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.

Special August Energy Update

Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the heart of the August break.  Just a short note to alert you to a few items of interest.  With all the politics, I’m already growing tired, so we’ll leave that alone.

The annual SEJ conference is right around the corner in Sacramento, September 21-24.  As usual, we will have our regular reception on Thursday night but You should start preparing now as it will be a great event.  Here is the link to the conference.

Finally, you might have missed this over recess, but Robin Bravender wrote an embarrassingly nice profile my work and our team here at Bracewell.  While many of you have probably seen it, I wanted to forward it.

Congress returns September 7th for a few weeks before ending for elections, but I’m around this week/next so let’s connect while we have some free time.   You know it is getting crazy for the rest of the fall!!

Finally, I am now on Instagram (fvmaisano) as well as Facebook and Twitter, so I’ve changed my Twitter handle to make it consistent (@fvmaisano).  If you’re on these social media platforms, I would encourage you to follow me and PRG (@PolicyRez) because we put a lot of cool stuff on all of these platforms so we can keep you informed.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

Ryan Energy Staffer to Head Government Affairs for Sempra Energy – Former senior energy and environment counsel for House Speaker Paul Ryan, Maryam Sabbaghian Brown, has been named Sempra Energy’s new vice president of Federal Government Affairs, based in Washington, D.C.  Brown has experience as both a senior energy policy advisor in the U.S. Congress and in management within the energy industry, serving Ryan since 2012.  In her new role, Brown will oversee representation of the Sempra family of companies with the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, as well as with federal agencies. Reporting to Brown will be Bill Lansinger, director of FERC Relations, and Allison Hull, director of Federal Government Affairs, both based in Sempra Energy’s Washington, D.C., office.  Brown succeeds Scott Crider, who, last month, joined SDG&E as its vice president of Customer Services after four years as Sempra Energy’s vice president of Federal Government Affairs.

SMU Paper Shows Small Retailers Hit Hard by RINs Debate – A new paper from Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Maguire Energy Institute says the structure of EPA’s much-criticized renewable fuels standard (RFS) program has created an unfair playing field that allows big gasoline retailers to reap huge profits that don’t promote increased biofuel use but rather are used to box out small fuel retailers who have historically formed the backbone of the consumer fuel market.   According to the study, the unintended consequences of EPA’s choice to place the RFS point of obligation on refiners rather than at the fuel terminal rack are undermining the key purpose of the program: to get more biofuels to market.

Who is Benefiting From RINs – “Large retailers aren’t obligated parties so they have no incentive to increase the blending infrastructure for renewable fuels and promote higher blends,” study author Bernard “Bud” Weinstein wrote in the report, commissioned by a newly-formed coalition of small fuel retailers.  “If the RFS obligation were placed at the blending point, and large retailers became obligated parties, these retailers would be more likely to promote the goals of the RFS and increase their marketing and distribution of higher renewable fuel blends.”

Small Retailers Hurt Most – The Small Retailers Coalition, who commissioned the report, was formed to combat the threat of the current RFS structure to the market.  Already, it has urged EPA to move the so-called point of obligation to the “rack,” terminals that hold bulk fuels before they move to retail outlets. The current set-up needlessly tilts the playing field towards large retailers by giving large retailers the ability to use windfall profits from RIN sales, profits that small retailers can’t obtain, to discount their gasoline prices.  “This study underscores that moving the obligation would reflect the needs of all market participants,” former Natl Assn of Convenience Stores (NACS) President Bill Douglass said.  “There are thousands of smaller retailers feeling the adverse impact of the large retailers advantaged by RIN revenue that will share their observation on this market failure.  The end result is that small independent retailers will be driven from the market.”

Chamber Energy Institute Highlights Impacts on Banning Energy Production on Federal Lands, Waters – The first report in the Energy Institute’s Energy Accountability Series finds that proposals from Hillary Clinton and other politicians to ban oil, gas, and coal production on federal lands and waters would cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue.  The Series takes a substantive look at what would happen if energy proposals from candidates and interest groups were actually adopted. Over the past year, a growing number of politicians and interest groups—and the Democratic Party itself—have called for an end to oil, natural gas and coal extraction from federal lands and offshore waters.  That concept is the basis of the “Keep it in the Ground Act,” a House bill with over 20 cosponsors.  If these policies were to be enacted, the Energy Institute’s new report found that it will cost the U.S. $11.3 billion in annual royalties lost, 380,000 jobs, and $70 billion in annual GDP.  25% of America’s oil, natural gas and coal production would be halted.

“American voters deserve to understand the real-world impacts of the proposals that candidates and their allies make,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.  “In an effort to appeal to the ‘keep it in the ground’ movement, a number of prominent politicians have proposed ending energy production on federal lands, onshore and off. Their proposals will have a direct, harmful effect on the American economy, and in particular decimate several states that rely heavily on revenues from federal land production. Given the implications, these policy proposals should not be taken lightly.”

Who Would Be Most Impacted – Certain states and regions would be disproportionately affected by a cessation on federal-lands energy development. The report provides specific analysis for several of these states. For instance, Wyoming would lose $900 million in annual royalty collections—which represents 20 percent of the state’s annual expenditures. New Mexico could lose $500 million—8 percent of the state’s total General Fund Revenues. Colorado would see the loss of 50,000 jobs, while the Gulf States (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama) would see 110,000 fewer jobs.

“Since 2010, the share of energy production on federal lands has dipped because of increasing regulatory hurdles from the Obama administration,” said Harbert.  “Nevertheless, production on federal lands and waters still accounts for a quarter of all oil, natural gas, and coal produced. If that were to end, it would hit Western and Gulf Coast states particularly hard, and could result in production moving overseas, which would harm our national security and impact prices.”

Report Scenarios: Lost Economic Output, Impacts – The Energy Institute’s report provides two scenarios. The first examines the economic output that would be lost or placed at risk if energy development was immediately stopped on all federal acreage.  The second scenario analyzes the cumulative impacts of immediately ceasing new leasing while leaving existing leases in place. While the above-mentioned figures apply to scenario 1, scenario 2 also has major impacts, with $6 billion in lost revenues over the next 15 years, and nearly 270,000 impacted jobs.  The report utilizes publically available data on jobs, royalties, and production levels and the IMPLAN macro-economic model. A Technical Appendix to the report explains the methodology and sources of data.

Energy Update: Week of August 1

Friends,

With Conventions finally over, it is finally time to relax a little in August.  Both conventions were interesting though…  Rather than comment on each politically or logistically, let me just say kudos to both the people, police and leadership of both Cleveland and Philadelphia who were kind, likable, polite and very helpful to visitors of all stripes.  Both cities were very gracious and did a great job given the challenging environment.

The final golf major of the year, the PGA Championship, saw Jimmy Walker become the fourth new major winner this year by holding off world #1 and defending PGA Champ Jason Day at Baltusrol in New Jersey.  Walker’s win completed a sweep of first-time major winners: Henrik Stenson at the British Open, Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open, and Danny Willett at the Masters. The last time newcomers won all four majors in a year, it was 2003.

While I didn’t join Malia Obama at the 25th Lollapalooza in Chicago, I’m sad I didn’t as my tickets to the Counting Crows Saturday night were spoiled by the bad weather.  Seems like Billy Joel still went on at Nationals Park after a 90-minute delay, but show in Chicago’s Grant Park got rave reviews.  It’s hard to believe that Lollapalooza is 25 years old. For fans of a certain age (like yours truly), the festival was synonymous with alternative rock, and it helped introduce the mainstream to a broad spectrum of artists like Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Soundgarden, Green Day, and Nine Inch Nails.  Here are some facts about 25 Years of Lollapalooza.

Keeping it low key this week with an eye on the usual August regulations roll out.  With less than six months to go in the Administration, the flurry of regs has been a steady conversation.  Finally, starting to look for the schedule for the September DC Circuit arguments on the Clean Power Plan.  Also, we are keeping an eye on the latest twists and turns in the RFS debate as a number of refiners report serious concerns over the program and RINs costs in last week’s earnings calls.

Finally, on Thursday and Friday of this week, Austin hosts the 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.  Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.

The PRG Energy Update will be subject to the call of the chair until after Labor Day.  We’ll keep you updated with Special Updates when they occur and we’ll also be around off and on, so check in with your questions or let’s take the free time to grab lunch.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“RINs have become a black pool allowing exempt parties, and even speculators, to drive prices to confiscatory levels. We believe the market may be cornered, the effect of which will be to bring small merchant refiners to the brink of bankruptcy while unjustly enriching speculators and exempt blenders.”

Jack Lipinski, chief executive officer of CVR Refining in 2Q Earnings call last week.

 

IN THE NEWS

Refiners Hit Hard by RINs – In Earnings Calls this week, several small refiners unable to blend their own gasoline are facing higher RIN costs which are eating into refinery operating costs, as the renewable fuels volumes breech the E10 blendwall. CVR CEO Jack Lipinski on his 2Q earnings Call last week unloaded on RINs, saying the market is being cornered, bringing small merchant refiners to the brink of bankruptcy while unjustly enriching speculators and exempt blenders. CVR has two refineries, a 115,000 b/d refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, and a 70,000 b/d plant in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. HollyFrontier also raised concerns about lower refining margins and costs associated with blending ethanol and purchasing RINs to comply with the RFS mandate. Valero estimated that its cost of compliance with the renewable-fuel standards this year will be $750 million to $850 million, well above the $440 million it spent on RIN credits in 2015.  Finally, PBF Energy, which also does not have a retail or wholesale segment, was downgraded by Goldman Sachs on expectations the company to be “disproportionately negatively impacted” by expectations of higher RINs prices, increasing from $172 million in 2015 to $300 million in 2017.

Small Retailers Join Together on RFS – A number of small retailers have finally weighed in on the RFS as group.  A newly-formed coalition of small fuel retailers is adding to the calls for EPA to shift responsibility for RFS compliance.  The Small Retailers Coalition urges EPA to move the so-called point of obligation to the “rack,” terminals that hold bulk fuels before they move to retail outlets. The current set-up, needlessly tilts the playing field towards large retailers by giving large retailers the ability to use RINs to discount their prices says former Natl Assn of Convenience Stores (NACS) President Bill Douglass, saying moving the obligation would reflect the needs of all market participants.  DOUGLASS: “There are thousands of smaller retailers feeling the adverse impact of the large retailers advantaged by RIN revenue that will share their observation on this market failure.  The end result is that small independent retailers will be driven from the market.”

Coal Plays Pivotal Role in 2016 Battleground States – With the presidential primaries and national conventions in the rearview mirror, ACCCE released a new paper examining the importance of coal-fired electricity and coal in battleground states.  According to the paper, as of mid-July, there were as many as 17 states that are considered tossups or are leaning either Trump or Clinton.  Of the 17 states, coal-fired electricity is important to at least 13.  These states are Arizona (11 electoral votes), Colorado (9), Georgia (16), Indiana (11), Iowa (6), Michigan (16), Missouri (10), Nebraska (1), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Utah (6), and Wisconsin (10). Collectively, they represent 149 electoral votes, more than half the 270 votes necessary to be elected president.  Two hundred coal-fired electric generating units in the 13 battleground states have already shuttered operations with another 46 units expected to close their doors in the near future because of current EPA policies.  Said Duncan, “If the next President adopts the wrong policies, the 370,000 jobs and $90 billion in economic activity coal-fired electricity supports in these states will be threatened.”  Right now, coal is responsible for 48% of the electricity produced in these 13 states.  The percentage of electricity from coal ranges from 30% in Pennsylvania to 78% in Missouri.

The Hill Highlight Faison EffortsThe Hill has a nice profile on the efforts of NC Republican Jay Faison to change the Republican Party focus on Clean Energy.   The Article points out that Faison is a champion of options that he says don’t get respect they deserve, including nuclear power, hydropower, coal with carbon capture and natural gas.  It also highlights his ire is the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which is aligned with Democrats and has spent the most of any environmental group this election cycle. The group “is very harmful to responsible energy solutions, and I would say it’s harmful for our democracy. I just can’t be more negative on them,” Faison said.

Holmstead Q&A Hits Houston Chronicle – Bracewell expert and former EPA Air chief was featured in a Q&A in the Houston Chronicle late last week.   Holmstead focuses on the upcoming Legal battles in the DC Circuit over the Clean Power Plan.

Chron Endorses Clinton – Speaking of the Houston Chronicle, the energy industry city’s paper of record which previously endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has now officially endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle made its official endorsement known saying “these are unsettling times that require a steady hand: That’s not Donald Trump.”  The paper also added reasoning as to why they are endorsing now: “The Chronicle editorial page does not typically endorse early in an election cycle; we prefer waiting for the campaign to play out and for issues to emerge and be addressed. We make an exception in the 2016 presidential race, because the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is not merely political. It is something much more basic than party preference.”

Capitol Crude Looks at Arctic Production – On Platts Capitol Crude podcast today, Brian tackles the future of US Arctic production with Oceana’s Mike LeVine and David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance. In a matter of weeks, an Obama administration decision could kill oil and gas development in the Arctic for years and may hinder drilling offshore Alaska for a decade or more.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Report, Forum to Look at Middle East Oil, Gas – Today at 12:30 p.m., the Washington Institute for Near East Policy holds a discussion on a new report on U.S.-Middle East policy amid the oil and gas boom. To explore how the region and global investors see the changing oil and gas scene affecting U.S. policy, and to understand how Washington can maximize opportunities and minimize disadvantages from these developments, the Institute will host a Policy Forum discussion with Patrick Clawson and Simon Henderson WINEP, as well as RBC’s Helima Croft. Clawson and Henderson will also release their report, Energizing Policy: America and the Middle East in an Era of Plentiful Oil.

Nuclear Expert to Look at Technology – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a roundtable tomorrow at Noon on the emerging innovation landscape in nuclear energy, embodied by a growing number of pioneers from the technical, financial, and business fields that are seeking to successfully commercialize a number of advanced nuclear reactor concepts.  According to Third Way, there “are nearly 50 companies, backed by more than $1.3 billion in private capital, developing plans for new nuclear plants in the U.S. and Canada. The mix includes startups and big-name investors like Bill Gates, all placing bets on a nuclear comeback, hoping to get the technology in position to win in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.”  Third Way’s Senior Visiting Fellow, Dr. Todd Allen, leads an intimate discussion about the status, prospects, and ramifications of North America’s burgeoning advanced nuclear industry.

Forum to Look at DoD Renewables – New America and the Pew Charitable Trusts will hold a forum Thursday at 10:00 a.m. featuring a conversation with the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, as we look at energy and the future of the Air Force. Following Secretary James, an expert panel will discuss how all of the military services work with clean energy companies at military bases in the United States.

Annual Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference is set for August 4th and 5th at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX.  This year’s theme is Yogi Berra quotes and the conference is fittingly entitled “It’s like déjà vu all over again”; each topic has an appropriate quote assigned to it.   The event is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday, August 4th during the superconference with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Power-Gen Forum Set for Columbus – Regardless of the Democratic Platform challenge of natgas, Pennwell will host Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President, American Electric Power to discuss the growing role in natural gas in power generation at the upcoming GenForum scheduled August 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The half-day event is connected with PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

Storage Forum Set – The EnergyStorage Global Innovation Forum will be held September 12-13 in Chicago bringing together top experts from ComEd, Oncor, PowerStream, PJM, Midwest ISO, ARPA-E, Argonne National Lab and many others to examine grid-level and behind-the-meter storage business models, technology innovations and opportunities. The Forum offers the latest updates on advanced storage technologies and systems for grid-level applications, as well as next-gen EV / smart transportation. These updates will be viewed through the lens of real-world deployments, business cases, and impacts on existing systems and operations.

Forum to Look at Environment Policies, Investments in Electricity – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Great Plains Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting a workshop in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday September 13th.  The event will feature experts, state officials and stakeholders from across the Eastern Interconnect for a one-day workshop exploring recent modeling analyses that provide new insights into trends in the electricity sector. The event will explore what these trends mean for state energy and environmental policy choices. Experts will present their findings and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reflect on those findings.

Renewable Conference Set for Mexico City – The Mexican Energy Leaders conference is set for Mexico City on September 7 and 8th. The event has become the major meeting for both Mexican and international renewable energy experts to discuss the new opportunities opened after major reforms on energy in Mexico.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be September 21-25 in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  More on this as we get closer.

SHALE INSIGHT Set for Pittsburgh – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold its 6th annual SHALE INSIGHT Conference at the Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  The focus of this year’s conference is the next phase of the shale revolution and will emphasize end use and connecting the market place through infrastructure. The conference will feature keynote presentations, an interactive and robust exhibit floor, tailored panel discussions, the Technology Showcase and a Natural Gas Use Marketplace, which all present networking opportunities for attendees.

NY Ratification Event to Include World Leaders – Well if you thought the Paris Accord was not a treaty, you might not want to attend the event on September 21st in New York where UN head Ban ki-Moon is asking countries to celebrate the ratification of the Accord.  In a recent letter, Ban asked countries to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year.

Energy Update: Week of July 25

Friends,

I must say, we had a really good time in Cleveland last week at the RNC.  The people were wonderful and the convention went off without a hitch – logistically at least.  As for the substance and political results?…enough said. Either way, we’re watching closely to see if Michelle Obama cribs from our energy update for tonight’s DNC speech.

While there was definitely some party chaos in Cleveland, the Democratic National Convention in Phily starts with similar unrest as long-time DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigned last night after thousands of emails leaked showing evidence that the DNC was undermining the Sanders campaign.  All this has overshadowed Hillary Clinton naming current VA Sen./former Gov (and former DNC Chair) Tim Kaine to be her VP.  While Kaine is known as a somewhat progressive and has some street cred with the party faithful from his time at DNC, the Sanders wing is sure to see this as the beginning of a move away from their more extreme approach, especially on most energy issues.  Expect to not see the “brotherly love” tonight as Sanders and Elizabeth Warren take the stage.

Another sidebar for Phily that I thought might be of interest is a new group of Republicans – not affiliated with Democratic groups – that will be at the convention discussing their reasoning for supporting Hillary Clinton.  Along with several other like-minded Republicans, former Bush 43 White House advisors John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes launched R4C16, Republicans for Clinton after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President. Last Friday, John laid out his reasoning in an op-ed for the Washington PostWhy Republicans Should Vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you are going to Phily, make sure to stop at the POLITICO (historic Rittenhouse Square at 2001 Market Street, 2 Commerce Square) and the Washington Post (City Tap House Logan, 2 Logan Square) Hubs.  Both places were excellent for events, fellowship and serious reporting in Cleveland so I expect the same here.

As for energy events at DNC, POLITICO’s Elana Schor hosts CO Gov. John Hickenlooper, Hillary Energy advisor Trevor Houser, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, former PA Gov./Phily Mayor Ed Rendell and Heather Zichal on Wednesday and does a Breakfast Newsmaker with Tom Steyer on Thursday.  Hickenlooper also hits the WaPo’s Politics and Pints with Chris Cillizza tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. and WaPo look at the energy platform earlier in the day at 10:00 a.m. with Steve Stromberg.  Finally, on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz to discuss energy policies and priorities.  Besides a speech from Sanders tonight that is certain to tap the progressive “keep it in the ground” energy issues, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., John Podesta, WA Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups will attend climate reception at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square.

Other events in DC this week: today at 2:30 pm, Heritage and CEI host a panel discussion in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs, the NatGas Roundtable is hosting BG&E CEO Calvin Butler tomorrow at lunch and tomorrow afternoon USEA looks at future global nuclear growth.

Finally, overseas in Vienna this weekend, Secretary Kerry (why do we let him talk), EPA Administrator McCarthy, our friends in the environmental community and AHRI made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.  The HVAC industry has been a strong player in these negotiations and AHRI President Steve Yurek was there all last week for the talks, which are the final prelude to October meeting in Kigali where parties will close the deal.  It is a huge success that likely will dwarf the uncertainty of cuts that the Paris Treaty may/may not produce.   There have been a number of stories on the progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details.

Remember, our PRG team will be covering elections closely and offering our analysis running up to and following the November vote.  So stay in touch on the topic.  Sounds like maybe one more short update next week as we hit August to wrap DNC week, but then off until September.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“That Trump’s run an awful campaign, alienated every group & still within striking distance makes you wonder who’s really a weaker candidate.”

Andrews Kaczynski of Buzzfeed yesterday on Twitter

____

“Charging infrastructure is an important priority when getting electric vehicles on the road, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle,” said “Dollar for dollar, infrastructure is most valuable when it is accompanied by robust consumer education, public-private partnerships, experiential marketing, and support from the business community.”

Robbie Diamond, CEO of the Electrification Coalition, responding to DOE announcement of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to expand the nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure

 

IN THE NEWS

World Leaders Make Progress on HFCs – With far less attention this past week, negotiators from almost 200 countries neared a deal that many say will be the most significant concrete action to reduce global warming in years. Parties, which will finalize the deal in Kigali in October, made significant progress toward locking down final efforts to limit the super-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The parties reached significant agreement on key challenges and solutions, and have made great progress on ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.

HVAC Industry Pushing for Strong Deal – The global HVAC industry has been one of the significant players pushing for a strong deal.  They have been promoting inclusion of an HFC phase down amendment to the Montreal Protocol for nearly six years, having already successfully phased out HCFCs under that global agreement.  A global agreement creates predictability for producers and manufacturers alike and eliminates the hodge-podge of different HFC reduction schemes that they would surely face as the world’s focus on climate change continues.  As well, an orderly phase down schedule provides the time necessary for manufacturers to conduct the necessary R&D on the next generation of equipment using the latest refrigerant replacements for HFCs and for producers to begin making sufficient supplies of replacements refrigerants.

Will the Replacement Actually Be Ready – Replacements will be ready to go when the time comes because industry anticipated the eventual action of the Montreal Protocol parties to phase down HFCs and thus began a major research program in 2011 to identify potential alternatives, which has recently completed its second phase.  Many of the most promising replacements, however, are classified as either flammable or mildly flammable and thus must be researched further to determine their performance in real-world conditions.  That research is about to commence under a funding agreement by AHRI, ASHRAE, the Department of Energy, and the state of California, which will collectively contribute nearly $6 million to study these refrigerants in advance of upcoming building code updates.

NYT Reports on the Progress – There have been a number of stories on the Vienna negotiations progress, but Coral Davenport’s NYT story from Sunday captures the details very well.

DOE Promises Loans for EV Charging – On the heels of the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit, DOE announced $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to roll out a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations. The program will provide support for federal, state, and local governments, and it will partner with Ford, GM, Nissan and Tesla.

SAFE Says Decision Should Focus on Accelerator Communities – SAFE’s Electrification Coalition said the decision to allocate $4.5 billion is an urgent priority that will sever the nation’s dependence on oil and boost American energy security. The EC notes a number of important considerations when it comes to EV deployment and charging infrastructure:

  • The U.S. transportation sector relies on oil for more than 92% of its energy, a dependence that undermines national security and economic prosperity. Last year, the United States spent $500 billion on petroleum fuels.
  • Public investment is necessary to decouple our transport system from the global oil market, which continues to operate against free market principles under heavy influence from foreign governments and national oil companies.
  • Development of a robust charging network sends an important signal to potential buyers that EVs are a viable choice, not hindered by infrastructure availability.
  • Simultaneously, 90% of charging occurs at home and in the workplace.
  • Fast-charging is a key component of improving public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • The EC advocates for use of accelerator communities as a policy tool—targeted geographical regions for EV deployment in which everything necessary to support this important technology is deployed simultaneously.
  • Experiential marketing—putting motorists behind the wheel of an electric vehicle to familiarize them with the technology—has proven to be a highly effective method of increasing exposure and boosting electric vehicle sales.
  • EVs offer consumers an opportunity to opt-out of the uncertainties of the global oil market and rely instead on electricity for transportation, which is diverse and domestic in source and stable in price.

Chamber’s Energy Institute to Start Energy Accountability Series – In a new effort to educate voters about energy policy, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will be launching the “Energy Accountability Series.” This series of reports will explain what would actually happen if the policies proposed by candidates and groups were to be adopted.  With energy issues a major part of the U.S. Chamber’s voter education efforts this fall, the new series will hold candidates and groups accountable for the statements they make on energy policy. The Chamber has already launched advertisements on energy policy in the key Pennsylvania Senate race.  The Obama presidency has demonstrated clearly that a candidate’s views and things they say and do to win support of interest groups has a real impact on how policy is shaped and implemented. The Energy Accountability Series will ask the tough questions and provide quantitative answers on the full impacts and implications of these policies, irrespective of which candidates, groups, or political parties happen to support or oppose them.  For more information and to sign up for updates, visit  www.energyxxi.org/energy-accountability.

New Pipelines Will Force U.S. to Miss Paris Targets – Environmental groups said in a report last week that the U.S. will miss its emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement if 19 pending natural gas pipelines are built across eastern states.  The report pipelines are expected to move natural gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to states from Louisiana to New York would unlock at least 15.2 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas production.   Now that sounds Like a great Idea… Why wouldn’t we want to do that since increasing our natgas usage has reduce emissions by 50% already.   Unless of course, you just want to block use of natural gas.

Experts Discuss Fuel Economy Issues with Platts PodcastOn this week’s Platts Capitol Crude podcast Sam Ori, executive director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, Joshua Linn, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, and Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners discuss the US concerns about falling short of the 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency target and how low gasoline prices impacting efforts to boost fuel economy.  Finally, Scheid taps that all important questions with his dad: Does driving with your windows down increase or decrease your car’s fuel efficiency?

FirstEnergy Closing Smaller Coal Units – FirstEnergy on Friday said it will retire or sell five units at two of its coal-fired power plants by 2020, citing “challenging market conditions.”  The company that powers much of Cleveland and sponsors Browns Stadium will retire four units totaling 720 megawatts at its W.H. Sammis plant in Stratton, Ohio, by May 2020, and either sell or deactivate its 136-megawatt Bay Shore unit in Oregon, Ohio, by October 2020.  Collectively, the 856 megawatts constitute 5.6 percent of Ohio’s coal-fired electric capacity, which totals 15,394.5 megawatts, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Three remaining units at the W.H. Sammis plant will continue to provide 1,490 megawatts in base load power.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Democratic Convention –Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on today through Thursday. The action launches at 4 p.m. with First Lady Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders are set to address the crowd. Later in the week, headliners include President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former POTUS Bill Clinton.  Other favorites include CO Gov. John Hickenlooper (who is doing a couple of energy panels), NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Cali Gov. Jerry Brown, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

AAAS Forum to Look at Human Rights, Climate –All day today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a day-long forum on the human rights implications of climate change and the contributions scientists, engineers, and health professionals can make towards addressing these concerns.  The sessions will highlight examples of scientific research that is contributing to human rights-based policies for climate change prevention, mitigation, adaptation, and community relocation. In addition, panelists will share models for collaborative climate research in partnership with vulnerable communities. Coalition meetings convene scientists, engineers, and health professionals with human rights leaders and policy makers to discuss emerging issues at the nexus of science and human rights. The Coalition serves as a catalyst for the increased involvement of scientific, engineering, and health associations and their members in human rights-related activities.   The main speaker will be Robert Bullard, Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

Heritage, CEI Look at Biofuel Programs – The Heritage Foundation hosts a panel discussion this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Senate Visitors Center 215 on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs. U.S. biofuels policy is a case study in the unintended consequences of government intervention. In contrast to what politicians and special interest groups promised, biofuel policies have increased costs to taxpayers and drivers, had little-to-no impact on oil prices, hurt rural economies, and had unforeseen environmental costs. This panel will provide background on the RFS and other biofuels programs, analyzing the many harmful effects of these federal policies. Does the RFS reduce dependence on foreign oil? What impact does it have on food prices? What environmental harms are caused as a result of the RFS? Does the RFS actually hurt agricultural producers? The presenters will answer these questions and identify several critical solutions.  Speakers will include Heritage’s Nick Loris, CEI’s Marlo Lewis and Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research.

Forum to Look at Emissions at Chinese Ports – The Wilson Center’s China Energy Foundation (CEF) will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. with Green Port experts as they assess how China’s new policies and on-the-ground efforts—such as port/vessel emissions inventories and emission control zones—are reducing pollution and climate emissions at major Chinese ports. Dr. Peng Chuansheng (China Waterborne Transport Research Institute) will lead the discussion in exploring how and why China is taking action on green ports. Ms. Freda Fung (Natural Resources Defense Council) will highlight Hong Kong’s successes in controlling port pollution and discuss needed incentives for green port/vessel technology development and emission compliance in China. Dr. Dan Rutherford (ICCT) will draw on a port study in Shenzhen produced for the China Environment Forum to discuss how shore power and fuel-switching offer critical solutions in reducing port emissions in China.   This meeting – part of CEF’s Choke Point: Port Cities initiative – is co-sponsored with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

NatGas Roundtable Hosts BGE Exec – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Calvin Butler Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), as its speaker at the next NatGas Roundtable luncheon at the University Club on Tuesday July 26th. Butler became chief executive officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company on March 1, 2014 after serving as BGE’s senior vice president, regulatory and external affairs.

Forum to Look at Energy Potential – Future Tense and the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a conversation tomorrow at Noon at New America on what it will take for North America to fulfill its energy potential. People tend to obsess over the monthly gyrations of oil prices and the latest regulatory battle over shale or pipeline-building, but we want to look forward to 2050. What concerted steps should Canada, Mexico, and the United States be taking to ensure that North America will become the world’s leading energy power for generations? And how can this region lead the world not only in output and economic growth, but also in setting new standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability?  Speakers include Sharon Burke of New America, Arizona State’s Hector Moreira (Director of Energy Model for Mexico Initiative) and Laura Dawson of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute.

USEA to Host Global Nuke Discussion – The US Energy Assn will host a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at the global nuclear landscape to 2040 and the US role will be.  Affordable baseload electricity is crucial for countries to sustain the high level of economic growth they have experienced during the last decade. Government support, via regulations and financing, has been pivotal to the accelerated growth of nuclear energy. In China and India, as well as most of Asia and Europe, government enterprises are responsible for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The US cannot idly let its leadership position wither away in the global nuclear energy landscape. In the nuclear arena, leadership cannot be simply “restored” based on the old “push” model of Supply-side dominance from the 20th Century. Urban demand-side factors outside Europe and North America now are pulling nuclear power construction forward in the 21st Century to satisfy burgeoning electric demand, primarily in Asian cities, and for growing populations and water needs in the Middle East and Africa. USA and allies must redefine leadership in nuclear energy via international partnerships and alliances that are unfolding now. Speaker Andrew Paterson of the Environmental Business International will address the topic.

DEM Convention Forum Set – The New Policy Institute and NDN will host a major event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, tomorrow looking ahead at the future of America and American Politics.  This event will feature a dozen inspiring thought leaders who will offer their different perspectives on what is coming down the road for the US and our politics.  The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 204C, 200 Level Concourse, and run from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm If you would like to attend, please RSVP on our Eventbrite page today.  The event is free and open to the public.

Podesta to Headline Enviro Event at DNC – John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, will appear with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Tom Steyer and the leaders of major environmental groups at a Tuesday reception at 2:30 p.m. at the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.  The reception, “winning on Climate Together” will also include Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, LCV President Gene Karpinski, and NRDC President Rhea Suh.

ELI Forum Look at Distributed Solar Battles – On Wednesday, July 27th, ELI will host a forum on the recent changes in net metering policies and the future of distributed solar at the D.C. Bar Conference Center.  Thousands of Nevada consumers purchased solar arrays expecting to sell their electricity back to the grid at the same rates they pay for power – called “net-metering.” Solar companies expected to continue booming sales – and leasing – based on this high rate of return. That all changed last December when the Nevada Public Utility Commission significantly reduced net-metering rates. Existing customers were furious and sales of new systems basically ground to a halt. A few months later, after a similar fight, the California Public Utilities Commission reached a different result, maintaining full net-metering rates until 2019. And just this April, a coalition including Con Edison, Solar City, and Sunpower, Inc., submitted a net-metering proposal to the New York Public Service Commission billed as a breakthrough in utility-solar collaboration. The coalition claims their proposal will continue to incentivize residential solar while also providing utilities with protections necessary to insure that distributed solar will not cause the ever-dreaded Death Spiral for the utility industry.  These recent developments are only a sample of the debates raging before Public Utility Commissions across the country, where numerous proposals to change net-metering policies are pending, with important implications for the future of residential solar. Please join us for a panel discussion of these ongoing developments.

Fanning, Moniz, Daschle Headline DNC BPC Energy Event – The Bipartisan Policy Center and EEI will host a forum at the Democratic National Convention in Phily. The discussion will feature some of our nation’s most influential leaders on energy innovation as we discuss the respective roles of the public and private sectors in realizing the full potential of this opportunity as well as growing congressional support for energy innovation.  The event will feature Southern’s Tom Fanning, former Senate leader Tom Daschle, and Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Annual Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference is set for August 4th and 5th at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX.  This year’s theme is Yogi Berra quotes and the conference is fittingly entitled “It’s like déjà vu all over again”; each topic has an appropriate quote assigned to it.   The event is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday, August 4th during the superconference with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.

Power-Gen Forum Set for Columbus – Regardless of the Democratic Platform challenge of natgas, Pennwell will host Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President, American Electric Power to discuss the growing role in natural gas in power generation at the upcoming GenForum scheduled August 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The half-day event is connected with PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

Forum to Look at Environment Policies, Investments in Electricity – The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Great Plains Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting a workshop in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday September 13th.  The event will feature experts, state officials and stakeholders from across the Eastern Interconnect for a one-day workshop exploring recent modeling analyses that provide new insights into trends in the electricity sector. The event will explore what these trends mean for state energy and environmental policy choices. Experts will present their findings and stakeholders will have an opportunity to reflect on those findings.

SEJ Conference Set For Sacramento – The annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference will be September 21-25 in Sacramento.  Of course, Bracewell’s PRG will be hosting our annual big reception on Thursday Night to welcome everyone.  More on this as we get closer.

Energy Update: Week of July 18

Friends,

Given all that is going on around the globe, I hope you were able to watch the final round of the British Open yesterday.  It was a riveting conclusion to a great golf championship where both Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson – both in their 40s – performed at their best.  And when it was over, the class and sportsmanship by each player was a testament to respect and honor.  One could only hope that kind of spirit could invade our political debate.

Speaking of the political debate, it’s showtime in Cleveland for the RNC.  I am heading up there later today.  Not a whole lot of energy action at the convention in Cleveland, but our friend Jay Faison will be on several panels that will look at energy issues.  Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., he and others will visit with Steve Mufson at the Washington Post’s Cleveland HQ.  On Wednesday, POLITICO hosts an energy talk with Faison and ND Rep. and early Trump supporter Kevin Cramer.   Finally, on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., BPC will host s a forum on priorities and policies at Heinen’s in Cleveland.  Though Trump has said little comprehensively on energy policy, experts seem to think that his administration energy policy would differ markedly from a renewables/climate-focused taken by a Clinton administration. One speaker on the schedule in Continental O&G CEO Harold Hamm, who hosted Trump in North Dakota earlier this year.

Another group there in full force is the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), who along with grabbing Jim Matheson as its new CEO, also recently launched a major initiative to enhance voter engagement with its “Co-ops Vote” campaign.  The effort is aimed at boosting voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer members to exercise voting rights and support rural communities.  Meanwhile, our friend Debbie Wing is stepping up to a great new gig with the Farm Credit Council as their Executive Vice President for National Communications and Reputation Management.  Congrats Deb!!!

As a lead in to the Convention, Republican Candidate Donald Trump named Indiana Gov. (and former conservative Rep.) Mike Pence to be his running mate.  Pence is an Interesting guy and is well-liked in many political circles.  If you want the download on Pence, tune in to the best Pence expert in DC, CNN’s Tom Lobianco (@tomlobianco on Twitter).  Lobi covered Pence when he was in Indianapolis writing and covering politics for AP and the Indy Star.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who knows him better.

There is a really good event in DC tomorrow at CSIS when Pioneer Oil & Gas CEO Scott Sheffield discusses developments in the U.S. onshore oil and gas industry. On Thursday, USEA will host a forum on advanced fossil fuels featuring Neil Kern of Duke Energy, AWEA’s Peter Kelley addresses the National Economists Club and C2ES hosts a webinar looking at financing climate resilience.

Finally, overseas in Vienna this week, the big negotiating begins on efforts to limit the super-warming chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.  The first phase of the nine-day negotiating session ended favorably in the early hours of Sunday morning with agreement on key “challenges and solutions.” This week, countries to focus on several key central issues:  ambitious schedules for freezing and phasing down HFC production and use in both developed and developing countries, and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve their phase-down commitments.  The HVAC industry has been a strong player in these negotiations and AHRI President Steve Yurek is there and happy to provide insights from Vienna.  Please let us know if you have questions.

Hope everyone travels and stays safe this week and next, as well as has some fun at the conventions.  Remember, our PRG team will be covering elections closely and offering our analysis running up to and following the November vote.  So stay in touch on the topic.

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Producing syngas from Mississippi’s own abundant natural resource – lignite – should be encouraging to our customers, communities and energy companies around the world. This proves that Kemper’s technology can provide a way forward for coal and puts us a step closer to full plant operation.”

Mississippi Power President/CEO Anthony Wilson.

 

IN THE NEWS

HFC Talks Proceeding in Vienna – Nearly 40 ministers are in Vienna participating in the negotiations on cutting down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries.  Used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, solvents and fire protection products. Successful talks in Vienna could lead to an agreement when the Parties meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2016. Such an agreement will help establish an early, clear and ambitious schedule to phase down HFCs, improve appliance energy efficiency and slow global warming.   NRDC’s Dave Doniger has a great synopsis of the first few days in HuffPost.   AHRI President Steve Yurek is also in Vienna on behalf of the HVAC industry which has played a strong role in the negotiations and supports the phase down.

Kemper Starts Producing Syngas – The Kemper County Energy Facility has begun producing syngas from lignite coal, developer Mississippi Power said Friday.  An integral aspect of the plant’s operations, syngas is created when locally mined lignite is heated at high temperatures in the plant’s gasifiers, converting the coal to gas. To produce electricity, the plant is designed to use syngas similarly to natural gas to power a turbine. The facility is designed to capture at least 65% of carbon dioxide, with resulting emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant.  The TRIG™ coal gasification technology deployed at the plant was jointly developed by Southern Company, KBR and the U.S. Department of Energy over the past two decades at the Power Systems Development Facility, an Alabama-based research facility operated by Southern Company. The successful production of syngas is an important step in the systematic process of achieving the facility’s full commercial operation. During the coming weeks, the Kemper project team also will be focused on starting up and integrating various systems needed to achieve the next major milestone – using syngas to produce electricity at the plant.  The plant, designed to be a new-build, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) coal-fired power plant, has been producing electricity with natural gas since August 2014.

NRECA, Energy to Improve Cyber Security – The Energy Department said last week it will spend $15 million to help the private sector improve its cybersecurity culture.  The funds, which Congress must approve, will help the American Public Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association train employees, produce documentation, and strengthen policies to reduce cyber risks, as well as site assessments and drills. NRECA said Cooperatives understand that no utility is immune from attack and that protecting the electric grid is a challenge the utility sector must solve. By collaborating with these partners, and giving the nation’s more than 900 co-ops access to advanced cybersecurity technology and training, all boats can be lifted.  Over the next three years, NRECA will use the $7.5 million award to develop security tools, educational resources, updated guidelines and training materials.  Continued investments in the people, processes and technology needed to secure critical infrastructure will strengthen the ability of NRECA’s members to meet rapidly changing cybersecurity threats.

SAFE Letter on Autonomous Vehicles Lands in NYT – SAFE had a letter in the NY Times on Sunday addressing a recent op-ed article regarding autonomous vehicle issues.  Robbie Diamond, CEO and founder of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and SAFE Autonomous Vehicle Initiative director Amitai Bin-Nun said in the wake of the Tesla Autopilot fatality and continuing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, Times Reporters Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle make the important, if perhaps self-evident, point that self-driving cars must be certified safe before public use. The real question for policy makers, however, is what constitutes an appropriately “safe” autonomous vehicle. Our current transportation system exacts a terrible toll: More than 35,000 people died on American roads in 2015, an almost 8% increase over 2014, and the system is almost completely dependent on petroleum, constraining American foreign policy and exposing our servicemen and women to conflict.  They say autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce traffic fatalities, expand mobility access to millions, and enhance national and economic security by building a fuel-diverse transportation system. These benefits compel the deployment of autonomous vehicles once their safety matches today’s cars with all their flaws. Imposing excessive regulation and barriers to deployment runs contrary to the national interest.

Platts Capitol Crude Looks at Fracking – This week’s Capitol Crude podcast looks at natgas drilling and the impact of the recent efforts On “Keep it in the Ground” surrounding the Democratic Platform. Recent, the President’s top science advisor has called the movement unrealistic. Has the movement to stop the historic growth of US shale oil and gas lost its momentum? And how does a federal judge’s recent decision to overturn the administration’s regulations of fracking impact the movement’s path forward? Platts Brian Scheid gets perspective on the issue from Earthjustice’s Michael Freeman and Western Energy Alliance’s Kathleen Sgamma.  And its only Scheid this week because his partner in crime at Platts, Herman Wang has launched to London to cover OPEC for Platts.  Congrats to Herman and get some fish & chips, a Shepard’s pie or Chicken Tikka Masala for me…

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena starts today running through Thursday.  The Republican National Committee (RNC) says the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. Jeff Larson, CEO of the 2016 Republican National Convention released an updated program for the “Make America Great Again” convention that will include veterans, political outsiders, faith leaders and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s family members will lead an unconventional lineup of speakers who have real-world experience.  You can see the full line up for each night here.

BGov Holds Climate Forum at RNC –  Bloomberg Government and Defend Our Future holds a discussion today at Noon on the future of climate change in the Republican Party at the RNC in Cleveland.

Education, Energy Conference Set – The 2016 Energy Conference for Educators will continue today through Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  The event brings together educators that are passionate about bringing energy education to their classrooms. In five interactive days in Washington, D.C., the conference provides teachers with the most up-to-date information on all aspects of energy including the science of energy, sources of energy, transportation, electricity, efficiency and environmental and economic impacts.  Participants receive the training and materials to implement innovative hands-on energy units in their classrooms, multi-disciplinary teams, and after-school programs. They also receive the materials, training and support to conduct in-services in their areas to introduce the NEED program to others. NEED leaders at the conference help participants develop specialized units that meet state standards and can be utilized with students of all learning styles.

WaPo to Host Faison Energy Conversation – The Washington Post will host an Energy Conversation with ClearPath Founder Jay Faison on Tuesday July 19th at the their GOP convention HQ in Cleveland.

Forum to Look at Bioenergy – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a forum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. in 1300 Longworth assessing the ability of the United States to sustainably produce 1 billion tons of renewable non-food biomass every year. This could potentially displace more than 30 percent of the country’s petroleum consumption. The briefing will focus on key findings from volume 1 of the 2016 Billion-Ton Update, which examines the technical feasibility of a billion-ton annual biomass supply chain by 2040. The 2016 report, to be released at the Bioenergy 2016 conference in mid-July, builds and expands on previous Billion-Ton studies, released in 2005 and 2011 by the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).  Speakers for this forum DOE’s Alison Goss Eng, USDA Bioenergy Chief Scientist Valerie Reed and USDA Energy Policy Director Harry Baumes.

Pioneer CEO to Discuss Industry at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Scott Sheffield, Chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to discuss developments in the U.S. onshore oil and gas industry. Mr. Sheffield has held the position of CEO for Pioneer Natural Resources since August 1997 and assumed the position of chairman of the board in August 1999. In this position Sheffield heads one of the leading producers of unconventional oil and gas in the United States. Sheffield will share his views on recent market developments and regulatory changes in the oil and gas landscape, as well as Pioneer’s strategy for addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today and in the future.

Wilson Forum to Look at Paris Climate Goals in Latin America – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum looking at the Paris climate agreement and the role of Latin American countries. How are Latin American countries confronting climate change? What are the prospects for the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Latin America? What are the main factors which might speed up or undermine the transition to low-emission and resilient economies in the region? All questions to be addressed by experts in the region.

Faison, Cramer Headline POLITICO RNC Energy Forum – POLITICO will host an energy caucus live on Wednesday at 12:45 in its Hub in Cleveland.  The forum will be a deep dive discussion, featuring a variety of perspectives, about the energy policy issues facing the next president and how the candidates are resonating in battleground states.  Featured speakers will; include Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), ClearPath’s Jay Faison and Jai Chabria of Mercury, along with a few others.

BPC Hosts Energy Discussion in Cleveland – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and Milken Institute are hosting a series of policy forums with business and political leaders at the Republican National Convention. On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at Heinen’s in Downtown Cleveland, they will host cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they discuss entrepreneurship and economic growth, infrastructure and energy policy, global competitiveness and tax policy, and medical and health innovation.  Jay Faison will be speaking on the energy topics.

Webinar to explore financing climate resilience – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) hosts a webinar, Thursday at Noon looking at financing climate resilience. Extreme weather events and disasters are already impacting our infrastructure. The need to update infrastructure provides an opportunity to build in climate resilience. This webinar will explore options for financing resilience and will feature an interactive discussion with experts in the field about opportunities and potential challenges. Speakers will include HUD’s Bruce Ciallella, expert Shalini Vajjhala, C2ES expert Katy Maher and Fatima Maria Ahmad.  You can register here.

AWEA’s Kelley to Address Economists – The National Economists Club hosts AWEA’s Peter Kelley on Thursday at Noon at the Chinatown Garden Restaurant to discuss clean energy economics and the rapid change ahead.  Wind power is one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways to reduce carbon pollution and solve our climate challenge. Electricity generated from wind now costs two-thirds less than in 2009, so it’s already saving U.S. consumers billions of dollars a year on their energy bills. Wind is making enough electric power for 20 million homes today, and can be the largest source of electricity in America by mid-century.

Forum to Look at Climate and Private Sector Implications –On Thursday at Noon, the Global America Business Institute (GABI), in collaboration with the Korea Institute of Energy Research, will discuss and present information on “Inclusive Development & Climate Change: Implications for the Private Sector,” with Dr. Arun Kashyap as the guest speaker. As development and economic growth continue throughout the world, implications for the private sector become even greater, particularly with respect to climate change and clean energy innovation. Dr. Kashyap will present on how to integrate analysis and implement evidence based initiatives, create partnerships, and innovate to foster equity, strengthen welfare, and build resilience for marginalized households and communities in developing and middle-income countries within the confines of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as the international community works to develop and deploy alternative, clean energy.

USEA to Host Duke Energy Exec on Advanced Fossil Fuels – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., USEA will host a forum on advanced fossil fuels.  Neil Kern of Duke Energy will review some of the factors impacting today’s utility business models and the resulting new demands being placed on central generation plants. As renewable energy deployment increases and movement towards lower carbon footprints continues, central station operating profiles are fundamentally changing. New technologies must be developed to maintain grid reliability and enable this transition. The presentation will discuss some of the advanced generation technologies, including supercritical CO2 and CCUS, being developed to address these new challenges while identifying their benefits, research gaps, and what  needs to be done to encourage adoption by industry.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

AAAS Forum to Look at Human Rights, Climate – Next Monday, July 25th starting at 8:30 a.m., the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a day-long forum on the human rights implications of climate change and the contributions scientists, engineers, and health professionals can make towards addressing these concerns.  The sessions will highlight examples of scientific research that is contributing to human rights-based policies for climate change prevention, mitigation, adaptation, and community relocation. In addition, panelists will share models for collaborative climate research in partnership with vulnerable communities. Coalition meetings convene scientists, engineers, and health professionals with human rights leaders and policy makers to discuss emerging issues at the nexus of science and human rights. The Coalition serves as a catalyst for the increased involvement of scientific, engineering, and health associations and their members in human rights-related activities.   The main speaker will be Robert Bullard, Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

Heritage, CEI Look at Biofuel Programs – The Heritage Foundation hosts a panel discussion next Tuesday on repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard and other Biofuel Programs. U.S. biofuels policy is a case study in the unintended consequences of government intervention. In contrast to what politicians and special interest groups promised, biofuel policies have increased costs to taxpayers and drivers, had little-to-no impact on oil prices, hurt rural economies, and had unforeseen environmental costs. This panel will provide background on the RFS and other biofuels programs, analyzing the many harmful effects of these federal policies. Does the RFS reduce dependence on foreign oil? What impact does it have on food prices? What environmental harms are caused as a result of the RFS? Does the RFS actually hurt agricultural producers? The presenters will answer these questions and identify several critical solutions.  Speakers will include Heritage’s Nick Loris, CEI’s Marlo Lewis and Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research.

Forum to Look at Emissions at Chinese Ports – The Wilson Center’s China Energy Foundation (CEF) will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. with Green Port experts as they assess how China’s new policies and on-the-ground efforts—such as port/vessel emissions inventories and emission control zones—are reducing pollution and climate emissions at major Chinese ports. Dr. Peng Chuansheng (China Waterborne Transport Research Institute) will lead the discussion in exploring how and why China is taking action on green ports. Ms. Freda Fung (Natural Resources Defense Council) will highlight Hong Kong’s successes in controlling port pollution and discuss needed incentives for green port/vessel technology development and emission compliance in China. Dr. Dan Rutherford (ICCT) will draw on a port study in Shenzhen produced for the China Environment Forum to discuss how shore power and fuel-switching offer critical solutions in reducing port emissions in China.   This meeting – part of CEF’s Choke Point: Port Cities initiative – is co-sponsored with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

NatGas Roundtable Hosts BGE Exec – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Calvin Butler Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), as its speaker at the next NatGas Roundtable luncheon at the University Club on Tuesday July 26th. Butler became chief executive officer of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company on March 1, 2014 after serving as BGE’s senior vice president, regulatory and external affairs.

USEA to Host Global Nuke Discussion – The US Energy Assn will host a forum on Tuesday, July 26th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the global nuclear landscape to 2040 and the US role will be.  Affordable baseload electricity is crucial for countries to sustain the high level of economic growth they have experienced during the last decade. Government support, via regulations and financing, has been pivotal to the accelerated growth of nuclear energy. In China and India, as well as most of Asia and Europe, government enterprises are responsible for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The US cannot idly let its leadership position wither away in the global nuclear energy landscape. In the nuclear arena, leadership cannot be simply “restored” based on the old “push” model of Supply-side dominance from the 20th Century. Urban demand-side factors outside Europe and North America now are pulling nuclear power construction forward in the 21st Century to satisfy burgeoning electric demand, primarily in Asian cities, and for growing populations and water needs in the Middle East and Africa. USA and allies must redefine leadership in nuclear energy via international partnerships and alliances that are unfolding now. Speaker Andrew Paterson of the Environmental Business International will address the topic.

DEM Convention Forum Set – The New Policy Institute and NDN will host a major event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, July 26th looking ahead at the future of America and American Politics.  This event will feature a dozen inspiring thought leaders who will offer their different perspectives on what is coming down the road for the US and our politics.  The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 204C, 200 Level Concourse, and run from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm If you would like to attend, please RSVP on our Eventbrite page today.  The event is free and open to the public.

ELI Forum Look at Distributed Solar Battles – On Wednesday, July 27th, ELI will host a forum on the recent changes in net metering policies and the future of distributed solar at the D.C. Bar Conference Center.  Thousands of Nevada consumers purchased solar arrays expecting to sell their electricity back to the grid at the same rates they pay for power – called “net-metering.” Solar companies expected to continue booming sales – and leasing – based on this high rate of return. That all changed last December when the Nevada Public Utility Commission significantly reduced net-metering rates. Existing customers were furious and sales of new systems basically ground to a halt. A few months later, after a similar fight, the California Public Utilities Commission reached a different result, maintaining full net-metering rates until 2019. And just this April, a coalition including Con Edison, Solar City, and Sunpower, Inc., submitted a net-metering proposal to the New York Public Service Commission billed as a breakthrough in utility-solar collaboration. The coalition claims their proposal will continue to incentivize residential solar while also providing utilities with protections necessary to insure that distributed solar will not cause the ever-dreaded Death Spiral for the utility industry.  These recent developments are only a sample of the debates raging before Public Utility Commissions across the country, where numerous proposals to change net-metering policies are pending, with important implications for the future of residential solar. Please join us for a panel discussion of these ongoing developments.

Fanning, Moniz, Daschle Headline DNC BPC Energy Event – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum at the Democratic National Convention in Phily. The discussion will feature some of our nation’s most influential leaders on energy innovation as we discuss the respective roles of the public and private sectors in realizing the full potential of this opportunity as well as growing congressional support for energy innovation.  The event will feature Southern’s Tom Fanning, former Senate leader Tom Daschle, and Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.

Annual Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 28th annual Texas Environmental Superconference is set for August 4th and 5th at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX.  This year’s theme is Yogi Berra quotes and the conference is fittingly entitled “It’s like déjà vu all over again”; each topic has an appropriate quote assigned to it.   The event is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, the Air & Waste Management Association – Southwest Section, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, The Auditing Roundtable, and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Bracewell will be hosting an event on Thursday, August 4th during the superconference with cocktails, small bites and a live performance by Quiet Company.  Speakers will include Gary Jonesi of EPA’s Enforcement office and Bryan Shaw of TCEQ, as well as Bracewell enviro experts Tim Wilkins and Kevin Collins.  See more on the event here.

Power-Gen Forum Set for Columbus – Regardless of the Democratic Platform challenge of natgas, Pennwell will host Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President, American Electric Power to discuss the growing role in natural gas in power generation at the upcoming GenForum scheduled August 22nd in Columbus, Ohio. The half-day event is connected with PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

 

Independence Day Energy Update

Friends,

This week begins the run up to the July 4th holiday, which is next Monday, giving us all a fun, extended weekend.  While most people will be celebrating with fireworks and parades, I always use the day to listen to one of my favorite Soundgarden songs 4th Of July, written when singer-songwriter Chris Cornell was on an acid trip.  It is the best song on their megahit record Superunknown and a staple at most Soundgarden concerts.  In fact, while he didn’t play it at the Hippodrome in Baltimore last Thursday, Cornell played an awesome acoustic show with covers of Prince, U2 and Bob Dylan along with the Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog classics.

Not to be outdone by Cornell, Stacey and I went to DC101’s Kerfuffle yesterday, mostly to see the 80s cult band, the Violent Femmes.  But I was also impressed with 90s West Coast Punk trailblazer Blink-182, who was really good, with drummer Travis Barker (of MTV reality show fame) absolutely killing it for two hours.  I was there because, despite the Alice In Chains (of course without Layne Staley) lead in, I still couldn‘t stomach going to Guns ‘N Roses.  #notafan

Good news…or maybe not, depending on your view.  There has been some reporting on Saturday’s draft of the Democratic Policy Platform that will not include a carbon tax or a ban on hydraulic fracturing.  It does however include some hearty perennials like a $15-an-hour minimum wage, efforts to curb “Wall Street greed” and tax hikes on multi-millionaires. The document calls for at least 50% of electrical generation to come from renewable energy sources within a decade and 100% by 2050, keeping fossil fuels “in the ground” on federal land, an end to eminent domain for fossil fuel companies on federal land, allowing the Justice Department to investigate whether fossil fuel companies deceived the public and investors on the risks associated with climate change and a “climate test” for federal government actions like Keystone.  The full Platform Committee meets next month in Orlando, Florida.

While the House has recessed until after July 4th, the Senate remains in this week to working on funding bills and the FAA extension.  There is also word out that they may vote to go to conference on the  energy bill before they leave.  We’ll see.  The committees will still be going too with Senate Energy grilling Interior’s Jim Lyons over Sage Grouse Protections (my colleague Eric Washburn Is a great resource 202-412-5211), Senate Environment doing the same to EPA Enforcement chief Cynthia Giles on Wednesday and Homeland Security tackling regulations Thursday with our friends, former OMB official Paul Noe and CEI reg guru Clyde Wayne Crews.

Off the Hill, EIA’s Adam Sieminski rolls out their 2016 Annual Energy Outlook tomorrow at Johns Hopkins in advance of the upcoming annual EIA Energy Conference on July 12th.  On Wednesday,  IPAA and the Arctic Energy Center will host an offshore Arctic Policy Briefing in the morning at the Liaison featuring Senator Lisa Murkowski, while the U.S.-Africa Chamber of Commerce hosts Marc Breslaw, Executive Director of the NRECA International Foundation in the evening.  Finally, on Thursday, the Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Travis Kavulla, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of NARUC.

While I mentioned the upcoming EIA Energy Conference on July 12, next week also features the Aspen Ideas Forum in Colorado and my colleagues Jason Hutt and Eric Washburn will be attending.  Yes, they drew the short straws…tough luck to be in Aspen!

Finally, Congrats to our friends Nicole Daigle and Michael Tadeo.  As some of you may know, Nicole heads over from API to fill the opening left by our friend Robert Dillon, who is now headed to Alaska to help with Lisa Murkowski’s campaign.  And Tadeo, Dillon’s understudy at Energy heads over to API as a media relations associate.  I love the musical chairs when I know everybody!!  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We need a tax on carbon. We need to end fracking.”

Sen Bernie Sanders on CNN Friday when asked about the weekend’s platform Committee work session.

“It’s possible I just did a poor job of explaining them, so happily I’m pretty sure at least some will be reintroduced by more skillful orators at the Orlando meeting, and maybe if that doesn’t work then in Philadelphia.”

Sanders Platform appointee and 350.org activist Bill McKibbon to E&E News on why each of his proposals were rejected, albeit narrowly.

 

IN THE NEWS

Rural U.S. Economy Remains Sluggish – The June edition of Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index says the economy in rural America remains sluggish amid weak farmland prices and pessimism from bankers.  “This is the 10th straight month the overall index has remained below growth neutral. Even though agriculture and energy commodity prices have increased recently, they remain well below last year’s prices and from their peak levels in 2011,” said Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton’s Heider College of Business and author of the survey.  The index, based on a survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state region, registered a 43.9 reading on a 100-point scale in June. That was a slight improvement from the May reading of 40.9, as hiring rose above the neutral mark of 50.  Still, bankers say they are concerned about the state of the rural economy and continue to tighten credit in response to weakness in the farm economy.  Nearly 75% of the respondents said they have increased collateral requirements because of reductions in farm income and agriculture commodity prices during the last three years.

LA Plants Likely to Increase Emissions to Avoid Blackouts – With temperatures rolling to 100-plus degrees in the LA Basin, regional air quality regulators are allowing  the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to violate pollution rules this summer by burning diesel fuel at three of its power plants if it is the only way to prevent blackouts.  In a 3-1 vote late Wednesday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s hearing board granted the public utility a 90-day exemption from emissions limits and other permit requirements at its power plants in Long Beach, Wilmington and Sun Valley. In April, a report from state energy agencies and LADWP warned that Southern California could face rolling blackouts during as many as 14 days this summer if gas supply is curtailed following the leak at the Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon facility.  While Local officials, environmental groups and efficiency advocates are bickering and deflecting blame over the situation, it Is clear that part of the problem is California’s longer-term approach which has boxed coal generation out of its mix.  Sounds like a great plan to implement nationwide!

Bloomberg Analyst: Royalty Rates Bigger Drag on Coal that CPP – Our friends at First Word Energy report that Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Rob Barnett releases a new report set for release today that says President Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions will have more success with the moratorium on federal coal leases rather than EPA’s carbon rules,. About 40% of U.S. coal is mined on federal lands, and the Interior Department is reviewing raising the royalty rates on that coal. The current rate is 12.5%; in its report last week the Council of Economic Advisers examined the impact of hiking that to anywhere from 17% to 304%. Barnet writes higher royalty rates for new coal leases on U.S. government land may end up shuttering a significant portion of the nation’s coal production.

Obama Signs TSCA Legislation – President Barack Obama signed chemical safety reform legislation this morning, reforming the longtime legislation that regulates chemicals, the broadly bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2576.  The President signed the legislation with Lautenberg’s widow, Bonnie, also attending.  Under the compromise reform bill, EPA will receive expanded abilities to regulate and a revived mandate to go after a specific dangerous substances, including asbestos and arsenic. In return, states’ authority to more deeply regulate chemicals was limited. The legislation is Congress’ most significant environmental achievement under Obama.

API Polling Shows Strong Support for Energy – Just weeks away from the Democratic and Republican national conventions, new polling confirms that energy is important to American voters. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, majorities of voters support increased production of oil and natural gas and, crucially for this year’s candidates, they are more likely to support a candidate who wants to produce more oil and natural gas. As the party platform committees develop their election priorities, key poll findings should be considered:

  • 77% support increased production of oil and natural gas (Republican 94%; Independent 73%; Democrat 64%)
  • 69% support candidates who want to produce more oil and natural gas (Republican 86%; Independent 69%; Democrat 57%)
  • 77% of voters consider it important that the U.S. is doing better than other major economies in Europe and elsewhere in reducing greenhouse gases (Republican 65%; Independent 72%; Democrat 94%)
  • 70% support natural gas’ role in reducing U.S. greenhouse gases (Republican 80%; Independent 66%; Democrat 63%)
  • 88% consider it important that gasoline & diesel fuels are helping reduce air pollution (Republican 83%; Independent 92%; Democrat 93%)
  • 64% oppose higher taxes that could decrease energy production (Republican 79%; Independent 64%; Democrat 50%)
  • 77% are concerned about government requirements increasing ethanol in gasoline (Republican 82%; Independent 82%; Democrat 70%)
  • 82% support increased energy infrastructure (Republican 88%; Independent 88%; Democrat 74%)
  • 73% support a national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner (Republican 67%; Independent 76%; Democrat 79%)

Bloomberg Poll Says Most Insiders Expect RFS Reform –  According to you, RFS reform is a sure thing.  The results of yesterday’s survey are in and it seems that our dear readers overwhelmingly believe that Congress will revamp the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2017. A meager 16% said that RFS reform proposals are dead in the water.

Senators Urge Support For Strong RFS – Not to be out done, on Friday, 39 senators sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging EPA to ensure the final 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule “promote[s] growth in the U.S. biofuel sector and capture economic opportunity rather than drive investment overseas.” The 2017 proposal calls on refiners to blend 14.8 billion gallons of conventional biofuels in 2017, slightly below the 15-billion-gallon level envisioned by Congress when it expanded the RFS in 2007.  RFA pushed the letter.

SoCo Company to Increase Renewables –Georgia Power will add 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy to its electrical generation portfolio during the next five years, enough to power nearly 200,000 homes, under an agreement with the state Public Service Commission (PSC). Georgia Power agreed to add 1,050 megawatts of utility-scale renewable power through two requests for proposals the Atlanta-based utility intends to issue next year and in 2019. The first 525 megawatts would go into service in 2018 and 2019, while the other 525 would go on line in 2020 and 2021. Georgia Power is also building the Plant Vogtle Nuclear expansion.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Xcel Exec to Keynote TransForum West in Denver – PennWell’s TransmissionHub will host its 5th annual TransForum West event tomorrow and Wednesday in Denver. Kicking off the event will be Alice Jackson, vice president – Regulatory Rates, Xcel Energy, who will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday.  There will also be several panels, including one on regional planning dynamics in the West that will include such speakers as PacifiCorp’s Carolyn Barbash, Don Fuller of the California ISO and Johannes Pfeifenberger of the Brattle Group.

Forum to Look at European Energy Infrastructure – Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will hold a seminar for American investors, consultants and suppliers of goods and services on energy and infrastructure opportunities in Europe through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  The EBRD is an international, AAA-rated financial institution, which promotes transition to market economies. It operates in 36 countries, from central Europe to central Asia, the Western Balkans, and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. In the energy sector, EBRD has financed $3.7 billion of investments across 60 projects since the beginning of 2014, leveraging a further $10 billion from private investors and co-financiers. EBRD considers financing for a wide range of energy sector investments including:  renewables (wind, solar PV, biomass and geothermal plants}; thermal power generation; electricity transmission, distribution and demand side management; oil and gas production, refining and distribution; and mining activities.

EIA to Release 2016 Energy Outlook – EIA will release its Annual Energy Outlook 2016 tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in the Kenney-Herter Auditorium at Johns Hopkins University in DC.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present “Annual Energy Outlook 2016” (AEO2016) with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices to 2040.  The discussion will consider AEO2016 cases that address the Clean Power Plan; proposed fuel economy standards for trucks; alternative resource and technology assumptions; and other key energy topics.

Forum to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a roundtable tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. on market failures with respect to nuclear power in the United States. Although nuclear power generates about 20% of U.S. electricity and almost two-thirds of the country’s carbon-free electricity, much of the domestic fleet is under threat of premature closure because current policies and market structures do not adequately value the myriad benefits of nuclear in producing clean, reliable, and affordable energy. Deregulated electricity markets have failed to reward nuclear power for its significant advantages, and injudicious state and federal policies have further distorted the market against nuclear. As a result, nuclear power plants have struggled to remain economically viable and competitive with other energy sources, leading plant owners to prematurely and permanently shut down operable reactors. Ed Kee of Nuclear Economic Consulting will speak.

Forum to Look at Grid Storage – The American Chemical Society (ACS) holds a discussion tomorrow at Noon in 2168 Rayburn to look at the prospects and policy of energy storage and the grid.  Speakers include Kyle Bradbury of Duke University’s Energy Data Analytics Lab, Argonne Labs Vladimir Koritarov and GE’s Pratima Rangarajan.

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

Carnegie Forum to Look at Energy Future – Also tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a half-day event to discuss the changing energy landscape and its implications, with a keynote address by U.S. State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein, and the presentation of the “Oil Market Futures” report by Cambridge Econometrics and partners.  Other speakers will include former deputy secretary of state William Burns and a number of other experts.

Senate Energy to Grill Interior Official On Sage Grouse – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to grill Interior deputy assistant secretary Jim Lyons and Forest Service wildlife director Robert Harper  on the implementation of federal greater sage grouse conservation plans and their impact on Western states.  The hearing will focus on the status of BLM and Forest Service efforts to implement the federal grouse plans, finalized last September.  Other witnesses include director of Utah’s Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Kathleen Clarke, Catherine Macdonald, of Oregon’s branch of the Nature Conservancy; Brenda Richard of the Public Lands Council and NMA’s Katie Sweeney.

Groups to Screen Anti-Coal Film – Tuesday evening, the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and the Goethe-Institut Washington will host a free film screening at the Landmark E St Cinemas of “After Coal,” followed by a panel discussion on revitalizing coal communities.  The United States’ use of coal continues to fall and reached its lowest point on record in 2015. All across the country, traditional coal communities find themselves struggling to adapt to this rapid energy transition–a phenomenon not confined to the United States. This panel will discuss ways in which coal communities can participate in, shape and benefit from the transition away from fossil fuels.

Murkowski, Merkley, Others to Discuss Arctic Offshore Issues at IPAA Event – IPAA and the Arctic Energy Center will host an offshore Arctic Policy Briefing on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison featuring Senator Lisa Murkowski.  Later this summer, the Administration will announce its proposed Final Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing, which will formally specify which areas of the OCS will be open to offshore development. The event will discuss the effects of Arctic offshore energy development and will include perspectives from Senator Lisa Murkowski and General Joseph Ralston (former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Supreme Allied Commander NATO and an Alaskan resident), as well as a number of other Alaskans. Senator Jeff Merkley and members of the environmental community will also participate.

NYU Law Forum to Look at Coal, Market Value – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the New York University School of Law Institute for Policy Integrity holds a Federal coal workshop looking at fair market value and an alternatives analysis.  With Interior’s review and the upcoming Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), this public workshop will gather legal, policy, and economic experts to analyze key issues for this review.  Former Interior Dep Secretary David Hayes will speak but don’t expect the overall evaluation of many others to find many benefits of coal.

Senate Enviro to Look at Enforcement – The Senate Environment Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, will hold a hearing Wednesday to conduct oversight of EPA’s enforcement and compliance programs.  EPA’s Cynthia Giles will testify.

Patent Head to Talk Innovation, Climate – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the Carnegie Institute of Science will host a forum on innovation and climate change.  Innovation is an essential component to meet the challenges of climate change. Better ways to produce, store, conserve, and transmit energy will help the U.S. and other nations meet the ambitious goals set at the United Nations climate change conference held in Paris in December 2015.  Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee, and a panel of technology, energy, and climate experts for a discussion on how present and future innovation can change the course of our planet’s future.

NERCA International Head to Discuss Power, Energy in Africa – The U.S.-Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly networking series on Wednesday featuring Marc Breslaw, Executive Director of the NRECA International Foundation since 2014.   Breslaw leads NRECA’s effort to expand and strengthen existing programs that design and implement successful rural electrification programs in the international arena. The NRECA International Foundation is the philanthropic arm of NRECA International, and helps bring electricity to the people in rural areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America. U.S.-based electric co-ops participate in the Foundation’s mission by sending employees who volunteer their skills, donating used vehicles and equipment and providing funds.

Forum to Look at 2025 Fuel Economy Standards – Bloomberg Government, in partnership with The Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group, will host a breakfast conversation on Thursday examining the forces behind the 2025 fuel economy targets.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Looks at Regs – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. examining the use of agency regulatory guidance. Topics for the hearing will include discussion of agency use of regulatory guidance across government, current and former administration efforts to ensure that this guidance is issued appropriately, and the success of those efforts. The hearing will also explore potential legislative solutions and safeguards. Witnesses include former OMB official Paul Noe, CEI’s Clyde Wayne Crews and Amit Narang, of Public Citizen.

NARUC Commissioner Head to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Travis Kavulla, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), as its guest speaker at the Jun luncheon at the University Club on Thursday.  Kavulla represents the Montana Public Service Commission’s geographically largest district.

Platts Webinar Set to Discuss State, Federal Issues – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., Power Markets Today will host a webinar on the line between federal and state jurisdiction on electricity.  Speakers will include Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner for Energy Katie Scharf Dykes, Sustainable FERC Project Senior Attorney John Moore, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Director of Analytical Services Dan Shields and Electric Power Supply Association President and CEO John Shelk. State and federal jurisdictions often lead to some friction and the case of the economic regulation of electricity is no different, especially in the restructured markets. States that turned to the markets to run their generation now split significant authority with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The states can approve or deny where generation gets built and its environmental requirements but when they have tried to back it economically, they have run into FERC action and sometimes federal lawsuits.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

July 4th Holiday

House Resources to Look at Offshore Leasing Innovations – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Wednesday July 6th to look at Rep Garrett Graves “Innovation in Offshore Leasing Act.”  The legislation amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct offshore oil and gas lease sales through Internet-based live lease sales.

Tesoro, Kinder CEOs Headline EIA Conference – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will hold its 2016 Energy Conference on July 11th and 12th in Washington, DC. This two-day event provides the opportunity to meet and network with energy analysts, decision makers, and EIA staff.  Conference session topics that may be relevant to EIA stakeholders interested in information about greenhouse gasses include: 1) Clean Power Plan: EIA, EPA, and state and regional perspectives and 2) Climate—next steps: Perspectives from the United States, Europe, and China.  Keynoters are Tesoro’s Greg Goff, Kinder Morgan’s Steve Kean and Dan Gardiner, Advisor to the Canadian PM.  View the full list of speakers and sessions and register today.  Among the Panel speakers include our friends Andrew Gohn of AWEA, NREL’s Bryan Hannegan and EPA’s Joe Goffman.

WCEE, Bracewell to Host NY PSC Chair – The Women’s Council on Energy and Environment and Bracewell are hosting a reception for NY State Public Service Commission Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman on Monday, July 11th at 5:30 p.m.  Zibelman leads the regulatory process redesigning the state’s electricity market, called Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). Facing a $30B cost to maintain NY’s electricity grid over the next 10 years, and keenly aware of the vulnerability of the grid after Superstorm Sandy crippled Long Island and southern portions of the state, NY sought alternatives to reduce the need for new infrastructure, maximize the utilization of existing assets and encourage clean energy, and created NY REV.

EESI Holds Congressional Renewables Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds its 19th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo and Policy Forum on July 12th in the Cannon building.  The forum will bring together up to 50 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. In every state across the country, these technologies are having a significant impact in business development and job creation in the manufacturing, transmission, power, transportation, and building sectors. The bipartisan House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus and the Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus are honorary co-hosts of the Expo.

Shelk Headline Capacity Markets – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Thursday, July 14th at 10:00 a.m. looking at the future of capacity markets.  The event will feature EPSA CEO John Shelk, the Regulatory Assistance Project’s  Michael Hogan and our friend Christi Tezak of ClearView Energy Partners.  Ensuring that there is adequate electric power generation to meet established reliability standards is an imperative task for regulators. In organized wholesale markets, however, how exactly to ensure medium- to long-term resource adequacy continues to be the subject of debate and experimentation. Different jurisdictions have adopted different responses, with several markets mandating the procurement of capacity through organized capacity markets. Although the existence and operation of the capacity markets varies across jurisdictions, persistent concerns remain about the functioning and adequacy of capacity markets to ensure long-term reliability—especially in light of a rapidly changing grid with higher penetration of variable renewables and distributed energy resources. This session is part of the Electricity in Transition series from the Energy and National Security Program and will cover the basic theory behind capacity markets, discuss the pathways different jurisdictions have pursued, as well as the challenges perceived by states and market participants.

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

WaPo to Host Faison Energy Conversation – The Washington Post will host an Energy Conversation with Clearpath Founder Jay Faison on Tuesday July 19th at the their GOP convention HQ in Cleveland.   Fiason will also be on a POLITICO panel the next day.

Pioneer CEO to Discuss Industry at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Scott Sheffield, Chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, on Tuesday July 19th at 1:30 p.m. to discuss developments in the U.S. onshore oil and gas industry. Mr. Sheffield has held the position of CEO for Pioneer Natural Resources since August 1997 and assumed the position of chairman of the board in August 1999. In this position Sheffield heads one of the leading producers of unconventional oil and gas in the United States. Sheffield will share his views on recent market developments and regulatory changes in the oil and gas landscape, as well as Pioneer’s strategy for addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today and in the future.

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

DEM Convention Forum Set – The New Policy Institute and NDN will host a major event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, July 26th looking ahead at the future of America and American Politics.  This event will feature a dozen inspiring thought leaders who will offer their different perspectives on what is coming down the road for the US and our politics.  The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 204C, 200 Level Concourse, and run from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm If you would like to attend, please RSVP on our Eventbrite page today.  The event is free and open to the public.

Energy Update: Week of June 20

Friends,

I hope every enjoyed Father’s Day.  It was super for me, as I  enjoying a wonderful, elegant celebration of my colleague Scott Segal’s marriage (Congrats Scott and Travis), refereed a bunch of lacrosse with Hannah (who may have surpassed me already as the best ref in the family), shared some of my favorite Matthew‘s Crab Pizza (the Best in Baltimore) with her and Olivia (Hannah even paid for the Pizza) and finally relaxed with Adam to watch Dustin Johnson bounce the “No Major” monkey off his back at the US Open and see LeBron bring home the NBA Championship to Cleveland.  The boy likes to ask questions though which is not ideal for serious watching at key moments.

I wasn’t surprised by DJ’s great run down the stretch to close out the PGA’s second Major as he was ready to break though.  But I was surprised to see LeBron and the Cavs come back from a 3-1 deficit to break the 52-year Championship drought in Cleveland, knocking off the 73-9 defending Champion Golden State Warriors.  The final quarter was really riveting and Kyrie Irvin’s clutch 3-pt bomb with 50 seconds left and the game tied was amazing.  It is the first time an NBA team has erased a 3-1 deficit and first time since 1978 that a team (the Wes Unseld–led Washington Bullets) won the NBA title in a Game 7 on the road.

This week on the Hill is focused on the potential energy conferences and politics.  Time is running out on the a broad energy bill with only two or so weeks to really go before a 7-week election recess.   While there has been some movement, it is not promising.  There is also room for movement on funding bills with Interior–EPA and Energy and Water ready, but neither have yet grabbed the attention of Floor schedulers.

The Committees will be busy as well, mostly focused on Wednesday.  House Energy is in action the RFS with EPA’s Janet McCabe, EIA and others to discuss implementation concerns around the renewable fuel standard.  A Senate Environment panel will take up the Ozone legislation, a companion to legislation just passed by the House that would delay EPA reviews of the primary ozone pollutants. House Science will likely give EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy a rough ride as they discuss EPA’s use of scientific data.  Finally, House Resources will examine the role of the always-controversial National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in permitting decisions.  That’s ALL WEDNESDAY.

Off the Hill, the FTC looks at consumer protections for rooftop solar tomorrow, already fairly controversial in many states.  Also tomorrow, API’s Jack Gerard hosts a discussion on API polling data and the election which should be interesting.   And Thursday, USEA hosts its 27th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum with EPA Administrator McCarthy among the speaker sat the National Press Club while Brits hold a referendum on whether to leave the European Union, or better known as “Brexit.”  The NY Times has a nice primer on the topic.

Congrats to our friend and former reporter John Cramer who is moving his way around the Ivy League…media shops that is.  John is leaving the media shop at Dartmouth to move to Princeton, where he’ll be chief spokesman and head of media relations.  That should help with Admissions for the boys.

And from our friends at POLITICO, after nine years at the helm of POLITICO’s Playbook seven days a week, Mike Allen is handing off control to a trio of Politico’s finest young talent. Our friends Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and Daniel Lippman will take the reins starting on July 11.

Finally, tonight is the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.  So use the extra daylight to do something fun as it is all downhill from here…until next year   Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Mr. Holmstead has the requisite credentials for serving as an expert on the CAA.  EPA has argued that Mr. Holmstead should not be permitted to provide expert testimony because he has no ‘scientific, technical or otherwise specialized knowledge.’  Frankly, this argument is ridiculous!”

U.S. District Court Judge John Preston Bailey in an order rejected EPA’s motions to Disqualify my colleague Jeff Holmstead from testimony in the Murray Energy Case.

 

IN THE NEWS

Dem Platform Committee Meets in AZ – The Democratic platform committee met on Friday in Phoenix. The Committee featured filmmaker Josh Foxx, actor Mark Ruffalo and a 25 year old poet, among others. The general theme was “keep it in the ground” and a broad rejection of fossil fuels. A select few individuals argued that natural gas or nuclear theoretically could still be considered.   Democrats’ 2012 blueprint touted an “all-of-the-above energy policy” and lauded natural gas as a “clean fossil fuel,” so adopting a negative tone toward nat gas and embracing greater urgency about climate change in this year’s version would constitute a major shift.  We have a good summary if you are interested.

EPA Moves Clean Energy Program Tied to Stayed Rule – Late last week, EPA released the proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program.  The CEIP is a voluntary program under which states can secure extra credit for power from renewables generated in 2020 and 2021- two years before the Clean Power Plan’s first compliance deadline – though the agency notes there may be changes to those dates given the stay. The proposal expands the previous eligibility list for technologies from just solar and wind to include geothermal and hydropower.  There is controversy over whether EPA should still be moving forward though given the EPA stay and the likely tolling of deadline that will occur.   Some experts like my colleague Jeff Holmstead have argued that all elements of the Rule should be on hold while the SCOTUS looks at its legality.

Judge Snubs ‘Ridiculous’ EPA Claim trying to DQ Holmstead in Case – Speaking of Holmstead, you may have missed this last Friday, but EPA’s effort to get him disqualified as an expert witness in the Murray Energy case have blown up in spectacular fashion.   A federal judge soundly rejected EPA’s request saying EPA’s argument because Holmstead once worked at EPA, he should be disqualified from serving as an expert witness in any case adverse to EPA is a “Dog that won’t hunt.” The judge was particularly dismissive of EPA’s contention that Holmstead does not have requisite “scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge,” writing: “Frankly, this argument is ridiculous!”

Plant Vogtle Project Reaches Final Vertical Level of Construction – Georgia Power has achieved the highest level of vertical construction on a pair of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Also, the last of four coolant pumps has been delivered ahead of the time needed for installation for Unit 3.

France Ratifies Paris Treaty – French President François Hollande formally ratified the Paris climate deal on Wednesday, making France the first major nation to do so. More than 170 countries have signed the climate deal, which sees countries set individual greenhouse gas reduction goals as part of a strategy to combat climate change. But the deal won’t formally take effect until 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of the world’s emissions formally ratify the deal. Before France, 17 small countries representing less than 1 percent of global emissions have ratified the agreement.

Manhattan Institute Report Says EPA Overestimates Benefits of CPP – The Manhattan Institute has released a report that argues that the EPA overestimated the benefits of the Clean Power Plan while underestimating its costs.  Among other points, the report says EPA double counts some of the benefits of the rule, and that it’s method of counting benefits globally is inappropriate. On the cost side, it argues that the EPA unfairly calculated the savings from energy efficiency and overestimated the fall in price of renewables.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference, today and tomorrow at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

API to Talk Voter Data, Elections – API President & CEO Jack Gerard will be feature of a forum tomorrow at 9: a.m. at the W Hotel on voter opinion data.  The research covers voters’ opinions on energy issues central to the national debate: regulations, access, taxes, and infrastructure.   In addition, the program includes a one-on-one interview with API President & CEO Jack Gerard with E&ETV’s Monica Trauzzi, followed by a panel featuring some of Washington’s top political and public opinion analysts who will discuss the critical role of energy in the economy and throughout our daily lives, and how it will shape the political landscape as the country prepares to vote in November.  Among the Panelists is our friend Sean Spicer of the RNC.

CAP Forum to Focus on Climate, Security Issues – The Center for American Progress tomorrow morning hosts a forum to discuss potential U.S. policy responses for climate change, environmental deterioration, water management, and food security as key concerns for national security and global governance. The event will draw upon current policy debates in the United States, as well as lessons learned from the November 2015 policy decision-making exercise, “Food Chain Reaction: A Global Food Security Game.”  The event will feature introductory remarks from Jon White, retired Rear Admiral, Navy, Coast Guard and President/CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.  Panelists will include State’s Special Representative for Global Food Security Nancy Stetson, World Food Program USA CEO Richard Leach, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke.

EIA Head Leads Deloitte Energy Conference – Tomorrow and Wednesday, Deloitte hosts its 2016 Energy Conference at the Grand Hyatt focusing on exponential technologies driving exponential change.  Deloitte brings together energy executives, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and regulators from around the globe for an in-depth analysis of key developments and challenges facing today’s global and domestic energy markets at its Energy Conference. Speakers come from a cross-section of the world’s energy industry, and the conference topics are of keen interest to energy company management, boards of directors, investors, and all other industry professionals.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski is the Headliner.

WCEE Forum to Look at Impact of Fed EM Programs – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) for a lunch forum tomorrow on the wide-ranging impact of new federal environmental mitigation policies.  The event will focus on how the implementation of these policies and those to be developed by the EPA and other federal agencies will impact projects requiring approval or permitting from these agencies.

FTC to Look at Net Metering in Day-Long Forum – Tomorrow, the Federal Trade Commission wants to know more about net metering, and it’s planning an information session. The meeting won’t be the first time the FTC dipped its toes into solar — in 2013 it issued legal guidance on claims related to sales of renewable energy — and last year Congress asked it to look into leasing practices at companies like SolarCity.  Now the Commission seems to be jumping into net metering policy, hosting a meeting ostensibly intended to give the commission an update on the whole industry. But the public notice of the meeting devotes a third of its questions to net metering, and then another third to questions of how rooftop solar generation competes with utilities — which is another way of talking about net metering.

Senate Energy Tackles Public Land Questions – The Senate Energy panel on Public Lands, Forests and Mining holds a hearing tomorrow on BLM’s “Planning 2.0” initiative, which aims to increase public involvement in land use planning. BLM Director Neil Kornze headlines along with Western Governors’ Association ED Jim Ogsbury, Wyoming Stock Growers Association official Jim Magagna, Colorado Law School expert Mark  Squillace and Western Energy Alliance’s Kathleen Sgamma.

Forum to Look at Cybersecurity Grid – The Lexington Institute is hosting a Capitol Hill Forum in CVC 208-209 on the National Guard’s Role in Cybersecurity for the U.S. Power Grid tomorrow afternoon.  The power grid, which provides electricity to homes, businesses, and government across the United States, is vulnerable to an increasing number of threats, the least understood but potentially most dangerous is a cyberattack.   An approach gaining momentum in many states is collaboration with the National Guard.  The National Guard is rapidly developing expertise in cyber defense, with seven cyber protection teams already in place and plans to create 13 more by 2019.  The National Guard is uniquely positioned for this work by its dual role as an asset available to both state and federal authorities.  But as the Guard assumes increasing responsibilities in this work, new questions regarding the role must also be addressed, including how to reconcile it with the Guard’s prohibition on competing with the private sector.

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

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

House Energy Redraws RFS Battle Lines – The House Energy & Commerce Panel on Energy will Hold a hearing on Wednesday morning that will focus on oversight of the EPA’s RFS program, including striking a balance between the interests of ethanol producers and consumers.  EPA Air office Head Janet McCabe and EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht will testify. They will be followed by a panel of refiners, ethanol critics like boat users and ethanol advocates like RFA’s Bob Dineen.  The hearing will be the first since EPA proposed the 2017 RFS rules in late May. The proposed rule would increase RVOs over 2016, but it still falls short of statutory volumes for both conventional and cellulosic ethanol.

McCarty to Headline EPA Science Hearing at House Panel – The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday featuring EPA chief Gina McCarthy.  The hearing will cover a broad range of topics where GOP members have been critical about the scientific underpinning of a number of EPA rules.

House Resources to Battle over NEPA – The House Resources Committee will hold an oversight Hearing Wednesday morning on the impact of federal environmental reviews on everything from energy development to logging on national forestlands.  The full committee is expected to explore the role and importance of regulations required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and how they affect infrastructure, energy and other federal projects.

USEA to Look at CPP Rule, Reliability – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host NERC officials to discuss the reliability assessments of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  NERC recently published a reliability assessment of the final CPP rule – Potential Reliability Implications of EPA’s Clean Power Plan – Phase II. The report finds that combined wind and solar capacity will rise by 10-20 GW over the next 15 years, while coal capacity will decline by up to 27 GW as a result of the CPP. The accelerated transition in the mix of generation resources means a greater emphasis on how renewables and other resources provide essential reliability services – voltage control, load ramping and frequency response.  John Moura, NERC’s Director of Reliability Assessment and System Analysis, will provide an in-depth briefing on the NERC report.

BP Chief to Speak to DC Economic Club – The Economic Club of Washington hosts BP’s Bob Dudley at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s Atrium Hall on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.   Recently, BP released its energy outlook and that should likely be the main topic as well as the current state of the oil and gas industry.

Labor Sect Addresses Press Club – The U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez will speak at a National Press Club luncheon on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. In two and a half years at Labor, Perez has undertaken  a series of aggressive and controversial efforts aimed at worker protections from overtime practices to conflicts of interest that can wreck their retirement savings.

Progress Caucus to Link Tobacco, Climate – In an effort that follows a ridiculous report from Senate Progressives last week linking tobacco and climate, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and the House’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition will host the Capitol Hill event on Wednesday afternoon making similar claims. The forum will examine issues surrounding the fossil fuel industry’s concerted efforts to deceive elected officials, investors, and the American public on the reality of climate change.  Right…I think I’ll pass on this one.

Senate to Look at Ozone Legislation Passed By House – A Senate Environment subcommittee chaired by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito plans a hearing on Wednesday afternoon looking at companion legislation to a House measure passed earlier this month that rolls back implementation of the 70 parts per billion standard by eight years.

Forum to Look at Iran, Oil, Geopolitics – The Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a panel discussion on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. that will explore the geopolitics of oil and discuss the current state of play in the Gulf region.  The oil markets remain in constant turmoil. Oil prices have yet to recover as OPEC countries have repeatedly failed to agree on production cuts. Following the nuclear deal, Iran has been aggressively looking to increase its oil exports despite secondary non-nuclear sanctions. Iraq is also focusing on increasing its oil exports while mired in a dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over revenue sharing. By contrast, the world’s largest producer, Saudi Arabia, is in the midst of a major restructuring of its decision-making apparatus as it also attempts to diversify from its dependence on oil. This panel will feature our friend Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Center for a New American Security and other experts.

EE Forum Set –The US Energy Assn’s 27th annual Energy Efficiency Forum is set for Thursday afternoon at the National Press Club Ballroom.  The event features keynotes from EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Sen. Maria Cantwell, PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo and panels with former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the White House OSTP official Austin Brown.  Energy systems are evolving, with traditional users acting as both energy consumers and producers. Both “prosumers” and traditional energy suppliers are employing distributed generation, energy storage, demand response and information technologies to transform these systems. Improving efficiency in buildings, district energy systems and infrastructure also provides multiple social, economic and environmental benefits to communities and businesses.  At the forum, co-sponsored by the U.S. Energy Association and Johnson Controls, speakers will highlight the pioneering policies, technologies and practices at the center of a future that values energy efficiency as a key driver of energy system innovation.

Forum to Discuss Fuel Cell, Hydrogen Vehicles – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) and the Senate Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus are co-hosting the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Policy Forum on Thursday at noon in the Senate Visitors Center 201.  Industry representatives will provide updates on the latest fuel cell and hydrogen advancements. The Forum will feature a range of experts discussing latest fuel cell and hydrogen energy advancements, including speakers from Bloom Energy, FuelCell Energy, Honda, Plug Power, Walmart, and the Department of Energy.

Forum to Look at Climate Impacts on Women – The Wilson Center, UN Foundation, U.S. AID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, Project Concern International and TetraTech will host a forum on Thursday afternoon to discuss a new report on women and the Impact of climate change.  Struggling to save their failing crops. Walking farther to fetch clean water. Protecting their families from devastating storms and violent conflicts. Experts warn that women in developing countries will be disproportionately affected by climate changes. But women could also hold the keys to solving the climate challenge. Empowering women through education, economic opportunities, and reproductive health care can make surprising contributions to the climate fight. To make this happen, we need to bridge sectoral barriers and work together to ensure that women are climate victors, and not climate victims.

WRI to Look at Transportation Solutions –The World Resources Institute will host a forum on Friday at 10:30 a.m. to look at the role of cities in the global transition to clean energy.  This discussion will highlight the relevance of cities for moving forward with global energy and climate goals by partnering with IEA as it releases the Energy Technology Perspective 2016 report on Sustainable Urban Energy.  The event will bring together top development actors, technology leaders, and investors to discuss and identify shared agendas and pathways to accelerate innovation and transformation across urban energy sectors.  The discussion will use IEA’s Energy Technology Perspective 2016 report as a starting point followed by an expert panel discussion and a Q&A session with attendees.  Speakers will include Kamel Ben Naceur, Director of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks at the International Energy Agency (IEA), who will make a presentation of the Energy Technology Perspective 2016 report.

EIA, UT Official to Talk Energy, Economy – Sunday afternoon at UDC’s Law School, Energy Xchange will host a roundtable discussion on energy and economy.  The event will feature an in-depth, interactive discussion with leading experts from diverse perspectives about the state-of-knowledge regarding how shifting energy trends will affect the broader economy.  Speakers will include University of Texas Energy Institute’s Carey King and EIA Chief Energy Modeler David Daniels.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at European Energy Infrastructure – Next Tuesday, June 28th at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will hold a seminar for American investors, consultants and suppliers of goods and services on energy and infrastructure opportunities in Europe through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  The EBRD is an international, AAA-rated financial institution, which promotes transition to market economies. It operates in 36 countries, from central Europe to central Asia, the Western Balkans, and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. In the energy sector, EBRD has financed $3.7 billion of investments across 60 projects since the beginning of 2014, leveraging a further $10 billion from private investors and co-financiers. EBRD considers financing for a wide range of energy sector investments including:  renewables (wind, solar PV, biomass and geothermal plants}; thermal power generation; electricity transmission, distribution and demand side management; oil and gas production, refining and distribution; and mining activities.

EIA to Release 2016 Energy Outlook – EIA will release its Annual Energy Outlook 2016 next Tuesday, June 28th at 10:00 a.m. in the Kenney-Herter Auditorium at Johns Hopkins University in DC.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present “Annual Energy Outlook 2016” (AEO2016) with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices to 2040.  The discussion will consider AEO2016 cases that address the Clean Power Plan; proposed fuel economy standards for trucks; alternative resource and technology assumptions; and other key energy topics.

Forum to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a roundtable next Tuesday, June 28th at 12:00 p.m. on market failures with respect to nuclear power in the United States. Although nuclear power generates about 20% of U.S. electricity and almost two-thirds of the country’s carbon-free electricity, much of the domestic fleet is under threat of premature closure because current policies and market structures do not adequately value the myriad benefits of nuclear in producing clean, reliable, and affordable energy. Deregulated electricity markets have failed to reward nuclear power for its significant advantages, and injudicious state and federal policies have further distorted the market against nuclear. As a result, nuclear power plants have struggled to remain economically viable and competitive with other energy sources, leading plant owners to prematurely and permanently shut down operable reactors. Ed Kee of Nuclear Economic Consulting will speak.

Forum to Look at Innovation Needed to Meet Paris Climate Goals – Technology, policy and business experts come together Wednesday, June 29th at 1:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution for Science to discuss how innovation can help meet the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. The event will feature a keynote from Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee, as well as a discussion moderated by WSJ’s Amy Harder with HP’s Nate Hurst, Kristina Johnson of Cube Hydro Partners; North Carolina State Power Semiconductor Research Center Director Jayant Baliga, and former EPA official Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/RSVPinnovate.

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

Groups to Screen Anti-Coal Film – Next Tuesday evening, the Heinrich Boell Foundation North America, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and the Goethe-Institut Washington will host a free film screening at the Landmark E St Cinemas of “After Coal,” followed by a panel discussion on revitalizing coal communities.  The United States’ use of coal continues to fall and reached its lowest point on record in 2015. All across the country, traditional coal communities find themselves struggling to adapt to this rapid energy transition–a phenomenon not confined to the United States. This panel will discuss ways in which coal communities can participate in, shape and benefit from the transition away from fossil fuels.

Xcel Exec to Keynote TransForum West in Denver – PennWell’s TransmissionHub will host its 5th annual TransForum West event on June 28 and 29 in Denver. Kicking off the event will be Alice Jackson, vice president – Regulatory Rates, Xcel Energy (NYSE:EXC), who will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday.  There will also be several panels, including one on regional planning dynamics in the West that will include such speakers as PacifiCorp’s Carolyn Barbash, Don Fuller of the California ISO and Johannes Pfeifenberger of the Brattle Group.

Patent Head to Talk Innovation, Climate – On Wednesday, June 29th at 1:00 p.m., the Carnegie Institute of Science will host a forum on innovation and climate change.  Innovation is an essential component to meet the challenges of climate change. Better ways to produce, store, conserve, and transmit energy will help the U.S. and other nations meet the ambitious goals set at the United Nations climate change conference held in Paris in December 2015.  Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee, and a panel of technology, energy, and climate experts for a discussion on how present and future innovation can change the course of our planet’s future.

NARUC Commissioner Head to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Travis Kavulla, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), as its guest speaker at the Jun luncheon at the University Club on Thursday, June 30th.  Kavulla represents the Montana Public Service Commission’s geographically largest district.

July 4th Holiday

Tesoro, Kinder CEOs Headline EIA Conference – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will hold its 2016 Energy Conference on July 11th and 12th in Washington, DC. This two-day event provides the opportunity to meet and network with energy analysts, decision makers, and EIA staff.  Conference session topics that may be relevant to EIA stakeholders interested in information about greenhouse gasses include: 1) Clean Power Plan: EIA, EPA, and state and regional perspectives and 2) Climate—next steps: Perspectives from the United States, Europe, and China.  Keynoters are Tesoro’s Greg Goff, Kinder Morgan’s Steve Kean and Dan Gardiner, Advisor to the Canadian PM.  View the full list of speakers and sessions and register today.  Among the Panel speakers include our friends Andrew Gohn of AWEA, NREL’s Bryan Hannegan and EPA’s Joe Goffman.

EESI Holds Congressional Renewables Forum – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds its 19th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo and Policy Forum on July 12th in the Cannon building.  The forum will bring together up to 50 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. In every state across the country, these technologies are having a significant impact in business development and job creation in the manufacturing, transmission, power, transportation, and building sectors. The bipartisan House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus and the Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus are honorary co-hosts of the Expo.

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

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

Energy Update: Week of January 11

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Issues In 2016

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of January 4

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
Top 10 Issues In 2016

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paris Climate Update: December 1

Friends,

What a way to come back from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This week is going be crazy and may be the busiest energy/environment week of the year.  The major actions include the Paris Climate meetings already under way in France (6 hours ahead), the rollout of the RFS yesterday, energy legislation and GHG regulation action on the House floor, a slate of interesting Congressional hearings and finally the oral arguments on Friday focused on EPA’s mercury rules that were remanded by the US Supreme Court.

Let’s start with Paris…Speeches launched yesterday as world leaders converged on Paris.  The action got going with speeches, sidebar meetings between leaders, some protests gone bad and clean energy innovations initiatives.  India continues to be a thorn in the side of the talks, leaking a US “confidential note” that was shared with select countries which said the developed/developing countries distinction should be eliminated and developing countries should contribute to the Green Climate Fund.  That should make the negotiations later next week fun.  A lot more below…

The House of Representatives has a heavy energy hand this week, readying votes to undermine the GHG Regulations that were approved by the Senate prior to Thanksgiving. They will also consider other attempts to undercut the ability of U.S. negotiators to reach an international accord to address climate change in Paris related to the Green Climate Funding and Congressional Review of any agreement.   Industry groups issued a letter to all House of Representatives’ offices in support of Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolutions to strike the EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for new and existing power plants. It is a similar Letter that was sent to Senators when they voted on similar legislation prior to Thanksgiving.  The House is expected to vote later this afternoon or this evening.

Then tomorrow, the House will move to energy legislation which will dive into bolstering energy infrastructure and promoting liquefied natural gas exports.  The legislation Is expected to get more than 70 amendments that will be handled by the Rules Committee today.  While that will get Paired down, there may be legislative action on Crude Exports, the RFS, Gene Green’s Cross-Border infrastructure Permits streamlining (in other words fixing woes that dragged down Keystone), rooftop solar and other items.

Congress isn’t only busy on the House Floor.  There are a number of important hearings this week, including this morning hearing in the House Science Committee.   held a thoughtful hearing on the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Conference.   The other important hearing today included FERC Commissioners coming to a House Energy panel to discuss the implications of the Clean Power Plan, electric reliability and many other issues under FERC’s jurisdiction.

Finally, on Thursday The Hill will host a forum on the on the future of energy delivery and Friday oral  arguments in the DC Circuit will determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule.  With the action in Paris getting more wonky now with world leaders departing, we will likely provide you the next update on Friday.  In the meantime, should you have any questions, please call…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS ROLLING

DAY TWO MORNING

President Obama Offers Departing Remarks – President Obama held a presser as he prepared to depart climate talks in Paris.  Here is a link to the briefing: http://keranews.org/post/president-obama-paris-says-hes-confident-climate-deal-will-be-reached-video

This is a brief summary of the Dec. 1st news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. Please note that what follows is paraphrased and not an exact transcript:

Opening Remarks:  President Obama began by speaking on the subject of terrorism, along with the ongoing Syrian refugee issue. He proceeded to argue that climate change is a profound problem that is a threat multiplier. He further that if action now isn’t taken now, the problem will get worse. According to Obama, “this is an economic and security imperative.” The President argued that businesses and investors need certainty to create a low carbon future. He is “convinced that we are going to get big things done.” Bill Gates is an example of someone who understands that climate change is a moral imperative, but also an opportunity. His optimism and the sense that we can do what is necessary is infectious.

Question and Answer:

The following summary reflects only questions pertaining to climate change:

Q: Unrelated question regarding Syria.

A: We still need a Paris agreement, so my main focus is ensuring that the U.S. is a leader in bringing a successful agreement home. There are a number of components of it.  First, the agreement must be ambitious and must seek a low carbon global economy over the course of this century. This means that countries have put forward specific targets and that there is a mechanism with which countries are working on the targets and meeting them. There should be legally binding transparency measures, as well as periodic reviews. Countries should be allowed to update the pledges that they make. We also need a climate fund that allows developing countries to adapt and mitigate. If we hit those targets, then we will have been successful, not because the pledges alone will meet the necessary targets, but because it gets the ball rolling. Changes in say, solar technology, may make it easier to meet even higher targets. Systematically carbon emissions and the pace of climate change can be put downwards. Some of the reporting says that all of the pledges aren’t enough (estimated 2.7 C) increase in temperature. That is too high, but if we have these periodic reviews built in I believe that by sending that signal to researchers and scientists and entrepreneurs we will start hitting these targets faster and we can be even more ambitious. This may result in us meeting the 2 C target. This is not foolish optimism. I sought to double clean energy production when I came into office and our investment allowed us to meet those goals a lot quicker than expected. My expectations were exceeded in regards to solar power. The key here is to set up the structure so that we are sending signals all around the world that this is happening and that we are not turning back. The thing about human ingenuity is that it responds when it gets a strong signal about what needs to be done. The old expression that necessity is the mother of invention is particularly apt. The signal will help us to ultimately meet our goals.

Q: Are you confident that you can hold the U.S. to its commitments under existing treaties with no new vote needed?

A: We already engage in assistance to countries for adaptation, assistance and mitigation. So, this is not just one slug of funding that happens in one year. This is a multi-year commitment that is already embedded in a whole range of programs around the world. My expectation is that we will absolutely be able to meet our commitments. This is part of American leadership and part of the debate that we have to have in the U.S. more frequently. Too often leadership is defined by sending troops somewhere and that is the sole definition of leadership. Our leadership needs to be understood in a broader sense than that. When I made the announcement in Beijing, I was able to do so in part because we led domestically. Whether it is organizing a coalition that is fighting ISIL or dealing with climate change, our role is central, but on large international issues it is not sufficient, at least not if we want it to take and sustain itself.

Q: What happens if another President comes into office, say from the Republican party?

A: After a brief response to the issue, the President referred to the immense global gathering. Whoever is the next president, they will have to think that this is very important because of the emerging global consensus. That is why it is important to not project what is being said on a campaign trail, but to do what is right. The good news is that the politics is changing inside the United States as well. People should be confident that we will meet our commitments.

Q: In terms of sending that market signal you talked about today, do you see a political path back home to putting a price on carbon?

A: I have long believed that the most elegant way to drive innovation and reduce carbon emissions is to put a price on carbon. This is a classic market failure. If you open up an Econ 101 textbook, it will say that markets are very good at determining prices except that there are certain externalities that the market does not price, at least not on its own. Clean air is an example. Clear water or in this case the carbons that are being sent up. If you put a price on it, then the entire market will respond and the best investments and the smartest technologies will begin scrubbing our entire economy.  As the science around climate change is more accepted and people start realizing that even today you can put a price on the damage that climate change is doing. When you go down to Miami and see that it is flooding on high tide, there is a cost to that. Insurance companies are starting to see that in terms of how they price risk. It may be that the politics surrounding a cap-and-trade system. I am not under any illusion that this Congress will do that, but eventually it may happen. It is worth remembering that conservatives and center-right think tanks that figured out that this was a smarter way to deal with pollution than command and control. George H. W. Bush did this in regards to acid rain. More than anything, this is the main message that we want to send. Climate change is a massive problem, a generational problem and a problem by definition is just about the hardest thing for any political system to absorb. The effects are gradual and diffuse, so there isn’t a lot of constituency pressure to deal with it right away. There is the problem of the commons, you need everyone to do it.  There is a huge coordination problem and the danger of free-riders. On all these dimensions it is harder to come up with a tougher and a more consequential problem. I actually think we are going to solve this thing, in spite of that. If two years ago you mentioned that 180 countries would show up with ambitious targets, people would have said that that is a pipe dream. More R&D dollars are important, which is why the mission innovation announcement was so significant.  I am optimistic and I think we are going to solve it. The issue is the pace and how much damage is done before we are able to fully apply the brakes.  In some ways, it is akin to the problem of terrorism and the problem of terrorism and ISIL. In the immediate aftermath of a terrible attack like happened in Paris, sometimes it is natural for people to despair, but look at Paris, we can’t tear down Paris because of the demented actions of a handful of individuals. We have to be steady and continue applying pressure to the problem. Most of all, we have to push away fear and have confidence that human innovation and our values, judgements and solidarity will win out. I have been at this long enough that I have some cause for confidence. We went for a month or a month and a half where Ebola was going to kill us all. No one asks me about it anymore. We set up an entire global health security agenda that was part of American leadership to deal with Ebola, but also future pandemics. It is solvable.

Legally Binding? – One of the key remarks from the briefing was the President’s comment about legally binding portions of the agreement.  Obama stressed today that portions of the pending climate change agreement that diplomats hope to finalize here this month should be legally binding, a remark intended to tamp down tensions over the structure of the deal.  He reiterated his position that the mechanism under which countries review their domestic climate change targets should be legally binding.  But Obama’s decision to stress that position comes amid confusion and frustration from some countries toward the United States over the legal nature of any deal that emerges. While it supports making some aspects of the deal legally binding, the administration strongly opposes making the climate change targets themselves binding because that would trigger a requirement to submit the final agreement to the Senate, where its fate would be likely be rejected.

The Hard Work Launches – With the world leaders departing, the real negotiators are getting down to work with spin-off groups, focused on specific issues in the draft agreement, met to talk about issues including technology development and transfer, capacity-building and legal provisions between now and 2020, as well as the deal’s preamble. The groups met to talk about helping countries adapt to climate change and compensating them for loss and damage and reducing emissions. This afternoon and evening, there will be meetings on financial aid, transparency, how to take stock of progress, what to do before 2020, capacity-building, technology, and other general issues.

 

DAY ONE

Leaders to Arrive Early – The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris began Monday with an unprecedented Leaders Event, immediately after the official opening of the COP, where an estimated 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of States delivered speeches. These speeches are posted on the “white pages” of the UNFCCC website as they are made available to the secretariat.  President Barack Obama made brief remarks aimed at rallying the world to reach a deal to cut greenhouse gases and sealing his environmental legacy with or without Congress’ help. In his speech, Obama quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “There is such a thing as being too late.”  “When it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, now, if we place our short term interests behind the air that our children will breathe and the water our children will drink,” Obama said. “Then we will not be too late for them.”   Chinese President Xi Jinping followed Obama saying “tackling climate change is a shared mission for mankind. All eyes are now on Paris.”  Jinping  also called for countries to determine their own best solutions and for an agreement that includes “global sustainable development at a high level and bring about new international cooperation featuring win-wins.”

Actions, Actions, Actions – Heads of State, Governments and others made major climate action announcements Monday and Tuesday at a series of press conferences and at a number of high-level side events.  All of the speeches and press conferences took place at the Le Bourget venue and still can be viewed on demand via webcast. Summaries of climate action announcements, with links to the official announcements posted online by governments and key stakeholders, will be made available in the UNFCCC Newsroom.  A tentative overview of press conferences, including those of Heads of State and Government, is available on the UNFCCC press page.

Still No Negotiation Observations – In the last pre-COP21 negotiating session in Bonn in October, observers from civil society, business and elsewhere were shut out of the negotiating rooms.  It was the result of the Japanese delegation, but was unopposed by the EU and U.S.  It did draw criticism from the G-77 and China group of developing countries, who argued that opening the doors would send a sign of transparency.

Obama, India’s Modi Hold Meeting – One of the biggest meetings was between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama.  Modi said India will fulfil its responsibilities regarding climate change when he met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines Monday.  Obama said India had to be able to grow and fight poverty, while Modi pledged to ensure development would be coupled with environmental protection.  Modi’s speech held quite a different message though saying India did not create the climate change menace but was suffering its consequences while he delivered a stern message to affluent nations, saying “those with luxury of choices should sharply reduce emissions”.  Modi: “Climate change is a major global challenge. But it is not of our making. It is the result of global warming that came from prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel,” he said while inaugurating the India pavilion at the summit, toughening his country’s stand in the face of US criticism of India.  Read the Hindu Times coverage Here.

US Negotiators Note Undermines Developing Countries – Speaking of Indian Press, the Business Standard of India reported that the U.S. wants to eliminate the distinction between developing and developed countries in climate talks.  They are circulating a “confidential note” that was shared with select countries, US officials say they wants the successive round of pledges under the proposed Paris agreement to be determined independently by each country and not through a process of international negotiation.  The “non-paper” also adds the wall of differentiation between developed and developing countries should be done away and says developing countries should also contribute to the climate funds in future.  That should really set a positive tone…

India Leads Solar Alliance Effort – Indian Prime Minister Modi and French President Hollande, along with world leaders, launched the International Solar Alliance on the inaugural day of the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris. The solar alliance brings together key countries and invites over 100 solar-rich countries to propel clean energy and protect the climate. The cooperation demonstrated by both developed and developing countries in launching the solar alliance gives a head start to the collective, flexible cooperation needed to hammer out an international agreement in Paris to sustainably and effectively fight climate pollution.  Modi: “We must turn to solar to power our future.” President Hollande praised India’s leadership and called for France and others to mobilize finance and technology to achieve climate justice during the summit. The International Solar Alliance invites countries located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join, including many African and Asian nations, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, China and the United States. Prime Minister Modi estimates $100 billion will be needed annually by 2020 to finance the clean power initiative. India’s National Institute of Solar Energy will lead the coordination of the solar alliance initiative for the first five years. The International Solar Alliance is part of India’s effort to advance a low-carbon economy, including domestic targets to install 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022. Prime Minister Modi also marked India’s progress, noting that India’s current installed solar energy capacity of 4 gigawatts will jump to 12 gigawatts by the end of 2016.

Key features of the International Solar Alliance

  • Collaborate on research and development of new and affordable solar energy technologies
  • Share regulatory and policy frameworks
  • Exchange best practices for solar energy development and installation
  • Promote joint efforts and programs to train a skilled workforce
  • Cooperate on common industry standards
  • Partner on attracting financial investments and creating innovative financing mechanisms

The launch of the International Solar Alliance shows the flexibility and cooperation needed at the negotiations to achieve a strong agreement to reduce global warming pollution.

Countries Commit to Clean Energy – A group of 20 countries say they will double current spending on clean energy research and development over the next five years.  President Obama, French President Hollande and other world leaders announced the new Mission Innovation initiative this morning in Paris. The 20 countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Private Investors to Fund Tech Innovation – While it rolled out late last week, a separate coalition of 28 private large-scale investors also  launched a complementary effort to funnel capital into “early stage companies that have the potential of an energy future that produces near zero carbon emissions and provides everyone with affordable, reliable energy.”  The group, named the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, is spearheaded by Bill Gates and Includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Virgin Founder Richard Branson, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Indian Business mogul Mukesh Ambani, Chinese businessman Jack Ma, Vinod Khosla Indian auto magnate Ratan Tata, HP CEO Meg Whitman, activist George Soros and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, among others.

UN Head Supports 5-Yr Climate Reviews – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says governments’ pledges to cut global warming emissions aren’t enough and should be reviewed before 2020.  Ban said he endorsed plans for reviewing targets every five years.  While more than more than 180 countries have submitted climate action plans, however, scientific analyses show that even if those plans are implemented man-made warming is likely to reach almost 3 degrees C (5.4 F), which is beyond the 2-degree C (3.6 degree F) goal of the international talks.  “It’s not enough. We have to do much more and faster to be able to contain the global temperature rise below 2 Celsius,” Ban said.  Still, he said he was encouraged by the recent progress in the climate talks, which for years have been bogged down by disputes between rich and poor countries over who should do what.  “It seems to me that all the stars are aligning,” Ban said. “I’m pretty optimistic that we will be able to have a very robust universal climate change agreement.”

McConnell to Leaders: Key GHG Initiative on Shaky Legal Ground – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell writes in the Washington Post that global leaders shouldn’t work with President Obama in Paris based on a domestic energy plan “that is likely illegal … and that his successor could do away with in a few months’ time.”

House Leader McCarthy Challenge Obama on Energy View – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also published an article in Reuters. He argues that President Obama’s rhetoric “is blind to the true story of American energy.” Please see a copy of McCarthy’s op-ed here.

Downplaying Results – Several reports have said shown the White House and other world leaders downplaying outcomes for the Paris conference talks saying the success of a global treaty being negotiated by world leaders over the next few weeks won’t be determined instantly, but will take years to change course.  Only in about 2030 will it be possible to look back and determine whether Paris 2015 was the turning point that world leaders are so avidly seeking here. Will all the world’s nations live up to the pledges they brought? Will they do even more? And will emissions, at long last, be heading down? Statements like these are meant to put a gloss on the widely acknowledged reality that the formal emission pledges received so far are inadequate. Those pledges — by  more than 180 countries accounting for at least 95 percent of global emissions – don’t come close to putting the world on a path toward holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Security Risks? Terrorism v. Climate – The White House wants no part of the “terrorism” versus “climate change” threat ranking game despite repeatedly making the argument.  Republicans have long pounded top Democrats—including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Bernie Sanders—for deeming climate change a danger on par with (or ahead of) terrorist attacks, saying their statements underscore a failure to take groups such as ISIS seriously.  But when deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes was repeatedly asked on Monday how the two stack up, he refused the premise. “They are both critically important, and we have to do both at the same time,” Rhodes said. “They pose different threats. Obviously there is an immediate threat from terrorism that has to be dealt with to protect the American people, to protect our allies and partners, and to root out the cancer of terrorist networks that we see not just in Iraq and Syria but in different parts of the world. I think over the long-term, clearly we see the potential for climate change to pose severe risks to the entire world.”

Countries Urge a Carbon Price – Leaders from China, Germany, Mexico, Canada and Ethiopia joined French officials yesterday evening and promised to  impose a price on carbon. France’s energy transition law, passed over the summer, sets an example by putting the price of carbon on a trajectory to hit €56 ($59.50) per ton in 2020 and €100 ($106) in 2030, the energy minister noted. Carbon pricing will be a divisive issue in the talks.

 

BACKGROUND

Who’s Going – The U.N. expects the COP-21 to draw some 10,000 government representatives to the Le Bourget conference center in a northeastern Parisian suburb, plus 7,000 observers per week and 3,000 journalists.  Just Last week, more than 1,000 other reporters were cut from the list of accredited media.  We will be in contact with several industry people on the ground in Paris and will be happy to provide you their thoughts and posit your questions to them.    President Obama arrived Sunday and Just departed this afternoon.  Other cabinet members attending: Sect of State Kerry, Interior’s Sally Jewell, DOE’s Moniz, Ag Sect Vilsack, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and NOAA Admin Sullivan.  California Governor Jerry brown and Washington state Governor Jay Inslee are attending.

Congress – Several members of Congress will be attending, mostly near the end of the conference.  Much is still up in the air because the impending budget deadline on December 10th that will require Congressional action/votes.  On the Senate Side there are rumors that Sen. Inhofe will make an appearance at the near the end of week 2.  On the D Side, Whitehouse, Cardin, Markey and Schatz are planning to attend.  Right now, Pelosi and Whitfield are leading the respective delegations.  On the Republican side Jim Sensenbrenner, Pete Olsen and several other E&C members are expected to go to Paris.   Key Senate EPW Staffer  Mandy Gunasekara and House E&C staffers Tom Hassenboehler and Mary Neumayr will also expected to be attending the conference.

Others Attending – Among those attending the main conference are 20 Sierra Club staff members or volunteers, including executive director Michael Brune and 12 from the World Resources Institute, led by Jennifer Morgan. Main Keystone opponent Bill McKibben is going, along with Britain’s Lord Nicholas Stern and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria.

Washington business groups seem to have a smaller presence. There is a large group going with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, including:

– Lisa Jacobson, Business Council for Sustainable Energy

– Kelly Speakes-Backman Alliance to Save Energy

– Kathryn Clay American Gas Association

– Thad Hill CEO of Calpine

– Dan Chartier Corn Refiners Association

– Dan Delurey Demand Response & Smart Grid Coalition

– Nanette Lockwood Ingersoll Rand

– Grady Crosby Johnson Controls

– Tony Earley CEO PG&E

– Rhone Resch CEO Solar Energy Industry Association

 

We have heard of only a handful of other D.C.-based business folks who say they will be there. They include:

– Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute

– Art Lee,  Chevron

– Eric Holdsworth, Edison Electric Institute

– Susan Mathiascheck, Nuclear Energy Institute

– Gene Trisko, United Mineworkers

– Stephen Eule, Institute for 21st Century Energy at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

 

Think Tanks – There will be a bunch of think tanks going but I will report on the number of conservative groups.  CEI will have several people in the second week including climate meeting veterans Myron Ebell, Chris Horner and Harlan Watson.  Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference on December 7th at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary,Climate Hustle.   Heritage Foundation treaty expert Steve Groves will also be in Paris.  Finally, RFF has a great blog from Brian Flannery and Ray Kopp that raises key questions.

Eule Interview with Bloomberg – Steve Eule, who first attended the Milan COP meeting in 2003 as an official in the Bush administration, talked to Bloomberg about what to expect. Eule said there are very few opportunities to lobby or influence what is going on. Every morning at 9 a.m. there’s a business briefing for groups from all over the world. That’s a great way to find out what is happening, he says, because “a lot of businesses are a lot tighter with their governments (than the U.S.) and they get the skinny.”

“There are a lot of really boring hours, but when it starts to be crunch time, the meetings go behind closed doors,” he said. “Then the rumor mill takes over.”

And don’t expect to take a long tour of the Louvre. “Nobody wants to leave because they are afraid they are going to miss something,” Eule said. “I see the hotel room, the Metro and the venue and that’s about it.”

Security Is High – France is deploying  11,000 additional police during the climate meetings to ensure security for two weeks. The location of the COP-21 conference center Le Bourget is just a few miles from the Stade de France in St. Denis, where a terrorist exploded a bomb on November 13th.   France said it will deploy 2,800 police and gendarmes on the conference site itself. Some 8,000 police will be deployed on France’s borders to temporarily re-implement border controls that ended in 1995 with the EU Schengen Area’s creation.

Pre-Conference Protests Go Bad – French riot police fired tear gas at activists protesting as part of global climate demonstrations yesterday.  About 200 protesters, some wearing masks, fought with police on a street leading to the Place de la Republique. Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters that some demonstrators hurled glass bottles and memorial candles at police. Demonstrators in France were warned not to gather amid the state of emergency enacted after the Paris attacks. But more than 4,500 people formed a human chain around midday.  Almost 200 people were arrested using the state of emergency rules.  French President Hollande said “everything will be done” to keep violent protesters away from the conference. Some protesters were undeterred by the criticism, chanting, “a state of emergency is a police state.”

Side Events Will Go On – Despite French officials canceling an outdoor climate march due to security concerns in the aftermath of the terror attacks, French and UN officials announced that indoor events organized by civil society during international global warming negotiations in Paris can proceed. One of those events will be NEXT Thursday, December 10th 3:00 p.m.  Business Side Event in Room 5 which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.  Another event will be held TOMORROW at 2:00 p.m. at the UNESCO building (125 avenue de Suffren, 75007 Paris) featuring NRECA’s Martin Lowery.  Lowery will join cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.

 

KEY ISSUES TO FOCUS ON

Some Key Points – There are several key points to keep on your agenda as you listen to the discussions, reporting and other items related to the Paris Climate meeting.  There will be a lot of symbolism and hype and focusing on these key points will allow you to get to the heart of the key issues:

1) Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – The Paris agreement is anticipated to be a bottom-up treaty, with each country setting goals based on their unique national circumstances. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, will form the basis of the country-specific commitments under the new UN climate treaty. It is also expected that periodic review of these commitments will be instituted along with measuring, reporting, and verification to ensure the integrity and ambition of the commitments.  While may seem to be making INDCs, there are many questions as to whether countries will live up to these commitments.  Even the US commitment is being questions by experts as not adding up to the 26-28% reduction.

2) Green Climate Fund – Financing issues are among the most controversial in Paris, and they could easily derail any agreement. Many developing country INDCs are conditioned on financial support and technology transfer.  The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was proposed at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, refined in subsequent meetings, and became operational in 2014. GCF aims to provide support to developing country efforts to reduce their GHG emissions and to adapt climate change.  However, this breaks down, it is clear that a significant portion of the expected funds—certainly tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars over many years—would be coming from public sources and would have to be appropriated by Congress.

3) Intellectual property – Developing countries have used this provision deftly to justify their attempts to weaken intellectual property rights (IPR) protections, ostensibly to remove the supposed “barriers” to technology transfer raised by IPR. Compulsory licensing and a fund supported by developed countries to buy down IP are two of many proposals being bruited. IPR serve as a fundamental catalyst of innovation, and study after study has shown that it is not a barrier to technology transfer. A weakened IPR regime such as that being proposed above would provide precious little incentive for companies to invest in advanced technologies if after years of research and development and millions or even billions of dollars invested, their inventions could be expropriated outright by companies in developing countries and manufactured and sold around the world at reduced cost. Under such a circumstance, some of the most innovative companies in the developed world would simply abandon the development of advanced energy technologies.

4) Technology Transfer – Tied to INDCs and the Green Fund, Technology Transfer is one fundamental issue that could bridge the gap.  It frankly is a better way to move toward a positive goal transforming our energy economy:  engage developing countries with advanced technology transfer to help them grow their economies more efficiently and cleanly.  Rather than going to Paris and trying to shame everyone into doing, this approach could be an important way to move forward.  In fact, we are already doing in many ways.  Look at the Clean Coal, Solar and offshore wind technologies that have struggled to catch on here in the US.  While we have struggled, developing nations, specifically China, have looked for these opportunities even without the promise of billions in funds (that will likely not ever come).

5) Verification – An issue that does not receive the attention it deserves is measuring, reporting, and verification of climate policies. As things stand now, the system of MRV that is likely to come out of Paris will focus not on whether a country meets its emissions goal, but on whether it implements the policies and measures designed to meet its goal. In other words, MRV is more about process than results. MRV will be especially challenging in developing countries. Transparency is a key to open markets and planning, and businesses will be reticent to invest in developing economies without assurances that its investments in emission reduction and offset projects are real and that government activities in support of INDCs have integrity.

6) Binding Legal Commitments Or Non-binding Political Agreement – In a recently interview, Secretary of State John Kerry said recently the Paris agreement is “definitively not going to be a treaty.” While it has not been finalized, we can already say that the Paris Agreement will be a multilateral international agreement that will include almost every country in the world. In testimony last week, Hofstra Constitutional Law Professor Julian Ku said If the outcome of the Paris Conference is to make these promises to reduce emissions legally binding, it is my view that the Paris Agreement must be submitted to the Senate for approval as a treaty under Article II.  This will continue to be a contentious point of negotiating among parties and one that US Senators will be watching Closely.  Last week, Senator Barrasso and Inhofe said the any funding for climate initiatives would be tied to Senate review.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES

House Members Weigh In On Green Climate Fund – I mentioned the recent letter from Barrasso and Inhofe on the Green Climate Fund.  Last week, more than 100 House members released a letter expressing opposition to Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, calling the president’s move “unilateral” and arguing Congress should have oversight. The debate over the fund is one of several expected to arise as Obama tries to implement a potential deal from Paris.

Two Names to Remember – It is likely Poland’s new conservative government will be a skunk at the Paris Climate Garden Party next week.  Reports are they is threatening to veto a deal at the Paris climate summit, making clear its determination to protect the country’s large coal industry. Poland’s previous center-right government also fought to dilute EU emissions reductions goals, defending the coal that supplies the bulk of the country’s electricity and accounts for thousands of politically sensitive jobs. The Law and Justice Party (PiS), which this year took control of both the presidency and the parliament, is an even more ferocious defender of Polish coal than its predecessor. Two names to keep an eye on are new Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, a coal miner’s daughter from the country’s industrial heartland.

China Tops for Clean Energy – China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon pollution, continues to hold the top position as the best developing country in which to invest in clean energy in a study by Climatescope, a research project whose partners include Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the U.K. Department for International Development. The nation scored highest for a second consecutive year in an analysis of 55 emerging market nations including South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya that mapped important progress in the area.

ClearView on the Paris Negotiations – Our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy release a report on the talks saying it appears that a main goal of the talks is forging a durable agreement with five-year review periods. In the absence of specific funding commitments from developed nations and transparency measures for all parties, Book says the talks could produce a weak deal. Topics that could slow negotiations down include the questions of how to apply “common but differentiated responsibilities” to the many provisions of an agreement and whether to include “loss and damage” in the deal at all. Even with a durable agreement, economic reversals, international security incidents and other surprises can still overcome best intentions, making the attainment of voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals somewhat tenuous. Future fossil fuel consumption is likely to depend on the implementation of those goals, and our analysis of third-party global energy outlooks found a wide divergence among reports. Coal consumption projections, for example, ranged from a 28% decline by 2030 to an increase of 43%. All of the estimates that we compiled show a growth in natural gas consumption by 2030.

Dueling Polls – There are two new polls out today that underscore why polling on this subject (as well as other environmental subject is always suspect).  A new Washington Post-ABC News poll says the number of people who believe climate change is a serious problem facing the United States is declining.  The poll shows 63% of those surveyed say climate change is a serious problem facing the country, down from 69% in June. 52% say climate change is a “very serious” problem, down from 57%. About 47% believe the government should do more to deal with global warming, down from 61% in 2008. The poll found 51% of people say there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists” over the existence of global warming, down 11% from 2008. About 43% say scientists agree with one another.  Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS News poll says Americans support the United States joining an international treaty to limit the impact of global warming, but on this and other climate-related questions, opinion divides sharply along partisan lines.  The poll says 66% of Americans support the United States joining a binding international agreement to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but a slim majority of Republicans remain opposed.  63% of Americans — including a bare majority of Republicans — said they would support domestic policy limiting carbon emissions from power plants.  Again, this seems suspect when you look further into the polling: When considering policies to reduce carbon emissions, Americans generally favor regulating business activity more than taxing consumers. The poll found broad support for capping power plant emissions. Half of all Americans said they thought the government should take steps to restrict drilling, logging and mining on public lands, compared with 45% who opposed such restrictions. Support for limiting mineral extraction on public lands rose to 58% among Democrats.  But just one in five Americans favored increasing taxes on electricity as a way to fight global warming; six in 10 were strongly opposed, including 49% of Democrats. And support was not much higher for increasing gasoline taxes, at 36% overall.

Mayor Call for Strong Climate Plan – Last week more than 60 mayors and California Governor Jerry Brown (D) called on the U.S. to take strong action during the Paris conference. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and dozens of others representing smaller localities made their case to President Obama.

RFA Says Biofuels Reduce GHGs – Biofuels consumed under the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) have reduced U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent since 2008, according to a new analysis conducted by California-based Life Cycle Associates. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which sponsored the study, said the findings have important implications for both the pending final rule for 2014–2016 RFS volumes and upcoming global climate talks in Paris.

EWG says RFA Fudges Numbers – A study released by the Renewable Fuels Association makes the bogus claim that the use of corn ethanol as a vehicle fuel reduced emissions by 240 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2008.  EWG’s Emily Cassidy says study after study has shown that widespread use of corn ethanol has proved to be a disaster for the climate. The federal mandate to blend corn ethanol into gasoline has led to the destruction of millions of acres of grasslands and wetlands to suit higher demands for corn for ethanol productions.

Obama Rolls Out Reg Agenda – Prior to the Thanksgiving week and the Paris Climate negotiations, the White House rolled out its fall 2015 regulatory agenda.  It is not the first time the President’s regulatory releases, required by law, came out under the cover of holidays:

  • Fall 2012  –  December 21 (Friday before Christmas)
  • Spring 2013  –  July 3 (day before Independence Day)
  • Fall 2013  –  November 27 (day before Thanksgiving)
  • Spring 2014  –  May 23 (Friday before Memorial Day weekend)
  • Fall 2014  –  December 22 (three days before Christmas)
  • Spring 2015  –  May 21 (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend)

 

The agenda includes over 2,000 regulations are now being written. Of these, 144 are deemed “economically significant”—that is, expected to cost Americans $100 million or more each.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

House Floor Debate Launches on Resolution of Disapproval – House Republicans are hoping to send President Obama measures blocking the centerpiece of his climate change agenda as administration officials gather in Paris for the start of international climate talks.   The House will vote on two resolutions tomorrow through the Congressional Review Act that would kill U.S. EPA’s carbon rules for power plants. H.J. Res. 71 would block the agency’s rule to lower carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, while H.J. Res. 72 would eliminate the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants.  Before the Thanksgiving break, the Senate approved both resolutions on 52-46 votes.  The White House will veto both resolutions because they would “undermine the public health protections of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and stop critical U.S. efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.”  But congressional opponents of Obama’s climate change agenda plan to use the effort to undermine the President’s plan in Paris by undermining his signature compliance measure.

House Science to Look at Climate Meeting – The full House Committee on Science will hold a hearing tomorrow on the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference.  The hearing is a second hearing that is raising doubts about the international climate talks and its outcomes.  “The so-called Clean Power Plan will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardship for American families and diminish the competitiveness of American industry around the world,” Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said at that hearing.  Witnesses will be Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Andrew Grossman of Baker & Hostetler and climate gadfly Dr. Bjørn Lomborg.

FERC Commissioners To Visit House Energy Panel – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing focused on FERC.  Witnesses will include FERC Commissioners Bay, LaFleur, Clark and Honorable.  The clean power plan and electric reliability will be a major part of the discussion.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Hearing on Energy Nominee – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet tomorrow to consider several nominations including Amos Hochstein appointment to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources.

Panel to Look at Offshore Wind in the U.S.  – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) will hold a panel discussion tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. looking at offshore wind in the U.S.  CELI and panelists from the U.S. Department of the Interior, EDF Renewable Energy, and the American Wind Energy Association, will hold a discussion on the potential benefits of and challenges facing offshore wind.  The panel will feature Interior’s Joshua Kaplowitz, EDF Renewable’s Doug Copeland and AWEA’s  Hannah Hunt.

Atlantic Council CEO Series Continues with GDF Suez’s Smati – The Atlantic Council will continue its CEO Series with a discussion on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on the future of power markets and energy technology with Zin Smati, the President and CEO of GDF SUEZ Energy North America. As Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Zin Smati is tasked with navigating his company through an era of profound change in the world of energy. He brings his perspective to the Atlantic Council to discuss the sweeping energy transition now underway and to assess the future of power markets and energy technology.

NASA’s Chief Scientist Helping Countries Build Climate Resilience – Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Georgetown University will host NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, who will discuss NASA’s International Programs and how they are using data to help countries develop climate resilience. Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.

RFF to Look at Vehicle Fleet, Regs – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on where panelists will analyze some of the emerging information, including consumer demand for fuel economy and how lower gasoline prices can affect future fuel savings from the regulations. Manufacturer responses will also be discussed, including how the production of different vehicle sizes and types can affect regulatory compliance strategies, and how the new markets for emissions and fuel economy credits are developing.  Speakers will include RFF fellows Virginia McConnell and Joshua Linn, as well as Chris Knittel of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT and Gopal Duleep of H-D Systems.

Forum to Look at Barriers to Renewables – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in 334 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) will host a briefing discussing how all levels of governments in the European Union and United States can expand collaboration on renewable electricity market penetration to meet energy, economic, and environmental needs. The briefing will feature an upcoming report by CCS, funded by the European Union Delegation to the United States, which examines high-priority common challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector that are prime candidates for new or enhanced forms of transatlantic collaboration at the regional and Member State/U.S. state levels. Attendees will be invited to provide comments and input for the report; join us to discuss how enhanced transatlantic cooperation can help set the stage for new investments and technologies through greater thought leadership, information sharing, technical assistance, and collaboration.

Mercury Case Arguments Set – The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments to determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule on Friday at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.  Judges Garland, Judith Rogers and Kavanaugh will hear the case, the same panel of judges who initially upheld the mercury rule 2-1.  EPA has suggested remanding the rule without vacating it so it can fix the problem identified by the Supreme Court that it should have considered the cost of regulating when issuing an initial “appropriate and necessary” finding.  Late last week, EPA proposed a fix using data collected during the implementation of the rule, and says it can finalize the new finding by next spring.  Opponents say the court should make EPA start from scratch, arguing that if the initial “appropriate and necessary” finding was improper then the entire rule must be trashed.