Energy Update Week of November 25

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Thanksgiving/First Night Of Hanukkah – November 28th

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

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

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

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

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

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

CHP Conference Set – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold its annual conference in Washington DC on December 10th and 11th. This year’s theme is “Making the Business Case for Combined Heat & Power”. The conference will bring together different leaders within the CHP industry to discuss access to financing, a major barrier to CHP deployment. The conference will also focus on demonstrating the business benefits of CHP for different sectors. Representatives from Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble, Schneider Electric, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Veolia Energy, General Electric, Caterpillar, Cargill, and many others working on the issue of combined heat and power will be on the agenda.  Topics will include financing, electric utilities finding value in CHP, environmental issues, debt financing for small to medium projects and natural gas among many other items.

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

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

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Forum to Look at Energy InfrastructureThe Atlantic will hold an Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit on the morning of Thursday, December 12th in Washington, D.C.  The event will include a select group of senior leaders from a diversity of sectors, this year’s summit will cover topics including innovative water conservation efforts, evolving green building standards, and the future of energy policy and infrastructure investment. We will feature one-on-one interviews and panel discussions exploring these topics from all angles and make time for audience engagement through Q&A.  Speakers will include Brendan FitzSimons of EDF, AT&T’s John Schultz and Lee McIntire of CH2M HILL.

 

Energy Update Week of November 18

Friends,

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.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
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 jon@cred.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.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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.

Energy Update Week of November 11

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annual SoCo Washington DC Holiday Event – December 4th

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

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

Experts to Discuss Court Cases – Following the court arguments, the DC Bar’s Air and Water Quality Committee of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion with the litigants of the major issues and possible outcomes in these seminal cases.  EPA’s attempts to regulate pollutants that cross state lines have been struck down twice by the D.C. Circuit. Now the Supreme Court will have its chance to opine on EPA’s authority under the “good neighbor” provisions of the Clean Air Act. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit will test the MATS rule, which EPA says is necessary to protect public health but which industry casts as burdensome and ineffective.

Energy Update Week of November 4

Friends,

Congrats to the Red Sox for the huge World Series victory last week and fun parade on Saturday.  And also a shout out to the 48,000 runners in yesterday’s ING NYC marathon, which was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Sandy.  Now that the fall sports season (field hockey, soccer and most football, outside playoffs) is now over, this week we launch in the Fall lacrosse season here which will keep us hopping… Each of my kids has two lax tournaments this weekend.  Still wondering how I’m going to get to all those places.

And the same goes for EPA, who has an action-packed week this week with public listening meetings to solicit ideas and input about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  EPA has a full week starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston.  Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday at EPA HQ in DC, as well as Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday.  Of course, Boston and Philly were added to this week after their original dates were delayed by the government shutdown.   We have resources that can (and will) be commenting at many of these sites.  Headlining will be my colleague Scott Segal, who takes his 3 minutes at the DC session.

Second major agenda item this week is the energy ministerial meeting in Washington on Carbon Capture and Storage technologies hosted by Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.  See more specifics below, but expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project in Mississippi and I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow ended up down there.  For background on Kemper, look here.

In Congress, the House is out until after Veteran’s Day next week, while the Senate is in session and has a hearing tomorrow on methane emissions in Senate Environment featuring EPA and industry experts.

Also tomorrow, voters hit the polls in New Jersey, NYC and Virginia.  Gov. Christie seems to be headed to a solid victory, while the Virginia Governor’s race…  well after being flooded with ads in the DC TV markets for months, let’s just say I can’t wait for tomorrow.  But my enviro friends are excited because former UVa climate scientist Michael Mann is a mainstay of McAuliffe ads.

For you C-SPAN junkies, keep your eyes peeled on Thursday morning at 9:30 when Joe Desmond of BrightSource will be on Washington Journal to discuss solar energy policies as well as some of the exciting projects reaching the finish line, including BSE’s Ivanpah project.

Finally, keep on the lookout for decisions on Keystone and the RFS, both of which should see action before the end of the year and as soon as next week.  As well, in advance of upcoming UN Climate meetings which start next week in Poland, continue to look for the type of news/advocacy banter on climate issues like yesterday’s IPCC “leak”, which seems to seems to show “widespread and consequential” impacts.  Of course there is much more to the story that often gets left in the footnotes according to my friend and respected science writer Andy Revkin.  Moral of Story:  Just don’t believe most of the stuff you hear about climate change as we get close to a UN meeting.  BTW, Poland gets 88% of Its electricity from coal, nearly 2/3 of it from Russia.  Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Coal Ash Decision Tells EPA to Set Date for Decision – A Federal district court ruled late last week that EPA has 60 days to propose a deadline for finishing its long-suffering coal ash rules.  EPA has to submit a proposed schedule to review and revise Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle D regulations on coal ash, along with a legal justification.  Environmentalists and public health groups that sued the agency over its delay in finishing a rule proposed in 2010.  The rule has been stuck in limbo because of the sticky wicket that regulating coal ash would cause among the many consumer and industrial re-uses and the legal morass that changing its status could cause.  My colleague Lisa Jaeger, a former EPA GC, says this is a split decision though and that it will be likely be a focus of attention in the future

GSA Offers Path for SFI-Certified Wood in Federal Construction – Late last week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a recommendation to the U.S. Department of Energy that federal agencies have the option to use either the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating tools or Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes when choosing a third-party green building certification system.  The recommendation is a very positive outcome, putting Green Globes on par with LEED in federal use of green building rating systems. GSA policy for many years had been to use only LEED, which awards its certified wood credit only for products certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Green Globes, on the other hand, recognizes Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Canadian Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and FSC standards in awarding points for certified wood. This opens the door to greater use of SFI-certified wood in federal building construction and renovation.  SFI supports policies that expand adoption of green building and consider use of other globally accepted, credible certification standards like SFI. This GSA announcement was triggered by a requirement in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that GSA issue a recommendation to DOE every five years on how the federal government can best use certification systems to measure the design and performance of the federal government’s construction and major renovation projects.

EIA: Drilling Efficiency Key Driver of Oil, NatGas – I have seen this chart before, but EIA just released a new one that I thought would be valuable.  The Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) analyzes drilling efficiency using the average number of wells a rig can drill over a period of time as well as a measure of how productive each new well is expected to be. (See Charts)  Increases in drilling efficiency have contributed to the breakdown of traditional methods that seek to estimate oil and natural gas production based principally on rig counts.   The DPR focuses on the expected values for all rigs and wells in a play allows for a useful and relevant analysis of how the rig count seen today contributes to the overall change in oil and natural gas production.  EIA estimates drilling efficiency (the number of wells drilled per rig each month) by tracking the number of rigs in a play as well as the number of new wells started each month. Using an appropriate lag for each region based on changes in the rig count relative to changes in new-well counts, this measure of drilling efficiency can be used to estimate how many new wells were started and should start producing in the coming months.

Deepwater Focuses on Completing RI Project – In what will likely be the first offshore wind project to complete construction, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski says the offshore wind developer has moved well beyond the early stages of development and is now squarely focusing on completing the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I.  He says construction activities will begin in late 2014, beginning with the “transmission piece of the project,” which includes a 21-mile, medium-voltage submarine cable connecting the offshore wind farm to the mainland. Although details have yet to be finalized, Deepwater says the subcable will make landfall in Narragansett, R.I.  The jacket foundations will begin arriving in spring 2015, with Siemens delivering five 6 MW direct-drive turbines that summer, with grid completion expected in the fall. That time frame would make Deepwater’s Block Island Wind Farm among the first, if not the first, offshore wind farm in the U.S.   National Grid has agreed to buy the project’s output, making Deepwater one of two U.S. offshore wind developers to secure a power purchase agreement.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EPA GHG Listening Sessions– EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country this week with meetings everyday, starting today in in Lexana, KS and Boston.  Tomorrow, EPA will be in San Francisco, Thursday in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., today through Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel.  This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF,  will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS.  The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology.  The Ministerial meeting on Thursday will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute.  The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.

Panel to Discussion Geoengineering – From 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, the Civil Society Meeting on Geoengineering will convene a half-day of moderated discussion on the fast evolving topic of geoengineering. This invite-only meeting will be open to a range of civil society actors in Washington, DC. The goal is to prompt an open conversation that fosters a broad and ongoing dialogue about this important emerging issue. AU and JHU are sponsors and will host at JHU’s SAIS Nitze building.  Joe Romm and our friend Kate Sheppard will sit on a panel with Wil Burns of JHU and Simon Nicholson Of AU.

Eni CEO to Address Impacts of Energy Revolution – Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum today at 5:30 p.m. featuring Paolo Scaroni, CEO of the Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni.  Scaroni will focus on geopolitical impacts of the new energy issues in countries around the world.

Senate Energy Panel to Look at Methane for Oil, Gas Operations – The Senate Environment Committee panel on Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  Witnesses will include EPA’s Sarah Durham, UT-Austin’s David Allen, Texas A&M’s Daniel Hill, Southwestern Energy‘s Mark Boling, Devon’s Darren Smith and NRDC’s  Vignesh Gowrishankar.

JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro group’s focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics.  Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.

WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum tomorrow at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination.   Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.

AU Forum to Look at Energy, Enviro Health – The American University Washington College of Law will hold a symposium on Wednesday that will explore the balance between effectively meeting the demands of a growing population and the importance of promoting sustainable and environmentally compatible measures to protect the health of future generations.  The first panel (9:30 – 10:30 am) is entitled “Big Energy: Costs and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracking.” It will be moderated by our friend Amanda Leiter.

Groups to Open E85 Flex Fuel Station – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, Maryland Clean Cities Coalition, and Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties, LLC will hold the Grand Opening of W Express’s Potomac Sunoco’s 11th Flex Fuel (E85) Station Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  Festivities will begin with a press event, speakers, and ribbon-cutting, followed by a retailer educational question and answer session. This exciting and well-publicized event will feature E85 fuel-fuel sold to drivers of FlexFuel vehicles at a reduced price on November 6. Invited speakers include several senior level Federal and State officials. Moderated by the Maryland Energy Administration’s Abby Hopper, invited speakers include representatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the state Assembly, the Montgomery County Council, and other Government and Industry Officials.  MAPP, as the distributor of E85, has partnered with the Maryland Clean Cities Program; GWRCCC; Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board; FlexFuel Awareness Campaign; Growth Energy; Sustainable Energy Strategies, Inc.; the Clean Fuels Development Coalition; Protec Fuels; and local auto dealers to celebrate the opening of this station.

RESCHEDULED: Senate Energy to Look Columbia River Treaty – On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on recommendations for the Columbia River Treaty.  The hearing, originally rescheduled because of the government shutdown, will be held at 9:30 a.m. and webcast live on the committee’s website.

CSIS to Host IEA Energy Efficiency Expert – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday featuring Phillipe Benoit, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the IEA.  Benoit will discuss the IEA’s recently released inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report 2013. The report provides a practical basis for understanding energy efficiency market activities, a review of the methodological and practical challenges associated with measuring the market and its components, and statistical analysis of energy efficiency and its impact on energy demand. It also highlights a specific technology sector in which there is significant energy efficiency market activity, in this instance appliances and ICT.  The energy efficiency market is diffuse, varied and involves all energy-consuming sectors of the economy. A comprehensive overview of market activity is complicated by the challenges associated with quantifying the components of the market and the paucity of comparable reported data. This report underscores how vital high-quality and timely energy efficiency data is to understanding this market. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

GU Forum to Look at Hydropower Impacts – Georgetown University will host a seminar on Thursday on campus in the Reiss Science Building, Room 112, looking at fish, hydropower, the Columbia, and The Mekong’ with guest speaker Mark Giordano, PhD from STIA, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.   GU Professor Anne Rosenwald hosts the event.

Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power.  Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market.  The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like.  SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.

Forum to Discuss Russia, NatGas – On Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University’s Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative will host Rawi Abdelal, the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School.  Abdelal will discuss Russia, Europe and the gas revolution, looking at firms and geopolitics in the age of shale.

FUTURE EVENTS 

UN Climate Meetings Set for Next Week – The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Climate negotiations will be held from November 11 – 22 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

Local Solar Conference Set – MDV-SEIA will hold its 7th annual Solar Focus Conference on Monday-Tuesday, November 11-12th at the Marriott at Metro Center.  To mark the milestone, they will have an exciting lineup of speakers and panels.  This year’s theme is “The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar.” It will highlight the unprecedented, exponential growth of distributed solar in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The event begins with a Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, and Keynote Address and then leads into a full day of educational panels on the 12th.  Panels will cover the federal policy outlook and federal opportunities, state by state market opportunities, solutions for managing SREC volatility, energy storage & its potential to transform the solar sector, tax equity, overcoming development barriers in Maryland and D.C., and many others.

USEA to Host Afghan Power Execs – On Tuesday, November 12th at 2:00 p.m., the United States Energy Association will host representatives from Afghanistan’s national power utility and respective government ministries to present on the status of the Afghanistan power sector. The delegation includes senior executives from  Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and the Ministries of Economy, Finance, Energy and Water, and Mines and Petroleum.

Manchin to Headline NJ Innovation ForumNational Journal LIVE will host a forum on innovation, technology and our energy future on Wednesday, November 13th at 8:00 a.m.  in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Pavilion Room.  Recent energy debates in Washington have focused mostly on government policies, including climate and clean energy standards, that could help increase the use of American resources, shift to cleaner sources of energy and help reduce air emissions.  Buried in these debates is the importance of research and development of new energy technologies for both fossil fuels and renewables.  National Journal will explore the importance of R&D in America’s new energy landscape and what the right role for the federal government will be to trigger new energy technologies.  Our friend Amy Harder moderates a panel featuring Sen. Joe Manchin, BPC expert Margot Anderson and Janet Peace of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Cadillac, WAPA to Hold Ride/Drive – The Washington Auto  Press Assn (WAPA) will hold the November luncheon for a luncheon Cadillac and its luxury brand’s sedans at the  Mandarin Oriental in Washington D.C. Wednesday, November 13th at 11:00 a.m.  Drives available starting at 11:00am, followed by lunch at 12:00pm and more driving.  Vurpillat, Cadillac’s Global Director of Marketing will discuss the CTS (including Vsport), XTS (including Vsport) and the award-winning ATS.   Under Vurpillat, Cadillac has successfully launched a number of new vehicles in the past eight years starting with the CTS and SRX, and now the new XTS luxury sedan and ATS luxury sports sedan. In addition to his work in the U.S., Jim is focused on Cadillac’s growth emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East. Prior to his current role, Jim held a number of positions at General Motors ranging from managing major brand partnerships and sponsorships; to advertising campaigns; to market research.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

Lindzen to Discuss Science at Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on science progress on Wednesday November 13 at 4:00 p.m. featuring Richard S. Lindzen, Emeritus Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.  For many fields of science, there is little doubt that the period 1830-1965 was a golden age. There is also little doubt that changes in the support structure for science since the late 60’s have powerful elements that serve to inhibit major developments. Dr. Lindzen will discuss these changes from the personal perspective of a climate scientist, and place them in the historical perspective of other areas of study.

Forum to Look at Shale, Asia – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday November 13th to look at growing abundance of domestic shale gas and Its impacts on Asia. This opportunity presents new questions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens such as the cost and business factors that make U.S. LNG competitive in global markets and the potential geostrategic consequences of this resource for the economies and countries across Asia.  Bill Loveless, Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy at Platts and host of Platts Energy Week TV will moderate the panel including Dominion’s Bill Allen, Jane Nakano of CSIS, API’s Robin Rorick and Kate Williams of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office.

CSIS to Look at Energy Picture – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday, November 14th at 1:30 p.m. looking at the changing North American energy markets and implications for policies and regulations. North American oil and gas production is growing at rates unforeseen a decade ago. With this new production comes the realization the traditional framework of energy scarcity no longer applies. Are the current policies flexible enough to manage these new energy dynamics? How do policymakers, regulators, and industry manage the new circumstances to safely and prudently allow for the continued development of these resources? Frank Verrastro and David Manning of the Government of Alberta will present.

NRC to Take Comment on Waste – On Thursday, November 14th at 2:00 p.m., NRC will provide an opportunity for interested parties to provide comments on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule.

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

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

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

 

Energy Update Week of October 28

Friends,

Just a short note today as I am still tired from last night’s trek to the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore to catch the Pearl Jam show.  That was on top of close to 500 miles of driving, hauling kids around to the first of several fall lax tournaments and college recruit play days.

The show was terrific and included many of the classics (Corduroy, Daughter, Better Man, Elderly Woman…), a number of the new songs off Lightning Bolt and a few covers including The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, Neil Young’s Rocking in the Free World and a few lines of English Beat’s Save it for Later during Better Man.   I always liked Pearl Jam but was more of a Soundgarden/Alice in Chains guy when listening to the Seattle sound.  But last night, I really respected Pearl Jam for their honoring of Lou Reed, who passed away yesterday.  Not only did they do a cover of the Velvet Underground classic I’m Waiting for the Man, they also sprinkled a “Walk on the Side” tag during Daughter.   Obviously a big influence on them and really classy…

On the Hill this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will really turn to health care and the President’s struggle over ACA implementation when Kathleen Sibelius visits for what will be somewhat uncomfortable testimony.  Before that though, the focus on coal returns when the Committee’s Energy panel holds a hearing tomorrow on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants.  Also on this theme tomorrow, the House Science Committee looks at the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Expect a significant discussion of the Kemper project.  For background on Kemper, look here.  Both hearings coincide with coal rallies in Washington aimed at highlighting the potential harm to coal country, as well as an expected ministerial meeting on CCS technologies next week.  Finally tomorrow, also in House Energy, the Committee returns to bipartisan legislation aimed at speeding reviews for pipeline and transmission infrastructure.

Today, the National Academy of Sciences released a report today saying the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement program to identify best practices for offshore drilling needs to tap a wide variety of experts and have sustained funding in order to be effective.  As we work on these issues, we have resources, including Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition expert Jim Noe.  I also have a recent letter from the 6 trade associations that represent oil and gas producers who conduct essentially all of the OCS oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico that has thoughts on similar topics.  Can forward if you want to see.

Finally, congrats to our friend Andrew Light, a great climate/foreign affairs expert at CAP, who is heading over to help the climate negotiation team headed by Todd Stern at the State Department.  I don’t know, Warsaw in late November/December sounds a little chilly… (h/t POLITCOPro).

Spooks and Ghouls roll on Thursday.  We’re looking to set a volume and time record this year for our 500 home neighborhood (Halloween is an opportunity for a cardio workout in our house).   Next week I’ll give you my annual Pumpkin Seed flavor update.  I am busy digging in, flavoring and Cooking all this week.  (For those of you that don’t know, each Halloween, my kids and I dig through about 20 pumpkins and I make different flavored seeds.  It is almost as rich a tradition in my office as the update itself). Call with questions.

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Report Says Funding, Industry Expertise Needed for New Offshore Institute – A new report from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council says BSEE will need to draw on expertise outside the government to help it improve efforts to identify and develop the “best available and safest technologies” for offshore oil and gas production.  The agency’s plans for forming an independent institute to enhance safe and responsible offshore operations across the oil and gas industry could be a “suitable vehicle” for evaluating and developing new technologies to meet the mandate, the report says, but the institute’s scope should be significantly expanded.  The report says  BSEE should enlist a multidisciplinary group of individuals with the necessary skills to perform critical technical assessments, economic analysis, and independent reviews when needed, the report says. The planned institute would greatly aid in tapping the additional talent BSEE needs, as long as OESI is properly organized, staffed, and supported.  However, the proposed funding level of up to $5 million over five years to launch OESI is likely to be insufficient for purposes other than planning and could limit BSEE’s ability to attract and retain key personnel. To strengthen in-house talent, BSEE should consider hiring a reputable chief engineer or chief scientist with expertise in offshore drilling and production activities to work within the bureau and serve as an interface with OESI.  The report also says BSEE could recruit industry retirees and develop a “cross-posting” system with technical staff rotating between government and industry, similar to the one used by the FAA.

EIA, EPA Data Show Drop in Carbon Emissions – EPA and EIA both reported last week that carbon emissions have dropped last year. Carbon emissions from energy use fell in 2012 to, EIA released its annual report saying emissions were down 3.8% from the previous year, to 5,290 million metric tons. It was the second consecutive year energy emissions declined and the lowest since 1994.  EIA said the decline to a 2.4% reduction in energy consumption, despite gross domestic product growth of about 2.8%.   The following day, EPA said domestic GHGs from the power sector fell for the second year in a row because of greater reliance on natural gas over coal.  The data was gathered through information submitted by 1,611 plants in the GHG Reporting Program, showing emissions declined 5.9% over the previous year.

Rural Utilities to Get Loan Guarantees – At the NRECA meeting in San Antonio, the USDA Rural Utilities Service says it will provide funding for rural electric utility system improvements that will benefit residential and business customers in 23 states. The projects include more than $14.3 million to implement smart grid technology and nearly $11 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.   The $960 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will help build 3,587 miles of line, benefit approximately 17,000 rural residential and business customers, and make other system improvements. Including today’s announcement, the Obama Administration has invested $152 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.  View the list of recipients. USDA funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

MSC Announces New Chief – After a two-month search process, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) said David Spigelmyer will serve as its president.  Spigelmyer, with a 30-year career in the energy industry, takes the position today.  Spigelmyer served as Vice President of Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s Appalachia division, where he was responsible for government relations, regulatory policy, stakeholder engagement and communications efforts. Prior to Chesapeake, he served in similar roles at EQT Corporation and Dominion Resources and held other energy industry-related positions in New York State as well as in Washington, DC. A Clearfield County native, Mr. Spigelmyer is a Penn State University graduate and an active outdoorsman.  Spigelmyer said safe shale development has been one of the most transformative turning points in PA’s history. “Led by Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry and a robust and diverse membership of the MSC, we can and will have energy security, job growth, and environmental protection – without a false choice among any of the three.”

EIA Rolls out New Gas Shale Data – EIA began publication of a new monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) to provide region-specific insights into rig efficiency, new well productivity, decline rates at previously existing wells, and overall production trends. The DPR information, which initially will cover six regions, will also inform EIA’s own short-term production outlook. In 2011-12, these six regions accounted for 90% of domestic oil production growth and virtually all domestic natural gas production growth.  The DPR synthesizes several different types of information to shed light on the current rate of growth or decline in production based on indicators including the active rig count, drilling efficiency and the productivity of new wells, and production and depletion trends for previously producing wells. The DPR metrics are intended to be more informative than traditional indicators such as simple counts of oil-directed and gas-directed drilling rigs in use.   Future TIE articles will discuss the individual metrics included in the DPR and explain their relationship to traditional measures. Additional articles will periodically report on significant changes in DPR data and estimates as warranted.

Racing Legend/Philanthropist Hendrick to Be Honor at DC Auto Show in 2014 – Philanthropist, creator of an automotive empire and the most successful NASCAR owner of the modern era, Rick Hendrick has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at The Washington Auto Show early next year.  Hendrick is the founder and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s second-largest privately held automotive dealership group and the sixth-largest automotive dealership group overall and Hendrick Motorsports, winners of 13 NASCAR owner’s championships and more than 200 victories in the elite Sprint cup Series.  Hendrick Automotive Group operates 87 dealerships representing 28 nameplates, 121 franchises and 24 collision centers and three accessories distributor installers in 13 states. The company employs more than 9,000 people. Hendrick Motorsports currently fields four teams that are in embroiled in NASCAR’s playoffs, The Chase for the Sprint Cup, with drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.  Hendrick also established the Hendrick Marrow Program in 1997 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Even though he did not need a marrow transplant himself, he wanted to help other patients waiting to find a marrow match and a second chance at life.  The Hendrick Marrow Program works with Be The Match Foundation to support the work of the National Marrow Donor Program®. Specifically it raises money to add more potential marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, increasing the chances that more patients can find their match. It also helps patients with uninsured transplant costs, which are often a barrier to treatment.  Since inception, the Hendrick Marrow Program has raised more than $12 million, added more than 100,000 marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry, and eased the financial burden of over 8,000 patients with grants from the Hendrick Family Fund for Patient Assistance.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next today at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum today in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit today through Wednesday at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas today through Wednesday at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

House Energy to Discuss Coal Issues, Pipelines – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Energy will hold  two hearing tomorrow.  In the morning at 10:00 a.m., they will take up bipartisan legislation to expedite federal reviews of border-crossing pipelines and electric transmission lines.  Witnesses include FERC’s Jeff Wright, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner David Mears, Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute, Canadian Electricity Association President Jim Burpee, Plains All American Pipeline exec John Kyles for AOPL, former EIA official Mary Hutzler and Blackcreek Environmental regulatory expert Paul Blackburn.  In the afternoon, the panel will focus on EPA rules affecting the coal industry, particularly a proposal to regulate GHGs for new power plants. Witnesses include Bell County KY Judge Executive Albey Brock, Raymond Ventrone of Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh, Roger Horton of Citizens for Coal, Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO John Pippy, former Delta County, CO commissioner Olen Lund and Braddock, PA Mayor John Fetterman.

House Science to Tackle CCS, GHG Tech Issues –  Also tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., two subpanels of the House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow focused on the technological feasibility of EPA’s proposal and one planned for upcoming proposals for existing units.  Obviously, expect a significant discussion of Mississippi Power’s Kemper project.  Witnesses include Rice University’s Charles McConnell, National Research Center for Coal and Energy Director Richard Bajura of West Virginia University, Kurt Waltzer of the Clean Air Task Force and former EPA General Counsel Roger Martella.   On Wednesday, the Committee’s panel on Energy will convene a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on funding basic energy research.  Witnesses will include DOE Deputy Director for Science Programs Pat Dehmer, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon and Dr. John Hemminger, Chairman of the DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee.

House Resources to Look at Hydro, Storage – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on increasing water and hydropower supplies and the : the need for new or expanded multi-purpose surface storage facilities.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum tomorrow at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

Chamber to Look at Trade Supply Chain – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is proud to host the Chief Executive Officer of Brambles, Tom Gorman, as a part of the CEO Leadership Series. At the luncheon event, Mr. Gorman will speak to the importance of global supply chains and trade facilitation and the critical link to the competitiveness of business.  He will also cover the opportunities Brambles sees with the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to producing a robust global economy.

JHU to Host Keystone Debate – Johns Hopkins University will host a debate in its Kenney Auditorium of its Nitze Building tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  Charles Doran, director of the SAIS Canadian Studies Program, will take the pro side, Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, will take the con side, and Debbie Bleviss, acting director of the SAIS Energy, Resources and Environment Program, will moderate.

MD LCV to Host Annual Dinner – Tomorrow night at the US Navy Stadium, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters holds its annual Kabler Dinner, starting at 6:00 p.m.  This year, the group honors Dru Schmidt Perkins, Del. Maggie McIntosh and Gov. O’Malley.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – EPA continues its 11 public listening sessions across the country in Denver Wednesday to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Other meetings include, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS and Boston, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago and Philadelphia on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Forum to Look at Cross Border Energy Issues – The University of Colorado Law School’s Silicon Flatirons Center will hold a forum Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on trends, challenges, and opportunities in North America cross-border energy transactions.  The conference will explore key aspects of the growing business of cross-border energy transactions across North America and the prospects for continued integration of North American energy markets.  Academics, industry leaders, and practicing attorneys will come together to discuss the current state of energy transactions and share their thoughts on the future during a time of dramatic changes in the global energy industry. Panelists and speakers will address the recent growth in unconventional oil and gas development and its implications for cross-border transactions, changing regulatory contexts for cross-border energy investments and project development, and the policy and regulatory changes necessary to spur additional integration of North American energy markets.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on Friday at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

Atomic Energy Chief To Speak at Wilson Forum – On Friday at Noon, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano speaks at the Wilson Center about the essential role of the IAEA in promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy worldwide, helping to promote nuclear safety and monitoring national nuclear programs. It is expected that the discussion will also touch on safeguard activities of the Agency, including developments with regard to Iran.  In addition to Amano, speakers include former Rep. Jane Harman and former Correspondent in Vienna for Agence France-Presse News Agency Michael Adler.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

World Energy Ministers to Meet on Carbon Capture, Storage – Energy ministers from 22 nations and the European Commission are expected to attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s (CSLF) Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C., November 4-7th.  This 5th Ministerial Conference, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the CSLF,  will reaffirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critically important low-carbon technology with application beyond coal power generation, and will call upon CSLF Ministers to support more coordinated near-term global actions to further develop and deploy CCS.  The Ministerial Meeting provides an opportunity for decision-makers from industry and governments to discuss the key challenges facing CCS and to agree on a strategy and action plan for closer collaboration on the commercialization of CCS technology.  The Ministerial meeting on November 7 will include keynote addresses from the International Energy Agency on future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the state of the CCS industry by the Global CCS Institute.  The highlight will be a CEO roundtable, where industrial participants in major CCS projects around the world will discuss their experiences. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will attend and be conferring with energy ministers from the other CSLF member countries.

JHU to host NRDC Expert on Social Cost of Carbon Change – JHU will also host NRDC’s Laurie Johnson for a forum next Tuesday at Noon looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

CSIS to Hold Global Security Forum – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a Global Security Forum 2013 on Tuesday, November 5th at 1:15 p.m. looking at energy and geopolitics.  Speakers will Include Ivan Sandrea of Ernst and Young London, ARC Financial Corp Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director Peter Tertzakian and J. Robinson West of IHS-Energy Insight.

WCEE to Host Canadian Minister – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will continue it Brown-Bag Luncheon Series will a forum on Tuesday, Nov 5th at Noon featuring Sheila Riordan, Minister Political from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Ms. Riordan will provide an overview of Canada’s current energy agenda and also discuss opportunities and challenges for US-Canada energy coordination.   Prior to her assignment at the Canadian Embassy, she served as Director General of Canada’s Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau and was also Canada’s Senior Arctic Official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has also held positions with Canada’s Departments of Finance, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  The event will be at Exelon at 101 Constitution Ave.

Webinar to Look at Solar Integration – DOE will host a Webinar on Thursday, November 7th at 1:00 p.m. on a new initiative on grid integration for solar power.  Grid integration is fast becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for the continued development of the U.S. solar market.  The industry, including SEIA, has been active in overcoming barriers to grid integration for years, but the issues are becoming increasingly complex as additional capacity is added to the grid at the utility scale, wholesale distributed generation, rooftop, commercial, and utility scales. This webinar will focus on the policy and technical issues that present both challenges and opportunities for solar as it plays an increasingly important role for utilities and distributed solar users alike. Kevin Lynn, who heads the new crosscutting DOE energy systems integration effort of the U.S. Department of Energy to identify and address these issues, how the government plans to work with industry and the public on resolving them, and what the path forward looks like.  SEIA’s Tom Kimbis also participates as well.

RFF Paper to Discuss Shale Revolution –Resources for The Future (RFF) will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on November 13th at 3:45 p.m. to discuss shale gas.  The Shale revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas–based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol. In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Arthur Fraas, Winston Harrington, and Richard Morgenstern examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas–based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.  At the event, the research team shares key findings, including how using these fuels could yield fuel cost savings relative to conventional gasoline—along with gains to national security and, possibly, some environmental benefits. Panelists will also comment on the costs and benefits of these fuels, as well as regulatory and political challenges to their broader adoption.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

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 our the BPC/NARUC websites.

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

Energy Update Week of October 21

Friends,

 

Now that the government shutdown has been resolved (at least until after Christmas), we can return our focus to the business at hand: the new health care law, climate change and most importantly, the World Series.   The Red Sox and Cardinals clash starting Wednesday at Fenway Park in Boston after timely hitting launched them past the solid starting pitching of the Detroit Tigers.  The Cardinals return to the World Series for the 4th time in 10 years after dispatching the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS.  Should be a very good series.

In case you missed it, on the policy issues there are lot of good items shaking out.  While we don’t pay that much attention to the health care law, we do follow the climate issue pretty closely last time I checked.  And last week, the Supreme Court granted a petition to hear an important case regarding the use of Clean Air Act permitting authority to advance the EPA’s carbon agenda during the court’s 2013-2014 term.

My colleague Scott Segal said by granting cert, “the Court indicates that there is real substance behind the notion that EPA may have stretched its legal authority to the breaking point in order to address carbon issues beyond what was intended under the Clean Air Act.  Given that significant and well-crafted legal challenges are doubtless on the way for the power plant rules, the EPA would be well advised to take the opportunity to develop regulations that stick to the clear intent of the Act rather than pushing the envelope in favor of a political carbon agenda.”   You can always Call Scott (202-828-5845) or Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) for more background and quotes.

This week is slow in Washington on Capitol Hill as the government starts to ramp back up, but there are a few good events around town, including the ELI annual dinner and forum tomorrow.  Our friend and former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith discusses her and Austin A-S colleague Asher Price’s book, The Great Texas Windrush on Wednesday at the New America Foundation.  Also Wednesday, Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC with our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy among the speakers.  Finally, Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes.

On the Out-of-town scoreboard, this is AWEA’s Offshore Wind Week in Providence, Rhode Island with social events getting rolling tonight, and tomorrow/Wednesday featuring a number of great policy, technology and industry issue panels.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is slated to speak, following in the Ken Salazar tradition. News-wise, the Atlantic Wind Connection said today it is unveiling a new contracting portal for its New Jersey Energy Link project, the multi-year offshore transmission backbone, to help local contracting and service businesses to connect with one of New Jersey’s most exciting opportunities for new jobs.  (see below)

And with the government back on, EPA reloads its 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants with Wednesday forums in New York and Atlanta.  Last week, it cancelled its two sessions in Boston and Philadelphia, which have been rescheduled for November 4th and November 8th respectively.

Finally, the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013 will host nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, the annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

New “The Fray” Video Features Ivanpah Images – As many of you know, we  were potentially going to Host a Newsmaker with the band, The Fray, today to discuss their new record and their interest in renewable energy.  But schedules got the better of us for the short time line.  In fact, I think the Today Show (slated for Wednesday) probably won out over a nerdy, wonkish energy policy discussion at the National Press Club.  But they will be back and with a little more time, the event will be scheduled for a future date.   BTW, their show Saturday at the Smith Center was very good.  Here’s a link to their new single video “Love Don’t Die”, which was released today and has some cool images of Ivanpah.

NJ Energy Link Contractor Portal Open for Biz – A new contracting portal for the New Jersey Energy Link will help local contracting and service businesses to connect to opportunities for new jobs.  The New Jersey Energy Link is a state-of-the-art electric transmission system buried underground and under the seabed connecting southern and northern New Jersey to fix long-standing problems that are causing higher cost electricity.  Building this storm-hardened facility will require all facets of engineering and construction disciplines.   The process of building the submarine and underground cable system and related electric substations is expected to employ approximately 1,100 New Jersey workers for three to four years, plus a permanent operations and maintenance staff of about 75 workers.  Because it runs at sea through New Jersey’s wind energy area, the New Jersey Energy Link also can be used to efficiently connect and deliver power from future offshore wind farms.   The New Jersey Energy Link could become the foundation for many thousands of future jobs in a new New Jersey offshore wind industry.  According to a study by IHS Global Insight, a large, multi-year build out of offshore wind farms could create between 10 and 20 thousand jobs in the state, pump $9 billion into the State economy and bolster state and local tax revenues by $2.2 billion.  Building an offshore electrical substation platform to connect the wind turbines to the transmission system would employ an additional 500-600 New Jersey workers for two years for each platform according to estimates by Bechtel, the project’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

NY Times Looks at Success of Solar Projects – The New York Times had a story late last week underscoring the successes of two loan guarantee solar projects, Ivanpah and Solana.  It discussed the successes and the role storage may play in expanding future endeavors in the desert.  Solana is a $2-billion project built with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Close behind is the Ivanpah project in California, which uses a field of mirrors mounted on thousands of pillars to focus the sun’s light on a tower with a tank. Engineers say that design could incorporate storage efficiently, because the tank reaches very high temperatures. That plant will enter commercial operation by the end of the year.

Report: Pipelines Safest Method of Oil Transportation – A new report from Canada’s Fraser Institute authored by our friend Ken Green and his colleague Diana Furchtgott-Roth says pipelines are the safest option when it comes to transporting oil.  The study says a greater reliance on pipelines is much safer that transportation on trains or trucks.  The study, Intermodal Safety in the Transport of Oil, determined that the rate of injury requiring hospitalization was 30 times lower among oil pipeline workers compared to rail workers involved in the transport of oil, based on extensive data collected in the United States. Road transport fared even worse, with an injury rate 37 times higher than pipelines based on reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the period 2005-2009.  The study also found the risk of spill incidents is lower for pipelines per billion ton-miles of oil movement compared to rail and road.  Resistance to pipeline infrastructure expansion is putting more pressure on road and rail systems as growth in North American oil production outpaces pipeline capacity. Petroleum production is now nearly 18 million barrels a day, and could climb to 27 million barrels a day by 2020. Road transport had the highest chance of a spill, almost 20 incidents per billion ton-miles. Rail had slightly over two incidents per billion ton-miles annually while pipelines had less than 0.6 per billion ton-miles annually.  The above report’s timing proved perfect as this weekend another CN train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude derailed just west of Edmonton.

Report Hits Supermarkets for HFCs – A new report from NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency says supermarkets are major sources of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.  It also adds that the biggest U.S. supermarkets aren’t doing enough to stop leaks or transition to alternatives.  The report is timely since Montreal Protocol implementation discussions ramp up in Bangkok (insert any Hangover II joke) this week.

Renewable Energy Provides 30% Of New U.S. Electrical Generating Capacity in 2013 – According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 30.03% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first nine months of 2013 for a total of 3,218 MW.  Natural gas dominated the first three-quarters of 2013 with 5,854 MW of new capacity (54.62%).  Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first nine months of 2013 with 146 new “units” totaling 1,935 MW followed by wind with 9 units totaling 961 MW. Biomass added 57 new units totaling 192 MW while water  had 11 new units with an installed capacity of 116 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit (14 MW).  The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 77.36% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BIOCYCLE To look at Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling – The American Biogas Council will hold the 13th annual BIOCYCLE Conference today through Wednesday in Columbus, OH at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.  Biocycle is the official conference of ABC and will have industry experts and policy makers providing the latest technological information on how to turn municipal, industrial and agricultural organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.  For press credentials, contact Rill Ann Miller, at 610-967-4135, ext. 22, or biocycle@jgpress.com.

JHU Forum to Discuss Rare Earth Elements – The Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its Rome Building Auditorium on Rare Earth Elements (REEs).  REEs are chemical elements that are critical for your mobile phones, laptops, green technologies, and even defense systems. Despite the fact that REEs are more abundant than silver and gold with known reserves in Australia and the U.S., China continues to monopolize global REE supplies, which could negatively impact the national security interests of other countries.  Leigh Hendrix, associate at Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC; Marc Humphries, specialist in energy and mineral policy at the Congressional Research Service; and Michael Mazza, research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, will discuss chemical elements that are critical for mobile phones, laptops, green technologies and defense systems.

EIA, World Bank Highlight AAAS Panel on Sustainability – Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society continue the Sustainability Challenge: Energy, Resilience, & Conservation series at the AAAS Auditorium tonight at 5:00 p.m.  Our friend Richard Harris of NPR hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, Rob Gardner of ExxonMobil and the World Bank’s Vivien Foster.

Lott, Dorgan Headline Global Energy Summit – DLA Piper will hold its annual energy summit today and tomorrow, featuring BPC co-chairs and former senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott.  BPC co-founder and former senator Thomas Daschle, will speak tomorrow on a looking at American’s energy resurgence.  It addresses a February BPC report that looked at sustaining success and confronting challenges in the energy sector. The event will be held at the Park Hyatt Washington. Other speakers include House Energy Panel Chair Ed Whitfield, BP’s Mark Finley, API’s Kyle Isakower and our friend Pete Sheffield of Spectra Energy, among several others.

NatGeo to Screen Blackout Film – National Geographic will hold a panel session and screening of its new film American Blackout.  The film examines the repercussions of a cyberattack that shuts down the electric power grid by weaving together fictional stories of everyday Americans with video from recent, real blackouts.   Following the screening is a panel discussion on the potential for an actual cyberattack, the steps power companies have already taken to prevent damage to the electric grid and what additional actions are needed to respond effectively in the event of a potential, successful attack.  Our friend Matt Wald of the New York Times moderates a panel which includes NSA/CIA head Gen. Michael Hayden.

Women-In-Manufacturing Summit Heads to Detroit, Feature Auto Speakers – Nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country will meet in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday for the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013, hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, this third annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.  This year’s SUMMIT will include timely panel and roundtable discussions as well as valuable track sessions on topics including employee engagement, mentoring, networking, marketing, team building, online and digital training resources for manufacturers, and emerging issues in the manufacturing supply chain.  There also will be stimulating keynote presentations and a networking reception and dinner.  Featured speakers at the 2013 SUMMIT will include Carhartt COO Linda Hubbard, Toyota exec Latondra Newton,

Gwenne Henricks of Caterpillar and General Motors SVP Alicia Boler Davis.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – The EPA cancelled its two session in Boston and Philadelphia last week , but it looks like this week’s meeting of the 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will be on.  They will be Wednesday in New York and Atlanta.  The cancelled meetings have been rescheduled for November 4th Boston and November 8th in Philadelphia.  No word on whether requests from members from coal states, who called for more sessions in their regions (which they say was purposely left off the list) will be set..  Other meetings include Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

Nissan EVs to Be Focus of Oct WAPA Event – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold a luncheon with Nissan tomorrow at the National Press Club.  Erik Gottfried, Director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America will speak about the growing adoption of Nissan LEAF in markets across the U.S. With LEAF now price competitive with comparable gas-powered cars, people can easily see the benefit of giving up buying gas and driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF.  While sales have continued to rise in the traditional EV strongholds on the west coast like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle and Portland, a new wave of EV markets in the eastern half of the country have started to emerge. Sales are growing quickly in markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington D.C., driven by a number of factors.  Gottfried will discuss this phenomenon, some of the reasons behind it for D.C. and other markets, and how factors such as infrastructure development are getting even more customers to consider driving electric

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner tomorrow at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.  The event will also feature a forum on energy issues and big data which will include comments from Intel’s Stephen Harper, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and others.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff will hold a workshop tomorrow to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI tomorrow through Thursday.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.  Interior Sect.  Sally Jewell will speak.

Galbraith Book Forum Set – The New America Foundation will hold a forum for our former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. discussing her book, The Great Texas Windrush.  Our friends Galbraith and Asher tell the fascinating story behind Texas’ unlikely wind-energy boom. In the late 1990s the small towns of Texas were being decimated by the oil crisis and few would have thought alternative energies might be the solution. But in a state known for bristling at environmental regulation, entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmentalists – from T. Boone Pickens to George W. Bush – saw the potential and began to embrace wind farming. By 2012, Texas was generating about 9 percent of its electricity from wind, and some of those same towns are now thriving in the shadow of 300-foot-tall turbines.

Forum to Discuss Clean Energy Deployment – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the roots of the Clean Energy deployment.  The Deployment Consensus, the reasons why a “deployment-first” strategy will fail, and why innovation-driven energy policies are the solution will be discussed.  A majority of clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies it needs to address climate change; what we lack is the political will to mandate and subsidize their deployment. To support this view advocates of this “Clean Energy Deployment Consensus” point to a number of studies assessing the technical readiness of clean energy technologies. Unfortunately, as ITIF shows in its new report Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus these reports often gloss over major challenges facing clean energy, including significantly higher costs, sub-optimal performance, and challenges in grid integration and storage. In addition many advocates miss the critical message of the need for innovation inherent in the literature. Without a comprehensive and aggressive innovation strategy clean energy will not be cheap enough and good enough to be adopted voluntarily around the planet.

Hispanic Energy Group to Hold National Summit – Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC on Wednesday and Thursday at the Heritage Center.  The groups launched the National Energy Policy Series in Sacramento, CA on June 24th.  Our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Discuss Energy Security Since Embargo – Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes on the anniversary of the Arab Oil Embargo.  The embargo dramatically impacted energy policy developments in the U.S. and elsewhere, spurring  investments in energy efficiency and alternative fuels, the creation of the SPR, the establishment of the IEA, and the creation of the Department of Energy. It also put in place a framework for viewing U.S. oil and gas resources as one of scarcity and energy imports as being inevitable. With new unconventional resource development in the United States, however, the framework is shifting to one of abundance.

Georgetown Alumni Group to Hold Climate Change Discussion – In the context of President Obama’s climate change speech at Georgetown this past spring, the Georgetown Club of DC welcomes to its luncheon lecture series a panel of distinguished alumni and faculty to address policies aimed at carbon pollution reduction, health, and conservation of water resources. Lunch will be provided; event is free for current students at Clyde’s Gallery Place on Wednesday 12:15 p.m.  Featured presenters include Michelle Moore (MSFS’99), Senior Fellow at the Council on Competitiveness and former advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget; Laura Anderko in the School of Nursing & Health Studies; and Andrew Deutz (F’91) of The Nature Conservancy.

Luthi to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting its October Forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club, featuring Randy Luthi, President of National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).  Luthi will discuss offshore oil and natural gas development, the Administration’s current 5-Year plan and views of Interior from outside.  Luthi became President of the National Ocean Industries Association on March 1, 2010 after serving as the Director of the Minerals Management Service at DOI.

Wilson Forum to Look at Greece Economy, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on the future economic & energy prospects in Greece & the Eastern Mediterranean.  Speakers will include Asimakis Papageorgiou, Deputy Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic of Greece and Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, The Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Hellenic Republic of Greece.

World Watch to Launch Central America Renewables Report – The Worldwatch Institute will hold the launch and discussion of a new report The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America.  The event will be hosted by the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C.  The report, produced jointly by Worldwatch and INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), and generously supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Energy and Environment Partnership in Central America (EEP), focuses on the status of renewable energy technologies in Central America and analyzes the conditions for their advancement in the future. It identifies important knowledge and information gaps and evaluates key finance and policy barriers, making suggestions for how to overcome both.  Speakers will include Alex Ochs of Worldwatch Institute, Christiaan Gischler of the Inter-American Development Bank  and Mark Lambrides of the Organization of American States.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next Monday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 29th at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday, October 30th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday, October 31st at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31 – November 1st at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

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 our the BPC/NARUC websites.

Energy Update Week of September 23

Friends,

After last week’s EPA GHG blow out (detailed summary below with more background on CCS/Kemper), this week looks to be a little slower on the energy and environment front.  Given the potential government shutdown (here we go again) on next Monday, Congress will be still hanging around rather than taking a planned district work period.  The free time doesn’t seem to be having an impact on moving energy efficiency legislation though, which is still languishing over non-germane disputes at last check.

Speaking of the last week’s roll out, McCarthy and Energy Sect Ernie Moniz were supposed to discuss President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan at 12:15 p.m. today in a White House Google+ Hangout moderated by Grist.  But just recently, the event was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts if you are looking at can’t find it.

The only hearing this week in Congress is a Senate Environment panel on black carbon, but there are a couple of other quality energy events that will fill in the blanks.

Tomorrow at 9:30, our friends at SAFE will launch a new report on the impacts oil have on the nation’s fiscal stability.  A panel discussion with the authors and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell will follow at AEI.

On Wednesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project, along with NARUC will hold a workshop focused on the context, precedent, and contours of the future GHG regulation of existing power plants. Heather Zichel, NARUC’s Philip Jones and others speak.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will Keynote the 2013 Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia on Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, even though the event starts Wednesday.  The conference, sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition offers industry stakeholders as speakers and provides insight into techniques to advance best practices and shape public policy.  Of course, our gang will be there.

One other topic to start keeping tabs on are the issues surrounding the IPCC’s latest Scientific Assessment on Climate change, which is always a topic ripe for discussion and handwringing from all sides.

Finally, the Metallica Show at the Apollo on Saturday was pretty awesome given there were only 1500 people in the place, although not that special in terms of the content.   They ripped all the classics with a few others like Harvester of Sorrow, Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Orion.  Finally, while in New York, they made an appearance at Yankee Stadium Sunday to close the door on career of legendary Yankee closer Mariano Rivera.  Metallica gave Rivera the ultimate “Exit Sandman” tribute, blowing the doors off Yankee Stadium with a live version of the closer’s signature entrance music — “Enter Sandman” — during the farewell party to salute the retiring pitcher.

Call with questions.

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

 

THE BIG NEWS

EPA Rule Rolled Out – EPA proposed Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon pollution from new power plants Friday.  In addition, EPA has initiated broad-based outreach and direct engagement with state, tribal, and local governments, industry and labor leaders, non-profits, and others to establish carbon pollution standards for existing power plants and build on state efforts to move toward a cleaner power sector.

What are the Limits – Under the plan, new large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years, giving those units additional operational flexibility.  Ultra-Supercritical coal plants currently are the most advanced and emit about 1800 pounds of CO2 per MWhr.

Segal Says Rule will Ban New Coal Plants –Scott Segal, the director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, said the rule will “likely be illegal, counterproductive from an environmental perspective and contrary to our long-range interest in creating jobs, holding down costs and producing reliable energy.”   For the record, Segal said here are some things to think about:

1. Coal remains a critical element of our base-load power picture in the United States.  It is the largest source of electric power, representing almost 40 percent of power generation in the first half of this year.  So, EPA regulations that hamper or stifle innovation in the coal-powered sector represent a profound threat to the future of energy security, electric reliability, and job creation in the United States.

2. Does the Rule have any benefits? There are no real benefits to the environment.  These are carbon rules and not designed to produce local air quality benefits.  Therefore, the fact that these rules are being advanced on a unilateral basis means that continued coal use from Asia to Europe means there will be no real impact on global warming.  Further, as energy costs increase in the US, and manufacturing assets move overseas to areas less sensitive to energy efficiency, carbon emissions might even go up as a result of the rules.  Certainly, if we have to import more goods back to the United States as we lose manufacturing capacity, carbon emissions will increase.

3. Can carbon capture be the basis for a new source standard?  No.  EPA is relying heavily on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as the basis for establishing their limits.   But the Clean Air Act requires that technologies be demonstrated and take into account costs.  Basing standards on highly-subsidized, non-commercial scale and even non-built facilities is contrary to the spirit and plain language of the statute.  Further, simply because EPA may set a carbon standard that requires CCS technology is insufficient to overcome the technical, legal, regulatory and financial hurdles facing CCS technology.

4. Are low gas prices really preventing new coal facility construction, not EPA regulations?  However, low gas prices are a market condition which can change over time or rapidly, and the market can react if our portfolio is diverse and includes coal.  The proposed carbon standard would make that current market trend permanent by government fiat.  That is bad news for households, small businesses, and manufacturing.

5. Are new coal fired power plants are ‘possible’ under the proposed new-source standard? The truth is that if the standard is based on unrealistic assumptions about carbon capture, the EPA will essentially ban new plants. The Administration’s own interagency task force said that CCS technologies “… are not ready for widespread implementation …”  The capital cost of installing CCS on a typical new coal plant is $1 billion or more   Worse yet, by making this initial regulatory bar too high, the EPA may even be discouraging investment in next-generation technology for coal and even for carbon capture itself.

6. If not this rule, what should EPA do?  Commenters objecting to the similarly inflexible first proposal of this rule included governors and attorneys general, utility commissioners, labor groups, environmental regulators and the regulated community and its customers.  EPA can and must do better. As the Clean Air Act requires, EPA must take into account cost and energy impacts in determining demonstrated technology.   It must set achievable standards consistent with its legal authority that based on what new, efficient power plants actually achieve – not based on what the Agency speculates regarding CCS.

 

Kemper CCS in Spotlight – In the new EPA rule, the Kemper plant in Mississippi takes a starring role.  Kemper is a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant with pre-combustion carbon capture, with the CO2 being used for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery.  It is not technically “CCS.”  This particular gasification technology is only compatible with low rank coal, and the lignite that is abundant in the immediate vicinity of the Kemper facility is otherwise extremely rare elsewhere east of the Mississippi.  Integrating this gasification technology with carbon capture is the plant’s main technological feat, and this is not readily replicated with other gasification and carbon capture technologies being developed.  Finally, though heavily supported by the Department of Energy, the project only sought to integrate carbon capture technology because of the pre-existing CO2 pipeline network in the state and the significant demand for CO2 for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery operations there (which currently rely on naturally-occurring, and quickly-depleting, CO2 located underground near Jackson, Miss.).  In other words, though there is no price on carbon in Mississippi, carbon does fetch an uncommonly good price in the state.

Atlantic Council Highlighted This Recently – The topic of GHGs, CCS and Kemper were the subject of a roundtable discussion convened by the Atlantic Council and the Global CCS Institute to explore the energy, environmental, and technology policy dimensions of one of the very few large-scale CCS projects for coal power generation currently under construction — the Kemper County Energy Facility.  Here is a 5-minute video summarizing the roundtable with an interesting perspective from DOE expert Jonathan Pershing discussing the CCS technology issues.  The Kemper County Energy Facility is currently being built by Southern Company, Mississippi Power, and KBR in Kemper County, Mississippi, and features technologies partly developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.  Here is a written summary of the roundtable.

 

IN THE OTHER NEWS

NatGas Study Undercut Opponents Concerns on Methane, HF – It may have slide under the radar, but two studies last week detailed natgas drilling in much more detail and its Looks like our friends who oppose are getting smaller and smaller base of facts to block it.

Bevo’s Methane Analysis – The University of Texas/EDF Methane study got decent coverage and some back and forth from known opponents and enviro journos like my friend Andy Revkin, who has a great, detailed blog post on the topic on NYT’s Dot Earth.  The study, led by Dr. David Allen (a highly respected scientist who is currently the chairman of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board), was jointly funded by EDF and a group of industry companies who volunteered to be participants.  It looked only at emissions from well sites, which is a first step in analyzing the full natural gas supply chain with findings are in line with recently-revised (and much lower than previous) EPA estimates for this segment.

Hail to NatGas Victors – At the same time, University of Michigan researchers released seven technical reports that together form the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.  The studies examine seven critical topics related to the use of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan, with an emphasis on high-volume methods: technology, geology and hydrogeology, environment and ecology, public health, policy and law, economics, and public perceptions.   Though modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing is not widely used in Michigan today, a main premise of the U-M study is that the technique could become more widespread due to a desire for job creation, economic growth, energy independence and cleaner fuels.

Eagle Ford to Surpass 1M Barrels Per Day – The Eagle Ford Shale play will hit a significant milestone next summer when it is expected to reach 1 million barrels per day   It will likely keep growing as well because operators continue to add tens of thousands of wells to the giant South Texas field.  Already 11,000 wells have been permitted in the Eagle Ford.  The research firm DrillingInfo estimates there are at least another 85,000 wells left to drill in the field.

Onion Says Ford to Roll Out New SUV – Our friends at The Onion have done it again.  Last week they filed this story: The Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday that it has developed a new SUV that will be powered exclusively by gasoline, a 100 percent reliable, oil-based energy source. ‘We’re very proud to introduce the Ford Petrola, a vehicle that runs on a specialized fuel derived almost entirely from naturally occurring organic compounds,’ said Raj Nair, the company’s vice president of global product development. ‘Whether you’re commuting to work or heading out for a little adventure on the weekend, just fill the Petrola with gasoline and you’ll be ready to go. Best of all, this pure hydrocarbon fuel source is currently available at more than 100,000 filling stations across America.’ Nair also noted that prototypes of the new vehicle have been able to travel more than 300 miles on a single ‘power charge’ of gasoline

Study: Infrasound From Turbines Harmless – A new study by the Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants found that the infrasound from wind turbines is on the level of a human heartbeat, making it harmless to humans. “People themselves generate infrasound through things like their own heartbeat, through breathing and these levels of infrasound can be substantially higher than an external noise source,” said association Chairman Martti Warpenius. According to the AAAC, infrasound levels, frequencies below 20Hz, are already in abundance in our natural environment from sources such as wind, waves and earthquakes.   Mechanical sources of infrasound originate from sources like aircrafts, traffic, and fossil fuel generation  …. and wind turbines. Infrasound emissions from wind turbines have previously been thought to cause adverse health effects such as breathing problems, digestive issues, headaches and nausea.  However, the AAAC concluded that infrasound levels around wind farms are no higher than the levels around where people live, work and sleep.

Climate Desk Launches Podcast – Our friends at Climate Desk will  launch a weekly hour-long podcast called Inquiring Minds that will explore the intersection of science, policy, and society.  The podcast officially began Friday with its first episode which featured an interview with Marsha S. Ivins, a former US astronaut and veteran of five space shuttle missions. The interview covers Ivins’ experiences on her vastly different space missions, why private space flight initiatives still can’t rival investments made by the government, and why we must revitalize NASA’s mission. Other segments of this initial episode discuss new research on how political ideology thwarts your ability to reason controversial issues like climate change and gun control, and the growing evidence about the dangers of playing football.  You can download and listen to this first episode here.   Inquiring Minds is hosted by author and Climate Desk Live host Chris Mooney and neuroscientist Indre Viskontas.

SoCo Nuclear Construction Advances – With last week’s focus on MS Power’s Kemper plant, Georgia Power continues to make significant progress in the construction of the new Vogtle units 3 and 4 facility near Waynesboro, Ga. The project, among the first new nuclear units to be built in the United States in three decades, has advanced past key construction milestones.  Construction of key modules continues to progress, as does work on the cooling towers for both units, condenser pre-assembly, permanent office building construction, switchyard work and raw water intake structure preparation. In addition, activities to ensure readiness for the transition to commercial operation are underway including employing and training operational personnel, developing pre-operational and startup testing, and developing operations programs and procedures. In fact, there are currently nearly 100 licensed operator candidates in different phases of the training program with 25 of these candidates being certified on the AP1000 on-site limited scope simulator. The project is the largest job-producing project in the state, employing approximately 5,000 people during peak construction and creating 800 permanent jobs when the plant begins operating.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Transmission Summit Set – Infocast hold its 5th Annual Transmission Summit today to Wednesday in San Diego, CA. This timely annual Summit will once again gather leading utility executives, regulators, independent transmission developers, financiers and thought leaders to provide their insights and the clearest window into leading utility merchant transmission executives’ plans for new projects, partnerships and business strategies. Speakers will include FERC Shiv Mani, DOE’s Lauren Azar, Texas PUC Chair Donna Nelson and Arizona Corporate Commissioner Gary Pierce, among others.

Developers to Address Ohio Wind Summit – AWEA will hold an Ohio Wind Energy Summit tomorrow at the Hilton Columbus Downtown in Columbus, OH.  Ohio was one of the top five fastest growing states for wind capacity additions in 2012, with 313 MW added in 2012 and over 54,000 MW in wind resource potential. In addition, the Buckeye State leads the country in wind-related manufacturing – with more than 60 facilities (or more than 1 in every 10 in the US) producing components for the wind industry. Still, challenges remain, including maintaining the RPS, developing proper siting regulations and educating the public on the consumer benefits of wind energy.  Speakers will include our friends Rob Gramlich, AEP’s Jay Godfrey, Mike Speerschneider of Everpower and Eric Thumma of Iberdrola, among others.

EV Awareness Workshop Set – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition will hold its Electric Vehicle Workshop tomorrow at Eaton Corporation in Hanover, MD.  The event is part of the GWRCCC’s Electric Vehicle Awareness Week, culminating in National Plug-In Day on September 29th.    The event will feature presentations about Electric Vehicles, charging stations and infrastructure, opportunities and incentives, and more.  The agenda includes speakers from AutoFlex AFV, Eaton Corporation, the National Mall and Memorial Parks, GWRCCC and the Smithsonian.  The workshop will close with a tour of Eaton Corporation’s facilities in Hanover.

SAFE to Release Report on Oil, Fiscal Stability – The American Enterprise Institute will host the release of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE)-commissioned report on oil impacts and fiscal stability tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. The new report, “Oil’s Impact on U.S. Fiscal Stability” finds that high and volatile oil prices have had a considerable impact on increasing U.S. national debt. They reveal that independent of the effects of the Great Recession, oil dependence added roughly $1 trillion to the national debt between 2002 and 2012. Authors Robert Wescott and Phillip Swagel, along with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, to discuss these important new findings.

WEC to Launch Report – Not to be outdone, the World Energy Council will launch its 2013 World Energy Trilemma report tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.  The World Energy Trilemma report assesses how efficiently countries’ policies are managing the energy trilemma: how to deliver energy securely, to mitigate the environmental impact of energy production and use, and to ensure energy is available to all and at an affordable price. The report includes the world’s most comprehensive ranking of countries energy policies and identifies areas of success and highlights aspects for improvement. This year’s report also provides the backbone to the WEC’s on-going dialog between industry and policymakers presenting the views of 50 energy and environment ministers, along with the views of multilateral development banks, IGO’s and experts from 25 countries. The 2013 report is a companion to last year’s World Energy Trilemma report which presented the views of more than 40 CEO’s and senior executives and provides an important resource for governments and industry leaders as they plan a path though the increasing complexity of the energy sector.  The event will present the findings of this year’s report and discuss the impact for industry and policymakers with the Secretary General of the World Energy Council, Christoph Frei, the Executive Chair of the report, Joan MacNaughton CB and Partner at global consulting firm Oliver Wyman and project partner of the study, Mark Robson.

Senate Enviro Panel to Look at Black Carbon – The Senate Environment Clean Air panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on black carbon.  The panel will focus on the health impacts of black carbon and technologies, strategies and federal programs with the highest potential to reduce black carbon emissions.  Witnesses will include Oklahoma DEQ attorney Bob Singletary,  Alabama State Port Authority exec Robert Harris, Diesel Technology Forum head Allen Schaeffer, Conrad Schneider of the Clean Air Task Force and Corning Environmental Technologies director Timothy Johnson.

Women Leaders to Discuss Role in Advance Tech – The Women in Leadership Committee of the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) is organizing a luncheon tomorrow to  celebrate women leaders in the commercialization of advanced technology.  The speakers will share their personal leadership experiences in some challenging areas of the advanced technology that is reshaping our world. Genevieve Cullen is VP of a cross-industry trade association and leads policy and advocacy efforts in the areas of research and development, and deployment of electric drive vehicles. Sheri Moreno is General Counsel to a division of GE offering advanced technology in automation and embedded computing and she oversees all legal and compliance issues for the global business including intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. Jo Anne Shatkin is President of an advisory firm specializing in strategies for the sustainable commercialization of nanotechnologies.   The session will begin with brief prepared comments from each of the speakers addressing their insights into how advanced technology can be expected to impact not only our every-day lives but also the opportunities for women’s leadership. Sufficient time will be allowed for questions after the prepared comments of all the speakers to create an interactive experience for the participants.  As always, the WCEE Women in Leadership Committee is partnering with Dress for Success and will be collecting both financial and professional clothing donations.

Governator, Sessions Headline World Energy Engineers – The Association of Energy Engineers will hold the 36th World Energy Engineering Congress at the Washington Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday.   WEEC is well-recognized as the most important energy event of national and international scope for end users and energy professionals in all areas of the energy field. The WEEC expo is attended each year by the nation’s leading energy professionals in business, industry, and government who seek the best solutions for all aspects of today’s energy cost and supply challenges. Speakers include former CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, AL Senator Jeff Sessions, CEQ’s Nancy Sutley, DOE Kathleen Hogan and ASE’s Kateri Callahan, among others from places like Toyota and ExxonMobil.

BPC, NARUC to Discuss GHG Regs – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project, along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), is convening a series of workshops starting on Wednesdaywhen they will provide an overview of the context, precedent, and contours of the future GHG regulation of existing power plants. The workshop will feature experts and key stakeholders who will share views on the potential form, contents, and challenges of EPA guidance to states regarding performance standards that represent the “best system of emission reduction” for existing power plants. The event will also offer an opportunity to discuss possible state options for implementing the emission reduction.  White House energy advisor Heather Zichel will keynote the event.  Other confirmed panelists include Hon. Phillip Jones of NARUC; Joseph Goffman of EPA; former senator and BPC senior fellow Byron Dorgan; Ellen Anderson, senior advisor to Minnesota’s governor; Vicki Arroyo of Georgetown Climate Center; Megan Ceronsky of EDF; Steve Corneli of NRG Energy; David Doniger of NRDC; Kyle Danish of Van Ness Feldman; Kimberly Greene of Southern Company; and G. Vinson Hellwig of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Webinar to Discuss Hydropower OpportunitiesRenewable Energy World magazine will host a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to discuss hydropower opportunities.  Presenters will include NHA President Linda Church-Ciocci, Voith Hydro’s Stanley Kocon and Juan Hinojosa of Strategies 360.  The webcast will be moderated by Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com and Conference Chair, Renewable Energy World North America.

MSC to Host Shale Insight Conference – Shale Insight 2013 will be held in Philadelphia on Wednesday  and Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  The conference, sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition offers industry stakeholders as speakers and provides insight into techniques to advance best practices and shape public policy. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-1999), presidential candidate, author of Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis, and host of CNN’s Crossfire program, Newt Gingrich will address conference attendees on Thursday. Speaker Gingrich will take questions from conference attendees following his remarks.

NatGas Fleet Vehicles Conference Set – The 2nd annual Natural Gas Fleet Vehicles 2013 Congress will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Austin.  Known for delivering the most comprehensive breakdown of the costs of fleet integration, the 2013 congress will not only provide an A-Z for those considering adoption, but will also go a step further to look at in-depth operational costs being experienced, providing useful benchmarking data for those who have already begun investing. Clearly there has been much discussion in the industry regarding potential use of natural gas fleet vehicles with such favorable pricing following the shale gas boom. Abundance alone however, is not enough to ensure widespread adoption, with some skepticism remaining over the actual cost of ownership and whether over the long-term this negates the current high upfront costs.

RFF Climate Expert to Discuss CAA, Climate Policy – Resources for the Future veteran Dallas Burtraw will discuss the Clean Air Act as U.S. climate policy in an RFF Academic Seminar on Thursday at 12:00 p.m.  The approach departs from the ideal policy design that has been the focus of academic research. Prior RFF research identified a regulatory pathway that was likely to be legal and provide modest emissions reductions at modest cost from the power sector. The challenge issued by President Obama to EPA is to develop an approach that achieves substantial emissions reductions using flexible, market-based approaches. Recent and ongoing research highlights the program design issues that will determine whether this can occur.

JHU German Program to Look at Climate, Trade Agreements – The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University will hold a seminar on Friday at 12:00 p.m. looking at climate leadership and trade agreements.  The event will feature AICGS Fellows Reimund Schwarze and Ulrike Will. Since February 2013, negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have aimed to eliminate the remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the EU and the U.S., while also strengthening rules-based investments, harmonizing standards, and removing barriers to science and technology (S&T) exchange. Notably quiet are environmental and climate concerns, which are seen as a contentious issue in TTIP negotiations. Integrating these concerns in a transatlantic agreement could ease the adverse effects of unilateral climate policies. This seminar will discuss different ideas to link climate issues to the negotiations of a free trade agreement, including standard harmonization, tariff reductions, and border adjustments.

Forum to Look at Grid, Heat Waves, Public Health – On Friday at 2:00 p.m. in 406 Dirksen, the American Meteorological Society will hold a fourum on the impact of heat waves on the nation’s power grid and public health.  Former Xcel industry load expert Craig Williamson and NIH’s John Balbus will speak.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WH Official to Discuss Climate at ELI Forum – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a brown-bag lunch event next Monday to look  at President Obama’s climate initiative.  The event will feature an Administration official, a representative from a non-governmental environmental organization, and an industry representative discussing the President’s priorities and upcoming benchmarks related to climate issues. They will provide their reaction to the Climate Action Plan and identify possible shortcomings and suggest areas to emphasize, including implementation concerns as well as business opportunities and risks.  Panelists will include Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change in the White House’s Domestic Policy Council Dan Utech and C2ES expert and former Clinton Administration climate official Elliot Diringer.

WCEE, NOAA Expect Discuss Blue Carbon – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) continues its Brown-bag Luncheon Series with a forum on Tuesday, October 1st at Noon at Cassidy to look at Blue Carbon, featuring NOAA Program Analyst Ariana Sutton-Grier.  Coastal, estuarine and marine ecosystems play a substantial role in sequestration and storage of so-called “blue” carbon.  Coastal wetlands are net carbon sinks storing up to 3-5 times more carbon than tropical forests by area.  This means these ecosystems play an important role in climate mitigation and adaptation.  However, these ecosystems are some of the most threatened on Earth with loss rates ranging from 1-7% of global area per year. And because these habitats are important sinks for carbon, when they are disturbed or destroyed by coastal development (such as shrimp farming or hotel development) they become significant carbon sources.  This discussion will introduce participants to blue carbon science and policy and will focus on recent advances and opportunities for a “win-win” for conservation and climate.

RFF Seminar to Look at Water Supply—Resources for the Future will hold its October First Wednesday Seminar at 12:45 p.m. on October 2nd looking at the future of US water supplies.  Two significant agency reports were released in the past year evaluating US water supplies moving forward and the potential of both growth patterns and climatic changes to increase the risk of water shortages. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) released the Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study, and The Vulnerability of US Water Supply to Shortage, released by The US Forest Service, suggest that the US water supply will be more susceptible to shortages due to changes in supply rather than demand. Although these reports have some limitations (clearly identified in the reports themselves), they provide significant insights into water availability issues over the next 50 to 100 years. Additionally, a collaborative study was released by the American Meteorological Society—Understanding Uncertainties in Future Colorado River Streamflow—that examines and explains the wide range of projected reductions in Colorado River streamflows due to climate change.  Resources for the Future’s Center for the Management of Ecological Wealth is hosting a dialogue to discuss these findings and explore the potential for economic mechanisms (water pricing, trading, and ecosystem service valuation, for example) to help reduce future gaps between supply and demand.  Panelists will include US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station Economist Thomas Brown, US Bureau of Reclamation Hydrologic Engineer Ken Nowak, University of Colorado Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources Director Brad Udall and RFF experts Yusuke Kuwayama and Len Shabman.

SEJ Set for Chattanooga – The Society of Environmental Journalists will hold its 23rd annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Wednesday, October 2 through Saturday October 6th.   The central location — with the Appalachian Mountains and the Tennessee Valley Authority headquarters nearby – will allow trips to a nuclear plant, hydroelectric dam and a landscape analysis lab on the Cumberland Plateau that is helping to save the keystone tree of the Appalachians.  As well, on Thursday Night, Bracewell will again sponsor its legendary reception.  See you there.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will convene a workshop Wednesday, October 2nd at Noon to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for issuing a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.  Participants will  present ideas on the details of a two-year licensing process, discuss potential criteria for identifying projects that may be appropriate for a two-year licensing process, and recommend potential pilot projects to test a two-year licensing process.

Forum to Look at China Energy Issues – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday October 3rd focused on emissions and energy efficiency in China.  In 2007, the Chinese government answered the call by the Global Environment Facility to begin banning all inefficient light bulbs. According to a 2008 study by China’s Energy Research Institute, if China pursues a LED-heavy switchover by 2020 (which now appears likely), approximately 85 TWh of energy could be saved, roughly equivalent to the Three Gorges Dam’s annual output.  The speakers at this CEF meeting will go well beyond light bulbs in discussing China’s sweeping, comprehensive and aggressive measures to improve air quality by capping coal consumption and better regulating pollution emissions from coal-fired power plants. These measures build upon China’s recent adoption of PM2.5 standards and requirements for cities to publish PM2.5 data in real time.   At this meeting, Christopher James (Regulatory Assistance Project) will address these and other new comprehensive and stringent air quality measures targeting the energy sector. Jeremy Schreifels (U.S. EPA) will focus on emission trends in NOx, a key precursor of PM2.5, and China’s 12th Five-Year Plan reduction targets for NOx emissions from power generation.  Finally, Darrin Magee (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) will briefly explore radical end-use efficiency and large-scale hydropower as two options for addressing electricity production and carbon reduction needs in China.

RFF Forum to Discuss Reliability Impacts on NIMBY – Resources for the Future will hold an Academic Series forum on Thursday, October 3rd at 12:00 p.m. looking at energy reliability featuring Virginia Tech’s Klaus Moeltner.  Existing studies on the acceptability of energy-related infrastructure have centered around how to overcome the Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) phenomenon amongst local stakeholders, focusing primarily on drivers such as community participation, provision of information, and direct economic benefits to impacted communities. Most of this work is based on international case studies, qualitative comparisons, and stated choice experiments that offer respondents a variety of implementation bundles. To date, none of these contributions have related the acceptability question to the value of power provision to the same stakeholders. We fill this gap by combining an analysis of outage vulnerability with an examination of infrastructure acceptability using a unique, EU-15 data set with household-level information on both aspects of power provision. Local residents’ sensitivity to outages can significantly boost acceptability of new energy infrastructure projects. This stresses the importance of creating awareness amongst stakeholders on how planned infrastructure expansions relate to energy security at the individual level.

McCarthy to Headline Forum to Discuss Energy, Climate Leadership – The Atlantic Council and Ecologic Institute will host a conference on Thursday, October 3rd at 12:45 p.m. to discuss Transatlantic Cooperation on Energy Security and Climate.  The event will connect exceptional rising energy and environmental leaders with senior policymakers and business experts in Washington, DC. The event will feature keynote presentations, two dynamic panel discussions on the  Transatlantic Cooperation on Energy Security and Climate Change conference is an initiative of the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (ELEEP) Network that aims to connect a new generation of decision-makers in the Euro-Atlantic region with senior policymakers in these fields and inject new voices into the transatlantic policy discourse.  EPS’s Gina McCarthy will provide remarks at the end of the event.  Our friends Steve Mufson of the Washington Post and Mark Drajem of Bloomberg News will be featured on panels, as well as Senate Energy staff director Karen Billups, among others.

BPC to Discuss NatGas, Climate Mitigation Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on October 8th at 8:30 a.m. in the Washington Court Hotel to look at how expanded natural gas production affect climate change mitigation.  The development of abundant, low-cost natural gas supplies in the United States has facilitated a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  But there are concerns that natural gas will crowd out investments in other low carbon energy technologies, such as renewables, carbon capture and storage and nuclear energy.  Debate ensues as to whether natural gas is a transition or a destination fuel, largely based on estimates of the cost of incentives to develop and commercialize the next generation of low carbon energy technologies.  BPC senior fellow and former Senator Pete Domenici will examine whether natural gas and low carbon energy technologies can play complementary roles in transitioning the global economy to a cleaner, more sustainable trajectory. We will consider the scientific and technological prospects for natural gas and other low carbon energy technologies, their respective near- and long-term impacts on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, the economic (and politically practical) alternatives for deploying them, and policy lessons from abroad. David Goldwyn of Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC, former State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, will moderate the event.

EIA Winter Fuel Outlook Event Set – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on Tuesday, October 8th at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NJ Summit to Tackle Biofuel Mandate – The National Journal will hold a policy summit on biofuels on Wednesday October 9th at 8:00 a.m. at The Newseum.  Our friend Amy Harder will moderate a discussion of members of Congress and experts to explore whether the mandate should be revised, eliminated or remain in place.

SNL Conference to Look at Electric Generation – SNL Energy is hosting the 2nd Annual Electric Generation Landscape Conference in Houston on October 10th and 11th at the Houstonian.  The event is specifically created for generation executives, investors and regulators to discuss and solve the myriad issues of the industry.

WAPA Road Rally Set – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its annual Road Rally Ride & Drive event on Friday, October 11th at Rockwood Manor just outside Washington, DC. The event will feature a number of new products to drive.

SAFE Oil Embargo Forum Set – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a major national energy conference, OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on October 16th.  At the event, it will also award its inaugural Energy Security Prize, which aims to reward companies whose ingenuity, leadership, and perseverance are poised to advance American energy security by helping bring an end to U.S. oil dependence.   The SAFE Energy Security Prize will be divided into two categories including 1) Emerging Innovation Award (EIA), which will recognize up to three technologies not currently in the marketplace that are expected to be available for sale within five years that have the potential to meaningfully reduce long-term U.S. oil consumption; and 2) the Advanced Technology Award (ATA) will recognize up to three groundbreaking technologies already established in the marketplace today that reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States.

Wellinghoff to Speak at MD Clean Energy Summit – Maryland will host its Clean Energy Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday October 15th and 16th and will focus on distributed energy.  Former FERC Chair John Wellinghoff will speak among others.

Webinar to Focus 40 Years Since Oil Embargo – The U.S. is approaching the 40th anniversary of the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo — an event that launched an on-going search for a comprehensive national energy policy.  The date of the anniversary is roughly October 16 so on that Wednesday, the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is hosting a webinar to discuss the significance of the anniversary and to provide an overview of changes in the nation’s energy situation during the past four decades. Details about the webinar should be posted soon on ACORE’s web page: www.acore.org.

RINs/RFS 2 Forum to Discuss Ethanol Issues – The 5th Annual Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) RFS2, RINs & Biodiesel Forum will be held on October 17-18th at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner on October 22nd at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI on October 22nd through 24th.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

 

Energy Update Week of February 13

Friends,

Valentine’s Day means gifts for all and while I’m still a little groggy after staying up to watch both the Detroit Red Wings-Philadelphia Flyers (an NHL record 20th straight home win for the Wings) and the Grammys, I look forward to tomorrow for the candy. 

Sadly, Whitney Houston’s Saturday night death cast a pall on last night’s event, but big winners were Adele (6), The Foo Fighters (4) and Tony Bennett, whose Duets II album won “Best Traditional Pop Album” and “Best Duo” with his song featuring Amy Winehouse.  Too bad they merged the Rock categories though as it allows popular groups like Foo Fighters (don’t get me wrong, they are good) to sweep, leaving Megadeth’s great track “Public Enemy #1” as a bridesmaid.   I was slightly better after watching FFs Dave Grohl perform on-stage in a Slayer T-shirt.  Finally, as you were watching, you all know you were singing along with Glen Campbell on “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

I got a special Valentine last week (maybe even bigger than Southern’s from NRC) when the NHL said it will stage the 2013 Winter Classic at the University of Michigan’s football stadium (The Big House) for the Jan. 1, 2013 game.  The Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will play in the 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day.  See more details below.

Even though it is the run up week to the President’s Day holiday, there is lots of action starting with a special Valentine for Congress in the President’s budget for FY2013.  The hearings start this week and will go nonstop for at least two months. Below, I have listed a group of Bracewell experts that can be helpful for you and your colleagues as you cover the budget. 

The House will return the favor with their own special Valentine for the Senate and President when they take up Keystone legislation this week with the action starting at the Rules Committee tomorrow.   Ag Secretary Vilsack talks Farm Bill on Wednesday at Senate Agriculture.  Keep note, too, we are getting to crunch time on the Payroll tax extension, which expires at the end of February and currently is in conference between the House and Senate.

The Maryland State legislature kicks off hearings in Annapolis tomorrow on offshore wind legislation with MD Gov. Martin O’Malley testifying on his bill.  He will be joined at the witness table by former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver who will draw parallels to his own successful experience with renewable energy in his state.

Finally, on Thursday, I will be hosting a Newsmaker with former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and others addressing solar energy and efforts by Western States to expand its implementation.  Ritter, former Arizona Commissioner Kris Mayes and Nevada Public Utility Commission Tim Hay will discuss expediting the development of clean energy in a responsible manner that protects public lands and wildlife while avoiding conflict that leads to delays and increased costs.  It will be a good event so I hope to see your there.

Of course, every year around this time, I see the famous Billy Ray Valentine and that “he was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like oh, sure he went to Harvard.” Hope everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow…Don’t forget to get you cards/gifts for your loved one.  Call with questions.

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

BUDGET TIME

Facts – The President submits his $3.8 trillion budget to Congress today where it will mostly arrive – like every Presidential budget – Dead on Arrival.   The President is likely submitting a political plan that will outline his priorities not only for this year, but the next four years.  Boy that is ironic, given that our Presidents operate under four-year terms.    As with any Presidential budget, it will likely not see much real action other than to outline his election year priorities.  Look for lots of stuff that will have no chance of passing and sound many political/populist themes.

Winners/Losers – As expected, clean energy comes out stronger despite the blemishes that it faced in the past year.   Because of that, the Energy Department sees a strong increase of $1.4B to 27.2B, including a 30% increase in funding, mostly for research and renewables.  One of those research areas is hydraulic fracturing safety, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey.  Interior stays the same as last year, but remember, last year Interior saw significant increases for its new organization and permit processing that was supported by both parties.  Both EPA and USDA farm subsidies will see significant cuts.  EPA gets hit by 1.2% dropping to $8.3B with once again seeing most of the cut in the state water revolving fund (an old budget trick because usually that cuts members projects/funding which will likely be replenished).    Once again, as if it really matters, the oil and gas industry will be targeted by the President with $41 billion over 10 years in new tax/lease revenues to fund renewable research.  As we know, that has worked so well so far.  

Timing – The President submits today and makes a speech in Northern Virginia.  Then later this afternoon, agencies begin holding briefings to begin discuss the detailed plans for each individual agency and program.  

Senate – Finally, Senate Democrat leaders have said they will not likely pass another budget this year, just as they failed to do last year.   Yeah, too many controversies and tough votes for an election year.

Hearings – The parade of hearings kick off Wednesday and will go for the next two months, nearly every Senate-approved federal official and many that aren’t will be asked to justify their existence.  Many times, this also becomes a good opportunity to ask difficult questions so stay tuned.   The list this week:

Interior at House Resources – Sect. Salazar, Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

Transportation at Senate Budget – Sect. LaHood, Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

DOE at Senate Energy – Sect. Chu, Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Interior at House Approps Panel on Interior and Environment – Sect Salazar, Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

OSTP at House Science – White House OSTP Director John Holdren, Friday at 9:30 a.m.

USDA at House Approps Panel on Ag – Sect. Vilsack, Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Issue Experts Available to Discuss Budget – As usual, we have an entire list of experts available to discuss you budget questions: 

 •         Appropriation/Budget Process: Ed Krenik (202) 828-5877

•         Environment/EPA – Scott Segal (202) 828-5845; Jeff Holmstead (202) 828-5852

•         Enforcement: Rich Alonso (202) 828-5861

•         Interior/Drilling – Mike Olsen (202) 828-5868

•         Energy/Loan Guarantees/Stimulus Funding/Nuclear: Salo Zelermyer (202) 828-1718

•         Taxes: Mike Pate (202) 828-5841

•         Natural Gas Issues: Jason Hutt (202) 828-5850, John Riley (512) 542-3970

•         SEC Climate Risk: Kevin Ewing (202) 828-7638

•         SEC Regulatory: Paul Maco (202) 828-5821

•         FERC/Transmission: Greg Williams (202) 828-5815

•         CFTC, Trading: David Perlman (202) 828-5804.

IN THE NEWS

Winter Classic Set for Detroit – In the most awesome News, the NHL will stage the 2013 Winter Classic at the University of Michigan’s football stadium (The Big House) for the Jan. 1, 2013 game.  Interestingly, it will force two temporary changes for the game: alcohol and advertising. Michigan’s campus is dry, (and all of us that have been there KNOW there’s no drinking that goes on) meaning a special temporary liquor license will be obtained for the game. The football stadium is also advertising-free, but the NHL will be permitted to put its advertising and sponsorship signage in the stadium.  This year, the Winter Classic will be staged in two sites: Wings/Leafs at the 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day; and college, NHL alumni and minor league hockey games playing on a rink constructed at Comerica Park, the Tigers’ stadium, in downtown Detroit.  The Great Lakes Invitational, an annual college hockey tournament played between Christmas and New Year’s usually hosted by Joe Louis Arena, would be played outdoors for the first time at Comerica Park.

Southern Gets Nuke License for Vogtle – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted 4-1 to approve the issuance of the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) for Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant.  Receipt of the COL signifies that full construction can begin on the nation’s first two new nuclear units in 30 years at Vogtle, near Waynesboro, Ga., which Georgia Power expects Unit 3 to begin operating in 2016 and Unit 4 in 2017. Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers: “The new Vogtle units will provide our customers and the communities we serve with clean, affordable, reliable energy.  Southern said communities will benefit from the more than $14 billion investment, representing 4,000 to 5,000 jobs on site during peak construction, and in the process creating over 25,000 direct and indirect jobs by this project alone.  But even in light of this great development, the NRC Chairman Greg Jackzo offered a lone dissent in opposition to the four other Commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans.  Despite the newest technology being used, and despite substantial differences in location and risk when compared to the Fukushima plant, the Chairman opposed action.  

NARUC Sets Environment Task Force – Following its packed schedule last week that featured the first ever FERC-NARUC, national association representing State utility regulators also established a new task force that will implement educational opportunities and interact with federal agencies on the implementation of environmental rulemakings.  NARUC’s Task Force on Environmental Regulation and Generation consists of 10 State commissioners appointed by NARUC President David Wright of South Carolina. The members represent the most relevant NARUC committees—Consumer Affairs, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, and Water–and its different regions.  The group, chaired by Commissioner Jim Gardner of Kentucky, will lead NARUC’s efforts to educate its membership about Environmental Protection Agency rulemakings. The Task Force will also work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as both organizations plan future joint meetings through the FERC-NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment.  Aside from Commissioner Gardner, the Task Force will feature John W. Betkoski of Connecticut; Kari A.E. Bennett of Indiana; Ted Boyer of Utah; Lisa Edgar of Florida; Joshua Epel of Colorado; David Littell of Maine; Donna Nelson of Texas; Cheryl Roberto of Ohio; and Doug Scott of Illinois.

NARUC President Talks EPA Rules on EE TV – Speaking of NARUC, during today’s E&E TV OnPoint broadcast, NARUC chair David Wright discusses the lack of clarity and concern surrounding EPA’s air pollution standards. He explains how EPA and NARUC are working together to educate regulators on the new rules.

Loan Guarantee Report Makes Recommendations – As expected, late Friday afternoon, the Administration received the Allison Loan Guarantee report focused on the Energy Department’s much-criticized loan guarantee program.  The report said DOE relies on too many consultants and committees for managing its loans and needs to beef up its management.  It also recommended that the government maintain its leverage when a company seeks to change the rules of the game in a bid to tap money tied to performance goals as happened with Solyndra when the company renegotiated some terms.  If implemented, Allison’s recommendations would prompt subtle changes that could make it harder for loan recipients like Fisker Automotive to negotiate better terms when they run into trouble trying to make the leap from drawing board to marketplace.  He also criticized the Energy Department’s ability to protect taxpayers, pushing incentive programs toward tax breaks rather than direct support.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718), a former DOE senior Counsel who worked on the loan guarantee program, said it seems clear the report will accomplish one of the White House’s objectives by allowing them to adopt many of the report’s recommendations and have a good talking point to say they have “learned lessons” from Solyndra and have taken steps to protect taxpayers.   Indeed, many of the recommendations in the report appear to make rational sense: a change in DOE’s focus from evaluating and approving applications to long-term monitoring and management of the portfolio, clearer guidance on “reasonable prospect of repayment,” more effective external oversight, etc.    Salo says two things will likely rankle critics of the program: (1) Allison is careful not to perform a post-mortem or place blame for Solyndra and Beacon; and (2) Allison’s notes make clear that he may not have been given full access to data about existing/ongoing projects (which could compromise his risk analysis).   One final note is that his conclusions on the LGP portfolio are not surprising—i.e. it seems pretty clear that the greatest taxpayer risk is in what he terms the “non-utility” linked loans. 

PA Approves Shale Gas Fee – The Pennsylvania state legislature gave final passage Wednesday to a bill to assess “impact fees” on shale gas wells in the state. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is expected to sign it into law soon.  The legislation was modeled from proposals we wrote about last fall, is generally in-line with our expectations, and has industry support.  It authorizes the imposition of a per-well fee to compensate

counties for the impact of production activity on local infrastructure and environmental conservation.  The new fees raise costs for Pennsylvania Marcellus drillers, but opponents of gas driller say it is not large enough and removes local control.  In addition, with natural gas prices at their lowest since 1992, the new law adjusts the tax depending on market conditions, the age of each well and, from 2013, the rate of inflation. Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Kathy Klaber said: “The legislation, while not perfect, provides the industry greater certainty to operate across Pennsylvania and takes a balanced approach to further strengthening the Commonwealth’s forward-leaning health, environmental, and safety regulations.  Without question, it will further increase costs, in terms of both time and resources.”

FrackNation to Counter Gasland – Speaking of NatGas, the anti-Gasland movie now seems to be moving forward.  Controversial filmmaker Phelim McAleer, has launched an effort to produce a new documentary, titled “FrackNation.”  The project will explore the implications of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process that involves the high-pressure injection of undisclosed chemicals into rocks containing oil or natural gas. They argue that media portrayals of the issue have been largely “exaggerated hyperbole” that ignore the millions of people whose lives have been “positively transformed” by the industry.  The film, which is also seeking donations to finish production, will feature interviews with farmers and local landowners in New York and Pennsylvania, as well as residents in Warsaw, Poland.

Beacon Power Finds Buyer – Controversial flywheel energy storage developer Beacon Power who went bankrupt after getting Loan Guarantees was acquired by Rockland Capital, a leading private equity firm focused on energy-related investments.  Rockland, represented by a team of folks here at Bracewell, will acquire Beacon Power Corporation’s 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York, and most of the other assets of the Company.  Rockland Capital was the successful acquirer among several leading energy and technology firms that vied for the opportunity following Beacon’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on October 30, 2011.  Rockland will purchase substantially all assets of Beacon Power and its Stephentown subsidiary, for a combination of cash and a promissory note totaling $30.5 million, along with additional guarantees and funding obligations to DOE of $6.6 million. Rockland’s purchase includes all assets of the Company’s 20 MW flywheel regulation plant in Stephentown; all assets in Beacon’s Tyngsboro headquarters including the intellectual property, inventory, spare parts, and equipment; assumption of an amended property lease in Tyngsboro to enable continuing operations; and many of the contracts associated with operation of the business.  Rockland also intends to provide the necessary equity capital to develop a second 20 MW flywheel regulation plant in Pennsylvania. In addition to approval by the bankruptcy court, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must approve the sale of the Stephentown assets.

Oxfam Protests SEC – Oxfam America held a protest Friday in front of the Securities and Exchange Commission urging the commission to finalize a rule under the Dodd-Frank Act requiring oil, gas and mining firms to disclose what they pay the U.S. and foreign governments to commercially develop natural resources. Oxfam and others are also planning a six-figure ad buy starting Monday, with Web ads in The Washington Post, POLITICO, The Huffington Post and The Hill and print ads in The Wall Street Journal.  Should you or one of your colleagues that is an SEC specialist be covering this, Paul Maco (202-828-5821) in our DC office is a former SEC official who follows the enforcement and regulatory issues very closely and would be happy to provide you background, context and comment on the issue.

NJ Report Wrong on Wind – How absurd is it to believe that a six-turbine, pilot offshore wind project could cost nearly 30,000 jobs?  It is ridiculous, but that is what the consultants to the NJ Rate Counsel concluded late last week on the Fishermen’s Energy’s initial offshore wind project which is about to begin construction and likely be the country’s first constructed project.   The report by David E. Dismukes, associate director of Louisiana State University’s Center for Energy Studies and consultant with Acadian Consulting Group, warned that the six-turbine project would lead to the state losing $946.1 million in economic activity over the 20-year contract, including 29,661 jobs.  Dismukes based that estimate on his belief that companies would leave the state based on higher energy costs….Seriously, over a six-turbine pilot project?  Our friend Chris Wissemann, the new CEO of Fishermen’s Energy, questioned the report, calling it “humorously misleading.” He said that the findings were rife with basic mistakes.  Wissemann said they’re confident that when all facts are on the table, the project will be beneficial for New Jersey to pursue, saying the report improperly discounted most environmental, economic and other benefits.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Dominion CEO to Discuss Sustainable Energy Security – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program will Host a speech today at 12:30 p.m. by Thomas Farrell, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Resources, who will discuss renewing America’s focus on a secure, sustainable energy future.

MWCOG to Look at Local Energy Innovation – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will hold their Leadership Symposium today at 3;00 p.m. focusing on 21st Century local energy innovation.  Cities and counties across the country are leading innovative initiatives to promote local investment in clean energy projects.  Presenters will detail the processes they are leading, and show various approaches local governments are leading to advance energy innovation and create jobs.  Speakers include Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette and Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a former local County Exec, among others.

Gray to Address NatGas Roundtable –The Natural Gas Roundtable will hold its monthly lunch at the University Club tomorrow at Noon, featuring guest speaker C. Boyden Gray.   Gray is the former Ambassador to the European Union (2006-2007) and former Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Diplomacy (2008-2009). He also served as former Special Envoy for European Union Affairs (2008-2009) and as White House Counsel in the administration of President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), will discuss natural gas and its superior fuel qualities that improve the economy and the environment.   

MD Gov to Testify on Offshore Wind Legislation – Governor Martin O’Malley will testify on Maryland State House and Senate Committees tomorrow on his offshore wind energy legislation.   It will be the first time the governor’s proposal will be discussed in detail.   He will be joined at the witness table by former Iowa Governor Chet Culver who argues that In Iowa, they’ve shown the nation and the world what is possible when we’re willing to explore and discover this new renewable energy frontier.  Culver adds 30-plus years of good public policy aimed at “changing” the way we produce, consume, and – most importantly – “conserve” energy, means now, Iowa is an “energy rich” state that now exports energy and creates jobs.  Culver says he sees the same potential for Maryland because of the opportunities that offshore wind presents.  A whole slate of others will also testify about the legislation including AWC President Bob Mitchell.

NY Summit to Look at Sustainable Growth – More than 400 top CEOs and senior business leaders from the world’s major corporations along with key policymakers will gather in New York tomorrow through Thursday to participate in the “Business Perspective on Sustainable Growth: Preparing for Rio+20” Summit. KPMG International is hosting the event, in cooperation with the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, this Summit will discuss sustainability challenges and solutions, and provide a strong business voice and key recommendations to the upcoming Rio+20 conference, taking place in June in Brazil.  The Summit’s panels and discussions on business sustainability issues will be led by 50 top CEOs and prominent business and policy voices including: Alstom, the European Climate Action Commission, Fonterra Group, General Motors, International Finance Corporation, KPMG, Novozymes, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Philips Electronics North America, Shell, Tetra Pak, Unilever and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  Our friend Kate Ling (kling@outreachstrategies.com, 202-507-4843), formerly on Greenwire fame is a contact for more information.

Vilsack to Discuss Farm Bill, Rural America – The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will convene a hearing Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to examine policies that make investments in jobs and opportunities for farmers and rural businesses through new markets, entrepreneurship, regional strategies and energy innovation.   Witnesses will include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Wind Forum to Look at Workforce Development – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative will continue its series of monthly webinars on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.   The next webinar on “Recent Workforce Development Activities” will provide a review of some of the outcomes of DOE’s recent workforce development projects that focused on creating educational opportunities to prepare students across the country for jobs in the wind energy industry.

Press Club to Host Newsmaker on Solar Featuring Former CO Gov – The National Press Club will hold a Newsmaker on that I am hosting Thursday morning that will focus on solar energy and efforts by Western States to expand its implementation.  Former Governor Bill Ritter, Former Arizona Commissioner Kris Mayes and Nevada Public Utility Commission Tim Hay will address the issue.  They are calling on Members of Congress and the Interior Department to support efforts that will create jobs in their communities and expedite the development of clean energy in a responsible manner that protects public lands and wildlife while avoiding conflict that leads to delays and increased costs. The event will focus on various facets of renewable energy and transmission planning in the West, and the importance of developing and implementing a renewable energy policies that provide consistency, stability and predictability for developers, conservation groups, communities and others with a stake in America’s clean energy future. 

Forum to Discuss Jobs, Energy – OurEnergyPolicy.org will host a forum at Noon on Thursday in the Capitol Visitors Center’s Congressional Meeting Room South to discuss jobs, the energy sector and government.  Expert panelists include AEI’s Ken Green, Jigar Shah of the Carbon War Room and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Senate Indian Affairs to Look at Energy Development – The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. to examine energy development in Indian country.

Chamber to Host Yergin Speech – The US Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will host an afternoon speech on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin, Ph.D. to discuss his new best-seller: “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.”

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Forum to Discuss Rio+20 – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, February 22nd at 3:00 p.m.  at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on the upcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.  A panel will discuss the developing agenda that includes DOE’s David Sandalow, Robert Engelman of the Worldwatch Institute and Reid Detchon of the United Nations Foundation.

Hoffman to Speak on DOE Role at Forum – ICF International will continue its Energy Breakfast series with a forum on Thursday February 23rd featuring DOE’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman who will focus on the agency’s role in fostering a cleaner energy future and in meeting both our long-term energy challenges and our near-term energy needs.  DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is conducting key work in expanding our electric transmission resources (both within and across our borders); enhancing our physical and cyber system security in the energy industry; and promoting the technological innovation that will meet our energy requirements in a digital age.

WCEE Forum to Look at Enviro Justice – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the Catholic University School of Law will hold a forum on Thursday, February 23rd at 5:00 p.m. at National Press Club on how environmental justice principles can be effectively advanced and applied in weak economic times.  Environmental justice is a broad concept, generally accepted to mean that we seek a society where all people – regardless of race, color, national origin, or income – are protected from environmental and health hazards, are meaningfully involved in the regulatory and decision-making process, and that no subpopulation bears a disproportionate share of environmental risks and burdens. When the economy is strong, environmental controls are more likely to be funded and community requests and needs are more likely to be considered by corporations, developers, and governments. Similarly, in a robust economy, the government and private sectors are more likely to support in programs to support community participation and education.  Given today’s strained economy – both domestically and abroad – this expert panel will hold a substantive and productive conversation on critical and important issues related to environmental justice. The speakers will touch on the impacts of the economic downturn on low-income and minority communities in the United States and in developing nations; steps the U.S. federal government is taking to advance environmental justice domestically; and important private sector initiatives.  The panel will feature EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton, Susan Parker Bodine of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, WRI’s Carole Excell, Daria Neal of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and Alexandra Dunn of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law

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.

Forum to Look at Bioenergy, Climate – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy & Environment Club Speaker Series will host a forum on Thursday, February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. featuring Jae Edmonds.  Edmonds,  a Chief Scientists and Laboratory Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National laboratory’s (PNNL) Joint Global Change Research Institute, will address bioenergy as a potential solution to climate change

Forum to Look at Benefits, Challenges of Synthetic Biology – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on the emerging risks of synthetic biology on Tuesday February 28 at 6:00 p.m.  at the George Washington University Law School’s Environmental Law Program.  The event, in the Burns Building, brings together students and professionals in risk, law, policy, environmental management, energy, regulation, biotechnology and public policy to learn about synthetic biology and the diversity of issues associated with its development, governance, and application.  Speaker include Theresa Good of the National Science Foundation, Todd Kuiken of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Eric Hoffman of Friends of the Earth, Jennifer Kuzma of the University of Minnesota and Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell.  Synthetic biology combines principles of engineering and information technology to create biological components and systems that do not exist in nature and to re-engineer existing ones from scratch. However, as with any emerging technological innovation, it poses some unique policy and governance challenges.

Bracewell to Host Oil, Gas Symposium – Bracewell & Giuliani’s Energy Regulatory Team is hosting the Oil & Gas Regulatory Symposium on March 1st in Houston focused on regulatory issues. This invitation only event will bring together oil and gas executives and general counsel to discuss the most pressing regulatory issues facing energy companies today. Sessions will be led by industry experts and Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys on Strategies for implementing the CFTC’s Dodd-Frank requirements; Emerging trends in the development of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure; Commercial and regulatory challenges associated with exporting domestic gas; Federal and local regulatory hurdles for hydraulic fracturing; New requirements associated with offshore energy development; and other breaking topics.

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.

WCEE Honors NOAA Head as Woman of Year – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold its annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on March 8th at the Capitol Hill.  The groups will honor NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco as its 2012 WCEE Woman of the Year.

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 February 6

Friends,

After the weekend, I am actually glad to be back in the office to rest today.   Wow…I still am feeling the hangover from the 25 Old Bay chicken wings  I put away last night (one for every mile I rode on my bike Sunday morning) while watching the game.  And it was an excellent game, living up to the “Super” moniker.   With the Giants win, it just goes to show how a hot team can run the table.  Most importantly, a great 3rd down sack by the Patriots and the ensuing field goal from Lawrence Tynes in the waning seconds of the 3rd Quarter secured a money pot for me, having the numbers 7 & 5. 

I know you all are most interested in Friday’s Tool concert update.  It was an excellent road trip, great show and Hannah/Adam rocked all the songs (minus the swear/inappropriate words) in the 8th row getting high-fives from the Toolheads around us.  Interestingly, they didn’t want people taking picts and videos, so when I saw a photog with some serious equipment shooting in the aisle next to us, I assumed she was from the local paper.  With my PR instincts kicking in, I suggested to Adam that he go talk to her and get her to take his pict as the youngest Toolhead in the front rows.  Turns out, the girl was Tool Drummer Danny Carey’s girlfriend who was shooting Band picts.  After Adam charmed her, she went backstage and returned with a drumstick from Carey.   My live accounts are on twitter @FrankTalk19 (I am such the new media maven) and some awesome “bootleg” picts are posted on my Facebook page.

In between the two events, we had the usual handful of lacrosse, wrestling, field hockey, so you can understand my exhaustion.  But anyway, back to the action this week.  Today, the Colorado Energy Summit gets some Presidential visitors when Rick Santorum drops in, while the House Energy takes up the manufacturing/energy cause at a forum at 3:00 p.m.

The EPA/air rules/reliability issue is in the spotlight all week starting today with the annual NARUC winter meetings, a FERC Forum on Reliability and the DOE/NARUC National Electricity Forum.   Then on Wednesday, the House Energy Committee tackles the EPA’s mercury rule and its costs to consumers.

There is also action on legislation this week on Keystone (Wednesday) directing FERC to approve the pipeline within 30 days.  As several folks have reported, look for Democrats to continue their push of another one of the “I-propose-these-things-because-they-sound-good,-but-show-I-don’t-understand-how-oil/gasoline-markets-work” efforts that prevents Canadian oil and resulting refined gasoline from being exported.  The House Science Committee (tomorrow) will also mark and vote on legislation that would require U.S. EPA to commission a study of the effects of blending 15% ethanol in gasoline.

Tomorrow, our friends at the League of Conservation Voters release their 2011 scorecard.  As usual in an election year, expect the report to be overtly political with energy Democrats getting as much heat as the usually-targeted Republicans.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like LCV has gotten way more overtly activist since former PIRG leader Gene Karpinski took it over.  There are some who are saying the same for Sierra Club as well in the transition to Michael Brune from Carl Pope.

Finally, our friends at POLITICO say the White House-ordered DOE critique of the loan guarantee programs is expected to also be out this week.  Taking bets on the “over/under” for mentions of Solyndra which currently according to Vegas Bookmakers is 24.  (I think that is way too high)  As for timing, my guess is late in the week, maybe Friday, to then be rolled over by the next big announcement, which is…Next Monday when the President is expected to release his FY2013 Budget.  As with any Presidential budget, it will likely not see much real action other than to outline his election year priorities.  Look for lots of stuff that will have no chance of passing and sounds many political/populist themes.   We have a bunch of issues area experts that I will forward next week, but please call ahead if you need assistance.

Best,

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

IN THE NEWS

Interior Approves Wind Energy Areas Step – The Department of the Interior has cleared an important environmental review, allowing Interior to move forward with the process for wind energy lease sales off Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware.  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy Beaudreau joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to announce that BOEM’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment found that there would be no significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts from issuing wind energy leases in designated Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas off the mid-Atlantic Coast. BOEM also published Calls for Information and Nominations for Maryland and Virginia to solicit lease nominations from industry and request public comments regarding site conditions, resources and multiple uses of the Wind Energy Areas.  In November 2010, Secretary Salazar launched the “Smart from the Start” wind energy initiative for the Atlantic OCS to facilitate the siting, leasing and construction of new projects. A critical piece of “Smart from the Start” included the identification of Wind Energy Areas, done in consultation with BOEM’s intergovernmental renewable energy task forces and other federal agencies, and the development of the environmental assessment being announced today to simplify the leasing process.

OSW Coalition’s Lanard Says Move is Important Step – Jim Lanard, President, Offshore Wind Development Coalition said the Salazar’s move is a critical step in the establishment of the U.S. offshore wind industry, which will create thousands of high skilled jobs and allow for billions of dollars in investment.  Lanard says the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has the potential to reduce the permitting time line for offshore wind farms by as much as two years, as compared to a requirement that the agency prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for these WEAs, which would require two years of studies and government reviews.  It also enables the Department to issue leases to qualified developers, who would then be able to assess a specific site’s potential to host an offshore wind farm and determine the best engineering and design requirements.  Lanard: “The Offshore Wind Development Coalition is encouraged by the results of environmental and wildlife studies at European offshore wind farms, which first became operational in 1991, and we hope to quickly catch up with the European offshore wind industry. Offshore wind energy provides clean and emission-free renewable energy and does so at stable prices, since the fuel for these projects – the wind – is free.”  Notwithstanding the issuance of a FONSI for offshore wind leases, Lanard says developers will still be required to complete a comprehensive, project-specific EIS for any wind farm in federal waters. That EIS process will ensure that all environmental, historical, cultural, and other potential impacts are fully evaluated and shared with the public. This will happen before developers are given final approval to begin construction.

IG: Improve Record-Keeping on Mining Permits – A new report from its Inspector General says the EPA needs to improve its record-keeping efforts for Section 404 Clean Water Act permits.  The report is an update to a November report.  The purpose of this EPA IG-initiated follow-up review was to determine whether EPA Regions 3, 4, and 5 maintain records in accordance with the Federal Records Act for Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit notification reviews for surface coal mining. During site visits throughout the investigation, the EPA Inspector General observed the recordkeeping deficiencies that warranted this review.  The IG’s report notes, “Because staff does not consistently maintain records of reviews that did not result in EPA comment letters, it is difficult to discern whether regional staff reviewed a notification and did not comment on it, or did not review it at all. In an earlier, similar review, the Government Accountability Office noted that it, too, was unable to evaluate the extent to which EPA Region 3 and the Corps coordinated on 28 permit applications because of limited and varied documentation.”   The permits are critical for surface coal mining operations and have been the key item of debate the agency has used to increase scrutiny of water pollution from mountaintop mining in central Appalachia.

Norris Nominated for Another FERC Term – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate FERC Commissioner John Norris from another term at FERC, a position he has held since December 2009.  Over the past 10 years, Mr. Norris has also been involved in numerous local, regional, and national energy related boards and organizations.  Before his appointment to FERC, he was Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Norris served as Chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB).   Prior to joining IUB, he served as Chief of Staff and Energy Advisor to Governor Tom Vilsack.  Recently, the President nominated North Dakota PSC Chair Tony Clark to fill the position of former Republican Commissioner Marc Spitzer, who was appointed by George W. Bush.  The five-member FERC currently has two Democrats — Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur — and one Republican commissioner, Philip Moeller.

CARB Requires EVs, Hybrids – Despite on-going court battles over other parts of its clean fuels/cars agenda, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously passed a new effort to put more electric and hybrid cars on the road. According to the new rules, one in seven new cars in California will be a zero emissions or plug-in hybrid car by 2025. In addition, emission standards for all new cars sold in California were strengthened, making them the toughest in the nation. By placing 1.4 million alternative fuel cars on the road, CARB board members expect the rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent and smog by 75 percent.  Cost is expected to increase vehicle by more than $2,000 per vehicle, but proponents say the cost will be made up in fuel savings. It is reminiscent though of a previous EV mandate which ended in disaster.  AAM opposes the effort saying mandates like this create a disconnect in the marketplace because while they require automakers are mandated to build products, consumers are not mandated to buy them, and will often choose other less “green” options. 

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

House Energy to Hold Manufacturing Summit – The House Energy and Commerce holds a forum on manufacturing and the economy today at 3:00 p.m.  The event will feature Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers, Intel’s Bill Holt, Mike Baker of the Kentucky Aluminum Network, Sam Harwell of Big Time Toys and former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Susan Dudley.  KY Rep. Brett Guthrie hosts the next installment of the Jobs and Innovation Forum Series with a focus on American manufacturing. The United States currently has the world’s largest manufacturing economy, but various regulations and policies are threatening this vital sector.  You can watch the event live on the Committee website.

NARUC Winter Meetings Set for DC – Today through Wednesday, 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 Wednesday/Thursday’s 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 tomorrow 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 today through Thursday to look at universities, suppliers, consulting firms and the industry’s top professionals, sharing innovative ideas and experiences in advancing clean district energy.

ACC to Launch National Energy Campaign – The American Chemistry Council will roll out its new national campaign “From Chemistry to Energy” tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill in H-137, The Capitol.  Speakers will include ACC President Cal Dooley, Senate Energy Committee member Chris Coons (D-DE), House Energy subpanel Chair Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), LyondellBasell CEO Jim Gallogly and DuPont’s Gary Spitzer.

AU to Hold Conference on Israel Green Tech Issues – American University will host a conference tomorrow on Israel’s effort to have a green economy.  From solar-powered water heaters to hydrogen-fueled cars, Israel’s small physical size is no indicator of the big impact it has made as an innovator in green technology.  As Israel is set to become the world’s first nation to host a national electric car grid, join Israeli greentech entrepreneurs and industry experts to learn why the tiny country of Israel has grown to be a global leader in Green technology. Keynote address by Michael Granoff of Better Place, the electric vehicle company.  The Conference will highlight new thinking on green technologies and ecosystems, unique Israeli success in greentech and special regional/political issues.

Energy Innovation, Authors Focus of Panel – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. focused on energy innovation and  speeding up the introduction of new technologies and business models and accelerate their deployment on a massive scale.  Energy innovation offers the best chance for solving the urgent and interrelated problems of worldwide insecurity over energy supplies, rapidly growing energy demand, and climate change. But if we are to achieve a timely transition to reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy, the U.S. energy innovation system must be significantly improved. Creating an innovation system to produce sustained and timely advances across a range of energy technologies poses is especially challenging in this era of budget cuts and fiscal austerity.   The conversation will explore a new book, “Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System,” and highlight ways to advance innovative technologies amidst challenging fiscal and political times.  Authors Richard K. Lester of MIT and David M. Hart of George Mason will be moderated by David Garman, Former Under Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.

Shark Week Producer to Highlight New Season – Tomorrow, 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.

House Energy Tackles Mercury Rule Costs – The House Energy and Commerce will hold hearing on Wednesday looking at EPA’s mercury standard for power plants. EPA’s Gina McCarthy will testify as will NERA’s Ann Smith, Julie Goodman of Harvard’s School of Public Health, Ralph Roberson of RMB Consulting, Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute  and Rev. Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network.  Other witnesses include Harrison Tsosie from the Navajo Nation and Darren MacDonald of Gerdau Long Steel North America.

Brookings Hosts Webinar of Keystone – The Brookings Institute is hosting a live web chat with Charles Ebinger (Director of Brookings’ Energy Security Initiative), moderated by Emily Howell of POLITICO Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the political future and impacts of the Keystone pipeline.

API Holds NatGas Drilling Workshops – API continues its series of hydraulic fracturing workshops in regions where shale energy is being developed.  This week, the meetings will be in Annapolis, MD and Trenton, NJ.  While both states have limited drilling opportunities, it has become a hot potato in both.  Recently, New Jersey passed a one-year moratorium after Gov. Christies vetoed a permanent ban on natural gas drilling.  This week’s meetings follow similar sessions in Little Rock and Raleigh, NC last week.  Shale industry activity supports more than 600,000 jobs and nearly 70% of our domestic natural gas development is due to the latest technologies applied by hydraulic fracturing. These contributions to American job grown and the economy are matched by the oil and natural gas industry’s work on standards providing environmentally sound practices for domestic onshore oil and gas production operations, including reclamation guidelines and good neighbor policies.   Future Workshops are planned in Charleston, W.Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Lansing, Mich.; Albany, N.Y.; Fort Worth, Texas; Oklahoma City; San Antonio; Denver; Bismarck, N.D.; Billings, Mont.; and Cheyenne, Wyo. 

FutureGen Focus on USEA Panel – The US Energy Association will host a panel Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at oxy-coal combustion technology and the status of FutureGen.  For more than a decade, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Air Liquide have been developing the oxy-combustion technology. Oxy-combustion involves the use of oxygen mixed with recycled flue gas to combust coal and produce a highly concentrated CO2 stream at the outlet of the boiler. Flue gas form the oxy-combustion boiler is treated in a conventional air quality control system to remove the majority of the contaminants followed by a direct contact cooler to remove water vapor produced in the combustion process. The flue gas is further treated in the Compression and Purification unit to remove the final traces of moisture, NOx, SOx and mercury. Pilot testing has shown that greater than 90% capture of the CO2 produced in the combustion process should be possible.  This technology was selected by DOE in the fall of 2010 for a large scale field test as part of the FutureGen 2.0 project in Illinois that will be the largest integrated CO2 capture and permanent geologic storage project in the world.  Steve Moorman with Babcock & Wilcox provides an overview of oxy-coal combustion technology and the status of the FutureGen project.

Annual National Electricity Forum to Feature Chu, Utility CEOs, Others – The National Electricity Forum will be held Wednesday and Thursday 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 reviewing the Blue Ribbon Commission’s Report to the Secretary of Energy.  Witnesses will include BRC co-Chair and  former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Richard Meserve and Pete Lyons, the Energy Department’s assistant secretary of Nuclear 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 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.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

President’s Budget is Released – The President is expected to release his budget on February 13th.  As with any Presidential budget, it will likely not see much real action other than to outline his election year priorities.  Look for lots of stuff that will have no chance of passing and sounds lots of political/populist themes.

MWCOG to Look at Local Energy Innovation – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will hold their Leadership Symposium next Monday focusing on 21st Century local energy innovation.  Cities and counties across the country are leading innovative initiatives to promote local investment in clean energy projects.  Presenters will detail the processes they are leading, and show various approaches local governments are leading to advance energy innovation and create jobs.  Speakers include Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette and Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a former local County Exec, among others.

Gray to Address NatGas Roundtable –The Natural Gas Roundtable will hold its monthly lunch at the University Club on Tuesday February 14th at Noon, featuring guest speaker C. Boyden Gray.   Gray is the former Ambassador to the European Union (2006-2007) and former Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Diplomacy (2008-2009). He also served as former Special Envoy for European Union Affairs (2008-2009) and as White House Counsel in the administration of President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), will discuss natural gas and its superior fuel qualities that improve the economy and the environment.   

MD Gov to Testify on Offshore Wind Legislation – Governor Martin O’Malley will testify on Maryland State House and Senate Committees on February 14th on his offshore wind energy legislation.   It will be the first time the governor’s proposal will be discussed in detail. 

NY Summit to Look at Sustainable Growth – More than 400 top CEOs and senior business leaders from the world’s major corporations along with key policymakers will gather in New York on Tuesday through Thursday, February 14 – 16 to  participate in the “Business Perspective on Sustainable Growth: Preparing for Rio+20” Summit. KPMG International is hosting the event, in cooperation with the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, this Summit will discuss sustainability challenges and solutions, and provide a strong business voice and key recommendations to the upcoming Rio+20 conference, taking place in June in Brazil.  The Summit’s panels and discussions on business sustainability issues will be led by 50 top CEOs and prominent business and policy voices including: Alstom, the European Climate Action Commission, Fonterra Group, General Motors, International Finance Corporation, KPMG, Novozymes, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Philips Electronics North America, Shell, Tetra Pak, Unilever and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  Our friend Kate Ling (kling@outreachstrategies.com, 202-507-4843), formerly on Greenwire fame is a contact for more information.

Wind Forum to Look at Workforce Development – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative will continue its series of monthly webinars on Wednesday, February 15the 3:00 p.m.   The next webinar on “Recent Workforce Development Activities” will provide a review of some of the outcomes of DOE’s recent workforce development projects that focused on creating educational opportunities to prepare students across the country for jobs in the wind energy industry.

House Resources to Tackle Interior Budget – The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 15th at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Department of the Interior Spending and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal.

Senate Energy to Look at FY2013 Budget – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Thursday, February 16th at 9:30 a.m. to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2013 for the Department of Energy.

Press Club to Host Newsmaker on Solar Featuring Former CO Gov – The National Press Club will hold a Newsmaker on Thursday morning February 16th that will focus on solar energy and efforts by Western States to expand its implementation.  Former Governor Bill Ritter, Former Arizona Commissioner Kris Mayes and Nevada Public Utility Commission Tim Hay will address the issue.  They are calling on Members of Congress and the Interior Department to support efforts that will create jobs in their communities and expedite the development of clean energy in a responsible manner that protects public lands and wildlife while avoiding conflict that leads to delays and increased costs. The event will focus on various facets of renewable energy and transmission planning in the West, and the importance of developing and implementing a renewable energy policies that provide consistency, stability and predictability for developers, conservation groups, communities and others with a stake in America’s clean energy future. 

Forum to Discuss Jobs, Energy – OurEnergyPolicy.org will host a forum at Noon on Thursday, February 16th in the Capitol Visitors Center’s  Congressional Meeting Room South to discuss jobs, the energy sector and government.  Expert panelists include AEI’s Ken Green, Jigar Shah of the Carbon War Room and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

House Appropriation Interior Panel to Host Salazar – On Thursday, February 16th at 1:30 p.m., the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a Budget Hearing on the Department of the Interior FY’13 budget request.   Witnesses will include Secretary Salazar, Deputy Secretary David Hayes and Pamela Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary – Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition.

Senate Indian Affairs to Look at Energy Development – The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, February 16th at 2:15 p.m. to examine energy development in Indian country.

Hoffman to Speak on DOE Role at Forum – ICF International will continue its Energy Breakfast series with a forum on Thursday  February 23rd featuring DOE’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman who will focus on the agency’s role in fostering a cleaner energy future and in meeting both our long-term energy challenges and our near-term energy needs.  DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is conducting key work in expanding our electric transmission resources (both within and across our borders); enhancing our physical and cyber system security in the energy industry; and promoting the technological innovation that will meet our energy requirements in a digital age.

WCEE Forum to Look at Enviro Justice – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the Catholic University School of Law will hold a forum on Thursday, February 23rd at 5:00 p.m. at National Press Club on how environmental justice principles can be effectively advanced and applied in weak economic times.  Environmental justice is a broad concept, generally accepted to mean that we seek a society where all people – regardless of race, color, national origin, or income – are protected from environmental and health hazards, are meaningfully involved in the regulatory and decision-making process, and that no subpopulation bears a disproportionate share of environmental risks and burdens. When the economy is strong, environmental controls are more likely to be funded and community requests and needs are more likely to be considered by corporations, developers, and governments. Similarly, in a robust economy, the government and private sectors are more likely to support in programs to support community participation and education.  Given today’s strained economy – both domestically and abroad – this expert panel will hold a substantive and productive conversation on critical and important issues related to environmental justice. The speakers will touch on the impacts of the economic downturn on low-income and minority communities in the United States and in developing nations; steps the U.S. federal government is taking to advance environmental justice domestically; and important private sector initiatives.  The panel will feature EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton, Susan Parker Bodine of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, WRI’s Carole Excell, Daria Neal of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and Alexandra Dunn of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law

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.

Forum to Look at Benefits, Challenges of Synthetic Biology – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on the emerging risks of synthetic biology on Tuesday February 28 at 6:00 p.m.  at the George Washington University Law School’s Environmental Law Program.  The event, in the Burns Building, brings together students and professionals in risk, law, policy, environmental management, energy, regulation, biotechnology and public policy to learn about synthetic biology and the diversity of issues associated with its development, governance, and application.  Speaker include Theresa Good of the National Science Foundation, Todd Kuiken of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Eric Hoffman of Friends of the Earth, Jennifer Kuzma of the University of Minnesota and Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell.  Synthetic biology combines principles of engineering and information technology to create biological components and systems that do not exist in nature and to re-engineer existing ones from scratch. However, as with any emerging technological innovation, it poses some unique policy and governance challenges.

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.

WCEE Honors NOAA Head as Woman of Year – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold its annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on March 8th at the Capitol Hill.  The groups will honor NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco as its 2012 WCEE Woman of the Year.

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 January 30

Friends,

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

IN THE NEWS

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.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

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.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

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.