Energy Update: Week of September 17

Friends,

Well, that was an interesting weekend.  While I was umpiring my own NCAA games and watching Hannah’s in Boston, Hurricane (and now “heavy-rain storm’) Florence was battering the Carolinas.  We have a full report in a separate section below.  I am doing regular reports that include information from Duke, EEI, EIA, NRECA and others, so please let me know if you are interested and I will add you to the list.

Meanwhile, on Friday, lots of movement in the RFS discussion.  Ag economist Scott Irwin of the U of Illinois (generally very favorable to the ethanol folks surprised many when he released a paper that said small refiner exemptions have not had any significant impact of ethanol demand.  It echoed another paper also released Friday by Charles River Associates that argued the same point. Finally, Sen Pat Toomey invited EPA chief Andy Wheeler to come to a Pennsylvania refinery.  All of this detailed below.

The House is out this week because Wednesday is Yom Kippur – which I will “celebrate” by taking my son Adam for his final on-road driving test at the Motor Vehicle Administration in MD.  Talk about a Day of Atonement…that is it.  Senate is in tomorrow and Thursday and in fact could vote as early as this week on a water infrastructure package that passed the House last week.  And don’t sleep on the vernal equinox – fall hits on Saturday evening.

Exciting Bracewell News: top Interior Department lawyer Ann Navaro (a Wellesley alumni) has joined Bracewell’s Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. She has also held senior legal/policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and spent 14 years handling litigation in DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  She will be a great resource for you on these issues so let me know if you are interested in connecting with her.

Finally, this is not about energy, but as you know, as a member of the National Press Club, I help promote Club-sponsored events like luncheons, newsmakers, etc.  Given recent issues that have supercharged the SCOTUS nomination hearings, I wanted to mention a great one tomorrow at the Club featuring EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, who will discuss the mid-term election, politics and the role of women this fall.  The luncheon starts at 12:30 pm, comments start at 1:00 p.m. and I hope you can attend.

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Since its creation over a decade ago, the RFS has failed to accomplish the originally-envisioned goals of tangible environmental benefits or improved energy independence.  Moreover, the RFS has imposed financial harm on motorists, the broader transportation sector, and domestic oil refiners. To achieve RFS compliance, merchant refineries must spend millions of dollars each year on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), money which would otherwise go toward needed capital investments and the hiring of additional workers. The RFS picks winners and losers amongst sources of energy, and has named merchant refiners, particularly those in the Philadelphia region, the losers.”

Senator Pat Toomey in a letter inviting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to visit Pennsylvania refiners to discuss the RFS.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – With EPA announcing its new public hearing for its ACE rule on October 1st, I am resending a great Bracewell PRG explainer podcast with Scott Segal of Commerce Global Energy Institute President Karen Harbert and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Ag Economist’s Paper on Ethanol Demand Causes Waves – U. of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin has almost always a supporter of the ethanol industry, but he shook up both sides on Friday with a new paper that undercuts the ethanol industry’s long-standing claim that small refiner waivers have hurt demand.  Today in FarmdocDaily, Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  As he said in a tweet on the info, “I just as well say it up front.  This ain’t gonna make me any friends in the corn ethanol industry.  But this is what the data tells us to date: Hard to detect any physical demand destruction for ethanol due to small refinery exemptions.”

HURRICANE FLORENCE UPDATE

Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression, but it continues to be a dangerous storm. The threat of catastrophic flooding is real. The storm continues to dump record amounts of rain, and streams and rivers are expected to flood even after the storm has passed.

As of 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, approximately 664,000 customers were without power in North and South Carolina. Power outages will continue to fluctuate as flooding moves or limbs and trees continue to fall.  Crews are working around the clock to restore power where it is safe and conditions allow. Impacted electric companies are reporting that they already have restored power to more than 1 million customers since the storm began. As the storm progresses, electric companies are reallocating resources strategically to ensure a safe and efficient response.

Other Important Safety Tips for Recovery, Restoration – A few important tips about power restoration and recovery:

  • In hard-hit areas, estimated restoration times will be determined after field crews first complete damage assessments. That process could take several days due to road closures caused by severe flooding and storm debris, especially in the coastal areas of both states, limiting travel for crews.
  • Never bring a generator indoors, and if rising water threatens your home or you evacuate, turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.  Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
  • Utilities are asking customers for their patience ahead of what will be a lengthy period of power restoration and recovery from this major storm.

HVACR Units and Flooding – Flooding creates a unique and dangerous power restoration environment. In many cases, crews are not able to gain access to the most heavily damaged and flooded areas until the storm clears and it is deemed safe for them to enter.  It is also important for consumers when they return to their homes or businesses.  After a flood or storm surge from a hurricane, homeowners must take important safety precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling systems. A house or basement exposed to standing water or storm surge can damage your home’s water heater, furnace, boiler, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat pump system and put your family at risk.  The HVACR industry reminds people how to handle flooding and your home’s HVAC systems safely.  Here is a full account of things to consider: http://bit.ly/2rg0xky

EEI Can Help With Process Questions – Should you have any questions about the electric power industry’s restoration efforts, our friends at EEI can help with background, historical perspective and details.  Their team is closely coordinating with the electric companies impacted by Florence.  Check out the EEI Storm Center here to see important information, details and safety tips. You can contact Brian Reil (breil@eei.org; 508-414-5794) to connect.

EIA Continues to Monitor Power – EIA is monitoring the Hurricane in its Hurricane Florence Electricity Status Report

Electricity: Load forecasts in the east (CPLE, SCEG, SC) show load beginning to recover today as the storm moves west and restoration efforts continue. CPLW and DUK in the west expect lower or similar loads today compared to yesterday.

Generators: Solar generation has declined over the past few days, particularly in CPLE and SCEG. Coal and natural gas generation has varied by balancing authority. One of the McGuire nuclear plant’s two units shut down beginning Friday night for planned maintenance unrelated to Florence. The Brunswick nuclear plant remains offline as of Saturday night.

Customers: As of 10:52 a.m., about 703,000 customers in North Carolina and about 52,000 customers in South Carolina have reported electricity outages, roughly 14% and 2% of the customers in the states, respectively. Outage numbers are falling in some counties and rising in others as the storm moves inland and restoration is underway.

Sutton Power Station and Coal Ash Ponds – The Sutton Power Station in Wilmington saw a minor storm related water overflow in its coal ash pond.  Here are the full details from Duke Officials: https://news.duke-energy.com/releases/historic-rains-from-hurricane-florence-cause-water-release-at-sutton-power-plant-in-wilmington-n-c  

 

Release Text:

Historic rains from Hurricane Florence caused the release of stormwater, which may have come into contact with coal ash from a lined landfill, at the company’s Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington. Because of the heavy rainfall amounts, it is difficult to calculate the amount of water that may have reached Sutton Lake, the cooling pond that was constructed to support plant operations.

Inspections today identified a slope failure and erosion in one section of the coal ash landfill, which displaced about 2,000 cubic yards of material and would fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The majority of displaced ash was collected in a perimeter ditch and haul road that surrounds the landfill and is on plant property.

Coal ash is non-hazardous, and the company does not believe this incident poses a risk to public health or the environment. The company is conducting environmental sampling as well.

Site personnel are managing the situation and will proceed with a full repair as weather conditions improve.

Ash basins, which are being excavated, and the cooling pond continue to operate safely.

IN THE NEWS

Navaro Joins Bracewell – Bracewell said that Ann D. Navaro has joined its Washington, DC office as a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has over 25 years of experience working as an attorney and advising senior leadership at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. For the last two years, she has held senior positions at the US Department of the Interior, including most recently as Counselor to the Solicitor.  In her distinguished career with the federal government, Navaro has worked on a wide range of issues with federal agencies, including litigation, regulation, legislation and the implementation of environmental and natural resources programs. She has held senior legal and policy positions at the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior. Navaro spent 14 years handling litigation in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the US Department of Justice, as well as 10 years litigating and overseeing civil works litigation for the Army Corps.  Navaro has been involved in some of the most challenging and high-profile policy issues and disputes in environmental and natural resources law, including recent policy shifts to streamline federal permitting, oil and gas leasing in Alaska, Asian carp infiltration in the Great Lakes, Clean Water Act 404 actions, offshore royalty disputes, coal mining, hydropower projects, casino development, offshore sonar use, new oil and gas regulations, and federal takings and constitutional challenges.  At Bracewell, Navaro will focus her practice in four areas: (1) development projects, (2) regulatory counseling, (3) policy advocacy and (4) government litigation.

Three Reports Undercut Ethanol Demand Destruction Claim – Three reports on Friday said ethanol demand is not be lost and one of them is the work of Agricultural economist Scott Irwin, who usually supports ethanol views.

Irwin Paper – Today in FarmdocDaily, U. Illinois Ag Economist Scott release a paper on SREs and ethanol demand destruction.  To date, Irwin says he cannot find much if any drop based on ethanol blend rates.  He added there may be E10 ethanol demand destruction with SREs in the future if price of ethanol goes above price of gasoline.  SREs have reduced the demand for E15 and E85 but Irwin says it’s hard to measure since it is so small, but adds further expansion of the demand for higher ethanol blends is not in the cards so long as SREs are granted (and not reallocated).  Irwin said “analysis of data on ethanol and gasoline consumption in the U.S. shows there is little if any evidence that the blend rate for ethanol has been reduced by SREs.  If there has been any ethanol “demand destruction” to date it was very small, perhaps a drop in the ethanol blend rate of a tenth, which equates to only about 140 million gallons of ethanol consumption on an annual basis.”  See the full paper with charts here: https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2018/09/small-refinery-exemptions-and-ethanol-demand-destruction.html

Charles River Paper – Irwin’s views are underscored by another new report released today as well from Charles River Associates that in essence, comes to the same conclusion.

The report from Charles River Associates (CRA), just released, dated September 2018, and entitled, “Economics of Small Refinery Exemptions under the RFS.”   You can see the full report here:

Among the noteworthy conclusions of the recent CRA report are the following:

  • “This report shows that increased SREs and lower ethanol RIN prices have not caused ethanol demand destruction. This is supported by a review of RIN pricing economics and an analysis of ethanol blend rates, which have continued to increase after SRE announcements.”
  • Even outside of the RFS, “There is a significant base level of demand for ethanol blending unrelated to the annual RFS obligations. Drivers of this demand include octane enhancement and serving as oxygenate, as well as direct price competition between ethanol and refined petroleum products.”
  • This base level of demand ensures that SREs and normalization of RINs prices have no impact of ethanol demand.  Indeed, RINs prices could literally fall to zero without impacting ethanol blend rates.
  • CRA continues:  “Simply put, changes in D6 RIN prices do not impact ethanol blend rates as long as the RIN price remains above the level needed to support ethanol blending. We demonstrate that actual D6 RIN prices have been above the ‘needed’ RIN prices for the majority of the RFS program’s history. In fact, for the past several months, fuel economics have driven the ‘needed’ RIN price below $0/RIN.”

The conclusion is clear – “Since D6 RIN prices have remained above the “needed” D6 RIN price, there has been no change in incentives for ethanol blending. This is supported by a review of ethanol volumes and blend rates, both of which have been increasing over time.”

Former EIA Analyst Joanne Shore Finds Similar Issues with Demand – Irwin and CRA’s findings are also backed up by similar, recent analysis from Joanne Shore, the long-time former chief analyst for fuels and refining issues at the Energy Information Administration.  Her September 11, 2018, conclusion:

“The data show that there is no evidence of domestic biofuel demand destruction from RFS waivers to small refiners. Biofuel demand is robust and increasing, likely as a result of what RFA recognizes in its own analysis: the low price of ethanol relative to gasoline. As numerous studies have indicated, ethanol blending will remain economic, even in the absence of a mandate. These facts strongly suggest that both Congress and the administration can take action to control the cost of the RFS and RINs in a manner that protects refining jobs, without adversely impacting the biofuel sector.”

Toomey Issues Invite to EPA Chief – Speaking of ethanol, Sen. Pat Toomey invited the top EPA official Andy Wheeler to visit the oil refineries in the Philadelphia area. In a letter sent to Wheeler, Toomey wrote that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is a federal mandate requiring gasoline to contain up to ten percent ethanol, is imposing such high costs on refiners that it threatens local employment and the greater Philadelphia economy.   Monroe Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refining complex on the East Coast, are both located in the Philadelphia area and employ a combined 1,600 people. To comply with the RFS, these two refiners must spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to acquire so-called RINs. High and unpredictable RIN prices threaten the financial well-being of these facilities and jeopardize their high-paying, blue collar jobs. Earlier this year, PES declared bankruptcy in large part due to the unsustainable compliance costs associated with the RFS.

IER Unveils Green Grant Tracker – The Institute for Energy Research released a new grant tracker today called “Big Green, Inc.”, a powerful new research tool that shines a long overdue spotlight on the money that is fueling the massive national environmental lobby.  Big Green, Inc. uncovers the scope of the environmental movement’s funding as well as the role this interrelated network of organizations has had on energy policy. Taking the form of a searchable database, Big Green, Inc. tracks 8,821 environmental grants from 2008-2016 adding up to $3.7 billion. This money flowed from ten left-leaning foundations to over 1,500 environmental activist groups spanning all 50 states.  The map allows users to track the funding sources across a variety of dimensions including state and year, and identifies the issue areas for which these organizations received money, for example, climate change advocacy, anti-coal initiatives, and political activism.

Energy Funding Passes – Congress passed the FY2019 “Minibus” spending bill Thursday. The funding bill address programs for energy and water programs, including clean energy programs at DOE.  The Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Lisa Jacobson said “the market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE’s world class research, both pure and applied. Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets.”    And Clearpath’s Rich Powell added “Congress again sent an undeniable message that lawmakers are serious about keeping the U.S. in the top tier of countries pursuing clean and reliable energy breakthroughs. While steady and sufficient funding is essential, providing important direction and reforms to the DOE to make sure that dollars are well spent is equally vital to spurring energy innovation.”

House Passed Key Senate Advanced Nuke Legislation – And while they were passing legislation, House approval of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which would strengthen partnerships between the private sector and government researchers to test and demonstrate the next generation of clean advanced nuclear reactor concepts.  The bill, led by Sens. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and others, was approved by the Senate in March and now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign the legislation.  NEICA authorizes the development of a versatile neutron source for advanced reactor testing. Many of the promising new reactor designs currently being developed utilize “fast neutrons,” so the test bed created under NEICA is essential to developing those new fuel designs. A versatile neutron source can also allow accelerated research for all new advanced reactors. It is important to note that this R&D capability is only available for civilian use in Russia, so a domestic U.S. facility is essential to advancing American technologies. “NEICA will create a strong new foundation for global nuclear innovation leadership. By preparing a test bed for our advanced reactor entrepreneurs, we have thrown down the gauntlet to our Russian and Chinese competitors that the United States will not be out-innovated in the technology we invented,” ClearPath Action Executive Director Rich Powell said.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launched yesterday in Washington on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW) with presentations about electric vehicles and the latest models on the National Mall.  There will be more events this week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – This afternoon, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Forum to Look at Energy Future – The Hoover Institution hosts “MIT-Stanford Energy Game Changers Symposium” tomorrow at 8:45 a.m.  Recent progress in energy technology research and development in the United States has been substantial-the past decade has seen dramatic reductions in the costs of emerging technologies alongside similar improvements in energy security and environmental performance. Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz alongside scientists and engineers from two leading American research universities and DOE national labs will explore the potential for energy “game changers”: inexpensive and abundant clean electricity production, affordable grid energy storage at scale, secure electrochemical fuel manufacturing, less intensive fossil energy through carbon capture, and more.

DOE to Host Energy Storage Forum – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) InnovationXLab Energy Storage Summit will take place tomorrow and Wednesday at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA. Energy storage is one of the biggest challenges to unlocking the potential from the next generation of transportation and electricity grid technologies. The Summit will showcase the broad array of technical resources available from across DOE’s National Lab complex that can be leveraged by industry to address these challenges.

Senate Enviro to Look at Legislation – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a Business Meeting  tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. to consider a bill to establish a compliance deadline of May 15, 2023, for Step 2 emissions standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces as well as several other bills.

Heritage Looks at SCOTUS Fall Term – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion for a Supreme Court Preview of the 2018 Term.  The Supreme Court returns October 1st for its 2018-2019 Term, and the justices will tackle of number of important issues. Supreme Court litigators Paul Clement and Joseph Palmore will discuss what is likely to unfold in the next Supreme Court term.

ITIF to Host Clean Energy Forum – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will host an expert panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on carbon emissions and clean energy. ITIF Senior Fellow Joe Kennedy, author of the recent report “How Induced Innovation Lowers the Cost of a Carbon Tax,” will moderate a discussion on innovation, carbon taxes and clean energy.

Philly Forum to Look at GHG Neutrality – Tomorrow at Noon in Philly, the Kleinman Center Energy Forum hosts an expert look at greenhouse gas neutrality featuring Oliver Geden, a lead author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Harder, LeVine Headline Clean Energy Discussion – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a lively conversation on the future of energy and the role of innovation and new technologies tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.  The discussion will feature three leading minds to shine a light on future energy trends. Steve LeVine, a veteran journalist of geopolitics and energy and whose most recent book The Powerhouse is a deep dive into the race to build a super battery; Akshat Rathi, whose award-winning series The Race to Zero Emissions masterfully deconstructs the energy technologies our futures need; and Amy Harder, whose weekly column “Harder Line” reports trends, scoops, and news driving the energy and climate debate, will explore future scenarios for the energy sector.

Senate Committee to Look at Infrastructure Cyber Issues – The Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee will hold a closed-door hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. and will feature testimony from senior energy and homeland security officials, including DOE Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Bruce Walker, DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications Jeanette Manfra and Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security at the Defense Department.

WaPo Mooney Headline WRI Forum – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a major forum in Washington, DC reflecting on the challenging and important topic of carbon removal.  Tailored for a policy audience and featuring leading voices in technology, conservation and the environment, the event will tackle the big questions head on – how can carbon removal help in the fight against climate change? What are the different land management and technological approaches, and how can they be brought to scale in a safe and prudent manner? And finally, what practical steps can U.S. policymakers take to foster action?  The event will include a presentation on WRI’s latest research findings on carbon removal followed by a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Chris Mooney, Climate and Energy Reporter at The Washington Post.

CSIS Will Hold Forum Private Sector Sustainable Development – CSIS will hold a forum on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. role of the private sector in achieving the sustainable development goals.  The private sector provides 9 out of 10 jobs in developing countries and has an important role to play in achieving the SDGs and solving global problems. Many private sector actors support the SDGs and have joined the UN Global Compact. At the Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference in 2015, it became clear that it would take trillions not billions of dollars of financing of all types to achieve the SDGs. Private sector participation is critical to strengthening the economies in developing countries, employing the growing youth bulge in Africa, and solving global challenges like migration.

FERC Meeting – FERC Commissioners will meet on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Coal Marketing Days Forum Set for PA – S&P Global Platts 41st Annual Coal Marketing Days Conference is set for the Westin in Pittsburgh, PA.  This long-standing event attracts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts and investors who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets.

Forum to Look at China Sludge – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on urban waste policies, pilots and innovation. Chen Meian will open up discussing the challenges low-carbon cities face in reigning in greenhouse gasses, and how her think tank is creating a platform for innovative, bottom-up, clean energy solutions. One of the most successful sludge-to-energy plants in China is in Xiangyang City in a plant run by Dou Wenlong. Mr. Dou will explain how his company has built partnerships with the local government to turn captured methane into CNG for a local taxi fleet. Liu Jinghao will give an overview of national-level drivers creating opportunities for methane recovery from MSW and sludge in China. Finally, Liu Xiao will tell a story of how one low-carbon city pilot is sparking climate action in the MSW industry. The speakers are in the United States participating in a technical research exchange sponsored by the Global Methane Initiative.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

Forum to Look at Advanced Nuke Test Reactor – The Global American Business Institute will hold a Capitol Hill briefing on Friday at Noon on the Versatile test reactor.  Mr. Donald Wolf – Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO, ARC Nuclear and Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu – Executive Director, The Versatile Test Reactor, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will speak.

Heritage to Look at Bloom Energy Challenges – The Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on Friday at Noon featuring University of Delaware Professor and former Delaware State Climatologist David Legates, at a forum on challenges with Delaware’s Bloom Energy.  Legates has challenges the fuel cell “promise” of inexpensive, clean energy is that it is actually very expensive and not very clean.

Forum to Preview SCOTUS 2018 – On Friday at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds another discussion on “Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2018.  US Solicitor General Noel Francisco will offer opening remarks followed by a panel featuring SCOTUS attorneys John Adams, Tom Goldstein, Jennifer Mascott, and Elizabeth Papez. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams will moderate.

JHU Forum to Look at Developing World Sustainable Energy Utility – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on utility models in the energy sector in meeting global economic, environmental and social challenges. Anmol Vanamali of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation will discuss the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) model.  There will also be a panel to discuss the impacts on Delaware.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Building Policies – Next Tuesday morning at the US Green Buildings Council, DOE, the Environment, New Buildings Institute and several partners are hosting the interactive session, which aims to stimulate collaboration, highlight leading local buildings and policies, and foster knowledge sharing regarding net-zero energy practice and policy.

Baltic Energy Forum Set – The Jamestown Foundation will hold a conference on energy security in the wider Baltic region next Tuesday at the University Club.  The conference will address the challenge to European security posed by Russia’s Nord Stream Two natural gas pipeline project as well as discuss Northern Gate, an alternative energy transit corridor championed by Poland that will open up the region to Norwegian gas supplies and U.S. and international LNG shipments, blunting Gazprom’s market monopoly position.

MIT Expert to Talk CCS – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on carbon capture next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring MIT Senior Research Engineer Howard Herzog.  Herzog will give an overview of the current state of technology and policy related to Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) and cover seven aspects of CCS:  (1) the role of CCS in addressing the climate change challenge, (2) a summary of large CCS projects in operation, (3) the current status and future directions for capture technology, (4) the current status and future directions for storage technology, (5) how to view negative emissions, (6) the policies and politics around CCS, and (7) what the future may hold.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Clean Energy Week Forum Set – The 2018 National Clean Energy Week Policy Makers Symposium will be held on Wednesday at the National Press Club Ballroom. Speakers include Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Daines and Murkowski and many more.

Forum to Look at Energy Cybersecurity – RealClearPolitics will hold a forum on energy cybersecurity Wednesday September 26th at 8:00 a.m. at the Newseum. The keynote speaker is Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and INGAA’s Don Santa and AGA’s Dave McCurdy will speak.

Forum to Look at Transportation – The Alliance to Save Energy’s 50×50 Commission will hold an event Wednesday, September 26th at 8:30 a.m. in 2255 Rayburn to roll out a new alliance that will unveil its full suite of policy recommendations on Capitol Hill to encourage policymakers to better prepare for the coming transformation. The Commission is a group of business, government, and civil society leaders that has been working to develop a pathway to capitalize on the opportunities of a rapidly changing industry by setting an ambitious goal of cutting the U.S. transportation sector’s energy use by 50% by 2050 while meeting future mobility needs. The Commission will unveil.  Keynote speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.  The event looks at the key shifts in the industry, why their organization is participating in the Commission, and the importance of cohesive policies in securing the Commission’s vision of the transportation future.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

Forum to Look at Cyber Resilience – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday, September 27th at 10:00 a.m. on cyber resilience in the energy sector.  Speakers from Marsh & McLennan Companies will present, including Paul Mee, North America Cyber Lead, Oliver Wyman, and Matt McCabe, Assistant General Counsel on Cyber Policy, will discuss how they work with companies in the energy sector to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks, thus helping them build true cyber resilience.

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax Study – REMI will host a carbon tax discussion at its Washington, DC policy luncheon on Thursday September 27th with guest presenter Scott Nystrom, a Director at FTI Consulting, Inc.  Alliance for Market Solutions commissioned FTI Consulting to evaluate the economic, fiscal and emission effects of a national revenue-neutral carbon tax. The study’s authors applied this tax at the point of extraction or import, and simulated the implications of raising the cost of fossil fuels on the national, state, and industry levels.  Nystrom, a co-author on the report, will review the proposal and the potential implications for the U.S. and state economies and major industries. He will also describe the methodologies behind the analysis of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Conservatives to Discuss Nuclear – Experts from the Breakthrough Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the ClearPath Foundation and R Street will hold a forum on Thursday September 27th at 3:00 p.m. looking at innovation and reform to the nuclear industry. After many years of failed attempts, a new path to an economically competitive domestic nuclear industry is close at hand. Nuclear micro-reactors (10 MW and smaller) allow for safe operation with radically simplified designs, making the case for far-reaching licensing and regulatory reform much stronger.  Policy elements needed for a better future include licensing reforms at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, extending the duration of federal purchase power agreements, and supporting construction of new fast reactors and advanced nuclear fuels.

Group to Honor Clean Energy Champs – On Thursday, September 27th at 5:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) will recognize its 2018 Clean Energy Champions.  They include Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tim Scott (R-SC), Reps Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and Govs. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Gary Herbert (R-UT).

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

Cato Hosts Public Transit Debate – On Monday October 1st, the Cato Institute holds a Capitol Hill forum on the Federal role in public transit. Cato’s Randall O’Toole and Jarrett Walker will debate.

Ideas Forum Set for DC – The Atlantic Council and Aspen Institute are hosting the Atlantic Festival on October 2-4th at Sidney Harman Hall n DC.  Atlantic editor Jeffery Goldberg, former Secretary of State Sen. John Kerry and NYT reporter/author Mark Leibovich are among the numerous speakers.  In its 10th year, Washington Ideas has become The Atlantic Festival.  The conference always includes in-depth interviews with some of today’s biggest thinkers and leaders in technology, politics, business and the arts, we will illuminate new ideas, and grapple with the most consequential issues of our time.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

ClearPath, EPIC, ACCF host Forum on R&D Investments – On October 10, The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), in partnership with ClearPath and the American Council for Capital Formation, will hosting discussions on lessons gleaned from research and practical experiences. The conversations will provide insight into how to translate research findings into actionable policy and industry approaches that can drive clean energy innovation.

Forum to Look at Wood – In recognition of National Forest Products Week, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts an innovative class of structural wood building materials. This briefing will bring together experts to tell the emerging story of the U.S. mass timber industry and how to capitalize on its potential.  Speakers will include Sen Angus King.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitor’s unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of September 10

Friends,

L’Shana Tovah to all…  Last night at Sundown began the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning the “beginning the year.” It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days which culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur.  I’m thinking about tomorrow too as it has been 17 years since the terror attacks on 9/11 in NYC and DC.

Maybe a New Year or Day of Atonement is an appropriate transition to the Saturday Women’s US Open final. I am a big fan of Serena and think she and Venus have done fabulous things for tennis.  While I agree with her that the umpire was wrong and will likely never get another important match (I have some experience in officiating as you all know), I still have problems with her meltdown which has completely overshadowed the first ever grand slam win by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who by the way has a great story.  My take: She is definitely a role model and should have swallowed the umpire’s terrible call on the coaching warning and tried to overcome it.  After Serena let down her mental game – impacted by a bad umpiring decision – Osaka, who had the upper hand in the match, taking the first set 6-2, finished her off.  Lots of columns and opinions on this in the media from great sports reporters like Christine Brennan and Sally Jenkins, but bottom line for me is, the umpire was terrible, you have to deal with it.  BTW, Novak Djokovic blasted past Juan Martin del Potro for a straight set win 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 on Sunday for the Men’s title that was much less controversial.

Before we look at this week, just a word about Sunday’s Washington Post article about EPA staff leaving in droves.  First, my friends Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin wrote a very good story, but I am shocked it made it to the front page/above-the-fold Sunday.  As one who has watched EPA for many years, it seems likely that this EPA staff would be expected to leave as they are.  In other words, it should not surprise anyone.  The staff at EPA has be experienced and aging for some time and we expected this type of exodus.  Many thought it would happen sooner, but perhaps the Obama EPA’s second-term aggressiveness on environmental policy may have kept some there a little longer.  I’m sure it is also partly ideological: certainly is not surprising to think that some of the EPA retirements are driven by the Trump approach.  Finally, the Trump team all along has said they were going to reduce staff at EPA.  In fact some have wanted to reduce it much more that 8%.  The fact that it is only down by about 1,000 employees is not really that much given the on-going planning/reorganizing.  We have great experts on this, so happy to discuss.

Light schedule this week as Congress looks for the exits for the Midterm elections on tap and the Jewish holidays. On Wednesday, the votes begin on the budget.  Majority Leader McCarthy told the media the House will vote on the final first minibus which contains Energy and Water budgets. Both chambers will only be in town for a few days, with the House and Senate out until Wednesday for Rosh Hashanah. POLITICO adds the schedule leaves just seven working days when both chambers are in session before the Sept. 30 funding deadline.  More budget mini-buses in the coming days…

Also today, in a special edition episode of our great Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop, Scott Segal tackles the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule with Chamber Global Energy Institute head Karen Harbert and former EPA Air office head Jeff Holmstead.  Check out the details here.

The biggest story this week is out in the Golden State where Gov. Jerry Brown is hosting big climate summit. Beyond the summit, there are a ton of political and policy events running sidebar including one from our friends at C2ES and many more. Speakers include Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and many more.  I have discussed this with some of you already and I am happy to do more should you need comment, historical perspective and climate policy background.

Finally, sad news to lose our friend Sam Bodman who served as Energy Secretary during the Bush Administration, who passed away over the weekend at 79.  Hurricane Florence is growing and is expected to potentially hit the North/South Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday.  We’ll will keep an eye on it and stay safe. Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Sam had a brilliant mind, and we are fortunate that he put his intellect to work for our country as Secretary of Energy. I am proud that he was a member of my Cabinet, and I am proud that he was my friend.”

Former President George Bush and former first lady Laura Bush mourned the loss of former Energy Secretary Sam Bodman in a statement marking his passing on Saturday.

ON THE POD

Bracewell, Chamber Energy Experts Discuss ACE Rule – In a special edition episode of The Lobby Shop, Bracewell PRG Co-Head Scott Segal takes the reigns with an interview of President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, Karen Harbert, and former Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, Jeff Holmstead. Karen, Scott, and Jeff discuss the EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, how it compares to the Clean Power Plan, and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Wash Times Has Special Section on RFS Reform The Washington Times had a special section last week which detail need for renewable fuel standard (RFS) reform.  Among the writing on the issue were key comments from Senators who raised concerns about the current RFS and why it needs to be fixed.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the federal mandate for corn ethanol is “both unwise and unworkable” adding roughly 40% of corn in the United States is currently used for fuel, which increases the price of food and animal feed while also damaging the environment. Additionally, oil companies are unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for some gas stations and older automobiles.  Feinstein: “Once we remove the corn ethanol mandate, the RFS program can finally serve its intended purpose: to support the development of advanced, environmentally friendly biofuels like biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels.”  Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) added that the RFS is outdated, created when energy consumption relied heavily on foreign imports.  Cassidy: “It was thought that the Renewable Fuel Standard would be good for our environment by decreasing the carbon footprint. But in the last 10 years, our energy landscape has changed dramatically. We now have more domestic oil than almost ever before, and the drawbacks of the RFS greatly outweigh its benefits.”  Finally, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said while a well-intentioned idea, the “promised environmental benefits of the RFS have yet to be realized” and in fact, “may well be hurting” the environment. Udall says we need a forward-looking plan that offers “visionary reforms to put us on a cleaner and more sustainable path. The changes represent a giant step forward to combat the urgent threat of climate change, cut pollution, and protect our planet for future generations.”  There is much more from Congress on the need for reform HERE.

IN THE NEWS

MIT Tool Helps Building Planning Reduce Climate Emissions – A new software tool from researchers at MIT was rolled out last week to help architects or engineers design a new building to better reduce climate emissions.  Often, it’s done only at the end of the process — if ever — that a lifecycle analysis of the building’s environmental impact is carried out. And by then, it may be too late to make significant changes. Now, a faster and easier system for doing such analyses could change all that, making the analysis an integral part of the design process from the beginning. The new process, described in the journal Building and Environment in a paper by MIT researchers Jeremy Gregory, Franz-Josef Ulm and Randolph Kirchain, and recent graduate Joshua Hester PhD ’18, is simple enough that it could be integrated into the software already used by building designers so that it becomes a seamless addition to their design process.  Lifecycle analysis, known as LCA, is a process of examining all the materials; design elements; location and orientation; heating, cooling, and other energy systems; and expected ultimate disposal of a building, in terms of costs, environmental impacts, or both. Ulm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH), says that typically LCA is applied “only when a building is fully designed, so it is rather a post-mortem tool but not an actual design tool.” That’s what the team set out to correct with this new tool.  To the researchers’ surprise, they found use of their LCA system had very little impact on reducing the range of design choices. “That’s the most remarkable result,” Ulm says. When introducing the LCA into the early stages of the design process, “you barely touch the design flexibility,” he says.

Senator Unveil Advance Nuke Blueprint – A bipartisan group of senators led by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), a comprehensive blueprint for the U.S. to once again lead the world in next-generation nuclear power.  The bill (S. 3422) would direct the Department of Energy to establish specific goals to align the federal government, national labs and private sector in efforts to accelerate advanced nuclear technologies. The language echoes the Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act (S. 1457) from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Booker, which the Senate energy panel approved in March.  It would also require DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan that supports advanced nuclear R&D goals. NELA addresses the lack of domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which will be needed to fuel most advanced reactors being designed. NELA establishes a program to provide a minimum amount of HA-LEU to U.S. advanced reactor developers from DOE stockpiles until a new long-term supply is developed. NELA also initiates a long-term power purchase agreement pilot between the DOE and utilities to procure nuclear power and reauthorizes nuclear engineering scholarships to maintain a robust pipeline of nuclear engineering talent.

EIA Report Says CO2 Emissions Continue to Drop – Newly released Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. CO2 emissions from energy dropped by roughly 1% last year. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past 10 years, and they are now 14% lower than in 2005.  Last year, emissions from electricity production fell by 4.6%. The shift toward natural gas from coal lowers CO2 emissions because natural gas produces fewer emissions per unit of energy consumed than coal and because natural gas generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatthour of electricity. Electricity generation from renewable energy technologies has increased; these technologies do not directly emit CO2 as part of their electricity generation. In EIA’s emissions data series, emissions from biomass combustion are excluded from reported energy-related emissions according to international convention.

DOE Announces Advanced Vehicle Research – The Department of Energy said the selection of 42 projects totaling $80 million to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance U.S. economic growth. This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give families and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WAPA, DTF Forum to Highlight Diesel Issues –Today at 11:30 a.m. at Engine Co 12 in NW DC, the Washington Automotive Press Association and the Diesel Technology Forum held a lunch to look at the true ‘state of diesel’ in the U.S. automotive market.  Speakers include GM’s Global Diesel Executive Director, Pierpaolo Antonioli and GM’s Regional Chief, Engineer, Mike Siegrist.  You will also hear the very latest IHS Markit diesel vehicles-in-use data for the United States; and get details about new research on the benefits of new-technology diesel pickup trucks.

Interior Official Addresses ESA at Heritage Forum – Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will address a forum at The Heritage Foundation today at Noon to discuss the department’s proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

JHU to Feature Rockefeller Foundation President – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) host a forum next Monday at 12:30 pm in its Kenney Herter Auditorium featuring Dean Vali Nasr and a conversation on affordable and clean energy with the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah.

Field Hearing to Look at Salmon Runs, River Policy – The House Natural Resources Oversight Subcommittee holds a field hearing today at 1:00 p.m. in Pasco, Wash focused on the federal Columbia River power system.  The hearing will review a dispute that played out in Congress in the minibus that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington State. Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington Association of Wheat Growers and Nez Perce Tribe will testify.

SF CLIMATE EVENTS Tomorrow:

Forum to Look at Southern Gas Corridor – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.

Forum to Look at Smart Cities in Latin America – The Inter-American Dialogue holds a discussion tomorrow on smart cities in Latin America.

Methanol Forum Set – Argus hosts its Methanol Forum Wednesday and Thursday in Houston at the Westin, Memorial City.  Issues include trends in the methanol industry, the potential impact from crude and natural gas markets, regional perspectives, including in-depth analysis of China and the emerging Indian market and the outlook for methanol derivatives including biodiesel and olefins.  Our friend Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute is among the speakers.

BioEnergy Conference Set – The Mid-Atlantic Bioenergy Council (MABEC) holds a conference and expo at CityView in Philadelphia Wednesday through Friday.

Coal Council Meets in Norfolk – On Wednesday and Thursday, the National Coal Council meets in Norfolk for its Fall meeting to discuss coal-related issues.  Lou Hrkman of DOE will speak.

Climate Summit Set for SF – The Global Climate Action Summit will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday through Friday.  The forum will bring leaders and people together from around the world to support action on climate change.  It will also feature action by states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.  It will also be a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the charge on pushing down global emissions by 2020, setting the stage to reach net zero emissions by midcentury.​​  Speakers include Gov. Jerry Brown, UNFCCC head Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Canadian Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna, musician Dave Matthews, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Alec Baldwin, Jane Goodall, Andrea Mitchell, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

SF Wednesday/Thursday/Friday Events:

WCEE to Host Forum to Highlight Women in Energy Stories – Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s (WCEE) Career Building Section hosts a reception and discussion at USEA about challenges and opportunities for women working in energy. Our friends Vicky Bailey and Sheila Slocum Hollis will share their expertise on overcoming obstacles, discuss skills required for convening stakeholders, and bring examples of leading towards practical solutions for the real world.

Forum to Look at AVsAxios hosts a conversation on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the Long View Gallery looking at how autonomous vehicles and transportation technology will impact the future.  Speakers will include Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, Global Automakers CEO John Bozzella and SAE International CEO David Schutt.

Senate Enviro Looks at Advanced Nuclear – Following last week’s introduction of bipartisan energy legislation, the Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on advanced nuclear technology.  The hearing will look closely at safety and associated benefits of licensing accident tolerant fuels for commercial nuclear reactors.

House Science Panel Look at EPA Glider Truck Rule – The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees hold a joint hearing on Thursday examining the underlying science and impacts of glider truck regulations.  Witnesses include regulation, risk, economics expert Richard Belzer and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer.

Senate Energy to Look at European LNG – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the role of U.S. LNG in meeting European energy demand.

House Oversight to Look at Disaster Response –The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. evaluating Federal disaster response and recovery efforts.  FEMA Administrator Brock Long Army Corps of Engineers Scott Spellman and Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute will testify.

Post to Host Space Forum – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., The Washington Post along with American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will bring together key government officials, renowned scientists and leaders in the field of space exploration for a program examining the many factors shaping American leadership in space, the new “space race,” the future of space tourism and exploration that could lead to a future beyond Earth.  Speakers include VP Mike Pence, NASA head Jim Bridenstine, Bill Nye and many more including current and former astronauts.

ABA to Host SCOTUS Enviro Event – Friday at Noon, the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the Section’s Constitutional Law Committee will hold an in-depth review of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions effecting environmental issues.  Panelists will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s environmental jurisprudence and his potential impact on the Supreme Court.

Electric Cars on Display on National MallNational Drive Electric Week launches in Washington on Sunday with events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on the National Mall near National Gallery of Art (7th Street, NW).  At the event, you will learn about electric vehicles and see the latest models on the National Mall.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Next Monday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Plant Oil Powered Diesel, Inc. is hosting a panel discussion on the carbon tax, featuring industry, environmentalist and citizen views.  More on the panelists as we get closer next week.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Webinar to Look at Smart Grid Changes – The National Journal hosts a webinar on the changes in the U.S. energy grid on September 20th at 11:00 a.m.  From changing energy sources and technological advances to government regulations, this webinar will look at what implications could smart grid technology have for government, regulation, and public policy.  National Journal Presentation Center analysts Julianna Bradley, Sean Lambert, and Taryn MacKinney, as well as National Journal Energy Correspondent Brian Dabbs, will speak at this in-depth look at the issues surrounding the state of the U.S. energy grid.

Offshore Wind Forum Set for Norfolk – The 2018 Virginia Offshore Wind Executive Summit will be held on Friday September 21st in Norfolk at the Hilton Main.  The event brings together the supply-chain business community with federal and state government officials to accelerate Virginia’s inclusion of large-scale offshore wind within the state’s energy mix. VA Governor Ralph Northam and Orsted North American President Thomas Brostrom, Dominion Energy, Siemens –Gamesa, US Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and many others will discuss port infrastructure, supply chain procurement and market opportunities.

CAFE Public Hearing Set for CA, MI, PA – NHTSA and EPA will hold three public hearings on the revisions to the fuels economy standard.  The hearing will occur on Sept 25th in Fresno, Sept 26th in Dearborn MI, and Sept 27th in Pittsburgh.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

EPA to Host ACE Hearing in Chicago – The EPA will host a single public hearing on its proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan in Chicago on Monday October 1st at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building.  The building is the home of EPA’s Region 5 headquarters.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh on October 23-25.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  You can see the agenda HERE.

Energy Update: Week of August 20

Friends,

Hope your August is going great. I know we haven’t slowed down with all the fall sports starting.   Hannah is back at Wellesley on the field hockey pitch, Olivia is in the middle of practice double sessions, Adam just finished 12th in the Annapolis 10-miler yesterday in under an hour and I have started my NCAA field hockey season.  That is a lot, but not enough for us to top each weekend off with Incubus last Sunday at The Fillmore in Silver Spring and Godsmack/Shinedown last night at Jiffy Lube Live.

And it hasn’t really slowed down in DC either.  Last week, we had 2019 RFS RVO comments due and the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute released a new analysis that quantifies billions of dollars of savings in lower electric bills Americans are starting to realize stemming from enactment of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act.  Then this week, we expect to see the roll out of the Clean Power Plan replacement which is yet to be named.  President Trump is expected to announce the new plan in West Virginia tomorrow.  The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all had stories.

My colleague Scott Segal said “the previous administration’s effort to address greenhouse gases was a complex and unnecessarily burdensome overreach that took much of the responsibility for power systems away from the state regulators who know them best.  He adds “the replacement rule is premised on the fact that states are in a better position to judge the inventory of measures available to reduce carbon emissions within their power sectors.  That’s consistent with decades of integrated resource planning that takes places at the state level, the shared responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and the traditional federalism that governs utility regulation in most states.”  Both Segal and Holmstead will be available this week.  I also expect our friends at the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute will also have comments, background and analysis as well.

Not much shaking this week other than the meetings with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh and we hear rumors that the Senate may shut it down after finishing a few more funding bills.  Action includes Senator Peter’s hosting a field hearing today in Traverse City on pipeline safety while Senate Environment (and Public Works) holds a field hearing in Ellicott City on the Federal role in preventing future flooding.  Tomorrow, Senate Energy looks at energy efficiency and blockchain while Sen. Judiciary hosts witnesses like SoCo CEO Tom Fanning on protecting critical infrastructure at 2:30 p.m.  On Wednesday, Senate Energy discusses several bills related to land, forest and mineral extraction including Helium Extraction.

Also this week, EPRI is hosting its Electrification conference in Long Beach.  They also have recently introduced a new #sharegrid concept (including a great white board video) that outlines the shared, integrated grid concept and how it will improve customers’ energy assets all while enhancing grid reliability, resiliency and value for all.

Finally, there is new interesting research from MIT on pavement’s impact on urban heat island and its impact on climate change. “Albedo” is the measure of how much solar energy is reflected by the Earth’s surface. Low albedo, or darker color, surfaces absorb more heat and reflect less shortwave radiation than high albedo, or lighter color, surfaces. Increasing pavement albedo has been considered as a strategy to mitigate impacts of climate change, but evaluating the effectiveness of such strategies requires context-specific data on climate conditions. MIT’s CSHub has developed an analytical approach to quantify global warming potential savings resulting from increases in pavement albedo.  More detail on this soon.

The comment period closes today for CEQ’s NEPA reform plan.  We are following closely.  Enjoy the last two weeks of August.  Call with questions – especially on CPP-related issues…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Our new analysis shows that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is reducing energy costs for both residential customers and industrial users.  Utilities that have seen relief from their tax bills are passing those savings onto their customers, which ultimately saves consumers money. This savings is resulting in increased economic productivity and more jobs around the country.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, rolling out a New report that looks at the benefits utility customers are reaching due to the Administration tax relief plan.

“The previous administration’s effort to address greenhouse gases was a complex and unnecessarily burdensome overreach that took much of the responsibility for power systems away from the state regulators who know them best.  It is why 29 states pushed back against the rules and the Supreme Court blocked their implementation with which an unprecedented stay. It is clear this Administration and its EPA seem likely to address this issue within the framework of the Clean Air Act and give states a significant role in managing the reliability and environmental performance of their power sectors.

Finally, the replacement rule is premised on the fact that states are in a better position to judge the inventory of measures available to reduce carbon emissions within their power sectors.  That’s consistent with decades of integrated resource planning that takes places at the state level, the shared responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and the traditional federalism that governs utility regulation in most states.”

Scott Segal commenting on the expected new release of the Trump Administration’s redo of the Clean Power Plan, expected to be released on Tuesday in West Virginia. 

 

ON THE POD

Cap Crude Looks at Russian Sanctions – The Platts Capitol Crude podcast focuses on Russia with Congress considering a raft of new sanctions against Russia that could hit energy trade.  Agnia Grigas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas, discusses the potential risks to oil and gas investment, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Former Energy Secretary Says Ethanol Bad Policy – As a former senator from an agricultural state and a former U.S. Energy secretary, Spence Abraham recently wrote in The Hill that both American agriculture and our independent refineries can succeed. Unfortunately, the current structure of the federal biofuel mandate fails to achieve these goals.  Abraham wrote: “As the U.S. Energy secretary during the passage of the first RFS, I can categorically state that the RIN system was not meant to create a multibillion-dollar commodity market that serves to subsidize large-scale blenders and vertically integrated oil companies at the expense of smaller and independent refiners. The administration and Congress must act to reform the RFS in a way that keeps RIN costs under control, while also ensuring robust domestic biofuel use. Recent experience proves such a ‘win-win’ can be achieved to save manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt, without adversely impacting the Corn Belt.  The president previously considered taking more permanent action to achieve this goal. Now would be a great time for him to finish the job.”

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Report Says Tax Cuts Will Reduce Power Bills – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) will release new analysis that quantifies billions of dollars of savings in lower electric bills Americans are starting to realize stemming from enactment of the Tax Cut & Jobs Act.  Investor owned utilities (IOU) saw significant tax rate reductions from comprehensive tax reform and are now passing on that savings to their customers.  GEI quantified that total savings in 12 representative states and further calculated the average residential customers’ savings.  With businesses and families keeping more of their money, we also modeled the additional economic growth and job creation expected to occur. The 12 representative states GEI analyzed were Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.  Across those states, customer savings over the next five years (2018-2022) will range from $100 million in Maine to over $3 billion in California. Each state also sees meaningful GDP and job gains as a result of these customer savings.

RVO Comments Pour In – On Friday, the comment period for the 2019 Renewable Volume obligations (RVO) for the Renewable Fuels Standard closed.  There were many comments from both sides, But the opponents are a broad-based group of refiners, labor unions, conservative and environmental groups.  Here are some highlights:

1) United SteelworkersRoxanne Brown, Legislative Director, United Steelworkers:

Our union believes that reducing the U.S.’s reliance on foreign oil and focusing on energy independence is a meaningful policy goal not just for strategic and employment reasons, but for our environment as well.  However, current RFS policy has led to increased foreign imports of biofuels, including biomass-based diesel fuel, undermining Congressional intent of the RFS.

The reduced availability of additional biofuels to blend into the system creates logistical and technological challenges commonly known as the “blend-wall”. This has led to significant cost impacts for refineries as compliance costs related to Renewable Identification Number (RIN’s) pricing, which has wildly fluctuated based off of no logical demand structure, creates uncertainty for refineries and undermines long term investment strategies for domestic refining.  USW encourages the EPA to develop realistic biofuel assumptions that recognize the significant changes in fuels policy and the continued inability of commercially viable cellulosic biofuel to enter the market.

2) The Toledo Chamber of CommerceBrian Dicken, Vice President, Advocacy & Public Policy, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

We are encouraged that EPA is taking comment on RIN market reforms, but believe such reforms should be dealt with in the final RVO and not via a separate rulemaking. Even biofuel interests have questioned the volatility of the RIN market. The history of the program shows wild swings in RIN costs, but the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline has stayed at around 10 cents regardless of whether RINs are three cents or $1.40.

Public comments EPA received for last year’s RVO detailed several observations of possible market manipulation that are illegal in other contexts, but not controlled or regulated in relation to the RIN market. EPA must act to prevent anti‐consumer manipulative practices and should advance RIN market reforms in the final 2019 RVO, rather than wait to pursue measures addressing RIN market integrity in the future.

3) IBEW Local 8 in NW OhioStephen Brown, Business Representative, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 8.  Local 8 represents over 1,600 electrical workers in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan; its jurisdiction includes the Toledo Refinery Company (TRC):

EPA’s proposed increase in the RFS requirement over 2018 levels fails to recognize the blendwall and the uneven playing field among RFS obligated parties. It could result in upward pressure on RIN costs, which as we saw earlier this year with Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), would once again threaten highly skilled domestic refining industry jobs.

A look back at the last six months proves EPA can help prevent RIN price spikes without adversely impacting biofuel consumption. A combination of RFS reform discussions and small refiner waivers has resulted in RIN prices decreasing from 90 cents last November to approximately 20 cents recently.  Despite these factors, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data shows there has been NO backtracking on biofuel blending. In fact, the blend rate in the first quarter of this year was slightly higher than it was in the first quarter of last year.  This has all occurred in conjunction with small refiner waivers and falling RIN prices. The facts to date show that domestic biofuel use will remain robust, even when the standard is waived for parts of the industry.

4) NJ Senate Majority Leader Sweeney, Dep. Assembly Speaker Burzichelli – Stephen Sweeney, Senate President, New Jersey Senate & General Assembly:

The proposed increase in the RFS requirement over 2018 levels fails to recognize the blendwall and the uneven playing field among RFS obligated parties. It could result in upward pressure on RIN costs, which as we saw earlier this year with Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), would once again threaten highly skilled domestic refining industry jobs.

In the high RIN price environment of the last two years, RINs became the [Paulsboro, NJ] refinery’s most significant operating expense; rising above pay, benefits and energy costs. The refinery spent nearly $150 million from 2015 to 2017 on RINs. Returning to such a financial environment would be unsustainable and certainly threaten jobs in the region.

The EPA must act now to prevent anti-consumer manipulative practices and advance RIN market reforms in the final 2019 RVO, rather than wait to pursues measures addressing RIN market integrity in the future.

5) Paulsboro Independent Oil Workers UnionRudolph Rafferty, President, Independent Oil Workers, representing 300 employees at New Jersey’s Paulsboro Refining Company and an additional 200 from neighboring facilities.

The facts to date show that domestic biofuel use will remain robust, even when the standard is waived for parts of the industry.  These facts prove EPA can set a reasonable volumetric requirement that is below the blendwall without adversely impacting domestic ethanol or other biofuel consumption, much of which is economic without government support.

For every refinery employee, 15-20 indirect jobs are maintained to support our activities.  This support comes in the form of goods and services.  For example, one of our products serves as a base stock for a neighboring facility, which employs 105 additional union jobs.  All told, the Paulsboro Refinery helps to support thousands of people and hundreds of families in Gloucester County, New Jersey.  The Paulsboro Refinery has produced fuels for more than 100 years.  It has provided stable employment for generations of families who have relied on compensation from refinery employment to provide a good quality of life.

6) Holly-Frontier – in its comments, HollyFrontier requests that EPA take three specific actions: (1) further reduce the renewable volume obligation (“RVO”) using the general waiver authority given the inadequate volume of domestically produced renewable fuel available to obligated parties; (2) implement Renewable Identification Number (“RIN”) market reforms to increase RIN liquidity and decrease RIN prices; and (3) continue granting small refinery disproportionate economic hardship exemptions as required by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) when circumstances demonstrate a disproportionate economic harm.

7) Valero – Valero’s comments stress concerns that EPA has yet again proposed RVOs that are not reasonably attainable & declined to make use of available authorities to reduce harms caused by RFS and volatile RIN market.

8) PBF Energy – PBF Energy says the 2019 proposed conventional biofuel volumes should be lowered to avoid severe economic harm. Recent experience indicates setting unreasonable volume targets does result in such harm, but does NOT appreciably do anything to overcome the challenges of the blendwall and advance the RFS program’s objectives.  It also says EPA should lower advanced biofuels limits that are overly aggressive to better reflect accurate domestic production.  Finally, they say EP should EPA should include RIN trading reforms in the RVO as well as advance other changes to ensure RIN market liquidity and limit compliance costs.

NDAA Signed By President – President Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, including bipartisan language led by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) to require the secretary of energy to report on the feasibility of siting, constructing and operating “micro reactors” at critical Defense Department or Energy Department national security facilities. ClearPath Action advisor and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner Jeff Merrifield praised the proposal at a May 22 House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.  The NDAA also allows approvals of exports of non-sensitive nuclear technologies to be delegated to officials more junior than the secretary of energy. This would allow for much quicker approvals, which at times have taken more than a year. All exports to China and Russia would still have to be approved by the secretary of energy.  There was also language the bill on addressing climate change.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on this week in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Oil/Gas Conference Set for Denver – EnerCom’s Oil & Gas Conference takes place this week at the Westin Denver Downtown.  The conference offers investment professionals the opportunity to listen to the world’s key senior management teams present their growth plans.  Our friends at Wolfe Research will host a full day of management meetings with execs on Tuesday August 21st at the Palm Restaurant.

Senate Commerce Hosts Pipeline Safety Field Hearing – The Senate Commerce Committee will convene a field hearing today at 10:00 a.m. in Traverse City, MI looking at pipeline safety in the Great Lakes.  Sen Gary Peters is hosting.  The hearing will focus on federal oil spill prevention efforts, preparedness and response capability in the event of an oil pipeline break in the Straits of Mackinac. Line 5, the 65-year-old pipeline crossing the Straits of Mackinac, has been the subject of multiple safety concerns, including damage from anchor strikes.  Witnesses include PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott, USGC local Commander Joanna Nunan and NOAA’s Scott Lundgren, as well as Enbridge’s David Bryson, NWF’s Michael Shriberg, API’s David Murk, Chris Hennessy of the Michigan Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET) and local Brewer Larry Bell.

Senate EPW Looks at Flooding in Ellicott City Field Hearing – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a field hearing hosted by Sen. Cardin to provide oversight repeated flooding events in Ellicott City, MD. The hearing will be reviewing the Federal role in preventing future events.

NEI Hosts Reg Affairs Forum – NEI hosts its 2018 Regulatory Affairs Forum in Bethesda tomorrow through Thursday. Topics will focus on a broader issues including Operations, Engineering, and other leadership in the nuclear industry.  Along with Regulatory Affairs personnel, this diverse population will participate in a fast paced exploration of regulatory fundamentals, current and evolving regulatory issues and trends, and how their role; either on the front line, or in station leadership, impacts regulatory performance.

DOE Better Buildings Summit Set – The Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Better Plants Program will co-host the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2018 Better Buildings Summit in Cleveland, Ohio from tomorrow through Thursday. The Summit is one of the premier events for energy professionals to engage with one another, explore and share innovative strategies, emerging technologies, financing trends, and much more. This year, the Summit will be held in conjunction with DOE’s annual Energy Exchange and will focus on federal facility energy management. Combining the Summit with the Energy Exchange will provide greater access to technical discussions, trainings, panel sessions, and networking opportunities.

Sen Energy Looks at Blockchain. Energy Efficiency, Holds Leg Hearing Wednesday – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to consider the energy efficiency of blockchain and similar technologies and the cybersecurity possibilities of such technologies for energy industry applications. In particular, should we expect electricity prices to increase from rising electricity demand in blockchain applications? In addition, how can we evaluate whether blockchain and similar approaches will soon improve the cybersecurity of computing systems used to supply our energy? Witnesses include Pacific NW Labs Paul Skare, EPRI’s Tom Golden, Claire Henly of the Energy Web Foundation and Princeton’s Arvind Narayanan. Then on Wednesday, the Public Lands, Forests, and Mining panel will also hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday looking at 14 bills including helium extraction, wild and scenic rivers, geologic mapping and fire protection.  Witnesses will include Sens Bennet and Udall, as well as BLM’s Chris McAlear and Forest Service’s Glenn Casamassa.

Fanning Headlines Senate Judiciary Look at Cybersecurity Threat – Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning will testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to examine cyberthreats to the nation’s electrical grid.  Fanning is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, the chief coordinating liaison between the power sector and the federal government in preparing for attacks and “national-level incidents” against infrastructure like transmission lines. Other witnesses include Michael Moss, deputy director, Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Bob Kolasky, director, National Risk Management Center, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security; and James Lewis, senior vice president, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Canadian Energy Expert to Look at Quebec Circular Economy – The Circular Economy Working Group holds its August monthly meeting on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Canadian Embassy Quebec Office.  The Group materialized from past Leaders in Energy workshops and activities on the circular economy.   At the August meeting, Charles Girard, Lead Energy, Cleantech, and Economic Attache at Quebec Government Office in Washington, will present on circular economy business activities in Quebec.

Forum to Look at Advanced Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute holds an event on advanced nuclear innovation at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday.  Speaker Ron Faibish – Senior Director of Business Development, Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics (GA) – will look at the topic.

ABA Teleconference to Discuss Fuel Economy – The American Bar Assn will host a teleconference on fuel economy and greenhouse gas standard reform on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

EPA to Host IRIS Public Meeting – The EPA is hosting a public meeting on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. to receive feedback on the IRIS Assessment Plan (IAP) for Naphthalene. EPA has extended the public comment period until September 5, 2018.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Regional Transportation – The Georgetown Climate Center will host an event next Monday at 1:00 p.m. in Largo to facilitated discussions designed to hear input on the topics of an innovative, low-carbon transportation future, residential and business transportation choices, improving environmental quality and public health benefits while also increasing mobility and modernizing the transportation system and policies/programs that could help achieve this vision.

USEA to Discuss Energy Employment – On Wednesday, August 29th at 10:00 a.m., the US Energy Assn hosts a presentation to summarize the high level results of the 2018 US Energy and Employment Report (USEER) in four key sectors of the American economy–Electric Power Generation and Fuels Production; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Energy Efficiency; and the Motor Vehicles Industry.  In addition to providing job numbers in emerging technologies, such as renewables, energy storage, and smart grid, the USEER analysis reveals the large number of direct employment that has gone uncounted in traditional energy sectors such as nuclear generation and fossil fuel production.  Two special features of the presentation include an analysis of jobs focused on energy efficiency and a breakdown of motor vehicles employment associated with alternative fuels and fuel efficiency.  Finally, the presentation will take a forward look at predicted employment growth in 2018 in each energy sector, the hiring difficulty experienced by energy employers, and a demographic overview of energy employment in America. David A. Foster of the Energy Futures Initiative, Speaks.

CSIS Hosts Trade Reps – On Monday September 17th, the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business is hosting a conversation with six former United States Trade Representatives, who will share wisdom from their own experience and discuss the current global trading system, its institutions, and the prospects for trade in these challenging times. Speakers include Bill Brock, Carla Hills, Micky Kantor, Charlene Barshefsky​, Susan Schwab and Ron Kirk.

Border Energy Forum Set for San Antonio – The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host the XXIII Border Energy Forum in San Antonio on September 26th and 27th at the Hilton San Antonio. This forum brings together local and state officials, private sector developers, academics, large commercial users, and energy experts from the U.S. and Mexico. NADB’s unique position as the only U.S.-Mexico binational development bank, has provided the Bank the opportunity to be involved in some of the most relevant clean energy projects developed in the last five years in the region. NADB has financed close to $1.5 billion for 35 projects with total costs of $5.2 billion. Roughly, 2,548 MW of new generation capacity is being installed along the border. The forum will center the dialogue on energy prosperity, innovation, financing, the future of energy markets, and crossborder opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and how to continue building partnerships to advance both countries energy goals that ultimately improve economic development and protect the environment.

SEJ in Flint – The Society of Environmental Journalism holds its annual conference on October 3-6th in Flint.  Of course, Bracewell hosts its annual event on Thursday October 4th.

Energy Update: Week of July 30

Friends,

Starting today with sports since August is close and over the weekend, Geraint Thomas survived the Pyrenees to win his first Tour de France title, concluding his transformation from a support rider into a champion of cycling’s biggest race.  The Welsh rider with Team Sky won over Tom Dumoulin and teammate/defending champ Chris Froome.  Also, former Tiger greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were both inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown alongside Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vlad Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.

But August really means that Fall Sports are right around the corner.  NFL training camps are underway with the Hall of Fame game Thursday and HoF induction (Saturday’s induction class includes Bobby Beathard, linebacker Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, wide receiver Terrell Owens, and linebacker Brian Urlacher); NCAA College Football kickoffs Saturday August 25th; Hannah reports for Junior year at Wellesley (WOW, already) for field hockey on August 16th and my first college FH game is at Syracuse that weekend.  Here in DC, the Citi Open – DC’s long-standing professional tennis tour stop at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center – is underway and runs to Sunday.  Players include Andy Murray, world #3 Alexander Zverev, #5 Kevin Anderson (who just made a great Wimbledon run), #9 John Isner and many more.

Well, we have kind of made it to August recess.  With the House out until Labor Day, the big show is Wednesday in the Senate at the Environment Committee where Andy Wheeler heads to testify for the first time since being named Acting Administrator.  Before the Wheeler show, the Committee will vote on CEQ nominee Mary Neumayr (and others).  And most think – after some speculation last week – that the fuel economy Phase II standards will be announced sometime this week.  Our friends at the NYT detailed a draft of the plan on Friday.  As well, my friend Bridget Bartol (bbartol@secureenergy.org) at SAFE can also help you with the inside details.  And with the fuel economy debate seeing heightened importance, MIT experts have a new White Board Video that explains how texture, roughness, and structural properties of the road all play a role in vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (it can be as high as 4%, which is pretty big when you think about how many drivers are out there).  17 State AGs also made a similar request.

The other interesting thing that happened Friday was the bipartisan group of 21 Senators that told EPA Administrator Andy Wheeler that they are strongly opposed any proposal to reallocate RFS compliance obligations from exempted small refineries to other refiners and importers.  The senators wrote that “regardless of one’s views on the merits of SRE decisions, there is little doubt that reallocating obligations would only compound the problems with the RFS and are illegal.”  Pretty clear.

Also Friday, Five major HVACR companies (Lennox, Carrier, Nortek, Rheem & Ingersoll Rand) are asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court decision that blocked EPA implementation of HFC reductions using its SNAP program, saying the decision creates a regulatory mess that EPA has been unable to fix almost a year after the decision was handed down. (More below or in link)

Finally, our Bracewell PRG podcastThe Lobby Shop – is now on social media.  It is a regular mix of politics, policy and fun.  Please follow it on Twitter at @TheLobbyShopPod and like it on Facebook at @lobbyshop to get all the details and regular updates.  It will be well worth the follow.

No updates over the next few weeks unless necessary. (Maybe updates on the Incubus or Godsmack shows we are attending). Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I have worked in the HVAC&R industry for 15 years and have seen many changes to our industry. I support the Kigali Amendment and I stand with President Trump on holding China accountable and creating good paying jobs right here in the United States of America. Our country is currently in desperate need of skilled labor and the Kigali Amendment will help to grow those skilled labor needs right here in the United States.”

Jason Lacey, Executive Vice President, Local 4501, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Columbus, Ohio

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Podcasts Looks at Trade, New EPA Head – The latest episode of the Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop is now live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week, we’re joined by Scott Lincicome, trade attorney and adjunct professor at The Cato Institute and Duke Law. We cover Scott’s viral t-shirt design, the latest in retaliatory tariff news, and many other updates in the global Trade War.

GTM Energy Gang Podcast: A Conversation With Vox’s Roberts – On this week’s Energy Gang, our friend Stephen Lacey holds a wide-ranging conversation with Vox’s David Roberts.  Roberts is known for his deep explainers and strong opinions and they discuss some of the most pressing energy/environment topics, including carbon taxes, nuclear bail outs, renewables and politics.

 

FUN OPINIONS

MIT Whiteboard Report: Pavement Can Impact Emissions – With the fuel economy debate seeing heightened importance, we highlight that road quality impacts vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. In a new White Board Video, MIT CSHub researcher Dr. Mehdi Akbarian explains how texture, roughness, and structural properties of the road all play a role.  See it here.

EIA: Energy Expenditures Lowest Since 1970 – EIA says U.S. energy expenditures declined for the 5th consecutive year, reaching $1.0 trillion in 2016, a 9% decrease in real terms from 2015. Adjusted for inflation, total energy expenditures in 2016 were the lowest since 2003. Expressed as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP), total energy expenditures were 5.6% in 2016, the lowest since at least 1970.  See more info and graphs here.

IN THE NEWS

Major HVACR Companies Ask SCOTUS to Take HFC Case – Five major HVACR companies are asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court decision that blocked EPA implementation of HFC reductions using its SNAP program, saying the decision creates a regulatory mess that EPA has been unable to fix almost a year after the decision was handed down. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the result will be an extended period of regulatory uncertainty, almost certainly including years of litigation challenging the new rule that EPA ultimately develops to implement a confusing D.C. Circuit decision that was wrongly decided.  The companies (Rheem, Lennox, Ingersoll Rand, Carrier and Nortek) are the leading U.S. manufacturers of HVACR equipment.  Together with another manufacturer filing its own amicus brief, they account for well over 75% of the residential and commercial air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment that is manufactured and sold in North America.

21 Senators Weigh in Against Illegal Reallocation of Small Refiner Waiver – A bipartisan group of Senators told EPA Administrator Andy Wheeler that they are strongly opposed any proposal to reallocate the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) compliance obligations from exempted small refineries to other non-exempted transportation fuel refiners and importers.  The senator s wrote that “regardless of one’s views on the merits of SRE decisions, there is little doubt that reallocating obligations would only compound the problems with the RFS. Simply put, a retroactive reallocation of small refinery obligations onto non-exempt obligated parties is illegal and inconsistent with the objectives of sound energy policy.”  The 20 signers include Sens. Inhofe, Barrasso, Boozman, Capito, Cassidy, Cotton, Cruz, Daines, Enzi, Flake, Hatch, Hyde-Smith, Isakson, Kennedy, Lankford, Lee, Manchin, Perdue, Risch, Toomey and Wicker.  The Fueling American Jobs Coalition says “reallocating exemptions simply amounts to a penalty on U.S. refineries that may not qualify for a small refiner exemption, but otherwise comply with the RFS.  Reallocations would inject even greater uncertainty into the already volatile and opaque market for tradeable ethanol credits, threatening a return to surging prices for these credits that are would negatively impacting refineries across the U.S. and jeopardizing good-paying industrial jobs that sustain hard-working American communities.”

ClearPath Study: Aggressive Carbon Capture RD&D Can Spur Massive Economic Benefits – ClearPath Foundation and Carbon Utilization Research Council released a new study that says accelerating research, development and deployment of advanced power cycles and carbon capture technologies for use in fossil power generation would dramatically drive domestic oil production, jobs and provide a significant boost to GDP while trapping significant amounts of heat-trapping carbon emissions.  The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship, Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers; the International Brotherhood of Electrical, Workers and the United Mine Workers of America also contributed to the effort.  Under the scenarios evaluated, the study’s modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International forecasts market-driven deployment of up to 87 gigawatts with carbon capture technologies over the next two decades. Some of these include a 40% increase in domestic coal production for power from 2020 to 2040; 100 million to 923 million barrels of additional domestic oil produced annually by 2040; 270,000 to 780,000 new jobs and an increase of $70 billion to $190 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) associated with enhanced oil recovery field operations by 2040; Aggressive RD&D reduced the national retail cost of electricity 1.1% to 2.0% by 2040, which on its own is forecasted to increase annual GDP by an additional $30 billion to 55 billion and create 210,000 to 380,000 more jobs over a baseline RD&D case.

Chamber, NAM, Industry Groups Push for HFC Reduction – The Let America Lead coalition formed last week to work with conservative leaders at the local, state and national level, manufacturers and businesses, and working Americans across the country to demonstrate to President Trump why support for the Kigali Amendment is a win for American workers and urge him to send it to the U.S. Senate for ratification.  The announcement follows a recent series of public statements of support for Kigali amendment ratification. In May, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy released a new economic study conducted by Inforum and JBS Consulting. The study demonstrates the job creation and economic growth benefits of ratification, including the creation of 33,000 manufacturing jobs and 117,000 indirect jobs by 2027. It will also increase manufacturing exports by $5 billion while reducing imports by nearly $7 billion to improve the balance of trade. In June, 13 Republican Senators sent a joint letter of support to President Trump urging him to send the Amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent. They wrote: “The Kigali Amendment will protect American workers, grow our economy, and improve our trade balance all while encouraging further innovation to strengthen America’s leadership role.” Also in June, three leading conservative groups, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks and the American Council for Capital Foundation stated their support for the amendment, writing to the president that, “This agreement has our support because it will ensure that U.S. manufacturers are able to thrive in the global economy and create more wealth and jobs in America.” Let America Lead is proud to announce that the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and the American Council for Capital Formation are founding members of the coalition, and looks forward to announcing additional members.

Cooper Nominated to Energy GC – Former House Resources staff director and energy specialist Bill Cooper has been nominated to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy.

Solar Report: 42 States, DC Took Action on Solar Policy During Q2 – The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q2 2018 edition of The 50 States of Solar. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on distributed solar policy, with a focus on net metering, distributed solar valuation, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential demand and solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.  The report finds that 42 states and the District of Columbia took some type of distributed solar policy action during Q2 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, net metering policies and community solar policies.  A total of 148 distributed solar policy actions were taken during Q2 2018, with the greatest number of actions taken in California, Arizona, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

August Congressional Recess – While the Senate will remain in session, the House will not return until after Labor Day.

Women in Nuclear Conference Starts — The U.S. Women in Nuclear National Conference is underway through Wednesday in Huntsville, Alabama.  The 2018 national conference is sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority and gathers individuals working in any aspect of nuclear energy, science and technology in the United States. The conference provides perspectives from national authorities on key issues and professional development opportunities to grow your career.

Conference to Look at Sustainability – The National Association for Environmental Management holds a sustainability management conference today through Wednesday at the Omni in Providence, Rhode Island.  The conference offers insights to improve company performance while more effectively managing sustainability data at both ends of the supply chain.

Conference Looks a Renewable, Storage – EUCI hosts a conference today and tomorrow in Philadelphia on the interconnection process for renewables and storage. The conference will discuss the process for interconnection utilized by different entities across the country, identify technical requirements from start to finish, evaluate potential regulatory and policy directions, and evaluate how best to update the interconnection process to accommodate the evolving electricity grid.

Perry, Pompeo to Address Chambr Indo-Pacific Business Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts an Indo-Pacific Business Forum today.  The event will , feature Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and many more.

FERC to Hold Grid Reliability Conference – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a day-long meeting tomorrow to discuss grid reliability policies and issues. Topics include regulatory priorities for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation; challenges arising in the Western Interconnection; an update on the cooperation agreement between NERC and Mexico; how grid resiliency can be tracked with data; and how industry and regulators need to respond to higher supplies of distributed generation and energy storage.

EESI Forum to Look at Energy Efficient Housing – The Energy Efficiency for All and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute host a breakfast briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on Federal programs for energy and housing, focusing on low-income families.  Speakers include Ellen Lurie Hoffman of the National Housing Trust, ACEEE’s Ariel Drehobl, Carmen Bingham of Virginia Poverty Law Center, Action Housing’s Sarah Ralich and former DOE Weatherization Assistance Program Director Dave Rinebolt.

Forum to Look at Natural Disasters, Climate – Results for Development (R4D) holds a forum tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on climate change and natural disasters.  In this discussion, Vinod Thomas, former Director General of Independent Evaluation at the World Bank and at Asian Development Bank, will present findings from his recently published book on this subject. Masood Ahmed, President of the Center for Global Development and Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank Group, will respond with comments.

Forum to Look at Russian Energy Sanction Impacts – Tomorrow at noon, the Atlantic Council holds for a conversation about proposed Russia sanctions legislation. The ongoing discussions within the US Congress provide an opportunity to take stock of existing sanctions policy and the proposed legislation and assess the implications for oil markets, energy projects, and companies. The expert panel will discuss proposed legislation such as the DETER (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines) and ESCAPE (Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe) Acts.  Speakers include former State official David Goldwyn and Other Council experts.

ELI to Host ESA Webinar – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a webinar on proposed USFWS Endangered Species Act regulations.  This panel will provide an advanced look into potential benefits and repercussions of utilizing the ESA under this regulatory proposal.  Each panelist will highlight his or her top areas of interest in the proposals and describe improvements that could be made in the process to finalize the regulations.

Senate Environment to Host Wheeler – The Senate Environment Committee will host new acting EPA head Andy Wheeler on Wednesday August 1st at 10:30 a.m. It will also hold a Business Meeting to vote on CEQ head Mary Neumayr and other nominations immediately prior at 9:45 a.m.

WCEE Monthly Happy Hour – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment hosts its August Happy Hour on Wednesday, August 1st at 5:30 p.m. at MASA 14 (1825 14th Street, NW).

TX Enviro Superconference Set – The 30th Texas Environmental Superconference is being held on Thursday and Friday in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel.  This year’s conference will have speakers from across the spectrum including Andy Wheeler fresh off his Senate testimony, Air office head Bill Wehrum and a number of others from EPA leadership. Also on the agenda are TCEQ’s Brian Shaw, my Bracewell colleague Tim Wilkins and our friends Allison Wood of Hunton and Jon Cruden of Beveridge. The Superconference will cover an array of cutting-edge topics with timely presentations from federal, state and local governmental officials and leading private practitioners. A copy of the current draft program can be found here.

Tesla Book Discussion SetPolitics and Prose Bookstore hosts Author Richard Munson on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of “Tesla: Inventor of the Modern”.  Drawing on his new book, Richard Munson shines a light on the man behind the legend and how his unique way of doing things meant some of his most advanced ideas would go unrecognized for decades. Tesla felt inventing required the linking of science and the humanities. Unlike his better- known rival, Thomas Edison, he was not motivated by profit and preferred working in isolation.

Science-Policy Discussion Set – On Thursday, August 2nd, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hosts a conversation at Honeywell at Noon featuring two scientists working to shape policy at the federal level. They will discuss the role of science in shaping public policy and offer solutions for a more collaborative relationship between the scientific and policy realms.

 

IN THE FUTURE

New Rule for New Power Plants Likely in August – EPA plans to send revised carbon dioxide emissions standards for new fossil fuel-fired electric generators to OMB in August. The budget/reg agency is already reviewing the new version of the Clean Power Plan.  The new source performance standards, established under the Obama administration in 2015, currently require the installation of prohibitively expensive carbon capture systems on new coal plants to meet the emissions limits, effectively banning the generators. The Trump administration has sought to roll back a number of environmental and energy rules in a bid to revive the nation’s ailing coal industry.

Forum to Look at Innovative CO2 Tech – Next Tuesday, August 7th at 1:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association hosts a discussion of Global Thermostat’s patented breakthrough technology removes CO2 from ambient air or other sources utilizing readily available, low-cost process heat. That CO2 is then used profitably in multiple industrial processes, meeting the needs of a > $1 Trillion annual market. With its great flexibility and scalable implementations, GT plants can be of any size, and can standalone, or be integrated with: legacy power plants; renewable energy plants; and manufacturing facilities. This briefing will highlight this revolutionary technology, with a discussion on viable CO2 markets as well as the status of the two existing plants in Silicon Valley, and a third commercial plant on the way at Huntsville, Alabama.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaption Policy – On Thursday, August 9th at 8:30 a.m. at the ASU Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center, the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes holds a forum to Look at how to best adapt to a warmer future. Bruce Guile, president and cofounder of the New Advisory Group, and Raj Pandya, the founding director of the Thriving Earth Exchange at the American Geophysical Union, will address exactly that question to mark the publication of the Summer 2018 Issues in Science and Technology. They will discuss “Adapting to Global Warming: Four National Priorities,” their clear-eyed assessment of the policy steps needed to use human ingenuity to confront climate change.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Oil/Gas Conference Set for Denver – EnerCom’s Oil & Gas Conference will be held on August 20-23 at The Westin Denver Downtown.  The conference offers investment professionals the opportunity to listen to the world’s key senior management teams present their growth plans.  Our friends at Wolfe Research will host a full day of management meetings with execs on Tuesday August 21st at the Palm Restaurant.

 

Energy Update: Week of July 23

Friends,

The British Open was exciting with Tiger Woods reemerging as a challenger.  His Saturday round put him on top of a major tournament for the first time since 2010.  In the end, it was Italian Francisco Molinari, who played alongside Tiger on Sunday and remains red hot, who pulled away to win the famed Claret Jug.  And with this being the final week of the Tour de France, we should see some fireworks as riders head to the decisive stages in the Pyrenees starting tomorrow. Overall leader Geraint Thomas maintained his advantage of 1:39 over four-time champion and teammate Chris Froome. Tom Dumoulin, the world time trial champion, remained third at 1:50 back. What to do Team Sky?  Thomas or Froome?  We shall see…

This week is the last for the House before August Recess.  There is a lot going on with budget and farm bill issues, with Interior-EPA Approps headed for votes.  Senate Energy is also expected tomorrow to vote out DOE nominees including Dan Simmons and IG Teri Donaldson.  This is also a big week for tariff issues with steel importers Friday asking the U.S. Court of International Trade for a summary judgment to immediately halt the steel duty. Bracewell’s trade policy experts Josh Zive (202-828-5838) and Paul Nathanson (202-828-1715) are all over the issue and can help.

The RFS is again in the news with Friday’s court decision hitting EPA for denying waivers to small refiners.  As you know this has been a contentious issue with the ethanol activists hammering the waivers despite the fact that there has been no demand loss.  Friday’s decision is the second in favor of small refiners. The news will be follow by a presser tomorrow hosted by former Hose Energy Chair Henry Waxman and his environmental group Mighty Earth, who will attack the RFS as bad policy.  Finally, on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m., the House Energy Enviro Subpanel looks at RINs and the problems they are causing with the RFS.   Also, the Senate Energy Committee will look at global oil price issues tomorrow in a hearing.

In another major event Wednesday at Noon, the Carbon Utilization Research Council, ClearPath Foundation and the Electric Power Research Institute will be on Capitol Hill to officially unveil two studies that underscore the promise and benefits of aggressively developing and commercializing U.S.-based carbon capture, storage and utilization technologies.  CURC and EPRI will release the 5th Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Roadmap that identifies technologies that can be available by the 2025-2035 timeframe that generate electricity from fossil fuels with significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions that could be cost competitive with other sources of electricity generation.  A companion analysis conducted by CURC and ClearPath will also include modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International to show that there are significant economic benefits to the U.S. if the technology development outlined in the Roadmap is undertaken under a wide range of scenarios.

Today at 2:00 pm, MIT’s Jeremy Gregory will speak at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) for its Energy Thought Leader Speaker Series – a strategic effort to stimulate the development of resilient buildings and infrastructure that will continue through December of this year. Gregory will focus on MIT’s resilience-related research, with a special focus on our quantitative analyses, as well as address ways these ideas can be extended to energy networks. The meeting is closed to BCSE members but check in with me at @fvmaisano or MIT’s CSHub if you are interested in updates. (You should follow MIT’s CS Hub anyway).

Finally this morning – despite House passing a non-binding resolution stating that a nationwide carbon emissions tax would be “detrimental” to the economy – Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) will discuss his legislation  to tax on carbon emissions at a forum this morning sponsored by the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. The bill calls for the elimination of the federal gas tax and the reinstatement of federal climate regulations if the carbon tax, which would start out at $23 per ton, fails to curb a certain amount of greenhouse gases.  Americans for Tax Reform will hold its own discussion today on what it calls “a giant job-crushing carbon tax,” with Grover Norquist and CEI’s Marlo Lewis.

Bottomline: In reality, with Congress firmly on record against a carbon tax, the questions remains if a carbon tax is a no go, then what might be a solution that shows meaningful action on advancing innovation and reducing emissions?  Perhaps, we can help find that answer soon…

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Importantly, the court rejected EPA’s “industry-wide” conclusion that refiners can pass through their RIN costs, recognizing that the ability of a refinery to pass through its RIN costs is a refinery-specific and fact specific determination.”

LeAnn Johnson, counsel to Ergon-WV on Friday’s court Decision on Small Refiner Waivers. 

 

“Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act allows the President nearly unfettered discretion to impose tariffs and create other trade barriers if he simply decides that imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. At the same time, the law allows tremendous latitude to the President in determining what constitutes a threat. The United States Constitution provides important checks on the President’s power, and the Section 232 trade provision stands in clear violation of that balance.”

AIIS President Richard Chriss, announcing they are asking the International Trade court to stop Section 232 tariffs imposed by President Trump

 

ON THE POD

Bracewell Podcasts Looks at Trade, New EPA Head – The latest episode of the Bracewell Podcast, The Lobby Shop is now live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  This week we are joined by Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball out of the UVA Center for Politics.  Kyle talks mid-terms, key swing states, the current political climate’s impact on voting in 2018 and more.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Banks Calls for State Parity on GHG Impacts – In an op-ed In The Hill, former White House climate/energy advisor David Banks says the disparity between poorer and richer states on GHG emissions. Banks wrote “any national compromise must recognize the wealth gap between the states.  It should also reflect the fact that richer states generally industrialized earlier and account for the majority of U.S. historical emissions.”

Kerrigan: Small Businesses Innovated on Keeping America Working – Karen Kerrigan, head of the Small Business & Entrepreneur Council, recently wrote the White House Workforce Development Initiative is vital to small businesses.  She highlighted the July 19th event where President Trump announced his “Pledge to American Workers” and signed an Executive Order (EO) on workforce development. The EO establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will “convene voices from the private, education, labor, and not-for-profit sectors to enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages.”  Kerrigan added that small businesses are at the cutting edge of training. Entrepreneurs and their teams are implementing innovative and creative approaches that aim to keep their employees fully trained, engaged, and ready for career opportunities that may come their way.

IN THE NEWS

Court Rules in Favor of Small Refiners on RFS Waiver – Late Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit handed down an important decision in Ergon-WV v EPA arguing that the EPA’s denial of a small-refiner exemption (SRE) under the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) was arbitrary and capricious.

The Case is Significant Given Battle over SREs – The Fueling American Jobs Coalition says the Court agreed with Ergon that the application of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) matrix constituted an “error-riddled analysis” of Ergon’s petition.  The Court noted that DOE’s failure to score certain factors were arbitrary and capricious.  Most importantly, the Court held that EPA’s failure to consider the adverse impacts of high renewable identification number (RINs) prices by simply reiterating the view of one of its staffers that RINs prices were passed through to consumers was insufficient and flawed.  The Court said that each refinery faces specific circumstances with respect to their markets that can constrain pass-through of RINs costs and any EPA generic assertion to the contrary was an insufficient basis upon which to deny an SRE.  The Court took note that “the dramatic rise in RIN prices has amplified RFS compliance and competitive disparities, especially where unique regional factors exist, including high diesel demand, no export access, and limited biodiesel infrastructure and production.”

Full decision – http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/171839.P.pdf

Company Counsel Decision Reminder of Hardship Faced from RFS – LeAnn Johnson Koch, Perkins Coie, counsel to Ergon-West Virginia said the 4th Circuit’s decision is a reminder to opponents of small refinery hardship that the harm to small refineries is real and that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to relieve it.  “The “error-riddled” DOE scoring grossly underestimated the disproportionate economic hardship experienced by Ergon and consequently, impacts on the company’s viability. We’re grateful to the Court for recognizing it.”  Johnson also said the decision is also an important reminder to opponents of small refinery hardship that the goal of the RFS is not to expand ethanol consumption, but to increase energy independence and security. “The biofuels industry has doubled down on structural flaws in the rule that discourage blending and harm merchant and small refineries. It wouldn’t be so troubling if they weren’t at the same time pounding the table about “demand destruction” and urging EPA to violate the Clean Air Act and deny hardship relief to small refineries. Demand destruction and small refinery hardship are the consequences of not fixing the rule to restore a level playing field in the transportation fuels market.”

Company: Significant, Disproportionate Hardship from RFS – Ergon-WV said they were pleased to see the 4th Circuit Court ruling which recognizes the significant and disproportionate hardship that RFS places on small refineries.  Company President Kris Patrick said a 2011 DOE study predicted that this disproportionate economic hardship would occur, and this is precisely what they witnessed at EWV. Patrick: “Like other small refineries, we operate in rural geographic areas, supplying critical fuel supplies and supporting the local economies with jobs and tax revenue. It is vital that Congress, the EPA, and the DOE continue to protect the important role of small refineries in the U.S. economy.”

Case Turns Misleading Ethanol on Head – Ethanol Interests and there Congressional supporters have been so misleading, it’s important to remind you of the facts surrounding the program.  Congress created the RFS as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. Their understanding of the detrimental impact the program could have on small refineries prompted Congress to direct the EPA to grant waivers from the mandate to small refineries that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” in complying with the program. Small refineries are defined as those processing less than 75,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Unlike large integrated refiners which primarily produce gasoline, many small refineries produce diesel fuel in higher proportions. All refiners are required to purchase renewable identification numbers (RINS), which the EPA describes as “credits used for compliance and the ‘currency’ of the RFS program.” This mandate has resulted in an artificial, government-created market for blend requirements beyond what the market will accept, primarily due to diesel-to-gasoline production ratio or “diesel disparity.” Fundamentally, this program unfairly disadvantages small refineries, particularly those with higher than average production of diesel.

Obama EPA Abandoned Help to Small Refiners – During the Obama administration, the EPA abandoned the original intent of Congress when establishing small refinery hardship waiver requests by interpreting that the hardship exemption must pose a threat to a refinery’s survival as an ongoing operation. In EWV’s case, costs directly attributable to the RFS were the refinery’s third highest operating expense in 2016, following raw materials and labor.

More on Ergon – Ergon-WV operates a small refinery (23,500 barrels per day) in Newell, West Virginia that primarily produces highly refined paraffinic specialty products and fuels from local Appalachian grade crude.  In addition to two small refineries, Ergon also operates an ethanol production facility which Patrick says provides them with a unique vantage point regarding RFS. “The argument touted by ethanol advocates of demand destruction as a result of hardship waivers is simply not based in logic or facts, Patrick said.  “EWV blends 10% ethanol with 99% of the gasoline it produces and will continue to do so, even without a mandate.  However, EWV cannot pass through its RIN costs and the detrimental impact imposed by the RFS on EWV’s high diesel production is unacceptable and counter to the intent of the RFS program.”  EWV has made significant investments in environmentally friendly processes and technologies over the past three decades.“

Steel Importers Ask For End to Tariffs – The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) and two of its member companies, SIM-TEX, LP and KURT ORBAN PARTNERS, LLC, filed a motion for summary judgment with the US Court of International Trade in an effort to halt enforcement of the law under which tariffs are currently being collected on steel imported to the U.S.  The motion follows on a lawsuit filed by the parties in late June in the same court challenging the constitutionality of the statute under which President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel.  Since tariffs were imposed on steel imports earlier this year, the U.S. steel supply chain has experienced significant disruption, with American ports experiencing a sharp drop in throughput and steel-using manufacturers hit with price increases of 50% or more on steel product, coupled with newfound difficulty in obtaining specific types of steel, whether imported or sourced domestically.  To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected in excess of $582 million in tariffs—amounting to a tax imposed on the U.S. economy. AIIS is America’s leading voice for the steel supply chain, and the only voice in Washington, D.C. for free and responsible trade in steel. AIIS members, which include railroads and other transportation companies, port authorities, union locals, traders and logistics companies depend on imported steel for their economic well-being. As the tariff reduces the amount of imported steel, it also reduces the revenue of AIIS members, harming their businesses and putting their employees’ jobs at risk.

Report: Oil Demand to Peak? – The Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie forecasts global oil demand will peak around 2036 in a new report out this week.  According to WM, the peak is due to fuel efficiency gains and the anticipated rise of both autonomous and non-autonomous electric vehicles.  Others have suggested a slower glide path which may undercut the WM date.

DOE: US Crude Booming, US Moves to #2 producer – The Energy Department said U.S. crude production reached 11 million barrels per day for the first time, which would place the United States as the second-biggest producer of crude, after Russia, which sources say was producing 11.2 million bpd in early July.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Heritage Hosts Johnson on Trade Discussion – The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. on the real impacts of the tariffs, and what the retaliation means for Americans.  Sen Johnson will join a panel of experts including the railroad assn’s John Gray Maria Zieba of the pork producers and API’s Aaron Padilla.  The discussion will be moderated by our friend Tori Whiting.

NREL to Look at Caron Economy – Tomorrow and Wednesday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory holds a summit in Denver on realizing a Circular Carbon Economy.  NREL, in collaboration with the USDA and DOE will consider the challenges, opportunities, and needs involved in realizing the CCE. The summit will focus on defining and valuing ecosystem services in the context of a carbon-based economy; renewable fuels and energy; agricultural technology and innovation; land management; carbon cycles and sequestration (both engineered and natural); and lifecycle, sustainability and technoeconomic analyses. Positioning the United States as a major architect of a sustainable and resilient CCE is critical for maintaining economic competitiveness in the future.

Senate Energy Looks at Global Oil Price – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on factors that impact global oil prices.  Witnesses include Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy’s Jason Bordoff, oil market expert Rusty Braziel, former White House Advisor Bob McNally and IEA’s Keisuke Sadamori.  Prior to the hearing, the Committee will vote out DOE nominees.

House Energy Subpanel to Discuss SPR – The House Energy Committee’s Energy panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Steven Winberg, GAO’s Frank Russo and our friend Kevin Book, among others.

House Resources Looks at Coal Use – The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on assessing innovative and alternative uses of coal.  Witnesses include Michael Klein of Utah’s Lighthouse Resources, Arg CEO Julian McIntyre, Wyoming’s Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins and Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch.

CSIS To Host EIA Outlook – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting EIA Administrator Linda Capuano tomorrow for a presentation and discussion of the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018). The IEO2018 builds on the IEO2017 reference case, which presented long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, this year’s outlook offers a macroeconomic perspective regarding the uncertainty in economic growth in India, China, and Africa.

USEA To Discuss Africa Energy – The US Energy Assn will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. discuss specific generation and transmission projects currently underway and in the pipeline for development within the region. Please join us in a discussion regarding investment opportunities in various hydropower and wind power projects, as well as a transmission line and interconnection project. N Representatives of West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) will speak.

Waxman, Enviro Groups Attack RFS – Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., former House Energy Chair Henry Waxman and his group Mighty Earth hold a forum on the RFS. It’s been more than 10 years since the Renewable Fuel Standard became law. Once touted as a ‘green’ policy, many in the environmental, conservation, and scientific communities believe the opposite: that the RFS may have been a net-negative – even a disaster — for the environment.  Speaker will include Waxman, NWF’s David DeGennaro, and others.

ACORE State of Industry Webinar Set – ACORE Hosts State of the Industry Webinar Focus on International Investments – ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), hold their quarterly State of the Industry webinar on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.   The forum offers the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.  This quarter’s webinar will focus on the increasing trend of financial institutions around the globe who are expanding their renewable energy strategies and providing new capital for North American markets. Speakers will discuss foreign investor strategies for expansion in North American markets, fueled by sustainability targets, ESG scoring and attractive business opportunities; the characteristics of these new market entrants; and U.S. attractiveness in an uncertain policy environment: challenges posed by trade wars, the new tax law and CFIUS.  Speakers include ACORE’s Rob Gramlich, BNEF’s Amy Grace, among others.

Forum to Look at Taiwan Energy – The Global Taiwan Institute and co-sponsor, The Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. to explore the future of Taiwan’s energy. This event is the third installment of the Civil Society and Democracy Series, which is partially funded by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The panelists will discuss Taiwan’s policy and opportunities in sustainable energy, how it will impact the Asia-Pacific region, and what it means for U.S. interests.

House Energy to Look at RINs – With Friday’s Court decision, the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. on background on Renewable Identification Numbers under the RFS.  Witnesses include CRS Energy and Minerals Manager Brent Yacobucci, Gabriel Lade of Iowa State, Paul Niznik of Argus and energy compliance expert Sandra Dunphy.

Technology Roadmap to be Released – On Wednesday at Noon in the Capitol Visitors Center, the Carbon Utilization Research Council, ClearPath Foundation and the Electric Power Research Institute will host an event Wednesday on Capitol Hill to officially unveil two studies that underscore the promise and benefits of aggressively developing and commercializing U.S.-based carbon capture, storage and utilization technologies.  CURC and EPRI will release the 5th Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Roadmap that identifies technologies that can be available by the 2025-2035 timeframe that generate electricity from fossil fuels with significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions that could be cost competitive with other sources of electricity generation.  A companion analysis conducted by CURC and ClearPath will also include modeling provided by NERA Economic Consulting and Advanced Resources International to show that there are significant economic benefits to the U.S. if the technology development outlined in the Roadmap is undertaken under a wide range of scenarios.  The event is sponsored by Southern Company, GE, Battelle and others.

House Resources Looks at Puerto Rico Recovery – The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on the management crisis at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and implications for recovery.

Forum to Look at NET CCS Plant – The US Energy Assn Hosts a discussion on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at NET Power’s 50-MW demonstration emissions-free natural gas power plant.  NET Power is commercializing a novel power system that produces emissions-free electricity from natural gas for the same cost as conventional power plants. The system, which uses the supercritical CO2 Allam Cycle, is currently being demonstrated at a 50MWth power plant in La Porte, Texas, that is now in operation. A review of the technology will be provided, and an update will be given on the status of demonstration plant testing and operations, as well as commercial facility development.

Wilson Forum to Look at China Green Innovation – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum is hosting four experts to discuss ways to facilitate financing that will stimulate the market of green and energy-efficient buildings and technologies that China needs to reach its low carbon goals.  Xiao Sun, chairman of the Ma’anshan Rural Commercial Bank (MRCB), will discuss how MRCB is promoting green building development as part of their effort to become the world’s first completely green bank. Carolyn Szum, program manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), will discuss their partnership with Citibank and MRCB to create new financing tools for energy-efficient buildings in China. Joe Indvik, the leader of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, will discuss how he collaborates with finance executives on expanding access for building owners to attract capital for energy projects in the US. Lastly, Yunhan Mao, from International Finance Corporation (IFC), will briefly introduce IFC’s China Climate Finance Advisory program, and the role it plays in greening urban development.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on Thursday in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

IN THE FUTURE

 

August Congressional Recess – While the Senate will remain in Session, the House will be in recess starting next week.

Senate Environment to Host Wheeler – The Senate Environment Committee will host new acting EPA head Andy Wheeler on Wednesday August 1st.

WCEE Monthly Happy Hour – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment hosts its August Happy Hour on Wednesday, August 1st at 5:30 p.m. at MASA 14 (1825 14th Street, NW)

Tesla Book Discussion SetPolitics and Prose Bookstore hosts Author Richard Munson on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of “Tesla: Inventor of the Modern”.  Drawing on his new book, Richard Munson shines a light on the man behind the legend and how his unique way of doing things meant some of his most advanced ideas would go unrecognized for decades. Tesla felt inventing required the linking of science and the humanities. Unlike his better- known rival, Thomas Edison, he was not motivated by profit and preferred working in isolation.

Science-Policy Discussion Set – On Thursday, August 2nd, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hosts a conversation at Honeywell at Noon featuring two scientists working to shape policy at the federal level. They will discuss the role of science in shaping public policy and offer solutions for a more collaborative relationship between the scientific and policy realms.

EPRI Hosts Electrification Conference – The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) hosts the inaugural Electrification 2018 International Conference and Exposition on August 20th to 23rd in Long Beach CA. Hosted by the and sponsored by more than 20 major utilities and organizations, this annual conference will bring together utility leaders, regulators, researchers, academia, vendors, economic development groups, and energy users from diverse manufacturing, transportation, industrial, and agriculture sectors around the globe.  SoCo CEO Tom Fanning is among the many speakers.

Energy Update: Week of May 14

Friends,

While I always love the NHL hockey playoffs, now, I’m really excited after last night’s Caps victory.  Still six wins to go though and that is a loooooong way!

This week is Preakness Week and the FULL Preview is below. You can take your winnings from listening to me before the Derby and double your money. It is hard to see how Justify doesn’t take this race, especially given the smaller 8-horse field and the fact the favorite wins this race more than 50% of the time.  It looks like it will be another wet one though which didn’t slow Justify at the Derby.  Our friend Scott Dance of the BaltSun has the forecast.  Wow… and only 5 days to the big wedding (and yes, NO CHANCE I am previewing it). I’m just glad it’s early enough to not impact Preakness.

So last week was Hurricane Preparedness Week and I just wanted to remind you with the 2018 Hurricane Season fast approaching (June 1), you should remember the experts at MIT have a significant amount of really interesting research pushing the frontier of building materials use, with implications for policymakers, building designers, communities, and the vulnerable residents of hazard-prone areas.  They have a cool, MIT-developed Break-Even Mitigation Percent (BEMP) tool which calculates the BEMP for eastern U.S. coastal communities prone to damage from hazards related to hurricanes. Along those lines, the American Institute of Architects hosts a discussion tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. to provide design and recovery insights from architects who served as responders following hurricanes last year.

This week is Infrastructure Week, and the action kicked off this morning at Union Station and carries on each day, while Axios hosts an event tomorrow morning with Sen. Inhofe.  In the MIT vein, I am reminding you about a recent study using data from the very same MIT research group that says incorporating a life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) provision into federal infrastructure legislation could save taxpayers $91 million for every $1 billion spent on projects.

On the Hill, it is Scott Pruitt week again.  A second great hearing this week on Wednesday includes EPA Air chief Bill Wehrum, former EPA air office head Jeff Holmstead, NAM’s Ross Eisneberg, NRECA’s Kirk Johnson and several others to discuss the NSR reforms being suggested by the EPA.

Finally, the Farm bill will likely see a vote this week.  The bill reauthorizes various commodity, trade, rural development, agricultural research, and food and nutrition programs and will likely get some attention given the current RFS battles.  Stay tuned…

Out on Friday… Going to pick up Hannah at Wellesley as SHE HAS FINISHED HER 2nd year.  OMG!! Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

THE PREAKNESS

Now that the Kentucky Derby has come and gone, we have officially entered Triple Crown season. Justify put together a powerful showing despite ugly track conditions to win the Derby and emerge as the horse to beat at the 2018 Preakness Stakes.

Justify’s run firmly established him as the early/heavy favorite in Baltimore.  A field of 8 horses will take to the track on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.   The smaller field will make it a lot easier for Mike Smith to get Justify on the lead without traffic/trouble.

Quip and Sporting Chance will be new in the field, while Derby runner-up Good Magic, Bravazo and Lone Sailor return.  Magic was a strong second but could not close on Justify while fresh making it hard to imagine he could be stronger with only two weeks rest.  Bravazo definitely overachieved with his strong finish at the Derby and could also push, but don’t count on it.  Lone Sailor contended in Louisville but faded down the stretch so he seems to be unlikely to challenge.

The expectation that Justify would face a majority field of fresh, rested horses faded some with the small field.  Again it seems some are waiting for the longer Belmont to be a fresh spoiler. Even so, Justify is a likely to be a heavy favorite (right now he is 1-2).

Justify is 4-0 in his career and just the ninth undefeated Derby winner in history. He also became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby after not competing as a two-year-old, breaking sports’ longest existing curse.  But even after his stellar performance at Churchill Downs, they still have to run it.

The shorter Preakness will probably still be muddy with rain expected here all week, but Justify conquered a very muddy and wet Churchill Downs track. Finally, the last four Baffert horses that have won the Derby, have also won the Preakness.

As for other challengers, Quip was the runner up in Arkansas and could hurt Justify with his speed, especially on a soggy track, but he is owned by the same group as JustifySporting Chance is a good long shot if you’re looking for that.  He ran the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day and looked strong despite his 4th–place finish.  Other horses in the field will include Diamond King, Tenfold and Pony Up.  Each of those will be fresh which makes them potentially dangerous, but a wet track tends to limit sleepers’ chance to surprise. King is a local winner here in Maryland; Tenfold comes from the pedigree of 2007 Preakness Champ Curlin, won a couple of minor races earlier this year, but finished a distant 5th to Magnum Moon and Quip in Arkansas.  Pony Up is in the Seattle Slew/AP Indy lineage and placed 3rd behind My Boy Jack at Keeneland in mid-April.

Some Good Preakness Facts

The Race: This is the 143rd Preakness Stakes. The Preakness is older than the Kentucky Derby but rarely gets credit for it. The Preakness was first run in 1873, two years before the first run for the roses. But since the Preakness wasn’t run from 1891-1893 this year is the 143rd Preakness and the 144th Derby.

Distance: 1  3/16 mile (the shortest of the Triple Crown Races) or 9½ furlongs.

The Track: The Pimlico Race Course first opened in Baltimore, Maryland on Oct. 25, 1870. It is the second oldest racetrack in the country, behind only Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Pimlico was originally built so former Maryland Gov. Oden Bowie and his friends, horse racing enthusiasts, could race horses against one another. At a dinner party in 1868, Bowie and his friends agreed to hold a race in two years where the winner would host the losers for dinner. Despite both Saratoga and the America Jockey Club wanting to host the event, Bowie decided to build a brand new racetrack in his home state of Maryland for the occasion.

The Drink: In my Derby Preview, I slept on the Mint Julip and many of you reminded me of that important tradition.  Therefore, here is the recipe for the Black-Eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness. The official ingredients include:

  • 1½ ounce of Effen vodka
  • 1 ounce of Makers Mark Bourbon
  • 2 ounces of Orange Juice
  • 2 ounces of sour mix
  • Garnish with an orange and cherry

Post time: 6:18 p.m. EST

Weather: Rain all week with potentially 3 to 4 inches in Central Maryland.  Rain on race day.

Purse: $1.5 million with winners taking home 60% ($900,000). Top five get $$$. The Winner also receives a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans 18-inches wide and 90 inches long.  It takes 8 hours to make the blanket.

Posts: Positions #5 and #6 have each seen two horses win since 2008. Curlin won from the #4 post in ’07, but last year’s Derby winner Always Dreaming bombed from there despite 13 winners in the past 114 years. Somewhere in the middle has been consistently the best spot, but the lowest numbers have been kind of late. American Pharoah won from No. 1 on its way to the Triple Crown in ’15, following California Chrome from No. 3 in ’14. Last year Cloud Computing shocked everyone out of No. 2.  Again, the small size of the field and wet track may make this less important.

Odds:

  • Justify 1-2
  • Good Magic 3-1
  • Quip 12-1
  • Bravazo 18-1
  • Tenfold 20-1
  • Pony Up 25-1
  • Sporting Chance 28-1
  • Diamond King 28-1
  • Lone Sailor 30-1

Picks:                  WinJustify; PlaceQuip; ShowSporting Chance

Super Box:         Add – Good Magic

Sleeper Note:    Don’t be surprised if Bravazo once again sneaks into the mix.

Longshots:         Definitely lay the $2 on Sporting Chance

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

Terrific final decision from @POTUS meeting: E15, year-round plus RINs for all exports. This is a WIN-WIN for everyone. More corn will be sold (good for farmers), plus lower RINs (saves blue-collar refinery jobs), plus more ethanol exports (good for America).”

Sen. Ted Cruz on Twitter after a meeting at the White House with President Trump, EPA head Pruitt, Ag Sect Perdue and Sens. Toomey, Grassley and Ernst.

 

ON THE POD

Energy Gang Discussed New Tech Investments with Statoil –On a recent Energy Gang podcast, our friends at GTM talked with the executive in charge of Statoil’s new energy investments, Stephen Bull.  Statoil is the largest operator of oil and gas rigs around the world. Consequently, the company’s biggest low-carbon investments are offshore: floating wind farms and distributed carbon capture and storage. Bull chats with The Energy Gang about the performance of floating wind, the economics of CCS, and whether oil companies are investing enough in their new energy divisions.

FUN OPINIONS

Cruz Talks Iran, NK, Biofuels on Fox – Late last week, Senator Cruz addressed the White House meeting on the RFS on Fox News saying “the President is saving tens of thousands of jobs” by fixing the broken RINs program.  See it here: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5783087431001/?#sp=show-clips

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Energy Group Rolls out New Energy Innovation Initiative – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute has launched a new multi-platform initiative to highlight energy innovation efforts by industry. The EnergyInnovates tour kicks off with Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood, a partnership that includes Southern Company and Oak Ridge National Laboratory which employs a microgrid capable of reliably powering a community with solar, batteries or a backup natural gas generator.

Barclays Says Ethanol Exports Will be a Better Policy – Barclays Capital weighed in on ethanol exports saying in a report that the proposal export RINs would be a better solution to fix the Renewable Fuel Standard than year-round E15 gasoline.  Barclays note said the drop in ethanol RIN prices by more than 50% year to date was largely due to the series of 2016 and 2017 waivers provided by the EPA, which has functionally reduced RIN demand. However, retroactive waivers, while offering temporary price relief through balancing RIN supply/demand, are not a structural or sustainable solution.  They also added the “possibility of ethanol exports being counted toward the RIN requirement could potentially solve the RIN deficit issue and lead to a structurally much lower RIN price.”

EPA Looks to Build Economics Into NAAQS Decisions – Last Week, EPA said it will overhaul how it reviews national ozone limits by considering a range of adverse effects including economic and energy-related ones. Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a memorandum kicking off the agency’s review of the latest National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, established in 2015 with the aim of finalizing a decision to reconsider, modify or maintain the NAAQS within the five-year window mandated by the Clean Air Act. The current ozone NAAQS stands at 70 parts per billion.  The Chamber’s Dan Byers said “EPA’s NAAQS process has long been in need of improvement. The announcement signals a new approach focused on key statutory duties and regulatory flexibility, which should lead to a better process that won’t impede economic growth.”

Chamber Blog Highlights Jobs Benefits of HFC Reduction – Remember last week’s announcement regarding economic impacts of the Kigali amendment to limit HFCs, the Chamber penned a blog.

UTC Members Elect SoCo’s Bryant as New Board Chair – Energy and water utility representatives across the U.S. approved a new slate of officers to lead the Utilities Technology Council (UTC).   At UTC’s Annual Telecom & Technology Meeting today in Palm Springs, Calif., UTC’s core members elected Roger Bryant, IT Project Manager, Telecom Services at Southern Company Services, as its new Chairman of the Board. Mr. Bryant succeeds Immediate Past Chair Kathy Nelson of Great River Energy.  UTC members also elected Greg Angst, Engineer in the Telecom Design Group at CenterPoint Energy, as its Vice Chair, and Kevin Huff, Telecommunications Operations Manager at Salt River Project, as its Secretary/Treasurer.

GTM Looks at Trends in Solar – A new report from GTM says – In the last five years – the cost of solar has fallen 48% and annual global solar installations are now total 100 gigawatts. In a presentation at Solar Summit earlier this month, GTM Research’s Scott Moskowitz highlighted current trends in solar PV technology like the rise of 1,500 volt systems and three-phase inverters overtaking central inverters. He also went on to provide an outlook on PV system prices.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at China Nuclear – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a forum and launch of “The Future of Nuclear Power in China” today at 2:30 p.m. The groundbreaking new report, “The Future of Nuclear Power in China,” identifies and analyzes the challenges facing Chinese decision makers in developing and deploying nuclear power technology through mid-century. Speakers will include Mark Hibbs and Jane Nakano will discuss. James Acton will moderate.

Citi Energy Conference Set – Today through Wednesday, the Citi Global Energy & Utilities Conference is held in Boston and Cambridge, Mass. Participants include executives from Hess Corp., Devon Energy and other companies.

Axios to Host Infrastructure Discussion – Axios’ Mike Allen will host conversations on the news of the day and how it relates to Infrastructure Week tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. at AJAX.  The event will feature Sen. Jim Inhofe, DC House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Mayors Subcommittee on Highways.

ITA Holds Enviro Tech Forum – The International Trade Administration holds a meeting of the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee tomorrow.  The agenda includes optimizing the government’s trade promotion programs; identifying market access barriers; discussing pros and cons of existing trade agreements; discussing foreign procurement policy, including issues with financing mechanisms; discussing localization requirements and non-tariff barriers; and making recommendations to the secretary.

Women in Green Power Forum Set – The US Green Business Council- National Capital Region holds its 3rd annual Women in Green Power Breakfast at The Hamilton tomorrow morning.  The event celebrates women in local sustainability who are at the top of their game. Get inspired at this critical time for environmentalism and feminism. Through facilitated networking and a panel discussion featuring local Women in Green, the event will explore the complexities of women’s leadership and share proven leadership principles practiced by female green leaders at every stage of their career, who are changing the way we think and build in the National Capital Region.

SE Solar Power Forum Set – The Solar Power Southeast is tomorrow and Wednesday in Atlanta.  The focus of the event bring together those that are doing business in the region, or would like to conduct more business in the region to discuss strategies, market trends in the southeast, policy updates that impact businesses, and numerous networking opportunities to make more connections.  SEIA head Abby Hopper leads the discussion.

Forum to Look at Central American Power Market Design – The US Energy Association will host a forum tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. on using best practices to design power sector programs.  Juan Belt will look at case studies in Haiti & Central America  Belt will discuss a paper he wrote for the Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) that proposes measures to improve the power sector in Haiti and is based on best practices.  The CCC “eminent panel”, which included a Nobel Prize winner, selected this paper as the best among 85 proposed interventions, and the International Confederation of Energy Regulators (ICER) gave it the “Distinguished Scholar Award for 2018.”  Belt and UDAID’s Silvia Alvarado will also discuss a paper they are writing.  Silvia is a former USAID officer and regulator of Guatemala, on possible measures to improve the power sector of the six Central American countries as well as the regional power pool.  The paper will highlight the reasons why the reform in Guatemala succeeded, will describe USAID support, and will suggest what lessons could be applicable to other countries in the region and elsewhere.

Forum to Look at Saudi Nuclear Issues – Tomorrow at 12:00 p.m., the Global America Business Institute hosts a forum looking at commercial perspectives on Saudi Enrichment.  Speakers will include Andrea Jennetta of Fuel Cycle Week and Melissa Mann of URENCO USA Inc.

Cal Energy Summit Set – The 6th annual California Energy Summit 2018 launches tomorrow in Redondo Beach and will bring policy-makers together with utility, IPP, energy storage and finance executives to provide the latest information on the opportunities and threats in California, and discuss potential strategies for the future.  Our friends Dan Skopec off San Diego Gas & Electric and 8MinuteEnergy’s Arthur Haubenstock will speak along with CAISO’s Neil Millar, First Solar’s Mark Fillinger and others.

UDel to Host Biden, Moniz on Prospects for Energy Jobs, Innovation – The University of Delaware hosts former VP Joe Biden and former Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz for a conversation about the future of energy jobs and innovation in the U.S. tomorrow in Newark, DE.  The event is a partnership between the Biden Institute and the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) at the University.  The event will also be streamed live. To view the live webcast, visit sites.udel.edu/udlive. The link will become active 10 minutes before the program begins at 12 p.m. A recording will be posted on the DENIN website following the event.

Wilson Forum Hosts AK LG Mallott – The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a forum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. will host Alaska Lt. Gov Byron Mallott shaping Alaska’s climate policy. Mallott will speak to the State of Alaska’s response to climate change through the work of the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team, established last October and charged with developing a recommended climate action plan and policy by September 2018. Follow the work of the CALT and preview the draft climate policy here.  An Alaska Native and clan leader of the Tlingit Raven Kwaash Kee Kwaan of Yakutat, Lt. Governor Mallott will also highlight work building partnerships with Pacific Island nations to create an indigenous, ocean-focused approach to climate solutions.

Coal Council Hosts Milloy to Discuss CCS – Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., American Coal Council holds a Q&A webcast on innovative Carbon Capture and Sequestration solution with multiple environmental benefits.  The web event will feature Steve Milloy.  Interest in accelerating the development and deployment of technologies for CO2 emissions reduction is growing, as is the recognition that the cost of carbon capture and sequestration must be reduced to facilitate meaningful progress. Enhanced oil recovery is one strategy, and there are others such as direct air capture.

Aspen to Discuss Ocean Policy – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on physical, chemical, and biological oceanography at 2:15 p.m.  Panelists include Dr. Sylvia Earle, Co-Chair, Aspen Institute High Seas Initiative; Dr. Fanny Douvere, Coordinator, Marine Program, World Heritage Centre UNESCO; Dr. Francesco Ferretti, Research Associate, Stanford Hopkins Marine Station; and Dr. Barb Block via the White Shark Café. This event is the first for the High Seas Initiative, a program of the Aspen Institute that will ignite global awareness of the need to explore, understand and protect the last unregulated global commons: the remote ocean. The Initiative will work to support the creation, expansion, and enforcement of marine reserves, as well as educating and engaging youth to become future leaders working on behalf of our oceans.

AIA hosts Discussion on Insights for Hurricane Design, Recovery – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is hosting an educational discussion at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow to provide design and recovery insights from architects who served as responders following hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma last year.  Architects offer a unique perspective—not only to design communities and buildings to withstand disaster—but to analyze structural performance during post-disaster relief work. The panel will cover crucial information for the Senate to understand, especially as they consider the House passed Disaster Recovery Reform Act.  In addition, the National Institute of Building Sciences will present relevant highlights from its Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report regarding the economic benefit of governments continuing to publicly fund disaster mitigation efforts.

Senate Approps to Host Pruitt – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is scheduled to testify on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. before the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees his budget according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the panel.

House Approps Marks up Energy Funding – The House Appropriations Committee will mark up its fiscal 2019 energy and water title on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

House Science Look at Tech to Address Climate – The House Science Committee holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on using technology to address climate change. Witnesses will include Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute, Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute, Phil Duffy of the Woods Hole Research Center and Georgia Tech’s  Judith Curry.

House Energy to Look at NSR Program Reforms – The House Energy and Commerce Environment panel  will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. EPA Bill Wehrum, Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead (himself a former EPA Air office head), NAM’s Ross Eisenberg and NRECA’s Kirk Johnson will be among those testifying.

Moniz to Introduce ‘18 U.S. Jobs Report – The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), will publicly release the 2018 U.S. Energy & Employment Report (USEER) Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in 212-10 Senate Visitors Center.  This is the third installment of the energy jobs survey established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2016, which offers data on employment trends in four key energy sectors. Monix will be joined by NASEO head David Terry and author David Foster.

BPC to look at Private-Public Partnerships – The BPC’s Executive Council on Infrastructure is holding an event on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. highlighting the role of public-private partnerships, or P3s, in addressing America’s $2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. P3s can bring private sector innovation, expertise, and capital to projects, helping communities across the U.S. modernize their transportation, water, and other infrastructure systems. Keynote remarks by Australian Ambassador to US Joe Hockey and a panel featuring Bechtel’s Keith Hennessy and Lilliana Ortega of Parsons.

Forum to Look at Manufacturing – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation releases a new report that reviews the progress of DOE’s Manufacturing USA Institutes and looks ahead to their future. The report’s authors, ITIF Senior Fellow David M. Hart and Peter L. Singer, will present their findings and discuss policy options to guide their next stage of evolution with an expert panel.

ELI to Look at Deregulation – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum and panel on Wednesday at Noon to discuss obstacles to deregulation, including when, and how, an agency must consider costs and benefits of staying, repealing, and rewriting rules. Speakers will discuss the types of rules and guidelines to which these requirements do and do not apply; comment on current challenges to the Trump Administration’s deregulation agenda; and offer insights on the ways that administrative law is developing through interpretation of the APA and other relevant statutes.

Salazar Heads Press Club Dinner – The National Press Club Communicators Team hold its Legends Dinner on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Winners’ Room.  The honored guest will be former Interior Secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar. The dinner conversation will focus on the important communications-based strategies that moved his agenda and built a strong communications team, touching on: due diligence, crisis management, gaining congressional and White House support, building consensus with business leaders and constituents and working with media and reporters.  Salazar will share practical lessons and challenges with that can bring value to contemporary communicators.

Forum to Look at PPPs – The Brookings Institution and the National Association of Counties hold a discussion on Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. looking at modernizing infrastructure policies to advance public-private partnerships.  Panelists will include NACo President and Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks and D.C. Office of Public-Private Partnerships Deputy Director Judah Gluckman.

Total CEO Hosted by CSIS – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. for a conversation on Total’s global gas, renewables, and power strategies and their implications for the company’s activities in the United States.  The discussion will encompass Total’s position in natural gas markets, the growth and impact of renewables, and Total’s investments in the renewables and power sectors.

Forum to Look at MI CCS Project – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum focused on the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP), a large-scale demonstration project recently achieved the net CO2 storage of 1,000,000 metric tons in the CO2-EOR fields in Northern Michigan. This briefing will discuss how lessons learned from this successful program can be used to move CCUS towards deployment in appropriate settings. In addition to providing key aspects of the program, the speakers will discuss how the MRCSP research is impacting new projects in the USA and globally to build technical capacity.  Speakers include Battelle’s Lydia Cumming and Neeraj Gupta.

FERC Open MeetingThursday at 10:00 a.m.

Wilson to Host Brazil Bioeconomy Forum – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a discussion of the future challenges and opportunities for agricultural value chains in a bioeconomy era with leading experts.  Brazil, as one of the leading global agricultural producers and exporters, will play a significant role in building this new bioeconomy era. Led by Embrapa, the Ministry of Agriculture’s research arm, Brazilian scientists and policymakers are already engaged in cutting-edge research involving microbes, genetic engineering, and biomolecules: new technologies based in biology that have the potential to enhance agricultural productivity and the quality of food, while improving environmental sustainability.

Senate Environment to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a legislative hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on S.2800, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

ACORE Leads State of Industry Webinar – On Thursday at Noon, the State of the Industry Webinar, a quarterly series produced in partnership between ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), offers the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.  This quarter’s webinar will reflect on the immense growth of community choice aggregation (CCA) in California as well as its emergence in other markets. Speakers will offer insights on the dynamics of CCA deals, and considerations in how to tackle and underwrite such projects.

AEE to Hold Cybersecurity, Grid Webinar – The Advanced Energy Economy will hold a webinar on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on cybersecurity in a distributed energy future.  The webinar will address protecting an evolving grid from digital attack. The  panel of experts — all contributors to the AEE Institute white paper on cybersecurity — will discuss ways to make an increasingly complex, interactive, and distributed electricity system more resilient against cyber threats. Panelists include John Berdner of Enphase Energy, NYPA’s Ken Carnes, Navigant’s Ken Lotterhos and Todd Wiedman, Director, Security and Network, Landis+Gyr. Moderated by Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, 21st Century Energy System, Advanced Energy Economy.

Moniz to Deliver Georgetown School Commencement – Former Energy Secretary Moniz delivers Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy commencement ceremony Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

House Panel to Look at Waste Disposal – The House Energy and Commerce’s environment panel discusses two reauthorization bills related to waste disposal in a legislative hearing on Friday at 9:00 a.m.  The hearing is focused on H.R. 2278, the Responsible Disposal Reauthorization Act of 2017, and H.R. 2389, to reauthorize the West Valley demonstration project and for other purposes.”

Forum to Talk Economic Methods –The US Assn of Energy Economists of the National Capital Area will hold its monthly lunch on Friday at the Chinatown Gardens restaurant featuring Powerhouse’s David Thompson and focused on collecting and analyzing supply & demand data in the energy sector. Technical analysis (TA) differs from fundamental research as it focuses on price action and how that affects market participants’ decision-making. While the two schools start from different perspectives, it’s a mischaracterization to suggest they are antagonistic to one another. Many analysts use technical tools in concert with fundamental research as they develop market forecasts.

IN THE FUTURE

NAS Hosts Small Business Meetings – The National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy will meet on next Monday and Tuesday to review the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs at the Department of Energy Review.

Fox to Address Trade, Immigration, Trump – The National Press Club will host a Headliners Luncheon on Tuesday, May 22nd featuring former Mexican President Vicente Fox.  Fox will deliver an address entitled “Democracy at the Crossroads: Globalization versus Nationalism”.  Fox, a right-wing populist representing the National Action Party (PAN), was elected as the 55th President of Mexico on December 1, 2000. Winning with 42% of the vote, Fox made history as the first presidential candidate in 71 years to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Fox’s administration focused chiefly on improving trade relations with the United States and maintaining Mexico’s growing economy. Fox left office in 2006, and in a break with his country’s cultural norms and traditions has remained in the public eye post-presidency and has not been shy about expressing his views and opinions.

Forum Spotlights Rural Co-Ops – The Partnership for Advancing an Inclusive Rural Energy Economy, a collaboration between the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a livecast on Tuesday May 22nd at 1:00 p.m. to look at how rural electric cooperatives are delivering cutting-edge inclusive energy efficiency programs for their members–saving them money while supporting local economic development.  This livecast will include information about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Services (RUS) loan program that co-ops can take advantage of to help deliver these benefits.  Livecast speakers include Doug O’Brien of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA, Roanoke Electric Cooperative CEO Curtis Wynn and Mike Couick of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.  Roanoke Electric’s “Upgrade to $ave” program and the “Help My House” program available to South Carolina’s co-ops offer on-bill financing to help members afford cost-saving home energy upgrades. With on-bill financing, members repay their co-ops over time as part of their monthly electric bills, and the programs are designed so that members of all income levels can participate.

Forum to Look at Waste Energy – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the American Biogas Council (ABC) hold a briefing on Wednesday May 23rd looking at the numerous challenges posed by organic wastes-to human health, water and air quality, and to businesses that must manage these wastes-and how anaerobic digestion offers solutions to these pressing issues. Anaerobic digestion is the process of converting organic materials, typically viewed as wastes, into usable products, including biogas, renewable natural gas (RNG), as well as valuable organic fertilizer and compost. These biogas systems turn a waste management issue into a revenue opportunity for America’s farms, dairies, food processing, and wastewater treatment industries.  Speakers for this forum will discuss the tremendous opportunities for rural and urban communities alike to use anaerobic digestion to foster healthy communities and businesses.

CSIS, EPIC to Hold Nuclear Forum – CSIS and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) will hold a half-day public conference on Thursday afternoon May 24th to address pressing questions in an effort to better understand the potential future of U.S. nuclear power. Nuclear energy faces an uncertain future in the United States as the fuel is beset by fierce competition from natural gas and renewable energy in many markets. Coupled with failure to deliver new projects on time and at cost, along with a public sensitive to operational safety, existing and future nuclear power generation is at risk in the United States.

Press Club Hosts Fox News Anchor – Bret Baier, chief political anchor for Fox News Channel and the anchor and executive editor of “Special Report with Bret Baier,” will share his latest book, “Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” at a National Press Club Headliners Book Event on Tuesday, May 29th, at 7:30 p.m. in the Club’s conference rooms. In “Three Days in Moscow” Baier uses the 1988 Moscow Summit, Reagan’s pivotal final meeting with Communist Party Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, to examine the life and legacy of Reagan and his arduous battle with the Soviet Union through a new lens.

FERC Chair Headlines EIA Annual Energy Conference – EIA holds Its annual 2018 Energy Conference on June 4th and 5th at the Washington Hilton.  FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre will keynote the event.

Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Forum Set for DC – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association will be hosting a full-day forum and exposition on Tuesday, June 12 in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center with leading executives, experts, and policymakers on fuel cell and hydrogen technology. The forum will bring together key federal and state policymakers, including the Department of Energy and White House, as well as the broader environmental, transportation, and energy communities to raise awareness of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen technology. This event will precede the Department of Energy’s 2018 Annual Merit Review.

GTM to Host Grid Forum – Greentech Media host Grid Edge Innovation Summit on June 20th and 21st in San Francisco.  The event is an energy conference that will examine the energy customer of tomorrow and how new innovative business models are quickly emerging.  GTM brings together forward thinking and prominent members of the energy ecosystem and as our research team explores the future of the market. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff will speak along with many others, including our friends Shayle Kann, Julia Pyper and Stephen Lacey.

Young Professional Program for World Gas Forum Set – The Young Professionals Program (YPP) will hold a special forum during the World Gas Conference June 25-29 in Washington, DC.  YPP will provide a great opportunity for promising young professionals in the energy sector to learn from top leaders in the natural gas industry and network with their peers throughout the world.  More on this as we get closer.

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held on July 10th and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Energy Update

Friends,

Wow… What a weekend!  Started it on Thursday night with a great Alice in Chains show at the Anthem.  Then, drove back/forth twice between UVa (Adam’s track meet Fri/Sat) and UDelaware (Olivia’s field hockey Sat/Sun), yet still managed to catch the Caps crazy win over the Pens, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and last night’s historic victory by the Vegas Golden Knights.

The 144th Run for the Roses was muddy, but brilliant.  For those of you paying attention to my preview last week, you probably won some money as Justify rolled to victory to win the $2 million race.  Justify, was 5-2 favorite at the bell and is the 6th straight Derby favorite to win.  Justify is trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith.  As I mentioned, Promises Fulfilled took the early fast pace, but Justify stalked until the far turn, pulling away in deep stretch. His winning time was a slow 2 minutes, 4 1/5 seconds.  He also breaks the longest losing streak in sports history: the Apollo CurseApollo was the 1882 Kentucky Derby champion, who was the last winner before Justify not to race as a 2-year-old.  Another one of my picks Good Magic finished strong to take 2nd while Audible took 3rd.  Unfortunately, uber-longshot Instilled Regard held off the charging My Boy Jack (my mud horse) to finish out the Super, which paid out $19,618.20 if you hit it.  Justify will be a heavy favorite in the Preakness…preview next week!

ICYMI, late last week, a new economic study – The Economic Impacts of U.S. Ratification of the Kigali Amendment – from the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and AHRI was sent to the White House, the State Department and EPA.  The study is an outgrowth of the forum earlier this year at the Hudson Institute where former White House advisor David Banks said it was imperative to have an economic analysis of any HFC phasedown before it could move forward. The report says U.S. industry strongly supports ratification, followed by domestic implementation.

Speaking of Banks, this morning, our friends at ClearPath announced that it has added the former White House advisor along with SoCo’s Ed Holland, former NJ Utility Board Chair Richard Mroz and campaign strategist Terry Sullivan to its advisory board.  Also today, the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) is launching a new initiative to highlight the advances that are improving our modern way of life. EnergyInnovates is a multi-platform initiative that will showcase American innovators, projects, and technologies that have shaped today’s energy landscape and will lay the groundwork for the future.

WINDPOWER starts today in Chicago.  One of the biggest, most important trade shows of the year, the event underscores the strong demand for wind energy, as evidenced by the busy 1st quarter for new U.S. wind farm announcements. Wind power’s low cost and stable energy prices motivated utility and non-utility customers to sign contracts for 3,500 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity in the first quarter of 2018, a high water mark in recent years.

This week in DC, we expected another RFS meeting at the White House likely tomorrow while Friday, the President will hold a Roundtable with automaker CEOs on fuel economy standards.  It is also a busy week on Capitol Hill with House Approps rolling into the Energy & Water funding bill starting today and the full House is expected to take up legislation that would restart the long-stalled process to store commercial nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain site.  Tomorrow, House Energy looks at EVs and Senate Energy is focused on Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, DOE Secretary Perry testifies before House Science tomorrow, while Senate Environment is focused on water Infrastructure.   Thursday, Interior Secretary Zinke heads to Senate Approps while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will likely get trade/tariff questions at his budget hearing.

Tomorrow, my colleague Scott Segal speaks at the CHP industry’s policy forum.  C2ES will host a Wednesday conversation with utilities, federal and state policy experts, and industry analysts to discuss solutions to address early nuclear retirements and zero-carbon generation, while WCEE hosts a policy lunch with Congressional energy/environment staff.  On Thursday, WASHINGTON POST LIVE and its Energy 202 newsletter (our friends Steve Mufson and Dino Grandoni) will host a forum at 9:00 a.m. at the Post Live Center on cybersecurity and the grid featuring Sens. Martin Heinrich and John Hoeven, as well as FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre.

While we normally don’t pay much attention to primaries, tomorrow is primary day in West Virginia and Indiana.  In WV, energy advocate AG Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins are battling with controversial former coal exec and convicted felon Don Blankenship for the right to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin.  In Indiana, Wabash College alums Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, as well as former Dem State Rep. Mike Braun all have been hugging the President but running away from college transgressions as Little Giants. Both long-time energy industry supporters, Manchin and Donnelly are seen as the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate.

This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week.  With the 2018 Hurricane Season approaching (June 1), remember the experts at MIT have a significant amount of really interesting research pushing the frontier of building materials use, with implications for policymakers, building designers, communities, and the vulnerable residents of hazard-prone areas.  They also have the MIT-developed Break-Even Mitigation Percent (BEMP) tool which helps building designers and owners make better risk-informed decisions before the disaster hits. You can use the tool to calculate the BEMP for eastern U.S. coastal communities prone to damage from hazards related to hurricanes.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“While consumers may not think about it when they flip the light switch, turn on the air conditioning, or even gas up their cars, the American energy industry is at the forefront of groundbreaking innovation and technology development. Our goal is to put a spotlight on the ingenuity behind America’s ongoing energy revolution, especially the investments being made to find new and better ways to produce, transmit, and use energy, the foundation of our lives and our economy.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Global Energy Institute during today’s launch of EnergyInnovates, a multi-platform initiative that will showcase American innovators, projects, and technologies that have shaped today’s energy landscape and will lay the groundwork for the future.

“Word is out that wind power is an excellent source of affordable, reliable and clean energy. The industry is consistently growing the wind project pipeline as leading companies, including utilities and brands like AT&T and Nestle, keep placing orders. Strong demand for wind power is fueling an economic engine supporting a record 105,500 U.S. wind jobs in farm and factory towns across the nation.”

Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA in announcing the U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2018 Market Report in advance of today’s WINDPOWER event in Chicago.

ON THE POD

Energy Gang Discussed New Tech Investments with Statoil –On a recent Energy Gang podcast, our friends at GTM talked with the executive in charge of Statoil’s new energy investments, Stephen Bull.  Statoil is the largest operator of oil and gas rigs around the world. Consequently, the company’s biggest low-carbon investments are offshore: floating wind farms and distributed carbon capture and storage. Bull chats with The Energy Gang about the performance of floating wind, the economics of CCS, and whether oil companies are investing enough in their new energy divisions.

FUN OPINIONS

Consumer Group: Time to Reform RFS – Recently, David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance wrote an opinion piece calling on Congress to fully reform the RFS program.  Holt said there are several big problems with the RFS, including what’s called the “ethanol blend wall.” Most American cars and light trucks have been built to run on a fuel blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. Using more ethanol would void most vehicle warranties provided by all major automotive manufacturers. Similarly, most underground storage tanks and gasoline pumps used by gasoline stations across the country cannot accommodate more ethanol.  Holt: “Congress should act now to make meaningful changes to the RFS. Without congressional action, farmers, transporters, refiners, and everyone who buys gasoline will continue to pay the price.”

IN THE NEWS

ClearPath Adds Leading Experts To Advisory Board – Clear Path has added thought leaders in the fields of energy policy and technology, as well as conservative politics and messaging, to its advisory board.

  • George David Banks was President Trump’s Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment. He was previously senior advisor on International Affairs and Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President George W. Bush, deputy GOP staff director of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a State Department foreign service officer and a CIA economic analyst. He is currently executive vice president of the American Council on Capital Formation and an adjunct research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.
  • Ed Holland is the former president and CEO of Southern Company Holdings and executive vice president of Southern Company Services. He was also previously president, CEO and chairman of Mississippi Power.
  • Richard Mroz is the former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and chaired the Critical Infrastructure Committee for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, among many other senior-level national, regional and state roles. That includes being named to the Commission on White House Fellowships by President George W. Bush.
  • Terry Sullivan is founding partner of Firehouse Strategies and has two decades under his belt as a well-seasoned political and public affairs strategist. He has played a senior strategic role in more than 100 campaigns, including U.S. Senate, gubernatorial and presidential candidacies. Notably, that included successful reelection wins for Sens. Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson in 2016 and Sullivan was Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign manager.

Groups Urge White House, EPA to Support HFC Phasedown – The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and AHRI released their comprehensive study: Economic Impact of Kigali Ratification & Implementation, supporting the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol which calls for a phase down in the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide.  The Kigali Amendment gives American companies an advantage in technology, manufacturing, and investment which will lead to job creation. The economic analysis indicates that U.S. implementation of the Kigali Amendment is good for American jobs. It will both strengthen America’s exports and weaken the market for imported products, while enabling U.S. technology to continue its world leadership role.   According to the study:

  • The Kigali amendment is projected to increase U.S. manufacturing jobs by 33,000 by 2027, increase exports by $5 billion, reduce imports by nearly $7 billion, and improve the HVACR balance of trade.
  • With Kigali, U.S. exports will outperform, increasing U.S. share of global market from 7.2% to 9.0%.
  • Fluorocarbon-based manufacturing industries in the U.S. directly employ 589,000 Americans, with an industry-wide payroll of more than $39 billion per year. The fluorocarbon industry in the U.S. indirectly supports 494,000 American jobs with a $36 billion annual payroll.

According to the analysis, the U.S. fluorocarbon using and producing industries contribute more than $205 billion annually in direct goods and services and provide employment to more than 2.5 million individuals and overall economic activity of $620 billion to the U.S. economy.

AWEA Report Says 1Q Demand Rolling – With WINDPOWER launching today, there a new report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says strong demand for wind energy drove a busy first quarter for new U.S. wind farm announcements. Wind power’s low cost and stable energy prices motivated utility and non-utility customers to sign contracts for 3,500 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity in the first quarter of 2018, a high water mark in recent years. The U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2018 Market Report also reveals 5,523 MW in first quarter wind project announcements, adding to a total of 33,449 MW of wind power capacity in the combined construction and advanced development pipeline.  Utilities and Fortune 500 brands both continue to scale up investments in wind energy because it makes good business sense. The cost of wind power has fallen by two-thirds since 2009, making wind cost-competitive with other energy sources. In fact, in strong wind resource regions like the Great Plains and Texas, wind is the most cost-effective source of new electricity. And because wind power has no fuel costs, buyers can lock in low rates for decades to protect against future fuel price spikes. Wind energy customers signed over 3,500 MW in long-term contracts called power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the first quarter. That’s the highest volume of PPA announcements in any quarter since AWEA began tracking them in 2013. Six companies including Adobe, AT&T and Nestle signed wind PPAs for the first time, while Bloomberg, Facebook, Nike and T-Mobile became repeat customers. In addition, utility buyers including PacifiCorp and DTE Energy made large-scale announcements to develop and own wind power. Across the country, 36 wind projects representing a combined 5,523 MW announced that they either began construction or entered advanced development in the first quarter. Construction started on 1,366 MW of wind capacity and 4,158 MW entered advanced stages of development, which includes projects that have found a buyer for their energy, announced a firm turbine order, or have been announced to proceed under utility ownership. The full pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development now totals 33,449 MW, a 40 percent increase over this time last year and the highest level since this statistic was first measured at the beginning of 2016.

DTE Pushes Green Bonds – DTE Energy in rolled out its green bonds program. The $525 million in bonds will finance green investments, including low-carbon projects such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. DTE is the fifth [energy] company in the nation to sell green bonds. “Green bonds will help finance our low-carbon investments, which will enable us to continue moving Michigan toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” says Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy. “This is a tangible way for investors to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and is one of many steps in our aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050. We’re proud to be among the first energy companies to offer this green investment option.”  The bonds have a maturity of 30 years at an annual fixed coupon of 4.05 percent. They are expected to help fund the development and construction of solar arrays and wind farms, including the transmission infrastructure to support renewable energy facilities, as well as strengthen energy efficiency programs.

DTE Gas Plant Approved by Michigan – In related DTE news, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved DTE Energy’s gas plant proposal for East China Township. The utility is scheduled to break ground on the new facility in 2019. The plant is one of the steps the company is taking to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by the early 2020s, and more than 80% by 2050.

FERC Shows Strong Renewable Growth in 1Q – A new FERC update says wind, solar, and other renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower) accounted for almost 95% (i.e., 94.9%) of all new U.S. electrical generation placed into service in the first quarter of this year.  FERC’s latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” shows that 16 new “units” of wind, totaling 1,793 megawatts (MW), came into service in the first three months of 2018 along with 92 units of solar (1,356-MW) for a total of 3,149-MW.  In addition, there was one unit of geothermal steam (19-MW), five units of water (18-MW), and three units of biomass (3-MW). Among non-renewable sources, six units of natural gas provided another 79-MW of new capacity along with five units of oil (10-MW), and one unit of nuclear (4-MW). There were also six units (80-MW) defined as “other” by FERC (e.g., fuel cells, batteries & storage). No capacity additions were reported for coal during the quarter.  FERC data also reveal that the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources now provides over one-fifth (20.69%) of total available U.S. generating capacity. Combined, wind and solar alone exceed one-tenth (10.44%) of installed capacity – a share greater than that of nuclear power (9.14%) or hydropower (8.52%) or oil (3.56%).  FERC’s report further suggests that the rapid expansion and growing dominance of renewable energy sources will continue at least through April 2021. Proposed new net generating capacity (i.e., additions minus retirements) by renewables over the next three years totals 148,281-MW or 70.1% of the total (i.e., 211,621-MW). Proposed new net generating capacity by wind (85,625-MW) and solar (49,088-MW) alone are 63.7% of the total – supplemented by hydropower (11,824-MW), geothermal (1,130-MW), and biomass (614-MW).

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

Approps Subpanel to Mark Energy Budget – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies will meet today at 5:30 p.m. to mark-up the FY 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

BP Tech Head to Discuss Global Energy – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a wide-ranging discussion tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. about the role of technology in shaping the future of global energy. The energy industry is changing faster than at any time in our lifetime. It faces two huge challenges: firstly, providing more energy than ever before to meet the world’s increasing demand; and secondly, transitioning to a lower carbon future. Drawing upon analysis conducted by BP and its partners, BP’s Technology Head David Eyton will discuss some of the major longer-term signals out to 2050, as well as key findings in transport, power and heat. Eyton’s conversation will also cover the key game-changing technologies for the energy industry and the challenges we face.

Combined Heat Power Industry Holds Forum – The CHP Association and the combined heat and power community hold their annual CHP Policy Forum tomorrow and Wednesday at The City Club of Washington. This year, conference presentations will focus on how to better implement CHP programs. The theme of this year’s forum is “engaging with decision makers” and will feature key figures in various areas of legislation, regulation, and government. The forum will explore the barriers and drivers for CHP at every jurisdiction—including city, state, regional, and federal—with the understanding that policy considerations for energy planning vary across different jurisdictions.  My colleague Scott Segal will speak tomorrow afternoon on policy effects on the future of energy markets.

BPC to Host Panel on Federal Science – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., looking at federal funding for Fiscal Year 2018 for research and development. Continually developing new scientific knowledge and technologies drives long-term economic growth and creates higher-skilled jobs. BPC will focus its conversation on federal investment in scientific research and innovation and how to maintain America’s economic and competitive edge.

Senate Energy Committee to Look at Puerto Rico – The Senate Energy Committee will convene an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the current status of Puerto Rico’s electric grid and proposals for the future operation of the grid.  Witnesses include DOE’s Bruce Walker, Charles Alexander of the Army Corps of Engineers, ; Christian Sobrino Vega, of the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank President, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority CEO Walter Higgins, José Román Morales of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission and Rodrigo Masses of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association.

IAE to Hold Biofuel Presentation – The International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Program will hold an international webinar, “Biofuels for the Marine Sector: New Opportunities and New Challenges,” tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. The webinar will give an overview of the maritime transportation sector, including its fuel and engine types, the fuel supply infrastructure, and the regulations on fuel specifications and CO2 emissions. The feasibility of current biofuels including their properties and supply will be discussed and opportunities for new types of biofuel will be presented.

House Energy Panel to Look at Electric Vehicles – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. on policy implications of electric and conventional vehicles in the years ahead.

Forum to Discuss LNG Study – U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. featuring energy economists at ICF who recently conducted a study for LNG Allies.  The study “Calculating the Benefits of US LNG Exports” looked at direct, indirect, and induced value added ($GDP) and employment from LNG terminals and the natural gas feedstock.  The principal author of the ICF report, Harry Vidas, joins Fred H. Hutchison, President/CEO, of LNG Allies to discuss the findings.

Perry, Haley, Ross to Attend Conference – The Council of the Americas will hold its 48th annual conference tomorrow at the U.S. Department of State.  The annual conferences have traditionally featured presentations by the president, the secretary of state, foreign heads of state, cabinet officials from the hemisphere, and leaders of the business community. The 2018 Washington Conference on the Americas will bring together administration senior officials and distinguished leaders from across the Americas to focus on the major policy issues affecting the hemisphere.  UN Abassador Nikki Haley, Energy Secretary Perry, Commerce Secretary Ross and Sens. Ben Sasse, Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio, among many others, will speak.

EnviroRun Features Amy Harder – Tomorrow evening, Envirorun DC hosts Amy Harder, energy and climate change reporter at Axios. Amy is an energy and climate change reporter at Axios, both in her regular column called Harder Line, and her other reporting for Axios she covers congressional legislation, regulations, lobbying, and international policy actions affecting energy and climate change issues in the United States. She previously covered the same issues for The Wall Street Journal and before that at National Journal.  The run begins at 6:00 p.m. and we will return to the venue for networking and hear from the speaker at 7:00 p.m.

OPIS Looks at West Coast Fuel Supply – OPIS holds a forum in Napa Valley at the Silverado Resort on Wednesday and Thursday looking at West Coast fuel supplies and transportation opportunities.  Industry experts will examine the impact of new players in the Western markets, opportunities that California assets can offer, carbon emissions regulations, renewable fuels, plus get an exclusive technical analysis of West Coast spot market prices.

Perry Heads to House Science – The House Science Committee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. for an overview of the DOE budget proposal for FY 2019.   Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Challenges – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions holds a conversation on Wednesday at GWU’s Lerner Hall at 9:30 a.m. featuring utilities, federal and state policy experts, and industry analysts to discuss solutions to address this question and others.  The event will feature a keynote from Ralph Izzo, CEO of PSEG, as well as perspectives on state policy options, environmental and economic impacts, and the federal landscape.

Senate Environment to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on water infrastructure legislation.

Senate Energy Panel Tackles BLM, Forest Service Law Enforcement – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at law enforcement programs at BLM and the Forest Service.

WCEE Forum Looks Congressional Energy Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the American Gas Association to look at the Congressional agenda in the first year of the Trump Administration.  WCEE hosts for a wide-ranging conversation over breakfast about Congressional priorities and areas for bipartisan agreement on energy and environment issues. Key Congressional staffers who will offer their insights and opinions on the busy year that lies ahead include Senate Energy’s Chester Carson and Brie Van Cleve, Emily Domenech of the House Science Committee’s Energy panel, House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Environment Majority Chief Counsel Mary Martin and several others.

ELI Holds Wetlands Awards – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual National Wetlands Awards on Wednesday evening at U.S. Botanical Gardens. The National Wetlands Awards are presented annually to individuals who have excelled in wetlands protection, restoration, and education. Through coordinated media outreach and an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill, awardees receive national recognition and attention for their outstanding efforts.

FERC Chair, Senators Discuss Cyber at Post Forum –WASHINGTON POST LIVE and its Energy 202 newsletter will host a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.at the Washington Post Live Center on cybersecurity and the grid. Lawmakers Sens. Martin Heinrich and John Hoeven will debate the administration’s energy priorities and discuss the security of America’s energy grid, including how to combat cyber threats. Our friend Dino Grandoni, Energy and Environmental Policy Reporter and Author of “The Energy 202” newsletter will host. Then, Steven Mufson hosts a “One-on-One” with the FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre.  The head of the FERC will discuss new regulations and proposals to shore up the security of power grid operations and the balance between the agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.  There will also be several other speakers including Dennis McGinn.

CEQ Infrastructure Lead Headline ELI Conference – Arnold & Porter and the Environmental Law Institute are co-hosting a conference Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on infrastructure review and permitting. Conference attendees will hear a variety of critical perspectives across the spectrum. High level government officials, experienced practitioners representing industry and environmental NGOs, and congressional representatives will address the wide range of environmental permitting and review challenges across sectors including transportation, energy, transmission, renewables, environmental restoration, and more. Panelists will delve into the role of policy and litigation in shaping these developments over the next three years and beyond. Conference participants representing diverse backgrounds will explore areas of common ground at the intersection of good government, economic growth, and environmental protection.  Keynote speaker is CEQ’s Alex Herrgott.

Zinke Discusses Budget – The Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will host Interior Secretary Ryan ZInke at 10:00 a.m. to discuss on the 2019 budget and proposed cuts to agencies including BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.

House Energy Panel to Look at Transmission Infrastructure – The House Energy & Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn examining the state of electric transmission infrastructure investment, planning, construction and alternatives.

USEA Forum to Discuss Coal Utilization – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on chemical looping in coal utilization.  The event will feature work by Ohio State researcher Andrew Tong.

Forum to Look at City Partnerships on Renewables, EE – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Alliance for a Sustainable future, a joint initiative of The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will host a webinar on expanding energy efficiency and demand side management, adding more renewable energy and shifting the fuel mix of the local electric grid have emerged as critical strategies for cities striving to achieve ambitious climate goals. In this webinar, the ASF highlights how city-utility partnerships are engaging their communities and charting a course to a cleaner and smarter energy future, featuring collaborations in the Salt Lake City, and the Asheville, North Carolina, regions. These city-utility partnerships, which have local and regional impacts, offer valuable lessons for other cities around the country.

IN THE FUTURE

Infrastructure Week – May 14th -18th

Ross to Speak at Press Club – On Monday May 14th at 12:30 p.m.  Commerce Secretary will speak at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon.  He’ll discuss how the DOC is creating conditions for economic growth and opportunity for the people of the US.  Secretary Ross, a former bankruptcy specialist and American investor, has been an increasingly common fixture on CNBC amidst the United States’ looming trade war with China (a result of President Trump’s deluge of new tariffs and changes to US trade policies) and his recent decision to overrule officials in the Census Bureau, an agency housed within the Department of Commerce, on the inclusion of a controversial citizenship question in the 2020 census.

Salazar Heads Press Club Dinner – The National Press Club Communicators Team hold its Legends Dinner on Wednesday, May 16th at 6:00 p.m. in the Winners’ Room.  The honored guest will be former Interior Secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar. The dinner conversation will focus on the important communications-based strategies that moved his agenda and built a strong communications team, touching on: due diligence, crisis management, gaining congressional and White House support, building consensus with business leaders and constituents and working with media and reporters.  Salazar will share practical lessons and challenges with that can bring value to contemporary communicators.

Senate Approps to Host Pruitt – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is scheduled to testify on May 16th before the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees his budget according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the panel.

BPC to look at Private-Public Partnerships – The BPC’s Executive Council on Infrastructure is holding an event on Wednesday May 16th at 10:00 a.m. highlighting the role of public-private partnerships, or P3s, in addressing America’s $2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. P3s can bring private sector innovation, expertise, and capital to projects, helping communities across the U.S. modernize their transportation, water, and other infrastructure systems. Keynote remarks by Australian Ambassador to US Joe Hockey and a panel featuring Bechtel’s Keith Hennessy and Lilliana Ortega of Parsons.

AEE to Hold Cybersecurity, Grid Webinar – The Advanced Energy Economy will hold a webinar on Thursday May 17th at 2:00 p.m. on cybersecurity in a distributed energy future.  The webinar will address protecting an evolving grid from digital attack. The  panel of experts — all contributors to the AEE Institute white paper on cybersecurity — will discuss ways to make an increasingly complex, interactive, and distributed electricity system more resilient against cyber threats. Panelists include John Berdner of Enphase Energy, NYPA’s Ken Carnes, Navigant’s Ken Lotterhos and Todd Wiedman, Director, Security and Network, Landis+Gyr. Moderated by Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, 21st Century Energy System, Advanced Energy Economy.

Fox to Address Trade, Immigration, Trump – The National Press Club will host a Headliners Luncheon on Tuesday, May 22nd featuring former Mexican President Vicente Fox.  Fox will deliver an address entitled “Democracy at the Crossroads: Globalization versus Nationalism”.  Fox, a right-wing populist representing the National Action Party (PAN), was elected as the 55th President of Mexico on December 1, 2000. Winning with 42% of the vote, Fox made history as the first presidential candidate in 71 years to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Fox’s administration focused chiefly on improving trade relations with the United States and maintaining Mexico’s growing economy. Fox left office in 2006, and in a break with his country’s cultural norms and traditions has remained in the public eye post-presidency and has not been shy about expressing his views and opinions.

CSIS, EPIC to Hold Nuclear Forum – CSIS and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) will hold a half-day public conference on Thursday afternoon May 24th to address pressing questions in an effort to better understand the potential future of U.S. nuclear power. Nuclear energy faces an uncertain future in the United States as the fuel is beset by fierce competition from natural gas and renewable energy in many markets. Coupled with failure to deliver new projects on time and at cost, along with a public sensitive to operational safety, existing and future nuclear power generation is at risk in the United States.

FERC Chair Headlines EIA Annual Energy Conference – EIA holds Its annual 2018 Energy Conference on June 4th and 5th at the Washington Hilton.  FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre will keynote the event.

Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Forum Set for DC – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association will be hosting a full-day forum and exposition on Tuesday, June 12 in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center with leading executives, experts, and policymakers on fuel cell and hydrogen technology. The forum will bring together key federal and state policymakers, including the Department of Energy and White House, as well as the broader environmental, transportation, and energy communities to raise awareness of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen technology. This event will precede the Department of Energy’s 2018 Annual Merit Review.

GTM to Host Grid Forum – Greentech Media host Grid Edge Innovation Summit on June 20th and 21st in San Francisco.  The event is an energy conference that will examine the energy customer of tomorrow and how new innovative business models are quickly emerging.  GTM brings together forward thinking and prominent members of the energy ecosystem and as our research team explores the future of the market. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff will speak along with many others, including our friends Shayle Kann, Julia Pyper and Stephen Lacey.

Young Professional Program for World Gas Forum Set – The Young Professionals Program (YPP) will hold a special forum during the World Gas Conference June 25-29 in Washington, DC.  YPP will provide a great opportunity for promising young professionals in the energy sector to learn from top leaders in the natural gas industry and network with their peers throughout the world.  More on this as we get closer.

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held on July 10th and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Energy Update: Week of March 5

Friends,

Oscar Sunday went off without a big hitch. Big Winners included Guillermo del Toro, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Gary Oldmam.  More importantly, the Oscars ceremony signals that March Madness is upon us. Murray State was the first team to punch their ticket to the NCAA tourney with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship on Saturday. All this week teams will vie for their conference championships and a spot in the big dance. Start digging in the metrics now…pool advice comes next week after the NCAA selection show Sunday at 6 p.m.

It’s also March Madness in the energy industry this week with CERAWeek. Many of the energy industries biggest political and business titans convene on Houston to discuss the state of policy and the impact of politics on the energy biz.  Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan kicked off the action today, tomorrow morning PBF CEO Tom Nimbly joins OPIS expert Tom Kloza and Sheetz CEO Mike Lorenz to discuss refining and Wednesday Energy Secretary Rick Perry hosts his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in an energy discussion which is certain to touch tariffs and NAFTA.  You can check the full line up here.

Speaking of NAFTA and the Steel tariffs, I have included a new report on potential job losses.  As well, our Bracewell policy experts are covering this issues very closely and are available to speak on background and on the record. For a great primer on the topic, tune into Bracewell’s Podcast where Paul Nathanson and Josh Zive break down the context and history of the proposed tariffs and the President’s tweeted claims that trade wars are “easy to win.”  You can listen on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.

Back in Washington the action doesn’t stop. After last week’s White House meetings on the RFS, union refinery workers from 11 states will pour into the Capitol to urge Congress to help protect their jobs. They will discuss the urgent need for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) reform with legislators.

In other congressional action, energy bills to improve energy efficiency and block brick kiln regulations are expected on the House Floor.  Tomorrow, Senate Energy looks at USGS nominee James Reilly, House Oversight looks at the Army Corps and House Science takes on the future of fusion energy. On Wednesday, House Energy looks at the future of transportation fuels and vehicles and House Small Business looks at Reg Reform.

Off the Hill, Third Way hosts an advanced Nuclear forum tomorrow, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum hosts a grid resiliency policy roundtable Wednesday, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosts a conversation with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Søviknes Thursday morning and on Friday, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and EESI hosts a lunch briefing focused on the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

Finally, the 10th Annual Congressional Hockey Challenge is set for the Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday May 15th.  I will be on the ice again this year officiating and I hope you all try to attend for this great cause.  Get Tickets here.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I think it’s going to surprise people how quickly a lot of companies move. What we’ve announced is substantially higher than what the Clean Power Plan would have required, and I think you’re going to see numerous other companies end up in that same place.”

Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy’s chairman and CEO, discussing the swiftness with which power companies will cut carbon emissions.

ON THE POD

Bracewell Pod Focuses on Trade – The latest Bracewell podcast is live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  The podcast addresses the tumultuous past 24 hours of on-again-off-again steel and aluminum tariff announcements from the Administration. We break down the context and history of the proposed tariffs and the President’s tweeted claims that trade wars are “easy to win.

IN THE NEWS

Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Announced – During a meeting with Steel and Aluminum executive, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he will impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports into the US for an unlimited time frame.

User Groups Raise ConcernsRoy Hardy, President of the Precision Metalforming Association, and Dave Tilstone, President of the National Tooling and Machining Association said the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imperils the U.S. manufacturing sector, and particularly downstream U.S. steel and aluminum consuming companies, who alone employ 6.5 million Americans compared to the 80,000 employed by the domestic steel industry.  “The tariffs will lead to the U.S. once again becoming an island of high steel prices resulting in our customers simply importing the finished part.  The lost business to overseas competitors will threaten thousands of jobs across the United States in the steel consuming manufacturing sector, similar to our experience in 2002 when the U.S. last imposed tariffs on steel imports.  Those “201” steel tariffs resulted in the loss of 200,000 American manufacturing jobs (more than employed by the entire domestic steel industry) because of high steel prices due in large part to the tariffs.  President Trump campaigned on the promise to protect manufacturing jobs but by ignoring warnings from a wide range of manufacturers, his plan to impose tariffs will cost manufacturing jobs across the country.  Our associations plan to work to end these tariffs as soon as possible so that he fulfills that commitment.”

HVAC Manufacturers Worry as Well – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), which represents manufacturers of heating, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and water heating products and equipment, said it was disappointed in the decision.  As it made clear in letters to the President and to Commerce Secretary Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer, AHRI does not support additional tariffs on steel and aluminum due to their impact on manufacturers and consumers.  “As major users of steel and aluminum, we have been proactive in explaining to the administration that the HVACR and water heating industry would be negatively impacted by an increase in tariffs, as would the consumers that rely on the products we manufacture,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek.  “While we have been pleased with the Trump Administration’s enthusiastic support for manufacturing, we believe this step to be injurious, rather than helpful, to our efforts to increase American manufacturing and create jobs.”

Study:  Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Will cost 179,000 Jobs – A New Report by economists Laura Baughman and Joe Francois at The Trade Partnership.  We are working closely with them and our cooperation goes back to the 201 steel tariffs – they were authors of the 2003 study on 201 steel tariff jobs losses still cited to this day.  In brief, the new report  “Does Import Protection Save Jobs?” finds:

  • Short term, the tariffs would increase U.S. iron and steel and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 33,464 jobs, but cost 179,334 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a net loss of nearly 146,000 jobs;
  • More than five jobs would be lost for every one gained;
  • Job losses in other manufacturing sectors  (-36,076) would cancel out the job gains in the steel- and aluminum producing sectors, with particularly large “hits” to workers in the fabricated metals sector (-12,800), motor vehicles and parts (-5,052), and other transportation equipment (-2,180);
  • Two thirds of the lost jobs affect workers in production and low-skill jobs.

The results are detailed in the report by sector.  The full report can be found here.

NOLA, NYT Join for Report on Gulf Coast – Last year, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune and The New York Times agreed to collaborate to bring attention to the impact of climate change on land loss in one of the country’s most vulnerable and vital regions.  The result was a collaboration released last week called “Our Drowning Coast,” a special report about the ecological crisis facing our vanishing coast and the people who live there, is the product of an unusual partnership between two news organizations, one local and one national. The approach made sense because the future of the state’s coast, which is critical to the energyseafood and shipping sectors, should be of great concern to those who live here as well as to those who merely benefit from its bounty. The result is this special project of articles, photos, videos and graphic illustrations, 10 months in the making, timed to coincide with this year’s tricentennial of New Orleans. The lead article tells the story of the intrepid mayor of Jean Lafitte, who is fighting to save his town from encroaching seas. Another examines the expenditure of billions of dollars to repair and improve the New Orleans levee system after Hurricane Katrina, and questions whether it is enough to protect the city through its next 100 years. A third looks at the latest threat to Louisiana’s coast, an aphid-like insect that, along with nutria and feral hogs, is destroying the vegetation essential to keeping the wetlands from dissolving.  Our friend Mark Schleifstein coordinated the reporting.

Report: Future Battery Costs Reduced by Components – A new report from GTM Research, “U.S. Front-of-the-Meter Energy Storage System Prices, 2018-2022” shows that while declines in battery prices between 2012 and 2016 helped to drive a 63% percent reduction in system costs, battery price declines will taper off and future changes in system prices will be driven by other component cost declines.  Standardization of system design and engineering, and competitive markets will all continue to bring down storage BOS hardware costs as well as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) expenses. New system architectures and inverter selections will also impact the final cost of energy storage systems in the future. This new GTM Research report touches on all these components and uses a bottom-up methodology to track, model and report on energy storage system prices. The full report, available to purchase here, includes both an in-depth analysis of the data and a cost model.

BPC Report Examines Power Sector Resilience in Wake of FERC Decision – Following the decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in January to end consideration of the proposed grid resiliency pricing rule, a new Bipartisan Policy Center primer seeks to provide a high-level introduction to the concept of power sector resilience.  The paper highlights what research has been done on the topic as well as key areas where more work is needed. This includes a discussion of how resilience is defined and measured; what threats the power system should be resilient to; how this term is related to, but distinct from, reliability; and what organizations are working to better define and measure resilience.  These issues and questions will be key ahead of FERC’s March 9 deadline for regional transmission organizations and independent system operators to answer questions about resilience in their geographic footprints.

Report on Russian Sanctions Impact on Energy – The Atlantic Council released its latest report: “Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s Energy Sector” late last week.  In this new report, Global Energy Center Non-Resident Senior Fellow Bud Coote addresses: the impact of US and European Union sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, Moscow’s strategy and actions to deal with energy-related sanctions, the geopolitical and other implications of Russia’s ability to cope with these sanctions.  Coote’s analysis highlights how Moscow has managed to successfully pursue its energy goals, despite the broader negative impact of sanctions on other areas of the Russian economy.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include Interior Secratery Zinke, Energy Secretary Perry (who will also host a discussion with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts), OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

NAS to Look at Carbon Waste Streams – The National Academy of Sciences’ Division on Earth and Life Studies and Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences will host a three-day meeting today, tomorrow and Wednesday on developing a research agenda for utilization of gaseous carbon waste streams.

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

Wind Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold a forum tomorrow at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel.  The forum will look at the regional offshore wind market, discuss opportunities for US developers and Tier 1 and 2 supplier, and listen to available State resources.  Speakers include MEA’s Mary Beth Tung, BOEM’s Daryl Francois and our friends Clint Plummer of Deepwater Wind and Raul Rich of US Wind.

Steelworkers Headed to DC to Talk RFS – The United Steelworkers (USW) will bring 30 workers from over a dozen independent merchant oil refineries in 11 states to Washington, D.C., to save their jobs tomorrow and Wednesday. They will discuss the urgent need for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) reform with legislators.  Union members will meet with senators and representatives on Tuesday, March 6, and Wednesday, March 7, to raise awareness about how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) use of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) to track RFS compliance threatens thousands of family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs across the country. USW National Oil Bargaining Chairman Kim Nibarger, who will be in Washington for the meetings, said that refiners currently are forced to purchase RINs at artificially inflated prices because they lack the size and infrastructure to blend ethanol into their gasoline. The fly-in will feature workers from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Monroe Energy refineries near Philadelphia, as well as PBF Energy refineries in Torrance, Calif.; Delaware City, Del.; Paulsboro, N.J.; Chalmette, La.; and Toledo, Ohio; HollyFrontier refineries in El Dorado, Kan.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Salt Lake City and Valero refineries in Meraux, La.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Dumas and Port Arthur, Texas.

Senate To Hear USGS Nominee – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the nomination of James Reilly to be director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

House Oversight Look at Corps – The House Oversight Interior-Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow on examining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

House Science Look at Fusion Energy – The House Science Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow looking at the future of U.S. fusion energy research. Among those testifying includes Bernard Bigot, director-general, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor; James Van Dam, DOE’s acting associate director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences; Mickey Wade, director of advanced fusion systems at General Atomics; and Mark Herrmann, director of the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Forum to Look at Great Lakes Water Issues – The U.S. Water Alliance and Northeast-Midwest Institute hold briefing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on water-related challenges in the Great Lakes region.  The event will showcase top utility, community, and philanthropic leaders discussing the latest innovations from the Great Lakes region that are forging progress in providing access to affordable and safe water and wastewater services, and how cross-sector partnerships are driving revitalization, job growth, and economic development.  Speakers will include SeMia Bray of Emerald Cities Cleveland, Elizabeth Cisar of the Joyce Foundation, Josina Morita of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Kevin Shafer of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Forum to Look at Water Infrastructure – The World Water Council holds webinar at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow on water infrastructure and other water-related issues.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks – EESI and Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) hold a briefing tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. to explore the climate risks facing the U.S. real estate sector, as well as policy solutions and innovations to help protect this crucial piece of the American economy. Given the economic activity and investment tied to the buildings sector, its long-term health will depend on the capacity of public officials, insurance agencies, and property managers to adapt to climate change risks.  The discussion on ways the public and private sectors can collaborate to develop the policy tools necessary to safeguard America’s buildings and homes from future natural disasters.  Congressional Speakers include Reps. Charlie Crist and Lee Zeldin, with panel speakers St. Petersburg FL City Council Member And Realtor Brandi Gabbard, Ryan Colker of the National Institute of Building Sciences and John Miller of the New Jersey Association of Floodplain Management.

Transmission Forum Set – Infocast’s 21st annual Transmission Summit East will be held on Wednesday  through Friday to discuss the latest transmission business strategies and the changing policy landscape.  More than 20 interactive panels and presentations will address topics including the new FERC Commission’s impacts on Transmission, new FERC ROE frameworks affecting project economics and financing, resiliency, renewables growth and grid modernization needs and co-opting generation and transmission.  Speakers include Clean Line’s Michael Skelly, Southern Transmission’s John Lucas, PJM’s Paul McGlynn and many others.

Forum to Look at Grid Resiliency – The Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum hosts a grid resiliency policy roundtable on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.

Forum to Look at Climate Conflict Issues – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on the long-term trends toward a warming climate, economic and social discontent.  In-depth research projects conducted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo identify how the effects of climate change interact with fragility to shape conflict trends.  The panel will discuss ways in which these climate-conflict insights could improve policies and programs in defense, diplomacy, and development.  Panelists include USAID’s Cynthia Brady, Joshua Busby of UT-Austin and former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security) Sherri Goodman.

House Energy Looks at Transportation Fuels, Vehicles – The House Energy & Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wednesday looking at the future of transportation fuels and vehicles. Witnesses will include EIA’s John Maples, NREL’s John Farrell, RFF’s Joshua Linn, Jeremy Martin of the Union of Concerned Scientists and John Eichberger of the Fuels Institute.

House Small Biz Look at Reg Reform – The House Small Business Committee hold a hearing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. to examine how regulatory reform efforts by President Trump and Congress affect small firms. Witnesses include NFIB’s Karen Harned, NAM’s Patrick Hedren, NAHB’s Randy Noel and former EPA official and Georgetown professor Lisa Heinzerling.

Energy Efficiency Day Set – On Wednesday afternoon, the Alliance to Save holds Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) on Capitol Hill at the American Trucking Assn. Each year the event draws stakeholders from business, industry, government and academia to offer their unique industry perspectives.  This year GEED will explore the revolution underway in the energy and transportation sectors and the foundational roles  of energy efficiency and public policy as change agents driving this new future.  Industry executives will kick GEED off with a look at the key technologies, policies, and stakeholders driving disruption in the automotive and utility sectors, with a focus on opportunities to advance energy efficiency. Two responsive roundtables will follow, diving deeper into the role of federal policy in adopting a systems approach to energy efficiency and addressing the evolving transportation sector.

Youth Nuclear Issues Discussion – The Department of Energy (Office of Nuclear Energy) and the Nuclear Energy Institute will hold another Millennial Nuclear Caucus on Wednesday evening.  The forum encourages all young people interested in nuclear energy, advanced science and technology solutions, or the future of clean energy to attend and join in the conversation. We all have a stake in the future of nuclear.

Norway Ambassador to Talk Energy – On Thursday  morning at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Norwegian Embassy will hold a wide-ranging conversation with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Søviknes about current trends in the Norwegian oil and gas sector. Norway is a major offshore oil and gas producer, producing about 2 million barrels of oil per day and exporting a record 122 billion cubic meters of natural gas during 2017.

Conservative Groups Look at Clean Energy – On Thursday at Noon, the R Street Institute, Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) and The American Conservative will host a forum in 2045 Rayburn at Noon for a discussion of how these trends are playing out in the Texas electric market, how conservative leaders are embracing the economic benefits of clean energy, and what the “Texas story” can teach us about current energy debates in Washington and around the country. Panelists include Georgetown, Texas Mayor Dale Ross, ERCOT COO Cheryl Mele, Texas Clean Energy Coalition head Elizabeth Lippincott and former Public Utility Commission of Texas commissioner (PUCT) Ken Anderson.

Heritage hosts Forum on European Initiative – The Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on Thursday to discuss The Three Seas Initiative, an effort by 12 European nations situated between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas to develop energy and infrastructure ties between their countries.  Krzysztof Szczerski, a chief architect of the Three Seas Initiative, presents a Polish perspective on what the Initiative means for Europe and the United States, and how it will strengthen the transatlantic alliance.

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

Press Club to Host Climate Insurance Event – On Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Press Club’s Murrow Room,  the CO 2 Coalition will host Dr. Bruce Everett to discuss climate insurance and other climate issues.  Everett will discuss several assertions he says are false, sucsh as, carbon dioxide controls the climate, renewable energy sources are free, fossil fuels seem cheaper because of subsidies and many more Conservative views on the issue.

Australian Sen to Address Energy Markets – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for Strategic & International Studies-Pertamina Banyan Tree Leadership Forum will host Senator Matthew Canavan of the Australian Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Minister Canavan will discuss the state of Australia’s resources and energy market, opportunities for engagement between Australia and the U.S., and Australia’s role as a net energy exporter in the Indo-Pacific.

Tulane Enviro Forum Set – The Environmental and Energy Society of Tulane University Law School proudly hosts the 23rd annual Summit on Friday and Saturday to bring together professionals and the public on current and pressing environmental and legal policy issues. This year, the conference will include 21 panels on a wide range of environmental issues with 75 speakers and moderators participating in the event. Our local, national, and international speakers represent strong voices from business, legal, and scientific backgrounds.  Jean-Michel Cousteau is Friday Keynote.

IN THE FUTURE

AFPM Annual Meeting Set for New Orleans – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers will hold its 2018 annual meeting in New Orleans on March 11 -13th at the Hilton Riverside.  The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives, decision-makers, and technical experts from refining businesses, technology providers, contracting and consulting firms, and equipment manufacturers around the world. It will address current issues of importance to the industry, including industry and community impacts of the 2017 hurricane season. The breakout sessions will feature presentations and panels on process safety, key regulatory issues, innovation, workforce development, economic/commercial issues, the use of big data and emerging technologies.  Speakers include former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, NFL CMO Dawn Hudson, political analyst Charlie Cook Koch CEO Brad Razook and GM’s Dan Nicholson.

Forum to Look at CCS – The Global CCS Institute holds its 7th Annual DC Forum on CCS on Tuesday, March 13th in the Ronald Reagan Building’s Polaris Room at 8:30 a.m.  The event is a lively discussion of the key questions that clean energy and CCS advocates are focused on, including 45Q impact, private sector investment, future government support and key audiences for advocacy efforts. Speakers include ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page,, WRI’s Andrew Steer, former Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy David Mohler, ADM’s Scott McDonald, Kurt Walzer of the Clean Air Task Force, House Energy Committee former Chief Counsel Tom Hassenboehler and former DOE official Daniel Richter.

Forum to Look at Pipeline – The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia  Center and Global Energy Center will hold a debate next Monday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and its potential implications for the United States and its European allies. Panels I and II will debate the different views on the pipeline from the United States and Europe and address the impact of Nord Stream 2 on European energy security, the political and economic questions associated with the pipeline, and the effects of the pipeline on transit countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

JHU Forum to Look at Global Solar, Wind – Next Monday at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS will look at the role of wind and solar in the global power sector. A new book — presented by Professor Johannes Urpelainen — will offer a comprehensive political analysis of the rapid growth in renewable wind and solar power, mapping an energy transition through theory, case studies, and policy analysis.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil – Next Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Global Energy Center for a timely conversation on the downfall of Venezuela’s oil sector and what may be in store in the future.  Speakers will include former State Dept official David Goldwyn, Atlantic Council Author Francisco Monaldi and Jason Marczak, Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

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

Algae, CCS Forum Set – Next Tuesday, March 13th at 1:30 p.m., U.S. Energy Association hosts a presentation on algae’s role in successful CO2 mitigation campaign.   Heralded by proponents, dismissed by naysayers, algae may not cure our carbon conundrum but could be a key enabler for carbon capture and use (CCU). Algae Biomass Organization Executive Director Matt Carr addresses the topic.

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

NOAA COmms Director Heads EnvirorunEnvirorun hosts David Herring, director of communications and education at NOAA’s Climate Program Office next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.  Starting this month, the Speaker Series will be taking place at WeWork K Street and will feature a new route and the run starting at 6 p.m. and speaker at 7 p.m.  Envirorun will meet at WeWork K Street before going out on the fun run. There will be a place to store bags while runners are on the trails. After the run, we will return to the venue for networking and hear from the speaker at 7:00 pm. Non-runners welcome to join.

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

CSIS to Talk Electricity Markets, Conflicts – On Wednesday , March 14th at 3:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Dr. Brian Ó Gallachóir (University College Cork) and Dr. Morgan Bazilian (Colorado School of Mines) for a presentation on electricity market and infrastructure developments in conflict zones with particular focus on power sector development in the wake of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Sarah Ladislaw (CSIS) will moderate the discussion.

Forum on New Solar Book – On Friday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosts a discussion on ‘Taming the Sun,’ the new book by Dr. Varun Sivaram, Philip D. Reed fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Sivaram will discuss the financial, technological and systematic innovation required to maximize solar power utilization and highlight the need for a creative public policy framework, and comprehensive energy market restructuring, to create a more effective clean energy portfolio and establish solar energy as the cornerstone of the global energy revolution.

Forum Looks At Budget Impacts on Climate, Enviro Research – The Novim Group, in partnership with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, holds a briefing on Friday March 16th at 2:00 p.m. discussing a new report on the environmental and societal impacts of the Administration’s proposed climate and environmental research program cuts for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The briefing’s speakers, who helped author the Novim report, will give an overview of its findings and conclusions. Speakers for this forum are Michael Ditmore and Ari Patrinos of Novim as well as Kei Koizumi American Association for the Advancement of Science.

World Water Forum Set – The 8th World Water Forum will be in Brasilia, Brazil on March 18 to 23.

International PetroChem Conference Ready – AFPM holds its 2018 International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio on March 25-27th.  The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry. The meeting consists of a variety of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry. The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics, and politics.

EPA Clean Power Plan Repeal Hearing Heads for WY – EPA’s final listening sessions for its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan start in Gillette, Wyoming on March 27th.  The EPA had already held one two-day meeting in West Virginia in late 2017.

Offshore Wind Partnership Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum on April 3rd to 6th in Princeton New Jersey.  The IPF is the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States and is dedicated to moving the industry forward.  Among the speakers will be BOEM’s Walter Cruickshank and James Bennett, Statoil’s Sebastian Bringsværd, U of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone, NYSERDA’s Greg Lampman, Recharge’s Darius Snieckus Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski and NWF’s Collin O’Mara.

Refiners Security Conference Set – The annual AFPM Security Conference will be held on April 23-25 in New Orleans and presents current topics of vital importance to critical infrastructure, keeping security professionals up to date on security issues, policies, and future regulations. The event will relay the latest information on security regulations from DHS and the Coast Guard. This year’s conference will also go beyond just the regulations with sessions on hurricane response efforts, environmental NGO activism, cybersecurity and other emerging security and terror threats.

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

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held on July 10th and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

 

Energy Update: Week of 1/22

Friends,

Thanks for all the great birthday wishes last week. I’m truly thankful to have so many of you take time from your busy days to wish me well. It is very much appreciated. Special thanks to Stacey, Olivia, Adam and Hannah — as well as my Bracewell colleagues — for making the day extra special. Looking forward to moving through year 50 with gusto!!!

Today, we are overrun by the government shutdown, but it looks like things may be heading towards resolution at least until February 8th with the Senate vote that just occurred.  Still unclear how this will finally play out, but we will continue to follow closely.  Already impacted are DOE and EPA travel, potential focus on the impending solar tariff decisions and the President’s visit to Davos.  AP has a good primer on the overall impacts of the agencies affected.

Despite losing some DOE folks to the shutdown this morning, AHRI’s Expo starts rolls out today in Chicago, while the Washington Auto Show – the industry’s public policy show – starts in earnest Wednesday with events, including two separate Senate Field hearings, through the remainder of the week.  Our friends at SAFE are again on point and you can reach them through Bridget Bartol.  Speakers include EPA’s Scott Pruitt, MI Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep Debbie Dingell and many others.

Speaking of solar and that impending decision which may happen soon, the Heritage Foundation wrote a new blog on the solar tariff issues today and will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon at Heritage.  The blog post says Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Health Job Market.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.  And BTW, ETAC sent a letter to President Trump Friday to remind him and his trade team that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry while underscoring that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.

Good news here at Bracewell: In addition to the great folks we’ve hired over the last year (former AGA attorney Christine Wyman, former Senate EPW staffer Anna Burhop & tax expert Liam Donovan), our friend Stoney Burke is joining the Policy Resolution Group team.  Burke is a former CoS to TX Rep. Will Hurd and prior to that worked for Southern Company and Rep Chet Edwards.  More on this later…

Patriots – Eagles in two weeks for Super Bowl LII.  Winter Olympics in 3.  And remember, NHL all-stars hit the ice in Tampa this weekend, as well as the NFL’s Pro Bowl playing in Orlando next Sunday (with activities all week).

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

“Trump has spoken unapologetically about unleashing the competitiveness of the entire energy sector. The best way to get there is to remove barriers, rather than create them. ”

Heritage Foundation Trade expert Katie Tubb writing about the impending solar tariff decision expected from the White House. 

 

“Absent RINs, we’re competitive with anyone in the world.”

PES CEO Gregory Gatta said in telephone interview Monday.

 

IN THE NEWS

ETAC Letter Offers Evidence of Impacts of Imports – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) sent a letter to President Trump Friday.  The effort was another attempt to remind the Administration and President Trump that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry.  It also underscores that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.  The letter says only 3 companies have failed due to imports, while more than 40 have failed because of manufacturing or management failures and include a series of charts that provide the evidence.

Heritage Says Trade Case Need Plug Pulled – In a blog post from yesterday, the Heritage Foundation’s trade expert says President Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Healthy Job Market.  Heritage’s Katie Tubb said there is almost no better way to fossilize an industry than by guaranteeing prices and knocking out the competitors of a select few companies. The only innovation that this spurs is creative ways to lobby the government for new ways to interfere in energy markets. Such intervention would also punish competitive American solar companies in order to keep two failing ones afloat. Refusing new tariffs on solar imports allows the best parts of the solar industry to rise to the top.  Tubb adds Trump should protect competition, not specific competitors. The solar industry in America can provide customers the best, most affordable service to Americans when it is able to access components from the most competitive companies around the globe.  Finally, Tubb adds that there will be negative implications for the rest of the industry and the indirect jobs it creates if the administration bends over backward to shore up two failing companies.

Refiner Reported to File For Bankruptcy – Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, the owner of the largest U.S. East Coast oil refining complex, announced to its employees on Sunday that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as reported by Reuters.  Part of the refiner’s financial troubles stem from a costly biofuels law called the Renewable Fuels Standard, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and requires refiners to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply every year, or buy credits from those who do.  Since 2012, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has spent more than $800 million on credits to comply with the law, making it the refiner’s biggest expense after the purchase of crude.

Coalition Says “This is What We’ve Been Warning About’ – The Fueling American Jobs Coalition, a group that includes Steelworkers, small retailers and refiners, including Holly Frontier, PBF, Delta, Valero and others said “what we’re seeing happen at PES is exactly what we’ve been warning about for many months.” The group says the RFS program forces many independent refiners to pay sky-high prices for compliance credits that they simply cannot earn themselves. “Refiners are captive buyers in the lucrative market for these RINs. Those who profit in this situation—Wall Street speculators, large integrated oil companies and large fuel retailers—consistently oppose reasonable changes to the RFS that would diminish their profit stream, even if those profits come at the price of economic pain for refiners and their workers.”  The Coalition said President Trump understands the “havoc” that poorly-designed Washington regulations can wreak on the real economy. “PES is experiencing that pain right before our eyes, and others will follow. Hard-working manufacturing workers in Pennsylvania refineries and elsewhere voted for President Trump with the understanding that he would stand up to special interests and fight for their jobs.”  The group continues to call for the President to “broker a deal among all stakeholders that will help put an end to the crisis that high RINs prices have created for the U.S. refining sector.”

Sen Toomey Calls RFS Job-Killer –U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.) responded to the news that Philadelphia Energy Solutions is filing for bankruptcy protection by saying the filing is a result of the “counterproductive, job-killing, EPA-imposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that requires an excessive amount of biofuel be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”  He added while he is pleased PES is able to remain operational during this process and retain its workforce for now, “the mechanism for enforcing the RFS is the primary cause for this bankruptcy filing and it must be fixed. I’ve had extensive conversations with PES management, senior EPA officials, my Senate colleagues, and directly with President Trump in an effort to resolve this situation. I will remain engaged until we find an acceptable solution.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure – The Bipartisan Policy Center launched the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations this morning. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

HVAC Expo Set – The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) opens today in Chicago.  The event started 86 years ago as a heating and ventilation show and is the largest HVAC event of the year for the industry.  The 2018 Show hosts more than 2,000 exhibitors and attracting crowds of 65,000 industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.  The Show provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR industry to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.  The AHR Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event tomorrow at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Senate to Look at NE Storm Impacts – The Senate Energy Committee will convene an oversight hearing tomorrow to examine the performance of the electric power system in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic during recent winter weather events, including the bomb cyclone. Witnesses include FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Chairman, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability head Bruce Walker, , North American Electric Reliability Corporation Interim CEO Charles Berardesco, Allison Clement of Goodgrid, PJM CEO Andrew Ott and New England ISO head Gordon van Welie.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on tomorrow at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, ton insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment.  Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

WCEE to Hold Planning Session – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is holding its “Come Dream with Us!” Lunch & Learn planning session tomorrow at Noon.  WCEE uses the event to decide what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches tomorrow and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is Thursday and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto policy, on policy day Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held Wednesday through Friday in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

Senate Energy Heads to Washington Auto Show for Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee also holds a field hearing at the Washington Auto Show on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in the West Salon Room of the Washington Convention Center.  The hearing will look at energy innovation in automotive technologies and examine the opportunities and challenges facing vehicle technologies, especially energy-relevant technologies.

Forum to Look at Future Mobility – At the 2018 Washington Auto Show, the Global Energy and Innovation Institute (Ei2) will host a lively discussion about electric transportation and the future, addressing such questions as: When will we reach the mass adoption “tipping point” for electric vehicles? How will electric + shared mobility impact community design (roads, charging, commuting)? What new business models will emerge for ownership and fueling?  Panelists include Lyft’s Corey Ershow, David Owens of Xcel Energy, Audi’s Brad Stertz, EVgo’s Marcy Bauer, Dominion’s William Murray and Kevin Miller of ChargePoint.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

IN THE FUTURE

Senate Energy to Hold Nominee, Vote Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a business meeting next Tuesday to consider the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), Susan Combs to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Douglas Nelson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Following the vote, it will hold an oversight hearing to examine the role of the Geological Survey and the Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazard events, as well as the current status of mapping and monitoring systems.

WRI to Discuss Energy Access, Policy Innovation – Next Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host leading experts from around the world for a discussion on the political economy of energy access and innovative policy solutions.  Together, they will profile innovative reforms that policymakers around the world can adopt to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Yergin to Discuss 2018 Outlook – On Wednesday, January 31st at 9:00 a.m., IHS Markit hosts a webinar conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit Vice Chairman, to discuss the critical issues facing the energy industry in 2018.  While the mood in the industry is upbeat, the energy industry is in the midst of a major transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and environmental forces.  In this webinar, Yergin will preview some of the major themes that will be discussed at our CERAWeek 2018.

Forum to Look at Climate Path Forward – The Goethe-Institut of Washington and the Sustainability Collaborative of The George Washington University will host an evening of reflections on Wednesday January 31st focused on the climate meetings in Paris and Bonn, the next steps forward, and the role of college students in taking those steps.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 6-9th at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference.  This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.  Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 24

Friends,

It was an exciting close to the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport England with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kutcher dueling over the final 18 holes. Trailing for the first time all weekend after a 13th-hole bogey, Spieth shot 5-under over the final five holes to pull away to win his first Claret Jug.  Not as exciting, but certainly no less impressive, Chris Froome rode into Paris and closed his 4th Tour de France victory after three grueling weeks.

A quick update on our summer concert road trip series: Adam, Hannah and I finished the effort with a weekend visit to Brooklyn to see Iron Maiden close its US Book of Souls tour.  While in NY, we hit Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown and I made Adam order for us in Chinese (after his two years of taking Chinese at his school and living with a Chinese roommate).  And he was great, as we got all the right food and weren’t tossed out of the restaurant.  Just prior, we drove up to Camden to see Incubus, which was also a great show.

Much has been speculated and now reported on the expected nomination of Andy Wheeler (EPA #2) and Bill Wehrum (air office).  We expect to hear more about that this week, as well as CPP action at OMB and in EPA’s forthcoming review that will propose revoking it.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is back in the saddle after shaking off an illness last week.

This week, Congress continues to roll on budget issues (with the full House taking up Energy Approps) and hopefully moving some nominations (PLEASE….) as health care issues seem temporarily to be moved to the background.  What isn’t happening this week is the mark up of Sen. Fischer’s ethanol expansion legislation S.517.  Lots of back and forth on that issue last week, including more union opposition and an interesting letter from former House Energy Chair Henry Waxman urging Senate Environment Committee Dems to oppose the legislation.  On the hearing front, House Science will take up ethanol tomorrow with Emily Skor, Heritage’s Nick Loris and folks from Energy labs.  Also tomorrow, Senate Environment look at advanced nuclear and CCS and on Wednesday, the seven major grid operator come to House Energy to testify on security. (Watch for discussions of the recently released NAS report on vulnerabilities)

Much more fun will be several energy events this week around town, including a major new study on advanced nuclear rolled out at NEI tomorrow (speaking of advanced nuclear) and the discussion of new carbon tax legislation from Sens. Whitehouse and Schatz at AEI.  Wednesday has CSIS forum on NAFTA energy issues and Thursday, the US Energy Association hosts its 10th annual Energy Supply Forum at the Press Club.

Finally, I close this week with the saddest of sad notes.  My friend and great editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal Joe Rago passed away completely unexpectedly late last week in NYC.  Joe was a great guy; and really the kind of guy you wanted to share a beer or a cab with because you would always learn something new.  To honor Joe, the WSJ board wrote a moving tribute here and also highlighted some of his best work here.  We will miss him…

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Protectionism is never the solution for an inability to compete globally. Our country’s trade laws should never be co-opted into causing widespread pain for the broader U.S. economy.”

Bill Gaskin, former President of the Precision Metalforming Association on its participation in the new Energy Trade Action Council, a groups that will oppose the ITC solar tariff petition.

 

“Tariffs meant to protect one industry can, and often do, have significant damaging effects on other domestic industries. Imposing tariffs under Section 201, as Suniva and SolarWorld request, would be a step backward by adding another layer of federal subsidies which is something the Heritage Foundation opposes in all instances.”

Tori K. Whiting, Research Associate at The Heritage Foundation.

 

“The solar case is an example of the worst kind of trade protectionism. We’re delighted to stand for freedom and free markets.”

Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.

 

“The Section 201 solar industry trade case will undermine one of the fastest growing “all-of-the-above” Energy jobs sectors in states across the country, solar energy installation.  We must avoid rewarding this opportunistic use of U.S. trade laws.”

Sarah E. Hunt, Director of the Center for Innovation and Technology at ALEC.

 

IN THE NEWS

Coalition to Fight Solar Petition Activates – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) was launched today to fight the misuse of trade remedies with an initial focus on the Section 201 trade petition on imported solar components.  Filed by two heavily indebted solar companies, the 201 trade petition asks the Trump Administration to impose a drastic mix of tariffs and a floor price that would double the price of solar equipment and damage the U.S. solar industry.  The Section 201 Petition seeks a tariff of 40 cents per watt on all foreign-made solar cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on all foreign-made panels, doubling the price for the basic ingredients of the broader U.S. solar industry.  The $23 billion U.S. solar industry employs 260,000 American workers in good-paying jobs across the country.  If successful, this petition would slash demand for new projects and make solar less competitive with other sources of power. A recent study showed that an estimated 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current American solar workforce, would be lost if trade protections proposed in the petition are granted.  ETAC will actively engage with the Trump administration, Congress, the media and public to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining access to globally priced products to support American energy industry competitiveness, sustain tens of thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs and preserve the principles of free trade in a global marketplace. The Coalition membership will consist of a variety of trade associations, companies and groups, covering utilities, co-ops, manufacturers, supply chain suppliers, solar companies/developers, retailers, local union workers, small businesses, venture capital groups and conservative free-trade advocates. Please see the press release online here.   For regular updates and more background, follow the Coalition on Twitter at @EnergyTradeAC

House Science Comms Head Moves to Chevron Chem – Communications director for the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Kristina Baum leaving to join Chevron Phillips Chemical, a joint venture between Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66.  Before moving to the House, Baum was the communications chief in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under Sen. Inhofe.

Waxman Blasts S.517 in Letter to Senate EPW Dems – Former House Energy Committee Chair Henry Waxman urged his fellow Democrats on the Senate Environment Committee to oppose S.517.  Waxman says he is committed to addressing climate change and protecting the environment. Unfortunately, supporting S.517 would expand markets for corn ethanol – now known to drive major land conversion and to have little if any carbon reduction advantages – while also undermining efforts to craft broad legislative reform of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  He added the 2007 RFS that he supported but have failed to significantly materialize. Waxman encouraged committee members to oppose S. 517 and to instead back broad change on biofuel policy, change that is in line with the climate and environmental protections they have so consistently supported.  Can send letter if you want to see it.

Unions Weigh in Against Ethanol Expansion – Last week, two major international unions weighed in against the E15 expansion legislation sponsor by Sen. Deb Fischer. Last week, Mark McManus, General President of the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry said “rather than pushing through an increase in the ethanol concentration in gasoline, Congress should consider reforming the RFS to rectify the threats to domestic refining jobs and address the skyrocketing cost for credits needed to comply with the RFS that have put refining jobs, particularly on the East Coast, at risk. One refinery has already laid off employees and cut benefits in part due to these costs. This creates a serious concern that others could follow suit.”  Another key international union group also weighed in when the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey said in a letter to Sens. Barrasso and Carper that the skyrocketing costs for credits needed to comply with RFS has already put East Coast refining jobs at risk.  “Congress should consider reforming the RFS to address the threats to domestic refining jobs in the Northeast and across the nation before rolling back Clean Air Act restrictions to allow for fuel with Greater concentrations of ethanol.”  I can forward the letters if you want to see them.

Cap Crude Look at Ethanol Issues – Speaking of ethanol and E15, on this week’s Platts Capitol Crude, RFA’s Bob Dinneen talks with Brian Schied about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard under the Trump administration, the state of Brazilian biofuels trade and future sales of E15 gasoline.

Lawmakers Give Big Vote For Small Hydro – House lawmakers made a big move for small hydropower in approving a bill from Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) that would expedite federal reviews of conduit (or energy-recovery) projects. There is enormous potential in these projects to provide clean and reliable power. The Promoting Conduit Hydropower Facilities Act (H.R. 2786), approved 420-2, aims to aid projects that are typically low impact because they are constructed as part of existing water infrastructure, such as irrigation canals and pipes that deliver water to cities and for industrial and agricultural use.  Sen. Steve Daines is expected to introduce a Senate version of a bipartisan push to expedite federal reviews for small conduit (or energy-recovery) hydropower projects later this week.

National Academies Report Finds Grid Vulnerable to Cyber, Physical Attacks – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes the United States’ electric grid is vulnerable to a range of threats, including terrorism or natural disasters that could potentially cause long-term and widespread blackouts. The report, commissioned by Congress, called on DOE and Homeland Security to work with utility operators and other stakeholders to improve cyber and physical security and resilience.  Expect more on this when grid operator come to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Senate Appropriators Stress Energy Innovation – Senate appropriators included language in their Energy Department spending plan for next year stressing that advanced nuclear technologies “hold great promise for reliable, safe, emission-free energy and should be a priority for the Department.” Specifically, the department is directed to provide Congress a strategy “that sets aggressive, but achievable goals to demonstrate a variety of private-sector advanced reactor designs and fuel types by the late 2020s.” The committee also expressed support for “grid-scale field demonstration of energy storage projects” and encouraged the department to prioritize research that resolve key cost and performance challenges.” The Senate spending bill specifies that these efforts “should also have very clear goals.” Our friends at ClearPath have been specifically pushing for federal goals of demonstrating four different private advanced nuclear reactor technologies and three advanced energy storage solutions by 2027.

NRC Approves Safety Platform for NuScale Small Modular Reactor – NRC has approved the highly integrated protection system (HIPS) platform developed for NuScale Power’s small modular reactor, saying it is acceptable for use in plant safety-related instrumentation and control systems.  The HIPS platform is a protective system architecture designed by NuScale and Rock Creek Innovations. The hybrid analog and digital logic-based system comprises the safety function, communications, and equipment interface and hardwired modules.  The platform also uses field programmable gate array technology that is not vulnerable to internet cyber-attacks.  NuScale is planning to use the HIPS platform – which does not utilize software or microprocessors for operation – for the module protection system of its SMR.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Aspen Energy Forum Kicks Off – The Aspen Institute’s Forum on Global Energy, Economy, and Security kicks off in Colorado today through Wednesday.  The event is an annual convening to discuss changes in global energy markets and the strong links between energy and national economic and security concerns. This year, the forum will focus on: international oil and natural gas markets, resource development and transportation, geopolitical issues, and many other topics. This year, the forum will be co-chaired by Mary Landrieu, Senior Policy Advisor for Van Ness Feldman and former United States Senator, and Marvin Odum, former President of Shell Oil Company.

House Grid Innovation Expo Set – The Edison Electric Institute, GridWise Alliance and National Electrical Manufacturers Association host Grid Innovation Expo in the Rayburn Foyer tomorrow starting at 9:30 a.m. in conjunction with the U.S. House Grid Innovation Caucus.  The hands-on House Grid Innovation Expo will feature the latest innovative technologies and projects that are transforming the energy grid. Exhibitors will include; ABB, American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, Florida Power & Light Co., G&W Electric, General Electric, Innovari, Itron, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, S&C Electric Company, Siemens, Southern California Edison, Tesla, Vermont Electric Power Company, Xcel Energy, and others.

Report to Highlight Advanced Nuclear Opportunities – The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is hosting a session tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore findings of the report from the Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP) and Energy Options Network (EON) on the potential cost of advanced nuclear technology.  Panelists, including representatives from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), will join authors from EIRP and EON.  Innovation within the nuclear industry is opening the imagination for tomorrow’s advanced technologies that promise improved performance, safety and economics. Yet questions remain about what it will take to get new technologies to commercialization, including the costs of new reactor designs. The report analyzes data received from a number of advanced reactor companies using a standardized cost model that normalizes the collected data.

House Science Panels Look at Ethanol – The House Science Committee panels on Energy and Environment will hold a join hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to explore the balance between federal biofuels research and the impact of federal intervention in energy markets   Witnesses will include Paul Gilna, director of BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; John DeCicco of the University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI) Growth Energy’s Emily Skor and Heritage’s Nick Loris.

House Committee Tackle “Sue, Settle” – The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Subcommittee on Interior, Energy and Environment will hold a joint hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the so-called sue-and-settle phenomenon that Republican lawmakers have challenged during the previous administration.

Senate Enviro Panel Dives Into Nukes CCS – The Senate Environment panel on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will examine carbon capture and advanced nuclear technologies tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. The panel will hear from representatives from national labs and state groups to “inform potential future legislative proposals and review regulatory activities.  Among those testifying is Jason Begger, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, which oversees the Wyoming Integrated Test Center. Other witnesses include WVU Energy Institute director Brian Anderson, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Global Security E-Program manager Steve Bohlen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Moe Khaleel and Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at the Idaho National Laboratory.

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

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

Grid Operator Testify at House Energy Panel – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing featuring senior officials at the seven major grid operators as they evaluate the current state of electricity markets.  The executives, whose organizations oversee and manage the country’s electricity markets and transmission systems, will give their takes on issues including grid reliability and transmission planning.  Witnesses include Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, Cal ISO CEO Keith Casey, Midcontinent ISO CEO Richard Doying, PJM exec Craig Glazer, NY ISO CEO Brad Jones, ERCOT exec Cheryl Mele and ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie.

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

CAP to Discuss Trump Reg Agenda – The Center for American Progress will host a discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to detail how in their mind, the Trump regulatory agenda hurts people.  Not much new there.  DC Attorney General Karl Racine and a panel of experts will discuss the implications.

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

Trade petition Hearing Set – The US International Trade Commission will hold its first hearing on the injury phase of the Solar 201 trade petition filed by Suniva on August 15th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the USITC in Washington, DC. In the event that the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination or is equally divided on the question of injury in this investigation, a second hearing on the question of remedy will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. on October 3rd.

Platts Forum to Look at Pipeline Issues – Platts will hold its 12th annual conference in Houston at the Houstonian on September 7th and 8th looking at pipeline development and expansion.   During the conference, my colleague George Felcyn and our friend George Stark of Cabot will be featured on a panel on building pipeline support from the grassroots.   This workshop will focus on ways for pipeline companies to build public support, shape media coverage, influence regulators and successfully see their planned projects through to completion.

TX Renewable Summit Set – On September 18th – 20th, the Texas Renewable Energy Summit will be held in Austin at Omni Southpark.  The summit will offer the latest insights into the market and hear from key players about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in Texas.  The falling price of solar panels is driving a surge in interest by public utilities and corporate customers in contracting for solar power, while a huge queue of wind projects is forming. As much as 16 GW of new wind and solar projects could come to fruition in Texas.  However, development and financing challenges must be surmounted to assure project success and bankability. Large quantities of solar may drive the dispatch curve and market prices in unpredictable directions.