Energy Update: Week of February 12

Friends,

The Winter Olympics are ON!!!!!!  Winners of the first medals of the games for the US were in the were in the Slopestyle Snowboarding race where 17-year-old Red Gerard took the Men’s race Saturday and Jamie Anderson won the Women’s race Sunday. And Women’s Hockey took down Finland.  Before we get going, I always like to mention our friend Scott Segal in the Bacchus parade (this year it’s the 50th year) at the Mardi Gras celebrations that run through Fat Tuesday tomorrow.  Valentine’s Day is Wednesday as is Ash Wednesday.

We start today’s update with analysis on both the just-released infrastructure principles and last week’s energy tax provisions finally approved as part of the Budget deal.  In the infrastructure space, the plan outlines $200 billion of Fed dollars, but leans heavily on states and local governments and private/public partnerships. It also carves out $50 billion for rural infrastructure projects and outlines a strategy to revamp federal project permitting.  We are looking at five major categories:

1) Infrastructure Permitting

2) Public Finance/Appropriations

3) Public/Private Partnerships

4) Innovation

5) Life Cycle Analysis 

There is more on each of these topic areas below, and in the coming days, we will provide a detailed assessment of each. If you are following the infrastructure debate, you’ll want to tune in to a March 1st Bracewell forum on Capitol Hill that we are hosting that will feature insights from policymakers and industry representatives involved in crafting the next key elements infrastructure policy.

On the budget, OMB released FY2019 Budget outlines this Administration’s key funding priorities.  While we always downplay the Admin’s budget, this one is more relevant as it accounts for the Bipartisan Budget Act (aka “the caps deal”) passed by Congress last week.  Look for slight increases in some places like DOE and Interior with some decreases in other places like EPA.  As usual, expect Congress to play a more significant budget role in right-sizing much of this funding.  Experts here can help, so please drop me a note.

The other big story this week is the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will release its annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook for 2018 on Thursday.  In its 6th year, the Factbook provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas. Also tomorrow afternoon at the Capitol Visitors Center, our friends at Johnson Controls will join a panel on battery sustainability and recycling led by Sen Portman, his Senate Auto Caucus colleagues and the Responsible Battery Coalition.  The Atlantic Council also holds an interesting forum on Iraq and Energy tomorrow.

NARUC Commissioners are in town for their annual Winter Meeting and will be hearing from Lisa Murkowski and many others.   And with ethanol policy in the news lately, the Renewable Fuels Assn’s National Ethanol Conference launches in San Antonio today.

Hearings this week include Wednesday afternoon’s House Energy panel hearing on New Source Review reform featuring our colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Office head and NRDC friend John Walke (I don’t think they will be agreeing much!).  Meanwhile at the same time, a House Resources Committee panel will look at the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure.

Finally tonight, tune in to the New England Sports Network for the finals of the 66th annual Beanpot college hockey tournament. The first two Monday nights of February in Boston are reserved for the Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament that features Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern.  In the Semis last week, nationally-ranked Northeastern blanked BC 3-0, while BU tripped Harvard 3-2 in double OT.  BC-Harvard starts at 4:30 p.m. while the finals go at 7:30 p.m., all at the Boston (TD) Garden.

And in case you missed it, college lacrosse started this past weekend and pitchers and catchers report in just two days with full teams next week for spring training.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations. Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth. At the same time, the fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country as a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable energy source.””

Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation on the release of the National Solar Jobs Census 2017.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Today, the President announced more details regarding the new national infrastructure initiative that he referenced during his State of the Union address.  The details suggest the Administration is taking a new approach to infrastructure—coupling traditional infrastructure concepts with modern approaches to funding and permitting.  This new approach will have significant impacts on the energy industry, manufacturing, utilities, highways, railways, tech, and telecom.

The Role of Infrastructure Permitting – The environmental review and permitting process for energy infrastructure is often unpredictable and challenging.  The White House has suggested expansive reforms to the permitting process intended to improve it through increased coordination of federal agencies, defined timelines, and revisions to the process by which states participate in the permitting process.  These reforms, and in particular the role of states in the permitting process, are likely to generate significant discussions on states’ rights and cooperative federalism.

The Role of Public Finance, Appropriations – The looming question with this infrastructure package is how the government will pay for it, especially given the recently enacted two-year budget deal. The Administration’s stated goal is to leverage roughly $200 billion in direct federal outlays into $1.5 trillion in total infrastructure spending. Doing so will require creativity in identifying revenue sources and developing innovative financing tools that will entice state and local governments to invest alongside private industry. Achieving this ambitious target will require a mix of new loan instruments, federal grant money through the annual Congressional appropriations process, and an expansion of existing tools such as private activity bonds.

The Role of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) – The ability of private entities to engage with government to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure may be the linchpin of this proposal. The most obvious way for private companies to participate in projects that serve the broader civil interest is through public-private partnerships. But despite the rising prominence of P3s among the states and across the globe, the U.S. government’s ability to employ these tools is hampered by significant statutory and regulatory barriers. In order to harness the skills—and the funds—of the private sector on a trillion-dollar scale, the authority of the federal government to engage in P3s will have to be expanded and the process streamlined.

The Role of Innovation – In addition to conventional infrastructure like roads, bridges, and utilities, the Administration’s plan carves out a place for “transformative” projects that seek to make significant investments in emerging technologies.  The idea is for government to work with private industry to facilitate the next “moon shot” and encourage development of transformative infrastructure projects. From a national 5G network to the next generation of smart grid technologies, policymakers will be looking for innovative infrastructure projects to keep pace with the growing digital economy.

The Role of Life Cycle Analysis – Whether the cause is natural disasters to simple wear-and-tear, our nation’s infrastructure incurs billions of dollars of damage and degradation every year.  The use of life cycle analysis techniques allows planners to better calibrate the long-term economic and environmental impacts of choices made at the front end of a project involving design, materials, and a host of other factors—significantly allowing for more meaningful, long-term infrastructure investment decisions.

THE BUDGET DEAL

Another Shutdown…And a Deal – The budget deal is the big story looking back at late last week.  You may have missed the shutdown because it occurred from about Friday at midnight to Friday Morning when President Trump signed the deal.

Why the Delay? – There was the framework of a deal as far back as Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul slowed the Senate to a crawl Thursday evening objecting into the overall cost of the deal.

Four Corners – The deal is the biggest fiscal package passed by Congress in nearly a decade, which sets new limits on how much the government can spend in the next two years. The deal keeps the government operating on another temporary funding patch until March 23. But Congress must still pass another bill, known as an omnibus, with detailed spending levels for each government program for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends in September.  As part of the deal, military spending will rise to $700 billion for fiscal 2018, roughly 10% above current levels. Domestic spending will also get a boost to $591 billion.

The Energy Piece – The budget deal included tax extenders, which includes the 5-year phase-out tax credits for 48c and 25D (starting on page 209).  The other credits that were modified are the 45J production tax credit for nuclear that is imperative for the future of a nuclear plant in Georgia and the 45Q credit for carbon capture and sequestration. The nuclear production credit eliminates the 2020 placed-in-service deadline in the credit. That frees it up to be used not just to help complete Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle AP1000 reactor project but also the advanced technologies that represent the future of the nuclear sector, such as NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design.  The 45Q fix gives a boost to pioneering efforts such as NET Power that could capture and use all the carbon emitted from facilities powered by both coal and natural gas. The 45Q incentive has the potential to dramatically boost commercial carbon capture deployment in the U.S., which can also lead to significant increases in enhanced oil recovery and other economic benefits.

ClearPath Weighs in on Nuclear, CCS – The ClearPath Foundation said Congress delivered a potentially game-changing clean energy victory by fixing two critical carbon capture and advanced nuclear tax incentives as part of the broader budget deal.   “This is an awesome one-two punch for the future of U.S.-led clean and reliable energy,” ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell said.  “This is not only a big win for two of our most important clean energy prospects but also a product of tremendous bipartisan teamwork,” ClearPath Action Founder Jay Faison said. “This can serve as a template both for the commercialization of technologies preventing an enormously consequential amount of CO2 from going into the atmosphere as well as future collaboration in Congress to continue to give the U.S. a much-needed innovation edge over China.”

CCS Credits Help Nat Gas Too – Speaking of the success on CCS, ClearPath’s Faison also explained in a blogpost last week prior to the vote that carbon capture is not just crucial to the future of coal but also a valuable insurance policy for our booming natural gas industry. Tax credits will allow us to affordably scale up carbon capture from natural gas at NET Power and elsewhere and protects our gas industry from whatever supercharged Clean Power Plan a future Democratic White House will inevitably throw at the power sector, Jay wrote. It could mean coal and gas can both have a future that’s clean and bright, no matter who wins the White House or what regulators in Europe and China decide on.

GEO Praises Inclusion of Orphan Tax Credits – The geothermal heat pump industry was relieved they have finally received the tax Credits they have been lacking since they were left out of the 2015 deal.   Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) executive Ryan Dougherty said the deal marks a significant step toward achieving our goal of tax parity.  “Geothermal heat pumps are 100% ‘Made in the USA’ with American-made components manufactured and installed by American workers. With the extension of federal tax credits being revived, the entire geothermal supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors, dealers, contractors, installers, drillers – plus all the families and small businesses that they support – will finally get the relief we have needed since being left on the sidelines in 2015. AHRI’s Joe Trauger said all of these credits and deductions “provide welcome incentives for American consumers and businesses to replace aging, less efficient equipment with that that is saves energy and helps the environment.”

BCSE Raises Concerns about Multi-Year Extension – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President Lisa Jacobson praised the passage of the clean energy tax provisions as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act this week. But they also raised concerns about the lack of parity between clean energy tax measures continues to hinder investment and job creation in a number of sectors that contribute to a diverse, reliable and affordable energy system. BCSE had called for multi-year extensions of all the pending energy extenders and also sought to modify or expand tax measures to level the sustainable energy playing field for waste heat to power, energy storage, and commercial geothermal. BCSE is disappointed that the Bipartisan Budget Act did not adopt those proposed changes.

NEORI: Deal is Landmark Victory for CCS – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) said the 45Q credit will drive private investment in commercial deployment of technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants and industrial facilities for enhanced oil recovery and other forms of geologic storage and for beneficial uses of CO2. The victory represents one of the most significant energy and environmental accomplishments by Congress in recent memory according to Brad Crabtree of the Great Plains Institute, which co-convenes NEORI with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “Passage of this legislation highlights the potential for carbon capture to marshal support across the political spectrum for a policy that will boost American energy production, reduce carbon emissions, protect and create high-wage jobs, and increase federal and state revenue.” C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, said leaders from both parties have demonstrated a commitment to reducing carbon emissions while protecting and creating jobs and investing in new American industries.

IN THE NEWS

EIA Releases Annual Energy Outlook – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) last week providing modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050.  The report includes cases with different assumptions regarding macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. Strong domestic production coupled with relatively flat energy demand allow the United States to become a net energy exporter over the projection period in most cases. In the Reference case, natural gas consumption grows the most on an absolute basis, and nonhydroelectric renewables grow the most on a percentage basis.  EIA said the US will become a net exporter of energy by 2022, four years earlier than it projected last year.  EIA’s forecast predicts that oil production will taper off around 2040 as the shale fields currently operating are tapped out, but not before increasing to about 12 million barrels a day.

Renewables Also Booming – The latest issue of FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Update (with data through December 31, 2017) says renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for half (49.85%) of the 24,614 megawatts (MW) of new U.S. electrical generating capacity placed into service in 2017. New natural gas capacity accounted for 48.67%, with the balance coming from waste heat (0.89%), nuclear (0.41%), and oil (0.16%). There was no new coal capacity added during 2017.  Growth in new solar capacity has been most dramatic. By the end of 2017, installed generating capacity at utility-scale (i.e., 1-MW or larger) solar facilities totaled 30.30 GW – roughly eight times (7.77%) greater than that FERC reported five years ago in its December 2012 “Energy Infrastructure Update.” Solar is now 2.55% of total U.S. installed utility-scale generating capacity. Moreover, inasmuch as FERC data do not include distributed solar (e.g., rooftop PV), actual U.S. solar capacity is significantly higher – perhaps 30% or more. Combined, the generating capacity of non-hydro renewables is 73.89% greater than that reported five years ago.

Solar Foundation Report Raises 2018 Concerns – All the new on renewables is not totally good.   New solar tariffs risk solar jobs in 2018 according to a new report from the Solar Foundation.  The solar industry employment declined in 2017, while jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2017, the Foundation’s 8th annual report on solar employment.  The Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017, representing a 3.8 percent decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. This is the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010.  However, the long-term trend continues to show significant jobs growth. The solar workforce increased by 168% in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.

Interesting Solar Facts – Some key findings from the National Solar Jobs Census 2017 include:

  • Demand-side sectors (installation, sales & distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent of overall solar industry employment, while manufacturing makes up 15 percent. Demand-side sectors lost approximately 7,500 jobs in 2017, while manufacturing lost about 1,200 jobs.
  • The solar industry is more diverse than comparable industries, but more needs to be done to ensure it is representative of the greater U.S. population. Women made up 27% of the solar workforce in 2017, down 1% from 2016. Veterans made up 9% of solar workers, which is 2% more than the overall U.S. workforce.
  • Solar employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry. (These comparisons with other industries are based on 2016 jobs numbers, the most recent data available for an apples-to-apples comparison.)

Canadians Suing; EU Worried about Solar Tariffs – Canadian solar manufacturers challenged the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs in the International Court of Trade. Ontario-based Silfab Solar, Heliene and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., along with U.S.-based distributor Canadian Solar, filed the challenge, claiming that an investigation last year by the International Trade Commission found Canadian products don’t significantly hurt U.S. manufacturers and don’t account for much of the overall imports of solar cells to the country. The complaint was filed now because Customs and Border Protection began collecting the tariff on Wednesday, creating the injury for the companies. Meanwhile, the European Union said it is seeking compensation through the World Trade Organization, citing Germany’s significant production of solar panels for the North American market.

RUS Appointee Praised by NRECA, UTC – Missouri Co-op head Kenneth Johnson has been nominated by President Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. Johnson is general manager and CEO of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative and president for Co-Mo Connect in Missouri NRECA head former Rep. Jim Matheson said they were “excited and thrilled” to hear the news. “The ongoing collaboration between RUS and electric co-ops remains essential to the success of rural communities across the nation as co-ops invest in infrastructure upgrades to modernize the grid and meet consumer expectations. Ken is exceptionally qualified to serve in this role.” Utilities Technology Council CEO Joy Ditto added Johnson is an outstanding person to lead the Rural Utilities Service. “His background is perfectly suited for this position, as he understands the needs of utilities in rural America. He led deployment of a fiber-to-the-home broadband network in rural Missouri that provides robust, affordable and reliable broadband services to 15,000 homes and businesses.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Murkowski, FERC Commissioners to Address NARUC – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners holds its annual Winter Policy Summit today through Wednesday.   The Summit will convene an array of speakers from federal agencies, industry, the media, advocacy organizations and more.  Keynote speakers Include Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, as well as FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Rick Glick, Reps. Bill Johnson and Tom Reed and Montana PUC Chair Travis Kavula.  Other speakers include Southern’s Bruce Edelston, SEIA’s Sean Gallagher, IECA’s Paul Cicio, Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s Ruth McCormick, Kyle Rogers of AGA, Statoil’s Kevin Maule, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey and our friend Dave Shepardson of Reuters.

WRI Climate Head to Address Group – Paula Caballero, Global Director of the World Resources Institute’s Climate Program, will be featured at keynote speaker today at 3:00 p.m. at the National Press Club. She will be joined by a distinguished panel for lively debate featuring panelists GWU’s Kathleen Merrigan, Leonard Jordan of USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and RFF’s Ann Bartuska.

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference today through Wednesday in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

Forum to Look at Transmission – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on the widespread, substantial, and long-lasting benefits of investment in electric transmission. The briefing will showcase two London Economics International studies – one study quantifies the future benefits of transmission investment based on two hypothetical projects, the second dispels many of the myths that deter and delay transmission investment.  This panel will discuss why transmission should be a major component of the infrastructure conversation and how the economic and societal benefits from a robust high-voltage grid are so important. Speakers study author Julia Frayer of London Economics International, ITC’s Nina Plaushin and former FERC Chair James Hoecker.

Forum to Look at Iraq, Energy – Tomorrow at Noon, the Atlantic Council will hold a conversation with a panel of experts to discuss Iraq’s energy potential, export opportunities, and the influence of political dynamics on reforming the energy sector.  Speakers will include Luay Al-Khatteeb of the Iraq Energy Institute, Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Atlantic Council Global Energy Center director Ellen Scholl.

Holdren to Address UMd Forum – The University of Maryland at College Park hosts an interactive discussion tomorrow at Noon featuring Dr. John Holdren and the University of Maryland Global Sustainability Initiative.  Currently the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Holdren served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama Administration.

Forum to Look at Battery Sustainability – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center SVC-214, the U.S. Senate Auto Caucus, Sen. Rob Portman and the Responsible Battery Coalition will host a forum focused on vehicle battery sustainability and recycling.  Featured panelists will include Responsible Battery Coalition head Pat Hayes, Ramon Sanchez of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Johnson Controls’ sustainability expert Adam Muellerweiss, Jonathan Moser of Lafarge Canada, AutoZone’s Ray Pohlman and Micah Thompson, environmental affairs exec with Advance Auto Parts.

House Energy Look at NSR – The House Energy & Commerce panel on the Environment will holds a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to look at New Source Review permitting challenges for manufacturing and infrastructure.  The hearing with feature former PEA Air Office Head and Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead, former OMB official and AF&PA policy Head Paul Noe, NRDC’s John Walke, Arkansas DEQ  air director Stuart Spencer, PA Chamber official Kevin Sunday and GWU Law Professor Emily Hammond.

House Resources to Look at Water, Power Infrastructure – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.  looking at the state of the nation’s water and power infrastructure.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability ReportBloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will release of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook in Washington, DC, on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.  Speakers include BNEF’s Ethan Zindler and Rachel Luo, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, SEIA’s Abby Hopper, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, NHA’s Jeff Leahey, AGA’s Dave McCurdy and Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls.  The panel will look at the cost of energy for consumers and businesses, and how has this changed over time; U.S. ranking for energy prices and clean energy investment; clean energy contributions to American jobs and other items.  There will be a second stakeholder briefing at Noon.

FERC Meeting Set – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., FERC will hold open meeting.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Fannon Nom Hearing – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider several nominations including our friend Frank Fannon to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Energy Resources).

House Science to Look at STEM – The House Science Research and Technology Subcommittee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on mentoring, training and apprenticeships for STEM education and careers.

House Resources to Look at Critical Minerals – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on national strategic and critical minerals production.

Solar Tariff Proponents Discuss Case on Hill – Advocates for the tariffs on solar components will hold a staff briefing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in 2253 Rayburn to discuss their Section 201 “global safeguard” case on solar imports and steps forward for Suniva and SolarWorld.  Tim Brightbill and Warren Payne will speak.

IN THE FUTURE

FEBRUARY 19 – President’s Day Holiday.

Forum to Look at FERC Decision on Grid NOPR – On Wednesday, February 21st at Noon, the Global America Business Institute will host a presentation on the FERC Response to grid resilience in RTOs and ISOs.  The speaker will be Judah Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at ICF International.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

WEN HAPPY HOUR – The Women’s Energy Network holds its winter Happy Hour reception on Thursday February 22nd at 5:30 p.m. at Matchbox Bistro in Chinatown.

SEPA Head to Speak to Renewable Group – The Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy will hold a WRISE DC lunch and learn with Julia Hamm, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on Friday February 23rd at Noon.  .Hamm will discuss her recent trips to and work with Puerto Rico, what SEPA is doing more broadly, as well as take-aways from her decades of work in renewable energy.

Climate, Security Forum Set – On Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, holds their 2018 Climate and National Security Forum: A Responsibility to Prepare. This year’s forum panels will focus on the risks that climate change presents to national security on an operational and strategic level, and the challenges and opportunities in preparing to counter and manage those risks.

BP Energy Outlook Set for Release – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host the U.S. launch of BP Energy Outlook 2018 on Monday February 26th at 9:30 a.m. Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, will present the findings of the outlook followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Energy & National Security Program.

BPC to Focus on Nuclear Energy Exports – The Bipartisan Policy Center hold a discussion next Monday at 10:00 a.m. with members of DOE, the U.S. nuclear energy industry, academia, and the Nuclear Innovation Alliance looking at the vital role that the export control regulations play in nuclear energy commerce and nonproliferation efforts. The conversation will focus on recommendations from a recent Nuclear Innovation Alliance report on how the regulations and their implementation can be improved.  Speakers will include NNSA’s Kate Strangis and Matt Bunn of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Look at Short-Term Oil Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a conference Tuesday February 27th on the short-term outlook for U.S. tight oil production and its implications for global oil markets.  As we enter the new year with renewed commitment from the OPEC/non-OPEC partnership, Brent has continued to climb from $45 per barrel low in 2017 to $70 in January 2018. Global economic growth continues to look robust, oil stocks are clearly in decline, geopolitical challenges remain ever-present, and market sentiment looks bullish (for now). However, persistently higher prices have the potential to bring on additional supply from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources.  In this context, much attention is being directed to prospective U.S. supply growth. Based on assessments of resource strength, well productivity, hedging activity, cash flow, break even costs, and a sizeable backlog in drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), estimates of U.S. near-term output vary widely and challenges remain. Against this backdrop, the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a distinguished group of experts to discuss the outlook moving forward.  Our friend Paul Sankey will speak at the event.

ERCOT Market Forum Set – The ERCOT Market Summit will be held on February 27th though March 1st. The forum will look at perspectives on ERCOT Market Reform, end-use customers, Plant Retirements, Resource Adequacy and Reliability and dealing with the Impacts of Wholesale Price Volatility in ERCOT.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

Third Way Forum to Look at Future Nukes – Third Way holds its third annual Advanced Nuclear Summit on March 6th in Washington, DC.  As the advanced nuclear sector gets closer to licensing and constructing new power plants, we will explore how nuclear leaders can engage with communities on the ground, how these technologies can help meet their needs, and how to address the challenges that concern them.  The forum is co-hosted by GAIN and the Idaho, Oak Ridge, and Argonne National Labs.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

EESI, BSCE to Host Staff Brief on FactBook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosts a lunch briefing on Friday March 9th In 2168 Rayburn focused on the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. A panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance will discuss.

BPC Infrastructure Hub Sets Innovation Forum – The BPC Infrastructure Lab hold its second event in a series on Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations on Tuesday March 13th at 10:00 a.m. The American economy is increasingly driven by a powerful network of billions of “smart” and connected devices, ranging from miniscule sensors to massive industrial machines. From autonomous vehicles to smart water meters, today’s innovations are transforming how we live and how our core industries do business.  These technological advancements also raise important policy questions: What infrastructure investments must be made to ensure that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), the infrastructure that underlies the innovation, has the powerful and reliable communications network needed to sustain it? How can we incorporate IIoT innovations, such as custom private networks that combine satellite-terrestrial technologies, to improve the quality and competitiveness of our infrastructure?

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Solar Operations Conference Set – On March 13-14th, Solar Asset Management North America will hold its 5th edition in San Francisco. The event is the leading conference focused on the operational phase of solar plants and portfolios. The recommendations on the Section 201 solar trade case as well as the new tax provisions will also affect the existing assets, budgets and O&M. The conference aims to fully assess and quantify the impact on the future of the solar industry.