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


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 


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). 


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).


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:


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.




Special Update – June 19

There is a bit of buzz surrounding tomorrow’s Interior Department Central Gulf Lease sale in New Orleans.  Here are some good resources on the implications of the lease sale, as well as statement (below) on it from GEST’s LeBlanc: 

 1)      Jim Noe (713) 301-6797

2)      Lori LeBlanc (985) 209‐7932

BTW, Segal (202-262-5845) is in NOLA and will likely head over to the Super Dome, just in case you want to throw some passes.  Rumor has it that he is looking to buy a couple of leases for himself.  

Finally, remember to call if you have questions about tomorrow’s action on the Senate Utility MACT vote, the NRDC report on utility lobbying or anything else….

Frank Maisano
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932



New Orleans, LA – Gulf Economic Survival Team Executive Director Lori LeBlanc issued the following statement regarding the Department of the Interior’s Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale held today…

We are encouraged to see the Administration follow through on its commitment to hold today’s lease sale.  While lease sales have dwindled sharply under this Administration, they are a necessary first step toward cultivating the energy supplies that Americans will need in years to come. 

Lease sales are also critical because they provide revenue flows directly to the U.S. Treasury.  During 2008, $9.4 billion was generated in new offshore lease bids.  That figure shrank to $1.1 billion during 2009, $979 million in 2010, and only $36 million in 2011 as only one lease sale was held the entire year.   This trend is significant because, next to tax revenues, royalties and lease sales from U.S. energy production are the second largest overall contributor to our national treasury.

Yet lease sales alone will not ensure a secure energy future.  As a recent report from SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute revealed, substantial improvements are needed in the offshore regulatory arena, including shortening the time span required for plans to be deemed “submitted” and ready for review, which has grown from 50 days pre-Macondo to 207 days; ramping up permit approvals for unique wells in the Gulf specifically permitted to reach hydrocarbons; and restoring predictability for companies by re-establishing a back-log of at least three approved drilling permits per rig to facilitate the long-term contracts that underpin the industry.

The Gulf of Mexico is responsible for approximately 28% of total U.S. energy production, yet today we see only 19 active rigs in the Gulf engaged in drilling-related activities, down from an average of 27 prior to the deepwater moratorium.  We hope today’s lease sale signals the start of a more consistent focus by this Administration on fulfilling the energy needs of Americans and capitalizing on the economic engine that is Gulf energy production.  The Gulf’s vast potential must be realized.

 # # #

GEST is an independent, non-profit group acting as a liaison between industry, local communities and the federal government to resolve continuing regulatory issues that are delaying a return to drilling in the Gulf.  For more information on GEST, visit

To download a copy of the SMU Maguire Energy Institute report, “The Outlook for Energy Production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: How the Regulatory Risk Premium is Restraining Production”, visit:

Special Update – May 17


Another short note today to mention a few things:

1)      Senate Energy held a hearing on the Clean Energy Standard this morning.  My colleague Scott Segal comments on the legislation:

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, offered the following remarks on the pending consideration of a federal Clean Energy Standard in the US Senate.  ERCC is a group of companies working on electric generation, environmental and energy policy, and serving millions of consumers across the United States:

“A federal standard mandating certain energy investments is a difficult policy to get right.  Supporters must take into account geographic differences and must incentivize a sensible mix of technologies, including both energy-generating and energy-saving approaches.  A CES must be based on realistic assumptions about the future of nuclear power and the real costs of certain renewables.  In a down economy,  costs to consumers must be a paramount consideration.  Unfortunately, the whole range of final and proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the power sector have already ensured that energy costs will be increasing.  There is not a single study that evaluates the cost of a federal CES against the backdrop of these regulations.  There is a lot of homework yet to be done, and not much time to do it during this election year.”

2)      The Solar Tariff announcement was just released by Department of Commerce, coming down at 31%.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838), a trade expert at Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will be happy to highlight and discuss.  There will be a press release from the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition at the link below.  They also are releasing a new chart.

The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) released a chart today showing the United States tied with China as the country least favorable to downstream consuming industries in trade cases among seven major trading nations. 

3)      The Administration announced another of the Bush 5-year plan lease sales today , once again to great fanfare, outlining final details for this long-anticipated Central Gulf lease sale.  Our friend Lori LeBlanc of the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) says while she is glad to see Interior moving forward with this long-awaited sale, it is important to note that lease sales have gradually diminished under this Administration.  GEST is an independent non-profit group that acts as a liaison between industry and local communities and the federal government in an effort to resolve continuing regulatory issues that are delaying a return to drilling in the Gulf. 

“Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced final details for the long-anticipated Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, alleging the sale would increase U.S. production.  While we are glad to see the Department of the Interior moving forward with this long-awaited sale, it is important to place the Administration’s activity with regard to offshore oil and gas development in perspective.  The fact is, lease sales have gradually diminished under this Administration – an often overlooked fact that  is critical for two main reasons. 

First, Lease sales have the benefit of generating immediate revenue for the U.S. Treasury.  During 2008, for example, $9.4 billion was generated in new offshore lease bids.  That figure has shrank noticeably each year of this Administration – to $1.1 billion during 2009, $979 million in 2010, and then to a paltry $36 million in 2011 as the Administration managed only one lease sale during the entire year. 

Lease sales also provide the foundation for new exploration and development that leads to the production of the energy Americans need for years to come.  Each lease takes years and millions or billions of dollars to fully develop.  Companies go through a lengthy process involving geological mapping, testing, and drilling exploratory wells before production can even begin.  In short, these leases are the necessary prelude to developing a tract of land and bringing energy to market. 

It’s hard to believe that an Administration claiming to be focused on increasing U.S. energy independence and on finding ways to balance the budget and reduce the federal deficit has largely failed so far to advance these goals by fostering more robust activity in the Gulf.  We hope the June lease sale does in fact occur as scheduled and, more importantly, is the sign of a more active commitment by the Administration to fulfill the energy and fiscal needs of Americans going forward.” 

4)      As many of you know, I was out on the Hercules 173 with a crew from CBS Sunday Morning on Monday for a show looking at the daily lives of workers on the made-made island of an offshore drilling rig.  The show will run on Sunday morning on local CBS affiliates, usually between 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.  I don’t know when it will be on exactly, but it should be a great look at life on rig, so I hope you’ll check it out.  Will try to send a link to the story in Monday’s update if you miss…

 Call if you have any questions…  

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

Energy Update Week of May 7


It is another sad opening this week as Friday Rap/Rock revolutionary, “Cool” Jewish kid Adam Yauch (MCA of the Beastie Boys), lost his 3-year bout with cancer.  The BBs were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year and had the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart, License to Ill.  Introducing the group at the Rock Hall, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D said the Beastie Boys “broke the mold.”  “The Beastie Boys are indeed three bad brothers who made history,” Chuck D said. “They brought a whole new look to rap and hip-hop. They proved that rap could come from any street — not just a few.”  I love being able to quote Chuck D in an update since I think of myself as Harry Allen.  (You PE fans know what I mean)

Hope everybody has recovered from Cinco de Mayo.  If you were able to catch that Kentucky Derby on Saturday, you would have seen one of the more exciting finishes at Churchill Downs in years.  Next leg at Pimlico in Baltimore in two weeks.  Don’t know if you’ve ever been to either (I have), but let’s just say there is quite a difference in the crowds…and leave it at that. 

Speaking of Baltimore (home of the US lacrosse Hall of Fame), the NCAA brackets are out for Men’s and Women’s lacrosse.  For the Men, Baltimore’s Loyola University Greyhounds are the #1 seed with Johns Hopkins #2, Duke #3 and defending champ UVa #5.  Others include Maryland, Ivy leaguers Yale and Princeton, Notre Dame and 2011 final four qualifier Denver.  On the Women’s side,  upstart Florida gets the #1 seed while 6-time champion over seven years Northwestern is #2 and Maryland, the only team to beat Northwestern in that stretch, is #3.  Other notables include Big East Champ Syracuse at #4, Jen Adams-coached Loyola, Towson, Ivy League champ Dartmouth, UVa, Notre Dame and both Penn and Penn State.  Men head for Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass and Women’s Championships will be in Stony Brook, NY over Memorial Day Weekend.  (yes, Memorial Day and the official start of summer, the beach season and club lacrosse is just three weeks away…dust off the pastels linen pants ).

In case you missed it on Friday, The Washington Post Editorial Board had a scathing editorial blasting EPA for its handling of Region XI Admin. Dr. Al Armendariz and his view of enforcement.  They also said he made the right decision to resign while adding the agency “must have a clear sense when to deploy its mighty power and when to exercise discretion” for the sake of the economy and its mission.  Question is has The Post turned over a new leaf or is EPA action with Dr. Al really that bad…  Check out the Article.

The President made a splash this weekend when announced his bid for re-election.  And then the Vice President ruined the momentum the following day on “Meet the Press.”  Congress rolls back into town this week to start the fight over the Transportation legislation featuring the Keystone XL pipeline with the action starting in 216 Hart tomorrow afternoon.   Two good hearings as well: on Wednesday, the House Energy subpanel will look at FERC-EPA reliability rules (our friend Deb Raggio of GenOn will testify), while on Thursday, Senate Energy will look at the national helium reserve issues/legislation, providing free balloon animals to all attending reporters.

Next week, I won’t have an update on Monday because I will be parading around the Gulf of Mexico with a news crew visiting an offshore drilling rig.   I expect to have something short on Tuesday. 

If you have any questions about the natgas rule from Interior or the EPA diesel rules rolled out Friday, please don’t hesitate to call me or my colleague Jason Hutt directly (202-828-5850)


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


Interior Rolls Out Rules on Nat Gas Drilling on Public Land – The Department of Interior unveiled its proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, which would require oil and natural gas firms to disclose the chemicals used in the drilling technique, improve well integrity and address flowback-water-related concerns.  My colleague Jason Hutt says the structure and approach of BLM’s proposed rule marks a significant change in its approach to regulating the oil and gas industry.  He adds in the past, operators entrusted with extracting the resource navigated a regulatory framework that called for the use of approved methods and the submission of information sufficient for the Agency to track the activity being conducted.  Hutt: “The proposed rule shifts dramatically to a framework where the operator must first follow a prescriptive process for demonstrating in advance that it will do no harm, then later submit a record to the Agency detailing how the process was performed as well as a certifying that no harm was caused.”  You can call Jason (202-828-5850) if you have additional questions

EPA Releases HF Diesel Rules – Speaking of Natgas, EPA also decided on Friday that it was rolling out new rules for the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing processes for natural gas drilling. EPA developed the draft guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.  The draft guidance outlines requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, technical recommendations for permitting those wells, and a description of diesel fuels for EPA underground injection control permitting.  Most drilling don’t use diesel in HF operations anymore.  Again, my expert Colleague Jason Hutt says EPA’s proposed definition of diesel takes a broad stab at defining its permitting authority and will likely trigger substantial commentary from all sides.  Also Hutt adds, issuance of the draft permitting guidance further undermines the notion that failure to obtain a UIC permit for the historical use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing activities could have somehow constituted a violation of law.  How can the industry fail to obtain a permit that the Agency did not know how to issue?  You can call him at (202) 828-5850.

AP: Marcellus Has Generated Billions for PA, WV – An analysis by The Associated Press shows that Marcellus shale gas wells in Pennsylvania generated about $3.5 billion in gross revenues for drillers in 2011, along with about $1.2 billion in West Virginia.  But not all the news is good as experts say that a sharp drop in wholesale prices over the last year means that in the future much more money will be made — and more jobs created —by petrochemical companies that process the gas into other industrial and consumer compounds.  AP says in 2011, the formation produced just over 1 trillion cubic feet of gas in Pennsylvania, and about 350 billion cubic feet in West Virginia. Ohio expects similar numbers in its Utica Shale field. New York hasn’t allowed drilling.

AWEA 1Q Report Still Shows Strong Growth Despite PTC Pressures – The wind power industry posted one of its busiest first quarters ever as the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) released its first-quarter market report for 2012. The U.S. saw 1,695 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity installed in the first quarter, with 788 additional turbines—largely made in the USA—producing clean, affordable, power in 17 states. No other first quarter has been as strong for the American wind power industry, which has tapped the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the industry’s primary policy driver, to establish a strong and efficient—and still growing—manufacturing supply chain here in the U.S. The 1,695 MW installed brings the total installed wind power capacity in the U.S. to 48,611 MW.  But in spite of the success of the industry and the PTC, policy uncertainty threatens the very future of American wind power. The PTC, which keeps taxes low on one of the greatest sources of new American manufacturing jobs and has broad bipartisan support, is set to expire at the end of the year, and already the supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty. A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will eliminate 37,000 jobs.

TransCanada files new Keystone XL application – TransCanada submitted a new application to the State Department Friday for its Keystone XL pipeline, and it includes a new route that steers clear of an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska. The company is confident the department will give its final decision on the project early next year.  The company will ask the State Department for permission to build the pipeline to carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to a company hub in Steele City, Neb. From there, the project would link up with other pipelines operated by the company to carry oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Utilities NatGas Use on Record Increase – Our friends Naureen Malik and Julie Johnsson of Bloomberg have an excellent piece on increased natural gas use by utilities and the fact that it really hasn’t impacted prices yet.  The historic switch to gas is set to peak this year without fulfilling industry predictions that it would eat up inventory and drive up gas prices, according to the story.  They say it’s because of unparalleled output from new shale fields is oversupplying the U.S. gas market.   Some don’t expect that to hold though, feeling the price increase just may take a longer term to develop.  Of course, many gas producers would like to see a bit of an increase sooner.   

New Research Emphasizes Role of Global Economic Growth in Warming – It’s a message no one wants to hear.  To slow down global warming, we’ll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world’s economies work.  That’s the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the evolution of atmospheric CO2, the most likely cause of climate change.  The study, conducted by José Tapia Granados and Edward Ionides of U-M and Óscar Carpintero of the University of Valladolid, Spain, was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Policy. It is the first analysis to use measurable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to assess fluctuations in the gas, rather than estimates of CO2 emissions, which are less accurate.

E15 Study Highlights Infrastructure Worries – A collection of new studies show that EPA’s decision to allow the use and sale of blends of 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol will place the country’s fueling infrastructure at risk, according to API.  Third-party testing of E15 “shows this higher concentration would not be fully compatible with much of the dispensing and storage infrastructure at our nation’s gas stations,” said our friend Bob Greco in recent testimony to Congress. “EPA has not done its homework before introducing E15 to America.”  The analysis of work from GAO, Oak Ridge National Labs, EPA and NREL among others concludes very few sites will be able to sell E15 fuel with existing equipment because retailers are required by OSHA and fire codes to use listed equipment that must be proven compatible with E15.  Equipment modifications could be as little as new hanging hardware (i.e., hose, nozzle, etc.) or as much as an entirely new fuel dispensing system.  Additionally, selling E15 may increase the risk for staff and customer safety, and present environmental consequences. The possibility of customer misfueling and the adverse effects of E15 on vehicle engines are also issues that should be considered. The only alternative is to not store E15 at the facility.

Gamesa Suspends Efforts to Develop Offshore Wind Turbine – The market and regulatory conditions regarding offshore wind in the U.S. have prompted Gamesa to freeze installation of an offshore wind turbine prototype in the U.S.  Since September 2010, Gamesa has been working with its collaboration partner, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, to design an offshore wind prototype, the G11X-5.0 MW, with plans to install a test turbine off the mid-Atlantic coast.  The collaborative effort has focused on turbine reliability, low maintenance and servicing requirements, civil engineering efficiencies in infrastructure development, and cost of energy. Now, Gamesa and Newport News Shipbuilding are approaching completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR). The 60 Hz version of the G11X-5.0 MW platform would enable them to build components for the wind turbine prototype.   In 2010, both companies saw the future of offshore wind as promising, with the commercial market just a few short years away.  However, an analysis of current conditions indicates that a viable commercial market in the United States is still farther out, as much as three or four years away, at the earliest.  While there have been improvements to siting in federal waters, regulatory issues still affect the level and speed at which projects can be approved. The pace of growth is further delayed by the lack of an offshore grid. In addition, uncertainty surrounding the Production Tax Credit, which will expire at the end of the year without congressional action, and the lack of a federal energy policy, hamper companies’ ability to secure financing for projects.

SAFE Study Highlights America Oil Boom, Challenges – A new report from business and former military leaders on the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) says the current oil boom is creating tremendous economic benefits for the nation, but unfortunately, it won’t shield the United States from the price volatility that is inherent in the global oil market.  The ESLC report, “The New American Oil Boom: Implications for Energy Security,” examines the notion of energy independence, which is typically defined as ending reliance on foreign oil, in light of the renaissance in domestic liquid fuel production, rising demand from developing nations, and increased geopolitical tensions in oil-rich regions of the world.  The report comes at a time when the American energy landscape is experiencing a tectonic shift—especially in the outlook for oil imports. The U.S. now imports less than 50% of its oil, which is down from more than 60% in 2005. This growth in domestic production will help reduce the trade deficit and be a source for job growth in the U.S. However, the report details how a dramatic increase in domestic oil production won’t shield consumers from the economic damages inflicted by high oil prices and price volatility.  As an example, countries that produce more oil than they consume, like Canada and Norway, meet the typical definition of being energy independent. Yet, because the oil market is global, these exporting nations still must pay the going price for oil—currently around $100 per barrel. This dependence on the global oil market demonstrates that the true measure of energy security is not how much oil a nation produces, but how much it consumes.

Bloomberg Report Focus on Coal Impacts of EPA Rules – Bloomberg Government has a new report on the future of coal-fired generation in light of NSPS for GHGs.  The essential findings are that 1) New coal plants would effectively be banned because their emission rate is almost double that of the proposed NSPS standard; 2) The new policy probably wouldn’t shift current investment patterns in the power sector. Natural-gas plants already have a compelling price advantage, AND 3) Although the rule makes room to build coal plants that incorporate carbon capture and storage technology, coal plants with CCS probably won’t be built unless Congress enacts new programs to subsidize them.  The report was done by Rob Barnett, an energy analyst at Bloomberg Government. He was an associate director of climate change and clean energy at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.  I have a pdf of the report should you want to see it.

EPA to Hold Public Hearings on NSPS – Speaking of NSPS for GHGs, EPA will hold two public hearings on the proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants. The hearings will be May 24, 2012 in Washington DC and Chicago. EPA is also extending the comment period on this proposed rule until June 25, 2012 to provide for 30 days for the public to comment after the public hearing. Each public hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. (local time). The public may preregister to speak at the hearings at a specific time. People also may register in person on the day of the hearing, and will be accommodated as time allows.

Forum to Focus on Cuba Drilling – The Center for International Policy will host a discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to look at oil drilling off Cuba’s North Coast.  A panel will look at what the U.S. must do to forestall the impact of a major spill should one occur.  The panel will feature former co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling, and former EPA administrator Bill Reilly, former president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors Lee Hunt, EDF Cuba director Dan Whittle, Robert Muse (an Expert on laws and regulations governing the U.S. embargo against Cuba) and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado of the University of Nebraska, a specialist in Cuban energy development.  Our friends Helix will also be in attendance, given they have developed a containment system to address any potential spill.


Kelliher to Headline NE Energy Conference – The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society will host the 19th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition today and tomorrow in Boston at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel looking at energy policy at the crossroads.  The two-day conference will bring together public officials and energy industry leaders to discuss and debate the key issues facing the industry. With the economy remaining slow to recover and the end of incentive programs supporting certain types of resources, policy makers and industry participants are faced with some hard choices. More than ever, the need to balance long-term policy considerations against near-term economic consequences is driving much of the decision making in our industry. This conference will consider how these conditions are shaping the energy landscape in New England.  Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs for NextEra Energy and a former FERC Chairman, will lead off the conference discussing federal regulatory issues and their impact on our region. Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc., will provide his outlook on issues affecting the wholesale power markets in the region.

Ban Ki-Moon to Speak at CSIS – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation held a Forum today at 11:00 a.m. with His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Ban Ki-moon will focus on the UN Role in post-conflict situations. 

House Science Panel to Look at Green Building Ratings—The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the science behind green building rating systems.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan and GSA Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings Kevin Kampschroer.  Others also testifying Include  U.S. Green Building Institute President Ward Hubbell, Roger Platt of the U.S. Green Building Council, Oberlin College Professor John Scofield, Victor Olgyay of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Tom Talbot, CEO of Glen Oak Lumber and Milling in Wisconsin.

Heritage Forum to Look at Implications of Middle East Oil Disruption – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium tomorrow at 12:00 Noon to look at the potential implications of oil disruption in Saudi Arabia.  If an “Arab Spring” uprising completely disrupted Saudi oil production, the U.S. and the global economy would face a massive economic and strategic crisis. A crisis in Saudi Arabia would have drastic implications for the United States, its economy, and the whole world.  The U.S. must plan ahead and develop pro-active, multi-layered preventive and responsive strategies to deal with political threats to the security of oil supply. These would combine intelligence, military, and diplomatic tools as well as outline domestic steps the United States should take in such a crisis. A distinguished panel of experts will discuss strategic threats to oil supply; policy options available to the United States and to the oil consuming and producing states; and examine lessons learned from other Heritage Foundation energy crisis simulation exercises.  Heritage’s energy expert David Kreutzer will Ariel Cohen of Heritage, Bruce Everett of the Tufts University Fletcher School and Simon Henderson of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Chamber to Discuss Economy, Data – The US Chamber will hold a first quarter report for its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. to look at the first quarters economic data.   The briefings led by Martin Regalia, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will focus on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.  In addition to Regalia, speakers will include GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem and Dan Meckstroth, Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

House Energy Panel to Look at Grid Reliability – The House Energy subpanel will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at  H.R. 4273, the “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2012”, and a Discussion Draft of the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012.”  The first bill introduced by Rep. Gene Green and others focuses on conflicts between DOE/FERC “must run” reliability orders and EPA enforcement.   Among those testifying include Deb Raggio of GenOn, whose company was put in this situation a few years ago with its Alexandria power station.   

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold two hearings Wednesday in O’Neill, Nebraska and Thursday in Neligh to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed. NDEQ  will also hold meeting on May 16th in Albion and May 17th in Central City.

House Resources to Host Beaudreau on Offshore Plan – The House Natural Resources Committee meets on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to go over the administration’s offshore drilling plan.  BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau will testify.

Wilson Forum to Look at China, US Energy Issues – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum on Wednesday at its Ronald Reagan Building offices to discuss the current state of US-China clean energy relations in the wake of recent trade investigations.  While significant progress has been made under the clean energy cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama in the fall of 2009, The United States and China may be on the verge of a clean energy trade war.  The seven new bilateral clean energy initiatives launched in 2009 focused on many key technology areas and including renewable energy, advanced coal technology, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and have propelled numerous other collaborations within the private sector. However, at the end of last year the United States initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into China’s practices in the solar and wind sectors, and the Department of Commerce recently decided to impose duties on Chinese solar panels.   In the meantime, election year politics and a slow economic recovery are fueling competitive tensions. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would establish a new trade enforcement unit to speed investigations of unfair trading practices by China. Beijing has (not surprisingly) responded with its own investigation into American clean energy support programs. This comes as the U.S. renewable energy industry is increasingly divided over China’s role. The event features leading experts from government, industry and academia including Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, Georgetown University prof and Wilson Center Fellow Joanna Lewis and Jigar Shah of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

ASE to Hold Forum on Green Button Initiative – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon to discuss the Green Button Initiative and how companies and consumers can get involved.  Speakers will include Monisha Shah, deputy associate director of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, and Arkadi Gerney, senior director of policy at Opower.  The Green Button Initiative gives energy users the ability to see and track their home energy usage with the click of a mouse. In March, President Obama introduced this exciting new resource to the American people as a way to motivate citizens to control home energy usage.  Companies across the country are joining this groundbreaking initiative and helping consumers learn about their energy usage. Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan has hailed the program, noting, “more people will be empowered to understand their energy use and take advantage of energy efficiency – which we see as the ‘first fuel’ and the key to managing our nation’s energy consumption.”

Small Biz to Look at Gasoline Price Impacts – The full House Committee on Small Business will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to look at the effects of high gasoline prices on small businesses.  Persistently high gasoline prices are draining family budgets and putting increased stress on small businesses. According to a recent survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, 72% of small businesses report they are affected by high energy prices. Of these businesses, 41 percent report that they have altered hiring plans and another 22% report reducing employee hours. Small businesses are the historic source of new job creation in the economy, but are currently facing many challenges, including the burden of high fuel prices, that inhibit their ability to invest, grow and hire new workers. The hearing will study the relationship between high gasoline prices and small businesses.  Witnesses will include Jamie Smith of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in Baltimore, MD; Robert McNally of the Rapidan Group in Bethesda, MD and C. Cookie Driscoll of Fairfield, PA.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s State of the Industry Series continues on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Room looking at “Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends.”  The BCSE forum is an educational briefing with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available clean energy technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries.  Panelists will discuss 1) Commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, 2) New innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, 3) Opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and 4) How Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.   Speakers include Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, George Williams of Sempra Energy, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines.

MD to Hold Public Meetings on Climate Change – In 2009, Maryland Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009. The law requires the State to develop and implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2020. The public comment period for Maryland’s climate change plan is now open.  In that spirit, the state is hosting a series of public meetings on the plan starting Wednesday in Elkton, MD.  Other meetings will be in Queen Anne’s County on May 15th, Fredrick on May 24th, Annapolis on May 31st and Baltimore on June 5th

House Science Panel to Look at Oil Sands – The House Science Committee’s panel on Energy and Environment will hold a hearing Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to look at challenges and opportunities of unconventional resources technology.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Charles McConnell, Utah Office of Energy Development Director Samantha Mary Julian, U.S. Seismic Systems CEO Jim Andersen, U.S. Oil Sands CEO Cameron Todd, and several others

Senate Energy to Look at Legislation on Helium Reserves – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on S. 2374, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2012.  Witnesses include Timothy Spisak, deputy assistant director of Minerals and Realty Management, Bureau of Land Management; Walter Nelson, director of helium sourcing and supply chain, Air Products and Chemicals; David Joyner, Air Liquide Helium America, Inc.; and Tom Rauch, Global Sourcing Manager Services and Aftermarket Solutions, GE Healthcare.

RFF Academic Series to Look at Enviro Tax Reform – Resources for the Future will hold an academic forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. in its 7th Floor Conference Room to look at principles from theory and practice to date on environmental tax reform.  This paper produced by experts at Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund recommends a system of upstream taxes on fossil fuels, combined with refunds for downstream emissions capture, to reduce carbon and local pollution emissions. Motor fuel taxes should also account for congestion and other externalities associated with vehicle use, at least until mileage-based taxes are widely introduced. An examination of existing energy/environmental tax systems in Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Vietnam suggests there is substantial scope for policy reform. This includes harmonizing taxes for pollution content across different fuels and end-users, better aligning tax rates with (albeit crude) values for externalities, and scaling back taxes on vehicle ownership and electricity use that are redundant (on environmental grounds) in the presence of more targeted taxes.  Presenters include Dirk Heine and John Norregaard of IMF and RFF’s Ian Parry.

Detroit Good Jobs Conference will Tackle Clean Energy, Auto Jobs – Following their event in Philadelphia, the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Regional Conferences will continue in Detroit on Thursday and Friday.  The regional meetings reflect the character and uniqueness of their locations and will bring together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders working in their area and around the country to promote, preserve, and build coalitions that create good jobs and preserve our economic and environmental future. The Regional Conferences provide a renewed focus on networking opportunities and showcase the best and most innovative ideas and strategies in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  See the agenda and speakers here.

Pascual to Speak at Wilson Event on Mexico, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and Latin American Program will hold a public discussion on “Energy in the Americas” on Friday at 9:00 a.m.  Ambassador Carlos Pascual will offer a keynote address on hemispheric energy affairs and the development of renewable energy in the Americas.  The Mexico Institute’s Senior Advisor for its Renewable Energy Initiative, Duncan Wood, will also launch a series of new reports, RE-Energizing the Border: Renewable Energy, Green Jobs and Border Infrastructure.


ACC Dooley to Speak at Nat Gas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Calvin Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council as the guest speaker at the next luncheon on Monday May 14th in B-338/339 Rayburn. He will discuss the impact of increased natural gas production on the US chemical industry.  Dooley has been the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), since September 2008. Prior to joining ACC, Mr. Dooley served as President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and as a member of Congress representing the 20th District of California.    

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

Great Efficiency Day Set – The first installment of the 2012 Great Energy Efficiency Day Series, will be held on Wednesday morning May 16th at Union Station’s Columbus Club, as representatives from diverse industries convene a discussion on the business case for energy efficiency. Learn how and why all sectors of business – from automakers to utility providers to product manufacturers – are adopting energy-efficient practices to increase profitability, productivity, and security. And, gain insight into how the public sector is driving efficiency through keynote addresses from Congressional, Administration, and State officials.   Launched in 2004, Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) has quickly become a “must attend” public discussion on the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency. In 2012, GEED is expanding to a twice-a-year series on Capitol Hill to provide more public opportunity for energy efficiency discourse.  GEED events draw more than 400 stakeholders from business, industry, government, academia, and media to discuss the most pressing issues and advances in energy efficiency.  Confirmed speakers include Sen. Mark Warner, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy, ACC’s Cal Dooley, BRT President and former MI Governor John Engler, EEI head Tom Kuhn, AGA President Dave McCurdy, DOE’s Maria Vargas and many more. 

Blackburn, Shaheen Headline Women’s Energy Council Forum – The Women’s Energy Resource Council  will hold its 2nd Annual Leadership Forum  on May 16th at Noon at the Phoenix Park Hotel.  The forum will include a variety of speakers and panelists from Capitol Hill, the Administration, and the private sector.  Registration and lunch begin at 11:30am with Representative Marsha Blackburn starting the program at 12:00.  Some of the other speakers will include Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Politics Daily’s Patricia Murphy, and Pia Carusone, Chief of Staff to former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who will discuss crisis management during the Tucson shooting. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday May 16th at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

Solar Expert Featured at ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International will host its May Energy and Environment Breakfast on Thursday morning May 17th featuring Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). The outlook for solar power and for specific projects is being buffeted by many factors, including sharp declines in the cost of photovoltaics, low prices for natural gas, state Renewable Portfolio Standards, and Federal tax credits and research programs (such as the SunShot Initiative). Hamm will discuss the role can solar electricity play in the future of the U.S. power mix and what issues need to be addressed for it to reach its full potential, as well as the best prospects and opportunities for development. 

DOE to Headline Industrial Efficiency Forum – The Alliance to Save Energy’s honoring its 35th Anniversary, will hold an Industrial Energy Efficiency Forum on Thursday May 17th at 8:00 a.m. at EEI.  The event will include experts from a diverse set of industries who will discuss energy efficiency within the industrial sector – from their early efforts to current energy efficiency and management programs being implemented across U.S. industry.  Discover how manufacturers have improved energy efficiency at their plants and what types of mechanisms and technologies will be important in achieving additional gains in energy efficiency, industrial productivity, and energy security. Valuable insights into Superior Energy Performance and Better Buildings/Better Plants will be provided along with the recognition of several plants in the Southeast that have achieved Superior Energy Performance certification through ISO 50001 energy management and verified energy Speakers will include DOE’s Kathleen Hogan and many others. 

Senate Energy to hold Clean Energy Standard Hearing – The full Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will hold a hearing on Thursday May 17th to focus on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 and receive testimony on S. 2146.

Biofuels Roundtable Set – USDA, along with the Department of Energy and the Department of Navy, will co-host an Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable, Friday May 18th.  The Roundtable will focus on efforts to accelerate the production of bio-based fuels for military and commercial purposes. Last year, USDA, and the Departments of Energy and the Navy announced that – through the Defense Production Act – they will collaborate to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in aviation and marine biofuels and marine diesel to help power our military. Participants in this roundtable will discuss next steps for those interested in pursuing the production of aviation biofuels and marine diesel. Topics will include production, distribution and contracting, and best practices. This roundtable follows a “match making” event hosted last week at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks, and biorefineries.   In August 2011, the agencies announced plans to invest up to $510 million during the next three years to produce drop-in aviation and marine biofuels. 

In December, the Navy announced “the single largest purchase of advanced drop-in biofuel in government history by the Defense Logistics Agency,” for 450,000 gallons of fuel.   This roundtable follows a matchmaking event hosted on March 30 at USDA headquarters to promote connections between agricultural producers of energy feedstocks and biorefineries.

Columbia U to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and Columbia University Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

RFF to Host Economics Nobel Prize Winner for Lecture – In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Resources for the Future is presenting Resources 2020 on Friday, June 1st at 2:00 p.m. in National Geographic Museum’s  Grosvenor Auditorium and features  2009 Nobel Economic Sciences Laureate Elinor Ostrom.  Resources 2020 is a year-long distinguished lecture series featuring Nobel Laureates in Economics.  The inaugural event in the series will both honor the memory of Hans Landsberg, a pioneer in energy and mineral economics, and recognize Elinor Ostrom’s groundbreaking role as the first, and to date the only, woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Dr. Ostrom’s presentation will highlight the environmental and natural resource challenges facing the world through the end of this decade and the role that economic inquiry can play in helping decisionmakers address these issues.

WINDPOWER heads to Atlanta – AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER conference will be held in  Atlanta on June 3rd through 6th.  WINDPOWER is being held in the Southeast for the first time this year in recognition of the fact that it has emerged as a hot spot for wind energy manufacturing. The theme of the overall conference is “Manufacturing the Future Today.” Factories in the wind supply chain now employ 30,000 Americans, out of 75,000 currently working in wind energy. But those jobs are now in jeopardy because of uncertainty over the Production Tax Credit, due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends it.  In a year of partisan politics, two leading partisans will seek common ground at the biggest annual gathering of the wind industry – which is counting on bipartisan support to continue its rapid growth in the United States.  Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs will address thousands of attendees together June 5 in Atlanta at WINDPOWER 2012.  Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and longtime senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will jointly keynote in the Tuesday morning General Session of the annual conference and exposition.  Their conversation will touch on many sides of the energy policy debate, and point out where party perspectives overlap — highlighting the opportunity for bipartisan agreement in support of wind power, one of the fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs in America, which draws over $15 billion a year of private investment in the U.S. economy.

Mining Summit to Look at Future of Industry – The Mining Americas Summit 2012 will be held in Denver, Colorado on June 5th and 6th at the Denver Marriott City Centre.   Senior executive leadership will gather to discuss the capital management strategies, cutting edge technologies and operational investments that will drive the mining industry for years to come.  Issues will include adopting leading policies and techniques to improve access to capital and attract investment; assessing emerging technologies on cost and operational metrics; managing political risk in mine operations – both domestic and abroad; exploring the latest geographical hotspots and resource opportunities and incorporating sustainability and safety.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Offshore Safety Summit Set for Houston – The Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will be held in Houston on June 11-13th. Since the GOM Deepwater Horizon incident, oil and gas companies have once again come under the spotlight. Issues such as preventing hydrocarbon releases, oil spill response, risk assessment and management, process and human safety and personnel training have surfaced as key priority items that require immediate attention.  To meet the heightened focus on safety, oil and gas companies are reassessing and reshaping their HSE strategies to balance profit with safety, while developing a plan that is both technically compliant to new standards and humanly ergonomic in its application.  This conference will address the latest insights and case studies on effectively managing offshore HSE risk and creating a rigorous system to pre-empt major and costly accidents. Through real-life, practical case studies, Offshore Safety Summit 2012 will help oil and gas operators and contractors understand the human and technical factors involved in process safety and ensure a solid hazard prevention framework.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Washington Fuel Cell Summit to Look at Technologies – On June 19th, the Hydrogen Education Foundation is hosting a one-day summit in the nation’s capital featuring panel discussions, an expo and a Ride and Drive with fuel cell vehicles.  Government and industry will convene to discuss the latest advancements and keys to market successes for fuel cells, including open discussion around remaining challenges and obstacles.  Speakers will include CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Ballard CEO John Sheridan, Ed Cohen of Honda, Justin Ward of Toyota, National Fuel Cell Research Director Scott Samuelson and many others.

REFF-Wall Street to Look at Renewable Challenges – The 9th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street will be on June 19th and 20th in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria. With disappearing Federal support and several high-profile bankruptcies, there are challenges ahead for the sector.  On the agenda include panels on Solar finance, the interplay between renewables and other fuels, Federal support for renewables and new finance trends for renewables.  The keynote speaker is Dennis McGinn of ACORE.  Other speakers include NRG’s Steve Corneli, MidAmerican’s Jonathan Weisgall, SEIA’s Rhone Resch and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Michel DiCapua, among other.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.

Energy Update Week of January 30


While not acknowledged by Packers or Saints fans, Super Bowl “Week” kicks off today in Indianapolis with buildup already rolling (of course most stories are about Peyton Manning, not Eli).  It is always a great time to do some gambling in your office pool as well as get ready for some awesome Super Bowl parties.  I have already placed my order with Cluck-U Chicken (100 of the best “Old Bay” Wings) for my contribution to our friends’ Sunday Party.  I bring them early and then eat as many as I can because it’s a free-for-all buffet and they go fast – about as fast as the goals came in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday.  You never see any guys playing the body in that game.  We need a special game for grinders with hitting, fights and muck goals to go along with all events they have at All-Star Weekend. 

For those of you interested in the sports update: my son Adam’s indoor lacrosse team lost their championship game on Sunday 18-14.  It is a double hit for Adam as his “boys” who he plays County lacrosse with in Spring were the ones that beat his club team.  He’ll have to hear about it starting at the Super Bowl party…   It’s his own fault though since he is the goalie and he blew it…  I’m just teasing, he actually played pretty well.

This morning, the House Transportation Committee held a field hearing in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida (sounds like a good gig if you can get it) to examine Cuban and Bahamian plans to drill exploratory oil wells in waters off the Florida coast. The hearing reviewed the U.S. Coast Guard’s preparedness to handle potential oil spills occurring in these waters.   FL L.G. Jennifer Carroll and members of Congress from South Florida, including Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtenin, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Rivera and Allen West participated in the hearing.  The panel heard testimony relating to limitations on U.S. enforcement and oversight capability of incidents in Cuban and Bahamian waters, and heard from the U.S. Coast Guard on preparation to respond to potential spills.

Of course, with our many friends that deal with drilling and containment issues (let’s say, Helix), we can provide resources.  BTW, does anyone find it ironic that Florida members are complaining about Cuba drilling in Sunny Isles Beach, which is located on the Gold Coast between the Ocean and Dumfoundling Bay?

Back on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the House Science Committee will be investigating the EPA’s controversial efforts to regulate natural gas drilling at Pavillion, WY and Dimock, PA given the President’s recent SOTU commenting supporting natural gas.  Look for lots of action there.   In other places, EIA talks about its Energy Outlook tomorrow at Senate Energy and Blue Ribbon Commission on Nuclear Waste Co-Chairs, Lee Hamilton and Brent Scowcroft visit both the House and Senate following their recent report.

Also today, Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development agency for the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region, released a today study titled The Impact of Decreased Drilling permit Approvals on Gulf of Mexico Businesses. This research initiative was prepared to determine the effects of the Federal Deepwater Drilling Moratorium, as well as the ongoing impacts of the decreased approval rate for deep- and shallow-water drilling permits, on small and mid-sized businesses in Louisiana.  

Remember, I’ll be on the road Friday afternoon road tripping to Hampton, VA for the Tool Concert with Hannah and Adam.   We’ll have a full report next Monday.  Happy to help with anything, including any additional State of the Union/Energy responses for going forward.  We will be available.  Call with questions.

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


President SOTU and Energy – The President used energy as one of his main pillars in his State of the Union speech last week and then followed the speech with a series of events targeting the issue.  I included a link to a fact sheet the White House  focused on the President’s Energy Agenda as outlined in the SOTU.  He also called for more Gulf leasing, although that was already part of the five-year drilling plan from the Bush Administration.  Interestingly, with Obama’s claims on oil production, the President is gladly taking credit for the previous Administrations’ (Bush/Clinton) more aggressive posture on drilling.  Ironic, because he seems to take the opposite tact on the economy and jobs.  House Resources and Chairman Doc Hastings blasted back at the “Obama Energy spin” from the State of the Union in an excellent myth/fact document

Cabot to EPA: Don’t Undermine President’s SOTU Message on NatGas – Following the speech, Cabot CEO Dan Dinges  sent a letter interesting to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson highlighting the President’s State of the Union message on natural gas last night and underscored the inconsistency of EPA’s overaggressive regulatory actions in states places like Dimock, PA, Pavillion, WY and Parker Co., TX. 

Dimock Residents Support Cabot – Speaking of Cabot, a majority of residents in the region also contacted EPA’s Jackson saying EPA actions are “destroying our community reputation.” The group, Enough is Enough, created a campaign called ‘Dimock Proud’ with yard signs, a petition drive and a logo: ‘Where the water IS clean and the people are friendly.’  The letter says residents are extremely frustrated with the actions of EPA’s Philadelphia Office and complains that Dimock residents are being treated as expendable in a continuing effort by just a few landowners to make financial claims. “Their claims have already been rebuffed by the Pennsylvania [DEP] and the Commonwealth’s Environmental Hearing Board after three full years of data gathering.”  They continue saying EPA’s action threatens their livelihoods and is destroying our community reputation. Worse, they add, “EPA is relying upon hyped-up allegations regarding arsenic, manganese and sodium, all of which are known to be naturally occurring in our water supplies in Northeast Pennsylvania.”  Can send the letter if you want to see it.

CRS Says EPA Pavillion Report Does Not Link NatGas Drilling, Pollution – The Congressional Research Service released a new report late last week that analyzed the EPA’s draft report of the Pavillion groundwater contamination investigation.  EPA’s draft report was released in December and caused a firestorm after it reportedly concluding that compounds found in the aquifer near Pavillion, Wyo., are likely associated with industry drilling activity.  Since then, EPA and media reports have dialed that back some, but the CRS report underscored that EPA did not conclude there was a definitive link.

WV Wind Project Commissioned Into Service – Edison Mission commissioned the Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage located on Green Mountain, near the Maryland-West Virginia border.   The 23-turbine wind farm has a maximum generating capacity of 55 megawatts (MW), enough electricity to meet the average needs of about 14,000 homes. The project sells two-thirds of its output to the Maryland Department of General Services and one-third to the University of Maryland system. It is the second project to begin commercial operation under the Generating Clean Horizons program of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). Through the Generating Clean Horizons program, the state and university system of Maryland have committed to purchase 78 MW of energy produced from two wind farms and one solar installation over 20 years. According to the MEA, Generating Clean Horizons powers 16 percent of the state’s electricity demand through renewable sources.

WV Wind Project Issues First Round of Grants – Speaking of the US Wind Force Pinnacle project, the Foundation formed to distribute community grants announced the recipients of the first round of grants from its Community Benefit Fund associated with the wind farm.  Twenty grants ranging from $500 to $5000 and totaling $55,000 were allocated to local projects.   Thirty-nine grant applications were received and evaluated by a local allocation committee made up of nine distinguished members of the community.  Some of the grant recipients include schools like the Campaign for Keyser High School and Eastern WV Community and Technical College; Fire and emergency services like the Elk District Ambulance Service, Elk District and Fountain Volunteer Fire companies and Keyser Emergency Medical Service; support charities like Food for Thought and Warm the Children; libraries like the Fort Ashby and Piedmont Public Libraries; conservation groups like the Friends of Jennings Randolph Lake; Mineral County 4-H Leaders Association and the Mineral County Historical Foundation, which comes out of $10,000 in funding specifically earmarked for historic preservation projects.  Funding for the Foundation’s Community Benefit Fund comes from Edison Mission Energy (EME), owner and operator of Pinnacle, which was jointly developed by EME and US Wind Force.  The Pinnacle project agreed to provide $50,000 to the Community Benefit Fund when the project reached commercial operation status, a two-part process that began in December and was completed on January 13th, and an additional $20,000 each year for the life of the project. 

Study:  Drilling Slowdown Hurt Region Businesses Badly – Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development agency for the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region, released a today study titled The Impact of Decreased Drilling permit Approvals on Gulf of Mexico Businesses. This research initiative was prepared to determine the effects of the Federal Deepwater Drilling Moratorium, as well as the ongoing impacts of the decreased approval rate for deep- and shallow-water drilling permits, on small and mid-sized businesses in Louisiana.   In response to this slowdown GNO, Inc. conducted a survey of companies in the oil and gas support sectors to gauge the impacts of the permit approval rate on businesses with operations in Louisiana. The survey included 102 respondents which conduct or offer assistance to exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.  Participants in the survey represented small, medium, and large offshore supply and service companies in numerous industries. Answers provided included details on the revenue, cash reserves, employment, business plans, and personal finances of their respective companies.   Key findings include 1) 41% of businesses are not making a profit ; 2) 76% have lost cash reserves; 3) 50% of businesses have laid off employees as a result of the moratoria; 4) 39% of businesses have retained workers but reduced salaries and/or hours; 5) 46% of businesses have moved all or some of their operations away from the Gulf of Mexico; 6) 82% of business owners have lost personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown and 7) 13% of business owners have lost all of their personal savings as a result of the slowdown.  Through this study, GNO, Inc. has determined that the federal moratorium and the permit slowdown created significant negative “unintended consequences” for local businesses. While larger companies have deep cash reserves and the ability to shift assets outside of the country, Louisiana businesses dependent on the Gulf of Mexico for business have experienced significant financial hardship.

Blue Ribbon Commission Issues Final Report on Waste – The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released its final report to the U.S. Energy Secretary, detailing comprehensive recommendations for creating a safe, long-term solution for managing and disposing of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high‐level radioactive waste.  The Commission called for a new home for nuclear waste, as well as recommending that a new federal corporation manage spent nuclear fuel and employ a “consent-based” approach to finding it a geologic home.  The report is the culmination of nearly two years of work by the commission and its subcommittees, which met more than two dozen times since March 2010, gathering testimony from experts and stakeholders, as well as visiting nuclear waste management facilities both domestic and overseas.  The commission, co‐chaired by former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, was tasked by Energy Secretary Steven Chu with devising a new strategy for managing the nation’s sizable and growing inventory of nuclear waste. Scowcroft and Hamilton said they believe the report’s recommendations offer a practical and promising path forward, and cautioned that failing to act to address the issue will be damaging and costly.  The Commission noted that it was specifically not tasked with rendering any opinion on the suitability of Yucca Mountain, proposing any specific site for a waste management facility, or offering any opinion on the role of nuclear power in the nation’s energy supply mix.


Senate Energy to Look at Global Energy Outlook – The full Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to receive testimony on the U.S. and global energy outlook for 2012.  Howard Gruenspecht, acting administrator and deputy administrator, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy will testify.  Others include Ambassador Richard H. Jones of the International Energy Agency, Roger Diwan of PFC Energy and CERA’s Jim Burkhard.

House Energy To Hear from Blue Ribbon Nuclear Co-Chairs – Following the release of their report to the Secretary of Energy last week, the co-chairs of the BRC will head to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the report.  In addition to BRC Co-Chairs Lee Hamilton and Brent Scowcroft, witnesses will include former DOE nuclear waste official Lake H. Barrett, President, Dr. Warner North of NorthWorks, UCS’s Edwin Lyman, Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste and NARUC President David Wright. 

House Science to Look at Pavillion, Nat Gas Drilling – The House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. examining EPA’s approach to ground water research on the Pavillion, WY Case.  Witnesses scheduled to testify before the committee include Tom Doll, Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission supervisor; Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for the Western Energy Alliance; Bernard Goldstein, professor and dean emeritus at University of Pittsburg’s Graduate School of Public Health; and Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

House Resources to Mark up Keystone Bills – Looking to make political hay with the President focus on energy, the House Resources Committee will make up pro-drilling/keystone legislation on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

Pershing to Address Durban, Climate – The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. the outcome of COP-17, a look forward to COP-18, and the impacts this event will have on U.S. businesses, the policymaking process at Federal and sub-national levels, and international efforts to build upon the Kyoto Protocol. “Durban De-Brief: An Analysis of COP-17 in Durban and Implications for Industry.”  This occurs just a few weeks before the inaugural Climate Leadership Conference.  Speakers will include Climate envoy Jonathan Pershing, former State department official Elliot Diringer, now Executive Vice President at C2ES and David Rosenheim of the Climate Registry.

Panel to Look at Energy Policy History – The George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in 121 Cannon concerning federal energy policy, focusing on learning lessons from 40 years of trying.  Panelists will consider what lessons are to be learned from 40 years of federal energy policy and discuss the implications of those lessons for the future direction of energy R&D, subsidies, loan guarantees, and tax policy.  The U.S. spends billions annually to support the energy industry using an array of tools and approaches. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports “The value of direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in energy markets doubled between 2007 and 2010, growing from $17.9 billion to $37.2 billion. In broad categories, the largest increase was for conservation and end-use subsidies, followed to a lesser degree by increases in electricity-related subsidies and subsidies for fuels used outside the electricity sector.” But, after 40 years of effort and billions of R&D dollars spent, federal support for alternative energy (save for nuclear power) has yet to appreciably change the mix of energy used by the U.S. Why? Are the policies wrong? Is the technology still not ready? If so, why not? What set of energy policies makes sense? Is the best option to continue to do what we already do?  The Institute will host a panel discussion to consider these and related questions. Institute CEO William O’Keefe will moderate the discussion.  Panelists include Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, The Bottomless Well author Mark Mills and Lou Pugliaresi of the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Chamber Economist Will Discuss Economy, Outlook – GFI Group will Hold its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series for the 4th Quarter in Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The Forum will feature Martin Regalia, the Chamber’s Chief Economist, former CBO head Douglas Holtz-Eakin, GFI Chairman/CEO Michael Gooch.  This is the fourth event of a series of quarterly economic briefings hosted by GFI Group and The National Chamber Foundation (NCF) and led by Regalia.  Regalia will deliver a keynote address based on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.    

Senate Energy to Look at Panel’s Final Nuclear Report – Following the House testimony on Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will convene Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to receive testimony on the final report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear.  Witnesses include Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future co-chairs, Lee Hamilton and Brent Scowcroft. 

DOE to Look at New Lighting Technology – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program will kick off this year’s First Thursday Seminars with a live webcast at 1:30 p.m. titled New Lighting Technologies.   Experts Jeff McCullough of DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Brian Liebel of The Lighting Partnership, and Shawn Herrera of FEMP, will offer training in the uses and benefits of spectrally enhanced lighting and outdoor solid state lighting.  Specifically, the instructors will provide training on how to select optimal lighting solutions designed for a range of applications, based on performance data collected from a variety energy-saving lighting products, calculate life-cycle costs and assess the feasibility of various system designs and installation options and ensure the savings you gain from energy-efficient lighting projects to verify the benefits of your decisions.  

Brookings to Host Forum on China, US GHGs – The John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host a discussion on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on low-carbon development and clean energy in the United States and China. Qi Ye of the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and Tsinghua University will present the results of the CPI’s second “Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China.” Ye will also discuss China’s past experience with facilitating low-carbon development and its prospects for doing the same in the future. Brookings Senior Fellow Mark Muro will discuss recent developments in the clean energy and low-carbon economy of the U.S., and Casey Delhotal of the U.S. Department of Energy will address key areas for U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy. Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

House Science Holds Part II on Quality Science at EPA – The House Science Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold the second part of its hearings looking at fostering quality science at EPA on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses will include Daniel Greenbaum of the Health Effects Institute, EPA Science Advisory Board chair Deborah Swackhamer of the University of Minnesota, ACC’s Michael Walls, Richard Belzer of Regulatory Checkbook,  Jerald Schnoor of the University of Iowa and Stanley Young of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.


NARUC Winter Meetings Set for DC – On February 5-8th, Federal policymakers, congressional staff, and top industry officials will address the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Winter Committee Meetings in Washington. The meetings, along with the February 8-9 National Electricity Forum, will be held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Featured speakers at the meetings include Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu (Wednesday), IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chair and renowned author Daniel Yergin (Tuesday), National Cable and Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell (Monday) and many more.  In addition, EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to address the first meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment on Tuesday, along with FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Philip Moeller (See below) . Other participants in this discussion include representatives from the Energy Department, regional transmission organizations, and electric utilities.  Panel discussions on nuclear-waste policy, hydraulic fracturing, and much more will be held throughout the week.

FERC, NARUC to Hold Meeting on Meeting New EPA Rules – Speaking of the Winter meetings, Federal and State energy regulators will hold a forum on February 7th to explore reliability issues stemming from new and pending environmental rules for the power sector.   The Forum, consisting of membership from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), will coincide with NARUC’s three yearly meetings. NARUC is the national organization representing State public service commissioners.   The first meeting of the FERC-NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment will take place during the NARUC Winter Committee Meetings in Washington. FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Philip Moeller will be the Federal co-chairs of the workshops, and NARUC First Vice President Philip Jones of Washington and Treasurer David Ziegner of Indiana will be the State co-chairs.   FERC and NARUC will hold a forum as part of an effort to determine how prepared the electric utility industry will be to meet upcoming rules and requirements on emissions reductions. With significant investment predicted in utility infrastructure predicted over the next several years, the Forum will let Federal and State regulators discuss these issues in an open and transparent venue.   The workshops follow a recent NARUC resolution that called for a dialogue among FERC, the States and the Environmental Protection Agency to allow for a meaningful assessment and response to reliability issues.

Campus District Energy Workshop Set – The International District Energy Assn (IDEA) will hold its 25th Annual Campus Energy Conference in Arlington, VA at the Crystal Gateway Marriott on Monday-Thursday, February 6-9 to look at universities, suppliers, consulting firms and the industry’s top professionals, sharing innovative ideas and experiences in advancing clean district energy.

Shark Week Producer to Highlight New Season – On Tuesday, February 7th, American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking is hosting an event featuring Brooke Runnette, the executive producer of Shark Week, where she will show clips while explaining why Shark Week is so successful, what is does for shark conservation, and the challenges she faces in producing the programs.  The event begins at 7:00 p.m. at American University’s  Mary Graydon Center.  This summer television staple is now in its 24th season and is still attaining remarkable ratings: each season since 1995 has pulled an audience of more than 20 million, and in 2008 it drew its highest audience ever, with 29 million viewers.

Annual National Electricity Forum to Feature Chu, Utility CEOs, Others – The National Electricity Forum will be held February 8-9 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Forum is the preeminent public policy forum offering an in-depth, timely examination of public policy issues related specifically to the nation’s electric power delivery system infrastructure.  Speakers at the National Electricity Forum—a joint meeting sponsored by NARUC and the Department of Energy—will include Secretary Chu, Dominion Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Farrell, Edison International Chairman, President and CEO Theodore F. Craver, Jr., NRG President and CEO David Crane, and PSEG Group Chairman, President, and CEO Dr. Ralph Izzo.

House Science Tackles BR Nuclear Report – Following action in the House and Senate Energy Committee’s this week, the House Committee on Science will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 8″ reviewing the Blue Ribbon Commission’s Report to the Secretary of Energy.

Author to Lead Carbon Book Discussion – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at GW, the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies will host Timothy Mitchell (Professor and Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies of Columbia University) for a discussion of his new book, “Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. ” In the book, he describes a complex story, arguing that no nation escapes the political consequences of our collective dependence on oil. It shapes the body politic both in regions such as the Middle East, which rely upon revenues from oil production, and in the places that have the greatest demand for energy.

Forum to Look at Smart Grid – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy Policy & Climate Forum will host Professor Joel B. Eisen of the , University of Richmond School of Law on Thursday, February 9th at Noon to discuss smart regulation and Federalism for the Smart Grid.”   We are at the early stage of the Smart Grid, the massive endeavor to modernize our nation’s electric network that compares to the Internet in anticipated scale and complexity. “Smart Grid” encompasses two different but related goals: modernizing our electric system’s creaky architecture, and providing consumers with dramatic new ways to make, use, and conserve electricity. The potential for consumer applications suggests a radically different electric future, with electric power’s one-way flow to homes and businesses replaced with a sophisticated energy ecosystem yielding immense environmental and economic benefits. A new techno-economic paradigm could emerge in the electric grid, featuring spectacular technological breakthroughs, the rise of entire new industries, and consumer uses far beyond those of anyone’s wildest dreams.

Oil, Gas Properties Expo Set for Houston – The North American Prospect Expo (“NAPE”) will be from February 22-24 at the George R. Brown convention center in Houston.  NAPE is the world’s largest E&P expo and provides a marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of oil and gas prospects and producing properties via its exhibits.  NAPE is also an excellent E&P networking venue, bringing together in one location prospects and producing properties, corporate development, capital formation, as well as services and technologies.

CERA Week – The 31st Annual CERAWeek 2012 begins on March 5th through 9th at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas.  The annual event will focus on energy’s new role in rebuilding the global economy and providing stability in a volatile time for the international political order.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) and the United States Energy Security Council will hold Methanol Policy Forum 2012 Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This first-of-its-kind conference on methanol that will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel.  Methanol Policy Forum 2012 will highlight market trends and pricing, potential of natural gas, coal, renewable, and other resources to serve as methanol feedstocks, global vehicle technology and methanol fuel deployment and public policy drivers.

Energy Update: Week of July 18, 2011


I am still reeling from a full, four-day weekend of lacrosse and three showings of the Harry Potter finale.  (I did think it was well done)  We’ll see if we can collect ourselves for the business week, which always just seems to be more relaxing than the weekend.

A very European sports weekend – which I love by the way – with golf in England, cycling in France and Soccer in Germany.  There is nothing like waking up and flipping on golf at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday.  It was oh-so-close for the US Women’s soccer team, but there is no doubt that Japan’s surprise victory should give the reeling nation a much-needed morale boost.  It may be as important to them as the 1980 US Olympic Hockey victory over Russia was for the U.S. at that time. Week three of the Tour moves to the key mountain stages in the Alps, and this is where the real action will be.  I am hopeful that our “Tour” correspondent Tom Carter of Calera may report in.

Debt discussions still dominate the political talk in Washington, but also keep your eye on action regarding EPA rules, which are being aggressively challenged.  There is a significant volume of information hitting the streets raising concerns about the costs and timelines of EPA’s rules.  The agency and their enviro supporters will also push back with their own studies.

One key development to follow early in the week will be the action at the NARUC Summer meetings on a resolution to urge EPA to provide increased flexibility for the implementation of the agency’s recent flood of rulemakings.

A second key issue along this line comes from our friends at Energy Daily who this morning first reported that a new study from the EOP Foundation says the EPA mercury rules for boilers and utilities would cost the government almost $3 billion dollars over 10 years in power costs and retrofits.   The study, which focuses on the EPA rules’ little noticed cost impacts on the federal government, say the rules will cost the government $166 million a year in higher power costs from utilities and $120 million annually to retrofit federally-owned electric generating units and boilers to comply with the EPA standards.    I can send a copy of the study should you need it.

Thirdly, rumors abound this week that the moderate Senators will introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at delaying the Boiler MACT rules.

FERC is also expected to release its long-awaited transmission order at its Thursday meeting.  There are expected to be a series of stakeholders briefings following Thursday’s meeting.

Finally, we devoted a significant amount of space a few weeks ago to the New York Times coverage of natural gas drilling.  After some loud industry and other complaints, as well as spirited defense of the work from Times’ editors and reporter Ian Urbina, the Public Editor weighed in yesterday on the matter. See more below.


NYT Public Editor Weighs in on NatGas Stories – The public editor of the New York Times weighed into the heated debate over a recent series of articles on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania and other places that has drawn rhetoric from both sides, as well as a spirited defense from Times’ editors/reporters.   Arthur Brisbane gave the editors and reporter Ian Urbina much running room in defense of the series that questioned many facets of natural gas drilling.  He also acknowledged, though, some of the claims industry groups have used attack the Times’ work.  Brisbane: “My view is that such a pointed article needed more convincing substantiation, more space for a reasoned explanation of the other side and more clarity about its focus. No question, the article challenged conventional thinking, and perhaps some of the shale gas independents will eventually founder. But the article went out on a limb, lacked an in-depth dissenting view in the text and should have made clear that shale gas had boomed.”  This morning, the editors pushed backed on Brisbane saying he fails to understand the core mission of the stories, adding they was “the opposite of a journalistic gamble; it was our responsibility” to report it.

ED: New Study Says EPA Mercury Rules Will Have Hefty Budget Impact – Our friends at Energy Daily today first reported that a new study from the EOP Foundation says the EPA mercury rules for boilers and utilities would cost the government almost $3 billion dollars over 10 years in power costs and retrofits.  The study says the rules will cost the government $166 million a year in higher power costs from utilities, while also saying it will pay $120 million annually to retrofit federally-owned electric generating units and boilers to comply with the EPA standards.  The Energy Daily points out that while the costs of the rules to utilities are controversial and hotly debate, the cost impacts on the federal government have received little notice.  I can send a copy of the study should you need it.

Drilling Permits Still Slow – Greater New Orleans, Inc. released the 14th installment of the Gulf Permit Index (GPI). When the federal government announced that it would lift the Deep Water Drilling Moratorium on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the River Region, and GNO, Inc. pledged to track and report on shallow- and deep-water permit issuance. You can see the charts tracking approved new permits for deep- and shallow-water wells here, or I have pdfs.   Deep-water permit issuance continues to lag the previous year’s average. Only 1.7 deep water permits are being issued per month since May 2011, representing a 4.1-permit — or a 71% — monthly reduction from the historical monthly average of 5.8 permits per month.  Following a brief uptick in permit approvals during the three-month period from April to June 2011, shallow-water permit issuance is once again below the historical average. In the past three months, 4.7 shallow-water permits, on average, were issued. That number represents a deficit of 2.4 permits — or 34% — from the historical monthly average of 7.1 permits per month. Raw data on number of permits issued each month is taken from the BOEMRE website. Research and analysis is performed by GNO, Inc. staff members. GNO, Inc. will continue to monitor the number of drilling permits being issued by BOEMRE.  Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, said these reports “should give pause to the politicians and bureaucrats who continue to hem and haw over giving a green light to safe and responsible energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.  When a regional non-profit economic development alliance feels compelled to draw attention to the government’s permitting slow-down, it should be clear that what exists mainly as a policy discussion in Washington continues to have major fallout for communities along the Gulf.”

Houston Chron: Drilling Permits Need to Pick Up – Speaking of the pace of drilling permits, Noe also said in a Houston Chronicle op-ed yesterday the path forward to creating jobs, promoting economic growth and improving America’s energy security goes right through the Gulf of Mexico, where efforts to generate fossil-fuel production in both shallow and deep waters have been virtually hamstrung since the Macondo blowout of April 2010.  Noe used a recent study from the NOIA and API to stress the job impacts of the slow down, saying total employment supported by a healthy Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas industry could exceed 430,000 jobs by 2013 – an increase of 77 percent, or 180,000 jobs, over the low levels of 2010.  Noe: “the study’s projected employment growth is contingent upon the ability of regulators in the Department of the Interior to once again issue permits for safe and responsible drilling in a timely and efficient manner – something that hasn’t been seen since last April. In other words, failure to improve the government’s offshore-permitting process will leave jobs on the table and economic activity bottled up at a time when the country is scrambling to create work and stimulate growth.”

PA Shale Advisory Group Send Recommendations to Gov – The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission offered almost 100 recommendations to help govern Pennsylvania’s policy on shale gas drilling late last week.  I was there after breaking myself away from the lacrosse tourney in Hershey to hear his recommendations.  The biggest were the levying of a local impact fee on deep-well gas drillers and updating laws governing the pooling of gas deposits in neighborhoods. The 30-member commission chaired by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley also approved language recognizing counties and municipalities hosting drillers are seeing an increased need for services, but aren’t taking enough extra tax revenue to meet those demands.  All of the recommendations from the working groups will be made public after they are presented to Gov. Tom Corbett this week.

Atlantic Backbone Project to Add Partner…Maybe – Many of you may have seen some reporting late last week from a press release from the Belgian-based Transmission experts Elia about the company joining the team developing the major Atlantic offshore wind backbone transmission project.  While this would be a great development and another boost to the project, no agreements have been finalized and no details exist at this time.  Talks have been underway and AWC welcomes their interest because of Elia’s vast experience with offshore wind, transmission and their role in developing Europe’s Supergrid.   AWC leaders are hopeful there may be an announcement in the near future, but any specifics have not been finalized and are still preliminary.  Stay tuned.


Jaczko to Address Nuke Issues at Press Club – Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon today.  Jaczko will talk about lessons learned by the nuclear power industry in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which stands as the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The NRC is scheduled to meet on July 19th to consider a report on the Fukushima disaster and how it pertains to the US nuclear industry.  In May of 2009, President Obama appointed Jaczko chairman of the NRC, where he had served as a commissioner since 2005. Before Fukushima, Jaczko and the commission had been working to reinvigorate the US nuclear sector. Electric utilities had been planning to begin building nuclear plants again after 30 years of inactivity, but in light of the Japan disaster, new questions have arisen.  The July 18 luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and Jaczko’s remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

AT&T’s Stephenson, ARPA-E’s Majumdar at July NARUC Meeting – Top federal officials, CEOs from major telecommunications firms, energy producers, and renewable developers will address the nation’s State public service commissioners during National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Summer Committee Meetings held today through Wednesday.  The meetings, held at the JW Marriott at the new LA Live! complex in Los Angeles, will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on meeting global energy supply, building out the nation’s utility infrastructure, and the state of the U.S. telecommunications sector.  Confirmed speakers for the Summer Committee Meetings include AT&T Chairman, President, and CEO Randall Stephenson, Chesapeake Energy Chairman, CEO Aubrey McClendon, Peabody Energy Chairman, CEO Gregory Boyce, American Water Works CEO Jeff Sterba, Comcast Corp. Executive Vice President David Cohen, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode, Solar Alliance President Carrie Cullen Hitt, American Electric Power President Nick Akins, and many more.  Dr. Arum Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, will deliver keynote remarks as well.  One of the key issues bouncing around is the resolution to urge EPA to provide increased flexibility for the implementation of the agency’s recent flood of rulemakings.

Woodruff to Headline NACo Meeting – NACo’s 76th Annual Conference and Exposition will be held today and tomorrow in Multnomah County, (Portland) Oregon. The Annual Conference’s keynote speaker will be ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film 127 Hours.  The meeting provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors.

NACD to hold legislative conference– The National Association of Conservation Districts is holding its 2011 Summer Legislative Conference beginning today and extending through Tuesday evening. The conference is being held at Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue NW.  Monday’s agenda will include officials from the USDA, BLM, NRCS, USFS, and EPA giving agency updates as well as education sessions on the 2012 Farm Bill, conservational technical assistance, and Clean Water Act policies. Conference attendees will be on the Hill all day Tuesday for meetings with several lawmakers.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security, Mitigation – The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars will host a forum today at 3:00 p.m. in it Reagan Building offices that will look at efforts to address climate change through mitigation and adaptation often fail to include analysis of the conflict or peacebuilding potential of such actions. Developing this analysis will help provide practical input to decision-making in a variety of arenas: choosing among alternative energy technologies in specific settings; implementing conflict-sensitive ecosystem services schemes; sourcing inputs to green technologies; strengthening natural resource management institutions for adapting to greater variability; or negotiating use norms for large-scale technology deployments.  Through a series of convening and publishing activities entitled Backdraft, the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program is facilitating a debate on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses. Join us for a discussion with three authors featured in a forthcoming set of Backdraft articles from the Environmental Change and Security Program Report. The Wilson Center’s Geoff Dabelko will lay out the case for incorporating these conflict considerations into mitigation and adaptation decision-making. Drawing from their analyses of specific interventions, Dennis Taenzler from the Berlin-based Adelphi Research, will analyze Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes through a conflict lens, and Christian Webersik, author of the 2010 book Climate Change and Security, will examine the impacts of biofuels, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.

Forum Looks at Next Farm Bill – The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold two briefings tomorrow on the energy title of the Farm Bill, with a special focus on the Rural Energy for America Program.  The first will be at 10:00 a.m. in 1300 Longworth and the second will be in 188 Russell at 2:00 p.m.  Big decisions loom in the next Farm Bill, including for key farm energy programs. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) incentivizes a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for all agricultural sectors across the country. As a result, thousands of rural producers and businesses are slashing energy costs with energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also are earning new income from renewable energy and creating new jobs, income, and wealth across rural America. This briefing will provide an overview of the Farm Bill Energy Title, as well as specific examples of dairy and poultry producers, rural electric cooperatives, and other rural producers and small businesses from across the country that have benefitted from the REAP program.  Speakers will include Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Bennie Huchins of Mississippi’s Ag Energy Resources, former Natural Resource Conservation Service chief Bruce Knight and Andy Olsen of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Hydro Conference Set for Sacramento – HydroVision International will be held on tomorrow through Friday in Sacramento, CA and will address the effects, solutions and the plan for advancing sustainable hydropower throughout the world.  HydroVision International will highlight perspectives on the role of hydropower, explore issues affecting hydro resources, and help participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro. This event will bring together a broad range of global hydro professionals with environmental, technical, social, and regulatory perspectives.

Senate Energy to Talk NatGas, MIT Study – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on natural gas issues tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. hearing from MIT scientists on their recent study on natural gas.  The study was chaired by former Clinton Energy Department official Ernest Moniz and MIT veteran management professor Henry Jacoby.  Witnesses include EIA acting administrator Howard Gruenspecht, Moniz and George J. Biltz, vice president, energy and climate change, Dow Chemical Co.

Energy Research Group to Meet – The U.S. Department of Energy will hold a meeting on Wednesday morning of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board on basic and applied research, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues and other activities of the DOE. Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivers opening remarks.

Senate Environment to Look at Yellowstone Pipeline Issues – The Senate Environment and Public Works’ transportation panel holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on ExxonMobil’s pipeline oil spill into Montana’s Yellowstone River.

NASA scientist lectures at LOC – NASA scientist Robert Bindschadler will deliver a lecture on Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. in the Pickford Theatre at Madison Building of the Library of Congress on ice sheet data and why it is a big deal.  Bindschadler is an expert on glaciers and ice sheets and will discuss the science behind and environmental effect of the quickly melting ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

Ford To Talk Fuel Efficiency at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host its July luncheon on Wednesday at Noon in the National Press Club.  Ford’s Susan Cischke, Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will discuss fuel efficient products and safety innovations.

Senate Commerce to Look For Oil Spill Lessons – The Senate Commerce Committee’s Oceans panel will hold a hearing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to look back at last summer’s BP oil spill to look for lessons in future spill recovery, prevention and response. The hearing will examine the ongoing response to and lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, the hearing will focus on the continuing challenges relevant agencies and stakeholders face in the wake of the spill, the state of progress of damage assessment and restoration activities, and recommendations for improving the nation’s oil spill prevention and response capacity, and ensuring the long term successful restoration in the Gulf.

Senate Energy Finally Looks To Tackle Offshore Drilling – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has again schedule time for the long-awaited markup of its offshore drilling legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The effort has been delayed as Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski search for a compromise measure over revenue sharing for coastal states.

Forum on Cool Roofs Set – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center to look at the potential for solar-reflective roofs and other “cool-roofing” techniques to lower the surface temperature of buildings and entire cities. Cool roofs improve comfort on hot summer days and reduce the amount of energy used for air-conditioning – thereby reducing energy costs and improving air quality. Whitening flat roofs is a low-cost solution which, if implemented in certain cities across the globe, has been estimated to have the potential to offset the carbon emissions of 300 million automobiles. At this briefing, renowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will discuss research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that for the first time quantifies the reflective power (albedo) of urban surfaces that would be necessary to mitigate the urban heat-island effect and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Panelists also will discuss insulated and vegetated (“green”) roofs and how different types of cool roofs may be combined or integrated with solar-roofing systems, photovoltaics (PV) and/or solar thermal technology.  Introductory remarks will be by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Panel speakers will include Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, James Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Buildings and Energy expert in NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Laurie Kerr and GSA’s Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings.


Forum to Look at Transportation Electrification – IEEE will hold its 2011 Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting on July 24 – 28 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI to look at the electrification of transportation and the grid of the future.  The meeting will feature power engineers, executives, policy makers and academics from all over the world who will promote, share, and discuss various issues and developments in the field of electrical power engineering. Speakers will include DTE’s Tony Earley and Ford’s Nancy Gioia.

Aspen Institute Security Forum Set – As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Program, in partnership with The New York Times, will hold its second annual Aspen Security Forum, July 27-30. The Forum will bring together top-level government officials, industry leaders, and leading thinkers for three days of in-depth discussions at our Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado on the state of aviation security, maritime security, border security, mass transit security, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, counterterrorism strategy, terrorism finance, and much more. The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, is confirmed to speak at this summer’s Aspen Security Forum.  Other speakers include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and many other great security experts.

RFF, EPA Seminar to Focus on CES – Resources for the Future will hold a day-long seminar on Wednesday, July 27 looking at a Federal clean energy standard and understanding important policy elements.  RFF’s Center for Climate and Electricity Policy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are co-hosting a one-day workshop to present current analysis of CES policies—drawn upon recent empirical modeling and conceptual thinking by RFF, other independent and government research institutions, as well stakeholders. Speakers and Participants will focus on regional implications of a CES policy in terms of electricity pricing, utility profitability, and regional wealth transfers; implications for future investments in generation technology and the influence of different policy designs; the role that might be played by energy efficiency crediting; and the desirability of casting a CES policy as a performance standard.

Forum to Look at Defense Department Energy Issues – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), E3G and Operation Free will hold a briefing on Wednesday July 27th at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center where top military and civilian experts will discuss energy policy objectives and describe the Defense Department’s renewable energy goals.  Speakers will include Sen. Mark Udall, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Thomas Hicks, , American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) President Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.) and former U.S. Army Captain Drew Sloan, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, representing Operation Free.

EU Trading Impact on Aviation Investigated – The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation will hold a hearing on Wednesday, July 27 at 9:00 a.m. to look at the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and whether it is a violation of international law.  I recently wrote a column on this subject in SNL Financial if you are interested in more background.

Chamber Energy Group to Host Shell CEO – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the National Chamber Foundation will hold another CEO Leadership Series luncheon event featuring Marvin E. Odum, President of Shell Oil Company, and Director of Royal Dutch Shell’s Upstream companies in the Americas on Thursday July 28th at Noon.  Odum is responsible for Shell’s exploration and production businesses in the western hemisphere, including unconventional gas and oil sands projects.

Richardson, Guzy Among Speakers at Green Conference – The National Council for Science and the Environment will hold the 2011 International Green Energy Economy Conference Thursday-Friday, July 28-29 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City, VA.  The conference will focus on the interplay between clean-energy strategies and policies to secure significant technological innovation, workforce development to promulgate green jobs, and sustainability principles to guide economies and societies toward sustainability.  Speakers will include IPCC Vice Chair Hoesung Lee, Dan Kammen of the University of California-Berkeley, former  Congressman, Ambassador to the UN, and Secretary of Energy and NM Gov. Bill Richardson, and CEQ’s Gary Guzy, among many others.  The conference is organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment, the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders, in collaboration with the Korea Energy Economics Institute.

Forum to Look at FERC Decision, Transmission for Renewables – Following FERC’s expected Thursday announcement on its Proposed Rulemaking on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities, the NDN/New Policy Institute will host a panel discussion on Thursday, July 28th at noon to look at transmission policy reform and what it means for renewables.  This panel will address the implications of the ruling on the transmission of renewable energy.  NDN will be releasing more details about our panel in a few days. Stay in touch for more information about the event on NDN’s blog.

WCEE to Look at Alternative Technologies – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum at Johnny on the Half Shell on Friday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. looking at enhancing America’s energy independence through electric vehicles and other modes of clean, alternative transportation  .  It is part of WCEE’s Summer 2011 Legislative Roundtable Discussion featuring key Congressional staff involved in drafting legislation that is focused on the US goal of enhancing energy security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and the rapid promotion of clean, alternative transportation, such as electric and natural gas-powered vehicles.  This event will provide an opportunity to hear directly from, and interact with, the staff of the key authors of such legislation and to meet other experts in the field.

CIBO Meeting on Emissions Set for Portland – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will hold its Industrial Emissions Conference in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn hotel on August 1st – 4th.  Expected topics will include discussions the current policy status of Boiler MACT issues.

TX Enviro Super Conference Set – The Environmental and Natural Resources law section, a division of the Texas State Bar, is hosting its 23rd annual Texas Environmental Superconference on August 3-5 at the Austin, Texas Four Seasons Hotel. The conference will feature speakers from the EPA and Justice Department, as well as government officials and academic and legal consultants from across the country. Topics cover a broad range of issues including groundwater regulation, air quality issues, environmental impacts of energy choices, and updates on nuclear power, permitting, Boiler MACT, vapor intrusion and product stewardship. My colleague Rich Alonso will give an update on greenhouse gas regulations as well.

Energy Update: Week of July 5, 2011


For those of you who thought we might not be back this week: SURPRISE!!!  We have ripped ourselves away from Wimbledon, le Tour, riveting fireworks shows (personal and public) and our preparation for the final Harry Potter film (just 9 days away) to get back up on the bike and ride.  Fortunately, I already know the ending of the final HP movie, but that still means that my daughter Hannah will only let me get out of the midnight showing.

We return this week because Congress (at least the Senate) boldly cancelled its recess after the President’s comments in his Press Conference last week (before running out to play a round of golf).  Of course, that ginned up many of you to think there may be some openings for energy and the environment with the extra time.  Don’t get your hopes up, and remember, the House was going to be in this week any way.

We will have some fireworks though with the expected release of EPA’s Transport Rule and the House Approps mark-up of the EPA/Interior funding bill.  As you already know, the CATR rule was slated for last week but last minute delays at OMB and the Senate testimony of EPA pushed everything to this week.  All signs point to Texas being included, which will go over like a dud in the Lone Star state, perhaps leading to 1835 all over again.  As for the House Interior/EPA Approps, the subcommittee meets Thursday morning to mark up. Look for targets to be painted on the climate regs, as well as other proposed rules including for coal ash disposal, boilers, new water quality standards for Appalachian coal mining and many other things that the Republicans don’t like.  As for Interior, while Chairman Simpson has promised a full budget for BOEMRE, that won’t limit complaints about the pace of permitting for offshore/onshore drilling and other controversial Interior actions.  Energy and Water Approps may also hit the floor of the House this week as well with a Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday.

And if fireworks are your interest, then maybe perhaps you should head over to the House Science Committee on Thursday where they will take up the E-15 Ethanol blend and the science behind the mandate.  The “over” on the saying “Ethanol is more about political science” (or some variation of that) is 8.   Expected a full-throated response from the Ethanol Boys even though they are not on the panel as of now.

Finally, lest you think that oil/gas drilling companies aren’t helpful to the renewable industry, I would suggest you check out the following Helix efforts on behalf of renewables.  As you may recall, not only is Helix a drilling company, they played a giant-sized role in both the Macondo spill containment and the post-spill containment system development that finally allowed Interior to issue new drilling permits.  Helix’s ROV division Canyon Offshore is devoting a lot of time and effort to customers in the offshore renewable energy industry.  They’ve done quite a bit of work in the North Sea, and have a four-year contract with ABB to install wind farms throughout Europe. (See more details below)

Just over a week to go until the July 12-14 SAFE National Energy Security Summit.  In additional to the other panels (a CEO panel moderated by NBC’s Meet The Press host David Gregory) and Oil Shockwave simulation that will take pace, organizers have added another panel that will focus on the future of offshore drilling featuring Thad Allen, Helix CEO Owen Kratz, BP’s Michael Finley and someone from the Shell Alaska team.  I will be moderating that panel so please make sure you sign up for this great event here.


Helix Technologies Working on Renewables – The advent of industrial-scale production of energy from wind and tidal sources is serving to shift the offshore energy paradigm from a singular focus on fossil fuels, to one that includes renewable energy sources as well.  Offshore wind farms generated more than three gigawatts of electricity worldwide in 2010, with global output projections of 75 GW within the next ten years.  Advances in renewable energy generation techniques are critical to ensure the continuation of this trend.  Helix ‘s Canyon Offshore is applying tools and technologies established through years of leadership in the offshore oil and gas industry to the needs of wind farm developers and constructors.  Remote operated vehicle-based cable installation, trenching and burial methodologies facilitate wind farm construction in greater water depths further from shore, improving return on investment while reducing environmental impact.  Additionally, these new applications for oilfield technologies are keeping crews engaged while the offshore energy industry continues its post-Macondo recovery.  In addition to systems proven in oil and gas fields worldwide, Canyon Offshore is developing new vessels and ROVs designed for the specific needs of the renewables industry.  With a new, 1,200 hp jet trenching system and DP3 support vessel capable of deploying up to four ROVs simultaneously set to join the fleet in early 2012, Canyon Offshore is committed to anticipating the future needs of wind farm development programs and providing reliable, cost-effective solutions to meet those needs.  Some of the oilfield technologies key to renewable energy growth include tools developed for the offshore oil and gas industry that are making renewable energy production more efficient, streamlining field construction and expanding development options.  The renewable projects also have given oilfield workers new opportunities during challenging times for Gulf of Mexico companies.  Because of its current efforts, Canyon Offshore has committed capital to build a new offshore service vessel and high-performance ROV system to meet the specific needs of the renewable energy industry.  Can help with lots more on this, please call. 

PA Bird, Bat Study Shows Turbine Impact – The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released a post construction study of wind turbine facilities in Pennsylvania over the last three years shows approximately 25 bats and four birds are killed every year at each of the state’s 420 active turbines.  The study is the first broad public release of information of data gathered through 2007’s Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement between the commission and wind developers.  Approximately 30 participating developers agreed to conduct one year of pre-construction and two years of post-construction monitoring of birds and bats at each site using commission data-collection and study guidelines. The study is the first broad public release of information of data gathered through 2007’s Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement between the commission and wind developers.  Approximately 30 participating developers agreed to conduct one year of pre-construction and two years of post-construction monitoring of birds and bats at each site using commission data-collection and study guidelines. The above link gets you to the PGC page.  To get the report, click on the link for “PGC 2nd Wind Energy Summary Report.”

AWC Holds NJ Townhall Meetings on Backbone Project – Atlantic Wind Connection officials have completed the first pair of four scheduled informational discussions in the southern New Jersey counties of Atlantic and Cape May.  AWC will host two more discussions on July 22 in Ocean County and July 30 in Monmouth County.  These informal discussions were designed to educate local officials, labor groups, industry leaders, educators and environmental representatives about AWC’s plans for constructing an offshore wind transmission line for the offshore wind industry off the coasts of New Jersey.  AWC CEO Bob Mitchell moderated both events, saying the discussions have been an invaluable way to introduce the backbone transmission line project in an informal setting.  Mitchell: “This educational process is important for us to undertake in order to learn of the local interest in offshore wind and explain how the Atlantic Wind Connection will provide the foundation, the inter-state highway for offshore wind that will enable the new industry to create thousands of jobs for New Jersey.”   Participants at the events included local community leaders, utility officials, union leaders, wind developers, environmental groups and other interested citizens.  Atlantic Wind Connection is the offshore transmission backbone for renewable energy that will have the capabilities of bringing power generated from all of these offshore wind farms directly to the power grid. Developers will benefit dramatically while seeing their costs reduced when they interconnect with the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC). The planned AWC system can reduce wind project transmission costs by significantly decreasing connection length, expensive land-based grid upgrades and multiple, duplicative approvals.  The Mid-Atlantic region offers more than 60,000 MW of offshore wind potential in the relatively shallow waters of the outer continental shelf. With few other renewable energy options ideally suited for the Atlantic coast, this transmission project will help states meet their renewable energy goals and standards by enabling the local offshore wind industry to deploy thousands of megawatts of clean, cost-effective wind turbine capacity. When complete, the AWC backbone will be able to connect up to 7,000 MW of offshore wind, enough power to serve over 2 million households.

CA Delays Cap/Trade Law – Last week, California said it was delaying the implementation of its AB 32, the embattled cap and trade initiative that it passed in 2006.  Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board, told a state Senate Committee they would give power plants, refineries and other major polluters another year to comply with the new state program.  Most companies were to begin cutting emissions under the program next year, but the current delay will move that to 2013.  Some say the delays raises concerns about the state’s commitment to the difficult plan, while other opponents and academics say it shows the difficulty of implementing a such a program.  Supporters say the delay will prevent gaming the system and allow the state to provide flexibility that will allow the state to road-test market mechanisms.  Environmental groups supported the delay.  In May, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said the CARB’s cap-and-trade program analysis was lacking, granting a victory to environmental justice groups, who had sued over the market-based model, which they alleged would increase air pollution in some spots by allowing companies to buy their way to compliance.

New EPA Report Highlights Climate Adaptation Issues – A new federal report on climate adaptation suggests that development in some low lying coastal areas will have to give way to rising sea levels. EPA released “Rolling Easements,” a primer for communities to preserve development rights of shoreline property owners while acknowledging that some coastal properties will be economically or environmentally infeasible to defend from rising sea levels. The report says that defending coastal development from the rising sea would prevent wetlands from migrating inland, expose large numbers of people to the hazard of living below sea level, and often cost more than what the property being protected is worth. The report detailed land-use and legal tools that would allow coastal development, but prohibit seawalls and shoreline protections from being built in some areas. Proposals include issuing regulations or transferring the rights to build shoreline protections from owners who would do so to organizations that would not. This allows property to be put to its highest use, but it can be converted to wetland or beach once it is threatened by rising seas.

Letter to Gov. Christie Urges Veto of NatGas Drilling Ban – Following up on the decision this week by state legislators in New Jersey to approve legislation seeking an outright ban on natural gas drilling’s hydraulic fracturing procedure, our friends at Energy In Depth sent a detailed letter to Gov. Chris Christie today highlighting several important facts about the technology, along with an attachment capturing comments and insights from more than a dozen state environmental regulators from both parties testifying to the safety and efficiency of fracturing.  Also copied on the letter are the primary co-sponsors of the bill from both the General Assembly and Senate. The letter also extends an invitation to the governor, legislators, and their staff to tour a wellsite and see firsthand how a fracturing operation works, and what policies and procedures are in place to ensure it is executed safely.


House Approps EPA/Interior Markup – The House Approps on Interior/EPA will mark up it 2012 funding bill on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in B-308 Rayburn.  On the hot seat will be climate regs, as well as other proposed rules including for coal ash disposal, boilers, new water quality standards for Appalachian coal mining and many other things that the Republicans don’t like.  As for Interior, while Chairman Simpson has promise a full budget for BOEMRE that won’t limit complaints about the pace of permitting for offshore and onshore drilling and other controversial Interior actions.

House Science to Tackle E-15 Science – The House Science Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at the role that higher-ethanol gasoline blends can play in domestic adoption of the fuel. The hearing is expected to get a skeptical viewpoint on the wisdom of using more corn ethanol.  Witnesses include EPA’s longtime fuels head Margo Oge, API’s Bob Greco, Environmental Working Group’s Heather White, Jason Wasil of Evinrude Outboard Motors and National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.  Each of these groups have strongly protested the use of more ethanol for various reasons.  Sure to draw a sharp rebuke from ethanol proponents is the lack of witnesses on their side to defend E-15.

Pew Forum to Look at Military, Energy – The Pew Charitable Trusts will hold a briefing on Thursday to discuss energy innovation and the military.  The Department of Defense and the military services have been national leaders in adopting cutting edge renewable and efficient energy technologies and policies. These three Assistant Secretaries are the highest ranking officials that oversee energy-related issues within the military services. They will discuss the risks posed by energy dependence to the Armed Forces as well as innovative solutions to improving energy efficiency.  The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate is an initiative of the Pew Environment Group and is dedicated to highlighting the critical linkages among national security, energy independence, the economy and climate change. The Pew Project brings together military, security and scientific experts to examine new strategies for combating climate change, protecting our national security, increasing our energy independence and preserving our nation’s natural resources.  Speakers will include Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Terry A. Yonkers, and former Virginia Senator and Navy Secretary John W. Warner.

Joint Hearing Looks at NatGas Drilling on Public Lands – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., a joint hearing of House Natural Resources panel on Energy and Mineral Resources and House Agriculture’s panel on Conservation, Energy and Forestry will explore a proposed ban on horizontal drilling in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and West Virginia and an Interior Department plan to more tightly regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The hearing will focus on the U.S. Forest Service’s use of a horizontal drilling ban through a Draft Forest Plan to effectively eliminate hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the Interior Departments’ potential regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Horizontal drilling provides significant benefit to development by reducing the footprint of oil and gas production and allowing for directional drilling to leave undisturbed areas of environmental concern. In December 2010, then Ranking Member Hastings sent a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar expressing concerns over statements made by the Secretary that Interior would consider regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

DTF Forum to Look at Diesel Sales – On Friday, the Diesel Technology Forum will hold a seminar on diesel car sales.  Growth in diesel car sales are expected to continue in the years ahead as consumers look for ways to cut down on fuel use without sacrificing performance or convenience.  As EPA & NHTSA establish new fuel economy standards for passenger cars in 2017-2025, a greater number of diesel vehicles are expected to become available to meet the challenge.  This session will look at the prospects for greater diesel penetration in the U.S. and how growing use of renewable diesel fuel can bring fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions on a par with other advanced technology vehicles.


Demand Response, Smart Grid Meeting – The National Town Meeting on demand response and smart grid issues will be held on Sunday through Tuesday, July 12-14 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The National Town Meeting is a non-profit event that pulls in top stakeholders from utilities, technology companies, RTOs, Congress, federal and state agencies, environmental groups, consumer groups, and research and consulting firms. They will all be there to assess the state of the industry and, with your help, to set the agenda for the years to come.  Topics to be covered include efficiency, demand response, Smart Grid, long-term planning, data access, electric vehicles and regional policies.  New for 2011, the National Town Meeting will feature an additional day dedicated to the effort of implementing FERC and DOE’s National Action Plan on Demand Response. The NAP Day Pre-Conference Workshop, on July 12, will be hosted by the National Action Plan Coalition.  The are numerous speakers lead by FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LeFleur, Sen. Mark Udall, DOE’s Patricia Hoffman, EDF’s Fred Krupp and many others.

Senate Energy to Tackle Solar, Geothermal – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing Tuesday, July 12th at 10:00 am to examine S.1160, to improve the administration of the Department of Energy, S.1108, to provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more efficient, and S.1142, to promote the mapping and development of the United States geothermal resources by establishing a direct loan program for high risk geothermal exploration wells, to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to improve geothermal energy technology and demonstrate the use of geothermal energy in large scale thermal applications.

SAFE to Hold Energy Security Summit – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a National Summit on Energy Security on July 12th and 13th at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC.  The event will bring together military leaders, CEOs and policymakers to address the threats posed by US dependence on oil.  Event will include a welcome dinner to kick off the event and feature a discussion on the national security and economic threats posed by our dependence on oil; an executive crisis simulation call Oil ShockWave, a fast-paced wargame simulation featuring a cutting-edge graphics package and sophisticated modeling delivered in a life-like environment, including participation from Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret.), former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Cheney National Security Advisor John Hannah, former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, past US Trade Rep Susan Schwab and General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command; a CEO Forum Luncheon featuring Fred Smith of FedEx and Andrew C. Taylor of Enterprise Holdings; Moderated panel discussions on specific aspects of the energy security issue spectrum and formulate paths forward; and a Capitol Hill reception featuring members of Congress who are leaders on energy security and electrification issues.

CSIS Forum to Address Arctic Oil, Gas Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program is holding a forum on Arctic oil and gas development starting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday July 12th in its B1 Conference Level.  It will be the final session in its Impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill Series, which will evaluate the development of Arctic oil and gas resources.  The oil and gas resources of the Arctic region represent one of the most promising, largely untapped hydrocarbon resources in the world.  A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study estimated the recoverable oil resources of the Arctic region at 90 billion barrels, about 13 percent of the world’s remaining oil resources and the gas resource at 1,670 trillion cubic feet, about 30 percent of the world’s remaining gas resource.  These oil and gas resources are located throughout the Arctic region and each of the five Arctic nations has prospective areas.  However, the development of these oil and gas resources faces a number of daunting issues.  The conference will examine several key issue areas including: the state of play in development plans and activities in each of the Arctic countries, oil spill risks, and the possibilities for international cooperation to reduce the risk of major accidents and contain accidents that do occur.  Panel Discussions will cover 1) Development and Infrastructure Options in Alaska’s Arctic and Market Challenges; 2) International Arctic Resource Developments and Opportunities and 3) Environmental Challenges for Arctic Development.  Confirmed speakers include Senate Energy’s Lisa Murkowski, Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes and U.S. Arctic Research Commission chair Fran Ulmer, who also served on the BP Oil Spill Commission.

Brookings to Release Report on Clean Energy – On Wednesday morning July 13th, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings will bring together business, economic development and political leaders to review the progress of clean industries, identify policy issues and opportunities, and consider how faster and broader growth of the clean economy could be encouraged at the national, state and regional level. A report and first-of-its-kind database, produced in collaboration with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, will be released at the event, providing new measures of the clean economy at the national and metropolitan levels. Also featured will be an interactive web tool that will allow users to track jobs, growth, segments, and other variables nationally, by state and by region. Brookings Managing Director William Antholis will welcome participants and Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, will present the findings of this major new report on the status of the U.S. clean economy. Panel discussions will follow, presenting the corporate and regional perspective.  Our friend, Andy Revkin of New York Times’ dotEarth will moderate a panel that will feature ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, among others.

NJ to Host Innovation SummitNational Journal will host an Innovation Works conference on Wednesday July 13th at the Ronald Reagan Building to look at the link between new cutting-edge innovations and the public policy environment that incubates these new technologies.   Among the speakers will be ARPA-E head Dr. Arun Majumdar, Simon Tripp of Battelle and US House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

ASE to Host Forum on PACE – The Alliance to Save Energy will host another noon lunch on Wednesday July 13th featuring Alan Strachan, co-founder of Ygrene Energy Fund, and Greg Caplan, Senior Program Manager for Lockheed Martin Energy Solutions, discuss an innovative financing model for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).  American business is poised to launch a massive Retooling America campaign, with at least $500 billion of new capital investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits of existing buildings, plants and operations, 100% privately financed, producing 5 million jobs and reducing CO2 in the process. The driver behind this is the demand represented by roughly $1 trillion sitting on the sidelines, earning extremely low returns, and needing a safe place to park. The Commercial and Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C&I PACE) laws in states covering two thirds of the country’s population provide a vehicle to move that money off the sidelines and place it safely and responsibly in energy efficiency and renewable energy capital assets. Retooling America with 100% private financing will dramatically reduce the federal deficit, while simultaneously moving the country toward energy independence and reducing American business’ exposure to fossil fuel price volatility. No federal legislation or funding is required or requested.  No state or local funding is needed.

Biomass Heat Symposium Set – The Alliance for Green Heat is organizing this stakeholder symposium on Wednesday afternoon at the Yates Training room of the US Forest Service to bring together non-profits, industry, government and forestry and air quality experts to explore how America can maximize the renewable energy potential of wood and pellet heat, and minimize associated drawbacks.  At the Symposium, they will also release a new report, “Transforming Wood Heat In America: A Toolkit of Policy Options.”  While residential wood heat is the dominant player in residential renewable energy, most wood heat appliances in America are outdated and emit too many particulates. Robust deployment of modern, high efficiency appliances in Europe has succeeded in helping make substantial strides towards energy independence.  Wood heat provides 80% of residential renewable energy in America, solar PV 15% and geothermal 5%. While older wood burning appliances are common, bringing modern, low-emission appliances to scale is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce residential fossil fuel use. Wood heat enjoys a deep cultural acceptance in America but policies to harness and transform it are lacking. This symposium explores the opportunities for policy makers to maximize the potential of residential wood heat to reduce fossil fuel use in a tight fiscal climate, while minimizing its drawbacks. The speakers will cover the policy landscape, sustainability and emissions issues, state and federal case studies and results of a new study on thermal biomass incentives.

Forum to Look at Oil, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Rep. Peter Welch – co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Peak Oil Caucus – will host an expert discussion on Thursday July 14th at Noon in 2325 Rayburn to look at the economics of America’s oil dependence.  From industrial productivity to the daily commute to putting food on the table, the price of oil has a huge impact on the American people and economy. Oil prices correlate to food prices and home foreclosures; and oil price shocks tend to precede — and many suspect cause — recessions and spikes in unemployment. Factor in government incentives, geopolitical realities, environmental impacts, and the military deployments needed to keep the oil flowing, and the true cost of America’s reliance on oil starts to come into focus.  Speakers will include former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Co-Author of The Impending World Energy Mess Roger Bezdek, and Eyal Aronoff, Co-Founder of Quest Software.

Forum to Look at Transmission’s Economic Impacts – EESI and WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) will hold a briefing on Friday, July 15th at 10:00 a.m. in the Congressional Meeting Room North of the Capitol Visitor Center to discuss how the manufacture and construction of electric transmission infrastructure can make a major contribution to reversing the nation’s stagnation in employment and economic activity. The electric transmission system is a critical and strategic asset for our nation. As policymakers focus on infrastructure development as an engine of new jobs and economic activity, this panel is a reminder that electric transmission – developed at the levels that experts project the country will need over the next two decades – is at the center of economic revitalization. This briefing will focus on WIRES’ recent study with the Brattle Group, Employment and Economic Benefits of Transmission Infrastructure Investment in the U.S. and Canada, and the work of other organizations that demonstrate that new transmission will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next 20 years and that this impetus will be supplied largely by private capital. Speakers for this event include Brattle Groups principal Hannes Pfeifenberger, IBEW’s Jim Hunter, NREL analyst Eric Lantz and Randy Fordice of Great River Energy and CapX2020.

Woodruff to Headline NACo Meeting – NACo’s 76th Annual Conference and Exposition held July 15-19 will be in Multnomah County, (Portland) Oregon. The Annual Conference’s keynote speaker will be ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film 127 Hours.  The meeting provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors.

Forum to Look at Defense Dept’s Energy Use – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group will hold a forum on July 15th at 2:30 p.m. featuring Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs to present key details of the Defense Department’s strategy on operation energy .  Burke’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion. On June 14, 2011 the Department of Defense released its first ever “Operational Energy Strategy” which outlines how the department can better use energy resources to support their strategic goals, the country’s broader energy security goal, lower risks to the warfighter, and more efficiency allocate and save taxpayer resources.

NPC to Host Trade Rep. Kirk – The Newsmakers Committee will host US Trade Rep. Ron Kirk for a newsmaker speech and Q&A on July 18th at 10:00 a.m. at the National Press Club.  More details to come on this.

Hydro Conference Set for Sacramento – HydroVision International will be held on July 19-22 in Sacramento, CA and will address the effects, solutions and the plan for advancing sustainable hydropower throughout the world.  HydroVision International will highlight perspectives on the role of hydropower, explore issues affecting hydro resources, and help participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro. This event will bring together a broad range of global hydro professionals with environmental, technical, social, and regulatory perspectives

AT&T’s Stephenson, ARPA-E’s Majumdar at July NARUC Meeting – Top federal officials, CEOs from major telecommunications firms, energy producers, and renewable developers will address the nation’s State public service commissioners during the July 17-20, 2011, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Summer Committee Meetings.  The meetings, held at the JW Marriott at the new LA Live! complex in Los Angeles, will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on meeting global energy supply, building out the nation’s utility infrastructure, and the state of the U.S. telecommunications sector.  Confirmed speakers for the Summer Committee Meetings include AT&T Chairman, President, and CEO Randall Stephenson, Chesapeake Energy Chairman, CEO Aubrey McClendon, Peabody Energy Chairman, CEO Gregory Boyce, American Water Works CEO Jeff Sterba, Comcast Corp. Executive Vice President David Cohen, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode, Solar Alliance President Carrie Cullen Hitt, American Electric Power President Nick Akins, and many more.  Dr. Arum Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, will deliver keynote remarks as well.  The Summer Meetings will feature three crucial general sessions:

1) Monday, July 18: Global Energy Supply: How Will We Meet what the World Needs in a Time of Uncertainty? 2) Tuesday, July 19: The State of Telecommunications, 2011 and 3) Wednesday, July 20: The Money Pit: How do you Finance the Future, and Who Pays for It?  In addition, NARUC’s committees will conduct business meetings, consider policy resolutions, and hold a number of additional panel discussions. For a complete list, please visit the NARUC Meetings Webpage.  Please note committee agendas are subject to change.

Forum on Cool Roofs Set – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday, July 21st at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center to look at the potential for solar-reflective roofs and other “cool-roofing” techniques to lower the surface temperature of buildings and entire cities. Cool roofs improve comfort on hot summer days and reduce the amount of energy used for air-conditioning – thereby reducing energy costs and improving air quality. Whitening flat roofs is a low-cost solution which, if implemented in certain cities across the globe, has been estimated to have the potential to offset the carbon emissions of 300 million automobiles. At this briefing, renowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will discuss research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that for the first time quantifies the reflective power (albedo) of urban surfaces that would be necessary to mitigate the urban heat-island effect and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Panelists also will discuss insulated and vegetated (“green”) roofs and how different types of cool roofs may be combined or integrated with solar-roofing systems, photovoltaics (PV) and/or solar thermal technology.  Introductory remarks will be by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Panel speakers will include Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, James Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Buildings and Energy expert in NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Laurie Kerr and GSA’s Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings.

CIBO Meeting on Emissions Set for Portland – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will hold its Industrial Emissions Conference in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn hotel on August 1st – 4th.  Expected topics will include discussions the current policy status of Boiler MACT issues.