Holiday Energy Update

Friends,

So it finally is the week of the Christmas Holiday.  I suspect that means it will slow down a little.  (I hope, although it hasn’t yet as of Noon today…)  In the meantime, we await the last major cabinet announcement from President-Elect Trump: USDA Secretary.  The leading candidate in the rumor mill is North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who has been in line with Trump positions and very strong on energy and ag issues.  Remember, the NRECA should be one of your primary calls when the USDA announcement is made.

As well, we are starting to see significant discussion about the Republican tax overhaul plan that features a border adjustment plan.  A  pair of new studies over the weekend from PIRA and the Brattle Group say the border adjustment would amount to a $10-a-barrel tax on imported crude oil, raising costs for drivers buying gasoline by 25 to 30 cents a gallon.  Our man in tax Havana, Curt Beaulieu is all over the issue and can be a huge help on the impacts.  You can reach Curt at 202-828-5806 or curtis.beaulieu@bracewelllaw.com.

As we move through the holidays, we fully expect to hear rumbles from opponents of the energy and environmental cabinet nominees.  We are happy to be your story sounding board, addressing your questions, providing background and offering assistance to get the full picture on these issues.

As for the holidays, we will be around and available should you need a comment or want to just catch up.  Please feel free to call.

Important news on the offshore wind front: Late Friday, our friends at Statoil were declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York.  I have more details below.

Secondly, we know Metallica will be touring in 2017 with their new “kick-a–“ album Hardwired to Self-Destruct. But you may not have heard last week that “Live,” the soulful 90s band from York, PA, has resolved its legal conflicts and will reunite for new music and a 2017 tour.  More as we hear on both.

Special birthday wishes to our friend John Walke of NRDC, an avid update reader and Twitter/Facebook commenter.  I want to say 49, but that’s what we all say when we get there…

And finally, congrats to long-time White House and congressional advisor Richard Russell who was named today by new Senate EPW Chair John Barrasso to be Republican staff director of the Committee.

As you know, every year, before Christmas, I do a Christmas Note filled with holiday cheer and some good quips…so , here we go:

 

It is the week of Christmas and all through DC; we’ll have a new President, Congress and direction come January.

New appointees for Energy, State, Interior, EPA; enviros using same talking points for each, every day.

The energy boom will return under this new group, as the Obama (Enviros) agenda and policies fly the coop.

Who really knows where a President Trump will go, but thanks to pollsters and predictors, no of us thought we need to know.

One thing is clear, we are heading a new way.  New people, new politics, new tweets each and every day.

Oh yes, the President will continue to use 3 AM twitter, his social media craziness is making us all very bitter.

So as we wrap another crazy political and energy year, I hope you will take a few minutes to share…

Some fun, peace and joy… and more holiday cheer, mostly because it really is the best time of year.

We’re always working hard to be there for you; interviews, sources, background – something is always new.

So as you settle in for the holidays during this week and next; The Winter Classic, some football, some well-deserved rest.

From Our Bracewell family to yours, have a great holiday season; Can’t wait to make next year even better for whatever reason.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We are excited to have submitted the most competitive bid in a highly attractive project, Statoil’s first offshore wind lease in the United States. We now look forward to working with New York’s state agencies and contributing to New York meeting its future energy needs by applying our offshore experience and engineering expertise.”

Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, following Statoil being named the winner of Friday’s NY Offshore Wind Auction

 

IN THE NEWS

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.

U.S. Energy Security Continues Marked Improvement According Chamber Analysis – The Chamber’s Energy Institute said America’s energy security is at its strongest point in two decades.  The U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk employs 37 different energy security metrics in four major areas of risk: geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental. A lower Index score indicates a lower level of risk. The 7th annual edition of the Index covers 1970-2040 and incorporates the latest historical data and forecast models. In 2015—the most recent year available—risk dropped 3 points, to 78.0, the lowest level since 1996. The biggest improvements within the Index were in areas related to measures of oil and natural gas sector, such as imports, import expenditures, and oil prices, and to energy efficiency. Despite slumping prices, domestic crude oil output still increased by over 7%, though that increase is off the pace of previous years. Natural gas production achieved a record high, with a 5% increase in 2015.  However, despite the overall good news, there were still some warning signs. Crude oil price volatility rose significantly, driven by the desire of some large producing countries  to capture greater market share by driving prices down sharply. Rapid shifts in prices in either direction—volatility—can create unstable market conditions that increase energy security risks. In addition, electricity capacity margins—the amount of unused power capacity—have declined, increasing the vulnerability of America’s electric grid in the event of a disruption. The Index and its companion, the International Energy Security Risk Index, are available at www.energyxxi.org/energysecurity. The U.S. Index is once again available in an online, interactive web tool format, which makes it easy to see how various metrics change from year to year.

Study Says Republican Border Tax Proposal Will Increase Gas Prices – A new study on an obscure Republican tax proposal to impose a border-adjustment to limit eliminate companies’ incentives to move their headquarters overseas would have costly impact on refinery operations.  By eliminating the tax deductibility of imports, the border adjustment would raise costs for refiners that import oil. In turn, that could raise prices for consumers. The border adjustment would amount to a $10-a-barrel tax on imported crude oil, raising costs for drivers buying gasoline by up to 25 cents a gallon, the energy analyst group PIRA Energy Group warned this week. The report warned of a “potential huge impact across the petroleum industry,” even while noting that the tax reform plan faces many obstacles to passage.  As mentioned earlier, my colleague and former Senate Finance Tax Counsel Curt Beaulieu Ii all over the details.

AGs Call for Plan to Withdraw from CPP – West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey and Texas AG Ken Paxton led a 24-state coalition urging President-elect Donald Trump and congressional leaders to withdraw President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan and take the necessary steps to ensure similar or more extreme proposals never again take shape.  The bipartisan letter – addressed Wednesday to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate President Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan – suggests a four-point strategy that begins with President-elect Trump rescinding his predecessor’s Climate Action Plan on day one.  The coalition suggests President-elect Trump follow with formal administrative action to withdraw the Power Plan and related matters in court. Such action will properly effectuate the rule’s withdrawal, while negotiating an end to pending litigation.  Finally, the coalition recommends Congress take longer-term legislative action. The proposed legislative fix aims to prevent any future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from drafting similarly unlawful and/or more extreme rules. The coalition suggests the new White House work with Congress to adopt such legislation.

Deepwater Wind Projects Starts Operation – The nation’s first offshore wind farm has opened off the coast of Rhode Island, producing energy for the grid. Deepwater Wind built five turbines 3 miles off Block Island to power about 17,000 homes, a project costing about $300 million. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski calls the opening a momentous occasion that unlocks the code of how to do offshore wind in the U.S. at a crucial time when states are trying to figure out how to replace aging power plants.

EIA Report Says Reserves Declined – EIA said last week that U.S. crude oil proved reserves declined 4.7 billion barrels (11.8%) from their year-end 2014 level to 35.2 billion barrels at year-end 2015, according to U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015. U.S. natural gas proved reserves decreased 64.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), a 16.6% decline, reducing the U.S. total to 324.3 Tcf at year-end 2015.  The significant reduction in the average price of both oil and natural gas between 2014 and 2015 resulted in more challenging economic and operating conditions, an important factor in determining proved reserves. These price developments, reflected in a nearly 50% decline in average West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot prices (from $95 per barrel in 2014 to $50 per barrel in 2015) and a more than 40% decline in the natural gas spot price at the Louisiana Henry Hub (from $4.55 per million Btu in 2014 to $2.62 per million Btu in 2015) led to reduced drilling activity and downward revisions in proved reserves across a broad range of U.S. producers in 2015.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electoral College Vote – December 19th

Brookings Panel Looks Climate, Energy Security with Japan – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a distinguished panel of climate policy experts from the United States and Japan to address critical issues for the future of the climate agenda and U.S.-Japan relations. What does the nature of the Paris commitments mean for the task of implementation? What kind of domestic transformation is required in each country, e.g., what are the choices to be made in energy policy? And how can Japan and the United States collaborate on innovation efforts to move away from carbon dependent-economies?  Panelists will include our friend David Victor and other Japanese and US climate and energy security experts, as well as Atsuyuki Oike, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America.

 

IN THE FUTURE

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 January 5th in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.

State of Oil, Gas Event Slated – API will host its annual State of the Oil & Gas industry event in early January.  More on this as it becomes available.

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.

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.

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.

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 June 13

Friends,

We start this week by thinking of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.

Well, the long hockey season has come to an end with Pittsburgh’s victory in San Jose last night.  It is the Pens 4th Stanley Cup and Steel City can now celebrate.  Next up, Golden State looks to finish LeBron James and Cleveland tonight to complete back to back NBA titles.  And the Penguins weren’t the only winners last night as Hamilton collected 11 wins at the Tony awards.

The Belmont also provided some excitement on Saturday, but not the kind of excitement I was hoping for as favorite Exaggerator fell way back and blew up my superfecta.  I did manage to win a flyer on Creator, paying out at 34.80, so I was about even.  The mile-and-a-half at Belmont is always the toughest test and it showed its teeth on Saturday.

The Big News TODAY:  Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson has been named NRECA’s new CEO.  Matheson, a Democrat who served in the House from 2001 to 2015, was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.

Three weeks to go in the official Congressional calendar and lots to do.  The Interior funding bill takes up most of the time this week, while Senate Energy will look at pipeline issues with our Friend Andy Black and others. Also tomorrow, Senate Finance will discuss Tax extenders with the Chamber Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert testifying.

This week, EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday to finalize its report on EPA’s SDWA natgas water report.  Opponents had complained that EPA’s initial finding was too vague when they said there has been “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracturing.  WCEE hold events on energy security innovations (tomorrow) and international development leadership (Wed) and Carnegie host forums on driverless cars (tomorrow) and Oil prices and climate (Th).

Two other reports this week should shed some light on where energy markets are going amid low oil prices and aggressive climate policies. BP’s group chief economist Spencer Dale discusses this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy tomorrow morning and in the afternoon, Statoil’s chief economist Eirik Waerness will discuss energy perspectives for 2016 at CSIS.

Finally, as some of you may know, my colleague Scott Segal is finally getting hitched this weekend.  It is a great and important day.  In true fashion, I thought you might like reading this fun piece from today’s Washington Post’s Reliable Source that details the big event.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“”There’s bipartisanship on this issue, and the bipartisanship is in opposition to a carbon tax”

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, following Friday’s 237-163 House vote opposing a carbon tax.

“Jim Matheson will bring to the position a broad knowledge of the issues facing rural America and will be an inspirational leader for America’s Electric Cooperatives.”

NRECA member President Mel Coleman announcing former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will head the rural Co-Op trade group.

 

IN THE NEWS

Matheson to Head Rural Co-op Trade Group – The National Rural Electric Co-Op Assn (NRECA) said today that former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will be its next CEO.   Matheson is replacing former Missouri Rep. JoAnn Emerson who led NRECA for three years.   He will join the association and assume his duties as CEO in July.  Matheson, currently at Squire Patton Boggs, served in the House from 2001 to 2015 where he was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.  In addition to his extensive background in Congress and public policy, Matheson worked in the energy industry for several years.  He was a project development manager in the independent power industry. He worked at two consulting companies, including his own firm, providing services to large energy consumers.

AHRI Leads Reform Effort at House Panel – A Friday hearing in the House Energy subpanel questioned the continued effectiveness of DOE energy efficiency programs.  While DOE’s efficiency program is one of the most successful energy savers in history, industry representatives who have lead the success are calling for major reforms to the 40-year-old law governing efficiency rules that they say are leading to standards that are not “economically justified.”  Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute President Stephen Yurek said Congress should require DOE to convene stakeholders to “discuss and recommend a new regulatory framework.”

Consumers Paying Price –  Yurek also said that “consumers are paying a heavy price, both in real monetary costs and in comfort and safety” because of the continuous cycle of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. “When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford,” he said, “they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all.” Yurek told subcommittee members that while the Clinton Administration issued six major efficiency rules over eight years, the current administration issued eight such rules in 2014 alone.   Citing several examples of rulemakings in which job losses were forecast, Yurek charged that “American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part because of ever more stringent efficiency regulations.”

Ohio Statesman Voinovich Passes – The nation lost a great leader when George V. Voinovich, a former two-term United States senator, two-term governor of Ohio and Cleveland mayor, died on Sunday in Cleveland at 79.  Voinovich was known for his ability to bring people together and preached frugality in his personal and public life, as well as occasionally bucked the Republican establishment.

House Opposes Carbon, Oil Tax – The House passed resolutions Friday opposing a carbon Tax and a tax on oil proposed by President Obama.  One of the resolutions would express a sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the American economy, and the other opposes President Obama’s budget proposal for a $10.25-per-barrel oil fee. Six Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in opposing a carbon tax, including Reps. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico voted “present.”

SCOTUS Leaves Mercury Rule – The Supreme Court will not restart EPA’s overhaul of the mercury pollution rule for power plants.  The SCOTUS remanded the rule saying it should have considered costs when it first decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate.  The court rejected a request from Michigan and other states to take up a new challenge without explanation.

BH: Higher Prices Bringing Rigs Back Online – New rig data from Baker Hughes shows that oil producers brought rigs online for a second straight week last week as prices hover around the $50-a-barrel mark.  Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. rose by 3 to 328, after 9 were added last week.  The move is a watch point for reaction to the rising oil price and when companies when companies would start bringing rigs back on line.

Connecting Grids Will Increase Emissions – A new study by the California Independent System Operator says carbon emissions would likely rise across the West if a proposal to merge California’s energy market with PacifiCorp goes forward.  But operators say coordinating energy grids is key to keeping costs down, enhancing reliability and helping states meet clean energy requirements. An initial feasibility study found merging western grids could save customers almost $9 billion over the next 20 years.  Politicians like Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead worry the plan could allow California to import its policies of getting at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation.  As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.

Senate Finance to Look at Extra Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on tax extenders and existing tax credits.  Witnesses will include our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, as well as AEI’s Benjamin Zycher, Bulk Handling Systems CEO Steve Miller and Susan Kennedy, CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

Panels to Mark Up Interior Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a business meeting tomorrow to 9:30 a.m. to markup an original bill entitled, “Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2017.  On Wednesday, the full House Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Bill.

Senate Energy to Look at Pipeline Challenges – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine oil and gas pipeline infrastructure and the economic, safety, environmental, permitting, construction, and maintenance considerations associated with that infrastructure.  Witnesses will Include Andy Black of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Sean McGarvey of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, CRS’s Energy and Infrastructure specialist Paul Parfomak and EDF’s Jonathan Peress.

EPA SAB to Meet on Findings For NatGas Drilling – The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday in Alexandria, VA to finalize for submission comments which found that EPA’s SDWA fracking report was too vague in its assertion of no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracking.  This has been a controversial process but we’ll see where they land.

Forum to Look at Hydropower in Myanmar – The Stimson Center will host a case study forum on hydropower in Myanmar tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with WWF and the University of Manchester, demonstrated a system-scale planning framework that was applied in Myanmar and could be replicated worldwide, called Hydropower by Design, which seeks to compare alternative development scenarios upfront and identify those scenarios that can most effectively balance energy development with the protection of other social and environmental resources for better hydropower planning. The Stimson Center invites you to join us for a discussion. TNC’s Jeff Opperman, Director and Lead Scientist of the Great Rivers Program will discuss the Hydropower by Design approach as it was applied in Myanmar as well as the results and lessons learned from that effort. In addition, Jorge Gastelumendi, Policy Innovation Lead at TNC, will discuss the opportunity for innovative financial mechanisms that have the potential to enable and encourage this better, system-scale planning approach for hydropower. The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program Director Richard Cronin will moderate and provide discussion on the opportunities and challenges in applying the Hydropower by Design approach to a transnational river like the Mekong.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation tomorrow at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.  Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.

WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water.  Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.  BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.

Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.

Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion.  In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms.  Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.

BP Stat Review Set – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 with Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist for BP.  Global energy markets have entered a period of accelerating volatility. The US shale revolution has upended global oil and gas markets. Alternative energy sources are bourgeoning, and climate policies are reshaping energy systems. Dale will present key trends and findings from the 2016 Statistical Review. Following his presentation, Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center, will lead a moderated discussion.

House Science Looks at Solar Fuels, Storage – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing on Wednesday looking at innovation in solar fuels, electricity storage and advanced materials.  Witnesses will include Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, Daniel Scherson of Case Western Reserve University, Collin Broholm of Johns Hopkins University and Daniel Hallinan of Florida A&M University.

Carnegie to Release Report on Oil, Climate Issues – On Wednesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will release its new report, Smart-Tax: Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate. For the first time, it is possible to estimate the value and profile of GHG emissions from oils throughout their supply chain using an Oil-Climate Index. This allows for the replacement of blunt tax designs with a smart tax that captures oil’s total emissions with minimal economic cost and maximum efficiency.  The release of the report will be followed by a panel discussion about a smart-tax design, why U.S.—and North American—involvement will be critical, and why national policymaking must catch up to the new realities of today’s oil landscape.  Speakers will include Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, former Idaho Rep. Walter Minnick of the Partnership for Responsible Growth and Deborah Gordon, director of Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program.

WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world.  Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.

McKinley, Welch Headline Briefing For High Performance Buildings – On Wednesday at noon, as part of High Performance Building Week, there will be a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill featuring Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch.  Around the country States and cities are calling for high performance green residential and commercial buildings. But what exactly are high performance buildings, why is there a demand, what tools are available to meet this demand, what challenges exist, and how can Congress help? Join us for a fast-paced series of presentations from experts on cutting-edge trends in the building industry.  Other presentations include NASEO’s Todd Sims, Kara Saul Rinaldi of the Home Performance Coalition and Efficiency First, NAHB’s John Barrows and Lawrence Schoen, Vice Chair of ASHRAEO’s Standing Standard Project Committee.

Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400.  Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.

Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market.  He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.

USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2.  The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C.  Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology.  Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th.  The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts.  Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.

RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers.  In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program.  Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

July 4th Holiday

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st.  The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.

Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.

Energy Update: Week of March 14

Friends,

After a couple weeks of preview, March Madness has finally arrived.  Top seeds are Kansas, UNC, Oregon and Virginia, who after losing the ACC final to UNC still managed to squeak by Big 10 Champion Michigan State.   Some key sleeper teams to watch include VCU, UNC-Wilmington (over Duke for you anti-Dukees), Gonzaga, Iowa and Hawaii. . Play-in games start tomorrow with Florida Gulf Coast/Fairleigh Dickinson and Vanderbilt/Wichita St.

Here are a couple of pool tips for you:

  1. Pay Attention to Current Form – Look for teams playing well in conference tourneys or down the stretch.
  2. Use Betting Odds to Your Advantage – Lines will often give you educated tips.
  3. Look For Unknown Stars – Star players can pull off major upsets when these stars catch fire on the right day. Look for those stars.
  4. Cream Rises to the Top – Pick occasional upsets in rounds 1&2, but strong teams to go deep.
  5. Home Cooking – Teams that land close to home (even at lower seeds) can be tough to beat.

Don’t sleep on the lower divisions as well.  DII is in the Elite 8 with two #1 seeds already knocked out, while DIII is already has a Final Four (Amherst MA, Benedictine IL, St. Thomas MN and Chris. Newport U VA).  The Women’s DI Bracket releases tonight.

Over the weekend, SXSW launched with its music and policy festival.  On Saturday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Barbara Bennett (President/COO of Paul Allen’s Vulcan) and NXP Semiconductors CEO Rick Clemmer announced seven finalists for DOT’s Smart City Challenge.  DOT has pledged up to $40 million to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.   The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA.  The rollout was at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase at the South by Southwest conference (SXSW).

Also, it is rodeo week in Houston, which is the world’s largest rodeo.  Only the top cowboys and cowgirls are invited to compete at RodeoHouston competing for more than $2 million in seven events: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping. Since the Show began in 1932, more than $400 million has been committed to Texas students.  The Show has presented more than 16,000 scholarships since the first scholarship was awarded in 1957.

In DC, Congress is running to the finish line for Easter/Spring break.  While the budget hearings roll on, there will be action on the GMO labeling legislation and there was some thought that the Senate Energy Bill may resurface on the Senate Floor toward the end of the week.  Unfortunately, the recent delays stem from offshore drilling questions from FL Sen. Bill Nelson.  Speaking of the offshore drilling, this may be the week (or maybe next) Interior’s most recent five-year drilling plan rolls out.  Look for a middle ground that stills allows drilling in most places (although at these prices probably won’t occur), but also restricts important/sensitive areas.  Other interesting hearings include a Sen. Commerce hearing tomorrow afternoon on autonomous (self-driving) vehicles, Senate Energy on natural resources controversies and Senate Enviro on WRDA.

It is the most busy week for the House Oversight Committee who will host two big hearings this week on the Flint, MI Water crisis with Flint officials tomorrow and MI Gov. Rick Snyder and EPA’s Gina McCarthy on Thursday.  Not to be outdone, other House Oversight panels will hold a Wednesday hearing investigating the RFS and tomorrow afternoon challenging OIRA Chief Howard Shelanski for a hearing to scrutinize his White House office, which is responsible for reviewing thousands of federal regulatory activities.

Also this week, both the HVAC industry and the ACORE will hold Policy Forums. AHRI’s Public Policy Symposium helps bring the HVACR industry together with key public officials to discuss important issues facing their industry.  ACORE forum will feature all parts of the renewable industry and will provide in-depth analyses of important policies and critical challenges the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the achievement of the nation’s COP21 commitments, and the policy signals and business models needed to drive continued market evolution and expansion.

Super Tuesday Part III tomorrow is all about Florida and Ohio…  It is been a little crazy on the election front (I think that’s all I’ll say!!) Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Proposes New Methane Rules for Existing Oil, Gas – EPA said last Thursday it propose regulations  for existing sources of methane from the oil and gas industry for the first time as part of the meeting between President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Next month, EPA will begin a formal process to compel energy companies to provide information about the methane emissions produced along a series of oil and gas activities, including production, transmission, processing and storage.  The EPA is already finishing a rule that would require oil and gas companies to upgrade equipment and search out methane leaks at new and modified wells.   As with the previous proposals to address methane, the new regulations to address existing wells are really unnecessary window dressing as industry is already reducing methane dramatically.  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.

What the Best Industry Methane Expert Says – My Bracewell colleague and O/G methane expert Sandra Snyder (202-828-5810) can be a big help on the issue.  On Thursday, she said she would also emphasize that even if industry is already taking these steps to capture and sell more product, the manpower to carry out the regulatory burdens is not insignificant.  “When companies own tens of thousands of wells, documentation and recordkeeping becomes a real issue.  A system is required to manage all of that information and additional training is required to ensure that recordkeeping is conducted properly.  Regulation might also reduce the methods available to achieve the desired results – reducing leaks.  For example, industry may prefer leak detection methods that are cheaper than EPA may adopt in its regulations (e.g., using soap bubbles rather than expensive IR cameras to detect leaks).  All of this imposes an additional strain on an industry that is struggling under low oil and gas prices.”

Who’s Really Responsible for Methane – A new study in the Journal of Science says agriculture, not the oil and gas boom, is responsible for spiking methane levels.  The study says policymakers might make more progress on global warming if they focus on curbing emissions from agriculture or animal husbandry, primarily in the tropics.  Lead author Hinrich Schaefer, an atmospheric scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington, New Zealand, said “we have to find ways to reduce methane emissions from rice agriculture, beef and dairy farming while still feeding the world’s population if we want to mitigate climate change.” Scientists have been trying to identify the source of the methane, a challenging task because there are so many potential sources. Anaerobic bacteria in wetlands decompose vegetation and release methane. The gas also escapes from cows and manure lagoons on dairy farms, from submerged rice fields and finally, from coal and oil fields.

Arkansas Puts Pen Down on GHG Plan – Arkansas last week became the 19th state to halt planning activities related to potential compliance with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  According to our friends at E&E News, who are monitoring the action on the Power Plan Hub, that brings the tally to 19 states suspending, 19 states continuing and nine states assessing whether to move forward with the rule to curb emissions from power plants. See the full breakdown here.

DOT’s Foxx Announces 7 Finalist Cities for Smart City Challenge – Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, announced seven finalists for the DOT’s Smart City Challenge.  DOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.  The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA. Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives of the seven city finalists, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales for the announcement at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held during the South by Southwest conference (SXSW). SAFE is Vulcan’s implementation partner in the project.

State Sends $500M to Green Climate Fund – The State Department announced that Obama administration has paid $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, the international entity that helps developing countries deal with the effects of climate change.  The payment is the first in a multi-year $3 billion pledge to the fund from solidified in the Paris Meeting last year.  The GCF has long been a scourge to Republicans, who did not include any money for the fund in last year’s omnibus spending bill.   Democrats did successfully beat back a Republican efforts that would have prevented State from contributing to the fund.

Barrasso Hammers State Move – Sen. John Barrasso said the State Department GCF funding action violates the law.  At the State Department budget hearing, Barrasso said “what the president is doing here in this misuse of taxpayer dollars in complete violation of the law.” Barrasso said State violated the Antideficiency Act, which prevents federal employees from making expenditures in excess of what has been appropriated by Congress. He added that violation of the law “comes with criminal and civil penalties and I think you’re going to deal with that.”  Committee Chairman Bob Corker also chided State, arguing that the department’s decision to transfer to the money for the GCF “really breaks down trust.” Also hammering the move, American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle said President Obama continues to prioritize his political interests over the interests of the American people. “The administration intends to funnel hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into the U.N.’s climate slush fund while pursuing a domestic agenda that will raise energy costs and leave all Americans poorer.  By diverting this money with little to no transparency or clear authorization, the Obama Administration implicitly ignores even more pressing demands, such as help for those grappling with the aftermath of the EPA’s Animas River spill. With no more campaigns to run, the president is no longer accountable to the American people. That makes it even more important that Congress holds him accountable. After all, they hold the power of the purse. Now they must show they can use it.”

Oil Rigs Fallen To Lowest Level in Years – The oil-field services company Baker Hughes reported the number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the United States has fallen to the lowest level since at least the 1940s. Combined rigs in United States oil and gas fields fell by nine this week to 480, overwriting a previous record low of 488 in April 1999. Oil rigs alone fell for a 12th week in a row, and gas rigs fell to the lowest level since at least 1987.

AHRI Releases January 2016 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data –AHRI released its released its January U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data.  The industry data is aggregated from the information supplied by AHRI member companies that participate in the statistics program and can be subject to revision. Published year-to-date data is inclusive of all revisions.  For previous monthly shipment releases and historical data, please see http://www.ahrinet.org/statistics.

Residential Storage Water Heaters
U.S. shipments of residential gas storage water heaters for January 2016 decreased 14.2 percent to 353,708 units, down from 412,410 units shipped in January 2015. Residential electric storage water heater shipments decreased 21.1 percent in January 2016 to 321,065 units, down from 406,853 units shipped in January 2015.

1

Commercial Storage Water Heaters

Commercial gas storage water heater shipments decreased 10.8 percent in January 2016 to 7,125 units, down from 7,991 units shipped in January 2015. Commercial electric storage water heater shipments increased 30.3 percent in January 2016 to 7,196 units, up from 5,524 units shipped in January 2015.

2

Warm Air Furnaces
U.S. shipments of gas warm air furnaces for January 2016 increased 0.7 percent to 195,348 units, up from 194,057 units shipped in January 2015. Oil warm air furnace shipments increased 18.2 percent to 3,344 units in January 2016, up from 2,828 units shipped in January 2015.

34

Central Air Conditioners and Air-Source Heat Pumps
U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps totaled 424,102 units in January 2016, down 11.6 percent from 479,484 units shipped in January 2015. U.S. shipments of air conditioners decreased 10.7 percent to 257,616 units, down from 288,361 units shipped in January 2015. U.S. shipments of air-source heat pumps decreased 12.9 percent to 166,486 units, down from 191,123 units shipped in January 2015.

5

Former Marshall Institute Starts New Coalition – Last year, the Marshall Institute was split into two parts. The work on space, defense and intelligence was transferred to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The work on climate has been taken over by a new non-profit, educational organization, the CO2 Coalition.  So they established the CO2 Coalition last year as a 501(c)(3) for the purpose of educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the evidence showing that more CO2 in the atmosphere will be a net benefit to the world. Concerns about carbon dioxide being a “pollutant” are not valid. Climate change is proceeding very slowly and the likely increase in temperature for the 21st century is about 1 degree C or less.  The members of the CO2 Coalition include globally-recognized scientists, engineers and economists who are well informed about the technical and humanitarian details of climate science and its policy implications. The Coalition emphasizes two scientific reasons for its conclusions: (1) most climate models have predicted much more warming (a factor of 3 or more) than has been seen over the past decades; (2) current CO2 levels are far below optimum for the growth of many plants, including most trees, crops like wheat and soybeans, and many others. The views of the CO2 Coalition are summarized in the white paper, Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World, See for Yourself, available on our website www.CO2Coalition.org.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AHRI Public Policy Forum Set – The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) holds its annual Public Policy Forum tomorrow and Wednesday.  The 2016 Public Policy Symposium is designed to bring AHRI members together with key public officials to discuss important issues facing the HVACR and water heating industry. The two-day event provides participants with the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and Congressional staff on Capitol Hill, and with key officials in federal agencies. Near-miss Virginia Senate Candidate and former political operative Ed Gillespie will keynote the forum.

CQ Forum to Look at Ethanol – CQ Roll Call will host a policy briefing tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum looking at ethanol politics and policy. The event will bring together members of Congress, agriculture and energy policy experts, political scientists and industry stakeholders to discuss where we go from here on ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will keynote with an panel discussion moderated by our friend Ed Felker featuring Drake professor Anthony Gaughan, Northern Iowa politics professor Christopher Larimer, Iowa State economics professor David Swenson and Democratic consultant Paul Tewes.

Low Income Solar Guide Launched – GRID Alternatives, Vote Solar and Center for Social Inclusion tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. in 2168 Rayburn will  launch a new Low-Income Solar Policy Guide, a comprehensive guide to proven policies and program models that are successfully expanding access to solar power and solar jobs around the country. Learn about this exciting new online tool for policymakers and community leaders, and engage with a panel of national, state and local leaders who are at the forefront of solar access.  Opening remarks will be offered by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), while a panel discussion will featured Reps. Tony Cárdenas and Barbara Lee, as well as Dan Utech, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

Chamber Summit to Look at Competitiveness – The U.S. Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness holds the 10th Annual Capital Markets Summit tomorrow looking at the foundation of economic growth.  This year, the event will examine the current state of the capital markets, including how innovation is changing the landscape, and explore what changes are necessary to ensure these markets are modernized and well-regulated to ensure economic growth.

Forum to Look at Argentine Energy Issues – Inter-American Dialogue will host a forum tomorrow on the energy environment In Argentina.  The election of Argentina’s new president Mauricio Macri promises to bring important changes to the investment landscape for the country’s oil and gas industry. Within weeks of taking office, Macri slashed energy subsidies by raising electricity tariffs and lifted capital controls. He has vowed to negotiate more transparently with oil companies and has already reached agreements with many of Argentina’s creditors to improve the country’s access to international capital markets.  This discussion will address these questions with opening remarks by Ambassador of Argentina to the United States Martín Lousteau, followed by a panel of experts. The Inter-American Dialogue will also present our forthcoming report on shale regulation in the United States and Latin America.

IMPA Panel to Look at US Diesel Passenger Vehicle Market – In the lead-up to the 2016 New York International Auto Show, Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, and Alan Baum of Baum and Associates, will use the latest data, including sales and registration information and product launch calendars to provide the most current projections for the future of diesel passenger vehicles at the International Motor Press Association meeting in New York City. The event will be tomorrow at Noon in the 3 West Club in NYC.  The panel will discuss how government regulations – especially fuel economy regulations – will help or hinder the U.S. diesel market, and the different strategies automakers will be employing to meet the upcoming fuel economy standards.   The role of diesels in the passenger car sector and the pickup truck and SUV sectors will also be explored.

House Oversight to Hear from Gov Snyder, EPA’s McCarthy – The House Oversight Committee will host two hearings on the lead-poisoned water of Flint, Mich., featuring some of the top stars of the Flint drama. Tomorrow, the panel will hear from Darnell Earley, Flint’s former emergency manager, former Flint Mayor Dwayne Walling, former EPA Region 5 head Susan Hedman, and VA Tech’s Marc Edwards, who helped uncover the lead poisoning.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and MI Gov. Snyder will testify before the committee on Thursday.

Senate Energy Tackles Presidential Memo on Resources – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. to conduct oversight on the Presidential Memorandum issued on November 3, 2015 entitled, “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.”  Witnesses will include Michael Bean, Interior principal deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; Brian Ferebee, Forest Service associate deputy chief for the National Forest System; Sara Longan, executive director of the Office of Project Management and Permitting at Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources; Shaun Sims, president of the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts; Laura Skaer, executive director of the American Exploration and Mining Association; Doug Lashley, managing member of GreenVest LLC; and Lynn Scarlett, the Nature Conservancy’s global managing director.

Approps Panel Looks at EM Budget – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, will hold a budget hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. on DOE’s Environmental Management Program.  Witness will be Dr. Monica Regalbuto, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.

House Science Looks at EPA Regulation – The House Science panel on Oversight hold a hearing tomorrow on EPA’s latest regulatory overreach on amateur car enthusiasts/drivers.  Trade association SEMA says that EPA would effectively prohibit the conversion of regular cars into racing vehicles through a provision in proposed regulations mainly intended to improve fuel efficiency and curb greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks. Witnesses will include Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.); Christopher Kersting, CEO of the Specialty Equipment Market Association; Ralph Sheheen, National Speed Sports News president; and Brent Yacobucci, the Congressional Research Service’s energy and minerals research section manager.

House Oversight also Hosts OIRA Chief – The House Oversight Committee will also host OMB’s OIRA Chief Howard Shelanski tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. for a hearing to scrutinize the White House office responsible for reviewing thousands of federal regulatory activities.  Other witnesses include GAO’s Michelle Sager,  Richard Williams of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and American Action Forum director of regulatory policy Sam Batkins.

Senate Commerce Look at Self-Driving Cars – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. looking at the future of self-driving cars.  The hearing will explore advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and its anticipated benefits for Americans. Witnesses have been asked to testify on their continued efforts to develop automated vehicles, their views on the appropriate role of government in promoting innovation including removing unnecessary hurdles, and their strategy to grow consumer adoption of this new technology.  Witnesses include Google X Director Chris Urmson, GM’s Mike Ableson, Delphi Automotive’s Glen DeVos, Lyft’s Joseph Okpaku and Duke University Robotics lab Director Dr. Missy Cummings.   My friend Ellen Carey at SAFE is a good resource on this issue.  SAFE has an autonomous driving Task Force.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sustainability – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and EESI will host a briefing tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. exploring how shared mobility technology is transforming transportation services, and what impact this may have on public transportation. APTA sponsored a study examining who uses ride-sourcing services, when, and for what purposes. Research was conducted in seven U.S. cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.). The study’s findings and recommendations will be presented at the briefing and discussed.   Speakers for this forum are Valarie McCall of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, APTA CEO Michael Melaniphy, Transportation Mobility Policy Manager Andrew Satzberg and Lyft Director of Transportation Emily Castor.

Forum to Focus on Geothermal – EESI and the Geothermal Energy Association is hosting a briefing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 212-10 in the Capitol Visitors Center highlighting the state of the geothermal energy industry and its near-term prospects in the United States and in more than 80 other countries working to expand its use. With demand for clean energy accelerating around the globe, geothermal energy has major potential as a renewable resource that can provide power around-the-clock, complementing intermittent renewable power technologies. Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen, U.S. Geothermal President  Doug Glaspey and several others.

Wilson Center Forum to Look at Developing Country Support – On Wednesday, the Wilson Center will host a panel of experts from CIGI, ICCCAD, and United Nations University to discuss the current status and future of financing and insurance for combating climate-related loss and damage.  The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement focused on support for vulnerable countries in the face of looming climate-related “loss and damage.”

BCSE to Host Clean Energy Forum –The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will hold a Clean Energy Forum on Wednesday for its Members to look at the 2016 clean Energy Agenda.

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th Defense Renewables Summit tomorrow and Wednesday 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.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – The 2016 ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be on Wednesday and Thursday at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Senator Wyden, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will provide the Mid-Morning Keynote.  The event has a great line up including moderators Joe Desmond of Bightsource Energy, Greg Wetstone of ACORE and Dan Reicher, former DOE official and Google exec at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center.

House Science Looks at NOAA Budget – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on the budget proposal for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for NOAA for FY2017. NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan will testify.

House Oversight to Look at Ethanol, RFS – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittees on Interior and on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Witnesses will include EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality Director Christopher Grundler, John DeCicco of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, ActionAid USA’s Kelly Stone, Purdue University’s Wally Tyner and heritage policy analysis Nick Loris.

NAS to Look at Fuel Consumption on Trucks – The National Academies of Science’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences – Transportation Research Board will host a meeting on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at the Keck Center to assess technologies and approaches for reducing the fuel consumption of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.  Leading a discussion of new items in rulemaking docket will be James Tamm, Chief, Fuel Economy Division, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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 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. Over 36 countries will be represented at the Showcase. Represented countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, India, Belgium, Guatemala, Hungary, Uganda, Turkey, the Philippines, Fiji, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Burundi, St. Kitts, Kenya, Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, Qatar, Iceland, Taiwan, Albania, Nevis, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Burkina Faso, Vanuatu, Italy, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, and more.  Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen and Nevada Senator Dean Heller.

Forum to Look at Critical Infrastructure – Next Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association, the Secure the Grid Coalition and Homeland Security Today Magazine will hold a forum on critical infrastructure and a secure electric grid.  This symposium will explore the path from today’s vulnerabilities to tomorrow’s mitigations for the civilian electrical grid from major system failures and long-term power outages. How vulnerable are we to catastrophic level black outs? What does that mean for the major power consumers of the civilian electrical grid?  Homeland Security Today Magazine’s Editor and Chief Anthony Kimery will host a discussion with panelists that include President Bill Clinton’s former Director of Central Intelligence Ambassador James Woolsey, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, and several other experts.

Speaker to Address Hawaii to Renewable Energy – On Thursday at 11:45 a.m. in the National Press Club’s McClendon Room, Wharton DC Green Business Forum will host Pete May, President & CEO, Green Biz Group and in charge of VERGE Hawaii.  May will discuss moving Hawaii to 100% renewable energy by 2045.  May is President and Co-Founder of GreenBiz Group, the leading media and events company at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability. GreenBiz Group is the publisher of GreenBiz.com, the leading website for the business of sustainability, as well as the producer of leading events such as GreenBiz 16 and VERGE. We are fortunate to be having him, a very prominent speaker in the Green Energy field, speak on a special visit to the DC area.  In his presentation, May will describe the journey of GreenBiz Group in energy and sustainability the last ten years, the focus of VERGE, and the mission of VERGE Hawaii in helping the State of Hawaii arrive at their legislated mandate of 100% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2045.

Discussion to Focus on Electricity Industry – The Institute for Electric Innovation holds a discussion Thursday at 12:00 p.m. at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on key trends driving change in transforming the electric power industry.  The event will bring together a group of electric utility and technology company executives; policymakers; regulators; and other thought leaders for an afternoon of dialogue and discussion on the transformation of the electric utility industry. Our friend Bill Loveless is among the speakers.

Forum to Look at Ethanol, Advanced Biofuels – The Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) will host a panel discussion on Thursday at Noon exploring ideas to strengthen the RFS and speed the expansion of advanced and cellulosic biofuels.  Moderated by Harvard University’s Harold Hitchings Professor of Political Economy and a former member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, this forum will include diverse perspectives from the environmental and petroleum refining communities, plus representatives of advanced biofuel manufacturers.  Panelists will include the National Wildlife Federation’s Julie Sibbing, API’s Frank Macchiarola, Elizabeth Farina of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) and ABFA President Michael McAdams.

DC Bar Forum to Focus on Trade Deal Challenges – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., the D.C. Bar hosts a forum trade deal challenges and related items.  The challenges to the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline simultaneously in both US federal court and through the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) investment chapter raise issues as to how challenges to US regulatory actions might be handled in international arbitration and the future of new trade agreements. Our panel of experts will discuss the dual tracks chosen in the Keystone XL Pipeline context, and more generally the implications of such challenges under NAFTA and other trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Speakers will include Dan Magraw, School of Advanced International Studies, Center for Biological Diversity ‘s Bill Snape and Todd Weiler of the University of Western Ontario, London.

Forum to Look at Specialty Metals – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. featuring a discussion on the new resource challenges – specialty metals. Obscure resources we paid little attention to are increasingly playing critical roles as we switch to new energy sources, as high-tech proliferates globally, and as military technologies proliferate. A lack of understanding and production of these materials will limit their development and deployment of critical technologies.  Most notably, as the global community transitions from fossil fuels to clean energy, demand for rare metals will increase dramatically. Potential shortages and volatile prices will keep some technologies out of reach or limit the implementation of our most effective energy solutions.  And with Beijing allocating vast sums to produce and process these materials, geopolitical risks abound.  The panelists will explore this budding war over the periodic table by discussing what the geopolitical implications of rare metals are and hoe their production differs.  It will also look at international transparency and other production process issues.

American to Host Panel on Woman, Climate – On Thursday at 7:00 p.m., American University hosts a forum on how women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. This panel will focus on this gender imbalance and the role women play in combating climate change. The panel will also discuss the impact of climate change on girls’ education.  The panelists are Maggie Roth, Anisa Baldwin Metzger, and Rebecca Lefton. Lefton, Director of Policy and Research at Climate Advisors, specializes in international sustainable development. Baldwin Metzger is the School District Sustainability Manager at the US Green Building Council and was heavily involved in revitalizing schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Roth is a Communications Officer at the International Union for Conservation’s Global Gender Office and is committed to engaging the public in climate issues.

Forum to Look at China, Climate – The Wilson Center will host a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m.  China and climate issues after Paris.  At this meeting, speakers will discuss how the Paris Climate Agreement and China’s climate actions may be helping to put the brakes on carbon in China. Duncan Marsh (The Nature Conservancy) will examine the structure and nature of the Paris agreement and the role of the United States and China to help move it forward. Michael Davidson (MIT) will draw on his recent fieldwork examining grid operations in north China to discuss some of the obstacles in decarbonizing the country’s power sector. Joanna Lewis (Georgetown University) will discuss some options for China to improve its greenhouse gas MRV system to meet the country’s climate commitments.

Forum to Feature Specialty Metals Book Author – On Friday at Noon, the local chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host a lunch with David Abraham as he discusses how countries are lining up sides on the next geopolitical resource battle — specialty metals. Abraham is the author of “The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metals Age.”  The Economist said”…[Abraham] persuasively explains the danger of underestimating a business that, by one estimate, generates $4 billion of revenues a year and also plays a critical role in systems worth about $4 trillion. China, which develops more rare metals than any other country, understands the calculus. The West, his book suggests, does not.”

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum Looks at PR Energy Concerns – Next Monday, the American Security Project  will host a discussion on energy, economy, and security in Puerto Rico and how understanding the ongoing debt crisis through these lenses will strengthen our response.  Puerto Rico, America’s largest Caribbean territory, has long been an important U.S. geopolitical outpost and now finds itself on the verge of catastrophe under the weight of massive debt and a costly, inefficient energy supply. The impacts have triggered a large-scale resettlement to the U.S. mainland where gridlock has turned the Island’s future into a political hot potato rather than an issue of long-term strategic importance for U.S. national security.  As Congress recommits itself to a resolution, understanding the issues plaguing Puerto Rico through the lens of energy security and risk management offers opportunities to reverse the current trends, gain political support and address the future of 3.3 million U.S. citizens on the island.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Housing – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is holding a briefing on March 21st at 2:30 p.m. in 122 Cannon regarding energy efficient, “green” affordable housing and how it is improving health and safety in distressed communities while providing economic and environmental benefits to states. This is the second in a series of EESI briefings examining environmental justice as it relates to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This briefing will show how sustainable affordable housing can save money for low-income families and strengthen community resilience while serving as a CPP compliance strategy.  Speakers will showcase sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as a retrofit in Washington, DC, and will discuss the national movement to “green” affordable housing. The briefing will also feature the passive building retrofit of Weinberg Commons, a multifamily housing complex for low-income families in Southeast DC. The nation’s capital uses Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria as the baseline green building standard for its public and publicly-financed projects.

USEA to Look at Fossil Fuels – Next Monday, the US Energy Assn will host a forum on addressing fossil fuels. Scientists believe significant climate change is unavoidable without a drastic reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. However, few countries have implemented comprehensive policies that price this externality or devote serious resources to developing low-carbon energy sources. In many respects, the world is betting that we will greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels because we will run out of inexpensive fossil fuels (there will be decreases in supply) and/or technological advances will lead to the discovery of less-expensive low-carbon technologies (there will be decreases in demand). The historical record indicates that the supply of fossil fuels has consistently increased over time and that their relative price advantage over low-carbon energy sources has not declined substantially over time. Without robust efforts to correct the market failures around greenhouse gases, relying on supply and/or demand forces to limit greenhouse gas emissions is relying heavily on hope.  Thomas Covert, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago will speak.

Hudson Conference Looking at Shale Revolution – Next Tuesday, the Hudson Institute will host a conference examining how U.S. oil and natural gas exports have reshaped the balance of global energy power. Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, will discuss the geopolitics of energy and the outlook on Capitol Hill for expanding American global energy leadership through hydraulic fracturing. Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark P. Mills will keynote the conference, and four distinguished panels of experts will address the impact of the American shale revolution in different world regions.

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.

EEI to Host Leaders in Energy – The Edison Electric Institute hosts a panel of experts next Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. who will discuss and explore interesting questions related to the evolving Smart Grid and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) deployments that utilize unlicensed spectrum and its impact on energy efficiency.  Thought leaders from the utility, federal Smart Grid program, and telecommunications sectors will be at Leaders in Energy educational and professional networking event to explore issues related to the use of the unlicensed spectrum, advanced metering infrastructure communication platforms, and related Smart Meter applications in Smart Grid deployments to improve energy performance, benefit the environment, and services for utilities and customers.

Forum to Look at Energy Politics – The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy will host a special public panel discussion on Thursday March 24th to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in this presidential election year. Specifically, can Republicans, Democrats and Independents find common ground on the role of the federal government on these issues? If so, what are the most promising areas for bipartisan agreement?  The bipartisan panel will feature former Rep. and Carbon tax advocate Bob Inglis, former CO Gov. Bill Ritter, Theodore Roosevelt IV of Barclays Capital Corporation and former White House Climate official Heather Zichal.

Transmission Summit Set to Address Challenges – The 19th Annual Transmission Summit will be held on March 29-31 at the Washington Marriott Georgetown.  The event will feature senior executives from MISO, NYISO, PJM, SPP and ISO-NE, who will discuss their system needs and market changes, and representatives from such prominent transmission owners and developers as Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, Con Edison, DATC, Exelon Corp., LS Power Development LLC, National Grid, Xcel Energy and others will provide insights into their development plans and projects.

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord on Aril 4-6th.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

Rogers Headlines Clean Energy Challenge Forum – The Clean Energy Challenge is hold a conference in Chicago on April 12th featuring capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives to recognize cleantech innovation.  The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator for clean energy innovation. Run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, the Challenge has led to the development and growth of 60+ businesses throughout the Midwest.  Speakers will include former Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Ripple Foods CEO Adam Lowry.

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at The Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the Uncertainties of Shale Resource Development Under Low Price Environment.

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.

Pollution Agencies to Host Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ will hold its 2016 Spring Meeting on April 28th and 29th at the Columbia Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. The event will feature panels and presentations related to multipollutant planning, NOx controls, the Clean Power Plan, NAAQS implementation, Clean Air Act cost-benefit analysis, and legal updates.

Solar Summit Set For AZ – On May 11 and 12 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 9th annual Solar Summit will dive deep into a unique blend of research and economic market analysis from the GTM Research team and industry experts. This year’s agenda will feature themes from Latin America to BOS to the Global Solar Market.   DOE’s Lidija Sekaric and ERCOT’s Bill Magness lead a large group of speakers.

Energy Update: Week of January 11

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Issues In 2016

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of January 4

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
Top 10 Issues In 2016

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

The first night of Hanukah (seems early this year) was overshadowed last night by the Kennedy Center Honors award that feature some real music and Hollywood star power in DC.  With the latest rendition of Star Wars less than two weeks from theaters, George Lucas was praised for his contributions to all our childhood memories.  And December 7th also reminds us of our loss at Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941 that launched our participation in WW II.  Next year, it will be 75 years and starting today the National WWII Museum is raising awareness for events leading up to next year’s commemoration which features a weeklong tour and four-part symposium focusing on the event incidents leading up to that fateful day.  The events will include visits to historic sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, a private dinner on the deck of the USS Missouri and a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

It will remain busy this week in Washington and Paris.  In DC, Congress is negotiating a budget package while across the pond in France, the Administration’s top energy and environment officials are in Paris to highlight its carbon reduction pledges and press for a deal to address climate change.

We have a full report on Paris below after negotiators released the latest draft agreement for Ministers as they begin the final push.  The draft discusses provisions on climate finance, liability, carbon reductions, but still hasn’t been able to overcome concerns about temperature limits, the divide between developed nations and developing countries and whether it should be legally binding.

Here is DC, look for the budget deal making to hit high gear this week.  One of the key talking points is focused a possible swap to allow the crude oil export ban to be lifted.  Still a lot to do on this though and late last week, Kirk Lippold, the former Commander of the USS Cole (which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000) sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.

As for Committees, House Science goes into Biotech issues tomorrow, while Presidential candidate and Commerce panel Chair Senator Ted Cruz will chair a hearing on Climate change tomorrow afternoon.    Senate Energy looks in to terrorism and oil on Thursday.

Busy week…  I’m monitoring Paris closely (and have good resources on the ground) so let me know if you have questions or need sources.  Taking a break for the Detroit Red Wings and the Capitals tomorrow night.  STILL HAVE A TICKET OR TWO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME.  Let me know.

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

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PARIS CONTINUES ON

New Draft Text Out – Over the weekend, negotiators managed to submit a new draft text, which will now move onto the ministerial level for approving the final package. The new draft text includes a 21-page legally-binding “agreement,” a 22-page non-binding “decision” and a five-page “annex.” While to many the text is seen as a sign of progress, it does not meaningfully remedy the core issues facing negotiators. For example, the issues of climate financing, global temperature goals in centigrade, and long-term goals have yet been fully dealt with. Currently, the document contains more than 900 square brackets, used to note areas of considerable disagreement. “That’s how you can track progress in the negotiations — is where the brackets are,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. “All the difficult political issues remain unsolved, and will be solved by the ministers,” said Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s Climate Commissioner. “Next week is the week of compromise; it’s a difficult week,” he told a news conference. “Nothing has been decided and nothing will be left behind,” said French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. “This text marks the will of all to reach an agreement. We are not at the end of the route. Major political issues are yet to be resolved,” she warned. Others, including Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the chair of the influential G77 and China bloc of developing countries praised the text. She said on Twitter that she “welcomes that we now have a Party-driven negotiating text.”  Negotiators are due to reach a final accord on Friday, but the talks are widely expected to run into overtime, as previous summits have. A full copy of the draft text can be found on the UNFCCC website, available here.

Some Specific issues –

  • Finance – This will remain a controversial issues until the end, but it seems it will be divided into two or three options.  On the first point, the options are either to say that financial flows have to follow towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future depending on countries’ “sustainable development priorities and efforts to eradicate poverty,” or will be provided from wealthy countries on the U.N.’s Annex 2 list of OECD countries that were not deemed “economies in transition” in 1992.
  • Responsibilities –  The phrase first proposed by the U.S. and China in November 2014, “in the light of different national circumstances,” is still there at the beginning of the agreement, and the square brackets are now gone. The language is aimed at breaking down the rigid divide between the wealthy, who have traditionally shouldered the brunt of responsibility for climate change, and poorer countries that are still industrializing.
  • Loss, Damages – Developing countries would like to see the developed world – which emitted most of the CO2, historically – help them deal with damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. But while the U.S. and European Union are willing to pony up, they don’t want to expose themselves to massive legal liability. Delegates are arguing over two matters: 1) A plan to address losses and damages for both ‘extreme events’ and ‘slow onset events’ caused by climate change. Or 2) simply offer no reference to loss and damage, a position likely unacceptable to the G77.
  • 1.5 or 2 C degree – Still undecided (see more below on the island nations), there remains a large challenge over whether the temperature rise goal will be less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Those words are mentioned throughout the text.  There is also text requiring the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 or 2019 on the effects of a 1.5 degree temperature rise and the emissions cuts needed to reach that limit. Saudi Arabia blocked the inclusion of 1.5 degrees in yesterday’s discussion, saying it was in the interest of developing countries.  US lead Negotiator Todd Stern says today the limit will stay at 2C.
  • Intellectual Property – Still nothing on IP issues yet.  This remains a major problem in the tech transfer debate but still remains in flux.

How It Works – The French have really taken over the administration of the negotiations and lead official Laurent Fabius is running the show under a stern, precise schedule.  Our friends from POLITICO say negotiators have formed a committee (almost like the Committee of the Whole House when the House of Reps legislates) where much of the draft text will be negotiated.  While the Committee is meeting for the first time now, closed door meetings remain a constant.  Fabius has been clear that officials must be finalized by the weekend, trying to avoid the typical overtime sessions that these events often run into.  Finally, Fabius has also developed a team of 14 “facilitators” pairing negotiators from a developed and developing country, with each responsible for the central policy areas still in play.

 

EVENTS

Sen Dems In Paris – Speaking of Senators, Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Cory Booker (NJ) traveled to Paris over the weekend, returning today in time for Senate Budget action.  Led by Cardin, the delegation met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the U.S. negotiating team and delegates from other countries during their trip.

EPA, Energy Kerry In the House – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and Sect of State Kerry are all in Paris for the second week push.  McCarthy arrived on Saturday and will be in Paris through December 10, While in Paris, McCarthy will highlight the Obama administration’s new greenhouse gas rules for power plants. She’ll appear with Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s Energy and Climate Action commissioner for an event on the rule today.   Tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. EDT, Moniz will participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial on implementation and ambition beyond Paris, while at 6:45 a.m., McCarthy will hold a side event on EPA’s role in meeting the US climate action plan.  Finally, McCarthy will lead a White House CEQ side event on implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday at 7:15 a.m.

You can see news and each day’s agenda Here:  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/

You can watch live here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

Monday – Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference tonight at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary, Climate Hustle.

Tuesday – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will host a presser at 1:00 pm Paris time, Room 3 to issue a call to action to governments to create strong signals for clean energy investment in the Paris climate change agreement. Press conference participants will also discuss the actions taken by these companies and sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the speakers BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, Johnson Controls’ Clay Nester and Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar.  You can see live steam here.

Tuesday – Former VP and climate gadfly Al Gore delivers a slide presentation on the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis, La Loire, Blue Zone

Wednesday – Moniz, California Gov. Jerry Brown, UN official Christiana Figueres and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria will hold a side-event discussion on the future of energy.

Wednesday – OSTP Director John Holdren, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan discuss the climate and the Energy-Water-Food Nexus solving interdisciplinary problems with interdisciplinary solutions.

Wednesday –  EEI and the International Emissions Trading Association co-sponsor an event to highlight how utilities might use carbon trading markets to meet CPP targets.  Officials from PG&E, Calpine Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway will participate, and EPA air chief Janet McCabe will speak.

Thursday – Business leaders will hold a side event in Room 5 at 3:00 pm Paris time which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – on Friday, Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

NRECA Joins Event to Highlight Co-op Role – Yesterday, NRECA’s Martin Lowery joined cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.  At the event, leaders discussed the intrinsic qualities of co-operatives that allows them to be natural allies in fighting climate change, especially considering their long-term commitment, their resilience, and their capacity to simultaneously act on several levels. Firstly, co-operatives have long-term commitment. As they are not listed on the stock exchange, they are under no obligation to act according to their share price, nor are they dependent upon the opinions of analysts.  Naturally, to be commercially viable, they must be cost-efficient, but they are able to invest according to a broader horizon. They can consider the consequences of their actions for future generations, a determining skill when fighting climate change.  As businesses serving individuals and communities, co-operatives have proven their great resilience and their capacity to endure crises. In doing so, they contribute to stable economies. Their model can be adapted and used anywhere in the world.

Harbert Takes on Climate Issues – Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the Energy Institute, was on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show on Monday explaining why American consumers and businesses should be seriously concerned about the COP21 negotiations.  She outlined the consequences America will face if the Obama administration continues its push for an unrealistic and lopsided climate agreement, including:

  • How the Obama Administration is making promises it won’t be able to keep.
  • How a lopsided agreement would favor U.S. competitors and put America’s energy advantage at risk.
  • How some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, like China and India, get a free pass to emit as much as they want.
  • How the pledges countries have made will have no real impact on emissions.
  • How the Obama Administration will most likely commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions without advice or approval from Congress.

Chamber Launches Site to Monitor Talks – One way you can stay informed about how this conference is to visit the new Chamber  COP21 webpage to learn more about the conference, learn the Obama administrations’ plans, and get updates throughout the two-week meeting.   USCoC’s Steve Eule is headed to Paris and will be reporting.

Barrasso releases Senate Report – Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, released a new report entitled: Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015. The report outlines how President Obama plans to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. It also highlights how the president is undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris.

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

  • The president is forcing American taxpayers to pay for past economic success through his contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • The president and foreign nations in Paris plan to bypass Congress to reach a climate change deal, thus eliminating the voice of the American people who are opposed to his climate change policies.
  • The president is demonstrating failed leadership as he is making false promises to foreign countries about his capability to meet his greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • By undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris, the president is threatening jobs, industries and communities at home.  

11 Countries Still Haven’t Made Pledges – Only 11 countries, for varying reasons, have yet to submit their individual pledges for carbon emissions reductions at the international climate summit in Paris.

Nicaragua, which has a booming renewable energy sector, refused to submit a goal because the developed world needs to take “historic responsibility” and make deeper cuts than it has proposed so far.  Venezuela’s minister of eco-socialism, Guillermo Barreto, said his country is waiting to see what other countries promise before submitting a target.  Other countries that have not submitted goals include North Korea, which isn’t participating in the climate talks; Syria, which is gripped by civil war; Libya, which remains politically unstable; and Nepal, which usually plays a key role in climate negotiations but is recovering from this year’s devastating earthquake.  The other holdouts are Uzbekistan, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and East Timor, the only country of the 40 aided by the United Nations Development Program.

Bhutan is Biggest Pledge – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made the world’s most far-reaching climate promise to the Paris climate summit, according to the ‘carbon comparator’ tool developed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).  Almost three quarters of the mountainous nation is covered in forests, often watered by snowmelt rivers, and Bhutan has pledged to reforest its land even further. Last summer, it set a world record for the most trees planted in one hour – nearly 50,000.  The country is now an unparalleled carbon sink, absorbing three times more CO2 emissions than its 700,000 population produces, mostly through hydropower. A substantial portion of the country lacks access to the electricity grid, however.

Kerry Rolling Stone Interview – Some much for actually discussing music, Rolling Stone after featuring Al Gore, James Hansen and President Obama, have Now turned their praise to John  Kerry.  Kerry, in his infinite brilliance, says climate change is the fight of our times.   Here is the Jeff Goodell Interview.

UN Report Favors Renewables –A head-to-head U.N. Environment Program analysis comparing the environmental impacts of six power generation sources found that while no electricity fuel is benign, renewable resources such as wind and solar present a tiny fraction of the environmental downsides of coal and natural gas. The report found  that renewable energy produces only 5 to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions of comparably sized coal-fired power generation under a life-cycle scenario. Wind and solar fared similarly well against natural gas, producing only 8 to 10% of the greenhouse gases of comparable gas-fired power plants.  Other environmental damages — including impacts of water and mineral resources — were three to eight times lower for renewable energy resources than for fossil fuels based on a life-cycle evaluation, the analysis found. In addition to coal, natural gas, wind and solar, the analysis evaluated the impacts of hydropower and geothermal energy. It did not evaluate nuclear power.

Bill Gates Weighs in On Nuclear – One person was talking nuclear.  Following the big Breakthrough Coalition roll out, Bill Gates said nuclear power must be a part any clean energy future.  Gates joined with Nuclear for Climate, an initiative launched by members of the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS). It now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 140 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.  They outline a number of key principles on nuclear power and is role as part of the solution.  You can see those here.

Re-Write May include Public/Private Funding– With the Still divisions between developing and developed countries as wide as ever, the G77 and China have expressed specific concern that developed countries are trying to re-write the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change by aiming to include private as well as public money to pay for climate change costs (developing countries prefer government cash) and make better-off developing countries shoulder more of the burden.

Island Nations Demanding 1.5 C Limit – Negotiators from small island nations and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are pushing to include language in the agreement that lowers the current target for limiting the rise in global temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Media reports say tensions over the issue continue to boil over in closed-door meetings in the backroom negotiations.  here last night and

UN Climate Head Temp Demand Won’t Crash Deal – Given the realization already expressed by US and other leaders, delegates have been raising significant concerns whether it could threaten the outcome of the talks.  The buzz has caught the attention of UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres, who told reporters, “No, we do not think that that is going to block [a final deal]. Everyone here agrees that we do need to head for the deepest decarbonization pathways.”  She said there is room to negotiate a compromise on the issue, adding, “It is not a discussion about the temperatures. That is just a proxy. It is a discussion about the decarbonization of the economy.” Of course, the type of disagreement won’t collapse the talks because most countries are likely to agree to anything that will create a deal without any real intention of following through anyway, so it won’t matter if it is 2 or 1.5 C, it will be whatever it takes.

Report: Island Residents Will Relocate – Speaking of Island countries, a new first-of-its-kind survey by the U.N. University and the European Union says many residents of low-lying Pacific islands would consider moving if the impacts of climate change — like storms and rising seas — worsen, yet few have enough money to do so.  Respondents from more than 70% of households surveyed in Kiribati and Tuvalu and 35% of those in Nauru said they would be willing to move if climate change worsened. With average monthly earnings at $12 per capita, only 26% of the 6,852 people surveyed in the three nations believed they had enough savings to migrate.

Can’t Please Them All – Tuvalu’s prime minister and a top climate negotiator Enele Sosene Sopoaga was annoyed He wasn’t Invite to President Obama’s Island Meeting last week and he accused the President of trying to divide island nations at the climate change negotiations.  He also said that vulnerable countries should to stand firm in their push for recognition of the losses and damage faced by poor countries.

Cuts by Cities, Regions, Companies Alone Surpass Total Global Iron/Steel Sector – Global action in support of a new, universal climate change agreement that unlocks faster progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future for all was revealed today in a report by Yale University which underscores the speed, breadth and depth of growing alignment between government, cities, business and civil society.

The report by Yale’s Data Driven Environmental Solutions finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two UN-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector.  Released on the eve of the UN climate conference’s Action Day-COP21, the report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

Polls Show Low Concern Over Climate – Opinion polls taken in the run-up to the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris show battling climate change is not high on the agenda for many people around the world.  GlobeScan surveyed approximately 1,000 people in each of 20 countries and found majorities in only four – Canada, France, Spain, and the UK – would have their governments set ambitious targets at the Paris climate conference. GlobeScan found less than half of those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem in 2015, compared with 63 percent who did so in a similar GlobeScan survey taken just before an international climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2009, majorities in eight countries wanted strong climate action. The number of survey participants rating climate change as a very serious issue meriting strong action has increased in only four of the 20 countries polled, declining in the other 16 countries.  Closer to home, a November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters in the United States found only 3 percent listed “climate change” as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Six percent of registered Democrats surveyed listed global warming as their top concern, as did 1 percent of registered Republicans.

 

MORE RESOURCES

Special thanks to my long-time friend and former NYT science reporter Andy Revkin for his resource suggestions.  He is covering for NYT and Pace University at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?_r=0

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

Twitter: A recommended first stop, of course, is Twitter, through the hashtag #COP21. For important secondary issues, there’s #climatefinance and #climatejustice.

What’s Going On: For basic developments at the negotiations, there’s no better source than the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, with a name dating from when it was a hastily printed flyer in the early days of environmental treaty-making. It’s now an excellent online portal and has a very active Twitter feed, @IISDRSClimate Home is similar and similarly helpful.

Website On Paris: One of the most significant signs that this round of talks was different than in previous years came when Climate Nexus, a climate communication initiative set up in 2011 by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, launched a website on the talks called TheRoadThroughParis.org. It could as easily have been The Road to Paris, but in that subtle shift, made the important point that what is being created is a long-term process more than some grand outcome. The related Twitter feed is @ClimateNexus.  Even if you reject the policy prescriptions or science interpretations of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the director, Benny Peiser, is an energetic aggregator of climate coverage that you might otherwise miss. I tell my communication students at Pace University that it’s important to recognize the “filter bubble” we tend to create around ourselves and poke one’s head out on occasion.

NYT Portal on Paris: The Times news desk has also set up a portal for running coverage called “Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris.”
IN THE NEWS

USS Cole Commander to Ryan, McConnell:  Crude Exports are Risk – Given the Congressional budget discussions surrounding a possible crude exports deal, the former commander of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.  Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was bombed by al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Solar Report Shows Corporate Growth – Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183% among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59% growth in solar installations since just last year.  For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked #1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.  Other top companies recognized for both their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota.

UMich Study Questions CCS Economics – A new study from University of Michigan researchers  says there are serious flaws in a decade’s worth of studies about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate.  The U-M researchers have found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency.   The new analysis puts the cost of reducing carbon emissions with CCS-equipped coal plants higher than any previous study—and most importantly, higher than wind and comparable to solar power. It’s the first study to confront the so-called “energy loop” inherent in the CCS process.  Beyond a one-time “energy penalty” these plants pay because they have to burn more coal to power devices that capture carbon, the researchers say the disadvantage compounds until fuel costs leap to four times today’s accepted estimates. The paper on the findings, titled Reassessing the Efficiency Penalty from Carbon Capture in Coal-Fired Power Plants was published in Environmental Science and Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Pompeo Calls for Reg Moratorium – Following last week’s roll out of the Administration’s overburdensome regulatory agenda,  Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote Speaker Ryan urging him to consider an 18-month “pause” on Energy Department efficiency rulemaking into the omnibus spending bill.   In his letter, the Kansas Republican said that while the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, DOE’s efficiency rules were being rushed out with little recognition of the costs.  Pompeo praised amendments to the original fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill from his GOP colleagues that would defund DOE regulatory work on ceiling fans, incandescent lamps and residential furnaces. But he’s opted to go for everything on the whole menu.

Oil Jobs Taking a Hit – While the economy’s job number improved in November, the number of people employed in the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector fell by 2,400 in November to 184,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The November figure was 16,200 down from the 201,000 people who were employed in the sector a year earlier, when the industry began sharply ramping back spending on oil drilling as oil prices tumbled.  Employment levels in the coal extraction sector also continued to decline, slipping 1,300 in November to 64,900. Those workers had numbered 72,700 a year ago.  For years, while the economy struggled, the oil and gas sector carried the job number on its back, but with low global prices still struggling to rebound, the sector continues to lose jobs.

PSEG Exec to Head AGA Board – While assuming the 2016 Board Chairmanship of the  American Gas Association (AGA), PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said the US has an opportunity to create jobs and revitalize our economy through increased use of natural gas.  At an event at AGA headquarters in Washington, DC this morning, LaRossa shared his vision for investing in the next generation of the energy workforce.   “A diverse and motivated workforce is the key to continued success in the energy sector,” LaRossa said. “People who are dedicated and focused on delivering good quality service are going to serve the customers in the best way possible.”  LaRossa also discussed several priorities for making his vision a reality, including the continued improvement and efficiency of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, the recently introduced SAFE PIPES ACT, the significant role natural gas plays in spurring economic growth, and helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place to expand delivery of natural gas to more homes and businesses.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at GHG Rules – POWER magazine is hosting a one-day conference in Las Vegas today that will provide power generators and industry partners with access to the latest developments and insights concerning the legal aspects of compliance with environmental regulations.  The conference looks at existing power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations.  EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow and former Air Office head Bob Meyers are among the speakers.

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum tomorrow on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp, DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

House Science Panel to Look at Biotech – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on the future of biotechnology.  The hearing will look at solutions for energy, agriculture and manufacturing.  Witnesses will include Mary Maxon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steve Evans of Dow AgroSciences, Martin Dickman of Texas A&M’s  Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotech and several others.

Senate Commerce to Take on Climate – The Senate Commerce Committee Panel on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the debate over the magnitude of human impact on Earth’s climate. The hearing will focus on the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.  Witnesses will include John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, Princeton’s Will Happer, author Mark Steyn and Penn State’s David Titley, who serves are the director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

Heritage to Look at New Silk Road Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum on Wednesday looking at transportation and energy issues in the 21st Century in the traditional “Silk Road” region.  The area from the Baltic and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is more active than ever. In the area includes the Southern Gas Corridor, will significantly affect the political climate in Eurasia. The Gas Corridor is especially important in light of the complicated relationships between Russia and the European Union and Turkey.  The Heritage forum will focus on the future of The New Silk Road and new transportation projects such as the Port of Baku and the Kars-Tbilisi-Erzurum railroad. Our speakers will address the technical, political, economic, and security concerns related to each of the projects and routes as well as the infrastructure needs, potential pitfalls, and opportunity costs.  Keynote speakers will include State Department Energy official Amos Hochstein and Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidashell.

Group to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global Nexus Initiative will hold a briefing at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Wednesday at noon on the role of nuclear power in addressing climate change, expectations for the UNFCCC COP-21, and release of policy memo and recommendations.  Featured speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Ken Luongo, NEI’s Mary Pietrzyk and former Natsource exec Richard Rosenzweig.

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

NAPE Hits Denver – The National Assn of Petroleum Engineers (NAPE) will hold their annual conference and expo in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Business Conference will hear from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and will feature other  leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its Thursday Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

Senate Energy to Look at Terrorism, Oil – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine terrorism and the global oil markets.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Energy – The Howard Baker Forum, the United States-Japan Roundtable and the Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies will host a forum on Thursday addressing the US-Japanese challenges of energy security and climate change.   The event will focus on how the two strategic partners address challenges like  what role must nuclear power play and mitigating climate concerns.

Event Looks at Demand-Side Innovations – The George Washington University and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will host a forum on Thursday looking at demand-side innovations.  For many years, innovation policy has focused on the support of the supply side, looking at market and system failures that prevent those generating innovation from doing so effectively and efficiently enough. In recent years, however, demand side policies have had a revival in the innovation policy debate. However, their application is still contested, and the roll out of those measures does not keep pace with the rhetoric about them. University of Manchester Alliance Business School’s Jakob Edler will speak.  He is the director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research.  Edler will introduce the concept of demand side innovation policy, explain why and when they are justified and present and discuss a typology of instruments. It will then discuss the major challenges of demand side policy instruments which all too often are not known to or underestimated by policy makers. The lecture will highlight some of those challenges using the example of public procurement of innovation, and will close with an appeal to a radically new way of understanding and applying innovation policy.

CNAS Forum to Look at Climate Security, Mitgration – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for New American Security will host an event on climate security and migration. The event will explore questions of how the United States, in collaboration with foreign partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society, should tackle future climate migration. Climate-related issues are  become increasingly severe and manifest in issues such as migration that policy leaders will need to address in the near and mid-term. Potential mass migration events in the future will have global and local implications from governance, policy, technical, legal and financial perspectives, and may feature a climate or weather nexus in managing the causes and consequences of migration. The events over the summer and fall in Europe, albeit not due to climate change, were illustrative of the scale of the challenges involved for policymakers and security leaders. Climatic change will add another layer to the challenges the global community will face in addressing migration, including explicitly climate change-driven migration, in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, CNAS’s event looks to bring together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the ways in which members of the international community can partner together to address the impacts of climate change and migration.  Speakers will include Richard Fontaine, Lars Bo Møller, Sharon E. Burke, Daniel Chiu, Sherri Goodman, and more.

Carnegie Event to Look at Oil, Climate – On Friday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Bloomberg Intelligence are co-hosting an event to discuss the future of oil and climate change in the twenty-first century. This event will be held in conjunction with the COP21 climate conference. The event takes place in Salle 10 of the “Climate Generations” area at the COP21 facilities in Le Bourget.  Speakers include Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon and Bloomberg Intelligence’s Rob Barrett, as well as several others.

Forum to Look at DoD Climate Readiness – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon featuring Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health.  Sullivan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.  Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.
FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing next Monday at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday December 16th at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – Next Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Energy Update: Week of November 9

Friends,

 

Well that was a bizarre week last week…  Finally, the Keystone Pipeline.  While it was somewhat expected, the decision regarding Keystone sends a bad signal to the energy sector.  The Administration’s major plans for new energy sources – from bringing natural gas to market to developing alternative renewable energy to enhancing the benefit of shale development – all require commitments to overcoming obstacles to new infrastructure.  But the lesson of Keystone is that support for infrastructure in certain circles extends only as far as the politics of the moment.

 

One more final item on Keystone timing:  certainly its timing prior to Paris is relevant, but perhaps more important is the pass that it gives newly-elected Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who likely opposes Keystone but could never really say that.  How will Canada respond in Paris to this favor?  Maybe a good questions to ask.  All right, let’s really say no more about this after reading my friend Dave Roberts’ final column on it.   The only thing that may remain is the litigation that will likely follow.

 

In case you missed it with shiny objections of Exxon and Keystone, you may have missed an actual important issue:  countries took a historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change.  AHRI President Steve Yurek was in Dubai ahead of negotiators and industry support helped paved the way for success.

 

No action in Congress this week as Members return home to Congressional districts to celebrate our veterans on Wednesday.  Always a great opportunity to thank veterans for our freedoms, but in reality every day ought to be Veterans Day.

 

NARUC is going full bore already in Austin starting yesterday.  They have Gina McCarthy in the house today.  IPAA is holding its 86th annual meeting in New Orleans today and tomorrow.  Finally, EPA launches its FIP rule public hearings starting in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.  They roll on next week in Denver (M, Tu), DC (W, Th) and Atlanta (Th, F).  Speaking of GHGs, our friends at E&E News are featuring a new map on their Power Plan Hub focusing on which states are suing and including a chart explaining whether they are writing compliance plans.  As well, the Council on Foreign Relations had a great piece from Jeff Colgan on why last week’s China Coal miscalculation really matters.

 

Get ready for next week as Congress returns for another busy week session before the Thanksgiving break.   Expect hearings on GHG regs, climate change, Paris, the oil & gas well control rule and RFS among other items.  And remember:  the RFS rule is due by the end of November, but you may recall, the decision was dropped last year the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (…I’m just sayin’… )  Last week a bipartisan group of 184 House members sent a letter that calls on the EPA to set the final level for ethanol in 2016 at a level that would account for the 10% blendwall.

 

Finally today, there is a new NERA analysis shows EPA’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation. The state-by-state breakdown shows consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20%.

 

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

World Leaders to Expand Montreal Protocol to Include HFCs – You may have missed it last week, but countries took a historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. Reaching agreement on this decision by the Parties will pave the way to help all countries transition to alternatives and away from HFCs.  The decision charts a course for additional high-level dialogue to reach consensus on setting a timeframe for freezing and ultimately phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs.  The U.S., with the HVAC industry in support, has been pushing for this for a number of years now, only to meet with determined opposition from many developing nations. The fact we now have agreement on parameters for what would be acceptable in an amendment next year is the fruit of long and serious negotiation and persuasion by the government and NGOs.

 

Refrigerants Industry Paved the Way for the Deal – Stephen Yurek, President & CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, was in Dubai using industry support to pave the way for the negotiations.   Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate  refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal.”

 

NERA Report Shows Tough ImpactsNew analysis from NERA Economic Consulting shows EPA’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation.  Despite these enormous costs, the rule does nothing to prevent global climate change.  Despite the fact that the president’s plan will have virtually no effect on climate change, NERA’s analysis shows that all of the Lower 48 states will see electricity price increases because of the rule.  Consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20 percent. The annual cost of at least $30 billion per year for the plan is three times greater than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics rule, which the U.S. Supreme Court criticized by saying, “It is not rational … to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in … benefits.”

 

EWG Report Says 2nd Gen Biofuels Crowded out by Ethanol – EWG and University of California experts have released a new report that says compared to corn ethanol, biofuels from next-generation feedstocks could greatly reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.  EWG measured the carbon emitted over the life cycle of ethanol made from switchgrass and from corn stover, the stalks and leaves left on fields after harvest. EWG’s analysis found that the life-cycle carbon intensity of corn stover ethanol is 96% lower than gasoline and that of switchgrass ethanol is 47% lower than gasoline.

By contrast, EPA studies show that the life-cycle carbon intensity of conventional corn ethanol is greater than gasoline. Yet current federal policy – the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, established in 2005 – strongly favors the production of corn ethanol at the expense of cleaner alternatives.

 

States File Suit Against New Power Plant Rule – West Virginia today led 22 other states in suing over EPA’s carbon rule for new power plants, expanding its litigation into the second of the two power plant carbon rules published last month.  The suit says only that the rule – which requires new coal-fired power plants to use partial carbon capture technology to limit their emissions – oversteps EPA’s authority and is “not in accordance with law.”  The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate new sources of pollution before existing sources, meaning that if the new plant rule is tossed out by a court, the larger Clean Power Plan goes down as well.  The states involved in the suit are West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Also party to the suit are the Arizona Corporation Commission, and environmental agencies for Louisiana and North Carolina. New Jersey, which joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging EPA’s carbon rules for existing plants, did not participate in today’s filing. The new lawsuit likely will be joined with one brought against the new plant rule last month by North Dakota. Murray Energy and the Energy & Environment Legal Institute have also sued over the new plant rule.

 

FOIA Gadflies Connect Enviro, EPA Collaboration – New Litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has revealed more damning and highly relevant facts regarding the Clean Power Plan’s impact and connection between environmental activists and EPA staff.   E&E Legal’s Chris Horner: “Collusion with green groups is the hallmark of this EPA; here it affirms these rules were plainly created clearly outside of the law, and warrant an immediate stay.”  EPA’s GHG rules have already caused numerous plants to close, according to an email and XLS spreadsheet attachment sent by Sierra Club lobbyist John Coequyt to a senior EPA official and former Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawyer, Michael Goo.  Goo was featured in a New York Times article as part of the “NRDC mafia” which made its way into government and was tasked with drafting EPA’s Options Memo.  E&E Legal added internal Sierra spreadsheet’s “comments: for review and deletion” section, the group privately acknowledges that the prospect of these rules had already led to the shelving of 16 advanced coal-fired plants in 13 states, although “there is not a small chance that they [sic] company could decide to revive the proposal” if the rules were not sufficiently tight.  In turn, and again recalling the Pebble Mine scandal, Goo turned to his private Yahoo email account to send draft “new source” Options language to Coequyt.  All during the time that this was supposedly a purely internal EPA process.  Goo emails only came to light because of a FOIA suit.  Among the correspondence is an email from Coequyt stating, “Attached is a memo that I didn’t want to send in public” (hence Yahoo).  That memo created a roadmap regarding existing sources, explaining the mechanics and concluding, “EPA can therefore establish a performance standard for existing plants that is not achievable.”  EPA has done just that.  Also at key moments in the rules’ timeline, NRDC officials David Hawkins and Dan Lashof (the latter now working for Tom Steyer’s climate advocacy empire) used Goo’s Yahoo account to provide internal NRDC analyses regarding what standards EPA might impose.

WSJ Hammers EPA Rule – In an editorial last week the Wall Street Journal hammer the EPA and President Obama over his carbon rule pointing to as 26 states and dozens of business groups that filed suits against “his takeover of the carbon economy.”  The Journal says EPA has earned a stay and deserves no administrative deference because it rewrote the “definition to direct states to regulate ‘outside the fence line’ of power plants well beyond the best tech. They must not only decommission sources of carbon energy, but they must also run the green gamut from mandating a new fleet of wind and solar, building new transmission lines, creating more efficiency subsidy programs for consumers and much else.”

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

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

 

McCarthy to Address NARUC Meeting – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioner (NARUC) hold its 127th annual meeting  today through Wednesday at the JW Marriot in Austin, Texas.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners Tony Clark, Cheryl LaFleur and Collette Honorable, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and climate official Joe Goffman, North American Electric Reliability Corp’s Thomas Coleman and our friend Larry Monroe of Southern Company.

 

ANS Winter Meeting to Feature NRC Chair – The American Nuclear Society is holding its winter meetings today through Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park.  NRC Chair Stephen Burns and former NH Sen Judd Gregg will speak

 

France Hosts Pre-COP UN Meeting – France hosts a pre-COP meeting in Paris today and tomorrow where UN Ministers will focus on issues ranging from how to mitigate climate change to providing financial aid to help poorer countries adapt to its effects after 2020.  Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s climate and energy commissioner, will attend the pre-COP and hold meetings on the sidelines with Fabius, Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, and ministers from the Alliance of Small Island States and African Group.

 

AEI to Host UK Foreign Secretary on Climate Innovation – The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host as the UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss conservative beliefs in innovation and free markets — and how they shape his approach to the risks and opportunities of a changing climate.

USEA to Host Forum On Crude Exports – Tomorrow at Noon, the U.S. Energy Association will host Brookings expert Charles Ebinger to speak on the potential for U.S. crude oil exports.  Ebinger will discuss the economic advantages of lifting the crude oil export ban as well as Keystone XL, falling oil prices, and drilling in Alaska.

 

Georgetown Forum Looks at Arctic, Climate – The Mortara Center for International Studies host the next meeting of the Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at Georgetown looking at the impacts and effects of climate change in the Arctic.  The energy and climate policy research seminar aims to enhance intellectual exchange among faculty and students by providing a forum to discuss research and policy topics related to the international and domestic dimensions of energy and climate change policy. Speakers will include members of the Georgetown community as well as invited faculty and practitioners from the Washington area and beyond.

 

Groups to Discuss Paris Climate Meeting – The U.S. Climate Action Network will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to discuss key issues for the UN Climate negotiations, including national commitments to cut emissions and expand clean energy, fairness and equity considerations, and initiatives to build resilience in highly vulnerable countries.   Speakers will include Jose Aguto of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Oxfam America’s Heather Coleman, the NAACP’s Kathy Egland and Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

AU Symposium to Look at UN Paris Meeting – The American University Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication will hold its annual symposium on Wednesday looking at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris taking place in December of this year. This conference will be of ultimate importance in determining how to move the world forward in addressing climate change. The 195 countries that are parties to the UNFCCC committed to create a new international climate agreement by the end of COP-21. The symposium will include panels featuring leading experts on climate change, domestic environmental law, and international environmental law who will discuss various issues surrounding the negotiations. The topics will include particular focus on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, economic implications of the negotiations, the 2- degree goal and whether it is feasible, and the means for reaching the goals and purposes of the UNFCCC.

 

JHU to Look at Climate in Caucuses – Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. in the Rome Building, the Johns Hopkins University will host a forum that will discuss climate change in the Caucasus.

 

Forum Looking at Energy Project Finance Set – The Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment (WCEE), AE2C and Johns Hopkins’ SAIS program will host a lunchtime seminar on Thursday featuring Jenny Hou, a General Partner at SunEnergi Capital.  Hou will provide an overview of the energy project finance decision-making process and offers insight as to why some energy projects are successful while others are not.

 

BPC Forum to Discuss Nuclear Waste – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. the Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on novel approaches, solutions and considerations to nuclear waste.  The event will focus on innovations in Korea.

 

Goodell to Address AU Forum – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, the Global Environmental Politics Program at American University’s School of International Service, American University, and Eco-Sense, American University’s student run environmental organization, is hosting a forum with Jeff Goodell on Thursday.  Goodell will join Professor Paul Wapner to talk about his conversation with the President, the prospects for a climate agreement in Paris and what comes next, and his thoughts on the world’s options for avoiding catastrophic climate change.

 

NAS Social Carbon Cost Board to Meet – On Friday at noon, the National Academies of Science’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education – Board on Environmental Change and Society is convening the third meeting of its Committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon.  More on this next week.

 

On Friday at Noon, the Heritage Foundation will hold a forum on the movement on many college campuses urging schools to divest their endowment funds of any companies that produce fossil fuels. The protesters argue we must dramatically reduce the amount of fossil fuels used each year in order to prevent climate change. In their view, schools have a moral imperative to purge their portfolios of companies that produce such fuels.  When politicians, protestors and activists attack fossil fuel companies and their profitability, it’s important to remember who owns these companies and where that money goes: to the American people, toward retirement funds and toward school endowments to build stronger institutions. Join us for a panel discussion to learn more about the problems with the push for fossil divestment and who it hurts the most.  Speakers Rachelle Peterson of the National Association of Scholars, Stan Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, AFPM’s Brendan Williams and Heritage expert David Kreutzer.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

 

Hudson Forum to Look at China, US Emission, Energy – Next, Monday, the Hudson Institute will host a day-long conference featuring energy policy experts from both China and the U.S.  As the world’s second largest economy, China’s energy demands are growing fast. In the next fifteen years, China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest oil consumer, and Russia as the world’s second largest natural gas consumer. By 2035, China is expected to become the world’s largest energy importer, as its energy production rises 47%, while consumption rises by 60%. China’s oil import dependence is projected to rise from 60% in 2013 to 75% in 2035.

 

Solar Groups Look at Green Building – The SunShot Initiative, SEIA, and PVMC are hosting a Green Building Solar Summit next Monday at 1:00 p.m. that will coincide with Greenbuild Conference and Expo, which will bring thousands of architects, builders, and real estate professionals to Washington DC.  The Summit will feature a mix of panels and facilitated discussion to explore critical structural, contractual and financial barriers and identify opportunities to work collaboratively to find innovative solutions and expand the commercial solar market.  Elaine Ulrich, Program Manager, Soft Costs with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and Rhone Resch, President & CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, will open the day with introductory remarks followed by a series of lighting talks to provide context on the trends and issues across the solar and green building communities. PVMC will also provide a preview of its 2016 Commercial Solar Initiative.  The second part of the afternoon will be dedicated to engaging the commercial real estate and green building communities in discussion on innovative financing instruments. SEIA will also present its new Finance Initiative, spearheaded by the organization’s Senior Director, Project Finance, and Mike Mendelsohn.

 

VLS Forum to Look at CPP – Next Tuesday, the Vermont Law School’s second annual Alumni in Energy Symposium will look at EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the lawsuits challenging it. This panel will discuss the ongoing litigation related to the Clean Power Plan and likely outcomes.  Speakers will include NRDC’s David Doniger, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, former EPA General Counsel and industry Coalition legal lead Roger Martella and NYU’s Richard Revesz.

 

Wilson Center to Focus on Climate, Security Issues – Next Tuesday, November 17th at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will release a report exploring the intersection of climate change, drivers of insecurity, and U.S. national security priorities in the Asia-Pacific region.  As the United States reorients its foreign policy approach to the Asia-Pacific region, it must seriously consider the impacts of climate change, argues a new report from the Center for Climate and Security. How can the United States help improve the region’s climate resilience, and at the same time, strategically adapt to a rapidly changing security environment?

 

 

EPA CAAAC to Meet on Ozone Implementation, CPP – EPA will host a CAAAC and Air Toxics Work Group meetings on November 17th and 18th.

 

House Science to Dig Back Into Climate, GHG Plan – The House Science Committee will host a hearing on Wednesday November 18th on the President’s Clean Power Plan and its role in Paris negotiations.

 

McCarthy to Talk Energy with Bloomberg – On Wednesday, November 18th, Bloomberg will host a breakfast conversation with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, managing editors of Bloomberg Politics and hosts of “With All Due Respect” on Bloomberg Television, to discuss the future of energy and where the 2016 candidates stand.   EPA’s Gina McCarthy will sit down with Mark and John for an interview about the state of energy and climate policy in America, followed by a wide-ranging panel discussion about how policy and politics intersect to shape the energy marketplace, featuring former South Carolina Republican Congressman and Executive Director of republicEn.org Bob Inglis, GE Ventures’ Senior Executive Director of Energy Ventures Colleen Calhoun, and more.

 

Former EPA Official to Address Climate Issues – ICF will host an Energy Breakfast on Thursday November 19th at the National Press Club to look at the Paris Climate Meeting.  Starting in late November, the 21st  meeting of the Council of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Paris to deliberate on how countries can individually and collectively mitigate global climate change.  Former EPA #2 Bob Perciasepe, a regular participant in these negotiations, as he handicaps the negotiations and informs us about what will be the “make or break” issues in Paris this time.

 

Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold an oversight hearing to receive testimony on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production.  We will have more on this next week.

 

Forum to Look at Climate Solutions – DC Net Impact will hold a discussion on Thursday November 19th looking at how donor agencies and implementers are adapting to, and mitigating the effects of, climate change in the energy and agriculture sectors. In addition to discussing climate change, the panelists will describe their career paths and answer your questions.

 

Rep. Beyer to Host Climate Forum I Arlington – On Thursday, November 19th at 7:00 p.m.,  U.S. Rep. Don Beyer will host a forum on climate change in the auditorium of George Mason University’s Arlington campus.  Panelists will include experts from government, academia and nonprofit organizations, including Megan Ceronsky of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, EPA’s Shawn Garvin, GMU’s Mona Sarfaty and NRDC’s Aliya Haq.

 

THANKSGIVING – November 26

 

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

 

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held December 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 23

Friends,

While the usual parade and hype around the 87th annual Oscars was fun, I didn’t think that Doogie Howser was particularly good this year.  I thought he was much funnier in the past.   A media columnist at Forbes hammered the show saying anything that could go wrong did…  Anyway, not many surprises at the Oscars with actors, designers and directors from Birdman, Grand Budapest (nice timing for the sequel coming out soon) Boyhood and Imitation Game taking home awards.  Perhaps the best moment of the night was John Legend and Common performing their song “Glory” from the movie Selma.

Another blast of snow on Saturday in DC that then gave way to sunny and 50s on Sunday set up a true reminder that Spring Training for Baseball and Spring Lacrosse (at least in our area) are in full motion.  Pitchers and catchers are already arriving and full rosters show up in Florida and Arizona this week as well, while the Cubs are still tied for first.  In other fun lacrosse news, my daughter’s high school team Severn School is ranked 4th in the nation in USA’s Preseason Top 25 Poll.  Of course, their arch-rival, Baltimore’s McDonogh is ranked #1 again, having won 112 straight games.  Last year, Severn lost 13-12 in the playoffs.  The date to circle on the calendar is April 21st when the teams will first tangle.

As mentioned last Monday, I started the weekend off Friday in with an acoustic show featuring Live’s Ed Kowalczyk playing the band’s smash hit album Throwing Copper as it celebrates its 20th anniversary since release.   The show was in a small venue in Annapolis and was really awesome.  The next big show is March 3rd when Bush comes to the Filmore in Silver Spring.  Everything Zen?

This will be a budget heavy week in Washington with a number of agency heads flooding Capitol Hill.  Most prominent in our space include Interior’s Sally Jewell at Senate Energy tomorrow, EPA’s Gina McCarthy at House Energy & Commerce Wednesday and House Approps Interior/Enviro Subpanel on Thursday and DOE Secretary Moniz at House Approps on Energy/Water on Thursday.  John Kerry also hits the House Approps State/Foreign Ops subpanel on Wednesday, while those of you looking at train car rules and infrastructure will want to hear Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday at House Approps’ Transpo panel.   If you want to see Foxx, you’ll want to check out Senate Environment & PUBLIC WORKS on Wednesday, who will have state transpo officials and businesses from around the nation to discuss the upcoming highway bill.  Finally on Thursday, House Oversight jumps into examining the impacts of EPA air and water regs on States featuring AGs from Montana and Arkansas.

Finally, in Houston on Thursday and Friday, Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference.  The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleagues Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others.

Call with questions.

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Arctic Drilling Rolls out – In the unusual Friday afternoon time slot, this time the Department of Interior released first-time draft safety standards for Arctic oil and gas drilling.  The proposal includes a requirement for oil companies to keep a second rig standing by to drill a relief well as well as submitting integrated operations plans that address all phases of the exploration program, have access to Source Control and Containment Equipment and “have the necessary equipment, training, and personnel for oil spill response on the Arctic OCS.” The proposal is likely to take more than a year to finalize but includes much of what Shell has been undertaking with Interior ahead of the company’s Arctic drilling plans.

Murkowski Weighs In – Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was reserving judgment on Interior’s new draft regulations for oil and natural gas activities in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  She added if this administration is truly committed to developing our Arctic resources then it’s imperative that the Interior Department provide clear direction to Shell and the other leaseholders in the region on how they can proceed.  Murkowski:  “It’s important that any changes to existing regulations covering the Chukchi and Beaufort seas allow companies the flexibility to respond to changing conditions and for the deployment of new drilling technologies.”

How Much is Up There – Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Dozens of wells have been safely drilled in these areas since the 1970s. Interior estimates its new proposed regulations will add up to $1.4 billion over 10 years to the cost of development.

Wyden Weighs In On Train Car Rule – The pace of the oil train rule seems to have sped up after several recent incidents, including a fiery crash in West Virginia.  The DOT rule, which was “amtraking” along (that means late and slow) at OMB, seems to be getting the attention of a number of Democrats that want some action.  House transportation top Democrat Pete DeFazio has already weighed in on this and now  Sen. Ron Wyden said the rule should address the potential risks of newer rail cars involved in two derailments in addition to the older cars still in use.  My colleague Lowell Rothschild is the best expert to discuss the overall status of the DOT rule and its policy impacts.  Look for members of both parties to increase the heat on getting a new rule moving.  Feel free to connect with him if have questions at 202-828-5817 or lowell.rothschild@bgllp.com

President to Get Keystone Legislation – After years of delays and obstruction, our friends at POLITICO report that Republicans plan to officially send the White House their Keystone XL legislation tomorrow, setting up an expected presidential veto soon afterward.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

National Govs Meeting in DC – You may have noticed it from the talk on the Sunday Shows, but the National Governors Assn is holding the 2015 NGA Winter Meeting over the weekend and today. During the meeting, governors will discuss issues affecting states and share best practices that lead to innovative solutions.  The Governors meet with President Obama today.

POLITICO Hosting State Solutions Conference – In light of the NGA being in DC,  POLITICO is hosting its 5th annual State Solutions conference all day today. The conference will feature a series of conversations with governors from across the country focusing on innovative approaches their states have taken to address complex problems.

Climate Conference Set – The Climate Leadership Conference 2015 will be held today through Wednesday at Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City.  The Climate Leadership Conference is an annual exchange for addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community convene to explore market transformation, share energy and climate related solutions, and provide support for those addressing climate change in their operations.  Speakers include Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg, and National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone.

Forum to Look at NatGas Global Markets – The Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum in its Rome Auditorium today at 4:00 p.m. featuring SAIS alumnus Nikos Tsafos and a senior commentator to look at global markets for natural gas.

Forum to Oil, Latin America –Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy will host presentations from two distinguished IADB experts focused on oil markets and Latin America.  Dr. Ramon Espinasa and Dr. Osmel Manzano. Will offer an oil market overview and impact on consumers and producers in the region.

Whitfield to Lead Energy Forum – Faegre Baker Daniels’ and FaegreBD Consulting’s will host its annual energy and environmental symposium tomorrow afternoon at the Ronald Reagan Center.  This year’s event will focus on energy security, and speakers and panelists will examine energy imports/exports, grid reliability and cybersecurity, among other topics.  The featured keynote speaker is Rep. Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, as well as our friend Brendan Williams of AFPM.

Heller to Headline Geothermal Event – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. The program will provide an update on the US and international geothermal industry featuring release of the 2015 Annual Geothermal Industry Update and presentations and panel discussions by key leaders in US and international development, finance, technology, policy and regulatory issues.  Nevada Sen Dean Heller will lead a list of speakers.

Jewell Heads to Senate Energy – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow  to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for the Department of the Interior.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will testify.

Kenderline to Address NatGas Roundtable – Tomorrow at Noon, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host Melanie A. Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis of the Department of Energy will be the guest speaker at the next luncheon.

RFF to Look at Climate Engineering – Resources for the Future will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. to look at climate engineering.   On February 10, the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released two major reports on climate engineering (also known as geoengineering), to help inform the ethical, legal, and political discussions on climate “intervention.” At this seminar, a panel of experts will first review the reports’ major findings and then consider their political and economic implications.  The release of the reports comes at a critical moment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent Fifth Assessment Report suggests that the window for addressing global warming is fast closing. This year, the international community is working toward a post-Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The United States has already announced new bilateral cooperation with China and India on renewable energy development and climate action. Climate engineering has long hovered on the fringes of these conversations. Panelists will include NRDC’s David Goldston, former House Science Committee Chair Bart Gordon, EDF’s Steve Hamburg,  and NOAA’s Admiral David Titley.

Ambassador, Louisa Rep to Focus on Japan, US Energy  Issues – The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is hosting a forum on adapting to a new energy strategy for U.S., Japanese, and Asian energy security.” This event will be held tomorrow  at 2:00 p.m. in 2322 Rayburn.  The event will detail the findings of NBR’s two-year program on “Adapting to a New Energy Era” and will feature panel discussions with senior experts on energy security, including Minister Yasushi Akahoshi from Embassy of Japan in the United States and Rep. Charles Boustany.

CSIS Paper to Look at Trade Issues – On Wednesday morning, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will release a new paper, Opportunities in Strengthening Trade Assistance, the final report of the CSIS Bipartisan Task Force on Trade Capacity Building. The task force, co-chaired by Reps. Charles Boustany and Jared Polis, met in 2014 to determine how the U.S. government can best implement TCB programs that build physical, human, and institutional capacities across the developing world and allow countries to benefit from trade and investment opportunities.  CSIS’s new paper highlights the critical role that TCB can and should play in an evolving U.S. development agenda. The report distills lessons from past TCB efforts and builds a practical.

McCarthy Heads to House Energy, Approps – EPA Head Gina McCarthy will visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday to examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for EPA.  Then on Thursday, McCarthy will head to the House Approps Panel on Interior and the Environment.

Kerry Hits House Approps Subpanel on Budget – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations reviews the State Department’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday  at 2:00 p.m. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies and while ISIS, Iran and Other Foreign affairs topics will be on the agenda, expect some discussion of global warming and international climate efforts.

RFF to Discuss AB 32 Legislation – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday assessing progress under California’s AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program.  At this RFF seminar, experts from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will examine the market, emissions, and economic data behind California’s successful climate agenda as detailed in their recent report: Carbon Market California: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program, Year Two. Presenters from RFF, EDF, and California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, will discuss the current and future direction of the state’s climate policy, including the status of accomplishments such as putting a carbon price on transportation pollution and establishing a climate dividend for ratepayers.  Speakers will include EDF’s Tim O’Connor and Derek Walker, as well as PG&E’s Ray Williams and Melissa Lavinson.

Forum to Look at EERE Budget – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 210 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute — in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus – will host a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal released by President Obama on February 2. The Administration’s overall $4 trillion budget proposal provides a renewed focus on addressing climate change, and would invest $7.4 billion in clean energy technology programs across all agencies, led by the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture. This briefing will focus on the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), whose budget would increase 42 percent over 2015 enacted levels, to $2.7 billion.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will give an overview of the EERE budget requests, explain the Office’s budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years.

CSIS Forum to Look at Latin America, Oil/Gas – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the CSIS Americas Program  will host David Voght and John Padilla, Managing Directors at IPD Latin America, on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss recent developments in Latin American oil and gas markets. Carl Meacham, Director of the Americas Program at CSIS, will discuss the political implications of these shifts in the energy landscape. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Forum to Address Mexico Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on Mexico’s energy reform and its exciting promise and challenges. The event will feature a conversation with Juan Carlos Zepeda, the head of Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), Mexico’s upstream oil and gas regulatory agency charged with playing a key role establishing and overseeing the rules of the road governing Mexico’s reform process.   He will chart the progress CNH has made to date implementing the reforms, offer a real-time update on the energy reform regulatory infrastructure, and explain the efforts CNH has undertaken to ensure the regulations provide for energy sector transparency. The Atlantic Council’s David Goldwyn will also provide commentary.

Australian Ambassador, US Trade Rep to Discuss Free Trade – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Pacific Partners Initiative will also host an armchair discussion with H.E. Kim Beazley, ambassador of Australia to the United States and Deputy U.S. trade representative Wendy Cutler. The discussion will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Australia-U.S Free Trade Agreement and consider the achievements of the past decade.

Moniz Heads to House Energy Approps – The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel will examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016 for DOE on Thursday withEnergy Secretary Ernie Moniz testifying.

Bracewell Experts to Lead Platts LNG Conference – Platts will hold its 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference Thursday and Friday in Houston, Texas.   The event will feature a number of key LNG players including Philip Olivier of GDF Suez, Bill Allen of Dominion Cove Point and my Bracewell colleague Kevin Ewing and Kristin Gibbs, among several others.  Issues covered will include North American exports from Canadian and US East, West, and Gulf Coast facilities, with focus on regulatory questions, timelines and contracts; Global competition and export capacity in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Russia focused on growth outlook and competitive forces/differentiators.  They will also look at issues like regional demand and pricing.

Conover, Louda to Talk CHP at Webinar – On Thursday at Noon, the Combined Heat and Power Assn and Grayling will hold a joint webinar looking at state energy efficiency programs and how many of them impact combined heat and power.  The webinar will feature speakers from CHP Association, Grayling, and experts in state energy efficiency policies.  Speakers will include Our friends Dale Louda of the CHP Association and former DOE official Dave Conover.

Foxx Hits House Approps Subpanel on Transportation Issues – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation reviews DOT’s fiscal 2016 budget on Wednesday  at 2:00 p.m. Secretary Anthony Foxx testifies with Highway Trust Fund concerns, oil train car rules and infrastructure updates all on the agenda.

AGs head to House Oversight Hearing – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpanel on Interior will hold a hearing looking at U.S. EPA air and water rules and their impacts on states.  A number of state attorneys general suing to stop their implementation will testify as well as a number of economists who have done studies outlining impacts.  Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will lead the hearing with NERA Economic Consultants Anne Smith and David Harrison also on the agenda.

Green Tie Event Set – The 14th Annual Green Tie Affair will be held on Thursday evening at the  Capitol Riverfront District  The USGBC National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR), the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC), and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) host one of the premier social events for the clean energy industry. In addition to the usual activities, this special edition of the event will serve as a kickoff for what promises to be a landmark year for sustainable building in our region, as DC prepares to host 30,000 guests for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in November.

IEA Official to Present Oil Market Report – On Friday at 9:30 a.m., CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program will host Antoine Halff, Head of the Oil Industry and Markets Division at the International Energy Agency, to present the IEA’s 2015 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Forum Focused on Geopolitics of Energy – On Friday, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a forum on the geopolitical implications of rapid change in energy markets.  The AICGS Foreign & Domestic Policy Program  will hold for a conference focused on a German and American perspective of global energy markets.  Experts from both countries will discuss their work on topics such as the future of fuels and cities, instability and the resource nexus, and energy and statecraft.

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Discuss Solar Jobs – Next, Monday at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Solar Foundation will hold a briefing on the recently released 2014 National Solar Jobs Census. The Census found that the solar industry added 31,000 jobs last year, accounting for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs, and representing a growth rate almost 20 times greater than the national average. Today, 173,807 Americans are employed in the solar industry, almost twice as many as in U.S. coal mining.    Speakers for this forum are Solar Foundation head Andrea Luecke, GW Solar Institute head Amit Ronen, DOE’s Mike Carr and SunEdison’s Matt Herzberg.

CP CEO to Address US Chamber Energy Forum – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host their CEO Leadership Series luncheon featuring on Tuesday, March 3rd art Noon featuring Ryan Lance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ConocoPhillips.  Lance will address the current state of the oil industry and challenges it is facing with lower oil prices.

Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.

Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.

Forum, Simulation to address Cybersecurity Risks – The 3rd Annual Information and Cyber Governance, Data Analytics and Privacy Briefing will be Held at the National Press Club on March 18th.  The program will focus on identifying, protecting and responding to  today’s growing internal and external cybersecurity risks.  SEC Deputy Director Scott Bauguess and FTC General Counsel David Shonka will headline a number of speakers.  During the conference in addition to the moderated Q and A format, the audience will participate in an exercise using a hacking simulator. It has the strategic rigor of chess and the feel of a turn-based card game.  The “Game of Threats™” allows executives to better understand the complexity and fast-paced nature of deciphering threats and crafting the proper response, highlighting the importance of making the right move at the right time to thwart the hackers. My Bracewell colleague and expert on cybersecurity Shamoil Shipchandler is a great resource on the issue.

AHRI to Host Annual DC Meeting – The Heating and Air Conditioning trade association AHRI will hold its annual Washington Conference on March 24-25th.  More on this as it comes into shape.

WSJ ECO:nomics Conference to Feature Leaders –  On March 25th to 27th, the editors of The Wall Street Journal will hold its ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, CA.  The event brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy makers and leading thinkers at ECO:nomics 2015 to identify and assess the most compelling opportunities — and pressing risks— emerging around the world in businesses impacted by the environment.  Through on-stage interviews with leading figures and interactive sessions with peers in diverse industries, participants at ECO:nomics 2015 will debate, discuss and get the inside story on essential issues: investing in innovation, disrupting current business models, the new meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading.  Speakers will include  Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, WV Sen. Jo e Manchin, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, coal magnate Bob Murray, former Brightsource CEO and current Google exec John Woolard, Dan Yergin, T. Boone Pickens and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute.

Energy Update: Week of January 26

Friends,

 

This week Arizona becomes the center of the sports world.  Now I don’t want to let the air out the room… but there’s that little game on Sunday in Glendale featuring the Patriots and Seahawks.  But wait, also in Arizona, just across town starting tomorrow, our friends at Waste Management are hosting the Greenest Show on Grass, the Waste Management 2015 Phoenix Open (which features the most raucous and exciting hole in golf).  It all starts tomorrow with WM’s annual Sustainability Forum featuring many of the nation’s foremost thought leaders on sustainability. The Pro-Am will tee off on Wednesday morning on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course and will feature country music star Dierks Bentley, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson, National Champ Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and many more.  As for PGA Players, the line-up includes Scottsdale hometown regular Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, defending champ Kevin Stadler, Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera among the field of 132 that will vie for the $6.3 million purse.  Of course, tomorrow

 

Away from the fun and back in Washington, the Keystone debate rolled on with 14 amendments last week, following through on the first steps of Majority Leader McConnell’s effort to restore “Regular Order” to Senate procedure.  As evidence of the effort, the 14 amendments on the Keystone XL legislation were more than occurred on ALL the legislation in the Senate during the entire previous Congress.

 

And while the President was wrapping with India on Climate (see below), his players at Interior fired another missive across the bow of Congress, this time on ANWR.  I thought we were done with ANWR a long time ago, but in this administration’s environmental “Every That Is Old Is New Again” agenda, the ANWR fight  is now reemerging.  This approach may not bode well for the new 5-year drilling plan, expected in the next week or so.  As well, there are probably many political implications that are yet to play out here.  Bracewell’s Ewing, Rothschild and/or Hutt can tackle background and questions that you may have.  Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan and Rep. Don Young will hold a presser in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery at 2:00.  I would expect some rich language there…  Finally, a number of House and Senate Committees are holding their organizing meetings this week to get rolling on their committee agendas.  As they do we may be helpful.  For example, our friends at the Senate Ag panel are expected to make CFTC issues a major priority and my Bracewell colleague David Perlman (202-828-5804) is one of the best experts on the topic in DC.

 

Tomorrow, my friends and I at the National Press Club will be hosting a lunch with FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, who will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers.  Also returning to the forefront this week will be the Ozone/NAAQS question.  One of the biggest regular political/policy fights, the EPA rolled out its new proposal just before Thanksgiving and Thursday, EPA rolls into its public hearings in DC, Dallas and LA.  Scott Segal, Jeff Holmstead and Joe Stanko are always good sources.   The Senate Energy Committee looks at LNG export issues/legislation as well on Thursday, while BPC holds a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed EPA regulation for existing power plants, which will include a number of key State Commissioners.

 

Finally, on Saturday, I was able to take in my first Monster Jam thanks to my friend Jeanne Mitchell, who hosted my son Adam and I at the Verizon Center to watch Grave Digger, Crush-Station and the others smash things, roar the engines and jump giant dirt mounds.  Quite a fun evening (including a Grave Digger rollover during the Donut competition) and all part of what goes on when the Caps/Bullets (I mean, Wizards) have a break.  Next up at Verizon on Friday, Fleetwood Mac for those of you in my age range and above….  And remember the Washington Auto Show rolls on all week at the Washington Convention Center with lots of great cars.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

President Moves to Limit ANWR Drilling – In a move that is sure to draw significant opposition from Congress, President Obama moved to limit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in his new management plan for the Alaska region.  The reforms proposes taking millions of acres off-limits to oil and gas drilling by designating them wilderness areas.   Of course Alaska delegation, including Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski were furious.  (cue the oversight hearing agenda…)  The entire delegation including new Gov. Bill Walker released an unusual Sunday news release where Murkowski called the move “a stunning attack on our sovereignty and ability to develop a strong economy.”  New House Resources Chair Rob Bishop called it “irrational.” The announcement is sure to set up another old fight with congressional Republicans, who have been spent decades unsuccessfully trying to open the refuge to oil exploration. It is important to note that the refuge is currently already is closed to fossil fuel development.

 

Finzel to Start PR Firm – Our great friend Ben Finzel is hanging out his own shingle.  After stops at a number of PR Firms, Congress and DOE over the past 25 years, Ben is opening Renew PR.   The firm is focused on “restoring common sense to communications” and will provide senior counsel, advice and outreach to corporate, association, non-governmental organization, alliance, coalition and foundation clients.  Ben writes that he looks forward to providing senior counsel and leadership based on four principles: truth, clarity, engagement and collaboration.

 

India “deal” Less “deal” than  China – Talk is nice, but it is not expensive.   It also doesn’t really help with press releases.  In a meeting in India this weekend, President Modi and President Obama said they will continue work together on climate issues but nothing in the discussion was substantive or even specific.  The U.S. and India on Sunday announced a modest deal to curb hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas emitted by refrigerators and air conditioners; work together at climate talks in Paris later this year; and finance India’s solar power targets. Unlike the arrangement with China late last year, the discussion is far more limited.  In fact, Modi said, “India is an independent country, and there is no pressure on us from any country or any person.”  The bottom line remains that for India, revitalizing economic growth, addressing the nation’s energy shortfall, and creating jobs will be taking precedence.

 

SEJ Forum Looked at Energy, Environment Issues for 2015 – In case you missed it Friday, for the third year in a row, the Society of Environmental Journalists held a public discussion at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC. The event ran from 3:00-5:00 p.m., followed by a reception. SEJ Board President Jeff Burnside introduced leading reporters and editors, who offered their predictions on the critical energy and environmental stories that will shape 2015. The event was also webcast live (see if you can hear my questions to the panelists).  Larry Pearl, director of environmental news for Bloomberg BNA, presented a brief overview then Doug Fischer, director of Environmental Health Sciences, moderated a panel that included Amy Harder, Neela Bannerjee, Randy Loftis of the Dallas Morning News, ClimateWire’s Lisa Friedman, and science reporter Lisa Palmer.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Caribbean Energy Forum Set – The White House and State Department in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Council of the Americas will host a Caribbean energy security summit in Washington, D.C. today at the White House.  Representatives from countries including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada are expected to attend the summit as well as business and other political leaders.  The event will promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, greater access to finance and donor coordination.

 

AC-HV Expo Set – The Air Condition, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and  the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)are holding their 2015 AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR marketplace, at Chicago’s McCormick Place today through Wednesday.  The Show brings together over 2,000 exhibiting companies and 40,000 visitors, representing the entire spectrum of the industry including HVACR manufacturers, engineers, contractors, OEMs, facility managers, and other professionals. In addition, there are over 100 educational seminars, workshops (presented by ASHRAE and others) and new product presentations.

 

National Energy Education Summit Set – Today at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) of the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) will host the National Energy Education Summit. The Summit will engage energy educators at all levels and students to build, improve, and expand energy education and serve the needs of diverse populations of students and citizens. The Summit will cover what we teach in energy education, how we teach it, how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges.  The Summit will include organized symposia, contributed presentations, posters and workshops on how to advance various aspects of energy education. We will also hear from leaders in government, business and industry and civil society in plenary sessions.  Dr. Michael E. Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Texas at Austin will present the opening keynote at the National Energy Education Summit.  Other speakers will include Scott Sklar and former Obama advisor Dan Kammen.

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Urban Climate Issues – Today at 1:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on climate perspectives for urban communities.  Over the next two decades the number of city dwellers will soar to nearly five billion, 60 percent of the world’s population.  Recognizing the need to strengthen the ties between urban policymaking and new scholarly work on urban development, and to disseminate evidence-based research on urban programming, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory, USAID, the International Housing Coalition, the World Bank and Cities Alliance have teamed together to cosponsor the fifth annual “Reducing Urban Poverty” paper competition for advanced graduate students. Winning authors of the 2014 Graduate Student Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

 

Energy & Climate Change Conference Set – The 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change will be held tomorrow to Thursday in Crystal City.  The event will feature more than 20 speakers and develop and advance partnerships that focus on transitioning the world to a new “low carbon” and “climate resilient” energy system. It will emphasize putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice.

 

Forum to Look at Midwest Energy Issues – The U.S. Energy Association will host the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  M-WERC envisions that, through its efforts, the Midwest Region will become the leading region in the United States for the energy, power and control industries and will be known worldwide for its leading-edge research and technology development in these areas, resulting in innovative products, market leadership, employment opportunities, and vibrant technology transfer.  M-WERC represents one of America’s largest clusters of energy, power and control companies, educational and research institutions, and other key industry stakeholders.  M-WERC acts as a catalyst for the growth of these companies and industries, located in the greater Mid-West Region, through technology innovation, advanced research, market development, information sharing, workforce development, and strategic collaboration.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Grid Storage – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a panel discussion tomorrow looking at grid storage technologies.  The event will  feature Haresh Kamath, Program Manager for Energy Storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, Judith Judson-McQueeney, Director of Emerging Technologies at Customized Energy Solutions, Praveen Kathpal, Vice President of AES Energy Storage, and Katherine Hamilton, Policy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  Grid storage is often touted as a way to help integrate intermittent sources of electricity such as wind and solar onto the grid. The development of grid storage technology, however, is about much more than just renewable integration. This session will address various grid storage technologies and their current and future potential to help create a more resilient and cost-effective energy infrastructure. Panelists will discuss existing and emerging grid storage technologies and applications, market factors affecting storage development, the deployment of storage technologies and regulatory/policy factors affecting grid storage deployment. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

Press Club to Host FERC Chair – Cheryl LaFleur, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers at a National Press Club luncheon tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.  LaFleur, chairman of the commission since July 2014, will also talk about the expansion of the nation’s natural gas supply system as the result of unprecedented production from the use of hydraulic fracturing technologies.

 

Utech to Head Climate Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold the inaugural event in its Road to Paris Climate Series, featuring an event with Dan Utech, President Obama’s top advisor on energy and climate issues, among other prestigious experts.   Panelists will assess the national climate plans already announced by the United States and China and how their commitments could shape reactions by the European Union and lesser developed countries, which will shape the success or failure of an agreement at the Paris Conference of Parties in December 2015.  Former climate advisor Heather Zichal with moderate a panel with Utech, CAP’s Peter Ogden and WRI’s Andrew Steer.

 

Forum to Look at Ukraine Energy, Security – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on the security and energy implications for the South Caucasus after Ukraine on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  As the Ukrainian crisis, and the associated political conflict between Russia and the West, continues, there is elevated risk of unanticipated spillover effects in neighboring regions. The focus of this conference, the South Caucasus, is particularly sensitive to the continuing conflict to the north, including the competition for political and economic influence in the region.  The conference will be divided into two panels. The first panel will look at geopolitical implications of the Ukrainian conflict on the region, such as Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Union and the region’s relations with other neighbors, including Turkey and Iran. The second panel will examine energy-related issues, including the impact of world supply and demand for energy; the EU’s evolving dependence on energy from Russia; and Russia’s challenges and opportunities in the region.  The conference will conclude with a lunch and keynote address.

 

EIA Head to Address Forum – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Regis – Washington, D.C., Recharge will host a conversation with Adam Sieminski, administrator of the US Energy Information Administration.  The theme of the talk will be global energy after the oil price fall. How do plummeting oil prices change the international energy industry, and, specifically, the role the US plays in it? What does the future hold for all types of energy in a new era of cheaper oil?  The event is sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

 

Senate EPW to Host Transpo Sect, Govs on Legislation – Senate Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on Wednesday to take its first look at Transportation Reauthorization issues.  The hearing aims to provide state and federal perspectives on the importance of reauthorization.   Witnesses will include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).  Meanwhile, tomorrow, the House Transportation Committee will gather to organize.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Prices, Impacts – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Rusty Braziel, President & Principal Energy Markets Consultant for RBN Energy, James Jensen, President of Jensen Associates, Jim Burkhard, Vice President and Head of Global Oil Market Research and Energy Scenarios at IHS, and David Knapp, Senior Editor at Energy Intelligence Group, to discuss the energy market impacts of low oil prices.  For the past several years, oil prices have remained in a predictably stable price “band” of around $100/barrel – in spite of an unprecedented spate of global disruptions and new geopolitical unrest. A combination of lackluster oil demand growth, an unprecedented supply surge courtesy of U.S. tight oil production, and other market factors has led to a rapid decline in global oil prices. While it is likely too early to answer the critical questions about how low prices will go, how long they will stay there, and whether this recent price collapse will lead to a new oil price band or an era of greater price volatility, it is a good time to start assessing some of the key variables to watch. This session is an opportunity explore the various oil market dynamics at play and assess the potential implications and outlooks for the future. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

RFF Seminar to look at Climate, Food Supply – Resources for the Future will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. on how climate change will affect our global food supply.  According to recent studies, climate change could reduce agricultural productivity, decreasing global food supplies and harming households that rely on crops, livestock, and fisheries for income. What types of policies can be developed today to help protect against the worst of these impacts? At this RFF seminar, experts will examine recent research on this important topic and discuss how the United States and other countries are addressing the challenge.

 

AWWA, MWCOG to Discuss Water Issues – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the American Water Works Association and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will hold a discussion of water and wastewater utility energy efficiency programs, both today and potential for the future. This workshop will highlight successes and challenges in the region, with an emphasis on how water and wastewater utilities could participate in state and energy sector efficiency incentive programs.  The forum will bring together representatives from local water and energy utilities to demonstrate past energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects that have been completed or are proposed for a future date.

 

NAS to Look at Fukushima, Nuclear – On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a meeting on Fukushima and current nuclear challenges.   The day-long Conference will focus on the 2004 NAS Spent Fuel Report and the Fukushima  accident.

 

Ozone Public Hearing Set for DC – EPA will hold its ozone rule hearing on Thursday at EPA headquarters.  EPA will hold several public hearings on the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. EPA has proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect American’s health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. While the low end of the range in the proposed rule (65ppb) is very troubling for industry and states, as low as background levels of ozone in many parts of the country and pushing as much as 94% of the nation out of attainment, 60ppb would be devastating for manufacturing, oil and gas production and agriculture across the country.  One thing to consider: the Administration only has so much political capital at its disposal and it has made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  It is unclear that the Administration has the bandwidth to sustain both rules.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will demand that the proposed ozone NAAQS be placed on a more realistic course.  Look for Strong pushback on Ozone/NAAQS from Oil and gas.  Oil/gas production has been one of the only bright spots in the jobless recovery, and the range proposed for ozone may impose real, practical limitations on that production.

 

Senate Energy to Tackle LNG Permit Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on LNG permitting legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The LNG Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33) was introduced last week and would provide certainty with respect to the timing of Department of Energy decisions to approve or deny applications to export natural gas. Witnesses will include DOE’s Chris Smith, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, ANGA’s Marty Durbin, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg and David Koranyi, the Eurasian Energy Future Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

 

BPC to Hold Event on Climate Stakeholders, Comments – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed section 111(d) regulation for existing power plants.  Over a million comments have been submitted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Pulling from a broad swath of interested stakeholders, the Bipartisan Policy Center will gather a mix of panelists to share highlights from their submitted comments on this regulatory undertaking.  Speakers will include Arizona DEQ director Henry Darwin, Florida PSC President Lisa Edgar, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Basic Power Co-op’s Elizabeth Gore, Jack Ihle of Xcel, Missouri PSC Robert Kennedy, ECOS President and TN Bob Martineau, NRDC’s Derek Murrrow, EEI’s Quin Shea and NY State DEC.

Forum to Look at IL Nuclear Power, Economy – Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) will hold its monthly policy luncheon on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  For this luncheon, guest speaker David Bradish, manager of energy and economic analysis at the Nuclear Energy Institute, will discuss how he estimated the facilities’ economic impacts on the Illinois economy using modeling tools.

 

ASE to Hold Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a congressional briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in 366 Dirksen on energy efficiency building blocks.  Energy efficiency has been a hot topic in Congress over the last few years. The afternoon briefing to discuss the fundamental tools of energy efficiency and energy efficiency policy.

FUTURE EVENTS

 

National Zero Energy Building Forum Set – The Getting to Zero National Building Forum will be held Sunday-Tuesday, February 1-3rd at the Fairmont Georgetown Hotel. Zero energy buildings are ultra-efficient structures that use only as much energy as can be produce onsite through renewable energy resources. Research from New Buildings Institute (NBI) reports 300% growth in the number of buildings targeting zero energy performance goals in just two years. Other studies have quantified the value of the zero energy building market to be $1.4 trillion annually by 2035. While this market is still in the beginning stages, much like LEED, experts anticipate rapid growth in the next two decades.  The event will take an in-depth look at the world of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings, share perspectives on the growth of ZNE policies and projects and discuss the future of these extremely efficient buildings that produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.

 

CSIS Experts to Look at Turkish NatGas Pipeline Implications – On Monday, February 2nd, CSIS will host a forum on natural gas pipeline issues in Turkey.  In December 2014, Russia announced unexpectedly that it was cancelling its South Stream gas pipeline project. Instead, during a visit to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new pipeline project that would send additional gas to Europe through Turkey to the Greek border, which he dubbed Turkish Stream.  With much speculation as to the winners and losers of this decision, CSIS experts will endeavor to answer the many questions the new project raises.

 

JHU to Host Eni CEO – Next Monday, February 2nd at Noon, the Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum featuring Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, who will discuss the future of oil markets.  Descalzi has been the CEO of Eni since May 2014.

 

Forum to Discuss Auto Innovations – New America will hold a conversation on February 2nd at 12:15 p.m. to discuss auto policy innovations.  Speakers will include Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, and Daniel Yergin, author of The Quest and The Prize, and they will focus on the century-long battle between automakers and the contest to build the car of the future.

 

NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 3-6 in Washington D.C., the National Assn of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will Hold its 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference.  The event will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future. The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.

 

USEA to Look at Solar Economics for Utilities – Next Tuesday, February 3rd at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum assessing the economics of solar PV in the electric utility industry.  APPA’s James Cater will speak.  Solar photovoltaics (PV) makes up a small but rapidly growing portion of the nation’s electric generation capacity. Notwithstanding the increasing popularity and growth, questions remain regarding the basic costs and benefits, the nature and magnitude of subsidies, impacts on electric rates, and cost shifting among utility customers. This presentation provides an analytical framework for assessing the economics of solar PV within the electric utility sector. The intent is not to offer conclusions on the merits of solar PV as a power resource, but rather to present an analytical framework that may help decision makers assess the benefits and costs, and manage the trade-offs inherent in the use of this technology.

 

Hill Newspaper Forum to Look at Grid SecurityThe Hill will host a forum on grid resilience and security on Wednesday, February 4th at 8:00 a.m. in B-340 Rayburn. Leaders from Congress and the Obama Administration will discuss the role new energy technologies are playing in modernization, as well as steps for protecting a 21st Century power grid. Vulnerabilities in the security of the U.S. power grid — from the high-profile attack on a California substation to ongoing cyber incursions — has made protecting the grid a key policy issue for both the security and energy communities. Recent hacking incidents against major retailers, Hollywood, and the military’s social media accounts are only increasing concerns about the ability to protect America’s critical systems.

 

ASP to Hold Forum on Energy Security in Caribbean – On Wednesday, February 4th at Noon, the American Security Project will host a conference on energy security in the Caribbean.  Energy insecurity and availability are challenges that countries around the world face, but few places in the world face it like the islands of the Caribbean do. The islands are a diverse mix, ranging from Communist Cuba to the American territory of Puerto Rico, from small, isolated islands like Anguilla to large, multi-ethnic islands like Hispaniola. Most of the islands in the Caribbean have few indigenous fossil fuel resources, so virtually all of their energy needs are met by imported fossil fuels. To compound this, because of the lack of scale, costs for infrastructure are often much higher than for mainland, continental states.  Over the course of three panel discussions, the event will first examine the geopolitical importance of the region, and discuss what role energy plays in the balance of power. The next panel will look at the unique challenges of providing power to islands, and will attempt to offer lessons from other islands around the world. The final panel will look at existing and future solutions that could provide energy security, economic growth, and a cleaner environment.

 

RFF Forum to Look at Climate Agreement Action – Resources for the Future will host a First Wednesday Seminar  on February 4th at 12:45 p.m.  looking at countries level Of effort to reach a climate agreement.  Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries have committed to finalize a new international agreement to take action on climate change. To prepare for Paris, each country must outline Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the actions it will take to reduce its emissions.  A collaborative and functional negotiation process around the new agreement will require a solid understanding of the levels of effort represented by the INDCs, particularly surrounding mitigation. However, comparing mitigation efforts is a challenging exercise, given the likely diversity of the proposed actions of each country.  At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, experts will discuss a new method for comparing the INDCs, based on work by a team from Harvard University, Duke University, Japan’s Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and Resources for the Future. They will also present a preliminary assessment of mitigation actions announced by several key jurisdictions, and a negotiator from the US State Department will offer comments.  State’s Trigg Talley and experts Joe Aldy and Bill Pizer will speak.

 

Forum to Look at Global Oil Issues – The Wilson Center will convene an expert global panel, assembled from Russia, Colombia, Canada, Iran, and Nigeria, on Wednesday February 4th at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the economic and political repercussions of depressed energy prices, as well as the effects of the lower prices on competitiveness and investment.  The event will be an exploration of the political, economic, and security implications of tumbling oil prices in various parts of the globe. For more information, please visit our event page.

 

Purdue Expert to Address Climate Impacts on Land Use, Poverty – On Thursday, February 5th at 4:30 p.m., the Johns Hopkins University will host a forum featuring Thomas Hertel of Purdue University, who will address the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty.  Professor Hertel is Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, where his research focuses on the economy-wide impacts of global trade and environmental policies. Professor Hertel’s most recent research has focused on the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty. Previously, Professor Hertel has conducted extensive research on the impacts of multilateral trade agreements, including the linkages between global trade policies and poverty in developing countries.

 

Former Gov Ritter Leads CO Law School Forum – University of Colorado Law School will hold its 2015 Martz Winter Symposium in its Wittemyer Courtroom on February 12-13th.  Many believe that global institutions and frameworks are failing to generate necessary progress on issues such as climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity, food security and nutrition, and poverty eradication; and that state, tribal, and local governments and communities, innovative companies, social and technology entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, consumers and philanthropists increasingly are taking the lead in creating bottom-up solutions to these challenges.  The conference will explore this dynamic in detail, with an emphasis on the drivers behind these ground level innovations, and on how they can better “filter up” to inform the global conversations occurring on how best to address various dimensions of “global change”.  Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter leads a list of distinguished speakers.

 

FCC Chair to Address NARUC Winter Meetings – The 2015 NARUC Winter Committee Meetings will be held on February 15-18th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Winter Meetings is the first substantive utility-regulatory conference of the year. Discussions will focus on the new Congress’ outlook for energy and telecommunications priorities.  Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the  Federal Communications Commission will be among the keynote speakers.

 

Geothermal Event Set for February – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held on Tuesday, February 24th at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.

 

Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.

 

Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.

 

Energy Update: Week of January 20

Friends,

 

This week Arizona becomes the center of the sports world.  Now I don’t want to let the air out the room… but there’s that little game on Sunday in Glendale featuring the Patriots and Seahawks.  But wait, also in Arizona, just across town starting tomorrow, our friends at Waste Management are hosting the Greenest Show on Grass, the Waste Management 2015 Phoenix Open (which features the most raucous and exciting hole in golf).  It all starts tomorrow with WM’s annual Sustainability Forum featuring many of the nation’s foremost thought leaders on sustainability. The Pro-Am will tee off on Wednesday morning on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course and will feature country music star Dierks Bentley, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson, National Champ Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and many more.  As for PGA Players, the line-up includes Scottsdale hometown regular Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, defending champ Kevin Stadler, Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera among the field of 132 that will vie for the $6.3 million purse.  Of course, tomorrow

 

Away from the fun and back in Washington, the Keystone debate rolled on with 14 amendments last week, following through on the first steps of Majority Leader McConnell’s effort to restore “Regular Order” to Senate procedure.  As evidence of the effort, the 14 amendments on the Keystone XL legislation were more than occurred on ALL the legislation in the Senate during the entire previous Congress.

 

And while the President was wrapping with India on Climate (see below), his players at Interior fired another missive across the bow of Congress, this time on ANWR.  I thought we were done with ANWR a long time ago, but in this administration’s environmental “Every That Is Old Is New Again” agenda, the ANWR fight  is now reemerging.  This approach may not bode well for the new 5-year drilling plan, expected in the next week or so.  As well, there are probably many political implications that are yet to play out here.  Bracewell’s Ewing, Rothschild and/or Hutt can tackle background and questions that you may have.  Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan and Rep. Don Young will hold a presser in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery at 2:00.  I would expect some rich language there…  Finally, a number of House and Senate Committees are holding their organizing meetings this week to get rolling on their committee agendas.  As they do we may be helpful.  For example, our friends at the Senate Ag panel are expected to make CFTC issues a major priority and my Bracewell colleague David Perlman (202-828-5804) is one of the best experts on the topic in DC.

 

Tomorrow, my friends and I at the National Press Club will be hosting a lunch with FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, who will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers.  Also returning to the forefront this week will be the Ozone/NAAQS question.  One of the biggest regular political/policy fights, the EPA rolled out its new proposal just before Thanksgiving and Thursday, EPA rolls into its public hearings in DC, Dallas and LA.  Scott Segal, Jeff Holmstead and Joe Stanko are always good sources.   The Senate Energy Committee looks at LNG export issues/legislation as well on Thursday, while BPC holds a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed EPA regulation for existing power plants, which will include a number of key State Commissioners.

 

Finally, on Saturday, I was able to take in my first Monster Jam thanks to my friend Jeanne Mitchell, who hosted my son Adam and I at the Verizon Center to watch Grave Digger, Crush-Station and the others smash things, roar the engines and jump giant dirt mounds.  Quite a fun evening (including a Grave Digger rollover during the Donut competition) and all part of what goes on when the Caps/Bullets (I mean, Wizards) have a break.  Next up at Verizon on Friday, Fleetwood Mac for those of you in my age range and above….  And remember the Washington Auto Show rolls on all week at the Washington Convention Center with lots of great cars.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

President Moves to Limit ANWR Drilling – In a move that is sure to draw significant opposition from Congress, President Obama moved to limit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in his new management plan for the Alaska region.  The reforms proposes taking millions of acres off-limits to oil and gas drilling by designating them wilderness areas.   Of course Alaska delegation, including Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski were furious.  (cue the oversight hearing agenda…)  The entire delegation including new Gov. Bill Walker released an unusual Sunday news release where Murkowski called the move “a stunning attack on our sovereignty and ability to develop a strong economy.”  New House Resources Chair Rob Bishop called it “irrational.” The announcement is sure to set up another old fight with congressional Republicans, who have been spent decades unsuccessfully trying to open the refuge to oil exploration. It is important to note that the refuge is currently already is closed to fossil fuel development.

 

Finzel to Start PR Firm – Our great friend Ben Finzel is hanging out his own shingle.  After stops at a number of PR Firms, Congress and DOE over the past 25 years, Ben is opening Renew PR.   The firm is focused on “restoring common sense to communications” and will provide senior counsel, advice and outreach to corporate, association, non-governmental organization, alliance, coalition and foundation clients.  Ben writes that he looks forward to providing senior counsel and leadership based on four principles: truth, clarity, engagement and collaboration.

 

India “deal” Less “deal” than  China – Talk is nice, but it is not expensive.   It also doesn’t really help with press releases.  In a meeting in India this weekend, President Modi and President Obama said they will continue work together on climate issues but nothing in the discussion was substantive or even specific.  The U.S. and India on Sunday announced a modest deal to curb hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas emitted by refrigerators and air conditioners; work together at climate talks in Paris later this year; and finance India’s solar power targets. Unlike the arrangement with China late last year, the discussion is far more limited.  In fact, Modi said, “India is an independent country, and there is no pressure on us from any country or any person.”  The bottom line remains that for India, revitalizing economic growth, addressing the nation’s energy shortfall, and creating jobs will be taking precedence.

 

SEJ Forum Looked at Energy, Environment Issues for 2015 – In case you missed it Friday, for the third year in a row, the Society of Environmental Journalists held a public discussion at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC. The event ran from 3:00-5:00 p.m., followed by a reception. SEJ Board President Jeff Burnside introduced leading reporters and editors, who offered their predictions on the critical energy and environmental stories that will shape 2015. The event was also webcast live (see if you can hear my questions to the panelists).  Larry Pearl, director of environmental news for Bloomberg BNA, presented a brief overview then Doug Fischer, director of Environmental Health Sciences, moderated a panel that included Amy Harder, Neela Bannerjee, Randy Loftis of the Dallas Morning News, ClimateWire’s Lisa Friedman, and science reporter Lisa Palmer.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Caribbean Energy Forum Set – The White House and State Department in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Council of the Americas will host a Caribbean energy security summit in Washington, D.C. today at the White House.  Representatives from countries including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada are expected to attend the summit as well as business and other political leaders.  The event will promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, greater access to finance and donor coordination.

 

AC-HV Expo Set – The Air Condition, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and  the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)are holding their 2015 AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR marketplace, at Chicago’s McCormick Place today through Wednesday.  The Show brings together over 2,000 exhibiting companies and 40,000 visitors, representing the entire spectrum of the industry including HVACR manufacturers, engineers, contractors, OEMs, facility managers, and other professionals. In addition, there are over 100 educational seminars, workshops (presented by ASHRAE and others) and new product presentations.

 

National Energy Education Summit Set – Today at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) of the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) will host the National Energy Education Summit. The Summit will engage energy educators at all levels and students to build, improve, and expand energy education and serve the needs of diverse populations of students and citizens. The Summit will cover what we teach in energy education, how we teach it, how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges.  The Summit will include organized symposia, contributed presentations, posters and workshops on how to advance various aspects of energy education. We will also hear from leaders in government, business and industry and civil society in plenary sessions.  Dr. Michael E. Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Texas at Austin will present the opening keynote at the National Energy Education Summit.  Other speakers will include Scott Sklar and former Obama advisor Dan Kammen.

 

Wilson Forum to Look at Urban Climate Issues – Today at 1:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on climate perspectives for urban communities.  Over the next two decades the number of city dwellers will soar to nearly five billion, 60 percent of the world’s population.  Recognizing the need to strengthen the ties between urban policymaking and new scholarly work on urban development, and to disseminate evidence-based research on urban programming, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory, USAID, the International Housing Coalition, the World Bank and Cities Alliance have teamed together to cosponsor the fifth annual “Reducing Urban Poverty” paper competition for advanced graduate students. Winning authors of the 2014 Graduate Student Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

 

Energy & Climate Change Conference Set – The 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change will be held tomorrow to Thursday in Crystal City.  The event will feature more than 20 speakers and develop and advance partnerships that focus on transitioning the world to a new “low carbon” and “climate resilient” energy system. It will emphasize putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice.

 

Forum to Look at Midwest Energy Issues – The U.S. Energy Association will host the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  M-WERC envisions that, through its efforts, the Midwest Region will become the leading region in the United States for the energy, power and control industries and will be known worldwide for its leading-edge research and technology development in these areas, resulting in innovative products, market leadership, employment opportunities, and vibrant technology transfer.  M-WERC represents one of America’s largest clusters of energy, power and control companies, educational and research institutions, and other key industry stakeholders.  M-WERC acts as a catalyst for the growth of these companies and industries, located in the greater Mid-West Region, through technology innovation, advanced research, market development, information sharing, workforce development, and strategic collaboration.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Grid Storage – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a panel discussion tomorrow looking at grid storage technologies.  The event will  feature Haresh Kamath, Program Manager for Energy Storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, Judith Judson-McQueeney, Director of Emerging Technologies at Customized Energy Solutions, Praveen Kathpal, Vice President of AES Energy Storage, and Katherine Hamilton, Policy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  Grid storage is often touted as a way to help integrate intermittent sources of electricity such as wind and solar onto the grid. The development of grid storage technology, however, is about much more than just renewable integration. This session will address various grid storage technologies and their current and future potential to help create a more resilient and cost-effective energy infrastructure. Panelists will discuss existing and emerging grid storage technologies and applications, market factors affecting storage development, the deployment of storage technologies and regulatory/policy factors affecting grid storage deployment. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

Press Club to Host FERC Chair – Cheryl LaFleur, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers at a National Press Club luncheon tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.  LaFleur, chairman of the commission since July 2014, will also talk about the expansion of the nation’s natural gas supply system as the result of unprecedented production from the use of hydraulic fracturing technologies.

 

Utech to Head Climate Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold the inaugural event in its Road to Paris Climate Series, featuring an event with Dan Utech, President Obama’s top advisor on energy and climate issues, among other prestigious experts.   Panelists will assess the national climate plans already announced by the United States and China and how their commitments could shape reactions by the European Union and lesser developed countries, which will shape the success or failure of an agreement at the Paris Conference of Parties in December 2015.  Former climate advisor Heather Zichal with moderate a panel with Utech, CAP’s Peter Ogden and WRI’s Andrew Steer.

 

Forum to Look at Ukraine Energy, Security – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on the security and energy implications for the South Caucasus after Ukraine on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  As the Ukrainian crisis, and the associated political conflict between Russia and the West, continues, there is elevated risk of unanticipated spillover effects in neighboring regions. The focus of this conference, the South Caucasus, is particularly sensitive to the continuing conflict to the north, including the competition for political and economic influence in the region.  The conference will be divided into two panels. The first panel will look at geopolitical implications of the Ukrainian conflict on the region, such as Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Union and the region’s relations with other neighbors, including Turkey and Iran. The second panel will examine energy-related issues, including the impact of world supply and demand for energy; the EU’s evolving dependence on energy from Russia; and Russia’s challenges and opportunities in the region.  The conference will conclude with a lunch and keynote address.

 

EIA Head to Address Forum – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Regis – Washington, D.C., Recharge will host a conversation with Adam Sieminski, administrator of the US Energy Information Administration.  The theme of the talk will be global energy after the oil price fall. How do plummeting oil prices change the international energy industry, and, specifically, the role the US plays in it? What does the future hold for all types of energy in a new era of cheaper oil?  The event is sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

 

Senate EPW to Host Transpo Sect, Govs on Legislation – Senate Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on Wednesday to take its first look at Transportation Reauthorization issues.  The hearing aims to provide state and federal perspectives on the importance of reauthorization.   Witnesses will include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).  Meanwhile, tomorrow, the House Transportation Committee will gather to organize.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Prices, Impacts – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Rusty Braziel, President & Principal Energy Markets Consultant for RBN Energy, James Jensen, President of Jensen Associates, Jim Burkhard, Vice President and Head of Global Oil Market Research and Energy Scenarios at IHS, and David Knapp, Senior Editor at Energy Intelligence Group, to discuss the energy market impacts of low oil prices.  For the past several years, oil prices have remained in a predictably stable price “band” of around $100/barrel – in spite of an unprecedented spate of global disruptions and new geopolitical unrest. A combination of lackluster oil demand growth, an unprecedented supply surge courtesy of U.S. tight oil production, and other market factors has led to a rapid decline in global oil prices. While it is likely too early to answer the critical questions about how low prices will go, how long they will stay there, and whether this recent price collapse will lead to a new oil price band or an era of greater price volatility, it is a good time to start assessing some of the key variables to watch. This session is an opportunity explore the various oil market dynamics at play and assess the potential implications and outlooks for the future. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

 

RFF Seminar to look at Climate, Food Supply – Resources for the Future will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. on how climate change will affect our global food supply.  According to recent studies, climate change could reduce agricultural productivity, decreasing global food supplies and harming households that rely on crops, livestock, and fisheries for income. What types of policies can be developed today to help protect against the worst of these impacts? At this RFF seminar, experts will examine recent research on this important topic and discuss how the United States and other countries are addressing the challenge.

 

AWWA, MWCOG to Discuss Water Issues – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the American Water Works Association and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will hold a discussion of water and wastewater utility energy efficiency programs, both today and potential for the future. This workshop will highlight successes and challenges in the region, with an emphasis on how water and wastewater utilities could participate in state and energy sector efficiency incentive programs.  The forum will bring together representatives from local water and energy utilities to demonstrate past energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects that have been completed or are proposed for a future date.

 

NAS to Look at Fukushima, Nuclear – On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a meeting on Fukushima and current nuclear challenges.   The day-long Conference will focus on the 2004 NAS Spent Fuel Report and the Fukushima  accident.

 

Ozone Public Hearing Set for DC – EPA will hold its ozone rule hearing on Thursday at EPA headquarters.  EPA will hold several public hearings on the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. EPA has proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect American’s health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. While the low end of the range in the proposed rule (65ppb) is very troubling for industry and states, as low as background levels of ozone in many parts of the country and pushing as much as 94% of the nation out of attainment, 60ppb would be devastating for manufacturing, oil and gas production and agriculture across the country.  One thing to consider: the Administration only has so much political capital at its disposal and it has made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  It is unclear that the Administration has the bandwidth to sustain both rules.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will demand that the proposed ozone NAAQS be placed on a more realistic course.  Look for Strong pushback on Ozone/NAAQS from Oil and gas.  Oil/gas production has been one of the only bright spots in the jobless recovery, and the range proposed for ozone may impose real, practical limitations on that production.

 

Senate Energy to Tackle LNG Permit Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on LNG permitting legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The LNG Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33) was introduced last week and would provide certainty with respect to the timing of Department of Energy decisions to approve or deny applications to export natural gas. Witnesses will include DOE’s Chris Smith, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, ANGA’s Marty Durbin, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg and David Koranyi, the Eurasian Energy Future Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

 

BPC to Hold Event on Climate Stakeholders, Comments – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed section 111(d) regulation for existing power plants.  Over a million comments have been submitted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Pulling from a broad swath of interested stakeholders, the Bipartisan Policy Center will gather a mix of panelists to share highlights from their submitted comments on this regulatory undertaking.  Speakers will include Arizona DEQ director Henry Darwin, Florida PSC President Lisa Edgar, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Basic Power Co-op’s Elizabeth Gore, Jack Ihle of Xcel, Missouri PSC Robert Kennedy, ECOS President and TN Bob Martineau, NRDC’s Derek Murrrow, EEI’s Quin Shea and NY State DEC.

Forum to Look at IL Nuclear Power, Economy – Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) will hold its monthly policy luncheon on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  For this luncheon, guest speaker David Bradish, manager of energy and economic analysis at the Nuclear Energy Institute, will discuss how he estimated the facilities’ economic impacts on the Illinois economy using modeling tools.

 

ASE to Hold Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a congressional briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in 366 Dirksen on energy efficiency building blocks.  Energy efficiency has been a hot topic in Congress over the last few years. The afternoon briefing to discuss the fundamental tools of energy efficiency and energy efficiency policy.

FUTURE EVENTS

 

National Zero Energy Building Forum Set – The Getting to Zero National Building Forum will be held Sunday-Tuesday, February 1-3rd at the Fairmont Georgetown Hotel. Zero energy buildings are ultra-efficient structures that use only as much energy as can be produce onsite through renewable energy resources. Research from New Buildings Institute (NBI) reports 300% growth in the number of buildings targeting zero energy performance goals in just two years. Other studies have quantified the value of the zero energy building market to be $1.4 trillion annually by 2035. While this market is still in the beginning stages, much like LEED, experts anticipate rapid growth in the next two decades.  The event will take an in-depth look at the world of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings, share perspectives on the growth of ZNE policies and projects and discuss the future of these extremely efficient buildings that produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.

 

CSIS Experts to Look at Turkish NatGas Pipeline Implications – On Monday, February 2nd, CSIS will host a forum on natural gas pipeline issues in Turkey.  In December 2014, Russia announced unexpectedly that it was cancelling its South Stream gas pipeline project. Instead, during a visit to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new pipeline project that would send additional gas to Europe through Turkey to the Greek border, which he dubbed Turkish Stream.  With much speculation as to the winners and losers of this decision, CSIS experts will endeavor to answer the many questions the new project raises.

 

JHU to Host Eni CEO – Next Monday, February 2nd at Noon, the Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum featuring Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, who will discuss the future of oil markets.  Descalzi has been the CEO of Eni since May 2014.

 

Forum to Discuss Auto Innovations – New America will hold a conversation on February 2nd at 12:15 p.m. to discuss auto policy innovations.  Speakers will include Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, and Daniel Yergin, author of The Quest and The Prize, and they will focus on the century-long battle between automakers and the contest to build the car of the future.

 

NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 3-6 in Washington D.C., the National Assn of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will Hold its 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference.  The event will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future. The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.

 

USEA to Look at Solar Economics for Utilities – Next Tuesday, February 3rd at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum assessing the economics of solar PV in the electric utility industry.  APPA’s James Cater will speak.  Solar photovoltaics (PV) makes up a small but rapidly growing portion of the nation’s electric generation capacity. Notwithstanding the increasing popularity and growth, questions remain regarding the basic costs and benefits, the nature and magnitude of subsidies, impacts on electric rates, and cost shifting among utility customers. This presentation provides an analytical framework for assessing the economics of solar PV within the electric utility sector. The intent is not to offer conclusions on the merits of solar PV as a power resource, but rather to present an analytical framework that may help decision makers assess the benefits and costs, and manage the trade-offs inherent in the use of this technology.

 

Hill Newspaper Forum to Look at Grid SecurityThe Hill will host a forum on grid resilience and security on Wednesday, February 4th at 8:00 a.m. in B-340 Rayburn. Leaders from Congress and the Obama Administration will discuss the role new energy technologies are playing in modernization, as well as steps for protecting a 21st Century power grid. Vulnerabilities in the security of the U.S. power grid — from the high-profile attack on a California substation to ongoing cyber incursions — has made protecting the grid a key policy issue for both the security and energy communities. Recent hacking incidents against major retailers, Hollywood, and the military’s social media accounts are only increasing concerns about the ability to protect America’s critical systems.

 

ASP to Hold Forum on Energy Security in Caribbean – On Wednesday, February 4th at Noon, the American Security Project will host a conference on energy security in the Caribbean.  Energy insecurity and availability are challenges that countries around the world face, but few places in the world face it like the islands of the Caribbean do. The islands are a diverse mix, ranging from Communist Cuba to the American territory of Puerto Rico, from small, isolated islands like Anguilla to large, multi-ethnic islands like Hispaniola. Most of the islands in the Caribbean have few indigenous fossil fuel resources, so virtually all of their energy needs are met by imported fossil fuels. To compound this, because of the lack of scale, costs for infrastructure are often much higher than for mainland, continental states.  Over the course of three panel discussions, the event will first examine the geopolitical importance of the region, and discuss what role energy plays in the balance of power. The next panel will look at the unique challenges of providing power to islands, and will attempt to offer lessons from other islands around the world. The final panel will look at existing and future solutions that could provide energy security, economic growth, and a cleaner environment.

 

RFF Forum to Look at Climate Agreement Action – Resources for the Future will host a First Wednesday Seminar  on February 4th at 12:45 p.m.  looking at countries level Of effort to reach a climate agreement.  Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries have committed to finalize a new international agreement to take action on climate change. To prepare for Paris, each country must outline Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the actions it will take to reduce its emissions.  A collaborative and functional negotiation process around the new agreement will require a solid understanding of the levels of effort represented by the INDCs, particularly surrounding mitigation. However, comparing mitigation efforts is a challenging exercise, given the likely diversity of the proposed actions of each country.  At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, experts will discuss a new method for comparing the INDCs, based on work by a team from Harvard University, Duke University, Japan’s Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and Resources for the Future. They will also present a preliminary assessment of mitigation actions announced by several key jurisdictions, and a negotiator from the US State Department will offer comments.  State’s Trigg Talley and experts Joe Aldy and Bill Pizer will speak.

 

Forum to Look at Global Oil Issues – The Wilson Center will convene an expert global panel, assembled from Russia, Colombia, Canada, Iran, and Nigeria, on Wednesday February 4th at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the economic and political repercussions of depressed energy prices, as well as the effects of the lower prices on competitiveness and investment.  The event will be an exploration of the political, economic, and security implications of tumbling oil prices in various parts of the globe. For more information, please visit our event page.

 

Purdue Expert to Address Climate Impacts on Land Use, Poverty – On Thursday, February 5th at 4:30 p.m., the Johns Hopkins University will host a forum featuring Thomas Hertel of Purdue University, who will address the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty.  Professor Hertel is Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, where his research focuses on the economy-wide impacts of global trade and environmental policies. Professor Hertel’s most recent research has focused on the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty. Previously, Professor Hertel has conducted extensive research on the impacts of multilateral trade agreements, including the linkages between global trade policies and poverty in developing countries.

 

Former Gov Ritter Leads CO Law School Forum – University of Colorado Law School will hold its 2015 Martz Winter Symposium in its Wittemyer Courtroom on February 12-13th.  Many believe that global institutions and frameworks are failing to generate necessary progress on issues such as climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity, food security and nutrition, and poverty eradication; and that state, tribal, and local governments and communities, innovative companies, social and technology entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, consumers and philanthropists increasingly are taking the lead in creating bottom-up solutions to these challenges.  The conference will explore this dynamic in detail, with an emphasis on the drivers behind these ground level innovations, and on how they can better “filter up” to inform the global conversations occurring on how best to address various dimensions of “global change”.  Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter leads a list of distinguished speakers.

 

FCC Chair to Address NARUC Winter Meetings – The 2015 NARUC Winter Committee Meetings will be held on February 15-18th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Winter Meetings is the first substantive utility-regulatory conference of the year. Discussions will focus on the new Congress’ outlook for energy and telecommunications priorities.  Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the  Federal Communications Commission will be among the keynote speakers.

 

Geothermal Event Set for February – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held on Tuesday, February 24th at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.

 

Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.

 

Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.