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)
C. (202) 997-5932
IN THE NEWS
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.
THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
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.
THE WEEKS AHEAD:
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.