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.

New Year’s Energy Update

Friends,

Welcome to 2017!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  We sure saw some great football (topped by the Rose Bowl) and hockey (the Outdoor Centennial Classic in Toronto) games.

While 2016 was a bizarre political year, 2017 looks to be a brave new world, so let me lip-synch my way through a few bars to remind you that we will be on top of it all for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in the energy and environment arena for 2017.

The 115th Congress launched today with quite a stir. While new members were being sworn in and Speaker Ryan was being elected, the House was backtracking on the outside ethics committee change after pressure from the Presidential Twittersphere.  Anyway, while a dumb way to start, it did create some fun just 17 days before the Inauguration.   Sounds Like they will be busy right away though passing Midnight Rules Relief Act, which allows the use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act that requires explicit congressional approval for major executive branch regulations. (H/T POLITICO ME) Good luck getting passed the Senate though.

While a short week, there are a few great events set for the week.  Tomorrow, our friends at API hold its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center at 12:30 p.m.   Also this week, the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Las Vegas.  On Thursday, SAFE will release its autonomous vehicle report recommendations.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving AV industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  You may also expect to hear more about this topic at next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show.  Also Thursday morning at JHU, EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices.

Finally, congrats to our friend Sean Spicer, taking over the WH flak Jacket.  Also, check out the recent opinion piece on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt from former White House Counsel C Boyden Gray, who helped author the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the last time it was updated.  As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

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.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“When Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he will inherit an agency that should be declaring victory in its 46-year battle for a cleaner, healthier environment. The next administrator must focus on reining in an agency that has far exceeded its original mission. Fortunately, Pruitt understands the EPA’s proper role and is the right man for the job.”

 2007. Boyden Gray served as White House Counsel during the George H.W. Bush administration and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 2006-2007. He was one of the architects of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

 

IN THE NEWS

DOE Finalizes Energy Efficiency Rules – DOE issued five new rules on December 29th that cover an eclectic mix of products, including the first national standards for uninterruptible power supplies, portable air conditioners and swimming pool pumps, which are based on a consensus agreement. For pool pumps, California has led the way with pool pump motor standards and Arizona, Connecticut, and Washington have followed. California and Oregon have previously set standards for uninterruptible power supplies as part of their battery charger standards.  For walk-in coolers and commercial boilers, DOE’s latest actions would update existing national standards, originally signed into law by George W. Bush and his father, respectively. Manufacturers and installers of walk-in coolers negotiated the walk-in cooler levels with DOE and other stakeholders after a lawsuit invalidated some earlier standards.

Interesting Twist to Rules – Under the terms of an agreement developed as part of the settlement AHRI reached with DOE in its 2014 lawsuit concerning the original rule for walk-in coolers and freezers, there is a 45-day waiting period before the rules can be published in the Federal Register.  This means that they will not be issued in final form during the Obama Administration and are, therefore, subject to review by the incoming Trump Administration.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated with AHRI member input and AHRI approved the negotiated provisions of the rule. Yurek added the commercial boiler rule was not developed through negotiations, but through the notice-and-comment process under which AHRI provided comments.  AHRI continues to have significant issues with this rule, including our opposition to the proposed minimum efficiency levels for both oil and gas boilers which we feel overestimate the energy use of commercial packaged boilers, underestimates their installation costs, and overestimates the future shipments of commercial packaged boilers while underestimating the level of higher efficiency commercial packaged boilers that are currently in the marketplace. Yurek: “We continue to have concerns that the efficiency levels for these products has been set at a level that the margin of safety to properly vent the products of combustion has been significantly reduced.  We look forward to working with the Trump Administration as it reviews recent DOE rulemakings prior to their being finalized.”

Analysts Report: Shale Drillers Expected to Recover – Shale drillers are set to ramp up spending on exploration and production next year as recovering oil prices prompt banks to extend credit lines for the first time in two years.  The credit increase is small, but with major oil producers worldwide aiming to hold down production in 2017, U.S.-based shale drillers are looking to boost market share to take advantage of higher prices, and greater availability of capital will make that easier.  Analysts at Raymond James North America-focused oil and gas producers are expected to increase capital investments by 30% next year.

Southern Moving on Larger Wind Strategy – As part of the company’s renewable development strategy, Southern Company recently rolled out a joint development agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to develop and construct approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) across 10 projects with commercial operation dates between 2018 and 2020. Additionally, Southern Power has signed agreements to purchase wind turbine equipment from both Siemens and Vestas for use at the facilities.   Already, Southern owns more than 2,700 MW of renewable generation across 33 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction. In total, the Southern Company system has added or announced more than 4,000 MW of renewable generation since 2012.

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared 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 $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

MI Wind Farm Begins Operations – DTE Energy has started commercial operations at its 50MW Pinnebog wind farm in Michigan. The 30-turbine facility, which is in Huron County, started construction in early 2016. The wind farm is an expansion of the existing Echo wind park and employed more than 150 people during construction.  DTE now has 30 full-time employees working at its Huron county renewable energy center in Bad Axe. In 2015, more than 10 percent of the energy provided by DTE was generated from a renewable source in Michigan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

API’s Gerard to Hold Annual State of American Energy – API President and CEO Jack Gerard will deliver a major address tomorrow at the Reagan Trade building Atrium tomorrow at Noon to outline priorities for America’s oil and natural gas industry with New Congress and Administration.  The United States is leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas while also leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. This game-changing milestone coincides with the start of a new administration and Congress. Voters from all parties want our nation’s leaders to address economic growth and accelerate job creation while developing an energy future that benefits all Americans.   Gerard will deliver his annual address followed by a news conference for credentialed members of the media.

EIA Presents Updated Long-Term Energy Projections – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS Energy and Environment program will host EIA’s Adam Sieminski on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, world oil prices, and the Clean Power Plan.

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on Thursday in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  The event will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room S227A and will explore the details of these recommendations and strategies for implementation. Members of the Commission and SAFE staff will be available to answer questions about the Commission’s work and its implications for American energy security, including former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Paul Brubaker of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, former GM exec Robert Lange and Cuneyt Oge, President of SAE International.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  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.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Next Sunday, January 8th through Thursday, January 12th, 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 – Next Monday morning at the IFC Headquarters, IFC and ESMAP will present a new report on Energy Storage.  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.

Forum to Look at Economics of Germany’s Energy Transition, Transatlantic Relations – Next Monday at noon in Fairfax, the Greater Washington Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will host a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance.  The event will focus on the economics of the German Energy/Electricity transition.
Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – On Tuesday January 10th at noon at the National Press Club, 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  that will highlight 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 – Next Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum.  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.

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 January 11th.  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 January 11th 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, January 11th 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.

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, January 12th and Friday, January 13th.  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.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday, January 12th 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.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday, January 12th 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.

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.

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.

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.

Energy Update: Week of November 8

Friends,

Well, it looks like we made it to election day tomorrow – barely.  I hope you will share your predictions with me as I will report on the best ones (not necessary right!) next week.

While we are not make any predictions in advance, we are ready to give you the full story on the impacts.  On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., our Policy Resolution Group team will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections in a webinar that will feature analysis by my colleagues, and a special guest: former Clinton/Obama advisor Doug Sosnick.  Doug and our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

Today, starts the next round of COP meetings launches in Morocco.  There will be a lot of pomp, but the war over details of the non-binding, voluntary agreement will not get much attention.  We’ve heard a lot of horror stories about how Paris is not meeting the required reductions.  This is exactly what we predicted last year when everyone was celebrating this “monumental achievement.”  And now, US negotiators are saying we will need “deep decarbonization” by 2050.  Look for further details over the next two weeks, but it is not likely to be good for energy users or consumers.

In fact, much of that celebrating is warranted not because of Paris, but because of the recent airline emissions and HFC agreements that were negotiated.  Happy to give you more Info on that progress and the role it is playing in reducing the impacts of climate change.

Speaking of HFCs and the HVAC industry, AHRI has hired NAM’s Joe Trauger as the association’s Sr. Vice President of Policy and Government Relations. Also special congrats for our friend Joe Davis, former Spence Abraham Press staffer at DOE and Tennessee Volunteer punter back in the day.   Davis has been named ORAU director of government relations where he will lead governmental and public affairs outreach with Congress, government agencies and other stakeholders.

Friday is Veteran’s Day, so please say thanks whenever you can.  In addition to those thanks, the NRECA is launching Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide program to provide veterans, service members and military spouses with the opportunity to continue their mission of service by joining the ranks of America’s electric co-ops. The program provides participating co-ops with resources and training to help them implement nationally-recognized best practices in attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans.

Finally, today, our friend, former AP reporter and sports author Fred Frommer has a fun, new newsletter called Super Combustible Sports & Politics.  This week’s edition looks at the Cubs and presidents as well as athletes’ reaction to “locker-room talk.”  You can get it subscribe with Fred: fred.frommer@deweysquare.com.

We are on it…Remember to tune into the PRG Election Webinar on Wednesday.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Climate change has become a pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.  China’s solar thermal pilot program will serve as an enduring legacy of the partnership between two countries to advance technologies that help to achieve global clean energy and climate goals.”

U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus

 

“China recognizes the integral role concentrated solar power with storage can play in reducing emissions while helping to ensure long-term grid reliability. This pilot program is of unprecedented scale and will drive cost reductions throughout the CSP supply chain, increasing solar thermal’s competitiveness around the world.”

David Ramm, CEO and Chairman for BrightSource Energy

 

POST-ELECTION LEGISLATIVE SESSION/TAX DEAL PRIMER

Post-Election Legislative Session – After election day, lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for necessary post-election legislative session.  With just a few weeks left in the 114th Congress, there is a long list of unfinished business that may be considered.  While the items include routine budget and tax measures that frequently need to be mopped up at the end of the year, it also features big-ticket, high-risk issues like the stalled nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and potential energy legislation.

The Tax Issues – One of the biggest issues to hit the agenda is whether Congress considers energy tax extenders as part of must-pass budget legislation.  Last year’s omnibus deal included a 5-year phased down extension of tax credits under Sec 45(commercial), Sec 48(commercial), and Sec 25D(residential) for wind and solar.  Already both House and Senate leaders have said they plan to have tax extenders that were inadvertently left out of the deal, at the top of the agenda when the post-election legislative session gets underway.  CEQ chair and energy advisor to President Obama Brian Deese also said these energy tax extenders must be renewed in a post-election session of Congress.

Who Is Pushing for Energy Tax Extenders – Rural co-ops, distributed wind developers, air conditioning contractors, Geothermal Heat Pump manufacturers, home builders and others are push for extending expiring tax credits for renewables like geothermal heat pumps saying they deserve tax parity with the solar/wind tax incentives extended in late-2015.

The Problem – In late-2015, Congress extended and phased down the Wind Production Tax Credit and the Solar Investment Tax Credit.  However, no extension or phase down was provided for other smaller tax credits despite their much smaller cost.  In order to avoid serious market disruption and provide businesses, investors, end-users, and consumers with the ability to plan in the short- to mid-term, renewing the tax credit is “must pass” on the first available and appropriate legislative vehicle. Both the business and residential credits are essential to help ensure fair competition and access in the marketplace for clean energy solutions.

The Need for Extension in an Example – Geothermal heat pumps can cut home heating and cooling bills by up to 70%.  Electric cooperatives across the country help their consumer-owners install geothermal heat pump systems and approximately 45% of electric cooperatives across the nation utilize geothermal technology in their energy efficiency programs.  The current tax credits for geothermal heat pumps help offset the high initial capital cost of the systems to the consumers.  As a result, co-ops will most likely find fewer consumers interested in installing geothermal in the absence of the tax credit.

It is Bipartisan Legislation – The tax extenders advocates are using bipartisan legislation sponsored by Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) to extend the residential and commercial ITC credits as a the hook.  In the Senate, Hawaii Dem. Senator Schatz is leading the charge to provide a five-year extension of the residential ITC credit, with the goal of communicating to all Senate offices that extending both the residential and commercial ITC is important to domestic jobs.

Why It’s Important – Both the Business and Residential ITC credits are essential for an array of clean but nascent technologies, including geothermal, fuel cells, Combined heat and power, small scale wind power, and micro-turbines. It makes no policy sense to incent one technology and not the others, and puts jobs, domestic manufacturing and American energy production at severe risk. The National Association of Homebuilders and many others (like the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental organizations, etc) strongly support these credits on a bi-partisan basis because consumers/homeowners deserve “energy choice” AND for all of the attendant public benefits.

These credits cost the Federal Treasury very little (the big expense was passage of the large wind and solar credits last December) and are a great “bang for the buck.” It’s widely recognized this was a mistake, and bad policy, and thus it is imperative that Congress fix the issue at the earliest possible opportunity before more damage is done.

More a CCS Tax Credit – Speaking of the post-election legislative session, our friends at the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) have just posted their presidential transition memos on carbon capture, utilization and storage. With the lame duck session now just days away, action on 45Q and related policy priorities is building. NEORI expects new cosponsors on the Senate and House 45Q bills once Congress returns and are confident that this bipartisan, common-sense energy and climate legislation will pass this year.

Energy Legislation – While Sens Murkowski and Cantwell continue discussions with House energy Conferees, most experts think it may be unlikely that enough progress will be made to have significant energy legislation face a vote.  Senate conferees last month sent the House a compromise proposal, and discussions are expected to step up once members return next week.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Report Finds U.S. Could Lose 15 Million Jobs If Hydraulic Fracturing is Banned – The fourth installment in the Energy Institute’s Energy Accountability Series details the devastating economic impacts that America could face if the “Keep in in the Ground” movement succeeded in banning hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.  The Energy Accountability Series takes a substantive look at what could happen if energy proposals from candidates and interest groups were actually adopted. The latest report asks the question, “What If Hydraulic Fracturing Was Banned?” The answer? By 2022, 14.8 million jobs could be lost, gasoline prices and electricity prices could almost double, and each American family could see their cost of living increase by almost $4,000. Additionally, the Energy Institute’s report looks specifically at the economic impacts of a fracking ban on Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. In all these states, the impact could be severe. 1.6 million Texans could lose their jobs, while Pennsylvania could lose $50 billion a year in state GDP. Colorado could lose 215,000 jobs, and the average Ohio household could see costs rise by $4,000 a year.

Energy Institute’s Harbert Points to Economic Impacts Over HF Ban – Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said it is easy for politicians and activists to call for an end to hydraulic fracturing—but now we know what the consequences could be.  “Without fracking, the U.S. would surrender our status as a global energy superpower. Every American family could face higher prices for the energy they consume and the products and services they buy, and almost 15 million Americans could be out of work. These extreme and irresponsible proposals should not be considered. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse.”

NRECA Aim to Hire Vets – Faced with the challenge of filling 15,000 jobs over the next five to seven years, America’s electric cooperatives want to do more than simply thank veterans for their service this Veterans Day—they want to offer them a job.  To achieve this goal, NRECA launched Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, a nationwide program to provide veterans, service members and military spouses with the opportunity to continue their mission of service by joining the ranks of America’s electric co-ops. The program provides participating co-ops with resources and training to help them implement nationally-recognized best practices in attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans.  50 co-ops have signed on to the initiative since its launch earlier this year. In July, Jonesboro, Ark.-based Craighead Electric Cooperative hired the first veteran under the program when it welcomed aboard Air Force Capt. Jeremiah Sloan as an electrical engineer. “He is a totally professional young man,” Craighead CEO Brian Duncan said. “Not only did we get a quality candidate to serve our members, we got a local guy who wanted to get back home and a veteran who has served our country well.”  Click here to view a brief video about the program, including interviews with Sloan and Duncan on why vets are a good fit for electric co-ops.  For more information on Serve Our Co-ops; Serve Our Country, contact Dan Riedinger, NRECA Media Relations, at (202) 403-7517 or dan.riedinger@nreca.coop.

BrightSource Technology to Be Employed in China – BrightSource Energy Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology will be deployed under China’s 1.35GW 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 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 project was chosen by China’s National Energy Administration from 109 applications. The announcement followed China’s National Development and Reform Committee’s publication of the CSP pilot program 20-year feed-in-tariff of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1st.  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. Get all the details here.

Harder, Mooney Hit Diane Rehm Enviro Show – During the presidential debates, energy and environment issues got very little attention. These issues highlight some of the starkest differences between the candidates. Donald Trump has tweeted that climate change is a hoax. He says he will “cancel” the Paris agreement on global warming and bring back the coal industry. Hillary Clinton has called climate change an urgent threat. She proposes spending billions on renewable energy. For this month’s Environmental Outlook: Diane and a panel of guests discuss where the presidential candidates stand on climate, energy and other environmental policies.  Our friends Amy Harder of the WSJ and Chris Mooney of the Washington Post will be guests along with Pew Research Center associate director of research on science and society Cary Funk.

DOT Expanding EV Charging Corridors – The Transportation Department is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on highways, covering 25,000 miles in 35 states as part of a White House effort to increase plug-in electric vehicle deployment announced today.  Already, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70%, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase.

AHRI Hires New GR Head – AHRI has hired Joe Trauger as the association’s Sr. Vice President of Policy and Government Relations. Trauger will join the AHRI team December 1. Trauger is currently vice president of government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he is that organization’s senior lobbyist before Congress and the Administration. He will direct AHRI’s federal, state, and global lobbying efforts, and will also be a key part of AHRI’s efforts in the regulatory arena. Trauger has more than 10 years of experience on Capitol Hill, both as a staff member for a U.S. senator and several representatives and also in the House leadership as the senior policy adviser in the offices of the majority leader and majority whip. He also worked with the House Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce Committees; and with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Oak Ridge Group Brings On Davis to Head GR – Joe Davis, former senior vice president with Artemis Strategies, has been named ORAU director of government relations.  In his new role, Davis will lead ORAU’s governmental and public affairs outreach with the U.S. Congress, various government agencies and other stakeholders.  Davis also served as chief of strategic communications for NASA and principal deputy director of public affairs for DOE, serving as spokesperson and senior advisor to the U.S. DOE Secretary of Energy. He served on the senior staff for two U.S. Senators, holding Senate leadership staff positions. ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

COP 22 Marrakesh – The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco today through November 21st. It will focus on action items in order to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages.  It will also look at many of the difficult conflicts that were disregarded during last year’s negotiations.

WCEE to Host LNG Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Lunch and Learn Forum today at Noon on small LNG markets.  The small scale LNG (liquefied natural gas) market promotes LNG as a fuel displacing diesel and heavy fuel oil in transportation and high horse power applications. Joanna Martin Ziegenfuss of the Berkeley Research Group will discuss the current drivers, status and opportunities of this nascent fuel market.

ELECTION DAY – November 8th

Smart Grid Forum Set – The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel holds its 2016 Grid Modernization Summit tomorrow through Thursday at the Capital Hilton in Washington.  The executive summit will be filled with the latest in grid modernization and networking opportunities featuring a speaker program composed of utility, vendor, and industry senior executives, FERC, government, regulators, national labs and consultants.  The 2016 Grid Modernization Summit’s theme is “Accelerating Transformation.”  DOE’s Pat Hoffman, former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly, PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa, Pepco CEO Dave Velazques and EEI’s David Owens will be among the speakers.

EPA CASAC Meeting Set – EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee hold a regular meeting on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in Alexandria Old Town.

PRG Offers Election Round Up – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections through a mix of webinars, written, and video materials.  Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will hold a complimentary webinar on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. featuring analysis by my colleagues.  Our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

FERC to Look at Energy Storage – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a Wednesday meeting to examine technical issues related to energy storage in RTOs/ISOs. The subject of the conference will be the utilization of electric storage resources as transmission assets compensated through transmission rates, for grid support services that are compensated in other ways, and for multiple services.

Wilson to Host Wildlife Conservation Group – The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. featuring a conversation with Frank Hawkins, director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Washington, DC office.  In September, more than 10,000 scientists, activists, and government and non-government leaders from around the world met in Honolulu, Hawai’i, for IUCN’s annual World Conservation Congress. Hawkins will report on the congress’s outcomes. He will be joined by an expert panel that will offer their perspectives on the key issues of gender, illegal wildlife trafficking, and conservation finance.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Happy Hour – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute and the D.C. Bar’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section will host a happy hour at Mission, a restaurant and bar in Dupont Circle.

VETERAN’S DAY – Friday, November 11th.  Please thank a veteran.

Covanta Facility Tour Set – The Young Professionals in Energy (DC) will host an afternoon tour of Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday staring at 12:30 pm at the facility.  Covanta is one of the world’s largest providers of Energy-from-Waste solutions. The tour will start with a discussion and time for Q&A before we put on our hard hats and walk through the facility to see how their technology works.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

API Holds Cybersecurity Conference – The 11th annual API Cybersecurity Conference & Expo will be held in Houston at the Westin Houston Memorial City on November 15-16.  The forum will focus on methods for thwarting the bad guys, what the scene looks like over the horizon and how the latest technologies can help you counter cyber espionage, address cyber warfare, and make your cyber efforts secure.  Cybersecurity is critical to the infrastructure of the oil and natural gas industry. The energy industry, including oil and natural gas, is ranked 2nd highest of all industries most likely to suffer a cyberattack. This conference is organized by API to provide an opportunity to network with cybersecurity professionals, and to candidly discuss challenges and share solutions. These sessions, essential to cybersecurity, are chosen and presented by recognized experts in the field.

RFF, Stanford Looking at NatGas Siting – Resources for the Future (RFF), Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Natural Gas Initiative Webinar are hosting another webinar in the series on New Research on the Science and Economics of Natural Gas on Tuesday November 15th at 2:00 p.m. looking at optimal siting of shale gas and oil development.  This is the third event in a joint RFF/Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment/Stanford Natural Gas Initiative.  The siting of shale gas and oil development—everything from well pads to pipelines—is based on a complex network of factors, including resource availability, lease ownership, environmental concerns, local zoning, and community preference. Experts at Stanford University and Resources for the Future are considering ways in which these various factors come into play in siting decisions, including what “optimal siting” might look like in a variety of contexts. Stanford’s Anthony Kovscek will open the webinar by looking at optimal siting of shale development from a technical perspective, considering the geologic characteristics of formations that drive companies’ drilling decisions. RFF’s Juha Siikamäki will then present a new model considering optimal siting of shale gas and oil infrastructure from the perspective of minimizing habitat fragmentation and other landscape-level impacts. Finally, Tisha Schuller from the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative will discuss optimal siting of shale gas and oil infrastructure from the perspective of community and industry interactions.

USEA to Host Coal Council Head –The US Energy Assn will host National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellici next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.  Gellici will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary Moniz’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”  Moniz had tasked the National Coal Council with preparing a white paper assessing market opportunities for CO2 utilization.

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.

AWEA Fall Symposium Set – AWEA will host its Fall Symposium November 15th to 17th at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, TX.  The wind energy industry has a powerful vision to take us to 10% U.S. wind energy by 2020 and 20% by 2030.  Reaching these ambitious goals brings different challenges for different segments of the industry.  But how does that take shape in each step from development to distribution?  Participants in this year’s Fall Symposium will work together to identify those concrete steps that can be taken to keep our industry on target. Sessions will focus on the collaborative approach needed to reach industry goals bringing together strategic thinkers of developers, OEMs, suppliers, corporate purchasers of wind energy, and utilities.

Wilson to Host Petrobras President – The Wilson Center will host Petrobras President Pedro Parente on Wednesday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m.  Parente will address the challenges and opportunities facing Brazil’s largest enterprise in today’s tough energy market. After his presentation, he will engage in dialogue with members of the audience interested in learning about the outlook for Petrobras and energy in Brazil. Petrobras has a key role to play in the national effort to overcome Brazil’s current economic downturn, regain trust and confidence from domestic and foreign investors, and put Brazil back on the path of sustainable and equitable economic growth.

Forum to Look at China Environment Reforms – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the International Fund for China’s Environment (IFCE) will host a briefing on Wednesday, November 16th at discussing China’s ongoing efforts to implement environmental reforms and take action against climate change. Three environmental professionals from China will discuss the challenges and progress associated with setting emission reduction policies, implementing national climate targets at the local level, incentivizing supply chain sustainability, and more.

Solar Focus Conference SetSolar Focus 2016 will be held next Wednesday and Thursday at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel looking at East Coast solar policy. This year’s theme is “Cracking the Code on East Coast Solar” and will feature sessions from energy storage to fixing oversupplied SREC markets.

Webinar to Look at Solar Issues, Regulation – Our friends at Power Markets Today will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m. on what solar means for retail power regulation.  The webinar will offer a high-level, comprehensive view of how the growth of solar is changing the industry’s regulatory landscape.  The event will feature Inger Goodman of Just Energy Group, SolarCity’s Sanjay Ranchod, CC Song of Marin Clean Energy and SoCal Ed’s director of energy policy Gary Stern.  Our fiend James Downing will moderate.  Call 301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) to register.

Columbia Law School to Look at Post-Election Policy – The Columbia Law School Executive Education will hold a seminar on November 18th in New York that will look at what to expect after the election.  The forum will gathers professors who are experts in environmental law, immigration issues, regulatory matters, national security concerns, health care, and tax rules to discuss how they predict the next presidency and a new Congress will affect the business and legal landscape.  After a long and brutal battle, no matter who wins in November, there will certainly be fallout. Benefit from the wisdom of this Columbia Law School brain trust to anticipate what will change, and how, so that you can be well-prepared to advise your clients and implement effective strategy.

CSIS to Host IEA’s World Energy Outlook – On Friday, November 18th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s “World Energy Outlook 2016.” This year’s projections for different scenarios to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, cover all fuels, regions, and technologies. WEO 2016 gives particular attention to the impact of Paris, renewables, the road ahead for fossil fuels, Mexico’s energy outlook and energy and water issues.

RCP Energy Summit Set – RealClearPolitics will host a unique energy summit on Friday November 18th at Noon at the Newseum following the pivotal 2016 election. Prominent energy policy experts will discuss this transition phase and where we go from here. Each speaker will present a brief overview of their industry, along with the challenges they face, the opportunities ahead, and their outlook for the future.  RealClearPolitics Washington Bureau Chief Carl Cannon will moderate the event that will feature LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan, Kevin Avery of ConocoPhillips, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, SEIA’s Chris Mansour, AWEA’s Rob Gramlich and NEI’s Revis James.

Grid Expert to Address Cybersecurity – The National Capital Area Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists (USAEE) will host its monthly luncheon on Friday November 18th at Carmines Restaurant at Noon.  Paul Feldman, former Chairman of the Midwest ISO, will focus on the clear and present danger associated with cyber-attacks, what we are doing about it, and what needs to be done better. He will differentiate between IT and OT systems, and how to relate the two into an integrated whole – and protect against attacks like the successful Ukraine attack.

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.

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.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-25 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 February 15

Friends,

With the snow and ice in the Mid-Atlantic yesterday, I was grounded in Florida for an extra day when our President’s Day return flight was cancelled.  I guess it’s not so bad to be stuck in FL when there is bad weather in DC – especially with the region’s less-than-competent, foul-weather driving skills.  But, I did finally make it back.

Has our energy world changed in the past week?  Wow… First, the SCOTUS stayed the Clean Power Plan and then on Saturday, conservative legal icon Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away on a hunting trip in Texas.

I initially planned to have a primer on the SCOTUS decision, but I have altered some that given Justice Scalia’s passing.  There has been plenty of reporting and analysis on Scalia, the court impact and the politics, so we won’t weigh in there other than to point out an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post from Legal scholar and friend Jonathan Adler and say that Tom Goldstein’s SCOTUS blog is a great place to keep pace with the action. My colleague Scott Segal adds his thoughts on Scalia below. You can use them “On-the-Record” or on background.

With President’s Day, the Congress is in a recess (maybe it’s last for the year to avoid any recess appointments).  It is a slow week, but NARUC Commissioners are here for their Winter Meetings and there are still a few good events on the schedule.  CSIS hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht on the state of the oil markets and WCEE looks at government and business views on sustainability tomorrow, while the Atlantic Council discusses the implications of falling oil prices and CSIS hosts the BP Energy Outlook on Thursday.

And mark your calendars for Leap Day when ARPA-E launches it annual innovation conference with three days of R&D/Technology policy discussions.  Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat” with FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher, who interviews Graff and BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz, former VP Al Gore, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons.

Finally, this week, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training 2016, the first informal part of the change of seasons and baseball’s annual sign of eternal World Series hope.  Hoping the Nationals will be able to rebound this year and, as always at the beginning of the season, the Cubs are still tied for first.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

THE BIG NEWS

Segal on Impacts of Passing of Scalia – The were numerous stories about the impacts of Justice Scalia.  My colleague Scott Segal adding to that with focus on its relation to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan.    Segal: “The truth is that there are significant legal problems with the Clean Power Plan that would raise questions with any composition of the Supreme Court.  Liberal legal scholars like Harvard’s Laurence Tribe have pointed to statutory and constitutional shortcomings that will need to be resolved.   For its part, the panel assigned to the case at the D.C. Circuit may not have entered a stay, but they did adopt an unusually expedited schedule for the case which may reflect misgivings with the rule, and a desire to resolve them before compliance became a foregone conclusion.  And of course, the Supreme Court stay remains in place likely until an eventual Supreme Court judgment after the end of the Obama Administration.  While Justice Scalia’s untimely passing creates more uncertainty, the Clean Power Plan is still predicated on an extraordinarily shaky legal foundation.

Adler Pens Solution to Political Dilemma – Case Western University law Professor and former EPA lawyer Jonathan Adler addressed the political problem a new SCOTUS appointment faces in an interesting, thought-provoking Washington Post Op-ed.   Adler’s academic piece is unlikely to sway partisans but It is an eye-opener to the challenge that faces both the President and the Senate.   Adler argues “the long run of continuing to escalate the current brinkmanship in judicial nominations are significant, however. Republicans should recall that Senate obstruction of judicial nominees has kept several highly qualified conservative nominees from the federal bench as well, and that refusing to allow Scalia’s seat to be filled for a year would further politicize an already soiled process.”

SCOTUS Stays Obama GHG Rule – In an unprecedented move on an environmental rule, The Supreme Court of the U.S. granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon regulations for the electricity sector while the regulations are under review by the courts.

Some Key Reacts – Here were a few of the major reacts:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: Morrisey hailed today’s decision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency as a monumental victory.  Morrisey praised the decision saying it provides immediate relief for workers and businesses across the country. It also reinforces confidence in the broader challenge as the Supreme Court found the coalition’s arguments strong enough to stop EPA even before the lawsuit concludes.  “Make no mistake – this is a great victory for West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.”

Scott Segal, ERCC: “We have long maintained that the legal rationale for the Clean Power Plan stood on extremely weak ground.  Some 40 years of precedent contradicted the rule.  Problems of statutory interpretation were apparent from the moment of the architecture of the rule was proposed.  While stays of administrative rules are rare, they are not unknown and in this case the outcome was richly deserved.  The Court has held that the rule be stayed not only through DC Circuit consideration, but also through ultimate Supreme Court judgment should appeal to the High Court ultimately be sought.  There are many things that can be done to cost-effectively encourage the use of renewables and efficiency projects, but the Clean Power Plan was not the right approach.  The threats it posed to state prerogatives, reliability and energy security concerns made the rule a bad bet for policy reasons as well.”

Mike Duncan of the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): “We are pleased the Supreme Court took this unprecedented step to protect the states from further economic harm while the courts are deciding whether the administration’s Power Plan is unlawful and unconstitutional,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE. “The stay is a signal the Supreme Court has serious concerns with the Power Plan. We’re optimistic the Power Plan will ultimately be rejected.”

Jeff Conner of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn (NRECA): “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan would have caused immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Had the stay not been granted, co-ops would have been forced to take costly and irreversible steps to comply with the rule, which is a huge overreach of EPA’s legal authority. The Clean Power Plan is a direct threat to co-ops’ ability to provide affordable and reliable electricity to their member consumers and should be erased from the books.”

Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce President: “We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay the EPA’s unlawful greenhouse gas rule for the power sector. The Supreme Court’s stay of this rule and the D.C. Circuit’s order to hear the case quickly will ensure that America will not be forced to make costly and irreversible implementation decisions based upon an unprecedented regulation until judicial review is complete.  The EPA’s rule would put the government in control of our energy choices, drive up electricity costs for American businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness. Staying this rule is the right decision.”

AGs Lead Fight – Attorneys General from 28 states lead by West Virginia and Texas lead the effort to block the rule saying EPA exceeded its authority by double regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation among other reasons. Those joining West Virginia and Texas were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Holmstead, Segal Weigh in USAT – The USA Today featured an op-ed from former EPA Air head Jeff Holmstead and ERCC director Scott Segal on the decision that said the Court’s order to stay the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan”  was “something it has never done before” when they put the regulation on hold until the courts can decide whether it is legal. They add the rule would mean higher energy costs and a less reliable electricity system for average Americans.

Chamber Official Point Out Paris Pledge Short Fall Already – Steve Eule, US Chamber climate expert who was in Paris, discussed the Stay decision in the context of the US UN pledge made in Paris.  Eule said the implications of this decision are likely to extend well beyond the United States and call into question the durability of the Obama Administration’s pledge to the United Nations (UN) to slash U.S. net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% to 28% by 2025 from the 2005 level.”    He added at the Paris climate talks, administration officials spent considerably energy assuring anyone who would listen that the Clean Power Plan was legally unassailable.  See the Blog Here.

 

IN THE NEWS

Loveless Launches Columbia Energy Exchange Podcast – Our friend Bill Loveless, former Platts TV host has launched a new podcast program with Columbia University.  Expanding on its existing programming, Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.  Examples of recent guests on Columbia Energy Exchange have included EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Southern CEO Tom Fanning, Duke CEO Lynn Good and many more.

AFPM Hits RFS – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) also filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rulemaking for 2014-2016.  AFPM President Chet Thompson said despite EPA’s best efforts, certain aspects of the final RFS rule still run afoul of the Clean Air Act. Thompson:  “EPA failed to provide obligated parties with requisite lead time and used flawed methodologies in establishing volume requirements. This rule further confirms that the RFS program is dysfunctional and that the only real solution is full repeal by Congress.”

Co-ops, NRDC Launch “Community Storage” Initiative – The nation’s 50 million residential electric water heaters collectively represent a significant – and vastly underutilized – energy storage resource capable of leveraging substantial environmental and cost benefits according to new research commissioned NRECA, NRDC, the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) and Great River Energy (GRE).  This finding from the global economic consulting firm The Brattle Group was announced today (Feb. 10, 2016) at the launch of an initiative designed to promote growth in a novel, community-based approach to energy storage, dubbed “community storage.” By aggregating distributed energy technologies and home appliances, electric cooperatives are developing community storage to increase energy efficiency, better integrate renewable energy resources onto the grid, and reduce customers’ monthly electric bill.

One such community storage program managed by Minnesota-based generation and transmission cooperative Great River Energy has been able to store a gigawatt of energy each night by controlling the electric resistance water heaters of 65,000 end-use members.  Even in regions heavily reliant on coal and natural gas to generate electricity, the Brattle research shows that consumers have options for saving money on their electric bills and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with their water heating. Consumers can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent using their water heater as a thermal battery. Consumers can reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent using heat pump water heaters.  These same consumers will be enabling integration of clean, renewable resources. Further, the emission reductions of community storage will compound as more consumers participate and the electricity sector transitions to cleaner fuels and generation technologies.

Rural Co-ops Launch Major Vote Initiative – Speaking of NRECA, they also launched a major initiative to enhance voter engagement. The goal of the “Co-ops Vote” campaign is to boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer members to exercise one of their most basic rights—the right to vote.  Working in collaboration with states and local co-ops, this non-partisan campaign will educate and engage all voters on important issues, such as ensuring continued access to reliable electricity, promoting co-ops’ development of innovative renewable energy solutions, and expanding broadband coverage throughout rural America.  Co-ops Vote will provide a wide variety of tools to its more than 900, not-for-profit members to help educate and engage employees and communities, including voter registration information, candidate information and a campaign video. Co-ops are urged to take simple steps, such as encouraging employees to register to vote, hosting voter registration drives at co-op offices, and partnering with local civic groups to plan voter registration efforts.  For more information, visit www.vote.coop and follow #CoopsVote.

AHRI Releases Refrigerant Management Research Report – AHRI recently published research project AHRI 8018: Review of Refrigerant Management Programs. This project characterized refrigerant management and recycling programs implemented in key regions of the world, evaluated their effectiveness, and determined best practices as they relate to the U.S. refrigerant landscape.  The report provides clarity and insights on seven primary jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, California, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report also includes a high-level review of activities in China and Brazil. The focus areas of research included characterizing the current processes for original equipment manufacturers, contractors, end users, and reclaimers to handle refrigerants, how and where refrigerant recycling happens, and the amount of refrigerants ultimately destroyed.  Navigant Consulting, Inc., conducted a literature review and interviewed key personnel in the target jurisdictions to develop the detailed content of this report. Research covered the regulations, roles and responsibilities, funding sources, incentive and enforcement mechanisms, performance, refrigerant recovery, tracking and reporting, outreach, training, and flow of refrigerants in the nine jurisdictions.

New Data Highlights Natural Gas Savings for Consumers and Our Economy – Low domestic natural gas prices led to savings of almost $69 billion for residential natural gas customers over the past four years, according to the 2016 American Gas Association Playbook, released last week. Filled with new data and detailed graphics, this essential handbook provides a comprehensive explanation about the role natural gas plays in American’s daily lives and how it can help our nation achieve economic prosperity.  The 2016 AGA Playbook includes the latest data surrounding natural gas and its role in changing the way Americans use energy. It includes pertinent information about pipeline safety, natural gas supply and usage, industry safety, energy efficiency, economic growth, cybersecurity and more. It also details information on the latest natural gas utility initiatives to enhance cyber and physical security including the AGA Peer Review Program, the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

National Trade Association for Community Solar Launched – Leading energy companies in the solar market today announced the formation of the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the first-ever national trade association for community solar. The Coalition’s founding leadership includes Clean Energy Collective, Community Energy, Ecoplexus, Ethical Electric, First Solar, and Recurrent Energy.  CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced.  Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building.  These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households.  CCSA will work in partnership with consumers, local stakeholders, and utilities to promote smart policies and innovative program models to give all Americans in every community the ability to directly benefit from clean, affordable, and reliable solar power. CCSA’s initial goals are: to open markets in key states; serve as the resource for policymakers, utilities and advocates who seek clear, practical options for establishing community solar programs; and to be the messenger to highlight the growing success of the community solar market.   CCSA will target several key states in 2016, including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and broaden its reach as the organization and the community solar market grows. The coalition will work with legislators, regulators and utilities to help develop fair policy and regulatory frameworks to drive sustainable growth for community solar.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Federal Leaders, “Lights Out” Talk Highlight NARUC Winter Meetings – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its 2016 Winter Meeting today and tomorrow at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Meetings will feature talks from FERC Chair Norman Bay, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. The federal representatives will discuss current rulemakings, priorities within their agencies, and the role of state regulators.  Also among the General Session speakers is USAID Power Africa Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones. Power Africa is a federal interagency effort working to significantly increase access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program works with public and private entities to decrease barriers to energy resources coming online and supports necessary reforms in regulatory and political structures to ensure the long-term viability of energy sectors. NARUC President Travis Kavulla of Montana will lead well-known author and journalist Ted Koppel in a thought-provoking question-and-answer session on his book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.  Along with cybersecurity, panel topics will cover high-profile regulatory matters such as the Clean Power Plan, pipeline safety, decarbonization, broadband, natural gas, and transportation issues. Panel participants include state commissioners, subject-matter experts and consumer advocates.

NE ISO Chief to Address Dinner – This evening, 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.

WCEE to Feature Sustainability Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:00 noon at Johnson Control DC office, the Women’s Council on Energy and the  Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch focused on the challenges and opportunities of leading the sustainability function within organizations.  From defining sustainability, to embedding it into the organization’s values and strategy, to operationalizing it, the event will explore some of the current issues faced by these sustainability officers.  Speakers will include GWU Sustainability Director Meghan Chapple Brown, CEQ’s Christine Harada, WRI’s Kevin Moss and Johnson Controls Catherine Potter.

CSIS to Look at Oil Markets for 2016 – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a public session on Wednesday 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 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.

Forum to Tackle Strategic Impact of Falling Oil Price on Middle East – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Thursday 9:00 a.m. focused on the strategic implications of the fall of crude oil prices on the security and stability of the Middle East.  With the recent escalation of tensions between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Iran, there are many challenges.  Riyadh and Tehran are at odds in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as Iranian officials boast about their plans to increase oil production by as many as one million barrels per day. As the Kingdom and its Gulf partners pursue costly security efforts abroad, low oil prices have forced them to consider painful and traditionally unpopular economic reforms at home. Middle Eastern oil producers could very well face a dual threat – can they continue to balance demanding security challenges at home and abroad?  Speakers will include former WSJ Publisher Karen Elliot House, IHS Petroleum Risk Director Raad Alkadiri and Atlantic’s Sherri Goodman.

CSIS Hears BP Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on Thursday 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 Russia, Oil Price Crash – On Thursday, the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum Russian and the impacts of the oil price crash. Like every energy exporter, Russia is suffering from low commodity prices. But, since the beginning of the slump (mid-2014), Russia’s economic policy response has been reasonably effective. Drawing on policies developed over the past 15 years, Russia has let its currency fall against the dollar, helping to balance the budget, and has continued adjusting oil taxation to incentivize exports. With Duma elections coming this fall, 2016 is likely to be a more difficult environment for Russian policy makers.  Yale’s Chris Miller will speak.

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 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.

RFF Policy Leadership Forum to feature Québec Premier – On Friday at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Phil Sharp and the Premier of Québec, Mr. Philippe Couillard, as they discuss critical environmental and energy issues facing North America.  Elected leader of his party and Premier of Québec in 2014, Premier Philippe Couillard is a neurosurgeon, former cabinet minister, member of Parliament, and respected leader, both in Canada and on the world stage.  Highlighting both the actions of state-level initiatives in addressing climate change—such as the Québec and California linked emissions trading system—as well as their roles on the world stage at COP21 in Paris, Québec has exercised significant leadership in the global community as part of the collective effort to solve the climate crisis.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NACo to Meet – The National Assn of Counties holds it legislative meetings In Washington next week at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

WCEE Tackles Solar – Next Monday, February 22nd at Noon, WCEE will host a forum on the many opportunities and challenges for the solar industry in the coming year. This event is first in a series about solar power.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, SEPA CEO Julia Hamm and EEI’s Lola Infante, who directs EEI’s Generation Fuels and Market Analysis.

Forum Looks at Enviros, Nuclear – The New America Foundation and Future Tense will host a lunch and conversation next Monday at Noon in Washington, D.C., to consider whether you can truly be an environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy.  Speakers will including for WSJ reporter and author Steve Levine, Aaron VanDevender of the Founders Fund, ASU’s Jennifer Richter and Argonne’s Nuclear R&D Technical Director Robert Hill.

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.

Brooking to Look at GHG Rules, State Implementation – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the Economic Studies group at Brookings will host an event to key issues related to state implementation of EPA’s GHG rules.  EPA has given states some flexibility in how they achieve their targets, and some states can continue work on implementation plans that balance the objectives of compliance, reliability, affordability, cross-state coordination, safety, and efficient long term low-carbon capital investment in the sector. States’ nearer term strategies could influence the evolution of the electricity sector for decades to come, well past the targeted 32 percent reduction in 2030 emissions from the sector relative to levels in 2005. Former Colorado Gov Bill Ritter will keynote, followed by a panel that includes former NJ Gov. and EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, NARUC Executive Director Greg White, Jonas Monast of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and RFF’s Josh Linn.

Senate Energy to Hear Jewel on Interior Budget – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the Department of the Interior’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.  Secretary Jewell will testify.

ELI Looks at Circular Economy Issues – Environmental Law Institute holds an afternoon forum regulatory and commercial law implications of a “circular economy” next Tuesday.  In response to the resource constraints, environmental pressures and economic barriers that characterize our “take and dispose” economy, many have put forward a vision for a “circular economy” that would not only conserve and recycle materials, but also contribute to new technological, financial and environmental innovations.  This session looks at the approach to supplant the way global production and energy systems operate. The purpose of this program is to explain the meaning of the “circular economy” and how it is being applied at the intersection of energy, environment and materials management and present some of the specific regulatory, procurement, financial structuring, and other legal initiatives that are emerging to help actualize its objectives globally.

Women in Solar Event Set – Women in Solar Energy (WISE) will hold its second annual NationWISE event on Tuesday, February 23rd  at 6:00 p.m. The goal of NationWISE is to discuss stories of women in different areas of the solar industry to show their diverse career paths and experiences and to prompt open discussion about female-friendly work environments. WISE is hoping to use this discussion to baseline its “best practices” that solar companies can adopt for human resources guidelines, female recruitment, and opportunities for women to excel in the solar energy industry.  Speakers include SEPA CEO Julia Hamm, Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke and DOE SunShot Initiative head Lidija Sekaric.

Forum  to Look at CPP – New America and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a forum on February 24th for a close look at the current gap between climate goals and climate action, and ways that gap can be filled.  John Larsen of the Rhodium Group will present a new analysis of progress toward meeting the U.S. climate target. Then an expert group, convened by C2ES President Bob Perciasepe and New America Senior Advisor Sharon Burke, will explore how technology innovation and stronger action by cities, states and the federal government can help reach the goal.  Speakers include Scott Fulton, President of the Environmental Law Institute, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, and Dr. Ellen Williams (invited), Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Senate Environment to Tackle RFS – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 24th to examine the renewable fuel standard.

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.

House Resources to Look at Enviro Mitigation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday February 24th on new environmental mitigation regulations.

Distributed Wind Assn Hits Capitol – The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) holds its annual Capitol Hill Reception in S-115, The Capitol on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

NatGas Roundtable Feature Berkeley Research Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February lunch on Thursday, February 25th featuring James Koehler, Associate Director of Berkeley Research Group. Koehler is an energy finance, markets, and policy expert in Berkeley Research Group’s international Energy and Natural Resources practice, based in Washington, D.C.

Paper Details NatGas, Propane In PA – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at natural gas and propane and their increasing foothold as alternative fuel sources for Pennsylvania’s transportation sector. Across the state, transit agencies and other large fleets are converting from gasoline to natural gas or propane because of cost and environmental benefits. However, use of natural gas or propane is not limited to large fleets. Opportunities exist for small fleets or individual vehicles such as mid-size delivery vans and trucks, taxis, and high-mileage commercial vehicles. Opportunities also exist to become a station owner.  This paper was written as an educational tool for Pennsylvanians on the options for fuel conversions, refueling options, and a summary of what is available in the market. This paper covers a broad range of topics concerning natural gas and propane opportunities within the Commonwealth.

USEA to Look at Australia, US Competition Issues – Next Friday, February 26th at 10:30 a.m., the US Energy Association will hold a briefing to discuss similarities and differences between the US and Australian energy industries and other competition issues.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a Congressional Briefing next Friday on the Role of Benchmarking, Transparency and Codes in Driving a More Efficient 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.

Air Liquide CEO, Others Headline ARPA-E Event — On February 29th, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat.”  Graff will be interviewed by FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher along with BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore on Tuesday, March 1st.  EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons will speak on Wednesday, March 2nd.

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.

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th  Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.

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 25

Friends,

Happy Snow!!!!  Now that was a good snow storm.  But the difference between here and the North (Detroit for me) is that you usually have weeks/months of freezing cold temps and more snow still ahead of you.  Here, we had two straight days of sunny and 45 degrees following the storm, and today we are getting rain.  That should help clear some of the snow off the roads, even if the plowing isn’t quite as good as the colder climates.  Speaking of plowing, while I think Maryland did a good job, my drive (in the Volt, mind you) into the Capital today showed that DC still has a lot of catching up to do, as the downtown area remains basically gridlocked with minimal open lanes.  Thinking I might be on the MARC train/Metro for a few days.

Speaking of the storm, as the Mid-Atlantic region digs out, AHRI reminded local residents to protect their furnace vents and heat pumps by clearing piled up snow away from them:

“With a massive winter storm blasting the Nation’s Capital, it is important clear away snow and other debris that block airflow through the outdoor part of your heat pump.” said AHRI President Stephen Yurek. “We have so many things on our minds during a massive storm like this, but it is very important for those who use heat pumps to keep warm, to keep the outdoor part of their unit clear of snow.  Yurek also reminded those who have highly-efficient furnaces (those that require through-the-wall venting) to keep the vents clear of snow and ice for their safety and that of their loved ones. Failure to do so can result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.”

With school off another day, I just had to get back to work.  And the Senate does too, launching its energy reform package tomorrow.  The legislation, a bipartisan measure that cleared committee on an 18-4 vote last year, and includes provisions pushed by both Republicans and Democrats. They include measures to expedite liquefied natural gas exports, reform federal energy programs and improve the reliability of the electric grid.  While Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski said she hopes the legislation will move forward in a bipartisan manner, that may be wishful thinking in this election year.  Lots of rumors about amendments and they may take all forms from simple fixes in a manager’s amendment to off-the-wall political bombshells.  We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple weeks.

Many events are cancelled especially today and tomorrow, including the two House hearings and the Senate EPW markup/hearing.  I have provided a list of other events below but check them events before you venture out because Uber and Cabs are still up-charging I think.

Finally, if you want to think WARM, remember next week launches the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Weather report from TPC Scottsdale says SUNNY and 70s all week.  WM launches with its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, Celeb Pro-Am on Wednesday and real PGA golf starting Thursday.

Call if you have energy bill questions, need driving tips or are wondering how to prevent snow plows from covering your driveway after you’ve already shoveled it… and be safe out there.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864
(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

SCOTUS Lets FERC DR Rule Stand – The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a FERC rule  that promotes electricity conservation, handing a big victory to environmentalists and federal power regulators.  The 6-2 decision overturned a federal appeals panel ruling and affirmed the commission’s authority to offer incentives to reduce power consumption during peak demand periods by paying large users to curb their electricity use, policies that green groups say help open the power grid up to more renewable sources like wind and solar.

Bracewell FERC Experts Weigh In – My colleagues who are FERC experts weighed in with an Energy Blog Post yesterday. They say the Court was persuaded that FERC had taken care not trample on state regulatory authority by the fact that FERC’s DR regime permitted retail purchaser’s to participate in wholesale markets only if state regulators did not forbid them from doing so. They added that although it is early to tell, this decision appears to affirm a broader view of FERC’s jurisdiction over wholesale power markets than previously understood.

NRECA Protests Ruling – NRECA expressed disappointment over the Court’s ruling.  NRECA had challenged FERC Order 745 on the grounds that the Commission overstepped its jurisdictional authority.  “For decades, co-ops have been able to save co-op member-owners millions of dollars by creating robust demand response programs. We are concerned that by giving this pricing authority squarely to FERC, the Court has diminished the ability of state public utility commissions and the cooperative and municipal boards, to protect the interest of consumers. NRECA will continue to advocate for compensation levels that benefit co-op owner-members,” said Jay Morrison, vice president of regulatory affairs.  Electric cooperatives have aggressively pursued cost savings for consumer-members by offering a wide range of demand response programs; in fact in 2012, co-ops’ share of total retail electric sales was 11%, yet they were responsible for 19% of actual peak reduction,” he added.

Segal Looks at Impact on CPP Consideration – My Bracewell colleague Scott Segal, also the director of the ERCC read the opinion and found it interesting looking for implications towards future consideration of arguments on the CPP.  Segal said the Court says there is still a substantial statutory separation between FERC’s wholesale authority and state retail rate-making and recognized demand response as an exception noting that FERC was responding to a market-developed concept that had been approved by Congress and had a consumer protection and reliability rationale.  Segal adds that is a pretty limited view.  Segal: “The Court’s reasoning should give no comfort to supporters of the Clean Power Plan.  First, CPP in no sense was developed by the market.  Far from approved by Congress, it has been roundly opposed by Congress as inconsistent with 40 years of Clean Air Act precedent.  And rather than protecting consumers and reliability, a broad consensus of impartial third parties has found that CPP will have the opposite effect.”

BLM Rolls Methane Rules Just Before Big Storm – Talk about clearing the decks… Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed updates on Friday to 30-year-old natural gas emissions regulations for oil and gas operations on public and Native American lands, including a requirement that producers adopt modern techniques and equipment to limit flaring.   My expert colleague Sandra Snyder said if adopted, BLM’s regulations may have the unintended effect of deterring development on federal lands, thereby decreasing federal royalties.  The BLM rule BLM announced today rule proposes to add additional requirements to the already onerous process of obtaining an Application for Permit to Drill (APD).  Since 2010, it has taken industry on average well over 200 days to obtain an APD from BLM.  Adding additional requirements will inevitably lead to additional delays.  Moreover, she adds BLM needs to make good on its pledge to avoid redundant requirements, while also recognizing the voluntary efforts of industry to reduce emissions through the implementation of innovative technologies.  The financial benefit of capturing more of its product is not news to oil and gas production companies — they’ve been ahead of the government on this issue for quite some time.

Cabot Already Ahead of BLM Rules – As Sandra mentioned, the fact is, industry has been ahead of the curve on this for years, working diligently on its own to reduce methane emissions.  It’s both good environmental stewardship and makes sense from a business standpoint; since companies strive for efficiency, it makes sense to capture as much product as you can.  To cite one example: Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations.  The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period.  A big part of the trick involves optimizing “green completions,” which means minimizing natural gas flaring during the cleanup phase after a well is completed by diverting gas into a pipeline.

IPAA Says Rule’s Timing is Bad – The IPAA said the reduction of emissions through limited venting and flaring is in the government and the industry’s best interest. Financially, no oil or natural gas producer would choose to lose valuable resources that could otherwise be sold. And when the product is sold, the U.S. treasury receives a royalty. Further, increased natural gas production and use have resulted in cleaner air for the United States. We are concerned that these new rules could create a regulatory regime that prevents the extension of the financial and important environmental benefits generated by American oil and natural gas production.  “This is the latest in the string of bad policies released by this administration showing a lack of knowledge of how the oil and gas industry truly works. Imposing these new regulations will make it more expensive and harder for independent producers to operate, reducing America’s total energy production and preventing additional receipts from going back to the US Treasury. Making matters worse, lifting the royalty rate ceiling simply leaves the door open for the federal government to increase rates on producers down the road. This will change the predictability and certainty for operators on federal lands, making it harder to plan and commit to long-term projects. With oil and natural gas prices currently at their lowest in decades, now is the worst time to raise fees on America’s independent producers.”

Court Denies Stay Request for CPP – Last Thursday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for expedited briefing in the case regarding the carbon rules for the power sector, while denying the imposition of an immediate stay.  My colleague Scott Segal said the expedited briefing schedule is indicative of the seriousness with which the court is taking the case and the very substantial legal issues that need to be resolved in order to safeguard electric reliability and consumer interests.  He added a record 27 states are challenging the GHG plan, along with some 25 national and state trade associations, 39 rural cooperatives, 12 major corporations, and three labor unions with combined membership nearing one million.”

WV AG Considers SCOTUS Review on Stay Request – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office will consider urging the U.S. Supreme Court to halt ongoing, irreversible harm caused by EPA’s Power Plan.  Morrisey says if left intact, the plan will lead to skyrocketing electricity bills and devastate West Virginia’s coal industry and the countless jobs depending upon its success.  “We are disappointed in today’s decision, but believe we will ultimately prevail in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues. We are pleased, however, that the court has agreed to expedite hearing the case.”

Rural Co-ops Say Stay Important to Protect Rural Consumers – NRECA also expressed deep disappointment with a court’s refusal to halt implementation of EPA’s rule. NRECA was among those that petitioned the court to stay the rule while a separate battle over its legality plays out: “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan will cause immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “While the rule’s emission reduction requirements don’t kick in for several years, co-ops must start taking immediate costly and irreversible steps to achieve the goals set forth in the EPA’s overreaching regulations. The result will be lost jobs, economic harm to rural communities and significant electric rate increases for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens—families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.”

Chamber Says Expedited Review of CPP Essential – The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the D.C. Circuit Court decision to expedite legal review of carbon regulations indicates that the court agrees that it is important to review the rules quickly. As the Chamber and its partners have argued all along, the rule is already hurting American businesses. The Court’s decision to deny the stay motion is about procedure. The Chamber says it looks forward to presenting our arguments to the Court as part of an expedited review process, and we will continue our efforts to halt the EPA’s unprecedented effort to restructure the American economy.

AEA: Don’t File a Plan – AEA President Thomas Pyle penned an op-ed in Morning Consult cautioning state leaders against submitting a state plan for EPA’s carbon regulation–what EPA calls the “Clean Power Plan.” EPA, environmental groups, and utilities are pressuring state leaders to submit state plans by implying that a federal plan will be much worse for their citizens. But as Pyle points out, state and federal plans are essentially the same. The only major difference is that a state plan locks citizens in to this costly regulation—even if the rule is thrown out in court—while a federal plan does not.  Click here to continue reading the op-ed.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – After the Snow out over the weekend, the Washington Auto Show continues really launched this week.  The opening on Friday was delayed due to the weather.  The show runs through Sunday.

AHRI Forum To Highlight New Technologies – Our friends at AHRI were lucky to miss the storm by decamping to Orlando for their annual AHR Expo, an annual trade show co-sponsored by AHRI and ASHRAE. It is one of the largest industry expos, drawing over 1400 exhibitors and over 60,000 HVAC professionals.  The event focuses on highlighting advancements that address the dynamic requirements of today’s HVACR industry.  Over 80% of the Show Exhibitors are introducing new or upgraded products, systems and technologies that are being unveiled and showcased on the 2016 AHR Expo floor.  Spanning categories from indoor air quality to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.

CANCELLED — House Ag to Host EPA’s McCarthy – The House Agriculture Committee hearing today on the impact of EPA regulations on the rural economy featuring EPA Chief Gina McCarthy will be rescheduled

CANCELLED – 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 tomorrow has been postponed to February 12th pending speaker confirmations.  The event was to 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.

NAS Social Cost of Carbon Presser – CANCELLED

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event tomorrow that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

CANCELLED – House Oversight to Look at RFS – The House Oversight Hearing On the RFS will also be rescheduled to a Later date.

NAM State of Manufacturing Tour to Start in NH, FL – The National Association of Manufacturers, the unified voice of more than 14,000 manufacturers in the United States, will tour the country for the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour starting tomorrow in Manchester, New Hampshire and Tampa, Florida.  See full schedule here.  NAM is showcasing modern manufacturing, highlighting the importance of manufacturing to America and laying out solutions that will create more jobs, seize global leadership and expand the circle of opportunity so wide that the American Dream is available to everyone.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, DC on Wednesday at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, 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.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Prices, Middle East Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the impact of low oil prices in the Middle East. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with sweeping economic and political implications for the Middle East. Amidst falling oil revenues, governments from the Gulf to Iraq and beyond face fiscal crises, market upheaval, disruption of traditional ways of doing business, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and slumping economic growth. In the midst of this volatile landscape, energy producers in the region face an uncertain future that will have ramifications in the years to come.  Our friend Jamie Webster of IHS will be among the speakers.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Battery Storage 101 Features ESA, Tesla – On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the Battery Energy Storage Caucus and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a “Battery Energy Storage 101 and Introduction to the Battery Storage Industry” briefing.  The future of renewables comes in a battery. Companies across the country are developing batteries for home storage connected to solar panels, grid scale storage and automobiles. From Tesla’s lithium ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada to Michigan-based Sakti3 which is commercializing a high-energy density battery, the storage revolution is upon us.  The event will discuss how exactly battery energy storage works with the Energy Storage Association and learn what leaders in the industry are doing in the grid side application of storage to make our grid more secure and cost effective.

FUTURE EVENTS

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.

Panel to Look at Geoengineering – Next Monday, February 1st at 12:15 p.m., Future Tense New America will hold a book lunch on Geoengineering and how it could change the world.  Geoengineering is the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate and might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial.  In his new book, “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World,” Oliver Morton argues that the risks of climate change merit serious action. According to Morton, geoengineering is not a simple or singular solution to the problem, but it is worth exploring, even if it’s never actually deployed.

Wilson Forum to Look at Middle East Oil Price Equation – The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host a forum next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. on the implications of the collapse of oil prices for the Middle East.  The collapse of the oil prices has shocked both producers and consumers worldwide. As the most important producing region of the world, the Middle East has been particularly affected; state revenues are down, and cutthroat competition for market share and low global demand translates into greater challenges and uncertainty. The regional economic outlook is unclear, and questions remain about the potential long-term impact of sustained low oil prices. Three experts will analyze the geopolitical and financial aspects of the sharp decline in oil prices on both importing and exporting countries in the Middle East.

WCEE Forum with FERC ALJs – The Women’s Council on Energy & Environment will host a Litigation Roundtable next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. with the women Administrative Law Judges at FERC and EPA. The Judges will discuss why and how they became Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and how they have mentored others, and share the dos and don’ts regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Jacobson to Address Anti-Nuclear Group – The anti-nuclear group NIRS will hold a tele-briefing next Tuesday on “Paris and the path forward to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.  As if there is one…  The discussion will feature controversial advocate/academic Mark Jacobson of Stanford and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani, both of who will explain what the climate agreement achieved and what its implications are for our energy future and nuclear power here in the U.S.

BPC Event to Look at Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the American Energy Innovation Council of the BPC will hold an event that will examine the rationale and implications of expanding federal support for energy innovation. The first panel will explore the economic impact of federal investments in energy innovation, focusing on how these investments can best leverage additional investments and ensure America’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving global energy marketplace. Phil Giudice, CEO at Ambri, will join to discuss how his grid storage company is working to develop transformative innovations in energy storage. A second panel will review new, collaborative institutional models that are working to create better bridges across the “valleys of death,” while aligning public and private sector priorities. ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams and our friends Kevin Kolevar of Dow Chemical and author Steve LeVine,

Forum to Discuss Transformations in Energy Technology – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion reflecting on BP’s Technology Outlook and its insights on how we may identify, extract, store, and ultimately consume our energy. The event will feature a presentation and panel with David Eyton, Head of Technology at BP, and Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy and Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz.

NAS Hosts Meeting on Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, NatGas, Ethanol – On February 4th  and 5th, the National Academies of Science will host a meeting on domestic transportation of fuels.  Given a number of recent events, look for a candid discussion of potential policies.

Sustainable Energy Factbook Release – For the fourth year in a row, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas & renewable energy sectors in the United States. On Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 p.m., a panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from BNEF will discuss why 2015 was a watershed year for the US clean energy economy,

WCEE Feature World Bank Expert on Green Bonds – The Women’s Council On Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 noon on Green Bonds featuring World Bank expert Akiko Nakagawa. Nakagawa shares her work on developing and supervising projects financed through green bonds as well as how these bonds are placed in the climate negotiation’s context.  Laura Tlaiye will explain the requirements of green bond eligible projects and how bonds are structured.

Woolsey to Headline Lecture – On Friday, February 5th at 5:30 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host the third Brian Kelley Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Energy Security in the 21st Century.”  The year’s lecture will feature Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.  Woolsey has been one of the most prominent analysts of national security issues, as well as energy policy. He has been a proponent of US energy independence and the protection of major infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as our electric grid upon which everything in our civilization depends.

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.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 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.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th 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.

Energy Update: Week of October 26

Friends,

 

Last week ended with a bang with the publication of the EPA GHG rule regulating power plants.  And I didn’t really event get to celebrate “Back to the Future” Day Thursday (10/21/2015) because we were so busy with GHGs, ozone and other things. Below you’ll see a full recap of the late-week action including statements from States suing over the GHG rule and a bunch of industry comments.

 

Speaking of industry, if you just missed the industry legal experts discussions of the petitions challenging the new EPA GHG rule, let us know and we can get you connected to get you questions/concerns addressed.

 

On the Hill, we get a vote for the new House Speaker, but also the start of Congressional Action on challenging the GHG rule.  While success on that review is unlikely, it will continue the On-going discussion of the challenges facing states, communities and industries.  If you are looking for a good read on some of the challenges being created by the new GHG rules, take a look at this weekend’s Washington Post piece on the dilemma facing rural cooperatives.

 

Finally, with Halloween set for Saturday, I am preparing to launch my annual flavored pumpkin seed effort.  Besides the old standby flavors, I’m trying to think of something clever this year for the palate.   Send me your ideas!!!

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

THE BIG NEWS

 

GHG Rule Finally Published – EPA’s power plant carbon rules were published in the Federal Register last Friday. The publication opens up a 60-day window for states and companies opposed to the rule to file lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  The Clean Power Plan, covering existing power plants, is available here. The rule for new, modified and reconstructed power plants is here . And the proposed federal implementation plan, set for finalization next year, is available here.

 

Delays Delays – It was speculated that the Administration might try to delay the rule from its August 3rd date to prevent challenges from emerging before the UN Climate conference in Paris.   Below is a chart that details the last six major EPA rules proposed in 2015 (and the 2011 MATS Rule for good measure).  You can see that the average for most rules is 27 days.  This rule took 81 days.  The MATS rule, another controversial rule that eventually was overturned by the Supreme Court was 57 days, double the regular average.

 

 

AGs File Suit Immediately – WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a coalition of 23 other States in a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down the EPA’s GHG rule for Power plants.  MORRISEY: “The Clean Power Plan is one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “West Virginia is proud to be leading the charge against this Administration’s blatant and unprecedented attack.  EPA claims to have sweeping power to enact such regulations based on a rarely-used provision of the Clean Air Act but such legal authority simply does not exist,” Morrisey said.

What Did the AGs Do? – They filed a Petition for Review Friday morning and the Stay Motions Friday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  In the filing, the States argue the Rule is illegal and will have devastating impacts upon the States and their citizens.   The Section 111(d) rule exceeds EPA’s authority by unlawfully forcing States to fundamentally alter state resource-planning and energy policy by shifting from coal-fired generation to other sources of power generation, with a significant emphasis on renewable sources. The Rule is also illegal because it seeks to require States to regulate coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, even though EPA already regulates those same plants under Section 112 of the Act.

Who are the States? – The States challenging the Rule include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporations Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The states of Oklahoma and North Dakota filed their own challenges.

The Petition – You can see a copy of the Petition for Review can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1jYApFR

 

The Usual Suspects – EPA has states siding with them too.  15 states are supporting the rule and you won’t be surprised by most.  The states include New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York.

 

Congressional Action Up First – House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy Panel chair Ed Whitfield said Friday he would advance Congressional Review Act resolutions to formally disapprove of the rules.  Also Friday, Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY), along with Sens. Capito (R-WV), Manchin (D-WV), and Heitkamp (D-ND), introduced the Senate counterpart.  The Capito/Heitkamp press statement is here:  http://www.wvva.com/story/30335275/2015/10/23/senator-capito-to-introduce-resolution-to-overturn-epas-clean-power-plan

 

ICYMI:  A Round Up of Statements – In case you missed it, here is a round of some industry Statements on the action:

 

PBEF Statement – The Partnership for A Better Energy Future offer the following remarks regarding the publication of EPA’s Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register.  The rule has taken 81 days to be published, 54 days longer than the average of the previous six major EPA rules released in 2015.  (their average was 27 days): “This regulation will be exceptionally difficult for our States and businesses to meet.  It is why half of the States and their legal officers are already raising concerns about this rule that will  increase energy prices and threaten electric reliability. PBEF members are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment, leading the way in that effort, and we know we have all options on the table, including legal action, to prevent EPA’s regulatory power grab from taking effect.  As dozens of states and numerous other stakeholders know firsthand, the EPA’s effort to shut down existing power plants will drive up energy prices for businesses and consumers alike.  It will inflict significant damage to our entire economy and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

 

US Chamber – “The EPA’s rule is unlawful and a bad deal for America. It will drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness—without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “According to EPA’s own predictions, if this rule is allowed to go into effect on EPA’s schedule, numerous electricity plants will be forced to shut down within the next year, causing job losses in communities throughout the country. Not only are these regulations bad for our economy, they also represent a massive executive power grab. EPA completely bypassed the legislative branch, basing its 2,000-page rule on roughly 300 words in the Clean Air Act and including a host of policies that have already been considered and rejected by Congress.”

 

National Assn of Manufacturers – NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly issued the following statement announcing the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action’s (MCLA) challenge to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan:  “This regulation unlawfully exceeds the EPA’s authority, proposing a seismic change to the power industry and our national economy. The NAM filed hundreds of pages of comments with the EPA seeking to improve the proposed rule; these comments were largely ignored, leaving manufacturers no choice but to seek judicial intervention.  Manufacturers need abundant and reliable supplies of energy and reasonable and predictable policies that allow for continued investment and growth. This plan restricts resources and reduces reliability, while setting a dangerous precedent for future regulation of other sectors. Manufacturers can’t sit by while this Administration makes it increasingly difficult to make things and create jobs in the United States, especially at a time when the regulatory weight borne by manufacturers is heavier than ever. Manufacturers have been and remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, manufacturers have made great strides, lowering emissions by more than 10 percent since 2005. Unfortunately, this regulation disregards basic economic realities and clear limits established by Congress to the EPA’s authority.  Manufacturers will continue to be responsible stewards of our environment and will continue to lead in reducing emissions. With reasonable policies that allow for growth and innovation, we will continue developing solutions to tackle our biggest environmental challenges, but this approach is not the answer.”

 

National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said the EPA is doing “an end-run around Congress by imposing in the form of regulation a law that the legislative branch of government has already expressly rejected,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.  “This is a crystal clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers.”   NFIB research shows that the cost of electricity is already a top concern among small business owners across the country.  “Small businesses will be squeezed between higher direct expenses and lower consumer demand resulting from higher home electric bills,” said Harned.  “Everyone remembers the effect that high gasoline prices had on the economy.  This will have a similar effect except that it will be permanent.  The EPA has dramatically overstepped its authority here and the consequences for the economy will be just as dramatic, especially for small businesses.”

 

American Iron & Steel Institute – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI: “This rule puts the affordability of electricity for steel producers at serious risk.  The leading states for iron and steel production in the U.S. are heavily dependent on coal for electricity production.  This rule will have a disproportionate impact on steel states and hinder economic growth for steel producers.” Gibson said that the new regulations could cause nationwide electricity prices to increase between six and seven percent. He said this electricity economic impact will be exacerbated for the steel industry due to the regional differences in current fuel mix and the cost to switch to other fuels for the generation of electricity.  He also noted that utilities that serve the steel industry have raised concerns that the rule could also have negative impacts on reliability.  He added, “These new regulations put steel producers in the U.S. at a disadvantage against competitors in other nations that generally have higher rates of greenhouse gas emissions, and many of which benefit from subsidized energy costs. This would have a devastating impact on the steel industry and our workers.” Gibson said the litigation focuses on the fact that the new rule exceeds the established bounds of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and sweeps virtually all aspects of electricity production within EPA’s control.  The court challenge also points out that new bureaucracies would be created as states and industries would have to overhaul the power sector, including passing new laws to ensure the permitting, construction, and funding of EPA’s preferred power sources and shutting down existing disfavored plants.   AISI and other associations last year submitted joint comments to the EPA indicating the new regulations could severely harm the international competitiveness of energy-intensive, trade-exposed U.S. industries.

 

Wood, Paper Products Manufacturers – American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Robert Glowinski and American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman have issued the following statements after signing onto a joint petition for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan in the D.C. Circuit Court.   Glowinski, President and CEO, AWC: “EPA has overreached with its Clean Power Plan in how it seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Despite claims of flexibility, EPA has actually limited the types of renewable energy states can use, which includes our industry’s production and use of biomass energy. AWC joins this litigation in order to ensure continued use of renewable energy and to support states’ ability, as some have already done, to fully recognize biomass energy as a critical component of clean power.”  Donna Harman, President and CEO, AF&PA: “Energy is an essential element for paper and wood products manufacturing. We are concerned that this final rule will threaten availability of affordable electricity and reliability of the electricity grid system. AF&PA joins this litigation to protect the global competitiveness of our industry, which is among the top 10 manufacturing employers in 47 states. We hope the court will grant our requested stay while these serious legal challenges are heard.”

 

American Petrochemical & Fuel Manufacturers (AFPM) – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Chet Thompson commented on the rule and the precedent that it sets: “EPA’s Clean Power Plan stands unparalleled in its legal overreach and effect on the U.S. economy. The agency has veered from its statutory authority in an attempt to control electricity production by forcing the use of more expensive energy sources in the United States. Allowing this rule to stand, will cause irreparable injury and substantial harm to U.S. manufacturing and energy infrastructure, and ultimately the public by way of higher electricity costs and a less reliable grid.”

 

National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn (NRECA) — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.  “This rule goes far beyond what the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to do and will challenge our nation’s electric system,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “These complicated regulations will force cooperatives to close power plants, which are producing affordable electricity for consumers who were counting on them for decades to come. Co-op consumer-members will be saddled with higher energy bills as a result of this regulatory over-reach. Therefore, we have asked the court to intervene and recognize the lack of legal authority behind the EPA’s regulation.” Thirty-seven generation and transmission cooperatives from across the country joined NRECA in the legal filings.

 

Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) – ERCC Director Scott Segal, said the final version of the Clean Power Plan appeared in the Federal Register after a delay of some 81 days since it was signed and announced with much fanfare by the EPA Administrator. Segal call it an unprecedented delay that is either indicative of major flaws that needed to be corrected in the final rule or an attempt to avoid the imposition of a judicial stay while U.S. diplomats are in Paris for the next major climate conference. In any event, the publication delay is about three times longer than other major EPA rules finalized in 2015. Segal: “It is now indisputable that one of the farthest reaching, most legally tenuous, and least cost-effective rules ever dreamed up by a federal agency can finally be challenged in court and under the Congressional Review Act.  The rule is based on a legally untenable theory that, contrary to forty years of precedent, EPA may regulate a sector by forcing investment in other, unrelated businesses or competing technologies completely outside of its facilities. In effect, EPA is simply mandating the shutdown of many coal-fired power plants throughout the country and ordering that wind and solar plants be built to take their place. If the rule stands, it will expand EPA authority over the states and the regulated community in ways that Congress never intended. In total, there are probably a dozen legal arguments likely to be raised by states, the regulated community, and even some environmental groups in subsequent litigation.”  Segal said the rule is a prime target to be set aside by the courts or the Congress.  Aside from weak legal support, the rule is costly and undermines electric reliability.   Segal also said the purported health benefits of the rule have been exposed as double counting of benefits the Agency has previously attributed to other rules.  And recent Supreme Court decisions show a marked willingness to revisit legal theories that EPA has previously claimed as a basis for deference.

 

National Mining Assn – In order to prevent significant and imminent harm to scores of states’ economies and millions of consumers nationwide, the National Mining Association (NMA) today asked a federal court to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) controversial Clean Power Plan until legal challenges to the rule are resolved.   NMA’s filing in D.C. Circuit Court, together with similar filings from states all over the nation and business interests, confirms the growing concern with the immediate economic consequences of EPA’s plan to transform the nation’s electric grid. The rule’s publication in the Federal Register today formally sets in motion a protracted process for legal challenges to the rule.  “We are today asking the court to weigh carefully the far-reaching harm this rule will inflict immediately, well in advance of its effective date,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn. “The immediacy of substantial harm from this power plant rule is plain from EPA’s own data that show it will cause more than 200 coal-fired power plants to close before courts have time to decide the legality of the rule.”  EPA’s 2012 mercury rule was a bad omen of pain to come, said Quinn. “What happened with EPA’s mercury rule cannot be repeated. That costly regulation resulted in far greater closure of power plants than EPA anticipated, and was promulgated, as was this rule, with cavalier disregard for its probable costs to the economy.”  While that rule was ultimately found unlawful due to EPA’s failure to consider costs, the damage it imposed to the grid and the economy cannot be undone.

 

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) – Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE said: “With this action, EPA is finally opening the floodgates for litigation against its deeply flawed, illegal carbon rule. Officials preparing for the upcoming climate change talks in Paris should take note of the widespread opposition from policymakers and elected officials across the Unites States who are working overtime to protect their constituents, state economies and the nation as a whole from the President’s reckless pursuit of his climate legacy. We are hopeful they will be successful and that the courts act quickly and decisively to quash this illegal rule.”

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

ACI Report Features First-Ever “Critical Issue” Assessment for Cleaning Products Industry – The American Cleaning Institute released its new Sustainability Report, which contains our first-ever “materiality assessment” that maps the critical risks and opportunities facing the U.S. cleaning product value chain, including key energy and environmental metrics. The materiality assessment, conducted by sustainability analytics firm Framework LLC, identifies and characterizes those issues that are most material across ACI’s membership and to the industry at large. Companies committed to sustainability have increasingly informed their strategies and reporting by conducting such analyses, but the ACI assessment is among the first across the value chain of an entire industry sector. In 2014, 33 ACI member companies, including cleaning product makers and upstream ingredient suppliers, contributed environmental metrics data for ACI’s Sustainability Metrics Program. The program captured sustainability performance for 17.3 million metric tons of cleaning product-related production, and its results are detailed in the 2015 Report.

 

EPA Ozone Rules Set for Today – EPA’s controversial Ozone rule will be published in Monday’s Federal Register, according to a pre-publication notice out today.  The new standard of 70 parts per billion is stricter than 75 ppb standard the George W. Bush administration set in 2008, but it’s far laxer than the 60 ppb standard environmental and public health groups advocated for.  The subject was the major topic at the House Science Committee last Thursday where my colleague Jeff Holmstead testified.  Holmstead said the rule could end industrial development in many parts of the country  argued the areas of the country that would be out of compliance when the standards come into effect between 2020 and 2037 would not be able to allow any new businesses, such as factories, that may cause ozone emissions.  He said the costs of the regulation will be passed down to consumers because many of the cheap options for reducing ozone already have been done

 

Chamber: EPA Ozone Regs Could Threaten DFW Area Transportation Projects –speaking of ozone, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy continued its analysis of the impact of the Obama administration’s proposed ozone regulations with a snapshot look at the Dallas-Fort Worth region.  The Energy Institute’s Grinding to a Halt series explains how Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to tighten ozone standards could impact critical transportation projects nationwide. In the Dallas-Fort Worth region, state and local governments are working to address stifling traffic congestion through plans that include $40 billion for construction and expansion of freeways to accommodate additional vehicle capacity and population growth. But many projects that are part of those plans—such as the I-820 Loop Southeast Reconstruction project between Fort Worth and Arlington—could be threatened by EPA’s recently tightened standard.  Under the Clean Air Act, the federal government is authorized to withhold transportation funding and halt permitting for highway and transit projects in regions unable to demonstrate compliance with emissions rules. The Dallas-Fort Worth region is among many areas in Texas and across the country expected to have great difficulty complying. Previous Energy Institute reports identified challenges in the Washington, DC, Las Vegas and Denver regions.

 

Report: US Top 5 Country for New Solar Module Manufacturing – GTM Research released a new report, the Global PV Manufacturing Attractiveness Index 2015, or PVMAX, which ranks the world’s most attractive countries in which to manufacture solar PV modules. Perhaps most surprisingly, the PVMAX finds that the United States is the world’s fifth-most attractive module manufacturing country.  The global PV module market is facing a looming supply crunch, and manufacturers have taken notice. According to GTM Research, 6.6 gigawatts of new module manufacturing capacity have been contracted through the first nine months of this year, all of it in countries outside of China. Despite these planned plants, the global market may face a supply shortage over the next two years as demand grows.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Catholic U to Hold Discussion on Pope, Environment – The Catholic University of America, in conjunction with the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will host a daylong conference today examining Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on the environment.   The conference, “Laudato Si’and the Protection of ‘Our Common Home’: Faith and Science in Conversation,” will take place in Heritage Hall of Father O’Connell Hall. The conference will include lectures by Catholic University faculty members from the fields of theology, business and economics, architecture, and philosophy, as well as invited experts on environmental science and domestic social policy. Topics discussed will include Catholic social teaching, the current scientific understanding of climate change, human responsibility for the natural world, and solidarity within the human community.

 

Solar Workshops Set – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will host the first of 2 upcoming workshops on solar energy for the DMV local and regional businesses today at 10:00 a.m. The goal of these sessions is to convene stakeholders to discuss resources, opportunities, and barriers for commercial projects in the solar market. Invited participants include local government clean energy program representatives, experts from the DOE SunShot Initiative, building owners and commercial business leaders.

 

Forum to Feature World Bank Economist – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum today at 12:30 p.m. featuring Anne Fay, Chief Economist at the World Bank.  As the threat of global climate change continues to develop, environmental and sustainability concerns will increasingly play key roles in the direction of infrastructure development and of economic growth in general. Fay will speak on the topic of de-carbonizing development. Her presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

 

USAEE/IAEE North American Energy Conference – Today through Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the US Association for Energy Economics will hold a conference  featuring high-level business, government and academic opinion shapers exploring today’s dynamic energy landscape. Speakers include Don Santa, President and CEO, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, US Energy Information Administrator Adam Sieminski, Guy Caruso, Senior Advisor, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS and Edward Morse Managing Director, Citigroup. John Kingston, President of the McGraw-Hill Financial Global Institute and former director of news for Platts  to receive IAEE Journalism Award.  For full conference details check @usenergyecon or #USAEE2015

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Renewables in Developing World – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center is hosting a forum on scaling up renewables in the developing world.  The forum will be a day-long exploration of the innovative tools being harnessed by the public and private sectors to scale up renewable energy in the developing world.  Speakers will also explore how renewable energy will help countries meet the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and support their climate change commitments.  They include Sen. Ed Markey, US AID’s Eric Postel, EEI’s David Owens and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Ethan Zindler.

 

BPC Looks at Nuclear Waste – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Nuclear Waste Council will hold a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the challenges and solutions to America’s nuclear waste management, as well as the next steps to be taken by the Nuclear Waste Council to bring this conversation to implementation.  The panel was designed to reinvigorate and expand the discussion on nuclear waste, identify barriers prohibiting progress on storage and disposal of the waste, and explore options to create a viable national strategy for its long-term and safe disposition.  Over the past 18 months, the council has traveled across the country to discuss nuclear waste issues with industry and community leaders, and recently published a series of issue briefs outlining findings from those meetings and updating the state of play on storage, transportation and other topics.

 

NYU Energy Conference Set –The NYU Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold its 7th annual fall conference on energy policy in NYC.  The event will feature noted experts from government, the private sector, and academia will discuss what to expect as the energy landscape evolves.

 

Members to Launch Congressional Battery Caucus – Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.) will officially kick off the Congressional Battery Energy Storage Caucus tomorrow afternoon, during an event featuring the Energy Storage Association and representatives of storage companies.  The caucus will be “dedicated to advancing understanding of how energy storage systems are enabling American businesses and homeowners to better access reliable, affordable, and sustainable electric power

 

Spectra Exec to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host William Yardley, president of Spectra Energy’s U.S. transmission business, as guest speaker at tomorrow’s luncheon.  Yardley will speak about the benefits of natural gas, and the important role of pipelines and related infrastructure in addressing energy security, economic and environmental policy challenges facing our nation.  He leads the business development, project execution, operations and environment, health and safety efforts associated with Spectra Energy’s U.S. portfolio of natural gas transmission and storage businesses.

 

Gibson to Headline Climate Focus – The Friends Committee on National Legislation, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, RepublicEN and the American Security Project hosts a briefing tomorrow at 12:00 noon in B340 Rayburn that highlights solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences that are already being implemented by members of the business, national security, and faith communities.  The briefing will create awareness of the risks and opportunities that climate change offers to business, national security, and faith communities, and hopes to inspire bipartisan cooperation in Congress to catalyze solutions.  Among the speakers will be Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY).

 

Library of Congress Forum to Feature China Energy Policy Discussion – Tomorrow at Noon, The Library of Congress will host Noon – 1:00 p.m. Joanna Lewis in the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Asian Reading Room. Lewis, a professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, will give a lecture on “Chinese Energy Policy.”

 

Brookings to Look at Renewables in Germany – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host a discussion on renewable energy transitions in Germany and Japan as a follow-up to a policy brief released on this issue last September. Agora Energiewende Director Patrick Graichen and Yu Nagatomi, a researcher with the Power Market Study Group at the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan, will provide initial remarks. ESCI Nonresident Senior Fellow John P. Banks will join in the discussion.

 

Georgetown Expert to Discuss at European Energy – JHU will host a forum tomorrow evening looking at European Energy issues. JHU’s European and Eurasian Studies Program’s Distinguished Lecture Series host a lecture by Dr. Brenda Shaffer of Georgetown University on “Europe’s Energy Security.”

 

McConnell to Headline FOIA Group Gala – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute will hold a gala with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tomorrow evening.  McConnell will receive the group’s 2015 Champion of Free Market Environmentalism Award Recipient.  The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues.  Primarily through its strategic litigation efforts, E&E Legal seeks to address and correct onerous federal and state governmental actions that negatively impact energy and the environment.

 

Stimson to Host Nuclear Summit – The Stimson Center will host a panel on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. on opportunities for incentives such as insurance, finance and limited liability to reduce nuclear risk while providing a return on investment to operators.  As the Nuclear Security Summit series draws to a close, the prospects dim for development of binding nuclear security standards to assure future safe, secure industry expansion. With DOE/NNSA’s Anne Harrington as the keynote and some key stakeholders participating, this event will explore the role that voluntary consensus standards could play in the nuclear industry, with a focus on cyber security and other areas of overlap between safety and security. To what extent could reputational risk, liability protections, insurance and nuclear project financing be used to marshal scarce resources and motivate voluntary implementation of additional security measures based on standards?

 

House Panel takes up Low-level Nuke Waste – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at low-level radioactive waste disposal issues.  DOE’s Mark Whitney and NRC’s Michael Weber will testify, along with Organization of Agreement States Director Jennifer Opila, Leigh Ing, of the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission and Aiken, SC Councilmember Chuck Smith.

 

Marshall Islands Minister to Discuss Climate – The American Security Project (ASP) will host a forum Wednesday at noon with Tony de Brum, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He will discuss the importance of the upcoming COP in Paris and how effective climate diplomacy can still prevent the worst impacts of climate change.  At the event, ASP will formally launch a new Perspective Paper – “Climate Diplomacy and American Leadership.”

 

Pew Forum to Look at Industrial EE – The Pew Charitable Trusts, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Heat is Power Association, and the CHP Association will host a forum Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. on the impact of the Power Efficiency and Resiliency (POWER) Act on the deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP) systems. CHP and WHP, which capture waste heat to produce electricity and/or heat or cool buildings, are distributed generation technologies that help achieve national economic, environmental, and energy goals.   A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Initiative, Distributed Generation: Cleaner, Cheaper, Stronger – Industrial Efficiency in the Changing Utility Landscape details how an array of technological, competitive, and market forces are changing how the U.S. generates power and the ways that Americans interact with the electric grid. As part of their research, Pew commissioned ICF International Inc. to analyze the POWER Act’s impact on future market deployment of CHP and WHP, key distributed technologies used in industrial, institutional or manufacturing facilities. The results of this study will be presented at this event.  Speakers for this event include NY Rep. Tom Reed, among others.

 

CSIS to Talk Nigeria Oil, Release Report – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at Nigeria’s Oil issues and a discussion on what the priorities for improving governance and addressing corruption in the sector should be, perspectives on early moves by the Buhari government, and an assessment of the prospects for changes in the country’s national oil company.  Aaron Sayne and Alexandra Gillies, co-authors (with Christina Katsouris) of the recently released report, Inside NNPC Oil Sales: A Case for Reform in Nigeria, will examine the major technical and political obstacles in the way of meaningful sector reform in Africa’s leading oil producer.

 

BPC to Host CEO Forum on Sustainable Food, Climate – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will launches a new CEO Council on Sustainability and Innovation on Thursday and will hold a panel at 2:00 p.m. to hear leading food and agriculture CEOs discuss the rationale behind their innovative approaches to a achieving a sustainable future.  Companies all along the food supply chain are on the front lines of addressing the challenges associated with a changing climate, a growing population and other threats to a stable food supply. Many companies are already dealing with the impacts of weather variability and supply chain disruptions, while also tackling higher and more volatile costs and an increasingly global customer base.  Speakers will include Land O’ Lakes CEO Chris Policinski, Kellogg CEO John Bryant and Elanco President Jeff Simmons.

 

Forum Looks at Climate, Reinsurance – Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. that will look at confronting climate change.  This presentation will show how the techniques developed in the re/insurance sector can illuminate pathways for climate resilience in the context of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

 

GW Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation, Displacement – Thursday at 6:00 p.m., the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs featuring Dr. Andrea Simonelli. Ahead of the upcoming Climate Negotiations in Paris (CoP21) this December, Simonelli will discuss the global implications of climate change for displacement and refugees, as well as the role of international organizations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCC).  Simonelli will also discuss her newly released book Governing Climate Change Induced Migration: IGO Expansion and Global Policy Implications, which evaluates climate displacement from a political science perspective. This presentation will delve into the potential expansion and the structural constraints faced by intergovernmental organizations to tackle climate induced migration and displacement. Join us for an in-depth evaluation of how this urgent global issue relates to the current climate governance gap, including human and traditional security concerns.

 

FERC’s Honorable to Headline WCEE Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) will host an event Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club featuring FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable, who will share her insights and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the energy sector.

 

 

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on Friday in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

 

Nye to Headline NG Climate Forum – On Friday at 7:30 p.m., National Geographic will host Bill Nye for a lively discussion on the global effects of climate change.   The event will feature clips from the National Geographic Channel’s new Explorer episode on climate change, as well as a lively discussion with Bill Nye, the host of the episode, and Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Studios. Dennis Dimick, executive editor at National Geographic magazine, will introduce the evening.

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Feature Cardinal Discussing Pope Encyclical – Next Monday at 4:00 p.m., Georgetown University Law Center will host the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life for a Public Dialogue on Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical: Protecting the Planet and the Poor, a conversation with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez.  Cardinal Rodriguez is Chair of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, the first Cardinal from Honduras, and leads the Church’s efforts to protect the planet and the poor. The conversation will be moderated by John Carr, Director of the Initiative. Faculty from Georgetown Law Center will respond including Edith Brown Weiss, Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law; and John Podesta, Distinguished Visitor from Practice and former Counselor to President Barack Obama on climate change and energy policy.

 

Energy Summit Set for Houston – The Energy Summit Series which will take place next Sunday to Tuesday at the JW Marriott Houston. The event will be co-located Transmission & Distribution and Distribution Technology & Innovation Summits.

 

Forum Looks Nat’l Labs, Argonne – Next Monday, the GWU Center for International Science and Technology Policy will hold a discussion led by Dr. Keith S. Bradley. Dr. Bradley is the Director of National & Global Security Programs at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). He is also currently serving as the Director of the Global Security Sciences Division. Dr. Bradley has over 30 years of experience in national security and advanced nuclear energy research and development. Bradley works with scientists, engineers, and managers across the laboratory to formulate and execute a strategic future in national and global security programs. Most of Bradley’s career has focused on national nuclear security, with particular emphasis on nuclear capabilities and threats.  Previously he worked at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, studying inertial confinement fusion, nuclear weapons physics and design, technology development for nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism and research to advance and protect civilian nuclear fuel cycles. Prior to his current responsibilities, Dr. Bradley served as the National Technical Director of the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling & Simulation Program for the DOE office of Nuclear Energy.

Company to Demonstrate Green Thermal Tech – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m. in Rayburn’s Gold Room Brillouin Energy Corp will hold a demonstration for policymakers of breakthrough thermal energy technology from.  Brillouin is a clean-technology company located in Berkeley, CA, which is developing, in collaboration with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA, an ultra-clean, low-cost, renewable energy technology that is capable of producing commercially useful amounts of thermal energy.  The Brillouin technology is based on low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). The result is ultra-clean, low-cost, and sustainable renewable energy that doesn’t rely on any type of fossil fuel, chemical, or nuclear fuel. This process produces zero emissions and solid wastes which pollute the environment.

 

Forum to Look at Global Energy Trends – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion next Monday at 9:30 a.m. looking at emerging market economic and energy trends and their implications for the near and longer term global energy outlook with Joyce Chang, Managing Director and Global Head of Research at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Catherine Wolfram, Faculty Director at the Energy Institute at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

 

UN Official to Speak at CSM Event – On Tuesday morning, November 3rd, the Christian Science Monitor for a conversation with Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC , the official charged with bringing 195 nations together to agree on a global climate plan at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the talk will be the state of global energy and climate heading into the Paris climate talks. Where do we stand with less than a month until diplomats meet in Paris to finalize an international climate agreement? Executive Secretary Figueres will provide an update on the negotiations and share her perspectives on what needs to happen during and after the summit in early December.

 

Forum to Look at Customers, Cities – The Energy Times is hosting an Empowering Customers & Cities Forum on November 4–6th in Chicago.  Energy customers are demanding more reliable service and sustainable solutions to deliver on their ever-increasing demand for power. At the same time, deregulation and legislative policy is forcing utilities and energy providers to rethink their business models. Now, more than ever, collaboration is required around the future of energy delivery and consumption.

 

Sen. Lee Headline Climate Preview Forum – On Wednesday, November 4th at 2:30 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will hold a forum  on the upcoming Paris climate negotiations. Senator Mike Lee provides his views on the President’s plan followed by a panel of leading experts who will address what will happen in Paris later this year and what Congress can do about it. Other speakers include the US Chamber’s Steve Eule and conservative FOIA gadfly Chris Horner,

 

Fall Wind Symposium Set – AWEA is hosting its annual Fall Symposium in Albuquerque, NM on November 5th at the Tamaya Resort.  The event will feature a community engagement seminar among the many other panels.

 

Women, Money, Power Summit Set for Press Club – On November 5th, the Feminist Majority is hosting its annual Women, Money, Power Summit in DC at the National Press Club at noon.  Speakers will include Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Louise Slaughter and Donna Edwards, among others.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Issues – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on Thursday, November 5th, looking at the immediate impacts of climate change on US economic and national security. As the COP21 talks in Paris approach, the attention of the international community is fixated more than ever on climate. Still, much of today’s climate discourse focuses on the long-term impacts rather than the immediate ramifications of climate change. This panel of climate experts seeks to highlight the urgency of these issues from the perspective of both the public and the private sector. Joining us for this session are Judge Alice Hill, Senior Director for Resilience Policy at the National Security Council, The Hon. Sherri Goodman, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and Alex Kaplan, Vice President of Global Partnerships at Swiss Re.

 

REFF West to Focus on Key Renewable Financing Issues – The 8th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West) 2015 will be held at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, CA on November 5th and 6th.  With a focus on renewable energy development in the Western U.S., REFF-West will highlight financing trends in renewable power, energy storage, system integration, and transportation; review important developments in Western power market expansion and in the role of the emerging corporate customer market segment; and discuss renewable energy’s role in smarter resource use and response to the Western water crisis.

 

IPAA Hosts 86th Annual Meeting in New Orleans – On November 8-10th, the Independent Petroleum Association of America will host its 86th annual meeting at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, La. Speakers will include The Honorable Edward Djerejian, Alex Epstein, David Wasserman with The Cook Political Report, and John England, among others.

 

CSIS Global Forum Set – CSIS’s International Security Program will hold its flagship annual Global Security Forum 2015 on Monday, November 16th.

 

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th to December 11th

Energy Update: Week of September 28

Friends,

 

Following last week’s  craziness with the Pope’s visit to D.C. and the autumnal equinox, we have officially made it to fall and there is Something in the Air. Not to mention, wasn’t last night’s super lunar eclipse, a rare celestial event that last occurred in 1982 and will next occur in 2033, exciting?

 

Fall means the baseball season is wrapping up this week, and I have to commend the Cubs for making the playoffs in hopes of ending the longest active championship drought in sports.   While they won’t win their division, they will play either the Cards or Pirates in the first round.  The Mets surprised everyone with great pitching and timely hitting to outdistance the disappointing Nationals (who appear to be fighting themselves).  One Dodger win this week against the Giants clinches the NL West.  In the AL, the Blue Jays and the Royals are locked while the Rangers are nearly clinched in the West.  The Yankees seem like a lock for one wildcard while the surprising Astros and the Angels are battling for the last spot.  By the way, the NHL season starts next Wednesday (more on that next week).

 

After last week’s papal slow down (literally and figuratively), the action picks back up in Washington this week.   Perhaps the most interesting event will be a BPC forum on Thursday featuring Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, who will address energy innovation issues, new EPA rules and the AGL Merger. Other events include a Hill Newspaper Methane Forum and an EESI forum with state energy officials on the GHG rules, as well as the annual AWEA offshore wind conference in Baltimore taking place tomorrow and Wednesday. Wednesday also features a forum with the Lithuanian Minister of Energy and  Thursday has a POLITICO Energy forum featuring FERC’s Tony Clark, ANGA’s Marty Durbin, Senator John Hoeven and many more.

 

On the Hill, Senate Environment has a full plate with EPA’s Janet McCabe for an air hearing tomorrow morning and two Western governors and FWS Director Ashe in the afternoon to discuss ESA issues, as well as a Wednesday hearing on the EPA’s Waters rule with Army Corps.  Also Tuesday, Senate Commerce hits its second pipeline safety hearing featuring NTSB, AGA and INGAA. House Resources hosts four Western Governors on Wednesday regarding energy development and the sage grouse.   House Energy marks up its energy bill on Wednesday and Rules will get a look at crude exports legislation.  Finally, on Thursday, Senate Banking marks up the exports legislation while a House Energy panel tackles nuclear waste transportation issues.

 

It is also a big week at EPA where on Thursday, EPA is expected to unveil its final rule to set new limits on ground-level ozone to meet  the Court-set October 1st deadline.   NAM, API and the Chamber have been hammering the issues while enviro groups are demanding lower standards.  EPA also has two other court-ordered Wednesday deadlines to meet on emissions from the nation’s oil refineries and effluent discharges from power plants.   The first proposal would require refiners to cut back on emissions from storage tanks, flares and coking units, and requires air quality monitoring at facility fence lines to help protect nearby communities. The second proposal regarding effluent limitations guidelines (316B Rule for power plants) would require controls on all power plant emissions of wastewater.  Obviously, we have great resources to help on each of these.

 

Today, EPA is announcing revisions to its worker protection standard to protect the nation’s two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure. Each year, thousands of potentially preventable pesticide exposure incidents are reported that lead to sick days, lost wages, and medical bills. The changes being announced today can reduce the risk of injury or illness resulting from contact with pesticides on farms and in forests, nurseries and greenhouses.  Our friend Scott Faber of EWG can be helpful on the topic.

 

Finally, next week is the annual Society of Environmental Journalist (SEJ) conference, being held this year in Norman, Oklahoma.  It is a great event that has outstanding panels on environment and energy topics.  With Oklahoma as the locale, natural gas, wind, infrastructure and tornadoes/weather are central themes.  Bracewell’s PRG will also hold its signature annual reception for the conference on Thursday, where each year for the last 14 years, more than 400 conference attendees gather for food, drinks, and the opportunity to network. We still have sponsorship available if you want to be a part of this great opportunity.

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

China Makes Climate Pledges During State Visit – Rather than talk about trade or cyber piracy, Chinese leaders announced that they are launching a national cap-and-trade system by 2017, prioritizing renewable energy on its grid and making a “substantial” financial contribution to the fight against climate change.  My colleague Scott Segal said an undefined financial commitment and vague statements about a carbon market are no substitute for actual commitments to reduce carbon emissions.  To date, we haven’t seen that kind of commitment.

 

China Climate Background – Some additional items to keep in mind when considering China’s Commitments:

 

  • The previously discussed target for 2030 is misleading and simply amounts to no more than “business as usual.” It fails to move beyond current gains or to set an ambitious target and it does not address non-carbon greenhouse gas emissions. Put simply, China is not doing its “fair share” or substantively contributing to averting  ‘climate change’ beyond 2° C  See more on this (here).

 

  • Almost all of the actions China has proposed are already being implemented and the political will for future action appears almost non-existent.

 

  • The tepid climate numerical commitment simply results in free-riding, with China reaping the ‘benefits,’ yet avoiding the onerous costs imposed by a stronger commitment. China’s weak rules may cause U.S. businesses to shift overseas, diminishing the overall competitiveness and vitality of the U.S. economy. This shift also subjects these businesses to looser environmental regulations negating the supposed environmental benefits.

 

  • China’s statistical system does not reflect environmental and market realities warranting strong skepticism. In fact, the Chinese Statistical Bureau had to revise upwards China’s energy consumption upwards by a whopping 15%, resulting in an extra Gt of C02 emissions (see here).

 

  • Even if China’s intentions are noble, its actual pledge drastically underestimates many substantial logistical barriers. For example, the government in Beijing cannot compel Chinese localities to act. In fact, local officials often turn a blind eye to entities that shirk regulations, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of any central mandates. Other barrier abound, including: a gross overestimation of available non-coal natural resources, the substantial role that rapid urbanization and development will play in rising emissions, a failure to recognize transportation as a site of rising emissions, technological deficiencies coupled with poor R&D capabilities and a lack of will to implement regulations (here and here).

 

Countries Can’t Meet Targets…And It Still Won’t Be Enough – New analysis from the research firm Climate Interactive says global temperatures would increase by as much as 6.3° F, or 3.5° C , by the end of the century based on the domestic climate change pledges made by world leaders so far.   The estimate underscores the fact that the upcoming United Nations climate change talks in Paris are unlikely to be able to Bridge the gap between the political and economic realities of dealing with climate change.  And in fact, these are the claims that countries are making, which with history as Our guide will largely be overestimated.  For example, most experts have raised significant concerns as to whether any of the major emitting nations will meet suggested targets.

 

USPS Could Save $2B Replacing Aging Vehicle Fleet – SAFE released an Issue Brief in response to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) plans to replace its fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) with up to 180,000 “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles” (NGDVs)— developed and manufactured exclusively for the USPS with a service life of 20 years—at a cost of up to $6.3 billion. SAFE’s analysis finds that an alternative approach, using modified, off-the-shelf mass-market vehicles and upgrading the fleet at least once in the next 20-25 years, is not only industry best practice but would save the Service as much as $1.9 billion over the life of the fleet while allowing it to adopt new safety and fuel-saving technologies along the way.  As the operator of one of the world’s largest civilian vehicle fleets, reducing USPS’s oil consumption through greater fuel efficiency would generate national and economic security benefits for the country as a whole, offering the Service insulation from the volatility inherent to the unpredictable global oil market. Making a one-time bulk purchase of NGDVs condemns USPS to a fleet that cannot incorporate new technologies over time, has little flexibility to adjust to changes in market dynamics over the next two decades and retains very little resale value.   SAFE commissioned economic policy research firm Keybridge LLC to conduct this analysis. Keybridge is headed by Dr. Robert Wescott, former Chief Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. In the brief, Keybridge and SAFE find that the total cost of ownership of a fleet composed of a variety of off-the-shelf vehicles would be significantly less than one based around a single, custom-built vehicle manufactured exclusively for USPS.

 

Shell Won’t Drill in Arctic – Shell said today it would be suspending its plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic “for the foreseeable future,” after not finding enough oil and gas in a test well it drilled over the summer.   They said the high drilling costs in the Chukchi Sea as well as the “challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”   Funny how that works in the one area the President “caved” according to the enviro community.

 

Marshall Report Connects Climate National Security – The George C. Marshall Institute announced the publication a new study Connecting Climate and National Security.  This study examines the validity of the belief that a changing climate is intrinsically an issue of national security:  “The Obama Administration has proclaimed climate change to be a present and future threat to the security of the United States. Two different National Security Strategies articulate the case for environmental forces creating security challenges domestically in the U.S. and around the world and two successive Quadrennial Defense Reviews show that the U.S. military is shifting its strategic thinking as well as resource allocations to accommodate these new threats. Together, they demonstrate that the institutionalization of environmentally-induced conflict as a U.S. security concern is complete. Anthropogenic climate change, characterized by a rise in global temperature and projected effects thereof, is expected to lead to all sorts of calamities here and abroad.  “But is it true? These government documents and the bevy of think tank reports that echo this theme would leave one with the impression that the answer to this question is “yes.” And, by saying yes, one is left with little choice but to accept changes in strategies, programs, and budgets to respond or reflect those challenges as well as likely agreeing to policies that demand the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in order to respond to the principal root of the problem.”  The present study advances ideas and arguments made by the Marshall Institute in our 2012 report, Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection, which concluded: “In summary, efforts to link climate change to the deterioration of U.S. national security rely on improbable scenarios, imprecise and speculative methods, and scant empirical support.”

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

UN General Assembly – TODAY

 

AU to Host Forum on Religion, Environment – American University will hold a forum this afternoon featuring panelists from The Washington Post, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and AU faculty to consider the journalistic and media treatment of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, as a means to better understand the role of religion in public debate and activism on climate change.

 

Forum to Look at Offshore Wind – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing this afternoon in 406 Dirksen examining the role of offshore wind domestically and internationally. The first U.S. offshore wind project is expected to come online in summer 2016 at Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is leading the Block Island project, which will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, enough to run 17,000 homes. U.S. Wind is working on a much larger project off the coast of Maryland, where it plans to have 500 MW of offshore wind operating by 2020. Speakers for this forum are Sens. Tom Carper (DE) and Jack Reed (RI), AWEA’s Fatima Maria Ahmad, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski, Paul Rich of U.S. Wind (Maryland), Dr. Georg Maue of the Embassy of Germany and Tom Simchak, Policy Advisor at the British Embassy.

 

AWEA to Host Annual Offshore Wind Conference in Baltimore – Speaking of offshore wind, AWEA holds its annual offshore wind event in Baltimore tomorrow and Wednesday.

 

The Hill to Host Methane ForumThe Hill will host a forum tomorrow morning at the Newseum to consider how policymakers and industry can come together to effectively regulate methane emissions. What steps can industry take to innovate and lead on adopting existing technologies and practices to reduce emissions? With methane leaks in the oil and gas system costing industry $1.8 billion per year in lost revenues, how can new regulations be implemented in a cost effective way that reduces both climate impacts and domestic energy waste? And what impact might implementing these regulations have on investors and the larger American economy?  Featured speakers include Brent Lammert of FLIR, Brian Rice of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Martha Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.  Our friends Tim Cama and Devin Henry will moderate.

 

Clean Power Conference Set – The Clean Power for All National Forum will be held tomorrow morning at the National Press Club and will bring together prominent figures from the business and political worlds. Attendees will hear from experts on how to advance the Clean Power Plan on a national level. Further focus is being placed on work, wealth and health opportunities possible through the implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

 

Senate Enviro to Host McCabe on Air Act, Ashe, Govs on ESA – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearings tomorrow on the economy-wide implications of President Obama’s air agenda and ESA policies. The hearing at 9:30 a.m. will feature EPA air administrator Janet McCabe., while The 2:00 p.m. afternoon Hearing will focus on ESA issues and have Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Western Governors’ Association Chairman Matt Mead (R-Wyo.) and Western Governors’ Association Vice Chairman Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) testifying.

 

EU Enviro Commissioner to Address Energy Future – The World Resources Institute (WRI), EPA and the European Environment Agency (EEA) will host a forum tomorrow on sustainable energy future on the occasion of the first official visit to Washington of European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

 

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy in China – The Atlantic Council is holding a panel discussion tomorrow on the future of nuclear energy in China. The panel includes nuclear energy experts from government, academia, and the private sector, who each bring unique perspectives on Chinese energy issues. Speakers will include DOE’s Jon Elkind, NuScale CEO John Hopkins, former Harvard Business School professor Joe Lassiter and Czech Ambassador Václav Bartuška.

 

Diesel Tech Forum Hosts Grid Readiness Webinar – As part of National Preparedness Month, the Diesel Technology Forum will host a free webinar tomorrow at Noon to provide an update on state plans to keep the lights on during severe weather events. Mobile and stationary diesel generators have long provided emergency backup power to critical facilities. Many states susceptible to severe weather are now requiring or encouraging retail fuel locations to install emergency backup power capabilities to keep motorists along evacuation routes and also allow first responders to refuel in the event of a widespread power outage.  Mike Jones, a senior administrator with the Maryland Energy Administration will speak about the state’s program to provide incentives for retail fuel locations to either install the necessary switchgear to accept a mobile generator or install a stationary generator through the Maryland Energy Resiliency Grant Program.  Results of the program and lessons learned in its implementation will be discussed as the state expanded eligibility to emergency shelters including firehouses.  In addition, Jeff Pillon of the National Association of State Energy Officials will also provide an overview on an array of state energy assurance strategies across the country, including incentives and other innovative approaches to help ensure public health and safety in times of natural disaster or loss of electrical grid power.

Forum to Look at China, Clean Cities – The Woodrow Wilson Center will host a forum tomorrow focused on China’s power sector and a move to cleaner cities.  At the US-China Climate Smart/Low Carbon City Summit held September last week in Los Angeles, 11 Chinese cities and 3 provinces committed to taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and reach “peak coal” earlier than China’s national 2030 target. Continued expansion of renewables, gas, nuclear power and energy efficient buildings in China’s cities will depend heavily on efforts to decarbonize the country’s power grid. Speakers at this meeting will discuss emerging reforms and clean energy investments (including nuclear power) investments at both national and municipal levels to decrease coal-fired electricity.

 

Forum to Look at Japan Plutonium Issues – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow on Japan’s plans to start producing plutonium—intended for use in its nuclear energy reactors. However, in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011, all but one of Japan’s reactors still remain offline, and the process to restart the others will be long, slow, and controversial. As a result, it is likely that plutonium production will soon exceed demand, causing a risky and potentially destabilizing plutonium build-up in Japan.  Carnegie’s James Acton will launch his new report, Wagging the Plutonium Dog, and explore why Japan finds itself in this predicament and what can be done.

 

EESI Forum to Look at States, GHG Regs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing tomorrow in 334 Cannon  discussing how states are planning to comply with the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Power Plan represents the first time the United States has placed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, currently the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution. Now that the final version has been released, what are the best compliance strategies for states to meet the emission reduction goals, and what kind of assistance will EPA be able to provide?  Speakers for this forum are EPA’s Joe Goffman, NACAA’s Bill Becker, NARUC’s Charles Gray and NASEO’s David Terry.

 

Senate Commerce to Look at Pipeline Safety – A Senate Commerce panel  is holding its second hearing on pipeline safety tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to look at issues related to pipeline safety.  The first field hearing was held in Billings, Montana featuring PHMSA head Marie Therese Dominguez earlier this month, where the focus was the summer oil spill in the Yellowstone River.  Witnesses with include GAO’s Susan Fleming, NTSB’s Chris Hart, INGAA’s Don Santa and WGL’s Terry McCallister on behalf of the American Gas Association.

 

Senate Panel Looks at WOTUS – The Senate Environment’s Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water will hold a hearing Wednesday delving into the corps’ “participation” in the process around the new Waters of the U.S. regulation.

 

Western Governors to Testify at House Resources – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday looking at state authority on energy issues.   Four Western governors — Steve Bullock (D) of Montana, Dennis Daugaard (R) of South Dakota, Gary Herbert (R) of Utah and Matt Mead (R) of Wyoming — are scheduled to testify.

 

WCEE Series Continues NatGas Drilling – On Wednesday, the Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment will continue its Lunch & Learn series to explore different perspectives of hydraulic fracturing. The dialogue on our energy future is tied to the state of hydraulic fracturing and the event is the second in that series.  The event will feature Energy in Depth’s Katie Brown and William Goodfellow of BCES.  Goodfellow is a Board-Certified Environmental Scientist with more than 35 years of experience in environmental toxicology and causal effect assessments.

 

Forum to Feature Lithuania Energy Minister – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies will host the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis.  Masiulis will deliver remarks regarding Lithuania’s current efforts to help address energy security issues throughout Europe.

 

Forum to Look at Algae, Climate – On Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will host a discussion of Algae and its impacts on climate change.  The event will feature Brian Walsh, who will discuss his new paper, New Feed Sources Key to Ambitious Climate Targets, which finds replacing microalgae as animal feed could free up significant land currently used for pasture and feed crops, while meeting 50 percent of our annual energy needs and potentially reducing global atmospheric carbon concentrations to preindustrial levels by the end of the century.  After a presentation by Walsh, a panel of experts will discuss the technical realities of the research, land-use and animal feed stock issues and whether algae can really impact global climate change.

 

JHU to Host Latin Energy Forum – The Johns Hopkins University will hold an LASP Samuel Z. Stone Seminar panel event on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. the energy shock in Latin America.  The event will feature Francisco Gonzalez, LASP Senior Associate Professor at JHU SAIS and Alejandro Werner, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund.

 

POLITICO Energy Event Set – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., POLITICO will host an America’s Energy Agenda event which will feature a conversation assessing the market aftermath of Obama’s sweeping climate change rules and energy policies. How does America keep the lights on and remain the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas while aspiring to lead the world in climate action? What is the future for energy infrastructure as pipelines become a target of the modern environmental movement?  Featured speakers include FERC’s Tony Clark, Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), ANGA’s Marty Durbin, Keystone opponent Jane Kleeb, Sierra’s Lena Moffitt and former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, now at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

 

Fanning to Address Innovation at BPC Forum – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Commission  will host a discussion on energy innovation with Tom Fanning, Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.  Fanning will highlight Southern Company’s leadership in shaping America’s energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources: nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency.  He will also discuss Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which develops new products and services to improve the lives of customers and communities, and its recent agreement to acquire natural gas company AGL Resources.

 

House Energy to Look at Nuclear Transportation – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on Thursday on transporting nuclear materials, focusing on design, logistics, and shipment.  There are approximately three million shipments of nuclear material across the United States every year. For example, low-level radioactive waste is shipped to Texas and New Mexico for disposal, research reactor fuel is transported to universities across the country, and spent nuclear fuel from naval vessels is shipped to Idaho for storage. Members will examine current efforts to transport nuclear material, including regulatory requirements and weigh recommendations to the Department of Energy plan for shipment of high-level radioactive waste and commercial spent nuclear fuel.

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Clean Tech Leadership Forum Set – Next Monday at 9:30 a.m., the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will host national experts and local leaders to examine the state of the clean tech economy and the road ahead. Sessions will explore best practices in advancing market transformation with public policy and leveraging existing programs to enhance private investment and innovation. Work with peer communities to identify challenges and strategies for supporting your local clean tech economy.

 

AU Forum Looks at Climate Governance – The American University will hold a conference next Monday afternoon looking at climate change governance as Paris approaches.  The conference aims to highlight the role of subnational initiatives, such as the Quebec-California carbon market, in global climate change governance in anticipation of the upcoming UN negotiations in Paris.

 

TIDES Conference to Look at New Energy, Defense Techs – The 9th annual TIDES technology demonstration on October 6th through 9th at the National Defense University.  The TIDES Technology Field Demonstration features low-cost technology solutions across eight key infrastructure areas 1) Water, 2) Power, 3)Shelter, 4) Heating/Cooling, 5) Sanitation, 6) Lighting, 7) Integrated and Combustion Cooking and 8)Information Communication Technology.  This free demonstration is widely attended by the Department of Defense officials, government agencies active in domestic and international disaster response, and in post-conflict, post disaster, and impoverished situations – DHS, FEMA, State Department, Red Cross and National Defense University students from around the world.  A wide array of private, for-profit and non-profit organizations attend each year. The demonstration is outside (rain or shine), independent of the power grid, and communications will be live.  The theme of this year’s demo is “Building Resilience: Preparing for Natural and Man-Made Disasters.”

Sen Energy to Look at SPR – Next Tuesday, October 6th at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine the potential modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and related energy security issues.

 

RFF to Look at Arctic Energy/Climate Issues – Resources for The Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on October 7th at 12:30 p.m. in collaboration with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment to focus on Arctic shipping and its impacts.   President Obama’s recent trip to Alaska and the State Department’s GLACIER conference put a spotlight on climate change issues in the Arctic. This RFF First Wednesday Seminar will focus on understanding the science behind increased shipping and the related impacts on marine life, ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them. Speakers will include RFF’s Alan Krupnick, Lawson Brigham of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Stanford’s Jeremy Goldbogen, Nome Mayor Denise Michels and Scott Smith of the US Coast Guard.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Day Set for Oct 8 – In recognition of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technology, industry advocates are celebrating National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8th to help raise awareness of a clean energy technology that is here now. October 8th was chosen as a reference to the of the atomic weight of Hydrogen, 1.008.

 

Holmstead, Others Experts to Discuss GHG Rule at DC Bar Event – On October 14th at 12:30 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum in its Conference Center looking the EPA’s GHG Rule.  The brown bag was rescheduled due to the Papal visit in September. It is sponsored by the Air Quality Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment and will feature a panel of experts will offer perspectives on the final rule, including state compliance options and the nature and timing of legal challenges.  The panelists will be: David Doniger, Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Lisa Heinzerling, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and Jeff Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani. All three of our speakers have previously served in high-level posts at EPA and have spent most of their careers shaping carbon pollution policy.

 

Smart Grid Conference Set – On October 14th and 15th, the 2nd Annual National Summit on Smart Grid & Climate Change will bring together policymakers, utilities, technology companies, and a wide variety of environmental and energy stakeholders to address the role of smart grid technologies and practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change.  The Summit will establish an understanding as to how smart grid can be an essential part of any climate action planning, whether in response to government emission restrictions like EPA’s Clean Power Plan or efforts to increase resiliency to prepare for various climate change events and scenarios.  Speakers will include Energy Secretary Moniz, OMB’s Ali Zaidi, Arizona Public Service SVP Jeff Guldner and NREL’s Bryan Hannegan.

 

Newsmaker to Look at Automated Driving – The National Press Club will hold a Newsmaker on October 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Bloomberg Room to present an analytical look at the reasons for developing an autonomous transportation economy—laying out the status of the technology today, the policies needed to develop autonomous transportation so that we achieve a safer, more convenient, more efficient, and a more affordable mobility system, and how transportation as we know it will be revolutionized over the coming decade.  Executives from Domino’s, GM and security experts are all expected to be part of the panel.

 

GP Bush, Fox to Headline Border Energy Forum – The Border Energy Forum will be held on October 14 – 16th in San Diego, California and will feature Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its Keynote Speaker.  For more than 20 years, the Border Energy Forum has worked to increase regional development of clean energy projects, promote cross-border energy trade, and advance technologies and innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Other speakers will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

 

BPC to Hold Little Rock GHG Workshop – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute will hold another one-day workshop on October 19th in Little Rock Arkansas to discuss implementation options for EPA’s GHG rules for power plants in the Midcontinent region.  The workshop will feature a keynote address by Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette D. Honorable.  Other confirmed speakers include WPPI Energy’s Andy Kellen, Scott Weaver of American Electric Power, EDF’s Nicholas Bianco, PJM’s Paul Sotkiewicz, Roxanne Brown of the United Steelworkers and  Nathaniel Baer of the Iowa Environmental Council.   States and stakeholders in the region have been working to evaluate the policy options available to states for inclusion in state plans. In the Midcontinent region, state officials have been active in the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators (MSEER) group, with support from experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Great Plains Institute. In addition, the Midwestern Power Sector Collaborative, convened by the Great Plains Institute, brings a subset of states and stakeholders together to explore and engage on these policy issues.  This workshop will gather states, stakeholders, and experts, including those participating in MSEER and the Power Sector Collaborative, to explore policy pathways for achieving compliance under the final Clean Power Plan as well as opportunities and challenges for multi-state collaboration.

 

Rogers, Goffman Headline New Energy Summit – The 2015 New Energy Summit will be held on October 19th and 20th looking at the growth of the renewable energy marketplace.  The agenda includes keynote guests, presentations and thought-provoking, informative discussions about the latest trends in deal origination and finance, risk evaluation, regulatory developments and common practices.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and EPA’s Joe Goffman.

 

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on October 30th in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

Energy Update: Week of September 21

Friends,

 

While it was a good night for Hollywood at the last night’s Emmys, the winners were really overshadowed by the moving visit of Tracy Morgan to the stage.   Today is also a great day for Bracewell’s Environmental legal team as they added four Texas enviro stars to the already widely-respected team.   The combined team offers Bracewell’s clients a bench of excellence across Texas and the nation, including deep experience in air, water, wetlands, and waste issues.

 

Hope you are prepping for the Papal visit to the US.  While there is a lot of buzz about the visit, the traffic and road closures both here in DC and in NYC (where the UN is also holding its General Assembly next week) are already causing consternation.  There are a bunch of events this week centered around the Pope’s visit including a White House event on Wednesday, a speech to Congress and a rally on Thursday, as well as forums starting as early as noon  today from groups discussing nearly every angle.  With the Pope’s policy focus, many groups on both sides are targeting his climate encyclical and focus on poverty.  One group, the E&E Legal Institute released a video saying his focus on climate policies will hurt the poor and middle class by driving up the price of needed energy.

 

While the Pope is getting most of the focus this week, leaders from China will also be in DC for a state visit starting Thursday.  Following last week’s meetings in LA, the visit will have a significant impacts on the discussions around climate action for Paris.  As well, the UN General Assembly is next Monday and prior to that meeting, ministers will be in NY discussing climate issues.

 

Given the papal visit and the Wednesday’s Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, there is not much else going on Capitol Hill.

 

Tomorrow, our friend Kevin Book addresses the NatGas Roundtable at the University Club and WCEE hosts FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable.  If you are looking for the D.C. Bar forum Thursday on the EPA’s GHG Rule featuring my colleague Jeff Holmstead, you won’t find it.  Due to the Pope’s visit, it has been rescheduled to October 14th.

 

Two other items:  First today, our friends at AGA are rolling out a new study this morning that says more homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and the numbers continue to increase.    Finally, in case you missed it Friday, SAFE’s Electrification Coalition, Enterprise and GM rolled out a new program in Orlando that will introduce Chevy Volts into their rental fleets.

 

Finally, I know you guys like updates on the College search so here goes: we had an exciting visit to Colby College in central Maine for Hannah’s first of three major athletic recruiting overnights.  While she was learning what it was like to be a Colby College Student-Athlete, we ran over to Bar Harbor and visited Acadia National Park.  What a beautiful place , especially watching the sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain — definitely worth getting up early.  Next up Wellesley.

 

We’ll be around, although trying to dodge the crowds, so call if you need anything…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Bracewell Extends its Environmental Reach with TX Enviro Aces – Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced this morning that four partners are joining its environment and natural resources practice. Sara M. Burgin, Kevin Collins, Matt Paulson, and Whit Swift will work primarily from Bracewell’s Austin office, joining the firm’s environmental team anchored in Austin, Houston and Washington, D.C.  The combined team offers Bracewell’s clients a bench of excellence across Texas, including deep experience in air, water, wetlands, and waste issues, as well as contested case proceedings, strategic permitting assistance, infrastructure development, government investigations, enforcement defense, and crisis response.   Bracewell & Giuliani’s environment and natural resources practice is an adviser to energy, power and industrial clients. Anchored in Texas and Washington, D.C., the practice provides advice, strategy and advocacy on air quality, climate change, water quality, wetlands, and waste and supports clients in contested case proceedings, project development, investigations, and enforcement. Bracewell has a unique platform of attorneys, public policy advocates and media specialists who collaborate with clients on challenges that intersect law, policy, and public opinion.

 

AGA Report Sees Fast Growth in NatGas Distribution Sector – A new study says more homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and the numbers continue to increase. The American Gas Association (AGA) has released a new report entitled Got Growth? that examines the growth of the natural gas distribution sector.  In an era when much of the discussion regarding future gas demand is focused on power generation and industrial uses, this analysis details eight areas of growth for local gas utilities during the past several decades. The report points to continuing expectations for future growth in customers and burner tips, infrastructure build out and geographic footprint, rate base value, investments in energy efficiency and other areas.

 

SAFE Group, GM, Enterprise Expand EV Rental Program in Orlando – In case you missed it Friday, SAFE’s Electrification Coalition, Enterprise and GM rolled out a new program in Orlando that will introduce Chevy Volts into their rental fleets.   Drive Electric Orlando (DEO),along with representatives from more than 50 Orlando partner companies and groups in the fields of travel, tourism and government—unveiled the addition of 14 Chevrolet Volts to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car fleet with the goal of making the city one of the largest EV rental fleets in the nation. The DEO initiative continues to expand and recently receiving funding from the U.S Department of Energy.  This first-of-its-kind EV rental car initiative is already accelerating broader consumer adoption of EVs.

 

Senate Letter Raises Concerns about Tech Transfer Issues – Sens. Blunt, McConnell, Inhofe, Gardner, Capito, Boozman, Barrasso sent a letter opposing the Obama Administration’s efforts to block the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other multilateral institutions’ public financing of efficient and affordable coal-fueled power in emerging markets.  The Letter: “Access to affordable and reliable energy, particularly coal, is indispensable to economic growth and prosperity.  This statement is true for all countries, including the United States, but it has special meaning in the developing world, including emerging economies, which are working to provide electricity for the basic needs of their people, including clean water, sanitation, education, and healthcare.  We oppose any efforts within the OECD and other multilateral institutions to impose restrictions on public financing of high-efficiency power stations fueled by coal in the developing world, including emerging markets. The United States must be a global leader in providing the most efficient advanced coal technologies. We ask that you join us in promoting U.S. leadership in providing access to affordable and reliable energy to advance economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.”

 

Groups Raises Concerns about Energy Poverty During Pope Visit – With the Pope’s visit to the US this week, the E&E Legal Institute is saying his crusade for green energy policies will hurt the poor and middle class by driving up the price of needed energy through the roof.   In a video, EELI explains how the impact Europe’s green energy policies have had making it incumbent on people to oppose their implementation in the United States.

 

SoCo Advances Innovative Energy Storage Project in GA – Reflecting a long-standing commitment to the research and development (R&D) of new technologies to better serve customers, Southern Company hosted industry leaders and local dignitaries at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tour at the largest battery storage research project in its operating system. Located in Cedartown, Georgia, the new research project will test and evaluate a 1-megawatt (MW)/2- megawatt-hour (MWh) battery storage system using lithium-ion battery technology – similar to the battery chemistry in electric vehicles and many of today’s consumer electronics.   Southern Company is at the forefront of accelerating the development of energy storage systems that will offer many benefits and great promise to the electric utility industry. From greater reliability to increased use of renewable energy to reduced prices for customers, energy storage has the potential to further enable the “smart grid” and help utilities meet the needs of customers.  The Cedartown research demonstration was created by Southern Company in collaboration with EPRI, in order to develop a large, utility-scale lithium-ion battery system and evaluate how battery storage systems can create value for customers.

 

What Are the Cedartown Details – The Cedartown battery demonstration is located on the site of a 1-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility owned and operated by WGL Energy. The solar PV facility is part of Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI). Georgia Power’s innovative ASI programs have allowed the company to add hundreds of megawatts of cost-effective solar generation in Georgia without putting upward pressure on customer rates. Batteries are provided by LG Chem, one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

National Drive Electric Week –National Drive Electric Week started yesterday on the National Mall.  There will be EV owners available to answer questions while several models of plug-in cars will all be in one place, for easy comparison.  Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S and more.  Hear how people charge their cars daily, mostly at home.

 

Heritage to Look at Climate Poverty Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum today at Noon that will look at how climate policy impacts the poor.  The poorest and most vulnerable members of society will be disproportionately harmed by these impending spikes in energy prices.  Europe is already experiencing “energy poverty” where families and the elderly are being forced to choose between eating and heating.  Tens of thousands did in the United Kingdom in several recent winters because they are unable to pay their electricity bills and still buy enough food.  Will this happen in America next?  The world’s poorest – the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year – will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences.  Instead, developing countries desperately need to replace such primitive and dirty fuels with electricity, the most affordable sources of which are fossil fuels.  Speakers will include Kathleen White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, National Black Chamber President Harry Alford, among others.

CAP Discussing Papal Visit – The Center for American Progress will also hold a forum today at 3:00 p.m. on the Pope’s Visit.  CAP is hosting a panel of faith-based advocates and experts for a conversation about the papal visit and its implications for politics, policies, advocacy, and action. Following the panel, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) will give remarks on the opportunity that the pope’s teachings provide for conversations about the challenges of climate change and finding ways for everyone to cooperate in the care of creation.

 

Commerce to Hold Renewable Issues Meeting – The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC) will hold a meeting tomorrow. The meeting is open to the public and interested parties are requested to contact the U.S. Department of Commerce in advance of the meeting.

 

Franco-American Group to Highlight Climate Talks – Building up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the French Ameri-Can Climate TalkS (FACTS) conference series is back for a second edition with 12 events across Canada and the United States involving renowned scientists, civil society representatives, NGOs, political figures, journalists and entrepreneurs.  Tomorrow, the French AmeriCan Climate Talks will be traveling to Washington for a discussion focusing on the transition to a new economy with sustainable energy usage and natural resources management that will require a concerted and united effort to encourage innovation, North-South technology transfers, and climate change adaptation measures.

 

USEA to Host LNG Discussion – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the role of US LNG exports in global gas markets.  Christopher J. Goncalves, Managing Director and Co-Chair of BRG’s Energy and Natural Resources Practice will look at the implications for global LNG trade and pricing.

Book to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will hold its September Roundtable tomorrow featuring Kevin Book, Managing Director of ClearView Energy Partners.   Book heads the research team at ClearView, an independent research firm that serves institutional investors and corporate strategists. Mr. Book’s primary coverage areas include oil, natural gas, coal and refined products.

 

RFF Forum to Look at Carbon Impact on Low Income – Resources for the Future will Host a tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. looking at carbon pricing on low-income Households.  RFF’s Roberton Williams will present an analysis of the impact of carbon pricing policies across income groups. Chad Stone of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will share new research on how to design and implement policy options that protect the most vulnerable households. Aparna Mathur of the American Enterprise Institute and Adele Morris of The Brookings Institution will provide comments on the two presentations, and all speakers will participate in a panel discussion on how climate policies may impact low-income households more broadly.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Changes, Security – The Wilson Center will hold a global energy forum tomorrow looking at technology change and security.  The international energy system is going through revolutionary changes.  Oil and natural gas production is growing in the United States and elsewhere in response to new technologies. Geopolitics face several inflection points, from a turbulent Middle East to increased Russian pressure in Europe, and Chinese pressure in East Asia. Furthermore, new pathways must be developed to advance global energy security at a time of revolutionary change. The system must be more resilient, as energy trade is vulnerable to interruption, and as strategic petroleum reserves need to be modernized. Up to and beyond the next climate change conference (COP-21) in Paris, national security, energy and climate goals need to be better integrated in future policies.

 

Papal Visit Schedule Set – The official schedule is out for the Papal visit in the United States.  Pope Francis will arrive at Andrews AFB tomorrow meet with the White House and address a Joint Session of Congress before heading to the UN on Friday.  He then travels to Philadelphia before heading back to the Vatican on Sunday.

 

WCEE to Host FERC Commissioner – On Wednesday evening, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum at the Capitol Hill Club featuring FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable.  She will share her insights and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the energy sector.

 

Papal Visit to Feature All-Night Vigil – On Wednesday during the Pope’s visit, the Franciscan Action Network will lead an all-night, multi-faith vigil at the Lincoln Memorial.

 

Moral March on DC – Climate Advocates will descend to Washington this week to talk about Climate.  There will be a series of events held across the country to call for the United States to honor its moral duty to act for climate justice.   On Wednesday, the Franciscan Action Network will lead an all-night, multi-faith vigil at the Lincoln Memorial.   On Thursday, September 24, the Pope will address a joint session of Congress, and there will be Jumbotrons set up at the Capitol and the National Mall for public viewing.  After the address, there will be a rally on the National Mall, between 4th St. NW and 7th St. NW, with performances and speakers.

 

UN Climate Talks Set – Climate sidebars will be held at the UN on Thursday and Friday.  President Obama is expected to attend.

 

DELAYED – Holmstead, Others Experts to Discuss GHG Rule at DC Bar Event – The Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the D.C. Bar forum looking the EPA’s GHG Rule has been postponed to October 14th due to the Papel Visit.  The brown bag, sponsored by the Air Quality Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, will feature a panel of experts will offer perspectives on the final rule, including state compliance options and the nature and timing of legal challenges.  The panelists will be: David Doniger, Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Lisa Heinzerling, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and Jeff Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani. All three of our speakers have previously served in high-level posts at EPA and have spent most of their careers shaping carbon pollution policy.

 

CSIS to Look at Global NatGas Markets – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Dr. Fereidun Fesharaki, Chairman and Founder of FGE, on Friday at 10:00 a.m. for a discussion of the global natural gas markets. As the low price environment persists, the debate over the impacts on gas production in the United States and globally continues. Spot prices have entered a long term lull disconnected from contract prices; European prices may remain weak for some time; and in the United States, many sellers are still planning to proceed with export projects. The LNG market turmoil will likely hit new heights in 2016 with so much additional volume in the market. How can the markets rebalance? What is needed to bring sanity to the market? David Pumphrey, Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.

 

Global Citizen Event Set for NYC – On Saturday in NYC’s Central Park, the Global Citizen movement will hold an event focused on taking action to address poverty, environmental and education issues.  The event will feature a concert with Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

UN General Assembly – September 28th

 

AU to Host Forum on Religion, Environment – Next Monday, American University will hold a forum featuring panelists from The Washington Post, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and AU faculty to consider the journalistic and media treatment of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, as a means to better understand the role of religion in public debate and activism on climate change.

 

Forum to Look at Offshore Wind – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing next Monday in 406 Dirksen examining the role of offshore wind domestically and internationally. The first U.S. offshore wind project is expected to come online in summer 2016 at Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is leading the Block Island project, which will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, enough to run 17,000 homes. U.S. Wind is working on a much larger project off the coast of Maryland, where it plans to have 500 MW of offshore wind operating by 2020. Speakers for this forum are Sens. Tom Carper (DE) and Jack Reed (RI), AWEA’s Fatima Maria Ahmad, Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski, Paul Rich of U.S. Wind (Maryland), Dr. Georg Maue of the Embassy of Germany and Tom Simchak, Policy Advisor at the British Embassy.

 

AWEA to Host Annual Offshore Wind Conference in Baltimore – Speaking of offshore wind, AWEA holds its annual offshore wind event in Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 29th and 30th.

 

The Hill to Host Methane Forum – Next Tuesday, The Hill will host a forum at the Newseum to consider how policymakers and industry can come together to effectively regulate methane emissions. What steps can industry take to innovate and lead on adopting existing technologies and practices to reduce emissions? With methane leaks in the oil and gas system costing industry $1.8 billion per year in lost revenues, how can new regulations be implemented in a cost effective way that reduces both climate impacts and domestic energy waste? And what impact might implementing these regulations have on investors and the larger American economy?  Featured speakers include Brent Lammert of FLIR, Brian Rice of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Martha Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.  Our friends Tim Cama and Devin Henry will moderate.

 

Forum to Look at China, Clean Cities – The Woodrow Wilson Center will host a forum next Tuesday focused on China’s power sector and a move to cleaner cities.  At the US-China Climate Smart/Low Carbon City Summit held September last week in Los Angeles, 11 Chinese cities and 3 provinces committed to taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and reach “peak coal” earlier than China’s national 2030 target. Continued expansion of renewables, gas, nuclear power and energy efficient buildings in China’s cities will depend heavily on efforts to decarbonize the country’s power grid. Speakers at this meeting will discuss emerging reforms and clean energy investments (including nuclear power) investments at both national and municipal levels to decrease coal-fired electricity.

 

Forum to Look at Japan Plutonium Issues – Next Tuesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum on Japan’s plans to start producing plutonium—intended for use in its nuclear energy reactors. However, in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011, all but one of Japan’s reactors still remain offline, and the process to restart the others will be long, slow, and controversial. As a result, it is likely that plutonium production will soon exceed demand, causing a risky and potentially destabilizing plutonium build-up in Japan.  Carnegie’s James Acton will launch his new report, Wagging the Plutonium Dog, and explore why Japan finds itself in this predicament and what can be done.

 

EESI Forum to Look at States, GHG Regs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing next Tuesday in 334 Cannon  discussing how states are planning to comply with the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Power Plan represents the first time the United States has placed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, currently the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution. Now that the final version has been released, what are the best compliance strategies for states to meet the emission reduction goals, and what kind of assistance will EPA be able to provide?

 

Forum to Feature Lithuania Energy Minister – On Wednesday, September 30th at 1:00 p.m. the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies will host the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis.  Masiulis will deliver remarks regarding Lithuania’s current efforts to help address energy security issues throughout Europe.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Day Set for Oct 8 – In recognition of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technology, industry advocates are celebrating National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on October 8th to help raise awareness of a clean energy technology that is here now. October 8th was chosen as a reference to the of the atomic weight of Hydrogen, 1.008.

 

Holmstead, Others Experts to Discuss GHG Rule at DC Bar Event – On October 14th at 12:30 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum in its Conference Center looking the EPA’s GHG Rule.  The brown bag was rescheduled due to the Papal visit in September. It is sponsored by the Air Quality Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment and will feature a panel of experts will offer perspectives on the final rule, including state compliance options and the nature and timing of legal challenges.  The panelists will be: David Doniger, Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Lisa Heinzerling, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and Jeff Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani. All three of our speakers have previously served in high-level posts at EPA and have spent most of their careers shaping carbon pollution policy.

 

Smart Grid Conference Set – On October 14th and 15th, the 2nd Annual National Summit on Smart Grid & Climate Change will bring together policymakers, utilities, technology companies, and a wide variety of environmental and energy stakeholders to address the role of smart grid technologies and practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change.  The Summit will establish an understanding as to how smart grid can be an essential part of any climate action planning, whether in response to government emission restrictions like EPA’s Clean Power Plan or efforts to increase resiliency to prepare for various climate change events and scenarios.  Speakers will include Energy Secretary Moniz, OMB’s Ali Zaidi, Arizona Public Service SVP Jeff Guldner and NREL’s Bryan Hannegan.

 

GP Bush , Fox to Headline Border Energy Forum – The Border Energy Forum will be held on October 14 – 16th in San Diego, California and will feature Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its Keynote Speaker.  For more than 20 years, the Border Energy Forum has worked to increase regional development of clean energy projects, promote cross-border energy trade, and advance technologies and innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Other speakers will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

 

Cato to Hold UN Climate Conference Forum – The Cato Institute will hold a day-long forum on October 30th in its Hayek Auditorium to hear distinguished climate scientists and legal experts assess the issues sure to drive the debate before, during, and after the Paris UN Climate meeting.  Speakers will include John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on a panel about science.  MIT professor and prominent climate skeptic Richard Lindzen will be the luncheon speaker.  In the afternoon, there will be a legal panel featuring Peter Glaser and Andrew Grossman and a policy panel that will include Harlan Watson, Former Chief Climate Negotiator in the George W. Bush administration and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, who is Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato.

 

Energy Update: Week of September 8

Friends,

 

I hope everyone enjoyed some slower times in August.  While I was able to get away a little, it just seemed like we were busy every week doing something from Iran to the Clean Power Plan to the Alaska visit.

 

And this week gets crazier for me personally.  While my girls are already well into the school year and their field hockey schedules, Adam heads off to boarding school on Wednesday in Charlottesville.  He is very excited and has been bouncing off the walls the last two weeks.  I can also confirm for the record that his sisters are very pleased with departure.

 

Well now that the break is over and Congress readies itself to reengage as we run toward the next big thing (on the environment, at least): the late-year Paris UN Climate meetings.  On that, I would suggest one look at the Iran deal for how it might play out.   Of course, Iran and nuclear weapons is a little more significant for global security issues, while any climate treaty will likely have significant economic impacts if implemented without much hope of slowing global warming.

 

But before we get to that cheery note, we have a lot to get to in Congress: the Pope is coming to DC and the SEJ Conference will be October 5-8 in Norman, Oklahoma.

 

It will be a busy week this week as people come back, but get ready for the pace to really pick up next week.  Generally, this week is all about Iran, but tomorrow our Friends Amy Harder, Darren Goode, and Kate Sheppard talk energy politics at 9:30, while later in the week House Science goes to town with several hearings including two on the Clean Power Plan’s impacts, and finally, House Energy will vote in Subcommittee Thursday on lifting the ban on crude exports.  Remember former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold is one of your best experts on the topic.  You can get him at kirk@kirklippold.com.

 

Also today, our friends at Morning Consult have launched a new feature where they will profile a Washington DC Insider, and I was honored that they asked me to be the inaugural issue profile.   Just remember, you can’t believe everything you read:  http://morningconsult.com/2015/09/frank-maisano-earns-his-media/

 

Finally, with the NFL launch this weekend and the high school/college football launch last weekend, I would just like to remind you that we are only 30 days from hockey season…  Don’t want that to get lost in all the hoopla over BYU “Doug Flutie” passes, unhappy San Antonio HS players blasting a HS official from behind because they were losing and, well…anything about Tom Brady.

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

EPA Delay GHG Plan Publication Date – Following the August 3 announcement of the President’s Plan to regulate GHGs from existing power plants, EPA said the intended to publish the rule in the Federal Register by this past week.  But at the end of August, they announced that wasn’t happening, suggesting a late October publication was more likely.   While many initially speculated that this would be done purposely to avoid having a stay issued before Paris after opponents sued over the rule, others suggest another problem cropped up as well: the overall complexity of the rule is so challenging that they were never going to make that labor day weekend deadline in the first place.

 

States Ask for Immediate Stay – Sixteen states led by West Virginia told the federal court they needed an immediate stay of the Clean Power Plan, not when the rule is published in the Federal Register in October.  “With EPA’s response to this Court’s briefing order, it is now clear that the States will suffer months of irreparable harm before they can possibly obtain a stay under the ordinary statutory procedures,” the states wrote.  Publication makes a rule official, starting the clock for both compliance and legal challenges.

 

NYT Emails Exposé Details GMO Debate Using Third Parties – Over the weekend, our friend Eric Lipton of the New York Times struck again with a nicely-written piece on detailing the efforts by advocates on both sides of the GMO debate to use third party advocates.  While the tactic isn’t really new or surprising (I know if it being used  by both sides all the way back to campaigns surrounding the Kyoto Climate Treaty in 1997), Lipton uses email to underscore the elaborate details of what has become a high-stakes fight with the US Senate getting to consider legislation the House passed this summer to limit states from imposing labeling requirements on GMO foods.

 

Stonyfield CEO Responds to NYT – Stonyfield CEO and Just Label It Chair Gary Hirshberg said “big biotech companies like Monsanto and big food companies like General Mills and Pepsi have spun the science to fight our right to know what’s in our food and how it’s grown. Nine out of ten Americans — regardless of age, income or even party affiliation — simply want to decide the right to know if GMOs are in their food, the same right held by consumers in 64 other nations. The Senate and the Obama Administration should look at all of the science — including clear and convincing evidence that GMO crops have fueled an explosion in weed killers linked to cancer — not just Monsanto’s “science” and reject legislation passed by the House to block state and federal GMO labeling.”

 

SoCo Rolls Out New NEST Products for Improved EE – Following its big move into the natural gas business recently with its acquisition of AGL resources, Southern continued its move to an “all-of-the-above” with a major energy efficiency announcement, rolling out the new NEST third-generation product line — the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Protect and Nest Cam — which will be available to Southern Company system customers.   Southern CEO Tom Fanning said by offering customers innovative tools to create a truly connected home, Southern Company and Nest will help families better manage their energy use and improve their quality of life.  Residents in Georgia can already get the Nest Thermostat at no cost when they sign up for Georgia Power’s Smart Usage Rate plan.  In addition to retail locations and Nest Pro installers, select Nest products will be available through over 40 energy and enterprise partners, including subsidiaries with Southern Company.

 

CRUDE Report Says Export Ban Would Keep Gas Price Lower – Prices at the pump for American drivers have been substantially discounted because U.S. crude oil is kept in America, and that will continue to be the case as long as the export ban remains in place, according to a new study released today by The CRUDE Coalition.  The study also reports that since the domestic oil boom, domestic gasoline prices are no longer tied to European pricing.  The study by the consultancy Baker & O’Brien examines historical relationships between the prices of crude oil and gasoline, undermining the assumptions of a study just released by the Energy Information Administration, as well as the assumptions of several pro-export studies that had argued gasoline prices would drop if the export ban were lifted.  The study also provides further evidence that domestic gasoline prices would in fact rise if crude-export restrictions are lifted.   The report followed an EIA report that was less certain about price impacts. More info here.

 

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Reporters to Talk Climate, 2016 – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.  in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge, Climate Nexus hosts a moderated discussion about how climate change and clean energy will factor into the 2016 election season.  Panelists will include POLITICO’s Darren Goode, Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal, George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication Director Ed Maibach and Kate Sheppard of HuffPost.

 

Forum to Offer Paris Climate Preview – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Joseph Aldy, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) to discuss current and expected Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, to take place in Paris later this year.  The Paris 2015 conference–the next conference under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 1992–is highly anticipated around the globe but is yet another step on the longstanding pathway to coordinated global action. As was determined in Durban, South Africa in 2011, the goal of negotiations is an agreement with legal force that is applicable to all. Each country has been subsequently charged with arriving in Paris with predetermined climate goals, in the form of an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). Following an overview of the content and purpose of the INDCs, the expert panel will discuss comparability between already submitted INDCs, those yet to come, and the accompanying Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) processes.

 

NRC Commissioners Head to House Energy – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy Committee’s Subcommittees on Energy & Power and Environment & the Economy will conduct an oversight hearing on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Witnesses will include Commissioners Jeff Baran, Stephen Burns, William Ostendorff and Kristine Svinicki.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the Korea Institute of Energy Research, and the Global America Business Institute will hold an energy roundtable discussion on Wednesday at noon focused on renewable energy storage.  Matt Roberts, Executive Director of the Energy Storage Association will be the speaker.

RFF Seminar to Look at Scarcity, Conservation – Resources for the Future will hold its September First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.  conservation and scarcity.  Environmental policies typically reflect an assumption that today’s scarcities will be tomorrow’s scarcities. Yet in the past, many social and technological innovations have radically altered the nature of scarcity, often reducing environmental impacts in the process. Several current trends (in agriculture, materials use, energy, and water) suggest that, with the right policies and investments, the human footprint could peak and decline in coming decades.  The seminar will feature the release of a new report from the Breakthrough Institute, Nature Unbound: Decoupling for Conservation, and discuss several of its key themes: how humans destroy nature, how they save nature, and what this implies for conservation. Panelists will include Linus Blomqvist of the Breakthrough Institute, Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University and George Mason University fellow Thomas Lovejoy.

 

House Science Panels Tackle GHG Rule – The House Science will hold two hearings on Thursday and Friday on the impacts of the Administration’s GHG plan.  On Thursday, the Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Energy will hold a joint hearing examining vulnerabilities of America’s power supply.  Witnesses will include University of Colorado Boulder expert Daniel Baker, Nadya Bartol of the Utilities Telecom Council, EPRI’s Richard Lordan and M. Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University.  On Friday, Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on State perspectives of how EPA’s Power Plan will impact power plants.

 

House Energy Panel to Take Up Export Ban – the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Panel on Energy and Power will vote Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on Joe Barton legislation to lift the 40-year-old crude oil export ban.  A good resource on this topic is topic is former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold who testified before the same panel earlier this year raising concerns about such a move.   You can reach Lippold at kirk@kirklippold.com

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Civil Nuclear Agreement – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a discussion on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. looking at the road ahead for the U.S.-ROK civil nuclear energy agreement. This event will look at the challenges and issues with the implementation of the 123 agreement, the outlook for it in Congress, and the overall context of the agreement. This event is on the record and open to the public.  Panelists will include Gary Samore, Executive Director of Research at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Sharon Squasonni, who serves as Director and Senior Fellow of the Proliferation Prevention Program at CSIS.

 

Forum to Addresses Air Capture – The U.S. Energy Association holds a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at air capture technology’s role in decarbonizing global energy systems.  In order to meet targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit the most severe effects of climate change, levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere must not exceed 450 parts per million. While fuel switching, energy efficiency, and conservation are critical pillars to reduce CO2 emissions, they are insufficient to deal with fugitive emissions or cancel out past emissions. Air capture, or the technological ability to remove CO2 from air at least 1000 times more effectively than biomass presents a promising option to achieve the IPCC’s goal. This presentation will outline strategies for economically deploying air capture and discuss its role as one of the sustainable solutions to climate change.  The speaker at USEA will be ASU’s Christophe Jospe, who runs the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at ASU.

 

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Trauzzi to Address CHP Conference – The Combined Heat and Power Assn (CHP) will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting on September 14-15th at the National Press Club in Washington DC.  The theme of this year’s conference is CHP: Providing Resilience and Security in an Uncertain Energy World. With the changing landscape of energy generation in the U.S. and the strain on an aging electric grid, energy solutions that are not only cost effective and efficient–but most importantly resilient–are needed to secure our energy future. This conference will highlight the ways in which combined heat & power is the best answer for our resilient energy needs while also providing numerous other benefits. The conference will feature a number of new elements including CHP Association’s inaugural Solution Summit aimed at fostering meaningful discussion among attendees on ways to increase CHP deployment. In addition, there will be a trade show to highlight companies and organizations working in the industry, and a full day conference that will explore the conference theme of resilience.  E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi will be the keynote speaker.

 

WCEE Forum to Look at Enviros View of NatGas Fracturing – Next Monday, the Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment (WCEE) launches its Lunch & Learn Series, which will aim to bring you perspectives from all sides of this issue.  The first will be an environmental viewpoint from NRDC and EPA on hydraulic fracturing.  Speakers will include NRDC’s Sharon Buccino and EPA’s Caroline Ridley.   I suspect a few of our good natgas WCE members may have some tough questions.

 

CIBO to Hold Annual DC Meeting – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will also be meeting in Washington on Tuesday September 15th ahead of their October annual meeting. The agenda includes GHG discussions, along with rule on Methane, Coal ash, and WOTUS.

 

NJ to Host Lawmakers on Crude Exports – Next Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., National Journal will hold a forum with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to explore the building momentum around crude oil exports. NJ will pose questions like will lifting the ban make America more competitive or will it increase greenhouse gases by promoting oil exploration? Will it raise energy prices, even though recent studies predict a drop in fuel prices as a result of more American oil in the market? And many more.

 

Atlantic Council to Look at Iran, NatGas – Next Tuesday, September 15th at Noon, the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion on the future of Iranian energy, particularly natural gas, in a post-sanctions world. The panel of Atlantic Council fellows includes Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, President of SVB Energy International, Barbara Slavin, Washington Correspondent for Al-Monitor, and Dr. Brenda Shaffer, Visiting Researcher and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. Yeganeh Torbati of Reuters will moderate the interactive discussion on the latest insight on the Iran agreement in light of the pending US Congressional vote, Iran’s energy policy priorities in the near and medium term, particularly as it relates to natural gas, the outlook for foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector and the geopolitical implications of Iranian natural gas development.

Giuliani to Address Shale Insight – The 2015 Shale Insight Conference will be held in Philadelphia on September 16th & 17th Over the past five years, the conference has built a reputation for strong programmatic content, including an impressive speaker roster of nearly 100 industry experts, political figures and concurrent technical and public affairs session panelists who share their expertise.  Attendees at the 2015 conference will hear from featured presenters, including: Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and former mayor of New York City, as well as Robert Bryce, journalist, author and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

 

Forum to Look at Ozone Rule – On Wednesday, September 16th at 8:30 a.m., Our Energy Policy is holding an expert panel discussion at the National Press Club on the impacts of EPA’s proposed new standards for ground level ozone on the dynamic energy sector.  EPA is expected to announce a new standard for ground level ozone, a smog-forming pollutant. Referred to by some in industry as “the most expensive regulation ever,” the controversial rule will likely reduce the existing standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 or 70 ppb. There is significant disagreement over the likely benefits, costs and impact on public health and the economy of such a change. The Panel includes our friends Ross Eisenberg of NAM, RFF’s Alan Krupnick, AFPM’s Sarah Magruder Lyle and NRDC’s John Walke.  Bloomberg’s Mark Drajem will moderate.

 

Mexican Energy Officials Headline N American Energy Forum – The Mexico and Canada Institutes of the Woodrow Wilson Center are hosting the Second Annual North American Energy Forum on Thursday, September 17th.  Over the past year, two new developments have left their mark on North America’s energy markets. The first concerns the impact of low oil prices on the region’s producers, with revenue affecting existing and future projects. Alongside the issue of price, we have seen major developments in all three North American countries. In Mexico, the first round of oil contracts is underway, with contracts awarded for exploration in shallow water in July of 2015. At the same time, we have seen major new investment plans unveiled in the electricity sector. In Canada, major infrastructure challenges and political change in the province of Alberta have altered the investment environment. In the US, the Interior Department proposal to open a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling has generated a highly charged debate, and new EPA rules on emissions have been the subject of analysis and legal challenge. The objective of the forum is to provide insight and draw attention to the challenges and opportunities that these new developments have created.  Featured Keynote Speakers include Mexican Under- Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons, Lourdes Melgar and Mexican Under-Secretary of Energy for Electricity, César Hernández Ochoa.

 

Brookings Hosts Electricity Book Review – On Thursday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m., the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host Institute for Electricity Innovation (IEI) Executive Director and ESCI Nonresident Senior Fellow Lisa Wood for a discussion of the evolving electric power industry and future trends. Brookings Institution Trustee and former CEO of Duke Energy Jim Rogers will moderate the discussion.  Wood is editor of “Thought Leaders Speak Out: The Evolving Electric Power Industry,” IEI’s  collection of more than 20 essays by electric utility and technology company leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders focused on three distinct and interrelated areas driving this transformation: the evolving grid, the evolving customer, and evolving regulation., Attendees will receive a free copy of the book.

 

Moral March on DC – Climate Advocates will descend to Washington on September 21 to talk about Climate.

 

Book to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will hold its September Roundtable on Tuesday, September 22nd featuring Kevin Book, Managing Director of ClearView Energy Partners.   Book heads the research team at ClearView, an independent research firm that serves institutional investors and corporate strategists. Mr. Book’s primary coverage areas include oil, natural gas, coal and refined products.

 

Papal Visit Schedule Set – The official schedule is out for the Papal visit in the United States.  Pope Francis will arrive at Andrews AFB on Tuesday September 22, meet with the White House and address a Joint Session of Congress before heading to the UN on Friday.  He then travels to Philadelphia before heading back to the Vatican on Sunday September 27th.

 

UN Climate Talks Set – Climate sidebars will be held at the UN on September 24 and 25.  President Obama is expected to attend.

 

Global Citizen Event Set for NYC – On September 26th in NYC’s Central Park, the Global Citizen movement will hold an event focused on taking action to address poverty, environmental and education issues.  The event will feature a concert with Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.

 

UN General Assembly – September 28th

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.

 

GP Bush , Fox to Headline Border Energy Forum – The Border Energy Forum will be held on October 14 – 16th in San Diego, California and will feature Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its Keynote Speaker.  For more than 20 years, the Border Energy Forum has worked to increase regional development of clean energy projects, promote cross-border energy trade, and advance technologies and innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Other speakers will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 27

Friends,

 

Today, we start by honoring one of my favorite icons on his 75th birthday.  Of course, he hasn’t aged a day over the years.  He is a sophisticated world traveler, played baseball, fought in wars, flown airplanes, worked construction, was in the Oil Business, hunted, Square Danced,  led operas/symphonies, fought bulls, cross-dressed and even went to space and back.  And of course, he was always directionally challenged (usually missing that turn at Albuquerque.)   Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny.

 

This week, the Quicken Loans National hosted by Tiger Woods starts Thursday at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. It is always one of the PGA tour’s biggest shows of support for our national military men and women, so it is always fun to be there.  Next year, it returns to Congressional CC.  Finally, I hope you were able to see the 19 and 20th stages of the Tour d’ France, which featured an amazing battle up Alpe d’Huez.  Britain’s Chris Froome held off Columbian climber Nairo Quintana to win by just over a minute over the 21 stages.

 

Before launching into this week’s schedule, there are two important studies out this morning that are featured in our “In the News” section.  The NRECA has a new study out today that details a devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses, which will be impacted by the new Clean Power Plan.  Secondly, there is new report out today that says crude exports would raise gasoline, diesel and home heating prices, cutting into the vast benefits Americans are enjoying from lower crude oil prices.  Finally, we are happy to discuss today’s “business” meeting at the White House that included discussions of 13 companies pledging to combat warming.

 

In Washington policy circles, today is the deadline for comments on the RFS.  There are several important pieces below in the Special RFS Comment Section including comments on the RFS from former White House energy advisor Ron Minsk.  We can also help with comments from Valero, Tesoro, EWG and more analysis from long-time Bracewell fuels expert Scott Segal.

 

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee marks up bipartisan energy legislation.  Also tomorrow, Secretaries Kerry, Moniz and Lew head to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for another round on Iran and Senate Banking tackles on crude exports.   On the House side tomorrow afternoon, the Whitfield House Energy panel is hosting a roundtable discussion on the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed ozone rule on manufacturing and jobs.

 

On Friday at Clemson U. in SC, SAFE, the InterTech Group, Clemson University and CNBC will announce the winners of the 2015 Energy Security Prize, celebrating companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  Final voting ends TODAY so get your votes in: http://www.cnbc.com/safe/

 

For those you still with car seats, tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association in conjunction with Capitol Hill Police and Prince William County Fire & Rescue are hosting a child car seat check to ensure that children’s car seat are properly installed, increasing safety in event of a crash.  The check will be in the Senate Parking Lot directly across from Capitol Hill Police Headquarters at 119 D Street, NE.

 

Finally, next Monday, I will be hosting a National Press Club Newsmakers news conference that will discuss the Iran Nuclear Deal and its impact on regional security, nuclear weapons verification challenges and its impact inside Iran.  My panel will feature widely-respected nuclear inspector Dr. Olli Heinonen of Harvard’s Belfer Center, who served as deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold, who was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000; and Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the U.S. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, who first exposed the major nuclear sites of Iran.  It will be a great event and I want a good turnout so please plan to come.

 

You know what to do…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

THE BIG NEWS: RFS DEADLINE

 

RFS Deadline Hits Today – The comment period closes at midnight tonight on EPA’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2014 through 2016 (plus biodiesel for 2017). According to our friends at POLITICO tracking the comments, EPA has so far received at least 47,565 comments.

 

The Rulemaking – The rulemaking sets proposed 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume requirements (RVOs) under the RFS along with a proposed 2017 RVO for biomass-based diesel. The proposal aims to set the 2014 RVO at the actual amount biofuel consumed last year. The 2015 RVOs would set a cellulosic requirement of 106 million gallons, a biomass-based diesel requirement of 1.7 billion gallons, an advanced biofuel requirement of 2.9 billion gallons and a requirement for total renewable fuel of 16.3 billion gallons. For 2016, the proposed rule aims to set the cellulosic biofuel RVO at 206 million gallons, with the biomass-based diesel RVO set at 1.8 billion gallons, the advanced biofuel RVO set at 3.4 billion gallons, and the total renewable fuel RVO at 17.40 billion gallons. In addition, the proposed rule aims to set the 2017 RVO for biomass-based diesel at 1.9 billion gallons.

 

The Original Proposal – The EPA released a prepublication version of the rulemaking on May 29. On June 10, the agency published the proposed rule in the Federal Register, officially opening the public comment period.

 

Former White House Official Hit RFS – Former White House Energy official Ron Minsk dropped a letter in the docket as well.  Minsk is the former senior energy advisor at the National Economic Council (NEC) in the Obama Administration, having left government service in April.  He served in a similar capacity in the Clinton Administration.  Basically, the letter says that the purpose of the RFS is to move alternative fuel into the market BUT that volatility in the renewable identification numbers (RINs) market does not serve that purpose and does not increase the penetration of other blends like E-85.  Minsk recommends that EPA change the point of obligation for RINs in order to get the incentives right.    Can send you comments if You need them

 

Biofuels Group to Deliver Comments – Don’t hold your breath for that comments number to stay around 50K.  Biofuels advocates Fuels America plan to take a page out the enviro playbook and hand deliver more than 200,000 comments to EPA this morning.

 

Press Calls – Both API and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers will hold a press call to discuss their comments and to announce a new RFS social media campaign.

 

Enviros Weigh in – Our friends at EWG are also raising concerns.  Recently, EWG said “There are few things worse for the environment than gasoline, but corn ethanol is one of them. The administration’s decision to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline will mean more greenhouse gas emissions at a time when we drastically need to curb them to slow climate change.  Congress should act now to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard to help drive the development of truly sustainable biofuels.”  EWG’s Scott Faber (202-939-9127) is another excellent resource on this.

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

NRECA  Study Highlights Impact of Increased Electricity Prices – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) released a new economic study detailing a devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses. The study measures the impact of a 10% and 25% electricity price increase on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) from 2020 to 2040.  According to the study, a 10% increase in electricity prices results in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021. Nearly 500,000 of those lost jobs are in rural areas of the country.  The impact of a 25% increase would be more damaging with 2.2 million jobs lost in 2021, with more than 890,000 of those occurring in rural areas. In terms of national GDP from 2020 to 2040, a 10% increase results in a cumulative loss of $2.8 trillion and a 25 percent increase results in a cumulative $5.4 trillion loss.  The impact of higher costs on the electric bills of those who can least afford it will be devastating. On average, 23% of co-op households nationwide earn an annual income of less than $25,000. The average income for households served by electric cooperatives is 11.5% less than the national average.  Previous NRECA research projected that electricity bills would increase by an average of 10 percent as a result of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

 

Report: Exports Would Increase Gas Prices – A new report by Alan Stevens of Stancil & Co. for the Crude Coalition says exporting U.S. crude oil would raise gasoline, diesel and home heating prices.  According to the report, Americans currently benefit from lower fuel prices because long-standing export restrictions help provide the lowest free-market base price for gasoline of any nation.  The analysis also finds that exports would hurt the domestic refining sector and America’s balance of trade, and have negative implications for U.S. national security.  The study finds that lifting crude export restrictions would 1) increase domestic crude prices by $3.00 per barrel, impacting all consumers; 2) Raise domestic gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, and heating oil prices; 3) negatively impact the U.S. balance of trade, increase foreign crude oil imports and foreign refined products, while reducing exports of refined products; and 4) Reduce domestic refinery utilization and/or possible cause refinery shutdowns, which would induce layoffs at affected refineries and their service providers, which in turn would affect the wider economy.

 

eCORP Rolls Out “Baby Oil” Fracking Technology – eCORP Technologies has announced plans to deliver a shale gas extraction technology which uses naturally occurring components in conventional and shale hydrocarbon production – a selection of low molecular weight alkanes or light alkanes  usually referred to as “baby oil” in non-scientific terms. These alkanes are non-flammable and completely safe: they are approved by FDA for human ingestion and exposure. They also have no adverse impacts on the environment: they are non-ozone depleting and have zero global warming potential.    Patents are pending worldwide and ecorpStim is conducting further testing and experimentation of this technology in the United States in several basins this year.  Light Alkanes Stimulation (LAS) provides a greater flexibility (broad range of viscosity / density) which enables this new technology to be used in varied shale formations and operating conditions.  With Light Alkanes Stimulation (LAS), pure propane stimulation (PPS) and non-flammable propane stimulation (NFP), ecorpStim is now able to provide a full range of “green” stimulation systems using not a single drop of water and zero chemical additives, and which includes two non-flammable options.

 

Bishop: Feds Undermining Drilling Innovations – In a Houston Chronicle column last week, House Resources Chair Rob Bishop said the Federal government is undermining America’s innovators with regard to drilling technology.  Bishop’s focus is especially relevant in light of low production numbers on federal lands and the extension of the stay of the federal hydraulic fracturing rule until the fall. Since the beginning of the U.S. shale revolution, Bishop says the campaign of unfounded allegations from drilling opponents has been relentless.  He adds, the Obama Administration ignores its own study by moving forward on new regulations that threaten to undo the progress that hydraulic fracturing has made.  Bishop adds the multitude of regulations are a “threat to American entrepreneurs, their innovation and future energy potential. Hydraulic fracturing, directional drilling and the range of other new technologies are highly sophisticated inventions that are the envy of the world, but these policies undermine these technologies, ban producers from developing the offshore and drive them away from developing America’s resource-rich federal lands. The loss of production leads to lost revenue for the Treasury, weakens our economy and diminishes our newfound energy leadership on the world stage.”

 

PTC, Extenders Pass Senate Panel – The Senate Finance Committee passed expired energy tax credits and advanced a package of tax extenders last week.   The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates extending the roughly 54 tax provisions will result in a revenue loss of $95 billion over ten years.  The mark passed, with two amendments being adopted, by a vote of 23-3. There were roughly 31 provisions for business, 13 for energy, and the remainder were primarily for individuals. One of the two amendments that were adopted was the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform Act, which essentially  shifts the beneficiary of the credit from the blender of biodiesel to the producer.  The other amendment gives relief to homeowners whose mortgage has been discharged by clarifying that so long as an arrangement entered into and in writing before 2017 will qualify for the benefit.  An interesting side note to this markup is that the 2013 expired tax credit for electric motorcycles was revived even though it was not extended in 2014.  Also, one of the House passed highway bill payfors – the mortgage reporting – was included as a payfor for the amendments that were adopted. This might lead to some accounting gimmickry.   As the highway bill is taking much of the time left on the Senate calendar, it appears the Senate will turn to extenders after the August recess. Some of the delay may be due to figuring out how the House will address extenders.  The House has passed a small number of certain tax extenders on a piecemeal basis and has made them permanent.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu, a former Senate Finance staffer himself, can speak to any issues that you may have On the subject.  You can reach him at 202-828-5806.

 

MS Rejects EPA Rule – Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant joined a growing list of Governors who are exercising their right to reject the EPA’s carbon regulations, which would cripple America’s existing fleet of coal-fired power plants. In a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy, Governor Bryant cited cost increases for his citizens and threats to grid reliability among his chief concerns with the sweeping regulation. The governor stated, “we do not see how it will be possible to reasonably develop a State Implementation Plan, given the burdensome requirements of EPA’s proposal in its current form.”

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Nuclear Future – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and Nuclear Matters is holding a forum tonight on the future of the U.S. nuclear industry featuring former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh.  It faces significant uncertainty today – a perfect storm of economic and policy challenges brought on by the unintended consequences of market structure, government policies, and public perception. These factors challenge the potential of this reliable source of carbon-free energy and our Nation’s goal of energy security.  Bayh will explore these issues, discuss some of the approaches being undertaken in different states, and explain the important role that education and public engagement can play in shaping the future of the industry.

 

Wilson Center to Look at Arctic – The Wilson Center will hold a forum tomorrow exploring how human and economic capital can be developed in Arctic regions and how communities work with various levels of government, particularly when decisions made by sub-federal entities must rely on far-away federal capitals with varying degrees of knowledge of the Far North.  This event co-sponsored by the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, and Canada Institute and will feature speakers Anthony Speca of Polar Aspect (Nunavut), Alaska Governor Bill Walker advisor Craig Fleener, Anita Parlow of the Harvard-MIT Arctic Fisheries Project and David Biette of the Polar Initiative and Canada Institute.

 

Wilson Look at Latin America, Climate – Also tomorrow , Wilson will hold a forum on climate change adaptation and population dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The Latin America and Caribbean region is particularly vulnerable to some of the most challenging aspects of climate change—sea-level rise affecting coastal cities, changes in precipitation impacting agriculture, glacial melting threatening water reserves. Population trends—like migration and urbanization—can exacerbate these challenges or, in some cases, serve as methods of adaptation. Building resilience to climate change through adaptation efforts and women’s empowerment are key strategies for enabling continued development across the region in climate-uncertain times.  The Wilson Center has worked closely with USAID Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past two years to convene key stakeholders in the region and to explore promising tools in climate change adaptation through a series of seminars. On July 28, we bring to Washington top experts and policymakers from those seminars in Colombia, Barbados, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Peru, to further broaden the dialogue about climate adaptation and population dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean; and to encourage the development of new policy and programmatic tools that help countries of the region meet the financial, organizational, and political challenges that climate change presents.

 

Cap Hill Police, JPMA to Hold Car Seat Check – Tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association in conjunction with Capitol Hill Police and The Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department host a child Car seat check to ensure that children’s car seat are properly installed, increasing safety in event of a crash.  The check will be in the Senate Parking Lot Directly Across from Capitol Hill Police Headquarters at 119 D Street, NE.  Correctly used car seats can reduce the risk of death in the event of a car crash by as much as 71% but 73% of car seats are not installed or used correctly. JPMA and its member manufacturers in partnership with the U.S. Capitol Hill Police and The Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department will host a car seat check to work with parents and caregivers to ensure their child is riding in the right seat that it is installed correctly. In addition, the trained car seat technicians will inspect seats to ensure they are not recall or expired and supply parents with life-saving information when transporting children.

 

Senate Energy to Mark Up – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a business meeting to markup broad, bipartisan energy legislation released last week by Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell.  The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 is  They will also consider the nomination of Jonathan Elkind to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy.

 

Senate Banking Committee to Look at Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban – The Senate Committee on Banking will conduct a hearing tomorrow on lifting the crude oil export ban. The witness on Panel I will be Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.   The witnesses on Panel II will be Michèle Flournoy of the Center for a New American Security, WPX Energy’s Richard E. Muncrief, AEI’s Ben Zycher and United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard.

 

NJ to Host Upton – The National Journal and Fawn Johnson, National Journal’s domestic policy reporter will host an in-depth conversation tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. with House Energy & Commerce Chair Fred Upton.  The discussion will focus on the energy and commerce priorities for the committee— including a conversation about the possibility of a bipartisan energy bill this year. That measure would address energy production, regulatory issues, workforce development, energy efficiency and environmentally sound infrastructure upgrades. Other topics of discussion will include next steps for Obamacare, and transparency at the Federal Communications Commission.

 

House Energy Panel to Host Discussion on Ozone Impacts – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Energy and Power Subcommittee is hosting a roundtable discussion on the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed ozone rule on U.S. manufacturing and jobs.  Participants include Deer Park TX Mayor Jerry Mouton, Jr., Sevier County TN Mayor Larry Waters, Chris Norch of Denison Industries, PMI Energy Solutions CEO George A. Williams, Gregory L. Johnson of the Sherwin-Williams Company and our friend Joe Stanko.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Issues Running Up to Paris – On Wednesday at the Newseum, the Center for American Progress is hosting a policy forum presented by The New Republic will explore climate change on an international stage, will be an opportunity to meet and engage with a cross-section of climate change thinkers and leaders from government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector.  Special guest speaker will be White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.  Other participants include French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud, former Wall Street Journal reporter and Stanford Energy Center Scholar Jeffrey Ball,   Rachel Kyte World Bank Group, UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor and many more

 

House Oversight to Hit EPA – The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at EPA mismanagement issues.  Witnesses include EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, EPA equal employment opportunity officer Ronald Harris, EPA Superfund’s chief of enforcement services division Carolyn Bohlen, EPA senior supervisor Ross Tuttle, EPA enforcement attorney Karen Kellen, who is president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238.

 

House Science To Host NRC Chair On Licensing Process – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Wednesday reviewing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing process.  NRC Chair Stephen Burns will testify.

 

Resources Looks at ESA Implications of Climate Regs – The House Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at how its regulations may affect endangered species.  While other Administration witnesses will attend, no one from U.S. EPA will be there to answer lawmakers’ questions as to whether they largely disregarded the Endangered Species Act.  Michael Bean, Department of the Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, and Samuel Rauch, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs will testify.

 

Co-Ops to Highlight Renewables – EESI and NRECA will hold a briefing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. featuring rural electric cooperatives which are taking significant action on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Member-owned, not-for-profit electric co-ops are typically smaller than investor-owned utilities, and they are less likely to have significant capital reserves or other resources to implement clean energy programs. But their small size and strong relationships with their member-consumers allow co-ops to be nimble and innovative, particularly with programs directly involving co-op members. As a result, many electric co-ops around the country have become successful clean energy laboratories.  The briefing will feature Great River Energy Gary Connett and Roanoke Electric CEO Curtis Wynn (G&T) co-ops discussing their clean energy innovations, including community solar programs, demand response initiatives, energy efficiency financing, and more.  Other speakers will include MN Sen. and Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus co-chair Amy Klobuchar, Kenneth Colburn of the New Hampshire Electric Coop and NRECA’s Martin Lowery.   Speakers will describe the impacts and challenges of each strategy, and why these strategies work for their members.   NRECA found that co-ops had 95 megawatts of solar capacity online in 34 states as of October 2014, with another 144 megawatts in development. EESI has identified at least 50 co-ops in 23 states offering residential on-bill financing programs, where members repay their co-op for energy project investments via their utility bills, often using the savings achieved by the project. While many older programs targeted heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) replacements, newer programs include broad energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Abundance, Strengthening U.S. Leadership – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday looking at US energy issues and its impact on global leadership.  The forum will feature Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Mark Warner as they launch the task force report: Empowering America: How Energy Abundance Can Strengthen US Global Leadership.  Over the past few months, with the Senators as the Co-Chairs, the Atlantic Council convened foreign policy, defense, and energy experts to assess the foreign policy considerations of the US energy boom. The task force details the nature of our energy abundance, the importance of deploying our prowess in energy innovation and technology to others, and the ways in which we can pursue our responsibilities as a global leader on energy and the environment, while leveraging our supply abundance at the same time. It unequivocally determines that America must embrace this new tool to advance our global leadership on trade and security.

 

House Science Panels Look at Power Supply Vulnerabilities – The House Science Committee’s panels on Oversight and Energy will hold a joint hearing on Thursday examining vulnerabilities of America’s power supply. Witnesses will include EPRI’s Richard Lordan, Nadya Bartol of the Utilities Telecom Council, University of Colorado-Boulder Space Sciences Chair Daniel Baker and Hamerschlag and Carnegie Mellon University Electrical Engineering Professor M. Granger Morgan.

 

Forum to Look at China, Investments in US Energy – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on Chinese direct investments in the US energy sector.  Despite China’s slowing domestic economic growth, global foreign direct investment (FDI) by Chinese companies increased 14 percent in the first half of this year. Here in the United States, many of those investments are fueling new U.S. clean energy projects in solar, wind, battery storage, and other emerging clean-tech sectors. When channeled correctly these investments can be a boon for the U.S. energy economy.  Melanie Hart (Center for American Progress) will discuss how removing obstacles to inbound direct investment from China and other nations could play a critical role in helping to maintain and upgrade U.S. energy infrastructure, reduce carbon pollution, and lower energy costs. Damien Ma (Paulson Institute) will discuss recent case studies that examine the successes and failures of specific Chinese investments into the U.S., highlighting how states and municipal governments could devise better strategies to increase and benefit from Chinese FDI. Derek Scissors (American Enterprise Institute)—who created the China Global Investment Tracker—will discuss the broader investment trends of Chinese companies and examine the growing diversification of their energy investments.

Webinar on “Industrial Energy Efficiency, CPP – On Friday at Noon, efficiency advocates will host a webinar on how industrial energy efficiency can make manufacturers more competitive, enhance electric reliability, and reduce emissions.  It will look at NACAA’s Menu of Options, ACEEE’s State and Utility Pollution Reduction (SUPR) Calculator, compliance templates, and State 111 (d) Resource Hub and the CHP Pathway report produced for the American Gas Association, American Chemistry Council, and American Forest & Paper Association

 

Energy Prize to Be Announced – SAFE, The InterTech Group, Clemson University and CNBC will announce the winners of the 2015 Energy Security Prize on Friday , celebrating companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  The awards event will feature live broadcast pitches with each of the three Energy Security Prize finalists and CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Power Lunch, with the announcement of the $125,000 grand prize winner made on-air toward the end of the program. Attendees will also hear from speakers and leaders in the fields of business, policy, and national security, including General T. Michael Moseley, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Anita Zucker, Chair and CEO of The InterTech Group, Larry Kellerman, Managing Partner of Twenty First Century Utilities, and senior executives from Proterra, GE, Michelin, Siemens and Versa, a Battelle company.  This year’s Prize is powered by Charleston’s very own The InterTech Group in memory of its Founder, Jerry Zucker.  Four semifinalists from across the country are in the running for the first-place prize of $125,000, the second-place prize of $35,000 and the third-place price of $15,000. These semifinalists include 1) FreeWire Technologies’ Mobi electric vehicle (EV) charger helps eliminate the “charge rage” facing areas with high EV adoption and insufficient charging capacity; 2) Momentum Dynamics high-power wireless charging system delivers energy to electric vehicles via induction ten times faster than plug-in chargers and can help accelerate consumer EV adoption; 3) Peloton Technology’s wireless communications system and cloud-based management links sensors and braking between pairs of trucks to provide dramatic aerodynamic fuel savings and increased safety and 4) SeaChange Group’s patented Eco-Hybrid fuel uses glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production, to reduce emissions in diesel engines and costs for maritime vessels and off-road equipment.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Press Club Newsmaker to Host IAEA, Iran Insiders on Nuke Deal – The National Press Club Newsmakers will host a news conference next Monday that will discuss the Iran Nuclear Deal and its impact on regional security, nuclear weapons verification challenges and its impact inside Iran.  My panel will feature widely-respected nuclear inspector Dr. Olli Heinonen of Harvard’s Belfer Center, who served as deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Commander Kirk Lippold, Commander of the USS Cole which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000; and Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the U.S. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, who first exposed the major nuclear sites of Iran in Natanz and Arak in 2002, and is the author of The Iran Threat.  It will be a great event and I want a good turnout so please plan to come.

 

Senate Energy to Look at Nuclear Issues – On August 4th the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and related legislation.

 

WCEE to Host Former EPA Fuels Expert – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum on Wednesday, August 5th at Noon combating climate change with cleaner, smarter cars that will feature Margo Oge, former Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at EPA.  Oge served at EPA for 32 years, the last 18 of which she directed the Office of Transportation Air Quality and recently wrote a book: Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars, which envisions a future of clean, intelligent vehicles with lighter frames and alternative power trains, such as plug in electric and fuel cell vehicles that produce zero emissions and average 100+ mpg. Oge will also provide the ultimate insider’s account of the partnership between federal agencies, California and car manufacturers that led to President Obama’s historic 2012 deal targeting greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Alberta Govt, Oil/Gas – On Thursday, August 6th at 12:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum on the future of oil and gas development in the Alberta. The New Democratic Party’s stunning election victory in Alberta this spring has added another wrinkle to the already tumultuous story of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, year in energy. This seismic change in Canada’s political landscape could signal drastic changes for energy production in Alberta and the upcoming federal election.  The Canada Institute holds their second Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) Policy Roundtable with David Docherty, PhD, President of Mount Royal College, to discuss the recent trends in Canadian and Alberta politics, their effect on energy producers, and look ahead to the election in the fall.

 

MD Climate Commission to Hold Public Hearing – The Maryland Climate Commission will meet on Thursday August 6th in Largo, MD to get public input on Maryland’s Climate Action Plan. This plan, required by Maryland’s 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, contains over 150 programs and policies designed to slash statewide global warming pollution by 25% by 2020. The commission, made up of elected officials, advocates, and heads of state agencies, is charged with reporting on our state’s progress to date and making recommendations about next steps.  The hearing, one of five taking place across the state, is an opportunity to shape the Climate Commission’s final recommendations — which will go to the Governor and the General Assembly before the next legislative session.

 

Texas EnviroSuperconference Set – The 27th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday – August 6th and 7th  in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. This year’s theme is clichés and the conference is fittingly entitled “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread”; each topic has an appropriate cliché assigned to it.   Speakers include, from the federal government, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, EPA Principal Deputy Administrator Larry Starfield, and EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator Ron Curry, and, from the state, Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioner Toby Baker, Texas Parks & Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith, and the Governor’s Senior Legislative Advisor, Ashley Morgan, as well as other distinguished representatives from the public and private sectors, including Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune.  Bracewell’s Rich Alonso and Tim Wilkins will also be speaking.

 

CSIS Forum Looks at Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program to discuss the future of Russian gas exports.  Speakers will include Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and CSIS expert Ed Chow.

 

August Recess – The House is expected to be Out this Wednesday, but the Senate is likely to remain in until August 6th. 

 

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

Giuliani to Address Shale Insight – The 2015 Shale Insight Conference will be held in Philadelphia on September 16th & 17th Over the past five years, the conference has built a reputation for strong programmatic content, including an impressive speaker roster of nearly 100 industry experts, political figures and concurrent technical and public affairs session panelists who share their expertise.  Attendees at the 2015 conference will hear from featured presenters, including: Hon. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and former mayor of New York City, as well as Robert Bryce, journalist, author and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

 

DOE’s Solar Decathlon Set – The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient, solar-powered houses—will open October 8 in Irvine, California.  Sixteen collegiate teams involving more than 2,000 students from 27 schools are deep into construction, assembling their innovative houses on or near their campuses. In less than three months, the students will transport and open those houses to the public in the Solar Decathlon village, where they’ll demonstrate just how affordable, attractive and comfortable these zero-energy homes—homes that are so efficient that a solar energy system can offset all or most of their energy consumption—have become.