Thanksgiving Energy Update

Friends,

This week is Thanksgiving week, so after last week’s madhouse of transition and congressional issues, I am ready for a break.  While many people think Thanksgiving was first started by Ben Franklin and George Washington in 1789, a formal “Day of Thanksgiving” in November was first declared by John Hanson, Maryland Statesman and first President of the United States in Congress Assembled” under the Articles of Confederation, in 1781, eight years prior to Washington’s proclamation.  While there were several days of thank giving and fasting issued by earlier leaders like John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay and Samuel Huntington, none of them resembled the last Thursday in November proclamation made by Hanson as the Treaty of Paris negotiations were being finalized.

A few other reasons for giving thanks: My son Adam is currently learning huge life lessons during a service trip in Haiti with a few classmates from his school.  The reports we are getting from the ground are amazing and humbling.  He has his camera (and as some of you may know, he has a great eye) so I hope he is using it to take some great pictures.

Sports thanks: Delaware won 19 straight games to win its first NCAA Field Hockey Championship.  And Messiah College (PA), defeated both Babson and Tufts over the weekend to win the D III title.  Both Babson and Tufts snuck by Hannah’s team earlier this year in close hard-fought battles.  And Jimmy Johnson is celebrating again and giving thanks after winning his 7th NASCAR championship last night.

Finally, one more “Big League” giving of thanks to Metallica, who on Friday released it 10th studio album Hardwired to Self-Destruct.  And having heard it all, it is ridiculous.  I cannot wait for the tour!

Activities are limited this week, but today Gina McCarthy speaks at the National Press Club and look for ethanol RVOs for 2017 perhaps tomorrow.

Last week, my colleague Bracewell LLP’s Jeff Holmstead and NAM’s Ross Eisenberg sat down for an in-depth discussion with E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi on the impact President-elect Trump could have on U.S. EPA, climate regulations, the Obama administration’s new methane rule and the future of the electric power grid.  With all the transition talk, I also included our Bracewell PRG election analysis one more time in case you missed it last week.

And special kudos to my colleagues Dee Martin and Salo Zelermyer, who last week were 2016 Hero Award Honorees at the annual Recognizing Heroes Awards Dinner & Gala. Martin and Zelermyer were honored for helping young women who had been abducted by terrorists abroad and escaped from their captors make it to the United States safely and legally.

See you shortly at the National Press Club where Gina McCarthy will give her final address as EPA Administrator.  We still have a couple extra tickets at our Bracewell tables with Holmstead and Segal if you are interested in attending… Let me know quickly.  And if you need a preview, E&E News veteran Rod Kuckro has an in-depth interview with Gina that is detailed and Interesting.

Have a great Thanksgiving and travel safely… Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

Master of Puppets, to me, is the greatest modern heavy metal album ever made.  Pound for pound, song-wise, musically, sonically, production – it’s just fantastic…that is the template for every great heavy metal album.”

Corey Taylor of Slipknot interviewing Metallica

 

PRG ELECTION ANALYSIS

Bracewell PRG Election Update – The 2016 election results have significant implications for companies across a wide range of industry sectors. From environmental policy to financial services to tax reform, President-elect Trump has committed to sweeping action on a variety of fronts, and will have a Republican-controlled House and Senate to work with on priority issues. Nevertheless, the GOP-led Senate is not filibuster-proof, and many of the finer points of Trump’s agenda remain unclear. Accordingly, it is important for interested stakeholders to begin thinking through how their own priorities will track with the next President and Congress. The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP (PRG) has prepared this post-election report to identify some of the key issues slated for action in Washington next term. Our team of lobbyists, lawyers and strategic communications professionals combines decades of experience working on these issues in the private sector, on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies—and stands ready to help our clients make sure their voices are heard by policymakers and the public. For further details on the election results, click here.

Bracewell Webinar Sees Massive Attendance – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group experts held an election wrap up on Wednesday with more than 500 participants.  Here is the audio file from Wednesday’s Bracewell PRG Election Analysis webinar:  https://bgllp.sharefile.com/d-sdf9ccd676b94f6f9  Here is a list of the speakers:

    • Host/Intro: Dee Martin
    • Scott Segal
    • Jeff Holmstead
    • Salo Zelermyer
    • Josh Zive
    • Curt Beaulieu
    • Paul Nathanson
    • Ed Krenik
    • Former TX Sen Kay Baily Hutchinson

The slides from the presentation are available here.

VIDEO: Election Day Takeaways and What to Expect in the Trump Presidency – Dee Martin and Scott Segal, co-heads of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, discuss their reactions to the surprising results of the 2016 elections and what to expect during the first 100 days of a Trump administration. view video…

VIDEO: Outlook for the Clean Power Plan and Other Environmental Issues – Scott Segal, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and Jeff Holmstead, head of the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell and former EPA Air Office head, discuss how the next President and Congress will confront issues such as climate change, the Clean Power Plan, and other environmental regulations. view video…

VIDEO: Outlook for Energy Policy – Dee Martin, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer discuss what the results of the election may mean for oil and gas, renewable energy, and fuels. view video…

Detailed Policy Papers for PRG Here – There are also written policy analysis papers on the PRG site that details impacts of the election on a number of key issues, including Environment, Energy, Trade, Tax Issues, and Appropriations/Budget.

 

IN THE NEWS

Interior Rolls out Tougher 5-year Plan – The Obama Administration’s finalized five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program, which sets the lease sale schedule for 2017-2022.  Release of the Proposed Final Program, along with the accompanying Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, is one of the final steps in a multi-year process that was initiated in June 2014 to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022.  The plan for offshore oil and gas drilling schedules 10 region-wide leases in the Gulf of Mexico from 2017 through 2022 and another in Alaska’s Cook Inlet in 2021. But the agency dropped its March draft proposal to offer leases in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2020 and 2022.  The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a Five-Year Program that includes a schedule of potential oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing determined to best meet national energy needs, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.  For more information on the 2017-2022 Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/.

You Need Experts? – If you have additional questions, my colleagues Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638, kevin.ewing@bracewelllaw.com) and Jason Hutt (202-828-5850, jason.hutt@bracewelllaw.com) are great experts and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the decision, as well as how this decision might be impacted by the new Trump Administration.

Chamber Blasts Interior Plan – Chamber Energy Institute Karen Harbert said today’s announcement limiting offshore energy production is “one of the final nails in the coffin of the Obama administration’s anti-growth energy agenda. With this plan, the administration keeps as much as 90% of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf off limits for exploration, including all areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. In doing so, the administration is ignoring the will of the American people  who understand that offshore energy production is good for American jobs, economic growth, and energy security. In particular, this plan is an affront to the people of Alaska and the Gulf States, whose concerns have been ignored by this administration.  We call on the incoming Trump administration and the new Congress to immediately rescind and replace this plan and put America back on a path to fully utilizing its offshore energy resources, while continuing with already planned lease sales.”

SAFE Raises Questions about Viability – Securing America’s Future Energy President Robbie Diamond is also concerned about the Impacts it will have on future production.  Leslie Heyward can:

IPAA Says Plan Writes off 80% of Federal Lands – Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Barry Russell said the offshore plan “places more than 80 percent of offshore federal lands, including the already-planned Atlantic waters, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and even Alaska’s energy-rich waters, off limits for future development. The United States needs more energy, specifically oil and natural gas, to meet its future demands, according to the Obama Administration’s own energy data agency. Instead, this administration is abandoning America’s energy potential and is threatening our role as a global energy superpower. This final offshore program raises serious questions as to why this administration, at the 11th hour, chose to ignore recommendations by its own energy data agency.

“Make no mistake, taking American offshore energy resources off the table for the next five years will eliminate well-paying jobs and reduce the billions of dollars in much-needed revenues that go to fund schools and road repair projects in local communities. Most importantly, locking up our offshore energy supplies will cause U.S. energy prices to rise, limiting the amount of hard-earned wages American families get to keep each month.

“The administration should allow more access to our vast energy resources, not less. It’s disappointing that this administration, with just two months left in office, has chosen to take the low, politically-motivated path and dictate the nation’s offshore program for the entirety of President-elect Trump’s four-year term.”

Methane Rule Released – The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management said it has finalized its Methane Waste Prevention Rule. Read a fact sheet from BLM here.

Challenge BLM’s Venting and Flaring Rule – Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) immediately challenged BLM’s final rule regulating venting and flaring from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands. In its claim filed before the U.S. District Court in Wyoming, the trade associations call BLM’s rule a broad new air quality regime that goes beyond authority granted by Congress. The trades are represented by Eric Waeckerlin and Kathleen Schroder of Davis Graham & Stubbs.   When operating on public lands, businesses already comply with air quality regulations mandated by EPA. BLM’s venting and flaring rule creates duplicative regulation that conflicts with EPA requirements. Authority to regulate air quality was designated to the EPA under the Clean Air Act, yet, BLM has tried to assume this role under the guise of reducing waste from oil and natural gas production.

Global CCS Institute: Global CO₂ Storage Resource Exceeds Need – The Global CCS Institute said global carbon capture and storage resources exceeds what is required to meet future climate change temperature targets at a presentation last week.  Presenting at the 13th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Global CCS Institute Senior Storage Adviser, Dr. Chris Consoli, said almost every high emitting nation of the world had substantial storage resources.  “A great deal of the world’s CO₂ storage resource has now been assessed. For example, the US Department of Energy (DOE)11 published an atlas last year that estimated between 2,000 and 20,000 billion tons of storage resource in North America alone.”  “The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that approximately 90 billion tons of storage capacity is needed if carbon capture and storage (CCS) is to contribute its targeted 12 per cent of emissions reductions. In 2050, this equates to about 6 billion tons per year.  In addition to China, other countries which have been assessed and boast large storage resources are Canada, the United States, Norway, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

API Tags Voters on Energy – API released an election night survey of actual voters across the country, and the findings reveal that more than 80% of voters agree that U.S. oil and natural gas production can help achieve each of their most important priorities: job creation (86%), economic growth (87%), lower energy costs (82%), and energy security (85%).  With drivers saving more than $550 in fuel costs and household budgets growing by $1337 due to utility and other energy-related savings in 2015, it should come as no surprise that voters appreciate the positive economic impact of U.S. energy. Americans not only recognize the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance but they also support actions that would build on our position as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer.

Study: No Widespread Impacts on Drinking Water – Speaking of API, they also released a new study of hydraulic fracturing which shows finding of no “widespread, systemic” impacts on drinking water from hydraulic fracturing. Report, authored by Catalyst Environmental Solutions, shows that the EPA’s finding of no widespread effects to drinking water quality is supported by state and federal regulatory reviews, and dozens of recent peer-reviewed case studies.  EPA’s six-year, multi-million dollar, national study, was released as a draft Assessment report in 2015 and determined that fracking has not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water as it lifted economic fortunes for millions of Americans. The new report by Catalyst, “Quantitative Support For EPA’s Finding of No Widespread, Systemic Effects to Drinking Water Resources from Hydraulic Fracturing,” concludes that: “If there was a significant correlation between impaired drinking water resources and hydraulic fracturing, that connection would be manifested in the areas that EPA evaluated. This finding is corroborated by a large, credible body of case studies and scientific literature.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

McCarthy to Address Press Club – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will address the National Press Club on next Monday November 21st at Noon.  McCarthy plans to focus on the environmental and public health legacy of the Obama Administration, with an emphasis on efforts to combat the global effects of climate change.

Thanksgiving – November 24

 

IN THE FUTURE

RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Monday November 28th looking at disaster losses and climate change.  At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.

NatGas Roundtable to Host Resources Staff DirectorThe Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Bill Cooper, staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Senior Policy Advisor on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow.

WCEE to Host Discussion on Energy Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch panel next Tuesday, November 29th at the Solar Foundation on energy storage and its role for the solar and energy industries. As solar costs continue to decline, increased emphasis is placed on energy storage. Get a primer on different types of energy storage applications and which ones are economically viable now, why energy storage is critical in the long-term and lessons learned from real projects that are currently operational. Kerinia Cusick from Distributed Energy Innovation will give an overview of the storage activities around the globe and Chris Cook from Solar Grid Storage will talk about solar and storage integration.

NPC Newsmakers to Host Forum Energy Tax Credits – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host a forum Tuesday, November 29th at 2:00 p.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss extending energy tax credits provisions.  More on this next week when panelists are finalized.

Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on November 30th.   Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others.  Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.

Forum Looks at State RPS Implementation – The 2016 National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The forum focuses on developments and trends related to state RPSs and to network with many of the people from across the country who are most engaged in implementing and analyzing state RPSs.  The annual Summit is hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), with funding support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

CSIS to Look at Renewable Energy – On Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the outlook for the electric power sector and the future role of renewables. The U.S. electric power sector is in the midst of a transition. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) both produce annual outlooks that asses long-term trends in renewable energy, which help understand the changes to this sector. Doug Arent and Wesley Cole will outline the scenarios developed by NREL Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler will summarize the key findings of the BNEF study published earlier this year.

USEA to hot Coal Council Head on Carbon Capture – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m. featuring National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellucci.  At the event, Gellucci will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”

WRI Hosts Book Launch of Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change – On Thursday, December 1st at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a book event looking at climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh.  Like most developing nations, Bangladesh emits a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet it is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, facing increasingly severe flooding, droughts and cyclones. Climate scientists estimate that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million people by 2050.  David Hulme will launch his co-authored book, Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change: Keeping Our Heads above Water, and discuss the findings of the book with a participants and a panel of experts.

Wilson to Launch Report Launch on Climate, Migration, Conflict – On Friday, December 2nd at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center the launch of a new report with USAID called “Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World,” which goes beyond the headlines to explore these connections. A panel of experts from across the lanes of climate, migration, and conflict will discuss practical advice for policymakers and how to think about these interlinked dynamics. Climate change and migration present major challenges to societies that policymakers have a responsibility to grapple with, but their relationship is rarely direct, conflict is not a common outcome, and migration is not always evidence of failure.

AGA to Host NatGas Roundtable with New Board Chair – On December 2nd at 9:00 a.m., the American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media roundtable for Pierce H. Norton II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas, Inc. and AGA’s Chair of its Board of Directors for 2017.  Norton will Be joined by AGA head Dave McCurdy.  Norton became the first president and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. after it separated from ONEOK Inc., in January 2014. Prior to ONE Gas becoming a stand-alone publically traded company, he served as executive vice president, commercial, of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners.

Saudi Oil Minister to Address CSIS Forum – On Friday, December 2nd, CSIS is hosting His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reflect on a career that spanned more than six decades in the Kingdom’s energy work, including 21 years (1995-2016) as Minister of Petroleum.

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on December 8th and 9th at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

 

Energy Update: Week of March 21

Friends,

What a great hoops weekend for both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA tourney.  Kansas, UNC and UVa look strong and I love the surprises, like Middle Tennessee St knocking off Michigan State and Stephen F Austin and Northern Iowa, who both let Notre Dame and Texas A&M off the hook.  Not really a surprise that Gonzaga and Syracuse (even though they are high seeds) are in the Sweet 16 as they have been there before. On the Women’s side, traditional powerhouses UConn, South Carolina, Baylor, Notre Dame and Maryland have rolled so far with UConn and Baylor both expected to jump into the Sweet 16 tonight.

And the Frozen Four Hockey Bracket is out.  The top seed is polling experts Quinnipiac, while other tops seed went to St. Cloud St (MN), North Dakota and Providence.  Other perennial powerhouses including Big 10 champ Michigan, Ivy champ Harvard, BU, BC, MN-Duluth, Denver, Notre Dame, UMass-Lowell, Yale and Ferris St. all made the grade.  Frozen Four Finals set for April 7-9 in Tampa.  Congrats to the Minnesota women’s hockey team who this weekend defeated previously unbeaten Boston College to win back-to-back NCAA titles.

Spring Break and Easter week means a quick break in DC.  But not for the PRG Team at Bracewell.  We and our colleagues are taking the week to move to brand-new offices at 2001 M Street.  Yes, we are leaving our K street office of over 25 years for new construction.  While I wish we were moving closing to Annapolis, the new offices will be a nice change.  We are there starting next Monday.

As for this week, with all the crazy political issues swirling in the Presidential race, the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy will host a special public panel discussion on Thursday to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in this presidential-election year.

Other great events include tonight’s (6pm) University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute forum on the Clean Power Plan and look at its potential impacts on U.S. energy policy, markets and the environment.  Tomorrow, the Hudson Institute examines how U.S. oil and natural gas exports have reshaped the balance of global energy power, featuring Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS).  And also tomorrow, the Bipartisan Policy Center will host experts on how states and municipalities are tackling permitting delays and if it is enough to facilitate the investments in infrastructure crucial to keeping the American economy competitive and growing.

The Senate is out, but the House is here until Wednesday.  Following last week’s Gina McCarthy-MI Gov Rick Snyder Show on Flint water in House Gov’t Oversight, McCarthy returns to the House tomorrow for Appropriations Committee in the morning and House Energy panels in the afternoon to discuss the EPA Budget.   Tomorrow House Science has Secretary Moniz for the DOE Budget and Wednesday it hits Ozone standards, while House Resources has OSM’s Joe Pizarchik.

Finally, today is the 10th anniversary of Twitter.  Who ever thought 140 characters would be so valuable but still not be making any money: #awesome!!!  Please enjoy your family and friends over the Easter Holiday.  See you from our new offices next week!  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Cal PUC Approves Ivanpah Extension – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an agreement between the Ivanpah plant investors NRG Energy Inc., Google and BrightSource Energy Inc. and utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) to allow project operators at least six months, and possibly a year more, to meet current production targets of 448,000 MWh annually.  Ivanpah’s performance has improved dramatically in 2015 during the four-year expected ramp up, and the forecast for 2016 shows it will be operating a near-full power.

CleanTechnica Tackles Details of CPUC, Ivanpah – CleanTechnica technology reporter Susan Kraemer dug into the details to provide the most detail analysis of the current situation at Ivanpah and why the forbearance agreement with CPUC and PG&E was necessary.   You can see it here.

Pipeline Regs Designate Moderate, High Population Areas – Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said natural gas pipelines running through moderately densely populated areas and those built before 1970 would be newly regulated.  The agency does not address whether or not to require installation of automatic shutoff valves as some advocates called for after the 2010 San Bruno pipeline accident.  My colleague Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) knows the PHMSA issues inside and out if you need a backgrounder.

Interior to Impose New Air Regs – Following its five-year drilling Plan, Interior also announced a new proposal to enact new federal offshore air quality monitoring regulations on oil and gas development and service vehicles supplying rigs.  IPAA’s Dan Naatz said it’s clear this administration continues to mount an aggressive climate agenda against America’s oil and natural gas producers. “Earlier this week, the White House reduced the areas where the offshore industry can explore for America’s abundant and low-cost energy resources. Today, it proposes a highly complicated 349-page regulatory scheme that toughens measuring, tracking, and reporting of air quality emissions, which will no doubt add yet another layer of burdensome and costly requirements on an already-suffering industry and could affect American energy development.  Continuing to impose these challenging regulations, at a time when the industry is hurting under constrained market conditions, makes producers’ jobs of exploring and developing America’s plentiful oil and natural gas resources prohibitively expensive. Not only is this administration making it harder for American operators to stay in business, it is robbing the American taxpayers of billions of dollars in additional revenue that would be generated from this production.”  My colleague Rich Alonso (202-828-5861), former EPA enforcement official, has worked on similar topics and can be a great resource.

TPPF Video Shows GHG Rule Impact on Navajo Nation – A new video from the Texas Public Policy Foundation shows the negative effects of the Clean Power Plan on the Navajo Nation, Arizona and the Southwest where EPA’s regulation threatens to shut down two large power plants and coal mines—operations that provide much of the revenue for the Navajo Nation as well as good-paying jobs. Told through the eyes of the Navajo people as well as Arizona elected officials, this film offers a real practical experience to what this already disadvantaged and poor communities will face.

NASDAQ, Clean Edge Forum Changes Companies –  Clean Edge announced the results of the semi-annual evaluation of the NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index (NASDAQ: CELS) and the NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Smart Grid Infrastructure Index (NASDAQ: QGRD), both of which became effective prior to today’s market open. NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index (CELS):  The following five securities have been added to the CELS Index: Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI); 8point3 Energy Partners, LP (CAFD); FuelCell Energy, Inc. (FCEL); TerraForm Global, Inc. (GLBL); and Sunrun, Inc. (RUN).  The NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index is designed to track the performance of clean-energy companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. The Index includes companies engaged in the manufacturing, development, distribution, and installation of emerging clean-energy technologies such as solar photovoltaics, advanced batteries, hybrid and electric vehicles, and renewable materials. The five major sub-sectors that the index covers are Renewable Electricity Generation; Renewable Fuels; Energy Storage & Conversion; Energy Intelligence; and Advanced Energy-Related Materials. The securities must also meet other eligibility criteria which include minimum requirements for market value, average daily share volume, and price. The NASDAQ® Clean Edge® Green Energy Index is re-ranked semi-annually in March and September.

Platts Looks at Cuba, Oil Issues – President Barack Obama makes his trip to Cuba this week and Platts Capitol Crude asks: could a cargo of WTI crude from Corpus Christi soon follow him to Havana?  On this week’s podcast, Platts senior editors Brian Scheid and Herman Wang look at what a potential end to the long-standing trade embargo means for US crude oil and petroleum products exports. Jorge Pinon, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, says the future of US oil in Cuba may hinge on the situation in Venezuela as much as it does on US trade policy.

Prez Not Going to NYC for Climate Signing – Speaking of President Obama, our friend in the trade press are reporting that he will not travel to New York City for the April climate pact signing where world leaders and other top international officials will sign the document.  Some had suspected that Obama would attend be he will be in Europe and the Middle East during that time so Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to go to the United Nations ceremony to sign instead.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum Looks at PR Energy Concerns – The American Security Project  will host a discussion today on energy, economy, and security in Puerto Rico and how understanding the ongoing debt crisis through these lenses will strengthen our response.  Puerto Rico, America’s largest Caribbean territory, has long been an important U.S. geopolitical outpost and now finds itself on the verge of catastrophe under the weight of massive debt and a costly, inefficient energy supply. The impacts have triggered a large-scale resettlement to the U.S. mainland where gridlock has turned the Island’s future into a political hot potato rather than an issue of long-term strategic importance for U.S. national security.  As Congress recommits itself to a resolution, understanding the issues plaguing Puerto Rico through the lens of energy security and risk management offers opportunities to reverse the current trends, gain political support and address the future of 3.3 million U.S. citizens on the island.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Housing – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is holding a briefing today at 2:30 p.m. in 122 Cannon regarding energy efficient, “green” affordable housing and how it is improving health and safety in distressed communities while providing economic and environmental benefits to states. This is the second in a series of EESI briefings examining environmental justice as it relates to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This briefing will show how sustainable affordable housing can save money for low-income families and strengthen community resilience while serving as a CPP compliance strategy.  Speakers will showcase sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as a retrofit in Washington, DC, and will discuss the national movement to “green” affordable housing. The briefing will also feature the passive building retrofit of Weinberg Commons, a multifamily housing complex for low-income families in Southeast DC. The nation’s capital uses Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria as the baseline green building standard for its public and publicly-financed projects.

USEA to Look at Fossil Fuels – The US Energy Assn will host a forum today at 3:00 p.m. on addressing fossil fuels. Scientists believe significant climate change is unavoidable without a drastic reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. However, few countries have implemented comprehensive policies that price this externality or devote serious resources to developing low-carbon energy sources. In many respects, the world is betting that we will greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels because we will run out of inexpensive fossil fuels (there will be decreases in supply) and/or technological advances will lead to the discovery of less-expensive low-carbon technologies (there will be decreases in demand). The historical record indicates that the supply of fossil fuels has consistently increased over time and that their relative price advantage over low-carbon energy sources has not declined substantially over time. Without robust efforts to correct the market failures around greenhouse gases, relying on supply and/or demand forces to limit greenhouse gas emissions is relying heavily on hope.  Thomas Covert, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago will speak.

EPIC Forum Looks at GHG Plan – This evening at 6:00 p.m., our friends at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago will host a forum on the Clean Power Plan and look at its potential impacts on U.S. energy policy, markets and the environment.  The panel discussion will highlight key provisions of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the controversy surrounding this rule, including the recent stay ordered by the Supreme Court of the United States; Cap-and-Trade, Carbon Taxation, and the CPP — their differences, pros and cons, and the best solution for reducing carbon emissions; the potential impact of the CPP on traditional energy markets and energy prices (if upheld); the clean energy market and how the CPP could potentially catapult its growth (if upheld); and the impact of the judicial stay on COP21 commitments and global diplomatic relations, environmental law regulations, and future U.S. energy policies.  Speakers include EEI’s Ed Comer, EPIC’s Thomas Covert, former DOJ official Thomas Lorenzen, Constellation Energy Richard Wilson and several others.

Hudson Conference Looking at Shale Revolution – The Hudson Institute will host a conference tomorrow examining how U.S. oil and natural gas exports have reshaped the balance of global energy power. Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, will discuss the geopolitics of energy and the outlook on Capitol Hill for expanding American global energy leadership through hydraulic fracturing. Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark P. Mills will keynote the conference, and four distinguished panels of experts will address the impact of the American shale revolution in different world regions.

BPC to Host Permitting Forum – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to hear from experts on how states and municipalities are tackling the problem and if it is enough to facilitate the investments in infrastructure crucial to keeping the American economy competitive and growing.  America faces a growing infrastructure funding gap. One way to help meet that need is to encourage private capital to come in from the sidelines. Yet delays in the federal environmental review and permitting process—which can increase costs and uncertainty—are a barrier to private investment and the speedy delivery of needed projects. Recognizing this challenge, members of Congress and the Obama Administration have recently advanced various efforts designed to modernize, streamline and accelerate the review and permitting process. Speakers include Susan Binder of Cambridge Systematics, Christopher Hodgkins of the Miami Access Tunnel and NRDC’s Deron Lovaas.

McCarthy Heads to House Approps – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will conduct a budget hearing on the EPA budget, with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and CFO David Bloom testifying.

House Science Holds Hearing on DOE Budget Request – The full House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow for an overview of the DOE Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2017.  DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz will testify.

Forum to Look at U.S.-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation, Plutonium – Tomorrow at Noon at the US Capitol Visitors Center 215, NPEC will hold a forum that will focus on one nuclear security issue that, while important, is sure to go unmentioned at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit on March 31 – April 1: What are the diplomatic and regional security implications of Japan opening a reprocessing plant capable of producing more than 1,000 bombs’ worth of plutonium per year at Rokkasho on the very eve of the US-Japan civilian nuclear cooperative agreement’s renewal?  Most government officials assume that this agreement will be renewed automatically. More than a few outside experts and former senior officials, however, have voiced concerns that the opening of Rokkasho could spark a fissile materials competition with China and South Korea.  To clarify what’s at stake and what alternative courses of action might be taken, NPEC has assembled a panel of Japanese and American experts. These include Fumihiko Yoshida, formerly the Deputy Director of The Asahi Shimbun, now resident at the Carnegie Endowment; Masakatsu Ota of Kyodo News; and William Tobey former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration. In addition, Congressman Brad Sherman, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, will share his views.  Congressman Brad Sherman will make remarks.

Forum to Look at Iran, Nuclear – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow morning focused on the Iran Nuclear summit and nuclear Production. The Nuclear Security Summit has made little progress on preventing the production of fissile material that has no plausible use. One way forward would be to establish a norm that such production should be consistent with reasonable civilian needs.  The Nuclear Security Summit process has broken considerable ground on enhancing the security of vulnerable nuclear material. But it has made much less progress on preventing the production of fissile material that has no plausible use. One way forward, which would also complement nonproliferation efforts, would be to establish a norm that such production should be consistent with reasonable civilian needs.  Carnegie’s James M. Acton, Ariel Levite, and Togzhan Kassenova will explore the potential value of this norm and discuss whether progress is possible. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, will moderate.

Forum to Look at Sustainable India – The South Asia Policy Research Initiative in collaboration with Georgetown U India Initiative, Science, Technology and International Affairs Major (STIA) and McCourt Energy and Environment Policy will host a panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on the balance between environmental protection and Economic Growth. The panel includes Muhammad Khan (Former Aide to Minister of Environment and Forests, India), and Professor Uwe Brandes (Founding Executive Director, Urban and Regional Planning, Georgetown University), and Professor Mark Giordano (Director, Science, Technology and International Affairs Major (STIA)), as we explore sustainable development in India that also protects the environment.  Muhammad Khan will discuss his experience and hear the views of Prof. Uwe Brandes and Mark Giordano who have great expertise in sustainable development and environment.

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

House Energy Panels Host McCarthy on EPA FY’17 Budget – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will also host EPA’s McCarthy to look at the FY2017 EPA Budget.

BGov Webinar Looks at Budget – Bloomberg Government holds a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the current state of budget planning in the House.  Speakers will include Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies Deputy Director and Heritage Foundation research fellow Romina Boccia joining BGOV’s legislative analyst Loren Duggan and BGOV’s senior budget analyst Cameron Leuthy.

Forum to Look at Shareholder Action – Tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Ceres and the Council of Institutional Investors will host a forum on shareholder resolutions with energy companies. Investors in Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) have filed resolutions at key U.S. companies calling for companies to analyze the impacts of a 2 degree scenario on their portfolio of oil and gas reserves and resources and assess the resilience of the companies’ business strategies through 2040. The event features a panel discussion among resolution filers, analysts looking at 2 degree scenarios and the 50/50 Climate Project (focused on achieving “climate competent” corporate boards).  Speakers will include James Andrus of CalPERS, Helen Vine-Fiestas of BNP Paribas and Rich Ferlauto of the 50/50 Climate Project.

EEI to Host Leaders in Energy – The Edison Electric Institute hosts a panel of experts tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. who will discuss and explore interesting questions related to the evolving Smart Grid and Advanced Metering Insfrastructure (AMI) deployments that utilize unlicensed spectrum and its impact on energy efficiency.  Thought leaders from the utility, federal Smart Grid program, and telecommunications sectors will be at Leaders in Energy educational and professional networking event to explore issues related to the use of the unlicensed spectrum, advanced metering infrastructure communication platforms, and related Smart Meter applications in Smart Grid deployments to improve energy performance, benefit the environment, and services for utilities and customers.

House Oversight to Look at Leasing Program – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on the Interior will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the Bureau of Land Management’s Public Lands Leasing Program.

OSM Director Heads to House Resources –The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct a hearing on Wednesday looking at entitled impacts of the FY 2017 Budget and Legislative Proposals for the Office of Surface Mining on private sector job creation, domestic energy production, state programs and deficit reduction. The witness will be Joe Pizarchik, Director of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement.

House Science Looks at Ozone Regs – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on Wednesday examining EPA’s Regional Haze Program and its possible benefits.  Witnesses will include CEI’s William Yeatman, Tom Schroedter of the Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers, Environmental Policy Consultant Bruce Polkowsky and Aaron Flynn of Hunton & Williams LLP.

Wilson Forum Looks at Climate Adaption Issues – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center and USAID will hold an event that will feature a high-level discussion to explore what the Paris Agreement means for adaptation efforts globally. Speakers will identify specific activities being undertaken to support those efforts, with particular attention to National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and the NAP Global Network.  As the dust settles following COP21, we are rapidly sorting out what the Paris Agreement means in practice and what role the climate, development, and diplomacy communities should play in implementing it. The event is the first in a series of dialogues on post-Paris climate adaptation, mitigation, and financing.

Forum to Look at Energy Politics – The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy will host a special public panel discussion on Thursday to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in this presidential election year. Specifically, can Republicans, Democrats and Independents find common ground on the role of the federal government on these issues? If so, what are the most promising areas for bipartisan agreement?  The bipartisan panel will feature former Rep. and Carbon tax advocate Bob Inglis, former CO Gov. Bill Ritter, Theodore Roosevelt IV of Barclays Capital Corporation and former White House Climate official Heather Zichal.

Cato Event Looks at Minerals, Mining – On Thursday at Noon in B-354 Rayburn, Cato will host a forum on the future of US mineral resources. Domestic minerals and metals are a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, but data just published by the Energy Information Agency (EIA) show that investment in U.S. mining and exploration declined an incredible 35 percent last year—from $135 billion in 2014 to $88 billion in 2015—representing the second largest decline since 1948. The withdrawal of federal lands, often with permanent restrictions on mining force manufacturers to look elsewhere, and the permitting process is long and drawn out.  Federal holdings used to be called the “land of many uses,” but increasingly Washington has decided that one of those uses is no longer the mining of coal and minerals. Millions of acres, largely in the West, are now zoned for no mining, no matter how remote or rich they might be. The event will feature Ned Mamula, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute; and Patrick J. Michaels, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute; moderated by Peter Russo, Director of Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Transmission Summit Set to Address Challenges – The 19th Annual Transmission Summit will be held on March 29-31 at the Washington Marriott Georgetown.  The event will feature senior executives from MISO, NYISO, PJM, SPP and ISO-NE, who will discuss their system needs and market changes, and representatives from such prominent transmission owners and developers as Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, Con Edison, DATC, Exelon Corp., LS Power Development LLC, National Grid, Xcel Energy and others will provide insights into their development plans and projects.

Forum to Look at Africa Food Crisis – The CSIS Africa Program and the CSIS Global Food Security Project will hold a discussion on Tuesday March 29th at 2:00 p.m. on examining Africa’s latest food crisis.  The 2015-2016 El Niño weather pattern, among the strongest on record, has caused intense drought in Eastern and Southern Africa and has left up to 60 million people in the two regions in need of emergency food assistance. Ethiopia has called the current drought its worst in 30 years, South Africa its worst in over a century. As the resulting food and health emergency grows, experts on food security, resilience, and climate change in Africa will join us to discuss the scale and impact of the current crisis and evaluate the response to date, with an eye toward what the U.S. and broader international community can do to support resilience to mounting climate variability challenges.

PHMSA Head to Address CSIS Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) on Wednesday March 30th at 11:00 a.m.  As administrator, Dominguez is responsible for overseeing PHMSA’s development and enforcement of regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million miles of gas and liquid pipelines and nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Dominguez will provide an overview of PHMSA as well as her thoughts on the country’s main challenges and opportunities with regard to the transportation of energy and hazardous materials that are essential to daily life.

WCEE to Look at Solar Growth – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a brown bad lunch at Duane Morris on Wednesday, March 30th looking at the challenges and growth in solar.  The burgeoning solar industry presents a number of opportunities and challenges. The recent extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a strong boost for the solar industry. At the same time, grid reliability and interconnection are of utmost important as increased solar capacity is added to the grid.  Anya Schoolman discusses solar programs and incentives, use of tax credits, and explores solar co-ops as a means to undertake solar PV projects. Kevin Lynn will then delve deeper into the issues of solar PV and grid integration through the lenses of technical, market, and regulatory challenges. Lastly, Erik Heinle will speak from his experience of working with various project owners, developers, and investors on issues surrounding facility construction and financing, power purchase agreements/net metering and interconnection issues as well as issues related to PURPA.

McGinn Featured at Roundtable – The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) will hold a new Defense & National Security Roundtable on Wednesday, March 30th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Dennis McGinn.  The event is part of a bi-monthly roundtable series featuring special guests from across sectors discussing critical climate change and national security initiatives in a town hall format.  McGinn, currently Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment), was the former director of ACORE.

Energy to Host QER Meetings Around Country – The Department of Energy has announced a series of public meetings around the country to seek input on the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER 1.2), which is a study the of the nation’s electricity system from generation to end-use. The stated purpose of the QER 1.2 is to develop a set of findings and policy recommendations to help guide the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and ensure its reliability, safety, security, affordability and environmental performance through 2040.  Meetings will include remarks from government officials, moderated panel discussions with public and private sector energy experts, and open microphone/public comment sessions. Meeting dates and locations will include Atlanta, GA (3/31), Boston, MA (4/15), Salt Lake City, UT (4/25), Des Moines, IA (5/6), Los Angeles, CA (5/10) and Austin, TX.

DOE Official to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Dr. Paula Gant, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy for Its monthly lunch at the University Club.  Previously, Gant served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.  As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Gant administered domestic and international oil and gas programs, including policy analysis and liquefied natural gas import and export authorization.

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord on April 4-6th.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

RFF to Launch Revesz/Lienke Book – Resources for the Future will hold a book launch on April 5th for the book, Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal” by Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke.   Pro EPA advocates Revesz and Lienke argue that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and the Clean Power Plan are the latest in a long line of efforts by presidential administrations of both parties to compensate for a tragic flaw in the Clean Air Act of 1970—the “grandfathering” that spared existing power plants from complying with the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions limits applicable to new plants. At this discussion, Revesz and Lienke will clarify their arguments and a panel of experts will weigh in on the inherent challenges of Clean Air Act regulations and the future of environmental policies such as the Clean Power Plan.  A panel of experts will discuss the issues.

FERC’s Honorable to Headline Energy Times Forum – The Energy Times will hold a conference on California Renewables at the Fairmont San Francisco on April 6th.  Keynoters will in broad strokes paint a picture of what is happening in the world of electric utilities, energy infrastructure and the power grid today. They will suggest what will be needed in the future and they will begin our consideration of what it will take for us to get there.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable and Edison International’s Andrew Murphy, among many others.

RFF to Look at Deforestation – Resources for the Future will hold its First Wednesday Seminar on April 6th at 12:45 p.m. that focused on the opportunities for and challenges of reducing supply chain deforestation using private and regulatory strategies, potential synergies among these strategies, and linkages with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).  The event will feature leading companies, nongovernmental organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives using and promoting these approaches.

HuffPost Podcast to Be Featured – Our friend Dana Yeganian, former Progress Energy PR person, is hosting a Happy Hour on Thursday, April 7th at NBCUniversal’s office at 300 NJ Ave featuring the new HuffPost podcast Candidate Confessional.  CC Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Chekis will provide an inside look at life on the losing side of the campaign trial.

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum – The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago on April 12th featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

USAEE Washington Energy Conference Set for Georgetown – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) and the Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club will host its 20th Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference on Wednesday, April 13th at Georgetown University.   The event will feature Keynote Speaker, Bill Hogan, of Harvard University and our friends Monica Trauzzi of E&E TV, former NYT reporter Matt Wald of NEI and GDF Suez exec Rob Minter.

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

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

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

The first night of Hanukah (seems early this year) was overshadowed last night by the Kennedy Center Honors award that feature some real music and Hollywood star power in DC.  With the latest rendition of Star Wars less than two weeks from theaters, George Lucas was praised for his contributions to all our childhood memories.  And December 7th also reminds us of our loss at Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941 that launched our participation in WW II.  Next year, it will be 75 years and starting today the National WWII Museum is raising awareness for events leading up to next year’s commemoration which features a weeklong tour and four-part symposium focusing on the event incidents leading up to that fateful day.  The events will include visits to historic sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, a private dinner on the deck of the USS Missouri and a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

It will remain busy this week in Washington and Paris.  In DC, Congress is negotiating a budget package while across the pond in France, the Administration’s top energy and environment officials are in Paris to highlight its carbon reduction pledges and press for a deal to address climate change.

We have a full report on Paris below after negotiators released the latest draft agreement for Ministers as they begin the final push.  The draft discusses provisions on climate finance, liability, carbon reductions, but still hasn’t been able to overcome concerns about temperature limits, the divide between developed nations and developing countries and whether it should be legally binding.

Here is DC, look for the budget deal making to hit high gear this week.  One of the key talking points is focused a possible swap to allow the crude oil export ban to be lifted.  Still a lot to do on this though and late last week, Kirk Lippold, the former Commander of the USS Cole (which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000) sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.

As for Committees, House Science goes into Biotech issues tomorrow, while Presidential candidate and Commerce panel Chair Senator Ted Cruz will chair a hearing on Climate change tomorrow afternoon.    Senate Energy looks in to terrorism and oil on Thursday.

Busy week…  I’m monitoring Paris closely (and have good resources on the ground) so let me know if you have questions or need sources.  Taking a break for the Detroit Red Wings and the Capitals tomorrow night.  STILL HAVE A TICKET OR TWO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME.  Let me know.

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CONTINUES ON

New Draft Text Out – Over the weekend, negotiators managed to submit a new draft text, which will now move onto the ministerial level for approving the final package. The new draft text includes a 21-page legally-binding “agreement,” a 22-page non-binding “decision” and a five-page “annex.” While to many the text is seen as a sign of progress, it does not meaningfully remedy the core issues facing negotiators. For example, the issues of climate financing, global temperature goals in centigrade, and long-term goals have yet been fully dealt with. Currently, the document contains more than 900 square brackets, used to note areas of considerable disagreement. “That’s how you can track progress in the negotiations — is where the brackets are,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. “All the difficult political issues remain unsolved, and will be solved by the ministers,” said Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s Climate Commissioner. “Next week is the week of compromise; it’s a difficult week,” he told a news conference. “Nothing has been decided and nothing will be left behind,” said French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. “This text marks the will of all to reach an agreement. We are not at the end of the route. Major political issues are yet to be resolved,” she warned. Others, including Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the chair of the influential G77 and China bloc of developing countries praised the text. She said on Twitter that she “welcomes that we now have a Party-driven negotiating text.”  Negotiators are due to reach a final accord on Friday, but the talks are widely expected to run into overtime, as previous summits have. A full copy of the draft text can be found on the UNFCCC website, available here.

Some Specific issues –

  • Finance – This will remain a controversial issues until the end, but it seems it will be divided into two or three options.  On the first point, the options are either to say that financial flows have to follow towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future depending on countries’ “sustainable development priorities and efforts to eradicate poverty,” or will be provided from wealthy countries on the U.N.’s Annex 2 list of OECD countries that were not deemed “economies in transition” in 1992.
  • Responsibilities –  The phrase first proposed by the U.S. and China in November 2014, “in the light of different national circumstances,” is still there at the beginning of the agreement, and the square brackets are now gone. The language is aimed at breaking down the rigid divide between the wealthy, who have traditionally shouldered the brunt of responsibility for climate change, and poorer countries that are still industrializing.
  • Loss, Damages – Developing countries would like to see the developed world – which emitted most of the CO2, historically – help them deal with damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. But while the U.S. and European Union are willing to pony up, they don’t want to expose themselves to massive legal liability. Delegates are arguing over two matters: 1) A plan to address losses and damages for both ‘extreme events’ and ‘slow onset events’ caused by climate change. Or 2) simply offer no reference to loss and damage, a position likely unacceptable to the G77.
  • 1.5 or 2 C degree – Still undecided (see more below on the island nations), there remains a large challenge over whether the temperature rise goal will be less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Those words are mentioned throughout the text.  There is also text requiring the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 or 2019 on the effects of a 1.5 degree temperature rise and the emissions cuts needed to reach that limit. Saudi Arabia blocked the inclusion of 1.5 degrees in yesterday’s discussion, saying it was in the interest of developing countries.  US lead Negotiator Todd Stern says today the limit will stay at 2C.
  • Intellectual Property – Still nothing on IP issues yet.  This remains a major problem in the tech transfer debate but still remains in flux.

How It Works – The French have really taken over the administration of the negotiations and lead official Laurent Fabius is running the show under a stern, precise schedule.  Our friends from POLITICO say negotiators have formed a committee (almost like the Committee of the Whole House when the House of Reps legislates) where much of the draft text will be negotiated.  While the Committee is meeting for the first time now, closed door meetings remain a constant.  Fabius has been clear that officials must be finalized by the weekend, trying to avoid the typical overtime sessions that these events often run into.  Finally, Fabius has also developed a team of 14 “facilitators” pairing negotiators from a developed and developing country, with each responsible for the central policy areas still in play.

 

EVENTS

Sen Dems In Paris – Speaking of Senators, Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Cory Booker (NJ) traveled to Paris over the weekend, returning today in time for Senate Budget action.  Led by Cardin, the delegation met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the U.S. negotiating team and delegates from other countries during their trip.

EPA, Energy Kerry In the House – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and Sect of State Kerry are all in Paris for the second week push.  McCarthy arrived on Saturday and will be in Paris through December 10, While in Paris, McCarthy will highlight the Obama administration’s new greenhouse gas rules for power plants. She’ll appear with Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s Energy and Climate Action commissioner for an event on the rule today.   Tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. EDT, Moniz will participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial on implementation and ambition beyond Paris, while at 6:45 a.m., McCarthy will hold a side event on EPA’s role in meeting the US climate action plan.  Finally, McCarthy will lead a White House CEQ side event on implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday at 7:15 a.m.

You can see news and each day’s agenda Here:  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/

You can watch live here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

Monday – Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference tonight at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary, Climate Hustle.

Tuesday – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will host a presser at 1:00 pm Paris time, Room 3 to issue a call to action to governments to create strong signals for clean energy investment in the Paris climate change agreement. Press conference participants will also discuss the actions taken by these companies and sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the speakers BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, Johnson Controls’ Clay Nester and Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar.  You can see live steam here.

Tuesday – Former VP and climate gadfly Al Gore delivers a slide presentation on the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis, La Loire, Blue Zone

Wednesday – Moniz, California Gov. Jerry Brown, UN official Christiana Figueres and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria will hold a side-event discussion on the future of energy.

Wednesday – OSTP Director John Holdren, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan discuss the climate and the Energy-Water-Food Nexus solving interdisciplinary problems with interdisciplinary solutions.

Wednesday –  EEI and the International Emissions Trading Association co-sponsor an event to highlight how utilities might use carbon trading markets to meet CPP targets.  Officials from PG&E, Calpine Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway will participate, and EPA air chief Janet McCabe will speak.

Thursday – Business leaders will hold a side event in Room 5 at 3:00 pm Paris time which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – on Friday, Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

NRECA Joins Event to Highlight Co-op Role – Yesterday, NRECA’s Martin Lowery joined cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.  At the event, leaders discussed the intrinsic qualities of co-operatives that allows them to be natural allies in fighting climate change, especially considering their long-term commitment, their resilience, and their capacity to simultaneously act on several levels. Firstly, co-operatives have long-term commitment. As they are not listed on the stock exchange, they are under no obligation to act according to their share price, nor are they dependent upon the opinions of analysts.  Naturally, to be commercially viable, they must be cost-efficient, but they are able to invest according to a broader horizon. They can consider the consequences of their actions for future generations, a determining skill when fighting climate change.  As businesses serving individuals and communities, co-operatives have proven their great resilience and their capacity to endure crises. In doing so, they contribute to stable economies. Their model can be adapted and used anywhere in the world.

Harbert Takes on Climate Issues – Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the Energy Institute, was on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show on Monday explaining why American consumers and businesses should be seriously concerned about the COP21 negotiations.  She outlined the consequences America will face if the Obama administration continues its push for an unrealistic and lopsided climate agreement, including:

  • How the Obama Administration is making promises it won’t be able to keep.
  • How a lopsided agreement would favor U.S. competitors and put America’s energy advantage at risk.
  • How some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, like China and India, get a free pass to emit as much as they want.
  • How the pledges countries have made will have no real impact on emissions.
  • How the Obama Administration will most likely commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions without advice or approval from Congress.

Chamber Launches Site to Monitor Talks – One way you can stay informed about how this conference is to visit the new Chamber  COP21 webpage to learn more about the conference, learn the Obama administrations’ plans, and get updates throughout the two-week meeting.   USCoC’s Steve Eule is headed to Paris and will be reporting.

Barrasso releases Senate Report – Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, released a new report entitled: Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015. The report outlines how President Obama plans to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. It also highlights how the president is undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris.

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

  • The president is forcing American taxpayers to pay for past economic success through his contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • The president and foreign nations in Paris plan to bypass Congress to reach a climate change deal, thus eliminating the voice of the American people who are opposed to his climate change policies.
  • The president is demonstrating failed leadership as he is making false promises to foreign countries about his capability to meet his greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • By undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris, the president is threatening jobs, industries and communities at home.  

11 Countries Still Haven’t Made Pledges – Only 11 countries, for varying reasons, have yet to submit their individual pledges for carbon emissions reductions at the international climate summit in Paris.

Nicaragua, which has a booming renewable energy sector, refused to submit a goal because the developed world needs to take “historic responsibility” and make deeper cuts than it has proposed so far.  Venezuela’s minister of eco-socialism, Guillermo Barreto, said his country is waiting to see what other countries promise before submitting a target.  Other countries that have not submitted goals include North Korea, which isn’t participating in the climate talks; Syria, which is gripped by civil war; Libya, which remains politically unstable; and Nepal, which usually plays a key role in climate negotiations but is recovering from this year’s devastating earthquake.  The other holdouts are Uzbekistan, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and East Timor, the only country of the 40 aided by the United Nations Development Program.

Bhutan is Biggest Pledge – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made the world’s most far-reaching climate promise to the Paris climate summit, according to the ‘carbon comparator’ tool developed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).  Almost three quarters of the mountainous nation is covered in forests, often watered by snowmelt rivers, and Bhutan has pledged to reforest its land even further. Last summer, it set a world record for the most trees planted in one hour – nearly 50,000.  The country is now an unparalleled carbon sink, absorbing three times more CO2 emissions than its 700,000 population produces, mostly through hydropower. A substantial portion of the country lacks access to the electricity grid, however.

Kerry Rolling Stone Interview – Some much for actually discussing music, Rolling Stone after featuring Al Gore, James Hansen and President Obama, have Now turned their praise to John  Kerry.  Kerry, in his infinite brilliance, says climate change is the fight of our times.   Here is the Jeff Goodell Interview.

UN Report Favors Renewables –A head-to-head U.N. Environment Program analysis comparing the environmental impacts of six power generation sources found that while no electricity fuel is benign, renewable resources such as wind and solar present a tiny fraction of the environmental downsides of coal and natural gas. The report found  that renewable energy produces only 5 to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions of comparably sized coal-fired power generation under a life-cycle scenario. Wind and solar fared similarly well against natural gas, producing only 8 to 10% of the greenhouse gases of comparable gas-fired power plants.  Other environmental damages — including impacts of water and mineral resources — were three to eight times lower for renewable energy resources than for fossil fuels based on a life-cycle evaluation, the analysis found. In addition to coal, natural gas, wind and solar, the analysis evaluated the impacts of hydropower and geothermal energy. It did not evaluate nuclear power.

Bill Gates Weighs in On Nuclear – One person was talking nuclear.  Following the big Breakthrough Coalition roll out, Bill Gates said nuclear power must be a part any clean energy future.  Gates joined with Nuclear for Climate, an initiative launched by members of the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS). It now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 140 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.  They outline a number of key principles on nuclear power and is role as part of the solution.  You can see those here.

Re-Write May include Public/Private Funding– With the Still divisions between developing and developed countries as wide as ever, the G77 and China have expressed specific concern that developed countries are trying to re-write the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change by aiming to include private as well as public money to pay for climate change costs (developing countries prefer government cash) and make better-off developing countries shoulder more of the burden.

Island Nations Demanding 1.5 C Limit – Negotiators from small island nations and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are pushing to include language in the agreement that lowers the current target for limiting the rise in global temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Media reports say tensions over the issue continue to boil over in closed-door meetings in the backroom negotiations.  here last night and

UN Climate Head Temp Demand Won’t Crash Deal – Given the realization already expressed by US and other leaders, delegates have been raising significant concerns whether it could threaten the outcome of the talks.  The buzz has caught the attention of UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres, who told reporters, “No, we do not think that that is going to block [a final deal]. Everyone here agrees that we do need to head for the deepest decarbonization pathways.”  She said there is room to negotiate a compromise on the issue, adding, “It is not a discussion about the temperatures. That is just a proxy. It is a discussion about the decarbonization of the economy.” Of course, the type of disagreement won’t collapse the talks because most countries are likely to agree to anything that will create a deal without any real intention of following through anyway, so it won’t matter if it is 2 or 1.5 C, it will be whatever it takes.

Report: Island Residents Will Relocate – Speaking of Island countries, a new first-of-its-kind survey by the U.N. University and the European Union says many residents of low-lying Pacific islands would consider moving if the impacts of climate change — like storms and rising seas — worsen, yet few have enough money to do so.  Respondents from more than 70% of households surveyed in Kiribati and Tuvalu and 35% of those in Nauru said they would be willing to move if climate change worsened. With average monthly earnings at $12 per capita, only 26% of the 6,852 people surveyed in the three nations believed they had enough savings to migrate.

Can’t Please Them All – Tuvalu’s prime minister and a top climate negotiator Enele Sosene Sopoaga was annoyed He wasn’t Invite to President Obama’s Island Meeting last week and he accused the President of trying to divide island nations at the climate change negotiations.  He also said that vulnerable countries should to stand firm in their push for recognition of the losses and damage faced by poor countries.

Cuts by Cities, Regions, Companies Alone Surpass Total Global Iron/Steel Sector – Global action in support of a new, universal climate change agreement that unlocks faster progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future for all was revealed today in a report by Yale University which underscores the speed, breadth and depth of growing alignment between government, cities, business and civil society.

The report by Yale’s Data Driven Environmental Solutions finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two UN-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector.  Released on the eve of the UN climate conference’s Action Day-COP21, the report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

Polls Show Low Concern Over Climate – Opinion polls taken in the run-up to the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris show battling climate change is not high on the agenda for many people around the world.  GlobeScan surveyed approximately 1,000 people in each of 20 countries and found majorities in only four – Canada, France, Spain, and the UK – would have their governments set ambitious targets at the Paris climate conference. GlobeScan found less than half of those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem in 2015, compared with 63 percent who did so in a similar GlobeScan survey taken just before an international climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2009, majorities in eight countries wanted strong climate action. The number of survey participants rating climate change as a very serious issue meriting strong action has increased in only four of the 20 countries polled, declining in the other 16 countries.  Closer to home, a November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters in the United States found only 3 percent listed “climate change” as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Six percent of registered Democrats surveyed listed global warming as their top concern, as did 1 percent of registered Republicans.

 

MORE RESOURCES

Special thanks to my long-time friend and former NYT science reporter Andy Revkin for his resource suggestions.  He is covering for NYT and Pace University at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?_r=0

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

Twitter: A recommended first stop, of course, is Twitter, through the hashtag #COP21. For important secondary issues, there’s #climatefinance and #climatejustice.

What’s Going On: For basic developments at the negotiations, there’s no better source than the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, with a name dating from when it was a hastily printed flyer in the early days of environmental treaty-making. It’s now an excellent online portal and has a very active Twitter feed, @IISDRSClimate Home is similar and similarly helpful.

Website On Paris: One of the most significant signs that this round of talks was different than in previous years came when Climate Nexus, a climate communication initiative set up in 2011 by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, launched a website on the talks called TheRoadThroughParis.org. It could as easily have been The Road to Paris, but in that subtle shift, made the important point that what is being created is a long-term process more than some grand outcome. The related Twitter feed is @ClimateNexus.  Even if you reject the policy prescriptions or science interpretations of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the director, Benny Peiser, is an energetic aggregator of climate coverage that you might otherwise miss. I tell my communication students at Pace University that it’s important to recognize the “filter bubble” we tend to create around ourselves and poke one’s head out on occasion.

NYT Portal on Paris: The Times news desk has also set up a portal for running coverage called “Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris.”
IN THE NEWS

USS Cole Commander to Ryan, McConnell:  Crude Exports are Risk – Given the Congressional budget discussions surrounding a possible crude exports deal, the former commander of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.  Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was bombed by al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Solar Report Shows Corporate Growth – Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183% among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59% growth in solar installations since just last year.  For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked #1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.  Other top companies recognized for both their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota.

UMich Study Questions CCS Economics – A new study from University of Michigan researchers  says there are serious flaws in a decade’s worth of studies about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate.  The U-M researchers have found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency.   The new analysis puts the cost of reducing carbon emissions with CCS-equipped coal plants higher than any previous study—and most importantly, higher than wind and comparable to solar power. It’s the first study to confront the so-called “energy loop” inherent in the CCS process.  Beyond a one-time “energy penalty” these plants pay because they have to burn more coal to power devices that capture carbon, the researchers say the disadvantage compounds until fuel costs leap to four times today’s accepted estimates. The paper on the findings, titled Reassessing the Efficiency Penalty from Carbon Capture in Coal-Fired Power Plants was published in Environmental Science and Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Pompeo Calls for Reg Moratorium – Following last week’s roll out of the Administration’s overburdensome regulatory agenda,  Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote Speaker Ryan urging him to consider an 18-month “pause” on Energy Department efficiency rulemaking into the omnibus spending bill.   In his letter, the Kansas Republican said that while the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, DOE’s efficiency rules were being rushed out with little recognition of the costs.  Pompeo praised amendments to the original fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill from his GOP colleagues that would defund DOE regulatory work on ceiling fans, incandescent lamps and residential furnaces. But he’s opted to go for everything on the whole menu.

Oil Jobs Taking a Hit – While the economy’s job number improved in November, the number of people employed in the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector fell by 2,400 in November to 184,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The November figure was 16,200 down from the 201,000 people who were employed in the sector a year earlier, when the industry began sharply ramping back spending on oil drilling as oil prices tumbled.  Employment levels in the coal extraction sector also continued to decline, slipping 1,300 in November to 64,900. Those workers had numbered 72,700 a year ago.  For years, while the economy struggled, the oil and gas sector carried the job number on its back, but with low global prices still struggling to rebound, the sector continues to lose jobs.

PSEG Exec to Head AGA Board – While assuming the 2016 Board Chairmanship of the  American Gas Association (AGA), PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said the US has an opportunity to create jobs and revitalize our economy through increased use of natural gas.  At an event at AGA headquarters in Washington, DC this morning, LaRossa shared his vision for investing in the next generation of the energy workforce.   “A diverse and motivated workforce is the key to continued success in the energy sector,” LaRossa said. “People who are dedicated and focused on delivering good quality service are going to serve the customers in the best way possible.”  LaRossa also discussed several priorities for making his vision a reality, including the continued improvement and efficiency of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, the recently introduced SAFE PIPES ACT, the significant role natural gas plays in spurring economic growth, and helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place to expand delivery of natural gas to more homes and businesses.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at GHG Rules – POWER magazine is hosting a one-day conference in Las Vegas today that will provide power generators and industry partners with access to the latest developments and insights concerning the legal aspects of compliance with environmental regulations.  The conference looks at existing power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations.  EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow and former Air Office head Bob Meyers are among the speakers.

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum tomorrow on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp, DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

House Science Panel to Look at Biotech – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on the future of biotechnology.  The hearing will look at solutions for energy, agriculture and manufacturing.  Witnesses will include Mary Maxon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steve Evans of Dow AgroSciences, Martin Dickman of Texas A&M’s  Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotech and several others.

Senate Commerce to Take on Climate – The Senate Commerce Committee Panel on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the debate over the magnitude of human impact on Earth’s climate. The hearing will focus on the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.  Witnesses will include John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, Princeton’s Will Happer, author Mark Steyn and Penn State’s David Titley, who serves are the director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

Heritage to Look at New Silk Road Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum on Wednesday looking at transportation and energy issues in the 21st Century in the traditional “Silk Road” region.  The area from the Baltic and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is more active than ever. In the area includes the Southern Gas Corridor, will significantly affect the political climate in Eurasia. The Gas Corridor is especially important in light of the complicated relationships between Russia and the European Union and Turkey.  The Heritage forum will focus on the future of The New Silk Road and new transportation projects such as the Port of Baku and the Kars-Tbilisi-Erzurum railroad. Our speakers will address the technical, political, economic, and security concerns related to each of the projects and routes as well as the infrastructure needs, potential pitfalls, and opportunity costs.  Keynote speakers will include State Department Energy official Amos Hochstein and Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidashell.

Group to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global Nexus Initiative will hold a briefing at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Wednesday at noon on the role of nuclear power in addressing climate change, expectations for the UNFCCC COP-21, and release of policy memo and recommendations.  Featured speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Ken Luongo, NEI’s Mary Pietrzyk and former Natsource exec Richard Rosenzweig.

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

NAPE Hits Denver – The National Assn of Petroleum Engineers (NAPE) will hold their annual conference and expo in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Business Conference will hear from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and will feature other  leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its Thursday Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

Senate Energy to Look at Terrorism, Oil – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine terrorism and the global oil markets.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Energy – The Howard Baker Forum, the United States-Japan Roundtable and the Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies will host a forum on Thursday addressing the US-Japanese challenges of energy security and climate change.   The event will focus on how the two strategic partners address challenges like  what role must nuclear power play and mitigating climate concerns.

Event Looks at Demand-Side Innovations – The George Washington University and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will host a forum on Thursday looking at demand-side innovations.  For many years, innovation policy has focused on the support of the supply side, looking at market and system failures that prevent those generating innovation from doing so effectively and efficiently enough. In recent years, however, demand side policies have had a revival in the innovation policy debate. However, their application is still contested, and the roll out of those measures does not keep pace with the rhetoric about them. University of Manchester Alliance Business School’s Jakob Edler will speak.  He is the director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research.  Edler will introduce the concept of demand side innovation policy, explain why and when they are justified and present and discuss a typology of instruments. It will then discuss the major challenges of demand side policy instruments which all too often are not known to or underestimated by policy makers. The lecture will highlight some of those challenges using the example of public procurement of innovation, and will close with an appeal to a radically new way of understanding and applying innovation policy.

CNAS Forum to Look at Climate Security, Mitgration – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for New American Security will host an event on climate security and migration. The event will explore questions of how the United States, in collaboration with foreign partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society, should tackle future climate migration. Climate-related issues are  become increasingly severe and manifest in issues such as migration that policy leaders will need to address in the near and mid-term. Potential mass migration events in the future will have global and local implications from governance, policy, technical, legal and financial perspectives, and may feature a climate or weather nexus in managing the causes and consequences of migration. The events over the summer and fall in Europe, albeit not due to climate change, were illustrative of the scale of the challenges involved for policymakers and security leaders. Climatic change will add another layer to the challenges the global community will face in addressing migration, including explicitly climate change-driven migration, in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, CNAS’s event looks to bring together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the ways in which members of the international community can partner together to address the impacts of climate change and migration.  Speakers will include Richard Fontaine, Lars Bo Møller, Sharon E. Burke, Daniel Chiu, Sherri Goodman, and more.

Carnegie Event to Look at Oil, Climate – On Friday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Bloomberg Intelligence are co-hosting an event to discuss the future of oil and climate change in the twenty-first century. This event will be held in conjunction with the COP21 climate conference. The event takes place in Salle 10 of the “Climate Generations” area at the COP21 facilities in Le Bourget.  Speakers include Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon and Bloomberg Intelligence’s Rob Barrett, as well as several others.

Forum to Look at DoD Climate Readiness – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon featuring Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health.  Sullivan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.  Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.
FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing next Monday at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday December 16th at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – Next Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Energy Update Week of June 9

Friends,

After gorgeous weekend of amusement parks (my final 5th-grade trip to Hershey Park) and lacrosse (Beach Lax in OC, MD), I start today with the disappointment in Elmont, NY where California Chrome fell short to Tonalist in the third leg of the Triple Crown.  It was sad to hear Chrome’s owner make comments following the race that made him seem like sore losers.  It really ruins what was a fairy tale story.  Good matches at the French Open as well where Maria Sharapova took the women’s title on Saturday and Rafa Nadal won his record 9th French title, outlasting Novak Djokovic in four sets. (Not quite the five-set classic in last year’s semi, but still great)  The win ties Nadal for second on the major wins list with Pete Sampras at 14, only three behind Roger Federer.

This week, we continue the NHL and NBA finals after the LA Kings won two come-from-behind victories over the Rangers and the Heat and Bracewell-client San Antonio Spurs split at one game apiece.  Hockey tonight and Wednesday from Broadway and hoops tomorrow and Thursday from South Beach.  As well, Thursday starts the 114th U.S. Open, golf’s second major.  Please get your GHG media questions in prior to Thursday mid-morning.  Finally, the FIFA World Cup starts Thursday as well in Brazil regardless of reports of traffic woes, unfinished stadiums and major concerns about costs.   The US is in Pool G or the “Pool of Death” with tough opponents Germany, Portugal and Ghana (who defeated the US in 2010) and starts play next Monday.

This week in DC will seem much slower after last week’s parade of issues led by Monday’s GHG roll out, the GM recall report and the CSB’s Macondo report both Thursday.  On the docket in Congress, there could be some focus this week on the FERC nominations of Cheryl LeFleur and Norman Bay.  While there have been many back and forth discussions, seems like Senate Leader Harry Reid is once again undercutting any potential progress (because those type of heavy handing tactics worked last time).  Tomorrow, Senate Environment look at Superfund and House Approps marks up energy/water funding.  On Wednesday, former HUD Sect and current OMB nominee Shaun Donovan heads to Senate HSGA and Budget Committees for his confirmation hearing, while House Transportation look at the new “waters of the US” rule. (Remember, my colleague Lowell Rothschild, 202-828-5817, is the best expert on the topic)

Two other good events this week include a Hill forum on offshore wind featuring Sen. Tom Carper on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. sponsored by the U of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind and a GHG EPA forum on Wednesday featuring our friends Mike Ball and Elizabeth Roberts.   More below.

Finally, in case you missed it (and you probably did), the White House snuck out a report late Friday linking public health and climate change despite their endangerment finding which says there is no link.  More below.  As well, my colleague Jeff Holmstead visited with Platts Energy Week’s Chris Newkumet for Sunday’s show.  Call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

White House Releases Public Health, Climate Link – Late Friday, the White House said climate change “threatens the health and well-being of Americans.  The report says climate change will increase ground-level ozone and particle pollution, which could worsen respiratory illnesses like asthma. It also makes the case that climate change will contribute to more extreme heat, increase instances of infectious disease, lead to higher pollen counts and raise the frequency of rainfall and flooding.

Sounds Familiar – We mentioned this last week, but interestingly, it was the White House itself that undercut this claim in its Endangerment Finding, which the whole regulatory edifice is built upon.  “To be clear, ambient concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases, whether at current levels or at projected ambient levels under scenarios of high emissions growth over time, do not cause direct adverse health effects such as respiratory or toxic effects. All public health risks and impacts described here as a result of elevated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases occur via climate change.”  That is Washington DC Political irony at its best.

Segal: Public Health/Climate Link is Uncertain – Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC), said the report purporting to link global warming to health effects is another attempt to defend its expensive carbon regulations for existing power plants.  That warming has adverse consequences is hardly controversial anymore; that the new EPA carbon rules will do anything to address those consequences is highly controversial.  The fact is that the new proposal will not address climate change in any meaningful way, and raising energy prices as the new EPA rules represents a serious threat to public health.  Segal added “unilateral US regulations will not reduce the threat of global warming, which is an international phenomenon.”  US carbon emissions have been stable or declined over the last decade. By contrast, Chinese emissions have increased over 170% while India’s emissions have increased over 90%. There is little evidence that our trade competitors will “follow our lead” on carbon regulation when the competitive advantage of their industries hang in the balance. Indeed, as manufacturing moves overseas in search of more optimal regulatory conditions, even more carbon will be released as less efficient factories churn out goods that must then be transported thousands of miles back to US customers. Our trading partners with measurably worse environmental records may be the real winners when the US goes it alone with unilateral carbon regulations.  For more, see the answers to Questions 4 and 5 of the ERCC report, as well as the recent report from American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

House Doctors Letter Predicted this Effort, Raised Concerns – Earlier this year, 11 House doctors already predicted the White House would attempt to make this link.  They wrote to the EPA Administrator in March 2014 asking her to take this significant health effects into account as she formulated the carbon rule.  So far, the Agency failed to do so.  The letter says by increasing energy costs, the proposed rule could actually make public health worse 1) by increasing the cost of medical care and treatment; and 2) by imposing real threats on human health by suppressing economic growth and the improved health it brings.

State Oil-Rail Report Raises Concerns about Deaths – In case you missed it on Friday as well, the State Department published a 300-page list of corrections to the Keystone Environmental Impact Statement.  On page one, State has used an updated incident analysis method to significantly increase its estimate of the human health impacts of failing to build the pipeline.   In the original EIS, State had estimated that failing to build Keystone would result in increased crude-by-rail traffic causing 6 more deaths and 49 more injuries annually.   State says the revised data results in an estimate of 28 additional fatalities and 189 injuries.  This may have effects outside of the Keystone debate, given the estimates of significantly more injuries and deaths from crude-by-rail v. pipelines.  The updated numbers appear to strengthen the case for approving Keystone (as well as other pipelines) by reinforcing the notion that rail is not as safe as carrying oil by pipeline.

WSJ Reid Influence Causing Rift at FERC – Today, our friend Amy Harder at the Wall Street Journal highlights the role Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been playing in shaping FERC to benefit his home state of Nevada.  Unfortunately, the efforts have undercut not only the agency, but also the process of finding a new member and potential Chair.  Already, Reid was publicly called out by Democratic Commissioner John Norris during the previous failed Ron Binz nomination.  Now a rift with current acting chair and Democratic-appointed Cheryl LeFleur is openly discussed in Harder’s article.  With a number of ongoing discussions regarding the current nominations of LeFleur and Norman Bay, one wonders how this one gets resolved.

UBS Report Questions PJM Action Process – UBS Securities just issued a report focused on issues related to rigging supply in the recent PJM capacity auction.  UBS identifies at least four companies that deliberately withheld capacity from the auction to create tighter supply and raise prices for all of their plants that did clear the auction.  UBS lists Exelon, NRG and Dynegy. They key takeaway is that all the incumbent generators in PJM benefit from what these companies did.  From UBS report: “But who wins? Mostly EXC, NRG and DYN, but whole sector should benefit Despite the lower MWs committed through the use of portfolio bidding, all four companies are among the biggest beneficiaries of the auction results. We suspect the entire sector will continue to benefit from the trade, however, more Eastern-oriented MAAC names could still be more muted in upside given the substantial announcement of new and converted gas-fired capacity.”

Former NYT Reporter Calls out PJM Auctions – Speaking of the topic, law professor David Cay Johnson, offers additional details of how incumbent generators in PJM like Exelon rigged the recent PJM capacity auction to rake in lots of profit for itself, at the expense of ratepayers across the whole PJM footprint.   Johnson only points to Exelon in the article, using them as the example/case study. He also argues that consumers end up paying the price for higher rates.  Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at The New York Times, teaches business, tax and property law of the ancient world at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the best-selling author of “Perfectly Legal“, “Free Lunch” and “The Fine Print” and editor of the new anthology “Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EEI Hold Annual Meeting – The Edison Electric Institute holds its annual convention this week in Las Vegas at the Aria Resort.  Main speakers include CIA Director Mike Morrell, Warren Buffet, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and former Defense Sect Bob Gates.

McCarthy, Jewell Address Western Govs –  The Western Governors Association meets today through Wednesday at the Broadmoor in in Colorado Springs.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks today while EPA Head Gina McCarthy addresses the group tomorrow.  Of course the GHG rule, fire issues, natgas drilling, resource management and land use will all be on the agenda.  By the way, dress code for meeting is western casual for all events (jeans or slacks, no coats or ties required for men).  How about that?  I wonder if Gina will be there in boots, western shirt and hat.

Brookings Forum to Focus on Natural Resource Transparency – Today at 4:00 p.m., the Development Assistance and Governance Initiative at Brookings, Natural Resource Governance Institute (formerly the Revenue Watch Institute), and Global Witness will co-host a discussion on international developments in natural resource transparency. The discussion will consider how transparency of payments to governments can improve the governance of natural resource wealth and combat corruption, and the business case for consistent disclosure across jurisdictions. Senator Ben Cardin will deliver a keynote address. A panel discussion will follow, including Stephen Comstock, Director, Tax & Accounting Policy, American Petroleum Institute; Michelle Kosmidis, European Commission and EU Fellow at the Fletcher School; Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Research and Policy, Calvert Investments, Inc.; Simon Taylor, Founding Director, Global Witness; and Nigerian anti-corruption campaigner Dotun Oloko. Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and Natural Resource Governance Institute President Daniel Kaufmann will moderate the discussion.

Forbes Exec to Keynote Energy Capital Conference – The 7th annual Energy Capital Conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Omni Houston Hotel.  The event addresses effective strategies for oil and gas executives interested in expanding their knowledge of how to successfully access and deploy capital.  The keynote speaker will be entrepreneur-turned-publisher, columnist, television commentator, private investor and board director, Rich Karlgaard.  Karlgaard has a unique vantage point on the trends driving the business and investment climates. His insights help audiences see the global marketplace with new eyes.

House Approps Panel to Mark Up Funding Bill – Tomorrow morning, the House Appropriations Committee’s panel on Energy and Water Development will meet to mark up the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.  The committee released its draft $34 billion this morning.  The bill is $50 million less than the fiscal 2014 enacted level but $327 million above the president’s fiscal 2015 request, according to our friends at POLITICO.

USEA to Look at Role of CCS, Offshore Storage – Following its previous event on the USGS’s assessment of carbon storage potential, the U.S. Energy Association will hold a second forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  The presentation will provide a high-level perspective on the role of CCS in a variety of energy chains that are critical for future global energy markets. In addition to typical coal-fired electric utilities, topics covered include heavy oil refining, LNG, hydrogen, enhanced oil recovery, and (un)conventional gas. The second part of the presentation will cover subsurface storage and monitoring technologies, with an emphasis on the importance of developing offshore geologic storage for successful national and international deployment of CCS.  Tip Meckel, Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin will speak.

Forum to Look at Environment in 21st Century – Center for International Environmental Law will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon to Look at environmental issues in the 21st Century.  Dan Magraw will discuss how the Magna Carta, which turns 800 in 2015, has become an iconic symbol of liberty and rule of law even though it is essentially a myth.  He will also discuss contemporary issues in law and human rights as they relate to that myth, including the contradiction between Magna Carta’s promise that no one is above the law and current US sovereign immunity law that protects various levels of government from being sued. Finally, he will speak about Magna Carta’s lesser known offspring, the 1217 Carta de Foresta — the Charter of the Forest — one of the world’s first environmental laws.  Dan Magraw is a Professorial Lecturer and Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Forum to Focus on Grid Resilience, Gas-Electric Coordination – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in 210 Cannon about the key challenges and opportunities facing electric transmission infrastructure development. In light of Super Storm Sandy, the attack on the Metcalf Substation in California, and growing cyber threats to the grid, transmission owners, planners, and operators are devising new approaches to ensure high levels of reliability and grid security.  Second, the magnitude of the current need to ensure efficient power markets and access to diverse energy resources makes development of robust transmission infrastructure a national priority. The shale gas revolution provides an additional reason to strategically plan the expansion and modernization of the grid while addressing pipeline constraints and access to renewable resources.  Finally, these developments are being dealt with in a more competitive bulk power environment, including competition to own, build, and construct important new transmission facilities. New entities and joint ventures are emerging to augment the historical role of incumbent load-serving entities with respect to strengthening the grid regionally and inter-regionally.  Speakers will include NERC’s Charles Berardesco and FERC’s Director of the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security Joe McClelland, among others.

CSIS Crude Export Forum to Feature Yergin, Book – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)will hold a forum and release a new IHS report tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in the impacts of lifting the crude oil ban.  Over the last 5 years, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production, especially light, tight oil from unconventional plays, has caused U.S. imports of foreign oil to plummet.  As domestic production continues to grow, however, there is a growing concern about a possible mismatch between the U.S. refining capability and the lighter quality characteristics of these unconventional plays. This has led to a revisiting of the U.S. policy which prohibits export of crude oil (with some exceptions). As the export debate sharpens, a number of studies have been commissioned to explore the implications of retaining, relaxing, or removing the existing barriers to crude oil exports. CSIS convened a session exploring the infrastructure and regulatory barriers to exports and an additional session on the crude oil export issue specifically.  The session will feature recent analysis completed by IHS Global, assessing the impact of the export ban and free trade on the U.S. economy.  Presenting the findings of the IHS analysis will be Dr. Daniel Yergin and Kurt Barrow. Following the presentation, Frank Verrastro and Kevin Book will provide commentary on the report and discuss the policy implications of the export decision. The session will conclude with a Q/A session. Guy Caruso will moderate the discussion.

Senate Committees to Hear OMB Nominee – The Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Budget Committee will hold hearings on Wednesday to discuss new Office of Management and Budget Nominee Shaun Donovan.  Donovan is replacing Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was just sent over the Health and Human Services.  Senate HSGA at 10:00 a.m. and Senate Budget at 2:00 p.m.

House Transportation Panel to Look at “Waters” Rule – A House Transportation panel will hold a hearing  Wednesday on the new “waters of the US” rule, which is aimed at increasing the number of streams and wetlands that currently receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act.  Witnesses will include  Deputy EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe, Assistant Secretary of the Army for civil works Jo-Ellen Darcy; Oklahoma Water Resources Board director J.D. Strong, Mark Pifher of Colorado Springs Water Utilities, ; Riverside County, CA Flood Control & Water Conservation District chief engineer Dusty Williams, Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman and National Association of Home Builders board chair Kevin Kelly.

House Foreign Affairs to Discuss Energy in Middle East, North Africa — The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. assessing energy priorities in the Middle East and North Africa.  Amos J. Hochstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy in State’s Bureau of Energy Resources will testify.

CSIS Panel to Discuss Energy with Past Administration Experts – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the evolution of the nation’s energy policy, particularly as it relates to the new energy reality and the reconciling of economic, energy security, foreign policy and environmental objectives.   The event will feature a great panel of experts – each with unique and insightful perspectives – as we put some of the key issues of the day in context, review where we’ve come from, and suggest constructive pathways forward. We have specifically designed this event as a participatory roundtable and look forward to an engaging and instructive conversation.  Panelists include former Senate Energy Committee Chair Bennett Johnston, former FERC Chair Charles Curtis, former Bush 41 Deputy Energy Secretary Linda Stuntz, former Bush 43 Energy official Kevin Kolevar, former Obama energy/climate Advisor Heather Zichal, for Obama NEC advisor Joe Aldy and former Senate Energy staffer and Romney Energy advisor Rebecca Rosen.

Argus Media Staff to Discuss GHG Rule – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., Argus will hold a webinar on EPA’s new GHG rule.  Discussion will look at prospects for increased emissions and REC trading, expected impacts on coal-fired power use, the likelihood of expanded renewable and energy efficiency standards in some states, which states will find it hardest to meet compliance and impacts on other industries.  Our friends Mike Ball and Elizabeth Fox will speak.

DOE to Address Solar Mapping – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. focused on solar resources and their technical potential.  As part of Solar Technical Assistance Team’s Do-It-Yourself Solar Market Analysis summer series, this webinar will explain how to make your own location-specific solar resource maps from information such as real-time irradiance and meteorological data. Attendees will also learn how to effectively determine the technical, economic, and market potential in your locality using tools such as MapSearch and RE Atlas.

RFF to Host Climate Book Launch – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. , Resources for the Future will host an evening with Yoram Bauman, Author of “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.  The event will be the Washington, DC, book release of Yoram Bauman’s The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, published by Island Press.  Using information from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Yoram Bauman, “the world’s first and only stand-up economist,” will provide a unique and entertaining overview of climate science, predictions, and policy. He’ll cover everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes and will break down complex science and economics with accessible comparisons—-not to mention some good jokes—-to convey a practical understanding of climate change.

WAPA to Hold Chrysler Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA)and Chrysler will host a ride and drive Thursday to drive the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 at River Farm. Simple elegance, an exhilarating driving experience, state-of-the-art technology and beautifully crafted, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 charts a new course for mid-size sedan customers who have earned a little luxury in their life, but demand value for their money.  The Chrysler 200 team will share key information on the Chrysler 200 and answer questions.

UDel Offshore Wind Forum to Look at Europe Example – The University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind will host a briefing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at the Capitol Visitor Center SVC 215 on offshore wind looking specifically at lessons learned from Europe that reduce costs and create jobs.  Enough offshore wind capacity to power six million homes—6.5 gigawatts—has been installed in Europe. Most of that capacity has been installed over the past decade. The forum will look at what Europe has learned that is applicable to a U.S. effort to deploy offshore wind off its coasts. Specifically addressing cost reduction and job creation, this congressional briefing includes panelists who will share the primary lessons learned to date, and what those lessons mean for another country looking to develop offshore wind and build an industry. U.S. stakeholders will speak to what these lessons mean for the U.S.  Sen. Tom Carper will speak as well execs from Alstom Power, MD Energy Administration head Abby Hopper and several others.  Our friend Stephanie McClellan will moderate the panel.

Sens. to Address NatGas in Caucus Lunch – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host U.S. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Barrasso at the Natural Gas Roundtable and Senate Natural Gas Caucus Luncheon on Thursday at Noon in 902 Hart.  Sen Energy Chair Mary Landrieu and Saxby Chambliss will also speak.  They formed the bipartisan Senate Natural Gas Caucus in 2009 to better understand the role of natural gas in producing clean, affordable and secure American energy and to raise awareness of the benefits of natural gas.

USEA Hosts Annual EE Forum – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., USEA holds its 25th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum at the National Press Club.  Many observers believe energy efficiency is at a tipping point. Most states have energy efficiency standards and many utilities include energy efficiency and demand response in their integrated resource management plans. At the same time, the cost to deploy new renewable and distributed energy sources may soon reach parity with the cost to develop central station power plants. Utilities are facing reduced base load energy demand, intermittent supplies of renewable power, and difficulty recovering costs for an increasingly expensive modern grid. These challenges may trip up some traditional market players, and they raise serious questions about the future of our century-old electrical grid. Consumers, regulators, technology suppliers and utilities are all seeking ways to make a smooth transition to a more efficient, resilient and distributed electrical power system while assuring reliable power at competitive prices. Come hear about the issues from the movers and shakers as they debate the role of energy efficiency in future energy systems.

Brookings to Discuss Japanese Energy – On Thursday, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host an event looking at the future of Japanese energy policy. Toshikazu Okuya, director for the Energy Supply and Demand Policy Office at METI will present the Fourth Strategic Energy Plan of Japan. After his remarks, Mr. Okuya will join Scott Campbell, managing director at Baker Donelson and director of the Howard Baker Forum, which convenes the U.S.-Japan Roundtable; ESI Director Charles Ebinger; Isaac Edwards, senior counsel at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and Adam Sieminski, administrator for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, for a panel discussion on Japan’s energy outlook. Mireya Solis, senior fellow with the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Philip Knight chair in Japan studies, will moderate.

House Resource to Address American Energy Jobs – On Thursday, the House Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “American energy jobs looking at opportunities for innovation. Witnesses will include Cary Ralston of Alliant Techsystems and Matthew Stepp, director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, among others.

RFF Panel in SF to Discuss Public Attitudes About Climate – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in San Francisco at the Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero Center to discuss a survey of US public attitudes about climate change and clean energy.   Despite the fact that the nation’s leaders continue to debate the existence of global warming, the American public appears to be nearly united on the topic, and has been for quite some time. According to a survey conducted by RFF, Stanford University, and USA Today, 73% of Americans say that the world’s temperature has been going up over the past 100 years.   Survey co-author Jon Krosnick of Stanford will present additional results from the survey and provide an in-depth discussion on what they could mean for climate and clean energy policy in the United States with RFF President and former Congressman Phil Sharp.

FUTURE EVENTS

EIA Head to Keynote International Energy Conference in NYC – Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration will address the international implications of the U.S. energy renaissance at the 37th annual International Association for Energy Economics conference at the New Yorker Hotel in the big apple on June 16th.  The conference goes through June 18 and also features thought leaders across business, government and academia including representatives from Statoil, National Renewable Energy Labs, IMF, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, UC Davis, Baker Hughes, Citi Research, SunEdison and many more. See the Detailed conference schedule here.

Energy to Hold Hydrogen, Fuel Cells Program Merit Review – Next week, the U.S. Department of Energy holds its 2014 Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meetings (AMR) for the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and the Vehicle Technologies Office at the Marriott Wardman Park

Forum to Look at Renewable NatGas Use – Next Tuesday, June 17th, the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition and Energy Vision will hold an all-day forum discussing extracting value and vehicle fuel from waste using natural gas.

ELI Forum to Discuss US GHG Efforts, Paris Next Tuesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will hold a discussion that will look at likely greenhouse gas reduction efforts for the United States to propose at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit. The expert panel will identify where the United States is in progress towards our current target and how that target might be adjusted in the lead up to the 2015 Paris negotiations. Our panel will also examine the process by which the EU reached its target and ask whether it might be illustrative for the White House and Congress.  Panelists will include former EPA official Bob Sussman, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, UN Environment Program’s Hilary French, Ned Helme of the Center for Clean Air Policy and WRI’s David Waskow.

Holmstead, Tierney to Address GHG Rule at BPC Forum – On Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the new EPA rule on GHGs for existing power plants.  The panel, hosted by our friend and WSJ reporter Amy Harder, will feature my colleague Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator for Air at EPA, and Sue Tierney, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOE.

ACORE to Look at Middle Market Renewables – ACORE will hold a teleconference on Wednesday, June 18th  at Noon to discuss investor plans to take advantage of such rapid growth in the renewable energy middle market growth sector.   The renewable energy market is intensifying in 2014 with much of the project development expected in the $10-$100 million middle market range. Investors recognizing the attractive risk and return profile of renewables in this asset class are increasingly deploying infrastructure capital. The webinar will focus not only on percentage returns but will critically detail the fine print; the terms and conditions these investors tie to their capital for renewable projects. The presentation will include recent equity, tax equity and debt pricing and will further describe how all these types of capital are successfully deployed.

House Resources to Look at American Energy Jobs On Wednesday, June 18th  at 2:00 p.m., the House Resources Committee’s panel on energy will convene an oversight hearing focused on opportunities for states and localities in creating energy jobs.  America’s surge in energy production is fueling an employment boom that’s creating much-needed economic growth in states and local communities. In the past decade, 30 states have experienced a 50 percent surge in jobs indirectly relating to oil and natural gas production and it’s estimated that by 2035 unconventional oil and natural gas production will bring in $2.5 trillion in combined state and federal revenue. For example, revenues from North Dakota’s oil and natural gas production gave the state a $1.6 billion budget surplus in 2012.

SEJ to Host Shale Reporting Seminar – The Society of Environmental Journalists in partnership with Carnegie Mellon will host a shale reporting education seminar at CMU June 22-24th.  The goal of the whole event is to provide a focused group of journalists who cover shale issues with the latest/balanced info. on shale issues.  On Monday, the conference will here from academics, environmental advocates and industrial folks to discuss the many details of the current Shale boom.  The following day they will head out on a rig tour of drilling, production and compressing sites.  See more here.

FERC Commissioners to Address Regional Regulators Conference – The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) will hold its 19th  Annual Education Conference on June 22nd through 25th at the Hotel Hershey.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners John Norris and Phil Moeller, as well as NARUC head Colette Honorable, New Jersey Natural Gas CEO Laurence Downes, Bill Colton of ExxonMobil, Walter Lynch of American Water and Exelon Utilities CEO Denis O’Brien.

Summit to Target Crude By Rail Issues – American Business Conferences will hold a Crude By Rail summit on June 24-25 in Houston to focus specifically on how each stakeholder can cost effectively optimize safety in their operations to restore confidence and promote reliability.  As the only crude by rail event specifically focused on optimizing safety, the Crude By Rail Safety Initiative 2014 host speakers from every key stakeholder group, including regulators, shippers, railroad operators, transloaders and refiners to quantify the cost-impacts of improving the safety of crude by rail operations.  Expert speakers will breakdown railroad strategies for improving safety and shipper strategies for crude testing, classification and transloading, provide a cost-analysis of railcar upgrades, clarify how the emerging regulatory landscape will impact each stakeholder and examine best practice emergency response and hazmat training.

July 4th Holiday

NARUC Summer Meetings Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Summer Committee Meetings, one of three conferences NARUC holds each year, will take place at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, from July 13-16. The meeting will feature discussions on the top regulatory challenges across all utility sectors—water, electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications. Panels will tackle the latest developments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark greenhouse gas-emissions proposals, Liquefied Natural Gas exports, Internet neutrality and the transition from traditional telephone service to IP-based networks.  Featured speakers include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur, FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, Federal Communications Commission Member Mignon Clyburn, Environmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, Duke Energy President, CEO Lynn Good, Luminant CEO Mark McFarland, and many more.

Energy Update Week of March 24

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations:

Tomorrow

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

Wednesday

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

 

Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update Week of March 17

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Update Week of March 10

Friends,

I hope you all managed to get your clocks adjusted to “Spring Forward.”  While there are many theories about Daylight Savings Time’s origin from Ben Franklin to New Zealand,  the first approach to moving our clocks was mainly credited in 1905 to British inventor William Willett (FUN FACT: Willett was the great-great grandfather of Coldplay singer and Gwyneth Paltrow-husband Chris Martin).  Willett came up with the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings.   Willett’s plan caught the attention of Member of Parliament Robert Pearce who introduced the first legislation in Britain’s House of Commons in 1908. The modern-day changeover, started in 1974 to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo, used to occur later in the Spring and sooner in Fall from 1987 to 2007.  In 2007, it was altered by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, championed in the debate by now Chair Fred Upton and current Sen. Ed Markey claiming it would save “the equivalent of” 10,000 barrels of oil per day.  The Upton-Markey proposal, which were received with some skepticism (especially in Indiana where they never changed clocks until 2006), extended the period by about one month, moving DST to the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.  Now only Arizona and Hawaii do not change their clocks.

South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin hits high speed this week after launching this past weekend.  While originally known as a small, quirky music festival, it has grown into a music, movie, comedy, environmental, political, technology and business behemoth.   SXSW this week hosts a conversation with NSA leaker Edward Snowden today, a speech from HBO star and Saturday’s SNL host Lena Dunham and many panels on technology innovations.  The broad array of music acts, SXSW’s specialty, include Soundgarden (on the 20th anniversary of its breakout Superunknown album), G-Love, 50-Cent, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga, Blondie, Willie Nelson, Green Day, The Whigs, Foster the People, punk  veterans “X” and many, many more.

Finally, get your hoops picks lined up because Next Monday in the update, we’ll be making some suggestions for your Final Four.  And after their Ivy League conference win over the weekend, maybe you’ll pick Harvard.  And don’t sleep on the Frozen Four which is slated for Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on April 11/12, with the tournament brackets being selected on March 23.

Congress gets back into action again this week before the Spring work period starts next week.  House Science addresses CCS technologies on Wednesday with our friends from Alstom and others testifying.  Senate Foreign Relations hosts former Administration official James Jones, activist James Hansen, Chamber Energy official Karen Harbert and Sierra’s Michael Brune at a hearing on Keystone pipeline Thursday and OMB Regulatory Czar Howard Shelanski heads to Senate Homeland Security to discuss reg reform tomorrow.  As well, with the President’s Budget finally submitted, the parade of officials headed to Capitol Hill will begin Friday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Tonight, Senate Democrats interested in pushing more aggressive climate policy will hold an overnighter to address climate change and its importance.   While stunts and gimmicks, like this continue to gather some attention, they continue to fail to bridge key policy/political divides in the debate…most notably many of the Democrats that continue have significant concerns about stronger climate regulations.

As well, with many questions bouncing about over new tax proposals from House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp and a potential mark up from new Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, our excellent tax experts are following the issue closely and could be a helpful resource for those of you interested in it.

Finally, on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. our friends at Politico will host a POLITICO Pro Energy Happy Hour featuring specialty canned beers, appetizers and conversations about the energy policy news of the day.  The event is presented by AHRI, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Segal Highlights Polar Vortex, Power Plant Concerns in Video – Scott Segal, head of Bracewell & Giuliani’s DC-based Policy Resolution Group, and executive director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) says the “Polar Vortex” of 2014 was almost a morality play about what happens when we have an unexpected, significant spike in energy demand. In a video interview, Segal discusses the impact of low-cost shale gas resources on energy supply and demand, the key role that coal-fired facilities played in electric generation during the severe cold spells this winter, and the lessons policymakers and industry should learn from the Polar Vortex of 2014.

NARUC Hits 125 Years – Congrats to our friends at NARUC, who last week hit its 125th anniversary as a trade groups representing utility commissioners.  In its original incarnation, NARUC was called the National Association of Railway Commissioners, reflecting its focus on the inter- and intrastate regulation of the freight railroad industry. Over time, as the railroad industry deregulated, the focus of the Association shifted to the essential utility systems of today.  For 125 years, NARUC has brought State regulators all across the country together to share best practices and learn from each other. The utility sector has undergone tremendous change since 1889. NARUC President Collette Honorable said “NARUC brings all of us together—federal and State policymakers, consumer advocates, industry stakeholders, academics, environmental groups, and the list goes on. We understand how decisions in one State impact its neighbors, just as we understand how federal laws, court decisions, and regulations affect our important work at home. But make no mistake—we are all on the same stage. We may have different roles to play, but we all have the public interest in our sights.”

Kerry Orders Ambassadors to Focus on Climate – In his first policy directive at State, John Kerry has ordered his fleet of Ambassadors and the agency’s 50,000 employees globally to make the climate issue a “top tier” diplomatic priority.  The document encourages the United States to “lead by example” by attacking climate change domestically; to work more closely with other countries both in bilateral and multilateral partnerships, and to help mobilize “billions of dollars” to enable low-carbon energy development worldwide.  Kerry has been heavily criticized by a number of foreign policy experts and politicos for his placement of climate change above more pressing issues like the Ukraine, Syria and security at our consulates based of the recent attacks in Benghazi.

Pentagon Focuses On Climate in QDR – Apparently, climate is not just news at State, the Pentagon has also called climate change is a “threat multiplier” and a critical component of future defense strategy in its Quadrennial Defense Review 2014.  The Pentagon is developing strategies to address climate threats through operational provisions, including expanded investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency to improve climate resilience. The report notes that climate change may undermine the ability of the military’s domestic installations to support training activities, as well as increase the frequency and difficulty of future missions.

House Moves Legislation to Limit GHG Rules – The House voted 229-183 to pass H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, a bill which would prevent EPA from limiting carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants. The bill also directs EPA to set an effective date for upcoming regulations on carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  No word on when the Senate will move the bill, sponsored by WV Sen. Joe Manchin.  The White House has issued a veto threat against the bill.

EDF Study Shows Methane Emissions Could Be Lower – EDF and ICF International released a report saying the oil and gas industry could cut methane emissions by 40% below 2018 projections. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), and emissions are expected to increase 4.5% between 2011 and 2018, primarily due to the venting of co-produced gas in favor of collecting the more valuable oil. A dozen emission reduction strategies are listed in the report, including using lower-emitting valves and improved leak detection repairs. The cheapest methods, according to the report, could save the industry over $164 million a year, and overall, would cost $0.66 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas produced.

Article Focuses On Canada CCS Project – A good article in New Scientist focuses on Canada’s Boundary Dam power plant in Saskatchewan.  Later this year, it will be the first commercial plant first CCS project built on a commercial-scale power station. It is not a new process as several projects to capture and store carbon are already up and running in 12 industrial installations like fertilizer factories and natural gas processing plants. Also, for some time the oil and gas industry has been injecting flue gas into old oil and gas seams to push out the last drops of fuel. But power stations are yet to emerge and are the largest source of greenhouse gases.  In additional to Boundary Dam (Canada’s largest Coal plant), the Kemper County power station in Mississippi will become the second CCS power station. It is a coal gasification plant, testing the technology on a different energy source.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Meetings Start in Bonn – In preparation for important Paris negotiations in November 2015, mid-year climate talks launch this week in Bonn to work on preparations for a major new climate change agreement. Negotiators are hoping to have most of a draft agreement ready to go for December’s UN meeting set for Peru.

McCarthy to Address Cities Conference – The National League of Cities holds its 2014 Congressional City Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel today and tomorrow.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will address the crowd this afternoon.

RFF to Look at Stanford Public Climate Polling – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., RFF and Stanford will present additional results from the survey and provide an in-depth discussion on what this could mean for climate policy in the United States. This event will not only offer information on American’s views as a whole but, equally important, it will also explain how these issues are viewed on a state-by-state basis. Read more about the poll here.  A recent poll by Resources for the Future (RFF), Stanford University, and USA Today reveals American’s attitudes on climate change and issues such as clean energy, power plant emissions, and energy subsidies, to name a few. Some of the survey results were previously released by USA Today regarding climate change and the Keystone pipeline. Jon Krosnick, RFF University Fellow and Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences at Stanford University will join RFF President Phil Sharp to discuss the study.

Forum to Feature TVA Case Book on Snail Darter, Dam – American Rivers and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon on a new book, The Snail Darter & the Dam, by TVA v. Hill plaintiff and law professor Zygmunt Plater.  Plater will offer a recounting of the history and characters behind the case and how environmental law was made.  The case is one of the seminal cases in federal environmental law.  The Supreme Court enjoined completion of the almost-finished Tellico Dam under the Endangered Species Act because of impacts to the snail darter, an endangered fish. The case brought national attention, caused the Endangered Species Act to be revised, resulted in the formation of the “God Squad” of cabinet-level officials to review similar cases, and ultimately resulted in President Carter yielding to pork-barrel pressure, signing an appropriations rider waiving the law and mandating completion of the dam.

Forum to Look at Population, Climate Adaption – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. with Monica Das Gupta and Kathleen Mogelgaard as they explore these co-benefits and strategies to integrate them into climate change responses.  Often lacking from high-level discussions on climate change adaptation and mitigation is the inevitable role that rapid population growth plays in exacerbating vulnerability in developing countries. As Monica Das Gupta noted in her recent report, Population, Poverty, and Climate Change, “it is estimated that the effect of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per capita in developed countries between 2000 and 2050 would be entirely offset by the increase in emissions attributable to expected population growth in poorer countries over this period.” As communities grapple with the effects of climate change, there is a growing movement pointing to the multiple co-benefits that could emerge from policy interventions targeted at reducing fertility through voluntary access to family planning.

NJ to Host Global Nuclear Security SummitNational Journal will hold a summit on Wednesday to look at the future of global nuclear security at the Newseum.  National Journal’s James Kitfield will moderate panels that will  Norwegian Ambassador Kåre Aas, Netherlands Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Renée Jones-Bos, Harvard University’s Matthew Bunn, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, former House member Jane Harman and former Sen. Sam Nunn.  White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control at the National Security Council Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall will keynote the summit.  The 2014 Summit is being held at a time of both progress and peril in the international effort to secure the materials that could be used to build a nuclear bomb. Since 2012, seven countries have removed all or most of these dangerous materials from their territories, bringing the number of countries now storing weapons-usable materials down to 25, according to a new report out by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Despite this progress, there is much work to be done. Terrorist organizations continue to seek weapons of mass destruction, materials are still stored at hundreds of sites with varying levels of security, and the International Atomic Energy Agency each year receives reports of more than a hundred incidents of theft and other unauthorized active involving nuclear and radiological material.

Forum to Look at China Renewables – Wilson will also hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the rapid development of wind and solar energy in China.  While development of renewables has happened, it has occurred within the context of an even larger trend: China’s enormous build-out of new coal-fired power plants over the past decade. Current trends indicate that by 2030, roughly two-thirds of China’s power will still come from fossil fuels, mainly coal.  Significantly reducing China’s emissions of greenhouse gas and other pollutants will therefore require carbon capture at coal- and gas-fired power plants, in conjunction with the development of advanced nuclear and renewable generation. Speakers on this panel will discuss successful and emerging “biz-to-biz” and U.S.-China bilateral partnerships to develop cleaner energy technologies in China. The discussion will highlight some drivers and obstacles to clean energy innovation in China’s economy.

House Science to Look at CCS – The House Committee on Science and its Environment panel will hold a joint hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the science of capture and storage and its relation to understanding EPA’s carbon rules.  EPA’s Janet McCabe will testify as well as Bob Hilton of Alstom Power, EPRI’s Robert Trautz, Springfield Missouri City Utilities GM/CEO Scott Miller (on behalf of American Public Power Association) and NRDC’s David Hawkins.

Forum to Look at Brazil’s Nuclear Policy – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a lunch on Wednesday at Noon focused on understanding Brazil’s nuclear policy.  For a country whose importance in the global nuclear order is of potentially great significance, remarkably little is understood about the domestic drivers behind Brazil’s nuclear policy decision making. Brazil is moving toward industrializing a full nuclear fuel cycle. It operates nuclear power plants and plans to build more. It is the only non-nuclear-weapon state to work on a nuclear-powered submarine. And it does not shy away from being a confident voice on the matters of global nuclear politics.  Based on numerous conversations over two years with Brazilian policy experts, academics, former and current officials, and representatives of the nuclear industry, Togzhan Kassenova will reflect on how Brazilians think about and explain their country’s nuclear policy. The discussion will mark the release of Kassenova’s new report Brazil’s Nuclear Kaleidoscope: An Evolving Identity. Copies of the report will be available. George Perkovich will moderate.

House Approps Subpanel to Look at Installations, Environment Budget – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in 2359 Rayburn discussing the budget for the Department of Defense’s Installations, Environment, Energy and BRAC.  Witnesses will be Installations and Environment heads at the four branches: John Conger of DoD, Dennis McGinn at Navy, Katherine Hammack of Army and Kathleen Ferguson of the Air Force.

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

CRS Tax Expert to Discuss Renewables – ACORE, the Global America Business Institute, and the Korea Institute of Energy Research will hold a lunch discussion on Thursday featuring a presentation by Phillip Brown, Specialist in Energy Policy at the Congressional Research Service that will look at Federal renewable electricity deployment incentives.  In support of the U.S. Congress, Mr. Brown provides objective and fact-based research and analysis of existing and proposed federal energy policies. Mr. Brown’s current portfolio of work is focused on U.S. crude oil exports, clean energy policies, renewable electric power, and financial mechanisms that may be used to incentivize renewable electricity project development. Mr. Brown also actively monitors world energy markets in order to provide congressional clients with a global perspective on the effectiveness of various clean energy policy mechanisms.

EPA to Look at Green Power Procurement – The EPA’s Green Power Partnership will host a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. focused on long-term green power procurements from wind projects.  In today’s green power market, many forward-thinking organizations are looking to long-term procurements from wind power projects to meet their renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. This webinar will examine various procurement options, the steps involved in making a long-term commitment, challenges, and other considerations. We’ll also hear from Renewable Choice Energy, a renewable energy provider, on what’s involved in making long-term procurements a reality.  Speakers will include EPA’s Blaine Collison, Sprint’s Amy Hargroves, Erin Decker of Salesforce.com and Quayle Hodek of Renewable Choice Energy.

SoCo Expert to Speak at Forum on Transmission in SE Region – The Energy Future Coalition will be hosting a webinar for its Americans for a Clean Energy Grid initiative, on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The webinar topic will be Transmission in the Southeast. The event will feature John Lucas, GM of Transmission Policy and Services, Southern Company; and Frank Rambo, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. The driver behind the webinars is to follow-up/update to our in-person Regional Transmission Summits that we’ve been hosting around the country for the last few years, and the content of them will be discussion of hot-button transmission issues in the region, whether that be landowner compensation, siting, cost allocation, planning, or many other ones.

Brookings to Discuss Japan Electricity Sector – On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion on the restructuring of the electricity sector in Japan and compare it to the experience of deregulation in the United States. Panelists will discuss how increasing oil and gas costs affect competition in various markets and the degree to which proposed reforms in Japan are contingent on domestic nuclear policy. The panelists will closely consider circumstances that are unique to Japan’s electricity sector in this discussion.   Senior Fellow and Director of ESI, Charles Ebinger, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.  Panelists will include Yoshiharu Tachibana of the University of Tokyo, Michael Chesser of the Energy Security Initiative, CSIS’s Jane Nakano, and Harvard expert William Hogan.

Energy Forum Continues – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Embassy of Canada, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) will host its second event in the ongoing series “The Future of Energy.”  Please join us for an in-depth discussion of Canadian federal and provincial level energy and climate change policy and the U.S.-Canada relationship that underpins these vital issues.  Sheila Reirdon, Minister of Political Affairs at the Embassy, as well as a panel of provincial representatives from the provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec will speak.

Finley to Present BP Outlook at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Mark Finley, General Manager for Global Energy Markets and U.S. Economics at BP, on Friday at 9:30 a.m. to present BP’s Energy Outlook 2035. The outlook, seeking to describe the ‘most likely’ trajectory of the world’s energy system, contributes to the wider debate on global energy issues by addressing key questions such as: What will the world’s energy mix look like in 2035? Where is the growth in demand and supply going to come from? How and at what pace will renewables continue to grow? What are the implications for transport? Mr. Finley will review and discuss the projections as well as examine some of the key assumptions behind the data. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Vilsack to testify on Ag Budget – The US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will begin the annual Administration parade to Congress to testify Friday on the USDA budget in front of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

Brookings to Discuss Japan Nuclear Policy – On Friday at 1:30 p.m., the Brookings Institution, the Stanley Foundation and the Center for Public Integrity will host a panel to discuss Japan’s nuclear policy issues. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn, former special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will serve as moderator. Panelists include Douglas Birch, senior national security reporter for the Center for Public Integrity; R. Jeffrey Smith, managing editor for national security at the Center for Public Integrity; Matthew Bunn, a principal investigator at the Kennedy School’s Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University; and Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, director for the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation and former U.N. undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

Fuel Cell Forum to Look at Resiliency, Security – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, and the Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus will sponsor a forum next Monday, March 17th at Noon in Senate Visitor Center Room 200 on the resiliency and efficiency  of fuel cells and hydrogen and there impacts on energy security.  Speakers to include Ed Cohen of Honda, Daimler’s Gwen Bluemich, Katrina Fritz of ClearEdge Power and DoE Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, among others.

Forum to Look at Renewables For Poverty Reduction – The Society for International Development – Washington will hold a forum on Tuesday, March 18th at 12:30 p.m. on the promise of solar-powered irrigation pumps for poverty reduction.  When people have access to water and energy, poverty is reduced and life chances are significantly improved.  In its focus on the water-energy nexus for UN World Water Day on March 22, 2014, the World Water Report examines how the water and energy sectors are working together to increase energy services that will lead to major improvements in sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries.  Called a ‘game changer’ for agricultural economies since first introduced in the mid-2000s, solar-powered pumps for irrigation are an application at the water-energy nexus that is contributing to food security, empowerment of women farmers, and poverty reduction.  Solar-powered pumps are also at the nexus of the development community, with donors, NGOs, financial institutions, and the private sector committed to developing technologies, best practices, and business models to make them a success.  Speakers will include UNEP’s Carla Friedrich, Richard Colback of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USAID’s Renewable Energy Advisor Dr. Jeff Haeni and Bikash Pandy of Winrock International

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

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

RFF to Feature Expert on Financial, Environmental Risk – Resources for the Future will host a seminar series conversation on Tuesday, March 18th at 12:45 p.m. looking at a financial approach to environmental risk featuring Robert Engle.  Engle, 2003 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, is an expert in analyzing the movements of financial market prices and interest rates. His insights and methodologies are well known as indispensable tools for researchers and financial analysts alike. In recognition of his pioneering work, in 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH). He developed this method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility and demonstrated that these techniques accurately capture the properties of many time series. Professor Engle shared the prize with Clive W.J. Granger of the University of California, San Diego.  Many of these methods are now featured on the innovative public web site, V-LAB, where daily estimates of volatilities and correlations for more than a thousand assets are available to assist in evaluating portfolio risk, asset allocation, derivative pricing, and systemic risk measures now incorporated in the NYU Stern Systemic Risk Rankings. His research has produced such innovative statistical methods as co-integration, common features, autoregressive conditional duration (ACD), CAViaR, and DCC models.

Forum to Look at Fate of Arctic – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, March 19th at 3:00 p.m. on the fate of the Arctic.  The Arctic is a sentinel of global warming where scientists predict and have observed the largest warming, melting and change, yet a region with planetary impact.   Join us for a discussion of the Arctic’s many changes and their implications: Environmental changes in the form of melting sea ice, greening of the Arctic tundra, migrations of species; Challenges facing indigenous people and how they are responding and coping with this changing world; and how feedbacks in the climate system may mean that the Arctic becomes more than an indicator of climate change and perhaps a source of even more greenhouse gasses.  Our panel will help sort out the science from the speculation, and guide effective decisions for the future.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.  Speakers will include Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk expert David Titley, National Museum of Natural History Arctic curator Igor Krupnik, USGS Research Geologist Miriam Jones and , , Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center U.S. Geological Survey and George Mason University Professor of Oceanography Paul Schopf.

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

Group to Release Report on 2013-2014 State of the Future – On Thursday, March 20th at Noon, 17th State of the Future report produced by The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank with over 50 Nodes and about 5,000 participants around the world will be released at the Wilson Center.  The Millennium Project CEO Jerome Glenn, NASA Langley Research Center Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell and National Science Foundation Program Director Paul Werbos will explore global strategic prospects and strategies drawn from the 2013-14 State of the Future report and the online Global Futures Intelligence System.  2013-14 State of the Future’s executive summary gives an unparalleled overview of our current situation, prospects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger; vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones; lone wolves and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction; a presentation of the Global Futures Intelligence System, and some concluding thoughts.

Wharton Green Biz Roundtable to Highlight Army Energy Issues – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold a lunch at the National Press Club on Friday, March 21st at 12:00 p.m.  featuring Richard Kidd.  Kidd, a graduate of the Yale School of Management, will summarize for the audience key aspects of the Army’s approach to energy and sustainability. He will do this first by highlighting the organization change techniques used to alter the way the Army values energy at the corporate, installation (stateside bases) and operational (combat) levels.  Also, he will provide a business operations overview of the Army’s Renewable Energy Task Force, which has created the largest renewable energy project pipeline in America by applying private sector approaches to a public sector entity. The Wharton DC Green Business Forum meets regularly with speakers in varied facets of the cleantech. energy and sustainability fields to learn about new developments and business opportunities. Sponsored by the Wharton School Club of DC, announcements of upcoming events reach over 3,000 Washington area alums of Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and other top business schools, entrepreneurs and executives. Attendance at the programs is open to anyone interested in business and the environment, with advance signup recommended.

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update Week of January 21

Friends,

A short week after yesterday’s MLK holiday, expected to be slowed by some winter storm activity and cold.  After the polar vortex, I thought we might have been in the clear since college lacrosse teams are already starting practices.  But no such luck I think looking at today’s weather forecast/radar.

Our weekend was buoyed by a visit to see the new Panda cub at the National Zoo.  It was crowded but pretty exciting.  Here is the panda cam link should you want to check in on Bao Bao.

The Washington Auto show kicks off this week with some policy follow up to last week’s NAIAS Detroit Show.  All the muscle cars and the policy wonkness in one place.  Sounds like dream for a kid from Detroit that has spent the second half of his life in DC’s policy circles…  Am I talking about Dave Shepardson or myself???

Also two events this week on Arctic issues including our friends at the Bipartisan Policy Commission, who are hosting a major forum on tight oil supply on Thursday and a CSIS/UN Environmental Program event on the future of the Arctic on Wednesday.

Perhaps though, the most important event of the week is Friday’s environmental policy press forum at the Wilson Center hosted by our friends at the Society of Environmental Journalists.  It features real environmental media experts like NYT report Coral Davenport, Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, C&EN’s Cheryl Hogue and former NYT science expert Andy Revkin, among others. Bloomberg BNA Larry Pearl will moderate.

Finally on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and Environmental (WCEE) will hosts its January Happy Hour at the Bar at the Mayflower Hotel.  It is a good group that does a number of great events so I hope if you are interested you will join them.

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Ivanpah Featured in Solar Expansion Story – With all the discussion of solar in the media last week (remember, I focused on the glass half vs. glass half approaches in the LAT and CNBC), The Washington Post ran an excellent, balanced and significant A1 story on solar projects starting to come on in the West.  The report featured a look at the BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project (where reported Lenny Bernstein visited) and not only had some cool pictures, but a nicely done info graphic (kudos to the Post’s designers for that one.

SAFE Commission on Energy, Geopolitics Releases Oil Security 2025 – Securing America’s Future Energy’s Commission on Energy and Geopolitics released its inaugural report last week.  Oil Security 2025: U.S. National Security Policy in an Era of Domestic Oil Abundance is the first product to be released in association with SAFE’s new P.X. Kelley Center for Energy Security. We are proud to provide you with some of the top broadcast coverage of the Commission, including interviews on CNBC and MSNBC, as well as print articles covering the report’s release by leading investigative reporters in oil and petroleum politics. We hope you enjoy the report and coverage, and thank you for your continued support of SAFE and our work to improve America’s energy security.

Nebraska Files CCS, NSPS Lawsuit – The state of Nebraska is filing suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas standards for new power plants.   “The impossible standards imposed by the EPA will ensure no new power plants are built in Nebraska,” Attorney General Jon Bruning said.  “This federal agency continues to overstep its authority at the detriment of Nebraska businesses.”  Bruning’s challenge comes under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which prohibits the EPA from considering federally-funded projects when determining the appropriate form of control technology. Contrary to the Act, the EPA proposed greenhouse gas standards based on three inoperable coal plants which have received more than $2.5 billion in federal subsidies. The EPA referenced the inoperable plants as evidence to support Carbon Capture and Storage technology should be the standard for all new coal plants.  A copy of the complaint can be found here.

B&G Launches ShalePlay App – In response to the shale energy boom taking place in the United States and around the world, Bracewell & Giuliani has launched the ShalePlay app. Powered by the firm’s energy law and environmental law attorneys and government relations professionals, the ShalePlay app is the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive resource on news and information related to shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, including the latest industry trends and updates.  With oil and gas production near record levels as a result of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a drilling technique that frees trapped hydrocarbons by injecting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock, this free app will prove vital to companies and individuals interested in keeping up to date with developments in the sector.  The ShalePlay app includes 1) News aggregated from a variety of key sources’ 2) Legislation/regulation

Shale studies, 3) Interactive map of shale plays, 4) Glossary of common terms, 5) Historical timeline of hydraulic fracturing, 6) Analysis from Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys.  The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. An Android version will be available in the first half of 2014.

FOIA Documents Hit EPA, Sierra Club Over Coordination – A 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), has produced several hundred documents affirming an uncomfortably close working relationship between the current EPA officials and environmental activists in their effort to undercut energy resources, particularly coal.  Mostly e-mails between EPA top officials and the Sierra Club, the records illustrate how certain EPA employees with backgrounds working for green pressure groups serve as liaisons to those groups in advancing a shared agenda. Other documents affirm the close advisory role the pressure groups play in key EPA actions, like EPA’s recently published New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal-fired plants.

How Are They Working Together – The collaboration takes place in many forms: emails providing, e.g., a list of coal plants the green groups insist any EPA standards block from coming or staying on-line, meetings at EPA and at the green groups’ offices where EPA comes to brief them, frequent conference calls, and at the Starbucks at Washington’s J.W. Marriott, across the street from EPA.  The latter is reminiscent of the Caribou Coffee revelations about this most transparent, White House, in history arranging off-site meetings with other lobbyists to avoid signing them in to the building. Numerous other emails show close collaboration on EPA public hearings to generate support for the rule.

Who’s Mostly Involved – The e-mails show the central players to be two EPA officials who worked in the agency’s policy office at the time of the e-mails, Michael Goo (former legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who left EPA for a senior Department of Energy post), Alex Baron, and EPA senior counsel Joe Goffman (a former EDF lawyer).  They all work closely with John Coequyt, who heads the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.  In one e-mail Coequyt sent to Goo and Barron, he said, “Attached is a list of plants that companies said were shelved because of uncertainty around GHG [greenhouse gas] regulations.  If a standard is set that these plants could meet, there is a small chance that they [sic] company could decide to revive the proposal.”  Coequyt is clearly signaling that that if the EPA sets achievable standards, proposed power plants on hold as the new standards are developed could ultimately be built, which is contrary to his group’s agenda.

Who to Call for More Info, Copies of E-mails – The actions have been spearheaded by FOIA gadfly Chris Horner, Counsel to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), formerly the American Tradition Institute.   Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.  For More info, you can call Craig Richardson at Richardson@eelegal.org; 703-981-5553.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BGov Holds Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will held Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing this morning.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Ritter, Zichal, Esty to Discuss New Report on Energy – Colorado State’s Center for the New Energy Economy led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Tuesday will discuss a new report this morning at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. The report provides a guide to removing or restructuring legal, economic and regulatory barriers to clean energy and climate action. The plan is designed to unleash private capital and unshackle state governments and would require no action from Congress.  Over the past few days, officials representing the executive branch have been briefed on a new plan to push climate and energy policy forward in the United States.  Speakers will include Ritter, former White House Climate advisor Heather Zichal, Connecticut DEP head and former Yale Climate expert Dan Esty and former DOE official Sue Tierney.

Sen. Small Biz Field Hearing to Look at Impacts on Domestic Production – In one of her final hearings as chair, Mary Landrieu will hold a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing today at 3:00 p.m. in Lafayette, LA to discuss empowering small businesses to impact domestic production.  Witnesses will include API’s Stephen Comstock, Gigi Lazenby of Bretagne,  Southwestern Energy’s Jennifer Stewart, Lee Jackson of Jackson Offshore Operators, PerPetro Energy’s  Joe LeBlanc, and Stephen Landry of Ernst & Young.

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. After four hearing last week, they continue in Washington County Wednesday, Indiana County on Thursday and Wyoming County next Monday.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show in Detroit launched last week in Detroit with a flood of public officials and parties.  Vice President Biden, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy all attended last week.  The public show runs through Sunday of this week.  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.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference today from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar today at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Program to Look at Energy, Environment in Turkmenistan The Central Asia Program at IERES will host a forum tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412 to discuss environment, human rights, and oil development in Turkmenistan.  Kate Watters, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Crude Accountability will discuss the links between environmental and human rights violations and oil and gas development in Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most opaque and authoritarian countries. She will focus on the various responses of international financial institutions, multi-national oil companies and western governments to Turkmenistan’s official policies, and discuss the role of civil society in highlighting and uncovering environmental and human rights abuses.

CSIS to Host Arctic Forum – Center for Strategic and International Studies and the United Nations Environment Program will hold the second session of its Arctic Speaker Series forum on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. aimed at understanding the 21st Century Arctic.  The series is designed to provide important information on critical political, environmental, economic, and governance developments in the Arctic.  This particular session will gather leading environmental scientists and U.S. government officials to examine the dramatic environmental changes confronting the Arctic region and their implications for Arctic and non-Arctic states alike.  The expert panel will address what the environmental, economic, and security consequences of the rapidly melting ice in the High North could be and how the phenomenon affect Arctic and non-Arctic actors.  Speakers will be OSTP’s Brendan Kelly, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan W. White and United States Arctic Research Commission advisor Martin Jeffries.

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  Wednesday 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

McCarthy to Head to World Economic Forum in Davos – The World Economic Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday through Saturday and why wide-ranging in its issues scope, it will likely touch on environmental and energy issues.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be there to highlight President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and discuss the business and economic opportunities that come from addressing climate change.

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker at the University Club to address a wide range of topics pertinent to DOE’s current and future roles, including energy policy and systems analysis office, quadrennial energy review and the President’s climate action plan.  Additional discussion topics include new energy technologies, the impact of expanded oil and gas production, and grid reliability.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

SEIA will Host “Shout Out” Day on Social Media – On Friday, the Solar Energy Industry Association will host its National “Shout Out For Solar” Day. Supported by both business and environmental groups, hundreds of thousands of people from across the United States and around the world are expected to take part in the event taking place on Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues. The event coincides with SEIA’s 40th anniversary as a national trade association and the “voice” of solar energy in America.  It will also mark the launch of a new “America Supports Solar” campaign, which will highlight solar energy’s explosive growth across the United States, as well as its record-shattering year in 2013.  It’s estimated that the U.S. now has 13 gigawatts of installed solar capacity – enough to power more than 2 million American homes.  What’s more, when all of the numbers are in, solar is expected to account for more new electric capacity in the U.S. in 2013 than any other renewable energy source. To participate: 1. Take a picture with your sign
2. Upload your picture to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #GoSolar.  Today, there are nearly 120,000 Americans employed by the U.S. solar industry at more than 6,100 American companies.  While 2013 was a record-breaking year, 2014 may be even better, with 30 percent growth being forecast. Part of this unprecedented growth is due to the fact that the average price of a solar system has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2010, benefitting consumers, businesses, schools and government entities.

JHU Forum to Discuss GHGs from Cars – The Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies program hosts an event on Friday at 4:30 p.m. featuring Antonio Bento, associate professor with the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.  Bento will discuss “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles: Evidence from Programs around the World”.

  

FUTURE EVENTS

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.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

Alt Fuels Workshops Set for Next Week at DC Auto Show – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition and the Washington Auto Show are partnering Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30 to provide alternative fuels training, workshops, and panels during this year’s show. This represents the first time that the Coalition is partnering with the Auto Show in this way, and we will be providing alternative fuels training, panels, and workshops relevant to the needs of fleets and organizations in our region.

The agenda is available here.

Conference to Look at Science, Climate Solutions – The 14th  National Conference & Global Forum on Science, Policy & the Environment will be held on Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  Over 1,200 key individuals from many fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to climate change.  The conference will be organized around two areas: [1] The Built Environment; and, [2] Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Forum to Look at 2014 Energy Choices – The American Security Project will host a forum on Tuesday, January 28th at 8:30 a.m. to look at America’s Energy Choices for 2014.  The way America uses and produces energy remains a hotly debated issue in Washington and around the country. We will discuss the various energy choices available to the United States currently and in the years to come.  A range of speakers from across multiple energy producing industries will be announced shortly.

Krosnick, Sharp to Discuss Climate Public Attitudes – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing Tuesday, January 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 2325 Rayburn discussing American perceptions of climate change following a new in-depth survey conducted in December by Resources for the Future, Stanford University, and USA Today. For the first time, the survey explored in detail the public’s attitudes toward generating electricity from various sources and its attitude toward fracking in particular.  Speakers will include Stanford’s  Jon Krosnick and RFF President Phil Sharp.  Initial results from the survey were featured in the December 20 issue of USA Today, but Dr. Krosnick will present a wide array of additional results, including whether the public believes climate change has been happening, what should and should not be done about it, whether the public supports or opposes specific government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and more. RFF President Phil Sharp will discuss the poll results in the context of the current U.S. climate and energy policy landscape.

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.

Energy Happy Hour Set – The Leaders in Energy LinkedIn and CSRinDC (Corporate Social Responsibility) Meetup group will be co-hosting their professional networking Happy Hour on Tuesday, January 28th at 6:00 p.m. at the Banana Cafe & Piano Bar.  The mission of the Leaders in Energy group is to gather people together who delight in thinking about, discussing, and collaborating on energy, environmental and sustainability topics.

IEA Coal Report to be Released at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will release the IAE’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report from 2013 in Wednesday January 29th.  The event will feature Keisuke Sadamori, Director for Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present IEA’s Report. The report, part of the IEA’s Medium-Term Reports series, provides IEA forecasts on coal markets for the coming five years as well as an in-depth analysis of recent developments in global coal demand, supply, and trade.  This third annual report shows that while coal continues to be a growing source of primary energy worldwide, its future is increasingly tied to developments in non-OECD countries, led by China. The current low prices for coal add a new challenge to the sector, which is facing uncertainty due to increasing environmental legislation and competition from other fuels, like US shale gas or European renewables. The report addresses significant questions including whether depressed prices for coal will boost the fuel’s consumption; if other developing countries will follow in China’s footsteps by increasingly relying on coal to fuel economic growth; and, above all, whether the strong growth of coal in China will continue between now and 2018. Jane Nakano, Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Fusion Power to Be Focus of Forum – The American Security Project will host a forum on Wednesday, January 29th at Noon in 2325 Rayburn (House Energy/Commerce) focused on fusion power.  Sustainable and controlled fusion power has been a dream for the scientific community for decades. However, recent advances in research and technology have raised hopes that fusion could become a new source of electricity. U.S. ITER Project Office Director Ned Sauthoff will discuss the topic with a panel.

RFF Event to Look at Forest, GHG Management – Resources for the Future will host an event on Wednesday, January 29th 12:30 p.m. in its First Floor Conference Center on the contributions of forest on GHG management. Responsible management of temperate forests in the United States can play an important and ongoing role in climate change mitigation at a national and international scale. This RFF Seminar, co-sponsored by Resources for the Future and the Society of American Foresters, will delve into some of the questions that surround carbon accounting and forest management. The event, moderated by RFF Senior Fellow Roger Sedjo, will feature presentations by David Cleaves, explaining the integral role of the US Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Program in determining carbon stocks; William Stewart, describing the results of new research comparing best practices and regulators’ assumptions about the carbon profiles of managed forests and the harvested products from such forests in northern California; and Robert Malmsheimer, discussing the recent work of the SAF’s Carbon Accounting Team to dissect the latest science underlying these discussions.

Forum, Report to Look at Arctic Energy – The Canada Institute, the Kennan Institute, and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program will launch of “In Search of Arctic Energy” on Wednesday, January 29th at 1:00 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 Mikkal Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research, Chevron’s Bill Scott, RFF’s Joel Darmstadter and State of Alaska State-Federal Relations Director Kip Knudson, among others.

Forum to Discuss Energy Security Book – Georgetown University will host a book launch Wednesday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. in the Mortara Building Boardroom to celebrate the recent publication of Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition  (co-editors Jan Kalicki and David Goldwyn) by Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press.  Goldwyn, Kalicki, Dr. Raad Alkadiri and Dr. Brenda Shaffer will also join in a panel discussion.

USDA Industry Day to Focus on Biofuels – The USDA will host an industry day on Thursday, January 30th for the newly established Farm to Fleet program. Under the Navy Biofuels program established through the Defense Production Act Title III, the USDA is required to support one-third of the total $510 million program. Through the Farm to Fleet program, the USDA will commit Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to purchase 70 million gallons of JP-5 or F-76 fuel for the Navy from biofuel blends ranging up to 50 percent. If biofuels meeting these specifications have a higher cost than the bulk fuel purchase made by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), CCC funds will be used to offset this price difference and result in an overall price-equivalent biofuel portion of the total 700 million gallons of JP-5 and F-76 to be purchased in this round of contracts.  The Industry Day will include discussions on which feedstocks are eligible or preferred, as well as partnerships between experienced biofuel developers who have worked with the Navy, Air Force, or DLA and traditional suppliers of bulk fuel contracts. Sample contracts may become available as soon as this month.

EEI, ELI to Host GHG Emissions Conference – The Edison Electric Institute and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a day-long conference on Thursday, January 30th to look at GHG regulations. As you know, the President aims at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 by using Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to reduce both new and existing power plant greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of implementing regulations before the end of his term in office.  The legal issues inherent in undertaking this task are extremely complex with significant economic, environmental, and social implications. And the timetable laid out by the President is extremely ambitious.  This conference brings together top experts in the field of energy and environmental law to discuss the legal hurdles and possibilities as well as the real-world ramifications of using Section 111 to address power plant greenhouse gas emissions.  Discussion leaders will focus on the legal uncertainties EPA and power producers will face as well as the day-to-day implications these regulations and the regulatory uncertainty will have for power producers, users, and state regulators as this new regulatory regime is constructed.  In a wrap up session, panelists will discuss relevant legislative history and review likely legal arguments to be made in response to and in support of proposed GHG rules for the power sector.

Senate to Tackle Crude Exports – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, January 30th to examine opportunities and challenges associated with lifting the ban on United States crude oil exports.  Already, Senator Murkowski has made several important speeches on the topic, which is fast becoming an issue of importance.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependent on Russia, as well as politically-independent transit states. Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (oligarchs), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependent on Russia, as well as politically-independent transit states. Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (oligarchs), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

ELI Panel to Look at 2014 Enviro Agenda – The Environmental Law Institute will hold an ELI Research Seminar on February 5th to discuss of what effects the next Obama Administration will have on environmental law, policy, and practice in 2014. Four expert practitioners will have an “inside-baseball” discussion about upcoming policies and regulatory agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Interior, among other regulatory agencies.  Panelists will include former EPA GC Scott Fulton, former White House CEQ expert Gary Guzy, former FERC enforcement expert Sheila Slocum Hollis and Bill Meadows of the Wilderness Society.

NASEO Policy Outlook Conference Set for DC – The National Assn of state Energy Officials will hold its 2014 Energy Policy Outlook Conference at the Fairmont on February 4th through 7th.   The conference will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future.   The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.  Our energy system is being stressed in order to meet complex operational demands, such as grid integration, shifts in resources and energy flows, cybersecurity, and an infusion of digital technologies across every sector of the economy.

NARUC Winter Meetings Set – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will host its Winter Meetings on February 9th through 12th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Speakers will Include Sens. Lamar Alexander, Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Pryor, as well as EPRI CEO Mike Howard, among others.

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

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

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

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

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

Energy Update Week of November 25

Friends,

We slow down this week for two of my favorite eating holidays: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Rather than outline the history of both, let me give you some history on the amazing day we celebrate this year:  Thanksgivukkah.  Yes, the convergence this week of Thanksgiving falling on the first day of Hanukkah happens only once in a lifetime.  Don’t hold your breath for the next one — it will not occur again for more than 70,000 years.

Why?  Because Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday in November. Hanukkah is the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.  The 4th Thursday in November can range from the 22nd to the 28th. If the 29th is a Thursday, then so is the 1st, so the 29th would be the fifth Thursday, not the fourth. And if the 21st is a Thursday, then it’s only the third Thursday. On average, then, Thanksgiving falls on the 28th about every seven years. It will fall on the 28th this year, then again in 2019, 2024, 2030, and 2041, or four times in the next 28 years. (It’s not exactly every seven years because leap days throw things off a little.)

On the other hand, the Jewish month of Kislev can currently start as early as November 3 or as late as December 2, which means that the first day of Hanukkah can come as early as November 28 or as late as December 27.  The reason for the broad range of possible dates is that the Jewish calendar is lunar-solar. The months are based on the cycles of the moon. But the calendar changes the lengths of those months, and even how many months are in a year, to make sure that Passover always falls in the spring. This complex system ensures that the Jewish date and the secular date match up every 19 years.

Because of this Jewish 19-year cycle, 19 years from now, in the year 2032, Hanukkah will again fall on November 28th, but Thanksgiving in that year falls three days earlier, on the 25th.  On average, we would expect the 19-year Jewish cycle and the 7-year Thanksgiving-on-November-28 cycle to coincide about every 19×7 years, which is to say, approximately every 133 years. And they sort of do.  152 years ago, in 1861, the first day of Hanukkah and the 4th Thursday in November were both on November 28th. But there was no “”official” Thanksgiving back then.  In 152 years from now, in 2165, Thanksgiving falls on the 28th, and you’d expect Hanukkah also to fall on the 28th, but it doesn’t.  The reason centers around an extra 11 minutes each year (3 days over those 19 years) that are generally not accounted for in the Jewish calendar, but were in Pope Gregory’s calendar in 1582.

Whatever the reasons, travel safely, count your blessings with family and get ready for Turkey, Brisket, mashed potatoes, Latkes, stuffing and some candle lighting.

On some policy stuff, if you thought ethanol would be off the radar screen this week with last week’s announcement and nest week’s Public hearing (Dec 5th), our friends at the Associated Press dropped another excellent piece in their series, this time exploring ethanol’s waning political clout.  Secondly, the Supreme Court said this morning that it will hear one hour of oral arguments on Monday, February 24th on a case focused on a narrow part of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.  The court will look at whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.  A pretty important question for the current issues going forward.

Remember, the Monday return on December 2nd has a number of good events that MORNING including a 9:30 a.m. CAP/Gina McCarthy Forum on US/China Cooperation and a 10:00 a.m. Energy Innovation Reform Project event in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

UN Meetings Wrap Up – With the same flurry of hand-wringing negotiations and the talks on the “brink of collapse”, UN pols once again pulled the climate negotiations from the brink of death.  (If I had an emissions reduction for every time that happened…) With Paris on the schedule for December 2015 when nations will need to extend the Kyoto Treaty, the U.S. and other countries agreed that by early 2015, they will put forward individual country plans for lowering emissions.   At some point, we just need to stop holding these silly meetings which have produced very little expense some awesome expense reports since the mid-1990s.  Our friend Lenny Bernstein of The Washington Post has a good summary here.

Former Iowa Gov. Pitches Importance of Wind to NJ Economy, Gov. Christie – While most expect NJ Gov. Chris Christie to be headed to Iowa, former Iowa Governor Chet Culver headed to New Jersey last week to tell local leaders and officials his Iowa wind energy success story, highlighting how New Jersey can achieve the same success with offshore wind energy and the New Jersey Energy Link offshore transmission line.  And as you know, maybe there is little road through Iowa that matters for a certain NJ politician in 2016.  During his term as Governor starting in 2007, Culver committed to making Iowa a leading state for wind projects and bringing new, innovative industries to the State. Within four years, Iowa became the first state to reach 20% electricity from wind, powering the equivalent of more than a million Iowa homes. Today, Iowa is generating 25% of its electricity from wind farms in the State.  Iowa’s focus and commitment to developing its wind resource proved to be the key factor in attracting wind-related businesses. Today two turbine manufacturers, two major blade manufacturers, and a tower manufacturer have located in Iowa, making Iowa a major distribution hub for wind farms in a 500-mile radius of the State.  More than 200 companies in the state supply the industry, including businesses in 80 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa’s wind industry has created over 7,000 jobs for Iowans across the state, with over $300 million invested in manufacturing facilities and billions of dollars in new infrastructure.  Focusing on job creation and public-private partnerships, Forbes magazine ranked Iowa under Culver the “No. 1 place in America for businesses and careers and CNBC said Iowa was one of the “Top States for Business.”

LaFleur to Head FERC – FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur has been named acting chairwoman of U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this morning replacing previous chairman, Jon Wellinghoff, who announced he would be departing during last Thursday’s meeting.  Earlier this year, Wellinghoff announced he was going to be employed by renewable energy law firm Stoel Rives, which created conflict concerns among some.  LaFleur joined the commission in 2010 and worked in the electric and natural gas industry.

Interior Says Drilling Generated Billions – The Interior Department collected and disbursed more than $14.2 billion in revenue generated by energy production on public lands and offshore waters in Fiscal Year 2013 – a $2 billion or 17% increase over the previous year. The revenues were distributed to state, local, federal and tribal accounts to support critical reclamation, conservation, recreation and historic preservation projects. Local governments apply the revenues to meet a variety of needs, ranging from school funding to infrastructure improvements and water conservation projects.  The FY 2013 increase in disbursements is attributed primarily to $2.77 billion in bonus bids received for new oil and gas leases in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Overall disbursements totaled $12.15 billion in FY 2012.

Ark PSC Commish to Head NARUC – Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Colette Honorable was elected by her peers as the leader of the national association representing State utility regulators across the country at the conclusion of the NARUC 125th Annual Meeting.  She succeeds outgoing NARUC Philip Jones of Washington, whose one-year term expired today.  As President, Honorable will provide general oversight of the Association, serving as the primary voice of the Association, leading NARUC before Congress, the courts, and administrative agencies. She will also be responsible for designating members to the NARUC Board of Directors, committee leadership positions, and other Association appointments as necessary.  Honorable was appointed to the Arkansas PSC by Governor Mike Beebe in October 2007, and was designated Chairman in January 2011. Within NARUC, she completed her term as Second Vice President of the Association. She also recently served as the Association’s Treasurer.  Honorable has also been discussed as a possible replacement for FERC after the failure of the Ron Binz nomination.

NARUC Seeks Flexibility as EPA Drafts Emissions Rules for Existing Plants – Speaking of NARUC, they also are urging EPA to be flexible and seek input across all levels of State government as it develops emissions reduction rules for existing power plants.  In a resolution, NARUC “urges the EPA, in developing any emissions guidelines for regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants, to recognize the primacy of States to rely on both State utility and environmental regulators to lead the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, economic conditions of each State and region.”  The resolution was one of several passed by NARUC membership at the conclusion of the Association’s 125th Annual Meeting. The resolutions are now considered NARUC policy, providing guidance and positions for the Association’s advocacy before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and the courts.

Duke Settles Bird Death Issues at Wyoming Wind Farms – Duke Energy’s wind energy subsidiary pleaded guilty in Wyoming late Friday for several bird deaths at wind Projects there.  Two projects there were connected to the death of 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds between 2009 and 2013. The plea is the first time a company has been held responsible for bird deaths at wind projects. Duke Energy Renewables will pay $1 million in fines, restitution and community service, and is on probation for five years, during which it must develop a compliance plan to prevent more bird deaths.  At the same time, the company was praised for working to address the issue.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Thanksgiving/First Night Of Hanukkah – November 28th

Maisano Officiates Md High School State Football Semifinal – On Friday night, I will be the Back Judge for the MPSSAA 4A State Semifinal playoff game on Saturday at Paint Branch HS in Montgomery County.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

McCarthy to Headline CAP China Event – The Center for American Progress will hold a forum on Monday December 2nd at 9:30 a.m. where EPA head Gina McCarthy to discuss the importance of US-China cooperation on the environment and climate pollution. Administrator McCarthy will also highlight recent progress on the President’s Climate Action Plan and steps the United States is taking to reduce carbon pollution and drive sustainable U.S. economic growth.

Forum to Look at Renewables Intermittency, PTC – The Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a Chatham House-rules workshop on December 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables.  The forum will discuss the European and American experiences, and consider recommendations for how we can better account for cost and reliability issues in electricity policies and debates.  Speakers will include NARUC President Phil Jones, Exelon’s Dave Brown, Montana PSC Commissioner Travis Kavulla and NREL’s Brian Hannegan, among several others.   As intermittent renewables become larger players in the electric system, they raise new issues that were often unanticipated when today’s policies were first formulated. Policymakers and the public need to better understand the cost, reliability, and infrastructure implications of these policies, as well as potential opportunities to address these emerging concerns through policy reforms.

DOE, NASEO to Discuss Energy Systems at Workshop – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and National Association of State Energy Officials, will host the 2013 Energy Assurance and Interdependency Workshop at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC on Monday, December 2nd.  The purpose of the one and a half day workshop is to inform and educate participants on interconnected energy systems and their cascading impacts on other critical infrastructure and essential public services.    The workshop will feature a variety of scenarios and their immediate and long-term effects. The interactive workshop will also feature presentations and perspectives from industry owners and operators as well as public officials who are responsible for restoring life-line services after a catastrophic event.  State and local governments will have the opportunity to evaluate their energy emergency preparedness and energy assurance plans against potential energy emergency conditions.  Speakers will include ERCOT’s John Adams, DOE’s Pat Hoffman, and Judi Greenwald, CITGO’s Jack McCrossin and NASEO Executive Director David Terry.

NAS to Look at Markets, Clean Energy – The National Academy of Sciences will host a meeting on Monday, December 2nd at the Keck Center on market adoption of advanced energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.

IEA Head to Speak at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s 2013 World Energy on Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 a.m.  The outlook presents a full update of energy projects through to 2035 and insights into what they mean for energy security, climate change, economic development, and universal access to modern energy services. Oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear power are all covered, along with an update on developments for fossil fuels and renewable energy. This year, the World Energy Outlook also gives a special focus to topical energy sector issues including the implications for economic competitiveness of the changing energy map, oil supply, demand, and trade, and energy in Brazil. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

NAS to Hold Seminar on EVs – The National Academies of Science will hold a forum on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4th/5th at its Keck Center on overcoming barriers to electric vehicle deployment.   Speakers will include MIT’s John Kassakian, NRC’s John Holmes, Russ Musgrove of FedEx and several auto dealers.

LaFleur Headlines WCEE Breakfast – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday December 4th at 8:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club for a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring FERC Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur.   LaFleur has an impressive resume and may be the next FERC Chair.  She will  speak on a number of important energy issues over which FERC has authority as well as her career and offer insight on how she came to the important role she now plays.

RFF Seminar to Look at ESA, Species ConservationOn Thursday December 4th at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar looking at the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and species conservation.  ESA has provided a critical safety net for conserving the nation’s species in the 40 years since it was passed. However, effective implementation of the ESA remains a challenge in light of increasing threats to species; uncertainties about the pace, scope, and extent of environmental changes and their impacts on species; and limited resources for implementing species protection. Furthermore, the ESA traditionally has taken a species-by-species approach that constrains the ability to focus on the health of ecosystems and address complex threats that often unfold at the landscape scale. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar brings together diverse panelists to discuss strategies and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. Panelists will draw on examples of success and new strategies to suggest paths for increasing the effectiveness of ESA implementation going forward.  Panelists will include US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Brad Gruver of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, EDF’s David Festa and Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.  National Wildlife Federation VP John Kostyack and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy will also provide comments.

JHU Forum To Hear From WRI Expert on Climate Risk – The Johns Hopkins Washington, DC Center will hold a forum on Wednesday, December 4th at 12:00 p.m. featuring Mark Trexler from the World Resources Institute.  Trexler will address climate risk management issues. Trexler joined the World Resources Institute’s nascent Climate, Energy and Pollution Program in 1988, and focused for many years on climate change mitigation options and strategies. He was a Lead Author for the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, is widely published across mitigation and adaptation topics, and has worked with companies around the world on climate risk management efforts. He was Director of Climate Risk for the global risk management firm of Det Norske Veritas (DNV) from 2009 through 2012. His current work focuses on the application of knowledge management tools to the communication and management of climate risk. More information is available at his website.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

EPA to Hold RFS Public Hearing – EPA will hold a public hearing December 5th on its proposed 2014 mandate for the renewable fuel standard program at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington. EPA announced recently that it plans to cut the amount of ethanol required to be blended into fuel.

CSIS to Host Clean Report Release – On Thursday December 5th at 9:30 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program will host Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Carrie McKellogg, Chief of Access to Basic Services & Green Growth at the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The two will present Climatescope 2013, a new report, online tool, and data resource profiling clean energy market and investment conditions in 26 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Sarah Ladislaw, Co-Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.  Sponsored by the MIF and researched by BNEF, Climatescope assesses low-carbon energy markets from Mexico south within the western hemisphere. First released in 2012, it scores nations on their local conditions for attracting capital in support of clean energy development. Climatescope takes into account 39 data points encompassing a country’s enabling framework for clean energy investment, its history of clean energy investment and climate financing, its availability of low-carbon business and clean energy value chain segments, and its greenhouse gas management efforts. Zindler and McKellogg will discuss which countries scored highest in the Climatescope, which lagged behind, and why.

SEIA Webinar to Discuss Solar Integration – SEIA will hold a webinar on Thursday, December 5th at 1:00 p.m. for a timely discussion on the recent regulatory changes for energy storage and how these changes will affect grid integration, solar energy expansion, and improvements to grid reliability. Both the FERC and CPUC have adopted new rules and procurement requirements to encourage energy storage as a resource, enhance power system operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.  FERC adopted these rule changes with the intent of fostering opportunities for energy storage technologies such as compressed air energy storage, regenerative fuel cells, batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels and thermal energy storage systems to participate in electricity markets and supply ancillary services to wholesale electric market participants and electric transmission providers.  CPUC adopted energy storage procurement requirements for the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities, retail electric suppliers and its community aggregators. The state’s investor-owned utilities will begin procuring energy storage assets or services in 2014.  The expert speakers will discuss these regulatory changes and implications from the regulatory, company, and technology perspective, including Joel Meister of Solar Grid Storage and Carrie Cullen Hitt of SEIA, among others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  The event will also explore the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG regulations.  The three panels will focus on: 1) state considerations and policy design issues; 2) important drivers that could impact carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector and 3) modeling impacts of different proposals under section 111(d). BPC will include participants from state organizations, industry and environmental organizations. Former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly, a BPC’s Energy Project Co-chair, will keynote.   Other speakers will include ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, Exelon’s Kathleen Barron, AEP’s Bruce Braine, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, NRDC’s Dan Lashoff and Jason Grumet.

Forum to Look at Renewable Investments – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a congressional briefing on Friday December 6th in B-369 Rayburn looking at renewable energy market investments and policy trends.  This event is being put on in cooperation with the United States House of Representatives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. 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.

Forum to Look at IPCC Document – George Washington University’s IERES program will host a presentation on Friday, December 6th at 4:00 p.m. featuring Oleg Anisimov, Professor of Physical Geography at the Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia  His presentation will start with a brief discussion of the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report, where he served as a coordinating author. The report is almost ready, and will be officially released at the end of March 2014. The discussion will focus on the impacts of the changing climate in the polar regions, including the socio-economical dimension in the Arctic. It will then provide two examples of impacts that escaped the IPCC s attention. The first is the potential impact on the Arctic urban population (the current emphasis is on indigenous peoples). The second is related to the drivers of climate change associated with the potential release of methane, with implications for environmental policy making, particularly the post-Kyoto negotiation process.

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

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.

Forum to Look at Energy InfrastructureThe Atlantic will hold an Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit on the morning of Thursday, December 12th 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.

 

Energy Update Week of November 11

Friends,

Today is Veterans Day…A special day to say thanks to our living veterans.  While we say thanks today, we should be saying thanks every day.

By the way, I meant to report this last week, but it really struck me hard later last Monday after I received the notice of his e-mail bouncing back.  My friend, Scott Harper, 51, the longtime environmental reporter for the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, died after a long battle of pancreatic cancer on October 26th. He had been a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot for 17 years covering the environment as good as anyone.  More importantly, he was an all-around genuine guy.  He leaves behind his wife of 22 years and three children, the oldest of whom is in his first year of college at Cornell.

Former Balt Sun reporter Rona Kobell may have captured my thoughts better than I could when she wrote that: “Scott was a tough reporter, but he never stopped being likable, even to the people he covered. It is the mark of someone truly good at what they do that, when they expose truths you would rather not be known, you still like them.”  I hope you are interested in helping Scott’s family in this time of need.  You prayers, well wishes and generosity would be appreciated.  I can forward you the information should you want it.

Last week was super busy with the EPA hearings across the country and Energy Secretary Moniz’s visit to Kemper after the CCS ministerial meeting.   This week, the schedule presses on both at the UN climate meetings, which kick off today in Poland amidst the response to the typhoon in the Philippines, and here in DC with Thursday hearings featuring EPA’s Gina McCarthy at House Science and bipartisan legislation to undo the GHG rules in the House Energy Committee.

This also looks to be a busy ethanol week.  Not only is EPA expected to make its RFS announcements any time now, the Associated Press is releasing a hard-hitting, detailed analysis of ethanol’s environmental and land-use impacts.  Of course, the RFA says it is a “smear campaign” but that seems like the same old tired argument.

Finally, congrats to our friend Dan Utech, who takes over today at the White House for the just-departed Heather Zichal as climate and energy policy advisor to the President.   Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Moniz Heads to Kemper – The Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz went to Southern Co.’s Kemper County, Miss., carbon capture project last Friday to further a discussion of the technology started earlier in the week at energy Ministerial meetings on the topic.  The project also has received heighted attention because of its significant mentions in EPA’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.  The event followed the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., where the Kemper project was endorsed by the CSLF and added to its portfolio of pioneering activities

International Leaders Joined Moniz – Moniz led an international delegation of government and industry leaders on a tour of Kemper to see firsthand the innovative 21stcentury coal technology under construction in southeast Mississippi. During the visit, international energy ministry officials representing more than a half dozen countries discussed opportunities to leverage the facility’s technology to cleanly and efficiently meet their nations’ energy needs.

Who Was There – Joining Secretary Moniz at the Kemper facility were Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning, Mississippi Power President and CEO Ed Holland and energy ministry officials from around the world, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

The Moni-Money Quote – Following the visit, Secretary Moniz praised the SoCo effort: “Southern Company is, in many ways, leading all towards a 21st century generation portfolio.”

Kemper Worker, On-line Vitals –There are currently 6,000 workers onsite and more than 480 Mississippi companies involved in the Kemper project. Most recently the project met major milestones by testing the power generation portion of the plant and connection of its largest electric transmission lines. The facility is scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2014.

DOE To Roll Out Fossil Loan Guarantees – Just prior to rolling to Kemper, the DOE announced 18 projects across the country to research innovative, second-generation technologies that will help improve the efficiency and drive down costs of carbon capture processes for new and existing coal-fired power plants.  With nearly $84 million in investments from the Energy Department – and additional cost-share from industry, universities, and other research institutions – the projects will support the development of advanced technologies that will help enable efficient, cost-effective application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes for new and existing coal-fired power plants.  Projects will conduct carbon capture research for two different fossil power generation processes. For traditional, combustion-based power plants – like most coal-fired plants today – research will focus on more efficiently capturing carbon emissions post combustion. More advanced, gasification-based electric power plants break down coal – or almost any carbon-based feedstock – into its chemical constituents before any combustion takes place. Research into this technology will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of pre-combustion carbon capture.

SoCo Adds Another CA Solar Project to Portfolio – Speaking of Southern Company, its subsidiary Southern Power acquired the company’s second solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in California – the 20-megawatt (MW) Adobe Solar Facility – in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy. The Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership’s sixth solar project acquisition is expected to close upon the successful completion of construction, which is anticipated in spring 2014. The Adobe Solar Facility will be built, operated and maintained by SunEdison, a leading global solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar technology and solar energy services. Construction of the project began this fall.   Ted Turner, owner of Turner Renewable Energy, teamed with Southern Company through a subsidiary in January 2010 to form a strategic alliance to pursue development of renewable energy projects in the United States. The partnership has primarily focused on developing and investing in solar PV projects where solar resources are most favorable.   The Adobe Solar Facility will be located on a 160-acre site in Kern County, Calif. Electricity generated by the plant will serve a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International, through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in infrastructure and energy assets, including renewable energy.

Industry Testifies at EPA Hearings – So last week, there were hearings across the country at EPA offices on the new GHG rules.  My colleague Scott Segal testified at the DC hearings, saying “EPA regulations that hamper or stifle innovation in the coal-powered sector represent a significant challenge to energy security, electric reliability, and job creation in the United States.”    Segal added that industrials and power plants are already in transition as a result of numerous EPA rules, and GHG requirements must not penalize the investments companies have already made to reduce environmental impact.  Segal says additional benefits to an ill-considered rule for existing power plants may be few and far between.  Segal: “Carbon-emission rules are not designed to produce local air quality benefits.  The fact that these potential rules are being advanced on a unilateral basis means that continued and expanding coal use from Asia to Europe will result in no real impact on global warming.  Further, as energy costs increase in the US, and manufacturing assets move overseas to areas less sensitive to energy efficiency, carbon emissions might even go up as a result of the rules.  Certainly, if we have to import more goods back to the United States as we lose manufacturing capacity, carbon emissions will increase.”

In-depth AP Story Hits Ethanol – Speaking of the RFS, for years, ethanol has been a centerpiece of America’s political and green energy strategy. It has been described as homegrown fuel that can reduce greenhouse gases and to wean the country off foreign sources of oil. But an Associated Press investigation just out highlights the environmental impact of ethanol production.   As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they touched off a cascade of unintended consequences, including the elimination of many acres of conservation land.  A months-long reporting effort into the hidden cost of this green energy source was led by Washington bureau reporters Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, but represents the efforts of dozens of AP journalists, photographers, video producers, data experts, editors and others across the country. AP used its footprint in the 50 states to interview farmers, politicians, environmentalists, scientists and many others. AP’s data experts also burrowed deep into statistics to tell a comprehensive story.

Ethanol Industry Pushes Back – The ethanol industry is doing what you might expect: Calling the ethanol exposé a misleading lie and blaming ethanol’s woes on others.  I don’t think the oil industry own the AP last time I checked though…  RFA says the AP story “uses disproven myths, skewed data, and outright fabrications to suggest biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard have not lived up to their promise.”  Last time I checked, most folks think it really hasn’t.   RFA goes on to counter many of the claims about land issues and impacts in a detailed fact sheet, as well as provided reports and scientists that have found ethanol significantly reduces GHG emissions relative to gasoline and looked at the full range of ethanol’s impacts on air, land, and water compared to gasoline.

Study Show Developing Countries to Pass Developed Countries in Emissions – A new recent study of global emission trends by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, research group Ecofys and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, found that developing countries will soon be responsible for the greatest world share of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The study predicted that developing countries will account for 51 percent of world cumulative CO2 emissions by 2020, marginally surpassing emissions from developed nations. Developing countries accounted for 48 percent of cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2010. November 11, nearly 200 governments will meet in Warsaw, Poland to discuss a global deal for fighting climate change to be agreed on by 2015, and put into action starting 2020. The study notes that discussions at UN climate negotiations tend to focus on the biggest climate change contributors – putting developing nations at the focus of the talks, along with the long-standing large CO2 emitters United States, the European Union, and Russia. Separately, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency noted a remarkable slowdown in worldwide CO2 emissions despite substantial economic growth.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

UN Climate Meetings Set for Next Week – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Climate negotiations will be held this week and next in Warsaw, Poland.  This meetings is expected to be low-key foundation building for the 2015 Meetings slated for Paris next year.  In Paris, negotiators are trying to forge an extension of the Kyoto Treaty.

Local Solar Conference Set – MDV-SEIA will hold its 7th annual Solar Focus Conference today and tomorrow at the Marriott at Metro Center.  To mark the milestone, they will have an exciting lineup of speakers and panels.  This year’s theme is “The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar.” It will highlight the unprecedented, exponential growth of distributed solar in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The event begins with a Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, and Keynote Address and then leads into a full day of educational panels on the 12th.  Panels will cover the federal policy outlook and federal opportunities, state by state market opportunities, solutions for managing SREC volatility, energy storage & its potential to transform the solar sector, tax equity, overcoming development barriers in Maryland and D.C., and many others.   FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff will address the group tomorrow.

USEA to Host Afghan Power Execs – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association will host representatives from Afghanistan’s national power utility and respective government ministries to present on the status of the Afghanistan power sector. The delegation includes senior executives from  Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Energy and Water, and Mines and Petroleum.

JHU to Discuss Solar, Utilities – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program will host a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. on expanding rooftop solar among traditional electric utilities.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Bob Gibson, Dominion’s Bill Murray, former D.C. PSC Commissioner Rick Morgan and NREL’s Robert Margolis will speak.

Manchin to Headline NJ Innovation ForumNational Journal LIVE will host a forum on innovation, technology and our energy future on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.  in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Pavilion Room.  Recent energy debates in Washington have focused mostly on government policies, including climate and clean energy standards, that could help increase the use of American resources, shift to cleaner sources of energy and help reduce air emissions.  Buried in these debates is the importance of research and development of new energy technologies for both fossil fuels and renewables.  National Journal will explore the importance of R&D in America’s new energy landscape and what the right role for the federal government will be to trigger new energy technologies.  Our friend Amy Harder moderates a panel featuring Sen. Joe Manchin, BPC expert Margot Anderson and Janet Peace of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Cadillac, WAPA to Hold Ride/Drive – The Washington Auto  Press Assn (WAPA) will hold the November luncheon for a luncheon Cadillac and its luxury brand’s sedans at the  Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.  Drives available starting at 11:00am, followed by lunch at 12:00pm and more driving.  Vurpillat, Cadillac’s Global Director of Marketing will discuss the CTS (including Vsport), XTS (including Vsport) and the award-winning ATS.   Under Vurpillat, Cadillac has successfully launched a number of new vehicles in the past eight years starting with the CTS and SRX, and now the new XTS luxury sedan and ATS luxury sports sedan. In addition to his work in the U.S., Jim is focused on Cadillac’s growth emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim held a number of positions at General Motors ranging from managing major brand partnerships and sponsorships; to advertising campaigns; to market research.

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

Lindzen to Discuss Science at Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on science progress on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. featuring Richard S. Lindzen, Emeritus Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.  For many fields of science, there is little doubt that the period 1830-1965 was a golden age. There is also little doubt that changes in the support structure for science since the late 60’s have powerful elements that serve to inhibit major developments. Dr. Lindzen will discuss these changes from the personal perspective of a climate scientist, and place them in the historical perspective of other areas of study.

Forum to Look at Shale, Asia – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday to look at growing abundance of domestic shale gas and Its impacts on Asia. This opportunity presents new questions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens such as the cost and business factors that make U.S. LNG competitive in global markets and the potential geostrategic consequences of this resource for the economies and countries across Asia.  Bill Loveless, Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy at Platts and host of Platts Energy Week TV will moderate the panel including Dominion’s Bill Allen, Jane Nakano of CSIS, API’s Robin Rorick and Kate Williams of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.

Reporters to Discuss Climate Coverage at Forum – As the UN meeting continue this week, Georgetown University’s climate center will host a briefing Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. in GU’s Mortara Building to discuss media coverage of climate change issues.  Georgetown Climate Center’s  Vicki Arroyo hosts our friends Richard Harris of NPR, USA Today’s Wendy Koch and former Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporter John Carey.

Senate Energy to Discuss Energy, Interior Nominations – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Energy Committee will hold a nominations convene a hearing.  DOE General Counsel Nominee Steven P. Croley, Chris Smith, nominated to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy and Esther Kia’aina (Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas) will each testify.

House Energy to Take Up Legislation on GHG Rules – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power panel holds a hearing on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. focused on EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions rule for new power plants and the Whitfield-Manchin bill that would repeal such rules and give Congress more authority over upcoming regulations.

McCarthy to Headline House Science Hearing – House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday that will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy focusing on strengthening transparency and accountability.  On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. the committee’s research panel holds a hearing on federal investments in science and technology research.

CSIS to Look at Energy Picture – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. looking at the changing North American energy markets and implications for policies and regulations. North American oil and gas production is growing at rates unforeseen a decade ago. With this new production comes the realization the traditional framework of energy scarcity no longer applies. Are the current policies flexible enough to manage these new energy dynamics? How do policymakers, regulators, and industry manage the new circumstances to safely and prudently allow for the continued development of these resources? Frank Verrastro and David Manning of the Government of Alberta will present.

NRC to Take Comment on Waste – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., NRC will provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comments on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule.

EIA’s Sieminski to Headline Georgetown Cleantech Conference – Georgetown University’s annual conference on energy and Cleantech issues will begin on Friday.  The conference is for students, energy industry professionals, government officials and business leaders to discuss the latest developments in the energy industry. This year’s conference will feature keynote remarks by Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as well as panels on regulation of oil shale and gas production, renewable energy financing, innovative business strategies to procure energy, and a discussion of whether or not the U.S. should grant additional export permits for domestic natural gas.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

World Coal Meeting Held in Poland As Well – As I Mentioned last week, Poland gets 88% of its power from coal, so while it hosts the UN Climate meetings this week, Next week it is also hosting the World Coal meeting.  UN chief Christine Figures is expected to speak and is getting significant grief from enviro activists for doing so.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation.  Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley.

Forum to Look at Persian Gulf, Oil Security – George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies will hold a forum on Monday November 18th in the Linder Family Commons, Room 602 oil security and U.S. Military commitment to the Persian Gulf.  The U.S. strategic objective of protecting Persian Gulf oil has generated little controversy since the Gulf became a focus of U.S. military deployments over three decades ago. This may seem unsurprising given the widely-appreciated importance of oil to the global economy. Nevertheless, quite dramatic changes have occurred in the regional balance of power, the nature of security threats, and the global oil market since the U.S. made its commitment  raising the possibility that the U.S. role should be revisited.  The conference panels examine the key rationales driving current U.S. policies, the costs and benefits of alternative approaches, and options for revising the U.S. military stance in the region.

Energy Security, Military Issues Focus on Conference – The U.S. Army War College will gather experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday and Wednesday November 19th and 20th at the Reserve Officers Association’s Minuteman Memorial Building to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications.  Following the conclusion of the conference, the U.S. Army War College will produce an edited volume consisting of contributor comments/papers, as well as a series of two-page decision-maker executive summaries that will be designed to shape U.S. national security policy and the American response to the ‘new realities.’

House Transpo Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing on Tuesday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. looking at autonomous vehicles and how they may shape the future of surface transportation.

Forum to Look at Data Centers, Energy  – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign will hold a panel of leading industry and academic experts on Wednesday, November 20th at 9:00 a.m.  at 122 Cannon to discuss the nature and importance of next-gen data center technologies and the role government can play as an early adopter.  Increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing federal agencies to investigate ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. At the same time, new Executive Orders and Congressional actions have mandated increased energy efficiency for government. These two forces have come together to create new opportunities for next-generation ICT technologies, particularly innovative data centers. In an effort to keep government at the leading edge of ICT innovation, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R. 540) to advance public-private partnerships to increase the energy efficiency of federal data centers.   Rep. Anna Eshoo will speak, as well as HP’s Colin Coyle, ITIC President Dean Garfield, Northwestern U’s Eric Masanet, Cathy Snyder of Lockheed Martin and EMC’s Kathrin Winkler.

NAM, SoCo Speakers Headline Energy Efficiency Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute in coordination with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a forum on Wednesday, November 20th at 11:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn to focus on energy efficiency. The United States is already much more efficient than it was 40 years ago, when the first oil crisis hit. It takes about 52 percent less energy to produce the same amount of GDP than it took in 1973. And we can do even better. In a 2012 study, ACEEE ranked the world’s 12 major economies (including Brazil, China and Germany) based on how energy efficient they were. The United States came in ninth.  Speakers will discuss some of the innovative solutions businesses have developed to cut their energy usage, and to design highly energy efficient products and services for our buildings and industrial sectors. They will also consider what policymakers can do to further promote energy efficiency gains.   They include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Paul Hamilton of Schneider Electric and Southern Energy Management Company Co-founder and CEO Maria Kingery.

DOE to Host Webinar on Offshore Wind Jobs – The Energy Department’s EERE Wind and Water Power Technologies Office will present a live webinar on Wednesday, November 20th at 3:00 p.m. looking at the job and economic development impacts of offshore wind.  More than a year ago, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated work to expand the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to include fixed-bottom offshore wind technology. Following the model’s completion (and in partnership with the Energy Department’s Wind Program, Illinois State University, and James Madison University), NREL supported the analysis of the regional jobs and economic impacts of offshore wind for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. This webinar will provide an overview of the new offshore wind JEDI model and review the four completed assessments.

Portman, Shaheen to Headline 2013 Energy Efficiency Day – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold its annual Great Energy Efficiency Day on Wednesday, November 20th at 1:30 p.m. in the House Cannon Caucus Room to discuss doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030 through efforts at the local, state, and federal levels.  Speakers will include Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Michael Burgess, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan, and many others.

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

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

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

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.