Energy Update: Week of January 9

Friends,

Not really a surprising Golden Globes shows.  LaLa Land won big (which surprised me because we really didn’t think it was that great) as did Casey Affleck (who was really great in Manchester By The Sea).  The dresses and outfits were a big story as were the political statements, headlined by Meryl Streep. Once again politics drifts into Hollywood, but it seems lectures like these may be part of the reason Trump won.

Big Game rematch tonight when #2 Clemson takes on #1 Alabama in Tampa.  While I hate the current system for determining the NCAA DI Football Champ, there is no doubt this game features the two best college teams.  And if it is anything like last year’s game, that would be special…  Also Congrats to James Madison (I know there are a lot of Dukes that read this update) for knocking off Youngstown State (where our friend Ohio Dem Rep. Tim Ryan was a star QB back in college before suffering an injury) in the FCS Championship game over the weekend.

About 10 days to the inauguration of the new President.  This should be a crazy week as confirmation hearings begin for the new cabinet.  Nine confirmation hearings this week start with Sen. Jeff Sessions tomorrow.  EOM chief Rex Tillerson is slated for Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. at Sen Foreign Relations.  Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis should have minor environmental/energy discussions at their hearing on Thursday morning.  Most expect EPA nominee Scott Pruitt to be next Wednesday but that is still not set.

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Speaking of Energy, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz does his going-away newsmaker at the National Press Club on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Prior to that, at 9:30 a.m. just across Lafayette Park, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address.  Donohue will outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

The NAIAS “Detroit” Auto Show launched yesterday with a major focus on new technologies, but a lot of that was also previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show late last week.  It also featured a report from SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

Finally, big congrats to our friend Abby Hopper, former BOEM director, who will take over the head job at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) starting next Tuesday.

Last week, we highlighted a few key issues we expect to see for 2017.  As a lot of people were out, I’m resending the issues at the end of this update just in case you missed it.

As usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The novelty and complexity of autonomous vehicles has created gaps between regulators, industry, and the general public. With so much at stake, we urge AV developers to coalesce around common standards, metrics, and commitments to specific safety protocols in advance of widespread deployment and commercialization—as the technology is highly vulnerable in its current nascent state.”

SAFE AV Commission Chairman Mark Rosenker, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE AV Commission Releases Recommendations for Industry-Led Regulatory Framework – SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety released a report late last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.  The Commission is a committed group of former public officials and safety experts who bring decades of expertise towards their collective goal of improving the safety of early AV deployment, thus expediting the widespread adoption of AV technology. The members of the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety include former NTSB Chair Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, Alliance for Transportation Innovation CEO Paul Brubaker, former GM product safety exec Robert Lange and SAE Internat’l President Cuneyt Oge.

Their recommendations address the potential risks of public opposition and overregulation:

Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence

  1. The Commission recommends that AV providers move to on road testing and deployment only once confident that the vehicle’s performance is as safe as the average human driver, accounting for backup drivers, speed restrictions, geofencing and other safety measures.
  2. The Commission encourages AV providers to create safety milestones for AV development. The Commission further encourages public disclosure of achieved milestones and accompanying validation.
  3. The Commission encourages developers to deploy redundant layers of technology to increase safety beyond any minimum required standard.
  4. The Commission encourages developers to clearly define and effectively communicate autonomous features, including their limitations.

Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework

  1. The Commission encourages AV providers to formally collaborate through a technical data consortium to accelerate AV learning and safety through shared, anonymized information.
  2. The Commission recommends that industry formulate objective, practical, quantitative metrics for measuring AV safety.
  3. The Commission recommends that any future framework for regulating AVs rest on a modern foundation reflecting the advanced software-driven nature of vehicle automation.

DOE Releases QER Recommendations – The Department of Energy released its second Quadrennial Energy Review focusing on recommendations to harden the electricity grid from terrorist attacks.  Last year’s presidential election on Friday.  DOE said the power grid faces “imminent danger” from cyberattacks and called on Congress to empower federal regulators to impose new rules on the utility industry to help protect the nation’s energy network.  The proposals called for lawmakers to give FERC more authority over cyber defenses of the power grid and for a suite of programs to upgrade the network’s technology to make it more resilient against potential attacks.

Upton to Head Energy/Power – Former House Energy & Commerce Full Committee Chair Fred Upton will run the Energy and Commerce Committee’s newly renamed Subcommittee on Energy, while Rep. John Shimkus, who lost his bid to become full committee chairman to Rep. Greg Walden, will maintain his chairmanship of the environment panel. Upton was term limited from continuing as committee chair.

Report: New Transmission Can Help Wind Supply Third of U.S. Electricity – The Energy Department today released a report which confirms that adding even limited electricity transmission can significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy to supply 35% of U.S. electricity by 2050. The report, titled Reducing Wind Curtailment through Transmission Expansion in a Wind Vision Future and authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), affirms the findings of the Energy Department’s 2015 Wind Vision, which showed that a future in which wind provides 20% of U.S. electricity in 2030 and 35% in 2050 is achievable and would provide significant economic, energy security, and health benefits to the nation.

ClearPath Taps Morehouse As Government Affairs Director – ClearPath has tapped veteran House GOP aide Jeff Morehouse as the organization’s director of government affairs. In that role, Morehouse will help lead ClearPath’s growing DC-based effort to work with the new Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration on conservative clean energy policies.  He will be a key partner to ClearPath Managing Director-Government Affairs Zak Baig in working not just with House Republicans but also the Trump administration. Morehouse since 2010 has been chief of staff for Rep. Bill Flores, including managing the Texas Republican’s successful campaign to chair the conservative Republican Study Committee last Congress. Morehouse was also executive director of the House Conservatives Fund, overseeing the Republican leadership PAC for the 2014 election cycle. Morehouse was previously legislative director for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Among his honors, Morehouse received the 2014 Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Chief of Staff Appreciation Award.

German Emissions on Rise – German think tank Agora Energiewende released its annual energy assessment that says Germany’s emissions rose in 2016, largely driven by the industrial, heating and transport sectors.  Emissions from the country’s power sector, instead, continued the decline that started in 2014 as coal use falls.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will rolled out yesterday at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences began with Disney Pixar on Sunday.  The 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will include a host of events through tomorrow.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.  The show runs through January 22nd.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Today through Thursday, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – IFC and ESMAP will presented a new report on Energy Storage this morning.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session tomorrow at noon at the National Press Club that highlights clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.

WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – The World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Brookings Forum to Tackle Transportation Model – The Moving to Access initiative, a collaboration between Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Global Economy and Development program, is an extensive, multi-year effort that seeks to inform and promote an access-first approach to urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. They will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to bring together experts across three major disciplines—transportation, urban planning, and finance—and will explore where these disciplines agree, where they diverge, and what policies could support a more accessible built environment. The event will feature a panel discussion with current metropolitan leaders and distinguished scholars and close with a keynote dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Moniz to Address Press Club Newsmaker – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at a National Press Club newsmaker and take questions on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. on the Club’s Ballroom.  In one of his final public speaking appearances in Washington, Moniz will discuss how an increased focus on science and research and development has informed better policymaking and technology solutions, and how to protect the independence and integrity of scientists at the Department of Energy and its 17 National Labs.  Moniz will also unveil a new report on the work of the laboratories and policies that will encourage and empower scientists to continue to innovate new energy solutions, make new scientific discoveries, support private industry, and deliver for the American people.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

WRI to Host Urban Transpo Forum – The World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club looking at urban transportation planning.  This event will highlight the Danish experience in shaping great cities for cycling and public space, and what other cities such as Washington, DC and beyond are and could be doing to make streets more livable and sustainable for all.

STEM Forum Set for Capitol Hill – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in B-354 Rayburn, House Science leading Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson will host energy executives along with senior federal and local government officials for a briefing about the prospects for bipartisan STEM-based energy legislation in the 115th Congress and the impact of those proposals on local job creation. Also invited are representatives from Universities and schools to share their views on partnerships with the energy sector to better prepare the energy workforce of the future.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday and Friday.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

EPA to Hold Ozone Hearings – EPA will host a public meeting on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.  The hearing will focus on nonattainment area classifications and state implementation plan requirements.  It will be held at EPA HQ in Room 1117A.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Pew to Look at Military Power Issues – On Thursday at 3:30 a.m., Pew Charitable Trusts hosts representatives from each branch of the U.S. military to discuss steps they and the Department of Defense more broadly have taken to address the challenges and opportunities that energy presents to national security.  A presentation will follow on new research that shows how microgrids and clean energy technologies can improve energy efficiency and security at military installations.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

DOE to Honor Schlesinger Medal Winners – The Energy Department will hold the Schlesinger Medal of Energy Security awards ceremony on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  In December, Secretary Moniz said Charles Curtis was the third recipient of the James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security.  When the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were established on October 1, 1977, Schlesinger and Curtis were appointed by President Carter as the first DOE Secretary and FERC Chairman, respectively.  Later, Curtis served as Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.  He was a founding partner of the law firm Van Ness, Curtis, Feldman and Sutcliffe and was instrumental in the launch of important non-governmental organizations as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Forum Looks at Enviro Crime – The Henry L. Stimson Center holds a discussion on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Army and Navy Club focusing on national and global security implications of environmental crime and resource theft.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – While not locked in yet, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday January 18th at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday January 19th at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th 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.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th 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 January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th 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.

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.

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.

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.

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.

New Year’s Energy Update

Friends,

Welcome to 2017!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  We sure saw some great football (topped by the Rose Bowl) and hockey (the Outdoor Centennial Classic in Toronto) games.

While 2016 was a bizarre political year, 2017 looks to be a brave new world, so let me lip-synch my way through a few bars to remind you that we will be on top of it all for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in the energy and environment arena for 2017.

The 115th Congress launched today with quite a stir. While new members were being sworn in and Speaker Ryan was being elected, the House was backtracking on the outside ethics committee change after pressure from the Presidential Twittersphere.  Anyway, while a dumb way to start, it did create some fun just 17 days before the Inauguration.   Sounds Like they will be busy right away though passing Midnight Rules Relief Act, which allows the use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act that requires explicit congressional approval for major executive branch regulations. (H/T POLITICO ME) Good luck getting passed the Senate though.

While a short week, there are a few great events set for the week.  Tomorrow, our friends at API hold its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center at 12:30 p.m.   Also this week, the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Las Vegas.  On Thursday, SAFE will release its autonomous vehicle report recommendations.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving AV industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  You may also expect to hear more about this topic at next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show.  Also Thursday morning at JHU, EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices.

Finally, congrats to our friend Sean Spicer, taking over the WH flak Jacket.  Also, check out the recent opinion piece on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt from former White House Counsel C Boyden Gray, who helped author the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the last time it was updated.  As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“When Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he will inherit an agency that should be declaring victory in its 46-year battle for a cleaner, healthier environment. The next administrator must focus on reining in an agency that has far exceeded its original mission. Fortunately, Pruitt understands the EPA’s proper role and is the right man for the job.”

 2007. Boyden Gray served as White House Counsel during the George H.W. Bush administration and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 2006-2007. He was one of the architects of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

 

IN THE NEWS

DOE Finalizes Energy Efficiency Rules – DOE issued five new rules on December 29th that cover an eclectic mix of products, including the first national standards for uninterruptible power supplies, portable air conditioners and swimming pool pumps, which are based on a consensus agreement. For pool pumps, California has led the way with pool pump motor standards and Arizona, Connecticut, and Washington have followed. California and Oregon have previously set standards for uninterruptible power supplies as part of their battery charger standards.  For walk-in coolers and commercial boilers, DOE’s latest actions would update existing national standards, originally signed into law by George W. Bush and his father, respectively. Manufacturers and installers of walk-in coolers negotiated the walk-in cooler levels with DOE and other stakeholders after a lawsuit invalidated some earlier standards.

Interesting Twist to Rules – Under the terms of an agreement developed as part of the settlement AHRI reached with DOE in its 2014 lawsuit concerning the original rule for walk-in coolers and freezers, there is a 45-day waiting period before the rules can be published in the Federal Register.  This means that they will not be issued in final form during the Obama Administration and are, therefore, subject to review by the incoming Trump Administration.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated with AHRI member input and AHRI approved the negotiated provisions of the rule. Yurek added the commercial boiler rule was not developed through negotiations, but through the notice-and-comment process under which AHRI provided comments.  AHRI continues to have significant issues with this rule, including our opposition to the proposed minimum efficiency levels for both oil and gas boilers which we feel overestimate the energy use of commercial packaged boilers, underestimates their installation costs, and overestimates the future shipments of commercial packaged boilers while underestimating the level of higher efficiency commercial packaged boilers that are currently in the marketplace. Yurek: “We continue to have concerns that the efficiency levels for these products has been set at a level that the margin of safety to properly vent the products of combustion has been significantly reduced.  We look forward to working with the Trump Administration as it reviews recent DOE rulemakings prior to their being finalized.”

Analysts Report: Shale Drillers Expected to Recover – Shale drillers are set to ramp up spending on exploration and production next year as recovering oil prices prompt banks to extend credit lines for the first time in two years.  The credit increase is small, but with major oil producers worldwide aiming to hold down production in 2017, U.S.-based shale drillers are looking to boost market share to take advantage of higher prices, and greater availability of capital will make that easier.  Analysts at Raymond James North America-focused oil and gas producers are expected to increase capital investments by 30% next year.

Southern Moving on Larger Wind Strategy – As part of the company’s renewable development strategy, Southern Company recently rolled out a joint development agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to develop and construct approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) across 10 projects with commercial operation dates between 2018 and 2020. Additionally, Southern Power has signed agreements to purchase wind turbine equipment from both Siemens and Vestas for use at the facilities.   Already, Southern owns more than 2,700 MW of renewable generation across 33 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction. In total, the Southern Company system has added or announced more than 4,000 MW of renewable generation since 2012.

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

MI Wind Farm Begins Operations – DTE Energy has started commercial operations at its 50MW Pinnebog wind farm in Michigan. The 30-turbine facility, which is in Huron County, started construction in early 2016. The wind farm is an expansion of the existing Echo wind park and employed more than 150 people during construction.  DTE now has 30 full-time employees working at its Huron county renewable energy center in Bad Axe. In 2015, more than 10 percent of the energy provided by DTE was generated from a renewable source in Michigan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

API’s Gerard to Hold Annual State of American Energy – API President and CEO Jack Gerard will deliver a major address tomorrow at the Reagan Trade building Atrium tomorrow at Noon to outline priorities for America’s oil and natural gas industry with New Congress and Administration.  The United States is leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas while also leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. This game-changing milestone coincides with the start of a new administration and Congress. Voters from all parties want our nation’s leaders to address economic growth and accelerate job creation while developing an energy future that benefits all Americans.   Gerard will deliver his annual address followed by a news conference for credentialed members of the media.

EIA Presents Updated Long-Term Energy Projections – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS Energy and Environment program will host EIA’s Adam Sieminski on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, world oil prices, and the Clean Power Plan.

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on Thursday in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  The event will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room S227A and will explore the details of these recommendations and strategies for implementation. Members of the Commission and SAFE staff will be available to answer questions about the Commission’s work and its implications for American energy security, including former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Paul Brubaker of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, former GM exec Robert Lange and Cuneyt Oge, President of SAE International.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Next Sunday, January 8th through Thursday, January 12th, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – Next Monday morning at the IFC Headquarters, IFC and ESMAP will present a new report on Energy Storage.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Forum to Look at Economics of Germany’s Energy Transition, Transatlantic Relations – Next Monday at noon in Fairfax, the Greater Washington Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will host a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance.  The event will focus on the economics of the German Energy/Electricity transition.
Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – On Tuesday January 10th at noon at the National Press Club, Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session  that will highlight clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.
WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – Next Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on January 11th.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday January 11th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday, January 11th at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday, January 12th and Friday, January 13th.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday, January 12th at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday, January 12th at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th 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.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th 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 January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th 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.

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

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

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

For the full video, click here.

 

 

PRG’s 2016 Post-Election Analysis Report

The 2016 election results have significant implications for companies across a wide range of industry sectors. From environmental policy to financial services to tax reform, President-elect Trump has committed to sweeping action on a variety of fronts, and will have a Republican-controlled House and Senate to work with on priority issues. Nevertheless, the GOP-led Senate is not filibuster-proof, and many of the finer points of Trump’s agenda remain unclear. Accordingly, it is important for interested stakeholders to begin thinking through how their own priorities will track with the next President and Congress.

The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP (PRG) has prepared this post-election report to identify some of the key issues slated for action in Washington next term. Our team of lobbyists, lawyers and strategic communications professionals combines decades of experience working on these issues in the private sector, on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies—and stands ready to help our clients make sure their voices are heard by policymakers and the public.

Among the contents of the Policy Resolution Group’s Post-Election Analysis Report are:

  • PRG’s 2016 Post-Election Webinar
  • PRG’s Post-Election Updates
    • Energy
    • Environment
    • Tax
    • Appropriations & Budget
    • Trade
    • Consumer Protection
    • Financial Services
  • PRG’s Post-Election Video Analyses & Podcasts
    • “Election Day Takeaways and What to Expect in the Trump Presidency”
    • “Outlook for the Clean Power Plan and Other Environmental Issues”
    • “Outlook for Energy Policy”
    • “Thoughts from a Former Senator”
    • “Trade and Tax Policy After the Election”

2016 Post-Election Webinar

Watch the complete webinar, recorded on November 9, below:

 

The complete slide deck for the webinar can be found at here.


Post-Election Updates

ENERGY

By Scott Segal, Dee Martin, and Salo Zelermyer

Although there was almost zero discussion of energy policy in the presidential debates, President-elect Donald Trump frequently cited energy policy as a cornerstone of his plans to grow the U.S. economy.

While the dust settles on this historic election and as Americans await the inauguration of their new President, those interested in energy policy can expect that questions about energy infrastructure, the power sector, the transportation sector and upstream production will be hotly debated in Washington during 2017.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

ENVIRONMENT

By Scott Segal, Frank Maisano, and Salo Zelermyer

From the clean energy components of the stimulus to the Paris Climate Agreement, President Obama staked a significant amount of his legacy on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. How instrumental was opposition to these actions in electing Donald Trump? It is hard to say at this stage but President-elect Trump’s message of rolling back federal regulations—specifically, environmental regulations—that have stifled economic growth may have been one key factor in turning major portions of the “Rust Belt” from blue to red. Our expectation is that loosening regulatory restrictions on all aspects of the energy sector is likely to be an early and constant core element of Trump’s domestic policy agenda.

Against this backdrop, those interested in environmental policy should look at four key issues: the Clean Power Plan and climate policy; methane emissions and shale; appliance standards; and pipeline approvals.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

TAX

By Curt Beaulieu

After a decade of discussion and debate, the election of Donald Trump makes it likely that substantive tax reform will finally occur in the next two years or sooner. Congressional tax-writing committees are now forming, and tax reform proposals have now been put forward by a group of House Republicans, and both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). The timing of legislation will depend on how fast the Trump administration wants to move tax reform forward.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

APPROPRIATIONS & BUDGET

By Ed Krenik and John Lee

With a government funding deadline looming on December 9, 2016, Congress will have its fair share of work to do upon its return after the national elections. The following is a review of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) passed in September, how Congress might decide to fund the government moving forward, and potential leadership changes in the 115th Congress for the Appropriations Committee.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

TRADE

By Gene Godley, Paul Nathanson, and Josh Zive

The 2016 elections featured the most focus on U.S. international trade policy since 1992. President-elect Donald Trump placed harsh criticisms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and China and made international trade the center of his economic agenda.

With Trump’s victory it is safe to say that the political environment on trade issues is more volatile than it has been in decades. As the international trade community prepares for President-elect Trump and the new Congress a few issues are front and center.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

By Ed Krenik, Paul Nathanson, and John Lee

Donald Trump’s win on Election Day will greatly change the composition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as the change from a Democratic administration to a Republican administration means the commission will eventually have a new chairman as well as a majority of Republican commissioners. Additionally, the Republican majority in the Senate will ensure that oversight over the agency’s rulemaking activities remains a top priority.

(Read the complete analysis here.)

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

By George Felcyn and Josh Zive

As President-elect Trump prepares to assume office in January, many questions have been raised about what kind of approach he will take in key policy areas, a result of the relative lack of specific proposals that emerged during his campaign. What’s in store for Wall Street and financial reform remains one of the larger unknowns about a Trump administration. Let’s examine a few clues that suggest how a Trump administration will handle this area of policy.

(Read the complete analysis here.)


Post-Election Video Analyses & Podcasts

2016 ELECTION: ELECTION DAY TAKEAWAYS AND WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY

Dee Martin and Scott Segal, co-heads of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, discuss their reactions to the surprising results of the 2016 elections and what to expect during the first 100 days of a Trump administration.

 

2016 ELECTION: OUTLOOK FOR THE CLEAN POWER PLAN AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Scott Segal, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and Jeff Holmstead, head of the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell, discuss how the next President and Congress will confront issues such as climate change, the Clean Power Plan, and other environmental regulations.

 

2016 ELECTION: OUTLOOK FOR ENERGY POLICY

Dee Martin, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and Salo Zelermyer, a partner in Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, discuss what the results of the election may mean for oil and gas, renewable energy, and fuels.

 

2016 ELECTION: THOUGHTS FROM A FORMER SENATOR

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, senior counsel at Bracewell and a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, discusses her reactions to the 2016 election results.

 

TRADE AND TAX POLICY AFTER THE ELECTION

Josh Zive, Paul Nathanson and Curt Beaulieu, of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, chat about tax and trade policy following the results of the 2016 election. Take a listen to PRG’s first The Lobby Shop podcast.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Bracewell Named Top Performing Lobbying/Law Firm of 2015 by Bloomberg Government

WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 29, 2016) – Bracewell LLP was recognized as the top performing lobbying/law firm in 2015 by Bloomberg Government in its annual review of the best advocacy firms in Washington, DC. The review ranks the top 15 firms based on performance, growth, customer satisfaction and profitability.  Bracewell’s government relations and strategic communications practices are housed in the firm’s Policy Resolution Group (PRG).

The report noted that “Bracewell is the only firm to make Bloomberg Government’s top-performing lobbying/law firms list for the fourth time in a row. Earning the top spot on the 2015 rankings, Bracewell’s impressive year was reflected in its top five performances in four of the five criteria.” The ranking criteria include one-year client retention, three-year client retention, revenue growth, accretive growth and revenue per registered client.

“We are honored to be named the top performing lobbying/law firm by Bloomberg Government,” said Bracewell Partner Scott Segal, who also co-heads Bracewell’s PRG. “Bracewell’s PRG prides itself on the quality and consistency of its client service, and we are very proud of the fact that our top ranking is in part based on ‘customer satisfaction’ and client retention.”

According to the report, the Bracewell PRG one-year client retention rate is 93% and its three-year client retention rate is 78%, placing it near the top of its class in each category.

“Bracewell is well known for many of its specialty practices and one of our most high profile and successful practices is the firm’s Policy Resolution Group,” said Bracewell Managing Partner Mark C. Evans. “It’s all part of the comprehensive services we offer clients – from traditional legal services to government relations and strategic communications.”

“Bracewell’s unique comprehensive service model and the fact that my colleagues in PRG and throughout the firm – our lobbyists, lawyers and strategic communications professionals – are the best in the business set us apart from the competition,” said Segal.

Formed in 2011, The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP helps clients around the world navigate our complex federal landscape, creating and implementing successful strategies to achieve our clients’ government relations objectives. The group provides counsel and services in Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Information Gathering and Political Analysis, Strategic Communications and Legal Representation.

 

About Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is a leading law and government relations firm serving the oil and gas, power, financial services, technology and public finance industries throughout the world. Our industry focus enables us to maintain cutting-edge experience and in-depth knowledge of the commercial, legal and regulatory challenges faced by our clients so that we can provide the most effective legal solutions to facilitate transactions and resolve disputes. For more information, visit www.bracewelllaw.com.

 

Contact:
Paul Nathanson
T: +1.202.828.1714
E: paul.nathanson@bracewelllaw.com

###

 

Energy Update: Week of February 22

Friends,

Well it’s official – spring training has begun.  If you’ve never been to Florida or Arizona for Grapefruit or Cactus League baseball, you need to make the trek at some point in your life.  While players have reported, games start officially on March 1st with Baltimore/Atlanta and Detroit/Pittsburgh in Florida and Cincy/Cleveland in AZ.  There is a great website that can help you plan the trip or stay  up to date here.  As always spring brings hope eternal for October World Series possibilities. Secondly, NCAA March Madness is just around the corner so make sure you are doing your bracketology research.

This week in Washington the nation’s governors are in town and meeting with President Obama today.  Certainly environmental/energy issues will be on the agenda.  Congress also returns from the President’s Day Week for action on renewable fuels, the Interior budget with Sally Jewell, the DOE science mission and a number of other key issues.

As well , tomorrow is the deadline for briefs for the Administration’s GHG plan at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  On the opponents side, 27 states and a slew of electric utilities, coal companies and business groups, have already or will file by tomorrow.  EPA files its reply on March 28, with the back and forth continuing through April 22. My colleague Jeff Holmstead can provide insights for you on the action, but POLITICO has an nice, handy schedule here while our friends at E&E News have a new feature tracking state action after the stay.

Outside Washington, the energy world heads to Houston for the annual CERA week.  Speakers include Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Southern COO Kim Greene and US Chamber Energy Institute head Karen Harbert among many others.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next Monday at the Gaylord when the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit launches with Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff, BASF CEO Wayne Smith, Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and former VP Al Gore.

Finally, for those interested in the Iran elections on Friday, our on-the-ground Iranian experts will offer a rundown of how the mechanics of the Iranian electoral process work, and provide an assessment of what’s really at stake on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the US office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (1747 Pennsylvania Avenue).   It is a crucial time in Iran and the Wednesday briefing can offer you great insight on the process and politics.  Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll forward the information.

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Conservative Legal Group To File Brief Challenging GHG  Rule on Backroom Deals – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) released a report today laying out for the first time a pattern of ex parte communications by EPA officials  gathered from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, piecing together emails obtained by E&E Legal, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a law student in his litigation with EPA, including many released for the first time.   The Energy & Environment Legal Institute entered the GHG case for this very reason.  On Friday, E&E Legal asked the D.C. Circuit for permission to file a brief, supplemental argument that the Clean Power Plan needs to be sent back to EPA for an honest restart, presenting FOIA’d emails reflecting what the WSJ called EPA’s Secret Staff, crediting E&E Legal’s dogged pursuit with uncovering these abuses.  In particular, Michael Goo, then EPA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy, led the working group writing the initial memo on EPA’s options regarding regulating coal power plants. Using his private email, rather than his official EPA email, Mr. Goo secretly shared these draft options with lobbyists and high-level staffers at the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) who in turn, like Natural Resource Defense Council staff, told him how to alter the policy that was ultimately implemented in the Rule. Through the report’s highlighted communications, and by heavily incorporating their edits and input into EPA’s own deliberative drafts, Goo made CATF and these other groups effectively part of EPA’s work group developing the Clean Power Plan  In turn other emails obtained by CEI show EPA made a priority of including Goo, despite that while his outside lobbyist colleagues may have possessed relevant expertise, those same parties made clear to him that he did not.

 

NREL analysis finds tax credit extensions can impact renewable energy deployment – The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today released new analysis exploring the potential impact of recently extended federal tax credits on the deployment of renewable generation technologies and related U.S. electric sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The report details the use of state-of-the-art scenario modeling to see how renewable energy deployment in the contiguous United States is impacted by recent federal tax credit extensions, as well as how emissions would be reduced.  The report examines the impacts of the tax credit extensions under two distinct natural gas price futures, as the price of natural gas has been a key factor influencing the economic competitiveness of new renewable energy development. The analysis finds that, in both natural gas price cases, tax credit extensions can spur renewable capacity investments at least through the early 2020s, and can help lower CO2 emissions from the U.S. electricity system.  The tax credit extensions are estimated to drive a net peak increase of 48-53 gigawatts in installed renewable generation capacity in the early 2020s. Longer-term impacts are less certain and can depend on natural gas prices. After the tax credits ramp down, greater renewable energy capacity is driven by a combination of assumed cost reductions in renewable generation, assumed rising fossil fuel prices, and existing clean energy policies. The tax credit extension-driven acceleration in renewable energy capacity development can reduce fossil fuel-based generation and lower electric sector CO2 emissions. Cumulative emissions reductions over a 15-year period (spanning 2016-2030) as a result of the tax credit extensions are estimated to range from 540 to 1,400 million metric tons CO2.

 

New Book Highlights Abuse of Equal Access Law – In a new book, Lowell Baier, one of America’s preeminent experts on environmental litigation, chronicles the century-long story of America’s natural resources management, focusing on litigation, citizen suit provisions, and attorneys’ fees.  Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act will be a valuable resource for the environmental legal community, environmentalists, practitioners at all levels of government, and all readers interested in environmental policy and the rise of the administrative state. Lowell is a very successful multimillionaire developer in Bethesda and a former chairman of the conservative Boone and Crockett Club. In the book, Baier argues that environmental litigation is gridlocking America’s public land management agencies. This litigation is incentivized by citizen suit provisions embedded in major environmental laws that reimburse plaintiffs’ legal fees when they sue the federal government, and provide a clear line where fee reimbursement subsidies should stop.

 

Former CO Utility Commissioner Details Plan Woes – The Independence Institute teamed up with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to put on a lunch event at I.I.’s Freedom Embassy recently. Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment and former Colorado Utility Commissioner Ray Gifford – a leading an expert in public utilities law – provided in-depth analysis of what the Clean Power Plan means for Colorado and the efforts being made across the country to stop these onerous regulations.

 

E&E Details Where All 50 States Stand After Stay – E&E News has rolled out a feature – a chart/map of where all the states stand on planning/not planning since the Supreme Court stay.  Eighteen states challenging the legality of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan have halted planning discussions following the Supreme Court decision to stay the regulation, according to a review by E&E staff.  Of the 47 states affected by the rule, nine are weighing whether to stop preparing or perhaps slow down now that they may have an extra year and a half to work out plans. The other 20 states — mostly supporters of the climate action — will press on with discussions about how to meet the carbon emissions limits for power plants, even though EPA can no longer legally require them to do so.

 

Faison Launches Super PAC – The Wall St Journal reported North Carolina businessman Jay Faison has launched a super PAC pledging to spend at least $5 million to help congressional Republicans who have touted clean energy policies. The effort, dubbed ClearPath Action, is in addition to Faison’s $165 million campaign run through the 501(c)(3) non-profit ClearPath Foundation, a public education effort he announced in June to get Republicans more engaged in the climate and clean energy debates.

 

AGA Expands Safety Commitment – In an American Gas Association has updated its “Commitment to Enhancing Safety,” which outlines the industry’s continued commitment to improving pipeline safety through voluntary actions above and beyond federal regulations, to include promotion of the use of API Recommended Practices (RPs) 1170 and 1171. These RPs provide guidance to operators on how to design, operate, and ensure the integrity of underground storage for natural gas.  “Safety is a core value for AGA and its members, and the industry works continuously to ensure the safety and reliability of this domestic fuel,” said AGA president and CEO, Dave McCurdy.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Annual CERAWeek Launches – The 35th annual IHS CERAWeek will launch in Houston today and run through Friday.  Each year, the energy world heads to Houston for the annual event.  Speakers include Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister Ali al-Naimi, Canadian natural resources minister Jim Carr, and U.S. officials Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and FERC Chairman Norman Bay. EIA’s Adam Sieminski,  DOE’s Chris Smith and FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable will also speak.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski and Sen John Cornyn will make major addresses and CEOs Jeff Immeldt of GE, Exelon’s Chris Crane, ConocoPhillips’ Ryan Lance, AEP’s Nick Adkins and Royal Dutch Shell’s Ben van Beurden will be among industry member panelists.  Our friends Kim Greene (SoCo COO), Karen Harbert of the US Chamber’s Energy Institute, Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Center for a New American Security, Columbia’s Jason Bordoff and CFR’s Michael Levi will also be a featured panelist.

 

WCEE Tackles Solar – Today at Noon, WCEE will host a forum on the many opportunities and challenges for the solar industry in the coming year. This event is first in a series about solar power.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, SEPA CEO Julia Hamm and EEI’s Lola Infante, who directs EEI’s Generation Fuels and Market Analysis.

 

Forum Looks at Enviros, Nuclear – The New America Foundation and Future Tense will host a lunch and conversation today at Noon in Washington, D.C., to consider whether you can truly be an environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy.  Speakers will including for WSJ reporter and author Steve Levine, Aaron VanDevender of the Founders Fund, ASU’s Jennifer Richter and Argonne’s Nuclear R&D Technical Director Robert Hill.

 

Brookings to Look at GHG Rules, State Implementation – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Economic Studies group at Brookings will host an event to key issues related to state implementation of EPA’s GHG rules.  EPA has given states some flexibility in how they achieve their targets, and some states can continue work on implementation plans that balance the objectives of compliance, reliability, affordability, cross-state coordination, safety, and efficient long term low-carbon capital investment in the sector. States’ nearer term strategies could influence the evolution of the electricity sector for decades to come, well past the targeted 32 percent reduction in 2030 emissions from the sector relative to levels in 2005. Former Colorado Gov Bill Ritter will keynote, followed by a panel that includes former NJ Gov. and EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, NARUC Executive Director Greg White, Jonas Monast of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and RFF’s Josh Linn.

 

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – Today at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is rescheduling its GHG briefing cancelled by the January snow storm.  The forum will be a webinar and discuss how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

 

Forum to Look at BioEnergy – The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and ELI is hosting a forum today at 3:30 p.m. on Bioenergy.  Bioenergy is being pursued globally to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide a reliable energy source. This seminar will present the findings of a new commentary showing that the risk of invasion can most effectively be prevented through a life-cycle approach that adopts appropriate scientific and policy tools at each step in the production process, from crop selection to field production, feedstock transport and storage, and decommissioning—thus avoiding the ‘kudzu effect.’ This paper provides a clear, comprehensive framework to guide regulatory agencies in the selection and permitting of biofuel feedstocks. Expert commenters will provide an independent review following a presentation by the authors of the commentary.

 

Clean Power Plan Americus Briefs Are Due – Tuesday, February 23.

 

Senate Energy to Hear Jewel on Interior Budget – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the Department of the Interior’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.  Secretary Jewell will testify.

 

ELI Looks at Circular Economy Issues – Environmental Law Institute holds an afternoon forum regulatory and commercial law implications of a “circular economy” tomorrow.  In response to the resource constraints, environmental pressures and economic barriers that characterize our “take and dispose” economy, many have put forward a vision for a “circular economy” that would not only conserve and recycle materials, but also contribute to new technological, financial and environmental innovations.  This session looks at the approach to supplant the way global production and energy systems operate. The purpose of this program is to explain the meaning of the “circular economy” and how it is being applied at the intersection of energy, environment and materials management and present some of the specific regulatory, procurement, financial structuring, and other legal initiatives that are emerging to help actualize its objectives globally.

 

Women in Solar Event Set – Women in Solar Energy (WISE) will hold its second annual NationWISE event tomorrow  at 6:00 p.m. The goal of NationWISE is to discuss stories of women in different areas of the solar industry to show their diverse career paths and experiences and to prompt open discussion about female-friendly work environments. WISE is hoping to use this discussion to baseline its “best practices” that solar companies can adopt for human resources guidelines, female recruitment, and opportunities for women to excel in the solar energy industry.  Speakers include SEPA CEO Julia Hamm, Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke and DOE SunShot Initiative head Lidija Sekaric.

 

Forum  to Look at CPP – New America and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. for a close look at the current gap between climate goals and climate action, and ways that gap can be filled.  John Larsen of the Rhodium Group will present a new analysis of progress toward meeting the U.S. climate target. Then an expert group, convened by C2ES President Bob Perciasepe and New America Senior Advisor Sharon Burke, will explore how technology innovation and stronger action by cities, states and the federal government can help reach the goal.  Speakers include Scott Fulton, President of the Environmental Law Institute, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, and Dr. Ellen Williams, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Senate Environment to Tackle RFS – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday to examine the renewable fuel standard. The panels will include EPA Air Chief Janet McCabe, EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht, Lucian Pugliaresi of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, former Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment Ron Minsk and Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Biofuels Business Association.

 

House Energy to Look at DOE Science, Enviro, Nat’l Security Mission – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will convene a hearing Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. looking at DOE science, environment and national security missions.  The subcommittee will hear testimony from the co-chairmen of two advisory panels, the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, and the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories.  The panel reports, requested by Congress, examine the effectiveness of the Department of Energy’s National Labs and its Nuclear Security Enterprise. Members will examine the panels’ findings and recommendations concerning the governance, management, and accountability necessary for DOE to perform its critical missions for the nation.

 

Consumer Reports Unveils 2016 Top Picks and Annual Auto Issue – Tomorrow at noon at the National Press Club, Consumers and auto industry insiders will look to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue–and Autos Spotlight online–for the organization’s Top Picks in cars and trucks. From best and worst in reliability, safety, fuel economy, and owner satisfaction, the report provides ratings, recommendations, and advice that will influence consumer purchases.  The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Spotlight also features the organization’s report card that ranks brands by taking an in-depth look at which carmakers consistently offer the most for consumers across their entire product line.  CR and the Washington Automotive Press Association will host CR Director of Auto Testing, Jake Fisher and Auto Editor Mark Rechtin where will announce Consumer Reports “Top Picks for 2016” and offer their insights into today’s most pressing automotive consumer and industry questions.

 

IEA Medium-Term Oil Report Released – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Office for Energy Markets and Security with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to present the IEA’s 2016 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director with ClearView Energy Partners LLC, and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.

 

NEI to Discuss Fukushima – The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) holds a briefing on Fukushima Daiichi Recovery Efforts On Wednesday at the National Press Club focusing on “progress being made in Japan since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident.

 

Senate Approps to Hear from NRC Commissioners – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development (Lamar Alexander, Chairman) will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2;30 p.m. to review the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The hearing will feature all four NRC Commissioners.

House Resources to Look at Enviro Mitigation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday on new environmental mitigation regulations.  Witnesses include Christy Goldfuss, managing director, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Michael Bean, Department of the Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks; and Brian Ferebee, U.S. Forest Service associate deputy chief for the National Forest System.

 

Distributed Wind Assn Hits Capitol – The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) holds its annual Capitol Hill Reception in S-115, The Capitol on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

 

Georgetown Hosts Forum on Enviro Challenges – The Georgetown University Law Center holds its spring 2016 symposium on legal innovation on solving new environmental challenges.

 

Forum to Look at Japan Enviro, Energy – The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science will host a panel on Thursday to examine environmental and energy policies and their associated problems in Japan, China, and Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on policy frameworks appropriate to addressing energy and environmental concerns. The first focus will be the changing nature of Japanese environmental policies in recent decades, particularly how those policies have evolved in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. The second focus will be China’s energy policies and the issues of pollution control and environmental protection. The third focus will be the current energy and environmental issues in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. As part of these discussions, the panel will explore the future development of both energy and environmental policies and their potential effect on Japan, China, and East Asia as a whole.

Cleaning Institute Webinars Launch – The first of an American Cleaning Institute-sponsored webinar series on “Advancing the Science on Chemical-Induced Asthma” kicks off Wednesday to help provide researchers with greater insights on an often mischaracterized topic.  ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org), which represents the cleaning product supply chain, is hosting the five-part webinar series in collaboration with the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA) Center at the University of Cincinnati.   You can register for the first webinar at www.aciscience.org/asthma.  The initial webinar takes place Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. and will feature Dr. Jon Bernstein, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and Director of Clinical Research for the Division of Immunology. His presentation – Current Clinical Perspectives in Evaluating Chemical Induced Asthma, or “What Caused My Asthma?” – will provide a review of the clinical tests used to evaluate asthma. Other topics to be explored in the bi-monthly series include 1) the role of toxicology in asthma hazard assessment (April 2016); 2) Environmental contributions to asthma prevalence: assessing the link between exposure and disease (June 2016); 3) Asthma risk assessment: A regulatory perspective (August 2016) and 4) Asthma-specific hazard characterization approaches: A novel approach to a complex problem (October 2016).

 

Wharton DC Forum to Feature Siemens Speaker – The Wharton DC Green Business Forum hosts Siemens on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. Siemens has long been a provider of large-scale renewable energy solutions and has committed to achieving net zero emissions as a company. But its experience of the shifting policy and commercial environment over recent years has led to a decision to focus on building technologies, smart city infrastructure technology and the electrification chain.  Alison Taylor, Siemens’ VP of Sustainability & City Strategy, will discuss Siemens’ own sustainability choices, its decision to expand their oil and gas business, and a smart city case study that saved the city money.

 

NatGas Roundtable Feature Berkeley Research Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February lunch on Thursday featuring James Koehler, Associate Director of Berkeley Research Group. Koehler is an energy finance, markets, and policy expert in Berkeley Research Group’s international Energy and Natural Resources practice, based in Washington, D.C.

 

Norway O&G Minister to Address Atlantic Forum – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a conversation with  Norway’s Minister of Petroleum Tord Lien.  Norway could potentially supply Europe with gas for decades to come, which would help diversify the energy market, and strengthen European’s energy security. Additionally, gas has the benefit of offering cost efficient CO2-emission reductions. Lien will elaborate on this and more, such as the benefits of gas in a lower carbon future, how well-functioning energy markets in Europe are crucial for the transition to a cleaner energy system with robust security of supply, and prospects for Norwegian gas.

 

Paper Details NatGas, Propane In PA – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at natural gas and propane and their increasing foothold as alternative fuel sources for Pennsylvania’s transportation sector. Across the state, transit agencies and other large fleets are converting from gasoline to natural gas or propane because of cost and environmental benefits. However, use of natural gas or propane is not limited to large fleets. Opportunities exist for small fleets or individual vehicles such as mid-size delivery vans and trucks, taxis, and high-mileage commercial vehicles. Opportunities also exist to become a station owner.  This paper was written as an educational tool for Pennsylvanians on the options for fuel conversions, refueling options, and a summary of what is available in the market. This paper covers a broad range of topics concerning natural gas and propane opportunities within the Commonwealth.

USEA to Look at Australia, US Competition Issues – On Friday at 10:30 a.m., the US Energy Association will hold a briefing to discuss similarities and differences between the US and Australian energy industries and other competition issues.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a Congressional Briefing next Friday on the Role of Benchmarking, Transparency and Codes in Driving a More Efficient Built Environment. The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Brookings to Host Australian Energy Leader – Next Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings will host The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Australia’s Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia. Minister Frydenberg will address what Australia is doing to ensure it remains a world leader on energy and resources, the continued importance of the U.S. and growing importance of Asian markets for energy and resources markets, and what the Paris climate change agreement means for Australia’s energy sector. Following the remarks, Brookings Senior Fellow Joshua Meltzer will engage the Minister in a one-on-one discussion. After the program, the participants will take audience questions.

 

Air Liquide CEO, Others Headline ARPA-E Event – On February 29th, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat.”  Graff will be interviewed by FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher along with BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore on Tuesday, March 1st.  EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons will speak on Wednesday, March 2nd.

 

Revkin to Discuss Science, Climate Writing – Next Monday evening, my friend and former NY Times science reporter Andy Revkin will be at the Marian Koshland Science Museum at 6:30 p.m. for a wide-ranging conversation about the challenges of writing about climate change and making an impact on readers through personal narrative. He will be joined by Lee Gutkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, and Daniel Sarewitz, co-editor of Issues in Science and Technology; Andrew’s essay appears in the current issues of both magazines.

 

Canada Energy Future Highlighted – The CSIS Energy Program will feature a discussion on March 2nd of Canada’s 2016 energy future.  The event will feature members of the Canadian National Energy Board, including Abha Bhargava, Director of Energy Integration, as well as Energy Futures Project Managers Bryce Van Sluys and Matthew Hansen.

 

RFF Seminar to Look at Climate Trade Offs – Resources For the Future holds it March First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday March 2nd at 12:45 p.m. to look at trade-offs in climate policy options.  On the heels of the Paris climate negotiations, carbon pricing policies – either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs – are receiving renewed attention across the globe. In the meantime, US federal climate policy is being driven by regulatory authority, but with a strong focus on program flexibility via credit trading. Against this evolving background, the time is right to revisit the trade-offs among various carbon pricing and other climate policy options. At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, Tom Lawler of the International Emissions Trading Association will highlight the benefits of emissions trading programs, and Jerry Taylor of the Niskanen Center will present the case for a carbon tax. Both will then participate in a broader panel discussion on the interplay between carbon pricing and regulatory measures.

 

Senate Energy to Host Moniz – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing next Thursday to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Energy.  Secretary Moniz will testify.

 

Forum to Look at Local Clean Energy Issues – Leaders in Energy and the United Nations Association will host an interactive  panel discussion on Thursday March 3rd at 6;30 p.m. looking at acting on clean energy.  UNA-NCA, in partnership with Leaders in Energy, will host a discussion on the newly enacted 2015 Paris Climate Agreement  and the United Nations’ Global Goal 7, which is aimed at ensuring access to affordable clean energy.   The panel discussion will foster a dialogue with attendees and compile practical actions and next steps that local residents can take in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

 

Forum to Focus on Geothermal – EESI and the Geothermal Energy Association is hosting a briefing on Wednesday March 16th at 2:00 p.m. in 212-10 in the Capitol Visitors Center highlighting the state of the geothermal energy industry and its near-term prospects in the United States and in more than 80 other countries working to expand its use. With demand for clean energy accelerating around the globe, geothermal energy has major potential as a renewable resource that can provide power around-the-clock, complementing intermittent renewable power technologies. Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen, U.S. Geothermal President  Doug Glaspey and several others.

 

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.

 

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th  Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.

 

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

 

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at The Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the Uncertainties of Shale Resource Development Under Low Price Environment.

 

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

 

PRG’s Scott Segal Interviewed by Bloomberg Government

Scott Segal points to a photo of his "first political moment": meeting Lyndon B. Johnson in Texas in 1971.
Scott Segal points to a photo of his “first political moment”: meeting Lyndon B. Johnson in Texas in 1971.

PRG Founding Partner Scott Segal was featured this week in a Bloomberg Government interview and profile piece. The interview explores the top policy issues of 2016, strategies for good negotiation, and “why lobbying might be the most patriotic of all Washington careers.”

Here is Segal’s answer to the question, The word ‘lobbying’ is often used as a pejorative – do you think lobbyists deserve better?:

“Lobbying is the only exercise that’s protected three different times by the U.S. Constitution – and if you do communications work, four times.

“I think the Founding Fathers would be very surprised to learn that lobbying is something that is looked down upon. They would have thought that lobbying is foreseeable as the government grew in size and complexity. The Library of Congress was established on the notion that it would provide Congress with all the information it needed to make decisions. And it must have been obsolete in six months, because information is not static, it rolls based on innovation in the marketplace.

“The lobbyist is almost like the honeybee of the Washington community. We pick up the information and distribute it from location to location until everybody has it and can make decisions accordingly. I don’t find it a distasteful occupation; I find it an absolutely essential one for the operation of the government. Information needs are too complex, and need to be satisfied too quickly, to expect that it will all just happen by chance.”

To read the rest of Bloomberg Government’s interview with Scott Segal, click here.

PRG’s Segal and Holmstead Weigh in on SCOTUS CPP Order

Today, PRG’s Scott Segal and Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead weighed in on yesterday’s order by the Supreme Court to stay the Clean Power Plan, part of the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate emissions in order to combat global warming.

Here is a quote from the article, published in USA Today:

“Doubtlessly weighing on the minds of the Court was a 2015 Supreme Court casedealing with another Clean Air Act rule. In that case, known as Michigan v. EPA, the Court found the rule to be illegal, but the decision came after power plants had already been forced to spend tens of billions of dollars to comply with the rule and was too late to save dozens of coal-fired power plants that shut down because they couldn’t afford the cost. Then, after the Court ruled against EPA, a lower court allowed the rule to remain in effect — in part because so much compliance investment had already been made. Maybe this a case of ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.'”

Click here to read the complete column.

PRG’s Curt Beaulieu Writes Piece on New Audit Rules for Tax Notes

Capture

Curt Beaulieu, senior counsel with the Policy Resolution Group, wrote an article for Tax Notes titled New Audit Rules for Partnerships: Heartburn for MLPs on November 9.

In this article, Beaulieu analyzes the new audit rules for large partnerships and discusses how they will affect master limited partnerships.

To read the full article, click here.

PRG’s Maisano Lauded in Morning Consult Feature

On September 8, Morning Consult published a feature on PRG founding partner Frank Maisano titled Frank Maisano Earns His Media.

In addition to praising Maisano’s media relations expertise, the article highlights PRG’s unique strategic communications and policy approach, which “fuses policy wonkery with PR savvy.”

For the full article, click here.