Energy Update: Week of April 17

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed some family time at Easter/Passover.  And congrats to Energy Daily’s Chris Holly who correctly identified my secret locale last week: Cancun, Mexico.  Yes they did hold a UN COP meeting there at the Moon Bay Palace Resort.

Welcome to Marathon Monday, better known as Patriot’s Day.  It is the day the Boston Marathon runs and you can see the Boston Globe’s coverage full coverage here.  Good luck to all who are running for themselves or others.  Marathon Monday has special meaning this year for us as Hannah is reporting live from the “Wellesley Scream tunnel” at Mile 13.  A few folks from NBC Sports Network joined college organizers for the sign-making event at Wellesley’s Davis Museum last week for a Boston Marathon Segment today on the Scream Tunnel.

It is also a day remembered for a 2013 terrorist attack and the amazing strength and healing the city showed as a community.  The days surrounding that fateful attack were depicted very well in the recent movie Patriot’s Day.  Also, it was 50 years ago today that the first official (registered) woman ran the Marathon: Katherine Switzer, who is running again this year.  The first woman to unofficially run it was Roberta Gibbs one year earlier.

Today’s focus in DC is on the White House Easter Egg Roll, the 139th version.  It started in 1878 when President Rutherford Hayes allowed kids to play Easter games on the South Lawn.  It is the first major event of the new President’s ceremonial agenda after Inaugural events and always is a great time.  In fact, our friend Sean Spicer at one point donned the Easter Bunny outfit during the Bush Administration.

Not much action this week given the second week of the Easter/Passover recess, but the major focus will be on a White House meeting of minds tomorrow on the future of the US involvement in Paris.  As you know, there has been a lot of action on this issue over the last week including a memo from my colleague Scott Segal outlining several key issues, reports that EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken a stronger stance for exiting the agreement and recent backtracking in the hardline stance from conservative, former EPA transition official Myron Ebell.  Seems like Myron and I may have been following this issue longer than just about anyone.

For you FERC nerds, the Federalist Society holds a panel discussion tomorrow on the state of competitive wholesale electricity markets, WCEE holds a lunch forum on Thursday and Friday, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Obama Science Advisor John Holdren address a science and security forum.  Also starting Wednesday, the offshore wind community comes together in Annapolis for a major series of meetings to discuss OSW, the supply chain and the future.

Our friend Amy Harder rolled out her first column at her new Generate gig, The Harder Line.  Nice word play!!!  Column #1 is focused on corporate unity on climate change, Paris engagement and is worth the read.

Congrats to our friend, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold on his 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.  Congrats to all the other winners as well, including our friends at ProPublica and Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette.

Finally, more on this below, but this morning, our friends at the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report that tracks the tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control because of the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism.  See it below.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling. This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Here is some of Hannah’s posted video from the Wellesley Scream Tunnel at Mile 13 on the route of the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Here is more video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gss2i7xFaHg

 

IN THE NEWS

Air Regulator Release Report – The Association of Clear Air Today, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control.  The publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

A few of the key statistics from The Greatest Story Seldom Told:

  • As of 2015, combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants for which there are national ambient air quality standards were down 71% since 1970.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, reported toxic air releases were down 56%, or more than 851 million pounds, and AAPCA Member States accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total reduction.
  • In 2016, states performed full compliance evaluations for more than 14,500 facilities, 80 times the number conducted by U.S. EPA, and from 2010 to 2014, AAPCA Member States performed full compliance evaluations at nearly 47% of facilities annually, well ahead of the national average.
  • According to U.S. EPA, AAPCA Member States in 2016 were more efficient in permitting, with only a 15% backlog for renewing Title V permits among states with more than 100 Title V sources.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, AAPCA Member States saw nitrogen oxide emissions fall more rapidly than the national average.
  • As of 2014, AAPCA Member States had reduced sulfur dioxide emissions in the power sector by more than 8 million tons compared to 1990.
  • From 2000 to 2014, per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 18.1% on average nationally, with AAPCA Member States averaging a 19.3% reduction.
  • The U.S. has far exceeded international trends in air quality, with some of the lowest levels of average annual fine particulate matter and the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the world over the last decade.

Indiana Releases State View Report – In addition to the AAPCA Report, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently released the 2017 edition of The States’ View of the Air report. The report highlights the air quality in counties and cities in the United States. Like a report card, IDEM has graded areas on the state of their air quality under the federal standards for ozone and fine particles. You can find the full report here, and individual state reports here.

Gas Expert Returns to Bracewell – Former Bracewell staffer Christine Wyman has returned the firm as a senior Counsel.  Wyman will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s industry and non-profit clients on a broad range of issues and matters.  Prior to joining Bracewell, Wyman was Senior Counsel at the American Gas Association where she advocated for natural gas utilities on federal environmental, energy, and pipeline safety matters.

Ringel Named to EPA Congressional Affairs – Speaking of Bracewell alums, Aaron Ringel, another Segal protégé Aaron Ringel heads to EPA Monday to begin work as deputy associate administrator for congressional affairs.  After working as an assistant to Segal, Ringel moved to the Hill where He worked as legislative director for then-Rep. Mike Pompeo and then deputy chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson.

DOE to Review Grid Policy – The Department of Energy will conduct a review of how policies supporting wind and solar energy are pushing the early retirement of coal and nuclear generators our friends at Bloomberg report. Perry on Friday ordered a study of the U.S. electrical grid, aiming to ascertain whether policies to boost renewable energy are hastening the retirement of coal and nuclear plants and threatening power reliability. The review comes as a number of states move to subsidize baseload generation, particularly nuclear plants, which cannot compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy in wholesale power markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference on the state power subsidies at the beginning of next month.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held tomorrow through Thursday in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

White House Paris Meeting Set – Several key environmental and energy cabinet official and staffers will meet tomorrow to discuss the future of US involvement with the Paris Treaty, according our sources and several media reports.  Those attending include Dave Banks, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Panel to Look at FERC Wholesale Markets – Tomorrow at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds a panel discussion at noon at the National Press Club on the state ‘Around Market’ action and FERC.  The panel will look at whether it is the end of competitive wholesale electricity markets.  Panelists will include Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, PSEG’s Larry Gasteiger, former Colorado Commissioner Ray Gifford, Calpine’s Steven Schleimer and others.  The event will be moderated by former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark.

Forum to Look at Global Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on a new report Reform of the Global Energy Architecture tomorrow at Noon.  The report will be presented by task force co-chairs Phillip Cornell, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group. They will be joined by task force member Neil Brown, director of policy and research at KKR Global Institute, and Richard Morningstar, founding director and chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center. The discussion will look at current energy governance challenges, the importance of international and multilateral collaboration, future policy priorities, and the path forward on energy governance for the new US administration.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Energy, Water Issues – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Sustainable Capital Advisors holds a discussion on securing energy and water access for vulnerable communities.  This forum focuses on how policymakers, researchers, activists, developers, investors and others can use the levers of public policy, finance and technology to increase true access, ensuring greater energy and water security for all.  Among the panelists will be NAACP’s Derrick Johnson, Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore, Yasemin Erboy Ruff of the Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation and ELI’s Brett Korte.

Industry Leaders, Experts Flock to Offshore Wind Business Forum – The 2017 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum  will be held on Wednesday to Friday in Annapolis, Maryland at the Westin Hotel. The event brings together leaders in a small, personal setting, and creates dialogues and relationships that move the U.S. offshore wind industry forward.  Among the speakers will be all major players in the wind industry from experts like UDelaware’s Jeremy Firestone to CEO like Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski.  MD Sen. Ben Cardin will also be a keynote speaker.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host its 3rd annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on Wednesday. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector. The forum examines the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions. The two keynote speakers will be Admiral William J. Fallon (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.

Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Middle East – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council holds a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.

Forum to Look at Grid Modernization – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Wednesday at Noon on the importance of grid infrastructure modernization and resilience.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Job Henning, CEO of Grid Energy and Athena Power CEO Raj Lakhiani.

Webinar to Look at Offshore Wind – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance hold a webinar, beginning at 12:00 p.m., on the U.S. offshore wind boom.  You can call ACORE for details www.acore.org

AEE Webinar to Look at State Policy Questions – The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will host a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at creating markets for advanced energy at the state Level.  Whatever might be happening at the federal level, states are taking the lead in creating markets for advanced energy. AEE’s State Policy Program seeks to maintain this momentum by working with our coalition of State and Regional Partners and our business members to promote advanced energy legislation in statehouses around the nation. During this webinar you will hear from policy experts who have intimate knowledge of the latest legislative developments in the following states: California: Cap & Trade, Storage, Transportation; Nevada: Retail Choice Issue, Legislative Update; Texas: Legislative Tax Issue, PUCT Regulatory Proceeding on Data Access; Virginia: Access to Advanced Energy, Legislative, and Regulatory Update.

JHU Forum to Look at Food, Ag, Climate – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on food, farmers and climate looking at a new report from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project.  The main speaker is Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climatologist and Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group.

Brookings Panel to Discuss Carbon Pricing – On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., the newly-launched Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a panel discussion on the role of carbon pricing in the implementation of the Paris goals, with opening remarks from Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, the co-chairs the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices. They will share their thoughts on carbon pricing and other policies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the objective to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” After the discussion, Brookings Vice President Kemal Derviş will moderate a panel discussion and take questions from the audience.

JHU Forum to Look at Climate Diplomacy – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 4:30 p.m. on climate change diplomacy in the Post-Paris Agreement era. Ambassador Selwin Hart, current Barbados’ Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the OAS, will be giving a talk on climate change and diplomacy in the post-Paris Agreement Era.

GU Mortara Center Forum Looks at Deepwater Oil Production – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown, GU’s Institute for Global History and the Mortara Center for International Studies hold a discussion on the Deepwater golden triangle of the oil economy and its role in energy production.  The Deepwater triangle includes the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa and will be led by Tyler Priest, an Associate Professor of History and Geography at the University of Iowa who studies the history of oil and energy.

Forum to Look at Media Focus on Energy, Renewables – CARMA International Inc. holds a discussion on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, looking at energy supply, climate and renewables.   The event will focus on media coverage and implications for business.

Aspen Forum to Look at Rural innovators – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on Thursday at Noon on reframing natural resource economies.  The event will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources to create jobs and businesses.  The 3rd America’s Rural Opportunity panel will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources and use those resources to create jobs and businesses. The presenters are among those who are restructuring the natural resource business sector, one that in many parts of the country has been disrupted by globalization, the declines of extractive industries, and changes in environmental policy.

WCEE Looks at Carbon Capture, Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE)  will continue it Lunch & Learn Series, together with the U.S. Energy Association on Thursday at Noon with a forum on carbon capture and storage meeting CO2 reduction goals.  The event will focus on the Illinois Basin’s Decatur Project and feature Dr. Sallie Greenberg.  Greenberg will discuss how carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) can provide the scale necessary to limit increase in global temperature by 2°C and help the US meet its Paris target of reducing GHG by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) – a million ton deep saline CO2 geologic storage demonstration project led by the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium, and funded by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is unique because it is one of the only full-scale bioenergy CCS (BECCS) demonstration projects to-date.  Dr. Greenberg will highlight the results and challenges of upscaling carbon capture and storage projects, touching on issues, such as permitting, public engagement, policy implications for CCUS, and the vital role this technology holds in meeting emission reduction targets.

Forum to Look at Africa Climate Risk – The US Agency for International Development’s ATLAS Project holds a discussion on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. focused on preparing Africa for climate events and looking at its risk capacity.

Meserve, Holdren, Others Address Science, Security Summit – On Friday at Noon, the Federation of American Scientists hosts its Science & Security Summit, focused on the topic of scientists’ and engineers’ roles in security and in the current political landscape. The forum will address where scientists and engineers belong in the current political landscape and what roles they play in global security and safety.  In addition to three distinguished graduate-level scientists and engineers from the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University, the summit’s speakers will include former Obama science advisor John Holdren, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Sandia Labs Director Rodney Wilson.

JHU Forum to Look at Women Climate Leaders – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds its 2017 Global Women in Leadership Conference on Friday at 8:00 a.m. looking at women as leaders in a changing climate.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.

Renewable Midwest Conference Set – The Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference will be held April 24-25th in Columbia, Missouri. The purpose of “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference is to identify, display, and promote programs, policies, and projects that enhance the use of renewable energy resources in the Midwest for the economic benefit of the region. The focus of speaker topics and agendas are large scale projects, either through direct installation or through amalgamation of small scale projects.  The two-day conference is held in the spring at the University of Missouri. It is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Columbia Water and Light. It has been an ongoing annual event since 2006.

Forum Focus on Trump Nuclear Budget – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Friday, April 28 on what the Trump Administration budget may me for the future of nuclear power.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Victor Der, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.

People Climate March – April 29th

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of March 20

Friends,

We can’t start today without talking about one of the most important musicians passing over the weekend, Chuck Berry.  He was a legend and trendsetter, but you know how he got the idea for his song Johnny B Good???  From his cousin Marvin

I hope your NCAA pools are going fine.  On the Men’s side, I did get the Middle Tennessee State upset and also called Xavier over MD.  Not doing too much else though. In fact, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan have pretty much made it tough on everyone.  No real surprises on the Women’s side with top seeds UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Baylor all winning first round games by 50 or more points.  Sweet 16 starts on Thursday, but even before then, we had a bunch of NCAA Champions crowned this past weekend. Kudos to Babson College (Wellesley’s cross-town rival for women’s sports) who took the D III basketball Championship in Salem, VA over Augustana.  And congrats to Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY who shut out Wisconsin 3-0 in the Women’s NCAA D I ice hockey Frozen Four to win their 2nd National championship in 4 years. Don’t forget Penn State, who won their 6th NCAA Wrestling title in 7 years in St. Louis over as well.

This will be another crazy week, but much of the big ticket focus will be outside of our energy and environment area.  Hearings for SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch begin today (with likely some discussion of Chevron deference) as well as FBI Director Comey coming to Capitol Hill to talk about Russia and the election.  Add the health care debate and an expected vote on Thursday, and much of the oxygen is gone.  We still have the budget though and we may finally get the long-awaited climate/CPP executive order, which was reportedly going to be released as early as today – although there is really no evidence of that yet.

If you are interested in palace intrigue, then you’ll love today’s Washington Post story which shows rough edges between the Pruitt team and the beachhead folks like Don Benton and others.  As well, if you like Chocolate Chip Cookies, you may want to consider applying for a job at EPA.

On the Hill, there are a series of infrastructure hearings this week that will build off last week’s Senate Energy hearing on the topic.  Tomorrow, the House Government Reform Committee looks at offshore drilling issues, and on Thursday, Ag nominee Sonny Perdue finally takes center stage at his Senate confirmation hearing.

On Thursday evening, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a Capitol Hill reception honoring their 25th anniversary in Dirksen G-50 at 5:30 p.m.  This will be a great event and will feature comments from Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Please feel free to join BCSE at the event.

With Spring launching today, I’m adding my own new beginning in the update that I hope to continue called “Cool Quotient.”  In it, I will feature really cool, innovative things that folks are doing in the energy sector. My first effort features a great Twitter video from Energy Secretary Perry that features a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  Send me nominees for the future.

Finally, 25 years ago this week, the legal classic, My Cousin Vinny, hit theaters, leaving us with a series of one-liners and quips that will always be part of our attitude toward the legal system. With a great cast and great writing, the Wall Street Journal looks back at the comedy and compares it to other legal classics.  They are not:  IDENTICAL….

We are all over it this week, whether it is silly FOIA requests from environmental activists, science questions, CPP, Paris, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Safe roads are important to our families, communities, and our businesses and TSR is more committed than ever to improve road safety and reduce deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes globally.  Greg Martin adds leadership, across the road safety landscape, which will be critical to scale and sustain our efforts as we embark on our third year as a coalition.”

Carlos Brito, chairman of Together for Safer Roads and chief executive officer of AB InBev.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Thanks to Twitter and new Energy Secretary Rick Perry for this video of a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  You can see more on the drones and how they are used to collect data at wind sites here.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Report Examines Costs to U.S. Industrial Sector of Obama’s Paris Pledge – Meeting the commitments President Obama made as part of the Paris climate accord could cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040, according to a comprehensive new study prepared by NERA Economic Consulting.  The study was commissioned by the American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy.  The report, “Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Industrial Sector,” explores several potential scenarios under which the United States could meet the Obama administration’s international emissions pledge as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Existing regulations fall well short of achieving former-President Obama’s goal of a 26% to 28% reduction in net emissions from the 2005 level by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2040. The study provides the first detailed analysis of the costs and impacts associated with the additional measures that would be needed to close this “gap.”

Actions to Meet Paris Costly – The report’s central scenario projects that additional regulatory actions necessary to meet the Paris target would by 2025 reduce U.S. GDP by $250 billion, reduce economy-wide employment by 2.7 million jobs, and lower household income by $160.  Industrial sector jobs would fall by 1.1 million, with the cement, iron and steel, and petroleum refining sectors suffering the largest production losses. Under the study’s core scenario, the industrial 2025 output declines by about 21 percent, 20 percent, and 11%, respectively. Higher energy costs also hurt domestic demand and the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, leading to a greater share of industrial demand being met by imports.  The study also examines the potential longer-term impacts of placing U.S. emissions on a trajectory to achieve the Obama administration’s long-term emissions goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050. It found that in 2040, the last year of the model run, GDP would be reduced by nearly $3 trillion, industrial employment would fall by 6.5 million jobs, and average household income would decrease by $7,000.  Another finding is that emissions “leakage” to other countries is a significant factor, and ultimately renders the U.S. regulatory approach ineffective at reducing global carbon emissions. In 2025, 33 percent of industrial sector emissions reductions are transferred to other countries as production shifts from the United State to other parts of the world. The industrial products produced in these plants would then be imported back into the United States.

States Also Impacted – The study includes specific state impacts for four key manufacturing states: Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  In Michigan, state GDP would decline by 0.8 percent in 2025, household income by $180, and employment by 74,000 jobs — including 13,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel, and refining, with output declining by 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively.  In Missouri, state GDP would decline by 1 percent in 2025, household income by $190, and employment by 53,000 jobs — including 7,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement, with output declining by 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively.  In Ohio, state GDP would decline by 1.2 percent in 2025, household income by $390, and employment by 110,000 jobs — including 24,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be cement and iron and steel, with output declining by 16 percent and 13%, respectively.  And in Pennsylvania, state GDP would decline by 1.8% in 2025, household income by $1,000, and employment by 140,000 jobs — including 26,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement production, with output declining by 16% and 15%, respectively.

NC Offshore Wind Auction Completed – Avangrid Renewables won BOEM’s auction for an offshore wind lease of 122,405 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina.  The winning bid was $9.07 million. Nine companies were cleared to bid in the auction but only four ended up participating.

Statoil Signs NY Offshore Wind Lease – Statoil, the winner of the recent NY offshore wind lease sale, has formally executed a lease with Interior’s BOEM for 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm in the lease area to provide New York with a significant, long-term source of clean and renewable electricity. The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).

IEA Data Shows Global Emissions Flat for Third Year – The International Energy Agency said global carbon dioxide emissions were flat for the third year in a row in 2016, despite growth in the global economy. Increases in renewable power generation, the switch from coal to natural gas and higher energy efficiency drove the continued decoupling of emissions and economic activity. IEA found emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatons in 2016, the same as the previous two years despite the global economy growing by 3.1%.

US is Biggest Success – IEA said the biggest drop came from the United States, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3%, or 160 million tons, while the economy grew by 1.6%. The decline was driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power that displaced coal. Emissions in the United States last year were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80%.

ACCF Pushes for Methane CRA – The American Council for Capital Formation launched a new campaign last week calling on the Senate to adopt a resolution of disapproval to repeal the BLM’s methane venting and flaring rule. ACCF says the rule is a classic example of federal bureaucrats implementing a solution in search of a problem. The federal rule is both redundant and unnecessary given existing regulations at the state level and ongoing improvements by industry. Instead of further reducing methane emissions, the BLM rule drives up the cost of producing natural gas, endangering our nation’s energy renaissance and one of the primary drivers of falling U.S. carbon emissions.  ACCF’s campaign will run a series of web and print ads focused in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana, and North Dakota, urging the Senate will follow the example of the House and repeal the BLM rule by adopting a resolution of disapproval.

Martin Lands at Auto Safety CoalitionTogether for Safer Roads (TSR), a coalition of global private sector companies, announced Greg Martin has joined TSR as chief operating officer and executive director. Martin is a seasoned transportation professional with deep transportation and road safety experience within the private sector and government.  Martin worked for many years at General Motors, both in the policy shop in DC and in Detroit.  He also worked at the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. He earned a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Political Science and Communications from Mount Saint Mary’s University

ECOS Releases Report on State Enviro Budgets – In case you missed it last week, ECOS released its Green Report on Status of Environmental Agency Budgets. State environmental agencies operate the majority of federally delegated and authorized programs and manage funds to implement related environmental regulations. In July 2016, ECOS sought state environmental agency budget data (EAB) for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. ECOS received 48 responses.  The ECOS Green Report provides information on state EABs for fiscal years (FY) 2013, FY2014 and FY2015, and focuses on changes and trends in these budgets, including analysis of changes to the three main funding sources: state general funds, federal funding, and fees or other sources.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Carnegie Nuclear Forum Set – Today and tomorrow, the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference will bring together over 800 experts and officials from more than forty-five countries and international organizations.  The conference takes place on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s conclusion. Most observers credit the treaty with playing a pivotal role in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Today, however, its continued efficacy is in doubt as disagreements grow over the implementation of each of its three main “pillars”—nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A number of panels at the conference will focus on debates surrounding treaty’s core articles, as well as on questions of how to manage its nonmembers and sole former member. Other panels will consider the future of global nuclear order, as well as emerging trends in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear energy.

House Climate Rs to Hold Briefing – House Republicans who introduced a resolution last week advocating action on climate change will hold a press conference today at 6:00 p.m. to discuss that effort and their priorities for addressing the issue. Participating in the event are Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello, Brian Mast, Mark Sanford, John Faso and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

HVAC Industry to Host Fly-in, Visit Offices – The HVAC industry will invade Capitol Hill tomorrow and Wednesday.

Forum to Look at Future of China Solar Power –Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host an event featuring the launch of “The New Solar System,” a major new study from Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint initiative of Stanford’s law and business schools. The result of two years of research, “The New Solar System” illuminates key and little-understood changes that are remaking the solar enterprise in China—and, as a result, solar power around the world. Based on the authors’ analysis, “The New Solar System” recommends changes to U.S. solar policy that would put solar power on a more economically sensible course and would help meet global carbon-reduction goals. Report authors Jeffrey Ball and Dan Reicher will present key findings before engaging in a broader conversation with Brookings Senior Fellow Emeritus Kenneth G. Lieberthal. After the discussion, the participants will take questions from the audience.

Senate Energy to Continue Look at Infrastructure – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 366 Dirksen.  The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony on opportunities to improve and expand infrastructure important to federal lands, recreation, water, and resources. Witnesses include Marcia Argust of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort President Bob Bonar (Chairman of the National Ski Areas Association Public Lands Committee), Jill Simmons of the Washington Trails Association, David Spears of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Chris Treese of the Colorado River District and Brad Worsley of Novo Power.

House Resources to Look at Infrastructure, Buy America – The House Natural Resources’ Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow on the importance of domestically-sourced raw materials for infrastructure projects. Witnesses will include Michael Brennan on behalf of Associated Equipment Distributors. CAP’s Cathleen Kelly, Martin Marietta CEO Howard Nye (On behalf of National Sand Stone and Gravel Association) and Rio Tinto’s Nigel Steward.

House Science to Look at NSF – A House Science Committee panel will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the agency’s budget and how they determine the worthiness of grant recipients and projects.  Witnesses will include NSF COO Joan Ferrini-Mundy, National Science Board chairwoman Maria Zuber, Jeffrey Spies of the Center for Open Science and Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for science policy and strategy at the University of California, San Francisco.

Forum to Look at Innovative Vehicles – The Global America Business Institute and the Korea Institute of Energy Research will hold a roundtable tomorrow at Noon on disruptive automotive technologies and the implications of their deployment and commercialization. The guest speaker is Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Fellow for Energy and Technology at Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Europe, and the Americas at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  The potential for innovative vehicle technologies to decarbonize and reduce fossil fuel consumption in the transportation sector is generally understood. Less appreciated is how widespread deployment of such technologies may facilitate major changes to the energy system of the future, and consequently, society overall. For instance, wide scale adoption of electric vehicles could foster greater utilization of distributed energy resources through the provision of ubiquitous energy storage. Further, the advent of autonomous cars could lead to significant improvements in fuel efficiency, traffic patterns, transportation networks, and land use in cities, thereby dramatically transforming urban landscapes.

Forum to Look at Indonesia, Australia Energy, Security Challenges – The CSIS Southeast Asia Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to discuss Australia and Indonesia and the energy, resource, security and diplomatic issues they will face in the coming years.  In the past decade Australia has emerged as a resource superpower. It is the world’s leading exporter of iron ore and will soon be one of world’s leading exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A recent PwC report indicates that by 2050, Indonesia – which is already the largest and most populous economy in Southeast Asia – will become the world’s fourth largest economy. President Joko Widodo visited Canberra in February and this week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in Jakarta to participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association Summit.   Speakers include Darmawan Prasodjo, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Widodo, as well as a panel that includes Paul Griffiths of the Embassy of Australia, Dino Patti Djalal of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, Perth USAsia Centre Energy Security Program Director Andrew Pickford, Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake and Mark Stickells, Director of the Energy and Minerals Institute at the University of Western Australia.

Oversight to Look at GAO BSEE Report – The House Oversight Committee’s Interior, Energy and Environment subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. examining GAO’s findings on deficiencies at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Forum to Look at Water Data – In commemoration of World Water Day, the Millennium Challenge Corporation holds a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on water investments and using data to drive decisions.  MCC’s WASH experts join together with research partners for a discussion on bridging data gaps in the Water & Sanitation sector.

Ethanol Group Hosts Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol holds its 9th annual DC Fly-In on Wednesday and Thursday.  The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel and on Capitol Hill.

House Energy Discusses Clean Air Act Reform – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to look at reforming parts of the Clean Air Act aimed at implementation of EPA’s ozone standard. The topic will be H.R. 806, introduced last month by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) with the immediate goal of halting further implementation of U.S. EPA’s 2015 ozone standard until 2025.  Witnesses will include UCSF medical professor Homer Boushey and CARB’s Kurt Karperos, as well as many others.

DC Bar Hosts Climate Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar hosts a forum on Wednesday looking at the climate policy outlook for 2017. Speakers will include Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, NRDC’s David Doniger and Karen Florini, Former Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Department of State.

CFR to Release New Report on Arctic – The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) holds a discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to release a new report titled “Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America’s Fourth Coast.”

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

Senate Ag Takes Up Perdue Nomination – The Senate Agriculture Committee will host Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday for a confirmation hearing to be Agriculture secretary.   Perdue’s hearing was long-delayed because of paperwork issues related to his business arrangements and financial disclosures.  Of the all the items expected to come up, ethanol may be an interesting one given Perdue’s background in agribusiness, which has been in a longstanding fight over ethanol.

BPC to Look at Energy Trade – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on expanding the benefits North American energy trade.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have long been strong partners in energy cooperation and trade. Over the past several years, those ties have deepened as energy trade has increased substantially, and Mexico’s energy reforms have created new opportunities. As the administration pushes forward with potential changes to NAFTA, what might be the impact on energy trade across North America? The panelists will include Mexico’s Former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons Lourdes Melgar, Wilson Center’s Canada Institute Director Laura Dawson and Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Forum to Look at Extractive Industries – The Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) holds a discussion on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on the opportunities and risks coupled with the extractive industries in the Americas. The event will feature a briefing by Ramón Espinasa, senior oil and gas specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on their new extractive sector initiative. Espinasa will provide an overview of the IDB’s work to promote investment in the sector. He will also offer his insights on the potential for extractive industries to drive broader sustainable economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with the IDB on the key issues facing the sector and explore ways that your organization can help shape and launch this new initiative.

Chevron CEO Addresses DC Econ Club – On Thursday evening at the JW Marriott, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. holds a discussion with John Watson, CEO of the Chevron Corporation.

Former Energy Sect Abraham to Headline GU Lecture on American Energy – The Georgetown University Library holds a lecture on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Murray Room focused on America’s energy challenges and solutions.  The group will focus on the post-election issues.  Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will be discussing the energy challenges America faces and possible solutions we could pursue as we move forward under this new administration.

 

IN THE FUTURE

WCEE Event to Discuss Energy Factbook – The WCEE event featuring the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BNEF Factbook has been rescheduled for next Monday at Noon.  The Speaker panel includes BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, Calpine’s Yvonne McIntyre, Johnson Control’s Elizabeth Tate and Katherine Gensler of SEIA.

Murkowski to Headline Arctic Forum – Next Monday at 1:00 p.m. the Wilson Center will hold a forum on the North American Arctic and the energy issues surrounding it.  Mike Sfraga of the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and John Higginbotham of the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Arctic Program will discuss the economic development opportunities, infrastructure needs and investment strategies.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski will keynote the speech.

Chicago-Hamilton to Look at Energy, New Congress – Next Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) will co-host a forum to explore the best approaches to address these challenges. The forum will begin with opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. A fireside chat and three roundtable discussions will follow featuring panelists including: Ted Halstead (Climate Leadership Council), Mindy Lubber (CERES), James L. Connaughton (Nautilus Data Technologies), David Schwietert (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers), Cass Sunstein (Harvard University), John Deutch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Trevor Houser (Rhodium Group), Ellen D. Williams (University of Maryland), Steven H. Strongin (Goldman Sachs), Alice Hill (Hoover Institution), and Brad Plumer (Vox).

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

JHU to Host East Africa Energy Forum – Johns Hopkins will host an all-day event next Tuesday that will focus on recent political and economic changes in East Africa and its implications on oil and gas development. By bringing together representatives from government, private sector, civil society, media and the international donor community, it seeks to review what progress has been achieved in the last few years and what governance challenges lay ahead.

DOE Oil, Gas Office Expert to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that Robert J. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 28th at the University Club.  Smith administers oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation. Most recently, Smith was the Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy. In this capacity, Smith helped the Assistant Secretary with policy and management issues across the office’s research and development, energy security and regulatory missions.

Forum to Focus on Oil Market Movers – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday March 30th at 10:30 a.m. for an in-depth discussion on how investor and corporate flows are impacting oil production, inventory disposition, and investment decisions going forward.  Significant challenges remain – from both a fundamentals and policy perspective. Just as the industry emerged buoyant from its week-long gathering in Houston, concerns over the extension of the OPEC/non-OPEC reductions and large stock builds in the U.S. caused investors to rebalance their positions, driving oil prices to their lowest levels in 3 months. To frame this timely discussion, we are pleased to have Ed Morse, Global Head of Commodities Research at Citigroup, Albert Helmig, CEO of Grey House LLC and former Vice Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Kevin Book, founding partner of ClearView Energy and a Senior Associate at CSIS.

GW to Host Risk Forum Report – On Thursday, March 30th at 2:00 p.m. at the Marvin Center, the GW Environmental Resource Policy Program and the GW Sustainability Collaborative will host Karl Hausker, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, and leader of the analytic and writing team for the latest study by the Risky Business Project: From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy.  The project is Co-chaired Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Thomas Steyer.  They tasked WRI with conducting an assessment of technically and economically feasible pathways that the U.S. could follow to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.  Hausker will present the results of the study and draw some comparisons to the US Mid Century Strategy report submitted to the UNFCCC

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on April 3rd– 5th in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday April 6th, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on April 6th through 8th. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

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 April 25

Friends,

I hope everyone enjoyed a quiet, reflective launch to Passover this past weekend, enjoying family/friends and maybe watching a little golf at the Valero Texas Open, some playoff basketball or even the near wrap up of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

First, I need to bounce back to last week.  I must be getting lame because last Monday I missed the Boston Marathon and the release of the Pulitzer Prize winners/finalists.  My daughter Hannah, who is headed for Wellesley next year, reminded me of the Marathon because she received videos from her friends on campus of the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel” at Mile 13 (a proud annual tradition that dates back to the original Boston Marathon in 1897).  On the Pulitzers, congrats to our friends who were winners, including The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick for his book on ISIS called Black Flag and T. Miller for his examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly and to comprehend the traumatic effects on its victims.

The Congress focuses this week energy and water appropriations while there are a number of interesting Congressional hearings.  Tomorrow, Interior hold its DC Five-Year Drilling Plan public meeting following two last week in New Orleans and Houston.  Last week, Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential.  Also tomorrow, NRECA’s Jeff Leahey heads a panel session at the National Hydro Assn’s annual conference which starts today and featured keynotes from Sen. Cantwell and Rep. McNerney.  Senate Energy also revisits a hearing rescheduled from last week on oil/gas production and development.

On Wednesday, BGov hosts EPA Air office head Janet McCabe discussing the nearing release of methane rules.  Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund and Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy will join at the event.  The House Resources Committee hits the topic right after at 10:00 a.m. and will look at pump storage and other Hydropower issues at 2:00 p.m.

And on Friday, EESI and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that releases the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.”

Finally, last Friday was Earth Day, or should we call it UN “Signing Day.”  It kind of seems like national letter of intent signing day for all the high school athletes committing to their future colleges.   Of course, almost of all of them will go to the colleges and compete, while those that sign the UN agreement will probably (if history is any guide) will do nothing more than sign away.  Anyway, I forwarded a few items and added a few more for this morning in case you may have missed it.

 

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

EARTH DAY EXTRAVAGANZA

UN Paris Agreement Signing – Representatives from nearly 170 countries, including the United States, are slated to sign the Paris climate change deal at a ceremony in New York today – The UN event will feature a bevy of speeches from heads of state and high-ranking officials and celebrities, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President François Hollande and even Leonardo DiCaprio.  John Kerry signs for the US.

Timing – Our friends at the World Resources Institute have produced a great interactive map that tracks which countries have signed and joined the agreement in real time.   You can see the map here.

What’s Next – Friday’s signing ceremony only a first, symbolic step toward ratification. Now countries will have to present formal ratification documents to their respective governments.  The Paris Agreement takes effect when 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse-gas emissions have ratified.

Europe Won’t Be Ratifying Soon– Both E&E News and now POLITICO are highlighting that internal politics within the European Union are delaying ratification there. The problem for the EU is that corralling all 28 countries into ratifying the agreement is difficult because there are deep divisions within the bloc over the EU’s internal climate targets for cutting emissions and how these should be distributed among countries.  Shockingly, that seems to be the same problem we’ve had for more than 20 years outside the EU.  Of course, they just say they’ll agree to ratify it and then don’t.

Green Analysis: Paris, CPP Distract from Climate Problem Solving – Speaking of Better ways to address climate, I came across this interesting analysis on how both Paris and CPP may be counterproductive because they distract time, attention, and resources away from adaptation.  In light of today’s Paris signing, the author, Chris Cooper definitively says that he is not optimistic that it will have the intended impact.  Cooper served as an international spokesperson for the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), a New York-based energy and environmental nonprofit with official consultative status before the United Nations.  He was also Executive Director of the Network for New Energy Choices, a nonprofit advocacy group that pushed for a national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and spearheaded efforts in dozens of states to reform net metering laws.  He still works for regional and national enviro groups as an expert witness on regulatory stuff and has written several books on renewable power.  If you can’t get the link to work, I have a pdf that I can send for you…

NYT: Climate Plans Won’t Have Much Impact – Our friends Coral Davenport and Justin Gillis have an in-depth piece in the New York Times that says despite the hard work and negotiations of international leaders, their planned actions, even if faithfully carried out, will likely fall far short of cutting emissions enough to meet the Paris goal.  Worth a good read.

Q&A With UN Sect General – Our friend Elana Schor has an interesting Q&A with UN Secretary-Generale Ban Ki-moon.  Would love to have a few tougher Qs though than pinned Ban down on the 20-year history of missed agreements and the future changes that will be required beyond the Paris agreement.

Rural Coops Highlight International Efforts to Provide Reliable, Clean Energy – On Earth Day, America’s Electric Cooperatives celebrate the community of cooperatives around the world.  From member-owned electric cooperatives in Bangladesh and Haiti to agricultural cooperatives in Ghana and Kenya, the cooperative business model puts the needs of members first, improving the quality of life and strengthening local economies.  Fifty years ago, the newly developed U.S. Agency for International Development joined forces with NRECA International to bring electricity to developing countries worldwide.  More than 110 million people around the globe have benefited from access to electricity. Increased access to electricity in more than 42 countries has boosted agricultural productivity, created new jobs in micro and small enterprises and raised both incomes and quality of life.  Co-ops consumer-centric utility model, a model that aligns the goals of the utility with the interests of consumers, promotes innovation and mitigates the risks that come with rapid technological change. Consistent with this consumer-centric model, cooperatives are leading the industry in the development of community approaches to solar and energy storage.  Co-ops own or purchase 6700 megawatts of renewable capacity. As of March of this year, 96 distribution co-ops in 29 states have developed or are planning community solar programs.

CCS Technology Still Opportunity – Our friend Ben Finzel reminds that Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology is key to successful implementation of the Paris agreement. To that end, leaders from Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Great Plains Institute, Clean Air Task Force and Third Way that says technological innovation will be critical in meeting the goal the world’s nations set out in the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.  In a statement on CCUS, leaders of these enviro groups say CCUS technology can capture and safely store CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities that the IPCC and International Energy Agency have concluded are essential to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.  They also add it’s worth highlighting that CCUS projects are now operating or under construction in eight countries with several new plants on the way around the world. And countries as diverse as Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Norway have specifically included CCUS technology in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to the agreement. The United States has adopted an “all-of-the-above” strategy that includes CCUS.

Third Way Video Highlights Challenges, Opportunities in Climate Issues – Third Way also has a new video out that says getting beyond 30% renewables will be a challenge.   Josh Freed says they love solar and wind energy as they are essential pieces of the effort to decarbonize the grid and meet our aggressive climate goals.  But, he adds, TW is also a pretty practical bunch, underscoring the notion that to get to 100% clean energy, we will need a mix of other low and zero-emissions energy sources to solve the climate challenge. You might recognize that voice in the video, it former Manchin staffer, Erin Burns.

ACCCE Takes on Power Plan AS UN Signing Continues – Speaking of videos, our friends at ACCCE are also discussing the COP21 agreement signing at UN Headquarters in New York City. The president and his allies are touting this agreement as a historic undertaking, in which American leadership is paving the way forward in the global effort to combat climate change.  Unfortunately, ACCCE is highlighting some of the smoke, mirrors and weaknesses in a new video that says it promotes false promises & puts politics over American families.   See the video here.

More ACCCE: Signing is Purely Symbolic – American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity president and CEO Mike Duncan said today’s signing of the Paris Climate Agreement is “nothing more than a parlor game lacking consequence or purpose; it’s purely symbolic.  The simple truth of the matter is that the agreement is an exercise in futility as the reduction targets are wholly unachievable.”  Duncan added that while the agreement is being signed, the president’s power plan on which the global agreement is based, has been halted by the U.S. Supreme Court until legal challenges to the rule are resolved.  Duncan: “A hallmark of President Obama’s second term has been action through executive fiat. As a result, we’ve seen one bad policy follow another with the Power Plan being the most egregious,” continued Duncan.  “The COP21 agreement isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on but will result in billions of dollars spent denying people access to the affordable, reliable power needed to grow economies and overcome poverty. That’s a sad state of affairs that should not be allowed to take place.”

It’s Wonderful Energy – The Chamber Energy Institute’s climate expert Steve Eule has a great piece in RealClearEnergy today that is a take on It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1946 American Christmas classic based on the short story “The Greatest Gift.” The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.  Eule spoofs the format in It’s A Wonderful Fuel, offering a fun read and important context for Earth Day and any day.

Diesel Techs Getting Cleaner – On Earth Day, Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum has a great column focused on clean diesel technology ion the marketplace and the industry’s now near-zero in emissions.  See the piece plus a great picture of the industry’s “clean white handkerchief” test.

AEI Paper Lists Questionable Earth Day ClaimsAEI’s Mark Perry looks at 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 that set the tone for the way we may want to consider the claims we hear today.   “In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey.”

 

IN THE NEWS

NY Denies Constitution Pipeline Water Permits – On Friday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) denied the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Constitution Pipeline Project.  Constitution builders say they remain steadfastly committed to pursuing the federally-approved energy infrastructure project.  “In spite of NYSDEC’s unprecedented decision, we remain absolutely committed to building this important energy infrastructure project, which will create an important connection between consumers and reliable supplies of clean, affordable natural gas. We believe NYSDEC’s stated rationale for the denial includes flagrant misstatements and inaccurate allegations, and appears to be driven more by New York State politics than by environmental science,” the project sponsors said in a joint statement.

Where will they get there Energy? – With opponents blocking natgas drilling, pipelines, fighting Indian Point and Other nuclear projects, questions remain where NY will get power/energy to meet its needs.  Constitution Pipeline worked closely with NYSDEC staff for more than three years to ensure that water quality measures are met before, during and after construction. As a result of that dialogue, Constitution Pipeline voluntarily agreed to the agency’s requests to incorporate re-routes, adopt trenchless construction methodologies, commit to site-specific trout stream restoration and agreed to fund approximately $18 million for wetland mitigation and banking and approximately $8.6 million for the restoration and preservation of migratory bird habitats.  The FERC-certificated route was developed after extensive environmental and engineering analysis, which included a comprehensive review of route alternatives. In its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the FERC concluded that environmental impacts associated with these alternatives were significantly greater than the preferred route. Despite this, in the spirit of collaboration we followed NYSDEC guidance and further altered our preferred route to adopt NYSDEC staff recommendations.

NY Never Discussed Outstanding Issues – Developers also said the decision was a surprise given the ongoing dialogue.  “Contrary to NYSDEC statements, the company was not informed of any outstanding issues that it had not agreed to address as a condition of the permit. In fact, during the past nine months, weekly inquiries were made to the department to ensure no additional data was needed. Those inquiries were either ignored or responded to in the negative. It is obvious that the NYSDEC deliberately chose to remain silent to bolster the political campaign of the State.”  The developers also took serious issue with claims that its application lacked information related to stream crossings, depth of pipe, or blasting.  The project sponsors continued, “Completely contrary to NYSDEC’s assertion, we provided detailed drawings and profiles for every stream crossing in New York, including showing depth of pipe.  In fact, all stream crossings were fully vetted with the NYSDEC throughout the review process. We are appalled with the comments that Constitution failed to provide sufficient data to ensure every crossing was totally in compliance with the NYSDEC guidelines.”

DOE Proposes Revised Commercial Water Heater Efficiency Standards – The Department of Energy (DOE) issued the pre-publication version of its notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to revise efficiency standards for commercial water heaters (CWH). The proposed standards increase the stringency of the current minimum thermal efficiency and maximum standby loss requirements for all gas water heaters and hot water supply boilers. The proposed minimum thermal efficiency for these products will require the use of condensing technology. The NOPR also lowers the maximum standby loss requirement for all electric storage water heaters and proposes minimum uniform energy factor standards for residential-duty commercial water heaters. No changes are proposed for the minimum efficiency standards for the remaining CWH equipment classes. The effective date will likely be in late 2019 or early 2020, which would be three years after the publication of the final rule, which is expected late this year or in early 2017.  A public meeting to discuss the NOPR will be held on June 6, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at DOE’s offices in Washington, D.C.

ACI Biofuel Subsidies Distort Soap Industry Marketplace – The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) said it supports legislation that would eliminate tax credits for biofuels produced with animal fats.  As part of the 2015 year-end legislative package of tax extenders, biodiesel and renewable diesel that is produced from animal fats is eligible for a $1 per gallon tax credit. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates eliminating the tax credit for biofuels that use animal fats would save $299 million in fiscal year 2016. Douglas Troutman, ACI General Counsel and Vice President, Government Affairs said ACI is not opposed to biofuels, but oppose misguided government subsidies that negatively affect the price and availability of animal fats, a key feedstock for the oleochemical industry.”  ACI represents the producers of oleochemicals, such as fatty acids and alcohols made from seed oils and animal fats, historically used in soaps and detergents.  The biofuel subsidy in question distorts the domestic market for animal fats by diverting this important raw material away from use in the manufacturing of cleaning products and towards the production of biodiesel. As a result, animal fats have seen a 116 percent increase in cost since 2006, the year the tax credit first became law.  Animal fats are the traditional feedstock for cleaning and personal care products such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, bar soap, bath gels and shampoos. Animal fats provide domestic chemical producers with a raw material that affords them a cost advantage over foreign manufacturers that use palm oil and similar materials as their primary feedstock. This industry supports approximately 25,000 American jobs. The supply of animal fats in the U.S. is largely inelastic (animals are raised for their meat, not fat), therefore the increased demand has rapidly outstripped supply, placing American cleaning product manufacturers at a tremendous market disadvantage.

EIA Updates State Energy Profiles – The Energy Information Administration has updated its State Energy Profiles with new data, including series for electricity, petroleum, and natural gas.  Activities covered by these series include prices, supply, and consumption.  The Profiles also feature updated annual data covering consumption, expenditures, emissions, vehicle fueling stations, and weather.  Quick Facts and analytical narratives have been updated for four states.  Puerto Rico also features an updated narrative.  Users can learn facts such Kentucky, the third-largest coal-mining state, produced more than 61 million short tons of bituminous coal in 2015; In 2014, Michigan had more underground natural gas storage capacity – almost 1.1 trillion cubic feet – than any other state in the nation; The Utica Shale has contributed to the rapid increase in natural gas production in Ohio, which was more than 12 times greater in 2015 than 2011; In 2015, 8.4% of Wisconsin’s net electricity generation came from renewable energy resources, split among biomass, wind, and conventional hydroelectric power; From July 2012 to April 2015, distributed solar photovoltaic generating capacity in Puerto Rico increased by a factor of nine, bringing distributed solar capacity to 37 megawatts. Solar capacity at utility-scale installations totaled 52 megawatts.  State and Territory Energy Profiles provide Quick Facts and an analytical narrative for each of the 56 states and territories.  In addition, the Profiles offer 91 key data series for each state, including state rankings for 10 of the series.  To view all 56 Profiles, visit the State Energy Profiles home page.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Arctic Chairmanship at Half Point – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. for a keynote address on the state and future of U.S. leadership in the Arctic. ESCI Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate the discussion and audience Q&A.

QER Meeting Set for Utah – On April 25 at 8:30 a.m., the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a public stakeholder meeting at Western Electricity Coordinating Council, 155 North 400 West, Salt Lake City, Utah. It will also be livestreamed at energy.gov/live. The meeting is the second of six regional QER public input meetings (scroll down for dates and locations for the rest), all of which are based on wholesale market footprints as a convenient approach to capturing and assisting the Interagency QER Task Force in understanding the nation’s regional electricity diversity, which is characterized by differing resource mixes, state policies, and a host of other factors.  The Salt Lake City meeting covers the footprint of thirteen of the fourteen states (outside California) which are, all or in part, in the Western Interconnection, and represented by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Electricity issues related to California will be covered during a May 10th QER meeting in Los Angeles. In addition to today’s meeting in Salt Lake City the QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – Today through Wednesday, 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. NRECA’s will be Jeff Leahey featured speaker on a panel on Congressional activities while keynotes will come from Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jerry McNerney.

5-YR Plan Public Meetings Start—The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold public meetings in Washington DC tomorrow on its five-year plan.  There were two meetings last week in New Orleans and Houston.  Recently, Interior rolled out the new five-year plan for drilling which set the scope of drilling for the years between 2017-2022. Gulf Economic Survival Team Director Lori LeBlanc said continued energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and support of American energy workers who fuel this nation is essential during a news conference hosted last week by the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The total economic impact of Gulf energy is immense.  It creates jobs in every state in the U.S., with some 430,000 jobs nationwide estimated to link to Gulf energy activity, along with tens of thousands here in Louisiana alone. Those of us on the Gulf Coast are proud to produce the energy to fuel America and we recognize that Gulf oil accounts for nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil production. The U.S. Treasury directly benefits to the tune of over $5 to $8 billion dollars each year from energy production in the Gulf — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.”

Forum to Look at Energy Policy In the 2016 Election – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a day-long seminar tomorrow looking at U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections.  The event will feature panel discussions on the importance of bipartisan Energy Policy, oil/natgas production, distribution and refining, the electric power sector, the future of transportation and State and City leadership. Each election cycle affords policymakers an opportunity to assess the state of the nation’s energy sector in the context of shared objectives and within the context of a dynamic global energy landscape.  U.S. energy policy is driven by economic, security, and environmental priorities, but fundamental tensions continue to exist between those priorities and among the various constituencies involved in the nation’s energy sectors. The purpose of this conference is to inform the current debate on U.S. energy policymaking and assess what areas are ripe for action.

Senate Energy Looks at Oil/Gas Development – After last week’s delay, the Senate Energy Committee tomorrow will return to hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments.  Witnesses with include Columbia Energy expert Jason Bordoff, Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Michael Ratner of CRS and several others in the oil/gas industry.

House Energy Takes up Pipeline Safety Reauth – The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday will mark up legislation to reauthorize PHMSA’s pipeline safety program. Similar legislation cleared the Transportation committee last week.  Both would force PHMSA to regulate natural gas storage and grant the Transportation secretary authority to issue emergency orders. Opening statements will be on Tuesday afternoon, with the markup scheduled for Wednesday morning.

McCabe to Headline BGov Methane Breakfast Forum – BGov hosts EPA Air office Head Janet McCabe and others for a panel discussion on the role methane plays in future climate discussions and the impact of the administration’s environmental initiatives.  Mark Boling of Southwestern Energy and Mark Brownstein of EDF will join McCabe.

Discussion to Look at Paris, Climate Action – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a lively discussion Wednesday at 8:30 that will bring together senior representatives from various sectors to discuss innovative and proactive solutions to climate change, what Paris means four months later, and how to move from agreement to action on climate change.  Speakers will include former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio of  Microsoft, Cathy Woollums of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Alex Liftman of Bank of America.

Forum to Look at Russian Energy Politics – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a day-long conference on energy and geopolitics in the Black Sea and South Caucasus.  Panels will cover all the different potential energy issues facing the region, including pipeline, supply and transportation issues.  Greg Saunders of BP will be a key speaker.

House Resources to Look at Methane Regulations – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Bureau of Land Management’s regulatory overreach into methane emissions regulation.  Witnesses will include Interior’s Amanda Leiter, Mark Watson of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Rio Blanco County, CO commissioner Shawn Bolton, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms and La Plata County, CO commissioner Gwen Lachelt.

Senate Small Biz to Look at Water Rule Impact – The Senate Small Business Committee will examine the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, on Wednesday looking at small business impacts and reforms to the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  Following Senate Environment’s recent hearing on the topic, RFA requires federal agencies to consider the impact of regulations on small businesses and consider less burdensome options if that effect is significant.  Witnesses will include NAM’s Rosario Palmieri, Darryl DePriest of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, NFIB’s Elizabeth Milito and South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp.

DOE Hosts Pumped Storage Hydro Public Meeting – The Wind and Water Power Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Request for Information to identify the challenges and opportunities faced by the pumped storage hydropower industry. Now DOE will host a public meeting on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. for individual stakeholder insight into the technical and market challenges and potential pathways to facilitate the development of pumped storage in the United States.

House Resources Looks at Hydropower Issues – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on realizing the potential of hydropower as a clean, renewable and domestic energy resource.  The hearing will focus on the barriers to nonfederal hydropower development.  Witnesses will include Steve Boyd of the Turlock Irrigation District, Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Jessica Matlock, and Debbie Powell of Pacific Gas and Electric.

CSIS to Look at Financing Production Resilience – On Thursday, CSIS Energy and the National Security program will host a conversation with former Vice Chairman of NY Mercantile Exchange Albert Helmig, Energy Intelligence Energy Casey Sattler and Betsy Graseck of Morgan Stanley, moderated by our friend Kevin Book.  Oil and gas producers have responded to six consecutive calendar quarters of price weakness by high-grading production, downsizing workforce and paring back capital spending. Financial investors’ continuing appetite for oil industry debt – and, more recently, equity – has continued to support U.S. production, too. Unexpectedly resilient output and stubbornly low commodity prices continue to erode corporate resources, however, raising several imminent questions.

Group to Discuss Nuclear Waste Storage – Waste Control Specialists will hold a news conference on storage facilities for nuclear waste on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. A little over a year ago Waste Control Specialists (WCS) filed a Notice of Intent with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and announced it would submit an application to the NRC for a license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel in 2016. WCS President Rod Baltzer will discuss the recent announcement that WCS expects to meet that timetable.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on Thursday and Friday 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.

BPC to Focus on Water/Energy Book – On Thursday 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center holds a book session on “Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival” by author Michael Webber and a discussion about the interconnections between energy and water, their vulnerabilities, and the path toward a more reliable and abundant future for humanity.  Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. A new book offers a fresh, holistic way of thinking about energy and water—a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both.

Forum to Look at LNG – The Atlantic Council hosts the US LNG Exports and European Energy Security Conference on Thursday.  The event takes place shortly after the inauguration ceremony of Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana and will discuss the implications of US LNG exports on European energy security in the context of climate action post Paris COP21 and changing global energy markets.  There is an excellent list of great speakers, including a wide array of Foreign ministers from European countries on a panel moderated by our FP friend Keith Johnson.  A second panel moderated by our friend Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal will include API’s Marty Durbin and DOE’s Paula Gant among others.

Anti-Nuke Groups Look at Indian Point – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. the anti-nuclear group Nuclear Information & Resource Service will host a webinar that features the Union of Concerned Scientists’ nuclear safety expert David Lochbaum.  Lochbaum will review the recent discovery of a major safety issue: hundreds of missing and degraded bolts in the reactor vessel of Indian Point unit 2, which has implications for reactors across the country.

House Energy Panel to Look at Nuclear Legislation – The House Energy and Committee Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on upcoming nuclear legislation on the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016 and the Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act.

Sustainable Factbook to Be Released – On Friday at Noon in B-338 Rayburn, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will hold a briefing that will provide information on the rapid changes occurring in the U.S. energy sector. The findings of the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” show that the U.S. energy sector, and the power sector in particular, have experienced unprecedented growth in newer, cleaner sources of energy.  The briefing will feature an overview presentation by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the findings from the Factbook, followed by a moderated industry panel with senior executives from a range of clean energy industries.  Speakers for this forum include BNEF’s Colleen Regan, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, Owen Smith of Ingersoll Rand, Covanta’s Paula Soos, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association.

WCEE to Look at Paris Implementation – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Friday at Noon on the role of states in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  Maryland Public Service Commissioner Anne Hoskins, DOE Deputy Director for Climate, Environment & Energy Efficiency Judi Greenwald and EPRI’s Steve Rose  will all , Senior Research Economist, Electric Power Research Institute all look at the options states considering to continue de-carbonizing the electricity generation sector and what role of regulators will play in achieving these goals.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

IEEE to Host Transmission Technology Conference – IEEE will hold its annual Transmission PES Conference in Dallas at the Convention Center May 2-5.  The electric grid is undergoing transformations enabled by the integration of new technologies, such as advanced communication and power electronic devices and the increasing penetration of distributed generation. Such changes introduce a new paradigm in the cultural infrastructure of power systems, which requires a great deal of cooperation between utilities, power generation companies, consumers, governments and regulators.

Climate Hustle Film Makes Debut – The Marc Morano film Climate Hustle will make its one-night national theater debut at an event on May 2nd.  Last week, the film was screened at an event at the House Science Committee. A pre-film panel discussion featured Governor Sarah Palin, University of Delaware climatologist Dr. David Legates, and film host Marc Morano, and was moderated by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. It also included a special video appearance by Bill Nye “the Science Guy.”

Atlantic Council Caribbean Energy Summit – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 8:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on these developments one day before leaders gather in Washington, DC for the US-Caribbean-Central America Energy Summit. The discussion will address opportunities for increased cooperation in the region’s energy integration. It will also launch the latest Atlantic Council report on the subject, The Waning of Petrocaribe?: Central America and Caribbean Energy in Transition, written by David L. Goldwyn and Cory R. Gill.  Energy security remains at the forefront of issues facing the Caribbean and Central America. With Venezuela’s economy in a tailspin, the eleven-year-old Petrocaribe oil alliance could suffer an abrupt demise. This could have serious regional consequences even though Central American and Caribbean member-nations have taken strides to diversify and transition into cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Speakers also include State Department expert Amos Hochstein.

PHMSA Head to Focus on Future of Pipeline Activity, Safety – Next Tuesday, May 3rd at 1:30 pm., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation with Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA). As administrator, Ms. 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.

Forum Looks at Fukushima, Chernobyl – The Goethe-Institut Washington will hold a forum Next Tuesday afternoon focusing on nuclear issues in light of the 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in Ukraine and 5 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in Japan. Leading scientists, medical personnel and policy experts will present their findings on the lasting impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

MD Climate Conference Set – The University of Maryland is hosting the Climate Action 2016 forum on Wednesday May 4th as a public conference in support of the objectives of the Climate Action 2016 multi-stakeholder summit to be held in Washington, DC on May 5-6.  The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion among academia as well as a diverse range of stakeholders with an interest in advancing the climate implementation agenda.  The Climate Action 2016 forum will feature both, the thematic areas of Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, DC, as well as cross-cutting discussions on effective implementation of climate and sustainable development goals.

Brookings Forum to Look at Zika, Climate – Next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Brookings Institution will hold a forum on potential links between Zika and climate change.  Princeton University and the Brookings Institution will release the spring 2016 issue of The Future of Children. The title of the issue is “Children and Climate Change.” The journal contains nine chapters dealing with various effects of climate change on children.  Also released will be a policy brief, “Children and Temperature: Taking Action Now,” which reviews the threat posed to children’s health by rising temperatures, especially the link between rising temperatures and the spread of mosquitoes and the Zika virus.  The event will focus on the Obama administration’s initiative and will include a keynote address by Debra Lubar, Director, of the Office of Appropriations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event will also feature remarks by a panel of experts with extensive knowledge about the impact of rising temperatures on children’s health. All participants will take questions from the audience.

CSIS to Look at Oil/Gas Risk, Reform – Next Wednesday, May 4th at 11:00 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on risk and reform for oil and gas exporting.  As energy prices seem set to remain low in the medium term, countries dependent on oil and gas export revenue face the challenge of reforming their economies and repairing their finances, while facing political and security risks. This event reviews the menu of reform options available to countries facing fiscal difficulties resulting from low hydrocarbon prices, as well as the particular challenges faced by Nigeria, Iraq, and Algeria, and the reform pathways those countries’ governments are undertaking.  The discussion will feature Benedict Clements, Aaron Sayne, Jared Levy and Haim Malka, moderated by Sarah Ladislaw.

WCEE to Look at Waste Fuels – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a discussion on Wednesday at Noon on substantial organic waste streams and recycled products (e.g. food scraps, manures, recycled fats oils & grease [FOG]).  These fuels are produced within our urban and rural areas. These waste streams are already being converted to renewable energy, transportation fuels, and bio-products – and they have tremendous potential for growth.  The event will focus on companies working to convert waste to fuels, what roadblocks they are encountering, what the policy landscape looks like, and what the future holds for this industry.  Speakers will include Pernille Hager, who has been supporting the global development and launch of a production platform for sustainable synthetic fuels from household waste. She currently works with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a CA based company in the process of building a first-of-its-kind Biofuels plant in Sierra Nevada producing synthetic jet fuel from MSW.  Joining her will be Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

High Profile Energy Speakers Headline USEA Policy Forum – The U.S. Energy Association holds its annual membership meeting and public Policy forum at the National Press Club on Thursday May 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Speakers will include NRC Chair Stephen Burns, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable, DOE Office of Energy Policy & Systems Analysis Director Melanie Kenderdine, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia Thomas Melia, AEP COO Robert Powers, ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, and William Von Hoene, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Exelon Corporation.

QER Meetings Set for Iowa, Texas, LA, Atlanta – The DOE’s QER Review Task Force will hold public stakeholder meetings this spring in the following locations on Friday May 6th in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, May 9th in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 10th in LA and Tuesday, May 24th Atlanta.

EIA to Present International Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday May 11th at 9:30 a.m. to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016).  The IEO2016 includes projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source through 2040; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.  Among other topics, Sieminski will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, energy demand growth among developing nations, and key uncertainties that may alter the long-term projections.

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.

CSIS to Hold Development Forum – The second annual Global Development Forum (GDF) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on May 19. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector.  The 2016 GDF seeks to address the complex issues highlighted by the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will examine the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of global trends including rising incomes, rapid urbanization, uneven economic growth, and widespread unemployment. In particular, discussions will explore ways in which official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions can improve livelihoods, strengthen governance, and facilitate access to key resources including food, energy, and infrastructure.

The Bi-National Energy Committee along with the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, the North American Development Bank (NADB) and other organizations will hold the Bi-National Green Energy Forum on June 2nd in San Antonio, TX.  Focusing on green energy projects: from renewable sources of energy to new technologies for energy efficiencies, the Forum is great opportunity to learn and discuss with experts and successful companies of Mexico and the US about cross-border opportunities in this vibrant growing bi-national market.

Oil, Gas Forum Set – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on June 8th and 9th at the Cosmos Club in DC.  More on this as it gets closer, but you can go here: http://www.energystreamcmg.com/

Energy Update: Week of February 23

Friends,

While the usual parade and hype around the 87th annual Oscars was fun, I didn’t think that Doogie Howser was particularly good this year.  I thought he was much funnier in the past.   A media columnist at Forbes hammered the show saying anything that could go wrong did…  Anyway, not many surprises at the Oscars with actors, designers and directors from Birdman, Grand Budapest (nice timing for the sequel coming out soon) Boyhood and Imitation Game taking home awards.  Perhaps the best moment of the night was John Legend and Common performing their song “Glory” from the movie Selma.

Another blast of snow on Saturday in DC that then gave way to sunny and 50s on Sunday set up a true reminder that Spring Training for Baseball and Spring Lacrosse (at least in our area) are in full motion.  Pitchers and catchers are already arriving and full rosters show up in Florida and Arizona this week as well, while the Cubs are still tied for first.  In other fun lacrosse news, my daughter’s high school team Severn School is ranked 4th in the nation in USA’s Preseason Top 25 Poll.  Of course, their arch-rival, Baltimore’s McDonogh is ranked #1 again, having won 112 straight games.  Last year, Severn lost 13-12 in the playoffs.  The date to circle on the calendar is April 21st when the teams will first tangle.

As mentioned last Monday, I started the weekend off Friday in with an acoustic show featuring Live’s Ed Kowalczyk playing the band’s smash hit album Throwing Copper as it celebrates its 20th anniversary since release.   The show was in a small venue in Annapolis and was really awesome.  The next big show is March 3rd when Bush comes to the Filmore in Silver Spring.  Everything Zen?

This will be a budget heavy week in Washington with a number of agency heads flooding Capitol Hill.  Most prominent in our space include Interior’s Sally Jewell at Senate Energy tomorrow, EPA’s Gina McCarthy at House Energy & Commerce Wednesday and House Approps Interior/Enviro Subpanel on Thursday and DOE Secretary Moniz at House Approps on Energy/Water on Thursday.  John Kerry also hits the House Approps State/Foreign Ops subpanel on Wednesday, while those of you looking at train car rules and infrastructure will want to hear Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday at House Approps’ Transpo panel.   If you want to see Foxx, you’ll want to check out Senate Environment & PUBLIC WORKS on Wednesday, who will have state transpo officials and businesses from around the nation to discuss the upcoming highway bill.  Finally on Thursday, House Oversight jumps into examining the impacts of EPA air and water regs on States featuring AGs from Montana and Arkansas.

Finally, in Houston on Thursday and Friday, Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference.  The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleagues Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others.

Call with questions.

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Arctic Drilling Rolls out – In the unusual Friday afternoon time slot, this time the Department of Interior released first-time draft safety standards for Arctic oil and gas drilling.  The proposal includes a requirement for oil companies to keep a second rig standing by to drill a relief well as well as submitting integrated operations plans that address all phases of the exploration program, have access to Source Control and Containment Equipment and “have the necessary equipment, training, and personnel for oil spill response on the Arctic OCS.” The proposal is likely to take more than a year to finalize but includes much of what Shell has been undertaking with Interior ahead of the company’s Arctic drilling plans.

Murkowski Weighs In – Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was reserving judgment on Interior’s new draft regulations for oil and natural gas activities in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  She added if this administration is truly committed to developing our Arctic resources then it’s imperative that the Interior Department provide clear direction to Shell and the other leaseholders in the region on how they can proceed.  Murkowski:  “It’s important that any changes to existing regulations covering the Chukchi and Beaufort seas allow companies the flexibility to respond to changing conditions and for the deployment of new drilling technologies.”

How Much is Up There – Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Dozens of wells have been safely drilled in these areas since the 1970s. Interior estimates its new proposed regulations will add up to $1.4 billion over 10 years to the cost of development.

Wyden Weighs In On Train Car Rule – The pace of the oil train rule seems to have sped up after several recent incidents, including a fiery crash in West Virginia.  The DOT rule, which was “amtraking” along (that means late and slow) at OMB, seems to be getting the attention of a number of Democrats that want some action.  House transportation top Democrat Pete DeFazio has already weighed in on this and now  Sen. Ron Wyden said the rule should address the potential risks of newer rail cars involved in two derailments in addition to the older cars still in use.  My colleague Lowell Rothschild is the best expert to discuss the overall status of the DOT rule and its policy impacts.  Look for members of both parties to increase the heat on getting a new rule moving.  Feel free to connect with him if have questions at 202-828-5817 or lowell.rothschild@bgllp.com

President to Get Keystone Legislation – After years of delays and obstruction, our friends at POLITICO report that Republicans plan to officially send the White House their Keystone XL legislation tomorrow, setting up an expected presidential veto soon afterward.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

National Govs Meeting in DC – You may have noticed it from the talk on the Sunday Shows, but the National Governors Assn is holding the 2015 NGA Winter Meeting over the weekend and today. During the meeting, governors will discuss issues affecting states and share best practices that lead to innovative solutions.  The Governors meet with President Obama today.

POLITICO Hosting State Solutions Conference – In light of the NGA being in DC,  POLITICO is hosting its 5th annual State Solutions conference all day today. The conference will feature a series of conversations with governors from across the country focusing on innovative approaches their states have taken to address complex problems.

Climate Conference Set – The Climate Leadership Conference 2015 will be held today through Wednesday at Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City.  The Climate Leadership Conference is an annual exchange for addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community convene to explore market transformation, share energy and climate related solutions, and provide support for those addressing climate change in their operations.  Speakers include Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, and National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone.

Forum to Look at NatGas Global Markets – The Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum in its Rome Auditorium today at 4:00 p.m. featuring SAIS alumnus Nikos Tsafos and a senior commentator to look at global markets for natural gas.

Forum to Oil, Latin America –Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy will host presentations from two distinguished IADB experts focused on oil markets and Latin America.  Dr. Ramon Espinasa and Dr. Osmel Manzano. Will offer an oil market overview and impact on consumers and producers in the region.

Whitfield to Lead Energy Forum – Faegre Baker Daniels’ and FaegreBD Consulting’s will host its annual energy and environmental symposium tomorrow afternoon at the Ronald Reagan Center.  This year’s event will focus on energy security, and speakers and panelists will examine energy imports/exports, grid reliability and cybersecurity, among other topics.  The featured keynote speaker is Rep. Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, as well as our friend Brendan Williams of AFPM.

Heller to Headline Geothermal Event – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. The program will provide an update on the US and international geothermal industry featuring release of the 2015 Annual Geothermal Industry Update and presentations and panel discussions by key leaders in US and international development, finance, technology, policy and regulatory issues.  Nevada Sen Dean Heller will lead a list of speakers.

Jewell Heads to Senate Energy – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow  to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for the Department of the Interior.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will testify.

Kenderline to Address NatGas Roundtable – Tomorrow at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host Melanie A. Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis of the Department of Energy will be the guest speaker at the next luncheon.

RFF to Look at Climate Engineering – Resources for the Future will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. to look at climate engineering.   On February 10, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released two major reports on climate engineering (also known as geoengineering), to help inform the ethical, legal, and political discussions on climate “intervention.” At this seminar, a panel of experts will first review the reports’ major findings and then consider their political and economic implications.  The release of the reports comes at a critical moment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent Fifth Assessment Report suggests that the window for addressing global warming is fast closing. This year, the international community is working toward a post-Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The United States has already announced new bilateral cooperation with China and India on renewable energy development and climate action. Climate engineering has long hovered on the fringes of these conversations. Panelists will include NRDC’s David Goldston, former House Science Committee Chair Bart Gordon, EDF’s Steve Hamburg,  and NOAA’s Admiral David Titley.

Ambassador, Louisa Rep to Focus on Japan, US Energy  Issues – The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is hosting a forum on adapting to a new energy strategy for U.S., Japanese, and Asian energy security.” This event will be held tomorrow  at 2:00 p.m. in 2322 Rayburn.  The event will detail the findings of NBR’s two-year program on “Adapting to a New Energy Era” and will feature panel discussions with senior experts on energy security, including Minister Yasushi Akahoshi from Embassy of Japan in the United States and Rep. Charles Boustany.

CSIS Paper to Look at Trade Issues – On Wednesday morning, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will release a new paper, Opportunities in Strengthening Trade Assistance, the final report of the CSIS Bipartisan Task Force on Trade Capacity Building. The task force, co-chaired by Reps. Charles Boustany and Jared Polis, met in 2014 to determine how the U.S. government can best implement TCB programs that build physical, human, and institutional capacities across the developing world and allow countries to benefit from trade and investment opportunities.  CSIS’s new paper highlights the critical role that TCB can and should play in an evolving U.S. development agenda. The report distills lessons from past TCB efforts and builds a practical.

McCarthy Heads to House Energy, Approps – EPA Head Gina McCarthy will visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for EPA.  Then on Thursday, McCarthy will head to the House Approps Panel on Interior and the Environment.

Kerry Hits House Approps Subpanel on Budget – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations reviews the State Department’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday  at 2:00 p.m. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies and while ISIS, Iran and Other Foreign affairs topics will be on the agenda, expect some discussion of global warming and international climate efforts.

RFF to Discuss AB 32 Legislation – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday assessing progress under California’s AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program.  At this RFF seminar, experts from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will examine the market, emissions, and economic data behind California’s successful climate agenda as detailed in their recent report: Carbon Market California: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program, Year Two. Presenters from RFF, EDF, and California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, will discuss the current and future direction of the state’s climate policy, including the status of accomplishments such as putting a carbon price on transportation pollution and establishing a climate dividend for ratepayers.  Speakers will include EDF’s Tim O’Connor and Derek Walker, as well as PG&E’s Ray Williams and Melissa Lavinson.

Forum to Look at EERE Budget – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 210 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute — in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus – will host a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal released by President Obama on February 2. The Administration’s overall $4 trillion budget proposal provides a renewed focus on addressing climate change, and would invest $7.4 billion in clean energy technology programs across all agencies, led by the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture. This briefing will focus on the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), whose budget would increase 42 percent over 2015 enacted levels, to $2.7 billion.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will give an overview of the EERE budget requests, explain the Office’s budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years.

CSIS Forum to Look at Latin America, Oil/Gas – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program  will host David Voght and John Padilla, Managing Directors at IPD Latin America, on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss recent developments in Latin American oil and gas markets. Carl Meacham, Director of the Americas Program at CSIS, will discuss the political implications of these shifts in the energy landscape. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Forum to Address Mexico Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on Mexico’s energy reform and its exciting promise and challenges. The event will feature a conversation with Juan Carlos Zepeda, the head of Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), Mexico’s upstream oil and gas regulatory agency charged with playing a key role establishing and overseeing the rules of the road governing Mexico’s reform process.   He will chart the progress CNH has made to date implementing the reforms, offer a real-time update on the energy reform regulatory infrastructure, and explain the efforts CNH has undertaken to ensure the regulations provide for energy sector transparency. The Atlantic Council’s David Goldwyn will also provide commentary.

Australian Ambassador, US Trade Rep to Discuss Free Trade – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Pacific Partners Initiative will also host an armchair discussion with H.E. Kim Beazley, ambassador of Australia to the United States and Deputy U.S. trade representative Wendy Cutler. The discussion will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Australia-U.S Free Trade Agreement and consider the achievements of the past decade.

Moniz Heads to House Energy Approps – The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel will examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for DOE on Thursday withEnergy Secretary Ernie Moniz testifying.

Bracewell Experts to Lead Platts LNG Conference – Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference Thursday and Friday in Houston, Texas.   The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleague Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others.  Issues covered will include North American exports from Canadian and US East, West, and Gulf Coast facilities, with focus on regulatory questions, timelines and contracts; Global competition and export capacity in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Russia focused on growth outlook and competitive forces/differentiators.  They will also look at issues like regional demand and pricing.

Conover, Louda to Talk CHP at Webinar – On Thursday at Noon, the Combined Heat and Power Assn and Grayling will hold a joint webinar looking at state energy efficiency programs and how many of them impact combined heat and power.  The webinar will feature speakers from CHP Association, Grayling, and experts in state energy efficiency policies.  Speakers will include Our friends Dale Louda of the CHP Association and former DOE official Dave Conover.

Foxx Hits House Approps Subpanel on Transportation Issues – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation reviews DOT’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday  at 2:00 p.m. Secretary Anthony Foxx testifies with Highway Trust Fund concerns, oil train car rules and infrastructure updates all on the agenda.

AGs head to House Oversight Hearing – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpanel on Interior will hold a hearing looking at U.S. EPA air and water rules and their impacts on states.  A number of state attorneys general suing to stop their implementation will testify as well as a number of economists who have done studies outlining impacts.  Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will lead the hearing with NERA Economic Consultants Anne Smith and David Harrison also on the agenda.

Green Tie Event Set – The 14th Annual Green Tie Affair will be held on Thursday evening at the  Capitol Riverfront District  The USGBC National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR), the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC), and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) host one of the premier social events for the clean energy industry. In addition to the usual activities, this special edition of the event will serve as a kickoff for what promises to be a landmark year for sustainable building in our region, as DC prepares to host 30,000 guests for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in November.

IEA Official to Present Oil Market Report – On Friday at 9:30 a.m., CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program will host Antoine Halff, Head of the Oil Industry and Markets Division at the International Energy Agency, to present the IEA’s 2015 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Forum Focused on Geopolitics of Energy – On Friday, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a forum on the geopolitical implications of rapid change in energy markets.  The AICGS Foreign & Domestic Policy Program  will hold for a conference focused on a German and American perspective of global energy markets.  Experts from both countries will discuss their work on topics such as the future of fuels and cities, instability and the resource nexus, and energy and statecraft.

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Discuss Solar Jobs – Next, Monday at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Solar Foundation will hold a briefing on the recently released 2014 National Solar Jobs Census. The Census found that the solar industry added 31,000 jobs last year, accounting for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs, and representing a growth rate almost 20 times greater than the national average. Today, 173,807 Americans are employed in the solar industry, almost twice as many as in U.S. coal mining.    Speakers for this forum are Solar Foundation head Andrea Luecke, GW Solar Institute head Amit Ronen, DOE’s Mike Carr and SunEdison’s Matt Herzberg.

CP CEO to Address US Chamber Energy Forum – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host their CEO Leadership Series luncheon featuring on Tuesday, March 3rd art Noon featuring Ryan Lance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ConocoPhillips.  Lance will address the current state of the oil industry and challenges it is facing with lower oil prices.

Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.

Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.

Forum, Simulation to address Cybersecurity Risks – The 3rd Annual Information and Cyber Governance, Data Analytics and Privacy Briefing will be Held at the National Press Club on March 18th.  The program will focus on identifying, protecting and responding to  today’s growing internal and external cybersecurity risks.  SEC Deputy Director Scott Bauguess and FTC General Counsel David Shonka will headline a number of speakers.  During the conference in addition to the moderated Q and A format, the audience will participate in an exercise using a hacking simulator. It has the strategic rigor of chess and the feel of a turn-based card game.  The “Game of Threats™” allows executives to better understand the complexity and fast-paced nature of deciphering threats and crafting the proper response, highlighting the importance of making the right move at the right time to thwart the hackers. My Bracewell colleague and expert on cybersecurity Shamoil Shipchandler is a great resource on the issue.

AHRI to Host Annual DC Meeting – The Heating and Air Conditioning trade association AHRI will hold its annual Washington Conference on March 24-25th.  More on this as it comes into shape.

WSJ ECO:nomics Conference to Feature Leaders –  On March 25th to 27th, the editors of The Wall Street Journal will hold its ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, CA.  The event brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy makers and leading thinkers at ECO:nomics 2015 to identify and assess the most compelling opportunities — and pressing risks— emerging around the world in businesses impacted by the environment.  Through on-stage interviews with leading figures and interactive sessions with peers in diverse industries, participants at ECO:nomics 2015 will debate, discuss and get the inside story on essential issues: investing in innovation, disrupting current business models, the new meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading.  Speakers will include  Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, WV Sen. Jo e Manchin, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, coal magnate Bob Murray, former Brightsource CEO and current Google exec John Woolard, Dan Yergin, T. Boone Pickens and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute.

Energy Update Week of June 30

Friends,

I thought I’d do a quick update for you this week despite this being the holiday week.  While Friday, July 4th is the US independence Day, tomorrow July 1st is also Canada Day. For those of us who spent a large part of our younger days traveling from rink to rink in lots of northern environs, the day mean almost as much, eh!  The occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867.

While we blow off fireworks, have barbeques and the Stars and Stripes, the Canadians see their birthday a little differently.  In fact, our friends at Molson, with the Stanley Cup having been awarded and hockey on hiatus, are tapping the Molson Canadian traveling beer fridge, tempting Canadians with the promise of free beer only after they unlock it with a few verses of the Canadian national anthem, Oh Canada.  (Here are the lyrics in case you run into the Molson Beer Fridge.)

If you’re still working tomorrow, my Bracewell colleagues Eric Washburn and Lowell Rothschild will be hosting a Bloomberg BNA webinar at 1:00 p.m. focusing on new proposed rules on endangered species and waters. The webinar will address environmental and public policy issues associated with community environmental resources located on private lands, how the rules fit into the broader regulatory policy of the Obama Administration and interact with active NGO agendas and how the rules might impact energy development, agriculture, manufacturing, and electrical generation.  Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll get you the info.

Enjoy the week… Call if you have questions

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

IN THE NEWS

Industry Asks for Comment Extension – The utility industry has requested that EPA extend the comment period on the new GHG rule for existing power plants by 60 additional days.  The request comes as industry and other groups detail the complexity of the rule and how it will impact the overall economy.

Segal on Diane Rehm Show – The SCOTUS ruling on the tailoring rule which we discussed last week also launched Scott Segal onto the Diane Rehm Show.  Take a listen to hear Segal add Michael Brune to the list of enviro activists that he give a policy beat down to.  It is entertaining.

Loveland Voters Reject Moratorium –Voters in Loveland, CO rejected a moratorium last week confirming a hypothesis Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) has been promoting for over nine months: when individuals have the facts, they support fracking. Citing Loveland as a perfect case study and microcosm of the national debate on fracking, CRED pointed to Loveland’s special election as proving its hypothesis true and applauded voters who had the courage to have an honest, open dialogue about fracking.  As a part of the primary election held on June 24, 2014, residents in Loveland were asked whether or not a two-year moratorium on fracking should be enacted in order to further study the time-tested and well-proven energy production technique of fracking. CRED applauded Loveland voters who saw through the “delay tactics” behind the call for further studies, and encouraged other Colorado communities to follow their lead and learn more about fracking’s 60 year history.  These election results follow an announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that neighboring Weld County, Colorado – home to 85% of Colorado’s oil production and the heart of responsible energy development – is thriving and had the largest percentage increase in employment in the US in 2013. Duke University separately drew attention to the tax revenue Weld County received from oil and natural gas development, increasing from roughly $50 million per year in the early 2000s to over $200 million in 2012. Statewide, Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry supported more than 110,000 jobs, generated $29.6 billion in economic activity in Colorado and $1.6 billion in tax revenues that go to schools, roads, infrastructure, and other critical services.

New CU Study Highlights Drilling Ban Impacts – A study released by researchers at the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder quantified the ill effects of a potential statewide ban on fracking in Colorado. The study, titled Hydraulic Fracturing Ban: The Economic Impact of a Statewide Fracking Ban in Colorado, showed that a statewide fracking ban would “result in 93,000 fewer jobs, $12 billion in lost gross domestic product (GDP) and an annual reduction of $985 million in tax revenue for local and state governments between 2015 and 2040.” Additionally, the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) released a report quantifying the effect of a county-level ban on fracking in nearby Boulder County, concluding that such a ban would cost the county over $1 billion in compensation to mineral owners and those who receive royalties from energy development on their property.

Utility Scale Solar Growth Makes CA ISO Records – On June 1, 2014, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) recorded a record midday hourly peak of 4,767 MWAC of utility generated solar electricity delivered into the California grid. With rapidly growing utility-scale solar capacity, CAISO has regularly recorded new hourly output records going back to 2010 when it first began publishing the daily data.  EIA has a great chart on the subject which includes a lot of power from Ivanpah, which was brought on line in January of this year.

EIA Reports Document Increases in Renewables, Fossil Fuels –Speaking of EIA, two new back-to-back reports provide a snapshot of U.S. energy trends for the first months of 2014.  EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (released on June 23rd) provides data for the nation’s electrical sector through April 30th.  EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review” (released June 25th) provides 1Q data for all energy sectors.  From EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report, developments of particular note include 1) Renewable energy sources provided over 14% of the nation’s electricity – a level that the EIA has been saying might not be reached until 2040. 2) Wind has now passed the 5% percent (5.15) threshold. 3) Electrical generation from solar for the first four months of 2014 is more than double that for the same period in 2013 (increasingly 108.9%).  4) electrical generation from nuclear power rose 0.7% in the first four months of 2014 compared to the first third of 2013; however, as a share of total U.S. electrical generation, nuclear declined from 19.71% in the first third of 2013 to 19.15% in first third of 2014.  From EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review,” key findings include 1) domestic energy production from renewable sources grew by 4.36% during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, accounting for 11.41% of total U.S. energy production. 2) Compared to 2013 1Q activity, production of fuel ethanol  – used primarily in the transportation sector – grew by 11.74% and biodiesel by 10.85%.  3) As well, consumption of fossil fuels increased by 5.17% in 1Q 2014 with coal by 8.91%, natural gas by 7.43%, and petroleum by 1.07%.  4) Finally, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels rose by 5.48% during 1Q 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 and by 10.52% when compared to the first quarter of 2012.

IER Report Outlines GHG Rule Impacts – The Institute for Energy Research released a report last week assessing the implications of the federal government’s anti-coal policies. The report, “Protect the American People: Moratorium on Coal Plant Closures Essential,” was co-authored by Dr. Roger Bezdek and Dr. Frank Clemente and comes in the wake of the EPA’s newly proposed greenhouse gas regulations, which will force electricity providers to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide.  The report calls for an immediate moratorium on closure of coal plants to protect reliability, maintain affordability and security of our energy system for families and businesses. Key findings include 1) Policies that hurt the U.S. coal fleet will significantly increase wholesale electric rates – and could increase them by as much as 80%, 2) Anti-coal policies harm those who can least afford it – low income families, minorities, children and the elderly, 3) By taking coal out of our energy mix, huge price increases for other electricity sources will be necessary to make sure the lights stay on, 4) Coal met 92% of the year-over-year incremental electricity demand during the first two months of 2014, 5) In early 2014, without coal plants, parts of New England, the Midwest and other regions would have experienced brownouts and blackouts that would have been economically disastrous and threatened human health and safety, and next winter many of those plants will not operate due to government policies, 6) U.S. coal used for electricity generation has increased 170% since 1970 as key emission rates have been reduced by 90% and 7) Regional impacts in key states will be significant, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Steyer Report Angles at Business – Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, billionaire Tom Steyer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned in a new report last week that rising sea levels, increasing storm surges and warmer temperatures will cost the U.S. billions if little action is taken to mitigate climate change. The report concludes that, in the next 15 years, higher sea levels and storm surges will increase the cost of damages along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico by $2 billion to $3.5 billion a year.

Extenders Coalitions Rolls Out Letter Calling for Action – A new coalition of companies, organizations and associations, released a letter late last week calling on Congress to act immediately on the EXPIRE Act (tax extenders) to ensure the continued growth of the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced biofuels industries.  Major portions of the economy are represented including commercial energy efficiency, biggest biofuels maker, wind turbine makers (on the call) and letter-signers like the American Farm Bureau, the biggest steelmaker in America, and Sherwin Williams among many others.  I have a copy of the letter but it is also online here.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Discuss Russia, Ukraine, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. looking at energy and its potential impact on future solutions to the Ukraine crisis, as well as overall relations among Russia, other Eurasian states, the European Union, and the United States.  Editors of the second edition of Energy and Security (now in its second printing by the Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press) Jan Kalicki and David Goldwyn have served in leading energy and foreign policy roles in five U.S. administrations, Democratic and Republican.

Bracewell Experts to Address ESA at BNA Webinar – My Bracewell colleagues Eric Washburn and Lowell Rothschild will be hosting a Bloomberg BNA webinar tomorrow  at 1:00 p.m. focusing on new proposed rules on endangered species & waters. Recent regulatory changes proposed by the EPA, FWS and the Corps would expand the scope of Endangered Species Critical Habitat Designations, limit the ability of federal agencies to approve actions adversely affecting critical habitat, and expand the jurisdiction of EPA and the Corps over wetlands and other waters.  The webinar will address environmental and public policy issues associated with community environmental resources located on private lands, how the rules fit into the broader regulatory policy of the Obama Administration and interact with active NGO agendas and how the rules might impact energy development, agriculture, manufacturing, and electrical generation.  Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll get you the info.

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency Financing – The Alliance to Save Energy for the first in a series of Energy 2030 Congressional briefings on Tuesday, July 1st at 12:00 p.m. in 2456 Rayburn looking at perspectives on energy efficiency financing.  Speakers will include EDF’s Elgie Holstein and several others.

Forum to Feature European Energy Official – The CSIS Energy and National Security and Europe Programs will host a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Dominique Ristori, Director General for Energy for the European Commission, to discuss the strategic importance of transatlantic cooperation for key energy priorities. With a rapidly evolving energy landscape featuring novel sources of supply alongside supply disruptions, the need for cooperation has become increasingly salient. Ristori will discuss the common objectives of the U.S. and the EU, including competitiveness, security of supply, and decarbonization, and the importance of cooperation on those objectives. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.  Ristori has worked in the European Commission since 1978 and has held several senior positions.

July 4th Holiday

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum Focused on Mexican Energy Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security and Americas Programs will host a forum on Monday July 7th at 1:30 p.m. featuring Jesus Reyes Heroles, Former General Director of Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and Executive President of Grupo de Economistas y Asociados,  Pedro Haas, Senior Adviser at McKinsey & Co and Ed Morse, Head of Commodities Research at Citigroup, to discuss the recently introduced reforms to the Mexican Oil and Gas sector, the likely path forward, the implications for PEMEX and the resultant impacts on world oil markets. Ambassador Medina Mora, Mexican Ambassador to the United States, will provide introductory remarks. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser at CSIS, will moderate. Despite its position as the world’s 9th largest producer of oil and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere, Mexico has been plagued by consistent declines in production. At the end of 2013, Mexico approved historic legislation that would end the ban on private sector participation in the Mexican energy sector. These reforms promise to address many of the obstacles that have led to the country’s declining oil production. Before the reforms can take effect, however, the Mexican Legislature must pass secondary laws that focus on the fiscal regime, especially important will be the exploration and production contracts.

IEA Chief to Discuss Gas Market Report – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday, July 8th at 10:00 a.m. featuring Anne-Sophie Corbeau, who will present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, sees global demand rising by 2.2% per year by the end of the forecast period, compared with the 2.4% rate projected in last year’s outlook. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will meet much of this demand, with new pipelines also playing a role. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and – as of last year – energy efficiency.

Enviro Groups to Host Anti-NatGas Rally – The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is hosting a national rally to stop natural gas exports at Cove Point on Sunday, July 13th on the National Mall.

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.

CSIS to Host IEA Mid-Term Gas Report – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Anne-Sophie Corbeau to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report on Tuesday July 8th at 10:00 a.m.. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, sees global demand rising by 2.2 percent per year by the end of the forecast period, compared with the 2.4 percent rate projected in last year’s outlook. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will meet much of this demand, with new pipelines also playing a role. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and – as of last year – energy efficiency. Jane  Nakano, Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

EIA Energy Conference to Feature Upton – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will hold its 2014 EIA Energy Conference on July 14th and 15th.  The EIA Energy Conference has become a premier forum for addressing energy issues in the United States and around the world. This event will bring together thought leaders from industry, government, and academia to discuss current and future challenges facing domestic and international energy markets and policymakers. The conference will feature keynote speakers including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton, IEA Director Maria van der Hoeven and IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, among many others.

McCabe to Address ICF Energy Breakfast –ICF hosts its July Energy Breakfast on Thursday July 17th at the National Press Club featuring EPA Air Administrator Janet McCabe.  McCabe will discuss EPA’s newly released Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS) regulations for power plants.  The discussion will focus on how the regulations affect states, regions, companies and customers as well as are the benefits worth the costs.

Forum to Look at SCOTUS Decisions on Air Rules – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and Air and Waste Management Assn (AWMA) will hold a forum on Thursday, July 17th to look at an industry view of recent Supreme Court Decisions on Air Rules.  The forum will look at the Supreme Court decisions on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the GHG PSD Rule.  CSAPR applies to air emissions from electric generation facilities that EPA determined has impact across state lines; the GHG PSD rule applies to all industry and if upheld, EPA can lower the trigger threshold to cover more facilities. EPA’s exercise of authority for both rules are likely to have broader implications for industry for other air pollution issues.   Roger Martella, former General Counsel of EPA and partner at Sidley Austin LLP, and Linda Kelly, Vice President and General Counsel for the National Association of Manufacturers, will share their views on the Supreme Court decisions and the implications for industry. Clara Maria Poffenberger will serve as moderator.

EPA Public Meetings Set – EPA will Hold public Meetings in Atlanta, Denver, Washington and Pittsburgh.  The Atlanta and Denver meeting will be on July 29th while DC will be July 30 and Pittsburgh on July 31st.

Annual Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 17th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum  will be held Thursday – July 31 (9:30 am – 4:30 pm) in the Cannon House Office building in cooperation with the House and Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses.

TX Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 26th annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday on August 7th and 8th at the Four Seasons.  Several Bracewell attorneys will be speaking on panels on the many speakers, including Lowell Rothschild, Rich Alonso and Tim Wilkins.  TCEQ’s Bryan Shaw and EPA’s Ron Curry will also speak.

 

Energy Update Week of January 6

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Top 14  Issues for ‘14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SNL Energy: Let’s Be Frank

Wasting time on climate negotiations
SNL Energy:  Let’s Be Frank
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:36 AM ET
By: Frank Maisano

The views and opinions expressed in this piece represent only those of the author and not necessarily those of SNL.

As the United Nations climate meetings roll on in Doha, Qatar, it is finally time to admit the U.N. process is broken and will never be fixed. Already, we have wasted years looking for solutions that will never be achieved.

From its origins to perhaps its most significant moment when negotiators decided on a protocol in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 to today, nations have done little more than talk, posture and argue rather than achieve meaningful policies that could result in emissions reductions.

One of the reasons lies in the fact that emissions reductions were never about the environment for most countries. While it always has been a top priority for the environmental activist community, the process for most countries, both developed and developing, has always been about competitive economic advantage in the global marketplace. This notion has always undermined efforts to develop real, meaningful emissions gains.

Certainly, every year, international negotiators put on a good face, travel to exotic places like Morocco, Cancun, South Africa and Rio, as well as some colder, but also wonderful, locations to try to address the challenges of climate change. Unfortunately, with 194 countries debating every aspect of economic policy, future growth, sustainability and poverty, the process always breaks down.

Most often, it is in terms of developing countries versus developed countries, but the more difficult breakdown often occurs within each group. Developing countries are radically different, with the more advanced and growing economies (and therefore, significant emissions), such as China, India, South Korea and Mexico, having much different needs, goals and objectives than poor or island economies that have no other leverage. These countries are often the ones that will also be impacted first so they have some rightly deserved sympathy, even from those that are as self-righteous as your typical U.N. bureaucrat.

As well, on the developed country front, the U.S. is always mocked by its European counterparts who see themselves as piously superior to their western competitors even as they take advantage of every negotiating loophole for competitive economic advantage. Yet despite nearly 20 years of negotiations led by both Democrats and Republicans, U.S. policy negotiations have surprisingly remained incredibly consistent.

This policy balance, much to the chagrin of the U.S. and global activist community, has pretty much remained intact because the U.S. demanded early on that the negotiations be a global process that included all players, a stumbling block that large-emitting developing countries never have and never will get over, even as they start to pass developed countries in emissions.

Another reason for this consistency across U.S. administrations is rooted in the active role the U.S. Senate played prior to the Kyoto Protocol. Then, senators went on record unanimously (95-0) demanding they would not approve any treaty did not include developing countries for reductions of emissions in the same compliance period, expecting such an exemption would result in serious economic harm to the U.S. It also required an assessment of detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy. These simple requirements have been the fundamental death knell for international efforts ever since. They are understandable to a skeptical public, they are reasonable to anyone who understands costs and they are probably unattainable under the current process, technology and mechanisms in use.

Despite all the wasted time, the process has spurned a reasonably interesting success. Early on, despite some infatuation with Al Gore’s freshly negotiated Kyoto treaty, the Clinton administration realized it needed to figure out a way to engage large developing countries. This continued aggressively under President George W. Bush, who was roundly criticized by activists because of his ill-fated decision to reject the treaty process as it was already imploding.

While there was a temporary hope for the U.N. with Bush’s rejection, which galvanized most nations to cut a deal to implement the treaty without the U.S., it was still clear over the next few years that the process would never work without the participation of large emitters like China and India as well as the U.S.

That is why in 2007 the Bush administration fundamentally changed the game by making the issue a discussion point among the major emitters at international conferences like the G-20. Not only are the right people at the table, but it places the climate issue in its proper context among other major issues like the global economy, technology partnership and international competitiveness.

President Barack Obama took this policy one step further in 2010 in Copenhagen, where he brought major emitters into a room and carved out a going-forward deal without the typical U.N. process-wrangling. While that framework has been placed on the back burner as many nations try to recover from the economic downturn, the message was unmistakable. Never again could a deal emerge from the U.N. process unless the major emitters decided it.

It is a tough message for climate campaigners to hear. Their 20 years of negotiating, pressure tactics and political stunts have produced nothing except bureaucratic infighting and lots of expense reports. But now, with the right pieces in place and major emitters at the table together, perhaps we can end the U.N.’s bureaucratic climate posturing and move on to something that has a modest chance for producing successful, politically obtainable and meaningful results.

Special Energy Update – November 30

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE NEWS 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-Election: Offshore Energy

By George Felcyn

President Obama describes his energy policy as an “All of the Above” approach that encourages production of traditional fossil fuels while supporting the growth of renewables. Despite an increase in overall U.S. energy production over the past four years, output in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico has dropped well below recent government projections and onshore energy production from federal lands remains minuscule. Under a second Obama term, will federal waters and lands play a leading role in U.S. energy production, or will they continue to lag behind their potential?

How federal lands policy – and related energy policy – develops under the President’s second term will reflect the dueling instincts within the Administration: the desire to push an active, even aggressive regulatory-reform program, and the desire to create a more bipartisan legacy on issues such as energy independence. We suspect we’ll see elements of both as the administration continues a reformist Executive Branch regulatory agenda while exploring more common ground among Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the caucuses.

Other changes we see on the horizon:

Leadership

Aside from responding to the Macondo blowout, delaying the decision on the Keystone pipeline and dealing with the fallout from the bankruptcy of Solyndra, energy issues have rarely appeared at the forefront of the Administration’s political agenda. Low-key leaders such as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have contributed to the backseat posture of the Administration’s energy policy. In a next term, look for the following changes:

– DOI Secretary Salazar likely to be replaced by someone with environmental and public-lands credibility (a la David Hayes);

– DOE Secretary Chu likely to be replaced: look for someone with technology credibility, like Secretary Chu, but with more experience dealing with the energy industry and Congress.

Offshore Leasing

Future production begins with leases to develop. During each of the past four years, scheduled offshore lease sales steadily diminished. The Administration’s 2012-2017 oil and gas leasing plan fell short of industry expectations, failing to open up new tracts in the Eastern Gulf and along the U.S. East and West coasts, while providing limited offerings in the Alaskan OCS. In the next term, look for the Administration to:

– Stay the course on the current Five-Year Program;

– Hold tight on the development of offshore Alaska pending more science on impacts, sensitive receptors, and technology;

– Push out consideration of mid-Atlantic O&G development until more offshore renewable energy projects get under way;

– Develop the next Five-Year Program shaped strongly by the latest scientific impact studies; since the next Program will be developed during Obama’s second term but implemented during the succeeding administration, it’s a chance for Obama to leave a ten-year legacy of offshore leasing.

Offshore Exploration and Permitting

In the wake of Macondo, exploration plan approvals and permits to drill dropped to low levels while rules for offshore development were hastily revamped. Over the past six months, the flow of permits and approvals has moved toward pre-Macondo levels, albeit amidst markedly more regulation and less certainty of approval timing and outcome. Look for the following developments during the next four years:

– Promulgate additional regulations governing offshore equipment (e.g., BOPs), offshore safety management systems (e.g., SEMS), and leading/lagging performance indicators of process safety;

– “Set” the current permitting regime as the new normal;

– Initiate possible major initiatives around claims for natural resource damages (NRDs) from Macondo;

– Migrate regulatory concepts from onshore to offshore, and vice versa (e.g., disclosure, safety-case);

– Move increasingly toward performance standards, while also ratcheting up existing prescriptive standards;

– Continue to advance ocean zoning as a new gating function.

Offshore Enforcement and Liability

Part and parcel of ramping up production in the Gulf following Macondo has been the Administration’s emphasis on toughened enforcement of offshore regulations, marking a deliberate departure from the tarnished oversight reputation of the former Minerals and Management Service. In continuing to pursue this aim, look for the Administration to:

– Complete the development of the Investigations and Review Unit (IRU), the enforcement arm of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement;

– Continue to back-fill justifications for the current position on contractor liability;

– Seek expanded Congressional authority for offshore penalties;

– Spotlight the Macondo litigation.

Onshore Federal Lands Development

The Administration will continue to feel pressure to increase energy production on federal lands, particularly to exploit the considerable shale gas reserves on BLM land. Yet the Administration is on a go-slow strategy with federal shale gas development and is busy pursuing solar and wind opportunities. In the days ahead, look for the Administration to:

– Approve new, large renewable energy projects on federal lands;

– Finalize BLM’s rules governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, followed by progress in shale gas development premised on increased regulatory requirements;

– Explore ways to streamline opportunities for energy corridors (transmission lines, pipelines) across federal lands.

Presidential Legacy

In a President’s final term, leaving a legacy becomes a high priority. Look for the Administration to:

– Create new National Monuments under the Antiquities Act;

– Complete the President’s Great Outdoors initiative with a flagship effort of conservation or public access to the nation’s natural heritage.