I never thought while the Maple Leafs were actually winning for once (it’s been since 1968 since they won their last Cup), they could ever be overshadowed, but apparently I was wrong. Toronto Mayor Ford has taken over the top spot of scorn and scrutiny in the Great White North (and on the cable news station), giving the current Leafs goaltenders, coach and GM a welcome respite as the usual target.
South of border, I don’t even know where to start after the three-plus days of Kabuki Theater surrounding Friday afternoon’s EPA announcement on the RFS. I have a full report below, including some additional facts and resources.
This week, things begin the slowdown to the Thanksgiving holiday. Outside of the tug-o-war over Obamacare, there are a few things in the energy arena that are ongoing, including a House Energy mark up on Tuesday evening and Wednesday on Chairman Fred Upton’s North American Energy Infrastructure Act. There will also be action on H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act which accelerates onshore drilling permit decision and leasing and H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act which would block Interior NatGas drilling regulations. Finally on Thursday, the Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on NRC’s implementation of post-Fukushima safety recommendations.
The second week of UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland rolls on this week, but folks are pretty down (and it’s not just the cold weather) according to sources that I’ve talked to on the ground and several media accounts. Talks also hit another roadblock Friday when Japan announced it was backtracking on its Kyoto targets due to its move away from nuclear (see below). Maybe they get a little more excitement out of the World Coal Forum which also launches today over there. CEQ head Nancy Sutley will attend the UN meeting along with mainstays Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing.
Don’t forget on Saturday evening, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell will be doing an acoustic show at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington DC. A Cornell acoustic show is really a “must see” if you are a fan of the grunge music/Seattle Sound of the 1990s. He collects some of the best hits from his solo career, Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog days and performs them with soul and great gusto. Well worth the trip. I, of course, will miss the show because Hannah and I will be at the Disney Sports complex in Orlando on Saturday and Sunday at the President’s Cup, one of the final fall lacrosse recruiting tournaments (with nearly every college lacrosse coach in the country in attendance).
Call with questions.
c. (202) 997-5932
THE BIG NEWS – ETHANOL
Finally, EPA Ethanol Proposal Announced –Late Friday, the long-awaited Ethanol RFS proposal was released. The biofuels mandate is proposed a range that could reduce it by about 8% next year. The proposal marks the first time biofuels use has been scaled back under current RFS law. It is be characterized by media and third parties as a significant victory for refiners, food groups and engine makers that oppose the law.
Highlights from Proposal – Under the Clean Air Act, the total renewable fuel obligation for 2014 is 18.15 bg of total renewable fuel, 1.75 bg cellulosic, at least 1 bg biodiesel and 3.75 bg advanced biofuel. Under EPA’s proposal Friday, EPA proposes ranges for each of the categories below but also proposes the following amount within those ranges including 15.21 bg of total renewable fuel, 17 mg cellulosic, 1.28 bg biodiesel and 2.2 bg advanced biofuel.
EPA Legal Justifications – EPA justified its rule with the CAA section that allows EPA to lower total and advanced fuel amounts when the cellulosic total is lowered. They also used the general waiver authority if EPA finds economic harm or inadequate supply. EPA is interpreting the term “inadequate domestic supply” to include consideration of factors that affect consumption of renewable fuel. This is in reference to the “blend wall” concerns that EPA acknowledges impact the amount of renewable fuel that can flow into the transportation sector.
Timing – 60 days of comments and final rule by Spring 2014.
Going Forward After Next Year – Beyond 2014, EPA is framing the legal argument over its waiver authority as the basis for its future RVO rules in 2015 and beyond with a 3-Step process. EPA will (1) determine the level of ethanol that can be produced and supplied to consumers; (2) determine projected volume level of all advanced biofuels that can be reasonably achieved; and (3) propose an appropriate advanced biofuel volume at or below the projected volume available in step 2.
A Great Resource on the Topic – My Colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718), a former DOE senior Counsel and ethanol expert can be helpful if you have additional questions. His initial take said “EPA’s proposal, if finalized, would alter how EPA determines the year-over-year RFS obligations by using its legal authorities to consider issues like the blend wall to determine the total renewable volume amounts. Zelermyer said he expects legal challenges to EPA’s eventual final rule is likely, “especially as EPA is proposing this calculation method as the legal basis for all future RFS rulemakings and determinations.” Zelermyer also says it will be interesting to follow the EPA litigation on a final rule and the continuing push for reform legislation on Capitol Hill.
Refiners Talk – While AFPM and API both responded on Friday, two other great resources are Tesoro’s Stephen Brown (202-744-5578) and Valero’s Bill Day (210-345-2928). Brown is a great insider who always is helpful and Valero is of course the largest independent refiner, as well as one of the largest ethanol producers in the US. Valero CEO Bill Klesse has been very active on the topic sending a recent letter to EPA head Gina McCarthy where he reminded her of EPA’s flexibility to reduce waiver volumes and therefore lower the price of RINs, a controversial renewable compliance trading program.
Waxman, Upton Agree? – In a Joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton and ranking member Henry Waxman praised EPA’s overall handling of its decision to cut into the biofuels mandate next year. “As our white papers and hearings made clear, the status quo is no longer workable,” Upton said. “Many of the issues raised by EPA, stakeholders, and consumer advocates are now reflected in the agency’s proposed rule.” Waxman said EPA “is thoughtfully addressing concerns about the RFS. As we continue to look at this policy, I encourage EPA to implement the RFS in ways that increase environmental benefits, especially by reducing carbon pollution, both through supporting cellulosic and other low-carbon fuels and by minimizing emissions from indirect effects on land use,” Waxman said. Both he and Upton suggested the committee would continue to examine possible legislative changes to the overall mandate.
WSJ, Wash Post Ed Board, Agree? – Perhaps even more strange in the “Strange Bedfellows” category, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post editorial boards agree with EPA, but also want Congress to take action limiting ethanol. WSJ: “The EPA’s modest reduction is a nod in the direction of market and technological reality. Democrats and Republicans who don’t bow to Big Ethanol should unite to repeal the mandate for the good of consumers, business and the environment.” WashPost: “the public benefits do not offset the market distortions. In the case of ethanol subsidies, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. What’s really needed is a repeal of the ethanol mandate, which was enacted in a different time, on the basis of projections about energy markets that have not panned out.”
AAA Says Drivers Need Changes – AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet praised EPA’s proposed 2014 renewable fuels volume requirements today, saying the targets in the 2007 law “are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk. The EPA has finally put consumers first. Their proposal will support the continued development of alternative fuels, while also recognizing the needs of the millions of people that drive every day.” AAA says the majority of cars on the road cannot run on gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol, and it would be irresponsible to offer wide-spread sales of higher blends, such as E15 and E85.
Ethanol Cries Foul – The ethanol industry quickly blasted the EPA’s proposal, arguing the move amounts to a handout to the oil industry. RFA President Bob Dinneen was quoted in several news stories with a punch drunk quote: “Boy, my goodness are the oil companies going to benefit from this. We’re all just sort of scratching our heads here wondering why this administration is telling us to produce less of a clean-burning American fuel.” The ethanol industry vowed today to push for changes to the EPA’s proposal, also adding they are prepared to take legal action if EPA finalizes a proposal in line with the one it released Friday.
Ag Sect Vilsack, Sen. Ag Chair Stabenow Agree – Ethanol supporters got some solace from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. A former Iowa Governor, Vilsack says important to take a long-term approach to the RFS saying “improved distribution and increased consumer use of renewable fuels are critical to the future of this industry.” Stabenow said blasted the EPA plan saying the “so-called blend wall is a crisis manufactured by the oil industry, which is interested in eliminating the competition so they can continue reaping even greater windfall profits.” She added “the proposed rule could cost thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs and mean less competition at the pump.”
IN THE NEWS
Japan Rolls Back on Kyoto Targets, Nuclear – Japan back off earlier pledges to slash its greenhouse gas emissions on Friday, saying a shutdown of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster has made previous targets unattainable. Japan’s new target is a 3.8% reduction from 2005 and was announced by Minister of the Environment Nobuteru Ishihara in Tokyo. The reduction actually represents a 3% increase from 1990 if that year is used as a baseline. In contrast, the country’s previous commitment, set in 2009, sought to reduce emissions 25% by 2020 from 1990 levels.
New Colorado Group to Focus on NatGas Drilling – As all eyes continue to turn to Colorado for insight on the fracking debate, our friend Jon Haubert has jumped over to a new 501c(6) education effort called Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED). While CRED is not involved in any campaign activity, it has seen heavy website traffic before and after the November 5th election. In only two short months since its launch, CRED has amassed nearly 7,500 Facebook fans and Twitter followers. CRED seeks to inform the general public about the energy, economic and environmental benefits of safe and responsible oil and natural gas development carrying a simple and clear message: get the facts on fracking first before making a decision. Haubert is heading up CRED’s communications and media efforts and will be winding down at the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance (WEA) by the end of the year. You can connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
SoCo Named Top Veteran Employer – G.I. Jobs has named Southern Company the highest-ranked utility in its 2014 Top 100 Military Friendly Employer listing. It is 7th consecutive year Southern has ranked as the nation’s best utility for veterans, guardsmen and reservists. The Top 100 Military Friendly Employer list is compiled from 5,000 companies. Criteria for selection include the strength of the company’s military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with prior military service, retention programs and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service. Eleven percent of Southern Company’s 26,000 employees — and 12 percent of new hires in 2013, to date — are veterans, guardsmen or reservists.
Kemper, Vogtle Projects Lead Way – This year’s SoCo numbers are even stronger at its two flagship construction projects: Plant Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia and the Kemper County CCS coal energy facility in Mississippi. At Vogtle, where Southern Company is leading the U.S. nuclear renaissance through subsidiary Georgia Power by building the first new nuclear units in a generation, 23% of new hires are veterans. At Kemper County, where subsidiary Mississippi Power is advancing energy innovation with construction of a 21st Century coal plant, 20% of new hires have prior military service.
SC Johnson Reports Looks at Renewables – SC Johnson recently released its 2013 sustainability report highlighting the company’s ongoing efforts to improve its environmental and social practices. Among the company’s initiatives is to receive 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2016. Contributing to that goal, this year SC Johnson added two wind turbines to its Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin facility, the largest of the company’s global manufacturing plants. The turbines are expected to produce 8,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year; combined with two previously installed cogeneration plants, the facility will now be capable of receiving 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. The company also expanded its purchase of wind power for its Toluca, Mexico facility which is now powered by 86 percent renewables, an increase of 65%.
Another Solar Success Rolls Out in AZ – Abengoa has completed commercial operation tests on Solana, its 280-MW concentrating solar plant near Gila Bend, Arizona. The plant uses parabolic shaped mirrors mounted on sun-tracking structures to concentrate the sun’s heat on a central tower. The heat is used to transform water into steam which powers a steam turbine to produce electricity. The plant has been designed to capture and store thermal energy so electricity can be produced for up to six hours without any sunshine. Arizona Public Service (APS) has entered into a 30 years power purchase agreement to acquire all of the electricity produced by the plant. The six hours of dispatchable energy production is expected to help APS satisfy its peak demand hours during summer evenings. The project is the third project all successful loan guarantee projects to be completed and start commercial operation in the Southwest, including the BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
UN Climate Meetings Continue – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-19) for the UN Climate negotiations Continues in Warsaw, Poland. The meetings, expected to be low-key foundation building for the 2015 Meetings slated for Paris next year, took a turn for the worse when Japan announced a major step back from their Kyoto targets. In Paris, negotiators are trying to forge an extension of the Kyoto Treaty.
World Coal Meeting Held in Poland As Well – As I mentioned last week, Poland gets 88% of its power from coal, so while it hosts the UN Climate meetings this week, Next week it is also hosting the World Coal meeting. UN chief Christine Figures is expected to speak and is getting significant grief from enviro activists for doing so.
NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting launched yesterday in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek and continues through Wednesday. Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion of the bad actors who wish to cause harm to our regulated utility system from Kyle Wilhoit, Threat Researcher with Trend Micro. And on Wednesday morning a number of State commissioners and consumer advocates will discuss the about the future of utility regulation. Throughout the week, there will be numerous concurrent sessions on issues like rebuilding the water infrastructure after emergencies, methane emissions from gas production, energy market oversight, and much more. On the day prior to the conference, the FERC-NARUC Forum Reliability and the Environment will feature EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO Gerry Cauley. Follow Rob Thormeyer on Twitter at @RThormeyer for regular updates.
Forum to Look at Persian Gulf, Oil Security – George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies will hold a forum this evening in the Linder Family Commons, Room 602 oil security and U.S. Military commitment to the Persian Gulf. The U.S. strategic objective of protecting Persian Gulf oil has generated little controversy since the Gulf became a focus of U.S. military deployments over three decades ago. This may seem unsurprising given the widely-appreciated importance of oil to the global economy. Nevertheless, quite dramatic changes have occurred in the regional balance of power, the nature of security threats, and the global oil market since the U.S. made its commitment raising the possibility that the U.S. role should be revisited. The conference panels examine the key rationales driving current U.S. policies, the costs and benefits of alternative approaches, and options for revising the U.S. military stance in the region.
Energy Security, Military Issues Focus on Conference – The U.S. Army War College will gather experts from the policymaking community, academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the military services at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters in Washington, DC tomorrow and Wednesday at the Reserve Officers Association’s Minuteman Memorial Building to address first the major ‘new realities’ both geographically and technologically and then the specific military implications. Following the conclusion of the conference, the U.S. Army War College will produce an edited volume consisting of contributor comments/papers, as well as a series of two-page decision-maker executive summaries that will be designed to shape U.S. national security policy and the American response to the ‘new realities.’
House Transpo Panel to Look at Autonomous Vehicles – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at autonomous vehicles and how they may shape the future of surface transportation. The panel plans to hear testimony from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a representative of state departments of transportation, representatives of the automobile manufacturing industry, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Eno Center for Transportation. Witnesses will include NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, Michigan DOT head Kirk Steudle, GM’s Mike Robinson, Nissan technical planning expert Andrew Christensen, Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University and Joshua Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation.
Webinar to Look at Solar Contract Templates – An NREL-organized working group representing solar industry stakeholders will hold a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that will focus on standardized solar contract templates that lower transaction costs and make it easier to access low-cost financing for residential and commercial solar power projects. These contract templates should allow national and regional solar developers alike to increase business opportunities and enable the creation of tradable investment vehicles desired by pension funds and other institutional investors. The standardized contract templates developed to date include residential leases and commercial power purchase agreements. The standardized residential lease contract templates will be discussed by Nick Mack, General Counsel of Clean Power Finance, and Seth Weissman, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of SolarCity. The commercial power purchase agreement contract template will be described by Dirk Michels, Partner at K&L Gates. Paul Schwabe from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will also introduce the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group, which is facilitating securitization of solar photovoltaic assets through standardized contracts and other efforts.
JHU Forum to Discuss Turkey – Johns Hopkins University will hold an event tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in its Rome Building, Room 806 on Turkey and regional global energy geopolitics. Memduh Karakullukçu, vice chairman and president of Global Relations Forum, will discuss Turkey and regional/global energy geopolitics.
House to Vote on Energy Bill – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will meet tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to mark up and vote on H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act.
Forum to Look at Data Centers, Energy – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign will hold a panel of leading industry and academic experts on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in 122 Cannon to discuss the nature and importance of next-gen data center technologies and the role government can play as an early adopter. Increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing federal agencies to investigate ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. At the same time, new Executive Orders and Congressional actions have mandated increased energy efficiency for government. These two forces have come together to create new opportunities for next-generation ICT technologies, particularly innovative data centers. In an effort to keep government at the leading edge of ICT innovation, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R. 540) to advance public-private partnerships to increase the energy efficiency of federal data centers. Rep. Anna Eshoo will speak, as well as HP’s Colin Coyle, ITIC President Dean Garfield, Northwestern U’s Eric Masanet, Cathy Snyder of Lockheed Martin and EMC’s Kathrin Winkler.
NAM, SoCo Speakers Headline Energy Efficiency Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute in coordination with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a forum on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn to focus on energy efficiency. The United States is already much more efficient than it was 40 years ago, when the first oil crisis hit. It takes about 52 percent less energy to produce the same amount of GDP than it took in 1973. And we can do even better. In a 2012 study, ACEEE ranked the world’s 12 major economies (including Brazil, China and Germany) based on how energy efficient they were. The United States came in ninth. Speakers will discuss some of the innovative solutions businesses have developed to cut their energy usage, and to design highly energy efficient products and services for our buildings and industrial sectors. They will also consider what policymakers can do to further promote energy efficiency gains. They include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Paul Hamilton of Schneider Electric and Southern Energy Management Company Co-founder and CEO Maria Kingery.
Portman, Shaheen to Headline 2013 Energy Efficiency Day – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold its annual Great Energy Efficiency Day on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the House Cannon Caucus Room to discuss doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030 through efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. Speakers will include Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Michael Burgess, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan, and many others.
DOE to Host Webinar on Offshore Wind Jobs – The Energy Department’s EERE Wind and Water Power Technologies Office will present a live webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at the job and economic development impacts of offshore wind. More than a year ago, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated work to expand the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to include fixed-bottom offshore wind technology. Following the model’s completion (and in partnership with the Energy Department’s Wind Program, Illinois State University, and James Madison University), NREL supported the analysis of the regional jobs and economic impacts of offshore wind for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. This webinar will provide an overview of the new offshore wind JEDI model and review the four completed assessments.
Senate Enviro Committee to Look at NRC Nuclear Recommendations – The full Senate Environment Committee and its panel on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a joint oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to examine the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Implementation of the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendations and other Actions to Enhance and Maintain Nuclear Safety.
Discussion to Cover Renewables – ACORE’s International Programs, the Global America Business Institute (GABI), and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) will hold a roundtable discussion on Thursday at Noon looking at the role of renewable energy within a diverse energy portfolio around the globe. The discussion will be led by Todd Foley, ACORE’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, and by Mari Angeles Major-Sosias, Fuel Market & Uranium Resource Analyst, Energy and Minerals Consulting.
Webinar Focused on Solar Contracts – The Solar Energy Industries Assn (SEIA) will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. that will focus on renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Currently, 29 states plus D.C. have RPS policies and 17 states plus D.C. have solar and distributed generation provisions. Because RPS policies are key to driving solar development, SEIA is focused on defending and expanding RPS policies around the country. Join Galen Barbose, Principle Scientific Engineering Associate of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Rick Umoff, Counsel and Regulatory Affairs Manager of SEIA’s State Affairs team, for an in-depth look at the current status of RPS policies. Galen Barbose will lead a data-driven discussion focused on RPS compliance levels, the impact on solar and distributed generation, and lessons learned from RPS policies thus far. Rick Umoff will identify opportunities and threats related to RPS policies, updating members on SEIA’s approach and discussing how members can make an impact.
Forum to Look at Renewables Intermittency, PTC – The Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a Chatham House-rules workshop on December 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Microsoft DC offices exploring key issues surrounding integration and balancing of intermittent renewables. The forum will discuss the European and American experiences, and consider recommendations for how we can better account for cost and reliability issues in electricity policies and debates. Speakers will include NARUC President Phil Jones, Exelon’s Dave Brown, Montana PSC Commissioner Travis Kavulla and NREL’s Bran Hannegan, among several others. As intermittent renewables become larger players in the electric system, they raise new issues that were often unanticipated when today’s policies were first formulated. Policymakers and the public need to better understand the cost, reliability, and infrastructure implications of these policies, as well as potential opportunities to address these emerging concerns through policy reforms.
RFF Seminar to Look at ESA, Species Conservation – On Thursday December 4th at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar looking at the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) and species conservation. ESA has provided a critical safety net for conserving the nation’s species in the 40 years since it was passed. However, effective implementation of the ESA remains a challenge in light of increasing threats to species; uncertainties about the pace, scope, and extent of environmental changes and their impacts on species; and limited resources for implementing species protection. Furthermore, the ESA traditionally has taken a species-by-species approach that constrains the ability to focus on the health of ecosystems and address complex threats that often unfold at the landscape scale. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar brings together diverse panelists to discuss strategies and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. Panelists will draw on examples of success and new strategies to suggest paths for increasing the effectiveness of ESA implementation going forward. Panelists will include US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Brad Gruver of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, EDF’s David Festa and Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. National Wildlife Federation VP John Kostyack and former Interior official Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy will also provide comments.
LaFleur Headlines WCEE Breakfast – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment on Wednesday December 4th at 8:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club for a Women in Leadership Holiday breakfast featuring FERC Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur. LaFleur has an impressive resume and may be the next FERC Chair. She will speak on a number of important energy issues over which FERC has authority as well as her career and offer insight on how she came to the important role she now plays.
Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th
BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation. Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on the BPC/NARUC websites.
CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda. Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.
Court to Hear Mercury Cases in December – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has scheduled oral arguments on December 10th on two consolidated cases concerning EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants. Both rules were finalized in 2012. The Oral arguments for both White Stallion Energy Center LLC v. EPA and Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA will be held at 9:30 a.m. in DC before Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Circuit Judges Judith Rogers and Brett Kavanaugh.
Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases. EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.