Energy Update: Week of September 18

Friends,

Our friend Sean Spicer was the hit of the 69th Emmy awards last night working with host Stephen Colbert to offer a great, light political moment, fresh with a moving podium in an event dripping with political intrigue.  The big winners were SNL, Hulu and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose win for best actress in a comedy for her “Veep,” performance tied Cloris Leachman’s record for eight prime-time acting Emmys.  See all the winners here.

Also, proud dad moment: this weekend we traveled to Wellesley to watch Hannah’s first NEWMAC field hockey game and she didn’t disappoint, getting a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick,” by scoring the game winning goal, setting up her team’s first goal and then getting a yellow card late in the second half.

This week, the UN launches its meetings so climate change events are all around.  First, let’s address the weekend dust up over the Paris agreement.  In case you missed it, the WSJ reported that the Administration was considering backing off its pledge to pull out of the Paris Agreement.  The Administration pushed back aggressively on that issue.  My take: I just don’t think there is anything different than we’ve heard before.  For now, it looks and sounds to me like they are still on the same page as back when he made announcement.  They only seem to be wiggling on is their strategy to approach discussions at the upcoming UN meeting. Substance seems the same.  Happy to discuss in more detail.

Climate Week events started with Gary Cohn this morning hosting a meeting on energy and climate change in New York before the United Nations General Assembly convenes and continues with Columbia Law School hosting an event tonight at 7:00 p.m. on offshore wind in NYC featuring our friends Amy Harder of Axios, Statoil’s Megan Kesier and Michael Gerrard of the Columbia Law School.  The Concordia Summit also is happening in NYC with speakers like Scott Pruitt (interviewed by Dana Perino), Laura Bush, a bunch of POLITICO moderators and many others.  Finally, Yale holds a Climate Conference today and tomorrow hosted by John Kerry featuring Ernie Moniz, Heather Zichal, James Baker, Sens. Graham and McCain, Govs. Brown and Inslee, Hank Paulson, GE’s Jeff Immelt and WAIT FOR IT… Leo DiCaprio, tomorrow to close the event!!! See the full Climate Week line up here.

So with another hurricane lingering in the Caribbean, it is important to report that as of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, more than 90% of customer outages have been restored.  Still, about 850,000 customers are without power in Florida and Georgia as a result of Hurricane Irma. At Irma’s peak on September 11, there were more than 7.8 million outages.  In Georgia alone, power has been restored to 99% of customers, or 990,000 customers, impacted by Hurricane Irma.  For those who are still without power, an army of more than 60,000 continues to work around the clock in support of one mission—to turn the lights back on as safely and as quickly as possible. This includes workers from affected companies, as well as mutual assistance crews, contractors, and other support personnel. See this mutual assistance in action in a social media recap.

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee will vote on White House nominees for two open slots FERC, as well as picks for senior roles at the Interior and Energy Departments.  Then Wednesday, the Senate Environment Committee will hear from nominees for several senior positions at the Environmental Protection Agency, including Bill Wehrum to head the agency’s the air office.  EPA GC Matt Leopold, EPA chemical office head (and TSCA implementer) Mike Dourson, EPA Water office head Dave Ross and NRC’s Jan Baran also on the agenda.

Finally, on Friday the US International Trade Commission will vote on whether to move the Suniva 201 solar case forward by determining whether the petitioners were injured.  The company is seeking import duties of 40 cents per watt for solar cells that currently sell for 25-33 cents per watt, and a floor price of 78 cents per watt for panels.  The U.S. solar industry – as well as outside interests like utilities, contractors, co-ops, retailers, manufacturers and conservative groups have rallied to oppose the bid for protection, arguing it would undercut a thriving sector and harm employment in other areas, particularly installation.    Lots of action on the issue including the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board hammering the case, conservative groups sending a letter to ITC opposing the case and a new paper from Heritage trade experts on the case.

Today is National Cheeseburger Day!!!  Let’s celebrate…Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

“The reductions in solar costs — I did not foresee them, I also did not foresee the reductions in the cost of natural gas.  I did not foresee that we would have the price of oil around $50 a barrel or wherever it is today. I admit that I didn’t see the cost of solar and wind decreasing as fast as it has.” 

Daniel Simmons, Department of Energy staffer who helped draft the DOE Grid Reliability Report in an interview with PV Magazine.

IN THE NEWS

Wall Street Journal Ed Board Hits Trade Case – You might have missed it given the WSJ’s other story this weekend, but the editorial board called the Suniva case a “Solar Power Death Wish”.  The Journal says the marketplace is driving the potential harm for the petitioners, noting the “U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules.”  They add the potential tariffs would be another “destructive exercise that benefits a handful of Suniva and SolarWorld investors at the expense of everyone else—including the rest of the solar industry. This is protectionism at its worst.”

Heritage Paper Details Group’s Concern About Solar Tariff – The Heritage Foundation released a paper that challenges the need for the solar trade petition filed by Suniva.  They say acquiescing to Suniva and SolarWorld Americas’ petition for more tariffs would do deep damage to the rest of the U.S. solar industry.

Conservative Groups Weigh in on Solar Tariff – Several conservative groups sent a letter last week urging members of the US International Trade Commission to reject the relief requested by Suniva and SolarWorld.  The groups wrote that the tariffs and minimum price floors requested would double the cost of solar products in the United States, lead to retaliation by our trading partners and face a challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Letter signatories include R Street, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, the National Taxpayers Union and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Energy Innovation Discussion Spurs Progress –  Clearpath’s Rich Powell and former Oak Ridge National Lab Director Thom Mason wrote in a new op-ed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press how clean energy innovation has been an essential part of Tennessee’s fabric for more than eight decades, including contributing to some of our nation’s most significant breakthroughs. But they also issue a word of caution ahead of the busy budget season on Capitol Hill: We must have sustained federal energy innovation investment or risk losing much of the promise being built in the Volunteer State and elsewhere.

Nuclear Plants Withstand Hurricanes – Nuclear plants were among the most resilient of energy infrastructure in the path of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.  Two reactors near Houston operated at full capacity despite wind gusts of 130 mph, which along with flooding, shut down refineries and disrupted wind and solar generation. And while several Florida reactors were preemptively shut down ahead of Irma, they suffered no damage and were powered back up this week.  Here is some of the coverage in Florida and additional coverage on Texas.

ALEC: State Nuclear Emerging Trends – Speaking of nuclear, our friend Sarah Hunt at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released a new paper on the emerging trends in state nuclear power policy.  Research reveals several developments have combined encouraging states to take a fresh look at nuclear energy policy. The survey of the state policy landscape suggests that moving forward, state nuclear policy discussions will focus on policy interventions to preserve existing nuclear power plants instead of policies that promote new construction. Given the relevance of energy subsidies, mandates and federally regulated wholesale power markets to nuclear power, these policy conversations will hopefully encourage states and the federal government to take a fresh look at unraveling the “Gordian knot” of existing market distorting policies.

SAFE Brings in New Policy Expert – SAFE has brought in a new Senior VP of Policy and he’s a heavy hitter. Jonathan Chanis is an expert on oil markets and energy geopolitics and is available for comment on these topics, as well as the upcoming OPEC monitoring committee meeting on Wednesday.  Chanis is responsible for planning and directing the research, analysis, and writing of SAFE’s policy team. Before joining SAFE, Jonathan taught graduate students at Columbia University about energy security and scenario planning, and he consulted on petroleum and natural gas security, and supply and value chain management. For the 20 years prior to this, Jonathan traded and invested in energy and emerging market equities, and commodities and currencies as a Senior Trader at Caxton Associates, a Vice President at Goldman Sachs’s commodities division ( J. Aron & Co.), and a Managing Director at Tribeca Global Management (a division of Citigroup). Chanis has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1988, and an Associate Member of the Columbia University Seminar on the Middle East since 1997.

CAP Report Outlines State Offshore Wind Best Practices – The Center for American Progress has a new report today that examine state policies that helped launch offshore wind projects in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. Among the items they recommend states consider for the policy toolkits: Strong renewable energy requirements, legislation guaranteeing demand for offshore wind power, comprehensive ocean planning, competitive and reasonable long-term power purchase agreements and infrastructure investments in areas like ports.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

POLITICO Reporters to Moderate Key Panels at Key Event – The Concordia Annual Summit will be held today and tomorrow prior to the UN meetings launch in New York City.  The event is the pre-eminent nonpartisan forum taking place alongside the UN General Assembly, and convenes more than 2,000 influencers and decision-makers through action-oriented programming that aims to build partnerships for social impact. The Summit will feature over 250 speakers, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (interviewed by our friend Dana Perino), Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, former first lady Laura Bush, former State Department climate negotiator Paula Dobriansky, and United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes, of.  As the official media partner of this year’s summit, our friends at POLITICO – Anna Palmer, Nick Juliano, Matt Kaminski, Helena Bottemiller Evich and Ben White – will moderate discussions on major issues affecting the U.S. and global community.

Kerry Hosts Yale Climate Conference – Former Secretary of State John Kerry will host a climate conference today and tomorrow at Yale.  Speakers will include former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, State Dept climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing, Obama Energy Czar Heather Zichal, former Bush Secretary of State James Baker, Sens. Graham and McCain, Govs. Jerry Brown and Jay Inslee, former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, GE’s Jeff Immelt and Leo DiCaprio, who will close the event tomorrow.

CSIS to Host Trade Discussion With Lighthizer – CSIS will host US Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer this morning at 10:30 a.m. to discuss US trade policy priorities.

Columbia to Host Offshore Wind Discussion – The Columbia Law School will host an event tonight at 7:00 p.m. in NYC as part of its Climate Week events on offshore wind in New York.  The Keynote presenter is Michael Gerrard of the Columbia Law School.  Then our friend Amy Harder of Axios will moderate a panel which includes Statoil’s Megan Kesier and others.

FERC Nominees to Get Energy Vote – Following last week’s delay, the Senate Energy Committee meets tomorrow to vote on Kevin McIntyre to be chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Richard Glick to be a member of the commission.  The committee will then lead into a hearing that will look at the vegetation requirements this week for electricity infrastructure on federal land. Witnesses include USDA’s Glenn Casamassa, BLM’s John Ruhs, Mark Hayden of the Missoula Electric Cooperative, Scott Miller of The Wilderness Society and Arizona Public Service Forestry Manager Andrew Rable.

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

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

Senate Environment to Consider Wehrum, Other Noms – The Senate Environment Committee hold a hearing on nominations Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Nominees under consideration Michael Dourson to be assistant EPA administrator for the chemical office; Matthew Leopold to be General Counsel; David Ross to be assistant EPA administrator for water; William Wehrum to be assistant EPA administrator for air; and Jeffery Baran to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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

Napolitano to Discuss NAFTA, US-Mexico Relations – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. , University of California President Janet Napolitano and Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey Alejandro Poiré will speak at a forum that will address the current state and prospective future of U.S.-Mexico trade relations in light of the current policy and political climate. Other speakers will include Sen. Mark Warner, California Senate President Kevin de León, Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez and former Custom/Border Patrol Commissioner David Aguilar.

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

ITC Solar Trade Petition Injury Determination – FRIDAY

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

IN THE FUTURE

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEKSeptember 25-29th.  Hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Sects. Perry and Zinke will launch event on Tuesday, September 26th at the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill in a discussion moderated by former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Wharton DC Hosts Innovation Summit – The Wharton DC Innovation Summit will be held on Monday September 25th at the Marriott Bethesda North Conference Center.  The Wharton DC Summit has a rich history of getting at key questions for venture capitalists, a seasoned entrepreneurs, an aspiring entrepreneurs or the intellectually-intrigued by innovation.  Interesting panels on transportation, (AVs), drones and many other topics.

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference on September 25th College for Creative Studies in downtown Detroit.  The global market for mobility solutions is growing rapidly, building on innovation, information technology, and new transportation business models. Focusing on this convergence, the event, sponsored by our friends at DTE Energy, will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. While other conferences have explored these issues independently, the Michigan Energy Future Conference will be the first comprehensive look at the synergies between sectors, exploring opportunities for the U.S. to benefit as the pace of convergence between these sectors accelerates.

Cato Forum to Look at Flood Insurance Program – The Cato Institute holds a forum next Monday at Noon in 122 Cannon looking at the National Flood Insurance Program, Zoning Regulations, and Hurricanes.  The event will look at lessons for lawmakers working to reauthorize the expiring National Flood Insurance Program (NFIB). A panel of experts will answer questions on hurricanes, floods, and their aftermath, as well as offer suggestions for what Congress should, and should not, do regarding future disaster mitigation efforts.

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

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

Gas Tech CEO to Address Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host that David Carroll, president of the International Gas Union at its next luncheon on Tuesday, September 26th.  Carroll is the President and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute. He oversees the company’s operations and directs its programs for developing technologies, products, and services for customers in the natural gas and related industries.  Carroll assumed the additional role of President of IGU for a three-year term in 2015.

Forum to Look at Future of Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a special workshop on Tuesday September 26th looking at the future of nuclear power globally, focusing on technological, security, and geopolitical considerations.  Achieving progress towards decarbonizing and reducing the environmental impact of energy generation is arguably impossible without a significant expansion of nuclear power internationally. However, improving and strengthening the global nuclear governance system and maintaining high international standards in nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are essential for nuclear power to become a more integral part of the world’s energy portfolio. Speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Kenneth Luongo and NEI’s Everett Redmond.

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

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

Wilson to Hold Energy Forum – The Mexico and Canada Institutes will host the Wilson Center’s 2017 North America Energy Forum on Wednesday September 27th. The Forum is now in its fourth year and will focus on the major challenges and opportunities facing energy producers and consumers in the region, with a strong focus on innovation in the energy sector.  Chamber Energy President Karen Harbert and NOIA head Randy Luthi will be among the speakers.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on September 27-29 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The event focuses on trading, legislation and regulation of environmental markets. The agenda includes panel sessions covering Carbon / RGGI, what’s next after the Clean Power Plan, update on current developments and trends in other existing environmental markets such as the SO2 and Nox programs and a general REC Market Overview that provides an update on supply and demand as well as estimates on potential growth as the market faces pricing pressure.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on September 27th and 28th at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The event holds the most important discussions on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. Influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders will work through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.

Smart Mobility Forum Set – The C3 Group hosts the 3rd annual Smart Mobility Forum on Capitol Hill on September 27th at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center.  The Forum will include presentations by experts on the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on automotive, transportation, society and policy followed by an interactive Q&A.  Featured Speakers include C3 Group President and smart mobility expert Doug Newcomb, Autotrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs and Dushyant Wadivkar of Bosch Automated Vehicles.
CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday September 29th at 9:00 a.m., the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative holds a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).  The topics will include North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and other global hotspots with Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.  The event is – as always – moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 31

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 24

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.

 

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the complete post, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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

Article by PRG’s George Felcyn Featured in ACORE Blog

 

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

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

To read the complete article, click here.

Energy Update: Week of March 6

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of January 23

Friends,

This has been a very exciting weekend with the Inauguration on Friday, the Women’s Marches across the nation on Saturday and Super Bowl LI’s lineup getting finalized Sunday, which set for Houston in two weeks.  Also the 33rd Sundance Festival opens up this week featuring Al Gore’s climate sequel and several other climate-related movies.

The new Administration started with a bang Friday with a memo from new White House CoS Reince Priebus holding all regulations.  The Washington Post had a great article by Chris Mooney over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  Our friends at AHRI (703-600-0355, fdietz@ahrinet.org) and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718, salo.zelermyer@bracewelllaw.com) are watching DOE actions closely.

Today, we are likely to see a blast of executive action.  Already, we saw the web page change of the Obama Climate approach which led to several stories.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg and I have come to the same conclusion: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months, it should be obvious that the Trump administration takes a different view on climate change to the Obama team.  (And BTW, the Obama pages have been just moved to the archives.) As for actions, there seems to be a lot of interest in a transition memo that was reported by Axios today.  While it is interesting, just like the budget memo rolled out from Heritage/Republican Study Committee last week, I would encourage all of you to be careful chasing these items before Pruitt lands at the agency.  We are looking for focus on the White House Climate Action Plan, a pullback on CEQ climate guidance on NEPA and readjustment of the Social Cost of Carbon as immediate potential actions.  We are happy to help provide insights, information and resources.

We also know he is moving on trade issues including NAFTA and TPP.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838, josh.zive@bracewelllaw.com) is one of the best trade policy lawyers in DC and is happy to give you background information, perspective and even on-the-record comments.

On the Hill, we also expect more action on the nominations for EPA, State, Energy and Interior.  At 4:30 p.m. the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss the Tillerson nomination to be Secretary of State which seems to be assured now that Sens. Rubio, McCain and Graham will support him.  Senate Energy Chair Murkowski suggested hotlining the Zinke and Perry nominations so they can get floor votes early this week.  As for EPA, nominee Scott Pruitt will face opposition but is certain to be approved.  In fact, the most interesting story on the EPA nomination vote is what key Democrats facing tough re-elects in Trump states (Tester – MT, Donnelly – IN, Heitkamp – ND McCaskill – MO) will do.  Manchin is already supporting Pruitt.

As for events this week, on Thursday, my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead joins other tax experts at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss the viability of carbon tax.  Other events include the Washington Auto Show Policy Days on Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday a CSIS holds an event that presents IEA’s Global Gas Security Review.

Finally, two events to put on your radar screen for early February besides the Grammys and Super Bowl LI.  On February 3 and 4, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) will hold events in Washington focused on the 2017 Environmental/Energy agenda and covering the Trump Administration.  Finally, on February 8th, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release its 2017 Sustainable Energy Factbook.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned here.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“it is clear that self-driving cars will make it possible for millions more Americans to have better access to healthcare, live more independently and achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.”

Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the disability advocacy group Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco

 

IN THE NEWS

New CoS Memo Slows Regs – White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus released a memo on Friday to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations — giving the new administration time to review them.  The action is a fairly standard move for a new administration taking over from the other party. It effectively halts any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized.  For any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.  For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn. For regulations that have been published but have not reached their effective date, the memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review — with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.  The memo makes an exception for “critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can’t be delayed for other reasons.

AHRI Sees Benefits, Concerns with Memo – A great article by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  AHRI, who worked on both the walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF) rule and its accompanying test procedure rule and the commercial boiler rule, were recently submitted for publication, but delayed under the 45-day review rule.  The memo would appear to force the withdrawal and review of the rule by new personnel at DOE.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the action provides an opportunity discuss with the new DOE staff the various processes by which energy efficiency rules are developed.  “The walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated and its provisions were agreed to by all stakeholders, including AHRI.  The rule establishing the test procedure for WICFs, however, was not negotiated, and neither was the commercial boiler rule — both were developed with minimal interaction with stakeholders.  Consequently, we have many concerns about those two rules and will likely be seeking significant changes if and when they are redeveloped,” Yurek said.  This moratorium does not mean these and other rules will never be issued, only that they will be delayed for review and potential alteration. But Yurek said that, “Under the law, DOE is only required to review these and other rules, not make changes to them.  It is entirely possible that this administration will choose to merely leave current efficiency levels in place for some products,” he said.

Propane Rule Creates Burden – On the first working day of the Trump Administration, a rule imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) during the Obama Administration is set to impose $125 million in new costs on propane consumers.  To date, NPGA’s petition for an emergency stay to protect the industry and propane consumers has gone unanswered.  Today, approximately 5 million propane cylinders, including many that are used for home heating, forklifts, and even grill cylinders, are out of compliance with DOT regulations.  In 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) made a major change to a decades-old regulation that, without explanation or justification, reduces the time propane marketers have to initially requalify a propane cylinder from 12 years to 10 years.  This action is an unlawful violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires that affected parties have an opportunity to comment on any changes that might create new obligations for stakeholders.  DOT misled the propane industry in the initial notice of proposed rulemaking saying, “Costs associated with the rule are estimated to be negligible annually…. [T]hese requirements would not impose new requirements on current non-holders of SPs [special permits].”  In the rule PHMSA cites the number of affected business at 50.  The reality is this rule affects thousands of companies, starting with approximately 3,000 propane marketers.  In addition to the significant financial burden, this regulation will cause small business owners to choose between delivering fuel to more than 5 million homes that rely on propane for winter heating or keeping staff at the business to comply with this rule.

SAFE Report Says AVs will Help Those with Disabilities – A white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) has revealed that an astonishing two million employment opportunities could be opened and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved if people with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles. The paper, titled The Ruderman White Paper on Self-Driving Car Technologies: The Impact on People with Disabilities, also encourages a greater dialogue surrounding the potential benefits that these emerging transportation technologies can offer to people with disabilities. Despite those with disabilities representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population, the most recent government transport survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability have difficulty accessing the transportation they need. The transportation sector is one of the largest industries in the United States, interacting with nearly every facet of the economy, however this system still remains off-limits to many in the disability community, leading to much lower rates of employment, health care, and income. The report, co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of the Autonomous Vehicle Initiative at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE, calls on an urgent need to develop a common agenda at the intersection between autonomous vehicles and disability policy, requiring broad political organization, and eventually action, in order to make progress and ensure the voices of individuals with disabilities is heard.  The report’s authors also noted a legal commitment to be upheld as autonomous vehicles are developed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that if a private company offers such transportation services, equal access to public accommodations must be made to provide the same services to people with disabilities as those without.

Cramer Bipartisan commission to Limit OPEC – U.S. House of Representatives members Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) introduced legislation to establish a one-year commission to better understand the role of OPEC, its member nations, and other national oil companies (NOCs) in contributing to an unfree global oil market. OPEC, whose member nations along with other NOCs control 90% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, have the ability to exercise outsized influence over global oil supply, and therefore prices, to the detriment of non-members like the United States. The full text of H.R. 545 is available here.  OPEC’s decision in late 2016 to interrupt the low oil price environment by freezing crude production was reached after two years of the cartel maintaining record levels of production to consolidate market share. That policy placed significant strain on U.S. producers and the global economy, delaying nearly $400 billion in investment in future production capacity, causing thousands of domestic job losses and setting the stage for higher prices in the future. Unable to meet their fiscal obligations with declining oil revenues, major exporters are instead burning through billions in accumulated foreign reserves to maintain their social and defense spending, with the potential of amplifying already growing geopolitical unrest in the world’s most unstable regions. OPEC’s strong influence over the oil market translates to severe economic vulnerability for the United States, which depends on petroleum fuels for more than a third of its primary energy demand and for 92% of the energy used by the transportation sector. This singular dependence on oil, a resource whose price is frequently volatile and unpredictable, threatens the American economy with the specter of price spikes and undermines the nation’s ability to conduct effective foreign policy, including military action, in its own interest.

AHRI Announces HVAC Scholarships – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), announced scholarship awards totaling $55,000 to 35 students, including six veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  Each year, the Foundation provides aid to an increasing number of recipients, helping to promote careers in the industry and fill good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

Defense Energy Forum Set – Today through Wednesday, the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement holds its Operational Energy Summit, with the theme “Enabling Global Power Projection at the Sheraton Pentagon City.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges –Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

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

SAE to Host Forum at Auto Show – SAE International holds its 2017 Government/Industry Forum in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show on “how technology, regulations and legislation affects the design of light and heavy duty vehicles.

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

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Forum to Look at NatGas Diplomacy Strategy – The Energy Diplomacy Initiative (EDI), as part of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. featuring a discussion with conversation with former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly on her recommendations for the US administration on the role of natural gas, energy policies, and impacts on international diplomacy.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday January 31st looking at deep decarbonization scenarios.  Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.

USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum on Tuesday January 31st at the National Press Club Ballroom.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on February 1st to look at climate risks in Latin America.  The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts.  There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

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

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Feb.4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

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

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

The Bond Buyer

 

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

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

To read the complete article, click here.