarter to date. This tops Q1’s total and represents an 8% year-over-year gain, said in the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.  All three U.S. solar market segments – commercial, residential and utility-scale – experienced quarter-over-quarter growth in Q2. The U.S. installed 2,044 MW of capacity in Q1. The non-residential and utility-scale market segments also posted year-over-year growth. The report did not change its forecast that the American solar industry would triple cumulative capacity over the next five years.  However, trade relief, which is being considered by the International Trade Commission, could radically affect the solar outlook and “would result in a substantial downside revision to our forecast for all three segments,” the analysis said.

Oil, Offshore Industry Pushes Back on MD Offshore Wind Amendment – Oil and Offshore groups are pushing back against an amendment from Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris to a Congressional spending bill.  Harris’ amendment would bar the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from processing site assessment plans and construction and operation permits for offshore wind projects that would fall within 24 miles of the Maryland shoreline. These groups have joined opposition from wind groups who see the Harris effort as a NIMBY move.  The Harris amendment faces opposition from Senate Democrats and may not make it into a final spending deal at the end of this year.  But the oil industry worries that it will create a troublesome precedent for the sanctity of federal offshore leases. The National Ocean Industries Association, for one, says if Congress interferes at this late stage in the process (years after BOEM issued leases for the projects) it could have a definitive effect on the wind industry — and broader energy industry as a whole — that is looking to develop in federally controlled waters. “If Congress can simply decide that the valid leaseholders’ rights can be violated by a whim, you have billions of dollars of investment that” may be at risk, said Tim Charters, NOIA senior director of governmental and political affairs.

Conaway Preps Carbon Capture Bill – Texas Rep. Mike Conaway is preparing to introduce bipartisan legislation this month that would extend and expand the Section 45Q tax incentive for carbon capture facilities. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are leading a similar effort. The bipartisan push is a crucial part of a multi-pronged financing effort for carbon capture projects that also includes private-activity bonds that would be authorized in bills from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas). While the bonds provide low-cost financing for carbon capture development, the 45Q credit can further complement that by driving equity investment in the projects. Together, these incentives have the potential to dramatically boost commercial carbon capture deployment in the U.S., which can lead to significant increases in enhanced oil recovery and other economic benefits.  Conaway’s bill would increase the value of the credit for new projects, while limiting eligibility to projects that would begin construction within seven years or who haven’t yet received the credit, according to his Sept. 6 letter to colleagues. The bill would also expand the range of projects that could receive the credit to also include carbon monoxide capture and other facilities.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Solar Power International Set for Vegas – Solar Power International (SPI) will be held today through Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  SPI is a four day conference packed with education sessions, networking events and a wide range of exhibitions. The education sessions are led by industry leaders who share their expertise and ideas on prominent topics in the industry. As solar continues to evolve, SPI will keep you up to date on emerging technologies and policy changes.

Mayors to Look at Climate Locally – Today at 3:00 p.m. in 122 Cannon, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing about what cities throughout the United States are doing to protect their communities by investing in resilience. In addition to providing security, their actions are resulting in multiple side benefits: lower monthly expenses for households, businesses, and the city itself; the protection and restoration of natural resources; and local economic growth and job creation.  This briefing’s speakers will showcase some of the defensive actions their cities are taking to reduce the impacts of extreme weather, as well as lessons learned.  Speakers include Pittsburgh mayor William Peduto, Flagstaff (AZ) Sustainability Manager Nicole Antonopoulos Woodman and Cooper Martin, Program Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the National League of Cities.

Book Focused on NatGas Geopolitics – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a launch of Dr. Agnia Grigas’ new book, The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas.  As the world’s greatest producer of natural gas moves aggressively to become a top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the US stands poised to become an energy superpower—an unanticipated development with far-reaching implications for the international order. In this new geopolitics of gas, the US will enjoy opportunities, but also face challenges in leveraging its newfound energy clout to reshape relations with both European states and rising Asian powers.  In her new book, Dr. Grigas examines how this new reality is rewriting the conventional rules of intercontinental gas trade and realigning strategic relations between the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, and beyond.

UN Climate Meetings in NYC – The United Nations hosts its 72nd General Session starting tomorrow and as usual, climate change discussions will likely be part of the conversation.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., CSIS and the George W. Bush Presidential Center host an event on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Speakers will discuss how lowering economic barriers has enabled North America to outperform other regions, and examine how an updated NAFTA could further improve the continent’s trade and competitiveness.  Keynote speaker will be Sen. Rob Portman, while a panel discussion, led by Andrea van Vugt, Sergio Gómez Lora and Matthew Rooney, with CSIS expert and Scholl Chair of International Business Scott Miller, will examine the potential impact of the ongoing NAFTA negotiations on the Americas and present key policy recommendations.

House Energy Panel to Look at Grid Reliability – The House Energy Subcommittee hold a hearing tomorrow on electric grid reliability. Witnesses include Acting FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Patricia Hoffman, NERC CEO Gerry Cauley, API’s Marty Durbin, Enel’s Kyle Davis (for SEIA), AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, NEI President Maria Korsnick and a National Hydropower Association rep Steven Wright.

House Science to Tackle Grid Resiliency – The House Science Committee holds a hearing on electric grid resiliency tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses include Carl Imhoff of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bill Sanders of the University of Illinois, Gavin Dillingham of the Houston Advanced Research Center and Walt Baum of the Texas Public Power Association.

Forum to Look at Carbon Pricing – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions releases a new brief and hosts a webinar featuring business leaders on how and why companies are putting an internal price on carbon emissions. The webinar will also review key opportunities, benefits, experiences, and challenges drawn from the upcoming C2ES report, The Business of Pricing Carbon: How Companies are Pricing Carbon to Mitigate Risks and Prepare for a Low-Carbon Future.

ELI to Look at Hydro Energy – The Environmental Law Institute host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. on the future of hydrokinetic energy in the United States.  While off to a slow start in the United States, ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) are already at an advanced phase of development in other parts of the world.  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.  Though the current cost of hydrokinetic energy is higher in the US .compared to other fuels, and harnessing tidal and wave power poses technical challenges, some backers assert that tides are a more predictable source of renewable energy. Should more resources and subsidies be put into hydrokinetic energy research? What environmental impacts do these technologies pose compared to other renewable energy sources? What regulatory barriers need to be addressed to support the development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.?  Panelists will include FERC’s Annie Jones, Meghan Massaua of the Meridian Institute and Seán O’Neill of Symmetrix Public Relations & Communication Strategies.

Steel Users Group To Release Tariff Impacts Report – Tomorrow at the National Press Club 2:00 p.m., America’s leading voice for the steel supply chain – the American Institute for International Steel – will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  Drawing from a newly released report, economist John Martin will detail the impact that steel tariffs pose for U.S. ports, which make an outsized contribution to the U.S. economy. According to Martin’s report, 1.3 million jobs are currently supported by port activity related to imported steel, feeding nearly $240 billion in economic activity, or 1.3% of U.S. GDP in 2016.

Senate Energy to Tackle Energy Labs – The Senate Energy Committee’s Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. looking at fostering innovation from contributions of DOE’s National Laboratories.  Witnesses include WVU Energy Institute director Brian Anderson, Argonne National Laboratory interim director Paul Kearns, Duke Energy’s Anuja Ratnayake and NREL associated lab director Bill Tumas.

API Hold Discussion on State NatGas, Oil Industries – The American Petroleum Institute holds an event Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the natural gas and oil industry’s impact in all 50 states. State-specific information will be provided along with brief remarks on the current state of the industry from API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

Senate Enviro To Look at Carbon Capture – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on expanding and accelerating the deployment and use of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. Witnesses will include NRG’s David Greeson, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead policy adviser advisor Matthew Fry and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, now with former Energy Secretary Moniz’s Energy Futures Initiative.

Senate Commerce Looks at AV Trucks – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at automated trucks and our nation’s highways.” The hearing will examine the benefits of automated truck safety technology as well as the potential impacts on jobs and the economy.  Including or excluding trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles has been a topic of discussion in ongoing bipartisan efforts to draft self-driving vehicle legislation. Witnesses include Colorado State Patrol Chief Scott Hernandez, Navistar CEO Troy Clarke, Ken Hall of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman, and American Trucking Associations CEO Chris Spear.

House Energy Panel to Look at Small Business Energy Reforms – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on relief for small business.  The legislation focuses on reducing regulatory burdens on small manufacturers and other job creators.

House Resource to Mark Up Native American Energy Legislation – The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to markup several bills including to facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands, and for other purposes.

Groups Aim to Save EPA – A group of Environmental activists will hold a press briefing on Wednesday at Noon in the Zenger Room dubbed National “Save the EPA” Day.  The effort will be led by AFGE National Council 238 President John J. O’Grady, who will serve as the national spokesperson for the Save the U.S. EPA campaign. In addition to O’Grady, speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell, Mary Anne Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and NWF CEO Collin O’Mara.  After the event, they will march to EPA.

National Biodiesel Board Holds BioFry event on Hill – The National Biodiesel Board holds its annual BioFry event Wednesday at lunch on Capitol Hill.  D.C. food trucks will serve french fries and provide information about how the oil used to cook the fries can be recycled to make clean-burning biodiesel.

TNC to Discuss Electric Grid – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen, the Nature Conservancy holds a stakeholder dialogue to explore critical issues on the future of the electric grid.  Within the past decade, the electricity sector has seen advances in renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, microgrids and other new options for planning and operating the grid. These tools and resources are attracting hundreds of entrepreneurs – as well as their investment and jobs – into the electricity industry while increasing reliability, enhancing efficiency, and integrating modern distributed energy resources. As a part of our series of regional forums, we will explore the impact these changes are having on how we deliver electricity in the 21st Century.

Forum to Look at Japanese Nuclear Industry – CSIS will host a conversation on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with Japanese Diet members and US experts on Japan’s plutonium policies, their regional implications, and the prospects for continued US-Japan nuclear cooperation beyond 2017.  Speakers will include Kyodo News Senior Editorial Writer Masakatsu Ota, House of Councillors Member Masashi Adachi, House of Representatives Member Seiji Ohsaka and former Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman.

House Panel to Look at Venezuela Crisis – The House Foreign Affairs Panel on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at the crisis in Venezuela and its impacts, one of which is energy related.

POLITICO Hosts Pro Policy Summit – On Thursday at the Omni Shoreham, POLITICO holds its first Pro Policy Summit which will bring together key players from the executive branch, federal agencies and Congress as well as key innovators whose technologies are driving large-scale policy shifts. Among the Speakers will be our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Mike McKenna, Energy Editor Nick Juliano and many others.  A full agenda for the event is here and a list of speakers is available here.

Senators to Address CO2 Capture Forum – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will host a forum Thursday in 902 Hart Senate on innovations on carbon capture and use.  Experts will provide updates on these breakthrough technologies, and lawmakers will discuss ways to speed up their deployment.  Speakers will include C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, Sheldon Whitehouse, Shelley Moore Capito, John Barrasso and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, among many others.

EPA Panel Tackles NAFTA Issues – The EPA holds a meeting of its National Advisory Committee and the Governmental Advisory Committee Thursday and Friday to provide advice on trade and environment issues related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

Great EE Day Set – The Alliance to Save Energy will host the Great Energy Efficiency Day (part II) on Thursday morning at the Columbus Club.  The event will reconvene energy efficiency’s leading influencers for another full day of advocacy and education.  Our friends Ben Evans of ASE, Daiken’s Charlie McCrudden and GM’s Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy Director Britta Gross will also speak, as well as keynoter Greg Kats, former Director of Financing in DOE’s EERE office.

CSIS to Host EIA Outlook – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017).  The IEO2017 includes long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Among other topics, Dr. Mead will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, regional energy demand growth, and key uncertainties that may alter long-term projections.

USEEE to Look at Battery Storage – The US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its monthly lunch on Friday at Carmines that will feature Jason Burwen, Policy & Advocacy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  While battery energy storage has long been sought as a “game-changer” for the power sector, rapid cost declines and increasing deployment in recent years suggest that the game is already changing.  Burwen will provide a general overview of the U.S. battery energy storage market and economics, as well as describe the core services and value to the electric grid that storage provides. Jason will also discuss the policy barriers to greater storage deployment, both in RTOs/ISOs and at state PUCs, and offer some thoughts on future policy discussions for enabling the power system to realize the full value of flexible battery storage.

IN THE FUTURE

National Drive Electric Week – Launches Sunday, September 17

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.

IEA World Energy Report to be Detailed – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), next Tuesday to discuss the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2017. Energy investment in 2016 totaled 1.7 trillion dollars, around 2.2 percent of the global economy. The report covers critical details about energy investment across various energy sectors, sources, and regions. It also includes a special focus on a wide array of topics, including how digitization is impacting investment and employment, global investment in innovation, and the impact of emerging business models. The report assesses the importance of energy policy driving investment into energy efficiency and into facilities that ensure adequate levels of energy security.

WCEE Event to Feature Marriott Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee will hold a reception next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. At the Brattle Group featuring Dominica Groom, Senior Director, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity at Marriott International, the world’s largest global lodging company.  Dominica provides global leadership through strategic direction, planning and execution for these important operational platforms. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the top “Leading Women”, under the age of 40, in the state of Maryland for her tremendous professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, she was also recognized as a “Top Influential Leader in Diversity” by the National Association for Minority Companies for her unwavering commitment to diversity & inclusion. Domenica will share her insights on her path to leadership, and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the sustainability and supplier diversity sector.

Forum to Look at Shale, Energy Security – On Wednesday, September 20th at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host a lecture on the topic of “Energy Security: New Market Realities” with Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International.  The rise of North America’s shale oil and gas production has changed the market dynamics, energy trade flow, and the elements of energy security.  In this talk, Vakhshouri will cover the changes in market fundamentals, energy trade flows, energy prices and policies, and their broader impact upon global and regional energy security. We will also touch upon the current political risks treating the oil and gas supply from countries such as Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

ITC Solar Trade Petition Injury Determination – September 22

Statoil to Focus on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on September 27-29 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.

WAPA to Feature Ford Product at September Event – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and the staff of Ford’s Washington, D.C. offices will hold a networking event that highlights Ford’s best-selling vehicle on Thursday, September 21 from 5:30 p.m.at Ford’s offices are located at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue in Suite 400.

CSIS to Host Statoil on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.  This event is part of the Climate Change and the National and Corporate Interest series, featuring speakers to foster insightful discussions on a variety of corporate and country perspectives on the costs and benefits of their respective climate strategies.

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).

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference on September 25th 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.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “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.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 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.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on September 27th and 28th 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.

CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday September 29th 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 10

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Update: Week of June 12

Friends,

Another exciting weekend with a $450 million POWERBALL winner (not me), Pittsburgh winning the Stanley Cup for the second straight year and scoring a winner in the Belmont.  While I had the Win/Place order reversed, I still won a $5 Exacta (which paid out $115) on Saturday as Tapwrit outdueled Irish War Cry to take the third jewel of the Triple Crown, following in the footsteps of his sire Tapit.  Of course, my trifecta was snake-bitten by Lookin At Lee for the third straight race as this time I had him in the box and he faded badly (Yes, I left him out of the Derby/Preakness boxes and should have known this would happen).  Anyway, at least I didn’t lose money this week finishing slightly ahead.  Finally, tonight, Golden State goes for the clincher tonight at home and golf’s US Open starts on Thursday at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

It is a very busy week in DC, starting tomorrow with the rescheduled confirmation hearing at Senate EPW for NRC Commissioners and EPA enforcement head Susan Bodine.  They are expected to vote Thursday to move NRC Chair Kristine Svinicki to fast-track her approval before the June 30 expiration of her current term.  We also expect a vote on FERC nominees soon as well (before July 4th recess).  Senate Energy canceled its permitting hearing slated for tomorrow.  On Wednesday, Senate EPW tackles the RVP ethanol issue (even as rumors continue that RVOs will soon be released by EPA) and Senate Commerce looks at automated vehicle technology and hurdles for testing and deployment in the US.

The budget process launches in earnest this week after a few hearings last week.  This week there are 18 hearings highlighted by a visit by Scott Pruitt to House Interior/Enviro Approps on Thursday.  Secretary of State Tillerson will appear at Senate Foreign Relations tomorrow and Ag Secretary Perdue is at Senate Ag tomorrow afternoon.  Secretary Chao make two separate visits to the Senate and House Transportation committees.

Off the Hill, EEI gathers in Boston today through Wednesday for its annual conference, while BP launches its annual Energy Statistics review tomorrow and will discuss it in a couple of events on Thursday.  For the future, Secretary Moniz returns to Press Club next Wednesday to discuss energy innovation (I’m hosting him for an NPC newsmaker event), Statoil’s Annual Energy perspectives report is next week as well and EIA’s annual Energy Conference is right around the corner, too.

I also thought you might find Amy Harder’s latest Harder Line column interesting since it looks at the importance of accurate media coverage of climate change, a topic near and dear to many of all our discussions over the years and one she is taking up at today’s Citizens Climate Lobby conference here in DC.  And keep your eye peeled for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy weighing into energy/environment budget debate soon.

Finally, the FireFly Music Festival starts on Thursday in Delaware and carries through four days of music.  This is my wife’s favorite event, so when she heads out Thursday, my kids and I will be living large, eating as much great carry-out (KFC Buckets and Ledo Pizza are on the agenda) as possible, watching movies late into the night and listening to loud music in the House.  Now that’s livin’.  Which reminds, on Friday, I’m hosting Newt Gingrich for a National Press Club event about his new book: Understanding Trump. It should be insightful, so please attend or pass on to your many colleagues covering the political angles…

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The successful development of new energy technologies – and the jobs they create – depends on effective partnerships between public and private sectors.  A significant component of those partnerships is the proper alignment of investments along the technology development process.  Leveraging its expertise, the private sector has invested billions of dollars to commercialize new energy investments.  Critical to this process is the feedstock supplied by federal investments, especially in the early-stage and high-risk research.”

A Letter from 14 CEOs, including major Corporations like Southern, Air Liquide and DuPont, as well as Chamber CEO Tom Donahue, urging Congressional appropriators to support funding for energy innovation programs. The letter was sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Energy Innovation Council.

 

IN THE NEWS

CEOs Urge Congress to Protect Energy Innovation – Late last week, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Energy Innovation Council sent a letter to Congress urging their support for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and research and development programs to ensure that the United States maintains its competitive edge. In a letter, 14 energy and economic heavy hitters, including Southern CEO Tom Fanning, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff and Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donahue said early federal research helped develop hydraulic fracturing technologies as one example of why the private sector alone can’t fund critical innovation in energy.  Other signers include Lockheed’s Norn Augustine, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Shell’s Bruce Culpepper, former Commerce official John Doerr, Pioneer’s Tim Dove, PG&E’s Anthony Early, Clean Line CEO Michael Skelly, former DuPont CEO Chad Holliday, NEI’s Maria Korsnick, AGA’s Dave McCurdy and David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance.  I can send PDF if you need it.

New Research Initiative to Update, Improve Social Cost of Carbon – Resources for the Future (RFF) is launching a multi-year, multidisciplinary research initiative to improve the methodology used to calculate the social cost of carbon—an economic tool used to quantify both the benefits to society of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and the harm to society from emitting more carbon dioxide. The social cost of carbon informs billions of dollars of policy and investment decisions in the United States and abroad—making it critical that estimates of the measure are transparent and based on the best available science and methodology. The following few examples highlight use of the social cost of carbon across several jurisdictions. Along these lines, RFF’s new initiative will support and inform policy design choices and evaluations of actions that affect climate change by decisionmakers and analysts worldwide.

Platts Cap Crude to Look at Paris, Oil Exports – The current edition of Platts Capitol Crude will look at whether President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement hurt national security. It also looks at whether US crude exports are actually benefitting US allies and if we should be selling off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  Andrew Hollard, director of studies and a senior fellow at the American Security Project, answers these questions and more on this week’s Capitol Crude.

Defense Energy Advisor Appointed – President Trump announced his intent to nominate Lucian Niemeyer late Friday to serve as assistant secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment. Niemeyer was previously a long-time staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee where he ran the military installation portfolio and conducted oversight of federal energy and environmental programs.

Immelt to Step Down at GE – General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is stepping down effective August 1, after 16 years of leading the company.  He will be replaced by John Flannery, who currently heads the industrial giant’s health care division.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EEI Holds Annual Meeting – The Edison Electric Institute will launch its annual conference in Boston today through Wednesday at the Copley Marriott.  Keynote speakers include NBC’s Tom Brokaw, MIT Digital Economy Co-Director Andy McAfee, retired general Keith Alexander and former White House advisor and CNN analyst David Gergen.  Southern CEO moderates a great breakout session tomorrow morning featuring DOE veteran Pat Hoffman, FERC’s Joe McClelland and Oracle Chief Security Officer Mary Ann Davidson.

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

LNG CEO to Address Forum – The Atlantic Council will host a forum today at Noon looking at how unconventional oil and gas continues to reshape global energy markets.  Tellurian LNG CEO Meg Gentle will speak.  The conversation will focus on the outlook for US LNG, changes in the LNG market globally, and other trends and drivers.

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 tomorrow 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 Environment Host NRC Nominees, EPA Enforcement Official – After it was postponed last week over paperwork issues, the Senate Environment Committee will host a nomination hearing tomorrow 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.  Then on Thursday, the Committee will hold a business meeting to the nomination of current NRC Chair Kristine Svinicki, who needs to be reappointed by June 30th to continue her service.

CANCELED – Senate Energy Permitting Hearing – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has cancelled its hearing slated for tomorrow on the federal permitting processes.  No word on reschedule yet.

House Ag to Look at Watershed Issues – The House Agriculture Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on small watershed infrastructure.  The hearing will look at continuing the current mission, and building upon successes.

Forum to Look at Global Risks – Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., the Stimson Center and Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy will hold a strategic conversation analyzing the global risks presented to human security by environmental change, as well as the findings and recommendations from the recently released report – “New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility.”  The event will be a discussion analyzing the global risks presented to human security by environmental change, as well as the findings and recommendations from the recently released report — New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility.

Post Forum to Look at Food Systems The Washington Post will host a forum tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. that brings together entrepreneurs, food industry executives, scientists and farmers to discuss how technology and science are changing our modern food systems. They will explore the business practices that are driving consumer demand, the innovations and new ideas that are shaping the future of what – and how – we eat and consider the policies that will regulate an increasingly complex global food market.   Speakers will include USDA Economic Research Service Administrator Dr. Mary Bohman, EWG’s Ken Cook, Seth Goldman of Honest Tea, Hungry Harvest CEO Evan Lutz, Marty Matlock of the University of Arkansas, DC Chef/ Restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and Veronica Nigh of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

NAS to Discuss Social Cost of Carbon – The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host members from its committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon as well as experts from federal and state governments and academia on Wednesday to discuss approaches to valuing climate damages. The symposium is organized into three panels: the first to review the committee’s recommendations, the second to hear from academics who are developing estimates of the social cost of carbon, and the third to discuss federal and state approaches to valuing climate damages.

Senate Commerce to Look at AVs – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on paving the way for self-driving vehicles. The hearing will explore automated vehicle technology and hurdles for testing and deployment in the United States. The hearing will also examine state and federal roles to ensure safety while promoting innovation and American competitiveness.  Witnesses will include Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ CEO Mitch Bainwol, Rob Csongor of NVIDIA Corporation, John Maddox of the American Center for Mobility and MADD’s Colleen Sheehey-Church.

RFF to Host Webinar of RGGI Emissions Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a webinar Wednesday 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 include with time to respond to questions and comments from the audience.

Senate to Look at RFS – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard on Wednesday targeting legislation by Sen. Fisher on renewable fuels, S 517, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. Witnesses will include long-time renewable fuels advocate Brooke Coleman, Jonathan Lewis of the Clean Air Task Force, Sheetz EVP Mike Lorenz, Briggs & Stratton’s Todd Teske and Janet Yanowitz of Ecoengineering.

House Energy to Look at Energy Planning – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. getting states’ perspectives on energy security planning, emergency preparedness and state energy programs.

Senate Energy to Discuss Hydro Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee’s Water and Power Panel will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at several hydropower bills.  Witnesses will include Scott Cameron, acting assistant secretary for water and science, Department of the Interior; Mark Gabriel, administrator and CEO, Western Area Power Administration; Harlowton, Mont., Mayor Jeff Sell; Tom Fisher, president, Patterson Lake Homeowners Association; Mike Hamman, chief engineer and CEO, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District; and Christopher Wynn, vice president, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group.

RCP to Host Energy Workforce Conversation – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the Columbus Club, RealClear Politics will convene experts spanning the commercial construction industry and its adjacent sectors to analyze industry success and workforce development.

Forum to Launch BP Energy Review – The Atlantic Council will launch of the 2017 BP Statistical Review of Energy on Thursday 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.

Pruitt to Testify on EPA Budget – The House Appropriations Interior-EPA subcommittee will host EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to testify on the White House’s EPA Budget, which proposed cutting the agency’s budget by 31%.  Pruitt will be joined by Holly Greaves, a landing team member who works on budget issues.

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 where he will continue the public rollout of this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy Markets.

Gingrich to Discuss Politics, Book – Former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will appear at a National Press Club Headliners Event on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the club’s First Amendment Lounge to discuss his new book, Understanding Trump.  I will be hosting the event on behalf of the NPC.  In Understanding Trump, Gingrich shares what he learned from more than two years helping Donald J. Trump throughout his presidential campaign, during his transition from presidential candidate to Commander in Chief, and in his first few months in office. Gingrich provides a unique perspective on how the new president’s past experience as a business leader has shaped his political agenda and approach to governing the country.

WCEE to Look at Western Energy Markets – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Friday at Noon at FERC 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.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Ukraine Gas Leaders to Address Forum – Next Monday at 3:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center will hold a conversation on the future of Ukraine’s energy sector with Naftogaz leadership.  On May 31, Ukraine’s Naftogaz won a victory over Russia’s Gazprom in the international arbitration court in Stockholm. Naftogaz won on all three counts the court considered. On the heels of this extraordinary development, the Atlantic Council will bring together Naftogaz Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, Andriy Kobolyev and Yuriy Vitrenko, and fellow energy experts, to discuss Ukraine’s energy sector – Nord Stream 2, implications of the arbitration between Naftogaz and Gazprom in Stockholm, and energy reforms.

Zinke to Talk Interior Budget at Senate Energy – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing next Tuesday to examine the president’s budget request for the Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2018.  Secretary Ryan Zinke will appear.

Forum to Look at AVs – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Washington Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany will hold a forum next Tuesday, June 20th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss key policy and commercial issues and insights on how enterprises and policymakers from the U.S. and Germany are enabling the future of mobility.  Emerging digital technologies are enabling connected and autonomous vehicles (AVs). These technologies will reshape the future of mobility, reducing accidents and producing an estimated $1 trillion-a-year economic benefit in the United States alone. But to achieve that vision, policymakers will need to create a regulatory environment that encourages experimentation while ensuring high standards of road safety, as Germany has recently done by developing a policy framework for autonomous vehicle research and experimentation.  Speakers include Michael Bültmann of HERE Deutschland, ITIF’s Stephen Ezell and German Federal Ministry of Transportation’s Tobias Miethaner.

WAPA to Host Steel Discussion – The Washington Automotive Press Assn is holding a forum at the National Press Club Tuesday June 20th at Noon featuring the Steel Market Development Institute. Dr. Jody Hall, vice president of the automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute, will discuss advancements in steel grades and how their application in the vehicle structure helps protects occupants in the event of a crash and is easier to repair than vehicles made with alternative materials.

Forum to Look at OPA Reform – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, June 20th at 12:00 p.m. looking at updating the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in 1990.  OPA was passed following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, to strengthen the federal government’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills, establish financial resources to aid response, and raise standards for contingency planning. The program will cover OPA issues raised by pipeline projects, and by the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase production from offshore and federal lands and to restrict the definition of waters of the United States in ways which may reduce the scope of contingency planning requirements for inland locations.  Speakers will also discuss key decisions from the past year involving the OPA and related federal statutes, including decisions about recoverable damages, citizen suits, and presentation of claims to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, as well as decisions in enforcement cases against vessels involving the use of “magic pipes” to deal with oily bilge water. The expert panel includes NOIA’s Randall Luthi, Cyn Sarthou of the Gulf Restoration Network and Richard Udell, who serves in DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section.

BPC Innovation Forum to Feature Sen Alexander, Southern ClearPath Experts – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Innovation Commission will hold a conversation on Tuesday June 20th at 3:00 p.m. in 430 Dirksen about the energy innovation process, with leading industry voices discussing whether smart, targeted approaches for limited federal resources can complement private sector investments in pursuit of advanced energy technologies. President Trump’s recent budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 has sparked a conversation about the appropriate federal role in supporting the nation’s innovators. As the congressional appropriations process begins in earnest, energy research programs within the Department of Energy are among those under scrutiny, despite a history of broad, bipartisan support.  Sen. Lamar Alexander will offer Keynote remarks, followed by a panel discussion with ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Air Liquide’s Mike Rosen and Southern’s Steve Wilson moderated by Axios’ Ben Geman.

WCEE to Host Litigation Roundtable – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hold its Third Annual Litigation Roundtable with the women Administrative Law Judges of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Judges will discuss their experience as Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and who they themselves mentored, and share the “Dos & Don’ts” regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Wilson Forum Look at Arctic Relations – The Wilson Center hold its Arctic Circle Forum on Wednesday and Thursday, June 21-22, beginning each day at 8:30 am and looking at the U.S. and Russian roles in the Arctic.  The Arctic is a region of international dialogue and potential competition, of varied challenges and diverse opportunities. It is also a region that is gaining in both geopolitical significance and public awareness every day. The complex relationship between the United States and Russia, along with the approaches of the six other Arctic nations, will continue to shape the region’s social, economic, political and environmental issues far into the future.  The event will explore the crucial Arctic relationship and the implications for all Arctic nations, the communities that call the region home, and the countries and organizations that have a vested interest in a peaceful and sustainable Arctic.

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.

Press Club to Host Former Energy Sect Moniz – The National Press Club will host a Newsmaker on Wednesday June 21st at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Lisagor Room featuring former Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz.  Moniz will propose ways to maintain the American leadership edge on energy innovation. Moniz also is expected to announce the formation of a new non-profit organization “The Energy Futures Initiative,” that aims to foster innovation in global energy systems. According to the creators, EFI will be a non-partisan, think tank and advisory firm working across all energy sources to provide evidence-based analysis on decarbonizing energy systems, creating high-paying energy jobs, and finding ways to make energy infrastructure and supplies more secure.

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.

Senate Energy to Hear from Perry on DOE Budget – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing on Thursday June 22nd at 10:00 a.m. to examine the president’s budget request for the Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2018.  Secretary Perry will testify.

WAPA to Host Ride/Drive of Ionig – WAPA also will host a lunch and drive on June 22 at 11:00 a.m. at River Farm in Alexandria, VA featuring the all-new Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Hybrid line of vehicles.

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.

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

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 May 22

Friends,

I obviously cannot start today without some heartfelt words of tribute for Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell, who passed late last week at the young age of 52.  Normally, I’m not one to get choked up over early rock star deaths, but for some reason, this one hurt more than the rest.  As you know, I am Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Cornell regular, having seen at least 8 shows since the mid-90s.  His soulful voice, four octave range and overall contributions to the music industry and society separate him from his peers.  I also appreciate his commitment to bringing early grunge out of the doldrums after Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood’s heroin death in 1990 which makes his passing even tougher.

This issue has generated many tributes (I particularly like Live’s version of I am a Highway at Rock on the Range Friday) and press, and there are a few articles I have pulled for you to read if you haven’t followed the story closely: The Detroit Free Press music critic’s hindsight analysis on the Cornell’s final performance at the Fox Theater and a Washington Post piece by culture reporter Travis Andrews on grunge front men and untimely early deaths.  There is also a great piece about depression and what Cornell’s Death may signal about the mental health issues related to it.  There were so many great lines I could grab, but as I listened to the entire Cornell portfolio over the past few days, this passage from Before We Disappear is what struck a chord most:

I know that it feels like, We will live forever

But I fear, That time can hide the years

Like we were never here, So hold on tightly my dear…Before we disappear

On a more cheery note, the Preakness ran Saturday in Baltimore and boy was it a great race.  I saw my prediction and my bets fizzle as Cloud Computing – who I warned you to watch out for – snuck by Classic Empire with Always Dreaming fading in the stretch.  That means no Triple Crown winner this year as we roll the Belmont on June 10th.  I had a tri-box with Empire, Cloud and Dreaming (which looked GREAT until just into the stretch) but the favorite’s late fade and Cloud’s late push to the wire left me sniffing green but getting nothing!

This week is the lead up to Memorial Day, but don’t get away too fast because Senate Energy is holding FERC Nominations hearings on Thursday…  Yes, you heard in right.  The paperwork on FERC Nominees Powelson and Chatterjee is finalized and, as she said on Wednesday at an ACCF Energy forum with ClearPath’s Jay Faison, Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski noticed the hearing as soon as she had it all.  Senate Environment has ozone issues and Senate Finance hears from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.  On the House side, hearings look at border tax issues in House Ways & Means, “sue & settle” in House Oversight, state rulemaking coordination and EPA Science Advisory reforms in House Science and Federal lands’ issues in House Resources.

As early as late today, we will see the President’s FY2018 budget. In fact, there have already been a few leaks but we remind that what the White House proposes, just like previous White Houses, is not much more than a press statement that often times has little chance of being enacted. That said, this release will start the real effort of Congress to fashion a budget.  We’re on it, so call if you have questions.

OPEC is meeting this week and our friends at SAFE are live from Vienna.  Leslie Hayward is there for the meeting and can offer insight and commentary on what the expected deal extension means for the U.S., and policy responses available to Congress and the Trump administration. Former Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Transition Team and SAFE Advisor Ken Blackwell also has an Op-Ed in the Daily Caller on this topic as well.  For other questions for SAFE, reach out to me or Bridget Bartol (she is SAFE’s new Manager of Media Relations).

In California starting today AWEA holds its 2017 WINDPOWER event.  I will be headed to Anaheim for the event soon and hope to see a Ducks game while there.  Then, my daughters fly out to join me to umpire the California Cup field hockey tourney in Simi Valley area over the holiday weekend.

Finally, I wanted to mention last Wednesday, one of the great Congressional staffers of all-time was honored with a Memorial Service in the Russell Caucus Room.  It was a standing room only service for former Durbin Chief of Staff Ed Greelegs.  While he retired almost 10 years ago, Greelegs passed last month of complications from Parkinson’s at the too young age of 66.  I got to know Ed as a young staffer in Hal Rogers’ office as we were neighbors in the Rayburn building.  Greelegs was a great human being, tremendously quick-witted and always there to lend advice if needed.  I was proud to be in the room on Wednesday and glad to have known him.

Call with questions…

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“During the Obama Administration, we experienced first-hand the devastating effects of unlawful executive overreach on jobs and our States’ local energy economies We welcome the opportunity to participate in the process of scaling back these unlawful regulations, restoring the rule of law, and ultimately, returning key decisions about energy production and priorities to the States and their citizens.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, writing in a letter to EPA outlining rules he and seven other states are raising concerns about.

 

BONUS QUOTE

“Over the past two years we have studied the engineering and economics of Michigan’s energy future very, very carefully. We have concluded that not only is the 80 percent reduction goal achievable – it is achievable in a way that keeps Michigan’s power affordable and reliable. There doesn’t have to be a choice between the health of our environment or the health of our economy; we can achieve both.”

Gerry Anderson, DTE Chairman and CEO.

 

IN THE NEWS

DTE Energy Announces Plan To Reduce Carbon Emissions by 80% – DTE Energy today announced a broad sustainability initiative that will reduce the company’s carbon emissions by more than 80% by 2050. This reduction and 2050 timeframe align with the target scientists broadly have identified as necessary to help address climate change.  DTE’s efforts to cut its carbon emissions will garner a 30 percent reduction by the early 2020s, 45% by 2030, 75% by 2040 and more than 80% by 2050. The company will achieve these reductions by incorporating substantially more renewable energy, transitioning its 24/7 power sources from coal to natural gas, continuing to operate its zero-emission Fermi 2 power plant, and strengthening options for customers to save energy and reduce bills.  These plans define a long-term shift by DTE to produce over three-quarters of its power from renewable energy and highly efficient natural gas-fired power plants.

What DTE Will Do – DTE’s plans include construction of an additional 6,000MW of renewable energy capacity – enough to supply the energy for nearly 2 million homes – supplementing the 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy DTE has built since 2009.  The addition of 3,500MW of natural gas-fired energy capacity to supply 24/7 power and ensure reliability.  The steady retirement of the company’s aging coal-fired plants, which continued in 2016 with announced shutdown of 11 coal units by the early 2020s.  The investment of $5 billion over the next five years to modernize the electric grid and gas infrastructure, ensuring reliability while creating and supporting more than 10,000 Michigan jobs. Continued heavy investment in energy efficiency and energy waste reduction, helping customers to both save money and take great control over their energy use. An aggressive plan to reduce energy and water within DTE’s own facilities by a minimum of 25 percent.

Clean Edge Index Highlights Renewable Jobs, State Gains – Clean Edge released its 8th annual U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index, which tracks and ranks the clean-energy activities of all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. As the Trump administration works relentlessly to dismantle climate and environmental protections and forwards a pro-fossil-fuel, climate-change-denial narrative, this year’s Index shows that states and cities are playing an outsized role in the expansion of clean energy, transportation, and energy efficiency. A free downloadable summary report of this year’s Index is available at www.cleanedge.com.  In 2016, wind and solar power represented 61% of all new electricity generating capacity installed in the U.S. for the second year in a row. This dramatic transition away from fossil fuels (particularly coal) for new power sources is having a significant impact on state-level generation mix. Three states (Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas) now generate 30% or more of their electrons from utility-scale wind and another three states exceed 20% renewables (Oklahoma and North Dakota from wind and California from wind, solar, and geothermal). These leaders are politically diverse, with the top 10 states for renewable electricity generation including five red states and five blue states. The clean energy jobs metric (measured as a percentage of a state’s total workforce) is a new indicator in this year’s Index. A total of 2.4 million jobs nationwide (including those in solar, wind, and hydro generation; ethanol and biomass fuels; storage and smart grid; and energy efficiency) reflect the economic vitality of the sector. Solar and wind power generation jobs (473,881 combined nationwide), for example, now outpace jobs in natural gas electric power generation (362,118) and coal power generation (160,119). Top states for clean energy jobs include Vermont, Rhode Island, Utah, Michigan, Oregon, and Massachusetts.

States Outline Rules for EPA – An 8-state coalition in establishing a list of federal regulations that should be repealed, replaced or modified.  The letter follows a request for public comment from EPA as to what regulations should be considered appropriate for change.  The letter highlights the EPA’s need to review a number of Obama-era regulations, streamline the process for allowing states to administer their own water permitting programs and revise regulations to improve the way individual states implement federal rules. Some specific regulations recommended for repeal, replacement or modification include:

  • The so-called “Clean Power Plan”
  • The Waters of the United States rule
  • Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
  • Oil and Gas Methane New Source Performance Standards
  • The Greenhouse Gas Reporting rule

West Virginia signed the letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Carolina.  Read a full copy of the letter and list of recommended regulations at http://bit.ly/2rmhpGb.

AHRI Comments to EPA on SNAP, Refrigerants –The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) also submitted regulations to the EPA in response to its request for information on regulations that industry would like repealed, replaced, or modified.  AHRI focused on refrigerants and the SNAP program saying the U.S. air conditioning and refrigeration industry has been a global leader researching alternative refrigerants and developing low global warming potential technologies. AHRI and its members supported a global phase down of HFCs and are strongly committed to the Montreal Protocol agreement reached in Kigali, Rwanda. However, expedient approval of additional products is needed to meet these goals and we believe that the very narrow and limited minor change to the stand-alone commercial refrigeration and chiller sectors will not impact the ability to meet the commitment.

ERCC Weighs in On Rules – The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) also weighed in on regulations like New Source Review, the Clean Power Plan, NSPS for New units, CCS technology, NAAQS, Mercury, Coal Ash, 316(b) discharge issues, WOTUS, Regional haze and several others.  See the letter here.

Hannegan To Lead CO Co-Op – Former White House, EPRI and NREL expert Bryan Hannegan has been tapped to lead Colorado Cooperative Holy Cross Energy after the retirement of CEO Del Worley.  Holy Cross has 42,000 members and is primarily centered in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties.

Dillon Heads Back to House – Former Senate Energy Committee Spokesman Robert Dillon is joining Texas Rep. Kay Granger’s office following a short stint at the American Council on Capital Formation.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

Axios, NBC to Host Infrastructure Forum with Inhofe – Axios and NBC News will host a forum tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. featuring “Meet the Press” Moderator Chuck Todd and Axios CEO Jim VandeHei. The event will be held at Ajax and will be an exclusive discussion on Infrastructure in 2017 with Sen. Jim Inhofe and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

CSIS to Host Oil, LNG Balance Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting  Fereidun Fesharaki, Founder and Chairman of FGE tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for a presentation and discussion on the current state of global oil and gas markets, one balancing as the other appears to tip toward imbalance.  Oil markets are struggling to reach a balance, and with robust demand growth and continued OPEC cutbacks, a balance might be reached in the 2017/2018 period. LNG markets are facing a prolonged period of imbalance, perhaps through about 2023, before a balance can be reached. While many advocate new U.S. LNG projects, around 50% of the projects currently under construction have still not been sold to end users.  Fesharaki’s work is recognized worldwide for pioneering oil and gas market analysis since the early 1980s. Born in Iran, he received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Surrey in England. He then completed a visiting fellowship at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He joined the East West Center in 1979, where he led the Energy program for two decades. FGE offices are spread around the world in 8 locations with heavy emphasis on Asia and the Middle East.

Forum to Look at Biogas – The American Biogas Council (ABC), the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing tomorrow looking at the untapped energy in domestic wastes. Waste streams-including manure, agricultural waste, waste water, food scraps and landfill gases-can be converted to biogas and upgraded to renewable natural gas (RNG) for electricity, pipeline injection, or vehicle use, while also providing valuable products such as fertilizer and compost. Currently, most waste streams represent a missed opportunity. State waste resources are diverse and numerous. The event will address the potential resources in their states, as well as economic and job opportunities, and policy drivers. The speakers for this forum are American Biogas Council exec Patrick Serfass, Lauren Toretta of CH4 Biogas, Grant Zimmerman of ampCNG, Avant Energy’s Brian Meek and others.

NatGas Summit Set – The 2017 RNG Summit Industry, Policy & Regulatory Forum will be held tomorrow at the American Gas Assn.  Organized by the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) and the American Biogas Council (ABC), in collaboration with Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica), the summit will be attended by companies throughout the renewable natural gas, biogas, and natural gas vehicles industries, as well as participants from various energy, environmental, and renewable energy organizations. Bioenergy Technologies Office Technology Manager David Babson will be speaking at the summit on the U.S. Department of Energy’s work related to renewable natural gas and biogas.  The 2017 RNG Summit will focus on how 2017 is shaping up to impact the present and future of the renewable natural gas (RNG) industry. The event will feature an afternoon of gaining insight into the current state of the U.S. RNG and biogas industries. Attendees will gain access to timely updates on central regulatory and policy discussions on issues impacting RNG.  Speakers include executives of companies in the waste, fuels, and transportation industries who will highlight the importance of developing and using RNG from North America’s vast supply of organic feedstocks.

Senate Environment to Look at Ozone Changes – The Senate Environment’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow on legislation to delay implementation of EPA’s ozone standards.  The hearing will focus on legislation offered by Chair Shelly Moore Capito and Jeff Flake that both revise the ozone standard from the 2015-proposed 70 ppb threshold and stretch the review period from 5 to 10 years.  Witnesses will include Arizona DEQ director Misael Cabrera, Baton Rouge Area Chamber exec Kyle Zeringue, Ahron Hakimi, of the Kern County Council of Governments, University of Arizona Doctor Monica Kraft and Delaware DNREC secretary Shawn Garvin.

House Science to Look at Better Coordination with States – The House Science Subcommittee on Environment meets tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to hold a hearing on science advisors and expanding the role of states in EPA rulemaking.  The hearing will review the relationship between U.S. EPA and state environmental quality departments on how they implement federal environmental regulations.  They will also address science advisory board issues as Democrats have invited Deborah Swackhamer, chairwoman of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors.  Other witnesses will include Arizona DEQ director Misael Cabrera and Arkansas DEQ director Becky Keogh.

Ways/Means Tackles Border Tax – As part of it on-going Hearing set on tax reform, the House Ways & Means Committee jumps to the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) issues in a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  The BAT envisioned in the House GOP blueprint would tax imports at 20%, while exempting exports.  Proponents argue such a system would bring U.S. taxation in line with the “territorial” system employed by much of the rest of the world.  Opponents including businesses from across the spectrum in retail and energy are strongly opposed.  Our tax expert Curt Beaulieu can provide a full low down on the issues.

USEA Host Coal Discussion – The US Energy Association hosts a conversation tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with H Quest Vanguard CEO George Skoptsov to discuss future coal technologies and their path to market.  The path to realization of coal’s true value lies in the development of new technologies. Clean and efficient coal conversion to value-added fuels, chemicals, and advanced materials will open vast new markets to the coal industry.   H Quest’s Wave Liquefaction technology is one such transformational process invented in 2009-2010 at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DOE PNNL) in response to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program. Wave Liquefaction™ can convert a wide range of domestic coals, producing 3 barrels of liquid products per ton of coal. Break-even costs for coal-derived synthetic crude lie in the $30-$45/barrel range depending on the coal and site specifics. Conversion reactors are small, modular and are electrically driven: unlike conversion processes of the past, Wave Liquefaction™ has no CO2 emissions or fresh water consumption, enabling deployment of small-scale processing plants directly at the existing mines.

RFF to Host Webinar on Space Observations – Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a webinar tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to look at the benefits of observing Earth from space. RFF Fellow Yusuke Kuwayama will introduce RFF’s Consortium for the Valuation of Applications Benefits Linked with Earth Science (VALUABLES), a cooperative agreement between RFF and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This multi-year effort will advance the valuation of the applied benefits linked to information from space-based observations of Earth, catalyze a community of research and practices of Earth scientists and social scientists, and disseminate findings to key stakeholders from academia, government, NGOs, and elsewhere. Register Here.

Mexico Gas Summit Set – The 3rd Mexico Gas Summit will be held in San Antonio, Texas at the St. Anthony hotel on Wednesday and Thursday.  Organized by Industry Exchange, this oil and gas event brings together internationally recognized industry speakers, investors, government officials, and C level executives from the energy, infrastructure, and transportation industries. The geographic scope for the event will cover Mexico as a region with a strong focus on the opportunities associated with Gulf Coast onshore oil and gas exploration and production, midstream infrastructure, gas commercialization and the recent opening of the refined fuels market.

House Oversight Panels Look at Sue, Settle – The House Oversight and Government Reform panels on Energy and Intergovernmental Affairs will hold a joint hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. examining ‘sue and settle’ agreements.  The issue has long been a thorn to Republicans who over the last 8 years felt the Obama EPA would enter agreements with like-minded groups to force their aggressive action.  Witnesses will include U.S. Chamber of Commerce environmental policy expert Bill Kovacs, as well as other business and legal experts.

House Resources to Look at Federal Land Policies – The House Natural Resources panel on Oversight will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to review whether Congress should amend long-standing laws affecting the management of federal and tribal lands, as well as designated wilderness areas.  Witnesses will include rancher and Arizona State Rep. David Cook (R), Napa County, Calif., supervisor Diane Dillon, Washington County, Utah deputy attorney Celeste Maloy and Kendra Pinto, Native American community organizer and activist living in the Navajo Eastern Agency of New Mexico.

Shaheen, Forum to Launch Russian Gas Paper – The Atlantic Council and the Free Russia Foundation will launch of a new Atlantic Council policy paper, The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe: Implications for Policy Makers on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 216 Hart.  In The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe, Ilya Zaslavskiy presents policy recommendations for US and European policy makers as the European Union negotiates Gazprom’s latest pipeline project, Nord Stream 2. Examining previous Gazprom pipeline projects, the author argues that while Gazprom presents itself as an independent competitive firm, it has a consistent track record of acting as an arm of the Kremlin’s foreign and economic policy. Nord Stream 2, Mr. Zaslavskiy concludes, will present a major challenge to European law and EU principles and jeopardize the security interests of the United States and its European allies.  Sen. Jeanne Shaheen delivers the keynote Address, followed by a panel with CSIS expert Edward Chow and AC’s Bud Coote.  Our friend Emily Meredith, Deputy Bureau Chief of Energy Intelligence, will moderate.

Grid Infrastructure Event Set – WIRES in conjunction with the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the GridWise Alliance, and EESI will host a WIRES University seminar on Thursday that explores an oft-neglected the high voltage electric transmission grid. This whole-day session explains the grid’s importance as an enabler of markets and new technology as the economy becomes more thoroughly electrified. Our grid must also adapt to a distributed energy future which calls for a smarter and more flexible network.  This session delves into the details of why modernizing our high-voltage grid infrastructure is more critical than ever, given the age of the nation’s transmission facilities, the fundamental changes occurring in electric generation, and the demands on the system. Expansion and upgrade of the grid will make it more resilient and deliver increased economic, environmental, and consumer benefits in the range of $50 billion annually.  Speakers, including leaders from Congress, regulatory agencies, industry, and think tanks, will examine what challenges need to be overcome to upgrade our transmission system. Policymakers and regulators play a critical role in our nation’s energy infrastructure, and there is much room for improved coordination and planning.  A full agenda is forthcoming. Panels will address grid modernization, transmission’s role as a strategic asset and an enabler, regulatory and financial challenges, and the role that the wired network plays in the distributed energy environment, clean energy, and in tech innovation environments.

FERC Nominee Hearing Set – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a nomination hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 366 Dirksen.  The purpose of this hearing is to consider the nominations of Dan Brouillette to be the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, Neil Chatterjee to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Robert Powelson to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Senate Finance to Host Treasury Sect on Budget, Tax – US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will testify at Senate Finance on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review the full fiscal 2018 budget request and tax reform proposals.

Forum to Look at Vietnam Climate Issues – The PISA-ASEAN Roundtable Series on Climate-Smart Development and Chino Cienega Foundation hosts a forum Thursday at GWU’s Elliott School.  As one of the country’s most vulnerable to climate change, the Vietnamese government has been forthright in addressing the issue through public media. Having worked with youth and local communities on environmental advocacy, Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Ly will share her views on public understanding of climate change and its implications.

USEA-led CCS Ministerial Set – The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) will be held Thursday afternoon at the Washington Hilton.  The event, organized by the US Energy Assn, is a Ministerial-level international climate change initiative that is focused on the development of improved cost-effective technologies for CCS. It also promotes awareness and champions legal, regulatory, financial, and institutional environments conducive to such technologies. The dialogue and feedback received from this discussion, and the other regional meetings to be held this year, will provide the basis for a message to the CSLF ministers at the annual meeting this December.

Solar Discussion Held at NRECA – Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Mount Vernon Group, Great Falls Group, Clean Energy for Fairfax Now, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and the Ready for 100 Campaign will hold a forum on Solar at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association on Thursday evening.  Sierra Club and business leaders have partnered to create this program explaining how commercial customers can save money and meet sustainability goals with on-site or offsite solar arrays. Speakers will discuss current options for purchasing solar, including onsite (rooftop, parking lots) and offsite (solar farms), using financial models such as low-cost loans, utility-sponsored programs, and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

 

IN THE FUTURE

Memorial Day – May 29th Break out the Linen…

WRI to Host Forests Discussion – Next Tuesday, May 30th at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will look at political and policy issues surrounding forests.  Efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement will not succeed if tropical deforestation continues business as usual. Protecting forests is among one of the most affordable, efficient strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions and advance sustainable development. Frances Seymour, author of Why Forests? Why Now? and land rights expert Peter Veit will discuss the benefits and limitations of REDD+, the international community’s role in financing forest protection, and the challenges that Indigenous Peoples still face when registering their land.

WCEE May Happy Hour Set – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is hosting its May Happy Hour on Wednesday, May 31st at 5:30 p.m. at Penn Commons.  WCEE is a non-partisan, policy-neutral organization that focuses on women, energy and the environment.

Author to Discuss Cybersecurity Grid IssuesLeaders in Energy will host a forum Thursday June 1st in Arlington to discuss cybersecurity and power grid issues with Berlin-based author, Marc Elsberg, who is visiting the DC area to showcase his techno-thriller, “Blackout” and hear from other cyber and other energy specialists in these exciting and fast-moving fields. Reviewed as “fast, tense, thrilling – and timely”, “Blackout” has been “highly recommended” by Lee Child, author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series.  Other speakers include Arlington County Energy Manager John Morrill and former MISO chairman Paul J. Feldman.

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 on Monday June 5th 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 Look at Infrastructure – The Hudson Institute will host a timely conversation on June 8 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Energy Update: Week of April 17

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed some family time at Easter/Passover.  And congrats to Energy Daily’s Chris Holly who correctly identified my secret locale last week: Cancun, Mexico.  Yes they did hold a UN COP meeting there at the Moon Bay Palace Resort.

Welcome to Marathon Monday, better known as Patriot’s Day.  It is the day the Boston Marathon runs and you can see the Boston Globe’s coverage full coverage here.  Good luck to all who are running for themselves or others.  Marathon Monday has special meaning this year for us as Hannah is reporting live from the “Wellesley Scream tunnel” at Mile 13.  A few folks from NBC Sports Network joined college organizers for the sign-making event at Wellesley’s Davis Museum last week for a Boston Marathon Segment today on the Scream Tunnel.

It is also a day remembered for a 2013 terrorist attack and the amazing strength and healing the city showed as a community.  The days surrounding that fateful attack were depicted very well in the recent movie Patriot’s Day.  Also, it was 50 years ago today that the first official (registered) woman ran the Marathon: Katherine Switzer, who is running again this year.  The first woman to unofficially run it was Roberta Gibbs one year earlier.

Today’s focus in DC is on the White House Easter Egg Roll, the 139th version.  It started in 1878 when President Rutherford Hayes allowed kids to play Easter games on the South Lawn.  It is the first major event of the new President’s ceremonial agenda after Inaugural events and always is a great time.  In fact, our friend Sean Spicer at one point donned the Easter Bunny outfit during the Bush Administration.

Not much action this week given the second week of the Easter/Passover recess, but the major focus will be on a White House meeting of minds tomorrow on the future of the US involvement in Paris.  As you know, there has been a lot of action on this issue over the last week including a memo from my colleague Scott Segal outlining several key issues, reports that EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken a stronger stance for exiting the agreement and recent backtracking in the hardline stance from conservative, former EPA transition official Myron Ebell.  Seems like Myron and I may have been following this issue longer than just about anyone.

For you FERC nerds, the Federalist Society holds a panel discussion tomorrow on the state of competitive wholesale electricity markets, WCEE holds a lunch forum on Thursday and Friday, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Obama Science Advisor John Holdren address a science and security forum.  Also starting Wednesday, the offshore wind community comes together in Annapolis for a major series of meetings to discuss OSW, the supply chain and the future.

Our friend Amy Harder rolled out her first column at her new Generate gig, The Harder Line.  Nice word play!!!  Column #1 is focused on corporate unity on climate change, Paris engagement and is worth the read.

Congrats to our friend, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold on his 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.  Congrats to all the other winners as well, including our friends at ProPublica and Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette.

Finally, more on this below, but this morning, our friends at the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report that tracks the tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control because of the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism.  See it below.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling. This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Here is some of Hannah’s posted video from the Wellesley Scream Tunnel at Mile 13 on the route of the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Here is more video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gss2i7xFaHg

 

IN THE NEWS

Air Regulator Release Report – The Association of Clear Air Today, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control.  The publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

A few of the key statistics from The Greatest Story Seldom Told:

  • As of 2015, combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants for which there are national ambient air quality standards were down 71% since 1970.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, reported toxic air releases were down 56%, or more than 851 million pounds, and AAPCA Member States accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total reduction.
  • In 2016, states performed full compliance evaluations for more than 14,500 facilities, 80 times the number conducted by U.S. EPA, and from 2010 to 2014, AAPCA Member States performed full compliance evaluations at nearly 47% of facilities annually, well ahead of the national average.
  • According to U.S. EPA, AAPCA Member States in 2016 were more efficient in permitting, with only a 15% backlog for renewing Title V permits among states with more than 100 Title V sources.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, AAPCA Member States saw nitrogen oxide emissions fall more rapidly than the national average.
  • As of 2014, AAPCA Member States had reduced sulfur dioxide emissions in the power sector by more than 8 million tons compared to 1990.
  • From 2000 to 2014, per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 18.1% on average nationally, with AAPCA Member States averaging a 19.3% reduction.
  • The U.S. has far exceeded international trends in air quality, with some of the lowest levels of average annual fine particulate matter and the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the world over the last decade.

Indiana Releases State View Report – In addition to the AAPCA Report, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently released the 2017 edition of The States’ View of the Air report. The report highlights the air quality in counties and cities in the United States. Like a report card, IDEM has graded areas on the state of their air quality under the federal standards for ozone and fine particles. You can find the full report here, and individual state reports here.

Gas Expert Returns to Bracewell – Former Bracewell staffer Christine Wyman has returned the firm as a senior Counsel.  Wyman will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s industry and non-profit clients on a broad range of issues and matters.  Prior to joining Bracewell, Wyman was Senior Counsel at the American Gas Association where she advocated for natural gas utilities on federal environmental, energy, and pipeline safety matters.

Ringel Named to EPA Congressional Affairs – Speaking of Bracewell alums, Aaron Ringel, another Segal protégé Aaron Ringel heads to EPA Monday to begin work as deputy associate administrator for congressional affairs.  After working as an assistant to Segal, Ringel moved to the Hill where He worked as legislative director for then-Rep. Mike Pompeo and then deputy chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson.

DOE to Review Grid Policy – The Department of Energy will conduct a review of how policies supporting wind and solar energy are pushing the early retirement of coal and nuclear generators our friends at Bloomberg report. Perry on Friday ordered a study of the U.S. electrical grid, aiming to ascertain whether policies to boost renewable energy are hastening the retirement of coal and nuclear plants and threatening power reliability. The review comes as a number of states move to subsidize baseload generation, particularly nuclear plants, which cannot compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy in wholesale power markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference on the state power subsidies at the beginning of next month.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

White House Paris Meeting Set – Several key environmental and energy cabinet official and staffers will meet tomorrow to discuss the future of US involvement with the Paris Treaty, according our sources and several media reports.  Those attending include Dave Banks, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Panel to Look at FERC Wholesale Markets – Tomorrow at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds a panel discussion at noon at the National Press Club on the state ‘Around Market’ action and FERC.  The panel will look at whether it is the end of competitive wholesale electricity markets.  Panelists will include Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, PSEG’s Larry Gasteiger, former Colorado Commissioner Ray Gifford, Calpine’s Steven Schleimer and others.  The event will be moderated by former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark.

Forum to Look at Global Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on a new report Reform of the Global Energy Architecture tomorrow at Noon.  The report will be presented by task force co-chairs Phillip Cornell, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group. They will be joined by task force member Neil Brown, director of policy and research at KKR Global Institute, and Richard Morningstar, founding director and chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center. The discussion will look at current energy governance challenges, the importance of international and multilateral collaboration, future policy priorities, and the path forward on energy governance for the new US administration.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Energy, Water Issues – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Sustainable Capital Advisors holds a discussion on securing energy and water access for vulnerable communities.  This forum focuses on how policymakers, researchers, activists, developers, investors and others can use the levers of public policy, finance and technology to increase true access, ensuring greater energy and water security for all.  Among the panelists will be NAACP’s Derrick Johnson, Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore, Yasemin Erboy Ruff of the Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation and ELI’s Brett Korte.

Industry Leaders, Experts Flock to Offshore Wind Business Forum – The 2017 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum  will be held on Wednesday to Friday in Annapolis, Maryland at the Westin Hotel. The event brings together leaders in a small, personal setting, and creates dialogues and relationships that move the U.S. offshore wind industry forward.  Among the speakers will be all major players in the wind industry from experts like UDelaware’s Jeremy Firestone to CEO like Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski.  MD Sen. Ben Cardin will also be a keynote speaker.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host its 3rd annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on Wednesday. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector. The forum examines the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions. The two keynote speakers will be Admiral William J. Fallon (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.

Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Middle East – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council holds a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.

Forum to Look at Grid Modernization – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Wednesday at Noon on the importance of grid infrastructure modernization and resilience.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Job Henning, CEO of Grid Energy and Athena Power CEO Raj Lakhiani.

Webinar to Look at Offshore Wind – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance hold a webinar, beginning at 12:00 p.m., on the U.S. offshore wind boom.  You can call ACORE for details www.acore.org

AEE Webinar to Look at State Policy Questions – The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will host a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at creating markets for advanced energy at the state Level.  Whatever might be happening at the federal level, states are taking the lead in creating markets for advanced energy. AEE’s State Policy Program seeks to maintain this momentum by working with our coalition of State and Regional Partners and our business members to promote advanced energy legislation in statehouses around the nation. During this webinar you will hear from policy experts who have intimate knowledge of the latest legislative developments in the following states: California: Cap & Trade, Storage, Transportation; Nevada: Retail Choice Issue, Legislative Update; Texas: Legislative Tax Issue, PUCT Regulatory Proceeding on Data Access; Virginia: Access to Advanced Energy, Legislative, and Regulatory Update.

JHU Forum to Look at Food, Ag, Climate – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on food, farmers and climate looking at a new report from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project.  The main speaker is Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climatologist and Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group.

Brookings Panel to Discuss Carbon Pricing – On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., the newly-launched Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a panel discussion on the role of carbon pricing in the implementation of the Paris goals, with opening remarks from Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, the co-chairs the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices. They will share their thoughts on carbon pricing and other policies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the objective to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” After the discussion, Brookings Vice President Kemal Derviş will moderate a panel discussion and take questions from the audience.

JHU Forum to Look at Climate Diplomacy – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 4:30 p.m. on climate change diplomacy in the Post-Paris Agreement era. Ambassador Selwin Hart, current Barbados’ Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the OAS, will be giving a talk on climate change and diplomacy in the post-Paris Agreement Era.

GU Mortara Center Forum Looks at Deepwater Oil Production – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown, GU’s Institute for Global History and the Mortara Center for International Studies hold a discussion on the Deepwater golden triangle of the oil economy and its role in energy production.  The Deepwater triangle includes the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa and will be led by Tyler Priest, an Associate Professor of History and Geography at the University of Iowa who studies the history of oil and energy.

Forum to Look at Media Focus on Energy, Renewables – CARMA International Inc. holds a discussion on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, looking at energy supply, climate and renewables.   The event will focus on media coverage and implications for business.

Aspen Forum to Look at Rural innovators – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on Thursday at Noon on reframing natural resource economies.  The event will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources to create jobs and businesses.  The 3rd America’s Rural Opportunity panel will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources and use those resources to create jobs and businesses. The presenters are among those who are restructuring the natural resource business sector, one that in many parts of the country has been disrupted by globalization, the declines of extractive industries, and changes in environmental policy.

WCEE Looks at Carbon Capture, Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE)  will continue it Lunch & Learn Series, together with the U.S. Energy Association on Thursday at Noon with a forum on carbon capture and storage meeting CO2 reduction goals.  The event will focus on the Illinois Basin’s Decatur Project and feature Dr. Sallie Greenberg.  Greenberg will discuss how carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) can provide the scale necessary to limit increase in global temperature by 2°C and help the US meet its Paris target of reducing GHG by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) – a million ton deep saline CO2 geologic storage demonstration project led by the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium, and funded by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is unique because it is one of the only full-scale bioenergy CCS (BECCS) demonstration projects to-date.  Dr. Greenberg will highlight the results and challenges of upscaling carbon capture and storage projects, touching on issues, such as permitting, public engagement, policy implications for CCUS, and the vital role this technology holds in meeting emission reduction targets.

Forum to Look at Africa Climate Risk – The US Agency for International Development’s ATLAS Project holds a discussion on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. focused on preparing Africa for climate events and looking at its risk capacity.

Meserve, Holdren, Others Address Science, Security Summit – On Friday at Noon, the Federation of American Scientists hosts its Science & Security Summit, focused on the topic of scientists’ and engineers’ roles in security and in the current political landscape. The forum will address where scientists and engineers belong in the current political landscape and what roles they play in global security and safety.  In addition to three distinguished graduate-level scientists and engineers from the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University, the summit’s speakers will include former Obama science advisor John Holdren, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Sandia Labs Director Rodney Wilson.

JHU Forum to Look at Women Climate Leaders – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds its 2017 Global Women in Leadership Conference on Friday at 8:00 a.m. looking at women as leaders in a changing climate.

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

Renewable Midwest Conference Set – The Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference will be held April 24-25th in Columbia, Missouri. The purpose of “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference is to identify, display, and promote programs, policies, and projects that enhance the use of renewable energy resources in the Midwest for the economic benefit of the region. The focus of speaker topics and agendas are large scale projects, either through direct installation or through amalgamation of small scale projects.  The two-day conference is held in the spring at the University of Missouri. It is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Columbia Water and Light. It has been an ongoing annual event since 2006.

Forum Focus on Trump Nuclear Budget – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Friday, April 28 on what the Trump Administration budget may me for the future of nuclear power.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Victor Der, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.

People Climate March – April 29th

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

Energy Update: Week of February 20

Friends,

Well, I have my Metallica tickets for the summer WorldWired Tour 2017 and I was thrilled to hear that Incubus will be touring this summer as well.  Add the Iron Maiden Book of Souls Tour and you have one great (and expensive) summer concert series.

On the sports side, how about baseball… Yeah, Spring training launches in full this week and for the first time in over 100 years, the Cubs enter Spring Training as World Champions.  First “real” exhibition games in the Grapefruit launch on Friday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL when the Red Sox host the Mets.  Cactus action starts Friday as well with the Reds/Giants in Scottsdale.  I hope you didn’t watch the NBA All-Star game last night, I spent about four minutes watching it before I realized that it was terrible.  They ought take a page out of the NHL and MLB books and make it mean something.  Finally, college lax gets going in full force.  Hannah and her Wellesley teammates start at Bates on March 1st.

Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt was approved on Friday with a vote of 52-46 to become the 14th EPA Administrator.  Maine R Susan Collins voted against, while Dems Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) were for.  McCain (who went to Germany) and IN Democrat Joe Donnelly didn’t vote.  Wow…that Donnelly vote is interesting, especially after he said he wouldn’t vote for Pruitt. Below we have a full array of comments from both sides.  We expect the swearing in and signing of executive orders tomorrow at Noon.  Our friend Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal conducted Pruitt’s first interview which clearly outlines his commitment to refocusing the agency on its statutorily-defined mission: working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air.  He also has made a point of focusing on following the rule of law and Congressional intent saying the previous Administration “displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends.”  Enviro reaction was of course WAY over the top.  Just check out the response on the social media in response to Pruitt’s new twitter account: @EPAScottPruitt. The comments are definitely NC-17 in some cases.

Two other big events this week: tomorrow morning at the Newseum, Third Way will host an Advanced Nuclear Summit that will feature ClearPath’s Jay Faison and examines the opportunities advanced nuclear offers, as well as the need for quick action.  Then, Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and SAFE will hold a briefing on the benefits self-driving vehicles will have on improving everyday lives.

Today is President’s Day and that means Congress is in the District Work period.  It also mean no votes on DOE nominee Rick Perry, Interior nominee Ryan Zinke and others still hanging out there until maybe early March at best.   That is a little unfortunate since today President Trump hits the first month mark on his presidency.  Speaking of that, our friend Mike Allen has a great first month analysis (good and bad) in his new outlet Axios (which you should check out).   Another one of my awesome GWU SMPA graduates, Sara Fischer, is writing for Axios covering media trends and our friend Ben Geman moves over there this week to cover energy.  Congrats Ben…

Finally, while President Trump may call it the failing New York Times, I am happy to share my friends’ interesting new interactive series called Changing Climate, Changing Cities that tackles how climate change is challenging the world’s urban centers.  The first installment ran Friday and explores Mexico City, climate change didn’t cause a lot of their fragile infrastructure and social problems, but may now act as a threat multiplier.  Expect more interesting coverage going forward.

We are around this week and it may be a good time to catch up.  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“America’s abundance of clean natural gas is driving low prices for homes and businesses which is leading states to find new ways to extend natural gas to more communities.  Efficient use of this domestic resource can help us achieve our national goals.”

AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy, discussing the group’s 2017 Playbook.

 

THE EPA VIEW

The Pruitt Vote – The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to be administrator of EPA Friday by a 52-46 roll call vote.  Voting yes were 2 Democrats and 50 Republicans.  Voting no were 43 Democrats, 1 Republican and 2 independents. Democrats Yes: Heitkamp, N.D.; Manchin, WV.  Republicans No: Collins, Maine.  Not Voting: McCain (R-AZ) (who went to Germany) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).  The Donnelly vote is interesting, especially after he said he wouldn’t vote for Pruitt.  Wonder what was going on there…

Pruitt Sworn In Friday Afternoon – SCOTUS justice Sam Alito swore in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday after the vote.  See the video here.

WSJ Interview First for Pruitt – Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal conducted Pruitt’s first interview which clearly outlines his commitment to refocusing the agency on its statutorily-defined mission: working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air.  He also has made a point of focusing on following the rule of law and Congressional intent saying the previous Administration “displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends.”

Platts Pruitt Factbox – Our friends Jasmin Melvin and Meg Gordon of Platts published a nice factbox on some of the energy impacts of Pruitt taking over at EPA.  It looks at issues like biofuels, CAFE, environmental protections, cooperation with states, etc.

Media Coverage – Here are links to a few of the articles on the vote: Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalWashington Post – NPRAssociated PressReutersBloomberg

Electric Reliability Coordinating Council – ERCC director Scott Segal:  ERCC was happy to endorse Mr. Pruitt before his hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works.  Our members are glad to welcome a new leader to EPA.  The Agency has a mission of tremendous importance to human health and the environment and Scott Pruitt’s dedication to the rule of law will be of material assistance to achieving these regulatory objectives.  Environmental advocacy can be rough and tumble, but now is the time to set aside preconceived notions and allow Mr. Pruitt and his team the space needed to get underway.  Responsible regulatory reform can make our shared environmental objectives all easier to achieve.”

Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute – AHRI President Steve Yurek: “We congratulate Administrator Pruitt and we very much look forward to working with him and his team on important issues such as refrigerant policy.” AHRI

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association – NRECA CEO Jim Matheson: “We congratulate Scott Pruitt on his confirmation and look forward to working with him on proposals that protect our environment and promote a healthy economy. EPA regulations have an enormous impact on electric co-ops and small businesses throughout rural America. We hope the agency will work with us to review these impacts and ensure that future regulations allow cooperatives the freedom and flexibility to continue providing safe, affordable, and reliable power to families and businesses across the nation. NRECA

Securing America’s Future Energy — SAFE CEO Robby Diamond: “We applaud Administrator Pruitt for his successful confirmation, and we look forward to working with him and EPA on various policy options to improve our energy security, such as improved efficiencies and advanced transportation fuels. These measures are critical to enhancing economic and national security.” As the U.S. currently relies on oil to power 92% of its transportation system, the country remains vulnerable to global oil price shocks, undermining U.S. economic sovereignty and security. De-linking American transportation from oil, through improved efficiency and fuel choice diversity, will help insulate the U.S. economy from oil price volatility and OPEC’s efforts to manipulate the oil market.  SAFE

American Chemistry Council – ACC CEO Cal Dooley: “We look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt, his team and the dedicated EPA staff to ensure that credible science and transparency are at the heart of regulatory decisions and that our nation’s key environmental statutes are implemented in a sensible manner. “The top priority for ACC is ensuring successful implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the landmark revision of the Toxic Substances Control Act passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress and supported by a wide range of stakeholders. Efficient and effective implementation of the Act will restore public confidence in EPA’s regulation of chemical safety, and will promote American innovation and competitiveness. With new and expanded access to natural gas feedstock supplies, the U.S. chemical industry is creating jobs and generating economic growth for the nation; it is critical that TSCA regulation of the products of chemistry continue to support that growth.” ACC

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – ACCCE CEO Paul Bailey:  Mr. Pruitt will make an exceptional head of EPA.  Under his leadership, we expect EPA to return to sensible policies that both protect the environment and recognize the need for reliable and affordable coal-based electricity.” ACCCE

The American Energy Alliance – AEA President Thomas Pyle: “Scott Pruitt will be a true champion for the American people and our environment. Throughout his career, Pruitt has fought to uphold the rule of law and to protect the rights of Oklahoma families and communities. He will do the same for all Americans as EPA Administrator.  In recent years the EPA has far exceeded its mandate and has used regulations as a cudgel to force states to adopt a political agenda. This agenda has upended whole communities—destroying jobs and subjecting Americans to higher energy costs. That will no longer be the case under Administrator Pruitt, who respects the rights of states and individuals and understands that clean air and water and a robust economy go hand in hand.” AEA

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers – AFPM CEO Chet Thompson: “We congratulate Administrator Pruitt on his confirmation as the next Administrator of EPA. His experience and leadership skills will be an asset to EPA and the country. We are confident that Administrator Pruitt understands that environmental protection, economic growth, and energy security are not mutually exclusive, but rather require reasonable balancing. Under his leadership, we can realize the President’s America First Energy Plan, which embraces our country’s potential to be an energy superpower while simultaneously protecting the environment.”  AFPM

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey – Morrisey: “Scott’s principled approach will respect the law and reinforce the EPA’s core mission to protect our air and water without unconstitutional and job killing overreach, which has brought tremendous harm to West Virginia during the past eight years.  As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt remained a steadfast partner with West Virginia in challenges to defeat the Obama EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, New Source Performance Standards, the Waters of the United States rule and regulations targeting oil and gas jobs. The Attorney General looks forward to working with Administrator Pruitt and the Trump administration in efforts to roll back the Power Plan and other regulations.”  Attorney General Morrisey

Clean Air Watch – Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell: “It is unconscionable that the Senate would ram this nomination through without knowing all the relevant facts — facts that may be known within a few days.  It is a bipartisan triumph of special interests over the broader public interest.”  Clean Air Watch

The Independent Petroleum Association of America – IPAA CEO Barry:  “IPAA congratulates Scott Pruitt on his confirmation to lead the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration. Coming from the energy-producing state of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt understands the critical importance of implementing policies that both support our economy and protect the environment.  Having a clear and fair regulatory framework is critical for independent producers, companies that work every day to safely produce the energy we all rely upon to power our everyday lives while ensuring the environment is protected, conserved, and restored in a balanced, commonsense manner. We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt in his new role as EPA Administrator.” IPAA

Natural Resources Defense Council – Rhea Suh, president of the NRDC: “Scott Pruitt is the worst pick ever confirmed to lead the EPA. He’s being sent there to hobble the agency we depend on to protect our health and environment. All the worse, Senate Republicans forced the confirmation vote before the public can know the truth about Pruitt’s ties to industrial polluters. We’ll use every tool in the kit to stop him from harming our air and water, endangering our communities and surrendering our kids to climate catastrophe.” NRDC

 

IN THE NEWS

Duke Hires Renjel to Head DC Office – Duke Energy has appointed our friend Louis Renjel as its new vice president of federal government affairs and strategic policy, overseeing federal affairs; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and gas policy; environmental and energy policy; and sustainability initiatives.  Renjel joins Duke Energy from CSX Corp., where he has served as vice president of strategic infrastructure and delivered critical infrastructure, growth and productivity initiatives through public sector engagement, since 2009.  Renjel’s public sector experience includes positions as deputy staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, legislative assistant to U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Renjel replaces another good friend, Cari Boyce, who led Duke’s federal affairs team on an interim basis since August 2016 and will move into a new role at Duke.

Reed Bill Will Reinstate, Extend Federal Clean Energy Tax Credits – The geothermal heat pump industry and several other clean energy technology industries are a step closer to saving thousands of jobs with the reintroduction of tax credit legislation by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and 18 additional cosponsors (12 Republicans and 6 Democrats).  HR 1090 will reinstitute and extend through 2021 commercial and residential installation tax credits geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, microturbines, small wind and combined heat and power. Included are a 10% commercial Investment Tax Credit under Sec. 48 of the tax code, and a 30% residential Income Tax Credit under Sec. 25D.  The legislation is meant to remedy the inequity created in December 2015 when Congress extended similar tax credits for commercial solar energy and residential solar energy installations, but neglected to include geothermal heat pumps and other qualifying clean energy technologies. Tax credits for the “orphaned” clean energy technologies ended at midnight on Dec. 31, 2016.

Natural Gas Utilities Lead a Fact-Based Energy Conversation Calling for an honest debate about how American homes and businesses use energy, the American Gas Association (AGA) today released its 2017 Playbook. Filled with new data and detailed graphics, it is the essential handbook about the role natural gas plays in American’s daily lives.  Page 6 highlights a new AGA report which found that clean, affordable natural gas has led to $76 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009.  Page 11 shows that households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications and page 46 notes that those same homes produce 37 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Page 25 highlights the growing concern in New England over critically constrained natural gas pipeline infrastructure. The average price for natural gas for all users in that area was 27 percent higher than the national average in 2015.

Greenhouse Gases Decline – U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were down 2.2% between 2014 and 2015, according to a new draft inventory released by EPA. Total emissions were almost 6.6 billion metric tons in 2015, or about 20.5 tons per person. The report says emissions were down for three primary reasons: switching from coal to natural gas; warmer winter conditions that drove down demand for heating fuel; and a small decrease in demand for electricity. The two years preceding 2015 saw increases in emissions of 2.2 percent and 0.9 percent; the greatest decrease since 1991 was 2009, the height of the economic recession, when emissions dropped a whopping 6.2% But on average over that time, emissions have increased annually 0.2 percent. Public comments are due by March 17.

Coalition Opposes Carbon Tax; Requests Meeting with White House – The American Energy Alliance (AEA) and a coalition of free-market and conservative organizations sent a letter to White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn to request a meeting with the Administration on the issue of a carbon tax. The signers of the letter include Thomas Pyle of AEA, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Michael Needham of Heritage Action for America, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks.  The letter says, “Our organizations have significant concerns regarding any prospective carbon tax proposal. Such a policy would place undue economic burdens on American families and businesses by intentionally increasing the cost of the energy they rely on every day. A carbon tax would also be regressive – doing the most harm to our nation’s economically disadvantaged – and would destroy American jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

Heritage looks at CRA Actions – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA). The program features one of the key architects involved with the drafting and passage of this bill, former congressman Dave MacIntosh who sponsored the legislation, and a Heritage legal expert as they discuss what has been termed a possible “regulatory game changer.”

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of February 13

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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