Energy Update Week of March 24

Friends,

Pools, Pools Pools….Well, in my two pools, I managed to pick every game correctly, except Duke-Mercer.  The problem is some are on one and the rest are on the other… making them average.  A lot of the talk last week was about the Buffett Billion Dollar Challenge which really only took 25 games to blow it up.  The only way anyone would get a perfect bracket this year (or maybe any year nowadays) would be to use the Doc Emmett Brown DeLorean Time machine with the Sports Almanac in it.  Regardless, it was an exciting first four days though with some great surprises.  Back on the horse starting Thursday evening in Memphis with #10 seed Stanford taking on #11 seed Dayton, guaranteeing at least one double-digit seed into the Elite 8. The game to watch may be Friday’s Michigan State-Virginia matchup.

NCAA Hockey brackets for the Frozen Four were announced on Sunday with Minnesota getting the top seed, Boston College, Union (NY) and Wisconsin getting the other regional seeds.   Familiar names (Vermont, Ferris State, Notre Dame, North Dakota, UMass-Lowell, Denver) are in with a couple of surprises like Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris, Colgate and Providence.  Big names are also missing this year including Michigan, Miami, Yale and Boston U.   Action starts Friday in Division I.  Congrats to Green Bay’s St. Norbert College who won the Division III hockey title over the weekend (its third in 4 years) beating UW-Stevens Point 3-1 in Maine.

With Congress returning from a Spring Work period, the hearing schedule is very heavy this week, especially with the usual budget appropriations meetings (there are 11 including visits from Interior’s sally Jewell, EPA Gina McCarthy, NASA, DOE Science and APRA-E and many more).  The policy hearings start tomorrow with Senate Energy holding new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing on energy export issues featuring EIA.  Meanwhile, in the afternoon, the House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Rep. Cory Gardner’s LNG export bill focused on Russia.  On Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs will look at the geopolitical potential of the U.S. oil and gas boom featuring Adm. Dennis Blair and refiner Harold Hamm, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will be at House Resources to discuss Wildlife and energy.  And Thursday, the Committee’s energy panel will hold a hearing on earthquake science.

For energy policy education, ELI will begin a three-part series tomorrow looking at the legal and regulatory framework and issues in domestic energy production, energy distribution, and energy consumption.  My colleagues Heather Corken and Kirsten Gibbs are among the presenters.  As well, for energy policy fun, WCEE will hold its 33rd Annual “Woman of the Year” event on Wednesday at the Capital Hilton.  GE’s Deb Frodl will be honored and Bracewell has a table(which is rumored to feature Scott Segal).

Finally, two big policy events on Friday.  ACORE will hold its Renewable Energy Policy Forum on Capitol Hill with Energy Secretary Moniz (hosting by our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy)and EPA’s Gina McCarthy topping the bill.  As well, prior to their NCAA sweet 16 game, the University of Michigan Institute for Manufacturing Leadership and U of M’s Energy Institute will host a forum at the Press Club to discuss the way shale gas is changing the American energy economy, energy security policy and the environment.   The event will be over with plenty of time to watch the game.

Finally, kudos to my friends at Cabot Oil & Gas, who were named #5 on Forbes 2014 list of “Most Trustworthy Companies.” (See below)  Also, this week is the 22nd Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC.  The theme of the 2014 Festival, “Our Cities, Our Planet,” will examine the challenges posed by Earth’s urban environments and the efforts of the world’s cities to balance environmental and economic needs.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Forbes Praises Cabot as #5 on Most Trustworthy Companies – Late Friday, Forbes released its list of America’s most trustworthy companies and at #5 on the list (right behind UnderAmour) is Cabot Oil & Gas.  The list was developed James Kaplan, director of proprietary ratings for investment adviser GMI Ratings, after the failure of corporate superpowers Enron and WorldCom.   Each year, GMI Ratings provides Forbes with a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. To develop the ranking, GMI reviews the accounting and governance behaviors of more than 8,000 publicly-traded companies in North America. In assessing each company, GMI considers factors including high risk events, revenue and expense recognition methods, SEC actions, and bankruptcy risk as indicators of a company’s credibility.  Cabot scored #5 just one point behind UnderArmour.  Tops on the list was oil and gas equipment developer Oceaneering International.  Other familiar names include Accenture, Wynn resorts, Tyson Foods and Nordstrom.

SEJ Leaders Hammer EPA over Transparency – Our friends at the Society of the Environmental Journalists unloaded on EPA last week in an op-ed that raised serious concerns about communication delays by EPA in responding to media requests.  SEJ executive Director Beth Parke and FOIA expert Joe Davis wrote: “Journalists frequently report waiting for days and in some cases weeks to get EPA to respond to routine requests for information or interviews.  Parke and Davis added members of the SEJ often are the reporters on the front lines trying to pry information from EPA. They say they have seen an agency that for much of the 1980s and 1990s was considered one of the most open in the federal government become incredibly secretive, especially under the Obama Administration.  “As we celebrate “Sunshine Week,” it’s worth noting that nowadays EPA in many cases simply fails to answer questions posed by journalists on behalf of the public – even some that are routine and non-controversial. When the agency does respond, a favorite tactic is to wait until just before or even after a reporter’s deadline and then mail a short written statement that does not answer the questions.”  Ouch…

New Study Reveals Billions in Higher Energy Costs, Millions of Lost Jobs Analysis from the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates that NRDC’s proposal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act could cost consumers billions in higher energy prices and millions of jobs.  NRDC’s proposal, released in late 2012 and updated last week, has received attention as an approach EPA might follow to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.  The NERA analysis found that NRDC’s plan could cost consumers $13 billion to $17 billion per year in higher electricity and natural gas prices.  Ratepayers in most states could face double digit electricity price increases.  NRDC’s updated analysis now projects no costs at all.  NERA also found that NRDC’s proposal could cause job losses totaling as high as 2.85 million between 2018 and 2033.  By comparison, NRDC projects that its proposal would increase jobs.  NERA’s projections regarding natural gas also are at odds with NRDC’s analysis.  NRDC projects very little change in natural gas prices, whereas NERA found prices could increase by as much as 16 percent.  As a result, families and businesses could pay as much as $54 billion more for natural gas between 2018 and 2033.  The NERA analysis, sponsored by ACCCE, relies on data and information from the EIA, EPA, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Environmental Technology Laboratory and MIT.

Experts Debate Divestment Movement – I mentioned another rejection letter from Hamilton College  last week in the fossil fuel divestment debate.  In case you missed it because you were watching NCAA hoops last Thursday, out friends at Yale Environment 360, take on the topic of universities divesting their stock holdings in companies that produce oil, natural gas, or coal? In a Point/Counterpoint debate, activist Bob Massie and economist Robert Stavins face off on this controversial issue. Massie, who heads a group pushing for divestment, argues that because our leaders have repeatedly failed to take action on climate, divestment is one of the few effective strategies remaining. Stavins, a Harvard professor, counters that having universities divest from fossil fuels is merely a feel-good measure that would do nothing to address the problem of climate change. Read their Point/Counterpoint debate.

Heitkamp to Promote CCS Legislation – ND Senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced new major legislation to support a viable path forward for coal.  Heitkamp unveiled the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act to provide a path forward for coal-fired power well into the future which provides the United States with almost 40% of its electricity. According to Heitkamp, unlike recent proposals by the Obama Administration, the bill helps make it affordable for coal plants to lower their carbon pollution through the use of advanced clean coal technologies. Our friends at POLITICO looked at the bill and say it allocates $2 billion of DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program for fossil energy to coal projects and removes legal barriers keeping companies from getting multiple types of federal assistance. The bill would also boost tax credits for carbon sequestration and set up price supports for companies that sell CO2.

Bozzella to Head Global Automakers – The Association of Global Automakers has selected John Bozzella as its new president, replacing our long-time friend and auto industry veteran Mike Stanton announced his plans to retire early last year.  Bozzella joins the Association from Cerberus, bringing 20 years of experience as a public policy executive with Chrysler and Ford Motor Company.  Prior to his time at Cerberus, John spent five years at Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler leaving as Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy in 2009.  He is credited for playing a major role mobilizing government support for the significant restructuring of Chrysler.  John also spent 10 years at Ford Motor Company in positions in government and community relations from 1994-2005.

Khosla Venture Failure Undercuts RFS – Vinod Khosla–led KiOR, which makes cellulosic biofuels using woody biomass and non-food feedstocks, will not likely reopen its plant in Columbus, Mississippi it said late last week.  The announcement is another setback for the industry and its efforts to prevent rollbacks in the RFS.  KiOR was expected to make 9 million gallons this year towards RFS goals of 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations:

Tomorrow

  • House Approps energy and water panel on DOE’s applied energy funding.  9:30 a.m.  DOE Asst Sects. Smith, Hoffman, Lyons and Danielson testify.
  • House Approps Interior panel on Interior’s budget. Secretary Jewell testifies.  1:30 p.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on DOE’s science budget.  2:00 p.m.
  • House Resources’ water and power panel on the budgets of the Bureau of Reclamation, the power marketing administrations and the U.S. Geological Survey’s water program.  2:00 p.m.

Wednesday

  • Sen. Environment on EPA’s budget.  McCarthy Testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • Sen. Approps Interior panel on Interior’s budget. Secretary Jewell testifies.  9:15 a.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. 10:00 a.m.
  • House Science Committee on science agency budgets. OSTP Director John Holdren testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on the Bureau of Reclamation budget. 2:00 p.m.

 

Thursday

  • House Science Committee’s space panel on NASA’s budget.  9:00 a.m.
  • House Approps Commerce Justice Science panel on the National Science Foundation budget. 10:00 a.m.
  • House Approps Interior-EPA panel on EPA budget. EPA’s McCarthy testifies. 10:00 a.m.

Former LLNL Director to Address Nuclear Weapons Challenges – The Nuclear Policy Talks and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will hold a forum today at 4:00 p.m. at GWU on the nuclear stockpile and modernization challenges facing the Department of Energy.  Parney Albright will speak.  He served as Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) from 2009 – 2013. As director, he was responsible for the management of the Laboratory and also served as President of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. Dr. Albright has extensive experience in executive leadership; policy direction; strategic planning; Congressional and Executive branch interactions; financial and personnel management of large mission-focused science and technology organizations; and research, development, testing, and evaluation of national security technologies and systems. He has a broad and deep understanding of U.S. and international civilian and military requirements, functions, and processes in the national security arena.

Refiners Meeting to Hear from McChrystal, Dobbs – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual meeting in Orlando next Sunday through Tuesday. The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives and technical experts from refining and marketing organizations worldwide, as well as representatives from associated industries. The general session features high profile speakers who will address current issues of widespread importance to the refining industry. During management and technical sessions, leading industry experts share valuable insights with attendees on major issues, including energy and environmental initiatives, and the latest technological developments impacting refining and petrochemical industry management and performance.  Speakers will include former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and Fox News host Lou Dobbs, among many others.

Landrieu to Hold First Hearing on Energy Exports – The Senate Energy Committee will hold new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing tomorrow focused on energy exports. Those testifying include EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, Lithuanian energy minister Jaroslav Neverovic, NERA’s David Montgomery, former State Department official David Goldwyn and CSIS expert Edward Chow.

House Energy Panel to Discuss Gardner Export Legislation – Speaking of exports, the House Energy panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on Rep. Cory Gardner’s bill to approve pending permits to export liquefied natural gas.  Gardner’s bill would immediately authorize approval of export applications currently filed at the Energy Department and expedite future permits. Many supporters are focusing on LNG exports in an attempt to undercut Russian natural gas exports to Ukraine and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.  Doe’s Paula Gant, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas will testify, as will former Rep. Jim Bacchus, Hungarian Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security Anita Orbán, Dave Schryver of the American Public Gas Association, CRA’s Ken Ditzel and Montgomery of NERA.

ELI Series to Tackle Energy Issues Framework – ELI will begin a three-part series tomorrow looking at the legal and regulatory framework and issues in domestic energy production, energy distribution, and energy consumption.  The energy market continues to evolve, and this evolution brings with it business opportunities and risks. But energy growth and environmental impacts are increasingly intertwined through complicated federal and state regulations.  The series is a collaborative effort between the American Law Institute and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and will include forums on April 8th on Getting Energy to Market and April 22nd on Electricity Consumption.  Tomorrow’s forum will be on the regulatory framework of domestic energy production and will look at the infrastructure and regulatory framework of energy in the US. The session will focus on the federal regulations at play in oil and gas exploration and production, pipeline regulation, and electricity generation. The session will also examine how natural resources are affected during domestic energy production and transportation via pipelines. State analogues to the federal laws at play will also be touched upon.  Panelists will include by Bracewell colleagues Heather Corken Palmer (who will moderate) and Kirstin Gibbs, as well as EEI’s Emily Sanford Fisher, and NRDC’s Noah Long and Kate Sinding.

House Resources to Look at Wildlife, Energy – On Wednesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on oversight of the Obama Administration’s enforcement approach for America’s wildlife laws and its impact on domestic energy. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will testify.

House Foreign Affairs to Look at Energy – Also tomorrow, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on the geopolitical impacts of U.S. energy.  Admiral Dennis Blair CFR’s Michael Levi and Continental refining head Harold Hamm are among those testifying.

Brookings Panel to Look at Arctic Oil, Gas – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to launch the release of its Policy Brief on how the U.S. can meet the challenges posed by this activity, especially as it assumes Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015.This Policy Brief is the result of a year of research including over 80 interviews with leading Arctic specialists (government, industry, academia, native leaders, and NGOs) across the region.  Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies will moderate a discussion with two co-authors of the Brookings policy brief: Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of ESI and John Banks, nonresident senior fellow at ESI.

Forum to Look on Transmission – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and WIRES will start a series of important briefings on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in Senate CVC 209 focusing on the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Moreover, the planning and regulation of this fundamental infrastructure is complex, often uncoordinated, and slow to produce results. However, despite the combined effects of the recession and greater energy efficiency, the grid will be called upon to serve 30 percent more electrical demand over the next two decades.   Modern transmission is the fundamental enabler of competition, new technologies, and our high standard of living. Upgrading and expanding the system is a priority. Transmission 201 will provide a basic understanding of how the high-voltage system works and then move to key issues affecting the grid: economic regulation; actual siting and permitting of the facilities; the regional markets that transmission supports; and the range of diverse economic, environmental, and operational benefits that transmission provides to the whole electric system and electricity consumers.

POSTPONED – Press Club to Host Philly Mayoral Frontrunner – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee meeting with Pennsylvania State Senator and leading Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tony Williams for Wednesday has been POSTPONED because of scheduling conflicts.

Former EIA Director to Address Georgetown – Georgetown University will host former EIA director Jay Hakes to promote his new book A Declaration of Energy Independence on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at its Edward Bunn Intercultural Center to discuss has long-term U.S. energy policy been a success or a failure.  Hakes served as director of the Energy Information Agency in the 1990s and recently retired as head of the Carter Presidential Library.   The book takes a nonpartisan approach to fundamental questions and obliterates the political and economic myths.  Hakes combines real facts and solid science with historical context to ask the right questions and propose the best answers. He also adds a seven-point plan for breaking free from the costly energy trap and enhancing American influence abroad. This is an important and timely book for all Americans.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Chamber Women in Business Summit to Look at Challenges, Leadership – The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Women in Business will hold its 3rd annual summit on Thursday at the Chamber to celebrate the successes of businesswomen around the country while also discussing their unique challenges.  The summit will address the importance of finding supportive and reliable networks necessary for success, as well the common roadblocks that women face in accessing and using capital—one of the most common reasons why women’s business dreams lag in comparison to men’s.   Speakers will include Schnitzer Steel CEO Tamara Lundgren, Barnard College President Debora Spar and Kat Cole of Cinnabon, among many others.

Senate Environment Starts Transportation Legislation Review – The full Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:45 a.m. looking at MAP-21 Reauthorization focusing on state and local perspectives on transportation priorities and funding.

Senate FR to Discuss Power Africa Initiative – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on African Affairs will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on the Power Africa Initiative.  Those testifying will include USAID Administrator Earl Gast, Ex-Im Bank Africa Director Rick Angiuoni and OPIC exec Mimi Alemayehou, among others.

LaFleur to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will be hosting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur at its next luncheon at the University Club.  LaFleur was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2010 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a term that ends in June 2014. She became Acting Chairman on November 25 of last year

Forum to Look at 5 Years of BC Carbon Tax Policy – Climate Desk, Climate Access, and Bloomberg BNA are partnering to present “The Carbon Tax Return: Lessons Learned From British Columbia’s First Five Years of Taxing Emissions.” A distinguished panel, preceded by a cocktail reception, will take place on Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon C in Vancouver, British Columbia with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. PDT.  Speakers will include Spencer Chandra Herbert, Environment Critic and Member of the BC Legislative Assembly; Merran Smith, Director, director of Clean Energy Canada; Ross Beaty, Chairman Alterra Power Corp.; and Jeremy Hainsworth, contributor to Bloomberg BNA (BBNA) and the Associated Press.  Our friend Chris Moody will moderate.

McCarthy, Wellinghoff, Trade Assn Heads Headline ACORE Forum – The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Friday in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Building.  After an opening reception Thursday night at Union Station, the event will feature keynote remarks from EPA’s Gina McCarthy, discussions about policy innovations with Rep. Sander Levin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and outlooks from trade association heads including our friends Michael McAdams of the Advance Biofuels Coalition, Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan and several others.   Finally, our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will moderate the afternoon keynote session featuring former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, Sen. Mazie Hirano and NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira.

University of Michigan to Host Shale Gas Symposium at Press Club – The University of Michigan Institute for Manufacturing Leadership and the University of Michigan Energy Institute will host a group of leaders in American government agencies, industry, NGOs and academia at the National Press Club on Friday to discuss the way shale gas is changing the American energy economy, energy security policy and the environment.   Shale gas as an energy source poses a huge potential boon to American manufacturers of all stripes, but the relationship between the shale gas boom and U.S. manufacturing competitiveness needs clearer understanding.  The forum will craft recommendations aimed at increasing American manufacturing competitiveness with the utilization of affordable, U.S.-produced shale gas. With an emphasis on the chemical industry and energy-intensive manufacturing sectors, the symposium will also include the perspective of recent studies on price, environmental and health impacts, technology and public acceptance.  The symposium will feature a keynote by Norman Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Representatives from the American Chemistry Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, steel, aluminum and paper industries, the American Gas Association, the White House, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Defense Fund will also speak.  The forum will end by 4:00 p.m. because the Wolverines play at 7:00 p.m. in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal against Tennessee.

Forum to Look at Renewables, EE Budget – Also on Friday at 3:00 p.m. in 215 Capitol Visitor Center (House side), EESI, in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, will hold a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal released by President Obama on March 4. The $3.9 trillion budget proposal reflects the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy as well as its focus on climate change, following the unveiling of the President’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service will give an overview of the budget requests for various clean energy programs, explain budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years. Speakers include DOE’s Jason Walsh of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, CRS Energy Policy Specialist Fred Sissine and our friend Scott Sklar.

FUTURE EVENTS

CEA Head Furman to Talk Taxes at AEP Forum – Next Monday morning, AEP will hold a forum on the economic effects of territorial taxation.  Council of Economic Advisors head Jason Furman will keynote eth event.  As Congress deliberates business tax reform options, the international aspects often prove most complex. All Group of Eight countries other than the United States have territorial tax systems that exempt 95 to 100 percent of qualified dividends repatriated from foreign subsidiaries.  This half-day conference, cohosted by AEI and the International Tax Policy Forum, will explore the economic effects of territorial taxation. Panelists will use their international experience to examine the effects of international tax rules on base erosion and profit shifting, repatriation of foreign profits, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and headquarters location. The conference will conclude with a luncheon address by Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Transportation Summit Set – The Transportation Energy Partner’s Energy Independence Summit 2014 will be held on Sunday, March 30th to Wednesday, April 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  The Summit will feature educational sessions and presentations from the nation’s leading clean transportation experts on Federal funding and incentives to promote alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure; successful alternative fuels and vehicle projects across the country; and innovative state and local policies and programs that are advancing markets for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

Forum to Look at Converting Fleets to Alt Fuels – EESI and WIRES will host a briefing coordination with Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) and NAFA Fleet Management Association on Tuesday, April 1st at 8:30 a.m. in the CVC Auditorium about the strides public and private sector vehicle fleet managers in nearly every state are making in converting to alternative fuels (e.g., biofuels, electricity, natural gas, propane). This is a chance to learn first-hand about why they are converting their fleets, the challenges they face, and the importance of federal and state incentives in overcoming these challenges.

NIEHS to Hold Forum on Vehicle Emissions – The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Institute of Medicine are holding a symposium on Tuesday, April 1st at the National Academy of Sciences focused on the health effects of fine particles from vehicle emissions.  The forum will bring together leading researchers and other experts on the sources, extent, mechanics, and health implications of ultra-fine airborne particles to discuss their origins, nature and potential health effects, and to help researchers identify remaining questions. Please join us to learn about the growing body of research that links petroleum-derived particle pollution to a variety of ever larger serious health problems and premature death. While there has been significant research into the origins and effects of larger particles, there is much less known about the nature and effects of ultra-fine particulates (UFPs).

Climate Action Goes to Washington (State) – Continuing its Northwest swing, Climate Desk will host a forum on State action in Washington featuring Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday April 1st at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The recent agreement between Washington state, British Columbia, Oregon and California to harmonize their climate and energy policies has the potential to not just accelerate greenhouse gas reductions but also catalyze a strong, clean, and resilient economy.  Inslee, along with distinguished industry and climate science leaders will discuss the future of clean energy as part of Climate Desk Live, a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Climate Access, and Climate Desk, sponsored by Bloomberg BNA. Hosted by Chris Mooney, the discussion will cover a range of key climate policy issues from coal terminals, to fuel efficiency standards, to carbon pricing, with an eye toward innovation and new energy solutions.

WAPA Forum to Look at Nissan Cab – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and Nissan North America will host the April WAPA lunch on Wednesday, April  2nd hosting Peter Bedrosian, Senior Manager, Product Planning for a background session to discuss the all-new Nissan NV200 Taxi. You’ll hear how the NV200 made it to service in New York City in October 2013 and also learn about its passenger-friendly features, including USB charging, anti-fatigue seats, panoramic roof with sky views of the city, reduced odors, improved leg room, more cargo space and other conveniences.

Forum to EESI Climate Risks in SW – EESI will hold a briefing on Wednesday April 2nd examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southwest and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Southwest is already the driest and hottest region in the United States, and California is in the midst of a historic drought. The draft Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) – the final version is expected soon – projects that the region’s climate may become even more severe. These changes are having substantial adverse effects on the regional economy and quality of life, forcing local leaders to develop creative solutions to combat drought and other extreme conditions. How can the Southwest best address current impacts while also building climate resiliency to manage risk and foster long-term prosperity?   Speakers for this forum are Eleanor Bastian, Legislative Director for Rep. Diana DeGette; Patrick Gonzalez of the U.S. National Park Service; Chris Treese of the Colorado River District; Margaret Bowman of the Walton Family Foundation and Louis Blumberg of The Nature Conservancy.

WSJ to Host ECO:nomics Forum The Wall Street Journal will host its ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on April 2-4th at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.  Moderators will include our WSJ friends Joe White, Kim Strassel, Russ Gold and Jeff Ball.

Forum to Look at Regional Transmission Issues – Americans for a Clean Energy Grid will hold a series of regionally-focused webinars starting Wednesday, April 2nd at 2:00 p.m. on what’s going on in the world of transmission running from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014. Each webinar will span one hour, featuring presentations by transmission experts from the region in question and a discussion of environmental, economic, and political issues including planning, siting, and cost allocation.  The next webinar in Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s series of regionally-focused webinars will focus on the West.  Presenters will include NRDC’s Director of Western Transmission Carl Zichella and Xcel’s Stephen Beuning.

Forum to Discuss Greenland, Energy Development – On Thursday, April 3rd at 4:00 p.m., GWU’s IERES and Department of Geography will host Inuuteq Holm Olsen of the Embassy of Denmark to discuss Greenland’s goals with Arctic Energy development and its future plans.  Largely, but not only, due to the effects of climate change, the Arctic is becoming a hot spot on the global agenda. Similarly along those lines, Greenland is seeking to develop its natural resources as it develops politically. In that context, the forces of globalization have reached the Arctic including new emerging powers.

Chamber to Hold Aviation Summit Featuring Airline CEOs – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting 13th Annual Aviation Summit on Thursday, April 3rd in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  This forum will bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. This year we will examine one of the least understood topics in aviation: the true costs of flying.  Among the many confirmed speakers will be Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger, former FAA Administrator and Aerospace Industries Association head Marion Blakey and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, among many others.

Forum to Discuss Tax Reforms – AEI and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center will hold a forum on Friday, April 4th at 9:00 a.m. focused on the US corporate income tax.  Most argue the tax is deeply flawed, particularly in its treatment of foreign-source income. At this event, Eric Toder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and AEI’s Alan D. Viard will present a report, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, explaining that the current corporate income tax system bases tax liability on two concepts that defy easy definition — the source of corporate income and the residence of corporations. Toder and Viard call for structural reform that would either find an internationally agreed-upon way to define those concepts or restructure the tax system so that it no longer relies on them. They will outline two options: seeking international agreement on how to allocate multinational corporations’ income among countries or replacing the corporate income tax with taxation of dividends and accrued capital gains of American shareholders at ordinary income tax rates. Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Analysts and Pamela Olson of PricewaterhouseCoopers will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both ideas.

House Resources to Look at California Energy Independence – On Friday, April 4th at 9:30 a.m. in 1334 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct an oversight hearing on domestic opportunities to reverse California’s growing dependence on foreign oil.  Since 2000, California has experienced a surge in foreign oil imports. Today, California gets 50% of its oil from foreign sources and half of those imports come from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz. California’s unemployment is higher than the national average at 8.7 percent, energy prices in California are among the highest in the nation, and California is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that California’s Monterey Shale contains over 15 billion barrels of oil – more than estimates of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.

Energy Bar Conference to Focus on Secure Energy – The Energy Bar Association will hold Its Annual Meeting & Conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington.  The conference will focus on the challenges of generating and delivering energy securely.

FirstEnergy CEO to Address Chamber Leadership Series – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host its CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. featuring FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony Alexander.  The electric utility industry is in a time of unprecedented change.  Alexander’s remarks will focus on some of the regulatory challenges and mandates that are making it more difficult for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable service to customers.  He also will emphasize the importance of a national energy policy that drives economic expansion, creates jobs, and recognizes the high value that customers place on the use of electricity.

Book Forum To Discuss Sci-Fi Thriller – On Wednesday, April 9th, the Future Tense Book Club will meet at the New America Foundation to discuss Shovel Ready. The novel, by New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh, imagines a near-future New York City that is decaying while the wealthy who remain take refuge in an alternate reality. Our guide to Sternbergh’s engrossing dystopia: a garbage man turned hit man. In a conversation on Slate, Sternbergh’s editor, Zack Wagman, described the book as “noir, detective, sci-fi world-building, speculative dystopia, and just out-and-out thriller.”

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On April 16th, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

INGAA Head Santa to Discuss Report – ICF International will host our friend Don Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), on April 17th for its April Energy Breakfast.  Santa will discuss the INGAA Foundation’s new report on dynamics and issues affecting midstream infrastructure development. The report discusses the needs for midstream pipeline infrastructure in North America through 2035 to meet the booming production of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and petroleum.

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

PBF, Valero Speaker to Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 3rd Annual North American Refined Products conference in Houston at the Marriott West Loop on May 20th and 21st.  The event explores supply and demand for refined products from the North American PADD regions and the opportunities and challenges in those markets.  Keynote speaker will be Todd O’Malley of PBF Energy.  Other speakers will include Valero’s Richard Grissom.

Kasparov to Speak at Cato Dinner – The Cato Institute will announce its Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty at its 2014 Biennial Dinner on May 21st at the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The keynote address will be presented by Garry Kasparov, former Chess champion, Russian Pro-Democracy leader and Global Human-Rights activist.  The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.

Energy Update Week of March 17

Friends,

What a crazy couple of days we just had: 1) for you Math nerds – Pi (3.14159…) Day on Friday (brought in a tasty Apple pie); 2) for you history/literature buffs – the Ides of March on Saturday, 3) for the religious and Rainbow-haired sports fans – John 3:16 Day on Sunday; and finally today — St. Patrick’s Day, mixing a little Green with the White.  The White?  Yes, about 8 inches of snow, forcing the federal government and local schools to close again.  What to do?  How about move right to our NCAA hoops brackets…

Yes, that is right.  As of 7:00 pm or so last night, I may have received a dozen or so emails inviting me to join into the NCAA Hoop bracketology.  While I don’t promise to know all, here are a few good facts to keep in mind when picking:

1) Have a strategy that includes some surprise picks.  If you are right, that’s how you score points. There will always be upsets and Cinderellas that will shock the pool.  Keep in mind, the lowest seed ever to make a final four is an #11.

2) Pick the right #1 seeds since 14 times since NCAA expansion in 1985, 52% of the time #1 seeds have won the entire tournament.  Only once (4% of the time) have all four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four, with only three times (12% of the time) no #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four.

3) Pay attention to coaches’ names: Since 1989, the national title has been won by a coach with an “I” in his last name 18 times. Not since 1997 (Lute Olson with Arizona) has a coach won the title without having an “I” in his first or last name. Maybe that is a sign as well since AZ is the overall #1 seed.

4) Winners are often always winners: Duke (.750) has the best winning percentage for teams playing a minimum of 20 tournament games. Others in the tournament: UCLA (.725), North Carolina (.722), Florida (.714), Kentucky (.707), Kansas (.699), Michigan State (.683) and Michigan (.672).  Picking those teams should yield some points.

5) So who to pick:  Play- in game winners: #11 – Iowa over Tennessee, #12 – NC St over Xavier, #16 – Cal Poly over TX Southern; #16 – Mt. St. Marys over Albany (that would be a better lax game).  Surprises to watch for in Round One: Dayton, Toledo, Stephen F. Austin, Harvard, Manhattan, Mercer (watch out Duke), Western Michigan.   Final Four:   South: I like the Steve Alford-led UCLA Bruins; West: Wisc should give them a game but I like Arizona; East: Mich St (too good to overlook at #4 Seed) Midwest: This one is totally up in air, but I like either Michigan or Louisville; Just don’t see WSU Shockers becoming first since ’76 IU Hoosiers to run the table.  Champs: Arizona.

At least we have a slower week this week as Congress heads home to the spring break district work period. That will give us plenty of time to get our picks done and our snow shoveled, as well as spending a good part of Thursday and Friday watching Round 1.  While it is a slow week, the Methanol Policy Forum is tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Hyatt and will feature our friend and former EPA expert Joe Cannon, former Senate Energy Chair Bennett Johnston, former NSA chief Bob MacFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister.  As well, the INGAA Foundation event slated for this morning will be rescheduled for tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the Press Club. Don Santa and ANGA’s Marty Durbin will discuss a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035.

Finally, Congrats to my Bracewell environmental section colleagues Rich Alonso, Sandra Snyder and Tim Wilkins, who won a major victory on Friday when EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board said it wouldn’t review the air quality permit for the LaPaloma natural gas power plant in Texas after the Sierra Club raised questions about the plant’s GHG permit.   Another victory for the good guys…Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Landrieu, Others Push Administration on Helium Legislation Implementation – In her first official move as Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Mary Landrieu is leading a bipartisan, bicameral inquiry with House Resources Chair Doc Hastings and ranking members Lisa Murkowski and Peter DeFazio into the US Helium program and its implementation under last year’s Helium Stewardship Act.  The legislation aimed to create more competition, increase reliability for end-users of helium, and bring in better returns for US taxpayers from sales of crude helium from the Federal Helium Reserve. In the letter to GAO, Landrieu, Murkowski, Hastings and DeFazio expressed concern about BLM’s implementation of those provisions to date–including the ability of helium purchasers to get crude helium refined (a.k.a. “tolled”).  Without the availability of tolling, it is unlikely the legislation will achieve its goal of getting more parties into the market and increasing supply reliability for end-users.  The congressional leaders are asking that GAO investigate the BLM’s plans for helium sales, enforcement of the tolling conditions developed in the Act and other general helium sales oversight.  BLM is scheduled to have a large sale of crude helium from the Reserve in August of 2014 and Congressional leaders are concerned that BLM’s current inattention to these provisions may be undercutting the interests of the government, the fair market and competition envisioned by last year’s legislation.  You can find the letter here.  Please contact my colleague Salo Zelermyer at 202-828-1718 who can help you with background and resources on the issue.

House Doctors’ Letter Raise Concerns about Health Benefits of EPA Rule – Eleven doctors in the House of Representatives signed a letter to EPA on health benefits and the EPA power plant rules.  Essentially, the letter questions whether unilateral carbon rules will produce health benefits given the global nature of the emission and the tendency of EPA to double count conventional air pollution benefits in any event.  Further, the letter reflects upon the threats to public health created by the rules because of adverse impacts on the economy, energy prices, and electric reliability.  It asks for EPA to prove of its case to the doctors.  I can forward a copy of the letter should you want to see it.

Hamilton College Says No to Activists on Divestment – Another liberal northeast college has told activists urging them to divest from fossil fuels to go pound frack sand.  After Harvard, Brown and Middlebury each told protesters no thanks to divesting their endowments from fossil fuels, New York’s liberal Hamilton College made a similar statement this week.  In a letter,  Hamilton College Trustee Investment Committee Chair Henry Bedford said that “divestment would likely entail a financial risk to the endowment, both short- and long-term. There are also other concerns, from questions about the real value of such an act to the belief that it is likely better to have a voice in corporate conversations about responsible behavior than to withdraw from them. We are sensitive too, to the widely noted difficulty of reconciling an institutional boycott of a segment of an industry with the continued use by individuals and communities of the products and services offered by that segment. But the fundamental question has to do with our responsibility to steward funds entrusted to us in support of the College’s mission, which is education…We believe it would be a violation of trust to shape our investment strategies to achieve ends other than academic.”

EPA Send HF Rule to White House – EPA sent its proposal rulemaking for hydraulic fracturing disclosure to the Office of Management and Budget for review.  The proposal will require manufacturers, producers and distributors of products used in fracturing fluids to detail their potential health and environmental hazards.   In the plan, EPA is seeking feedback on the “design and scope” of the reporting requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act that would be included in the proposed rule. EPA to finalize the proposed rulemaking by August.  Many in industry say they are already disclosing many chemicals through state regulations and FracFocus.

Spring Brings Talk DST, Cherry Blossoms, Gas Prices – Two things we know for sure, if it’s spring, there will be talk in Washington about Daylight Savings Time and cherry Blossoms, as well as conversations about the price of gasoline.  Understanding Daylight Savings Time and Cherry Blossoms is pretty simple, but what impacts the price of gasoline is much more complicated.   There have been many stories in the press recently about factors impacting gasoline prices, many of which discuss refinery turnarounds.  In light of these stories, our friends at AFPM sat down with Chief Industry Analyst Joanne Shore to discuss seasonal factors that impact gasoline prices, and how crude oil supply and refinery turnarounds affect the price at the pump.   Watch all of the videos on our AFPM News channel, under “Fuels.”

WAPA Gala Awards New Corvette – At its Annual Gala, the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) presented the Golden Gear Award to the team responsible for the development of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The award was accepted on the team’s behalf by Stacy Summers, District Sales Manager for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., for Chevrolet.   The WAPA Annual Gala, held at the National Press Club brought together auto journalists, manufacturer and industry representatives from all over the country. For nearly 30 years, WAPA has presented its Golden Gear Award to honor an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the automotive industry. Since 2009, the Golden Gear has been awarded in memory of WAPA founding member and legendary automotive journalist John Lynker. An occasional newspaper columnist and magazine contributor, Lynker anchored Washington’s WTOP radio station for more than 20 years.  Prior recipients of the Golden Gear Award include Scott Keogh of Audi; John Krafcik of Hyundai; Roger Penske; J.D. Power; Carroll Shelby; Robert Lutz of General Motors; Carlos Ghosn of Nissan; Henrik Fisker; and John W. Hetrick, designer of the patented airbag.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council – a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders – on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. and Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, former President of Shell John Hofmeister and former EPA official and current Fuel Freedom Foundation head Joe Cannon.

POSTPONED – Fuel Cell Forum to Look at Resiliency, Security – Today’s  weather has postponed  the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association forum at Noon in Senate Visitor Center Room 200 on the resiliency and efficiency of fuel cells and hydrogen and there impacts on energy security.  Speakers were to include Ed Cohen of Honda, Daimler’s Gwen Bluemich, Katrina Fritz of ClearEdge Power and DoE Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, among others.  The event will be rescheduled soon.

INGAA Infrastructure Report Released Tomorrow – Originally scheduled for this morning and delayed by the snow, INGAA Foundation President and CEO Don Santa, ANGA President and CEO Marty Durbin, Sunland Construction President and CEO (and INGAA Foundation Chairman) Craig Meier and representatives from ICF Consulting will brief reporters on a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035. The report, released at the National Press Club at 9:00a.m. tomorrow, will include natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil pipeline midstream investments and detail jobs and economic impacts through 2035 as a result of those investments.

Forum to Look at Renewables For Poverty Reduction – The Society for International Development – Washington will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on the promise of solar-powered irrigation pumps for poverty reduction.  When people have access to water and energy, poverty is reduced and life chances are significantly improved.  In its focus on the water-energy nexus for UN World Water Day on March 22, 2014, the World Water Report examines how the water and energy sectors are working together to increase energy services that will lead to major improvements in sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries.  Called a ‘game changer’ for agricultural economies since first introduced in the mid-2000s, solar-powered pumps for irrigation are an application at the water-energy nexus that is contributing to food security, empowerment of women farmers, and poverty reduction.  Solar-powered pumps are also at the nexus of the development community, with donors, NGOs, financial institutions, and the private sector committed to developing technologies, best practices, and business models to make them a success.  Speakers will include UNEP’s Carla Friedrich, Richard Colback of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USAID’s Renewable Energy Advisor Dr. Jeff Haeni and Bikash Pandy of Winrock International

RFF to Feature Expert on Financial, Environmental Risk – Resources for the Future will host a seminar series conversation tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. looking at a financial approach to environmental risk featuring Robert Engle.  Engle, 2003 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, is an expert in analyzing the movements of financial market prices and interest rates. His insights and methodologies are well known as indispensable tools for researchers and financial analysts alike. In recognition of his pioneering work, in 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH). He developed this method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility and demonstrated that these techniques accurately capture the properties of many time series. Professor Engle shared the prize with Clive W.J. Granger of the University of California, San Diego.  Many of these methods are now featured on the innovative public web site, V-LAB, where daily estimates of volatilities and correlations for more than a thousand assets are available to assist in evaluating portfolio risk, asset allocation, derivative pricing, and systemic risk measures now incorporated in the NYU Stern Systemic Risk Rankings. His research has produced such innovative statistical methods as co-integration, common features, autoregressive conditional duration (ACD), CAViaR, and DCC models.

DOE’s Friedmann to Discuss Coal in US, China – Georgetown University’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold its next Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. looking at the future of coal in the United States and China.  Speaker Julio Friedmann, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal in the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will discuss technology, policy and opportunities for coal.

On Wednesday at Noon, ABA and ACORE will hold a webinar looking at state rate/market generation planning.  Last year, two lawsuits in New Jersey and Maryland pitted traditional state planning authority against federal oversight of competitive energy markets. District courts in both states ruled that federal market oversight trumps state resource planning interests and struck down state subsidies designed to promote construction of specific gas-fired generation resources.  The Maryland and New Jersey state governments have appealed these decisions. The states want to restore their traditional role in resource planning and economic development, while the plaintiffs (primarily utilities) seek to defend the price integrity of markets run by regional transmission organizations.  The panel will address these issues and how resolution of the cases on appeal could affect the ability of States to integrate renewable energy into their generation fleets. Speakers include Craig Roach, an expert witness in both lawsuits; Steven Ferrey, an expert on cooperative federalism; and Edward Comer, who is responsible for all legal issues affecting the Edison Electric Institute.

Forum to Look at German Renewables, Coal – The Heinrich Böll Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon looking at Germany’s effort to manage its bumpy transition to clean technology.  Apparently, environmental activists will try to explain why Germany return to coal is actually a victory for clean energy. This panel discussion will examine two countries – Germany and the United States – that are currently seeing very diverging developments in their respective coal industries before focusing on the role of international financial institution in addressing the use of coal.

Forum to Look at Fate of Arctic – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on the fate of the Arctic.  The Arctic is a sentinel of global warming where scientists predict and have observed the largest warming, melting and change, yet a region with planetary impact.   Join us for a discussion of the Arctic’s many changes and their implications: Environmental changes in the form of melting sea ice, greening of the Arctic tundra, migrations of species; Challenges facing indigenous people and how they are responding and coping with this changing world; and how feedbacks in the climate system may mean that the Arctic becomes more than an indicator of climate change and perhaps a source of even more greenhouse gasses.  Our panel will help sort out the science from the speculation, and guide effective decisions for the future.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.  Speakers will include Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk expert David Titley, National Museum of Natural History Arctic curator Igor Krupnik, USGS Research Geologist Miriam Jones and, Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center U.S. Geological Survey and George Mason University Professor of Oceanography Paul Schopf.

Wind Property Value Studies Discussed – The Energy Department will present a live webcast Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at wind energy and property values.  Often a talking point for anti-wind activists, their claims have rarely ever borne true.  Carol Atkinson-Palombo, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, will present her research from the recently released report, “Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts.” Ben Hoen, staff research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will present findings from the report “A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States.” Their research examined 122,000 Massachusetts real estate transactions between 1998 and 2012, and 50,000 U.S. transactions between 1996 and 2011, respectively. The authors will provide an overview of each of the report’s methods and findings and will answer questions after the presentations.

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Commissioner to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on Thursday at the National Press Club, featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

Group to Release Report on 2013-2014 State of the Future – On Thursday at Noon, the 17th State of the Future report produced by The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank with over 50 Nodes and about 5,000 participants around the world will be released at the Wilson Center.  The Millennium Project CEO Jerome Glenn, NASA Langley Research Center Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell and National Science Foundation Program Director Paul Werbos will explore global strategic prospects and strategies drawn from the 2013-14 State of the Future report and the online Global Futures Intelligence System.  2013-14 State of the Future’s executive summary gives an unparalleled overview of our current situation, prospects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger; vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones; lone wolves and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction; a presentation of the Global Futures Intelligence System, and some concluding thoughts.

Forum to Look at Oil in Amazon – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on oil in the Amazon, looking at local conflicts, indigenous populations and natural resources.  Author and expert Patricia Vásquez explores the potent mix of grievances, identities, and structural constraints that have given rise to conflicts between investors in the hydrocarbons sector and local communities in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  Over a period of fifteen years, Vásquez conducted hundreds of interviews with stakeholders on all sides, identifying short- and long-term strategies for preventing or mitigating conflict.

Wharton Green Biz Roundtable to Highlight Army Energy Issues – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold a lunch at the National Press Club on Friday at 12:00 p.m.  featuring Richard Kidd.  Kidd, a graduate of the Yale School of Management, will summarize for the audience key aspects of the Army’s approach to energy and sustainability. He will do this first by highlighting the organization change techniques used to alter the way the Army values energy at the corporate, installation (stateside bases) and operational (combat) levels.  Also, he will provide a business operations overview of the Army’s Renewable Energy Task Force, which has created the largest renewable energy project pipeline in America by applying private sector approaches to a public sector entity. The Wharton DC Green Business Forum meets regularly with speakers in varied facets of the cleantech energy and sustainability fields to learn about new developments and business opportunities. Sponsored by the Wharton School Club of DC, announcements of upcoming events reach over 3,000 Washington area alums of Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and other top business schools, entrepreneurs and executives. Attendance at the programs is open to anyone interested in business and the environment, with advance signup recommended.

SEIA Webinar to Look at Solar Financing – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Solar Energy Industries Association and a panel of experts will host a webinar to discuss the fundamentals of solar financing. The webinar will focus on tax and finance structures such as inverted leases, sale leasebacks, and partnerships. Speakers will include SolarCity Senior Tax Counsel Jorge Medina, Michelle Jewett of Morrison & Foerster and Michael Bernier of Tax Credit Investment Advisory Services.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Refiners Meeting to Hear from McChrystal, Dobbs – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual meeting in Orlando next Sunday through Tuesday. The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives and technical experts from refining and marketing organizations worldwide, as well as representatives from associated industries. The general session features high profile speakers who will address current issues of widespread importance to the refining industry. During management and technical sessions, leading industry experts share valuable insights with attendees on major issues, including energy and environmental initiatives, and the latest technological developments impacting refining and petrochemical industry management and performance.  Speakers will include former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and Fox News host Lou Dobbs, among many others.

Landrieu to Hold First Hearing on Energy Exports – The Senate Energy Committee will hold new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing on Tuesday March 25th focused on energy exports.

House Resources to Look at Wildlife, Energy – On Wednesday, March 26th, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on oversight of the Obama Administration’s enforcement approach for America’s wildlife laws and its impact on domestic energy. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will testify.

Press Club to Host Philly Mayoral Frontrunner – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host Pennsylvania State Senator and leading Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tony Williams for a newsmaker event on Wednesday, March 26th at 4:00 p.m.  Williams will discuss Pennsylvania natural gas drilling and its impacts on his urban district in terms Of job creations.  He also will discuss other important matters on his agenda including his leadership on crime issues and education/charter schools.  More on this next week.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Chamber Women in Business Summit to Look at Challenges, Leadership – The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Women in Business will hold its 3rd annual summit on March 27th at the Chamber to celebrate the successes of businesswomen around the country while also discussing their unique challenges.  The summit will address the importance of finding supportive and reliable networks necessary for success, as well the common roadblocks that women face in accessing and using capital—one of the most common reasons why women’s business dreams lag in comparison to men’s.   Speakers will include Schnitzer Steel CEO Tamara Lundgren, Barnard College President Debora Spar and Kat Cole of Cinnabon, among many others.

Forum to Look at 5 Years of BC Carbon Tax Policy – Climate Desk, Climate Access, and Bloomberg BNA are partnering to present “The Carbon Tax Return: Lessons Learned From British Columbia’s First Five Years of Taxing Emissions.” A distinguished panel, preceded by a cocktail reception, will take place on Thursday, March 27 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon C in Vancouver, British Columbia with doors opening at 5:30p.m. PDT.  Speakers will include Spencer Chandra Herbert, Environment Critic and Member of the BC Legislative Assembly; Merran Smith, Director, director of Clean Energy Canada; Ross Beaty, Chairman Alterra Power Corp.; and Jeremy Hainsworth, contributor to Bloomberg BNA (BBNA) and the Associated Press.  Our friend Chris Moody will moderate.

McCarthy, Wellinghoff, Trade Assn Heads Headline ACORE Forum – The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Friday March 28th in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Building.  After an opening reception Thursday night at Union Station, the event will feature keynote remarks from EPA’s Gina McCarthy, discussions about policy innovations with Rep. Sander Levin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and outlooks from trade association heads including our friends Michael McAdams of the Advance Biofuels Coalition, Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan and several others.   Finally, our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will moderate the afternoon keynote session featuring former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, Sen. Mazie Hirano and NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira.

Forum to Look at Renewables, EE Budget – Also on Friday, March 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 215 Capitol Visitor Center (House side), EESI, in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, will hold a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal released by President Obama on March 4. The $3.9 trillion budget proposal reflects the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy as well as its focus on climate change, following the unveiling of the President’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service will give an overview of the budget requests for various clean energy programs, explain budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years. Speakers include DOE’s Jason Walsh of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, CRS Energy Policy Specialist Fred Sissine and our friend Scott Sklar.

Transportation Summit Set – The Transportation Energy Partner’s Energy Independence Summit 2014 will be held on Sunday, March 30th to Wednesday, April 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  The Summit will feature educational sessions and presentations from the nation’s leading clean transportation experts on Federal funding and incentives to promote alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure; successful alternative fuels and vehicle projects across the country; and innovative state and local policies and programs that are advancing markets for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

Energy Bar Conference to Focus on Secure Energy – The Energy Bar Association will hold Its Annual Meeting & Conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington.  The conference will focus on the challenges of generating and delivering energy securely.

FirstEnergy CEO to Address Chamber Leadership Series – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host its CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. featuring FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony Alexander.  The electric utility industry is in a time of unprecedented change.  Alexander’s remarks will focus on some of the regulatory challenges and mandates that are making it more difficult for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable service to customers.  He also will emphasize the importance of a national energy policy that drives economic expansion, creates jobs, and recognizes the high value that customers place on the use of electricity.

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.

INGAA Head Santa to Discuss Report – ICF International will host our friend Don Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), on April 17th for its April Energy Breakfast.  Santa will discuss the INGAA Foundation’s new report on dynamics and issues affecting midstream infrastructure development. The report discusses the needs for midstream pipeline infrastructure in North America through 2035 to meet the booming production of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and petroleum.

PBF, Valero Speaker to Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 3rd Annual North American Refined Products conference in Houston at the Marriott West Loop on May 20th and 21st.  The event explores supply and demand for refined products from the North American PADD regions and the opportunities and challenges in those markets.  Keynote speaker will be Todd O’Malley of PBF Energy.  Other speakers will include Valero’s Richard Grissom.

Kasparov to Speak at Cato Dinner – The Cato Institute will announce its Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty at its 2014 Biennial Dinner on May 21st at the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The keynote address will be presented by Garry Kasparov, former Chess champion, Russian Pro-Democracy leader and Global Human-Rights activist.  The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.

 

Energy Update Week of February 24

Friends,

The Olympics ended yesterday with a flurry, and the games were a success.  The games delivered many excellent moments without many of the problems that critics expected or worried about.  The US won lots of gold medals in many of the non-traditional Winter Olympic events (the new “X” Games- type events), but we also still won several medals in the Bobsled/luge/skeleton events and several great downhill skiing medals.

Other than the US Speedskating performance (which is usually a strong suit of USA, perhaps most disappointing were the final play of the Olympic hockey tournament.  While the preliminary rounds were fabulous, the medal games were pretty boring, grinding games.  Nothing against the Canadians, who smothered both the US in the semi and Sweden in the final, but it just wasn’t very exciting hockey.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of a late Stanley Cup Final game, with four lines of the best players, the league’s best “shut-down” defensemen and great goaltending.  A definite recipe for success.  Another big item note to be overlooked in the final was Sweden’s loss of great puck-possession centers Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sendin, as well big body presence of Johan Franzen.  As well, the IOC once again stuck it foot in its mouth by preventing  Caps star center Nicklas Backstrom from playing because of a game day allergy-medicine drug-test failure.    Something has to be done about this continued overreach, which cost Backstrom his Silver medal.   Anyway, now back to the NHL reality and a two-month run to the playoffs starting tomorrow.  2016 Summer games are next in Rio de Janeiro and 23rd Winter games in 2018 will be in PyeongChang, South Korea.

While it still is getting colder again in most of the country, remember that players are reporting to spring training and games start this weekend.  Finally, I hope you watched the World Golf Championship Accenture Matchplay tournament.  In the final, which went into extra holes, there was some of the most unbelievable shotmaking from terrible lies ever by French unknown Victor Dubuisson.  Even the commentators, former professional golf ears themselves had never seen such incredible play under pressure.  Jason Day eventually won on the 23rd hole.

Following on last week’s rumors, long-time Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell will not seek reelection.  Dingell is the longest serving lawmaker in congressional history and was one of the most powerful members of Congress ever.  Dingell replaced his father in the House some 58 years ago and served 29 terms helping to pass — if not write — the most iconic pieces of legislation of the last six decades, from the Civil Rights Act and Medicare to the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and, in 2010, the Affordable Care Act.  See the local, excellent coverage from our friends at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

Today, besides the nation’s governors being in town for a conference, the Supreme Court tackles oral arguments regarding EPA’s first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.  The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Administrator, says the case is narrow and wont much of an impact ability to regulate carbon emissions.

Also launching today, the ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit launches with comments from Waste Management Recycle America head Bill Caesar today.  Tomorrow, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta are on the agenda.

Also tomorrow at 3:30, the University of Delaware and Rockefeller Brothers will announce a major initiative at an offshore wind conference in Boston.   The project is expected to push offshore wind throughout the east coast, connecting critical information on cutting-edge technologies, financing and collaboration opportunities.  More on this tomorrow.

Next week is CERA Week in Houston, so get ready for that big event.  Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Southern Plant Signs Loan Guarantee for Nukes – Following a speech at the National Press Club last week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz then traveled to Georgia to join Southern Company leaders in a ceremony that announced Georgia Power has secured approximately $3.46 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE.  The ceremony was at the site of the Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the nuclear expansion project. The nuclear loan guarantees are expected to provide Georgia Power customers approximately $225 million to $250 million of present-value benefits.  The two new nuclear units are under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga., where two existing nuclear units have been in operation since the late 1980s.

What is Southern Building at Vogtle – The new units will use state-of-the-art AP1000 technology and are among the first new nuclear units being built in the U.S. in 30 years. The addition of the new units will make Plant Vogtle the only four-unit nuclear facility in the country.   Under the terms of the agreement, total guaranteed borrowings will be the lesser of 70% of the company’s eligible projected costs or approximately $3.46 billion and will be funded by the Federal Financing Bank. Georgia Power received an initial draw of $1 billion and future draws may occur as often as quarterly. The loan guarantees apply to borrowings related to the construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4, and any guaranteed borrowings will be full recourse to Georgia Power and secured by a first priority lien on the company’s 45.7% ownership interest in the two new units.  Along with Georgia Power’s portion of the two 1,100-megawatt reactors, the remaining ownership is split among Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power’s share of costs is currently projected at approximately $6.8 billion, which includes approximately $2 billion of financing costs to be collected during construction.

What the Construction Means to Georgia – The construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 represents a multi-billion dollar capital investment in Georgia. It is the largest job-producing project in the state, employing approximately 5,000 people during peak construction and creating 800 permanent jobs when the plant begins operating. Georgia Power is in a position to provide customers approximately $2 billion in potential benefits in the form of savings related to recovery of financing costs during construction, DOE loan guarantees, production tax credits, lower-than-forecast interest rates and lower-than-forecast commodity costs. Once complete, the new facility will produce enough clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power 500,000 Georgia homes and businesses.

When Will Vogtle Be Done – Vogtle units 3 and 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Positive progress continues on the facility and major milestones are being met. Procurement of all major components is complete and fabrication and delivery of these components are on track to meet project needs.

Study: Wind Turbines Effective For 25 Years – A new study by the Imperial College Business School in the U.K. says that wind turbines can last about 25 years before requiring an upgrade, going against a common claim that wind turbines have short life spans. Based on an examination of wind turbines in the U.K., researchers carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

Freight Railroads, DOT Announce Rail Safety Initiative – The nation’s major freight railroads U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out a rail operations safety initiative that will institute new voluntary operating practices for moving crude oil by rail.  The announcement follows consultations between railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The announcement today covers steps related to crude by rail operations. Additional issues relating to the safe transport of crude oil, such as tank car standards and proper shipper classification of crude oil, are being addressed separately.

Railroads will Take Key Steps – Under the industry’s voluntary efforts, railroads will take the following steps: 1) Increased Track Inspections – Effective March 25, railroads will perform at least one additional internal-rail inspection each year above those required by new FRA regulations on main line routes over which trains moving 20 or more carloads of crude oil travel.  Railroads will also conduct at least two high-tech track geometry inspections each year on main line routes over which trains with 20 or more loaded cars of crude oil are moving.  Current federal regulations do not require comprehensive track geometry inspections.  2) Braking Systems – No later than April 1, railroads will equip all trains with 20 or more carloads of crude oil with either distributed power or two-way telemetry end-of-train devices. These technologies allow train crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train in order to stop the train faster. 3) Use of Rail Traffic Routing Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin using the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS) to aid in the determination of the safest and most secure rail routes for trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil. 4) Lower Speeds – No later than July 1, railroads will operate trains with 20 or more tank cars carrying crude oil that include at least one older DOT-111 car no faster than 40 miles-per-hour in the federally designated 46 high-threat-urban areas (HTUA) as established by DHS regulations.  In the meantime, railroads will continue to operate trains with 20 or more carloads of hazardous materials, including crude oil, at the industry self-imposed speed limit of 50 miles per hour.  5) Community Relations – Railroads will continue to work with communities through which crude oil trains move to address location-specific concerns that communities may have.  6) Increased Trackside Safety Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin installing additional wayside wheel bearing detectors if they are not already in place every 40 miles along tracks with trains carrying 20 or more crude oil cars, as other safety factors allow.  7) Increased Emergency Response Training and Tuition Assistance – Railroads have committed by July 1 to provide $5 million to develop specialized crude by rail training and tuition assistance program for local first responders.  8) Emergency Response Capability Planning – Railroads will by July 1 develop an inventory of emergency response resources for responding to the release of large amounts of crude oil along routes over which trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil operate.  This inventory will include locations for the staging of emergency response equipment and, where appropriate, contacts for the notification of communities.  When the inventory is completed, railroads will provide DOT with information on the deployment of the resources and make the information available upon request to appropriate emergency responders.

API Says Import Crude Lowest in 17 Years – Late last week, API said the United States imported less crude oil in January than at any time since the late 1990s, among many other things as it released it January statistics.  They said crude oil imports of 7.5 million barrels per day marked a 5.2% decline year-on-year and the lowest level in 17 years, attributing the decline to higher domestic crude oil production.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Steyer to Speak at Climate Leadership Conference – Leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofits will share innovative ways to address climate change through policy and business solutions at the 2014 Climate Leadership Conference today through Wednesday in San Diego.  Climate philanthropist Tom Steyer, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, and Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann will be among more than 75 speakers. For more information, contact press@climateleadershipconference.org.

Podesta, Moniz, WM’s Caesar to Headline ARPA-E Event  ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit, will be held today through Wednesday at National Harbor, MD. Now in its fifth year, the Summit will attract influential thought leaders to discuss new and effective energy technology advancements to secure the nation’s global technology leadership.  The premier event dedicated to transformative energy solutions, the Summit will bring together a range of public and private sector leaders to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and build relationships to help move technologies into the marketplace. Additionally, the Technology Showcase includes several hundred carefully selected transformational technologies—many of which are demonstrated publicly for the first time during the Summit.  Speaker will include Waste Management Recycle America Bill Caesar, President, WM and WM Organic Growth, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta, among others.

Forum to Focus on Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation   Today at noon, Johns Hopkins University MS Program in Energy Policy and Climate Program will present a forum next Monday at Noon featuring Bruce S. Schlein, Director of Corporate Sustainability at Citi.  Schlein will lead a discussion on aggregating and standardizing energy efficiency and distributed generation to get to scale.  Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation (EE/DG) in the built environment hold significant promise for delivering energy savings, local jobs, and environmental benefits. Sufficient scale is needed for EE/DG to realize its full potential, and reaching scale vis-à-vis finance requires aggregation and standardization to bridge to the capital markets. This session reviews various finance and policy mechanisms, and their strengths and weaknesses by property asset class.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Court GHG Panel –Following today arguments, the environmental Law Institute and DC Bar Association will host a debrief of the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument on EPA’s GHG Rulemakings at noon.  After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rulemakings (Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012)), several states and industry groups appealed to the Supreme Court.  Depending on how the Court treats the breadth of this question, the Court’s decision could have little or significant effects on EPA’s requirement that certain stationary industrial sources obtain prevention of significant deterioration or Title V operating permits for greenhouse gas emissions.  ELI and distinguished panelists, many of whom participated in the case, will discuss and dissect the previous day’s oral argument and the implications of the potential outcomes for clients and policy moving forward.  Andy Oldham, the Deputy Solicitor General of Texas and Vickie Patton of the Environmental Defense Fund will be among the speakers.

Breitling CEO to Discuss NatGas Drilling at Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February luncheon panel at the University Club tomorrow at Noon featuring Chris Faulkner, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breitling Energy Corporation.  Faulkner will discuss “The Fracking Truth – How to Safely Manage the Process and the Impact on the U.S. and the World.”

GWU Energy Security Policy Forum Set – GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs will host a Security Policy Forum on Tuesday, February 25th looking at energy security in the 21st Century.  The forum will feature David Goldwyn, former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and GW Institute for Security and Conflict Studies Director Charles Glaser.

Marshall Forum to Look at Energy Policy – The George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Club on policy priorities for U.S. energy policy.  The panel will feature Marshall CEO Bill O’Keefe, Manhattan Institute fellow Mark Mills and Chamber Energy expert Steve Eule.  Energy issues remain at the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda. President Obama credited his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy for moving the U.S. “closer to energy independence than we have been in decades” in his State of the Union address.  The continued expansion of domestic energy production raises environmental, economic, and international trade questions.  Other key energy decisions facing the nation will impact economic and environmental policy, including regulations on coal-fired power plants, the Keystone XL, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), tax and other preferences to support renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels, and leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration.  Recently, the Marshall Institute released a new report, A Framework for a New U.S. Energy Policy, detailing principles to guide the development of energy policy in the years to come.

CSIS to look at China, Energy — The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Xiaojie Xu, head of the World Energy Division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Xu will present the World Energy China Outlook. The outlook, an annual report, examines world energy trends from China’s perspective, addresses energy development in China (and the global repercussions thereof), and provides energy policy recommendations for the Chinese government. This year’s outlook addresses a variety of topics including unconventional gas production in China, renewable energy development, and the increasing need for a ‘social license’ for energy projects. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Consumers to Rollout Auto Issue at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Association will hold a forum at The National Press Club tomorrow  at noon, where Consumer Reports will announce their Top Picks for 2014 and offer their insights into today’s most pressing automotive consumer and industry questions. Each spring, consumers and auto industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Auto issue for its Top Picks in cars and trucks.  From best and worst in fuel economy, safety and overall value to special tips to get the most car for the money in this economy, the issue provides the ratings, recommendations, and advice that will influence consumer purchases.  Which manufacturers are making the best cars? Consumer Reports auto issue also features its annual car brand report card that take an in-depth look at which brands offer the most for consumers combining scoring for test performance, reliability and safety across their entire product line.

Offshore Wind Conference in Boston Set – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts Wednesday and Thursday at the Hynes Conference Center.  Speakers will include AWC technical expert Bill Wall, as well as Interior’s Tommy Beaudreau and DOE’s Dan Poneman and Peter Davidson, as well as Jim Gordon of Cape Wind, Jeff Grybowski of Deepwater and Abby Hopper of the Maryland Energy Administration.   The University of Delaware is also expected to make a major announcement about a new center on Tuesday afternoon.

House Resources to look at Energy Jobs for Vets – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on American energy jobs and opportunities for veterans.

CSIS to Discuss Unconventional Shale – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:30a.m. to discuss the domestic economic implications of the U.S. oil and gas revolution.  CSIS will host Trevor Houser, Partner at the Rhodium Group, and Mohsen Bonakdarpour, Managing Director for Consulting Group of IHS Economics. As unconventionals production moves out of its nascence and our knowledge of the resource base improves, various impacts slowly begin to unfold. Perhaps most importantly, the economic story slowly comes to light–job growth, the effects on industry (both energy intensive and otherwise) and trade balances. Trevor Houser and Mohsen Bonakdarpour will discuss their respective reports on the topic followed by a period for Q&A. David Pumphrey, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

GWU Forum looks at Climate, Sustainability George Washington University’s Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) will hold a discussion on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. climate and sustainable development in Myanmar.  The presentation will provide a review of the historical, an overview of contemporary and a preview of potential outcomes of the inextricable linkage of climate and social, economic and human development as well as some policy, technical, management and institutional response measures. It will make the case for temporal and spatial inter-connectedness as well as the need to go beyond sustainability and include resiliency. The challenge in Myanmar as well as in other ASEAN countries is the fierce urgency of how to be more sustainable and resilient in crafting development policies, strategies and actions. The opportunity for transformational institutional, capacity building, technology, economic instruments, and management response options will be discussed.  Nay Htun of Stony Brook University will speak.

Forum to Address Building Resilience – EESI will host a briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. I the Senate Visitor Center Room 203 looking at the emerging public-policy issue of resiliency. There is a growing, bipartisan call for urgent action to improve the resiliency of cities, communities and critical systems. Thousands of homes, buildings and other infrastructure have been damaged or completely destroyed by powerful hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in recent years. The severe drought in the Southwest is wreaking havoc in other ways and prompting widespread restrictions on water use.  Is it possible to have “strong” and “green” buildings that withstand hurricane-force winds, conserve energy and water, and remain operational during a power outage? If model building codes help ensure minimum levels of quality, health, safety and energy efficiency in new homes and buildings, why are there so many communities without basic building codes? How can we improve our existing buildings? In this briefing, experts in architecture and building science, risk management, and energy policy will address these and other questions as well as related pending legislation, community initiatives, and tangible strategies and solutions for improving the resilience of our buildings. Speakers will include Debra Ballen of Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Cooper Martin of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Ryan Meres of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and Jake Oster, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for VT Rep. Peter Welch.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov. Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on Thursday and Friday in Boulder.  People from different disciplines and backgrounds will discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future.  Speakers will include Jeff Bingaman, former Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and U.S. Senator from New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Designate Michael Connor, former Governor of Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, former Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Ken Salazar.

CA Clean Energy Roundtable Set – The Environmental Markets Association and PG&E will hold the first Thought Leader Round Table of 2014 on Friday in San Francisco at the offices of PG&E.  EMA’s Regional Round Tables are designed to promote open discussions between industry professionals and regulatory officials. With 30-50 attendees at each of the Round Tables, presenters and attendees come away with a new knowledge and understanding of issues and potential solutions.

Smart Grid Forum Set – On Friday, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will hold the first in a series of sector-specific Trade Talks at its headquarters in Arlington, VA. Attendees will learn how to expand their business in the global electricity transmission and distribution market, which is forecast to reach nearly $500 billion over the next seven years. USTDA’s Trade Talk: Smart Grid will feature briefings from technical experts and U.S. Government officials, as well as industry case studies and an open forum discussion.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

CERA Week Set – March 3-7th will be CERA week in Houston.  CERAWeek 2014, presented by IHS Energy, will focus on the accelerating pace of change in energy markets, technologies, and geopolitics—and the emerging competitive playing field. The competitive landscape is evolving rapidly, affecting countries, companies, sources of supply, fuels for end-use markets, investment, logistics, human capital, and technological innovation. Companies face considerable risk as they seek to invest to support long-term growth.  Again, CERAWeek has a crazy list of speakers including Valero CEO Bill Klesse, Duke CEO Lynn Good, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Energy Sect Ernie Moniz, EIA’s Adam Sieminski, Sen Energy ranking member Lisa Murkowski, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew MacKenzie, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler and many, many more.

Forum to Look at Shale Gas in Azerbaijan – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host on Tuesday March 4th featuring Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice-President for Investment and Marketing of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), to discuss the development of the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea. Stage 2 of the development, agreed upon by the project consortium in December 2013, forms the foundation for plans to develop and expand pipeline capacity through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, establishing what many are calling a new Southern Gas Corridor in Europe. Dr. Baylarbayov, who played an integral role in concluding the final investment decision on the next stage of development and the pipeline discussions, will discuss the future of Azerbaijani gas and the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor. Elizabeth Urbanas, Director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Robin West, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide comments. Edward Chow, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

BHP CEO to Discuss Future Energy Needs – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation on Thursday March 6th at 10:00 a.m. with Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, to discuss how the world can meet the demand for resources as 1.7 billion people gain access to electricity over the next 20 years and energy demand grows by 30%. With a portfolio spanning steel making materials, metals, energy and fertilizer BHP Billiton is the world’s largest diversified resources company and the only firm to produce oil, gas, coal and uranium as well as the metals used in renewables like copper. Headquartered in Australia, the company has operations in 26 countries and a workforce of approximately 128,000 people.  Andrew Mackenzie was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton in May 2013. He has had over 30 years’ experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals and has held a number of senior roles at BP and Rio Tinto.

DOT Rail Meeting Expected to Touch New Agreement – The Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) will hold its semi- annual public meeting on March 6 in Washington, D.C. Established by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of the Department of Transportation in 2007, RETAC serves as a forum for government, industry and others to discuss emerging issues in the transportation by rail of biofuels, conventional hydrocarbons and coal. Its 25 voting members span across large and small railroads, coal producers, electric utilities, the biofuels industry, the petroleum industry and the private railcar industry.  Following last week announcement by AAR and DOT, there will Likely be more interest in this meeting.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual gala on March 13th at the National Press Club.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. and Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane and former President of Shell John Hofmeister.

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for March 19 and 20th in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Head to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on March 20th at the National Press Club , featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.

Energy Update Week of February 18

Friends,

I know you all had a rough week last week with more snow.  While I avoided the mess by heading to warmer climates, I still managed to hear a lot of complaints. It still is winter though.  And perhaps nobody had it as bad as NBC Olympic host Bob Costas, who finally returned the anchor chair after an eye infection put him on injured reserve. Speaking of the Winter Games, perhaps we can give Russia some of our snow as the warmer weather in Sochi unfortunately continues to be a bigger part of the story than the athletes themselves.  And you don’t have to be a hockey fan to like the Pool play games, including a number of exciting shootout/OT games.  The medal rounds are expected to be even more exciting, starting with USA-Canada on Thursday for the Women’s hockey gold. (Bad blood still exists after a pre-Olympic line brawl between the rivals)

And I know we are still a few months away from April at Augusta National, but the icy-snowy weather has claimed a course victim that players probably won’t be disappointed to see gone: the famed Eisenhower Tree on Augusta National’s 17th Hole.  It should make that tee shot coming out of the par 3 16th a little bit easier.

I noticed the President called for a giant new fund to pay for climate resiliency.  He’ll need lots of luck for that, especially with this Congress tightening the fiscal belt.  The fund was also a brief part of the climate discussion on Sunday’s Meet The Press.  Earlier this year, my enviro friends begged the Sunday Shows to devote more time to climate, and with Sunday’s lame borefest, it is likely to disappear again from the agenda to save their ratings.

This week, recess slows action on the Hill but Thursday, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead and Scott Segal will debate NRDC’s Dave Doniger and EDF’s Megan Ceronsky at the Environmental Law Institute.  Forget about USA-Russia hockey or the US-Canada ice dancing rivalry (did I really just say that), this will be a nerd, GHG policy battle royale. You won’t want to miss it.

Also mark your calendar for early next week as DOE’s ARPA-E holds its annual summit on Monday and Tuesday at the Gaylord at National Harbor.  It will feature Energy Secretary Moniz and our good friend Bill Caesar, who heads up Waste Management’s Recycle America campaign, among many others.  If you plan on attending the Summit, please let me know as I am trying to get a feel for who will be covering the event.

Finally, hope you stayed up to see the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show debut.  I thought it was pretty good, but you can never go wrong with U2 and a Will Smith dance-off.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Union Letter Raises Concerns About Key Power Plant Issues – Six labor unions wrote Senate Energy Committee leaders to register concerns about the short timeframe available for compliance with EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) rule, citing the devastating effects on jobs, especially good-paying middle-class employment in the coal-fired electricity generation sector. During the rulemaking process the unions stated for the record that MATS and its short compliance timeline would result in the closing of 56 Gigawatts of coal-fired generation and the loss of approximately 250,000 jobs. Despite assurances by EPA to the contrary, the unions’ prediction is now coming to pass.  In addition, the unions raised the concern that as key plants retire, sufficient generation assets to meet demand become questionable, as witnessed by the astronomical electric price spikes during the recent polar vortex. The group urged the Committee to hold a hearing on the effects of MATS on the regional transmission organization (RTO) markets and their preparedness for generation retirements in the 2015-2017 timeframe.  Unions signing the letter included the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, IBEW, Transportation Communications Union/IAM, SMART Transportation Division, United Mine Workers of America and Utility Workers Union of America.

Macchiarola Heads to ANGA – ANGA has named Frank J. Macchiarola its new Executive Vice President, Government Affairs. In this capacity, Macchiarola will strategically integrate ANGA’s federal and state government affairs activities with its broader advocacy resources – communications, market development and research/policy analysis.  His first day at ANGA will be March 17, 2014.  Macchiarola joins ANGA from the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP where, as partner in the policy resolution group, he advised clients on energy legislation and policy along with healthcare, education and labor issues.  Prior to his time at Bracewell, Macchiarola was Minority Staff Director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) under then-Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). He also previously served as both Majority and Minority Staff Director and Counsel to Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) in his role as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Moniz, The Fray to Open Ivanpah Solar Project – NRG Energy, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel will hold a grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on tomorrow and Wednesday  in Las Vegas.  Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, which is located in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border, uses 347,000 sunfacing mirrors to produce 392 Megawatts of electricity – enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 California homes.  The event will feature a first look at Ivanpah during the two-day event.  There will be a dinner on Wednesday followed by tour, ribbon cutting and lunch on Thursday.  U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz will be the keynote speaker and there will be an appearance by Grammy-nominated band The Fray. Images used in the lyric video for “Love Don’t Die,” the first song released from the Fray’s album, Helios, were shot at Ivanpah.

Markey Joins Senate Environment – Well, it didn’t take long for Freshman Sen. Ed Markey to join the Senate Environment Committee, adding another Northeastern liberal to the team.  He will fill retiring Sen. Max Baucus’s seat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, often a vote on the committee that was difficult for Chair. Boxer to control.  Not so much one with Markey.  The Massachusetts Democrat is one of the Senate’s most outspoken environmental advocates.

EPA Data Shows Emissions Leveled Off EPA has released new data that shows Power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides leveled out between 2012 and 2013, following years of significant and consistent reductions. The utilities emitted 3.2 million tons of sulfur dioxide in 2013, down from 3.3 million tons in 2012. By comparison, emissions were as high as 10.2 million tons in 2005 and 15.7 million tons in 1990.  Emissions of nitrogen oxides increased slightly in 2013, measuring at 1.8 million tons, compared with 1.7 million tons in 2012. Emissions in 2005 totaled 3.6 million tons and in 1990 totaled 6.4 million tons.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

GreenBiz Forum Set for AZ – The GreenBiz Forum 2014 continues today at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Arizona.  Presented in partnership with The Sustainability Consortium and ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, the sixth annual GreenBiz Forum defines the trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business now. The Forum is framed by the annual State of Green Business report, the seventh annual edition of GreenBiz’s acclaimed accounting of key sustainability metrics and trends.

RFA Conference to Tackle Challenges to Ethanol – The Renewable Fuels Association will hold the 19th annual National Ethanol Conference at the JW Marriott in Orlando, Florida through Wednesday.  Among the number of issues panels and forum Led Zeppelin 2, a premier Led Zeppelin cover band, will play at the event tonight.

CSIS to Tackle NatGas Supply, Demand Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum today offering a reassessment of gas supply and demand prospects as well as a discussion of the path forward. More efficient drilling, new technologies, and a deeper geological understanding have not only increased access to domestic gas resources but have also allowed for the development of an updated profile of the resource itself. The rapidly evolving nature of U.S. unconventional gas development has rendered resource estimates made only a few years ago already out of date. At the same time, opportunities for new demand growth have also increased. Yet challenges to realizing the full potential of this resource remain.

USEA to Discuss Smart Grid – The U.S. Energy Association will host a discussion today at 10:00 a.m. to familiarize participants with Smart Grid concepts and solutions, including Distribution Optimization, Transmission Optimization, Asset Optimization, Demand Optimization, Smart Meters and Communications, and Workforce and Engineering Design Optimization. Smart Grid industry standards efforts will be discussed, including SGIP 2.0, IEEE, CIGRE and IEC. The impact of policy on Smart Grid technology investment will be shown globally. An overview of recent Smart Grid deployments will be given, including the lessons learned.  GE Energy’s John McDonald will speak.

Forum to Focus on LNG. Exports – Rumi Forum will host a panel today at Noon on the unrestricted exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The panel features Charles Ebinger of Brookings Institution who will explain the current policy that is in place, and discuss the main findings of a major NERA study that was conducted for the Department of Energy to quantify the potential effects of allowing for unrestricted natural gas exports. He will discuss the potential benefits and downsides of the status quo and what effect these exports may have on American energy security.  Despite its indistinct policy, the US administration has adopted its abundant energy resources as a key tool in 21st century diplomacy, for instance confirmed by the establishment of the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources. To give an example, in 2010 the State Department launched the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program (UGTEP) to help countries develop their unconventional natural gas resources safely and economically. Also, the US has actively mediated to find a solution for the disagreement between Lebanon and Israel about the demarcation of their offshore territories, an argument that intensified when large natural gas resources were found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Charles Ebinger will elaborate on the potential of energy resources as a diplomatic instrument for US authorities. Tim Boersma, a fellow in the Energy Security Initiative in the Foreign Policy program, will moderate the talk.

Discussion to Look at Political & Ethical Issues with Geo-Engineering – The George Washington University Climate and Water Security Initiatives the Elliot School will host a discussion today at 5:30 p.m. Elizabeth Chalecki, Visiting Research Fellow from the Stimson Center, will discuss this topic.

Panel to Look at China, Renewables – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars China Environment Forum (CEF) together with WWF will hold a panel on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. that delves into china role for coal in its economy and a transition to renewables. The discussion will be anchored by a new WWF and Energy Transition Research Institute (Entri) report China’s Future Generation: Assessing the Maximum Potential for Renewable Power Sources in China to 2050 that assesses the scenarios at which China can technically transition to majority renewable electricity over the next 36 years.  The analysis shows that with existing commercially available technology and aggressive policies shifting the country away from energy-intensive industries, around 80 percent of China’s electricity generation can be met by renewable sources by 2050. The report will be released the day of this meeting and available online. The panel of industry, research, and NGO representatives will reflect on the near-term opportunities for businesses and the gaps that NGOs and other stakeholders could fill to accelerate this transition.  Our friend Ethan Zindler, Global Head of Policy Analysis of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Address Press Club Luncheon – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at the National Press Club Luncheon on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.  Moniz, the former MIT faculty member and this year’s designated SOTU “survivor” is wrestling with the challenges posed by unprecedented domestic supplies of energy and the demands in some quarters to push for more exports.  He will address that and many other topics.

ACORE Webinar to Focus on The State of Union, State of Renewable Energy Policy  ACORE will host a panel on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. to discuss the state of renewable energy policy for 2014 and beyond.  Traditionally, the State of the Union has launched the policy agenda.  The 2014 State of the Union speech addressed many points on energy and climate that are important to the renewable energy community, the nation and the world.  What did the President say? Can we turn words into policy and policy into actions?  Renewable energy has had a long history of bipartisan support, but we are entering an election year with the mid-term Congressional elections set for November.  Is there a way to get support from both sides of the aisle, or will the President have to go it alone?  The panel will include seasoned veterans of Congress and the regulatory arena to discuss how will all of this affect renewable energy policy and the market in 2014 and beyond.  Speakers will include ACORE’s Todd Foley and former SC Rep. Bob Inglis.

WCEE Forum to Look at Carbon Offsets – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment (WCEE) will host a forum on Wednesday at12:00 p.m. at Washington Gas looking at carbon offsets.  Many businesses offer carbon offsets to negate emissions associated with business activities or products. Carbon offsets are frequently created by projects far away from the DC area.  WCEE will take an in-depth look at a program operated by Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) that instead uses offsets.  Laura Pagliarulo, Manager of Green Products at WGES will discuss this innovative carbon offset program that matches carbon offsets to commercial and residential natural gas usage, including the environmental benefits of a local carbon offset program and the unique public/private partnership.

Wilson Forum looks at Climate, Oceans Impacts On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold the first Managing Our Planet Panel of 2014 will focus on the impact of climate change on our oceans’ ecosystems.  The world’s oceans are under direct threat. The 5th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that as a direct result of increased carbon intake, acidification has increased, which has a direct correlation to the overall health and balance of oceanic ecosystems. Furthermore, sea levels are predicted to rise in 95 percent of ocean area. How then can societies and governments work together to bring clear and lasting policies to shift these trends? A panel will convene to discuss recent oceanic challenges.  Speakers will include Thomas Lovejoy of the John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, GMU’s Chris Parsons and Ocean Conservancy head Andreas Merkl.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.

BP Energy Outlook 2035 Released at JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University will host BP for the release of its annual BP Energy Outlook 2035 Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Mark Finley, general manager of Global Energy Markets and U.S. Economics at BP, and Wil Kohl, founding director and senior adviser of the Energy, Resources and Environment Program at SAIS, will discuss the report.

Segal, Holmstead Featured in ELI Debate on GHG Issues – The Environmental Law Institute will host a debate on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. regulating emissions outside the facility fenceline under Clean Air Act Section 111. Whether U.S. EPA and states can regulate emissions outside the facility fenceline is a critical factor in shaping the regulatory response to climate change using Clean Air Act Section 111. There has been much rhetoric about the ability of states and EPA to create regulatory tools such as an emissions trading of greenhouse gasses, but policy experts and professionals need a more definitive answer.  To address this topic, ELI announces its second seminar in a debate format. Loosely following an academic debate structure, two expert teams will argue the resolution, ask questions of the other side, and identify points of agreement and disagreement. Following the debate, the discussion will open to audience questions. We hope this format will help to crystallize issues and separate fact from rhetoric.  Debaters in the AFFIRMATIVE include Megan Ceronsky of EDF and NRDC’s David Doniger while debaters in the NEGATIVE will include Bracewell’s Jeffrey Holmstead and Scott Segal.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on Thursday and Friday at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Oil Book Author Featured at Georgetown Forum – On Thursday from 3:00pm – 4:00pm at Georgetown University’s Mortara Building, author Jeff Colgan will be featured in a talk about his recent book, “Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War.”

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Steyer to Speak at Climate Leadership Conference – Leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofits will share innovative ways to address climate change through policy and business solutions at the 2014 Climate Leadership Conference February 24th to the 26th in San Diego.  Climate philanthropist Tom Steyer, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, and Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann will be among more than 75 speakers. For more information, contact press@climateleadershipconference.org.

Podesta, Moniz, WM’s Caesar to Headline ARPA-E Event  ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit, will be held on Monday- Wednesday, February 24-26th at National Harbor, MD. Now in its fifth year, the Summit will attract influential thought leaders to discuss new and effective energy technology advancements to secure the nation’s global technology leadership.  The premier event dedicated to transformative energy solutions, the Summit will bring together a range of public and private sector leaders to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and build relationships to help move technologies into the marketplace. Additionally, the Technology Showcase includes several hundred carefully selected transformational technologies—many of which are demonstrated publicly for the first time during the Summit.  Speaker will include Waste Management Recycle America Bill Caesar, President, WM and WM Organic Growth, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru  John Podesta, among others.

Forum to Focus on Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation   On Monday, February 24th at noon, Johns Hopkins University MS Program in Energy Policy and Climate Program will present a forum next Monday at Noon featuring Bruce S. Schlein, Director of Corporate Sustainability at Citi.  Schlein will lead a discussion on aggregating and standardizing energy efficiency and distributed generation to get to scale.  Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation (EE/DG) in the built environment hold significant promise for delivering energy savings, local jobs, and environmental benefits. Sufficient scale is needed for EE/DG to realize its full potential, and reaching scale vis-à-vis finance requires aggregation and standardization to bridge to the capital markets. This session reviews various finance and policy mechanisms, and their strengths and weaknesses by property asset class.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Court GHG Panel – Next Tuesday, February 25th at Noon, the environmental Law Institute and DC Bar Association will host a debrief of the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument on EPA’s GHG Rulemakings.  After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rulemakings (Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012)), several states and industry groups appealed to the Supreme Court.  Depending on how the Court treats the breadth of this question, the Court’s decision could have little or significant effects on EPA’s requirement that certain stationary industrial sources obtain prevention of significant deterioration or Title V operating permits for greenhouse gas emissions.  ELI and distinguished panelists, many of whom participated in the case, will discuss and dissect the previous day’s oral argument and the implications of the potential outcomes for clients and policy moving forward.  Andy Oldham, the Deputy Solicitor General of Texas and Vickie Patton of the Environmental Defense Fund will be among the speakers.

Breitling CEO to Discuss NatGas Drilling at Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February luncheon panel at the University Club on Tuesday, February 25th at Noon featuring Chris Faulkner, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breitling Energy Corporation.  Faulkner will discuss “The Fracking Truth – How to Safely Manage the Process and the Impact on the U.S. and the World.”

GWU Energy Security Policy Forum Set – GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs will host a Security Policy Forum on Tuesday, February 25th looking at energy security in the 21st Century.  The forum will feature David Goldwyn, former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and GW Institute for Security and Conflict Studies Director Charles Glaser.

Marshall Forum to Look at Energy Policy – On Tuesday February 25, 2014, the George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion at the Capitol Hill Club on policy priorities for U.S. energy policy.  The panel will feature Marshall CEO Bill O’Keefe, Manhattan Institute fellow Mark Mills and Chamber Energy expert Steve Eule.  Energy issues remain at the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda. President Obama credited his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy for moving the U.S. “closer to energy independence than we have been in decades” in his State of the Union address.  The continued expansion of domestic energy production raises environmental, economic, and international trade questions.  Other key energy decisions facing the nation will impact economic and environmental policy, including regulations on coal-fired power plants, the Keystone XL, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), tax and other preferences to support renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels, and leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration.  Recently, the Marshall Institute released a new report, A Framework for a New U.S. Energy Policy, detailing principles to guide the development of energy policy in the years to come.

Maisano Media Seminar Reset for February 25th – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I am conducting a webinar Tuesday February 25th at 1:00 p.m. focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

CSIS to look at China, Energy — The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday, February 25th at 1:00 p.m. featuring Xiaojie Xu, head of the World Energy Division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Xu will present the World Energy China Outlook. The outlook, an annual report, examines world energy trends from China’s perspective, addresses energy development in China (and the global repercussions thereof), and provides energy policy recommendations for the Chinese government. This year’s outlook addresses a variety of topics including unconventional gas production in China, renewable energy development, and the increasing need for a ‘social license’ for energy projects. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Consumers to Rollout Auto Issue at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Association will hold a forum at The National Press Club on Tuesday, February 26th at noon, where Consumer Reports will announce their Top Picks for 2014 and offer their insights into today’s most pressing automotive consumer and industry questions. Each spring, consumers and auto industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Auto issue for its Top Picks in cars and trucks.  From best and worst in fuel economy, safety and overall value to special tips to get the most car for the money in this economy, the issue provides the ratings, recommendations, and advice that will influence consumer purchases.  Which manufacturers are making the best cars? Consumer Reports auto issue also features its annual car brand report card that take an in-depth look at which brands offer the most for consumers combining scoring for test performance, reliability and safety across their entire product line.

AWC Speakers to Address Offshore Wind Conference in Boston – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on February 26th and 27th at the Hynes Conference Center.  Speakers will include AWC exec Bob Mitchell and AWC funder John Breckenridge of Bregal Energy.  Other speakers are Interior’s Tommy Beaudreau and DOE’s Dan Poneman and Peter Davidson, as well as Jim Gordon of Cape Wind, Jeff Grybowski of Deepwater and Abby Hopper of the Maryland Energy Administration.

CSIS to Discuss Unconventional Shale – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Thursday February 27th at 9:30a.m. to discuss the domestic economic implications of the U.S. oil and gas revolution.  CSIS will host Trevor Houser, Partner at the Rhodium Group, and Mohsen Bonakdarpour, Managing Director for Consulting Group of IHS Economics. As unconventionals production moves out of its nascence and our knowledge of the resource base improves, various impacts slowly begin to unfold. Perhaps most importantly, the economic story slowly comes to light–job growth, the effects on industry (both energy intensive and otherwise) and trade balances. Trevor Houser and Mohsen Bonakdarpour will discuss their respective reports on the topic followed by a period for Q&A. David Pumphrey, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

House Resources to look at Energy Jobs for Vets – On Wednesday, February 26th at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on American energy jobs and opportunities for veterans.

GWU Forum looks at Climate, Sustainability – George Washington University’s Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) will hold a discussion on Thursday, February 27th at 12:00 p.m. climate and sustainable development in Myanmar.  The presentation will provide a review of the historical, an overview of contemporary and a preview of potential outcomes of the inextricable linkage of climate and social, economic and human development as well as some policy, technical, management and institutional response measures. It will make the case for temporal and spatial inter-connectedness as well as the need to go beyond sustainability and include resiliency. The challenge in Myanmar as well as in other ASEAN countries is the fierce urgency of how to be more sustainable and resilient in crafting development policies, strategies and actions. The opportunity for transformational institutional, capacity building, technology, economic instruments, and management response options will be discussed.  Nay Htun of Stony Brook University will speak.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov. Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on February 27th and 28th in Boulder.  People from different disciplines and backgrounds will discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future.  Speakers will include Jeff Bingaman, former Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and U.S. Senator from New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Designate Michael Connor, former Governor of Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, former Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Ken Salazar.

CA Clean Energy Roundtable Set – The Environmental Markets Association and PG&E will hold the first Thought Leader Round Table of 2014 on Friday, February 28th in San Francisco at the offices of PG&E.  EMA’s Regional Round Tables are designed to promote open discussions between industry professionals and regulatory officials. With 30-50 attendees at each of the Round Tables, presenters and attendees come away with a new knowledge and understanding of issues and potential solutions.

Smart Grid Forum Set – On Friday February 28th, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will hold the first in a series of sector-specific Trade Talks at its headquarters in Arlington, VA. Attendees will learn how to expand their business in the global electricity transmission and distribution market, which is forecast to reach nearly $500 billion over the next seven years. USTDA’s Trade Talk: Smart Grid will feature briefings from technical experts and U.S. Government officials, as well as industry case studies and an open forum discussion.

CERA Week Set – March 3-7th will be CERA week in Houston.  CERAWeek 2014, presented by IHS Energy, will focus on the accelerating pace of change in energy markets, technologies, and geopolitics—and the emerging competitive playing field. The competitive landscape is evolving rapidly, affecting countries, companies, sources of supply, fuels for end-use markets, investment, logistics, human capital, and technological innovation. Companies face considerable risk as they seek to invest to support long-term growth.  Again, CERAWeek has a crazy list of speakers including Valero CEO Bill Klesse, Duke CEO Lynn Good, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Energy Sect Ernie Moniz, EIA’s Adam Sieminski, Sen Energy ranking member Lisa Murkowski, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew MacKenzie, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler and many, many more.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will holds its annual gala on March 13th at the National Press Club.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. and Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane and former President of Shell John Hofmeister.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

 

Energy Update Week of January 6

Friends,

Just a short intro today because 1) I want to get to the Top 14 for ‘14 and 2) I am completely overloaded with sports.  From the Winter Classic at the Big House (105K-plus) to the football playoffs, the firing of a bunch of NFL coaches and the end of the College Bowl season with tonight’s Florida State-Auburn game, there is just so much going on.  And this doesn’t even contemplate the upcoming 2014 winter Olympics which begin next month.  (can’t wait for the Olympic Hockey and the Curling competitions.)

The other story of 2014 so far seems to be the cold weather…  While I know some of you thought I was going to make a global warming comment, but really, I just remind you that it is winter…  Have you ever been ice fishing on Green Bay in the middle of January?  I can tell you that it is pretty cold.

As regular as the ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, this week starts the “State of the (Fill in the Blank)” events that go on in Washington every January.  Tomorrow at Noon will be the first and often most widely-attended hosted by API’s Jack Gerard at the Newseum.

Also a regular staple of January are AUTO SHOWS…Yes, the world-famous North American International Auto Show launches next week in Detroit followed closely by the Washington Auto show, which has recently become a great, policy-focused follow up to the big Detroit product car show.

Finally, last night the respected news magazine 60 Minutes did a significant and serious piece on Clean Tech issues.  Unfortunately, its title “Clean Tech Crash” and its over focus on the few high-profile failures tends to undermine the true state and significant successes of the industry.   More on this below.

BTW, Stop hording the incandescent light bulbs… They are not as good as the newer, improved (and much more efficient) light bulbs.  On to the Top 14…

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

 

Top 14  Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  It’s availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

60 Minutes Focuses On CleanTech Challenges – The news magazine 60 Minutes released its long-expected story on Sunday that said tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer support for green-technology companies were wasted.  The unfortunately titled, “Cleantech Crash,” set off a furious battle over the true story surrounding clean tech issues.   While the 60 Minutes segment underscores some hard to argue facts about failures at Solyndra, A123 and Fisker, among others, it really only acknowledges successes of the program which we are just starting to see.  This one line in the 15 Minute report:  “The stimulus investment wasn’t a total bust. It helped create the successful electric car company Tesla.  A few of other companies are starting to show promise, and loans are being repaid.”  This makes the CBS timing fortunate for their story’s approach, but not reflective of the successes that will really start to be evident this year.  Our friends on both sides mention the story.  At ACORE, they pushed back during the segment on social media with their Energy Fact Check web site.  Others added that the DOE Loan Program has a 97% success rate. In July 2012, the former head of the loan guarantee program testified to Congress that funds that went to bankrupt companies represented less than 3 percent of the total Department of Energy portfolio, a far better success than the venture capitalists.  As well, solar and wind continue to play a significant role in energy generation and job creation in the US.  All fair and important points…and ones missed by 60 Minutes.   Also our friend Katie Fehrenbacher has a fair piece that looks at what 60 Minutes may have gotten right and where they went astray.

NYT:  Wall Street on Solar Craze – As I mentioned earlier on the timing of the 60 Minutes story, the timing seems to be everything…In fact, over the weekend, the New York Times focused on Solar City and its exploding interest on Wall Street.

WSJ’s Gold Releases New NatGas Book – Award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Russell Gold offers an insightful, no-holds-barred exploration of natural gas drilling practices in his new book that will be released this month.  Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting fluid into the ground at extremely high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside. It has been the subject of three major films, countless news articles, and has become a hotly contested topic both for its environmental impact and its positive effect on the economy and job creation. In The Boom, Gold examines both sides of the arguments and illuminates the truth of this frequently misunderstood technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with memorable and colorful characters: a green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; an Oklahoman natural gas empire–builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy but was brought down by his own success; and a cast of many. Gold melds his natural gift for engaging, in-depth storytelling and reportage with his insight into the energy industry to bring to life the fascinating history of how this major new source is changing the way we use energy. The Boom is not simply the story of fracking: It is the compelling and thought-provoking story of the modern global economy and how the United States—and the world—have been forever changed.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Future Energy Trade – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host Senate Energy Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the future of U.S. energy trade and its implications on the domestic economy and national security.  The boom in American oil and gas production over recent years has generated widespread discourse on U.S. energy security and policy moving forward. In its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts domestic crude oil production to nearly double from 2008 levels to 9.6 million barrels per day by 2019. The report also projects the U.S. will become a net natural gas exporter by 2018. This boom in domestic energy production has raised calls for a fresh look at existing U.S. strategies surrounding its resources.  William Antholis, managing director at Brookings, will provide introductory remarks. He will be joined by Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Energy Security Initiative, for a moderated discussion and audience Q&A following the senator’s speech.

Oil Trade Group to Discuss State of Energy – API will host its 2014 State of American Energy luncheon tomorrow at the Newseum.

US Chamber Sets Business Speech – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will give his annual State of American Business Address to outline the business community’s top policy priorities for the year.

WRI to Look at Stories to Watch – The World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer will offer his perspectives on the major global developments in economics, business, natural resources and sustainability in the coming year on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge.  Steer will look at what stories will impact people and the planet in 2014, who are the influential people and what policy decisions will take place.  Now in its 11th year, WRI’s “Stories to Watch” at the National Press Club is a go-to event for D.C.’s media, policymakers, business leaders, and consultants.

Author To Discuss Storm, Grid Resilience – The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. focused on strengthening homeland security and disaster management to achieve resilience featuring Dr. Dane S. Egli, Author and Senior Advisor, National Security Strategies.  In the face of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and man-made disasters like the Boston Marathon attacks, some have argued that there is a growing need to shift towards a posture that emphasizes resilience across all elements of the homeland security enterprise. A career Coast Guard officer and former White House National Security Council staffer, Dr. Dane Egli makes the case in “Beyond the Storms” that the nation needs to expand its focus beyond prevention and protection to a more systemic analysis of mitigation, response, and recovery.

House Resources to Look at Coal Policies – The House Resources The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at the recent report by the Interior’s office of the Inspector General that focuses on the Administration’s coal policies.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Economic Issues – The East-West Center in Washington will host a forum on Thursday afternoon to look at innovation and growth in US-Japan economic relations in an Asia-Pacific Political Economy Seminar featuring Sean Connell.  Innovation is a key characteristic and comparative advantage of the US and Japanese economies, and it is widely recognized by policy makers, business leaders, and the broader public in both countries as essential for future growth and competitiveness. The two governments increasingly recognize innovation as an area with good potential for expanding bilateral cooperation, and in recent years this topic has risen to the fore within several joint initiatives and policy dialogues.  With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revitalization initiatives and Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations bringing new momentum to US-Japan economic ties, increased focus on innovation offers a potentially valuable framework for identifying new opportunities to collaborate in advancing shared goals, while addressing challenges both countries face in a competitive global environment.  In his presentation, Connell will offer views on these themes, examine ongoing bilateral initiatives including related to energy technology, and explore potential areas for new engagement.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches January 13th through the 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, January 14th to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series on Tuesday January 14th at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how will the grid incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday, January 16th and 17th.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday, January 16th, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday, January 16th at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22, 2014 through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

 

Energy Update Week of October 28

Friends,

Just a short note today as I am still tired from last night’s trek to the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore to catch the Pearl Jam show.  That was on top of close to 500 miles of driving, hauling kids around to the first of several fall lax tournaments and college recruit play days.

The show was terrific and included many of the classics (Corduroy, Daughter, Better Man, Elderly Woman…), a number of the new songs off Lightning Bolt and a few covers including The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, Neil Young’s Rocking in the Free World and a few lines of English Beat’s Save it for Later during Better Man.   I always liked Pearl Jam but was more of a Soundgarden/Alice in Chains guy when listening to the Seattle sound.  But last night, I really respected Pearl Jam for their honoring of Lou Reed, who passed away yesterday.  Not only did they do a cover of the Velvet Underground classic I’m Waiting for the Man, they also sprinkled a “Walk on the Side” tag during Daughter.   Obviously a big influence on them and really classy…

On the Hill this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will really turn to health care and the President’s struggle over ACA implementation when Kathleen Sibelius visits for what will be somewhat uncomfortable testimony.  Before that though, the focus on coal returns when the Committee’s Energy panel holds a hearing tomorrow on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants.  Also on this theme tomorrow, the House Science Committee looks at the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project.  For background on Kemper, look here.  Both hearings coincide with coal rallies in Washington aimed at highlighting the potential harm to coal country, as well as an expected ministerial meeting on CCS technologies next week.  Finally tomorrow, also in House Energy, the Committee returns to bipartisan legislation aimed at speeding reviews for pipeline and transmission infrastructure.

Today, the National Academy of Sciences released a report today saying the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement program to identify best practices for offshore drilling needs to tap a wide variety of experts and have sustained funding in order to be effective.  As we work on these issues, we have resources, including Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition expert Jim Noe.  I also have a recent letter from the 6 trade associations that represent oil and gas producers who conduct essentially all of the OCS oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico that has thoughts on similar topics.  Can forward if you want to see.

Finally, congrats to our friend Andrew Light, a great climate/foreign affairs expert at CAP, who is heading over to help the climate negotiation team headed by Todd Stern at the State Department.  I don’t know, Warsaw in late November/December sounds a little chilly… (h/t POLITCOPro).

Spooks and Ghouls roll on Thursday.  We’re looking to set a volume and time record this year for our 500 home neighborhood (Halloween is an opportunity for a cardio workout in our house).   Next week I’ll give you my annual Pumpkin Seed flavor update.  I am busy digging in, flavoring and Cooking all this week.  (For those of you that don’t know, each Halloween, my kids and I dig through about 20 pumpkins and I make different flavored seeds.  It is almost as rich a tradition in my office as the update itself). Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Report Says Funding, Industry Expertise Needed for New Offshore Institute – A new report from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council says BSEE will need to draw on expertise outside the government to help it improve efforts to identify and develop the “best available and safest technologies” for offshore oil and gas production.  The agency’s plans for forming an independent institute to enhance safe and responsible offshore operations across the oil and gas industry could be a “suitable vehicle” for evaluating and developing new technologies to meet the mandate, the report says, but the institute’s scope should be significantly expanded.  The report says  BSEE should enlist a multidisciplinary group of individuals with the necessary skills to perform critical technical assessments, economic analysis, and independent reviews when needed, the report says. The planned institute would greatly aid in tapping the additional talent BSEE needs, as long as OESI is properly organized, staffed, and supported.  However, the proposed funding level of up to $5 million over five years to launch OESI is likely to be insufficient for purposes other than planning and could limit BSEE’s ability to attract and retain key personnel. To strengthen in-house talent, BSEE should consider hiring a reputable chief engineer or chief scientist with expertise in offshore drilling and production activities to work within the bureau and serve as an interface with OESI.  The report also says BSEE could recruit industry retirees and develop a “cross-posting” system with technical staff rotating between government and industry, similar to the one used by the FAA.

EIA, EPA Data Show Drop in Carbon Emissions – EPA and EIA both reported last week that carbon emissions have dropped last year. Carbon emissions from energy use fell in 2012 to, EIA released its annual report saying emissions were down 3.8% from the previous year, to 5,290 million metric tons. It was the second consecutive year energy emissions declined and the lowest since 1994.  EIA said the decline to a 2.4% reduction in energy consumption, despite gross domestic product growth of about 2.8%.   The following day, EPA said domestic GHGs from the power sector fell for the second year in a row because of greater reliance on natural gas over coal.  The data was gathered through information submitted by 1,611 plants in the GHG Reporting Program, showing emissions declined 5.9% over the previous year.

Rural Utilities to Get Loan Guarantees – At the NRECA meeting in San Antonio, the USDA Rural Utilities Service says it will provide funding for rural electric utility system improvements that will benefit residential and business customers in 23 states. The projects include more than $14.3 million to implement smart grid technology and nearly $11 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.   The $960 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will help build 3,587 miles of line, benefit approximately 17,000 rural residential and business customers, and make other system improvements. Including today’s announcement, the Obama Administration has invested $152 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.  View the list of recipients. USDA funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

MSC Announces New Chief – After a two-month search process, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) said David Spigelmyer will serve as its president.  Spigelmyer, with a 30-year career in the energy industry, takes the position today.  Spigelmyer served as Vice President of Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s Appalachia division, where he was responsible for government relations, regulatory policy, stakeholder engagement and communications efforts. Prior to Chesapeake, he served in similar roles at EQT Corporation and Dominion Resources and held other energy industry-related positions in New York State as well as in Washington, DC. A Clearfield County native, Mr. Spigelmyer is a Penn State University graduate and an active outdoorsman.  Spigelmyer said safe shale development has been one of the most transformative turning points in PA’s history. “Led by Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry and a robust and diverse membership of the MSC, we can and will have energy security, job growth, and environmental protection – without a false choice among any of the three.”

EIA Rolls out New Gas Shale Data – EIA began publication of a new monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) to provide region-specific insights into rig efficiency, new well productivity, decline rates at previously existing wells, and overall production trends. The DPR information, which initially will cover six regions, will also inform EIA’s own short-term production outlook. In 2011-12, these six regions accounted for 90% of domestic oil production growth and virtually all domestic natural gas production growth.  The DPR synthesizes several different types of information to shed light on the current rate of growth or decline in production based on indicators including the active rig count, drilling efficiency and the productivity of new wells, and production and depletion trends for previously producing wells. The DPR metrics are intended to be more informative than traditional indicators such as simple counts of oil-directed and gas-directed drilling rigs in use.   Future TIE articles will discuss the individual metrics included in the DPR and explain their relationship to traditional measures. Additional articles will periodically report on significant changes in DPR data and estimates as warranted.

Racing Legend/Philanthropist Hendrick to Be Honor at DC Auto Show in 2014 – Philanthropist, creator of an automotive empire and the most successful NASCAR owner of the modern era, Rick Hendrick has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at The Washington Auto Show early next year.  Hendrick is the founder and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s second-largest privately held automotive dealership group and the sixth-largest automotive dealership group overall and Hendrick Motorsports, winners of 13 NASCAR owner’s championships and more than 200 victories in the elite Sprint cup Series.  Hendrick Automotive Group operates 87 dealerships representing 28 nameplates, 121 franchises and 24 collision centers and three accessories distributor installers in 13 states. The company employs more than 9,000 people. Hendrick Motorsports currently fields four teams that are in embroiled in NASCAR’s playoffs, The Chase for the Sprint Cup, with drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.  Hendrick also established the Hendrick Marrow Program in 1997 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Even though he did not need a marrow transplant himself, he wanted to help other patients waiting to find a marrow match and a second chance at life.  The Hendrick Marrow Program works with Be The Match Foundation to support the work of the National Marrow Donor Program®. Specifically it raises money to add more potential marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, increasing the chances that more patients can find their match. It also helps patients with uninsured transplant costs, which are often a barrier to treatment.  Since inception, the Hendrick Marrow Program has raised more than $12 million, added more than 100,000 marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, and eased the financial burden of over 8,000 patients with grants from the Hendrick Family Fund for Patient Assistance.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next today at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum today in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit today through Wednesday at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas today through Wednesday at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

House Energy to Discuss Coal Issues, Pipelines – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Energy will hold  two hearing tomorrow.  In the morning at 10:00 a.m., they will take up bipartisan legislation to expedite federal reviews of border-crossing pipelines and electric transmission lines.  Witnesses include FERC’s Jeff Wright, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner David Mears, Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute, Canadian Electricity Association President Jim Burpee, Plains All American Pipeline exec John Kyles for AOPL, former EIA official Mary Hutzler and Blackcreek Environmental regulatory expert Paul Blackburn.  In the afternoon, the panel will focus on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants. Witnesses include Bell County KY Judge Executive Albey Brock, Raymond Ventrone of Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh, Roger Horton of Citizens for Coal, Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO John Pippy, former Delta County, CO commissioner Olen Lund and Braddock, PA Mayor John Fetterman.

House Science to Tackle CCS, GHG Tech Issues –  Also tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., two subpanels of the House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow focused on the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Obviously, expect a significant discussion of Mississippi Power’s Kemper project.  Witnesses include Rice University’s Charles McConnell, National Research Center for Coal and Energy Director Richard Bajura of West Virginia University, Kurt Waltzer of the Clean Air Task Force and former EPA General Counsel Roger Martella.   On Wednesday, the Committee’s panel on Energy will convene a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on funding basic energy research.  Witnesses will include DOE Deputy Director for Science Programs Pat Dehmer, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon and Dr. John Hemminger, Chairman of the DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee.

House Resources to Look at Hydro, Storage – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on increasing water and hydropower supplies and the : the need for new or expanded multi-purpose surface storage facilities.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum tomorrow at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

Chamber to Look at Trade Supply Chain – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is proud to host the Chief Executive Officer of Brambles, Tom Gorman, as a part of the CEO Leadership Series. At the luncheon event, Mr. Gorman will speak to the importance of global supply chains and trade facilitation and the critical link to the competitiveness of business.  He will also cover the opportunities Brambles sees with the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to producing a robust global economy.

JHU to Host Keystone Debate – Johns Hopkins University will host a debate in its Kenney Auditorium of its Nitze Building tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  Charles Doran, director of the SAIS Canadian Studies Program, will take the pro side, Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, will take the con side, and Debbie Bleviss, acting director of the SAIS Energy, Resources and Environment Program, will moderate.

MD LCV to Host Annual Dinner – Tomorrow night at the US Navy Stadium, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters holds its annual Kabler Dinner, starting at 6:00 p.m.  This year, the group honors Dru Schmidt Perkins, Del. Maggie McIntosh and Gov. O’Malley.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country in Denver Wednesday to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Other meetings include, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS and Boston, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Forum to Look at Cross Border Energy Issues – The University of Colorado Law School’s Silicon Flatirons Center will hold a forum Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on trends, challenges, and opportunities in North America cross-border energy transactions.  The conference will explore key aspects of the growing business of cross-border energy transactions across North America and the prospects for continued integration of North American energy markets.  Academics, industry leaders, and practicing attorneys will come together to discuss the current state of energy transactions and share their thoughts on the future during a time of dramatic changes in the global energy industry. Panelists and speakers will address the recent growth in unconventional oil and gas development and its implications for cross-border transactions, changing regulatory contexts for cross-border energy investments and project development, and the policy and regulatory changes necessary to spur additional integration of North American energy markets.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on Friday at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

Atomic Energy Chief To Speak at Wilson Forum – On Friday at Noon, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano speaks at the Wilson Center about the essential role of the IAEA in promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy worldwide, helping to promote nuclear safety and monitoring national nuclear programs. It is expected that the discussion will also touch on safeguard activities of the Agency, including developments with regard to Iran.  In addition to Amano, speakers include former Rep. Jane Harman and former Correspondent in Vienna for Agence France-Presse News Agency Michael Adler.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., November 4-7th.  This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF,  will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS.  The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology.  The Ministerial meeting on November 7 will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute.  The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.

JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 on Tuesday, November 5th at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics.  Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.

WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum on Tuesday, Nov 5th at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination.   Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.

Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday, November 7th at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power.  Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market.  The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like.  SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on our the BPC/NARUC websites.

Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.  Both rules were finalized in 2012.  The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.

Energy Update Week of October 7

Friends,

I hope everybody is surviving during the shutdown, partial or otherwise.  Some early event casualties included Secretary Jewell and Forest Service Chief Tidwell at the Society of Environmental Journalists event in Chattanooga and EPA’s Gina McCarthy at the Carbon Finance forum last week, as well as Energy Secretary Moniz for tomorrow’s BPC event.  One other shutdown worry, despite having funds until Friday, EIA and the National Association of State Energy Officials have postponed the 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference tomorrow at the National Press Club.  EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook will be included in the October 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook which will be released at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

As for SEJ, despite the bumps caused by the government shutdown for panelists and speakers, the SEJ event was a huge success.  The bright star on Thursday Night though was the Bracewell/PRG reception, which was again widely-attended and costly on the bar bill.  In addition, there was significant participation from a number of automakers and lots of cool cars around the event, including a new VW electric concept car that was unveiled just across from the BG Reception.   (lucky them or lucky us? Either way, great crowd)

The government shutdown starts its second week today and also continues to throw uncertainty into upcoming Congressional action on hearings and legislation.  The Senate Energy Business meeting to move nominees (sans FERC nominee Ron Binz who was forced to pull out last week) will go on tomorrow while the Thursday hearing on the Columbia River Treaty is postponed.  No word on House hearings yet, so stay tuned.

One major achievement was accomplished last week when the President signed necessary legislation to keep the U.S. helium reserve afloat.  The unanimous Congressional approval and Presidential signature shows this Congress and this President can work together to meet an important deadline.  (see more details below).

In addition, the beginning of October means that the Supreme Court starts its fall term with justices taking the bench today, despite the looming partial shutdown.  Major important cases will focus on campaign contributions, housing discrimination, government-sanctioned prayer and the president’s recess appointments.   Several power plant cases will see the schedule later in the term.  Meantime, the court said it will operate normally at least through the end of this week. The justices are hearing six arguments, including the campaign contributions limits case.

This week off Capitol Hill, Bipartisan Policy Center will host the aforementioned forum tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the Washington Court Hotel to look at how expanded natural gas production affect climate change mitigation without Sect. Moniz.  On Wednesday, National Journal will host a biofuels event on Wednesday at the Newseum featuring our friend, the lovely and talented Amy Harder moderating Reps. Steve King and Peter Welch, among a number of others.

Finally, get this on your calendar for next week:  the 40th anniversary of the Iran Oil embargo crisis will be a major focus with several events surrounding the topic.  The biggest and most significant is the Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) conference, OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, next Wednesday at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in DC.  It is a very impressive list of speakers like Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Leon Panetta, James Schlesinger (our first US Energy Sect), GM CEO Dan Akerson, Fed Ex CEO Fred Smith, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, IN Gov. Mike Pence and many more.  Panels will be moderated by Andrea Mitchell, John Harwood and former White House CoS Mack McLarty.  More on this next Monday…

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

President Signs Helium Legislation – Despite the shutdown, late Wednesday President Obama signed legislation to keep the U.S. helium reserve afloat.  The unanimous Congressional approval and Presidential signature shows this Congress and this President can work together to meet an important deadline.   The law extends the operation of the Federal Helium Reserve ensuring supply reliability and security for domestic end-users in a manner that increases market transparency and competitiveness, and brings a greater return to U.S. taxpayers on a valuable federal resource.   Helium is a vital resource that is critically important to the U.S. economy through such diverse uses as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, airbags for the automotive sector, and high-tech electronics manufacturing.

Air Liquide Helium America President David Joyner (713-402-2112) is available to discuss the importance of this legislation.  As well, my colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718) can address additional background policy questions.

What Does Industry Say About the President’s Signature – Industrial gas company American Air Liquide President David Joyner applauded the President’s signing of H.R. 527: THE HELIUM STEWARDSHIP ACT OF 2013: “This bipartisan law extends the operation of the Federal Helium Reserve in a manner that ensures supply reliability and security for domestic end-users, increases market transparency and competitiveness, and brings a greater return to U.S. taxpayers on a valuable federal resource.  Air Liquide deeply appreciates the devotion of members from both parties and their staff in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to averting a shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve and making necessary changes to the existing system that will benefit the Nation’s economy and improve reliability by promptly increasing access.  We look forward to working with officials with the Bureau of Land Management to make sure these important reforms are implemented and the goals of this legislation achieved.”

Binz Withdraws as FERC Chair in a Flare – In a letter, FERC nominee Ron Binz withdrew his nomination on late last week.  In rambling interviews he blamed everybody from coal guys to conservative groups for his demise, saying Washington created a caricature or fictional Ron Binz that he didn’t even recognize.  Except then in the proceeding interviews (including Platts Energy Week this weekend) and his resignation letter in his own words, he managed to underscore every worry that the Binz opponents had outlined.  That’s irony for you.

WSJ Editorial Board Adds One Last Word – The Wall Street Journal, in its 4th editorial on Binz, was not taking the former nominee’s withdrawal speech lightly.  They said Binz is now posing as a “martyr against carbon dioxide” and his “hostility to all fossil fuels and radical conception of regulators as legislators was too much for energy-state Democrats.”  They added Binz is now conducting a “Joan of Arc media tour,” lamenting that he was treated unfairly and is a victim of “blood sport” and “raw, partisan and sectoral politics.”  The Journal said perhaps Binz is referring to their editorials, “which committed the sin of reporting his own words at length.”

So Who’s Next? – Well, it’s likely that current Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur will now be elevated to FERC Chair, given that the other Democrat Commissioner John Norris was outspoken about the Binz nomination and the role of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  As for the next FERC Commissioner, despite Binz’s claim that the next nominee will have to struggle, our friends at POLITICO and other experts sources are saying the leading candidate is Arkansas utility commissioner Colette Honorable.

Oh yes… The Other Two – The other two innocent bystanders at the Binz confirmation hearing will be the subject of a Senate Energy Business Meeting tomorrow where their nominations are expected to move forward.  Michael Connor has been nominated to be deputy Interior secretary and Elizabeth Robinson to be an undersecretary at Energy.

Letter Urges Congress to Keep Flood Insurance Affordable A letter signed by 199 business and civic associations nationwide last week urged the House Financial Services Committee to keep flood insurance affordable. The letter was signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of REALTORS®, Independent Community Bankers of America, Community Associations Institute, Greater New Orleans Inc. and many others.   The letter urges Congress to consider longer-term legislation to balance fiscal responsibility with premium affordability. It also urges Congress to delay premium increases until FEMA submits its congressionally mandated affordability report and to include properties purchased after July 6, 2012 in a delay. Under current law, pre-firm properties purchased after the date of enactment, July 6, 2012, were required to immediately increase to full actuarial rates without a phase in period.  An excerpt from the letter outlines the potential devastating effects if Congress does not act: “This drastic increase in premiums will cause property values and assessments to drop, bank mortgages to go into default, local tax bases to erode, and economies to be eviscerated. And ironically, while the intended effect of the removal of grandfathering was to make the NFIP solvent, it will have the opposite effect because homeowners and business owners will be forced to drop out of the program completely.”   A copy of the letter can be found here.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BPC to Discuss NatGas, Climate Mitigation Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the Washington Court Hotel to look at how expanded natural gas production affect climate change mitigation.  The development of abundant, low-cost natural gas supplies in the United States has facilitated a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  But there are concerns that natural gas will crowd out investments in other low carbon energy technologies, such as renewables, carbon capture and storage and nuclear energy.  Debate ensues as to whether natural gas is a transition or a destination fuel, largely based on estimates of the cost of incentives to develop and commercialize the next generation of low carbon energy technologies.  BPC senior fellow and former Senator Pete Domenici will examine whether natural gas and low carbon energy technologies can play complementary roles in transitioning the global economy to a cleaner, more sustainable trajectory. We will consider the scientific and technological prospects for natural gas and other low carbon energy technologies, their respective near- and long-term impacts on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, the economic (and politically practical) alternatives for deploying them, and policy lessons from abroad. David Goldwyn of Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC, former State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, will moderate the event.

RFF to Update Carbon Tax Initiative – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., Resources for the Future will provide an update on ongoing carbon tax research.  Over the past six months, researchers at Resources for the Future (RFF) have completed a new round of work related to the role that a federal tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) could play in the context of fiscal policy and tax reform. This new research covers three themes: 1) options for revenue recycling; 2) mechanisms for addressing the concerns of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries; and 3) scaling CO2 tax rates to recent estimates of the social cost of carbon.

Forum to Address Grid Modernization – The MIT Club of Washington will start a seminar series on modernizing the U.S. Electric Grid tomorrowrunning through March 2014 at the Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda, MD.  Six monthly dinner seminars with presentations by speakers will look at grid modernization.  The monthly speaker for October is Anjan Bose of Washington State University.  Others will include November 12 – Ralph Masiello, KEMA, Inc., December 10 – David K. Owens, Edison Electric Institute, January 14 – Vickie A. VanZandt, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, February 11 – Michael Chertoff, The Chertoff Group and March 11 – Richard Schmalensee, Sloan School, MIT.

EIA Winter Fuel Outlook Event CANCELLED – The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has postponed the Winter Energy Outlook Conference which had been scheduled to take place on Tuesday October 8, 2013. The Conference has been rescheduled for November 1, 2013.   EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook will be included in the October 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook which will be released at 10:00 a.m. on tomorrow on the EIA website.

NJ Summit to Tackle Biofuel Mandate – The National Journal will hold a policy summit on biofuels on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. at The Newseum.  Our friend Amy Harder will moderate a discussion of members of Congress and experts to explore whether the mandate should be revised, eliminated or remain in place.  Reps. Steve King and Peter Welch will speak.  Other speakers include Paul Beckwith of Butamax Advanced Biofuels, Michael Brower of ACORE and Kris Kiser of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

Forum to focus on Technology Innovation in Data Centers – ITIF, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign are convening a panel of leading industry and academic experts on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in 122 Cannon  to discuss the nature and importance of next-gen data center technologies and the role government can play as an early adopter. Increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing federal agencies to investigate ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. At the same time, new Executive Orders and Congressional actions have mandated increased energy efficiency for government. These two forces have come together to create new opportunities for next-generation ICT technologies, particularly innovative data centers. In an effort to keep government at the leading edge of ICT innovation, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R. 540) to advance public-private partnerships to increase the energy efficiency of federal data centers.   Rep. Eschoo will headline a group of expert speakers.

Doniger to Discuss Climate Policy, President ‘s Plan – The Mortara Center for International Studies and the Georgetown Public Policy Institute will host a speech on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. featuring NRDC’s David Doniger discussing carbon pollution and climate change.  Doniger will discuss the President’s Climate Action Plan and the Clean Air Act.  The energy and climate policy research seminar aims to enhance intellectual exchange among faculty and students by providing a forum to discuss research and policy topics related to the international and domestic dimensions of energy and climate change policy.

Statoil CEO to Discuss Plans – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Statoil CEO Helge Lund on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to discuss Statoil’s strategies and ambitions. As one of the world’s leading energy companies, Statoil has built a global oil and gas production portfolio and a reputation for responsible and technology-driven resource development in some of the world’s most challenging environments. The company is active in some of the most exciting energy resource areas of North America with a focus on deep-water exploration and production, shale and tight rock hydrocarbons and heavy oil.

Wilson Event to Look at Oil Embargo – The Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a Book Event for ENERGY & SECURITY: Strategies for a World in Transition by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn (editors), Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m.  The discussion will center on energy Independence for North America 40 Years after the Arab Oil Embargo.  Speakers include Wilson Center CEO and former Rep. Jane Harman, IHS Vice Chair Daniel Yergin, State Department International Energy Affairs Special Envoy David L. Goldwyn, former EIA  advisor and Senate Energy staffer Shirley Neff and CSIS expert Frank Verrastro.

Senate Energy Hearing on Columbia River – CANCELLED The Senate Energy hearing slated for Thursday on recommendations for the Columbia River Treaty has been postponed, pending passage of legislation to fund the federal government.

SNL Conference to Look at Electric Generation – SNL Energy is hosting the 2nd Annual Electric Generation Landscape Conference in Houston on Thursday and Friday at the Houstonian.  The event is specifically created for generation executives, investors and regulators to discuss and solve the myriad issues of the industry.

JHU Forum to Look at Australia Energy Issues – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment program will host a conversation on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. with Professor Chris Greig, director of the University of Queensland’s Energy Initiative.  Greig  will discuss Australia’s energy future and its links to China, India and North America.

House Resources to Look at EPA, Mining Issues – Less postponement, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on EPA impacts on American mining jobs.

House Energy Panel to Discuss International LNG Markets – If it still goes off, the House Energy and Commerce panel on Energy and Power will host a forum Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the geopolitical implications and mutual benefits of U.S. LNG exports.   Representatives from several foreign countries and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico will participate in the forum, providing an opportunity for members to hear a broad range of international perspectives on U.S. LNG exports, the current policies governing these exports, and the potential impacts increasing exports would have on global markets.

WAPA Road Rally Set – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its annual Road Rally Ride & Drive event on Friday at Rockwood Manor just outside Washington, DC. The event will feature a number of new products to drive.

Brookings to Host Discussion of Climate Negotiations – The Global Economy and Development program at Brookings will host a discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the challenges and opportunities toward reaching a new treaty on global climate change. Pascal Canfin, France’s deputy minister for development and lead climate change negotiator, will provide remarks and outline possible parameters for a new agreement. These remarks will be followed by a discussion with: Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute; Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions; and Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Katherine Sierra will moderate the discussion.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Climate Officers to Launch Workshop, Training – The Association of Climate Change Officers will launch its inaugural Climate Strategies Forum Monday-Thursday, October 14-17th at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The Forum will feature prominent leaders from across sectors in a plenary format, and a series of half-day bootcamps aligned with the core competencies. Plenary sessions will focus on climate and energy, and bootcamps will focus on topics including adaptation planning, implementing change management schemes, implementing a GHG management structure, and building a public-private partnership project.

Wellinghoff to Speak at MD Clean Energy Summit – Maryland will host its Clean Energy Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday October 15th and 16th at the UMUC Marriott Inn & Conference Center and will focus on distributed energy.  FERC Chair John Wellinghoff will speak among others.

Koppel, Schlesinger to Discuss Energy Security – The U.S. Energy Security Council will hold an expert discussion on energy security and fuel competition on Tuesday, October 15th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club. The discussion will feature a conversation between Dr. James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense (1973-1975) and the first Secretary of Energy (1977-1979), and noted broadcast journalist Ted Koppel on how the events of the Arab oil embargo of 1973 affected the energy policy discourse of the past four decades.  At the event, the Council will also launch its new report, “Fuel Choice for American Prosperity: Recommendations to the Nation on Opening the Transportation Fuel Market to Competition.” The report offers a set of fiscally conservative domestic and international policy recommendations to speed the entry of new fuels and vehicles into the market with the aim of allowing more competition in the transportation fuel sector.

CSIS Forum to Discuss Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday October 15th at 10:00 a.m. to hear from Fereidun Fesharaki, Chairman of FACTS Global Energy.  Fesharaki will to provide insights into oil market trends and to present his near-term energy forecast. A wide range of factors, such as geopolitical risks and  new supplies, are in play that will shape the short and long term view of global oil markets.  As a leading expert on the global oil market, Fereidun Fesharaki is uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive picture of supply and demand trends, potential market disruptions, and near-term challenges facing oil markets. David Pumphrey, Co-Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Summit to Focus on Smart Grid – Several groups will hold a National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency & Smart Grid on Tuesday-Wednesday, October 15-16th at the W Hotel in Washington.  The forum will provide a unique dialogue on building performance and smart grid technologies.  Attendees will come from utilities, state and federal agencies, technology companies, performance contractors, service companies and many other stakeholder segments. Speakers will include experts from the program, performance, technology and policy arenas who will discuss the barriers and opportunities relative to integrating smart grid and energy efficiency – as well as demand response.  FERC Chair Wellinghoff headlines a long list of speakers.

VA Gov. to Hold Energy Forum – Gov. Bob McDonnell will hold his 4th Annual Governor’s Conference on Energy on Tuesday October 15th through Thursday October 17th at the Greater Richmond Convention Center to discuss global and domestic energy supply and demand, current market circumstances and what all of that means for securing energy security.   The forum focus will be on energy in the global marketplace, its impact on our domestic energy landscape, and the important role energy plays in Virginia’s economic development efforts.   Luncheon Speaker will be Ripudaman Malhotra, Co-author of A Cubic Mile of Oil.  Other speakers will include our friends George Hagerman of VA Tech, Wind developer Don Giecek, Dominion’s Emil Avram, EID’s Steve Everly, Charles Falter of AES and former NC Utility Commissioner Jim Kerr, among many others.

EPA to Hold GHG Listening Sessions – The EPA will hold 11 public listening sessions across the country Starting on Tuesday October 15th in Boston to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Other meetings will include Friday, October 18th in Philadelphia, Wednesday October 23 in New York and Atlanta, Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

SAFE Oil Embargo Forum Set – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a major national energy conference, OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on October 16th.  At the event, it will also award its inaugural Energy Security Prize, which aims to reward companies whose ingenuity, leadership, and perseverance are poised to advance American energy security by helping bring an end to U.S. oil dependence.   The SAFE Energy Security Prize will be divided into two categories including 1) Emerging Innovation Award (EIA), which will recognize up to three technologies not currently in the marketplace that are expected to be available for sale within five years that have the potential to meaningfully reduce long-term U.S. oil consumption; and 2) the Advanced Technology Award (ATA) will recognize up to three groundbreaking technologies already established in the marketplace today that reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States.

Webinar to Focus 40 Years Since Oil Embargo – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is hosting a webinar to discuss the significance of the 40th anniversary of the Iran Oil embargo and to provide an overview of changes in the nation’s energy situation during the past four decades.   Speakers will include former CIA head James Woolsey, Scott Sklar, and others.  Details about the webinar are on ACORE’s web page: www.acore.org.

RINs/RFS 2 Forum to Discuss Ethanol Issues – The 5th Annual Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) RFS2, RINs & Biodiesel Forum will be held on October 17-18th at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

JHU Forum to address Climate Geoengineering – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on Thursday, October 17th at 12:00 p.m. on climate change geoengineering.  The forum will discuss the serious consideration of the potential role of geoengineering as a potential means to avert a “climate emergency,” such as rapid melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, or as a stopgap measure to buy time for effective emissions mitigation responses. This roundtable will examine the ethical, legal, and political issues associated with climate change geoengineering research and development and potential deployment.  Panelists will include Hudson Institute scholar Lee Lane, Visiting Scholar, Climate Institute expert and former Clinton Climate Science Advisor Michael MacCracken and Simon Nicholson of the American University.

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner on October 22nd at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI on October 22nd through 24th.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NASEO Reschedules Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

 

Energy Update Week of July 29

Friends,

Just finished the last lacrosse trip of the summer this weekend up in Long Island.  Thank goodness that is over.  Tryouts for next year start mid-August and field hockey and football are already underway.  Someday it will slow down.

We now are one-week out from the August work period and the energy news/activity is buzzing.  Let’s start with last week, including major activities on the RFS, a natural gas blowout in the Gulf, the President’s comments on Keystone, a giant lawsuit over pipeline environmental issues, claims of “new” EPA reports about natgas drilling and another result in the Deepwater Horizon case.  We have resources on nearly all of these subjects should you need them.

This upcoming week, the business rolls on: in the House, a series of votes will occur on energy legislation this week including the REINS Act, which would require major regulations get Congress’s approval and the Energy Consumers Relief Act, which would require DOE to review EPA rules costing more than $1 billion.  While in the Senate, they may take up the energy efficiency legislation, Shaheen-Portman, before leaving later this week.  It is not clear that it will make though with other items on the agenda in front of it and a litany of amendments ready to clog up the works.  Also this week on Thursday and Friday, the Texas EnviroSuperconference kicks off in Austin and is usually packed with good info.  The big hearings this week include DOE Secretary Moniz hitting the House and Senate on Nuclear Waste plans and Senate Finance looking at Energy Tax issues.

Finally, if you are looking for a fine mix of politics and food during this week’s run up to August, slide over to the National Press Club on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. when the Newsmakers Committee will host 20 chefs to heads of state from around the world.  After meeting with President Obama at the White House on Thursday morning, the group will also visit with the State Department Chef Corps to discuss the confluence of culinary diplomacy, a mixture of cuisine and diplomacy.  They also will meet U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon in New York City.  The chefs are members of the Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC), the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society. It was founded in 1977 by Gilles Bragard, who will be at the Newsmaker.  White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford hosts her international counterparts from Germany, Sweden, Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Israel, Italy, Poland and Great Britain, among others.

And one side note, last week Monday was a little crazy because I was trying to get the update out while also participating in NuStar Asphalt Paulsboro Refinery’s 23rd Annual MDA Golf Tournament in Atlantic City.   Despite those few bumps and a conference call, we managed a 58, tying for first (we ended up 3rd after matching cards).   More importantly, the event raised more than $240,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Over the life of the tournament, Paulsboro Refinery employees, with support from their loyal customers, vendors, industrial neighbors and MDA staff, have raised over $1.6 million to help MDA provide lifesaving research, maintain medical clinics, and provide accessible summer camp experiences to local individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases.   Congrats for the all the great work.

 

Please call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

WM Blog Highlights Trash to Gas For Vehicles – Recently, Waste Management’s Dan LeFevers participated on a panel at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, an annual conference that showcases the latest alternative fuel vehicles and fueling technologies.  Our of his discussion at the Conference, LeFevers penned a blog, Running on Rubbish, on  using renewable natural gas to fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles or capturing gas from landfills, food waste digesters and other similar sources to ultimately fuel vehicles.   LeFevers highlighted WM’s Altamont facility, the world’s largest plant to convert landfill gas to ultra low-carbon liquefied natural gas.  He also pointed to CEO David Steiner’s leadership with the Energy Security Leadership Council of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a non-profit organization that seeks to reduce America’s dependency on oil and advocates for federal policies that can help large companies and fleet owners transition towards alternative fuels.

Report Says EVs Will be Most Affordable Vehicles With Decade – A new Electrification Coalition (EC) PricewaterhouseCoopers report says sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are strong, with combined purchases of models like the Nissan LEAF, GM Volt and Tesla Model S during their first 30 months on the market more than doubling the pace set by conventional hybrids when those vehicles made their U.S. debut in 2000.  The study, “State of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Market,” also finds that certain PEV models are already capturing a high percentage of market share in their respective classes, including the Tesla Model S, which has registered an 8.4% stake in the luxury market in the first six months of 2013.  Additionally, the paper highlights consumer satisfaction surveys indicating that PEVs are outperforming their marketplace competitors on almost all counts, and expects that battery prices will fall about 50 percent to an industry average of $300-325 per kilowatt hour by 2020. The report is the first in the “EV Market Outlook” series that will provide new analysis on battery costs, sales, infrastructure, and other topics. Key findings of the paper include 1) More than 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the US since January 2011; 2) Compared to hybrids’ first years on the U.S. market, twice as many plug-in electric vehicles have been sold; 3) The uptake rate of plug-in electric vehicles is nearly three times what it was for hybrids over their first three years on the market and 4) Battery costs should drop by about half by 2020, an industry average price of $300-325 per kilowatt hour.

Brattle Points to All Benefits of Building Transmission – A new study commissioned by WIRES and authored by economists at The Brattle Group finds that new high voltage transmission investments offer numerous potential benefits that have too often been disregarded as remote, intangible, or hard to estimate. The report, released today, urges planners and policy makers to consider the full range of potential economic, reliability, environmental, and public policy benefits of new and upgraded transmission when evaluating which projects will serve customers and the economy best.  For the first time, transmission planners and policy makers now have a catalogue of benefits and techniques for evaluation that they can employ in devising optimal regional development plans.  The study, The Benefits of Electric Transmission: Identifying and Analyzing the Value of Investments, is a comprehensive analysis that documents all potential economic, reliability, operational, and public policy benefits from expanding or upgrading the high voltage grid, the evolving experience and existing practices of planners in RTO and non-RTO regions when determining those benefits and the beneficiaries of new transmission capacity and how planners and policy makers can employ more systematic procedures and analysis to arrive at better transmission (and non-transmission) solutions.

Klaber to Leave MSC – After nearly four years of leading the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), CEO Kathryn Klaber, is leaving the group.  Klaber will stay on to further engage MSC member companies and their employees on key policy issues for the industry, to evaluate the need for public outreach and education in the northeastern states without shale development, to advise on key benchmarks to complement the MSC’s robust Recommended Practices, and to continue to serve as a recognized industry leader and spokesperson. Ms. Klaber will be representing the MSC in key forums in Australia and London in the coming months as well as hosting the MSC’s third annual Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia on September 25-26.

 

GOING ON THIS WEEK

USEA to Look at Cybersecurity Issues – U.S. Energy Association will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. featuring senior representatives from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, who will provide an overview of cybersecurity protection trends for energy delivery systems and the current legislative and regulatory landscape.  Topics will include DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program, Cybersecurity standards for electric utilities and insight into what the future of cybersecurity looks like for critical infrastructure, including upcoming trends, projects, and standards development work.

Enviros to Discuss Climate, Jobs – Green For All, NRDC and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will hold an event tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 441 Cannon to look at climate change and jobs.  As the nation grapples with the effects of climate change through local severe weather events such as wildfires, “superstorms”, droughts, floods, and extreme heat, this briefing will discuss the job creation potential and economic opportunities that reducing climate pollution creates for American workers and businesses. The economic benefits are not often a centerpiece of the climate change debate. However, climate actions such as implementing limits on carbon pollution from power plants, expanding clean energy projects, or building resilient infrastructure presents huge opportunities to boost our nation’s economy, while preventing illness and protecting public health.  Speakers will include Shamar Bibbins of Green For All, NRDC’s Dan Lashof and Danielle Deane of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Senate Energy to Tackle Nuclear Waste Issue – The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to receive testimony on S. 1240, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013.  I’m sure that will go over well with the Majority Leader. The main witness is Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.  A second panel will feature NCSL’s Sally Young Jameson of Maryland, Southwest Area National Congress of American Indians VP Joe Garcia, NARUC electricity Committee Chair David Boyd, Chuck Smith of the Energy Communities Alliance, NEI’s Marvin Fertel, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and UCS Nuclear Safety Project Director David Lochbaum.

USEA to Present on CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery, Geologic Storage in Midwest – Also tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host Neeraj Gupta, Senior Research Leader, Energy and Environment, Battelle, will provide a briefing on CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery and Geologic Storage in the Midwestern USA.  Significant work is being done in the Midwestern US to develop carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies – a key option for managing CO2 emissions to mitigate climate challenge in this fossil fuel dependent region. Several small-scale projects across the region along with geologic characterization and mapping have validated the potential for wide-spread deployment of these technologies. However, much remains to be done on demonstrating the viability of commercial-scale operations needed to address emissions from large point sources in a cost effective and safe manner. A key milestone was recently achieved when the Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (www.mrcsp.org) team led by Battelle initiated its large-scale CO2 injection program in Michigan with the overall goal of injecting, monitoring, and modeling at least 1 million tons of CO2 in multiple oil-bearing fields operated by Core Energy, LLC.  Dr. Gupta will present an overview of this effort, with emphasis on project development, geologic setup, monitoring, and infrastructure aspects.

Energy Happy Hour Set – OurEnergyPolicy.org will partner with DC Energy Drinks to sponsor this month’s Energy Professionals Happy Hour at Top of the Hill (near the Capitol South Metro Station) tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  The entire top floor has been reserved for the group and will provide appetizers for the group to enjoy. $5 happy hour specials will run until 9pm. Feel free to bring your colleagues and share this invitation with other interested energy folk.  D.C. Energy Drinks is an informal gathering of energy professionals in the D.C. metro area.

BioTech Conference Set – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Advanced Biofuels USA will co-host the Office’s sixth annual conference, “Biomass 2013: How the Advanced Bioindustry is Reshaping American Energy” at the Washington, DC Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday.  Biomass 2013 will bring together hundreds of diverse stakeholders involved with various steps throughout the bioenergy supply chain to promote new partnerships, acknowledge recent progress and achievements, and explore new opportunities and challenges on the horizon. This year’s conference will also focus on initiatives in sustainability, exciting new trends in bioenergy, new directions for BETO, and possible future funding opportunities, with a forum for stakeholder input.

Resources to Vote on Energy Legislation – The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to vote on legislation to authorize the development of non-Federal hydropower and issuance of leases of power privileges at projects constructed pursuant to the authority of the Water Conservation and Utilization Act, as well as legislation to regulate oil and gas operations and promote American energy security, development, and job creation.

House Approps to Mark up Interior, EPA Spending – The full House Appropriations Committee will meet to markup the FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.

WAPA to Host Chevy Leaders – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host Chevrolet Impala Marketing Director Russ Clark and other Chevrolet leaders Wednesday at Noon in the Press Club to discuss some of the exciting new products from Chevrolet, including the all-new 2014 Impala, the Chevy Cruze Diesel and the 2014 Chevy Silverado.

Forum to Look at Private-Public Partnerships at National Labs – The U.S. House Science and National Laboratories Caucus will host a panel of experts on Wednesday at Noon in B-340 Rayburn to discuss the interaction between the private sector and the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories. The National Labs are federally funded research and development centers with the unique mission of working to advance science and technology for the benefit of the country. To this end, the National Laboratories often partner with private sector companies to help with the innovation, testing, and scaling process.  In this presentation, representatives from Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Underwriters Laboratories will discuss the ways in which these groups work together, highlighting examples of effective utilization of these partnerships in the areas of renewable fuels and electric vehicle technologies.

Moniz to Detail Nuclear Waste Strategy – Following the Senate action tomorrow, the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at oversight on DOE’s strategy for the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.  The hearing will provide members an opportunity to hear directly from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the DOE’s new strategy for nuclear waste management and disposal. Following the Obama administration’s effort to terminate the Yucca Mountain repository, DOE has proposed a different direction for the nation’s nuclear waste. The proposal is a product of the findings of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, on which Moniz served. The commission’s recommendations included interim storage until a new geologic repository can be built which DOE now estimates opening in 2048.

Senate Finance to Discuss Energy Tax Reform – The Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to examine principles for energy tax reform.  Witnesses will include Pew Group’s Phyllis Cuttino, former DOE official Dan Reicher of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy at Stanford, Will Coleman of OnRamp Capital and ACCF’s Margo Thorning.

Hastings, Energy Experts to Discuss Energy Policy – Arent Fox LLP and the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute will hold a Public Policy Forum 2013 on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. featuring House Resources Chairman Doc Hastings where he will discuss the outlook for energy policy changes in the 113th Congress. Chairman Hastings will be followed by an energy policy panel discussion composed of key congressional energy staff.  Former Sen. Robert Bennett and former Rep. Philip S. English, both Arent Fox Government Relations practice members, will provide opening remarks. There will also be a welcome from Edward Montgomery, Dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Chairman Hastings will provide a 30-minute overview of the country’s energy policies and insight into potential legislative action, and he will answer questions from the audience for another 30 minutes.  Following Chairman Hastings’ presentation, Arent Fox counsel Jack Coleman will moderate an hour-long discussion on energy policy by a panel composed of key congressional energy staff. The panel will answer questions from the audience. Members of the panel will be announced at a later date.

Wellinghoff to Address Texas Enviro Superconference – The 25th edition of the annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The Wednesday evening session will be a power primer, featuring FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.  Co-presented by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, the conference routinely draws in excess of 500 attendees from both the public and private sectors.  Because the conference consistently sells out, we encourage you to register early.  There will be no walk-in registration.  Other speakers include EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry, TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw, and Environmental Law Institute President John Cruden, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors.

House Resources to Look at Surface Mining – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on Friday at 9:00 a.m. on efforts to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to stop the ongoing waste by the Department of the Interior of taxpayer resources and implement the final rule on excess spoil, mining waste, and buffers for perennial and intermittent streams, and for other purposes.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Energy Forum Set for August – The American Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C. on August 5-7th and will focus on federal energy priorities, funding, programs, and contracts.

BPC Forum to Look at CyberSecurity – The Bipartisan Policy Center – along with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host a workshop on August 6th in the Grand Hyatt Washington to educate stakeholders, the media, and the public on the nature of cyber security challenges facing the electric sector; to highlight initiatives by industry and federal and state governments to address these challenges; and to identify additional efforts needed to protect the grid.  Recently, BPC convened the Electric Grid Cyber Security Initiative, a joint effort of BPC’s Energy and Homeland Security Projects, to develop recommendations for how government and industry can protect the North American electric grid from cyberattacks.  Speakers will include former CIA Director Michael Hayden, Ed Goetz of Exelon, DOE’s Senior Cyber Policy Advisor Michael E. Smith and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul Stockton.

World Bank Expert Release Africa Climate Report – Johns Hopkins University will host World Bank experts on Wednesday, August 7th at Noon in its Washington DC Center to issue a report on regional climate impacts. The report focuses on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and South Asia. Building on the 2012 report, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 Degree C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” this new scientific analysis examines the likely impacts of present day, 2 degrees C and 4 degrees C warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations. It finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea-level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further negative implications for the poorest.  Speakers will include World Bank Climate policy experts Jane Ebinger and Kanta Kmari Rigaud.

DOE Solar Seminar Continues – The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, in coordination with the Solar Outreach Partnership, will host the final webinar in the Solar Action Webinar Series on Wednesday August 7th at 2:00 p.m. on the successes from the rooftop solar challenge. he webinar will showcase the latest developments in solar net metering and interconnection.  The discussion will include an overview of recent successes in efforts to streamline interconnection and net metering application processes and several case studies and lessons learned.

NRDC’s Lashoff to Address Climate Regs for Power Plants – ICF International will hold an Energy Breakfast on August 8th featuring NRDC’s Dan Lashoff discussing NSPS for power plants.

CoalGen, Generation Hub Conferences Set for Charlotte – Pennwell’s GenerationHub hosts its first conference (GenForum) on August 11-12th at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina.  Genforum comes right before Pennwell’s much larger CoalGen conference Aug.13-15, also at the convention center.  Genforum will feature discussions on everything from coal, natural gas, nuclear power to renewable energy.  There are 14 speakers lined up – including my B&G colleague Jeff Holmstead.

NY Official Will Address Wind Finance Forum – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Seminar will be held on September 9th and 10th in New York City.  NYSERDA chairman Richard L. Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York and recently confirmed chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will be a keynote speaker for the Kauffman will share his insights on the current state of U.S. energy, and reveal his vision for state-level energy solutions.

Transmission Summit Set – Infocast hold its 5th Annual Transmission Summit on September 23-25th in San Diego, CA. This timely annual Summit will once again gather leading utility executives, regulators, independent transmission developers, financiers and thought leaders to provide their insights and the clearest window into leading utility merchant transmission executives’ plans for new projects, partnerships and business strategies. Speakers will include FERC Shiv Mani, DOE’s Lauren Azar, Texas PUC Chair Donna Nelson and Arizona Corporate Commissioner Gary Pierce, among others.

Industry execs, Venture Caps Head to REFF-West – The 6th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum – West (REFF-West) will be held on September 16-17th at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, CA.  The event will feature leaders in the industry, as well as the investment bankers, venture capitalists, renewable energy developers and manufacturers, and policy leaders who are leading the deployment of renewable energy in the Western U.S.  Speakers will include SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and Stanford University Global Climate and Energy Project Director Sally Benson and many others.

 

Energy Update Week of July 30

Friends, 

I hope everyone is enjoying the coverage of the XXX Olympic Games.  (Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny that these are the “XXX” games?)  Anyway, I love watching the games we don’t see as often like the badminton, fencing, field hockey and water polo competitions, among the many others.  I just wish the media would lay off some of the athletes they have hyped up.  Seriously, winning a Silver Medal like the 400 Freestyle relay did yesterday is pretty awesome, yet it was treated like we lost because some French guy blew past Ryan Lochte in the last 25 meters.  

It will be a busy week in DC as Congress glides into the recess at the end of the week.  In fact, we’ve heard they may be heading towards a 6-month CR agreement that will eventually limit the session following August to just a couple weeks at most.  Hearings this week include a Wednesday set in Senate Environment on climate science (those are always great entertainment), as well as a tax hearing on business entities in Senate Finance.  Expect of discussion of MLPs and other things including the recent SMU report on the topic of MLPs for renewables rather than a PTC.  On Thursday, House Energy/Commerce panels will hold hearings on CPSC oversight featuring the four commissioners and energy development on federal and non-federal lands.  My colleagues Paul Nathanson (202-828-1714) and Ed Krenik (202-828-5877) can help with all the CSPC issues.  Also Thursday, Interior IG Mary Kendall will testify at House Resources on the Gulf moratorium report. 

Another item to monitor for this week is the Cross State Air Pollution Rule watch (in its 4th week).  Many following closely expect a decision this week, which means either Tuesday or (more likely, my guess) Friday.  Speaking of Friday, Remember I will host a National Press Club newsmaker on offshore drilling with SMU energy expert Bud Weinstein, former BOEMRE head Michael Bromwich, and Houston Chronicle energy veteran Jen Dlouhy.  We have also added a fourth expert, New America Foundation fellow and author Steve Levine, who will help us address the global impacts of oil and the Gulf. 

There is also some action outside the Beltway to keep an eye on this week and next.  Tomorrow morning, the House Oversight Committee will be In St. Clairville, Ohio to hold a field hearing on coal.  As well, next Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader hosts his Clean Energy Summit 5.0 in Las Vegas.  Lots of speakers and policy discussions, as well as a number of related side events, including a Monday media day with our friends at BrightSource Energy, who are taking folks out to the Ivanpah solar project which is close to the peak of construction (an awesome site to see).   Also, we’ve heard that Pattern Energy may dedicate their Nevada wind project in Spring Valley, NV (30 miles east of Ely, NV) with fanfare on Wednesday, August 8th following the event.

As the Congress heads for recess next week, the update will go on its “as needed” status.  So beginning next week, we will keep you up-to-date on events as they occur.  BTW, it is almost time to return to school (As one of the best commercials of all time say, the Staples commercial says: “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”)

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

IN THE NEWS

House Science Members Urge EPA to Approve Power Plant – As you may have seen, the status of the Las Brisas Energy Center – a facility that would recycle petroleum coke for its energy value by generating electricity in Corpus Christi – was the subject of questions at two recent House Energy and Commerce hearings.  One with Gina McCarthy on June 29th, and an earlier hearing featuring TCEQ Chair Dr. Bryan Shaw on June 6th.  Last week, on July 24th, four members of the House Science Committee – Chairman Hall, Lamar Smith, Neugebauer, and McCaul (all Texans) wrote to Administrator Jackson regarding the scientific case underlying the EPA’s new source performance standards for new power plants, proposed on March 27, 2012.  The Science Committee members asked specifically about the decision to add recycled petroleum coke to the NSPS, even though failure to recycle the pet coke could actually increase carbon emissions.  They also questioned EPA’s cost analysis in light of the effect of the proposal on the Las Brisas plant.  I have copies of the letter if you want to see it.

Senator Protests Chinese Gas Merger – In a letter sent Friday, New York US Senator Chuck Schumer has urged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to block China’s state-owned oil company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, from buying Canada’s Nexen until the Chinese government takes concrete, enforceable steps to open that country’s markets to foreign investment and level the playing field in international trade.  Chinese energy giant CNOOC is seeking to buy Nexen for $15.1 billion offering $27.50/share, a 60% premium.   Calgary, Alberta-based Nexen operates in western Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Africa, and the Middle East, with its biggest reserves in Canadian oil sands. It produced an average of 213,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the second quarter of this year.  Geithner and the Treasury Department chair the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, an interagency board that reviews deals for national security implications. CNOOC, or the China National Offshore Oil Corp., is a government-owned company.  The deal is subject to CFIUS review because Calgary, Canada-based Nexen has substantial drilling operations in the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838), a trade/CFIUS expert, is happy to provide background information on the CFIUS process should you need it.

India Grid Crashes, Causes Massive Blackout – We always talk about the importance of a reliable electric grid here in the update.  Now India knows what we mean after Northern India’s power grid crashed this morning, leaving 370 million people — more than the population of the United States and Canada combined — sweltering in the summer heat.  The blackout also halted hundreds of trains and forced hospitals and airports to use backup generators.  The northern grid crashed about 2:30 a.m. because it could no longer keep up with the huge demand for power in the hot summer.

U.S. sets new import duties on turbine towers from China, Vietnam – The Department of Commerce unveiled a new set of preliminary import duties Friday on wind turbine towers made in China and Vietnam. The agency said it was imposing duties of 20.85% to 72.69% for Chinese-made towers and 52.67% to 59.91% for Vietnamese-made towers. The department is slated to issue a final decision by December.

NRC To Decide on MD Nuclear Plant – The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board said they will decide by the end of August 31 to approve or reject  EDF’s bid to construct a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland.  The ruling was expected this month, but NRC delayed the decision because of the “size and complexity” of one of the challenges against the project.  Opponents are complaining over foreign ownership issues.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK: 

House Oversight Tackles Coal in Ohio Field Hearing – A House Oversight panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. looking at the President’s coal policies. The hearing will be held in St. Clairsville, Ohio, near the West Virginia border and in the heart of coal country. Witnesses will include EPA Region 3 administrator Shawn Garvin and Region 5 deputy administrator Bharat Mathur, as well as Ohio EPA’s Division of Air Pollution Control chief Bob Hodanbosi, Ohio Rural Electric Coops CEO Anthony Ahern, Tom Mackall of Sterling Mining Corporation and Ohio State Rep. Andy Thompson.  Joining Jordan at the hearing will be Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican who represents areas near St. Clairsville, Dave McKinley of West Virginia and PA Rep. Mike Kelly. 

Chamber to Host Canadian Officials on Partnership Opportunities – The National Chamber Foundation of the US Chamber of Commerce is present the next installment of the Business Horizon Series tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. focused on Canada and partnership growth and opportunity.  Canada is a vital economic partner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. From the Keystone XL pipeline to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, America’s relationship with its northern neighbor covers a number of today’s important issues. Canada is also advancing its economy thanks to key reforms made in prior years. Understanding the past decisions informing Canada’s competitiveness today is an important part of building a relationship for growth well into the future.  Speakers will include Rob Merrifield, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade and Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

Wilson Forum to Look at US Manufacturing – The Wilson Center will hold a forum tomorrow on the State of US manufacturing at 9:00 a.m.  Deloitte’s Craig Giffi will provide an overview of the current state of manufacturing in the United States and possible future impact of and importance of manufacturing to national prosperity, national security, and the entire innovation system.  Giffi will be joined by Nayanee Gupta who will discuss how potential developments in advanced manufacturing could help sharply strengthen the American presence in manufacturing.  To make the most of expected advances in manufacturing, the United States will also need to make a major commitment to develop, maintain, and upgrade workforce skills. 

Whitfield Clean Air Forums Kick Off – The Energy and Power panel Chair of the House Energy Committee Ed Whitfield will host a series of forums starting tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the CVC’s Congressional Meeting Room North in the Capitol on federal state and local cooperation on air issues.    The forum is intended to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to hear a broad range of perspectives from experts Arkansas DEQ, Thomas Easterly of Indiana DEM, Thomas Burack of the New Hampshire DES, Robert King of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Jeff Littlejohn of the Florida DEP, Paul Tait of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, Brad Poiriez of the Imperial County, CA Air Pollution Control District and Stephen Etsitty of the Navajo Nation EPA.  A second forum will be held on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. and will feature  Henry Darwin of the Arizona DEQ, Texas CEQ’s Susana Hildebrand, Barry Wallerstein of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, John Paul of the Dayton Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, Delaware DNREC’s Collin O’Mara and Steve Herrera of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. 

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency Technologies – The Alliance to Save Energy and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will hold an educational briefing tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in cooperation with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus that will be focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available energy efficiency technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and trends in energy efficiency markets.   Speakers will include Ted Hesser of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, National Grid’s Rick Carter, Jordan Doria of Ingersoll Rand/Trane, Industrial Energy Efficiency & CHP expert Dick Munson and Qualcomm’s Steve Crout. 

Senate Environment to Look at Climate Science – As if we needed another hearing on climate science, the Senate Committee on Environment will hold one on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to examine and update on the latest climate change science and local adaptation measures.   Witnesses will include Stanford’s Christopher Field,  NASA Satellite expert John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville,  Harvard’s James McCarthy, Maryland DNR Secretary John Griffin, ACCF’s Margo Thorning and LA Co Department of Health Director Jonathan Fielding on behalf of the National Association of County & City Health Officials. 

Senate Finance to Look at Business Tax Reform – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to look at tax reform, examining the taxation of business entities.  The hearing will focus on different taxation of business entities structured as corporations versus passthroughs, and to consider proposals to alter those rules.  Witnesses will include Harrison LeFrak, Dana Trier of the University of Miami School of Law and Columbia Law School, Alvin Warren of the Harvard Law School and Fred De Hosson of Baker & McKenzie. 

Hannegan, Cullen to Look at Earth Observations, Science – The American Meteorological Society will hold a forum on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Capitol Visitors Center Room SVC 201-00 on Earth observations, science and services for the 21st Century.  Speakers will include former WeatherChannel Climatologist Heidi M. Cullen, who is now at Climate Central, Lockheed Martin’s Scott Gudes and our friend Bryan Hannegan of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). 

Sierra Club, NCLR to Release 2012 Latino Voters and the Environment Poll – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.,  the Sierra Club and National Council of La Raza will hold a press conference to announce new poll results about Latino voters’ opinions on the environment and energy issues.  The press conference will take place at NCLR’s Washington office.  Speakers will include NCLR Policy Director Eric Rodriguez, Sierra Club’s Javier Sierra and Myers Research President Andrew Myers.  

House Energy Panel Looks at Drilling – The House Energy and Commerce Energy panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on energy development on federal and non-federal lands.  Witnesses will include EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, BLM’s Michael Nedd, Forest Service associate chief Mary Wagner, Western Energy Alliance’s Kathleen Sgamma, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms, Alaska DNR Director Dan Sullivan, Reed Williams of WillSource Enterprise, Thomas Clements of Oilfield CNC Machining, Christy Goldfuss of the Center for American Progress and Corey Fisher of Trout Unlimited. 

House Commerce Panel Hosts CPSC Commissioners – The House Energy and Commerce panel on Commerce Manufacturing and Trade will host Consumer Product Safety Commissioners for a CPSC oversight hearing on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn.   My colleagues Paul Nathanson (202-828-1714) and Ed Krenik (202-828-5877) are working on a number of the important and controversial issues and can help with all your questions.  

House Resources to Host Interior IG – Amid several longstanding fights over subpoenas, the House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. featuring Interior Department Inspector General Mary Kendall.   Last week, Chairman Hastings cancelled a hearing when several Interior officials said they would not testify over the recent Gulf drilling moratorium. 

APRA-E Heads, Former Science Chair Gordon to Discuss Innovation, Govt Role – Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. to discuss government’s role in transformative innovation.  From reaching for the stars to developing the information super-highway, government R&D has unlocked many doors and ignited human curiosity and discovery. A generation ago, research by the Defense Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) spurred some of the most transformative innovations in the modern era: the foundations of the internet, stealth technology, and GPS.  Using DARPA as a model, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) was founded three years ago to develop risky and audacious ways of generating and storing sustainable energy. Given the scale and complexity of the energy sector, lessons learned from DARPA about defining success and the character of innovation are key for policymakers and will to serve ARPA-E well in its important mission.  Former ARPA-E- Director Arun Manjumdar, current ARPA-E Principal Deputy Director Eric Toone and former House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon will join ITIF to explore the character of early stage government innovation support in both military and energy applications. They will survey the history of DARPA for lessons on how to measure success and maximize the value of the public investment in ARPA-E. What can past success teach us as we embark on today’s Age of Discovery.

 Texas Superconference Set – The 24th edition of the annual Texas Environmental Superconference, one of the most entertaining and informative of environmental conferences, will be held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.   This year’s conference is entitled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”   The August 1st Wednesday evening session, entitled “How the West Was Won!” will be a primer on Practical Aspects of Environmental Litigation and will be held at the San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard, adjacent to the Four Seasons. 

Bromwich, SMU Expert to Highlight Drilling, Politics in Newsmaker – The national Press Club will host a Newsmaker on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss the politics of expanded drilling in this campaign season.  SMU Maguire Energy Institute expert Bud Weinstein, former BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich and Houston Chronicle Report Jennifer D’Louhy will highlight the challenges of expanding drilling, the current permit process and many other facets of drilling. 

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

BrightSource to Open Ivanpah Site – At the peak of construction, BrightSource Energy will host a small group of media and special guests at the Ivanpah Project in the Mojave Desert on Monday August 6th, just prior to the opening of Senator Reid’s Clean Energy Summit.  The project is hosting nearly 2000 workers and is nearly 50% complete.  It is expected to start pushing power to the California grid in the second quarter of 2013.  Let me know if you are interested in the events as there may be a spot of two left to attend. 

Reid Clean Energy Summit Set for August Recess – The 5th annual National Clean Energy Summit will once again bring together clean energy visionaries and leaders, public officials, business executives and entrepreneurs, investors, students, and the media to discuss how to empower the public with tools to promote the clean energy economy; increasing jobs and our energy independence. The day-long clean energy summit will be hosted by Center for American Progress, Clean Energy Project, MGM Resorts International, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. National Clean Energy Summit 5.0: The Power of Choice will focus on empowering individuals, governments, and businesses with the ability to choose clean energy.  The conference will highlight energy options and how the freedom to make clean energy choices can improve the quality of life, save consumers money, and grow the economy.  The more the public, business, and government understand the immense benefits of clean energy, the more likely they are to support and adopt policies to bring that future here sooner.  There has never been a more important time for the nation to better enable investment in clean energy.  Bringing clean energy options in-line with a smarter electricity grid, while increasing the amount of solar, wind, and geothermal energy from projects in Nevada and the West, can give power to new industries and markets that will also simultaneously create new jobs and help rebuild our economy.  The Summit will also discuss why we must invest in the research, development, deployment, and commercialization of new clean tech products to make us competitive in the $7 trillion global clean energy market.  

Geothermal Energy Group to Host Summit – The Geothermal Energy Assn will hold its second annual National Geothermal Summit on Tuesday, August 7th and Wednesday, August 8th in Sacramento, CA. This event brings together companies and individuals in the geothermal industry with experts, government officials and other key decision makers. Topics covered will include reducing the risks of geothermal exploration and drilling, utility experience with geothermal power, streamlining NEPA and project planning and permitting and improving incentives for geothermal power.   

System Of A Down At Verizon Center – The short System of A Down/Def Tones tour makes its local stop at the Verizon Center on August 7th.  Annoying, I will not be able to go, so if you are going, you must let me know.  

Pattern Energy Expected to Dedicate Nevada Wind Project – Pattern Energy is expected to also hold a dedication ceremony Wednesday August 8th for its Spring Valley, NV wind project just east of Ely in Northeast Nevada.  The 151.8-megawatt project will become Nevada’s first major wind project.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to attend.  Pattern has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy for the sale of energy produced from Spring Valley Wind.  Spring Valley Wind will consist of 66 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines and produce energy equal to the needs of approximately 45,000 Nevadan homes. The project is creating local job opportunities and will contribute substantially to the tax base, benefiting the State of Nevada, White Pine County, and the White Pine County school district, Emergency Management Services and hospital. 

CSPC Chair to Address Regs – The Chairwoman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Inez Tenenbaum will appear at a National Press Club Newsmaker Thursday, August 9th at 10:00 a.m. in the club’s Zenger Room.  She plans to discuss the impacts of the sweeping overhaul by Congress of CPSC and consumer safety.  

Republican Convention Set for Tampa – The Republican National Committee will hold Its convention on August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida.  My colleagues Jeff Holmstead and Salo Zelermyer as well as myself, will be there for the action.  

DNC Ready for Charlotte – The Democrats will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4-7 to re-nominate the President for re-election.  Bracewell experts Dee Martin, Paul Nathanson, Josh Zive and Caitlin Andrews will be attending the events in Charlotte.

Energy Update Week of July 16

Friends, 

I hope everybody survived our third Friday 13th of the year.   This is the anomaly when we have three Friday the 13ths without having a Feb/March repeat (as it is a leap year).  It only happens every 28 years.  So it was an extra special Friday.

Just in case you want an update, Hannah closed out the National Club Lacrosse Championship losing in the Quarter Finals to their arch-rival, despite leading most of the game unfortunately.  As for Adam, his team took third place at Hershey.  He only allowed 7 goals in three games, but was suspended by me for disrespecting his mother on Sunday morning prior to leaving the hotel for the semi-final game, which is why his team had to play for third.  A good lesson for him though.   So done with lacrosse for now…at least until tryouts for next year in August.

In other action, the Tour de France closes this week after yesterday’s shocking act of sabotage on the race.  Someone threw tacks onto the road just before the peloton passed during the 14th stage which caused several riders to blow tires.  But leaders show the ultimate sportsmanship by slowing down until all riders who were disadvantaged could regroup.  BTW, USA Basketball (Women and Men) is at the Verizon Center Tonight in DC to play (more like beat down) Brazil.  This is the last tune up before the London Olympics which starts at the end of the month.

Speaking of the Olympics, Congress is pretty mad over Team USA gear being made in China.  I don’t care what the Olympic Committee’s rationale is, who made that decision and didn’t think it would be a big story?  I mean these are the guys who renamed “French” Fries, “Freedom” Fries after the France wouldn’t let us fly over their air space.   At least Congress finally agrees on something other than trying to make a bee-line for the August recess.  Three busy weeks to go though starting this week with action on the House Floor on spending bills and expanding drilling as well as a slate of hearings.

Our friends Jim Noe (713-301-6797) and Lori LeBlanc (985-448-4485) can address your questions about the new opportunities for drilling, while my colleague Ed Krenik (202-828-5877) is happy to discuss any spending legislation issues.

Tomorrow, Senate Energy looks at cybersecurity and the electric grid while House Energy continues its look at alternative fuels.  On Wednesday, bankrupt solar execs from Abound return (I say return because they were there in June but managed to avoid getting questions from the committee for some reason ) to discuss their troubles, or maybe not if they plead the 5th.  Thursday has Senate hearings on climate impacts on Native Americans and a tax hearing on manufacturing impacts.  Also, there will be another hearing on Friday in House Resources on Helium reserves for (not just because of clown balloons, but rather) health care and other industrial applications. 

We’ll also try to keep tabs on the reschedule of today’s Duke CEO Jim Rogers speech to the National Press Club.  I kind of expected this to be postponed after last week’s proceedings at the NC PUC regarding the recently closed Duke-Progress merger.

Call with questions…

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

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Report on EPA Haze Rule Hits Sue, Settle Strategy – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report Friday criticizing EPA’s regional haze program and the agency’s alleged attempt to usurp state authority through the courts (eg, “sue and settle” litigation), arguing its true motive is to put the coal industry out of business. The report says federally-imposed,  stricter emissions controls will 10 to 20 times more than the technology the states would otherwise have used.  Already, EPA has used this litigation approach to impose almost $375 million in annual costs on six coal-fired power plants in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. It has similarly proposed $24 million in annual costs on a coal-fired power plant in Nebraska. Earthjustice has already disputed the findings as “distorting” EPA’s use of litigation. 

Maryland Gov Visits Clean Currents – Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley stopped by Clean Currents’ new Silver Spring headquarters last week heralding the company as “innovative” and a green industry success story.   The Governor took the opportunity to address issues with our regional power grid, following the devastating storm and subsequent widespread power outages.  He also discussed the pressing need to advance a vibrant clean energy economy in Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic region, and the U.S.  O’Malley has been a leading advocate for renewable energy since entering office in 2007, setting a goal of producing 20 percent of Maryland’s electricity from in-state renewable sources by 2022.  He has also embarked upon an ambitious green agenda, setting a target to create 100,000 new green jobs in Maryland by 2015, reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, and reduce per capita energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015.  The Governor also congratulated Clean Currents on graduating from The Rockville Innovation Center, a small-business incubator, and moving into a much expanded office space in downtown Silver Spring.  “We’re honored that the Governor selected Clean Currents as the venue for his remarks on clean energy and the clean economy.  The Governor’s recognition of the work we have been doing in the Mid-Atlantic region validates our dedication to providing residents and businesses in the region with the highest quality affordable green energy options,” said Gary Skulnik, President and Co-Founder of Clean Currents.

Refiners Join With Wildlife Habitat Council – The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a strategic partnership between the two organizations. Through the agreement, the groups have agreed to seek joint projects that result in progress toward the mutual goals of the two organizations.  The agreement establishes a framework for cooperation between the two organizations, including engaging in and demonstrating corporate leadership, establishing a joint awards program, and encouraging industry managers’ participation and community involvement in restoration projects. It also provides opportunities for each group to participate and make presentations at the other’s workshops, conferences and meetings.   WHC and AFPM recognize the special and complementary capabilities and resources of their respective organizations, projects, and partners for addressing these concerns and recognize the importance of building a strong partnership in order to achieve the goals of this MOU. “WHC values our partnership with American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. This agreement reinforces industry’s commitment to voluntary efforts that curb the global loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, including involvement through conservation education and community engagement,” said Robert Johnson, WHC President.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

CSIS to Host IEA Technology Experts –The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ambassador Richard H. Jones, Deputy Executive Director and Dr. Markus Wrake, Senior Energy Analyst and ETP Project Lead, International Energy Agency (IEA) to present the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.  Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP 2012) looks at how technologies– from electric vehicles to smart grids– can make a decisive difference in achieving the objective of limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C and enhancing energy security.  ETP 2012 presents scenarios and strategies to 2050, with the aim of guiding decision makers on energy trends and what needs to be done to build a clean, secure and competitive energy future.

ACORE Transportation Conference Set – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) will convene First Transportation and Renewable Energy Industry Forum tomorrow where business and industry leaders from across the energy spectrum and modes of transportation to discuss the challenges and opportunities to expanding the renewable transportation market. This is the first in a series of forums that will highlight the opportunities and challenges the country faces as it moves toward a 21st century transportation system sourced by renewable energy. Speakers will include Arun Banskota of NRG Energy, Toyota’s William Chernicoff, Doug Durante of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and Catherine Dunwoody of California Fuel Cell, as well as out media friends  Warren Brown of the Washington Post, Keith Johnson of the Wall Street Journal and John Siciliano of Clean Energy Report.

Senate Energy to Tackle Cyber Attacks, Grid – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the status of action taken to ensure that the electric grid is protected from cyber attacks.  Witnessed will include FERC’s  Joseph McClelland, GAO’s Gregory Wilshusen, North American Electric Reliability Corporation CEO Gerry Cauley and Ohio PUC Chair Todd Snitchler. 

WAPA to Host Honda Exec – The Washington Automotive Press Assn  (WAPA) will hold its July luncheon tomorrow at Noon at the National Press Club featuring Honda Motors Rick Schostek.  Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Mfg will present on how the company bucked conventional wisdom and embarked on a dream that sparked significant innovations in American manufacturing. Schostek also will explain how Honda’s North American responsibilities have blossomed into global capabilities for manufacturing, research, development and engineering – with more than 20 million domestic vehicles built along the way. 

EPA to Hold PM Public Hearings – EPA will hold two public hearings on tomorrow in Philadelphia and Thursday in Sacramento to discuss the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for fine particle pollution (PM2.5). A federal court ruling required EPA to update the standards based on best available science. The proposed updates, which meet that requirement, build on steps already taken by EPA to reduce pollution in communities across the country.

House Energy Panel Continues Alternative Fuels Hearing with EIA, EPA, DOE – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power continues its American Energy Initiative hearing on federal government perspectives regarding alternative fuels and vehicles tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.  Last week, the committee had a food fight between industries over ethanol and other alternative fuels policy.  This week, the witness list include government officials including EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, EPA’s Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Margo Oge and DOE’s Kathleen Hogan. 

DOE Webinar to Look at Landfill Gas Projects – The Energy Department will present a live webinar tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. looking at community Renewable Energy success stories featuring landfill gas-to-energy projects. The session will highlight both the challenges and benefits of developing successful community landfill gas-to-energy projects at the Prairie View Recycling and Disposal Facility in Will County, Illinois, and the Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Electricity Project in Escambia County, Florida.

Abound Bankruptcy to be Discussed at Hearing – The House Government Oversight will hold a hearing featuring Abound executives on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the bankruptcy.  Abound filed bankruptcy recently, planned to shut down and lay off 125 employees.  Interestingly though, the Abound CEO was before the Committee in June, but received no questions from the Committee, who at the time was focused on others. Witnesses will include Abound CEO Craig Witsoe, Abound Chairman of the Board Tom Tiller, DOE Loan Program Office acting Executive Director David Frantz and former Loan Program Office Executive Director Jonathan Silver.

RFF Seminar to Look at Emissions Taxes – Resources for the Future will hold an RFF Academic Seminar on Wednesday at Noon featuring presents Jay Coggins of the University of Minnesota, looking at emissions taxes.  The function describing the benefits to abatement is dual to an underlying dose-response function that relates health outcomes to pollution levels. Recent articles by a few health scientists have found strictly concave dose-response functions for fine particulates. In these articles, the first unit of dose is the most damaging, the last unit of abatement (taking us to zero concentration) the most valuable. The dual benefit function must be strictly convex and so marginal benefits to abatement must be upward sloping. We compare quantity and price instruments in this setting, discovering that identifying the optimal price policy can be surprisingly difficult from a technical perspective. A quantity policy is never strictly preferred to a price policy. The level of uncertainty plays a central role that appears to have escaped notice until now, and the optimal emissions tax is sometimes discontinuous in the level of uncertainty.

Forum to Look at Grid Security – Energy Central holds a webinar, beginning at noon, on new approaches to Grid Security on the vulnerabilities of the power grid to computer viruses and cyber-attack.  Participants include Terry Jarrett, regulator with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Critical Infrastructure; Terry Boston, president and CEO of PJM Interconnections; and Gerry Cauley, president and CEO of North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

House Ways/Means to Look at Manufacturing Tax Issues – The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing in Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on business tax issues currently facing U.S. manufacturing companies, and will examine how comprehensive tax reform could improve the ability of manufacturers to contribute to job creation and economic growth, including U.S.-based public and closely held companies as well as foreign-owned U.S. manufacturers.  The hearing will examine how the current tax system affects U.S. manufacturers, including U.S.-based public and closely held companies as well as foreign-owned U.S. manufacturers, and how comprehensive tax reform might affect their ability to expand and create jobs.  Among the witnesses will be Air Liquide’s tax expert Hugh Spinks, as well as others from 3M, Ford and Corning.

Senate Indian Affairs to Look at Climate, Treaty Rights – The Senate Special Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. to examine climate change, focusing on impacts on treaty rights, traditional lifestyles, and tribal homelands.

House Resources to Look at Helium Reserves –  The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on a helium shortage that could soon intensify with the federal government’s underground stockpile near Amarillo, Texas.   Helium is used by wind turbine and semiconductor manufacturers, as well as in health applications.  Industry and government officials told the Senate Energy Committee last month that inaction could cause a shortage.  Our friend David Joyner of Air Liquide testified at the Senate and will be on-hand again Friday.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

NARUC Summer Conference Set for Portland – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners returns to Portland, Ore., this summer with a loaded agenda and stellar keynote speakers. NARUC’s 2012 Summer Committee Meetings, July 22-25, will focus on the top challenges facing the utility sector, including smart-grid issues, universal service reform, hydraulic fracturing, new environmental rules, and much more.  Featured speakers at the meeting include University of Colorado School of Law Dean Philip J. Weiser, Environmental Defense Fund General Counsel Vickie Patton, QEP Resources President and CEO Charles Stanley, American Water President and CEO Jeff Sterba, FERC and EPA representatives.  Topics under discussion include: Bridging the Hydraulic Fracturing Divide; A Marriage of Convenience: Can Utilities and Wireless Companies Keep the Lights on; EPA Regulations: Are They Moving America Beyond Coal; Electricity and Gas Interpendencies; cyber security; gas pipeline safety; utility infrastructure costs; and much more.  The NARUC-Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Joint Forum on Reliability and the Environment will meet Wednesday, July 25, and the NARUC-FERC Collaborative on Smart Response will be meeting on Sunday.

Williams CEO to Speak at NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Alan Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Williams, as its next guest speaker Tuesday, July 24  at 12:30 p.m. at the University Club.        

Panel to Look at Defense Clean Tech – The New Democrat Network will hold a forum on Wednesday, July 25th at Noon to look at Department of Defense clean energy issues.  The Obama Administration’s push for next generation energy technology at the Department of Defense has ignited a congressional debate on the role of DOD in the promotion of clean technology. To take a more in-depth look at this ongoing debate,  Jon Powers, Federal Environmental Executive for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will lead a panel from the government and the private sector in a spirited debate on the impact of the DOD’s investment in next generation energy technology.  Panelists include DOD’s Dr. Jeff Marqusee, Digital Sun’s Jeff Weiss and DOE’s Holmes Hummel.  

Senate Energy to Look at Water Use – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold a hearing on Wednesday, July 25 to examine the role of water use efficiency and its impact on energy use.

Chamber to Host Canadian Officials on Partnership Opportunities – The National Chamber Foundation of the US Chamber of Commerce is present the next installment of the Business Horizon Series on Tuesday July 31st at 9:00 a.m.  focused on Canada and partnership growth and opportunity.  Canada is a vital economic partner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. From the Keystone XL pipeline to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, America’s relationship with its northern neighbor covers a number of today’s important issues. Canada is also advancing its economy thanks to key reforms made in prior years. Understanding the past decisions informing Canada’s competitiveness today is an important part of building a relationship for growth well into the future.  Speakers will include Rob Merrifield, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade and Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Texas Superconference Set – The 24th edition of the annual Texas Environmental Superconference, one of the most entertaining and informative of environmental conferences, will be held on Thursday and Friday – August 2nd and 3rd in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.   This year’s conference is entitled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”   The August 1st Wednesday evening session, entitled “How the West Was Won!” will be a primer on Practical Aspects of Environmental Litigation and will be held at the San Jacinto Center, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard, adjacent to the Four Seasons.

Reid Clean Energy Summit Set for August Recess – The 5th annual National Clean Energy Summit will once again bring together clean energy visionaries and leaders, public officials, business executives and entrepreneurs, investors, students, and the media to discuss how to empower the public with tools to promote the clean energy economy; increasing jobs and our energy independence. The day-long clean energy summit will be hosted by Center for American Progress, Clean Energy Project, MGM Resorts International, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. National Clean Energy Summit 5.0: The Power of Choice will focus on empowering individuals, governments, and businesses with the ability to choose clean energy.  The conference will highlight energy options and how the freedom to make clean energy choices can improve the quality of life, save consumers money, and grow the economy.  The more the public, business, and government understand the immense benefits of clean energy, the more likely they are to support and adopt policies to bring that future here sooner.  There has never been a more important time for the nation to better enable investment in clean energy.  Bringing clean energy options in-line with a smarter electricity grid, while increasing the amount of solar, wind, and geothermal energy from projects in Nevada and the West, can give power to new industries and markets that will also simultaneously create new jobs and help rebuild our economy.  The Summit will also discuss why we must invest in the research, development, deployment, and commercialization of new clean tech products to make us competitive in the $7 trillion global clean energy market.  ONE FINAL NOTE:  The event in Las Vegas is only 40 minutes away from BrightSource’s Ivanpah Project, so there is the likelihood that there will be a site visit available.  More on this as we get closer.    

Geothermal Energy Group to Host Summit – The Geothermal Energy Assn will hold its second annual National Geothermal Summit on Tuesday, August 7th and Wednesday, August 8th in Sacramento, CA. This event brings together companies and individuals in the geothermal industry with experts, government officials and other key decision makers. Topics covered will include reducing the risks of geothermal exploration and drilling, utility experience with geothermal power, streamlining NEPA and project planning and permitting and improving incentives for geothermal power.