Energy Update: Week of December 1

Friends

 

What a crazy short week…  We connected on Wednesday after the pre-Thanksgiving roll out of the new, stricter ozone rule, the SCOTUS mercury issue and the RFS delay.  All of this while, I was in Cali doing some work, hitting the In ‘n Out Burger daily and then umpiring a USA Field Hockey national tournament on Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday.  And while I was refereeing, I left my wife alone at the Palm Springs outlet extravaganza on Black Friday, which will certainly be a costly mistake.  She survived and now I am afraid to open the credit card bills for next month.

 

This week will be equally crazy I suspect as Congress plows towards the end of the year in its lame duck session with the tax issues and CRominbus remaining and immigration, Ferguson and ISIS clouding the field.  As well, today is the final day for comments on the EPA GHG rules.  Scott and Jeff are available to discuss.  Our comments include a major collaboration of many different utility views on reliability and cost impacts.  A summary link is here/below and I can send a pdf if cannot see it online.  NRECA (Rural Coops), NRDC and several others also hold calls to talk about the rule.

 

Action on Capitol Hill rolls all five days this week with several hearings, while the Louisiana run off between Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Cassidy votes on Saturday.  The Hill action includes NRC nomination of Jan Baran, Senate Enviro panel hearings on wastewater treatment and super pollutants and a post-Fukushima hearing with all five NRC commissioners testifying.

 

Around DC, SAFE will host a Capitol Hill luncheon tomorrow on how oil prices impacted this round of discussions with Iran, featuring John Hannah, Robert McNally of the Rapidan Group and SAFE’s Sam Ori.  Then Thursday, our friends at the Conservation Leadership Council will hold a forum at 8:30 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association looking at the policy outlook for the 114th Congress and how we can leverage America’s diverse energy resources.  Speakers include Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Chris Gibson, former CEQ Chair Jim Connaughton and former DOE official Andy Karsner.  Finally, on Friday, Lord Stanley’s Cup is in the House at the National Press Club where NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Cap Owner Ted Leonsis discuss the upcoming Winter Classic.  I will be on the host committee. (BTW, I have an extra ticket to tomorrow’s Caps Game if anyone is interested.)

 

UN negotiators head for Lima to start talks on climate change issues today, but we expect most of the action will occur next week… or next year in Paris, really.  We all expect lots of lofty talk, especially in light of the recent US-China discussions/”agreements”.

 

Keep your eyes wide-open over the next week or so for the new DOE Furnace rule which is expected soon and the coal ash rule which will likely arrive by mid-December.    On the furnace rule, DOE’s approach has sparked some controversy as some feel the rule may create disincentives to make energy efficiency upgrades.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718), a former DOE Senior Counsel and energy efficiency technology expert can provide valuable insights.

 

With EPA scheduled to finalize its coal ash rule by mid-December, today’s E&E TV OnPoint sits down with Harry Lamberton, vice president of energy and environmental services at Waste Management, to provide an overview, discuss his expectations for the final rule and look at the subsequent business opportunities that exist for the waste management sector.

 

Finally, I mentioned this on Wednesday, but in case you missed it, we lost a great friend last week when Mike Shanahan passed away suddenly.  Shanahan covered national politics for the Associated Press, McClatchy newspapers and Newhouse News Service, worked for API as media expert and recently taught full-time at George Washington University.  He was loved by all as a devoted family man, brilliant writer, effective communicator, wonderful advisor to budding journalists and an overall great person.  GW will hold a celebration of the life of Mike Shanahan on Saturday at GW’s Elliott School at 11:00 a.m.

 

Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

ERCC: GHG Rule Risks Reliability, Imposes High Costs – ERCC comments on the proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan have been submitted here.  The 11-page document focuses on legal flaws with the rule, as well as significant threats to electric reliability, public health and the economy.  ERCC also takes a hard look at EPA’s benefits analysis.

 

Letter Raises Reliability Concerns – These themes were sounded the week prior from a group of energy-focused lawmakers in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over their concerns that EPA’s GHG rule will negatively impact electricity reliability. The letter expressed concern that EPA did not adequately consult FERC while preparing the proposed rule. The lawmakers cited a recent report from NERC that identified potential grid impacts from states’ efforts to lower their greenhouse gas emission rates. The lawmakers also requested that FERC provide a record of communication with EPA over the past 18 months regarding the Clean Power Plan and “that FERC convene a technical conference to hear formally from DOE . . . and other relevant stakeholders so that FERC may examine the significant concerns, as identified by NERC’s report, that EPA’s Clean Power Plan presents for grid reliability.” Signers included Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), incoming chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

 

Ozone Rule Adds Potential Problems – Despite it being Thanksgiving Week, EPA announced it was rolling out new, stricter ozone standards in a “day-before-Thanksgiving” special.  My colleague Scott Segal made the five key Points wing brief “for-the-record” observations regarding the release of the proposed new national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone:

  1. The low end of the range in the proposed rule (65ppb) is still very troubling – as low as background levels of ozone in many parts of the country and pushing as much as 94% of the nation out of attainment.  The Agency is taking comment on 60ppb, which would be devastating for manufacturing, oil and gas production, and agriculture across the country.  This is part of a typical strategy:  propose an unreasonable standard; take comment on a more unreasonable one; and claim the government is reasonable by comparison!
  2. The Administration only has so much political capital at its disposal.  It has made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  It is unclear that the Administration has the bandwidth to sustain both rules.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will demand that the proposed ozone NAAQS be placed on a more realistic course.
  3. Oil and gas production has been one of the only bright spots in the jobless recovery, and the range proposed for ozone may impose real, practical limitations on that production.  The expense associated with the rule could reverse what economic gains we have seen recently.
  4. EPA admits that the proposed ozone rule is one of the costliest rules it has ever devised.  There is no economic analysis that shows what the total cost for the economy will be if the Administration gets its way on both carbon and ozone. EPA owes the public and it’s elected representatives at all levels at least that.
  5. EPA’s description of the benefits of the proposed ozone standard are sketchy at best.  EPA has to admit that there is little real benefit to actual ozone reductions at the levels proposed.  Instead they rely on so-called co-benefits from reducing particulate matter, or PM.  Of course, EPA already has programs in place directly targeted at PM which the Agency claims are effective at reducing that pollutant to a level fully protective of human health.  In other words, EPA is again double counting benefits to plus up the case for a controversial proposal.   And even at that, the rule may still spend as much as $17 million for each hypothetical life saved, a number completely out of whack with other public health expenditures.  Just by way of comparison, a life-saving pneumonia vaccine is $5 per dose.

 

EPA Hits RFS Foul Ball – In case you missed it Friday trying to get an earlier escape for Thanksgiving, EPA said it will not finalize its 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard proposal this year and will set final targets next year, potentially with 2015 requirements.   Again my colleague Scott Segal: “After 25 years working on fuels issues for the refining industry, I do not see the perpetual failure of EPA to meet deadlines in establishing the renewable volume obligation to be in any sectors best interest.  EPA claims in its notice this morning that “controversy” surrounding the establishment of the RVO is in partly responsible for the delay.  To me, that seems to mean political considerations.  But I believe that this latest failure might point the way to actual, sensible reforms in the renewable fuel standard.  The long range health of bio-fuels – particularly innovative, next-generation fuels – lies with putting the RFS on a sustainable, defendable course through reform.”  Valero spokesman Bill Day (210-345-2928) said “EPA’s announcement underscores the need for comprehensive legislative reform of the RFS.  The bottom line is that EPA has not closed the books on 2013, has no final 2014 RFS, and has no date for a final 2015 RFS.”

 

Additional Energy Resources on Hot Topics – Great resources on all of these topics – RFS, Ozone, NatGas, Exports – are energy analysts like Jim Lucier: 202-548-0072; james.lucier@capalphadc.com  and Kevin Book: 202-506-5744; book@CVEnergy.com .  Both have research pieces out on all of these topics and more.  Now you know how you can reach them.  Christine Tezak (utilities) and Paul Sankey (oil/gas) are also great.

 

Crude-by-Rail Rules Likely on Hold Until 2015 – While no announcement has been made, the Obama administration seems out of time to finalize new safety measures for crude-by-rail this year. New structural standards for rail tank cars and operational standards for railroads seem likely to go final in 1H2015. Our view has not changed that the rules themselves will remain substantially unchanged from what was unveiled in July.  The administration seems to be taking a cautious approach on crude-by-rail. The shale boom has been a major economic driver, to the point that the railroads are under pressure to expand network service. Heavy-handed regulations either on speed restrictions or on oil deliveries could have a major negative impact.  Oil & gas and ethanol companies are at the greatest risk from the new crude-by-rail rules, as they are set to bear most of the costs to new tank cars. Railroads are under pressure to improve their infrastructure, but avoid major incremental costs under the current proposal.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

UN Climate Meeting Set for Lima, Peru – The UN will hold its annual climate meeting in Lima, Peru starting today.  The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will run through December 12th.

 

Smart Grid Summit Set – Tomorrow and Wednesday in the Ronald Reagan Building, the National Summit on Smart Grid and Climate Change will be held.  The event  brings together policymakers, utilities, technology companies, and a wide variety of environmental and energy stakeholders to address the role of smart grid technologies and practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change.  The Summit will aim to “connect the dots” between smart grid and climate change, and establish an understanding that smart grid can be an essential part of any climate action planning, whether in response to government emission restrictions (e.g. EPA’s Regulations under 111(d) of the Clean Air Act), or in preparation for various climate change events and scenarios (e.g. severe weather events like Superstorm Sandy).  The Summit will feature Roundtable Sessions with top business and government leaders, who will discuss these issues with each other and with the audience. It will also include in-depth breakout sessions in two tracks: Smart Grid & Mitigation and Smart Grid & Adaptation.

 

Senate Enviro Panel to Look at Wastewater, Utility Issues – The Senate Environment panel on water will hold a hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. focused on water utilities of the future.  Witnesses will include Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission CEO Jerry Johnson, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Harlan Kelly Jr., Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District executive director Tom Sigmund and Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority executive director and chief engineer Andrew Kricun.

 

Forum to Look at China Oil, Climate Agreement – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow looking at the climate deal between China and the United States and its oil usage. The new zone of bilateral cooperation comes at a time when China’s petroleum industry, North American oil resources, sanctions on Russian oil, Saudi Arabian oil production, and the global climate are experiencing a significant paradigm shift.  With China’s economy slowing after decades of double-digit growth, now is the time to think strategically about how the nation will deal with its physical resource limitations, their associated environmental concerns, and oil’s evolving geopolitical realities. The China Oil Forum will engage key thinkers, policymakers, and civil society in a discussion about these strategic questions.

 

SAFE Hosts Panel on Oil Market Dynamics, Nuclear Negotiations – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) invite you to join a Capitol Hill luncheon to discuss current oil market dynamics and their role in the negotiations to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.  The latest round of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran resulted in a decision to extend negotiations until July 1, 2015. Given today’s low oil prices and glut in global oil supplies, the panel discussion will focus on how current market dynamics contribute to ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Remarks will be delivered by House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce.  There will also be an expert panel, including will include John Hannah, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, SAFE’s Sam Ori and Rapidan’s Robert McNally.  The panel will be moderated by our friend Steve LeVine, Washington Correspondent for Quartz.

 

Donohue to Tackle Broken Reg System – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will deliver an address on the ways in which the nation’s current regulatory climate is impeding economic growth and the urgent need to fix the broken regulatory system. Donohue will also outline bipartisan principles to achieve reform and discuss steps that would help promote jobs, growth, transparency and accountability.

 

RFF-EPRI Webinar Look at EPA GHG Rule – Resources for the Future (RFF) and the electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will hold a webinar tomorrow at Noon that will explore the assumptions and methods that have led to the different cost estimates about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  Experts from EPRI and RFF will highlight several key challenges in calculating overall regulatory costs, providing an intellectual framework for policymakers and the power sector as they consider the impacts on their states and industries.   This is the third event in a joint RFF-EPRI series on EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Exploring Opportunities for Collaboration and Compliance. Learn more about the series and future events at www.rff.org/CPPseries.  Speakers will include RFF’s Kristen Hayes and Dallas Burtraw and EPRI’s Tom Wilson and David Young.

 

DOE Webinar to Look at Offshore Wind – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., DOE will hold a transmission planning forum focused on Offshore wind.  DOE’s Charlton Clark will moderate speakers who will discuss recent planning and interconnection developments related to offshore wind.  They will include a National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study presentation from John Daniel of ABB, a Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind focus from our friend Willett Kempton of the University of Delaware, Great Lakes focus by Kenneth Loparo of Case Western University and Duke  Energy’s Bob Burner looking at the Carolinas.

 

Forum to Focus on World Bank Latin Programs – The Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and Environmental Change and Security Program and the World Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region will hold a discussion tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. focused  on the LAC portion of the World Bank’s new report, Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal.  The report—co-authored by Bank experts and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research—analyzes the challenges that Latin America and the Caribbean face due to climate change impacts. A Spanish summary will also be available.  Speakers will include the World Bank’s Jorge Familiar and several others.

 

NRC Commissioners to Talk Nuclear at Senate Environment – On Wednesday, the Senate Environment Committee will hold an oversight hearing featuring outgoing NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane and her colleagues — Commissioners William Ostendorff, Kristine Svinicki, Stephen Burns and Baran, who will be voted on the day prior.  The hearing will focus on NRC’s safety work following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled three reactors in Japan, as well as the expected discussions of San Onofre.  Those testifying will also include former member of the California Seismic Safety Commission and state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, UC-Santa Cruz expert Daniel Hirsch and NEI’s Tony Pietrangelo.

 

Energy Panel to Look at Oil, Gas Issues – On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., OurEnergyPolicy.org will host and expert panel on re-examining US oil and gas policy in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center – Auditorium.  Energy thought leaders will engage in a discussion on how the recent growth in domestic oil and gas production is transforming the U.S. energy sector and challenging the paradigm of energy scarcity that has underpinned federal policy for the last 40 years. The panel will provide insight into LNG exports, converting natural gas into transportation fuel, the state of US infrastructure, climate implications of increased oil and gas production and many other topics.  The panel will include former EPA official Joe Cannon of the Fuel Freedom Foundation, Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, EDF’s Elgie Holstein and former head of the President’s Auto Task Force Steven Rattner.  WSJ’s Amy Harder will moderate.   Reps. Gene Green and Pete Olson will provide opening remarks

 

RFF Forum to Look at China Cap, Trade – Resources for the Future will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday focused on cap and trade in China.  Seven pilot cap-and-trade programs for carbon currently operate in China as experiments to inform a nationwide program under design at present and slated to start in 2016. At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, RFF’s Clayton Munnings and Richard Morgenstern will present key findings from a recent RFF discussion paper, which assesses the design of three of the pilot programs, in Guangdong, Shanghai and Shenzhen. RFF’s Zhongmin Wang will then moderate a diverse panel, where experts will provide their thoughts on the pilot cap-and-trade programs and discuss the prospects of nationalizing cap and trade in China.

 

Senate Finance to Look at NatGas Vehicle Incentives – The Senate Finance Committee’s Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at the benefits of natural gas vehicles to U.S. jobs and the economy.  The hearing follows of potential the collapse of a deal last week to pass tax incentives that expired in January 2014, including those for natural gas as a motor fuel and refueling infrastructure.  Witnesses will include Daimler Trucks North America’s Robert Carrick, UPS’s Mike Whitlatch, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO Joseph Calabrese, and several others.  Our friends at AGA can also be helpful with Kathryn Clay one of the best experts on the issues.

 

Republican Enviro Groups to Focus on Energy Future – Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Concord 51 and the Conservation Leadership Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association on America’s energy future. The event is an opportunity to discuss the policy outlook for the 114th Congress and how we can leverage America’s diverse energy resources and technological innovation to grow the economy and create jobs, while also demonstrating environmental responsibility.  Speakers will include Senator Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Chris Gibson, former CEQ Chair Jim Connaughton and former DOE official Andy Karsner.

 

Forum to Look Carbon Bubble Issues – On Thursday, the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America will host representatives from Carbon Tracker and the Sustainable Finance Lab for a small roundtable discussion about the potential financial risks of the carbon bubble.  Speakers will include Rens van Tilburg, Senior Researcher at the Sustainable Finance Lab at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, will present the findings of the report “The Price of Doing Too Little Too Late: The impact of the carbon bubble on the EU financial system,” which looks at the exposure of the 20 largest European banks, 23 large EU pension funds, and the EU insurance sector, to the potential risks of the carbon bubble. The report also analyses the potential impacts of a carbon bubble shock under three scenarios for transitioning to a low carbon economy.

 

Bettman, Leonsis to Talk Winter Classic at Press Club – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis will discuss the growth of the NHL and the 2015 Winter Classic at a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon on Friday.  Bettman has served as NHL Commissioner since 1993. Before coming to the NHL, he served as senior vice president and general counsel to the National Basketball Association. Under his leadership the NHL revenues have grown from $400 million in 1993 to over $3 billion. He also led the NHL’s expansion with the addition of six new teams.   Leonsis, whose company Monumental Sports & Entertainment operates the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Washington’s Verizon Center, is the former co-CEO of AOL. He is also chairman of the board of directors of Groupon, a cofounder and partner of Revolution Growth Fund II and created and produced the award-winning film “Nanking.”  The Stanley Cup will be In the House, the trophy awarded annually to the winner of the NHL playoffs, will also be at the luncheon.

 

Heritage Forum to Look at Jones Act Impacts – On Friday at Noon, the Heritage Foundation will hold a discussion focusing on the impact of the Jones Act.  Speakers will include American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charlie Drevna, Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Heritage’s Brian Slattery.

 

Hudson Forum to Look at Bipartisan Energy Possibilities – On Friday, at 3:00 p.m., the Hudson Institute will hold a forum on the possibility of bipartisan energy policy.  Peter Grossman, Butler University economics professor and author of U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, contends that bipartisan compromise is possible and has led to policy change in the past. However, that change has almost always been bad for the country.  Bipartisanship, Professor Grossman notes, has given us ill-conceived and wasteful programs for synthetic fuels, breeder reactors, “super cars,” windmills, and ethanol. Professor Grossman believes that the problem runs much deeper than the current president or balance of parties in Congress. He argues U.S. energy policy has been premised on false concepts of markets, government, technology, and history for the past forty years.  Hudson Institute will host a debate on the feasibility of bipartisan energy policy in the 114th Congress and the likely paths forward. Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow Lee Lane will moderate a panel with Professor Grossman featuring Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow and Chamber energy expert Christopher DeMuth and NERA Economic Consulting Senior Vice President W. David Montgomery.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

ACEEE to Hold Behavior, Climate Conference – On Sunday through Wednesday, December 7-10th at the Grand Hyatt – Washington, DC, ACEEE will host the 8th annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference (BECC) which will focus on understanding individual and organizational behavior and decision-making related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability. BECC 2014 will build on the overwhelming success of previous BECC conferences, at which 700 participants discussed innovative policy and program strategies, shared important research findings, and engaged in building dynamic new networks and collaborations.  The BECC Conference is convened by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), Stanford University, and California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), University of California.

 

CSIS Forum Locked on NatGas Methane Emissions – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will co-sponsor an event next Monday morning, December 8th addressing fugitive methane emissions across the natural gas value chain. The U.S. unconventional oil and gas revolution that reversed decades-old trends of fossil fuel production declines in the U.S. has had ripple effects globally. Expansion of natural gas resources and production has inspired a rigorous environmental debate about the regulation of these new resources. As the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas, the regulation of fugitive methane emissions has moved to the forefront of national regulatory debates. In order to address these issues, the event will feature two panels: one addressing the science around the significance of methane as a potent greenhouse gas and the second looking at what is being done by government and industry (upstream and downstream) to reduce emissions and leakage.  Participants Include EPA’s Janet McCabe, UT’s David Allen, Shell’s Greg Guidry, EDF’s Steven Hamburg and AGA’s Dave McCurdy among others.

 

GenForum Set to Discuss GHG, Reliability, NatGas – PennWell’s GenForum will be held on December 8th in Orlando, Florida.  At the event, there will be a panel  discussion on the future of coal power during a dash to gas, as well as EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA rule proposal is meant to have states implement plans to cut power sector emissions 30% by 2030. GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. GenForum brings together power generation executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in power generation systems in North America. Other speakers will include PJM Interconnection Chief Economist Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., will kick off GenForum with a keynote presentation on electric power demand. Julie Turner, Duke Energy general manager for combined-cycle gas generation in North and South Carolina will be part of a panel discussion on natural gas generation. Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) President and CEO John Shelk will discuss issues surrounding competitive power in today’s marketplace. Florida PSC Commissioner Eduardo Balbis will discuss the Florida electric power landscape. ScottMadden Consulting Partner Stuart Pearman will discuss issues posed by distributed generation.

 

NERC, NIST Experts to Discuss Security – ICF International will host NERC’s Fred Hintermister and NIST’s James St. Pierre at for the December 11th Energy Breakfast in Washington D.C. at the National Press Club.  The content of this breakfast event will include threats and concerns from our power system and how they plan to keep us safe.       In recent months, there’s been reports of attacks on both the physical energy infrastructure and on the other cyber elements of the grid.

 

CSIS Conference to Look at Role of Coal – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host an event in the afternoon of December 17th examining the key factors that affect coal usage in major economies as well as the current state of clean coal technology deployment. Over the course of the conference, speakers will examine coal from economic competitiveness, development, energy security and climate perspectives, thus providing insights into the future role of coal.While the robust development of shale gas and the proposed regulation on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants challenge the viability coal in the United States, the forecast for coal demand remains strong for developing parts of the world for decades to come as economic development continues to drive their energy and electricity demand. Simultaneously, the worldwide momentum to address climate change and the continued growth in coal consumption—primarily outside the United States—make the development and deployment of clean technology pressing.

 

Gerard to Address  State of Energy – API will hold its 2015 State of American Energy luncheon on Tuesday, January 6 at the Ronald Reagan Building.  API head Jack Gerard will speak.

 

 

Energy Update Week of December 16

Friends,

In light of probably not having an update next week, just thought I’d offer the annual “Holiday Energy Update thoughts” for you all today:

It is the week before Christmas and all through the city; the budget battle seems solved, though it wasn’t very pretty. 

Congress is quieting, no hearings on the agenda; just Christmas cookies, frosty beverages and egg nog in the blender.

Wind turbines spinning, nat gas on our stove; cranking the heat in our homes reliability we really love.

My kids and their sports are always filled with a goal, but what they really look forward to is getting their Christmas/Hanukkah coal.

I’m adding some solar cells this year because they’ve been extra good; as well as some second gen ethanol generated from wood. (not much though because like the most popular toys, it just isn’t available)

Working so hard, a busy year we’ve all had; to finally reach the end makes us all so glad.

Mostly because it is time to rest; before we jump back on to start the next test.

For the New Year: Congress, Courts, regs, political fights; all unimportant if we can’t turn on the lights.

So as I roll in my Volt getting 108 m.p.g.; I hope you will take an minute to join with me… (the cold weather has hurt my mileage though…)

To have fun and share some holiday cheer, because it really is the best time of year.

As you know, we’re always working hard to be there and help you, interviews, sources, background – lots of fun stuff that’s always new.

So as you settle in for the next two weeks or so, remember to enjoy this time with friends, family and even your foes.  

Not much happening this week, except for GM CEO Dan Akerson at the National Press Club today at 1:00 p.m. (and Ricky Skaggs on Thursday for you Country Music lovers) .  Other than that, we’ll keep posted for any developments through the holidays (like the Keystone decision) in between the holiday hoops, wrestling and hockey.  I actually have about 15 games to referee.  I’m Down in a Hole and don’t know if I can be saved…  And remember, NHL Winter Classic – Detroit/Toronto – at the Big House on New Year’s Day…

 

Happy Holidays everyone from the PRG team here at Bracewell…

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Senate ENR Calls on DOE to Develop Test Procedure for Scale Reduction ProductsLate Friday, Senate Energy Committee Leaders Ron Wyden and Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to DOE urging then to develop a federal test procedure for scale-reduction products so consumers in “hard water” areas of the country can make informed choices about efficient water treatment technologies.  Most people are familiar with scale—that mineral substance that forms on your water heater/showerhead/coffee-maker—but few understand how scale impacts energy efficiency.  A study by Battelle showed that scale can cause a 48% loss in energy efficiency in water heaters.  In their letter, Wyden and Murkowski state that while there are “a number of technologies available to reduce scale build-up” the lack of a test procedure has meant that “consumers are not adequately informed” as to which products are most effective.  The Senators write that a federal test procedure for scale-reduction products would support “[DOE]’s appliance efficiency standards program and EPA’s Energy Star program by helping to ensure consumers, when purchasing products to reduce scaling, will be more likely to purchase effective products.”  I have a copy of the letter that I can forward and please call my colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718) if you would like more information on this issue.

EIA Release 2040 Energy Outlook – EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski released the reference case from Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release Overview with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices to 2040. Sieminski said EIA’s updated Reference case shows that advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas production are continuing to increase domestic supply, reshape the U.S. energy economy as well as reducing our net dependence on imported oil.  Some key findings include 1) Domestic production of oil and natural gas continues to grow; 2) Low natural gas prices boost natural gas-intensive industries; 3) Higher natural gas production also supports increased exports of both pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG), 4) Car and light trucks energy use declines sharply, reflecting slow growth in travel and accelerated vehicle efficiency improvements and 5) Natural gas overtakes coal to provide the largest share of U.S. electric power generation.

Dartmouth: More Logging, Deforestation May Better Serve Climate in Some Areas – A new  Dartmouth College study says replacing forests with snow-covered meadows may provide greater climatic and economic benefits than if trees are left standing in some regions.  The report, which was presented late last week at the American Geophysical Union’s annual fall meeting in San Francisco in the Global Environmental Change High Profile Topics session, for the first time puts a dollar value on snow’s ability to reflect the sun’s energy.  The findings suggest more frequent logging or deforestation may better serve our planet and pocketbooks in high latitude areas where snowfall is common and timber productivity is low. The findings contrast with the dominant paradigm that including forest climate mitigation services such as carbon storage on compliance markets will lead to the conservation of forests. Instead, the findings show that in some areas, it is better to have snow act as a natural mirror if you want to use forests for climate-related purposes.  The Dartmouth researchers placed an economic value on timber through wood prices as well as on albedo and carbon by using a sophisticated model of the climate and economy called an integrated-assessment model. They then examined the potential impact of these values on hardwood and softwood forest rotations in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. A rotation period begins when new trees are planted and ends when most of the trees are harvested.

RESA Videos Highlight Benefits of Retail Energy Choice – The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) has developed a series of short videos intended to enhance the organization’s website by providing consumer-friendly content highlighting the benefits of customer choice for electricity and natural gas.  The video series, entitled “A Conversation on Energy Choice and Competition,” addresses the consumer, product innovation and environmental benefits of retail energy choice while assuring viewers that shopping for their energy supply is not difficult and the reliability of service they’ve come to expect will be maintained.  The short videos feature customer and environmental group representatives, the former head of the Illinois Power Agency, and representatives of the competitive retail energy supply industry.   For more information on the video series and RESA, go to www.resausa.org.

Prather Named Publisher of The HillThe Hill is making Adam Prather its new publisher. Prather joins The Hill from Politico, where he was national advertising director. He will assume his role in the new year and will report to James Finkelstein, chairman of News Communications, parent company of The Hill.

As publisher of The Hill, Prather will oversee integrated sales, marketing, events and circulation in addition to overall revenue for the brand. He will also continue to build on recent initiatives such as the newly redesigned website and expanded advertising offerings.  In the past, Prather has worked on the business side of a number of leading national and Washington-based publishing enterprises including Politico, Yahoo, and Roll Call.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

GM’s Akerson to Address Press Club –  GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson will address a National Press Club Luncheon today to the provide an update on the company’s progress in its goal to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles. He will also talk about GM’s investment plans in the U.S.  Akerson has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors since 2010 and led the company’s initial public offering that year – the largest in U.S. history. He joined GM in 2009 as a member of its Board of Directors

Forum to Look at Climate in Financial Decision Making – The American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) will host a forum today at 3:00 p.m. in 2325 Rayburn focused on climate information needs for financial decision making.  The United States invests roughly $1.5 trillion U.S. dollars (USD) in capital assets each year across the public and private sectors. Weather events create and exacerbate risks to these financial investments. This briefing will explore three key topics: 1) the conditions and criteria that influence returns on investment of major financial decisions, 2) the climate sensitivity of financial decisions, and 3) information needs of financial decision makers. Better understanding of these topics will help leaders in business and government to make well-informed choices that help maximize long-term economic success and social well-being in the United States.  Speakers will include NCAR’s Lawrence Buja, CSC’s Sharon Hays and Jeffrey Marqusee of Noblis.

Forum to Look at Africa Climate Security – The American Security Project will host a policy breakfast tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. on climate change and its contribution to political instability in Africa.  Climate change acts as an accelerant of instability that the United States will have to respond  – both big and small. As ASP’s 2012 Climate Security Report found, “Africa is the continent most likely to suffer the worst effects of climate change due to its reliance on subsistence rain-fed agriculture, rapidly increasing population and the degradation of natural resources.” Dr. Josh Busby, an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, will discuss the specific impact climate change is having on Africa.

Senate Energy To Consider Nominations Hearings – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a business meeting tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to vote the nominations of Steven Croley to be DOE General Counsel and Christopher Smith to head DOE’s Fossil Energy office, as well as Esther Puakela Kia’aina to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior.  Following the vote, they will examine the nominations of Janice Marion Schneider to be Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and Neil Gregory Kornze to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management, both at Interior, and Marc A. Kastner to be Director of the Office of Science, and Ellen Dudley Williams to be Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, both at DOE.

SEIA to Release 3Q Report – Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., the Solar Energy Industry Administration and GTM Research will hold a webinar to discuss the highlights of the soon-to-be-released “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q3 2013.”  The U.S. solar market continued to show robust growth in Q3 2013, driven in part by a record level of residential installations and a strong quarter in the utility segment.  The webinar will highlight emerging deployment, system pricing and ownership structure trends and dive into detailed market forecasts for the fourth quarter and beyond.

Forum to Look at Science, Climate – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Brazil Institute and George Mason University will hold a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to discuss science, impacts, risks and responses.  In the final installment of the Managing our Planet series, a panel will draw the thread from the increasing scientific evidence of human causes of global climate change, through an assessment of the consequences and of climate change on our economy and society, to the status of international negotiations that are required to deal with what is a global problem.  Speakers will include CAP’s Andrew Light, US Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment head Glynis Lough, GMU’s Jagadish Shukla and Paul Schopf, and the Brazil Institute’s Paulo Sotero.

Forum to Look at Iran, Oil Issues – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. on Iran, oil and Changing the ‘Great Satan’ Narrative. With the signing of an interim accord providing limited sanctions relief in return for restraints on Iran’s nuclear program, attention has focused on whether Iran will be able to increase its currently depressed exports of oil and natural gas and whether multinational oil companies will again be willing to invest in Iran’s energy sector. The first panel will discuss the impact of these changes on Iran’s economy and on world oil supplies and prices. In the second panel, speakers will discuss how the United States and European can help weaken the anti-Western narrative of Iranian hardliners by challenging their core tenet: the West is inherently opposed to Iran’s technological advancement. They will launch a report proposing seven areas of scientific collaboration between Iran and the West that have no proliferation risk but can help strengthen and consolidate the positive-sum outlook of the Rouhani government.  AC’s Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, performs comprehensive analyses of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and the world, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West.  Panel one speakers include Sara Vakshouri of SVB Energy International, CSIS’s Guy Caruso and Bijan Khajehpour of Atieh International while Panel two features Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council.

RFF Webinar Look at Shale Gas Messaging – Following last week’s briefing on Capitol Hill, Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a webinar on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. focused on how messaging from the shale gas industry and environmental organizations affects the public’s attitudes toward shale gas development.   This webinar will examine survey results about the public’s level of concern regarding the potential environmental and health risks associated with shale gas development, and how much people value reducing such risks—how much they are willing to pay in increased taxes, utility bills, and so on to reduce those risks. The briefing will also show how different sources of information (industry and environmental) affect people’s attitudes and beliefs about shale gas development in their states.  The webinar is based on a new survey conducted by RFF researchers of a random sample of individuals in Pennsylvania, where residents are still adjusting to the boom in shale gas development and drilling in their state, and in Texas, where residents are more accustomed to these types of energy development activities. Speakers will include Alan J. Krupnick and Juha Siikamäki.

Forum Investigates CyberSecurity, Grid – The Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative continues its Cyber Risk Wednesday this week will and event at 3:00 p.m. focused on security and the electrical grid.  The United States electric power delivery system represents one of the most far-reaching upstream dependencies of US critical infrastructure. Cyberattacks against the power grid can cause harm to the overall power system itself, but also lead to cascading failures of the larger infrastructure, causing both physical damage and economic loss. Though some vulnerabilities are largely recognized, others have not been addressed, including systemic threats to the system as a whole. The third Cyber Risk Wednesday discussion will focus on cybersecurity challenges facing this important sector and methods of reducing the existing and future vulnerabilities.

DOE to Look at Wind, Solar Integration – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on western wind and Solar integration study phase 2.  During the webinar, Greg Brinkman, a member of the Energy Forecasting and Modeling Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will present the results of the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, Phase 2. This study, which follows the first phase of WWSIS, focuses on potential emissions and wear-and-tear costs of cycling fossil-fueled generators in scenarios with wind and solar generation integration of up to 33%.

Forum to Look at Landmark Mexico Energy Legislation – In light of the recent energy legislation in Mexico, the Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the landmark constitutional amendment and its future impact.  The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Energy & Environment Program will lead the discussion on elements of the reform, questions for the road ahead, and the broader impacts of reform. The event will launch the Atlantic Council’s new issue brief, “Mexico Rising: Comprehensive Energy Reform at Last?,” authored by renowned energy guru David Goldwyn.  Other speakers will include Jorge Piñón of the University of Texas at Austin and Duncan Wood of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute.

SEIA to Hold Net Metering Webinar – The Solar Energy Industry Association’s State Affairs team will hold a webinar on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. as they provide a preview of the latest on net energy metering from across the U.S.  The event will focus on updates on California, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Colorado. Speakers will include SEIA experts Carrie Cullen Hitt, Sara Birmingham and Steve Zuretti.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Oil Trade Group to Discuss State of Energy – API will host its 2014 State of American Energy luncheon on Tuesday, January 7th at the Newseum.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Update Week of December 9

Friends,

I don’t know if any of you enjoyed the snowy football games in Philly, Baltimore, DC, Cincy and several other places yesterday, but it made for some pretty entertaining TV.   It was almost as thrilling as Sunday’s penultimate episode of Homeland, which is getting really interesting right now with the season finale next Sunday (won’t mention anything for those of you DVR’ing).   The holiday season always brings our fair share of TV specials, many are gong shows.  (insert Carrie Underwood/ Sound of Music jokes here)  But I’m a fan of the classics.

So now I’m waiting for the Congressional version of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special which features John Boehner trying to find a Christmas tree that both Tea Partiers and Democrats will find interesting.  Or maybe Harry Reid in the land of Misfit Healthcare Toys trying to find some better options for his staff.    In any event, Congress continues its slow slide to the Christmas holiday with this being the last major week for real action.  That’s why on Friday, it is expected we will hear the outlines of a budget deal that will continue to operate the government.   As well, expect to hear more about China this week as EPA’s Gina McCarthy heads over to Beijing for a series of events.  Finally, don’t hold your breath on Keystone decisions.  Experts think that may appear sometime much slower.

The urgency means that several key Congressional hearings will be on the docket as well.  On Thursday, the House Resources Committee will explore a controversial agreement designed to streamline implementation of the Endangered Species.  As well Thursday, NRC Commissioners will be at House Energy on nuclear waste issues.  Senate EPW returns to the ethanol hearty perennial on Wednesday and the House Science Committee looks at the national labs, even as new news breaks about EPA Science Advisory Board raising questions about the new GHG rule.   Finally, the Senate Energy Committee has nominees on the plate this week with testimony and votes.

Over in the Courts, it is a key week with the Supreme Court taking up EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule tomorrow.  A split appeals court panel in 2012 struck down the rule, saying that the agency had overstepped the authority under the Clean Air Act.  As well tomorrow, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants.   We can help with sources.  Along the same lines, CT Gov. Dannel Malloy, DE Gov. Jack Markell, NH Gov. Margaret Hassan and VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, as well as state environmental commissioners from the East said this morning that nine Midwestern and Southern states must clean up their air pollution.

Finally, tomorrow, the National Press Club will host a luncheon with Houston mayor Annise Parker tomorrow at Noon.  Parker will talk about the renaissance of American oil and gas energy industry, among other items.  While I will be at NYU with my friend Dan Fagin, my colleagues Scott Segal and Dee Martin will have a table for Mayor Parker’s speech if you are interested.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Science Advisors Raise Concerns about EPA’s GHG Rule – EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power plants are facing a new obstacle: the agency’s own science advisers. The Science Advisory Board — a group of academic and industry scientists who review the agency’s decisions — is raising serious concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants. While EPA said the standards are not reliant on new science, the SAB disagreed, saying the action involves precedential and novel issues that rely on new technologies and science for carbon capture and storage (CCS).  “The Work Group finds that the scientific and technical basis for carbon storage provisions is new science and the rulemaking would benefit from additional review.”  Sounds like we might need some hearings…

Cabot Marcellus Production Numbers – Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation today reported results from the Company’s first 10-well pad in the Marcellus Shale. Additionally, they provided an update on its share repurchase program and announced the sale of legacy conventional Mid-Continent properties.  Cabot recently turned-in-line its first 10-well pad in the Marcellus, which included eight Lower Marcellus wells and two Upper Marcellus wells. The 10-well pad was completed with 170 fracture stimulation (frac) stages with a combined peak production rate of 201 million cubic feet (Mmcf) per day and a combined average 30-day production rate of 168 Mmcf per day. The production rates exceeded the Company typical performance, further reiterating the consistency of results across Cabot’s operations in the region.  “This represents the new standard for operational efficiencies and technological advancement in our Marcellus operations,” Cabot CEO Dan O. Dinges said.  “Our achievements on this pad showcase the innovation and ingenuity our team continues to demonstrate day-in and day-out.” See the full release here.

Oil/Gas Employment Continues to Rise – Speaking of production numbers, on Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the oil and gas industry employed  199,200 in November, up 4.8 percent from a year before and 0.3 percent from October.

More Jobs From Atlantic Drilling – A new API/NOIA report found that oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf would create 280,000 direct new jobs over 18 years and bring up to $23.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy.   The study, conducted by Quest Offshore, shows that offshore oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic OCS could spur an additional $195 billion in new private investment, generate $51 billion in new revenue for the government and add 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day to domestic energy production, between 2017 and 2035.  These jobs are in addition to any jobs and revenue generated by offshore wind or wave energy projects that might take place.

Mirtchev: Energy is Best Foreign Policy Tool – International energy expert Alexander Mirtchev had a recent column on the Web site RealClearEnergy that focused on energy as an effective foreign policy tool.  Mirtchev argues that to now, the extensive policy debate over production of non-traditional fossil fuels, such as shale gas, has not adequately focused on the geo-economic and foreign policy implications and advantages to the United States, its allies, and global economic security overall.  He adds the geopolitical opportunities presented by the shale revolution and the prospect of LNG exports cannot be underestimated and will prevent gas exporters from using natural gas supply as geopolitical leverage.

Book Details Bloomberg Focus on Climate, NYC – Our Friends at Inside Climate News have just released an ebook on Mayor Bloomberg tenure on in New York City and his intense focus on climate and environmental Issues.  The book, Bloomberg’s Hidden Legacy: Climate Change and the Future of New York City and details Bloomberg’s efforts to protect the city from climate change. It’s available through Amazon for Kindle readers. You can also get it at: http://insideclimatenews.org/

Tezak Talks Renewables, NSPS on E&E TV – Our friend Christi Tezak, managing director of research at ClearView Energy Partners, discussed the changing dynamics of the renewable energy tax policy debate and the impact master limited partnerships could have on clean energy projects on today’s E&E TV OnPoint.  Tezak also explains how U.S. EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for power plants could affect state renewable portfolio standards.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

DOE Loan Program to Headline USEA Program – U.S. Energy Association will host an event today at 2:00 p.m. providing an overview of the DOE Loan Program.  Deploying critical projects at utility scale, Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is a financing force for the clean energy economy and is one of the largest project finance teams in the world managing the largest innovative energy and transportation portfolio in the world. Supporting more than 30 projects across the United States and representing more than $30 billion in loans and loan guarantees, LPO has accelerated clean energy deployment in the U.S., cut emissions, and enhanced American global competitiveness. With tens of billions of dollars in remaining loan authority and a draft Advanced Fossil Energy Solicitation, LPO continues to accept new applications for its existing programs covering renewable energy, advanced nuclear, fossil energy, and advanced vehicles.  Peter Davidson, Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office, will speak.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – Young Professionals in Energy and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will host a discussion at the French Embassy today at 6:30 p.m. on the transition to a renewable energy future.  French Embassy Energy Councilor Vincente Deporte will speak about the policies in France aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy independence.  German Embassy Climate and Energy Policy First Secretary Georg Maue will discuss the transformation of the German energy system through renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Panel to Discuss Energy Innovation, Labs – The House Technology Transfer Caucus, ITIF, Innovation Associates, and a panel of leading experts tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in 121 Cannon to discuss the role of national labs as part of a three-part series on innovation policy reform. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories are a key driver of energy innovation and represent over $14 billion in annual federally-funded research investment. Yet, as ITIF found in a nonpartisan study with the Heritage Foundation and the Center for American Progress, the links between the National Labs and industry are weak, technology transfer remains a low priority, commercialization programs are underfunded, and the Labs are disconnected from regional economic development. Reforms are critical to enhancing the long-term impact National Lab research can have on addressing key national challenges.

Houston Mayor to Address Press Club –The National Press Club will host a luncheon with Houston mayor Annise Parker tomorrow at Noon.  Parker, one of the first openly gay mayors in the U.S. and the head of the “energy capital of America” will talk about her political future and past, the renaissance of American oil and gas energy industry, Texas’s thriving economy and the challenges of managing city finances.

Arctic Energy Report to Be Released – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars European Studies Program, the Canada Institute and the Kennan Institute will release the publication launch of “In Search of Arctic Energy” tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  The program will discuss the findings of the new paper and delve into the implications that arctic energy exploration will have for the region and the globe’s energy economy.  Speakers will include Jim Slutz of the Canada Institute; Bill Scott, General Manager of the Chevron Arctic Center, RFF’s Joel Darmstadter and Alaska Director of State-Federal Relations Kip Knudson, among others.

EEI Exec to Address MIT DC Club – The MIT Club of Washington will host David Owens of EEI on modernizing the Grid tomorrow evening at the Kenwood Country Club.  This session presents a utility industry perspective on how emerging technologies and environmental or regulatory pressures might change the plans of this regulated industry. Issues to be faced include distributed solar/wind, efficient operations, state/federal legislative initiatives, and financing mechanisms.

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC tomorrow and Wednesday. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda.  Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.

SCOTUS to Hear Cross State Challenge – The Supreme Court takes up EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule tomorrow in case that industry has won in the lower courts.  A split appeals court panel in 2012 struck down the rule, saying that the agency had overstepped the authority under the Clean Air Act.

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

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

BG’s Holmstead Headlines D.C. Bar Event on SCOTUS Case – Another event that will follow the DC Circuit case takes place at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday when the Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section, in co-sponsorship with the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a discussion on the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on challenges to the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.  My Colleague Jeff Holmstead, former EPA Air office head that works on the original CAIR rule will be among the discussants.  Others include EPA folks and Mike Myers of the New York State Attorney General’s office.

Workshop to Look Defense, Climate Issues – The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold its 3rd annual workshop at GWU’s Marvin Center Wednesday and Thursday and will focus upon the growing efforts of U.S. defense, intelligence and national security communities on assessing and responding to climate change. With the recent publication of Federal agency adaptation plans and the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, this year’s program will specifically address transportation, water and energy infrastructure, as well as critical risks in the supply chain. Hear insights from senior Federal officials in the Department of Defense, intelligence organizations and other Federal agencies on existing mandates, operational strategies and opportunities for collaboration.

Senate Environment to Tackle Ethanol, RFS Rule – Following last week’s EPA public Hearing on the topic, the Senate Environment Committee and its Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at domestic renewable fuels.  Witnesses will include EPA’s Chris Trundler and DOE’s Steven Chalk.  Others include Growth Energy Co-Chairman General Wesley K. Clark, Jim Collins of Dupont, refining assn AFPM head Charlie Drevna, farm operator Jon Holzfaster, EWG’s Scott Faber and Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Ethanol Council.

House Science to Look at Climate, Weather – Also on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing the relationship between climate and weather.

AEI to Look at Public-Private Roads – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on two new policy proposals that address the use of road pricing and public-private partnerships, as well as state efforts to enhance infrastructure and economic competitiveness. Panelists will also discuss how these proposals intersect with the federal transportation authorization bill, due to expire in less than a year.  America’s network of roads, bridges, and tunnels needs $1.7 trillion in investment by 2020, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Traditional methods of funding these needs, such as fossil fuel taxes, fall short: Americans are driving fewer miles, and inflation is eroding fuel tax revenues. Meanwhile, congressional gridlock and fiscal constraints have prevented large federal investments.  Many policy analysts agree that road pricing – charging motorists a variable per-mile rate based on congestion levels – can address many of these concerns. Yet the concept faces local, state, and federal hurdles.  Speaker will include Jack Bass of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Richard Geddes of AEI and Cornell University, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials exec Joung Lee and Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation.

NAS Nuclear Panel to Hold First Meeting – A National Academy of Sciences Committee has scheduled its first public meeting for a pilot study on cancer risks around U.S. nuclear facilities on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in the National Academy of Sciences Building.  The planning this study will investigate just seven of many facilities licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the results of this study will most likely affect all U.S. nuclear facilities.

Aspen Book Event to Feature Weisman – The Aspen Institute’s Global Health and Development program will hold a conversation on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. with journalist and author Alan Weisman, moderated by Jackie Judd.  In his latest book, Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth, Alan Weisman considers the impact of adding another 3.6 billion people to the planet by the end of the century. He finds rivers running dry, coral reefs without fish, forests stripped of trees, and increasingly bizarre weather. But Weisman also offers hope. We are not doomed to grow beyond our planet’s carrying capacity. Weisman considers various means to slow population growth—including draconian measures, such as China’s one-child policy. He rejects those in favor of a solution that is simple, effective, ethical, and beneficial in its own right: empower women, through education and contraception, to make their own decisions about childbearing.

Forum to Look at Energy Infrastructure The Atlantic will hold an Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit on the morning of Thursday in Washington, D.C.  The event will include a select group of senior leaders from a diversity of sectors, this year’s summit will cover topics including innovative water conservation efforts, evolving green building standards, and the future of energy policy and infrastructure investment. We will feature one-on-one interviews and panel discussions exploring these topics from all angles and make time for audience engagement through Q&A.  Speakers will include Brendan FitzSimons of EDF, AT&T’s John Schultz and Lee McIntire of CH2M HILL.

CAP Forum Looks at Mayors, Local Climate Issues – The Center for American Progress will hold a forum on Thursday morning at the Newseum to discuss the Local perspective on climate change issues.  The battle over climate change, carbon pollution, and America’s energy future is not confined to Congress. In fact, considerable progress is happening at the state and local level with 31 states, and DC, setting targets for renewable energy and over 1,000 mayors signing on to the US Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement.  The panel will look at how this move will impact the national debate.

Senate Energy to Hold Nominations Meeting, Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will convene a business meeting Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to consider the nominations of Steven Croley to be the General Counsel of the Department of Energy, Chris Smith to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy, Esther P. Kia’aina to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas.  Last month the committee held a confirmation hearing where each testified without much concern.  At the same time they will address new nominees, including MIT’s Franklin Orr to be Under Secretary for Science at DOE, Jonathan Elkind to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs, Rhea S. Suh to be Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks at Interior and current BOEM head Tommy Beaudreau to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget.

NRC Commissioner at House Energy on Nuclear Waste – On Thursday at 10:15 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittees on Energy & Power and Environment & the Economy will hold an oversight hearing on NRC Management and the need for legislative reform.  Obviously, major focus will be on Yucca Mountain and waste issues.  Chair Allison Macfarlane and Commissioners George Apostolakis, Bill Magwood, Kristine Svinicki and William Ostendorff will testify.

EPA Webinar to Look at Green Power, Sports Teams – If you a looking for a good sports/environment crossover, EPA’s Green Power Partnership and the Stadium Managers Association will host a webinar on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. looking at Green Power use and opportunities for sports teams and venues. Sports stadiums and venues typically use a great deal of electricity, and thus can play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using renewable energy. This webinar will examine how and why sports teams and venues use green power, including a review of available product options, benefits of and best practices for procuring renewable energy, and the positive role teams and venues can play in encouraging green power use by fans, peers and the public.  The Webinar will look at green power product and procurement options, and associated costs and benefits, how EPA’s Green Power Partnership can help teams and venue managers leverage their green power use to bring positive attention to an organization and Lessons learned from the Philadelphia Phillies on incorporating renewable energy use into their operations, and advice for organizations interested in doing the same.  Speakers include EPA’s Green Power Partnership Director Blaine Collison, Stadium Managers Association President and VP of Stadium Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals Joe Abernathy, Brian Mahoney of the Philadelphia Phillies and Bram Reynolds, General Manager of Facility Services at Citizens Bank Park

SEIA Webinar on Solar, EPA Repowering America’s Land Initiative – The Solar Energy Industry Assn will hold a webinar Thursday at 1:00 p.m. EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Lands initiative.  The program offers developers a very unique value proposition for installing solar energy.   The event will discuss leveraging existing infrastructure, improve project economics with reduced land costs and tax incentives, reduce project cycle times through streamlined permitting and zoning, and build a sustainable land development strategy by using contaminated lands.  Speakers will include EPA’s Adam Klinger and SEIA’s John Smirnow.

DOE Nuclear Experts to Discuss Industry at Atlantic Council Forum – The Atlantic Council will host a roundtable discussion on Thursday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. looking at key policy issues for ensuring a safe, secure, competitive US and Global nuclear industry.  This event, part of the Council’s Nuclear Energy Initiative, will convene senior thought leaders from government, academia, industry, and stakeholder groups to address the current US government policy course.  Speakers will include DOE’s Rose Gottemoeller and Dan Poneman, as well as CSIS expert Thomas Moore, Mary Beth Nikitin of the Congressional Research Service and several others.

CSIS to Look at Nuclear Issues – The Center for Strategic and International Studies with partners in India, South Korea, and China, explored the contours of responsible nuclear supply with key technical, official, and industry experts.  On Friday at 9:00 a.m., their experts will hold a forum that will discuss their findings, and the results of our workshops in Delhi, Seoul and Beijing.  Speakers will include Bloomberg New Energy Finance Head of Nuclear Research Chris Gadomski, MIT’s Alan Hanson and Gretchen Hund of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

JHU to Host EIA, 2040 Energy Outlook – Energy, Resources and Environment Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will host EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski on Monday, December 16th at 9:30 a.m. in SAIS’s Kenney Auditorium.  EIA will present the reference case from Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release Overview with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices to 2040.

SEIA to Release 3Q Report – On Tuesday, December 17th at 1:00 p.m., the Solar Energy Industry Administration and GTM Research will hold a webinar to discuss the highlights of the soon-to-be-released “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q3 2013.”  The U.S. solar market continued to show robust growth in Q3 2013, driven in part by a record level of residential installations and a strong quarter in the utility segment.  The webinar will highlight emerging deployment, system pricing and ownership structure trends and dive into detailed market forecasts for the fourth quarter and beyond.

Forum to Look at Iran, Oil Issues – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday, December 18th at 9:30 a.m. on Iran, oil and Changing the ‘Great Satan’ Narrative. With the signing of an interim accord providing limited sanctions relief in return for restraints on Iran’s nuclear program, attention has focused on whether Iran will be able to increase its currently depressed exports of oil and natural gas and whether multinational oil companies will again be willing to invest in Iran’s energy sector. The first panel will discuss the impact of these changes on Iran’s economy and on world oil supplies and prices. In the second panel, speakers will discuss how the United States and European can help weaken the anti-Western narrative of Iranian hardliners by challenging their core tenet: the West is inherently opposed to Iran’s technological advancement. They will launch a report proposing seven areas of scientific collaboration between Iran and the West that have no proliferation risk but can help strengthen and consolidate the positive-sum outlook of the Rouhani government.  AC’s Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, performs comprehensive analyses of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and the world, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West.  Panel one speakers include Sara Vakshouri of SVB Energy International, CSIS’s Guy Caruso and Bijan Khajehpour of Atieh International while Panel two features Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council.

Oil Trade Group to Discuss State of Energy – API will host its 2014 State of American Energy luncheon on Tuesday, January 7th at the Newseum.

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

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

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

Energy Update Week of December 3

Friends,

Just a short note today with some follow up from late-breaking events on Friday, as well as an update from this morning’s SAFE event at the Newseum, which featured Presidential Economic Advisor Gene Sperling, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Roy Blount and military and business leaders.  The event was live on C-SPAN.   Fed Ex Chair Fred Smith and retired General P.X. Kelly also had a piece today in the National Review on the topic.

One additional note, as UN climate talks in Qatar continue, the US negotiators seem to be pressing hard to challenge developing countries like China to engage in any new efforts, rather than keep the “developing/developed” country divide.  While some are saying this is a big development that will lead to future treaties, as one who has followed this for years, I wouldn’t hold my breathe that nations like China and India will follow though – especially in the months after everyone returns home.  Our friend Kim Chipman has a story from Doha.

Please call with questions about this or other topics.

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS 

SAFE Releases Bipartisan Strategy to Support Domestic Production, Oil Displacement Technology – The national security and business leaders of the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) today proposed a detailed oil security plan to improve the U.S. economy, promote fiscal stability, and protect national security.  The proposal – A National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation – supports expanding domestic energy supplies and technology to address the dangers created by the near-total reliance of the nation’s transportation sector on petroleum-based fuels.  The ESLC, co-chaired by former Marine Corps Commandant General P.X. Kelley (USMC, Ret.) and FedEx Chairman, President, & CEO Frederick W. Smith, includes entrepreneurs and former military leaders committed to improving U.S. energy security through reduced oil dependence.  The ESLC is a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE).  “As long as our nation remains dependent on oil, restoring economic growth and stabilizing our fiscal outlook will be undermined by the manipulated and volatile prices of a cartel-dominated global oil market.  This report offers a framework for policymakers to leverage domestic energy abundance in support of mitigating the urgent and severe threat posed by oil dependence,” remarked General Kelley and Mr. Smith.  Specific recommendations include:

-Responsible development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

-State participation in the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Regulations (STRONGER) process, which should increase its scope to develop best practices for hydraulic fracturing.

-Fuel-neutral deployment communities for oil displacement technology like electric vehicles and natural gas trucks in small- to medium-sized cities, which will serve as R&D communities to identify effective approaches to deploying these oil-displacement technologies.

-Reinstated and reformed incentives for a fuel infrastructure to compete with oil-based liquid fuels.

-Reorient the Department of Energy’s R&D activities to catalyze those technologies most likely to improve U.S. energy security

-Improving the federal permitting process for major energy projects by streamlining authority, promoting transparency, and reducing frivolous litigation.

-Establishing an Energy Security Trust Fund seeded with revenue from new production.

House E/C “Big Five” Question HHS about NatGas Drilling Bias – Top House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are questioning the objectivity of the Department of Health and Human Services on natural gas drilling, citing past comments in which the head of HHS’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has allegedly referred to shale gas development as “a disaster in some communities” and referred to “anecdotal evidence of environmental illness.”  In a letter Friday to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, committee Chairman Fred Upton and other lawmakers questioned the department’s role in an interagency working group on shale gas development and the validity of pending studies by ATSDR. They requested a briefing between HHS staff and committee staff and called on Sebelius to ensure that the department “will adopt an approach based on sound scientific principles.” The letter was signed by Upton, former Chair Joe Barton, Energy subpanel Chair Ed Whitfield, Health subpanel Chair Joe Pitts and Environment Subpanel Chair John Shimkus.

Emerson to Move to Head Rural Co-Op Assn – Our friend Missouri Congresswoman Joanne Emerson said today that she will resign from Congress March 1st to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the trade association of cooperative and consumer-owned utilities. She will succeed Glenn English, who announced his intention to retire in December 2011 after 19 years.  Emerson was elected to the House in 1996 from Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District to succeed her husband, the late Rep. Bill Emerson, and continued his leadership in food assistance policy in Congress. She chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Appropriations.  NRECA, based in Arlington, Va., represents more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives and utilities, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.  Emerson will take over one of the most influential rural-based organizations, with a lobbying budget that has been greater than $5 million in some years (in 2008 and 2009, about $2 million this year) and a political action committee that spent $2.96 million during the 2012 campaign.  She will be the fifth person and the fourth former Member of Congress to head the association. Its earliest president was Clyde T. Ellis, a House member from Arkansas. Others were former Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland, once a congressman from Minnesota, and English, the Oklahoma member who, like Emerson, resigned from the House shortly after re-election.

CSIS Honor Schlesinger with Energy Chair, Appoints Verrastro – CSIS has created a James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics and will to appoint our friend Frank Verrastro as the inaugural chairholder. The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will now be led by David Pumphrey and Sarah Ladislaw, who will codirect the program and work in conjunction with the Schlesinger Chair.  The nation’s first Energy Secretary, James Schlesinger served in both Republican and Democratic administrations at the highest levels, and his leadership on defense, intelligence, budgetary, and energy matters will benefit the United States far into the future.  Verrastro has directed the CSIS Energy and National Security Program since 2003. He spent 30 years in energy policy and project management positions in the U.S. government and private sector. He has held positions in the White House and Departments of Interior and Energy, including as director of the Office of Producing Nations and deputy assistant secretary for international energy resources. In the private sector, he worked most recently as senior vice president for Pennzoil. In his new capacity, Verrastro will continue to serve as senior vice president at CSIS.

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON

Forum to Look at GrowthThe Atlantic’s Forum on Conservation, Efficiency, and Growth, taking place tomorrow at The W Hotel in Washington, DC.  The forum will feature expert discussions on corporate sustainability initiatives, and convene panels to explore how sustainable business practices influence our economy, our workforce, and America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.  Speakers will include Darryl Banks, Vice President of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress; Beth Keck, Senior Director of Sustainability for Walmart; Kathy Loftus, Global Leader of Sustainable Engineering and Energy Management for Whole Foods; Jackie Roberts, Director of Sustainable Technologies, Climate & Air for the Environmental Defense Fund; Beth Shiroishi, Vice President, Sustainability & Philanthropy for AT&T and Michael Washburn, Vice President of Sustainability for Nestle Waters North America.

House Transportation, Senate Panels to Look at Sandy – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Hurricane Sandy tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn.  The hearing will review of the preparedness, response to and recovery from hurricane sandy” and will be webcast live.  Witnesses will include FEMA’s Craig Fugate, Fred Tombar, Major General Michael Walsh, Robert R. Latham Jr, Kevin Davis and David Popoff.  The next day at 10:00, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee (Chaired by Mary Landrieu) will convene a hearing on Sandy response and recovery as well. Fugate will be joined by HUD secretary Shaun Donovan.  On Thursday, a Senate Commerce Panel headed by Frank Lautenberg will focus on the Sandy’s impact on transportation networks.

Forum to Look at 20 Years of Energy Policy Act of ’92 – The Compete Coalition will host a policy forum on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Park Hotel on the Energy Policy Act of 1992, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of a landmark statute.  Key architects of the legislation and today’s electricity industry leaders will look back (and look ahead) at the ongoing impact of EPAct ’92 on competitive electricity markets and the benefits those markets are delivering for our nation’s electricity consumers.  Speakers will include former Senators Bennett Johnston and Don Nickles, former FERC Chair and Deputy Secretary of Energy Betsy Moler, former FERC Commissioner Bill Massey, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Peña and former Deputy Secretary of Energy Linda Stuntz, among others.

McAuliffe to Headline 2012 VA Renewable Meeting – Potential VA Governor candidate Terry McAuliffe will be joining the Virginia Renewable Energy Assn for its annual meeting in Richmond on December 5th.  McAuliffe has been a leading voice and entrepreneur in the Renewable Energy Industry and has recently announced his intentions to run for Governor of Virginia in 2013.

NJ Set Clean Air Act Forum – The National Journal will hold a Clean Air Act Forum on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum to explore the promise of the Clean Air Act, its legacy after 40 years, and a look ahead to its future with the new Congress and Administration. Our friend Amy Harder will speak with former EPA Administrator and White House Climate Czar Carol Browner and former House Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton on the CAA, as well as moderate a panel that includes David Markarian of NextEra Energy, Delaware Air Quality Director Ali Mirzakhalili, Jerome A. Paulson of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Medical Center, NRDC’s John Walke and ACCCE’s Paul Bailey.

WAPA, Buick to Hold Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) and Buick will hold a Holiday Buick Encore ride-and-drive and happy hour on Wednesday at Indigo Landing in Alexandria, VA.  Buick is on pace for its best retail sales year since 2006, thanks to a product line-up that features the style, performance and technology luxury buyers expect and demand.  For the 2013 model year, along with a redesigned Enclave and a new high-performing, turbo-charged model for Verano, the all-new Buick Encore luxury crossover will begin arriving in dealerships soon and we’d like you to be among the first to drive it.  In addition to the ride-and-drive, Buick marketing and engineering executives including Roger McCormack, Director Buick Global Marketing will be on-hand to provide perspective on the Encore.  Buick Encore is the second of four new or significantly revised Buick vehicles to be introduced in the next 12 months, and is a beautiful, quiet, comfortable 5-passenger crossover with the right balance of performance and purposeful technology.  Encore also continues to expand the Buick portfolio by appealing to a whole new audience of luxury buyers as we expect the segment to grow more than a half million units by 2015.

RFF Panel to Look at Markets, Enviro Regs – Resources for the Future will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. looking at markets for environmental regulations.  Over the past 60 years, environmental economists have pioneered the idea of market-based approaches to solving environmental problems. Regulators have implemented market-based programs for air pollution, water pollution, land management, and other environmental policy problems at local, state, federal, and—in the case of greenhouse gas regulation—international levels. Some applications hew more closely than others to ideal market-based policy design, as defined by economic theory, and programs have met with varying degrees of success. As part of RFF’s Resources 2020 lecture series—our 60th anniversary exploration of how economic inquiry can address future environmental challenges—panelists at this seminar will discuss what we can learn from successful and unsuccessful applications of market-based policy and its desirability, feasibility, and design in the future. The panel includes RFF experts on environmental markets for air, water, and land, as well as leaders in the policy community with diverse experience on these issues, including former Clinton OMB Director Sally Katzen, NRDC’s David Doniger, former Bush 41 White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and RFF experts Dallas Burtraw, Art Fraas, Margaret Walls and Leonard Shabman.

German Chamber Sets Wind Energy Conference – For the 5th time since 2007, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest is bringing a delegation of German wind energy companies to Chicago for the German American Wind Energy Business Conference.  This conference on Wednesday will provide attendees with the chance to learn about the wind technology innovations and supply chain and service practices that German manufacturers use to stay competitive. Current wind energy opportunities and programs in Illinois will also be addressed.  Attending the conference provides an excellent opportunity to connect with the German wind energy delegation companies to discuss business and partnership opportunities.

Forum to Look at Iranian Oil – The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will host a discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. entitled “Can the World Live Without Iranian Oil,” with Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International; and Denise Natali, Minerva Chair, Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.  Over the past year, Iranian oil production and exports have declined drastically to levels last seen at the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Yet the price of oil has remained relatively constant at around $100 per barrel or lower. Increasing oil production in neighboring Iraq and new discoveries in the United States and elsewhere, coupled with sluggish demand, raise the question of whether the world can live without Iranian oil and what that means for Iran’s ability to pursue a provocative nuclear program.  The Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, seeks to perform a comprehensive analysis of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and globally, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West.

Transmission Conference to Look at New Year, Agenda – Energy Central and TransmissionHub will host a symposium on Wednesday in Washington, DC to Look at Transmission policy in the new year.  TransForum East is the second of three regional gatherings of key industry decision makers that Energy Central kicked off in April 2012 with TransForum Texas.  It is an event focused just on the Eastern Interconnection.  I will speak on the “Implications of the 2012 Presidential Election on Electric Power Policy,” at 2:00 p.m.    Other speakers include Trans-Elect/AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Michael Skelly of Clean Line Energy and many others.

EIA to Present Outlook at JHU – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program and the Global Leaders Forum on Energy and Environment will host Adam Sieminski, administrator at the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.  Sieminski will present the agency’s projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices to 2040 with the early release of the reference case projections from the “Annual Energy Outlook 2013.”  A link to a webcast of the press conference will be available by 1:00 PM on Wednesday, December 5 at: http://www.sais-jhu.edu/pressroom/live.html

Houston Conference to Look at Regional Wind Issues – AWEA holds its Southwest Regional Wind Energy Summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Houston at the Hyatt Regency.  The conference will provide a comprehensive view of all critical aspects of wind energy in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions of the United States, and delve deep into the most important present and forecasted issues facing wind energy development in these regions.  Former Bush Administration official Jimmy Glotfelty will chair the event and speakers include former FERC Chair Pat Wood, SPP’s Carl Monroe and EDF Renewables CEO Gabriel Alonso.

Harvard Business Review to Host Doha Webinar – The Harvard Business Review will hold an interactive webinar on Thursday at 10:30 a.m., broadcast live from Doha, in partnership with Future Influencers, an exclusive think tank working group enabling high-level discussions and collaborations on sustainability topics.  Leaders gathering in Doha to address the world’s energy challenges at the 18th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 18) face formidable challenges. Policy recommendations that ignore the larger interdependencies in the global energy supply chain are unlikely to make headway. Economists since the 1960s, for example, have said that if we just get energy prices right, the market will work its magic. But getting the prices right depends on getting the policies right. Policy, in turn, is constrained by the social and political realities of each national jurisdiction. Participants include Barbara Kux ,Chief Sustainability Officer of Siemens AG; WRI’s Jennifer Morgan; Gregory Unruh of the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Future influencers: Gatien Bon, Anna Leidereiter, and Kali Taylor.

Commerce to Host Webinar on Exporting Renewable Technology – The Department of Commerce/Commercial Service is holding a webinar on Thursday December 6th looking at export finance for Renewable Energy Technologies.  This webinar will feature an update of USG export finance programs (Ex-Im, OPIC,TDA) for renewable energy technologies as well as export finance best practices from a private-sector perspective.  Speakers include Craig O’Connor of the , Ex-Im Bank of the United States, Brian O’Hanlon of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Andrea Lupo of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Ed Sappin of the Willowbrook Company.

Panel to Look at Carbon Tax, Fiscal Cliff – Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies will hold a Panel on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in its Rome Auditorium, #806 looking at Carbon prices and the fiscal cliff.  With the looming threat of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ and effects of super-storm Sandy, there is renewed talk in policy circles of the benefits of putting a price on carbon, as a means of dealing with the federal deficit while tackling climate change.  Leading experts about the viability of carbon market mechanisms throughout North America, like the Western Climate Initiative involving Québec and California will discuss the realities of a federal clean energy standard and the application of a national carbon tax in the context of simultaneously addressing emissions reductions and fiscal constraints.  Panelists include Brookings Adele Morris, Richard Caperton of the Center for American Progress and Manik Roy of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.  This event will be held in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Washington, the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Québec in Montréal (Chair Raoul-Dandurand).

EPA Webinar to Focus on Global Warming Polling – EPA’s Green Power Partnership will host a free webinar on Friday at 1:00 p.m. on “Global Warming’s Six Americas: Understanding and Communicating with a Diverse Public.” Americans differ in their beliefs and concern about climate change. Understanding the differences is vital to effective engagement and to bring about positive behavioral change. Insight into stakeholders’ views can help organizations communicate the importance of using green power and saving energy.  The webinar will feature a presentation from Dr. Edward Maibach, Professor and Director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Dr. Maibach will provide a summary of recent findings from the “Climate Change in the American Mind” and “Global Warming’s Six Americas” audience research studies conducted by George Mason University and Yale University. He will address a range of topics including recent increases in public engagement in climate change, perceptions about extreme weather and its relationship to climate change, and public policy preferences.

FUTURE EVENTS

Panel to Look at National Security, Election Coverage – The National Security and New Media Journalism Project will present its National Security and New Media Conference panel and  Mightier Pen Award Luncheon on Tuesday, December 11th at the Union League Club in New York.  The Project was established to provide professional development for the next generation of national security journalists in an objective environment informed by the burgeoning opportunities of the new Media.  It will honor Monica Crowley of FOX News.  Panels prior to lunch will discuss new media, national security and the election.  Panelists will include Rich Miniter of Forbes Magazine, former Washington Times security expert Bill Gertz and NRO Columnists Andrew McCarthy, among others.

Chamber Foundation to Look at Fiscal Challenges, States Efforts – The National Chamber Foundation will hold a forum on the tough decisions of our fiscal challenge on December 11th at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  This event will highlight a report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force, co-chaired by Richard Ravitch, former lieutenant governor of New York, and Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Board chair. The report examines six major fiscal threats to states across the nation: Medicaid, federal deficit reduction, underfunded retirement, taxes, local government fiscal stress, and state budget laws and practices.  In addition, gubernatorial chiefs of staff from WI, CO, OK and VA will discuss how their states are balancing the need for fiscal responsibility while investing in a strong economic future.  A federal panel featuring Joseph A. Califano and Chamber President Tom Donohue will then facilitate a robust discussion on the challenges facing our country and answer the looming question of what we can do to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Forum to Look at EU Trading System – The Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forward-looking examination of Europe’s leading role in establishing and operating a greenhouse gas trading system on Tuesday, December 11th ar 3:45 p.m.  With the international agreement to reach a new GHG protocol by 2020, where will the EU Emission Trading System go? How does it affect international transport, both by air and sea? What does this system mean for multinational businesses operating in or passing through Europe.  Panelists include GE’s Ann Condon, EU Enviro Rep in the United States Guenter Hoermandiger, Alcoa’s Sylvain Lhote and Nancy Young of Airlines for America.

Annual POWER-GEN Conference Tackles Key Issues – The annual POWER-GEN Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida on December 11-13 at the Orange County Convention Center. Nearly 200 industry experts will present new solutions and innovations for the future in 36 conference sessions broken up in 12 tracks. Click here to download the Conference-at-a-Glance PDF.  The conference sessions are organized into multiple concurrent session tracks including industry trends / competitive power generation, environmental issues, emissions control, fossil technologies, gas turbine technologies, on-site power and plant performance.  There will also be separate Tracks on Nuclear, Renewable and Geothermal power.

DOE Grid Expert to Headline ICF Breakfast – ICF International continues its Energy and Environment Breakfast Series on Wednesday, December 12th with Jay Caspary, senior policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and member of DOE’s Grid Tech Team, who will explore challenging issues facing the electric grid and potential solutions to these problems.

Inglis to Discuss Climate/Energy Taxes – The Johns Hopkins Washington, DC Center will host a forum on Wednesday, December 12th at Noon on Climate and energy taxes.  Former U.S. Representative Bob Inglis’ presentation will focus on U.S. climate/energy politics and make the case for prudent action from a conservative perspective.  Inglis’ think tank at the George Mason University, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, focuses on three key components to a prudent energy-and-climate policy. First, the policy should be strictly revenue-neutral to prevent the growth of government. Second, the policy should get government out of the business of ‘picking winners’ by ending all subsidies for all sources of energy. Third, the policy should, over time, fix the market distortion caused by negative externalities by attaching all costs to all sources of energy. A climate policy with these key attributes would level the playing field for energy production and poise the free-enterprise system to deliver the fuels of the future. 

RFF to Host Geoengineering Lecture – Resources for the Future will continue its 60th anniversary Resources 2020 Nobel Laureate lecture series on Thursday, December 13th featuring Thomas Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, who will discuss Geoengineering and some gentle experimentation.

Energy Forum Features Jones, Connaughton, Wirth – OurEnergyPolicy.org will host a forum at the National Press Club on Friday, December 14th where leading energy and government experts will share their ideas, expectations and predictions for the future of U.S. energy policy.   The panel, moderated by Jim Angle, Chief National Correspondent with Fox News Channel, will feature former CEQ Chair Jim Connaughton of Exelon, Former National Security Advisor General James Jones, and former Colorado Senator and United Nations Foundation leader Tim Wirth.  These panelists will offer insights into how the winners of the 2012 elections will and should approach energy and national security, climate and the environment, the economy, and other emerging issues.

Forum to Look at Disaster Preparedness – The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation will hold a session of the CSIS-Pennington Family Foundation Series on Community Resilience Toward More Effective Disaster Philanthropy on Thursday, December 13th at 5:30 p.m. that will be an on-the-record panel discussion exploring how to move toward more effective disaster philanthropy.  Following a natural disaster, philanthropy plays a vital role in aiding affected communities and can have an equally critical role in building long term community resilience. As private entities, philanthropists can operate with flexibility across sectors and creativity that generates unique contributions across the lifecycle of disasters—from preparedness to recovery. The panel will feature Dr. David Abramson of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Wal-Mart’s Steve Dozier, Bob Ottenhoff of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, USAID’s Tony Pipa and Joe Ruiz of the UPS Foundation Humanitarian Relief Program.

Chamber to Host Farm Innovation Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation will co-host a program on Wednesday, December 19th highlighting the innovations and emerging opportunities that today’s agriculture industry are presenting. This program will identify many of the latest innovations and advances in agriculture and show how America’s agriculture community continues to feed an ever growing global population while at the same time supporting American job creation and competitiveness.  Speakers include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Chamber President Tom Donohue, former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings (current President of the National Chamber Foundation), Peter Klein  of the University of Missouri, AEI’s Nick Schulz, John Deere FarmSight Director Jerry Roell and Blake Hurst of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Special Energy Update – November 30

Friends,

A special Friday note this week because we will not be available Monday as we (all of you and I) will all be at the Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) event at the Newseum at 10:30 a.m.  The event will feature Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council.  How often do you get to hear the President’s economic advisor tie energy security and fiscal issues together in the middle of the fiscal cliff negotiations with Congress?  Speaking of Congress, Senator Lamar Alexander and Roy Blount will also participate in the event which is focused on the impact of U.S. oil dependence on the nation’s economic, fiscal, and national security outlook.  SAFE will also release of its new report, “A National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation” at the event which will include recommendation to the Congress and President to address the challenge.  Other speakers will include Fed Ex CEO Fred Smith, Marine Corps General P.X. Kelley, former NSC head Dennis Blair, Waste Management CEO David Steiner and several other military and business leaders.   

On Wednesday, The Financial Times recognized Bracewell & Giuliani among the most creative and forward-thinking law firms in the U.S., naming Bracewell a highly-commended firm in its U.S. Innovative Lawyers report.  Bracewell was fourth in the category of Most Innovative U.S. Law Firms: Business of Law 2012. The award to Bracewell focused on the launch of the Policy Resolution Group (PRG), a unit that many of you on this list know and work with daily and combines legal, government relations and communications advice.  The Financial Times’ U.S. Innovative Lawyers report includes unique rankings of law firms that bring fresh thinking and practices to solving business problems in America. More than 60 law firms submitted 320 entries to be included in the honors. 

Finally, with yesterday’s politician open mike on Sandy in the Senate Environment Committee, I wanted to pass along one important thing that seems to be getting lost in the Chairman’s effort to create a “public record of the storm.”  While it was a terrible tragedy for many in New Jersey/New York that were really impacted by it, those trying to gain political advantage on climate change (somewhat evident yesterday) seem to be forgetting an important fact: The storm and climate really aren’t related.  This originally didn’t come from climate skeptics, but one of the best, climate/science reporters covering the issues over the last 15 years, former NYTimes reporter Andy Revkin.  Revkin made some great points on NYT’s Dot Earth blog as the storm arrived in late October, focused on the complex connection to climate.  Revkin said while some climate scientists told him the event is precisely what you’d expect following a summer in which much of the Arctic Ocean was open water, “there remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms — on time scales from decades to centuries — to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet.” He added that the storm’s “moniker can imply this is a human-created meteorological monster, it’s just not that simple.”

Please call with questions…  I look forward to seeing you at the Newseum on Monday morning.

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932 

IN THE NEWS 

Interior Announces First-Ever Renewable Energy Lease Sale – The Department of Interior just announced the first-ever competitive lease sales for renewable energy development in two wind energy areas (WEAs) in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proposing to lease 278,000 Acres offshore just off Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia for wind energy.   More details later today on a 4:00 p.m. call with Secretary Salazar, BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau and David Hayes.

President Signs EU Airline Bill – Much to the Chagrin of the environmental community, President Obama signed legislation exempting U.S. airlines from the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Last month, the EU postponed enactment of its system by a year as talks go to the International Civil Aviation Organization on how to cut airline emissions on a global basis, but lawmakers still wanted to pass legislation opposing what they view as a unilateral imposition of fees by the EU. The bill, written by Sens. Claire McCaskill and John Thune, was passed overwhelmingly in both Houses of Congress. 

Solar Report Shows Decreasing Costs – A new report from the DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the average cost of installing new solar systems was 11-14% lower than last year, depending on the size of the project.  Even with the continued price declines, the report found, costs will have to decline even further if the solar industry is to continue to grow, especially as incentive programs begin to phase out. 

LAT Story Draws More Analysis – Remember the hubbub over the LA Times’ story by Julie Cart hammering the solar industry again on county costs and disenchantment.   The pushback from clean energy advocates called Cart out drew another analysis from EarthTechling analyst Pete Danko as well.    Danko highlighted criticisms from blogger RL Miller that says Cart is anti-solar and is leaving out key context and important facts that counter her regular storylines. Danko said Miller’s critique took Cart to task on a number of specific points, and scored some nice hits, including that the Riverside County supervisor Cart credulously gave a platform to has received a lot of campaign cash from fossil-fuel interests, among other issues.  Danko adds the problem with her work is that it is so relentlessly negative and so lacking in balance and context that the interesting and useful points she brings up are easily dismissed by solar advocates as the rantings of someone who is “anti-solar.”  

Lease Sale Produces Minimal Attention – Overshadowed by EPA’s BP announcement, Wednesday Gulf of Mexico lease sale at the Superdome (which interestingly did NOT feature an appearance from Interior Sect. Ken Salazar as the pre-election sale did) garnered $133.8 million in bids for 116 offshore blocks in the Western Gulf of Mexico.  The agency received a total of 131 bids from 13 companies worth $157.6 million. The highest bid was submitted by Chevron for $17.2 million. This was the first sale under the Administration’s new 5-year plan, offering 20 million acres.  The next Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale will offer 38 million acres in March.    Of course, NIOA’s Randi Luthi said the level of activity in this sale will be a good indicator of industry’s confidence not only in the remaining resources of the Western Gulf of Mexico, but also in the Administration’s willingness to allow those resources to be developed in a timely fashion.  Jim Noe of Hercules (713-301-6797) is a great contact to discuss the impacts of the sale.  And to be expected, enviros are annoyed at the Administration for following through on the sale, bashing the President even though he was endorsed by Sierra Club, LCV and NRDC.  My good Clean energy friend RL Miller was even funnier tweeting: “Black Friday, Cyber Monday, now All of the Above Wednesday.” 

Hanger to Run for PA Gov – Our friend and former PA DEP head John Hanger announced that he is running for Governor of Pennsylvania, taking on first-term Republican Tom Corbett.   Hanger has served Governors of both parties, joining Tom Ridge in 1993-98 as PUC Commissioner and Rendell’s environmental watchdog agency head in 2008.  Hanger also founded the Powerhouse environmental group PennFuture, and has recently brandished more expert energy credentials, playing a much more aggressive middle-of-the-road, objective stance with regard to energy development.  Other potential candidates include U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Rep. Joe Sestak, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, PA state Treasurer Rob McCord, former Rendell administration official Tom Wolf and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. 

GAO Coal Report Says Coal to Be Part of Future Mix – A new GAO report says coal will remain a major source for domestic electricity for decades to come, but will also provide a smaller share of the national energy portfolio.  In a report to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, GAO said up to 18% of current coal-fired capacity could be retired by 2035 because of new environmental regulations and lower-priced natural gas. The GAO made no recommendations in the report on federal policy, however.  The GAO also said that coal generation as a share of U.S. electricity will decline from about 42% last year to 38% in 2035. My colleague Scott Segal said it shows that coal is going to remain a mainstay of the U.S. economy by acknowledging how significant a role coal plays in the domestic power sector.    Segal added industry has been clear that older plants with lesser pollution controls are most likely to be retired in the face of new pollution regulations and low-cost natural gas. Those plants are mostly used sporadically during peak demand periods, but play a role in keeping prices down during those spikes. 

Sierra Club Wants to Block LNG Exports – As part of its none-of-the-above energy strategy (including solar and wind mind you) the Sierra Club issued a new report demanding that the Energy Department to examine and disclose the health and environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing before considering whether to move forward with exporting liquefied natural gas.  Of course, there is much more to the story, including that DOE has long studied the issues and will soon release a highly-anticipated study by year’s end.  Most experts see the Sierra club effort as a pre-emptive strike at a report that will not like.  Our DOE and Energy export expert (say that fast three times), Salo Zelermyer can discuss (202-828-1718). 

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON

SAFE Report to Highlight Plan to Oil Independence – On Monday, December 3rd, members of Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) will release a portfolio of policy recommendations intended to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, which the Council says is a paramount threat to the national, economic and fiscal security of America.  The Council will unveil its report, “National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation,” at the Newseum in Washington, DC.   The Council’s recommendations will focus on three major goals:  Increasing domestic production by taking full advantage of American oil and natural gas resources; Reducing domestic oil consumption through innovation and the adoption of new technologies; Invigorating initiatives in both production and consumption by reforming and streamlining the regulatory process.  The report will also discuss more internationally-focused developments on the horizon which could significantly impact America’s energy security outlook.  Speakers will include FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Sen.  Lamar Alexander,  former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Waste Management CEO David Steiner, former USMC Commandant General James Conway and former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Co-CEO Eric Schwartz. 

New NARUC President Hosts Media Briefing – New National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Philip Jones of Washington will be hosting a Media Briefing on Monday, December 3rd at NARUC’s Washington headquarters.  The event will start at 12 noon and run for approximately one hour. A light lunch will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.  This event will focus on energy issues.  Please RSVP to NARUC Director of Communications Rob Thormeyer by Friday, if you plan on attending so they can have an accurate headcount for lunch. 

Sachs to Address Sustainability GWU – George Washington University’s Institute for International Economic Policy will host Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs in its City View Room, 7th Floor, on Monday, December 3rd at 4:00 p.m.   Sustainable Development is emerging as the defining challenge of our generation, and it will critically require a new kind of interaction between policy and research. The Sustainable Development Forum is a series of talks by leaders in academia and in policy which will attempt to set the research agenda for sustainable development following the Rio +20 conference. What will sustainable development entail? What are the most crucial questions we need to be asking? How should academia go about searching for answers that will actually inform real action and policy changes? 

Forum to Look at GrowthThe Atlantic’s Forum on Conservation, Efficiency, and Growth, taking place Tuesday, December 4th at The W Hotel in Washington, DC.  The forum will feature expert discussions on corporate sustainability initiatives, and convene panels to explore how sustainable business practices influence our economy, our workforce, and America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.  Speakers will include Darryl Banks, Vice President of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress; Beth Keck, Senior Director of Sustainability for Walmart; Kathy Loftus, Global Leader of Sustainable Engineering and Energy Management for Whole Foods; Jackie Roberts, Director of Sustainable Technologies, Climate & Air for the Environmental Defense Fund; Beth Shiroishi, Vice President, Sustainability & Philanthropy for AT&T and Michael Washburn, Vice President of Sustainability for Nestle Waters North America. 

Forum to Look at 20 Years of Energy Policy Act of ’92 – The Compete Coalition will host a policy forum on Wednesday, December 5th at 8:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Park Hotel on the Energy Policy Act of 1992, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of a landmark statute.  Key architects of the legislation and today’s electricity industry leaders will look back (and look ahead) at the ongoing impact of EPAct ’92 on competitive electricity markets and the benefits those markets are delivering for our nation’s electricity consumers.  Speakers will include former Senators Bennett Johnston and Don Nickles, former FERC Chair and Deputy Secretary of Energy Betsy Moler, former FERC Commissioner Bill Massey, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Peña and former Deputy Secretary of Energy Linda Stuntz, among others. 

McAuliffe to Headline 2012 VA Renewable Meeting – Potential VA Governor candidate Terry McAuliffe will be joining the Virginia Renewable Energy Assn for its annual meeting in Richmond on December 5th

McAuliffe has been a leading voice and entrepreneur in the Renewable Energy Industry and has recently announced his intentions to run for Governor of Virginia in 2013.  

NJ Set Clean Air Act Forum – The National Journal will hold a Clean Air Act Forum on Wednesday December 5th at 8:00 a.m. to explore the promise of the Clean Air Act, its legacy after 40 years, and a look ahead to its future with the new Congress and Administration. Our friend Amy Harder will speak with former EPA Administrator and White House Climate Czar Carol Browner. , as well as moderate a panels that includes David Markarian of NextEra Energy, Delaware Air Quality Director Ali Mirzakhalili, Jerome A. Paulson of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Medical Center, NRDC’s John Walke and ACCCE’s Paul Bailey. 

WAPA, Buick to Hold Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) and Buick will hold a Holiday Buick Encore ride-and-drive and happy hour on Wednesday, December 5th at Indigo Landing in Alexandria, VA.  Buick is on pace for its best retail sales year since 2006, thanks to a product line-up that features the style, performance and technology luxury buyers expect and demand.  For the 2013 model year, along with a redesigned Enclave and a new high-performing, turbo-charged model for Verano, the all-new Buick Encore luxury crossover will begin arriving in dealerships soon and we’d like you to be among the first to drive it.  In addition to the ride-and-drive, Buick marketing and engineering executives including Roger McCormack, Director Buick Global Marketing will be on-hand to provide perspective on the Encore.  Buick Encore is the second of four new or significantly revised Buick vehicles to be introduced in the next 12 months, and is a beautiful, quiet, comfortable 5-passenger crossover with the right balance of performance and purposeful technology.  Encore also continues to expand the Buick portfolio by appealing to a whole new audience of luxury buyers as we expect the segment to grow more than a half million units by 2015. 

RFF Panel to Look at Markets, Enviro Regs – Resources for the Future will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday December 5th at 12:45 p.m. looking at markets for environmental regulations.  Over the past 60 years, environmental economists have pioneered the idea of market-based approaches to solving environmental problems. Regulators have implemented market-based programs for air pollution, water pollution, land management, and other environmental policy problems at local, state, federal, and—in the case of greenhouse gas regulation—international levels. Some applications hew more closely than others to ideal market-based policy design, as defined by economic theory, and programs have met with varying degrees of success. As part of RFF’s Resources 2020 lecture series—our 60th anniversary exploration of how economic inquiry can address future environmental challenges—panelists at this seminar will discuss what we can learn from successful and unsuccessful applications of market-based policy and its desirability, feasibility, and design in the future. The panel includes RFF experts on environmental markets for air, water, and land, as well as leaders in the policy community with diverse experience on these issues, including former Clinton OMB Director Sally Katzen, NRDC’s David Doniger, former Bush 41 White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and RFF experts Dallas Burtraw, Art Fraas, Margaret Walls and Leonard Shabman.  

German Chamber Sets Wind Energy Conference – For the 5th time since 2007, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest is bringing a delegation of German wind energy companies to Chicago for the German American Wind Energy Business Conference.  This conference on December 5th will provide attendees with the chance to learn about the wind technology innovations and supply chain and service practices that German manufacturers use to stay competitive. Current wind energy opportunities and programs in Illinois will also be addressed.  Attending the conference provides an excellent opportunity to connect with the German wind energy delegation companies to discuss business and partnership opportunities. 

Forum to Look at Iranian Oil – The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will host a discussion on Wednesday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m. entitled “Can the World Live Without Iranian Oil,” with Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International; and Denise Natali, Minerva Chair, Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.  Over the past year, Iranian oil production and exports have declined drastically to levels last seen at the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Yet the price of oil has remained relatively constant at around $100 per barrel or lower. Increasing oil production in neighboring Iraq and new discoveries in the United States and elsewhere, coupled with sluggish demand, raise the question of whether the world can live without Iranian oil and what that means for Iran’s ability to pursue a provocative nuclear program.  The Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, seeks to perform a comprehensive analysis of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and globally, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West. 

Transmission Conference to Look at New Year, Agenda – Energy Central and TransmissionHub will host a symposium on December 5th in Washington, DC to Look at Transmission policy in the new year.  TransForum East is the second of three regional gatherings of key industry decision makers that Energy Central kicked off in April 2012 with TransForum Texas.  It is an event focused just on the Eastern Interconnection.  I will speak on the “Implications of the 2012 Presidential Election on Electric Power Policy,” at 2:00 p.m.    Other speakers include Trans-Elect/AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Michael Skelly of Clean Line Energy and many others.  

Houston Conference to Look at Regional Wind Issues – AWEA holds its Southwest Regional Wind Energy Summit on December 5th and 6th in Houston at the Hyatt Regency.  The conference will provide a comprehensive view of all critical aspects of wind energy in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions of the United States, and delve deep into the most important present and forecasted issues facing wind energy development in these regions.  Former Bush Administration official Jimmy Glotfelty will chair the event and speakers include former FERC Chair Pat Wood, SPP’s Carl Monroe and EDF Renewables CEO Gabriel Alonso. 

Commerce to Host Webinar on Exporting Renewable Technology – The Department of Commerce/Commercial Service is holding a webinar on Thursday December 6th looking at export finance for Renewable Energy Technologies.  This webinar will feature an update of USG export finance programs (Ex-Im, OPIC,TDA) for renewable energy technologies as well as export finance best practices from a private-sector perspective.  Speakers include Craig O’Connor of the , Ex-Im Bank of the United States, Brian O’Hanlon of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Andrea Lupo of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Ed Sappin of the Willowbrook Company. 

Panel to Look at Carbon Tax, Fiscal Cliff – Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies will hold a Panel on Thursday, December 6th at 5:00 p.m. in its Rome Auditorium, #806 looking at Carbon prices and the fiscal cliff.  With the looming threat of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ and effects of super-storm Sandy, there is renewed talk in policy circles of the benefits of putting a price on carbon, as a means of dealing with the federal deficit while tackling climate change.  Leading experts about the viability of carbon market mechanisms throughout North America, like the Western Climate Initiative involving Québec and California will discuss the realities of a federal clean energy standard and the application of a national carbon tax in the context of simultaneously addressing emissions reductions and fiscal constraints.  Panelists include Brookings Adele Morris, Richard Caperton of the Center for American Progress and Manik Roy of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.  This event will be held in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Washington, the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Québec in Montréal (Chair Raoul-Dandurand).

FUTURE EVENTS

Panel to Look at National Security, Election Coverage – The National Security and New Media Journalism Project will present its National Security and New Media Conference panel and  Mightier Pen Award Luncheon on Tuesday, December 11th at the Union League Club in New York.  The Project was established to provide professional development for the next generation of national security journalists in an objective environment informed by the burgeoning opportunities of the new Media.  It will honor Monica Crowley of FOX News.  Panels prior to lunch will discuss new media, national security and the election.  Panelists will include Rich Miniter of Forbes Magazine, former Washington Times security expert Bill Gertz and NRO Columnists Andrew McCarthy, among others.

Chamber Foundation to Look at Fiscal Challenges, States Efforts – The National Chamber Foundation will hold a forum on the tough decisions of our fiscal challenge on December 11th at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  This event will highlight a report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force, co-chaired by Richard Ravitch, former lieutenant governor of New York, and Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Board chair. The report examines six major fiscal threats to states across the nation: Medicaid, federal deficit reduction, underfunded retirement, taxes, local government fiscal stress, and state budget laws and practices.  In addition, gubernatorial chiefs of staff from WI, CO, OK and VA will discuss how their states are balancing the need for fiscal responsibility while investing in a strong economic future.  A federal panel featuring Joseph A. Califano and Chamber President Tom Donohue will then facilitate a robust discussion on the challenges facing our country and answer the looming question of what we can do to avoid the fiscal cliff. 

Annual POWER-GEN Conference Tackles Key Issues – The annual POWER-GEN Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida on December 11-13 at the Orange County Convention Center. Nearly 200 industry experts will present new solutions and innovations for the future in 36 conference sessions broken up in 12 tracks. Click here to download the Conference-at-a-Glance PDF.  The conference sessions are organized into multiple concurrent session tracks including industry trends / competitive power generation, environmental issues, emissions control, fossil technologies, gas turbine technologies, on-site power and plant performance.  There will also be separate Tracks on Nuclear, Renewable and Geothermal power.

RFF to Host Geoengineering Lecture – Resources for the Future will continue its 60th anniversary Resources 2020 Nobel Laureate lecture series on Thursday, December 13th featuring Thomas Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, who will discuss Geoengineering and some gentle experimentation.   

Forum to Look at Disaster Preparedness – The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation will hold a session of the CSIS-Pennington Family Foundation Series on Community Resilience Toward More Effective Disaster Philanthropy on Thursday, December 13th at 5:30 p.m. that will be an on-the-record panel discussion exploring how to move toward more effective disaster philanthropy.  Following a natural disaster, philanthropy plays a vital role in aiding affected communities and can have an equally critical role in building long term community resilience. As private entities, philanthropists can operate with flexibility across sectors and creativity that generates unique contributions across the lifecycle of disasters—from preparedness to recovery. The panel will feature Dr. David Abramson of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Wal-Mart’s Steve Dozier, Bob Ottenhoff of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, USAID’s Tony Pipa and Joe Ruiz of the UPS Foundation Humanitarian Relief Program. 

Chamber to Host Farm Innovation Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation will co-host a program on Wednesday, December 19th highlighting the innovations and emerging opportunities that today’s agriculture industry are presenting. This program will identify many of the latest innovations and advances in agriculture and show how America’s agriculture community continues to feed an ever growing global population while at the same time supporting American job creation and competitiveness.  Speakers include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Chamber President Tom Donohue, former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings (current President of the National Chamber Foundation), Peter Klein  of the University of Missouri, AEI’s Nick Schulz, John Deere FarmSight Director Jerry Roell and Blake Hurst of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Energy Update Week of October 8

Friends,

Happy Columbus Day, the widely- (or only-) regarded Italian-American holiday.   Rather than celebrate the discovery (and often controversial) aspect of the day, here at the Maisano household, we wake up to a dish of pasta for breakfast, then watch 6-plus straight hours of Godfather movies.  (Notice I said only 6 hours because as you know there are only two “real” Godfather movies)  I always like to remind about one of my first tastes of Michael Corleone’s strategic communications brilliance when planning the restaurant hit on Virgil Sollozzo and corrupt police captain Mark McCluskey, who broke his jaw earlier in the movie.  Michael says : “I’m talking about a cop that’s mixed up in drugs. I’m talking about a – a – a dishonest cop – a crooked cop who got mixed up in the rackets and got what was coming to him. That’s a terrific story. And we have newspaper people on the payroll, don’t we, Tom?”

Speaking of movies, the first James Bond movies was released 50 years ago this past weekend.   We are celebrating with a Quantum of Solace, having Vodka Martinis (shaken, not stirred) and driving my new Aston –Martin.   You know You Only Live Twice.  There was a fight between 007 at 50 and the Beatles 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do (as well as John Lennon’s 72nd B-day tomorrow), but I chose Bond…James Bond, mostly because This Bird Has Flown and I had all the Bond films already in text.  Speaking of birthday’s, tomorrow is also C-SPAN Founder Brian Lamb’s special day.  Don’t know whether to thank him or ask him what he was thinking.  (You know what I mean if you ever worked in Congress or screened a C-SPAN call-in show)

The election Thunderball rolls on with polls showing that President Obama’s Debate Moonraker may have closed the gap some, despite the good unemployment news on Friday.  The debate was Romney’s License to Kill and President Obama seemed to recognize that when he joked about it at a For Your Eyes Only fundraiser where Diamonds are Forever on Katie Perry, Stevie Wonder and others.  He certainly seemed to be the Man with the Golden Gun, firing often at Romney.  Because The World is Not Enough for Romney, he responds this week with a Live and Let Die speech on foreign policy.  Expect him to attack the From Russia With Love approach the President has taken with Putin, as well as focusing a Golden Eye on the conflicts in Libya and the Middle East.

This week AWEA’s offshore Wind Conference Returns to The Living Daylights in Virginia Beach, with an industry that is facing A View to a Kill.  With the PTC expiring on land wind slowing down the industry generally and cost issues pressing a Goldfinger on progress, it is a key time for the industry to say Tomorrow Never Dies.  Finally, EIA drops its Winter Fuels Outlook at the National Press Club on Wednesday…some say we should expect a Skyfall, especially in California where I’m actually tired of hearing them complain about gas prices.  The Spy Who Loved Me out there told me that’s what happens when you have stupid fuels policies…Maybe they should Die Another Day and implement  the Low Carbon Fuels Standard too because that wouldn’t have any impact on cost or supply either.

One fiery historical tidbit: On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire broke out, the only longer dry spell in Chicago than the Cubs World Series drought.   The hot, dry and windy autumn day (global warming) also saw three other major fires occur along the shores of Lake Michigan at the same time. Some 250 miles to the north, the Peshtigo Fire in Northeast Wisconsin killed 2,500 people and charred 1.5 million acres. The Peshtigo Fire remains the deadliest in American history but its remoteness has always made it little-noticed.  Those of us that have been to Peshtigo (it was always a big stop on the WI-8 campaign trail in October) know the fire’s importance to the community’s history, as well as providing another reason to fry cheese and eat.  Also, across the lake, the town of Holland, Michigan burned to the ground.  And 100 miles to the north of Holland, the lumbering community of Manistee also went up in flames in what became known as The Great Michigan Fire.

Only 27 days to the election and it’s a real Casino Royale out there….  Go Nationals…Orioles… Nationals…Orioles…  Am I Dr. No if I want an I-95 Beltway World Series Battle?  By the way, on this day in 1956 (56 years ago for those of you who I told there’d be no math), Yankee pitcher Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.  Believe it or not. Larsen only won 81 games in his 15-year career and actually had a losing record (81-91).

(BTW, I know I left one 007 movie off the list, and I’m sure you know why.  Maybe this hilarious article from The Onion about the debate could have allowed me to go there, but I just could do it.  The BG/PRG Energy Update is “family friendly”).

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

IN THE NEWS

EPA Appeals Cross State Rule – EPA filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for an en banc rehearing on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  EPA’s brief pointed at the “enormous public health and regulatory significance” of rule and said the issues were of “exceptional importance.”

Holmstead Responses to EPA Action – My colleague Jeff Holmstead, the EPA Air Administrator who first wrote the CAIR rule said the EPA action was not surprising even though their chances of winning are very slim.  CSAPR is one of their biggest initiatives, and they would look pretty weak if they just accepted defeat.  He added in CSAPR, EPA established the required emission reduction in each state (the budget) and, at the same time, imposed requirements directly on certain sources to make sure those budgets were achieved immediately.  A number of states and industry argued that EPA must set the budget and then give states the opportunity to come up with their own plans for getting the required emission reductions. The Panel agreed with state/industry position and said that EPA must do what it has always done in the past (in the NOX SIP call and CAIR) — establish the budgets and then give states the chance to meet them before imposing a FIP.   After two EPA regulation strikes, Holmstead adds perhaps it is time to try legislation like his office did in 2003.

Enviros Support EPA – Of course, the “independent” health and environment groups filed a petition for an en banc rehearing the same day as well, saying the decision frustrates “downwind states’ access to prompt relief from the pollution of their neighbors and [relegates] EPA to a process… that will take years to complete.”  Petitioners on the brief include EDF, NRDC, the American Lung Association, Clean Air Council  and Sierra Club.

EPA Tailoring Rule Case For Refiners On Hold – Speaking of EPA and Rules, API, the refiners at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, NAM and the National Oilseed Processors Association have asked a federal court to put a hold on their case against “step 3” of EPA’s tailoring rule for greenhouse gases. EPA finalized the rule in July, essentially holding the previous emissions threshold for facilities that are beholden to greenhouse gas regulations. Industry groups are appealing a June ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholding earlier stages of EPA’s tailoring rule, and they said that it’s prudent to wait for that decision to come through.

Friday MIT Debate Hits on Energy Issues – The Obama campaign surrogate Joseph Aldy and Romney Domestic Policy Director Oren Cass debated energy and climate on E&ETV at MIT on Friday. Debate questioners included Update friends Monica Trauzzi, E&ETV’s managing editor and host; Bill Loveless, host of Platts Energy Week; and Steve Hargreaves, a senior writer at CNNMoney.com.  The action was hot and heavy (or maybe not) on policy approaches to dealing with energy, domestic energy supplier and climate change.  Please tune in because you won’t hear this type of detail and focus on environmental/energy policy on the normal campaign trail. According to our friends at the ScienceInsider, the sparks didn’t exactly fly, and undecided voters were probably left unswayed, but the debate did sharpen up some of the differences in how an Obama or Romney administration would steer the world’s second largest consumer of energy.   The early part of the debate focused on the long-sought American dream of “energy independence.  Interestingly, both agreed that domestic natural gas will be crucial for weaning the United States to energy independence. Their few differences hit familiar Republican vs. Democrat talking points. Aldy talked up the promise of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, while Cass argued for more oil drilling on U.S. territory, particularly in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.

Scariest National Parks Detailed – Thanks to our friends at POLITICO for this tidbit: With Halloween right around the corner, Mother Nature Network looked at the “8 creepiest places in U.S. national parks.” The list includes several Civil War battlegrounds, a UFO hotspot and a Grand Canyon trail allegedly home to the ghost of a woman who “committed suicide in the nearby lodge during the 1920s after learning that her husband and son had died in a hiking accident.”

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON 

Bingaman to Speak at Colorado Law School on Energy – As part of the  Energy Innovation Series and the Big Energy Seminar Series, the University of Colorado Law School, NREL’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), Silicon Flatirons, CEES and the NRLC are hosting the 5th Annual Schultz Lecture tonight featuring  retiring New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.  The lecture will be in the Colorado’s Wolf Law Building in the Wittemyer Courtroom.   The Schultz Lectureship Series on oil and gas, energy, and natural resources provides valuable information to policymakers, practitioners, business executives, and the academic community on emerging issues in the field.

Panel to Look at Science, Tech, Campaign – The New America Foundation and Future Tense will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. taking an in-depth look at the implications of science and tech policy from the campaign trail.  Campaign speeches are full of lofty promises about investments in new technology, cutting-edge science, and STEM education. Candidates from both parties publicly champion the advancement of science and technology, and recognize scientific progress as a cornerstone of the American economy and way of life.  But when it comes to specific policies like federal support for scientific research, infrastructure, and education, the promises from both sides are often at odds. What becomes of these promises when they meet the harsh realities of economics and politics? Speakers for the event include Senate Republican Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Counsel Stacy Cline, Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporter and New America Foundation Future Tense Fellow Sheri Fink, Konstantin Kakaes of the New America Foundation and Time Contributing Writer Amanda Ripley.

Brookings Panel to Look at China in Campaign – The Campaign 2012 project at Brookings will hold a discussion tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. on the global economy and China, the last in a series of forums that have identified and addressed the 12 most critical issues facing the next president. United States-China relations have been at the forefront of domestic and foreign policy discussions throughout this campaign season. Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s economy has been established as a major player in the global economy and continues to grow. The country’s rise has significant implications for U.S. trade and defense policies, particularly on contentious issues like the global financial crisis, nuclear proliferation, military operations in nearby waters and air space and intellectual property rights. As both nations face daunting political and economic challenges, how can the next president improve relations with China while ensuring America’s success in the global economy? Campaign 2012 Project Director Benjamin Wittes will moderate a panel discussion with Brookings experts Kenneth Lieberthal, Jonathan Pollack, Richard Bush, and Joshua Meltzer, who will present recommendations for the next president.

Renewable Groups Forum to Look at Market Barriers, Trends, Overview – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, the National Hydropower Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, in cooperation with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, is hosting an educational briefing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in 2168 Rayburn  to focus on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available renewable energy technologies.  A moderated panel discussion with Q&A will follow.  Panel I will provide an overview of U.S. and Global market trends and feature Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  The second panel will feature a discussion of trends and barriers to increased deployment and investment and feature Austin Energy’s Solar program head Patricia Alofsin, (Update friend) Calpine’s Yvonne McIntyre to talk geothermal, wind expert Jack Thirolf of Enel Green Power and a speaker from Voith Hydro.

AWEA Offshore Conference Set for VA Beach – AWEA will host its annual offshore wind conference in Virginia Beach tomorrow through Thursday.  BOEM’s Tommy Beaudreau will kick off the event and AWC President Bob Mitchell will speak on Thursday morning, providing a development update on the project and its implications for accelerating offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic.

DOE to Host Webinars on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy – The Energy Department will present a live webcast titled Better Buildings, Better Plants: How You Can Benefit, plus New Executive Order on Industrial Energy Efficiency tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  This webinar will provide an overview of the Better Plants Program, highlight successes to date, and preview activities for next year, including the ongoing work with partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge. DOE will also present a live webcast titled Promoting Best Practices for Electric Vehicle Charging Signage on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to showcase lessons learned and strategies to implement widespread signage for electric vehicle (EV) chargers. See the Clean Cities Program’s webinar website for more information.

Yergin Talks Energy at Atlantic Council Event – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Daniel Yergin will join the Atlantic Council for a conversation moderated by Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  This event will end with a reception and book sale of Dr. Yergin’s bestseller, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, now updated and revised.  Throughout history, the competition over energy has been an engine of global political and economic transformation. The demand – and competition – for energy will continue to increase dramatically over the coming decades, especially as the global middle class continues to expand. At the same time, there is a new energy reality emerging in the United States: US net petroleum imports have fallen greatly, and the United States also registered the largest increase in oil production of any country outside of OPEC in 2011. Due to the ongoing shale revolution, the United States is likely to become an exporter of natural gas and greatly reduce its oil imports. With the development of shale gas around the world, Europe could significantly loosen its dependence on Russia for natural gas. The Persian Gulf will increasingly look to Asia for its growth markets. These major shifts will have dramatic geopolitical, commercial, environmental, and security implications looking to 2030.  This event is hosted by the Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, a practice area under the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, which focuses on emerging global trends that will transform security, government, business, and civil society in the coming decades.

EIA, DOE, NASEO to Host Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the National Association of State Energy Officials will hold the 2012 – 2013 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference Wednesday at the National Press Club.   This important supply and demand forecast event will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.  This important annual event helps to inform the entire energy policy and business community, trade associations, federal and state agencies, policy makers, and consumer groups about the current and anticipated energy supply and demand balances and outlook for prices.  This year’s conference includes a presentation on EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook, as well as presentations from well-known industry representatives and energy experts who will provide their views on factors that will affect energy markets this winter in the United States and globally.  Key speakers include DOE’s Pat Hoffman, EIA’s Adam Sieminski and NASEO’s David Terry.  Among the speakers will be our friend John Kneiss, of Hart Energy, who will discuss ethanol.

Yale to Start Shale Gas Policy Seminar Series – The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy will hold its second annual policy workshop webinar series on Wednesday focusing on emerging issues in shale gas development.   Natural gas extraction generally, and shale gas extraction in particular, has become a highly charged issue as stakeholders debate its effects on environmental and public health and its role in our future energy mix. This webinar series seeks to answer important questions about extraction, the environment, and the future of energy by grounding that debate with expert speakers from a variety of disciplines.   Dr. Jim Saiers, Professor of Hydrology at Yale University, will launch the series with an overview of the environmental implications of shale gas development.

CIBO Conference to Discuss EPA Uncertainty – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its 34th annual meeting on Wednesday through Friday at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, California.  Never, in CIBO existence, has there been a time of greater uncertainty regarding industrial energy. This October could be CIBO’s most important meeting to assess the reality of the situation and the potential implication for our members and facilities within the United States.   Speakers include EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy, former EPA General Counsel and Bracewell & Giuliani partner Lisa Jaeger, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, ALSTOM Power’s Carl Bozzutto, ACCF’s Margo Thorning, GOP pollster Rich Galen and of course, CIBO President Bob Bessette.

BPC Issues Report on Iran, Energy – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 to highlight a new report analyzing the energy and economic effects of a Nuclear Iran.  Iran’s nuclear program is the most pressing national security challenge facing the United States.  Making an informed judgment about which policy to pursue requires considering risks of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the costs of failing to do so. Indeed, the consequences of a nuclear Iran are not limited to geopolitical risk, but carry a substantial economic risk too.  Participants will include former Virginia Sen. Charles Robb, Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Steve Rademaker of the Podesta Group and Daniel Ahn, chief commodities economist at Citigroup.

JHU to Host Open House on Energy, Climate Program – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy Policy & Climate Program will be hosting an Open House for the program on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at its 1717 Mass campus building. The event will allow interested students and others to meet the Associate Director of the Energy Policy and Climate Program and learn more about the program which offers a Master of Science in Energy Policy & Climate Policy.

Clean Tech Awards Presented – The 1st annual Clean Tech Open (CTO) Mid-Atlantic Regional Final and Awards Reception will be held on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at Patton Boggs. The evening will include an awards ceremony for the regional finalists in addition to opportunities for networking with clean tech stakeholders and leaders.  The Keynote Address will feature Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, President of  ACORE.  The Clean Tech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by our Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsor, Wells Fargo.  Other supporters include ACORE, Arlington Economic Development, Bethesda Green, the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, Downtown DC Business Improvement District, Greenspace, the Institute for Market Transformation, the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, the Maryland Clean Energy Center, the Maryland Energy Administration, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership and the William James Foundation.

Georgetown U Cleantech Conference Set – The Annual 2012 Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Conference is set for Friday and is a hallmark campus event and a premiere gathering of students and professionals in the Capital Region.  The world faces a range of critical energy challenges and significant investment is necessary to help ensure the future availability of affordable, low carbon energy. Innovation throughout the energy supply chain can enable private and public sectors to move closer to achieving this goal. Understanding current practices and anticipating future trends will be a key differentiator for companies and governments everywhere.  The event will be held at Georgetown University’s Rafik B. Hariri Building.  Speakers include Green Mountain Energy CEO James Steffes, NREL’s Matt Ringer and USEC’s Pat Sullivan, among others.

Forum to Tackle China, Innovation – The New America Foundation will hold a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m. on Innovation and China.  China has become a global manufacturing superpower, and U.S. election-year rhetoric presupposes that China’s economic might knows no boundaries, and that it poses a threat to America. But doubts persist about the nation’s ability to ever become an innovation superpower. Will China succeed at fostering creative incubators on par with Silicon Valley and America’s great research universities? And, contrary to the zero-sum nature of political rhetoric, should Americans root for China’s innovators?   An expert panel moderated by our friend Steve LeVine address the subject and features MIT’s Yasheng Huang, Adam Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Arizona State University’s Denis Simon and Yifei Sun of California State-Northridge.

Forum to Look at China Energy Challenges – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the ChinaFAQs Project of the World Resources Institute will hold a briefing Friday at 11:00 a.m. in 385 Russell about the issues driving China’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate policies. While China and the United States differ in important respects, they have some similar challenges and opportunities relating to energy. Both face economic, employment, energy security, and environmental challenges. The United States and China both cooperate and compete with each other on clean energy initiatives and technology. Speakers will discuss recent energy sector developments in China and bilateral relations, highlighting key factors driving China’s approach to clean energy and climate policy, and the resulting challenges and opportunities for U.S. efforts to develop clean energy and tackle climate change.   Speakers for this event include  Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service professor Joanna Lewis, WRI’s Ailun Yang and our friend Stephen Munro of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Cato Lunch to Look at Industry Requests for Regulations – The Cato Institute will hold a lunch forum on Friday featuring Robert Bradley Jr., Founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research.  Bradley will look at industry and its call for regulations sometimes.  Milton Friedman once said, “The two greatest enemies of free enterprise in the United States… have been, on the one hand, my fellow intellectuals and, on the other hand, the business corporations of this country.” The history of public-utility regulation and environmental regulation in the electricity industry is an example of Friedman’s point, with Insull (Commonwealth Edison) fathering public-utility regulation a century ago and Rogers (Duke Energy) sponsoring CO2 regulation today.  Why did these industry leaders — and so many others — forsake free-market competition given the perils of relying on politics? And what are the public policy implications today for one of America’s most regulated industries?  This discussion draws upon Bradley’s most recent book, Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies, the second volume in his trilogy on political capitalism in the energy industry.

Expert to Look at Daily German, US Travels – On Friday at Noon, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) is hosting a forum with Dr. Ralph Buehler, DAAD/AICGS Fellow, for a seminar  on “CO2 Emissions from Daily Travel: A Comparison of Germany and the U.S.” The discussion will take place at and will be moderated by Kirsten Verclas, Senior Program Manager at AICGS.   Buehler will compare trends of CO2 emissions from daily travel in Germany and the U.S. since 1990. He will also examine policies that can help decrease CO2 emissions from passenger transport through technology and changes in travel demand, and discuss policy lessons for both countries.  Buehler is Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs & Planning and a Faculty Fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. Originally from Germany, most of his research has an international comparative perspective, contrasting transport and land-use policies, transport systems, and travel behavior in Western Europe and North America. His research falls into three areas: the influence of transport policy, land use, and socio-demographics on travel behavior; bicycling, walking, and public health; and public transport demand, supply, and regional coordination. Including national and international best practices, his work informs policymakers at local, regional, and federal levels.

FUTURE EVENTS

Chamber Energy Group to Roll out 2012 Energy Risk Index –The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will roll out its International Index of Energy Security Risk on Monday, October 15th at 9:00 a.m.  with a briefing and report.  The index will assess risk in the global energy market.

Utility, Fuel, Renewables to Address RETECH Forum – RETECH 2012 is set for Washington DC on October 16th-19th at the Omni Shoreham.  RETECH is the premier business, policy and technology conference and exhibition for the entire renewable energy industry and will host renewable energy leaders from government, utility, finance and technology.   RETECH 2012 is the only event dedicated to delivering coverage on EVERY discipline of renewable energy technology.  RETECH’s conference sessions will focus on current trends, the newest technologies and important up-to-date information on the changing legislative and regulatory landscapes.  Among the speakers will be EIA’s Adam Siemanski, as well as our friends Yvonne McIntyre of Calpine Corporation, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, former DOE energy advisor Larisa Dobriansky, Drive NatGas Executive Director Kathryn Clay, DTF’s Allen Schaeffer and EPRI’s Bryan Hannegan.

SEJ Ready for Lubbock – SEJ Kicks off at Texas Tech in Lubbock on October 17 through the 22nd.  Bracewell will of course be sponsoring its Thursday night event, so we hope to see you there.

Solar Forum Set at U of MD – The Washington DC, Northern VA Chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society is sponsoring a plenary session on Wednesday October 17th at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland with the theme of: “Everything you wanted to know about solar energy, but were afraid to ask.” Or more specifically, “Forefront Developments in the Technology, Policy, and Economics of Solar Power”.   Seminar highlights include a discussion of Thin Film Photovoltaic Devices from NIST’s Daniel Josell and solar energy trends, business and growth perspectives from Bianca Barth of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – ICF International’s October Energy and Environment Breakfast will be held on October 18th and feature energy experts discuss the future of energy storage in the United States. ICF welcomes energy experts Dr. Imre Gyuk, an energy storage program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and Chris Shelton, president of AES Energy Storage.

Huntsman to Speak to BPC Leadership Series – On Friday, October 19th at 10L:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will continue its 2012 “On Leadership” Speaker Series featuring Jon Huntsman, former presidential candidate, governor of Utah and ambassador to both China and Singapore. Huntsman will discuss his experiences on the campaign trail, reflect on his achievements as governor and describe his commitment to bipartisanship across four different administrations.  Our friend Jason Grumet will introduce Huntsman.

Book, Maisano Headline OPIS Fuels Conference in Vegas (Yeah!!!) – The Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) will hold its 14th annual National Supply Summit on October 22nd  to 24th at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas’ City Center.  Just a few weeks before the election, Kevin Book and I will host a panel on elections, the next Congress and fuels which will definitely be the highlight of the event.  Other speaker s will include Delta’s Jon Ruggles, ConocoPhillips’ Greg Garland and Chad Martin of Eco-Energy.

Giuliani to Headline Chamber Legal Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its 13th Annual Legal Reform Summit on Wednesday, October 24th in Washington, DC featuring Keynote speaker NYC Mayor and B&G partner Rudy Giuliani.  The summit, which is recognized as the nation’s paramount comprehensive legal reform symposium, will feature a keynote address by former Giuliani and remarks by Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, the Summit agenda will feature a variety of timely panel discussions on developments and trends in litigation impacting securities and mergers & acquisitions, the political landscape and the 2012 elections and many other topics.  Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Scott Rasmussen, Founder and President of Rasmussen Reports will also speak.

MD to Hold Water Technologies Conference – The Maryland Department of the Environment will hold its Second Annual Clean Water Innovations Trade Show on Wednesday, October 24th in Annapolis.  Professionals and stakeholders from around the State will display innovative stormwater management and water quality management techniques, exchange information and promote the protection of Maryland’s resources. The event is free and refreshments will be provided.  Government agencies, consultants, developers, environmental advocates and the building industry can learn more about the latest best management practices in stormwater management, wetland creation and restoration and other green technologies.  Additionally, during the event, MDE will recognize the winners of the 2012 Smart, Green & Growing Award for Infrastructure and Innovations in Stormwater Management.  The trade show promises to be informative for both those with ideas and products to offer and those faced with the challenge of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

KY Coal Assn Meeting Set – The Kentucky Coal Association will hold an event on October 26th in Lexington to look at challenges facing the United States in meeting its energy needs and energy policy goals in the midst of the 2012 elections.  US Chamber Energy Institute exec Karen Harbert will speak.

Krancer to Headline PA NatGas Water Conference – Michael Krancer, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, will be one of the keynote speakers at Infocast’s 3rd Water Management for Shale Plays meeting, slated for October 29-31 in Pittsburgh, PA.   Secretary Krancer will kick off the Briefing, Assessing Specific Shale Plays, on Monday, October 29th providing Pennsylvania DEP’s perspective on Water Management in the Marcellus and Utica.  Topics on the agenda include the economics of good water management systems, integrating treatments and new technologies and determining what’s required in terms of the necessary supporting water infrastructure for the current drilling boom.

Gasification Technologies Conference to Look at Progress, Challenges – The 2012 Gasification Technologies Council conference will be held on October 28-31 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. The GTC Conference is the largest gasification event in the world, attracting speakers and participants from the Americas, Europe, and Asia.  Speakers will address all aspects of the gasification industry, including energy policy, gasification projects/technology updates, biomass and waste gasification, CO2 management and enhanced oil recovery, global gasification markets, underground coal gasification and gasification-related technology advancements and improvements.  Keynote speakers will include energy journalist and author Robert Bryce and Charles McConnell, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy.  Other speakers include folks developing Southern Company’s Kemper IGCC project, Ben Yamagata of the Coal Utilization Research Council and Karen Harbert of the US Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

November 6th – Election Day

Energy Service Companies to Look at Election Impacts at Conference – The National Association of Energy Service Companies will hold its annual conference at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans on November 7th through 9th to discuss the new 113th Congress and Administration may have in store for energy markets.  Speakers include Alison Asplin of Bloomberg NewEnergy Finance and Christopher Guith of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, as well as several DOE program speakers.

Washington Ideas Forum Set – The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and the Newseum, with support from the Harvard Institute of Politics, will host the 4th annual Washington Ideas Forum on November 14th and 15th, DC’s premier gathering of journalists and newsmakers for two days of idea-sharing and creative thinking on the biggest issues facing the country – and the world.  Confirmed speakers include Bill Gates, Nancy Pelosi, Mylan Labs’ Heather Bresch, Margaret Carlson, FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg, Jon Huntsman, David Leonhardt, Michele Norris, Norah O’Donnell, and David Rubenstein.

COP 18 in Doha, Qatar – December 1st through 8th.

Energy Update Week of June 25

Friends, 

Sorry things are a little late today, I’ve been sitting on pins and needles awaiting every Supreme Court Decision.  Or I may have fallen asleep on my keyboard and it just took this long to erase an hour’s worth of g’s.  No word yet on how the drool has effected the keyboard as well, although it doesn’t seem to be working great.

Why so tired after the weekend, you ask?  Two nights of awesome Metallica in Atlantic City is the answer.  I was just glad to take in both Ride the Lightning and the Black Albums, but the kids forced me into the front of the stage for Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold, and I must say, it was pretty awesome.  We were so close, after Metallica singer James Hetfield intro’d Volbeat, he saw Adam rocking along the fence in the front row and gave him a horn’s symbol, an “oh yeah, little man” and a high-five….  To top it off, Adam was given a drum skin signed by the entire band Volbeat.  That was before we saw Avenged Sevenfold from the same spot and the final Metallica set.   All-in-all a ridiculous weekend, but I’m paying the price today after the two days of standing in a sunny air field and the 2.5-hour drive home last night after the show ended at 11:00.  Thank goodness there was a strong easterly breeze pushing the beach balls, the crowd surfers and the AC wind turbines in the background for the day and three Coke Zeros for the ride home.  Will be posting a bunch of great picts on My Facebook page if you want to send me a “friend request.”  I also post energy updates and interesting items for reporters occasionally.

Congrats to the Miami Heat and LeBron for finishing the NBA Finals.  I’m sure the owners of the Thunder are disappointed they lost out two games of gate, merch and food/beverage at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but there is always next year.  Isn’t that what the Heat said last year? Anyway, Saturday starts the three toughest weeks in sports:  le tour de France.  While there is always some controversy about doping (this year they are after Lance again, but he is doing Ironman Triathlons now), I just enjoy the racing through the French countryside and the cool bikes. 

This week, Thursday seems to be the crazy day for hearings with five separate hearing.  Both Lisa Jackson (Thursday in House Science) and Gina McCarthy (Friday in House Energy) are hitting center stage.  The schedule will likely be marred slightly though by the White House Congressional picnic on Wednesday and the Annual Congressional Baseball game on Thursday at Nationals Park.  After 8 straights, Republicans have lost the last three games. Interior/EPA funding bills mark up in the House Appropriations full committee and the Energy and Water bill is expected to see votes on the floor.  

Finally, Heather Zichal was out and about again today talking about natural gas saying rules will be out by the end of the year and ERCC utilities have submitted their comments for the GHG rule today as the comment period closes.

Next week is week of July 4th so we will not likely have an update unless it is necessary.  Call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

GHG Comment period extended, ERCC Views Submitted –EPA’s GHG comment period closes today and utility group ERCC submitted its comments today.  While applauding the President’s rhetoric calling for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy ERCC members say they are concerned, that EPA is seeking to use the new source performance standards (NSPS) program to impose an effective ban on new coal-fired power plants in the US in contravention of the President’s position.  We are also concerned that, absent sufficient clarity, the proposed rule could even discourage energy-efficiency projects at existing facilities.  See the comments in full here: http://www.electricreliability.org/ercc-comments-submitted-epa-new-source-performance-standards-power-plant-carbon-emissions

EPA Changes Cement Rule – EPA scaled back part of its pollution regulations on the Portland cement industry today following a federal court ruling last December that stopped part of its 2010 rule. EPA agreed to reduce particulate matter emissions limits for existing and new kilns, while pushing back the compliance deadline for existing kilns by two years to September 2015.  While not changing mercury standards, EPA will change monitoring standards that will require a revision to the particulate matter standards, and additional time for industry to devise control strategies. It is to finalize the revisions after a 30-day public comment period.  I‘m sure our friend at PCA would be able to help.  Call Patti Flesher at 847-972-9136.

BrightSource Wins Bid for Solar Project – BrightSource Energy was the top bidder at an auction to buy bankrupt Solar Trust’s Palen site in California. Palen, located in Desert Center, California, is expected to have a 500-megawatt generating capacity and is one of three unfinished projects Solar Trust plans to sell.  The others are the 1,000-megawatt Blythe project in Riverside County, California, which is fully permitted and has grid interconnection rights, and another 500-megawatt project still in the planning stage in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. The company is now awaiting court approval for the deal, the financial details of which have not been disclosed.  The acquisition would further bolster BrightSource’s position as one of the world’s leading solar thermal developers.

First Solar Project on Indian Land Approved – Speaking of solar, the Interior Department announced its first approval of a Solar project on Indian Land last week. approved a 350-megawatt solar energy project on tribal trust land of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (Tribe) in Clark County, Nevada. The project marks a milestone as the first-ever, utility-scale solar project approved for development on tribal lands, and is one of the many steps the administration has taken to help strengthen tribal communities.  Interior’s Record of Decision approves the construction, operation and maintenance of a low-impact photovoltaic (PV) facility and associated infrastructure on about 2,000 acres of the Tribe’s reservation, located 30 miles north of Las Vegas. The site represents about three percent of the Tribe’s 71,954-acres, which are held in trust by the U.S. Government. The project is expected to generate about 400 jobs at peak construction and 15-20 permanent jobs.

Zichal Continues Natgas Forum Push – Heather Zichal continued her natgas speaking parade today with visit to an NDN Clean Energy Initiative policy network a forum today. Zichal, who has been out on the speaking circuit recently, continued to spotlight the broad implications of hydraulic fracturing and the Administration’s view on the potential of natural gas and oil shale.   Today Zichal said new, tougher rules will be out by the end of the year for hydraulic fracturing.

Former Post Reporter to Move On – Former Washington Post reporter Steve Coll has announced his intention to step down as President of the New America Foundation later this year when a successor is selected. Coll has led the organization for the past five years.  When a new President is in place, Coll will transition into a Senior Fellow position with New America’s National Security Studies Program as he pursues a follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Wellinghoff to Headline Demand Response Town Meeting – The Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid (ADS) will hold a National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid tomorrow through Thursday at US Chamber and the Reagan Trade Building. ADS is a nonprofit organization, originally formed as the Demand Response Coordinating Committee (DRCC) in 2004. ADS is an organization consisting of professionals and organizations involved in demand response and smart grid. It provides services to meet the needs of its members that help them in the conduct of their work and in the attainment of their personal, corporate and governmental objectives. ADS seeks to establish and grow a demand response “community” of policymakers, utilities, system operators, technology companies, consumers, and other stakeholders.  Speakers this year will be FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, DoD’s Dorothy Robyn, Nick Sinai of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and DOE’s Eric Lighter.

House Panel to Look at Jones Act, SPR Issues – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the Jones Act waivers issued after the crude stockpile was tapped last summer in response to supply disruptions caused by the conflict in Libya.  Witnesses will include Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari and American Waterways Operators President and CEO Thomas Allegretti.

House Resources to Look at Hydropower – The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “Mandatory Conditioning Requirements on Hydropower: How Federal Resource Agencies are Driving Up Electricity Costs and Decreasing the Original Green Energy.”  The hearing will examine how federal regulations and agencies are increasing the cost of clean, affordable hydropower on millions of American families. Hydropower accounts for nearly 70% of electricity generated in the Pacific Northwest and 7% of electricity generated in the nation overall, serving as 75% of all domestic renewable energy sources. Yet, at a time when demand for low-cost, renewable and emissions-free power increases, current federal law and regulations only make it harder to increase this resource.  This hearing will focus on the agencies within the Departments of the Interior, Commerce and Agriculture that are required to propose “mandatory conditions” when a non-federal hydropower project is licensed or relicensed. These requirements are added to a license under federal law and are usually absorbed by electricity consumers. This hearing will address these issues to determine potential improvements and updates to these requirements with the goal of protecting the environment and electricity consumers.

CAP Look at Healthy Ocean Plan – The Center for American Progress launches a new initiative to better define and quantify the value of our Blue Economy on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.. The project will focus on four ocean and coastal industries in various stages of understanding and development-sustainable fisheries, renewable energy, tourism and recreation, and coastal restoration-in a discussion with leaders from government, industry, and advocacy about the key role healthy oceans play in creating American jobs and enhancing prosperity in coastal regions. Featured speakers will include NOAA director Jane Lubchenco, Miranda Ballentine, Director of Sustainability at Wal-Mart and Jim Moriarty of the Surfrider Foundation.

Senate Commerce to Look at Energy Efficient Buildings – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to examine innovative non-federal programs for financing energy efficient building retrofits.

House Oversight Panel Look at EPA Settlements – A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. focusing on EPA rulemaking practices.  The will focus on rulemaking practices at EPA as a result of sue and settle agreements that may undermine regulatory procedure.

House Energy Subpanel to Look at Soot Rule – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will meet Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to review EPA’s proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particles, or soot.  EPA proposed lowering the fine particle standard from 15 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over a year to between 12 and 13 micrograms, while retaining the current daily standard and standards for coarse particles.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Administrator, said changing the PM standard is actually a bigger deal than changing the ozone standard – in terms of both public health and impact on industry.   Holmstead: “It may not sound like much – lowering the standard from 15 to 13 – but it will mean a lot more regulations in many parts of the country.  This won’t be good news for places trying to attract new manufacturing jobs.  EPA is facing a bit of a dilemma.  Today, they’re saying that a PM standard somewhere between 11 and 13 will protect public health with a margin of safety.  But for the last 3 years, they’ve been claiming that their new regulations will save the lives of thousands of people who are being killed by PM, even though they live in areas with PM levels well below 11.”

Jackson to Visit House Science – The House Committee on Science will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at strengthening the scientific backbone of the EPA.  The hearing will be an examination of agency practices and look at foundations for regulations affecting the American economy.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will testify.

Senate Energy to Look at Financing EE Upgrades – On Thursday, at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Energy Committee will review innovative non-federal programs for financing energy efficient building retrofits.  Witnesses include David Sundstrom, SCEIP program administrator of the County of Sonoma.; Derek Smith, chief executive officer, Clean Energy Works Oregon; William Rodgers, president and chief executive officer of GoodCents; Sheri Borrelli, senior business development professional at United Illuminating; Susan Leeds, chief executive officer, New York City Efficiency Corporation; and Jeffrey DeBoer, president and chief executive officer, The Real Estate Roundtable.

House Energy Panel to Host EPA’s McCarthy on GHGs – House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy panel will hold a hearing Friday at 9:00 a.m. on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.  Following today’s close of the comment period, the committee will host Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Workshop to Look at USFWS Wind Energy Guidelines – The Environmental Law Institute, Hogan Lovells LLP, and Defenders of Wildlife will host a USFWS Wind Energy Guidelines Implementation Workshop on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Hogan Lovells.  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued its final voluntary guidelines for onshore wind developers. These guidelines were the product of a five-year federal advisory committee process consisting of federal agencies, developers, conservation organizations, academia, and state and tribal representatives. The guidelines are intended to help developers and the Service analyze risks from wind energy development and operations to wildlife and wildlife habitat. This interactive workshop will provide an overview of the recently published final FWS Onshore Wind Guidelines, discuss questions regarding implementation intent and expectations from various stakeholder perspectives, and explore issues and opportunities for additional clarification.  Speakers will include David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior, and David Cottingham, Senior Advisor to the Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Brookings to Look at Iran Sanctions Impacts – The Foreign Policy group at Brookings will host a discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. assessing the wide-ranging implications of the Iran sanctions regime and consider the prospects for a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Next month, international economic pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran will intensify dramatically. Although Iran has been the target of various U.S. and multilateral sanctions throughout most of the past three decades, the latest measures are the most severe in history. These actions have been credited with reviving Iran’s interest in negotiations with the world, but they have yet to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, and are creating new challenges for the international coalition that has sought to constrain Iran. They also pose new uncertainties for energy markets and the international economy at a precarious period in the global recovery and the U.S. presidential campaign.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

State Agency Assns Hold Clean Air Conference – On July 9-10, NARUC, the National Assn of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the national Assn of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) will hold a forum at the Renaissance Washington to state energy and Clean air issues.  Speakers on the agenda include FERC’s Jon Wellinghoff, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, DOE’s Pat Hoffman and CEQ’s Nancy Sutley, among many other state officials.  

ACORE Transportation Conference Set – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) will convene First Transportation and Renewable Energy Industry Forum on July 17th where business and industry leaders from across the energy spectrum and modes of transportation to discuss the challenges and opportunities to expanding the renewable transportation market. This is the first in a series of forums that will highlight the opportunities and challenges the country faces as it moves toward a 21st century transportation system sourced by renewable energy. Speakers will include Arun Banskota of NRG Energy, Toyota’s William Chernicoff, Doug Durante of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and Catherine Dunwoody of California Fuel Cell, as well as our media friends  Warren Brown of the Washington Post, Keith Johnson of the Wall Street Journal and John Siciliano of Clean Energy Report.

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

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