PRG’s Christine Wyman Co-Authors Analysis of DC Circuit Decision to Vacate EPA’s Stay of Methane Rule Requirement

PRG Senior Counsel Christine Wyman co-authored a blog post for Bracewell’s Energy Legal Blog with Whit Swift and Brittany Pemberton of Bracewell.  The post, titled “DC Circuit Vacates EPA’s Initial Stay of Methane Rule Requirements,” explores the July 3 U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision to vacate the EPA’s initial 90-day stay of parts of the 2016 Methane Rule, a rule that establishes methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry.

“While it vacated the 90-day stay of the Methane Rule requirements, the court emphasized that nothing in its opinion limits EPA’s authority to reconsider the final rule, or to proceed with the proposed stay published on June 16,” writes Wyman, Swift, and Pemberton.  “As a result, while compliance with the parts of the Methane Rule is no longer delayed by an administrative stay, EPA will likely continue with its plans to finalize the separate, longer stay of the Methane Rule requirements that it proposed on June 16.  While a review of the June 16 proposal did not identify the specific authority cited for the proposed two-year stay, EPA has previously claimed authority for such stays under both its general rulemaking authority under CAA section 301(a)(1), as well as an agency’s authority under section 705 of the federal Administrative Procedure Act (‘APA’) to postpone the effective date of an action pending judicial review ‘when an agency finds that justice so requires.'”

To read the complete post, click here.

PRG’s Podcast ‘The Lobby Shop’ & Host Josh Zive Featured in National Law Journal Article

PRG’s new podcast The Lobby Shop and its host, PRG Partner Josh Zive, were featured today in a National Law Journal article titled “In New Podcast, a Bracewell Lobbyist Reports from the Swamp.”

“‘It’s been a hell of a week,’ Josh Zive, a lobbyist and senior principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Bracewell, told his podcast audience last week,” writes NLJ reporter Miriam Rozen.  “Zive, who performs stand-up comedy in his spare time, knows the podcasts reach a limited audience at this point. But he takes pride in his new series and claims it distinguishes him as perhaps the sole big-firm lawyer to host a podcast for his employer.

“His aim: to use the podcasts to elevate in the public debate his firm’s and its clients’ advocacy. Launched in earnest last month, the weekly series is known as The Lobby Shop. The idea of talking casually and openly about lobbying strategies makes many of his professional peers uncomfortable, Zive said.

“‘At a lot of firms it’s ingrained in their cultures to not talk very publicly,’ he said.

“But Bracewell has embraced his podcast series, he said, and other partners regularly join Zive as guests in the recordings.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

To listen to The Lobby Shop, click here or download wherever you listen to podcasts.

Article by PRG’s George Felcyn Featured in ACORE Blog

 

PRG Senior Director George Felcyn authored an article published today by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).  The article, titled “Offshore Wind in the US: A Look at Industry Prospects,” explores America’s renewable energy potential regarding offshore wind, an innovation booming in Europe.

“There is a lot to like about the prospects for offshore wind development in the U.S.,” writes Felcyn.  “The basic ingredients are all there: higher sustained wind speeds offshore with the potential to increase electricity output by 50 percent compared to onshore wind farms, coupled with the added advantage that winds tend to blow strongly during late summer afternoons, when electricity consumption is peaking; technological advances leading to larger turbines with higher power ratings; and a cost structure that has seen significant improvement in the more mature European offshore wind industry as increasing efficiencies and scale have taken hold.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Energy Update: Week of April 3

Friends,

So much going on…let’s start with the sports. This is among the most exciting weeks in the sports with the NCAA Championship game tipping off tonight at 9:20 pm. Gonzaga takes on UNC after two barnburner semifinals on Saturday. But the most unbelievable event of the weekend was Mississippi State snapping UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the NCAA women’s semifinal. Then yesterday, South Carolina defeated the giant killer to win its first NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship.

But it doesn’t end there. Today is opening day for Major League Baseball teams with 12 games set, including the Washington Nationals at 1:05 pm and the Orioles at 3:05 pm. Yesterday, the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays launched the 2017 season with a 7-3 Rays victory. The World Champ Cubs vs. the Cardinals and the SF Giants/Arizona also opened up yesterday.  And this is also Masters Week with practice rounds today and tomorrow, the Par 3 Tourney on Wednesday and the Full Action on Thursday.  Thursday the Frozen Four starts in Chicago and we are only a couple weeks from the Boston Marathon, where we will have a report next week on preparations for the Wellesley scream tunnel at Mile 13 from an actual Wellesley student.

Wow, after all that action, how are we going to get back to work, especially after the climate executive order was launched last week and we seem to be off the radar screen again?

One note from Friday in case you missed it: the natural gas/water case in Dimock, PA that you may recall was touted with such fanfare by drilling opponents like Josh Fox, Mark Ruffalo, and others when they won a year ago, was officially had the verdict thrown out because a judge determined that the jury decision and $4.24 million award was unjust and unfair.

This week, Congress runs towards its Spring/Easter/Passover break with the major focus on SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch.  While on its edges, it has environmental/energy implications, the key points focus on other items. Tomorrow, though, Senate Energy takes up grid infrastructure and security questions in a hearing featuring NRECA member executive Duane Highley of the Arkansas Co-op and AGA’s Dave McCurdy, among others.  Also tomorrow, Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon to assess opportunities around trade and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the power of innovation featuring NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. WCEE also holds a panel of energy journalists from E&E News, S&P Global Platts and Politico to discuss the trends in the energy sector.

GWU will holds its Planet Forward Summit on Thursday and Friday hosted by SMPA Head and former CNN personality Frank Sesno and featuring our friend Andy Revkin.  Also, the World Energy Council’s Secretary General, Christoph Frei, reveals the results of the 2017 World Energy Issues Monitor at USEA.  The Nat’l Cap Area Chapter of Energy Economists will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall and ECOS holds their spring meeting Thursday to Saturday.

Finally, our friend Amy Harder joins the Axios energy team this week…Back on the beat after a couple of weeks of world traveling…Next week is Easter week, so a lot of folks may be headed for the last effort at Spring Break.

Call with questions… Play Ball!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Cabot felt confident that once a thorough review of the overwhelming scientific evidence and a full legal analysis of the conduct of the plaintiff’s counsel was conducted, the flaws in the verdict would be understood.”

Cabot spokesman George Stark

 

IN THE NEWS

Dimock Jury Verdict Thrown Out As Unfair – You may not have seen this play out with as much fanfare as the initial trial, but a federal judge has thrown out a $4.24 million jury verdict against Cabot Oil & Gas in Dimock, PA.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson on Friday set aside the verdict reached a year ago by a jury in Scranton, saying the evidence presented by the Dimock homeowners “was spare, sometimes contradictory, frequently rebutted by other scientific expert testimony, and relied in some measure upon tenuous inferences.”  Carlson also said the plaintiffs presented no evidence that would justify a multi-million dollar award. In his decision, the judge also said the plaintiffs’ acknowledgements that there had been problems with their water before the company started drilling made it hard to argue that Cabot was the sole cause of any problems. He said their expert witnesses offered at best “inferences that had weak factual support” while failing to contest Cabot’s rebuttal evidence. Finally, Carlson said the jury’s decision went against the “great weight of the evidence that was presented” and ordered a new trial if the two sides could not resolve their differences.

Pruitt Challenged on Fox News Sunday – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced tough questioning from Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace yesterday.  Pruitt on Sunday defended the administration’s positions on climate change and ending domestic energy policies.   Pruitt clarified his position, amid outcry from environmental activists, that humans indeed contribute to climate change.  He also argued that Congress provides the EPA with the authority to make rules and that former President Obama overstepped that authority with his 2015 Clean Power Plan, which is now subject to a Supreme Court stay.

Grid Paper Outlines Resource Risks – Mid-Atlantic Grid Operator PJM Released a new issue paper says that natgas and renewables are displacing coal and nuclear.  But changing the resource mix, it said, comes with drawbacks and risks.  Low-cost gas and renewables driving those other power-generating resources into premature “retirement” in the PJM area, which stretches from the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The PJM paper analyzes what impact that will have on electricity reliability. With less coal and nukes, some frequency response falls, but flexibility and ramping increases, it says. A huge increase in natural gas (theoretically up to 86% of the portfolio) provided enough reliability; a significant increase in wind and solar comes with some risks, though. “Heavy reliance on one resource type, raises questions about electric system resilience, which are beyond the reliability questions this paper sought to address. Resilience is the capability of an energy system to tolerate disturbance and to continue to deliver energy services to consumers. Relying too heavily on any one fuel type may negatively impact resilience because resources do not provide generator reliability attributes equally. External drivers have impacted and could continue to impact the resource mix.”

Wall Street Journal Editorial Looks at Icahn IssuesThe Wall Street Journal had an editorial in the paper on Friday focused on Carl Icahn and the ethics questions on which some Democrats are pressing him regarding the ethanol program and its RIN trading credits.   The Journal Ed board said Icahn happens to believe that the RINs market is rigged to generate “windfall profits” for “Wall Street, Big Oil and large gas-station chains” at the expense of small and medium refiners like CVR, as he wrote in the Journal. The system is “full of manipulation, speculation and fraud.”  The Journal editors say that seems like a familiar line from the very Democrats challenging Icahn.  They close by saying “Democrats can’t blame Icahn for passing along their own opinions. Meanwhile, reform is overdue at the EPA.”

Global Renewable Energy Report Released – The International Renewable Energy Agency has a new report showing that solar energy capacity installed around the world last year has surpassed wind energy.  There statistics say total renewable energy capacity grew by 8% in 2016, with a record of 71 gigawatts of solar power leading the growth. Wind capacity stood at 51GW, while hydropower and bioenergy capacities increased 30 GW and 9 GW respectively.

Platts Capitol Crude Targets Trump Policy Questions – Platts Capitol Crude today is focused on the Trump energy policy issues. After 10 weeks in the White House, the Trump administration has moved to revoke efforts to combat climate change, approved key pipelines and taken steps to bolster production of US oil, natural gas and coal. Tracking the shift in energy policy has been a challenge, so on this week’s episode Senior oil editors Brian Scheid and Meghan Gordon break down Trump’s energy policy changes, identify which ones will have “bigly” impacts on energy markets and which ones look like losers.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on today through Wednesday in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Solar Foundation to Talk Solar Census – The Solar Foundation will hold a bipartisan briefing and Q&A session today at 2:00 p.m. on their updated data for the 2016 Solar Jobs Census. The National Solar Jobs Census is the first and most authoritative national benchmark for solar jobs research.  Briefing will include insight on the Solar Jobs Map, an interactive tool that visualizes how solar jobs are growing in your state, county, metro area or legislative district. The Solar Foundation’s President and Executive Director, Andrea Luecke, and Senior Director of Programs, Ed Gilliland will speak.

Senate Energy to Look at Cyber Threats – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine efforts to protect U.S. energy delivery systems from cybersecurity threats.  Witnesses will include DOE veteran Patricia Hoffman, Andrew Bochman of the Idaho National Laboratory, NERC CEO Gerry Cauley, NRECA expert and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation CEO Duane D. Highley, AGA CEO Dave McCurdy,  and Washington National Guard Commander Colonel Gent Welsh.

House Resources to Look at Hydro, Pumped Storage Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow at 10:00 on hydro and pumped storage legislation.  You can see the legislation to be discussed here.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold the next event of its nuclear energy roundtable series tomorrow at Noon. Although the predominant use of nuclear energy worldwide is electricity generation, nuclear can be utilized for a broad range of applications, including but not limited to: district heating, water desalination, hydrogen production, and industrial heat. Given present trends and future uncertainties in global electricity markets, there has been growing interest in exploring non-electricity uses for nuclear. Development of advanced nuclear designs, many pushing the envelope on passive safety and temperature output, may further expand the horizon of possibilities.  The speaker will be Jeff Harper of X-energy.  Harper is Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at X-energy, where he directs long-term business plans specifically focused on customers, partners, and markets.

Press Club to Host AFL-CIO Head – Richard Trumka, Head of the AFL-CIO will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Trumka will assess opportunities around trade and infrastructure that could create jobs, as well as possible threats to workers’ rights. He will also talk about the labor movement’s strategy to create a unifying agenda for workers and their families, as well as collective bargaining right for all workers to achieve better wages and working conditions.  Since 2009, Trumka has served as president of the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country.

BPC Forum to Focus on Innovation – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the power of innovation.  With smart federal support for research, advanced energy technologies represent another potentially transformative moment for the American economy.  BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council will host leading experts to discuss how to make the most of this opportunity.  The forum will feature a conversation with Norm Augustine, the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, who also served as the Undersecretary of the Army.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg will also moderate a panel with NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, former MIT Washington Office Director William Bonvillian, Ames Laboratory Critical Materials Institute Director Alex King and GE Energy Financial Services investment expert Alta Yen.

WCEE to Host Energy Journalists Panel – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a panel of energy journalists from E&E News, S&P Global Platts and Politico on Wednesday to discuss the trends in the energy sector today and for the next four years. Some of the trends that will be discussed are NAFTA and oil and gas pipelines in North America, FERC enforcement and the changing political outlook for CFTC, the fate of the Clean Power Plan, rollback of regulatory efforts by the Trump Administration in the energy sector, future of renewables, and energy industry and Department of Interior’s public land use management debate.  Speakers will include E&E News Jenny Mandel, Platts’ Jasmin Melvin and Maya Weber and POLITICO’s Esther Whieldon.

GW to Host Timor-Leste Diplomat – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs will host Natercia Coelho, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Timor-Leste, the smallest country in East or Southeast Asia.  Timor-Leste is already subject to numerous extreme weather events every year, including cyclones and typhoons that result in intense flooding. Climate change is exacerbating these issues, with rising sea levels speeding up soil erosion, damaging crops, and leading to food shortages in a country which still ranks 120 out of 169 in the U.N.’s Human Development Index. This talk will cover the Timor-Leste’s Government Plan for Development and its legal framework for addressing climate change.

GU to Host Ambassadors Panel – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. Georgetown University hosts a conference on the intersectionality of Climate Change and Security. As a threat to national security, climate change acts as a threat multiplier, aggravating problems such as poverty, racial and social tensions, environmental degradation, and further destabilize states.  The conference will feature an Ambassadors panel, featuring the German Ambassador Peter Wittig, Danish Ambassador Lars Gert Lose, and Barbadian Ambassador Selwin Hart. The keynote speaker will be General James L. Jones, Obama’s National Security Advisor and former Supreme Commander of NATO Allied Forces. The discussion will be moderated by Kathleen Hicks, Senior VP at CSIS.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include our friends Tom Pyle of IER, ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro, among others.

SEIA Forum to Look at Women in Solar – On Thursday, SEIA’s Women’s Empowerment committee will hold a summit that focuses on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Key industry leaders will cover topics including Women Leading Solar- Executives Spearheading the Industry (led by our friend Abby Hopper), Women Running for Office & Careers in Public Service; Diversity – The Bottom Line ; Making Solar a Story – Energy Journalists Shaping the Industry; Interactive Speed Networking and Regional Policy Update – What’s Happening in Capitol Hill.

GW to Host Planet Forward Summit – The George Washington University will holds its Planet Forward Summit at GW on Thursday and Friday that will focus on how we can communicate to inform, inspire, and act.  The summit will look at how we tell the story of our planet and how we communicate to inspire action.  Speakers will include SMPA Director Frank Sesno, my friend Andy Revkin and many more.

GW, APHA to Host Climate/Health Discussion – The GW Milken Institute School of Public Health and the American Public Health Association (APHA) will also host a panel Thursday at 10:00 a.m. discussing the intersection of climate change and public health.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on Thursday to Saturday. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

World Energy Council Head to Discuss Issues Monitor – The World Energy Council’s Secretary General, Dr. Christoph Frei, will reveal the results of the 2017 World Energy Issues Monitor at a briefing at the U.S. Energy Association in Washington Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The report assesses the degree of impact and uncertainty around more than 40 key issues in the energy sector in four categories including macroeconomic risks, geopolitics and regional issues, business environment and energy innovation and technologies.  Frei will also discuss the findings of the World Energy Trilemma Index, which will reveal how the U.S. ranks among 125 countries on energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. Last year, the U.S. ranked among the top 10 in energy security.

Climate Assessment Authors to Discuss Next Report – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Chemonics, scientists will come together to discuss the International Chapter of the 4th National Climate Assessment.  The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that, every four years, the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) “prepare and submit to the President and Congress” an assessment that summarizes the effects from global change on the U.S. The fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) is due in 2018. For the first time, the NCA will include a chapter on climate impacts on U.S. international interests. This international chapter will look at climate impacts on U.S. interests abroad including trade, security, development and humanitarian assistance investments, and scientific research.  The authors will share plans and invite input on the content of the chapter.

GU, UN Association to Hold Green Finance Forum – On Saturday, United Nations Association and Georgetown Law will hold a brunch and round tables discussing the challenges regarding the integration of renewable energy and the implementation of carbon pricing.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Atlantic Council Report to Look at Oil Theft – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a forum next Monday at 12:30 p.m. for a discussion about how hydrocarbons crime impacts global security, the market, the environment, and communities around the world, and how stakeholders can work together to address this under-recognized issue.  The will also release a report, Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends, and Remedies, by Dr. Ian M. Ralby, is the first major study of refined oil theft around the globe. Launched at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in January, this report explores the many ways that hydrocarbons crime presents a threat not only to local and regional prosperity, but also to global stability and security. Following up on this study, Dr. Ralby has written an additional report outlining the steps that need to be taken to effectively address this issue.

EESI Forum to Look at Foreign Aid, Climate Help – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in 485 Russell discussing benefits to the United States from deploying foreign aid to vulnerable regions to help them become more resilient to climate change impacts. The briefing will also explore the inner workings of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a multi-lateral effort to mobilize $100 billion in public and private financing for adaptation and mitigation projects in developing nations.

Wilson Event to Look China Energy Finance – The Wilson Center will host a forum on Thursday April 13th at 9:30 a.m. to look at China Energy Finance investments.  Since 2000, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have emerged as major global funders of energy infrastructure providing upwards of $160 billion in energy finance to governments across the world. To better understand the size and types of this energy investment, Kevin Gallagher and his research team at Boston University have launched a new interactive China’s Global Energy Finance database that tracks international energy investments by Chinese banks.  The database has revealed that nearly 80% of Chinese bank investment goes into power plant construction -two-thirds of which were coal plants. Besides presenting insights from the database, Dr. Gallagher will discuss how Chinese energy finance compares to other global energy financiers. Dr. Wang Yan (Peking University) will put this energy financing in a larger context by explaining the non-concessional finance approach China’s global banks are taking to promote industrial and infrastructure development around the world. Paulina Garzon will provide examples of positive and negative impacts that Chinese energy investments are having on communities in Latin America.

Forum to Look at New Fuel Economy Approaches – The R Street Institute will host a panel discussion of these recent developments in fuel economy regulations, the existing triune approach to it and what alternatives the future might hold on Friday April 14th at 12:30 p.m.  Speakers will include CEI’s Marlo Lewis, AAM’s Chris Nevers, Rod Richardson of the Grace Richardson Fund, Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute and R Street’s Ian Adams.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 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.

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.

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 March 6

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of February 27

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressing CPAC on Saturday.

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PRG’s Scott Segal Analyzes AG Pruitt Hearing in E&E News Facebook Live Interview

 

PRG Founding Partner Scott Segal spoke with E&E News’ Monica Trauzzi today on the confirmation hearing of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. NRDC’s John Walke and E&E News reporters Robin Bravender and Kevin Bogardus also weighed in.

The full video can be viewed above or at this link, and the article on AG Pruitt’s hearing and this discussion can be found here.

PRG’s George Felcyn Co-Authors Article for The Bond Buyer

The Bond Buyer

 

PRG Senior Director George Felcyn co-authored an article with Bracewell attorney Charles Almond published today in The Bond Buyer.  The commentary article titled “Make-America-Great-Again Bonds?” explores investment in public infrastructure and its increased discussion since the 2016 election was decided.

“If federal policymakers are indeed serious about incentivizing public infrastructure investment and realizing the related job-creation benefits in the relatively near future, an ‘all of the above’ approach is essential,” write Almond and Felcyn. “Innovative P3 approaches enhanced by tax credits for equity investments may well attract private-equity capital and foster cost savings for certain types of projects. However, the bread and butter of public finance has always been, and will likely continue to be, debt capital that is subsidized one way or another by the federal government. While the old dogs in the public-finance arena are learning the new tricks of the P3 world, efforts should be made to improve the ability to access low-interest-rate debt capital from the tried and true state and local  bond market to supplement those new tricks and continue to fill the many gaps that will never be filled by private equity alone.”

To read the complete article, click here.

PRG’s Salo Zelermyer Discusses Trump’s DOE Pick with MSNBC

capture

PRG Partner Salo Zelermyer spoke with MSNBC’s Kate Snow today on President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Energy: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Zelermyer and Snow discussed Perry’s history in Texas and his influence on the state’s energy infrastructure, comparing his background with those of previous Energy secretaries.

For the full video, click here.

 

 

Energy Update: Week of December 5

Friends,

Welcome to the holiday party season.   And of course, on Wednesday, Southern Company hosts its annual holiday party at Union Station which always launches the season in style.

And now at least we know who the best four college football teams are…or maybe not.  At some point it seems the hybrid playoff format that keeps in the place the lucrative bowl game scene, just isn’t workable.   Either way, on New Year’s Eve we will see Alabama play Washington and Clemson take on Ohio State.  Too bad I guess for Michigan, Penn State and many others, including the 13-0 Western Michigan Broncos.

Let’s also get one other big thing out of the way.  Late yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers reversed itself and blocked a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While our friends in the protest community are calling it a “historic” victory, it really seems to be nothing more than a “game-show parting gift.”  There is no doubt this will remain a rallying cry for fossil fuel opponents, but with the incoming administration focused on infrastructure and the jobs, economic benefits and reliability it creates, it is likely that we will finally be building many of these projects in the near future.

A lot going on this week both on the Hill and in the Trump transition. On transition, we are hearing officials may try to couple the energy/environmental cabinet appointments for an announcement as early as this week.  For timing and planning, keep in mind that on Thursday, Heritage and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are holding a forum featuring one rumored possible nominee, Karen Harnett-White.  White will speak along with Sen Jim Inhofe, House Science Chair Lamar Smith and House Energy committee member Pete Olson.  Of course, our friends at the WSJ weighed in over the weekend with an EPA-related story about Trump-supporter Carl Icahn.   Finally, while this will probably drive some inside the Trump Transition bonkers, Ivanka Trump (And also apparently the President-Elect) just met with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss climate change.  Should you have any questions about who what or when on any of this, we are happy to discuss.

On the Hill, it is “go time” for the CR, WRDA and/or the energy bill.  The pressure continues to increase on members regarding the expiring energy tax credits.  Last week, advocates were at the National Press Club pleading their case and when President-elect Trump went to Indiana to promote keeping Carrier’s jobs, geothermal heat pump industry advocates said not renewing the tax credit could cost Indiana thousands more jobs.  Legislative language is expected this week on the CR.  Expect WRDA language as soon as later today as they get to final agreement.  Finally, while energy is a long shot, we have heard they are scrambling to get a stripped-down conference report signed over the weekend.  Controversies still exist so keep your eyes open for a last push this week.

Already today, Gina McCarthy, Scott, Jason Grumet and Bob Perciasepe all spoke at the CSM Inhabit Forum and Jeff Speaks at an Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) EPA policy forum in Chicago.  Tomorrow,   House Transportation will hold a roundtable panel on self-driving cars and House Energy’s Oversight panel tackles the VW settlement with EPA officials; SEIA hosts its tax policy forum and CSIS hosts Jonathan Pershing on Wednesday; and Thursday the Heritage event goes off and BPC hosts a forum on Decarbonization.

Finally, on Friday, the President announced that he would act on the recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) and block the acquisition of the company Aixtron by a Chinese company.  The move may represent the beginning of a new era of the White House using CFIUS as both a security and economic weapon.  My colleague Josh Zive, a great expert on the topic, can discuss what this may mean for foreign investment in sectors such as energy.

 

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Capture of CO2 from power plants for use in enhanced oil recovery can provide economic, environmental and national security benefits long into the future.”

Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock

 

“We have the resources in this country to become truly energy independent. I have advocated for an all-inclusive energy mix and believe that the responsible development of hydrocarbons is critically important.”

Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead

 

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Blog: Coal Can Be Helped – Chamber Energy expert Dan Byers authored a blog post that tackles the ubiquitous but incorrect post-election narrative that President-elect Trump can’t help coal country. Byers writes Trump’s victory may not result in a comeback for coal, but his efforts to halt EPA’s crushing regulatory agenda should save countless coal jobs and ensure that coal continues to bolster the American economy with affordable, reliable energy.

OPEC Curbs Production – Last week in Vienna, OPEC members agreed to curb oil output for the first time since 2008 in a last-ditch bid to support prices.  The members agreed to cut its oil production from 33.8 million barrels a day (b/d) to 32.5 million b/d.

SAFE Says ‘Here We Go Again’ – SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said “Again, we see the OPEC cartel engaging in blatant oil price and supply manipulation which would never be permitted by western companies. Today’s decision is just the latest move in a long line of destructive decisions that contribute to oil price volatility—which harms businesses and consumers—and undermines a fair, free, and transparent oil market.  Policymakers have sat idle for far too long, allowing the status quo in which a cartel and national oil companies can whip oil prices around through production cuts or even mere rhetoric. It is time for action that protects U.S. interests.”

SAFE Issue Brief Hits Saudi Market Influence – SAFE also released the latest in a series of Issue Briefs focusing on the future of the cartel. The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  The Issue Brief finds that Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom. These problems, the paper adds, could be exacerbated by a range of domestic issues ranging from subsidy reform to Saudi royal disputes. The Issue Brief concludes that oil price volatility created by Saudi Arabian policies has created a highly uncertain investment environment, and has significantly affected American jobs. The best way for the United States to protect itself from this uncertainty is to reduce our near-total dependence on oil in the transportation sector, increase fuel efficiency and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas.

Western Govs Call on Congress to Pass CCS Credit – The Western Governors’ Association sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday urging them to attach legislation (S. 3179) expanding and extending a carbon capture and sequestration credit to end-of-year bills.  Montana Gov. Steve Bullock also sent his own letter to House and Senate Leaders urging their support for efforts to increase utilization of enhanced oil recovery.

Report Highlights CCS Opportunities – Speaker of Western Govs, Wyoming’s Matt Mead and Bullock, along with colleagues and officials in 12 other states, released a new report on Friday outlining growing opportunities for capturing carbon dioxide for use in enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) with geologic storage.  The new report – Putting the Puzzle Together:  State & Federal Policy Drivers for Growing America’s Carbon Capture & CO2-EOR Industry – includes detailed analyses and federal and state recommendations of the State CO2-EOR Deployment Work Group, which consists of representatives from 14 states, leading private sector stakeholders and CO2-EOR experts.  The report notes that market forces and federal and state policy are driving the energy industry to reduce carbon emissions and that carbon capture with CO2-EOR compares cost-effectively with other emissions reduction options.  States can also assist by optimizing existing taxes commonly levied by states to complement federal incentives in helping carbon capture projects achieve commercial viability, the Work Group says.  Analysis undertaken for the Work Group shows that an optimized approach to state taxes can add the equivalent of roughly $8 per barrel of oil to the economics of a carbon capture project.

Capital Crude Aims at RFSPlatts Capitol Crude looks at the Obama administration’s work on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Now, questions turn to President-elect Donald Trump’s plans. Will Trump move to lower the amount of biofuels in the US fuel supply? Might he look at moving RFS obligations away from refiners? Tim Cheung with ClearView Energy Partners walks us through the possible outcomes and Josh Pedrick, a Platts biofuels editor, talks RINs prices.

Ryan Targets Regulations on 60 Minutes – If you watched 60 Minutes yesterday, Speaker Paul Ryan said the new Republican-led Congress will go after a host of regulations that are “crushing jobs” from “day one” of the Trump presidency.  While he didn’t get to the specifics, Ryan mentioned “coal miners in the Rust Belt that are getting out of work” as suffering under Obama administration regulatory efforts.

Conservative Energy Group Set Energy Blueprint – The American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research released a list of energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration. The recommendations are their own blueprint which I think represents the most recent thinking of conservatives within the transition on the e/e issue space.  It’s short but definitely worth a look! You can view the full list of recommendations here.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum Launches USAID Climate Review – The Wilson Center launched USAID’s Climate Action Review this morning.  For many years, USAID has been a leader in assisting partner countries to pursue low-carbon economic growth and build their resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Through investments in clean energy and adaptation and support for sustainable forestry and agriculture, and by integrating best practices across its development portfolio, USAID’s approach to building the capacity and confidence of partners has yielded major achievements as well as lessons learned. Please save the date for an exploration of the successes and lessons learned in a time of rapid technological innovation, policy evolution, and environmental change.

CSM Hosts McCarthy, Segal – The Christian Science Monitor held a breakfast briefing this Morning that will feature exiting EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal at the St. Regis Hotel. She will be interviewed by Deputy Energy and Environment Editor, Zack Colman.  The discussion will be looking back on the current administration, and thoughts for the future of the EPA as we transition to a new administration in the coming months.

Rep. Blumenauer Addresses AVs at Brookings Forum – Also this morning, the new Brookings Institute Center on Regulation and Markets hosted an event releasing new research on the congestion reducing benefits of autonomous vehicles and the consumer surplus stemming from the sharing economy.   SAFE Amitai Bin-Nun attended and call provide Insights should you need them.  The panel discussion focused on the benefits, costs, and prospects for autonomous vehicles. Rep. Earl Blumenauer also delivered a keynote address focusing on what role Congress plays in transportation and how autonomous vehicles can fix the nation’s infrastructure.

Holmstead to Discuss Energy, Enviro Policy at Chicago Forum – My Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead will lead a panel of experts in Chicago today at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.  With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, most observers are expecting a significant shift in U.S. energy and climate policy in the coming years. President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised a review and rollback of U.S. climate regulations and increased access to fossil fuel resources on public lands. He has also suggested he will renegotiate or withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Yet, clean energy enjoys widespread support, and market forces increasingly favor lower carbon sources. Moreover, the two parties have worked together on common priorities such as reduced oil dependence and tax credits for renewable electricity in the recent past.  Holmstead will be joined by former CEQ head James Connaughton.

Forum to Help Climate Digital Media – The Connect4Climate DIgital Media Zone is holding a three day-long communication initiative today through Thursday at the World Bank. The event, complementary to the LJD Week 2016 and the Annual Meetings for the Climate Investment Funds annual meetings, will offer an interactive media hub and gathering space for conference attendees, students, NGOs and private sector representatives. The People’s Media Zone is designed to facilitate interaction and engagement between the high level policy sessions/discussions and relevant mainstream media and civil society. The overarching narrative for the People’s Media Zone will be climate action and implementing solutions, as viewed through a legal and youth lens.

Briefing to Focus District Energy, Micro Grids – Tomorrow, the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) are hosting a briefing in Dirksen G-50 providing policy guidance and showcasing proven technologies and exemplary cases that illuminate the potential for more robust U.S. investment in district energy microgrids.

House Panel to Look at AVs, Policy – The House Transportation Committee will host a roundtable tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on self-driving cars and how could impact the nation’s transportation system during a policy roundtable next week.  The Highways and Transit Subcommittee will hear from experts like Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Policy Blair Anderson and David Strickland, former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator who is Now with the group Self-driving Coalition for Safer Street.  Other Panelists include David Zuby of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and City of Pittsburgh chief development officer Kevin Acklin.

House Energy Panel to Look at VW Settlement – The House Energy Oversight subcommittee is holding a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with regulators to discuss the $14.7 billion agreement.  EPA Enforcement chief Cynthia Giles and Air office head Janet McCabe will testify.  I care because I am waiting for my pay out for our 2013 VW Jetta Diesel.

SEIA Holds Tax, Empowerment Events – The Solar Energy Industry Assn continues its Empowerment Series on Wednesday with an panel focused on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Speakers Include Hunton & Williams Laura Jones, Partner, Angelin Baskaran of  Morgan Stanley, Vickie Dalsanto of Morgan Capital Corporation and SolSystems Jessica Robbins.  This event is taking place the evening before SEIA’s Fall Finance & Tax Seminar which is on Wednesday and Thursday.

DOE’s SunShot to Outline 2030 Goals – Speaking of solar, also tomorrow at Noon, the SunShot Initiative will host a webinar to discuss the recently-announced 2030 goals, which set a target to halve the cost of solar from 2020 to 2030 to achieve a levelized cost of electricity of just $0.03 per kilowatt hour from utility-scale solar. The webinar will discuss the importance of moving solar energy into the next decade and the role SunShot plans to play. SunShot director Charlie Gay will lead the discussion as SunShot begins to focus on the next decade.  The webinar will provide more detail about how the 2030 goals were formulated and how they will impact future work.

Forum to Discuss Ocean Policy – The Center for American Progress will host a discussion Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. that will feature distinguished experts from government and the private sector for a discussion on the next chapter in U.S. ocean policy. Leaders will inherit a unique governance structure built to balance the needs of ocean industries as well as the priorities of state, local, federal, and tribal governments. The forum will discuss opportunities to enhance these developments in ocean governance and ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems.  Speakers will include Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), U.S. Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Michel and Deepwater Wind official Aileen Kenney.

Pershing to Address COP-22 Results – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Dr. Jonathan Pershing, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the evolving risks of climate change, the outcomes of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) recently concluded in Marrakech, and the future of international climate cooperation. Pershing previously served as the Senior Climate Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on Thursday and Friday at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

Conservative Groups to Host Climate Forum – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday to discuss energy and climate policy issues.   “At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” will feature national policymakers, leading energy experts, and the field’s most innovative minds to explore what’s next in energy policy, what’s coming in climate science, and how you may affect both. Keynote Speaker will be Jim Inhofe.  Among the other speakers will be Sen. Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith, potential EPA administrator Kathleen Hartnett White and Rep. Pete Olson.

Webinar to Look at Energy Toolkit – The Worldwatch Institute will launch a webinar on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the newly updated Energy Toolkit produced by the Low Emissions Development Strategies Energy Working Group (LEDS EWG) of the Global Partnership (LEDS GP). The LEDS Energy Toolkit is a collection of leading instruments and methodologies for sustainable energy planning. The Toolkit aims to provide energy practitioners, policymakers, and experts a quick reference guide to some of the best established energy planning instruments that are available at no or low cost.  The result is a compilation of 26 tools from agencies around the world. This webinar will present an overview of the newly updated publication of the toolkit and feature some of its leading tools: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s Jobs and Economic Development Impact Model (JEDI) and the Natural Resources Canada’s RETScreen Clean Energy Management Software.

BPC Forum to Look at Energy Transition – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on Thursday at the Marriott Marquis to bring together a broad range of stakeholders for a discussion on shared objectives and the best way to achieve our goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The viability of pathways for “deep decarbonization” — generally defined as reaching at least an 80 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050 — are increasingly coming into focus as the key to managing this transition. But from the “keep it in the ground” movement to the “embrace energy abundance” viewpoint, energy and climate policy stakeholders across the spectrum have very different ideas on the policies, strategies, and tactics that will best chart the country on a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades while also ensuring continued supplies of reliable and affordable energy.

 

IN THE FUTURE

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

Forum to Look at Latin American Energy – The Institute of the Americas and the Inter-American Dialogue will host a panel discussion on Tuesday December 13th at the National Press Club looking at the energy relationship and evolving energy collaboration in the hemisphere, timed to coincide with the political transition in the United States.  Natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico have tripled over the last five years, while the first ever liquefied natural gas exports from the US Gulf Coast shipped to Brazil. Many countries, including Venezuela, have increased imports of US refined oil products. Meanwhile, the United States has engaged in multiple technical cooperation agreements in renewable energy development. There is ample evidence that Latin American countries and the United States can benefit greatly from boosting commercial energy ties and expanding bilateral energy cooperation.

Forum Looks at Climate Technologies – On Tuesday, December 13th at 9:00 a.m., Information Technology & Innovation Foundation is hosting a forum to release a new report that assesses the Obama administration’s efforts and considers how this record might be extended and improved upon in the next administration.  Achieving the ambitious goals set in the Paris climate negotiations will require large-scale private investment in technologies that to date have only been shown to be feasible technologically, not economically. That will require overcoming the second “valley of death”: the lack of confidence among potential investors in the affordability, reliability, and practicality of these innovations. Public-private technology demonstration projects are one important means by which the second valley of death might be crossed. But such projects have frequently been plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays, and outright failure. The Obama administration, like its predecessors, has pursued such projects with mixed results.

OPEC Minister to Address CSIS – Next Tuesday, CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum featuring His Excellency Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to discuss OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2016.   The event will begin with opening remarks by H.E. Barkindo, followed by a presentation of the World Oil Outlook 2016 by Dr. Jorge Leon Arellano, Energy Demand Specialist of the OPEC Research Division. The report addresses  OPEC’s outlook for medium and long-term oil supply, demand, and downstream out to 2040, including their view on the challenges and opportunities for the oil industry. This World Oil Outlook sees opportunities presented by a growing global population, and economic growth in developing countries leading to an increase in energy demand, but also comes at a time of continued uncertainty in the oil market.

WCEE Forum to Look at Energy Communications – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum featuring Loretta Prencipe, to discuss insights from the report, “How Americans Make Energy Decisions” – and what that means for energy communications in the changing energy and policy landscape.  An attorney and former journalist, Prencipe serves as Group Vice President in Makovsky Communication’s DC office and has more than 15 years’ experience in media relations, marketing, communications and public affairs in energy, manufacturing and sustainability issues. She manages project deployment, workforce and employee engagement programs, crisis communications, public affairs and corporate risk and reputation issues for publicly traded companies.

Forum Looks at EV Infrastructure Challenges – On Tuesday, December 13th at 12:30 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum at the D.C. Bar Conference Center looking at infrastructure challenges for Electric Vehicles.  The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is creating a need for increased charging infrastructure. The development of this infrastructure brings significant challenges. Come hear our panel discuss the ways in which these challenges are being solved.  The panel will discuss the legal issues facing the development of infrastructure for electric vehicles and the potential impacts these vehicles may have on our environment and energy security. Speakers will include DOE’s Kavita Patel, GM’s Alex Keros and Sierra Club’s Joe Halso.

Forum to Look at Climate Opinion in US, Canada – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a panel on Thursday, December 15th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the results from national-level surveys on public attitudes toward climate change in the United States and Canada. Expert panelists will highlight key findings from the 2016 comparative study, draw analyses from the differences and similarities between Canada and U.S. public views, and provide insight into how this could affect existing climate change policy and potential future policy approaches on both sides of the border.

Expert to Look at Electricity Industry Change – The US Association for Energy Economists in the National Capital Area, will host its monthly luncheon on Friday, December 16th at Noon looking at change in the electric industry.  Through its 51st State Initiative, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has been tackling these questions with utilities, trade associations, industry analysts, tech-start-up entrepreneurs and visionaries over the past two years.  Smart Electric Power Alliance CEO Julia Hamm will speak. Hamm has more than 15 years of experience advising and collaborating with utilities, manufacturers and government agencies on renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies and programs.