Energy Update: Week of 10/16/17

Friends,

I am still stunned over the interesting and exciting games in the MLB playoffs over the past week.  There has been some really great games.  And now, college basketball is underway with Midnight Madness across the country occurring over the weekend.

Last week, among the big stories was the withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan.  Our colleague Jeff Holmstead did a couple of great explainers on the CPP withdrawal.  First, he sat down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep for Morning Edition.  He also did a longer, more detailed discussion on the Bracewell podcast, The Lobby Shop, with Josh Zive.  You can listen to Jeff’s dulcet tones on NPR here and on The Lobby Shop here on iTunes and SoundCloud.  (You can sign up to receive it every week in your podcast app.)

This week, there are two events that everyone is keeping an eye on: 1) Tomorrow’s Grassley/Pruitt meeting on biofuels issues and 2) an EPA briefing today on changes to sue/settle.  On Grassley, we’ve seen a flurry of activity, including a letter from PA Senators on risk to NE refineries, another letter from more Senators on biofuels on lowering the RVO, a new RFA paper (which surprising thinks ethanol is not the problem) and pushback from the small “mom-and-pop” retailers who argue the program is unfairly slanted toward large retailers.  As for “sue/settle”, it is an issue our friends at the US Chamber have raised major concerns about with a recent report in September.  Our experts are also ready to help.

Starting tomorrow in Congress, the Senate Approps panel is moving the Interior/EPA budget with full Committee on Thursday.  We expect committee votes on in Senate Environment on EPA nominees, as well as NRC’s Jan Baran Wednesday morning.

Other events include AGA hosting a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The ELI annual awards dinner and policy forums Wednesday as well as former DOE Sect Moniz visiting with the Bipartisan Policy Center on nuclear. Finally on Thursday, CSIS hosts forum on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation featuring our friends Jim Connaughton, former Rep. Phil Sharp and former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Here is a great homecoming photo from Olivia’s weekend… And she scored twice during the Friday Night Lights 4-2 field hockey victory, including the game winner.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As the first stewards of the environment, U.S. farmers have invested in solar energy to diversify their sources of power and reduce their impacts. They are joining a wide range of other U.S. industries who are opposed to the U.S. government intervening in the energy market to artificially raise the cost of using solar power.  It’s clear that any tariffs or price floors to protect two solar companies will cause widespread damage to many sectors of the U.S. economy.”

ETAC spokesperson Paul Nathanson on Ag Groups Opposed Solar Tariff.

“Agriculture is most prevalent in rural areas that have high energy cost or limited grid access; solar adoption has been vital to keeping many family farms competitive in this world market along with the jobs that these small communities depend upon. Tariffs would create a massive setback in this progress and potentially take away the opportunity for farmers to invest in solar.”

Roger Isom, President and CEO of California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, emphasized the acute strain this proposed tariffs would put on rural areas.

“The proposed tariffs and minimum prices would double the cost of imported solar cells and modules used in farming operations thus jeopardizing the financial viability of planned and future solar investments by citrus growers and packers.”

Joel Nelson, President of California Citrus Mutual.

 

IN THE NEWS

Ag Groups Oppose Solar Trade Tariffs – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) today highlighted a broad array of agricultural groups that are opposing the Section 201 solar tariff petition.  Six agricultural groups recently submitted letters to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) opposing remedies that would raise solar energy costs.  Agricultural groups that have submitted letters to the ITC include the Almond Alliance of California, California Citrus Mutual, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Poultry Federation, and Western Agricultural Processors Association.  Kelly Covello, President of the Almond Alliance of California wrote they are deeply concerned the petition’s proposed trade remedy “would be harmful by raising energy costs while eliminating economically viable means to comply with California’s strict carbon dioxide limits, water restrictions and renewable energy mandates.”  These groups join other manufacturers, energy utilities and local, state and federal government officials who are warning about the serious consequences of solar tariffs to the American economy and to the thousands of jobs that depend on solar investments.  A sample of the letters submitted to the ITC is attached and to learn more about ETAC and its mission, visit www.energytradeaction.org.

Harnett-White Named CEQ Nominee – The White House has appointed Kathleen Hartnett White, a former Texas regulator to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. My colleague Scott Segal said White’s distinguished career as both a state regulator and as an expert on national policy development combines analytical skills with the practical thinking required of a state regulator.  As a TCEQ commissioner, she was well known to the regulated and public interest communities.  Given the importance of Texas manufacturing and energy production to the economy of the entire nation, environmental regulation in Texas must address cutting-edge concerns thoroughly, competently and pragmatically.  Dr. White was at the forefront of that process.  Segal said some have focused on particular statements attributed to Dr. White regarding climate science.  The truth is that she has written on a broader spectrum of environmental issues and has typically supported policies that advance energy, environmental and economic priorities.  I am sure her confirmation hearing will offer opportunities to further clarify her views.

Segal: CEQ Already Working Hard – Segal added on last item on the CEQ to date. “Since the beginning of the Administration, CEQ staff has done a tremendous job advancing an agenda to bring more rationality to the regulatory and permitting process,” he said.  “CEQ staff has familiarized itself with some of the real, practical challenges presented by the National Environmental Policy Act.   Dr. White joins a team already undertaking a serious-minded and capable review of the federal government’s role in energy and environmental projects.”

TX Utility to Close Two More Coal Plants – Following last week’s announcement about its Monticello Plant, Vistra Energy said today that it will close two additional coal-fueled power plants in Central Texas: its two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and its two-unit Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County. In total, approximately 2,300 MW of nameplate power will be taken offline in early 2018.  The two plants are economically challenged in the competitive ERCOT market. Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors, have contributed to this decision.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wilson Center to Host Events on Resilience Week – The Wilson Center’s Global Sustainability and Resilience Program is hosting the 2017 Resilience Academy Capstone Conference this week in cooperation with the Munich Re Foundation, UN University-Institute for Environment and Human Security, and International Centre for Climate Change and Development. Among the event will be three public sessions of the Academy, covering the many ways in which resilience is vital for communities around the world.

JHU to Host Sustainable Energy Institute –Today at Noon, Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS launched its Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) to conduct policy analysis that will help governments universalize energy access at minimal environmental impact. Directed by Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, ISEP offers bold ideas, rigorous policy analysis, and sustained engagement with policymakers and other change agents.

AGA to Discuss Winter Heating Season Report – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The annual AGA Winter Outlook takes factors such as supply, demand, temperature, weather events and pipeline capacity and calculates how these factors may impact customer bills. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation. Chris McGill, vice president, Energy Analysis & Standards and Bruce McDowell, managing director, Energy Analysis & Standards, will make the presentations.

Wilson Forum to Look at Cities, Cars, Air – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on how cities are confronting the challenges of adapting a transportation system to new sustainability concerns. Simon Ng, an independent researcher formerly with Civic Exchange, will reflect on Los Angeles’ and Hong Kong’s quests for sustainable mobility and urban livability while also shedding light on the similar challenges faced by ever-growing Chinese megacities. Drawing on years of International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) engagement in the PRD lowering vehicular emissions, Zifei Yang will introduce the increasingly effective vehicle emission control programs that Shenzhen and other PRD cities have instituted.

Senate Approps Panel to Mark up Interior Budget – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will meet to markup the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.  Full Committee mark up on Thursday.

Norway Oil, Gas Minister at CSIS – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Lars Erik Aamot, Director General for Oil and Gas in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Aamot will discuss Norway’s experiences, current activities, and future opportunities in developing the oil and gas resources of the Norwegian Arctic. Former EIA head Adam Sieminski will moderate.  Aamot has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, primarily from various roles in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Since 2009, he has been the Director General for Oil and Gas in the Ministry.

National Bioenergy Day 2017 – The Department of Energy (DOE) will celebrate its 5th annual National Bioenergy Day on Wednesday to celebrate bioenergy, a form of renewable energy derived from biomass—organic material—that can be used to produce transportation fuels, products, heat, and electricity. This is an opportunity to showcase bioenergy facilities and the bioenergy supply chain around the United States.

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a conversation on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the vital role U.S. nuclear energy plays in achieving national security objectives. The conversation will highlight the key takeaways from The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler, a report issued by Sec. Moniz’s new Energy Futures Initiative.

USEA Hosts Energy Transition Outlook – The US Energy Assn will roll out the DNV GL Energy Transition Outlook on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Fourth Estate Room at the National Press Club.  The Outlook provides a balanced forecast of our energy future through to 2050 and draws on DNV GL’s independence and its broad involvement across the entire supply chain, spanning complex offshore infrastructure, onshore oil & gas installations, large-scale wind, solar and energy efficiency projects and the world’s most advanced electricity transmission and distribution grids. The report forecasts energy demand and supply globally, and in 10 world regions.

Press Club to Host Comms Summit – On Wednesday, the National Press Club will host its annual Communicators’ Summit at the Club’s First Amendment Lounge.  This year’s theme is “Content is King.” Leading experts will share insights on producing content suited to the unique strengths of different digital, online and social media channels, as well as emerging technologies. We’ll discuss the challenges of developing credible and compelling content at a time when trust in corporations, government, NGO’s and the media is being tested more than any time in a generation.  Speakers will include AARP’s Bill Walsh, AXIOS Editor Nicholas Johnston, Twitter‘s head of Global Public Policy Communications Emily Horne, Richard Levick, Scripps News Washington Bureau investigative correspondent Mark Greenblatt and several more.  The Luncheon Keynote speaker will be Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman.  Special kudos to our friend Tim Brown of GE Renewable who is helping put the program together.

ELI Hosts Annual Dinner, Forums – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual awards dinner honoring  Achim Steiner, Administrator for the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday at the Omni Shoreham in DC.  At 2:00 p.m., they will host a discussion about “cooperative federalism” and the need to ensure that environmental program administration reflects the significant expertise and experience state environmental agencies now have after decades of administrating environmental protection laws.  Panelists will include ECOS’s Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Chevron’s Richard DeSanti, BNSF’s John Lovenburg, Todd Parfitt of the Wyoming DEQ, C2ES’s Janet Peace and Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  They will also hold the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum on cooperative Federalism, featuring GE’s Neil Kemkar, Bob Martineau of the Tennessee DEC and several others.

JHU to Look at EVs – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on electric cars.  Speakers will address range, infrastructure, environmental impacts and other Issues.

CSIS to Look at Vehicle Issues – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are hosting a conference Thursday on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today.  Panels will include former Energy Committee Chair and RFF Head Phil Sharp, former Bush 43 CEQ chief Jim Connaughton and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, as well as former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Hydro, Climate Discussion Set – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Chemonics International hosts a forum on hydropower and climate risks.  The benefits of hydropower are especially salient for smaller-scale hydro, given its smaller environmental and social footprint. New financial instruments, such as green bonds and payments for water services, along with engagement from multilateral agencies also make smaller-scale hydropower investment more attractive and feasible. But what does a changing climate mean for hydropower? Molly Hellmuth, the focal point on water and Africa for ICF’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience team, will present.

DOE, NEI Host Nuclear Forum – The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute will host the Millennial Nuclear Caucus on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

Forum to Look at Storage, Micro Grids – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at EEI, Leaders in Energy, along with Resilient Virginia, will be sponsoring a forum on improving resilience through microgrids and battery storage.  The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is seen increasingly by public and private organizations as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in the age of intense hurricanes and cybersecurity threats.  Topics include: technology that supports the utility/microgrid interface, tools for developers to assess microgrid viability based on existing infrastructure and regulations, how local governments in the DMV are working with private companies to make microgrid development financially feasible, and how our regional Department of Defense installations are utilizing microgrids as part of their energy security systems. Speakers include EEI’s John Caldwell, USGBC’s Brendan Owens, Dan Ton of DOE’s Smart Grid R&D and Michael Yambrach, the Energy and Sustainability director in Montgomery County, MD.

Economists to Host Weather Hedge Specialist – The National Capitol Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host their October forum with Munich Re’s Edward Byrne on Friday at Carmines.  Ed Byrns has specialized in weather hedging for many years. His talk focuses on how the new world of big data is creating innovative weather risk products to manage business exposure.

This presentation is a journey from the past to the present and on to the future. Throughout this journey, we will learn what weather risk management is, where market capabilities are today and how future solutions could target micro-level risks.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – On Saturday, JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

IN THE FUTURE

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

WCEE to Look at Clean Energy Jobs – Next Tuesday, WCEE holds a brown bag lunch in Arlington at Accenture focused on clean energy jobs, locally and globally.  Recently, there has been a boom in clean energy and, with costs decreasing and adoption accelerating, the impact on jobs has been significant. U.S. solar and wind jobs are growing 12x faster than their peer average; with the fastest growing single profession being wind turbine technician, and an increase to over 260,000 solar workers in the U.S. alone last year. Join a great WCEE panel to hear more about where growth is happening and what skills are needed; how it’s empowering women and communities, and how innovative business models are helping it scale. Speakers will provide a range of private sector to non-profit perspectives on the following topics and encourage the audience to dive in and discuss.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil Issues – Next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on how oil riches ruined Venezuela.  In the past decade and a half, the government of Venezuela received over $1 trillion in oil revenues, and yet the country is now suffering from a deep humanitarian crisis with its population struggling to feed itself. As a correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Raúl Gallegos witnessed first-hand how the mismanagement of oil riches during the rule of Hugo Chávez led to Venezuela’s current misery. Gallegos will explain how mismanaged oil has created perverse incentives in the political system, the business community, and among ordinary Venezuelans. Gustavo Coronel will offer his insights on what should be the future of the oil sector in a democratic Venezuela.

AWEA Finance, Offshore Conferences Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC on October 24-26th at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities. The event will also be co-located with AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference, which will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.  Statoil, who is looking to build in NY is among the focuses of the conference.

WCEE to Host Battery Tech Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Women in Leadership Forum at Winston & Strawn on Wednesday, October 25th that hosts Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and chief executive officer of Cadenza Innovation.   Lampe-Önnerud will discuss the unprecedented development of advanced battery technology and the opportunities this presents for future innovative solutions in energy production and storage and the opportunities and challenges she faced in the competitive energy and environmental fields, and share “lessons learned” along her path to leadership.

NatGas Roundtable to Feature Trade Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host USTDA’s Energy Sector Worldwide Team Lead Carl Kress on Thursday October 26th as the guest speaker at its next luncheon. Kress is the Energy Sector Worldwide Team Leader at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, coordinating all energy-related agency programs and strategy with U.S. industry. He is also the Regional Director for East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia, responsible for developing and implementing the USTDA economic development program throughout these regions.

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations on Monday October 30th that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th, AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

 

Friends,

Happy Columbus Day from Washington.  No traffic during a rain storm and free parking on the streets makes me wish every day was a Federal holiday…  While I understand that there is some controversy regarding honoring Columbus, this is the special day for Italian-Americans like yours truly.  To appreciate, I spent the weekend in the North End of Boston for a great meal at Giacomo’s and some cannolis from Modern Pastry.

Wow… Was that a week or what? And no slow down on Friday as it seemed even busier with the CPP documents making their way out into the public.  Then, Hurricane Nate roared ashore over the weekend with Mississippi Power and Alabama Power working hard to restore power, which as of Sunday seemed to be all back on other than a small area around hardest-hit Mobile which is supposed to be back on by noon today.  Nate also forced offshore oil companies to curtail 92.61%, or 1.62 million barrels per day, of Gulf of Mexico oil production as of Sunday.

Back to CPP, we expect to have an announcement tomorrow after this morning’s event in Kentucky.  Administrator Pruitt said in a speech in Hazard, KY (by the way, yours truly is a Duke of Hazard thanks to former Mayor Bill Gorman) with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he will formally sign the proposal to withdraw the CPP tomorrow in Washington.  My Colleague Jeff Holmstead can answer your questions.  Email us at here or jeff.holmstead@bracewell.com.

SEJ in Pittsburgh was a great event, especially with all this important environmental activity making news… and Jeff just happened to be on a CPP/climate legal panel as the documents were coming out.  Way to go Carolyn Whetzel.  I knew that was your plan all along.  And our reception was awesome…including the great, fun band that we hosted.  Looking forward to Flint, but it seems like there will so many things between now and then.

In addition to the CPP activity this week, the big event on Capitol Hill with be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s visit to the House Energy Committee when he will get intense questions about his recent grid proposal to FERC.  That’s Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Other events include a cybersecurity event tomorrow with rural Co-ops (featuring Arkansas Co-op leader, our friend and expert Duane Highley); a House Resources panel hearing on Wednesday to look at legislation to amend the OCS Lands Act featuring Mary Landrieu, Michael Bromwich and API’s Erik Milito; Thursday CSIS hosts IEA’s Renewable Energy Division head Heymi Bahar for a presentation of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Report 2017; and Friday, House Resources returns to legislation focused on onshore energy.

Finally, stay tuned tomorrow for some more great hiring news at Bracewell’s PRG.  We are excited to make a big announcement on a new tax expert who is super smart on policy, very media savvy and well-connected in the nerdy tax world.  He will be a huge help to those of you covering tax policy

Call with questions.  Best

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I’m sympathetic with the ‘hurry up and fix something'” attitude, said “But this is such a draconian way of fixing it that I’m assuming it’s put out there to be a lightning rod to get people off their ass and get to focusing on proper solutions to this.” He added: “Everything in our society has a shelf-life and then it goes into retirement.”

Former FERC Chairman Pat Wood, a Republican who is a strong advocate for markets in Darius Dixon’s  POLITICO.

IN THE NEWS

PA Delegation Urges Trump to Protect Refinery Jobs – Following an event at a refinery in Philadelphia this morning, members of Congress and union officials released a letter from Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation urging President Trump support refining jobs in the Northeast.  Signers including Sens. Casey and Toomey, as well as Reps. Doyle, Barletta, Evans, Kelly, Brady, Meehan, Boyle, Thompson, Perry, Shuster, Rothfus and Costello.

EIA: CO2 Emissions Headed Down – The Energy Information Administration has new data on energy-related CO2 emissions and they show a 1.7% decline in 2016.  The data lowers energy-related emissions to 14% below 2005 levels and just 2.6% above 1990 levels, even though the economy is much larger than it was a quarter century ago. The trend of declining coal‐fired electricity generation and increasing non‐fossil fuel and natural gas‐fired generation continued in 2016. Coal’s share of total electricity generation fell from 53% in 1990 to 30% in 2016.  The natural gas share of electricity generation grew from approximately 12% in 1990 to 30% in 2012 and to 34% in 2016.  The non-fossil fuel electricity generation share (35%), including both nuclear and renewables, exceeded that of both coal and natural gas in 2016.  See a bunch a great charts here.

EPA GHG Report Also Shows Decrease – Another new annual report from EPA says greenhouse gas emissions from America’s largest industrial facilities fell 2% in 2016 to 2.99 billion tons, led by a large cut from the power sector. The decline in emissions in 2016 was led by a 4.6% reduction from U.S. power plants, an 18% decline from five years ago.

TX Utility to Retire Coal Plant – Speaking of emissions heading down, Texas utility Vistra announced on Friday plans to retire its Monticello Power Plant in Titus County, Texas. In total, approximately 1,800 MW of power will be taken offline in January of 2018.  Vistra said the market’s unprecedented low power price environment has profoundly impacted the plant’s operating revenues and no longer supports continued investment.  Vistra estimates that approximately 200 employees will be impacted by Monticello’s retirement.  More here.

Wheeler EPA Nom Finally in Motion – After months of expectation and speculation, President Trump late last Thursday appointed Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting energy and natural resources expert Andrew Wheeler to the #2 position at EPA. Wheeler previously worked for Sen. Jim Inhofe and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – Today at 3:15 p.m., as part of the State Innovation Exchange’s annual SiX Legislator Conference, local and state leaders will gather in Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion on clean energy efforts in the States. More than 500 progressive state legislators and legislative staff from across the nation will gather for the 4th annual legislator conference. These state lawmakers, who are on the front lines of the resistance and policy making efforts across the country will gather to discuss and find solutions to some of the most pressing issues impacting the country as well as plan new strategies to further resist the efforts of the Trump administration.  The conference goes through tomorrow.

Rural Co-Ops to Discuss CyberSecurity – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association hosts a cybersecurity forum, “Insights on Cybersecurity for Electric Utilities,” tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  The event will be in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security.

WRI to Host Forum – Experts from the Open Government Partnership and World Resources Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on climate action.  The forum will profile a range of innovative approaches that open government advocates have taken to strengthen countries’ climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. Together, they will unpack how improving transparency, accountability and public participation in climate decision-making processes can help governments and civil society leaders around the world achieve ambitious climate targets.

Forum to Look at US-China Relations – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Brent Scowcroft Center’s Asia Security Initiative will hold a timely conversation tomorrow on the role energy plays in the US-China relationship. The US administration’s emerging diplomatic strategy and the upcoming nineteenth national congress of the Communist Party of China provide an opportunity to take stock of the role energy plays in the US-China relationship, as well as in how China views its future. Key issues in the US-China relationship include the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, China’s view of US energy exports, and how energy fits into the administration’s trade agenda.  Speakers include our friend Robert Fee of Cheniere Energy, ITC Assistant Secretary Alan Turley and DOE China advisor Maria DiGuilian with our friend Keith Johnson of FP moderating.

Report top Look at Highly-Enriched Uranium Facilities – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Fissile Materials Working Group and International Panel on Fissile Materials will launch of a major new IPFM research report, edited by Pavel Podvig, with contributions by six leading Russian experts on highly enriched uranium (HEU) facilities. The report describes in unprecedented detail Russian programs that use HEU as fuel in military and civilian applications. Further, it asses Russia’s contribution to the effort to convert research reactors from HEU to non-weapon-usable low-enriched uranium fuel, and Russia’s efforts to repatriate HEU fuel it had supplied to facilities abroad. Finally, it evaluates the organizational structure and regulations governing the security of HEU in civilian facilities in Russia. It makes recommendations for securing Russia’s commitment to the goal of a comprehensive global HEU minimization strategy.

House Resources Look at Revenue Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to look at a discussion draft of legislation to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to distribute revenues from oil and gas leasing on the outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal States, and for other purposes.  Witnesses will include former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, South Caroline State Senator Stephen Goldfinch, API’s Erik Milito and former BOEM director Michael Bromwich.

Walden, DOE Official Headline Canadian Energy Efficiency Forum – On Thursday, the Canadian Embassy hosts the 28th annual Energy Efficiency Forum, featuring Dan Brouillette, deputy secretary at the Department of Energy, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

House Energy to Discuss Grid Proposal – Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies before the House Energy Subcommittee on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to offer his vision for managing and executing the department’s missions and opportunities to update and align DOE’s missions and operations with the emerging energy, national security, environmental, and technological challenges confronting the nation.  Expect some interesting questions as a many energy industries have raised concerns about the DOE approach

ACORE Finance Forum Set – The American Council on Renewable Energy will hold forum on the state of the renewable energy public policy, financial markets and corporate renewables strategy when they hold ACORE Finance West on Thursday at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco.  This annual conference convenes senior investors, industry executives, and other top transactional professionals to address market trends in the context of renewable investment opportunities in the Western U.S.

Bloomberg Hosts Sustainability Forum – Bloomberg holds its 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit on Thursday and Friday in its New York offices to discuss how companies are yielding positive returns for investors, creating sustainably valuable products and processes, and developing innovative sustainable business models.  Uniquely positioned at the intersection of sustainable business and sustainable investing, the summit will explore the challenges and even greater opportunities emerging across industries.

WAPA to Host Road Rally – The Washington Automotive Press Association holds its 2017 WAPA Rally on Thursday.  This year’s event will be a drive event on the roads just beyond the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the scenic Eastern Shore of Maryland. The event provides the opportunity to drive or ride in the latest and greatest cars, trucks and SUVs provided by WAPA’s automotive partners.

CSIS to Host IEA Renewable Energy Report Launch – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Heymi Bahar, Project Manager of the Renewable Energy Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. for a presentation of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Report 2017 (formerly titled Medium-Term Renewables Market Report). The report provides a detailed market analysis and overview of renewable electricity capacity and generation, biofuels production, and heat consumption, as well as a forecast for the period between 2017 and 2022. This year’s report also assesses the off-grid solar market in Africa and developing Asia and the contribution of electric vehicles to renewable road transport.  Our friend Kevin Book will moderate.

Groups to Look at Nuclear Report – The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung will host a forum on Thursday at noon for the U.S. launch of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.

Women’s Energy Groups Hold Reception – The Women’s Energy Network hosts its October Happy Hour reception at Asia Nine on Thursday evening starting at 5:30 p.m.  WEN DC is an organization that supports the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking. The events feature great food, drinks, networking, and socializing with your WEN members and other professionals from across the energy industry.

KB Hutchison to Address WaPo Forum – On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison – former TX Senator and Bracewell colleague will speak one-on-one with columnist David Ignatius at The Washington Post. Hutchison will explore the future of NATO, mounting threats from Russia against Western allies and the ambassador’s top priorities for military cooperation, intelligence-gathering and combating terrorism.This live, on-stage interview is a part of the ongoing “Securing Tomorrow” series.

House Resources Looks at Onshore Energy – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the House Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on a discussion draft of legislation looking at opportunities for to harness onshore resources to achieve domestic energy independence by empowering States to manage the development and production of oil and gas on available Federal land, and for other purposes.

Wilson Forum to Look at Mexico Energy Outlook – On Friday at 4:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum looking at Mexico’s energy outlook.  Mexico’s landmark 2013 energy reform has caused a transformation for PEMEX from a monopolistic national oil company to a company with a competitive entity, with a more efficient business model. José Antonio González Anaya has been leading this effort since February 2016, and has emphasized the importance of partnerships along the breath and length of PEMEX activities. PEMEX is now fully engaged, since 2016, in exploration and production activities in partnership with private and foreign companies.   The event will feature a conversation with José Antonio González Anaya, where he will speak about the progress that has been made and the challenges the company will face in the next 12 months.

IN THE FUTURE

Wilson Center to Host Events on Resilience Week – The Wilson Center’s Global Sustainability and Resilience Program is hosting the 2017 Resilience Academy Capstone Conference next week in cooperation with the Munich Re Foundation, UN University-Institute for Environment and Human Security, and International Centre for Climate Change and Development. Among the event will be three public sessions of the Academy, covering the many ways in which resilience is vital for communities around the world.

JHU to Host Sustainable Energy Institute – Next Monday, October 16th at Noon, Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS will launch its Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) to conduct policy analysis that will help governments universalize energy access at minimal environmental impact. Directed by Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, ISEP offers bold ideas, rigorous policy analysis, and sustained engagement with policymakers and other change agents.

Wilson Forum to Look at Cities, Cars, Air – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will host a forum next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on how cities are confronting the challenges of adapting a transportation system to new sustainability concerns. Simon Ng, an independent researcher formerly with Civic Exchange, will reflect on Los Angeles’ and Hong Kong’s quests for sustainable mobility and urban livability while also shedding light on the similar challenges faced by ever-growing Chinese megacities. Drawing on years of International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) engagement in the PRD lowering vehicular emissions, Zifei Yang will introduce the increasingly effective vehicle emission control programs that Shenzhen and other PRD cities have instituted.

National Bioenergy Day 2017 – The Department of Energy (DOE) will celebrate its 5th annual National Bioenergy Day on Wednesday October 18th to celebrate bioenergy, a form of renewable energy derived from biomass—organic material—that can be used to produce transportation fuels, products, heat, and electricity. This is an opportunity to showcase bioenergy facilities and the bioenergy supply chain around the United States.

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a conversation on October 18th at 9:00 a.m. with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the vital role U.S. nuclear energy plays in achieving national security objectives. The conversation will highlight the key takeaways from The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler, a report issued by Sec. Moniz’s new Energy Futures Initiative.

USEA Hosts Energy Transition Outlook – The US Energy Assn will roll out the DNV GL Energy Transition Outlook on Wednesday, October 18th at 9:00 a.m. in the Fourth Estate Room at the National Press Club.  The Outlook provides a balanced forecast of our energy future through to 2050 and draws on DNV GL’s independence and its broad involvement across the entire supply chain, spanning complex offshore infrastructure, onshore oil & gas installations, large-scale wind, solar and energy efficiency projects and the world’s most advanced electricity transmission and distribution grids. The report forecasts energy demand and supply globally, and in 10 world regions.

Press Club to Host Comms Summit – On Wednesday, October 18, the National Press Club will host its annual Communicators’ Summit at the Club’s First Amendment Lounge.  This year’s theme is “Content is King.” Leading experts will share insights on producing content suited to the unique strengths of different digital, online and social media channels, as well as emerging technologies. We’ll discuss the challenges of developing credible and compelling content at a time when trust in corporations, government, NGO’s and the media is being tested more than any time in a generation.  Speakers will include AARP’s Bill Walsh, AXIOS Editor Nicholas Johnston, Twitter‘s head of Global Public Policy Communications Emily Horne, Richard Levick, Scripps News Washington Bureau investigative correspondent Mark Greenblatt and several more.  The Luncheon Keynote speaker will be Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman.  Special kudos to our friend Tim Brown of GE Renewable who is helping put the program together.

ELI Hosts Annual Dinner, Forums – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual awards dinner honoring  Achim Steiner, Administrator for the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday October 18th at the Omni Shoreham in DC.  At 2:00 p.m., they will host a discussion about “cooperative federalism” and the need to ensure that environmental program administration reflects the significant expertise and experience state environmental agencies now have after decades of administrating environmental protection laws.  Panelists will include ECOS’s Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Chevron’s Richard DeSanti, BNSF’s John Lovenburg, Todd Parfitt of the Wyoming DEQ, C2ES’s Janet Peace and Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  They will also hold the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum on cooperative Federalism, featuring GE’s Neil Kemkar, Bob Martineau of the Tennessee DEC and several others.

JHU to Look at EVs – On Wednesday, October 18th at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on electric cars.  Speakers will address range, infrastructure, environmental impacts and other Issues.

CSIS to Look at Vehicle Issues – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are pleased to announce a conference on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today.  Panels will include former Energy Committee Chair and RFF Head Phil Sharp, former Bush 43 CEQ chief Jim Connaughton and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, as well as former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

DOE, NEI Host Nuclear Forum – The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute will host the Millennial Nuclear Caucus on Thursday, October 19th at 5:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.  Stay tuned for details.

Forum to Look at Storage, Micro Grids – On Thursday, October 19th at 5:30 p.m. at EEI, Leaders in Energy, along with Resilient Virginia, will be sponsoring a forum on improving resilience through microgrids and battery storage.  The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is seen increasingly by public and private organizations as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in the age of intense hurricanes and cybersecurity threats.  Topics include: technology that supports the utility/microgrid interface, tools for developers to assess microgrid viability based on existing infrastructure and regulations, how local governments in the DMV are working with private companies to make microgrid development financially feasible, and how our regional Department of Defense installations are utilizing microgrids as part of their energy security systems. Speakers include EEI’s John Caldwell, USGBC’s Brendan Owens, Dan Ton of DOE’s Smart Grid R&D and Michael Yambrach, the Energy and Sustainability director in Montgomery County, MD.

Economists to Host Weather Hedge Specialist – The National Capitol Chapter of the US Assn Of Energy Economists will host their October forum with Munich Re’s Edward Byrne on Friday October 20th at Carmines.  Ed Byrns has specialized in weather hedging for many years. His talk focuses on how the new world of big data is creating innovative weather risk products to manage business exposure.

This presentation is a journey from the past to the present and on to the future. Throughout this journey, we will learn what weather risk management is, where market capabilities are today and how future solutions could target micro-level risks.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

AWEA Finance, Offshore Conferences Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC on October 24-26th at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities. The event will also be co-located with AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference, which will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th , AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 17

Friends,

How about a cheer for the old folks as Roger Federer continues to amaze with another Wimbledon title, his record breaking 8th victory.  And while Venus Williams came up just short in her 20th Wimbledon at age 37, they both deserve kudos for another great Grand Slam performance.   While I was working on the update last night, my house was abuzz with talk of the season premiere of Game of Thrones.  It sounded in the post-show discussion like the season opener didn’t disappoint.

This week, we will probably finally see the DOE Grid Study.  On Friday, our friends at Bloomberg got a draft which says renewables are not risking the grid.  The DOE and others say just wait for the report.  Sect. Perry is slated for a NPC event tomorrow morning, so that may be it.

Also in case you missed it on Sunday, with potential action soon in the Senate on incentives for nuclear power on the agenda, former Constellation nuclear executive Mike Wallace had an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun over the weekend urging focus on the nation’s nuclear current and future nuclear fleet and the important role It will play in providing reliable power, improving National Security and reducing emissions.

Capitol Hill this week is abuzz with budget items.  Senate Approps marks up Interior, AG and Energy/Water budgets.  Tomorrow, a House Energy Panel looks at the state of the electricity industry  and Senate Energy will discuss North American energy and security issues.  House Resources looks at Alaska oil and gas while on Wednesday, House Science looks at energy innovation.  Finally, on Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee takes up Interior and DOE Nominations, including our friend Mark Menezes at DOE.

A number of good other energy events also this week in DC led by Wednesday’s CSIS event on the RFS featuring our friend Kevin Book and Friday’s USEEE event with BP’s Mark Finley to discuss their 2017 Energy Outlook.

Congrats to our friend Bill Murray, who joined R Street Institute as federal energy policy manager after editing the RealClearEnergy website for two years.

Finally, on Thursday evening, Bracewell will host the Women’s Energy Network Summer Networking Happy Hour at 5:30 p.m. WEN DC is an organization that prides itself on supporting the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry through relationships and networking. Come enjoy great food, networking, and policing wonkery with folks from across the energy industry.

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I think there has been way too much build up (regarding the DOE Study). The study has been built up the point no matter what it says it is likely to disappoint everybody.”

Tom Pyle, head of the American Energy Alliance commenting in a Bloomberg news after obtaining a draft of the long-awaited, upcoming DOE Grid Study.

 

IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg: Grid Study Says Not Much Impact From Renewable – Bloomberg reports that the new DOE Grid Study will say wind and solar power don’t pose a significant threat to the reliability of the U.S. power grid according to Energy Department staff members.  “The power system is more reliable today due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards,” according to a July draft of the study obtained by Bloomberg.  The findings are still under review by the department’s leadership.

Advanced Nuclear Highlighted in Op-Ed – Over the weekend, former Constellation exec and nuclear Power expert at CSIS Mike Wallace penned an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun extolling the importance of protecting our current nuclear fleet while expanding opportunities to develop new plants.  In the piece, Wallace argues that “an integrated nuclear energy infrastructure is necessary for geo-political relevance for any meaningful country in the 21st century. It is a fundamental strategic national asset, and just like the Pentagon, or the Interstate Highway System, it provides broad-based benefits to the whole country, including domestic energy, grid reliability, support for advanced academic physics and engineering programs, manufacturing, training programs for skilled labor, and providing geo-political influence on global standards for safety, security, operations, emergency response and nonproliferation.”

Groups Asks for Expedited Review of Projects – The Center for LNG and the Natural Gas Supply Association is asking DOE to speed up reviews for LNG applications.  The groups submitted comments to DOE, who is reviewing regulations. “Regulatory certainty is essential for the U.S. LNG industry and we are thankful that DOE is looking at the regulatory process. Our recommendations provide a framework for a more certain future for American LNG and the billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs it entails,” they wrote.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Discuss Self-Driving Cars – The R Street Institute will host an afternoon panel today at 2:00 p.m. featuring a discussion of policy questions surrounding self-driving technologies Self-driving vehicles have yet to be deployed en masse on America’s streets. But their potential to reduce auto fatalities drastically and free our morning commutes makes expediting this process and providing a permissive regulatory framework a top priority. In the halls of Congress, members of both the House and Senate are actively grappling with what enabling legislation is needed to deliver our autonomous future safely and securely. Panelists will include Paul Brubaker of ATI21, Paul Lewis of the Eno Center for Transportation, Daimler’s Jessica Nigro and David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

Perry to Discuss Global Security, Grid Study – Tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m., DOE Secretary Rick Perry and Dr. Fatih Birol will participate in a news conference on global security in the National Press Club’s Murrow Room.

House Energy to Discuss State of Electricity Industry – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing tomorrow examining the state of the electric industry through market participant perspectives.  Witnesses will include Duke’s Alex Glenn, NextEra’s Joe Kelliher, PSEG’s Tamara Linde, Lisa McAlister of American Municipal Power, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative head Jackson Reasor, Ken Schisler of EnerNOC and Steven Schleimer of Calpine.

Senate Energy Looks at Energy, Security Issues – The full Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to examine the status and outlook for U.S. and North American energy and resource security.

House Appropriations Committee Marks Interior Budget – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., the Full House Appropriations Committee will markup the FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill.

RFF to host Webinar On Cali Cap/Trade – Resources for the Future and other experts will hold an interactive online panel discussion tomorrow looking at the proposed changes to California’s cap-and-trade program, potential implications for the state’s carbon market, and the potential effects on linkage with the programs in Quebec, Ontario, and other jurisdictions that might consider linkage in the future.  Speakers include RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, James Bushnell of UCal-Davis, Stewart Elgie of the uOttawa Institute of the Environment, Jan Mazurek of the ClimateWorks Foundation Duke Nicholas Institute expert Brian Murray and Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics.

WCEE to Host Sustainable City Event – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum with National Geographic’s Senior Manager of Sustainability, Susan Kolodziejczyk. Kolodziejczyk will present an interactive exploration of the intersection of urbanization and sustainability, what that means in terms of society’s choices and priorities, and examples of successful, innovative city solutions around the world.

House Resources to Look at Alaska Oil, Gas Issues – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on: promoting oil and gas development in Alaska.  Witnesses will Include Gary Dixon of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 959 Alaska, Richard Glenn of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and ConocoPhillips Alaska’s Scott Jepsen.

Senate Approps Panel Marks Energy/Water Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development will meet to markup the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

Webinar to Focus on NJ Solar Issues – Utility Dive is hosting a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. focused on the PSE&G approach to proactively studying and accommodating the impacts of DER on the PSE&G system.  NJ is experiencing some of the strongest solar PV growth in the U.S. NJ-based Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) takes an active role in understanding feeder and substation capacity to accommodate solar PV, and to avoid negative impacts to grid reliability, voltages, thermal capacity, flicker and more. The webinar will cover PSE&G’s method to study and accommodate the impacts of DER, in collaboration with Siemens PTI. An overview of the study and its methodologies and the distribution system at PSE&G, available DERs, challenges, the need for the study and the results.  Speakers include PSE&G’s Ahmed Mousa and Siemens PTI’s Hugo Bashualdo.

AGA to Discuss NatGas Supply – The American Gas Association (AGA) and the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 9:30 AM EDT, to release the major findings of the PGC’s year-end 2016 biennial report: Potential Supply of Natural Gas in the United. The report is expected to reveal that domestic estimates of undiscovered natural gas resources continue to grow, due largely to the existence of technologies that continue to unlock energy resources from shale and other producing formations.  Alexei V. Milkov, director of the Potential Gas Agency, Colorado School of Mines and AGA’s Chris McGill will speak.

Forum to Look at RFS – CSIS will host an update on the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.  The event will feature Harvard’s James Stock and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView, a Senior Associate of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

Cramer to Headline Forum on Innovation – Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a conversation on Wednesday looking at clean innovation and why it makes business sense. The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, government and civil society to discuss the business drivers for innovation in clean energy and low-carbon technologies across a broad range of industries.  Keynoter will be Rep Kevin Cramer, while a panel lead by Bob Perciasepe, will explore the business drivers and challenges associated with clean innovation across multiple sectors and geographies.  These issues include growing customer demand, competitiveness concerns, cost pressures, efficiency gains and enhanced performance.

House Science to Look at Energy Innovation – The House Committee on Science will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at energy innovation and letting technology lead.  Witnesses will include Jacob DeWitte of Oklo, UCLA’s Gaurav Sant, Harvard’s Venky Narayanamurti and Kiran Kumaraswamy of AES Energy Storage.

Atlantic Forum to Look at Russia Sanctions – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a conversation about the recently Senate-passed legislation on Russia sanctions on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The ongoing discussions in Congress provide an opportunity to take stock of existing sanctions policy, discussed the proposed legislative changes, and assess the current and future impact of sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.    Speakers will include the Atlantic Council Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center’s Ambassador Daniel Fried, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Mortlock,and Jeffrey Turner of Squire Patton Boggs.

Forum to Look at Energy, Transportation Systems – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS will hold a day-long conference on Thursday looking at the Atlantic Basin’s four ‘continental’ energy and transportation systems. This conference seeks to explore the drivers, dynamics and limits of this Atlantic Basin energy and transportation world, and to map its contemporary technical, economic, social and political contours. Current status quo configurations (geographical, technical, market, policy) and business-as-usual trajectories of these five transportation regimes – four ‘continental’ terrestrial systems and one pan-Atlantic Basin maritime transportation system which links them together – will be examined, along with the new types of energy policy and transportation infrastructure requirements (and new transnational and pan-Atlantic collaboration mechanisms) that could be demanded by any future Atlantic Basin pathways consistent with the Paris Accord’s objective to defend the 2-degree guardrail.

Senate Energy Holds Hearing on Energy Nominees – On Thursday, Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing to consider new energy nominations.  They include Brenda Burman of Arizona to be Commissioner of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior; Susan Combs of Texas to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Policy, Management and Budget); Paul Dabbar of New York to be Under Secretary for Science of the Department of Energy; Doug Domenech of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Insular Affairs); David Jonas of Pennsylvania to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy; and Mark Menezes of Virginia to be Under Secretary of the Department of Energy.

Senate Approps to Mark up Budgets – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the full Senate Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 as well as the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Act, 2018.

Forum to Feature BP’s Finley on Energy Report – The US Association for Energy Economics, National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC-USAEE) will host BP’s Mark Finley for its July luncheon on Friday at the Chinatown Garden.  Finley will present the just-released 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Grid Evolution Summit Set – The Grid Evolution Summit is set for July 25th through 27th at the Washington Hilton.  The event, sponsored by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, will be a conversation of industry stakeholders that will determine how the electric sector evolves, modernizes the grid and better integrates distributed energy resources.  Speakers will include Rep Paul Tonko, House Energy Committee Counsels Rick Kessler and Tom Hassenboehler, PSE&G Renewable VP Courtney McCormick, Xcel’s Doug Benvento DOE’s Eric Lightner, Maryland PSC Chair Kevin Hughes, Kit Carson Electric Co-op CEO Luis Reyes and Utility Dive Editor Gavin Bade.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, July 26th at 10:00 a.m., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will release a new report assessing recent federal efforts to overcome Clean Energy Development challenges and consider how this record might be extended and improved upon in the future.  Transformational clean-energy innovations are required to achieve the nation’s economic, environmental, and national security goals. Smart grids that can integrate massive distributed resources, power plants that can capture and sequester carbon emissions, and other advanced technologies must be demonstrated at scale before they can be fully commercialized. Public-private partnerships are needed to cross this “valley of death” between prototype and commercialization and strengthen investor confidence in the affordability, reliability, and practicality of such innovations. Speakers will include William Bonvillian, Former Director of the MIT Washington Office; Joseph Hezir of the Energy Futures Initiative, Rice University Baker Institute’s Christopher Smith and our friend Sam Thernstrom, Founder and Executive Director of the Energy Innovation Reform Project.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA Energy Issues – On Wednesday July 26th at 10:00 a.m., CSIS will hold a forum on renegotiating NAFTA, looking at energy challenges and opportunities.  The event will feature CSIS experts Dave Pumphrey and Scott Miller.

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice.  Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.

USEA Energy Supply Forum Set – On Thursday, July 27th, USEA will hold its 10th Annual Energy Supply Forum in the Ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  This annual gathering brings together the country’s top energy industry and policy leaders to examine the current state of energy exploration and production, electricity generation, and global and domestic fuel supply. Detailed agenda coming soon.

INGAA Chair to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host INGAA Chair Diane Leopold as the guest speaker at its next luncheon on Thursday July 27th at Noon. Leopold is an executive vice president of Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Energy, and is the president and chief executive officer of the company’s Gas Infrastructure Group.

Texas EnviroSuperConference Set – The 29th annual edition of the always educational and entertaining Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 3rd and 4th in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The Superconference will cover an engaging array of practice areas and topics including air and water quality, endangered species, and environmental aspects of infrastructure projects and legal issues associated with oil and gas activities. Timely presentations from current and former government officials will give key insights on latest developments and priorities at state and federal agencies, and compelling ethics topics will include internal investigations and climate change.

Energy Update: Week of April 17

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

COOL QUOTIENT

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

People Climate March – April 29th

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

Energy Update: Week of January 9

Friends,

Not really a surprising Golden Globes shows.  LaLa Land won big (which surprised me because we really didn’t think it was that great) as did Casey Affleck (who was really great in Manchester By The Sea).  The dresses and outfits were a big story as were the political statements, headlined by Meryl Streep. Once again politics drifts into Hollywood, but it seems lectures like these may be part of the reason Trump won.

Big Game rematch tonight when #2 Clemson takes on #1 Alabama in Tampa.  While I hate the current system for determining the NCAA DI Football Champ, there is no doubt this game features the two best college teams.  And if it is anything like last year’s game, that would be special…  Also Congrats to James Madison (I know there are a lot of Dukes that read this update) for knocking off Youngstown State (where our friend Ohio Dem Rep. Tim Ryan was a star QB back in college before suffering an injury) in the FCS Championship game over the weekend.

About 10 days to the inauguration of the new President.  This should be a crazy week as confirmation hearings begin for the new cabinet.  Nine confirmation hearings this week start with Sen. Jeff Sessions tomorrow.  EOM chief Rex Tillerson is slated for Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. at Sen Foreign Relations.  Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis should have minor environmental/energy discussions at their hearing on Thursday morning.  Most expect EPA nominee Scott Pruitt to be next Wednesday but that is still not set.

We can address all yours questions and provide background.  Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) are all over the EPA issues related to OK AG Scott Pruitt and are the following the Tillerson nomination.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, (202-828-1718) a former DOE senior counsel, is following the Perry and DOE nomination.  And my colleagues Eric Washburn (202-412-5211) and Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638) can advise on Interior-related action.  Eric is closely tied to the many sportsman’s groups that have lead the charge for Zinke and Kevin can discuss any and all Interior regulatory issues including the last-minute offshore and methane rulemakings.

Speaking of Energy, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz does his going-away newsmaker at the National Press Club on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Prior to that, at 9:30 a.m. just across Lafayette Park, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual “State of American Business” address.  Donohue will outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

The NAIAS “Detroit” Auto Show launched yesterday with a major focus on new technologies, but a lot of that was also previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show late last week.  It also featured a report from SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.

Finally, big congrats to our friend Abby Hopper, former BOEM director, who will take over the head job at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) starting next Tuesday.

Last week, we highlighted a few key issues we expect to see for 2017.  As a lot of people were out, I’m resending the issues at the end of this update just in case you missed it.

As usual, call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“The novelty and complexity of autonomous vehicles has created gaps between regulators, industry, and the general public. With so much at stake, we urge AV developers to coalesce around common standards, metrics, and commitments to specific safety protocols in advance of widespread deployment and commercialization—as the technology is highly vulnerable in its current nascent state.”

SAFE AV Commission Chairman Mark Rosenker, former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE AV Commission Releases Recommendations for Industry-Led Regulatory Framework – SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety released a report late last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that includes recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In light of the significant regulatory challenges facing this rapidly-evolving industry, the Commission presents a number of best-practice recommendations to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology.  The Commission is a committed group of former public officials and safety experts who bring decades of expertise towards their collective goal of improving the safety of early AV deployment, thus expediting the widespread adoption of AV technology. The members of the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety include former NTSB Chair Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair, Alliance for Transportation Innovation CEO Paul Brubaker, former GM product safety exec Robert Lange and SAE Internat’l President Cuneyt Oge.

Their recommendations address the potential risks of public opposition and overregulation:

Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence

  1. The Commission recommends that AV providers move to on road testing and deployment only once confident that the vehicle’s performance is as safe as the average human driver, accounting for backup drivers, speed restrictions, geofencing and other safety measures.
  2. The Commission encourages AV providers to create safety milestones for AV development. The Commission further encourages public disclosure of achieved milestones and accompanying validation.
  3. The Commission encourages developers to deploy redundant layers of technology to increase safety beyond any minimum required standard.
  4. The Commission encourages developers to clearly define and effectively communicate autonomous features, including their limitations.

Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework

  1. The Commission encourages AV providers to formally collaborate through a technical data consortium to accelerate AV learning and safety through shared, anonymized information.
  2. The Commission recommends that industry formulate objective, practical, quantitative metrics for measuring AV safety.
  3. The Commission recommends that any future framework for regulating AVs rest on a modern foundation reflecting the advanced software-driven nature of vehicle automation.

DOE Releases QER Recommendations – The Department of Energy released its second Quadrennial Energy Review focusing on recommendations to harden the electricity grid from terrorist attacks.  Last year’s presidential election on Friday.  DOE said the power grid faces “imminent danger” from cyberattacks and called on Congress to empower federal regulators to impose new rules on the utility industry to help protect the nation’s energy network.  The proposals called for lawmakers to give FERC more authority over cyber defenses of the power grid and for a suite of programs to upgrade the network’s technology to make it more resilient against potential attacks.

Upton to Head Energy/Power – Former House Energy & Commerce Full Committee Chair Fred Upton will run the Energy and Commerce Committee’s newly renamed Subcommittee on Energy, while Rep. John Shimkus, who lost his bid to become full committee chairman to Rep. Greg Walden, will maintain his chairmanship of the environment panel. Upton was term limited from continuing as committee chair.

Report: New Transmission Can Help Wind Supply Third of U.S. Electricity – The Energy Department today released a report which confirms that adding even limited electricity transmission can significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy to supply 35% of U.S. electricity by 2050. The report, titled Reducing Wind Curtailment through Transmission Expansion in a Wind Vision Future and authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), affirms the findings of the Energy Department’s 2015 Wind Vision, which showed that a future in which wind provides 20% of U.S. electricity in 2030 and 35% in 2050 is achievable and would provide significant economic, energy security, and health benefits to the nation.

ClearPath Taps Morehouse As Government Affairs Director – ClearPath has tapped veteran House GOP aide Jeff Morehouse as the organization’s director of government affairs. In that role, Morehouse will help lead ClearPath’s growing DC-based effort to work with the new Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration on conservative clean energy policies.  He will be a key partner to ClearPath Managing Director-Government Affairs Zak Baig in working not just with House Republicans but also the Trump administration. Morehouse since 2010 has been chief of staff for Rep. Bill Flores, including managing the Texas Republican’s successful campaign to chair the conservative Republican Study Committee last Congress. Morehouse was also executive director of the House Conservatives Fund, overseeing the Republican leadership PAC for the 2014 election cycle. Morehouse was previously legislative director for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Among his honors, Morehouse received the 2014 Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Chief of Staff Appreciation Award.

German Emissions on Rise – German think tank Agora Energiewende released its annual energy assessment that says Germany’s emissions rose in 2016, largely driven by the industrial, heating and transport sectors.  Emissions from the country’s power sector, instead, continued the decline that started in 2014 as coal use falls.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will rolled out yesterday at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences began with Disney Pixar on Sunday.  The 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will include a host of events through tomorrow.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.  The show runs through January 22nd.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Today through Thursday, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – IFC and ESMAP will presented a new report on Energy Storage this morning.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session tomorrow at noon at the National Press Club that highlights clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.

WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – The World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Brookings Forum to Tackle Transportation Model – The Moving to Access initiative, a collaboration between Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Global Economy and Development program, is an extensive, multi-year effort that seeks to inform and promote an access-first approach to urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. They will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to bring together experts across three major disciplines—transportation, urban planning, and finance—and will explore where these disciplines agree, where they diverge, and what policies could support a more accessible built environment. The event will feature a panel discussion with current metropolitan leaders and distinguished scholars and close with a keynote dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Moniz to Address Press Club Newsmaker – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at a National Press Club newsmaker and take questions on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. on the Club’s Ballroom.  In one of his final public speaking appearances in Washington, Moniz will discuss how an increased focus on science and research and development has informed better policymaking and technology solutions, and how to protect the independence and integrity of scientists at the Department of Energy and its 17 National Labs.  Moniz will also unveil a new report on the work of the laboratories and policies that will encourage and empower scientists to continue to innovate new energy solutions, make new scientific discoveries, support private industry, and deliver for the American people.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

WRI to Host Urban Transpo Forum – The World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club looking at urban transportation planning.  This event will highlight the Danish experience in shaping great cities for cycling and public space, and what other cities such as Washington, DC and beyond are and could be doing to make streets more livable and sustainable for all.

STEM Forum Set for Capitol Hill – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in B-354 Rayburn, House Science leading Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson will host energy executives along with senior federal and local government officials for a briefing about the prospects for bipartisan STEM-based energy legislation in the 115th Congress and the impact of those proposals on local job creation. Also invited are representatives from Universities and schools to share their views on partnerships with the energy sector to better prepare the energy workforce of the future.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday and Friday.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

EPA to Hold Ozone Hearings – EPA will host a public meeting on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the implementation of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.  The hearing will focus on nonattainment area classifications and state implementation plan requirements.  It will be held at EPA HQ in Room 1117A.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Pew to Look at Military Power Issues – On Thursday at 3:30 a.m., Pew Charitable Trusts hosts representatives from each branch of the U.S. military to discuss steps they and the Department of Defense more broadly have taken to address the challenges and opportunities that energy presents to national security.  A presentation will follow on new research that shows how microgrids and clean energy technologies can improve energy efficiency and security at military installations.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

DOE to Honor Schlesinger Medal Winners – The Energy Department will hold the Schlesinger Medal of Energy Security awards ceremony on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  In December, Secretary Moniz said Charles Curtis was the third recipient of the James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security.  When the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were established on October 1, 1977, Schlesinger and Curtis were appointed by President Carter as the first DOE Secretary and FERC Chairman, respectively.  Later, Curtis served as Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration.  He was a founding partner of the law firm Van Ness, Curtis, Feldman and Sutcliffe and was instrumental in the launch of important non-governmental organizations as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Forum Looks at Enviro Crime – The Henry L. Stimson Center holds a discussion on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Army and Navy Club focusing on national and global security implications of environmental crime and resource theft.

 

IN THE FUTURE

CSIS to Host IEA Coal Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a forum next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. that will feature Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency, to present IEA’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016. The report projects a decline of the share of coal in the power generation mix from over 41% in 2013 to approximately 36% in 2021 and highlights the continuation of a major geographic shift in the global coal market toward Asia. In addition, this year’s report has particular focus on Chinese dominance in global coal markets, productivity improvements and cost-cutting by producers, and the role of carbon capture and storage.

Senate Environment to Host Pruitt – While not locked in yet, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday January 18th.

CSIS Panel to Look at Power Africa NatGas Effort – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a panel on Wednesday January 18th at 10:00 a.m. looking at Power Africa’s Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options handbook with Assistant DOE  Secretary for Fossil Fuels Chris Smith, CSIS’s Africa Program expert Jennifer Cooke, EIA’s Angelina LaRose and US AID Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones, who heads USAID’s Power Africa. The natural gas handbook, led by DOE and drafted by a diverse group of experts, aims to foster shared understanding between government officials and private companies on the factors influencing successful natural gas and LNG projects in Africa. The 250-page document covers risk factors of various models and addresses issues around partner alignment, regulatory complicity, finance, and marketing. Angelina LaRose will discuss the EIA’s Natural Gas and LNG Market Outlook, and Sean Jones will elaborate on the extensive work of Power Africa.

Forum to Look at Green Financing – Leaders in Energy will hold a Green Financing session on Thursday January 19th at 6:00 p.m.  The forum will examine current and anticipated sources for financing energy and sustainability projects under the Trump Administration, state, local, and international initiatives to see how they can be accessed by clean technology companies and entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening, January 25th at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

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

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.

Thanksgiving Energy Update

Friends,

This week is Thanksgiving week, so after last week’s madhouse of transition and congressional issues, I am ready for a break.  While many people think Thanksgiving was first started by Ben Franklin and George Washington in 1789, a formal “Day of Thanksgiving” in November was first declared by John Hanson, Maryland Statesman and first President of the United States in Congress Assembled” under the Articles of Confederation, in 1781, eight years prior to Washington’s proclamation.  While there were several days of thank giving and fasting issued by earlier leaders like John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay and Samuel Huntington, none of them resembled the last Thursday in November proclamation made by Hanson as the Treaty of Paris negotiations were being finalized.

A few other reasons for giving thanks: My son Adam is currently learning huge life lessons during a service trip in Haiti with a few classmates from his school.  The reports we are getting from the ground are amazing and humbling.  He has his camera (and as some of you may know, he has a great eye) so I hope he is using it to take some great pictures.

Sports thanks: Delaware won 19 straight games to win its first NCAA Field Hockey Championship.  And Messiah College (PA), defeated both Babson and Tufts over the weekend to win the D III title.  Both Babson and Tufts snuck by Hannah’s team earlier this year in close hard-fought battles.  And Jimmy Johnson is celebrating again and giving thanks after winning his 7th NASCAR championship last night.

Finally, one more “Big League” giving of thanks to Metallica, who on Friday released it 10th studio album Hardwired to Self-Destruct.  And having heard it all, it is ridiculous.  I cannot wait for the tour!

Activities are limited this week, but today Gina McCarthy speaks at the National Press Club and look for ethanol RVOs for 2017 perhaps tomorrow.

Last week, my colleague Bracewell LLP’s Jeff Holmstead and NAM’s Ross Eisenberg sat down for an in-depth discussion with E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi on the impact President-elect Trump could have on U.S. EPA, climate regulations, the Obama administration’s new methane rule and the future of the electric power grid.  With all the transition talk, I also included our Bracewell PRG election analysis one more time in case you missed it last week.

And special kudos to my colleagues Dee Martin and Salo Zelermyer, who last week were 2016 Hero Award Honorees at the annual Recognizing Heroes Awards Dinner & Gala. Martin and Zelermyer were honored for helping young women who had been abducted by terrorists abroad and escaped from their captors make it to the United States safely and legally.

See you shortly at the National Press Club where Gina McCarthy will give her final address as EPA Administrator.  We still have a couple extra tickets at our Bracewell tables with Holmstead and Segal if you are interested in attending… Let me know quickly.  And if you need a preview, E&E News veteran Rod Kuckro has an in-depth interview with Gina that is detailed and Interesting.

Have a great Thanksgiving and travel safely… Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

Master of Puppets, to me, is the greatest modern heavy metal album ever made.  Pound for pound, song-wise, musically, sonically, production – it’s just fantastic…that is the template for every great heavy metal album.”

Corey Taylor of Slipknot interviewing Metallica

 

PRG ELECTION ANALYSIS

Bracewell PRG Election Update – The 2016 election results have significant implications for companies across a wide range of industry sectors. From environmental policy to financial services to tax reform, President-elect Trump has committed to sweeping action on a variety of fronts, and will have a Republican-controlled House and Senate to work with on priority issues. Nevertheless, the GOP-led Senate is not filibuster-proof, and many of the finer points of Trump’s agenda remain unclear. Accordingly, it is important for interested stakeholders to begin thinking through how their own priorities will track with the next President and Congress. The Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell LLP (PRG) has prepared this post-election report to identify some of the key issues slated for action in Washington next term. Our team of lobbyists, lawyers and strategic communications professionals combines decades of experience working on these issues in the private sector, on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies—and stands ready to help our clients make sure their voices are heard by policymakers and the public. For further details on the election results, click here.

Bracewell Webinar Sees Massive Attendance – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group experts held an election wrap up on Wednesday with more than 500 participants.  Here is the audio file from Wednesday’s Bracewell PRG Election Analysis webinar:  https://bgllp.sharefile.com/d-sdf9ccd676b94f6f9  Here is a list of the speakers:

    • Host/Intro: Dee Martin
    • Scott Segal
    • Jeff Holmstead
    • Salo Zelermyer
    • Josh Zive
    • Curt Beaulieu
    • Paul Nathanson
    • Ed Krenik
    • Former TX Sen Kay Baily Hutchinson

The slides from the presentation are available here.

VIDEO: Election Day Takeaways and What to Expect in the Trump Presidency – Dee Martin and Scott Segal, co-heads of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, discuss their reactions to the surprising results of the 2016 elections and what to expect during the first 100 days of a Trump administration. view video…

VIDEO: Outlook for the Clean Power Plan and Other Environmental Issues – Scott Segal, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and Jeff Holmstead, head of the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell and former EPA Air Office head, discuss how the next President and Congress will confront issues such as climate change, the Clean Power Plan, and other environmental regulations. view video…

VIDEO: Outlook for Energy Policy – Dee Martin, co-head of Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group, and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer discuss what the results of the election may mean for oil and gas, renewable energy, and fuels. view video…

Detailed Policy Papers for PRG Here – There are also written policy analysis papers on the PRG site that details impacts of the election on a number of key issues, including Environment, Energy, Trade, Tax Issues, and Appropriations/Budget.

 

IN THE NEWS

Interior Rolls out Tougher 5-year Plan – The Obama Administration’s finalized five-year offshore oil and natural gas leasing program, which sets the lease sale schedule for 2017-2022.  Release of the Proposed Final Program, along with the accompanying Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, is one of the final steps in a multi-year process that was initiated in June 2014 to develop a final offshore leasing program for 2017-2022.  The plan for offshore oil and gas drilling schedules 10 region-wide leases in the Gulf of Mexico from 2017 through 2022 and another in Alaska’s Cook Inlet in 2021. But the agency dropped its March draft proposal to offer leases in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2020 and 2022.  The OCS Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a Five-Year Program that includes a schedule of potential oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing determined to best meet national energy needs, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.  For more information on the 2017-2022 Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including maps, please visit: http://www.boem.gov/Five-Year-Program/.

You Need Experts? – If you have additional questions, my colleagues Kevin Ewing (202-828-7638, kevin.ewing@bracewelllaw.com) and Jason Hutt (202-828-5850, jason.hutt@bracewelllaw.com) are great experts and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the decision, as well as how this decision might be impacted by the new Trump Administration.

Chamber Blasts Interior Plan – Chamber Energy Institute Karen Harbert said today’s announcement limiting offshore energy production is “one of the final nails in the coffin of the Obama administration’s anti-growth energy agenda. With this plan, the administration keeps as much as 90% of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf off limits for exploration, including all areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. In doing so, the administration is ignoring the will of the American people  who understand that offshore energy production is good for American jobs, economic growth, and energy security. In particular, this plan is an affront to the people of Alaska and the Gulf States, whose concerns have been ignored by this administration.  We call on the incoming Trump administration and the new Congress to immediately rescind and replace this plan and put America back on a path to fully utilizing its offshore energy resources, while continuing with already planned lease sales.”

SAFE Raises Questions about Viability – Securing America’s Future Energy President Robbie Diamond is also concerned about the Impacts it will have on future production.  Leslie Heyward can:

IPAA Says Plan Writes off 80% of Federal Lands – Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Barry Russell said the offshore plan “places more than 80 percent of offshore federal lands, including the already-planned Atlantic waters, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and even Alaska’s energy-rich waters, off limits for future development. The United States needs more energy, specifically oil and natural gas, to meet its future demands, according to the Obama Administration’s own energy data agency. Instead, this administration is abandoning America’s energy potential and is threatening our role as a global energy superpower. This final offshore program raises serious questions as to why this administration, at the 11th hour, chose to ignore recommendations by its own energy data agency.

“Make no mistake, taking American offshore energy resources off the table for the next five years will eliminate well-paying jobs and reduce the billions of dollars in much-needed revenues that go to fund schools and road repair projects in local communities. Most importantly, locking up our offshore energy supplies will cause U.S. energy prices to rise, limiting the amount of hard-earned wages American families get to keep each month.

“The administration should allow more access to our vast energy resources, not less. It’s disappointing that this administration, with just two months left in office, has chosen to take the low, politically-motivated path and dictate the nation’s offshore program for the entirety of President-elect Trump’s four-year term.”

Methane Rule Released – The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management said it has finalized its Methane Waste Prevention Rule. Read a fact sheet from BLM here.

Challenge BLM’s Venting and Flaring Rule – Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) immediately challenged BLM’s final rule regulating venting and flaring from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands. In its claim filed before the U.S. District Court in Wyoming, the trade associations call BLM’s rule a broad new air quality regime that goes beyond authority granted by Congress. The trades are represented by Eric Waeckerlin and Kathleen Schroder of Davis Graham & Stubbs.   When operating on public lands, businesses already comply with air quality regulations mandated by EPA. BLM’s venting and flaring rule creates duplicative regulation that conflicts with EPA requirements. Authority to regulate air quality was designated to the EPA under the Clean Air Act, yet, BLM has tried to assume this role under the guise of reducing waste from oil and natural gas production.

Global CCS Institute: Global CO₂ Storage Resource Exceeds Need – The Global CCS Institute said global carbon capture and storage resources exceeds what is required to meet future climate change temperature targets at a presentation last week.  Presenting at the 13th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Global CCS Institute Senior Storage Adviser, Dr. Chris Consoli, said almost every high emitting nation of the world had substantial storage resources.  “A great deal of the world’s CO₂ storage resource has now been assessed. For example, the US Department of Energy (DOE)11 published an atlas last year that estimated between 2,000 and 20,000 billion tons of storage resource in North America alone.”  “The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that approximately 90 billion tons of storage capacity is needed if carbon capture and storage (CCS) is to contribute its targeted 12 per cent of emissions reductions. In 2050, this equates to about 6 billion tons per year.  In addition to China, other countries which have been assessed and boast large storage resources are Canada, the United States, Norway, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

API Tags Voters on Energy – API released an election night survey of actual voters across the country, and the findings reveal that more than 80% of voters agree that U.S. oil and natural gas production can help achieve each of their most important priorities: job creation (86%), economic growth (87%), lower energy costs (82%), and energy security (85%).  With drivers saving more than $550 in fuel costs and household budgets growing by $1337 due to utility and other energy-related savings in 2015, it should come as no surprise that voters appreciate the positive economic impact of U.S. energy. Americans not only recognize the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance but they also support actions that would build on our position as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer.

Study: No Widespread Impacts on Drinking Water – Speaking of API, they also released a new study of hydraulic fracturing which shows finding of no “widespread, systemic” impacts on drinking water from hydraulic fracturing. Report, authored by Catalyst Environmental Solutions, shows that the EPA’s finding of no widespread effects to drinking water quality is supported by state and federal regulatory reviews, and dozens of recent peer-reviewed case studies.  EPA’s six-year, multi-million dollar, national study, was released as a draft Assessment report in 2015 and determined that fracking has not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water as it lifted economic fortunes for millions of Americans. The new report by Catalyst, “Quantitative Support For EPA’s Finding of No Widespread, Systemic Effects to Drinking Water Resources from Hydraulic Fracturing,” concludes that: “If there was a significant correlation between impaired drinking water resources and hydraulic fracturing, that connection would be manifested in the areas that EPA evaluated. This finding is corroborated by a large, credible body of case studies and scientific literature.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

McCarthy to Address Press Club – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will address the National Press Club on next Monday November 21st at Noon.  McCarthy plans to focus on the environmental and public health legacy of the Obama Administration, with an emphasis on efforts to combat the global effects of climate change.

Thanksgiving – November 24

 

IN THE FUTURE

RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Monday November 28th looking at disaster losses and climate change.  At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.

NatGas Roundtable to Host Resources Staff DirectorThe Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Bill Cooper, staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Senior Policy Advisor on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow.

WCEE to Host Discussion on Energy Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch panel next Tuesday, November 29th at the Solar Foundation on energy storage and its role for the solar and energy industries. As solar costs continue to decline, increased emphasis is placed on energy storage. Get a primer on different types of energy storage applications and which ones are economically viable now, why energy storage is critical in the long-term and lessons learned from real projects that are currently operational. Kerinia Cusick from Distributed Energy Innovation will give an overview of the storage activities around the globe and Chris Cook from Solar Grid Storage will talk about solar and storage integration.

NPC Newsmakers to Host Forum Energy Tax Credits – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host a forum Tuesday, November 29th at 2:00 p.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss extending energy tax credits provisions.  More on this next week when panelists are finalized.

Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on November 30th.   Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others.  Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.

Forum Looks at State RPS Implementation – The 2016 National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The forum focuses on developments and trends related to state RPSs and to network with many of the people from across the country who are most engaged in implementing and analyzing state RPSs.  The annual Summit is hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), with funding support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

CSIS to Look at Renewable Energy – On Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the outlook for the electric power sector and the future role of renewables. The U.S. electric power sector is in the midst of a transition. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) both produce annual outlooks that asses long-term trends in renewable energy, which help understand the changes to this sector. Doug Arent and Wesley Cole will outline the scenarios developed by NREL Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler will summarize the key findings of the BNEF study published earlier this year.

USEA to hot Coal Council Head on Carbon Capture – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on Wednesday, November 30th at 2:00 p.m. featuring National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellucci.  At the event, Gellucci will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”

WRI Hosts Book Launch of Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change – On Thursday, December 1st at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a book event looking at climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh.  Like most developing nations, Bangladesh emits a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet it is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, facing increasingly severe flooding, droughts and cyclones. Climate scientists estimate that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million people by 2050.  David Hulme will launch his co-authored book, Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change: Keeping Our Heads above Water, and discuss the findings of the book with a participants and a panel of experts.

Wilson to Launch Report Launch on Climate, Migration, Conflict – On Friday, December 2nd at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center the launch of a new report with USAID called “Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World,” which goes beyond the headlines to explore these connections. A panel of experts from across the lanes of climate, migration, and conflict will discuss practical advice for policymakers and how to think about these interlinked dynamics. Climate change and migration present major challenges to societies that policymakers have a responsibility to grapple with, but their relationship is rarely direct, conflict is not a common outcome, and migration is not always evidence of failure.

AGA to Host NatGas Roundtable with New Board Chair – On December 2nd at 9:00 a.m., the American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media roundtable for Pierce H. Norton II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas, Inc. and AGA’s Chair of its Board of Directors for 2017.  Norton will Be joined by AGA head Dave McCurdy.  Norton became the first president and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. after it separated from ONEOK Inc., in January 2014. Prior to ONE Gas becoming a stand-alone publically traded company, he served as executive vice president, commercial, of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners.

Saudi Oil Minister to Address CSIS Forum – On Friday, December 2nd, CSIS is hosting His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reflect on a career that spanned more than six decades in the Kingdom’s energy work, including 21 years (1995-2016) as Minister of Petroleum.

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on December 8th and 9th at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

 

Energy Update: Week of October 2

Friends,

La’shana tova…Happy new year to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah…  Welcome the year 5777.

It was a riveting Sunday at the Ryder Cup in Minnesota which ended with the US taking the 17-11 victory.   It was incredible to watch Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia battle birdie-for-birdie in what was really outstanding golf.  And if we’re talking sports, you can’t look at the last few days of the 2016 baseball season without thinking of both Vin Scully and Dick Enberg, who are both ending long careers behind the microphone.  Speaking of baseball, the playoffs are set with Orioles/Blue Jays playing the AL Wild Card tomorrow and Giants/Mets in the NL Wild Card Wednesday.  On Thursday, the Red Sox-Indians will play in the ALDS and the Rangers will get the Wildcard winner.  Friday, the Dodgers take on the Nationals and Cubs get the NL Wild Card winner.  We always tease/hope but maybe this is the Cubs year…  We’ll see.

Despite Congress being gone for elections, action still continues behind the scenes on tax extenders which got an interesting push from Majority Leader McConnell last week who said he was interested in potential extending tax extenders that expire for energy technologies that were out of the 2015 deal that extending wind/solar tax credits.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu, a former Senate Finance Counsel, is all over the issue and monitoring closely. He is happy to address your questions.  As far as the energy bill, talks continue with the hope that something maybe available in the post-election session but there is still a long way to go. Our experts are monitoring.

Last week, we had the Clean Power Plan oral arguments and tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., my colleague Jeff Holmstead joins a great panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center to look at arguments and what to expect going forward.  Also, the NatGas Supply Assn will release its Winter Outlook on Wednesday morning at the National Press Club.

With India signing the Paris agreement yesterday, it looks like the EU will push the agreement over the top toward overall ratification. Interestingly, while a number of EU countries are still concerned over the details of how it will impact them, the French enviro minister downplayed that concern saying “We wanted to show that the climate emergency does not allow us to wait for complicated procedures.”  Oh, right…  Wouldn’t want to let those complicated implementation procedures get in the way of the ratification celebration at the next COP in Marrakesh, which begins on November 7th.

Instead of the symbolic Paris celebrations, next week, the international negotiators will make the most significant gain against GHGs this year when they finalize an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will eliminate HFCs in Kigali.  An HFC pact is the biggest step we can take this year to significantly reduce human impact on the environment.  Pound for pound, these chemicals trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide and are especially important because the world-wide demand for air conditioning and refrigeration is skyrocketing.  AHRI President Steve Yurek will be in Rwanda as part of the industry effort to support the HFC reductions.  We’ll provide a preview later this week and offer reports from the UN meetings next week.

The Supreme Court starts its fall term today (but won’t hearing anything until Wednesday because of Rosh Hashanah) but the docket remains light because Justice Scalia’s seat remains unfilled.  Just over a month to go and we’ll finally be free of the elections. Call for questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“America’s electric co-ops have a lot riding on how the Clean Power Plan litigation plays out, because the rule hits not-for-profit, consumer-owned electricity providers and their members especially hard. Instead of crafting sensible regulations to address power plant carbon emissions, EPA issued a rule that would significantly restructure the power sector, far exceeding its legal authority and burdening electric co-ops with a disproportionate share of the costs.

“The rule would force many co-ops to prematurely shutter coal-fired power plants on which they’re still repaying loans. Members of those co-ops would be charged twice for their electricity—once to continue paying down the loans on assets that are no longer generating revenue, and again for the cost of purchasing replacement power from somewhere else.”

NRECA CEO and former House Energy & Commerce Rep. Jim Matheson on impact of tomorrow’s Clean Power Plan arguments.

 

IN THE NEWS

BrightSource Technology Deployed in China’s Solar Pilot Program – BrightSource Energy announced its technology will be deployed as part of China’s 1.35 gigawatt (GW) CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program. The Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project (Delingha) was one of 20 projects chosen by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) from 109 applications. The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture. The announcement follows the National Development and Reform Committee’s (NDRC) publication of the CSP pilot program feed-in-tariff (FIT) of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1. The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture, and will feature BrightSource’s proven solar field technology with thermal energy storage to produce clean, reliable solar electricity on demand. The joint venture leverages both partners’ contributions to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and technology for the project.

India to Signs Paris Treaty – Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed and ratified the Paris climate change agreement on Sunday, Ghandi’s 147th birthday.  India joining brings the agreement closer still to formally taking effect this year. India moves the country global emissions total to nearly 52%.

EU Should Put Paris Over Top – With India’s approval, the EU will likely push the Paris deal over the top towards final ratification despite internal EU disagreements over how to impose restrictions On individual EU members.  POLITICO quoted France’s environment and energy minister Ségolène Royal saying “We wanted to show that the climate emergency does not allow us to wait for complicated procedures.” Oh right…let’s not worry about those complicated procedures like trying to figure out how much it will cost, how it impacts the poor and what will its impacts be on energy reliability and security.  Yeah, let’s not worry about that…nothing to see here.  Clearly, it underscores the symbolic nature of the Paris agreement and suggests that the real details aren’t really that important.

NYT: Autonomous Vehicles Steps are Important The New York Times editorial board weighed in on autonomous vehicles today in an editorial saying that if regulators and carmakers get it right, driverless cars have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives every year.  The theme echoes one from an op-ed earlier this summer from NIH Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Jeremy Brown.

OPEC Announces Production Cuts – OPEC said last week it will cut oil output levels to 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day, with details to be finalized at the next official meeting at the end of November. That production number is as much as one mbd below the group’s current total output levels of 33.5 mbd, and represents the closest thing to an official production cut that the group has announced in almost 8 years. SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said, “Western business leaders would be put in the penitentiary if they behaved the way that OPEC has today and over the past 40 years—by both colluding on production levels, and maintaining secrecy in their agreement. Of course, the burden of this market manipulation falls on the world’s oil consumers including American families and businesses. It proves, yet again, that there’s no free market for oil, and relatively low oil prices are no reason to lose perspective on the critical need to end our dependence on this highly volatile commodity.”

State Pollution Control Agencies Assn Elects New Leaders – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) held its 2016 Fall Business Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina last week.  The meeting included 130 participants from more than 20 state and local environmental agencies as well as senior staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the meeting, AAPCA’s Board of Directors, which includes senior air officials from twenty state environmental agencies, elected its 2017 Officers including President: Sean Alteri, Kentucky Division for Air Quality; Vice President: Stuart Spencer, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; Secretary/Treasurer: Vivian Aucoin, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Past President: Sheila Holman, North Carolina Division of Air Quality.

Moniz Joining the SAG? – And thanks to POLITICO for noticing that DOE’s Ernest Moniz is in LA today to film an episode of Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show looking at climate change and sustainability.  It starts streaming Wednesday.  Perhaps he’ll need to join the Screen Actors Guild.  Certainly, a Number of Ben Franklin Rolls would be a perfect fit…

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Offshore Wind Forum Set for RI – The Business Network for Offshore Wind is hosting an International Offshore Wind Conference at the Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island.  The event today and tomorrow will feature an array of governmental, international and national development and energy leaders.  The event will wrap up with a tour of the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore windfarm in the U.S. on Wednesday.

NatGas Forum Set – The North American Gas Forum will be held today and tomorrow in Washington at the Park Hyatt.  There will be a session tomorrow on this year’s election, challenges at FERC and the Clean Power Plan.  There is a great line up of speakers including DOE’s Paula Gant, NGSA’s Dena Wiggins, Senate Leader McConnell’s Energy aide Neil Chatterjee and API’s Marty Durbin.

Stanford to Host Energy Forums Looking at Key Issues for Next President – Today at Noon at the National Press Club, Stanford University’s environmental and energy research institutes, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, are convening a series of panel sessions to highlight pressing environmental and energy challenges and risks that the next Administration will need to confront.  The first event will focus on food, energy and water and the implications for national security.

Wilson to Look at Mexico, Energy – The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute will host a forum today at 2:00 p.m. featuring a conversation with Carlos de Regules, Executive Director  of ASEA, to discuss the regulatory environment in Mexico, the capacity of the ASEA to provide for efficient and effective regulation and the agency’s cooperation with other bodies in Mexico and here in the United States.

Holmstead to Lead BPC Panel on EPA Rule – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow  with a panel discussion featuring leading legal experts to unpack the arguments presented to the circuit court last week in a case challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  They will also be asked to read the tea leaves on the judges’ questions and reactions.  Speakers will include my Colleague Jeff Holmstead, Hunton’s Allison Wood, NRDC’s David Doniger and Chris Courchesne of the Massachusetts AG’s Office.

NGSA to Release Winter Outlook – On Wednesday morning the Natural Gas Supply Assn will release its winter natural gas outlook at the National Press Club’s Bloomberg Room.  The NGSA’s 16th annual Winter Outlook summarizes the association’s view of existing natural gas market conditions and fundamentals. The analysis covers the key points that can affect supply and demand dynamics, which ultimately impact all consumers of natural gas. Bill Green, Chairman of NGSA and Vice President, Downstream Marketing for Devon Energy, will discuss the upcoming winter natural gas market, looking at current and emerging trends in production, demand, storage, the economy, weather and what those may mean for consumers this winter.

RFF Seminar to Look at Past Energy Crisis – On Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. Resources for the Future will host a seminar looking at the history and politics of energy policy in the 1970s., Meg Jacobs, Princeton historian and author of Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s, will examine how the twin oil shocks of that decade—the 1973–1974 Arab oil embargo followed by the Iranian revolution five years later—caught American policymakers by surprise and discusses why they encountered so many challenges in devising effective solutions. Even as the crisis gave momentum to the creation of the US Department of Energy, the lines for gasoline undermined public confidence in Washington’s ability to resolve the crisis. President Carter made some progress with the passage of his National Energy Act of 1978, but the political divisions made enduring reforms of energy production and use challenging. The result was a stalemate rather than a new framework for national energy policy. By the time of the 1991 Gulf War, Americans had continued to be substantially reliant on oil from abroad, including from the Middle East. Meg Jacobs analyzes these issues in her history of the energy crisis, providing a cautionary tale for today. The seminar will also feature remarks from former RFF President Phil Sharp.

Senate Enviro Committee Hold MD Field Hearing – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a field hearing on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in Logan, MD to examining the local impacts of EPA’s climate regulations.

Forum to Look at Climate Resilience – On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the Wilson Center will hold a session to explore crucial aspects of island resilience in two panels: how islands can serve as resilience “incubators,” and what other states can learn from islands as they adapt to their own climate risks. It will bring together policymakers, scientists, donors, practitioners, and members of the diplomatic community with the goal of exploring island resilience initiatives and how they may be applied elsewhere.

USEA to Host Energy Supply Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 9th Annual Energy Supply Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event is one of USEA’s premier events, bringing together over 150 key policymakers, government officials, senior corporate officers, and industry professionals to discuss the latest in innovation, technology, policy and trends facing the energy supply sector.  Topics for discussion will include:  Challenges to the next Secretary of Energy; Global Gas Markets; The Global Nuclear Picture; Integrated Energy Network; Outlook for Carbon Capture & Storage Utilization; and more.

Forum to Look at Food Waste, Recycling – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute will look at food waste and recycling issues.  In 2015, the U.S. announced its first ever domestic goal to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030. In the hierarchy of food waste recovery options, a key objective is to divert waste to composting facilities or anaerobic digesters, rather than landfills and incinerators. In the second panel in ELI’s food waste series, we will discuss innovations in the food waste processing sector, potential municipal and state best practices in waste reduction, and opportunities to convert waste into renewable energy.

VLS Energy Forum Set For Bracewell – The 2016 Vermont Law School Alumni in Energy Symposium will held at Bracewell on the Thursday at Noon.  The event will explore the current critical technological and regulatory policy designs that are helping—and hindering—a decentralized grid structure, both in the U.S. and internationally. The speakers will examine models of where and how decentralization has been (and can be) optimized, proactive responses to specific barriers, the roles of the public and private sectors, and timeframes for implementation.  Bracewell Associate Steve Hug will moderate and my colleague Jason Hutt is a VLS alum and board member.

Forum to Look at Korea, Nukes – In collaboration with the Global America Business Institute, the Korea Economic Institute is hosting a forum on Thursday on Capitol Hill looking at improving the economics of nuclear power.  It will Look at the lessons learned from the Korean experience.  A growing number of nuclear power plants throughout the United States face the prospect of premature shutdown and decommissioning, leading many to dismiss nuclear power as expensive and economically uncompetitive. However, many of the recent reactor shutdowns in the U.S. have been the result of market failures in deregulated electricity markets, and the rising costs of nuclear in the U.S. have largely been attributable to an uncertain regulatory environment, a failure to maximize on fixed costs, and other factors.

Forum to Look at Climate, Public Opinions – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing on Thursday discussing American perceptions of climate change as awareness and concern for its impacts continues to rise among the electorate. The speaker for this forum is Edward Maibach, Director, Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.  Maibach will conduct a national survey this fall to assess public support for existing and proposed federal climate policies.  Briefing attendees will be invited to suggest policies they would like to see included in the survey.  The presentation will delve into recent work from the polling sector, including what Americans really think about climate change policy, how mainstream reporting has adapted its coverage of climate issues over the years, and how voter attitudes towards climate change and clean energy may influence the 2016 election cycle. Polling trends at both the national and state level will be discussed, as Maibach explores the gap between the data and real-world experiences in measuring public opinion.

WRI to Launch Report – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., World Resources Institute will host a high-level panel discussion, chaired by Andrew Steer, in conjunction with the launch of the report – Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon. This major new research report finds that securing land rights for local forest dwellers in Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia is a low cost investment that would generate substantial returns at the global and local levels.  The report will be launched in Washington, DC, at a side event of the World Bank Group Annual Meetings. WRI’s event will feature a panel of leading economists and finance ministers. The WRI report focuses on Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia, provides original matching analysis on deforestation rates, emphasizes climate mitigation but incorporates an array of ecosystem services into the Benefit-Cost Analysis, and includes a set of policy options and recommendations.  Lord Nicholas Stern is among the speakers.

USEA Forum to Look at Tanzania, NatGas, Energy – The U.S. Energy Assn will host a forum on Friday at 1:00 p.m. to Look at the role of natural gas in Tanzania.  Juma Mkobya, Assistant Commissioner for Energy Development in Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals will speak.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day Set – The 2nd Annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day will be held on Saturday to highlight the advances on hydrogen fuel cell advances.  The event focuses in recognition of the atomic mass of hydrogen, 1.008 (October 8th).

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Kigali Montreal Protocol Talks Start – The UN MOP 28 on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer convenes in October 10-14 in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting agenda encompasses the negotiations on a hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) amendment, nominations for critical-use and essential-use exemptions, and other decisions from the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG).

NOAA Official to Be Featured at RFF Event – Next Tuesday, October 11th at 11:30 a.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Richard G. Newell and Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, as they discuss how environmental intelligence can preserve and improve human and environmental health as well as promote growth.  Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed by the Senate as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on March 6, 2014, having served as acting NOAA administrator since February 28, 2013. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut, and intrepid explorer.

Forum to look at AVs – The R Street Institute is hosting at Capitol Hill forum next Tuesday on Autonomous Vehicles and the new government requirements posted last week.  Former NHTSA head David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro, GMU’s Adam Thierer and CEI’s Marc Scribner will all speak.

BPC Forum to Look at Food Supply – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Kansas State University will hold a forum on Thursday, October 13th for panel discussions on the threat of bio/agroterrorism, highlighting the importance of agriculture in biosecurity, as well as potential strategies, tactics, and policy solutions for the next administration.  The 2015 bipartisan report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense reported that, despite progress on many fronts, the nation remains highly vulnerable to biological threats. A critical consideration in the national dialogue on biodefense includes the need to protect American’s food supply and agriculture economy. A biological attack on the $1 trillion agriculture sector would have devastating economic, social, and political fallout, and it is critical to promote engagement and awareness in the biosecurity debate.

CEQ’s Goldfuss Featured in Women’s Event – The Women’s Energy Network will host a lunch on Thursday October 8th with Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Borenstein, Holt, Mann Headline Penn State Science Forum – Penn State University will hold a forum on October 13th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Science, climate and energy policy.  The panel will feature former Rep. and Princeton Physicist Rush Holt, controversial climate scientist Michael Mann, AP Science report Seth Borenstein and Penn State energy center director Peter Hudson.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden on October 17-18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CSIS to Host Fukushima Governor – The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program will host Governor Masao Uchibori discuss the present situation of Fukushima Prefecture 2047 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as his efforts aimed at revitalization.  Governor Uchibori was elected as Governor of Fukushima in October 2014 and assumed office as Governor in November 2014. Uchibori’s mission is to ‘take back the Fukushima known for beauty and calm’. In accomplishing this mission, Governor Uchibori has visited all over the Prefecture and listened to the voices of the people of Fukushima to develop his bottom-up approach.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on October 18-19th In Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

Engineers Conference Set for OK – The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK on October 23-26.  The conference will provide an extensive debate and discussion, based on solid research and evidence, to facilitate deeper and broader understanding of the energy transformation for North America and the rest of the world.  The Tulsa conference will bring together business, government, academic and other professionals to explore these themes through a series of plenary, concurrent, and poster sessions. Speakers will address current issues and offer ideas for improved policies taking full account of the evolution of the North American energy sector and its implications for the rest of the world. There also will be offsite tours to provide a direct and close-up perspective on Oklahoma’s dynamic energy landscape.

Solar Insight Conference Set – GTM will host the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference on October 25th and 26th at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA.  The event will provide industry thought leaders and insights into the U.S. solar industry.  NARUC’s Travis Kavulla will speak along with a number of others.

GW to Host Electricity System Forum – On October 27th, George Washington University Law School will convene top policy-makers and industry leaders for a one-day conference on the interface of state and federal initiatives addressing the way in which electricity in the U.S. will be produced, delivered and used in the future. The learning sessions will examine the work occurring in Minnesota, California and the Southeast and at FERC, NERC and U.S. DOE. Additional learning sessions will include remarks from a leading consumer advocate and a newer market entrant, plus a lunchtime presentation on grid architecture for the future grid. The facilitated discussion session, in which all are encouraged to participate, will address how federal, state, and local efforts complement or conflict, and seek ideas from the discussion panel and the audience for additional means for coordination across jurisdictions and regions.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

COP 22 Marrakesh – November 7-21

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 8

Friends,

While Super Bowl 50 had its usual hype, the overall event just didn’t live up to it.  The game was a defensive struggle filled with turnovers, poor throws, penalties and sacks.  There was only one offensive TD, a missed field and lots of punts.  All of this made it kind of boring until one of the quarters landed on my numbers.  Even with that excitement, the commercials were average and the halftime show didn’t impress despite a new song from pop powerhouse Beyoncé.

Tomorrow voters head to the polls in New Hampshire despite another snowstorm to tell us the current state of both political races.  I’m actually glad that both Iowa and New Hampshire are finally going to be out of the way.  I always feel like their importance is overhyped in the presidential race.

With Presidents’ Day approaching next week the Congress has a short week this week.  The Senate continues action on its energy bill despite some roadblocks from the plant water crisis.  Senate Environment also looks at renewing WRDA.   The House tackles regulations in House Science on Wednesday and House Ag host EPA’s Gina McCarthy to look at the rural economy on Thursday.

A big event is Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. when NRECA, NRDC, the Peak Load Management Association, Great River Energy and The Brattle Group host a call to discuss new research on the economic and environmental benefits of a novel approach to demand response and energy storage, dubbed “community storage.”  The press call will feature a new report about community storage programs and technologies.   Let me know if you need the call-in info.

There are several important RESCHEDULED events this week including a Friday SAFE event that was rescheduled from the previous snowstorm focused on conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia with former officials John Hannah and Bob McNally, among several other experts.  Finally, SEJ is rescheduling its 4th annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event for Thursday at 3:00 p.m., where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016.

Other events include a three-day National Assn of State Energy Officials Conference starting tomorrow that will focus on the GHG rules at the Fairmont Hotel.  Also, on Wednesday, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy hosts a discussion on combating climate change in the courts at the National Press Club.  Speakers will include RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, NRDC co-founder Richard Ayres, former EPA GC Roger Martella, Bordas & Bordas partner Sharon Eubanks (lead counsel for the U.S. in United States v. Phillip Morris), L former EPA counsel Lisa Heinzerling and more.  And Thursday, RFF and EPRI hosts hold a Seminar Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. looking at Clean Power Plan Strategic Modeling.

Finally, the annual budget parade starts this week when the president submits his budget to Congress tomorrow.  Last week he previewed one giant sore spot when he announced a $10 barrel tax on oil.  The proposal which will lead to a 25-cent gasoline increase is likely to be dead letter office.  Not even Democrats were very excited about that proposal in the election year.  Either way, the budget battles begin this week with the parade of a government officials heading to Capitol Hill, starting with Wednesday’s NRC hearing featuring all Four Commissioners.   USDA’s Tom Vilsack is in Ag Approps on Thursday morning.  Energy Secretary Moniz holds his budget briefing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

We have experts available on all the issue areas including my colleague and former House Appropriations staffer Ed Krenik and former Finance Committee tax/budget expert Curt Beaulieu.  Please call if you have questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

President Signals Gas Tax for Budget – Floating a major Lead balloon, President Obama said late last week that he will propose a $10-per-barrel crude oil tax as part of his budget tomorrow in order to fund about $300 billion worth of “sustainable transportation” programs over the next decade.  Republicans blasted the plan with glee, while most Democrats sat it out, hoping any talk of gas talks won’t infiltrate the 2016 campaign.

IPAA Fires Back –  The Independent Petroleum Association of America Spokesman Neal Kirby blasted the proposal saying “make no mistake, this is an energy consumer tax disguised as an oil company fee. At a time when oil companies are going through the largest financial crisis in over 25 years, it makes little sense to raise costs on the industry. This isn’t simply a tax on oil companies, it’s a tax on American consumers who are currently benefiting from low home heating and transportation costs.  This could also put American oil companies at a competitive disadvantage with foreign oil companies, as imported oil may not face the same treatment. For the first time in years, the U.S. Congress recently passed a highway funding bill. The Administration had the opportunity to raise funding for our nation’s highways during that time. Why now instead of then?”

Well Control Rule Heads to OMB – The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) sent its new standards for blowout preventers to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) late last week for its review, a required step before finalization.  The BSEE rule would require third-party verification of design standards, enhanced onshore monitoring of performance and new engineering standards for operation.

WoodMac Study Underscores Problems – Last week, we mentioned the initial findings from a study conducted by international research consultancy Wood Mackenzie confirm that the high cost of a proposed new rule.  The findings showed that it could significantly reduce domestic energy production and curtail U.S. economic activity, energy supplies, and state and federal offshore revenues.  The new requirements included in the proposed rule call for far reaching changes to the rules by which the oil and gas operators are governed and would increase costs in a manner that will severely impact Gulf Coast economies.  According to initial findings released today, the study found that under an $80 oil assumption, comparable to the price assumptions used by BSEE in developing the rule, the Interior Department’s draft rule would:

  • Decrease exploration drilling by up to 55% or 10 wells annually
  • Reduce Gulf of Mexico production by as much as 35% by year 2030
  • Result in 105,000 – 190,000 jobs at risk by 2030; this may include jobs beyond the energy sector;
  • Most notably, 80% of these jobs could be in Louisiana and Texas.

AHRI, NRDC Align on Phasing Out Certain HFC Refrigerants – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a joint letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of changing the status of certain refrigerants used in liquid chillers under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program effective January 1, 2025. The two groups took this action following lengthy discussions on the importance of moving beyond high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants used in chillers and consideration of factors such as the safety of alternatives, the continued improvement of system efficiency, reasonable product development timelines, and the avoidance of market migration. The effective date was negotiated with those factors in mind. “This is another example of industry and efficiency advocates working together toward environmental progress, while allowing sufficient time and predictability for manufacturers,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “We are grateful to the members of AHRI’s Liquid Chillers Product Section, who worked diligently to reach this agreement,” Yurek added.  The EPA is expected to decide in the coming months whether or not to accede to this consensus recommendation.

Nuclear Society Releases ToolKit – The American Nuclear Society introduced the Nuclear in the States Toolkit, Version 1.0 today at a media event in Washington, D.C.  The toolkit catalogs policies related to new and existing nuclear reactors for state policymakers to consider as they draft their Clean Power Plan compliance strategies. It was developed by the ANS Special Committee on Nuclear in the States to catalog the myriad policy options available at the state-level to support new and existing nuclear energy facilities. “This report is intended to prompt discussion about nuclear as a reliable clean-energy source. ANS does not endorse or support any specific policy pathway. The intent of this report is to serve as a menu of policy options for state policymakers to consider as they move ahead on their clean energy compliance plans,” said ANS President Eugene S. Grecheck.  Among the subjects covered in the toolkit are electricity capacity markets, governmental support, public hearings, and tax policies. There are also policy- and market-based tools included with comments and examples provided for each tool. By developing this guide ANS hopes to prevent further nuclear plant closures and promote new plant builds.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NAS to Look at Rural Electricity Issues – Today and Tomorrow, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a technical workshop on electricity use in rural and islanded communities. Workshop topics will include attributes of electricity use and distribution systems associated with rural electricity users, islanded residents, and isolated demand centers;  challenges and opportunities for increasing efficiency, reducing emissions and costs, and resiliency in such locations; and innovative clean energy strategies being undertaken in such locations.

Forum, Report to Highlight LNG Exports – The Atlantic Council will hold a panel today and launch its Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative with the report “Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade, How US Exports Will Benefit European and Global Gas Supply Diversity, Competition, and Security” authored by Global Energy Center Senior Fellow and former leading CIA analyst Bud Coote.  The report analyzes global LNG market developments and the potential role of US LNG in Europe and Asia. The EU’s move toward a freer energy market and a global shift toward gas by climate conscious consumers are likely to help fuel growing demand for US LNG in the coming years. The strong match between Europe’s energy objectives and US LNG exporters’ goals will not only bolster a secure and competitive energy market in Europe, but help lead the fight against climate change.  Coote and Fabrice Vareille, Head of Transport, Energy, and Environment Section of the EU Delegation to the United States, will discuss.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit today through Wednesday at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference to Focus on GHG Plans, Other Issues – The National Assn of State Energy Officials hosts a three-day Conference starting tomorrow that will focus on the GHG rules at the Fairmont Hotel.   Ernest Moniz is Keynote Speaker Wednesday and former Trade Rep Ron Kirk will speak Thursday.  Our friend Bryan Hannegan of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will also speak among the many panels.

ICF to Present 2016 Fuels Outlook – ICF International will hold a webinar tomorrow to look at the 2016 Fuels Outlook.  ICF’s Joel Bluestein will present and provide insights on how the fuel sector may trend in the new year as well as the risks and opportunities the sector presents. Topics will include the effects of continued low oil prices on North American energy production; the outlook for LNG exports and, with the lifting of the ban, crude oil exports; key drivers of natural gas demand in the near term; Investment outlook for natgas infrastructure and the implications of the Clean Power Plan.

WCEE Feature Paris Climate Discussion – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 noon to hear from four organizations about their participation in COP21, their thoughts on the agreement, and how they’re getting to work on implementation.   Speakers will include Astrid Caldas of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jennifer Huang of Center for Climate & Energy Solutions (C2ES), Anne Kelly of Ceres and Tanya Primiani of the World Bank.

Forum to Look at Iran Oil Contracts – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will host a discussion of Iran petroleum issues and contracts.  Yeganeh Torbati of Reuters will moderate a discussion on how the new IPC differ from the current investment structure in Iran and its impacts on regions like Iraq.  The panel will feature the following renowned experts on Iran and energy: Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and President of SVB Energy International, Dr. Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, and Guly Sabahi, a Partner with the energy sector team at Dentons.

Forum to Focus on Climate Action – The Johns Hopkins University, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Embassy of Peru will hold a forum tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. for the inauguration of the Seminar Series “Embassy Talks.”  Professor Francisco E. González and Gabriel Quijandría will present a dissertation about “From Lima to Paris: Assessing International Efforts to Strengthen Climate Action”.  This seminar will assess how the COP20 set the stage for the successful negotiation of the COP21 Paris Agreement. The seminar will place particular emphasis on the role that Latin American countries played in the COP20 and COP21 conferences in order to gauge the achievements and limitations of regional cooperation with regard to one of the most important and high-stakes medium- and long-term multilateral issues of the 21st century.

Energy Ministers Meet in Canada – The North American Energy Ministers  are meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Winnipeg, Canada.  If you think we may get some snow On Wednesday, it will be colder up there.  The meeting will discuss current energy strategies on GHGs, Oil prices and many other Items.  The meetings will Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr and Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on Wednesday and Thursday in Oak Ridge, TN. Continuing on the important work of the 2015 Advanced Reactors Technical Summit II at UMass Lowell and the inaugural 2014 Special Technical Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory, the Technical Summit III will continue the discussion on approaches for improving the cost and deployment time frame of advanced reactors. Specifically the Summit III will engage in a discussion of common ground practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly accelerating advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations. The Technical Summit III features the leading advanced reactor concepts as well as key thought and policy leaders.  Speakers will include NRC Commissioner William Ostroff and DOE’s John Kotek, among many others.

House Science to Look at Regulations – The full House Science Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at last-year regulations examining executive branch overreach.  Witnesses will include Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Bosworth Air Conditioning President Jerry Bosworth, ASE’s Kateri Callahan and Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum.

House Approps Starts Budget Process with NRC Commissioners – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies will hold a budget hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Witnesses include all the commissioners and Chairman Burns.

Senate Environment to Look at WRDA Reform – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday looking at enacting a new Water Resources Development Act. Witnesses for the hearing will include Bob Portiss, port director for the Tulsa, Okla., Port of Catoosa and several others.

Coalition Start Effort to Boost Community Storage – NRECA, NRDC, the Peak Load Management Association, Great River Energy and The Brattle Group host a call Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss new research on the economic and environmental benefits of a novel approach to demand response and energy storage, dubbed “community storage.”  The press call will feature a new report about community storage programs and technologies.  The group will also announce the launch of “Community Storage Initiative” and release of new research from The Brattle Group on how residential water heaters can serve as energy storage devices to benefit electric customers and the grid.

Climate Legal Battle Roundtable on Tap – On Wednesday, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy holds a discussion on combating climate change in the courts at the National Press Club.  Speakers will include RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, NRDC co-founder Richard Ayres, former EPA GC Roger Martella, Bordas & Bordas partner Sharon Eubanks (lead counsel for the U.S. in United States v. Phillip Morris), L former EPA counsel Lisa Heinzerling and more.

Forum to Look at Paris Outcome – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen discussing the climate deal that came out of the 2015 Paris climate change conference, as well as what lies ahead for the 185 countries that pledged to reduce their emissions.  The discussion will focus on what commitments countries have made in the international deal on climate, and what the deal will mean for emission levels and the climate.  Speakers for this forum are State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment Dan Reifsnyder, Bruno Fulda of the Embassy of France and Georg Maue of the Embassy of Germany.

GWU Forum to Feature Scarlett, Boots – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in GWU’s Jack Morton Auditorium, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration and School of Media & Public Affairs will hold a discussion of climate change moderated by Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and the creator and host of Planet Forward, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability.  The centrist discussion, “Finding Common Ground: Climate Solutions for the Next Administration,” will feature former Bush Interior official Lynn Scarlett (now at The Nature Conservancy) and CEQ head Mike Boots.

ACCO to Talk with Better Buildings Director – The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold a roundtable on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.  with Maria Vargas. Vargas is the Director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the Department of Energy. The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to make American buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020. This leadership initiative involves chief executive officers, University presidents and state and local leaders that have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow.

RFF/EPRI to Look at GHG Modeling – Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will hold a Seminar Breakfast on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. looking at Clean Power Plan Strategic Modeling.  Industry leaders, policymakers, and the public still have questions about how the Clean Power Plan will impact the mix of power generation, the interconnected grid, cross-state electricity markets, and how consumers use electricity. New modeling results from researchers at Resources for the Future and the Electric Power Research Institute provide strategic insight into these questions and more. This event is the second in RFF and EPRI’s 2016 Clean Power Plan series. Watch the video from the first event, where experts discussed formal comments to EPA on the federal plan and trading rules.

House Ag to Host McCarthy on Rural Economy – The House Agriculture Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday to consider the impacts of EPA’s actions on the rural economy featuring Gina McCarthy.  McCarthy will be called on to explain her agency’s decisions and discuss with members of Congress how we might work together to ensure that future actions by the EPA do not harm American agriculture.

JHU to Host Energy Expert on Low Oil Prices – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University will host a conversation with energy expert J. Robinson West.  West is a senior adviser with CSIS’ Energy and National Security Program. The former chairman of PFC Energy, he has advised chief executives of leading national and international oil and gas companies on corporate strategy, portfolio management, acquisitions, divestitures and investor relations.  West founded PFC Energy in 1984 and built it into a global consulting firm staffed with 130 professionals specializing in the oil and gas industries.

CAP Forum to Discuss Global Food Security – The Center for American Progress will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. at the National Press Club with leading voices at the forefront of the global conversation on food security.  They will also release the findings and recommendations of a new report “Food Chain Reaction: A Global Food Security Game.”  The event will feature keynote remarks from CAP Chairman Senator Tom Daschle and an expert panel moderated by Bloomberg News food security reporter Alan Bjerga.  Panelists include an international set of Food Chain Reaction participants, including Cargill Economist Tim Bodin, World Wildlife Fund Senior Vice President for Agriculture David McLaughlin, Vice President of Public Affairs for Mars Incorporated Matthias Berninger, EMBRAPA Labex-USA Coordinator Geraldo Martha, and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Senior Fellow Nutan Kaushik.  Panelists will discuss the role public- and private-sector stakeholders need to play as population grows, standards of living rise, and the need to produce more food presents new demands on global leaders and our planet.

RESCHEDULED – SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its 4th annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists.  A reception sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, Resource Media, Environmental Law Institute, Bloomberg BNA, and the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program will follow.  Speakers will include HuffPost’s Laura Barron-Lopez, SEJ President Jeff Burnside, former LA Times reporter Marla Cone (now at National Geographic), Bloomberg BNA’s Jessica Coomes, Chris Mooney of the Washington Post, E&E News Manuel Quinones, BNA’s Dean Scott and  former BaltSun reporter (now at Chesapeake Bay Journal) Tim Wheeler.

RESCHEDULED: SAFE Forum to Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict – Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Capitol Hill lunch event has been rescheduled for Friday at 10:00 a.m.  The event will discuss the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and U.S. energy and national security interests in the region and feature  SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council member General Charles F. Wald (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), former NSC head John Hannah, former National Economic Council official Bob McNally and FP Correspondent Indira Lakshmanan.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NE ISO Chief to Address Dinner – Next Tuesday evening, February 16th, the National Capitol Area of the US Assn Of Energy Economists will host its annual dinner featuring a presentation by Gordon van Welie of ISO-New England on balancing clean energy integration with reliable and competitive power markets.  van Welie is president and chief executive officer of ISO New England Inc., having previously served at Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution LLC, where he served as vice president and general manager of the Power Systems Control Division and was responsible for managing information technology solutions for electric companies.

CSIS to Look at Oil Markets for 2016 – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a public session on Wednesday February 17th at 10:00 a.m. to preview what 2016 may look like and the state of the oil market. The panel will discuss updated forecasts of supply and demand, the outlook for U.S. unconventionals production, and the implications for the midstream and refining sector. A month into the new year, oil and gas markets, companies, and lenders are off to a turbulent start, in many ways continuing trends from over the past 18 months. Despite the risk of supply disruptions around the globe and the most recent uptick in oil prices, resilient production, especially from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iraq, combined with the reentry of Iranian volumes, a strong dollar, abundant inventories, and the uncertainty surrounding new demand growth are likely to sustain low prices well into this year.  Speakers will include EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht and several others.

Forum to Look at Climate Innovation, Partnerships – On Thursday, February 18th at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on Innovation in solving climate goals.  Debra Knopman and Zhimin Mao from RAND will discuss how RAND has worked with the Guangdong Provincial Department of Housing and Rural Development since 2011 to develop a system of quality of life indicators and identify policy options to advance sustainability in the Pearl River Delta region. Mark Ginsberg, Senior Fellow at U.S. Green Building Council and Principal of Ginsberg Green Strategies, will discuss how various LEED certification and scoring mechanisms are helping Chinese cities and professionals better measure and manage buildings and other urban systems. Abby Watrous, Senior ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will discuss how DOE is working with the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to deploy low-carbon development policy and planning tools for cities across China.

CSIS Hears BP Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on Thursday February 18th at 10:30 a.m. of the BP Energy Outlook – 2016 Edition with Spencer Dale , Group Chief Economist with BP p.l.c. The BP Energy Outlook attempts to describe the “most likely” trajectory of the global energy system – based upon assumptions around economic and population growth as well as developments in policy and technology – as well as examining key uncertainties. Questions to be addressed in the 2016 edition include: what factors will shape energy markets over the next 20 years? What impact would a slowdown in global economic growth have on energy demand? How could agreements reached at COP21 affect energy consumption?

Forum to Look at Low Oil Price Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will hold a discussion on Friday February 19th at 12:30 p.m. the impact of low oil prices on economic and political stability in Latin America. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with far-reaching economic implications in Latin America. Today, governments across the region face fiscal constraints, market upheaval, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and lagging economic growth. Some are adapting creatively, while others are not. With this volatile landscape as a backdrop, panelists will address the following questions about impacts of the low-price environment.

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – On February 22, at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is rescheduling its GHG briefing cancelled by the January snow storm.  The forum will be a webinar and discuss how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

IEA Medium-Term Oil Report Released – On Wednesday, February 24th at 1:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Office for Energy Markets and Security with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to present the IEA’s 2016 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director with ClearView Energy Partners LLC, and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.

Canada Energy Future Highlighted – The CSIS Energy Program will feature a discussion on March 2nd of Canada’s 2016 energy future.  The event will feature members of the Canadian National Energy Board, including Abha Bhargava, Director of Energy Integration, as well as Energy Futures Project Managers Bryce Van Sluys and Matthew Hansen.

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Energy Update: Week of January 11

Friends,

Tough lead today with the loss of the innovative and iconic rock legend David Bowie who passed away last night after an 18-month battle with cancer.   Ground control to Major Tom, your circuits dead, there’s something wrong…Can you hear me Major Tom???

The loss is especially difficult for those who have followed Bowie through his Changes that crossed generational and economic spectrums.  Only if We could steal time…Just for one day.  Either way, there’s a Starman waiting in the sky.

All the way from Washington, You want the Young Americans to say the energy week starts with the President’s final  State of the Union address tomorrow night.  We expect a heavy dose of general platitudes and self-congrats on the Paris agreement and the domestic implementation piece: the Administration’s GHG rules.  We don’t expect a lot of specific policy focus in spite of having a solar advocates sitting with the first lady in the President’s box.

Congress also joins the fight with action this week with a more Congressional Review Act action focused on limiting EPA’s controversial and currently blocked-by-the-court Waters of the United States rule.  The House will take up the STREAM Act which .Finally, if you follow energy efficiency (as I SO do) a House Energy panel will look at legislation that will redefine certain energy efficiency rules for DOE.  Tomorrow, the House Science Committee will mark up bipartisan legislation intended to boost public and private research on advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

The biggest event this week is the US Chamber’s annual “State of American Business” address on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. featuring  Chamber President Tom Donohue perspective/policies on the economy and energy issues.  Wednesday has three great events with WCEE looking at hydraulic fracturing (in light of last week’s SAB draft report), our friend Sam Thernstrom’s  Energy Innovation Reform Project briefing/discussion of the future of nuclear power and the World Resources Institute’s 2016 Stories to Watch.  Finally, Thursday, Bloomberg First-Word Energy editor Mark Drajem joins BGov analysts Loren Duggan, Adam Schank and Danielle Parnass for a free webinar tackling key energy issues and other questions.

Remember to mark your calendars for next week’s USEA 12th annual State of Energy event on Thursday, January 21st and Friday’s annual SEJ/Wilson Center forum on environment and energy stories for 2016.  And remember just three weeks to the Greenest Show on Grass: The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a PGA event which always includes a great environmental policy forum.

Finally, in case you missed it last week, we are resending our top issue for 2016 for your review.  Tell us you thoughts are let us know what issues we may have missed.

Enjoy tonight’s big game…let’s hope it’s as exciting as the Valero Alamo Bowl, perhaps the only really fun game of a drab Bowl season.   Perhaps more fun:  Watching hockey given Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin hit the 500 goal mark (in just 801 games) yesterday against Ottawa.

We can beat them, forever and ever…  We can be heroes, just for one day.   Don’t forget the National Press Club Event on Paris and utilities with Tom Friedman, Tom Kuhn, and SAFE’s Robbie Diamond starting right about now.  As usual, call with questions…

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Journal Study Says Climate Could Limit Water Use at Power Plants – A new study from an Austrian research center says climate change could lead to significant declines in electricity production in coming decades as water resources are disrupted.  Hydropower stations and thermoelectric plants, which depend on water to generate energy, together contribute about 98% of the world’s electricity production, said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.  Shifts in water temperatures, or the availability of fresh water due to climate change, could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity in more than two thirds of the world’s power plants between 2040 and 2069.

House Moves on Regulation Reforms – With regulations a major focus in the President’s last year in office, the House passed legislation aimed at reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulations.  The bill would establish the Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission, a group that would review federal regulations, especially those with an estimated annual cost of $100 million or more, and advise Congress on the potential repeal of regulations that have excessive costs and place unnecessary burdens on those regulated. Smith said the outsized growth of burdensome regulations has created the need for a special group to study regulatory reductions that “make government smaller, more efficient, and accountable” to its citizens. The vote was 245 to 174.

SAB Questions Continue – The EPA’s Science Advisory Board criticized its conclusion that there’s no evidence the gas drilling leaves “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water,” saying it didn’t reflect noted “uncertainties and data limitations.”  The SAB released 133-page draft report late last week that said the EPA’s previous report could be improved.   The report questions the “clarity and adequacy” of the EPA draft report and says EPA “needs to do a better job of recognizing the importance of local impacts” from fracking.  SAB cites Dimock, Pavilion and Parker County as examples where the local community makes claims regarding localized impacts.  Finally, with respect to the “no widespread, systemic” language, SAB said the phrase “does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations” that is well expressed elsewhere in the EPA draft report.

Segal Challenges SAB Approach – My Bracewell & Giuliani colleague Scott Segal, who testified before the SAB and has decades of experience representing a number of oil and gas producers, said as someone who participated in the SAB process, “I can confirm that reviewers were presented with no new information that challenges the finding in the EPA draft report of no ‘widespread’ or ‘systemic’ contamination resulting from natural gas development.  The SAB panel did hear a parade of anecdotal statements, many of which came from plaintiffs in active litigation.  By contrast, the SAB panel had before it conclusions from the National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, MIT, GAO, the Groundwater Protection Council, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission – all largely supportive of the claim that contamination is neither widespread or systemic, just as EPA’s Draft Assessment found.  The experts at EPA’s Office of Research and Development should not let largely discredited, anecdotal or litigation-inspired evidence stand in the way of conclusions based on scientific consensus.”

Top 10 Issues In 2016

  • We’ll Always Have Paris – In December, nations agreed to a next step climate approach.  While hailed as a breakthrough, it is clearly not the historic agreement many advocates had hoped for.  In fact, it appears to be another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than they would ever have found remotely acceptable.  Nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.   How this plays out this year globally will determine whether this is a turning point or the same old, same old.  Another test for the Administration’s position will be regarding the funding requests for the UN’s Green Climate Fund. While Congress has already hit the funding several times, it remains controversial especially as the developing world waits to be “Shown the Money” following Paris.
  • Legal Eagles for CPP Year – The linchpin to meeting Paris and addressing climate change for the Administration is centered around its Clean Power Plan, which regulates GHGs and requires existing power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 2030. Almost 30 states and a wide array of industry groups have challenged the rule, claiming EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to enact it.  Arguments will center around the contention that Congress never gave EPA the authority to encourage emission control methods outside the fence line of a power plant, such as forcing increased renewables.  They will also challenge regulating power plants under Section 111(d) after they already regulated them under Section 112, which covers hazardous air pollutants.  Also look for Rural Co-ops to weigh heavily in to the legal battle as they have a very strong case for being aggrieved the most by the rules.  Lots to do on this with key dates set for early this year and folks like my colleague Jeff Holmstead ready to discuss at any point.
  • Politics All The Time – As we progress through 2016, we will be under a full slate of political action starting this month in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation votes are well underway.  This year-long sweep will keep a target on the back of candidates, parties, Congress and President Obama for every little political move and its meaning.  It also will likely clear the Congressional schedule some time around mid-March or April to focus on theme legislating and political campaigning – always a dangerous time for both Congress and the Administration.    Who is standing at the end of the day on November 2nd remains a mystery, today but the road will be loud, twisting and bumpy.
  • Regs, Regs and More Regs – It is 2016…the last year of President Obama’s time in office.  And like with any end of a second-term President, expect a full regulatory dump.  While most are looking at gun safety, e-cigarettes and other social regs, the energy and enviro side will see the same barrage.  Already, DOE is pounding the pavement to rush out over 20-plus efficiency regulations that will tie appliance and HVAC industries in knots trying to comply.  Other key regulations like Methane from gas drilling, Federal land fracturing regs, tougher Ozone rules, a battle of EPA Water of the US rules and more individual climate rules will all be a part of the year-long sweep.   Many industry and regulatory watchdogs are on guard, but the sheer volume of the effort masked in the President election may allow some to side through.
  • Expanding the Innovation Agenda – Last year was a great year for the innovation agenda.  It picked up extra steam not only in our national labs but also with private companies investing millions in the effort.  Southern Company was the prime example promoting several bold and innovative individual  technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass and new generation nuclear.  They also started an innovation center to house the creative outcomes of its workforce.  We also saw its emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  • Ozon‘ing Out – The Ozone/NAAQS instantly become one of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 when the White House/EPA announced it would roll out a standard at 70 ppb.  Last year we predicted that the  Administration had only so much political capital at its disposal and it made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  Given the state and industry pushback and the symbolic Keystone victory the White House gave to enviros, the Administration clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain a tougher ozone rule, especially as we venture into an election year.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will still say the current EPA plan is unrealistic and enviros have already filed suited calling for 60 ppb.  Just before Christmas both sides hammered EPA with lawsuits.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are the loudest industry voices complaining that imposing new standards make no sense when many communities haven’t even complied with previous ozone reduction levels.  This battle will play out in the election year where state and local officials end up playing an oversized role since  they are impacted the most.
  • RFS, Ethanol: Same Old Sad Song – The disaster known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) continued last year with EPA finalizing its long-awaited rule in early December.  The original law establishing the RFS set in place an increasing level of use for ethanol expressed in terms of actual volume numbers.  As time has gone by, however, the actual total gasoline fuel pool has declined due to more efficient autos, more mass transit, and even electric cars.  As a result, the volume number – if EPA fails to adjust it downward – will exceed 10% by volume of gasoline.  But above that level, autos have significant performance issues.  The ethanol folks want the continued higher growth; fuel makers and consumers are queasy about the higher numbers.  There is little environmental case for higher ethanol use any more, especially as commercial   second-gen biofuels remain elusive.  Indeed, major enviro groups like EWG have produced studies showing the higher levels are actually worse for carbon emissions when the ethanol lifecycle is taken into account. It is likely the RFS won’t be repealed, but a wholesale revision is closer to a reality that ever.  Now, Congress will be expected to once again roll up its sleeves on a bipartisan basis and amend the law to a more functioning workable approach.
  • Crude exports, Iran: Catching the Garbage Truck? – The year–end budget deal achieved a goal of many in the oil industry and Congress to remove the decades-old ban of crude exports.  Going forward with market prices low and the world supply broad, there is some question as to how this policy will impact the markets going forward.  2016 will be a key year to see how this plays out.  Another warning sign is the role Iran will play as it comes off sanctions and moves to place it oil into the marketplace.
  • Renewable Reset – The year-end tax/budget deal also renewed the PTC/ITC for five years even though it will eventually phaseout.  The move was a long-standing wish for the renewable industry which has struggled to survive the boom and bust cycles of Congressional budget battles holding the tax credit hostage over the years.  One need only look at AWEA’s graphs charting the installation numbers to understand why the long-term approach will help Installation despite stiff competition from low natgas prices.  2016 looks to be a strong year for renewables especially in light of the Administration efforts to push utility switches with its GHG regs.  It remains an uncertain question though as to whether folks will build more renewables though because of other factors like costs, local NIMBY opposition, state regulatory woes or infrastructure challenges.   Certainly, the technologies are bursting onto the scene in the developing world where China and India (and many others) are already building a number of projects with infrastructure and without opponents at every turn.
  • Build It…Infrastructure – Our continued failure to seriously invest in our transportation and energy infrastructure is costing us jobs and putting our global competitiveness at risk.  Today, we are producing more oil, natural gas and renewable energy than ever before, yet we cannot get that energy efficiently to where it is needed because of we lack the transmission lines, pipelines, roads, rail, trucks, and ships that can move it .  Not investing in our outdated infrastructure will stifle our energy growth, leave us vulnerable to supply disruptions, and weaken our energy security.   Industry trade associations and DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review underscored this challenge.  Yet at the same time, the Keystone opponents were handed a symbolic, but important victory on the most high-profile infrastructure project in 2015.  Expect a reinvigorated attack in 2016 on energy projects and infrastructure, using Keystone as the template.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) starts today and runs through January 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview today and tomorrow. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Press Club to Host Forum on Paris Utility Impacts – Today at 2:30 p.m., the National Press Club will host a discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman in the First Amendment Lounge.   Friedman will lead a panel discussion on the impact of the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris and what it will mean for the U.S. Electric Utility industry and their customers. The panel will includes EEI’s Tom Kuhn, Larry Kellerman of 21st Century Utilities LLC,  former Florida PSC Chair Joe Garcia and Robbie Diamond, the founder of an energy non-profit SAFE.

House Energy to look at Efficiency Legislation – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the External Powers Supplies (EPS) Act of 2016.  This legislation would exempt certain lighting technologies from the definition of “External Power Supplies” included in the Department of Energy’s EPS efficiency standard, which was finalized in 2014. Relief is necessary as the requirements of DOE’s final rule go into effect in February of 2016.  Witnesses will include the National Electrical Manufacturers Association member Pekka Hakkarainen and ACEEE’s Jennifer Amann.

Blood Oil Author to Be Featured – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Center for Global Development will hold a book forum on Blood Oil with author Leif Wenar.  All of the recent reforms around extractives—from transparency to certification to oil-to-cash—point toward the modern idea that the people, not power, should have the ultimate right to control a country’s resources. Can the US lead the West toward the next global revolution, by abolishing its legal trade in authoritarian oil and conflict minerals.

State Of The Union Address –Tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., President Obama will present his final State of the Union Address before Congress.

Stories to Watch 2016 – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club,
the World Resources Institute will present the big stories that will shape the world in 2016.
WRI President Andrew Steer will look at the Paris Agreement, major trends in energy, finance, business, food and cities and many other items.

Nuclear Forum to Look at Future Action – The Center for the National Interest and the Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a briefing and luncheon discussion of the future of nuclear power on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. The meeting is the first in a new series of programs on nuclear energy and will feature remarks by John Kotek, Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy.  The combination of innovative energy technologies with energy and climate change policies in the United States and other leading energy producers and consumers has produced turmoil in international energy markets as well as in domestic markets in many countries. This event will have two components, a briefing on new nuclear technologies-including small modular reactors-from and a lunch discussion of the Obama administration’s efforts to promote nuclear innovation featuring Samuel Thernstrom, EIRP Executive Director.

CAP to Look at Paris, Climate Finance – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for American Progress will host a discussion on the future of climate finance in the Paris era. Specific issues will include the influence of multilateral climate funds in the global economy; how developed countries, such as the United States and Japan, can cooperate and improve resilience in the most vulnerable regions; and how countries and multilateral efforts can work with the private sector.  Featured panelists include Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO Naoko Ishi and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Board Member of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

UC-Davis Forum to Look at Freight System Efficiency – The National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC-Davis hosts a briefing Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in B-369 Rayburn looking at increasing the efficiency and economic competitiveness of the nation’s freight system.

Cato Forum Look at Book on Oil –
On Wednesday at Noon, the Cato Institute
will host a Book Forum in its Hayek Auditorium
on “Blood Oil” featuring the author Leif Wenar of King’s College London, Bruce W. Jentleson of Duke University and Cato’s Ian Vásquez. The benefits from development and global connectedness — in which we are all inescapably complicit — have been huge. However, the natural resources that enabled that development also benefited people who systematically made the lives of others desperate and miserable, fueled violent conflicts, and funded many of the world’s autocracies.

This cycle continues today, but there is hope. In his book, Blood Oil, Leif Wenar explores this great moral challenge of our time, and “shows how citizens, consumers, and leaders can act today to avert tomorrow’s crises — and how we can together create a more united human future.”

Wenar, the chair of philosophy and law at King’s College London, has written a timely and provocative book.

WCEE to Continue at NatGas Drilling Series – On Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host its third in a series of Lunch & Learn seminars looking at the topic of hydraulic fracturing. Part 3 of the series will focus on induced seismicity, which are the earthquakes associated with energy development, particularly in the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. 

This event will have an in-person option; and for those unable to attend, a webinar option.  Speakers will include Julie Shemeta, President and Founder of MEQ Geo, an independent micro-seismic consulting company based in Denver, Co. She has experience with conventional and unconventional oil development, geothermal energy and mining and has worked on projects in North America, Australia, India, Argentina, Columbia, Germany and Mexico. Julie was one of eleven authors of the National Academies National Research Council’s 2012 Study, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies.  Also speaking will be Rex Buchannan, Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey. He was appointed Interim Director in 2010 and has been with the Survey since 1978. In this role, he also chairs the Kansas Taskforce on Induced Seismicity. In addition, Mr. Buchannan serves as Secretary of the American Association of State Geologists and has been a past Chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America.

NAS to Host Arctic Sessions – On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board will host a series of lively, public-friendly presentations from top scientists and other experts who study the connections between Arctic-region changes and impacts that can affect people and places around the globe. Attendees can also explore a series of interactive exhibits and displays.  The event is free and open to the public. Some of the topics/speakers at this event will include:
 Permafrost carbon: a climate change amplifier by Max Holmes of  Woods Hole Research Center; The Polar vortex: Impacts of arctic warming on the weather where we live with
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University; Plants and animals: How arctic warming can affect global ecological dynamics
by Natalie Boelman of the  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Sea level rise from the loss of polar ice
 featuring  Penn State’s Richard Alley; the Arctic Ocean implications of the shrinking polar ice cap
by US Navy Admiral Jonathan White and Arctic as a new frontier for sustainable development
by Gwen Holdmann of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

World Bank Transpo Conference Set – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the urban mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will hold its annual Transforming Transportation conference Thursday and Friday.  The event convenes leading transport and urban development experts from national and local governments, multilateral development banks, foundations, civil society, research institutions, and businesses from around the world. At Transforming Transportation, they share the latest experiences, information, and best practices around sustainable transport.  More information at www.TransformingTransportation.org.

Wilson Forum to Look at Security, Disasters, Climate – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a discussion of whole-of-government interventions to reduce climate change vulnerability. The panelists will discuss opportunities to increase collaboration across U.S. agencies and what role can disaster risk management play in building stability.

U.S. Chamber State of American Business on Thursday – The U.S. Chamber will host its annual “State of American Business” address and press conference on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chamber’s HQ. The Chamber’s Tom Donohue will provide the business community’s perspective on how the economy and country are doing, and he will lay out the organization’s key policy priorities, including on energy issues.

BGov to Look at Lame Duck 2016 – Bloomberg Government analysts and First Word Editor Mark Drajem will conduct a webinar at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday to provide a deep-dive discussion in these key policy areas: tax overhaul, energy and health care. The webinar will answer what House Speaker Paul Ryan’s chances are of making meaningful headway on simplifying the tax code, the likelihood of enacting legislation on climate change, renewable fuel standards and exports of U.S. shale gas, as well as expected action on Obamacare.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies, Businesses – On Thursday at Noon, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment.  The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Forum to Look at G20, Green Finance – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
will look at public policy and private institutional innovations for a more sustainable global financial system. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), The Financial System We Need, captures this momentum to harness the world’s financial system for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.  Following the launch in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the successful Paris climate agreement, 2016 looks set to be the ‘year of green finance,’ focusing on the operational measures needed to mobilize the trillions of dollars required for the transition. Spearheading this movement, China intends to place a special focus on green finance in 2016 under its G20 presidency. The United States now has an historic opportunity to advance leadership on green finance internationally, as well as to scale-up domestic innovations already in place.  Participants will include former IMF director John Lipsky, Carnegie’s David Livingston, former Obama NSC official Michelle Patron and Jay Shambaugh, current member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Food, Energy, Water Conference Set – Next week, the Food-Energy-Water Nexus conference will be held at the Hyatt at Reagan National Airport.  The conference will feature 1,200 other leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that transform ideas into action.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Markets – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.

Senate Energy to Look at Auto Tech innovations – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday January 21st to examine the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry.

USEA Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday, January 21st at Noon in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.  Speakers will include NEI’s Marvin Fertel, API’s Jack Gerard, APPA’s Susan Kelly, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AGA’s Dave McCurdy, NMA’s Hal Quinn, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AFPM’s Chet Thompson and INGAA’s Don Santa among others.

Forum to Look at African Energy Finance – On Thursday afternoon, January 21st  the US Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum on the future of energy investment in Africa. The event will explore a variety of deep-dive topics related to energy investment and development in Africa, and will host attendance from both major players in various energy markets on the continent, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) currently operating within the energy sector in Africa and the U.S. See below for the panel schedule.

SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Friday, January 22nd at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its fourth annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists from National Geographic, Huffington Post, Bloomberg BNA, Environment & Energy Daily, and more to be confirmed.  Speakers will Include our friends Meaghan Parker, Jeff  Burnside and Doug Fischer.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, January 27th, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Energy Update: Week of January 4

Friends,

Welcome to 2016!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  It sure seemed like it as the traffic was non-existent over the past two weeks.

2016 Looks to be a promising year for political banter so I will just mention it and remind you that we will be on top of it for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in 2016 in our energy and environment arena.  As you may recall last year, I had the top 15 for 15, but this year, I am just returning to a David Letterman-like Top 10 now that he has retired.

Looking forward, the 50th Super Bowl (Super Bowl L) plays on February 7th in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Coldplay will be on the halftime docket.   This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs should be entertaining and as a hockey fan generally who happened to live in the Washington area, I am excited and intrigued by the Washington Capitals this year.  I know, it is only January and I still will take the Red Wings, but I am excited about the possibility of a long DC playoff run.

2016 also brings the Summer Olympics in Rio.  Already we’ve heard about the environmental problems, traffic woes and many other challenges to pulling this off – especially a developing economy country, but it is important to mark on the Calendar as there is always so much great fanfare and human interest at the Olympic Games.

In the concert scene, 2016 appears to see more resurgence from long-time hard rock acts as AC/DC, Tool, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard (w Styx), Megadeth (w Suicidal Tendencies) and Disturbed all will be on the road in the first half of this year.  We’ll keep you posted.

And as you review key 2015 energy, don’t overlook two important sleeper successes that will have lasting impacts:

Hot Water Heater Victory – In April Congress passed legislation to stop rules that would have blocked the use of grid-enabled water heaters. These are crucial to demand-response levers, loved by both utilities and energy conservation advocates. However, DOE’s planned new standards would have  banned their manufacture. Rather than an another top-down mandate, this legislation showed progress can be made when Congress, the president, industry and environmental groups work together.
Global HFC Deal – Before Paris, nations across the globe came together to limit hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a greenhouse gas several times more potent than carbon dioxide. The agreement builds on the successful legacy of the Montreal Protocol, which has resulted in a 97% reduction in the production of ozone-depleting substances. The signatories have now agreed to work in 2016 to include HFC refrigerants under the purview of the treaty, and set a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants. The HFC reductions could have far more impact that the UN’s Paris climate agreement on cutting the release of compounds blamed for the Earth’s warming.

There are a few great event this week starting tomorrow when WCEE hosts Gina McCarthy for a breakfast chat at the Cosmos Club and API holds its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center.  Finally, mark next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show, a Monday afternoon National Press Club discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman, EEI’s Tom Kuhn and SAFE’s Robbie Diamond and next Tuesday’s State of the Union Address as key events.

As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
Top 10 Issues In 2016

  • We’ll Always Have Paris – In December, nations agreed to a next step climate approach.  While hailed as a breakthrough, it is clearly not the historic agreement many advocates had hoped for.  In fact, it appears to be another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than they would ever have found remotely acceptable.  Nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.   How this plays out this year globally will determine whether this is a turning point or the same old, same old.  Another test for the Administration’s position will be regarding the funding requests for the UN’s Green Climate Fund. While Congress has already hit the funding several times, it remains controversial especially as the developing world waits to be “Shown the Money” following Paris.
  • Legal Eagles for CPP Year – The linchpin to meeting Paris and addressing climate change for the Administration is centered around its Clean Power Plan, which regulates GHGs and requires existing power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 2030. Almost 30 states and a wide array of industry groups have challenged the rule, claiming EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to enact it.  Arguments will center around the contention that Congress never gave EPA the authority to encourage emission control methods outside the fence line of a power plant, such as forcing increased renewables.  They will also challenge regulating power plants under Section 111(d) after they already regulated them under Section 112, which covers hazardous air pollutants.  Also look for Rural Co-ops to weigh heavily in to the legal battle as they have a very strong case for being aggrieved the most by the rules.  Lots to do on this with key dates set for early this year and folks like my colleague Jeff Holmstead ready to discuss at any point.
  • Politics All The Time – As we progress through 2016, we will be under a full slate of political action starting this month in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation votes are well underway.  This year-long sweep will keep a target on the back of candidates, parties, Congress and President Obama for every little political move and its meaning.  It also will likely clear the Congressional schedule some time around mid-March or April to focus on theme legislating and political campaigning – always a dangerous time for both Congress and the Administration.    Who is standing at the end of the day on November 2nd remains a mystery, today but the road will be loud, twisting and bumpy.
  • Regs, Regs and More Regs – It is 2016…the last year of President Obama’s time in office.  And like with any end of a second-term President, expect a full regulatory dump.  While most are looking at gun safety, e-cigarettes and other social regs, the energy and enviro side will see the same barrage.  Already, DOE is pounding the pavement to rush out over 20-plus efficiency regulations that will tie appliance and HVAC industries in knots trying to comply.  Other key regulations like Methane from gas drilling, Federal land fracturing regs, tougher Ozone rules, a battle of EPA Water of the US rules and more individual climate rules will all be a part of the year-long sweep.   Many industry and regulatory watchdogs are on guard, but the sheer volume of the effort masked in the President election may allow some to side through.
  • Expanding the Innovation Agenda – Last year was a great year for the innovation agenda.  It picked up extra steam not only in our national labs but also with private companies investing millions in the effort.  Southern Company was the prime example promoting several bold and innovative individual  technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass and new generation nuclear.  They also started an innovation center to house the creative outcomes of its workforce.  We also saw its emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  • Ozon‘ing Out – The Ozone/NAAQS instantly become one of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 when the White House/EPA announced it would roll out a standard at 70 ppb.  Last year we predicted that the  Administration had only so much political capital at its disposal and it made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  Given the state and industry pushback and the symbolic Keystone victory the White House gave to enviros, the Administration clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain a tougher ozone rule, especially as we venture into an election year.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will still say the current EPA plan is unrealistic and enviros have already filed suited calling for 60 ppb.  Just before Christmas both sides hammered EPA with lawsuits.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are the loudest industry voices complaining that imposing new standards make no sense when many communities haven’t even complied with previous ozone reduction levels.  This battle will play out in the election year where state and local officials end up playing an oversized role since  they are impacted the most.
  • RFS, Ethanol: Same Old Sad Song – The disaster known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) continued last year with EPA finalizing its long-awaited rule in early December.  The original law establishing the RFS set in place an increasing level of use for ethanol expressed in terms of actual volume numbers.  As time has gone by, however, the actual total gasoline fuel pool has declined due to more efficient autos, more mass transit, and even electric cars.  As a result, the volume number – if EPA fails to adjust it downward – will exceed 10% by volume of gasoline.  But above that level, autos have significant performance issues.  The ethanol folks want the continued higher growth; fuel makers and consumers are queasy about the higher numbers.  There is little environmental case for higher ethanol use any more, especially as commercial   second-gen biofuels remain elusive.  Indeed, major enviro groups like EWG have produced studies showing the higher levels are actually worse for carbon emissions when the ethanol lifecycle is taken into account. It is likely the RFS won’t be repealed, but a wholesale revision is closer to a reality that ever.  Now, Congress will be expected to once again roll up its sleeves on a bipartisan basis and amend the law to a more functioning workable approach.
  • Crude exports, Iran: Catching the Garbage Truck? – The year–end budget deal achieved a goal of many in the oil industry and Congress to remove the decades-old ban of crude exports.  Going forward with market prices low and the world supply broad, there is some question as to how this policy will impact the markets going forward.  2016 will be a key year to see how this plays out.  Another warning sign is the role Iran will play as it comes off sanctions and moves to place it oil into the marketplace.
  • Renewable Reset – The year-end tax/budget deal also renewed the PTC/ITC for five years even though it will eventually phaseout.  The move was a long-standing wish for the renewable industry which has struggled to survive the boom and bust cycles of Congressional budget battles holding the tax credit hostage over the years.  One need only look at AWEA’s graphs charting the installation numbers to understand why the long-term approach will help Installation despite stiff competition from low natgas prices.  2016 looks to be a strong year for renewables especially in light of the Administration efforts to push utility switches with its GHG regs.  It remains an uncertain question though as to whether folks will build more renewables though because of other factors like costs, local NIMBY opposition, state regulatory woes or infrastructure challenges.   Certainly, the technologies are bursting onto the scene in the developing world where China and India (and many others) are already building a number of projects with infrastructure and without opponents at every turn.
  • Build It…Infrastructure – Our continued failure to seriously invest in our transportation and energy infrastructure is costing us jobs and putting our global competitiveness at risk.  Today, we are producing more oil, natural gas and renewable energy than ever before, yet we cannot get that energy efficiently to where it is needed because of we lack the transmission lines, pipelines, roads, rail, trucks, and ships that can move it .  Not investing in our outdated infrastructure will stifle our energy growth, leave us vulnerable to supply disruptions, and weaken our energy security.   Industry trade associations and DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review underscored this challenge.  Yet at the same time, the Keystone opponents were handed a symbolic, but important victory on the most high-profile infrastructure project in 2015.  Expect a reinvigorated attack in 2016 on energy projects and infrastructure, using Keystone as the template.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WCEE to Host EPA’s McCarthy – Tomorrow morning, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Leadership Breakfast with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the Cosmos Club.  McCarthy will share her insights about her path to leadership and remark on recent policy events in the field of energy and the environment including the Clean Power Plan and COP21.

API State of Energy Set – API will host its annual State of Energy event tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium Ballroom featuring API head Jack Gerard.  The event will kick off America’s energy policy discussion ahead of the critical 2016 elections.   In order to take best advantage of America’s tremendous energy potential, API will continue to keep the national energy conversation focused on the facts for the public and for lawmakers, both current and prospective.

WCEE To Host Planning Session for Event Agenda – On Wednesday at Noon, WCEE will holds its 4th annual “Brainstorming” event at Exponent (1150 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1100).  As the new year kicks off, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment would also like to kick off planning for 2016, brainstorming about the topics for WCEE’s coming year’s “Lunch & Learn” (brown-bag) events.

CSIS To Look at Paris
Agreement – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday looking at the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties meeting under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (COP21). To help understand what the new climate agreement means for future U.S. and international efforts to combat climate change, Paul Bodnar, Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House’s National Security Council will discuss what the agreement entails and what actions the U.S. government and the international community are likely to focus on in the coming years.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) run from January 11th to 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview, Jan. 11-12. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Press Club to Host Forum on Paris Utility Impacts – Next Monday at 2:30 p.m., the National Press Club will host a discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman in the First Amendment Lounge.   Friedman will lead a panel discussion on the impact of the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris and what it will mean for the U.S. Electric Utility industry and their customers. The panel will includes EEI’s Tom Kuhn, Larry Kellerman of 21st Century Utilities LLC,  former Florida PSC Chair Joe Garcia and Robbie Diamond, the founder of an energy non-profit SAFE.

BPC to Host Allowance Forum on GHG Rules – The Bipartisan Policy Center
will host a discussion next Monday looking at the allowance allocations in the Administration’s GHG rules.   BPC will introduce some of the key issues related to allocation. Through moderated discussion, panelists will explore options for distributing allowances, lessons learned from past policy experience, the implications of electricity market structure, and the expected impacts on companies and customers. Panelists will weigh the benefits of a simple allocation approach versus a more complex design, including how allocation might attempt to address leakage of emissions to non-covered sources and the potential for disproportionate impacts on communities, companies, and/or industries.  Participants will be announced.

State Of The Union Address – Next Tuesday, January 12th at 9:00 p.m., President Obama will hold his final State of the Union Address before Congress.

Stories to Watch 2016 – On Wednesday, January 13th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club,
the World Resources Institute will present the big stories that will shape the world in 2016.
WRI President Andrew Steer will look at the Paris Agreement, major trends in energy, finance, business, food and cities and many other items.

Cato Forum Look at Book on Oil –
On Wednesday, January 13th at Noon, the Cato Institute
will host a Book Forum in its Hayek Auditorium
on “Blood Oil” featuring the author Leif Wenar of King’s College London, Bruce W. Jentleson of Duke University and Cato’s Ian Vásquez. The benefits from development and global connectedness — in which we are all inescapably complicit — have been huge. However, the natural resources that enabled that development also benefited people who systematically made the lives of others desperate and miserable, fueled violent conflicts, and funded many of the world’s autocracies.

This cycle continues today, but there is hope. In his book, Blood Oil, Leif Wenar explores this great moral challenge of our time, and “shows how citizens, consumers, and leaders can act today to avert tomorrow’s crises — and how we can together create a more united human future.”

Wenar, the chair of philosophy and law at King’s College London, has written a timely and provocative book.

WCEE to Continue at NatGas Drilling Series – On Wednesday, January 13th at 12:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host its third in a series of Lunch & Learn seminars looking at the topic of hydraulic fracturing. Part 3 of the series will focus on induced seismicity, which are the earthquakes associated with energy development, particularly in the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. 

This event will have an in-person option; and for those unable to attend, a webinar option.  Speakers will include Julie Shemeta, President and Founder of MEQ Geo, an independent micro-seismic consulting company based in Denver, Co. She has experience with conventional and unconventional oil development, geothermal energy and mining and has worked on projects in North America, Australia, India, Argentina, Columbia, Germany and Mexico. Julie was one of eleven authors of the National Academies National Research Council’s 2012 Study, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies. 

Also speaking will be Rex Buchannan, Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey. He was appointed Interim Director in 2010 and has been with the Survey since 1978. In this role, he also chairs the Kansas Taskforce on Induced Seismicity. In addition, Mr. Buchannan serves as Secretary of the American Association of State Geologists and has been a past Chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America.

NAS to Host Arctic Sessions – On Thursday, January 14th, National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board will host a series of lively, public-friendly presentations from top scientists and other experts who study the connections between Arctic-region changes and impacts that can affect people and places around the globe. Attendees can also explore a series of interactive exhibits and displays.  The event is free and open to the public. Some of the topics/speakers at this event will include:
 Permafrost carbon: a climate change amplifier
by Max Holmes of  Woods Hole Research Center; The Polar vortex: Impacts of arctic warming on the weather where we live with
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University; Plants and animals: How arctic warming can affect global ecological dynamics
by Natalie Boelman of the  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Sea level rise from the loss of polar ice
 featuring  Penn State’s Richard Alley; the Arctic Ocean implications of the shrinking polar ice cap
by US Navy Admiral Jonathan White and Arctic as a new frontier for sustainable development
by Gwen Holdmann of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies, Businesses – On Thursday, January 14th at Noon, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment.  The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Forum to Look at G20, Green Finance – On Friday, January 15th at 10:00 a.m., the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
will look at public policy and private institutional innovations for a more sustainable global financial system. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), The Financial System We Need, captures this momentum to harness the world’s financial system for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.  Following the launch in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the successful Paris climate agreement, 2016 looks set to be the ‘year of green finance,’ focusing on the operational measures needed to mobilize the trillions of dollars required for the transition. Spearheading this movement, China intends to place a special focus on green finance in 2016 under its G20 presidency. The United States now has an historic opportunity to advance leadership on green finance internationally, as well as to scale-up domestic innovations already in place.  Participants will include former IMF director John Lipsky, Carnegie’s David Livingston, former Obama NSC official Michelle Patron and Jay Shambaugh, current member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.