Energy Update 1/16

Friends,

Holy cow…I still can’t believe Minnesota stayed alive by winning that playoff football game on Sunday.  NHL All-Star game in Tampa this weekend (with the awesome 3-on-3 format), Super Bowl Sunday is just three weeks away and the Winter Olympics starts right after in South Korea.

We are early today because of a number of events in this short week. The bulk of the oxygen this week will focus on the budget with a Friday deadline to extend government funding.  There is also a lot of activity on the trade issues with NAFTA, aluminum, steel, washing machine and solar issues all seeing discussions.  In fact, in an editorial Friday, the Washington Post hit the President’s approach to trade, saying that it be exceedingly difficult to achieve his goal of tearing down international trade actions.  The Post said not all trade deals were perfect, but “broadly speaking, increasingly free trade over the past 70-plus years has brought tremendous benefits both to the hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America and to Americans who have enjoyed a wider choice of quality products, at lower cost, and high wages in export industries.”

As mentioned, Congress is in town despite the MLK holiday yesterday to deal with the budget. Hearings include this morning’s Senate Energy hearing on the domestic/global energy outlook with IEA’s Faith Birol and a Senate Environment hearing on water infrastructure tomorrow.  House Energy looks at Superfund and House Resources looks at onshore energy burdens on Thursday and Friday, a House Energy panel looks at LNG exports.

The Detroit Auto Show started yesterday (Washington’s policy show starts next week) while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, Heritage hosts a NAFTA forum and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 today.  Thursday, the US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club, the Chamber holds an infrastructure summit featuring INGAA’s Don Santa and RFF hosts author/expert Daniel Raimi for a book event on his new natgas drilling book.  On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the natgas and battery revolutions.

Finally, after last week’s reacts to the new 5-year drilling plan and the Florida removal, public hearings start today with a meetings in Annapolis and Jackson Mississippi.  Richmond hosts tomorrow and Thursday, things move to Dover, DE.  More hearings next week and through the end of February.

One last time: we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and electricity markets.

Finally, you know what today is…  I’ve already had a singing gorilla wish me happy 50th in our morning meeting that to my wife Stacey.  Here is a copy of last year’s POLITICO Playbook Birthday of the Day Q&A.  And I noticed that I have dropped to #2 on Playbook’s Jan 16th birthday list…  Labor Sect Acosta shares the day although I have him by one year.  Damn you, Carl’s Jr.!!!!

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We’ve decided that the best thing for our family and for me and I think, frankly, for North Dakota is for me to seek reelection to the House of Representatives.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer in deciding against running for North Dakota’s US Senate seat and incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.

“Mayor de Blasio turned his back on millions of first responders, police officers, firefighters and other public employees who depend on their pensions to provide for themselves and their families in retirement. Government pension managers have a responsibility by law to seek the greatest return for their investors and pensions that invest in oil and natural gas companies have historically delivered a higher return than other investments. Deliberately hurting pension holders, like the fine men and women who keep our city safe, is a disgraceful way to score cheap political points.”

API New York Executive Director Karen Moreau, commenting on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement to divest the city’s pensions from oil and natural gas.

IN THE NEWS

White House Names Fannon to State Energy Gig – So much a for a move to the consulting…Our friend Frank Fannon has been nominated to be an assistant secretary of State on energy resources. Fannon worked at Senate Environment under Jim Inhofe and had an instrumental role in the drafting and passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Previously, Fannon was head of BHP Billiton’s DC office and also worked at Murphy Oil Corporation.

ALEC Chair Hit Solar Tariffs – The national chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), North Carolina State Rep. Jason Saine urged the President reject solar tariffs in a letter late last week.  Saine wrote Increasing tariffs on solar panels risks shuttering one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. According to recent estimates, the solar industry is creating jobs at a rate 17 times faster than the broader economy and employs over a quarter of a million people across the country.  He also added for utilities like Duke Energy, which must select cost-competitive resources (whether they be fuel-based or renewable) when selecting new generation resources to meet customer demand requirements, such cost increases may eliminate solar generation from its evaluation processes entirely.

ETAC Pushes Back On Protectionist Coalition Claims – In additional to the ALEC letter from Saine, the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) responded to a letter from the protectionist Coalition for a Prosperous America urging the president to impose a “global tariff” on imports.  ETAC released a letter that strongly encourages Trump to reject the attempt of two foreign-owned bankrupt solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, to use the Section 201 trade law process to bail out their creditors and shareholders. “Tens of thousands of U.S. solar industry jobs in the United States now hang in the balance. A decision to impose tariffs and/or quotas on imported solar components may offer Suniva and SolarWorld the short-term lifeline they seek, but it will do so at the cost of undermining virtually the entire rest of the industry, including hundreds of U.S. solar companies that are healthy, productive and providing good-paying jobs in communities across the country.”

China Imports Actually Increasing – A New piece in RealClearMarkets, Allan Golombek argues unilateral reduction of tariffs last month by China on almost 200 consumer products provides further testimony to the fact that the goal of its trade is not just to increase exports, but also imports. Golombek says after years as the world’s biggest exporter, China is on track to becoming the world’s biggest importer over the next few years, according to a paper prepared by two leading economists for the China International Capital Corporation.

EIA Net Exporter of NatGas – The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the U.S. is now a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957.  Net exports averaged about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8 billion in 2016.  EIA also said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook for January, which the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to rise from 32% in 2017 to 33% in 2018 and to 34% in 2019, as a result of low natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast generation share falls from 30% in 2017 to slightly lower than 30% in 2018 and 28% in 2019. The nuclear share of generation was 20% in 2017 and is forecast to average 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2019. Renewables provided almost 10% of electricity generation in 2017, and its 2018 share is expected be similar before increasing to almost 11% in 2019. The generation share of hydropower was more than 7% in 2017 and is forecast to be slightly lower than 7% in both 2018 and 2019.  Finally, EIA added that after declining by 1.0% in 2017, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are forecast to increase by 1.7% in 2018 and by 0.2% in 2019. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth and energy prices.

EPA Delays Climate Rule Comment Deadline – EPA will soon announce dates for additional public hearings on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan and extend the deadline to submit comments. As previously reported, additional hearings will be held in Kansas City, MO on Feb 21, San Francisco on Feb 28 and Gillette, WY on March 27.   EPA will keep the record open for an additional 30 days after the last one.

Wind Group Says More Transmission Necessary – POLITICO outlines a new report from the Wind Energy Foundation finds more U.S. transmission lines are needed to meet the growing demand for renewables. Specifically, the report found transmission planners are not accounting for up to 51 gigawatts of potential near-term procurement.  Can send you copy of report if you need it.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show is underway and runs until to January 28th.  The event serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

POLITICO to Host Future of Mobility Event – POLITICO holds an event on “Driverless Cars and the Future of Mobility” today at 10:45 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The United States’ roads and highways will soon be driven by autonomous vehicles, which will fundamentally transform the transportation landscape in this country. This technology has the potential to reshape the communities that we live in and create stronger transportation networks for people of all ages and abilities. POLITICO addressing such questions as: When it comes to mobility, what are the sticking points? Will self-driving cars be a mobility revolution for older Americans and for people with disabilities?

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – This morning at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule which was announced last week.  FERC scrapped DOE’s plan and has now undertaken its own process.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Outlook – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing today at 10:00 a.m. to look at the domestic and global energy outlook from the International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues –Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Today at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings today to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings today in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott), Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on tomorrow and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday.  Other meetings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) and Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future meetings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to look at water infrastructure.  The hearing will feature a panel of witnesses to focus on Federal issues and impacts including Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for water and science Austin Ewell, Idaho Water Users Association executive director Paul Arrington, Contra Costa Water District GM Jerry Brown, Mike DeVries of the Provo River Water Users Association and Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips.

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on tomorrow and Thursday in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Chamber to Host Infrastructure Forum – U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue will headline a summit on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on modernizing America’s Infrastructure. This dynamic, high energy day-long event will serve to jumpstart important conversations on revitalizing America’s infrastructure, ensure that infrastructure is a top policy priority for 2018, and bring together the business community to voice broad industry support.

Senate Energy to Review DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a nomination hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), and Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary (Environmental Management), both of the Department of Energy.

Small Biz Committee to Look at DOE Energy Assistance – The House Small Business Committee’s panel on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on small business resources at the Department of Energy. The hearing will examine the resources available to small businesses in the energy sector through the Department of Energy.  This hearing will analyze the degree to which these programs are effective at minimizing confusion regarding participation in the federal contracting process and department-specific small business programs.  DOE’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Director Charles Smith will testify.

House Energy Panel to Look at Superfund – A House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to focus on efforts to reform U.S. EPA’s Superfund program.   Witnesses will Include EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management Barry Breen, Steve Cobb of the land division at Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management, former EPA Superfund director and expert Win Porter, Portland Harbor policy analyst  for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown James McKenna, Debbie Mans of the NY/NJ Baykeeper and expert Katherine Probst.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

House Resources Looks at Onshore Energy Burdens – The House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. examining the Department of the Interior’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens.  Witnesses will focus on seismic testing, with drilling proponents vowing to improve the ability to conduct the tests that can find oil under the ocean floor.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

House Energy Panel to Look at LNG – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:15 a.m. looking at legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

IN THE FUTURE

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – On January 23rd at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum on insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment. Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto Policy, on policy day next Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held on January 23-26th in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday, January 26th at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: Week of 1/8

Friends,

SO…it looked to me like Seth Meyers wanted to say a lot more last night at the Golden Globes… but the event was calmly empowering.  Besides great wins for James Franco (Disaster Artist) and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) – which were both fabulous movies; it seems Oprah Winfrey is all the talk of politics, presidents and Hollywood. Let’s watch CBS This Morning with Oprah whisperer Gayle King for more insight on her next move.

Before we get into It, let me first say I was sad but also excited to hear that my long-time friend and fellow Detroit native, Bob Semple, is retiring after 54 years – that right – 54 years at the New York Times.  Many of you will know Bob from his biting and tough editorial wit, as well as deep substance.  While Bob was usually tough on us with his rapid fire questions, he always had time to hear our views – in fact many times to probably pre-counter our argument – and ALWAYS gave us a fair shake.  Bob is a legend and still as sharp as tack.  He says “the page” invited him to still “write when the spirit moves me” so we will may hear from him occasionally, but we will all miss Bob Semple’s daily input.  Congrats to our friend John Broder who steps up to take over Bob’s role.

Last week, the Interior Department rolled out its new five-year drilling plan, which was overly expansive and drew criticism both Republicans and Democrats from most coastal states. The plan Thursday suggests opening vast new stretches of federal waters to oil and gas drilling.  The public hearings start next week on Tuesday in Annapolis and will cover every coastal state over the next two months.  More on the action “In the News.”

The Hill returns back to full action this week with budget discussions taking center stage (maybe if Washington can stop talking about Michael Wolff) with a January 19th funding deadline.  We also have important pending trade decisions on solar and steel, as well as action at FERC on the DOE resiliency proposal all expected to see some action this week.  Speaking of DOE, House Energy has a hearing tomorrow on the DOE Mission where I expect there will be plenty of discussion on the FERC/DOE rule.  Among DOE witnesses will be experts like Clearpath’s Rich Powell.   Then, Wednesday, Senate Environment starts up the infrastructure discussion with focus on water resources issues.

This week, API holds its annual State of Energy Address tomorrow while NY City holds its Clean Power Plan “hearing”.  U.S. Chamber head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address on Wednesday and CSIS hosts former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday.

Next week, the Detroit Auto Show starts on Sunday while BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur and CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you again so you don’t forget…

In case you missed it last week, we rolled out 10 Top Issues for 2018 in the Update.  Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

Finally, our good friend and retired energy reporter Gerry Karey has a great new book out called Meanderings: Inventions, Fripperies, Bits, & Bobs.  The book is a collection of blogs and essays that is hilarious and thoughtful.  Check out a review here.

The Consumer Electronics show is underway in Vegas. While you might be looking for the latest phones, AI, VR or games, there is a lot of autonomous/electric vehicle technology that is part of show.  Our friends at SAFE are on the ground there and are happy to keep you up to speed.  Stay up late because ‘Bama-Georgia should be pretty good tonight.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

10 Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“By proposing to open up nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas exploration, the United States can advance the goal of moving from aspiring for energy independence to attaining energy dominance,” said. “This decision could bring unprecedented access to America’s extensive offshore oil and gas resources and allows us to better compete with other oil-rich nations.”

Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at Interior on the Department’s new 5-year plan.  

 

IN THE NEWS

Admin Suggests New Areas in 5-Yr Drilling Plan – The Department of Interior announced the next step for developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90% of the total OCS acreage and more than 98% of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development. By comparison, the current program puts 94% of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history.

Public Meetings Set – Interior will hold public meetings will take place at locations across the country. Using an open-house format allows participants to arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time and to talk with our team members one-on-one. At the meetings you can ask questions, share information and learn more about the National Program.  The public hearings start next Tuesday and will be in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other hearings next week will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25).  Future hearings include Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Chamber Energy Institutes Commends Expansion – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute Karen Harbert said the Administration’s Draft Proposed Program unlocks the vast potential of American energy and expands our ability to export oil and gas to our allies around the world. Harbert added the plan is a long-term commitment to securing future US energy and would help cement America’s role as an energy superpower, creating jobs and contributing to the economy.  Harbert: “For decades, our nation has needlessly limited our own ability to harness oil and gas resources. This new plan sets a much different course, allowing far greater access to offshore areas that haven’t been previously accessible using advanced technology to determine where to safely drill.”

Gulf Group Expresses Optimism – Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team,

Recognized the new plan as a major sign of optimism for our country’s potential in being the world-leader in energy production. LeBlanc says with increasing OCS access, our country has the opportunity to maximize those natural resources in order to continue producing dependable energy, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and providing immense economic stability for our nation.  “The new plan allows us to maximize America’s abundant OCS oil and gas resources and benefit from the revenues generated by offshore production.”  She added that the Gulf accounts for nearly 20% of our nation’s oil production and contributes over $5 to $8 billion dollars directly to the U.S. Treasury each year — making it the second largest revenue stream for the federal government.”

Ocean Industry Group Praises New PlanNational Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi said the new plan is a long anticipated first step towards what could mean more jobs, energy and revenue to the people of the United States.  Luthi said the current Five-Year Program that expires in 2017 included no new access, and put the U.S. far behind many other nations that are actively pursuing offshore oil and natural gas energy development – – particularly in the Atlantic basin and the Arctic.  “The energy resources on the OCS are vital to the nation’s economic prosperity.  Allowing oil and natural gas development in federal waters in the Atlantic alone could result in as many as 280,000 new jobs, $24 billion annually to the economy, $51 billion in government revenue, and the safe production of 1.3 million barrels per day of oil and natural gas.  But frankly, these numbers likely underestimate the potential.

API Welcomes New PlanAPI President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed the first step in developing a new five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program.  Gerard said smart, effective policies, such as prioritizing U.S. potential for expanding natural gas exports will help create jobs here at home and provide energy security to U.S. allies, all while allowing our nation’s energy renaissance to continue benefitting American consumers, workers and the environment. “Developing our abundant offshore energy resources is also a critical part of a forward-looking energy policy, which is why we look forward to working with the administration and Congress on an offshore leasing plan that will fully embrace our nation’s energy potential. Eighty percent of American voters support increased domestic oil and natural gas production, which will help keep energy affordable for consumers, create jobs, and strengthen our national security.  Gerard closed saying it’s important that the next five-year plan includes the ability to explore the resources in the Arctic, Atlantic, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which would spur investment and economic activity, could create thousands of jobs, and provide billions in government revenue.

NatGas Setting Records – Over the past few weeks with the cold temps, the US has been setting natural gas use records.  AGA has been doing some analysis of it on their blog and in the news. Here is a post from last week about how January 1 set the all-time record for single-day gas consumption and we expect it to be beat in the days since.   There will be much more analysis on the next weeks, looking at the factors behind this trend.  More on the projections about Winter here.

Wind Cranking It Out In Cold, Too – The wind industry is doing well in the cold as well. Wind output is up and was strongest during the coldest part last Thursday and Friday, as is typical with extreme weather events.  Consider PJM, where wind output from January 1st to 4th averaged over 3,500MW, 40% above average wind production in January 2016. Further, wind energy generation exceeded forecasts in MISO and PJM on Thursday, January 4. In late 2017, wind power even broke output records in several regions.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

House Energy Panel to Look at DOE Mission – The House Energy & Commerce Panel on Energy will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn looking at DOE Modernization and advancing its mission for national, economic and energy security.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Dan Brouillette, Science office head Paul Dabbar, Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes and NNSA head Frank Klotz, as well as CSIS’s Sarah Ladislaw, ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Don Levy of UChicago, former EERE head and Stanford Steyer-Taylor Director Dan Reicher, Oak Ridge’s Tom Zacharia and Lilly Research’s Steve Wasserman.

Wilson to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts tomorrow at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – The New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting tomorrow afternoon to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

Chamber to Discuss State of American Business – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will deliver his annual “State of American Business” address, highlighting the emerging opportunities and top challenges facing the business community in the coming year – and beyond. Donohue will also introduce the Chamber’s 2018 policy agenda. Following his remarks, Donohue and Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and chief policy officer, will participate in a press conference.

Senate Enviro to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges.  Witnesses

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from Saturday to January 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on Sunday where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

Heritage to Look at NAFTA, Trade Issues – Next Tuesday, January 16th at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.  Following efforts to modernize NAFTA, opportunities abound for one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved: energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. Experts on the panel include Bryan Riley, who heads NTU’s Free Trade Initiative; API International Policy advisor Aaron Padilla, Senior Advisor and Daniel Fine of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.  Heritage’s Nick Loris moderates.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – Next Tuesday January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Interior to Start Public Hearings on 5-Yr Plan – The Interior Department will start a series of public hearings starting next Tuesday to discuss the interior Department’s expanded five-year drilling plan.  Interior will hold meetings in Annapolis, MD (Double Tree by Hilton) and Jackson, MS (Jackson Marriott) on Tuesday January 16th, Richmond, VA (Airport Four Points) on Wednesday January 17th, and Dover, DE (Holiday Inn Downtown) on Thursday January 18th.  Other meetings will include hearings in Augusta, ME (Jan 22), Baton Rouge, LA (Jan 22), Anchorage, AK (Jan 23), Concord, NH (Jan 23), Boston, MA (Jan 24), Montgomery, AL (Jan 24) Providence, RI (Jan 25), Tacoma, WA (Feb 5), Austin, TX (Feb 6), Salem, OR (Feb 6), Tallahassee, FL (Feb 8), Sacramento, CA (Feb 8), Hartford, CT (Feb 13), Columbia, SC (Feb 13), Hamilton, NJ (Feb 14), Albany, NY (Feb 15), Washington, DC (Feb 22), Raleigh, NC (Feb 26) and Atlanta, GA (Feb 28).

Smart Cities Summit Set in Chicago – The 2nd annual Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition will be held on January 17th and 18th in Chicago.  The event brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

USEA to Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 14th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday January 18th at the National Press Club.  The event usually coincides with the U.S. State of the Union Address and is widely regarded as one of USEA’s premier events.  This annual forum brings together leading executives from the most influential and active energy trade associations to present their views, exchange ideas and engage in dialogue on major cross cutting issues facing the energy industry for the year.

Forum to Look at Report on Japan Energy – On Thursday January 18th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum with Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) for a presentation of the IEEJ’s Energy Outlook 2018, a report on the future of global energy. The 2018 edition of the outlook broadens its analysis out to 2050.  The outlook finds, despite large improvements in energy efficiency and intensity, global energy demand continues to increase up to 2050; most of this growth comes from non-OECD Asia. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the Advanced Technology Scenario decline after the 2020s but are still very far from reaching half of current levels by 2050. Two-thirds of total reductions are from electricity-related technologies, including non-fossil power, thermal power with CCS, and energy efficiency in power supply/demand.

Hopper to Headline WI Clean Energy Event – SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts will all be featured at RENEW Wisconsin’s 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday January 18th in Madison.

RFF Book Event Highlights Raimi’s Fracking Debate – Resources for the Future will hold a book event on the evening of Thursday January 18th to discuss Daniel Raimi’s book on hydraulic fracturing.  Despite the heated debate over “fracking,” neither side has a monopoly on the facts. Raimi’s The Fracking Debate gives a balanced and accessible view of oil and gas development, clearly and thoroughly explaining the key issues surrounding the shale revolution.  The book answers many questions and highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution, for better and for worse.  The book provides evidence and context that have so frequently been missing from the national discussion of the future of oil and gas production, offering readers the tools to make sense of this critical issue.

Energy Economists Talk Gas, Batteries – On Friday January 19th, the US Assn of Energy Economists hosts its January luncheon looking at the Natural gas and battery revolutions.  The event will feature former AGA exec Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger. The shale revolution has made U.S. natural gas plentiful and cheap.  As battery prices fall, affordable storage could bridge the gap between renewables and around the clock reliability in power generation.  In this presentation, Dr. Schlesinger will explore the emerging competitive flash-points, and discuss from his work, gas markets that are at risk from a battery revolution, and vice versa.  He will discuss the key price cross-overs, how the timing might unfold, and think long-term about how low-cost batteries could ultimately affect the future of gas markets.

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure –On Monday January 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts, solar companies and many outside groups impacted by higher tariffs.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

Energy Update: 1/2/18

Friends,

Welcome to 2018 and back to the action… ALMOST.  Don’t expect we’ll see much going on in this short week, but the Senate does return tomorrow to swear in new members Tina Smith and Doug Jones.

With it being the first week of the New Year, we are rolling out our top 10 Issues for 2018.   Issues include Ethanol, trade, taxes, regs, climate, legal challenges, HFCs, Infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and electricity markets.

One issue that is important but I didn’t mention is rising crude prices. My friends at Platts did touch on that issue with former EIA head Adam Sieminski and others though in their weekly Podcast. These experts see prices ending 2018 as low as $52/b and as high as $70/b, but a number of factors could significantly alter their path, from OPEC compliance to oil demand in Asia to US trade policy.  My friends at SAFE are always focused on this issue (you can talk to Leslie Hayward) or Kevin Book at ClearView, has also weighed in on this topic.

Mark your calendar for events starting next week, including API holding its annual State of Energy Address and the NY City Clean Power Plan “hearing” next Tuesday, CSIS hosting former DOE Secretary Moniz on Thursday January 11th, the Detroit Auto Show starting January 14th and BPC hosts FERC’s Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur, while CSIS hosts launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017 on Jan 16th.  Speaking of the 16th, make sure you note that it is my 50th birthday.  Blatantly telling you now because I am accepting presents all month…

Finally, I hope you noticed the super cool super moon last night/this morning.  I knew it was out there but I really didn’t get the full impact until I was driving up Massachusetts Avenue this morning and saw it perched over Washington DC.  Pretty awesome.  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

The Top Issues for 2018

  1. Ethanol and a “deal” – One of the biggest issue last year was the battle over the RFS, RINs and ethanol.  The issues reached the highest levels of the White House where they expressed an interest in finding a win-win resolution that solves compliance problems while preserving the biofuels program.  This may be one of the early issues to see action this year because it continues to impact volume obligations, confirmations and other items, as well as potential legislative action, which is always a heavy lift.
  2. Solar, Steel, other Tariff/Trade issues – The President has demanded tariffs and January will be a key moment for this discussion.   He faces deadline on steel and solar and continues to hear internal pulls from Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and others who see tariffs as a major concern.  On the Solar case, the solar industry and a broad group of opponents that includes retailers, contractors, utilities and conservatives have urged the President to reject tariffs that could harm the entire industry. As well, look for action on the administration’s efforts to rework NAFTA, whose negotiations have dragged into at least the first quarter of this year.  Congress also started to look at the NAFTA impacts on energy which is likely to remain a central topic.
  3. Taxes and more taxes – With the Tax bill passed and in motion, there will be many tax implications in place over 2018.  Some will be very political and some will be below the radar, but we are certain that you will hear about it.  What you will also hear about as we approach the next budget deadline on January 19th is the potential to have a long-promised tax extenders package that includes incentives for biodiesel blenders, fuel cells, small wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, distributed wind, CHPs and many other small, but innovative technologies.  Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch unveiled a bill containing a smorgasbord of renewable energy credits just before the holidays, and House Chair Kevin Brady has vowed to move this year.
  4. Slowing regulations in all corners – The White House was most aggressive in 2017 pulling the current regulatory regime back from the previous Administration’s overreach.  This effort will remain a key priority in 2018 because it is one place where the Administration remain largely in control of the process.  Among the regulations in the crosshairs include the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS, offshore drilling issues, other climate action, ozone restrictions, well construction for natgas wells and a new approach to enforcing bird death restrictions.  We have experts on all topics so feel free to reach out.
  5. Climate ups and downs – While 2017 focused largely on the withdrawal from the voluntary Paris Accord, the Clean Power Plan repeal/replace, what climate websites were changed and other carping about the new Administration not caring enough about climate, 2018 promises to be focused on much of that and more state issues that form new ideas to reduce emissions.  While a lot of it will be couched in political clouds, these types of initiatives – along with expanded use of natural gas, and renewables in the regular power mix – will actually reduce our emissions.  Already we are beating many of our targets, while Germany and many other Paris signers are struggling to reduce emissions.  And don’t think that progress will stop political attacks or legal actions against the Trump Administration or companies.
  6. Lawsuit Central – Understanding #4 & #5, it seems like more legal battles is a hardy perennial, but in 2018 legal challenges on the climate, regulations will again play a prominent role.  Unlike previous years when Republican AGs like now EPA head Scott Pruitt and WV’s Pat Morrisey led the charge, this year Democrat AGs in Blue states – buoyed by environmental activists – will lead efforts to file suits against the Trump Administration. Lawyers will be busy, including those inside EPA who are already prepping for each fight by being very careful in how they write new rules.
  7. HFC issues and the Kigali Amendment – The Kigali amendment was signed in late 2016 as part of the Montreal Protocol. Its aim is to reduce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators.  Early in 2018, the big news will be whether the administration follows through on statements from late last year where they vowed to fund efforts to implement it and send the amendment to the Senate for a ratification vote.  The Treaty is binding and goes into effect in 2019 since many countries already have ratified it.  The agreement was supported by both industry, environmental and other sustainability groups, and holds China, India and others to binding limits as global AC and refrigerant use grows globally.
  8. Infrastructure – The most important word for 2018 is infrastructure.  Why? Because it is an election year and infrastructure sells in both parties.  The President is expected to unveil a long-awaited statement of infrastructure “principles” soon and some see the push as an opportunity to advance energy and water infrastructure investments. This means pipelines, transmission and other generation assets.  While the larger infrastructure debate will take on many shapes, energy will play a significant role in the form of new pipeline approvals to move new natural gas, export terminals to get it our resources to foreign markets and important generation assets like new nuclear projects, renewables and gas plants.
  9. Emerging Autonomous Vehicle Rules – Last year, autonomous vehicles began to emerge as a new, important issue.  As the technology and regulatory discussion continues and becomes more defined, there will be more details, innovations and exciting changes for 2018.  Our friends at SAFE have been among the leaders on this issue and have an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force with leading experts to help develop an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.
  10. Electricity markets and the Perry plan – FERC faces an early January deadline (delayed from last month) to respond to the Energy Department’s request to propose a rule that would compensate nuclear and coal plants for resiliency. As our friends at Axios point out, it is a wonky, complex issue, but it remains a battle over nuclear and coal versus gas and renewables.  As natgas prices remain low (as expected for 2018), the market challenges for coal and nukes remain a potential problem.  With many political and energy sectors interests on both sides, it will be a key decision for going forward in 2018.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It’s a good context to revisit things like siting, permitting, certainly some of the export terminal issues.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer talking Infrastructure to POLITICO.

 

IN THE NEWS

EIA talking Year-end Oil – Last week,  the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that after decreasing nearly 20% in the first half of 2017, the spot energy index in the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) ended 2017 16% higher than the beginning of the year. Higher crude oil and petroleum product prices in the second half of 2017 were responsible for the increase in the S&P GSCI energy index.  EIA also reported that total U.S. production was slightly over 9.75 million barrels per day in the week ending December 22nd.  Our friends at Axios point out that this is actually 35,000 barrels per day less than the prior-week average, signaling the first weekly dip since Hurricane Nate took a bunch of Gulf of Mexico production temporarily offline in mid-October.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Returns, Jones, Smith Sworn in – The Senate returns for the second session of the 115th Congress on Wednesday when they will swear in new Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Minnesota LG Tina Smith. Smith is replacing Sen. Franken who resigns today and Jones defeated Roy Moore to give Democrats a win to replace AG Jeff Sessions.  The House returns next Monday.

IN THE FUTURE

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The luncheon starts at 12:00 Noon with a CEO Jack Gerard’s speech at 12:30 p.m. and a reporter briefing at 1:15 p.m.

NY to Host CPP Meeting for EPA Comments – On January 9th, New York AG Eric Schneiderman holds a meeting to provide public comments to EPA on repealing the Clean Power Plan at The New School in NYC.  Schneiderman is calling it a “people’s hearing” 1) as if the residents and miners of WV are not people and 2) certainly most New Yorkers are just regular folks Like everyone else.  My guess it will be very entertaining but not all that valuable to EPA.

Wilson Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion on next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the political and social, as well as economic ramifications of the options Taipei has to meet its expansive energy needs, and how its decisions may impact Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

WRI Outlines Stories to Watch – On Wednesday, January 10th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts in 15th annual Stories to Watch event.  The event is for policymakers, business leaders and media in Washington, DC, and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President & CEO, will share his insights on the big stories in the environment and international development in the coming year. In this turbulent time, he will explore global trends and emerging issues related to economics, climate change, energy markets, forests, water, security issues and more.

CSIS to Host Moniz – On Thursday, January 11th at 4:00 p.m., CSIS holds a discussion with Ernest J. Moniz, the co-chair and CEO of NTI and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will provide remarks on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment, which will be followed by a discussion with John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS.

Detroit Auto Show Launches – The North American International Auto Show runs from January 13th to 28th and serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Press Days start on January 14th where the world’s automotive and mobility leaders gather for three days of worldwide product and technology debuts.  Last January, the 2017 NAIAS featured 71 vehicle introductions, including 46 worldwide debuts. News coming out of NAIAS is heard across the globe as more than 5,100 journalists from 61 different countries annually attend to cover the latest and greatest happenings our industry has to offer.

BPC to Host LaFleur, Chatterjee – On Tuesday, January 16th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Cheryl LaFleur to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency attributes. FERC is expected to take action on the proposal by January 10.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches on January 23rd and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is January 25th and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Energy Update: Week of 12/11

Friends,

It is Hanukkah week which begins on tomorrow night at sunset and ends next Wednesday.  Hanukkah is a Jewish Festival of Lights is celebrated for eight days and nights.  It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

An info-packed “In the News” section this week after last week’s busy-ness.  It includes some reaction to the solar trade hearing, more on the Cruz-White House RFS meeting, a new view from EPA on the New Source review program, and finally an extension for 30 days (requested by new FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre) for FERC to consider the DOE resiliency proposal aimed at supporting coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The big political news this week is the Alabama Senate race and the tax reform conference committee, which will meet publicly for the first time on Wednesday.  While tax negotiations continue behind the scenes, Congress is also going full bore on a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown before Christmas.

We still have a big week in the Energy space (hopefully our last before gliding into the holidays).  Tomorrow, the White House rolls out what we hear will be “the most aggressive” 5-year offshore drilling plan ever.  While we all look for the HUGE tweet, we remind that will can answer many of your questions about the impacts and possibilities.

Also tomorrow, House Energy panels hosts automakers and auto dealers to discuss fuel standard and CAFE’s relook.  Senate Energy looks at FERC/Interior permitting and we will see committee votes on EIA’s Linda Capuano, Interior assistant secretary Tim Petty and NOAA’s Barry Myers (Wed in Senate Commerce).

Also Wednesday, the House Energy Subcommittee looks at NAFTA with our friends’ Karen Harbert of the Chamber Global Energy Institute and APFM’s Chet Thompson among those testifying, and Senate Environment hosts NRC Commissions to discuss nuclear.

Speaking of NAFTA and energy, National Journal hosts a webinar on it Thursday and Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet.

And then TAKE THE REST OF FRIDAY OFF AND GO SEE THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!!

Finally, this morning, there are two interesting New York Times pieces worth reading: one is an internal look at Trump’s mindset and interactions from Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker which I found fascinating and informative; and the second looks at EPA’s enforcement and unfortunately picks up a usual theme backed by misleading stats.  In the second case, there is clearly a different (and just as reasonable) approach in this EPA which shouldn’t be a surprise to advocates or reporters. We are happy to discuss.

And in case you weren’t able to get there this morning at the Newseum, our friend and Axios Energy Reporter Amy Harder led a conversation on energy policies and priorities under President Trump with FERC’s Neil Chatterjee, Rep Paul Tonko and Heritage’s Nick Loris.  Check out the details…

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

THE LOBBY SHOP

The new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week’s episode features Special Agent Tom O’Connor, President of the FBI Agents Association.  Tom discusses developments within the Bureau and FBIAA after Director Chris Wray’s nomination, how FBIAA is able to support active, retired, and deceased Special Agents and their families, and what issues are foremost in the minds of FBI personnel lately.  Since it is tax legislation season, we also have a bonus episode featuring PRG’s resident tax expert Liam Donovan on the latest in tax reform and what’s up next for the Conference Committee, final vote, and beyond. Tune in for a look behind the scenes and lots of seasonal analogies.

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“It makes no sense to effectively tax tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs out of existence, solely to benefit the commercially unskilled Chinese and German owners of Suniva and SolarWorld, who will cut and run.”

Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development at NextEra Energy.

IN THE NEWS

EPA Rolls Out Redefined NSR Focus in Memo – The EPA issued a memo on Friday saying the agency won’t “second guess” the analyses that companies have to conduct before construction projects on their plants to determine whether they might emit more pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The well-constructed memo is the first step in a major initiative revise the New Source Review program, which governs permits for new or reconstructed plants’ emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The Supreme Court this morning declined to hear the major case involving EPA’s enforcement of the NSR program.  My Colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Office head is happy to discuss the details.

WSJ Blasts Ethanol – The Wall Street Journal Ed Board blasted the “hostage taking” over ethanol policy in an editorial last Thursday.  The piece discusses the back-and-forth over ethanol policy that first involved Corn State Senators blocking Trump EPA nominees, then oil state Senators pushing back by blocking Iowa-favored Ag nominees, including one that would clear a path for Sen. Grassley’s grandson to become Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture.  The Journal says the “Senate hostage-taking is unfortunate, not least because it undermines the ability of the executive branch to govern. But this is what happens when politicians decide to favor certain industries like ethanol at the expense of others. The political and economic damage will grow as long as this policy continues.” It also adds that America’s independent refiners and manufacturers deserve at least as much consideration as the Trump Administration has given ethanol interests. WSJ: “The RINs regime has imperiled the jobs of many blue-collar union voters who swung for Mr. Trump in 2016.”

AEI Report Hits RFS – The American Enterprise Institute has a new report looking at policymaking lessons from the RFS, saying the RFS would be better as a rate standard than a volume standard.  AEI also adds that EPA should issue multi-year rules rather than annual rules in order to improve certainty and that uncertainty should be explicitly incorporated into future rulemakings.

EPA to Hold Additional CPP Hearings – EPA said it would hold additional public hearings on the repeal the Clean Power Plan.  The hearing will be in San Francisco, Gillette, WY and Kansas City. The hearing were added due to the “overwhelming response” to the recent hearing in Charleston.  Dates and locations of the meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

Companies Roll Out Landmark Methane Effort – API rolled out a landmark partnership to accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country. Focused initially on reducing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, who produce a significant portion of American energy resources. Participating companies will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018.  Collectively, at the time of launch, the participating companies represent operations in every major U.S. natural gas and oil basin. The Environmental Partnership is a historic agreement bringing together American natural gas and oil companies of all sizes to take action, learn and collaborate in an effort to further improve our environmental performance.

What Methane Program Will Address – The three Environmental Performance Programs include:

  1. Leak Program for Natural Gas and Oil Production Sources: Participants will implement monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions at selected sites utilizing detection methods and technologies such as Method 21 or Optical Gas Imaging cameras.
  2. Program to Replace, Remove or Retrofit High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers: Participants will replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low-or zero-emitting devices.
  3. Program for Manual Liquids Unloading for Natural Gas Production Sources: Participants will minimize emissions associated with the removal of liquids that, as a well ages, can build up and restrict natural gas flow.

Who is in? – Participants at launch include: Anadarko, Apache, BHP, BP, Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chevron, Cimarex Energy, ConocoPhillips, CrownQuest, Devon Energy, Encana, EOG Resources, Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy, Hess, Marathon Oil, Murphy Oil, Newfield, Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, TOTAL and Western Gas Partners.  To view more information about the program and companies’ commitments, visit www.TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.

SAFE Looks at Expand EV Markets – Securing America’s Future Energy released its quarterly update to the Energy Security Fact Pack, a data-driven overview of the latest trends in energy security. The Fact Pack includes charts on domestic and global oil production and consumption patterns, oil market dynamics and prices, and up-to-date information on fuel efficiency and advanced fuel vehicles.  The latest Fact Pack highlights developments in the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market, which is poised to see significant growth in the coming years as a result of new models, lower battery costs, increased range, and growing consumer awareness. Demand for EVs has continued to rise in 2017, setting new records for purchases and vehicle model availability. Although six models currently account for nearly two-thirds of sales, consumers have a fuller range of choices with 37 models available, thanks to marked declines in battery technology costs and enhanced range.  See the Charts.

SAFE, Mayors Support of Federal EV Tax Credit – Speaking of SAFE, it has worked in collaboration with the City of Atlanta to recruit 22 mayors from cities across the country to sign a joint letter in support of the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. The mayors’ letter was sent to the appointed members of the conference committee following recent passage of the House and Senate tax reform legislation. It called for the preservation of the Section 30D Federal Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Tax Credit, which offers a $7,500 discount on purchase of a new electric vehicle.  SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a coalition of CEOs and retired military leaders concerned with threats to America’s economic and national security through our continued oil dependence, have also express strong support of the EV tax credit citing it as a cornerstone to energy security policy.

Solar Growth Continues…. – The EIA said its latest monthly report shows that U.S. PV output in the first nine months of 2017 grew 47% over the same period in 2016, with market growth across the nation. PV represented 1.9% of total generation during this period. Every state in the U.S. increased its output from solar, from South Dakota, the only remaining state that did not generate more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) or one gigawatt-hour (GWh) in the nine month period, to perennial PV giant California.  California, with its 24.8 M mw, more than laps the field over next place Arizona, with 4.6M. However, as PV output growth across the U.S. accelerates, the Golden State’s share of PV generation, shrank from 48% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. Rounding out the top 10 generators are North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah and Colorado. Of those top 10 states, Georgia had the highest year to year percentage growth, increasing 186% from 2016 to 2017, followed by Texas with 165% and Utah with 123%. Other states that made impressive percentage and quantity growth gains in the same time period are Minnesota, Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.

…But Trade Case Creates Worry – Folks are worried though about solar in the face of new potential tariffs.  More than 60 witnesses testified in a cramped conference room at USTR during a final eight-hour public hearing on the Section 201 trade case.  A new GTM Research report finds that the average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price has since edged back above of DOE’s price target, amid market uncertainty surrounding the Section 201 solar trade case. The recent price increase stems from a rush to procure “tariff-free” solar panels over the summer with the potential for new tariffs looming. The National Electrical Contractors told the Hill that thousands of high-tech, high-skilled, and good-paying electrical contractors’ jobs are at risk.

Third Way Releases CCS Map – Third Way has a new map and database that is the most comprehensive tracking site for projects working to capture carbon emissions. Third Way says there are 100 carbon capture projects globally, with 51 in the United States. These projects can capture, store, and utilize emissions from power and bioenergy plants, industrial facilities, and even directly from the air. Some are innovative new concepts being developed by startups, and others have been operating at commercial scale for decades. One thing they have in common: we’ll likely need this full suite of technologies to meet international and domestic climate goals.

ACCF Paper Focuses on Regs – The American Council for Capital Formation released a paper by former OIRA head John Graham outlining 10 ideas for improving the regulatory process. It’s the product of a November 2016 roundtable with Sens. Mike Rounds, Angus King, James Lankford and others. Graham, who now heads Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said the themes of this paper are increasing transparency at regulatory agencies, enhancing public, congressional and judicial oversight of agencies, stimulating retrospective review of old regulations, and ensuring evidential support for new regulations.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Paris Forum to Focus on Anniversary – French President Macron will host the One Planet Summit tomorrow in Paris, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus specifically on climate finance. Heads of State will be invited to attend this meeting.

Nuclear Weapons Triad Forum Set – The Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC) will host the Inaugural morning forum on Capitol Hill tomorrow.  The event will feature key Members of Congress representing nuclear triad communities at Air Force and Naval bases, and NNSA sites, The group will also outline a series of 11 more 2018 forums and roundtables with key government officials, industry leaders and suppliers, and academic experts on the triad issues of the day, Each of these events will tackle the nuclear triad’s emerging issues and challenges, while sharing the successes, in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise modernization.

House Panels to Look at Fuel Standards, GHGs – The House Energy & Commerce panels on Environment and on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss updates on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and GHG emissions standards for motor vehicles.  Witnesses include our friend and Montgomery, AL Honda/Acura dealer Forrest McConnell representing the National Automotive Dealers Assn.  Others include AAM’s Mitch Bainwol, Global Automakers John Bozzella and Dave Cooke of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Senate Energy to Look FERC, Interior Permitting; Vote on Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the infrastructure permitting processes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Department of the Interior.  Testifying will be Interior’s Jim Cason, FERC’s Terry Turpin and Janet Pfleegar of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, along with several others.  The Committee will also vote on nominations Linda Capuano to head the DOE’s Energy Information Administration and Tim Petty to be assistant secretary of the Interior Department before the hearing.

Senate Foreign Relations to Focus on European Security – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on European energy security focused on U.S. Interests and coercive Russian diplomacy.  Witnesses include the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell and State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resource John McCarrick.

WH Infrastructure Aide Headlines Forum – The Hudson Institute will host an event tomorrow at Noon on the future of U.S. public transit systems keynoted by D.J. Gribbin, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy. Following Gribbin’s remarks, David Horner will moderate a panel discussion featuring Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Phillip A. Washington.

Resources Looks at Dependence on Foreign Metals, Minerals – The House Resources panel on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the consequences of relying on other countries for a growing number of metals and minerals.  Witnesses include DoD’s Ronnie Favors, USGS’s Murray Hitzman, RAND’s Richard Silberglitt, NMA’s Katie Sweeney and Havasupai Tribe Council member Carletta Tilousi.

Webinar to Look at Digital Grid – Utility Dive will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on discussion on how digital agility can help utilities improve operational excellence and deliver superior customer engagement and experience.  Speakers will include experts from MIT, PG&E and Siemens Digital Grid.  Key topics covered in the webinar will include adopting new grid modernization strategies, building new revenue streams, extreme weather and grid resilience among other issues.

Energy Storage Forum Set –The 3rd annual U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held in San Francisco tomorrow and Wednesday at the Hilton Union Square.  The forum will bring together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.  Speakers will Include APRA-E’s Susan Babinec, Peter Klauer of Cal ISO, Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, ESA CEO (and former MD PSC Chair) Kelly Speakes-Backman and our friends Shayle Kann of GTM Research, Stephen Lacey and Justin Gerdes of Greentech Media.

Forum Set to Look at NatGas – Tomorrow and Wednesday, the Energy Institute at Colorado State University (CSU) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) will be co-hosting the CH4 Connections conference at CSU’s campus in Fort Collins. This conference, now in its fourth year, will focus on methane emissions quantification, mitigation, and capture for the natural gas industry, and will include a tour of the Methane Emissions Test and Evaluation Center (METEC) that will showcase the solutions under development and in field testing at the center.

House Energy Panel Looks at NAFTA, Energy – The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn on the impacts and future of North American energy trade and NAFTA.  Our friends Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and refiners Assn Head Chet Thompson will be among those testifying.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick and ABB’s Allen Burchett (repping NAM) will also join the panel.

Senate Environment Hosts NRC Commissioners – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  NRC Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki, Commissioner Jeff Baran and Commissioner Stephen Burns will testify.

Senate Commerce to Vote on NOAA Head – The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to approve President Trump’s choice of AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

RFF Seminar to Look at CPP – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to explore the implications of social cost of carbon revisions for the Clean Power Plan itself and for potential future energy and climate policies.  RFF’s Alan Krupnick will reflect on the decision’s treatment of health benefits, and Harvard University’s Kathy Fallon Lambert will present new research on how repealing the Clean Power Plan would impact public health. RFF’s Dallas Burtraw will conclude the seminar with a discussion of how a revised “inside the fence line” approach to Clean Power Plan compliance might work.

House Science to Look at Solar Programs Focus – The House Science Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on advancing solar energy technology.  The hearing will look at research and deployment, while examining DOE’s efforts to shift solar energy funding toward early-stage research.  Witnesses include DOE’s EERE head Dan Simmons, NREL’s Martin Keller, Stanford University’s Steve Eglash and Kenny Stein of the Institute for Energy Research.

Energy Stakeholder Breakfast Set – The Advanced Energy Stakeholder Series continues on Thursday morning with an event supported by stakeholder member organizations across New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C. and Boston.  The breakfast will focus on energy, mobility & transportation and will include Rachel Healy of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Jigar Shah, PEPCO’s Robert Stewart, Marissa Gillett of the Maryland Public Service Commission and David Schatz of ChargePoint.

NJ to Host NAFTA WebinarNational Journal will host a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to look at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.  In this webinar, speakers will examine NAFTA’s history, development, and future, and address the major players involved, each side’s key demands, the timeline, potential outcomes and the impact of President Trump’s rhetoric on the process.

Forum to Look at US-Mexico NatGas – The Latin American Dialogue hosts a panel discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. aimed at understanding the role of LNG for US energy exports and commercial ties in Latin America, as well as the US-Mexico energy relationship. As global energy trade grows and the United States looks to expand oil and gas exports, Latin American countries provide significant commercial opportunities for exporters and investors alike. It remains imperative that Latin American countries and the United States strive to find mutually beneficial opportunities in order to boost energy ties and expand energy cooperation.  Speakers include State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy Resources John McCarrick, Sempra’s Mark Nelson, Leslie Palti-Guzman of the Rapidan Group and several others.

BPC to Host FERC Chair – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee for a sit down with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services. The proposal calls on FERC to take action on the rulemaking by today.

NatGas Roundtable Panel to Discuss Energy Security – On Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Embassy of Mexico and the Natural Gas Roundtable of Washington will hold a panel session on natural gas and North American energy security. A Holiday Reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – MIDNIGHT, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host World Coal Report – On December 18th at 3:30 p.m., CSIS will host the launch of the IEA’s new report analyzing coal’s recent trends and forecasting its demand, supply, and trade through 2022.  Coal remains world’s dominant fuel. Under pressure from decarbonization, cheaper alternatives, and geopolitical shifts in demand, coal continues to be one of the most pressing questions in energy. Peter Fraser, Head of Division for Gas, Coal, and Power Markets at the International Energy Agency, will present the IEA’s report.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – On January 9th, API holds its annual State of Energy Address.

Hopper, Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a reception at Dentons on Tuesday January 9th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss lessons learned from political appointees.  The event features a lively discussion about the political appointment process in the energy and environmental fields and will feature a panel of former state and federal political appointees about how they started down the path towards political appointment and navigated the process.  Panelists will share their experiences and candid views about the challenges and rewards of a political appointment, as well as lessons they have learned while in these highly visible roles.  Speakers include SEIA’s Abby Hopper, former director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; former FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, who is President of the National Association of State Utility Advocates.

75th Annual Global Globes – Can’t wait for Seth Myers to host this one from January 7th from Hollywood.

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event on Tuesday January 23rd at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31, 2018, making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

Energy Update: Week of 11/27

Friends,

Welcome back from a great Thanksgiving Break and get ready to rumble. Before we get to the action though, you may have missed the big news from the HFC world while you were in a turkey haze on Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday in Montreal, the administration urged support for the new Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and said they would fund programs to administer it. This is an effort stakeholders, including the HVAC industry, has been supporting for a long time and can be great resources on the topic. Feel free to call Francis Dietz (703-969-6444) at AHRI for an additional background, interviews and additional resources.

This week is all about ethanol, the solar trade case and the clean power plan. Starting tomorrow in West Virginia, EPA will host two days of public hearings in Charleston to discuss repealing the paint the clean power plan and potential replacements Scott Segal and I will be in attendance as Scott testifies tomorrow. In his statement, Segal says an overly broad, unilateral federal program is not necessary – and worse yet uses federal fiat to remove the flexibility and pragmatism that the marketplace can provide in addressing greenhouse gases. The market achieves a careful balance of continued forward momentum in reducing emissions with the critical need to address consumer demand where it is most acute, and electric reliability and resilience.  Please feel free to ask your questions about the meeting and we will be happy to respond.

Secondly, after final sign offs just before the President launched to WPB Tuesday, energy lawyer Kevin McIntyre and Senate staffer Richard Glick cleared that last hurdle to take their seats at FERC.  A swearing-in ceremony could happen as soon as this week, filling the final vacancies at the commission.

On Capitol Hill we expect votes Wednesday on Kathleen Harnett white for CEQ and Andy Wheeler for Deputy at EPA.  Other hearings include a House Science Hearing on WOTUS tomorrow, a Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will be grid operators from California and the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, as well as the former general counsel of FERC and NEPA reform hearing on Wednesday.

A ton of other good events around town starting tomorrow when SAFE holds a great event featuring at former EIA administrator Adam Sieminski at 4:30 p.m. with a reception to follow!!!!  Also, CSIS tomorrow morning hosts the “Status of Carbon Capture 2017” event which launches that annual report of the Global CCS Institute and features the first public speech by new DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steve Winberg. On Wednesday afternoon, the National Academies will review the 4th draft of the National Climate Assessment in an open meeting at the NAS building and the NYT hosts a Climate Summit in SanFran.  On Thursday at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee and R Street hosts a forum on Thursday in 122 Cannon featuring a discussion on clean energy with panelists from Microsoft, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and others.

Finally two big deadlines this week: 1) The US Trade Rep closes its comment period for the solar trade case prior to its public hearing next Tuesday (here is the ITC’s final staff report); and 2) Thursday’s annual RVO roll out from EPA which who knows what it will say this year given the public back and forth over the issue and the nomination hostage taking that has been occurring.  And keep an eye out for a potential White House meeting with refining-state Senators that was requested recently.

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The United States believes the Kigali Amendment represents a pragmatic and balanced approach to phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs, and therefore we support the goals and approach of the Amendment. There are a number of steps in our domestic process that we would need to complete before reaching a final decision on transmittal of the Kigali Amendment to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. We have initiated the process to consider U.S. ratification of the Amendment.  ”

Remarks of Judith Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the State Department at the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, Canada.

“The Montreal Protocol is a model of cooperation. It is a product of the recognition and international consensus that ozone depletion is a global problem, both in terms of its causes and its effects. The Protocol is the result of an extraordinary process of scientific study, negotiations among representatives of the business and environmental communities, and international diplomacy. It is a monumental achievement.”

President Ronald Reagan upon signing the Montreal Protocol in 1987 as relayed by Garber in Montreal on Thursday.

IN THE NEWS

US to Push Forward on HFC Deal – The United States said they will contribute $37 million to support a shift to cleaner coolants, under a deal agreed in Montreal on Saturday as part of developed countries’ $540 million over three years.  In its 30th year, the Montreal Protocol has begun to pivot from its initial focus on the ozone layer to addressing the climate impact of chemicals used in fridges and air conditioners.  State department official Judith Garber said the US was starting the process to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the protocol, which sets a phasedown path for HFCs, a group of potent warming gases produced by these appliances, calling it a “pragmatic and balanced approach” to reducing HFCs’ “environmental impact”.  HVAC industry stakeholders strongly support the deal, seeing an opportunity to sell climate-friendly alternatives.  The Kigali Amendment will enter into force in January 2019, after Sweden became the twentieth country to ratify it on 17 November.

Coal Ash Recycling Reaches Record Level Amid Shifting Production, Use Patterns – The annual 2016 American Coal Ash Association survey on Production and Use says 56% of the coal ash produced during 2016 was recycled – establishing a new record and marking the second consecutive year that more than half of the coal ash produced in the United States was beneficially used rather than disposed.  According to ACAA’s survey, 60.2 million tons of coal combustion products were beneficially used in 2016 out of 107.4 million tons that were produced. Although the rate of ash utilization increased from 52 percent to 56 percent, the total volume of material utilized stayed about the same as production declined. Coal ash production volume declined 7% from 2015 levels as coal’s share of the electricity generation mix shrank in response to environmental regulations and competition from other energy sources. Coal ash utilization volume remained approximately level with the prior year.

What’s the Buzz? – Highlights of CCP production and use in 2016 include:

  • Use of coal fly ash in concrete declined 8% to 14.4 million tons. While down from 2015’s record utilization of 15.7 million tons, utilization remained well above the 13.1 million tons performance in 2014. The dip in 2016 utilization is attributed to some regional seasonal shortages of supply that resulted from power plant shutdowns and changing generating profiles.
  • Utilization of a key “non-ash” coal combustion product also declined. Synthetic gypsum is a byproduct of flue gas desulphurization units, also known as “scrubbers,” located at coal-fueled power plants. Use of synthetic gypsum in panel products (i.e. wallboard) decreased 19% to 9.9 million tons in 2016. The decrease is largely attributed to normal fluctuations in gypsum markets.
  • Synthetic gypsum use in agricultural applications – in which the gypsum improves soil conditions and prevents harmful runoff of fertilizers – also declined from 1.6 million tons to 772,000 tons.
  • Production of boiler slag remained level at 2.2 million tons. Approximately 1.3 million tons of boiler slag was utilized in the production of blasting grit and roofing granules.
  • For the first time, no utilities reported production of cenospheres – a very valuable form of ash mainly harvested from wet disposal impoundments. Production of this material dropped precipitously the year prior as impoundments began to close in response to EPA’s Final Rule for coal ash disposal.

DOE Looking at CAFE-like Rule for Appliances – The DOE is looking at an overhaul of its efficiency programs to allow more flexibility.  In a request for information late last week, the agency floated the idea of making efficiency standards more like corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for vehicles. That could, in theory, allow efficiency trading, so that manufacturers, companies or industries could buy and sell and products below and above a given efficiency level to meet an overall average. AHRI said they are evaluating the plan and while please with DOE is looking at market-based flexibilities in appliance standards program, they remain cautious about a CAFE standards-type approach, given the experience of the auto industry.  AHRI is pleased DOE is taking a collaborative approach to potential changes to the appliance standards program, look forward to working with DOE on ways to establish flexibilities that make it easier for manufacturers to comply, while continuing to save energy for the nation.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

CCS Report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. This year, the Institute is partnering with one of the top think tanks in the city, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to promote and discuss the release of the Institute’s signature report, the globally recognized annual guide to the current progress and prospects for carbon capture and storage.  Speakers will include Global CCS’s Jeff Erikson and IEA’s Samantha McCulloch.

Senate Environment to Hear From TVA Board Nominees – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the nominations of Kenneth Allen, A.D. Frazier, Jeffrey Smith and James Thompson III to be members of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

House Science Look at States’ Role in WOTUS Rule – The House Science Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the future of the Waters of the United States regulation, examining the role of states.

Forum to Look at Asia-Pacific Security – The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) hosts a high-level discussion on the security risks of climate change in the Asia-Pacific tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. This discussion will explore these risks, how US military installations, operations, and strategies in the region may be shaped by them, and their influence on US bilateral and multilateral relationships.

Tillerson to Speak at Wilson Center – The Wilson Center will host US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. for an address on the future of U.S. relations with Europe by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, followed by a conversation with Wilson Center President and CEO Jane Harman.

Heritage Hosts Climate Discussion – The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion tomorrow at Noon on the long history and politics of climate activism. Speaker Rupert Darwell will address the topic.

CSIS to Release New Energy Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will hold a presentation of its latest report, Energy and Development: Providing Access and Growth tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.  Based on findings from several workshops conducted by CSIS over the last two years, Energy and Development explores several of the most important shifts underpinning the energy access issue. By exploring the role of emerging economies as the primary drivers of future energy demand, the influence of sustainability and climate change concerns in crafting development strategies, and changes to how energy access and growth are measured, the report provides a unique survey of energy and economic growth in the developing world.  Sarah Ladislaw (CSIS) will present the report, followed by a panel discussion with Morgan Bazilian (World Bank; CSIS), Morgan Landy (International Finance Corporation), and Philippe Benoit (GIAS2050; CSIS). CSIS’s Erol Yayboke, co-author of the report, will moderate.

Forum on Tax Reform to Discuss Carbon Tax – The Brookings Institute will tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. regarding tax reform that will discuss a possible carbon tax. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the Cross Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, congressional leaders, and top experts for a discussion on the prospects for tax reform and the potential to include a carbon tax in a broader bipartisan bill.   The event will feature a keynote address by Rep. John Larson and panelists include Niskanen’s Jerry Taylor and our friend Amy Harder of Axios.

SAFE Event to Feature Oil Discussion with Former EIA Head – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will host a panel discussion tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the National Union Building exploring how market uncertainty, underinvestment, geopolitical risk, OPEC intervention, rising global demand, and other market forces undermine oil market stability. The panel will discuss the likelihood of a return to high and volatile oil prices, implications for American economic and national security, and domestic policy solutions.  Moderated by our friend Ben Geman of Axios, the panel will feature former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski – now at CSIS – and Jonathan Chanis, SAFE’s Senior Vice President of Policy.

USTR Reply Comments Deadline – Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 29th

California AG Hits Press Club – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host California AC Xavier Becerra at a Headliners Newsmaker news conference Wednesday December 6th at 10:00 a.m. in the club’s First Amendment Lounge. The news conference will look at Cali’s two dozen lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s efforts to make changes that affect immigrant rights, civil rights, environmental standards and consumer protections. Becerra will discuss these legal actions and other issues and will be moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Megerian.

House Energy Panel to Look at Electricity Markets – The House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on examining the role of financial trading in the electricity markets. Witnesses include NRG’s Chris Moser, PJM General Counsel Vince Duane, Wesley Allen of Red Wolf Energy Trading, Cal ISO’s Eric Hildebrandt, Max Minzner of Jenner & Block and FERC former general counsel Noha Sidhom, who now heads TPC Energy.

House Resources to Look at NEPA – The House Resources Committee holds a hearing On Wednesday at 10:00 on modernizing NEPA regulations for future issues.  Witnesses include Building Trades and Construction Council rep Mike Bridges, Converse County, Wyo. commissioner Jim Willox, Common Good chairman Philip Howard and former CEQ general counsel Dinah Bear.

API to Release STEM Study – The American Petroleum Institute will hold a lunch event Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at George Washington University to showcase a new study on “STEM education and the energy workforce of the future.”

National Academies Review Climate Assessment – On Wednesday afternoon, the National Academies will review the 4th draft of the National Climate Assessment in an open meeting at the NAS building.

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

Solar Festival Set for Austin – The 2nd annual Solar Business Festival will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Austin, Texas at the Thompson Conference Center. The two-day conference segment features a wide variety of sessions on, components of doing a solar and storage business in Texas, microgrids and energy storage, distributed grid, project financing, sustainable buildings, smart grids, solar initiatives and innovations, utility integration, community solar projects, policies, incentives and goals, market growth opportunities, regulatory framework, international solar market opportunities/challenges, sustainable farming and more.

CSIS Look at Zero-Emissions Fuels – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. onhydrogen, green shipping and zero-emission fuel in the maritime sector. The discussion will center on the development and implementation of hydrogen fuel technology, the important role it could play for shipping in the transition to a low-carbon future, and ongoing U.S.-Norwegian cooperation in the area.  Shipping accounts for more than 2% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions today and is set to increase up to 17% by 2050. This session will explore the concrete cooperation and projects being pursued in Norway and the United States.  Norwegian Ambassador Kåre R. Aas will give introductory remarks, followed by a discussion with Elisabet Bøe (Sogn og Fjordane), Joseph Pratt (Sandia National Lab), Lars Endre Gimmestad (Brodrene Aa), and Martin Grimnes (Arcadia Alliance) on the present and future of hydrogen technology and what a low-carbon future for maritime transport may look like.

Forum to Look at Energy Crossroads – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heritage Foundation host the “At the Crossroads IV: Energy and Climate Policy Summit” on Thursday.  The conversation will feature the world’s leading scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and energy experts, who will gather to explore this turning point in energy history and the long-lasting potential it holds for America and beyond. Speakers include Sens. Jim Inhofe, Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith and many others.

RFS RVO Deadline – Thursday, November 30th

Bernhardt to House Approps Committee – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in 2007 Rayburn, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will convene a supplemental oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of the Interior featuring David Bernhardt, Deputy Secretary of the Interior of Interior.

Forum to Look at Climate, Military Readiness – The American Security Project holds a forum on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. where they will discuss the range of security threats posed by climate change, whether these regulations may ease those threats, and how we can build further resiliency and security into the future.

Chatterjee to Address NatGas Roundtable – On Thursday at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee as the guest speaker at the next luncheon.

R Street Hosts Clean Energy Event on Capitol Hill – R Street hosts a forum on Thursday in 122 Cannon featuring a discussion on clean energy with panelists from Microsoft, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES) and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions  Across the country, clean energy is growing rapidly in states that allow customers to choose their electricity supplier. This system of ‘retail choice’ grants customers more options and allows them to generate their own energy on-site. Importantly, large corporations have been leading the charge for distributed energy generation, marking a refreshing intersection of conservative and green agendas.

RFF to Look at Energy Security – Resources for the Future (RFF) will host a forum on Thursday focused on the new realities on energy security given our shale resources.  This RFF seminar will open with a presentation from former Department of Energy official Howard Gruenspecht on the economic and political factors that have led to a very different oil security picture than the country faced decades ago. RFF President Richard Newell will present new research on how the shale oil boom has altered the flexibility of the US supply, as well as how price and inventory dynamics can inform Strategic Petroleum Reserve policy. RFF University Fellow Stephen Brown will then discuss an RFF project that produced new estimates for the value of the oil security premium—a key metric used in benefit–cost analyses of related regulations. RFF Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick will wrap up with a discussion of the new energy security paradigm, which broadens the definition of US energy security beyond oil to include natural gas, electricity, and other energy systems.

House Resources Tackles Geothermal Legislation – On Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on geothermal exploration and three other bills focused on landslide hazards, geological mapping and volcanos early warning systems.  Witnesses include USGS Deputy Director David Applegate, Allyson Anderson Book of the American Geosciences Institute, Scott Nichols of U.S. Geothermal Inc. and Alaska State Geologist Steve Masterman.

Energy Awards to Be Presented to Community Leaders – Leaders in Energy will host its 4th annual “Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy & Sustainable Solutions Awards and Holiday Event.” The theme is “The Urgency of Now.” This year, Leader in Energy are recognizing people who are raising awareness and developing clean energy and sustainable solutions, with a visible sense of urgency.

IN THE FUTURE

Clean Edge, GridWise Alliance Host gridCONNEXT – GridWise Alliance and Clean Edge will host gridCONNEXT on December 4th through 6th in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of regulators, utility executives, corporations, and other industry stakeholders to explore the many grid modernization.

Forum to Look at Climate Diplomacy – The German Marshall Fund is holding a forum on next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. for a discussion on the future of climate action in the United States, the role of cities and regions in implementing international climate policy, and the importance of strong transatlantic leadership in this area of global concern.  The speaker will be Tim Robinson, Chief Counsel of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Solar Tariff Opponents to Weigh-in at Press Club – Opponents of tariffs on solar imports will hold a briefing on Tuesday December 5th at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.  The event will feature solar industry advocates, as well as members of the Energy Trade Action Coalition like the National Electrical Contractors Association, utilities, retailers and Conservative free-trade groups. More next week.

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

WCEE to Host NatGas Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum on December 6th the role of natural gas in the economy.  Dena Wiggins, President and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), and Lori Traweek, Chief Operating Officer of the American Gas Association, will discuss how natural gas fits into our country’s energy future and how they rose to leadership in the energy world.

AEI to Host Ag Discussion – American Enterprise Institute will hold a forum on Wednesday, December 6th at 12:30 p.m. for a discussion on substantive reforms to US agricultural subsidy programs. AEI’s Vincent Smith will facilitate a discussion among these experts as they break apart the 2018 Farm Bill.  The event looks at the current state of the American farm sector.   In the newest papers of AEI’s “Agricultural Policy in Disarray” series, leading agricultural economists evaluate federal programs and regulations that affect conservation and the environment. Erik Lichtenberg will present his findings on conservation programs. Aaron Smith will discuss the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Nathan Hendricks will present his findings on the contentious debates between agricultural and environmental interests about the Clean Water Rule.

Wilson Forum Looks at Moving Villages – The Wilson Center will hold a forum on Wednesday December 6th at 1:00 p.m. looking at moving villages due to climate change.  The event will feature the Village of Newtok, a Yupik Eskimo community of 450, faces certain destruction from a slow-moving climate disaster.  The discussion with Newtok’s leadership will focus on their experiences and struggles to preserve their Yupik way of life on their historic subsistence lands.

Forum Looks at Future of Ag – The National Museum of Natural History and Resources for the Future will host a forum on Wednesday evening with Jesse Ausubel, Director and Senior Research Associate of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, for a look into the future as he explores how precision agriculture and better sources of food and fuel can benefit the natural world.  Ausubel’s work covers forests and farms, marine and human life, energy and materials. He marries climate and Earth sciences to elaborate the vision of a large, prosperous society that spares large amounts of land and sea for nature and emits little or nothing harmful into the atmosphere. This event is presented by Resources for the Future with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History as part of an ongoing series, Anthropocene: Life in the Age of Humans.

Pruitt to Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on December 7th with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifying.  The appearance will be Pruitt’s first before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

ASE Forum to Look at Biz Case for Energy Efficiency – The Alliance to Save Energy hosts a forum on Thursday, December 7th at 12:00 p.m. to discuss the business case for tax incentives promoting energy efficiency.  From residential retrofits to commercial-scale systems improvements, energy efficiency upgrades deliver massive benefits to consumers, businesses and taxpayers – creating jobs and economic activity, saving money, and reducing harmful emissions while strengthening U.S. energy security. Yet the U.S. tax code no longer contains meaningful tax incentives for energy efficiency. Hear directly from leading businesses and advocates about tax policies new and old that could advance this important cause – and the business case for getting them done as Congress looks at rewriting the tax code.

CSIS to Release World Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting the U.S. launch of OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2017 (WOO) on Thursday December 7th at 2:00 p.m.  The WOO is OPEC’s outlook for medium- and long-term oil supply, demand, and downstream to 2040, factoring in the latest developments in global oil markets and OPEC production adjustments. The analysis includes the impacts of worldwide shifts in demographics, emissions reductions, and technological development in the oil sector.  The presentation of WOO 2017 will be given by OPEC’s Al-Qahtani.

IPAA Exec to Address Energy Economists – The National Capital Area members of the US Assn of Energy Economist will host Fred Lawrence for their December 8th lunch.  Lawrence, VP at the Independent Petroleum Association of America, will discuss the outlook for U.S. oil and natural gas, including shale export trends over the past two years, focus on the Independents in a Sector and demand and geopolitical reality vs. ideology.

Paris Forum to Focus on Anniversary – Forum to French President Macron will host the One Planet Summit on December 12 in Paris, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus specifically on climate finance. Heads of State will be invited to attend this meeting.

Nuclear Weapons Triad Forum Set – The Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC) will host the Inaugural morning forum on Capitol Hill on December 12th.  The event will feature key Members of Congress representing nuclear triad communities at Air Force and Naval bases, and NNSA sites, The group will also outline a series of 11 more 2018 forums and roundtables with key government officials, industry leaders and suppliers, and academic experts on the triad issues of the day, Each of these events will tackle the nuclear triad’s emerging issues and challenges, while sharing the successes, in the ongoing nuclear weapons enterprise modernization.

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

CSIS to Host World Coal Report – On December 18th at 1:30 p.m., CSIS will host the launch of the IEA’s new report analyzing coal’s recent trends and forecasting its demand, supply, and trade through 2022.  Coal remains world’s dominant fuel. Under pressure from decarbonization, cheaper alternatives, and geopolitical shifts in demand, coal continues to be one of the most pressing questions in energy.

API’s Annual State of Energy Address – January 4th (expected).

World Energy Outlook Set For Launch – On January 16th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum and the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, will present the findings from the report.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31, 2018, making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

Energy Update: Week of 10/30

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

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

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

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

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

Energy Update: Week of 10/23

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations on Monday October 30th that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

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

BPC to Discuss Grid Options – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Tuesday October 31st at 10:00 a.m. Sofitel Lafayette Square’s Paris Ballroom.  The featuring former FERC commissioners and stakeholders that unpacks the proposed grid reliability and resiliency pricing rule under consideration at FERC. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services – particularly some coal and nuclear plants.  Panelists will discuss what the Trump administration has proposed and how FERC might respond.  Speakers include our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath, API’s Marty Durbin, NRDC’s John Moore, and William Murray of Dominion, as well as former FERC Chairs James Hoecker, Pat Wood and Betsy Moler.

Forum to Look at SE Renewables – Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy 2017 is being held in Atlanta at the Downtown Hilton on November 1st through the 3rd.  The entire southeast renewable energy community gathers to get the latest insights into the market and to learn about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in the Southeast, as well as meet with utility procurement and interconnection managers.  Key speakers will include Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Atlanta City Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey, Walmart’s John Federovitch, SC PSC Commissioner Elizabeth Fleming, Georgia Power’s Robin Lanier, Duke’s Gary Freeman and several others.

Expert to Discuss Financing EE Programs in New Markets – On Wednesday, November 1st at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum featuring a practitioner’s approach to financing energy efficiency in emerging markets.  Lack of national project-based financing represents one of the primary global barriers to energy efficiency. Drawing on her experience at the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Ms. Madeleine Varkay, Principal Private Sector Development Specialist, will discuss how upgrading regulatory frameworks can enable long-term investments in infrastructure and industries such as clean energy. She will examine the case study of ADB’s recent partnership with Indonesia Ex-Im Bank, which pioneered an attractive energy efficiency financing program for export-oriented industrial enterprises.

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

Forum to Look at Carbon Programs in Latin America – The Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on Wednesday, November 1st at 3:00 p.m. looking at efforts to move toward a fossil fuel-free future in Latin America.  Wilson will hold a conversation with Walter Vergara, the author of the 2016 report and an expert on climate change mitigation efforts in Latin America. Vergara will present actions that could be taken to achieve net decarbonization – including in energy, transportation, land use, and industry – assess projects already being implemented across the region, and discuss the combinations of policy, technology innovation, and economic conditions that will impact this process.

WCEE to Discuss Markets with FERC Staff – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Lunch & Learn forum at FERC on Friday November 3rd at Noon.  FERC staff Robin Broder Hytowitz will provide an overview of electricity pricing focusing on broad concepts that apply to all ISOs/RTOs. The overview will explain the concepts behind Locational Marginal Prices, uplift, and an extension used in some wholesale markets today.  Broder Hytowitz works in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC in the area of Operation Research Analysis. Her present focus is on current and proposed pricing models for wholesale electricity.

JHU Expert to Look at Eastern Nile Energy Issues – On Friday, November 3rd at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University SAIS Global Agriculture Seminar Series and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) will present Dr. Ben Zaitchik on water, food and energy in the Eastern Nile Basin.  Zaitchik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research includes work on regional climate variability, water resource monitoring, disease early warning, and climate change adaptation. To address research questions in these areas, Dr. Zaitchik employs a combination of satellite data interpretation, atmospheric and hydrological modeling, and meteorological analysis.

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of 10/2

Friends,

The news cycle will be totally overrun this week by the terrible shooting in Las Vegas last night and our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted, as well as our gratitude to those who helped others.

In the sports world this week, baseball playoff kick off tomorrow with the Yankee and Twins, but also some great match ups are already set: (Cubs/Nats & RedSox/Astros).  As well, the update’s favorite season also launches this week: the NHL hockey season.

Tomorrow, the US International Trade Commission returns to the solar trade case with a public hearing on the remedy phase.  We will be in full impact mode.  We can help you with a full array of resources that will be impacted from utilities to contractors to manufacturers to retailers.

The big event on Capitol Hill this week is Wednesday’s Senate Environment nomination hearing for several EPA nominees including Bill Wehrum for the air office.  Other events include grid hearings tomorrow in House Science and House Energy (industry sector experts testifying including SEIA’s Abby Hopper, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, ACCCE’s Paul Baily and NEI’s Maria Korsnick).  Also Wednesday, Senate Commerce Committee will mark up a bill meant to boost self-driving cars.  Our friends at SAFE can provide you with excellent background and resources, as they did here in the San Jose MercNews.  Finally Thursday, House Energy returns to electricity to hear from consumer groups/advocates.

This week on Wednesday, SEJ launches its annual meeting in Pittsburgh.  There will be a number of great tours during the day Thursday and great policy panels on Friday and Saturday.  And, of course, Bracewell is hosting our annual reception on Thursday night.

Finally, Congrats to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, who is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, with a reception Thursday evening at Stanton & Greene. Good luck on the next 25!!!!

Supreme Court Fall Term launches today.  Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“American energy security has now improved for five years in a row, despite rapidly challenging market conditions and geopolitical tensions. Just five years ago, the story was much different. But because of the shale revolution that has taken place during this time period, our nation enjoys much greater energy self-sufficiency, which translates into fewer imports, lower costs, and reduced emissions.” 

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

“From the outset, Georgia Power and the project co-owners have worked to minimize the impact of the project on our customers’ bills and these additional loan guarantees will help us continue to reduce our financing costs.”

Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power.

IN THE NEWS

Georgia Power Received Additional Loan Guarantee Commitments for New Vogtle Units – The DOE has conditionally approved a $3.7 billion increase in the federal loan guarantees for the over-budget Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia, the agency announced this morning.  Georgia Power had previously secured loan guarantees of $3.46 billion for the construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first to be built in the United States in more than 30 years. With a total of more than $5 billion in anticipated DOE loan guarantees, Georgia Power expects to be able to provide more than $500 million in present-value benefits to its customers.

More Information on Decision, Vogtle – Georgia Power owns 45.7% of the new units, with the project’s other Georgia-based co-owners including Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities. On August 31, Georgia Power filed a recommendation with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction of the Vogtle nuclear expansion supported by all of the project’s other co-owners. The recommendation was based on the results of a comprehensive schedule, cost-to-complete and cancellation assessment launched following the bankruptcy of Westinghouse in March. The Georgia PSC is expected to review the recommendation and make a decision regarding the future of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project as part of the 17th Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) proceeding. Final approval and issuance of these additional loan guarantees by the DOE cannot be assured and are subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements, completion of due diligence by the DOE, receipt of any necessary regulatory approvals, and satisfaction of other conditions.

Rural Co-ops Support Oglethorpe, SoCo – The rural co-ops weighed in on the DOE’s loan guarantee for the Plant Vogtle nuclear power project.  Co-Op Oglethorpe Power in Georgia is one of the co-owners and will have a share of the loan (about $1.6 billion). NRECA CEO Jim Matheson today applauded the decision saying: “Today’s announcement is welcome news for Oglethorpe Power, the Vogtle project, and the future of America’s electric generation. Nuclear energy is an essential source of emissions-free, 24/7 power. This DOE loan guarantee will help promote a diverse fuel mix, which is vital as electric co-ops work to meet 21st century energy needs and ensure continued access to affordable, reliable power. I applaud DOE and Secretary Perry for recognizing the value of this project and making it more affordable for our members.”

DOE Urges FERC to Take Swift Action to Address Threats to Grid Resiliency – DOE formally proposed that FERC take swift action to address threats to U.S. electrical grid resiliency.  Pursuant to his authority under Section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act, the Secretary urged the Commission to issue a final rule requiring its organized markets to develop and implement reforms that would fully price generation resources necessary to maintain the reliability and resiliency of our nation’s grid.

Why DOE – After Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry issued his April 14 memo directing staff to study baseload power concerns, we explained that DOE had authority to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to undertake rulemakings. Secretary Perry is primarily responsible for ensuring the electrical grid meets America’s needs now and into the future and FERC is charged with regulating the markets to achieve that mission. The recent Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability showed that while today’s grid is reliable, market distortions are threatening its resilience and the future of American energy security.

Letter to FERC/NOPR – The full text of the Secretary’s Letter to the Commission as well as the Proposed Rule are both available at DOE’s website, www.energy.gov.

Insight From ClearPath – ClearPath Executive Director Rich Powell offered insights saying by urging FERC to establish a new tariff allowing highly reliable and resilient operators (who have 3 months or more of on-site fuel supply in place) to recover their full costs of generation, DOE today takes a historic step to shore up our vital national nuclear fleet.  This approach will work within the wholesale electricity markets as opposed to forcing further bottom-up state action to save the plants — out of market actions that add further complexity and uncertainty to our already un-level playing field for power. ClearPath hopes this is the beginning of a holistic review of the functioning of the wholesale power markets, which might also include changes to how generators are compensated, as well as formal valuation of clean power.  Some observers may be concerned that this measure compensates all highly reliable sources of power, including unmitigated coal. ClearPath believes that FERC, and the RTOs and ISOs, will be able to design a tariff structure that compensates all highly reliable generators to remain online and ready to run, without necessarily increasing the dispatch of emitting sources like unmitigated coal.  ClearPath has been calling for FERC to move ahead rapidly on this price formation reform agenda — see below: https://clearpath.org/jay-and-richs-take/why-rebuilding-ferc-quorum-matters-for-nuclear

Renewables Express Concern – The American Wind Energy Association also released this statement regarding DOE’s announcement on grid resiliency: Amy Farrell, Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, American Wind Energy Association: “We worry today’s proposal would upend competitive markets that save consumers billions of dollars a year. The best way to guarantee a resilient and reliable electric grid is through market-based compensation for performance, not guaranteed payments for some, based on a government-prescribed definition.”  On background, in June, the CEO of NERC testified to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that “the state of reliability in North America remains strong, and the trend line shows continuing improvement year over year.”  Christopher Mansour, vice president of federal affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association: “While we agree that wholesale markets should fully compensate generators for all the energy, capacity and ancillary services they provide, healthy competition should always promote the best, most innovative solutions,” he said. The conservative R St. Institute called Perry’s plan “an arbitrary backdoor subsidy to coal and nuclear plants.”

Ameren to Add Wind, Solar, Reduce Emissions – Ameren Missouri has announced plans to add enough solar and wind electricity to power 214,000 homes.  The St. Louis-based subsidiary of Ameren Corp. said adding at least 700 megawatts of wind power would cost about $1 billion and take until 2020. Ameren says improving technology and renewable energy initiatives with large customers could boost the wind investment higher.   Adding 100 megawatts of solar power is expected to occur over 10 years, but no costs estimates are available. One solar facility at St. Louis Lambert International Airport is slated to be completed next year. Ameren is working to reduce its carbon emissions 80% by 2050 from 2005 levels.

Chamber Releases Energy Security Index – The 2017 edition of Global Energy Institute’s Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk finds that U.S. energy security is continuing to rapidly improve to one of the best scores in decades, after hitting bottom just five years ago. The Index employs 37 different energy security metrics in four major areas of risk: geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental. A lower Index score indicates a lower level of risk. The eighth annual edition of the Index covers 1970-2040 and incorporates the latest historical data and forecast models. In 2016—the most recent year available—the risk score dropped another 1.3 points to 76.0, the lowest score since 1995. Since 2011, the total risk index score has dropped by 25 points, the largest rise or fall during any five year period since 1970. Of the 37 metrics, 18 showed decreases of more than 1 percent, while another 9 remained about the same. Among the areas of improvement were fuel imports, energy expenditures, energy use intensity, and environmental categories. The biggest areas of improvement in the Index were related to oil and gas expenditures, which are a result of increased domestic shale production. The single largest category that saw improvement was security of US natural gas imports.  On the flip side, price volatility risks, related largely to the recent plunge in the price for crude oil, remained high. Metrics related to electric grid reliability risks during periods of peak demand also inched higher.  This year’s Index features special sections on electricity capacity margins and transmission lines, which contains additional data and analysis regarding demand and infrastructure.  The Index and its companion, the International Energy Security Risk Index, are available on our website at: www.globalenergyinstitute.org/energysecurity. The U.S. index is once again available in an online, interactive web tool format, which makes it easy to see how various metrics change from year to year.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

FERC Commissioner, Interior Official Headlines NA Gas Forum – The North American Gas Forum is being held today and tomorrow in Washington DC.  FERC Cheryl LeFleur and Interior’s Vincent DeVito will deliver a keynotes tomorrow and there will be a members panel featuring Reps. Scott Tipton, Joe Barton, Bill Johnson and Others.  Other speakers include INGAA’s Don Santa, former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, RFF’s Richard Newell, ClearView’s Kevin Book, PJM’s Craig Glazer, NGSA’s Dena Wiggins and DOE’s Fossil Energy Office acting chief Robert Smith.

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

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

US ITC to Hold Solar Remedy Hearing – The US International Trade Commission will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on the remedy portion of its solar trade case.  Last week, petitioners filed testimony in the case with the solar industry further attacking the case.

House Science to Look at Grid – The House Science Committee will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at grid resiliency. The purpose of the hearing is to define resiliency, examine electric resiliency from both physical and cyber threats, and to study the effectiveness of private and government coordination on resiliency across the electricity delivery sectors. This hearing will specifically discuss the recommendations made by the National Academies of Sciences.  Witnesses will include the University of Illinois’ William Sanders, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Electricity Market Manager Carl Imhoff, Gavin Dillingham of the Houston Advanced Research Center and Walt Baum of the Texas Public Power Association.

Senate Energy to Vote on Noms, Discuss Energy Storage – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. to vote on DOE nominees Bruce Walker for DOE’s assistant secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and Steven Winberg as DOE’s assistant secretary of fossil energy.  The Committee will then turn to a Hearing on energy storage technologies.  Witnesses include Pacific Northwest National Laboratory expert Vincent Sprenkle AES Energy Storage VP Praveen Kathpal, Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and Voith’s John Seifarth.

CAP to Discuss Hurricane Impacts – The Center for American Progress and former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on disaster lesson learned.  Fugate will discuss his experience following Superstorm Sandy. His remarks will be followed by a panel of experts who will highlight different aspects of the recovery, including best practices for building resilient infrastructure, public health challenges in the wake of disasters, and the need for aid to flow to historically disadvantaged communities simultaneously dealing with flood damage, toxic waste, and air pollution in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

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

House Energy to Return to Reliability – The House Energy panel returns to the resiliency theme for part II of last week’s hearing on the topic.  This hearing will include comments from the industries that were supposed to be featured in the initial afternoon session.  Witnesses include SEIA’s Abigail Ross Hopper, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, API’s Marty Durbin, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, NEI’s Maria Korsnick, NRDC’s FERC expert John Moore, Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman and Chelan County PUD General Manager Steve Wright on behalf of National Hydropower Association.

NatGas Winter Outlook Set – The Natural Gas Supply Association holds its winter outlook media briefing for 2017-2018 Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

EPA, NRC Noms Hearing Reset – The rescheduled Senate Environment Committee confirmation hearing will be held Wednesday for several EPA posts and Jan Baran at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.   Testifying will be four EPA nominees: Bill Wehrum to run the air office, Matthew Leopold to be general counsel, Michael Dourson to run the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and David Ross to run the water office.  The committee shelved a hearing planned for last week on the picks after the Senate adjourned earlier than expected for Rosh Hashanah.

Senate Commerce to Mark up AV Legislation – The Senate Commerce Committee will mark up a bill meant to boost self-driving cars on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The “American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act,” S. 1885, aims to reform existing laws to get self-driving cars on the road, clarify state and federal oversight of the technology, and direct the Transportation Department to set new safety standards.  It is sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters and Chairman John Thune with co-sponsors Roy Blunt and Debbie Stabenow.  Our friends at SAFE can provide you with excellent background and resources.

House Energy to Look at Air Quality, Wildfires – House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to get the perspectives of key stakeholders on the air quality impacts of wildfires.  Witnesses include John Bailey of Oregon State University, Florida Forest Service director Jim Karels, Murphy Company Resources VP Knox Marshall and Restoring America’s Forests Director Christopher Topik.

Clean Energy Conservatives Meet – On Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, the Christian Coalition, Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, and Veterans for Energy Reform are hosting an evening reception at their annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit.   Last year, the event brought in over 500 attendees from around the country and focused on the issue of energy reform.  The event includes visits to Capitol Hill with conservative lawmakers.

Holmstead Featured at EPIC Forum on Energy – My colleague Jeff Holmstead is joining a panel hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. that will address what Americans think about the direction of energy and climate policy.  Holmstead and Sue Tierney (EPIC’s inaugural policy fellows) will be moderated by our friend Jon Fahey, AP’s Global Health & Science Editor.   The event will focus on the results of an EPIC/AP-NORC poll coming out on Monday that tracks opinions on central topics shaping the energy and climate landscape. More. It will be livestreamed at epic.uchicago.edu/live.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for Wednesday through Saturday in Steel City.   Bracewell hosts its annual reception on Thursday night.

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

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

CSIS to Look at Hurricane Impacts – The Center for Strategic & International Studies will also hold a forum on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on rebuilding better after hurricanes.  Puerto Rico recently suffered devastating damage as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane, caused power outages for over 1 million people living in Puerto Rico.  The forum will engage in discussions geared toward reform, reconstruction, and modernization of infrastructure and preparedness.  It will feature Luis Fortuño, 10th Governor of Puerto Rico.

House E&C to Look at Consumer Views of Electric Markets – The House Energy & Commerce Committee will convene a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on consumer-oriented perspectives on improving the American electricity markets.  Witnesses include Joseph Bowring of Monitoring Analytics, Stefanie Brand of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, Electricity Consumers Resource Council head John Hughes, Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum, Rebecca Tepper of the consumer liaison group for the ISO New England Region and Walmart’s Mark Vanderhelm.

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

WRI to Host Forum – Experts from the Open Government Partnership and World Resources Institute will hold a forum next Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. on climate action.  The forum will profile a range of innovative approaches that open government advocates have taken to strengthen countries’ climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. Together, they will unpack how improving transparency, accountability and public participation in climate decision-making processes can help governments and civil society leaders around the world achieve ambitious climate targets.

Forum to Look at US-China Relations – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Brent Scowcroft Center’s Asia Security Initiative will hold a timely conversation next Tuesday on the role energy plays in the US-China relationship. The US administration’s emerging diplomatic strategy and the upcoming nineteenth national congress of the Communist Party of China provide an opportunity to take stock of the role energy plays in the US-China relationship, as well as in how China views its future. Key issues in the US-China relationship include the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, China’s view of US energy exports, and how energy fits into the administration’s trade agenda.  Speakers include our friend Robert Fee of Cheniere Energy, ITC Assistant Secretary Alan Turley and DOE China advisor Maria DiGuilian with our friend Keith Johnson of FP moderating.

Report top Look at Highly-Enriched Uranium Facilities – On Wednesday October 11th, the Fissile Materials Working Group and International Panel on Fissile Materials will launch of a major new IPFM research report, edited by Pavel Podvig, with contributions by six leading Russian experts on highly enriched uranium (HEU) facilities. The report describes in unprecedented detail Russian programs that use HEU as fuel in military and civilian applications. Further, it asses Russia’s contribution to the effort to convert research reactors from HEU to non-weapon-usable low-enriched uranium fuel, and Russia’s efforts to repatriate HEU fuel it had supplied to facilities abroad. Finally, it evaluates the organizational structure and regulations governing the security of HEU in civilian facilities in Russia. It makes recommendations for securing Russia’s commitment to the goal of a comprehensive global HEU minimization strategy.

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

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

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

CSIS to Host IEA Renewable Energy Report Launch – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Heymi Bahar, Project Manager of the Renewable Energy Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), on Thursday October 12th for a presentation of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Report 2017 (formerly titled Medium-Term Renewables Market Report). The report provides a detailed market analysis and overview of renewable electricity capacity and generation, biofuels production, and heat consumption, as well as a forecast for the period between 2017 and 2022. This year’s report also assesses the off-grid solar market in Africa and developing Asia and the contribution of electric vehicles to renewable road transport.  Our friend Kevin Book will moderate.

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a conversation on October 18th at 9:00 a.m. with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the vital role U.S. nuclear energy plays in achieving national security objectives. The conversation will highlight the key takeaways from The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler, a report issued by Sec. Moniz’s new Energy Futures Initiative.

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

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

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

 

Energy Update: Week of August 7

Friends,

Well, we finally might have a chance to breathe now that Congress has headed back home for the August Work Period. It has been a pretty crazy nine months since election day 2016. I’m sure there will be plenty of action outside the Beltway in August given the results (or lack thereof, depending on your political view).

We will not report weekly in August but will update you when necessary. Some events for August include AWEA launching its inaugural #AmericanWindWeek this week.  Throughout the week, AWEA members will highlight America’s wind energy leadership—modern wind power was born in the U.S., and is home to some of the world’s most productive wind turbines.  #AmericanWindWeek will feature on-the-ground events across the country so click on the link to catch one in your area.

Next week, the ITC holds its public hearing on Tuesday looking at the injury phase of the 201 trade petition filed by Suniva which aims to impose tariffs that place the recent success of the entire solar industry and its workforce at risk.  You will hear a bunch this week and next from the solar industry, as well as a broader coalition of affected parties like utilities, union workers, retailers and conservative/free trade advocates, weighing in on the high cost and devastating impacts any potential tariffs could have.

The follow week, the country will focus on the upcoming solar eclipse, which occurs on August 21st.  EIA says that solar eclipse will obscure the sunlight needed to generate electricity at approximately 1,900 utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the United States. However, relatively little solar PV capacity lies in the path of totality.  See the full EIA analysis here.  If you really want to “Science Nerd” out that week, the American Chemical Society holds its 254th annual national meeting during the entire week and will feature tons of events on really complex STEM issues, as well as highlight many important and innovative technological advances.

Before Congress vaulted, the Senate did address one HUGE need when late Thursday, they approved FERC nominees Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee to the Commission to restore its quorum, which had been absent and limiting action since April.  More on the reaction for this long-awaited relief below.   The Senate also approved DOE #2 Dan Brouillette and our former Bracewell colleague and ex-TX Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson to be the Ambassador to NATO, among others.

Finally, August break also means we have to start getting ready for the Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting, this year held in Pittsburgh on October 4-8th.   Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will again sponsor its Thursday Night Extravaganza.  More on this as we get closer, but mark your calendar.

When we return in September, football will be in full swing, my college field hockey umping season (as well as Hannah’s 2nd Wellesley and Olivia’s 1st HS seasons) will be underway and tennis’s final major, New York’s US Open will hitting the Quarterfinal rounds.   Enjoy and see you then…We will be around nearly all August, so if you’re in DC, let’s grab a lunch or coffee and as always, call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I have been attacked in cartoon form.  I have officially arrived.”

New FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, who was approved unanimously late Thursday by the Senate, on social media over the weekend after seeing the following editorial cartoon:

IN THE NEWS

FERC Approves Nominees to Restore Quorum – The Senate approved FERC nominees Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee late last week before heading out on August work period.  Senators’ unanimous votes Thursday approved Senate energy aide to Majority Leader McConnell Neil Chatterjee and Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson that restores a voting quorum. Only one commissioner currently serves on the panel, leaving it unable to make decisions on interstate pipelines and other projects worth billions of dollars.

Segal Praises Powleson, Chatterjee – ERCC Director Scott Segal offered relief that “the long day’s journey into night for energy infrastructure is over, regarding the voice vote confirming Powelson and Chatterjee.  “This ends the first missing quorum in 40 years of regulatory activity for the Commission.  As ERCC reported to Senate Leadership earlier last week, some $50 billion in private capital was hamstrung by FERC inaction for major pieces of energy infrastructure like interstate natural gas pipelines so essential for bringing clean energy all over the country and the world.  As well, more than 75,000 jobs were in jeopardy as projects were delayed.  Chatterjee brings a long record of work on major energy policies to the FERC, and Powelson brings an important state perspective from a major energy-producing state. With the FERC quorum shortly restored, business confidence will be restored – and it will be time to get back to work.”

INGAA Pleased Quorum RestoredINGAA CEO/President Don Santa applauded the Senate for confirming Chatterjee and Powelson to serve as members of FERC, thereby restoring the commission’s quorum, which has been absent for six months.  Santa, a former FERC Commissioner who in a group of 4 that was approved just before losing a quorum in 1993, said “the commission now can get back to work thoroughly reviewing the many energy infrastructure projects of national importance that have been sidelined in recent months.”  Santa also said INGAA looks forward to seeing quick action on nominees Republican Kevin McIntyre (designated as chairman) and Democrat Richard Glick, noting encouragement that the Senate Energy Committee had already scheduled a hearing for the two nominees in September.  Santa: “INGAA hopes that the Senate can confirm McIntyre and Glick as soon as possible.”

Chamber Says ‘Finally’ – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute also expressed released that the quorum was finally restored.  Institute President and CEO Karen Harbert said for months, an increasing number of critical energy infrastructure projects have been stalled due to a lack of a quorum at FERC.  Harbert: “We’re pleased that the Senate has finally acted to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson.  Both nominees are exceptionally well qualified and will serve with distinction.  While overdue, the Senate’s action will now allow American energy companies the ability to move forward with projects that will create jobs and improve our security.”  The U.S. Chamber led a coalition of over 90 business groups which sent a letter earlier today urging quicker action on nominees, and specifically objecting to forcing even non-controversial nominees to the cloture process, which is a departure from previous norms.

Segal Discusses CPP Follow Up in POWER Magazine Piece – Segal was also featured in POWER magazine this month regarding the future of power-sector regulation in a post-Clean Power Plan world.  Segal says it is possible to have a sensible approach to regulating baseload power even as investments continue in alternative energy sources that reflect the broad range of American innovation. Renewable and nuclear power sources will continue to expand as cost-effectiveness improves, tax policy remains conducive and state legislation is appropriate. Durable and sensible regulatory reform will be in the best interest of all forms of power development.”

Denver Post Editorial: Starving Coal Plants is Misguided – The Denver Post Editorial board, not the most conservative editorial board out there, wrote an editorial on Sunday saying that starving coal power plants to save the environment is a misguided policy approach when referring to opposition over two coal mine expansion applications.  “The buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is distressing and contributing to the global warming that poses a real — albeit distant — threat to our environment, wildlife and coastal cities,” they said.  “But the place to effect meaningful change is not on the front end by eliminating the extraction of coal and gas from the ground. Interfering with efforts to meet our nation’s demand for coal will hurt nearly every community in America where 32% of the U.S. power market still depends on burning this dirty fossil fuel to power cities.  Forcing coal power plants out of commission by starvation will hurt far worse than carefully planning a transition and continuing this inexorable march away from coal over time.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST

AWEA Launches First ‘Wind Week’ – This week, AWEA launches its inaugural #AmericanWindWeek.  The week will highlight America’s wind energy leadership—modern wind power was born in the U.S., and is home to some of the world’s most productive wind turbines.  #AmericanWindWeek will feature on-the-ground events across the country, from ribbon cuttings and public tours at wind projects to a charity 5K through a wind farm. The week culminates when AWEA hosts the Fowler Wind Fair in Fowler, Indiana. Fowler perfectly encapsulates how wind is creating a future full of good jobs and new opportunities across rural America.

Forum to Look at Oil Corruption Issues – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum next Tuesday August 8th at Noon on how the US can counteract oil corruption.  The oil industry has been entangled in serious corruption controversies, from the legality of some companies’ stance on climate change to dealings with producer-country governments. In response, the U.S. government has shown leadership over the past decade in helping bring more transparency to the sector.  The event will offer an engaging discussion of new findings by Global Witness on Shell’s activities in Nigeria, why corruption in this key economic sector matters, and how the U.S. government-and companies-can be part of the solution.  Speakers will include former WaPo reporter and dean of the Columbia School of Journalism Steve Coll (who wrote a book on Exxon).   Others include Olarenwaju Suraju, a Nigerian anticorruption and environmental activist and Simon Taylor, co-founding director of the international anticorruption organization Global Witness.  Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law fellow Sarah Chayes will moderate.  She is a co-author of “The Oil Curse: A Remedial Role for the Oil Industry.”

Beyer to Address Forum on Paris Implications – The United Nations Assn of the USA will hold a forum tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in 2168 Rayburn to discuss the Paris Treaty and the potential consequences and risks associated with this recent withdrawal.  The keynote speaker will include Rep. Don Beyer, the Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.  The program will also look at the current situation as addressed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #17 (Partnerships for the Goals) as catalyst for the UN Association to reaffirm efforts to inform, educate and advocate for global cooperation.

Clean Energy Bootcamp Set – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Duke University Energy Initiative, will hold its inaugural Clean Energy 101 Bootcamp on Saturday, August 12th.  The Clean Energy 101 Bootcamp is designed to give current students, recent graduates, and those interested in pursuing a career in clean energy an introduction to fundamental concepts of clean energy technology, finance, business development and policy.  The Bootcamp will also offer extensive opportunities to network and learn from current professionals about what it means to work in government, industry, advocacy, science, and entrepreneurship roles across the clean energy sector.

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

USEA Forum to Look at Energy-Water Nexus – The US Energy Association will host a forum on Tuesday August 15th at 10:00 a.m. featuring Verdant Power looking at the water-energy nexus. According to DOE’s “The Water Energy Nexus:  Challenges and Opportunities” report, several trends are increasing urgency to address the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way: climate change, which is affecting precipitation and temperature patterns throughout the world; population growth and regional migration trends that are likely to increase, which complicate   management of energy and water systems; new technologies in energy and water domains that shift water-energy demands; and developments in policies that are introducing additional incentives and challenges for decision making.  Verdant Power is addressing the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way resulting from its successful R&D efforts at the company’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project in New York City’s East River – the world’s first grid-connected array of marine renewable energy (MRE) turbines systems. Verdant Power’s Trey Taylor will look at their holistic, strategic approach in helping build sustainable communities through MRE-based integrated energy and hybrid power systems, microgrids, and water management.

ACS to Host National Meeting, Innovative Technologies Event – The American Chemical Society hosts Its 254th national meeting and expo on August 20th through 24th in DC at the Walter Washington Convention Center focusing on chemistry’s impact on the global economy.  The week will be filled with more science and chemistry events than anyone could ever want.  They will also honor innovative technologies toward the end of the conference and we will have more Information about that closer to the event.

 

IN THE FUTURE

McIntyre, Glick Head to Confirmation Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. for Rich Glick and Kevin McIntyre to join FERC.

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

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

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

EEI Comms Conference Set – Our friends at EEI hold their annual Communicators Conference On Monday October 2 and Tuesday October 3rd in Washington.  Utility Communicators from across the Country will be in town to discuss policy and best practice issues, among other items.

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

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

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

 

Energy Update: Week of July 31

Friends,

Well, August is here and I wish I could say it seems like things are settling out in DC.  Maybe not, but we still soldier on.  August does mean a few things though, so get ready…  Congress is likely to find its way out of town – perhaps as early as this week.  Meanwhile, we may see some movement on the number of nominees yet to be confirmed, among them at least two much-needed FERC nominees that could finally restore a quorum.  Later today, ERCC, whose members are Duke, DTE, Southern, Vistra, Salt River Project and Ameren are all calling on the Senate to move FERC nominees in a letter to Sen. McConnell coordinated by ERCC.  Overall, more than 50 nominees are awaiting approval including NRC’s David Wright and Annie Caputo, DOE’s Dan Brouillette and EPA Enforcement head Susan Bodine.

We also have action this week on the Renewable Fuels Standard with the EPA public hearing tomorrow, starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Hyatt on NJ Ave.  Many of our friends will be there discussing RVOs, Point of Obligation, ethanol Impact on small engines, boats, etc and many other of the regular topics.  My colleague Scott Segal will be there as will Bill Douglass of the small retailers, Steelworkers head Roy Housman and API’s Frank Macchiarola.  I can forward you the batting order should you need it.

Finally, we have heard rumors that the Senate may try to move Chairman Murkowski’s Senate Energy legislation this week.  The hope is to do it by unanimous consent, but that remains up in the air – assuming you may guess why…

August also means the beginning of the fall sports season.  Adam (and I) tuned up for X-Country season with his final summer 5K in Severna Park.  Adam was outkicked by a fellow high schooler for the title, while the old man drifted in (a 40-49 age winning) 4th place overall finish.  Meanwhile, the girls prep for field hockey as Olivia wraps up Terrapin Camp this week at UMd and Hannah is running, swimming and umping after successfully coming out of the boot from her stress fracture.  Already, NFL training camps are well underway and later this week, the Pan-American games for field hockey will launch in Lancaster.  Finally, the Cowboys and Cardinals kick off the NFL preseason on Thursday with the Hall-of-Fame game, just before former MSU Spartan Morton Anderson and others are inducted into the HoF on Saturday.

For your radar, in Michigan tomorrow our friends at DTE, who have launched an aggressive effort to reduce carbon emissions by 80%, will make an important announcement regarding a significant investment in natural gas infrastructure as part of that effort.  Stay tuned for details tomorrow morning or feel free to check in with DTE’s Brian Corbett (brian.corbett@dteenergy.com).

And while I would never encourage anyone to watch CNN at 9 p.m. at night, tomorrow at that time, Anderson Cooper will host a town hall meeting with Al Gore to talk about climate change, the Trump Administration and…oh right, his Inconvenient Truth sequel which (conveniently) hits theaters on Friday.

And speaking of Coopers, as you may have seen, SCANA and Santee Cooper decided to cease construction of the VC Summer nuclear project. This action effectively means that new nuclear builds in the US are limited to Georgia’s Vogtle project.  The importance of the Vogtle project from a national security perspective therefore is all the more significant.  Here are some recent expert opinions that emphasize the need for US nuclear leadership, particularly important in the context of continuing consideration of extension of the nuclear tax credit:

1)      Former Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, now heading the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), had a paper on the topic just a few weeks back.

2)      Mike Wallace, former co-chair of the CSIS Commission on Energy Policy in the US and former COO at Constellation, had this piece in the Baltimore Sun.

3)      Three most recent DOE nuclear office heads Warren Miller (2009-10), Peter Lyons (2010-2015) and John Kotek, (2015-17), had a similar position on the importance of US nuclear leadership.

Either way, I’m certain a call to Rich Powell at ClearPath (Darren Goode 202-550-6619) or to Moniz (David Ellis at 202-536-1166), who I hosted a Newsmaker with a few weeks ago, would be helpful and informative.

Finally, August not only brings beach time for many, it really is “the most wonderful time of the year” as my kids are just about two or so weeks away from returning to school…far away from my house.   I know many of you are in the same boat and I keep telling Stacey “if we can just make it another couple of weeks.”  Peace and quiet… and another summer in the books…

Congrats to our friends Emily Holden, who is now jumping over to POLITICO and Zack Colman who has landed over at E&E News.  Probably no update again until September, but we will still keep you up to speed on events as they occur.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Sanctions on Venezuela’s energy sector will likely harm U.S. businesses and consumers, while failing to address the very real issues in Venezuela.”

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers CEO Chet Thompson in a letter to President Donald Trump on potential sanctions on Venezuela.

 

“The physical characteristics of both the natural gas resource and the pipeline delivery infrastructures make our nation’s natural gas system uniquely reliable.  Production is dispersed across many states and regions and is further spread across thousands of individual wells. In the aggregate, the United States’ many natural gas transmission pipelines comprise an interconnected, nationwide network that offers multiple pathways for rerouting deliveries in the event of a disruption. Our natural gas pipelines are the envy of the world.”

Don Santa, President and CEO of INGAA, on the release of the Natural Gas Council’s new report that provides a practical guide to the operational measures, physical characteristics and contractual underpinnings of the natural gas system’s exceptional record of reliability and resilience.

 

“Grid-scale solutions can improve resiliency while keeping consumer energy prices low. Storage can capture excess electricity, including from nuclear and renewable generation, when demand and prices are low, and then re-sell that electricity during peak demand timesProtectionism is never the solution for an inability to compete globally.  Our country’s trade laws should never be co-opted into causing widespread pain for the broader U.S. economy.”

ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell following passage of an amendment to increase investments in energy storage research and development at DOE.

 

IN THE NEWS

AFPM Hits Venezuela Issue Again – With Venezuela oil sanction on the plate again after the weekend’s vote, the refining Industry has weighed in again on potential sanction on Venezuela and the oil it sends to the U.S.  It sent a second Letter to President Trump expressing AFPM’s concerns with potential sectoral sanctions on the Venezuelan energy industry. AFPM supports the Administration’s goal of bringing stability to Venezuela, but “urges you to carefully consider the impact sectoral sanctions will have on U.S. businesses and consumers.”  The letter says Venezuela is an important source of heavy (sour) crude, the crude markets would be destabilized by new sanctions and that refiners don’t have a suitable alternate supply of heavy Crude.  AFPM also says sanctions will lead to higher consumer prices.  Happy to forward the letter if you need it.

Utilities Call Out Senate On FERC Nominees – Utility members of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today to urge the Senate to restore the quorum at FERC by approving nominees.  The utilities, which include Duke, Southern, Vistra, Ameren, DTE Energy and Salt River Project, said the loss of quorum at FERC is critical for the entire economy. According to an analysis by Bloomberg, “some $50 billion in private capital is hamstrung for projects slowed or stopped without FERC approval. An additional $25 billion in projects are just beginning the application process. Some 75,000 direct jobs are in jeopardy. Every week’s delay compounds the problem as seasonal windows for pipeline analyses close and potential for energy price spikes increase. In short, the failure to confirm sufficient FERC Commissioners to restore a quorum is a completely untenable situation that must be rectified immediately.”

Ameren Rolls out Accelerator Participants – Speaking of Ameren, it said Friday seven firms have been selected to participate in its Accelerator, an innovative public-private partnership with the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators, that assesses, mentors and invests in energy technology startup companies. Selected companies include /blossom, Hyperion Sensors, Omega Grid, Rebate Bus, SensrTrx, Switched Source and WIFIPLUG.  Ameren Corporation has announced the 7 startup companies that will participate in the Ameren Accelerator, an innovative public-private partnership with the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators, that will assess, mentor and invest in energy technology startup companies.  More than 200 companies from 31 countries and 23 states applied for the 12-week Ameren Accelerator program. Each company will receive up to $100,000 in seed funding in addition to intensive mentoring, technical assistance, facilities and networking connections from the Ameren Accelerator partners. The participants will be based out of UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators co-working spaces located in Cortex, a St. Louis innovation district.

ClearPath Praises Gallagher, Curbelo for Energy Storage Amendment – ClearPath Action praised efforts by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) to increase investments in energy storage research and development at DOE.  The House overwhelmingly approved their amendment to the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R.3219), legislation providing fiscal year 2018 funding to a number of federal agencies, including DOE.  The Gallagher-Curbelo amendment specifically would bolster important public-private energy storage research, development, and demonstration efforts at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (EDER) by $10 million in a fiscally responsible manner.  Advancing cost-competitive storage solutions is essential to reducing vulnerabilities to our nation’s electricity supply, an increasingly important national security priority.

NatGas Groups Release Practical, Comprehensive Guide to Reliability, Resilience – The Natural Gas Council, which collectively represents companies that produce, transport and deliver clean, affordable natural gas throughout the United States, released a joint report, “Natural Gas: Reliable and Resilient” that provides a practical guide to the operational measures, physical characteristics and contractual underpinnings of the natural gas system’s exceptional record of reliability and resilience.

Community Solar Legislation Pushed – Following a speech to community solar advocates in Denver last week, Sen. Michael Bennet introduced legislation requiring DOE to support community solar projects.  He was joined by Sen Martin Heinrich.  The Community Solar Consumer Choice Act would establish a DOE program that works with states and local governments on community solar, particularly in low-income communities. The bill requires the national labs to collect data helpful to businesses making solar financing decisions, and urges federal agencies to participate in community solar initiatives.  Community solar refers to projects that typically are owned by multiple people, such as a shared system on a neighborhood block. It has been a tool used very effectively by rural coops as well as locations that can’t host their own systems.

PSEG Exec Talks Nuclear on EE TV – During today’s E&E TV OnPoint, Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., explains why he believes nuclear should continue to play a large role in New Jersey’s energy portfolio. He also discusses his company’s plans to expand solar production.  Our friend Monica Trauzzi presses Izzo on grid modernization and increased flexibility.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NY Clean Energy Conference Set — The 3rd New York Energy Revolution Summit will be held tomorrow through Thursday at the Crown Plaza Manhattan in New York, NY. The event will bring together utility, distributed energy resource (DER) providers, renewable energy, storage and other stakeholders to discuss how to create development processes that are workable and projects that are viable.  The focus for 2017 is squarely on the implementation of both the New York REV and the new Clean Energy Standard.

EPA RFS Hearing Set – The EPA has announced plans to hold a public hearing tomorrow in Washington, D.C., for its recently released rule to set 2018 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, along with the 2019 RVO for biomass-based diesel.  The agency released a prepublication version of the proposed rule on July 5. The proposal calls for approximately 19.24 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the national fuel supply next year. This includes 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel and 4.24 billion gallons of advanced biofuel. For 2019, the new proposal calls for the biomass-based diesel RVO to be maintained at 2.1 billion gallons.

Senate Environment to Look at Superfund Program – The Senate Environment Committee holds an oversight hearing tomorrow on EPA’s Superfund program. Witnesses are Jeffery Steers, director for regional operations for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and experts Katherine Probst and Steven Nadeau.

NAS Looks at Offshore Oil Spills Response – The National Academy of Sciences Health and Medicine Division and the Gulf Research Program will host a public workshop Wednesday and Thursday, preparing for rapid responses to offshore oil spills.  Workshop discussions will explore key research needs and other opportunities (e.g., collection of environmental, social, health data) for improving public health response and protection during and after oil spills (including physical, mental, and social aspects of health and well-being).  It will also inform the design of a rapid response “workshop-in-a-box” and other activities (as needed) that would be available should there be an offshore oil spill of national significance.

Senate Energy Looks at Drought, Water Security – The Senate Energy Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold a hearing on Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. to examine increasing water security and drought preparedness through infrastructure, management and innovation.

Forum to Look at Enviro Performance – The Green Business Roundtable will hold a forum Wednesday on the intersection of business and sustainability to join for networking, discussion and insight. The round table discussion will go in to climate-related risk disclosure standards and the next generation of corporate energy and green finance strategies. The speaker is Cameron Prell, Energy & Climate Lawyer at Crowell & Moring.  Prell has more than a decade of experience representing clients on climate and energy matters and green finance transactions.

Senate Energy to Look at Wildfire Planning – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine federal and nonfederal collaboration, including through the use of technology, to reduce wildland fire risk to communities and enhance firefighting safety and effectiveness.

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Oil Corruption Issues – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum next Tuesday August 8th at Noon on how the US can counteract oil corruption.  The oil industry has been entangled in serious corruption controversies, from the legality of some companies’ stance on climate change to dealings with producer-country governments. In response, the U.S. government has shown leadership over the past decade in helping bring more transparency to the sector.  The event will offer an engaging discussion of new findings by Global Witness on Shell’s activities in Nigeria, why corruption in this key economic sector matters, and how the U.S. government-and companies-can be part of the solution.  Speakers will include former WaPo reporter and dean of the Columbia School of Journalism Steve Coll (who wrote a book on Exxon).   Others include Olarenwaju Suraju, a Nigerian anticorruption and environmental activist and Simon Taylor, co-founding director of the international anticorruption organization Global Witness.  Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law fellow Sarah Chayes will moderate.  She is a co-author of “The Oil Curse: A Remedial Role for the Oil Industry.”

Clean Energy Bootcamp Set – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Duke University Energy Initiative, will hold its inaugural Clean Energy 101 Bootcamp on Saturday, August 12th.  The Clean Energy 101 Bootcamp is designed to give current students, recent graduates, and those interested in pursuing a career in clean energy an introduction to fundamental concepts of clean energy technology, finance, business development and policy.  The Bootcamp will also offer extensive opportunities to network and learn from current professionals about what it means to work in government, industry, advocacy, science, and entrepreneurship roles across the clean energy sector.

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

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

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

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

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