Energy Update: Week of May 14

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

THE PREAKNESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Good Preakness Facts

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

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

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

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

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

Post time: 6:18 p.m. EST

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

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

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

Odds:

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

Picks:                  WinJustify; PlaceQuip; ShowSporting Chance

Super Box:         Add – Good Magic

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

Longshots:         Definitely lay the $2 on Sporting Chance

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

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

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

 

ON THE POD

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

FUN OPINIONS

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

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FERC Open MeetingThursday at 10:00 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

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

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

ON THE POD

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

FUN OPINIONS

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

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

Infrastructure Week – May 14th -18th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of March 5

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

ON THE POD

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

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Update: Week of 1/22

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

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

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

 

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

PES CEO Gregory Gatta said in telephone interview Monday.

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 24

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.

 

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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.