Energy Update: Week of July 23

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

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

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

 

ON THE POD

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

 

FUN OPINIONS

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

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

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE FUTURE

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 9

Friends,

While we were all celebrating the lighter traffic during July 4th week, EPA head Scott Pruitt resigned and Andy Wheeler has taken his place as acting head.  So much to say… Tryin’ to make some sense of it all, I feel like I’m Stuck In the Middle With You …but my friends in the press have already said most of it.  I will only add Jeff Holmstead in Utility Dive, Scott Segal on All Things Considered and me on NPR Saturday all added a few things about the new Administrator and the direction we expect him to take the agency.  Happy discuss more…  And our friend Dino Grandoni in this morning’s WaPo Energy 202 highlights who emboldened enviro activists may have in their sights next.

What Wheeler’s appointment is most likely to do is reduce the focus on environmental issues.  I can’t remember the last time the environment got 30 inches each in the Post, the Times, the Journal, etc…and this move will likely return it to its sleepy place in the public opinion’s eye because we are no longer talking about Chik-fil-a, hand lotion or sirens. I know a few of my reporter friends – who have all done pretty good work even though I might disagree with some story judgments – are quietly breathing a sigh of relief that they might get some of their free time back. Finally, I mentioned this on Thursday, but don’t count on this sidelining Pruitt’s political career.

Congress returns this week to some significant action.  It starts tomorrow morning with the Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn Foyer.  On Wednesday, Senate Environment looks at the long-term value of low-cost federal infrastructure loans, House Resources marks up water facilities and other legislation and Senate Energy looks at  legislation seeking to address the nearly $12 billion backlog of repairs and maintenance at the Park Service.  Then Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee discusses issues facing interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity.

Off the Hill, EPA holds public hearing on air quality standard for sulfur dioxide tomorrow, Ipsun Power holds a Wednesday lunch on the solar industry; the  Bipartisan Policy Center holds Thursday forum on oil and gas sector social enviro governance movement; and Friday energy economists host a luncheon on global oil and natural gas issues featuring former EIA head Guy Caruso.  And don’t forget to mark your calendar for next Wednesday’s EPA RFS RVO public hearing in Ann Arbor.  Also on Thursday, the International Energy Agency will release its closely watched monthly oil market report, the first since OPEC and Russia agreed to boost output.

The World Cup rolls on with very exciting games.  With four teams remaining, we know the winner will come from Europe as the France-Belgium semi-final is tomorrow while Croatia takes on England on Wednesday.  Wimbledon heads to the finals this weekend with the stars still playing.  Finally, the baseball world is continues to prep for the MLB All-Star game next Tuesday at Nationals Park.

On Wednesday, our friend Monica Trauzzi is launching a new NEI video series called Off the Menu with Monica.  It serves as the intersection of energy policy and DC’s thriving food scene.  Off the Menu is an innovative video series that will give viewers a seat at the table of DC’s power lunches and beyond.  The conversations – which start with ClearView analyst Kevin Book – are thoughtful and dynamic and dive in to the key energy policy issues of the day.

Finally, I close on a very sad note today hearing that my long-time friend and former McGraw-Hill oil/climate reporter Gerald Karey passed away last weekend in an accidental drowning in Pennsylvania.  While he retired a couple of years ago, Gerry stayed active In DC and our energy reporter circles.  He was an old-school reporter, funny author of books like Unhinged and great person.  It is a sad day that we have lost him too early.

Call with questions…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

c. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN 

“I hate to take a credit for a man losing his job, but I guess I’d have to say that I take the credit.”

A very classy move by Kevin Chmielewski, former EPA deputy chief of staff for operations, who told The Hill on Friday that he was critical to the eventual departure of the former administrator.  (MY NOTE: I guess he just doesn’t get it.  Who in Washington really does that?)

ON THE POD

Columbia Podcasts Sits Down with OK Sect of Energy/Environment Teague – On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Mike Teague, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment. Mike, who was appointed to this role in 2013, is responsible for coordinating over 30 state agencies, boards, compacts, and commissions in advancing policies that encourage energy production and environmental stewardship throughout Oklahoma. Prior to his appointment, Mike served in the US Army for 30 years.

 

FUN OPINIONS

Oil, Gas Industry Ready for Hurricane Season – Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association and former Texas agriculture commissioner, said the men and women in the Texas oil and natural gas industry and its public and private sector partners are ready for the 2018 hurricane season in the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday. Staples said after Hurricane Rita in 2005, Texas created the Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation and Logistics, which developed a comprehensive slate of recommendations to fortify hurricane preparedness, response and recovery plans. Since then, Texas has become nationally renowned for our “lessons learned” approach of revisiting and strengthening hurricane plans and procedures as technology and best practices evolve. As part of ongoing work to innovate and improve, the energy sector is part of a collaborative effort among private and public sector entities such as the Department of Public Safety, Texas CEQ, the Railroad Commission, TDOT, Texas ports, FEMA, health care facilities and local emergency management officials. The oil and natural gas industry is part of the Fuel Team, which works with the Emergency Management Council to ensure Texans have sufficient access to the gasoline and diesel they need before, during and after a natural disaster.

IN THE NEWS

What other news is there besides Pruitt…

Houston Chronicle: Where Rubber Meets Road Could Kill Gas Mileage – The Houston Chronicle reports that scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology think they have found ways of stretching more miles out of a gallon by addressing what type of pavement a vehicle drives on. Researchers are studying what they describe as “Pavement-Vehicle Interactions,” namely how road quality or the lack thereof effects vehicle efficiency.

DOE Invests in Techs to Innovate Power Systems – The DOE has selected 15 projects to receive nearly $8.8 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects to develop innovative technologies that enhance fossil energy power systems.  The newly selected projects fall under DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s Crosscutting Technology Research Program, which advances technologies that have a broad range of fossil energy applications. Specifically, the program fosters innovative R&D in sensors and controls, modeling and simulation, high-performance materials, and water management.  DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Brown to Speak at Solar ConferenceIntersolar North America will be held in San Francisco today through Wednesday.  The event’s exhibition and conference both focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technologies, smart renewable energy and solar thermal technologies.

Forum to Look at States on Climate Action – Tomorrow morning, Route Fifty will hold a forum to explore state and local governments’ climate goals–and making changes locally, regionally, and internationally to achieve them. From the future of vehicle emissions to regional partnerships, we’ll delve into the policy issues at play–and the stakes. The event will cover States rights in setting emission standards, State and local governments’ work to set their own climate goals–and work internationally, regional cap & trade agreements between states and health equity – emissions impact on the least able citizens.

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held tomorrow and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Speakers include Sen. Dean Heller (NV), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Sen. Jack F. Reed (RI), Rep. Paul D. Tonko (NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA), and Rep. Peter Welch (VT).

Senate Environment to Look at Infrastructure Loans – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the long-term value to U.S. Taxpayers of low-cost Federal infrastructure loans.

Forum to Look at State of Solar – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Ipsun Solar holds a summer forum on passive design, solar design and the current state of the Solar Industry.

WCEE Forum Talks To Women Entrepreneurs – The WCEE Career Building Section holds a discussion to gain ideas and inspiration from some of the daring women who stepped outside their comfort zones and challenged themselves to pursue their dreams. Hear what inspired them to get started, what challenges and obstacles they overcame, and their thoughts on helping you launch your own enterprise. Panelists include Véronique Bugnion, co-founder and CEO of ClearlyEnergy, which provider of innovative search solutions to simplify energy decisions; Amy Konigsburg, the founder of She Wolf, is steeped in the energy industry with over a decade experience providing communications services to private sector and government clients and Molly Seltzer is the founder & chief storyteller of Electric America, a photojournalistic series and affiliated media outlet dedicated to highlighting stories of the American energy sector.

Forum to Look at Mexico Election Impacts – The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the Mexican election results and its impacts on energy and trade.  President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador won with almost 54 percent of the vote on July 1. This historic election comes at a critical moment for Mexico’s future. López Obrador campaigned on a transformative vision and will face several immediate tasks upon taking the office on December 1, including:  establishing new mechanisms to combat corruption; reducing crime in the short term while tackling its root causes in the long term; creating new economic opportunities while finalizing NAFTA talks; and navigating the shifting nature of US-Mexico relations.  As the transition of power begins, we will discuss the priorities he laid out on the campaign trail and the resulting road ahead.

Senate Energy Tackles Energy Delivery – The Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider the policy issues facing interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity.  The hearing will address primary challenges and opportunities for energy delivery networks and their customers today, as well as investment in building or upgrading pipelines, electric transmission lines, and other infrastructure keep pace with energy needs and how federal regulators are responding.

BPC Forum to Examine Oil, Gas Issues – On Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) convenes a panel of experts to examine the current state of the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) movement in the oil and gas sector and explore what’s coming next. This movement continues to gain traction in a time when the regulatory agenda has changed significantly under the Trump Administration. ESG is particularly significant for the energy sector, specifically as shareholder resolutions surrounding climate change continue to take center stage in the media and in the boardroom.

Wilson Forum to Look at China Environment – The Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum (CEF) holds a discussion on Thursday at 2:00 p.m.  to look at sweeping reforms to streamline environmental governance in order to more rapidly mitigate China’s crushing air, water, and soil pollution.  CEF has invited three speakers to unpack the drivers and impacts of this major reform in China. Liu Zhuoshi (Environmental Law Institute) will detail how legal and regulatory authorities around pollution and climate issues are changing. He will also reflect on hurdles Chinese government faces to expand these reforms at the subnational level. Hu Tao (WWF – U.S.) will explore how the new MEE could act more holistically to manage complex pollution issues, like a better coordination on the joint management of air pollution and carbon emission regulations. Liu Shuang (Energy Foundation China) will reflect on the implication of China’s recent governance reforms on efforts to create a national carbon emissions trading systems and what other policies and institutional changes are needed to make it succeed.

Schools as Resilience Infrastructure – On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Congressional Green Schools Caucus will hold a briefing on Schools as Resilience Infrastructure, looking for new opportunities to strengthen disaster preparedness.  The event will look at the role that public school buildings play in strengthening community resilience through strategic investment.  Rep. Alan Lowenthal speaks.

GWU to Look at Protecting Energy Infrastructure – On Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs holds a discussion with senior security representatives from the utility industry and government on securing critical energy infrastructure. The panel will discuss physical and cybersecurity for the North American power grid, infrastructure resilience, and how industry and government partner to mitigate threats. Center for Cyber & Homeland Security Director Frank Cilluffo will moderate the session. Speakers include DOE Pat Hoffman, DHS’s Jeanette Manfra, EEI’s Scott Aaronson, PG &E’s Bernie Cowens, Duke Energy’s Brian Harrell and Entergy’s Chris Peters.

Energy Economists Look at Oil, Gas View – The US Energy Economists in the National Capital Area holds its monthly luncheon on Friday at Chinatown Gardens to offer a view Of US Oil and gas issues with former EIA head Guy Caruso, now at CSIS and CRS policy expert Michael Ratner.

IN THE FUTURE

 

NAS to Hold Truck Fuel Economy Meeting – The National Academies of Science’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences is hosting an event next Monday in the afternoon assessing technologies for improving fuel economy of light-duty vehicles.  Speakers include NHTSA, EPA DOE, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and many others.

Forum to Look at Nuke Decommissioning – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing next Monday at 2:00 p.m. on the urgent need to safely decommission nuclear power plants, which are increasingly shutting down. Leading scientists, policy experts, NGO advocates, and local elected officials with experience of decommissioning will speak at the briefing. It will cover the impacts of decommissioning, current decommissioning options, waste storage vs. transport, thorny unsolved problems and best practices, financing and liability, a just transition for communities and workers, how communities and states can and can’t weigh in on these issues, and how they should inform the fast-changing legislative and regulatory landscape.  Speakers for this forum are Zion Illinois Mayor Al Hill (home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station), former Department of Energy Senior Policy Advisor Robert Alvarez, NRDC’s Geoffrey Fettus and Kevin Kamps, of Beyond Nuclear.

Forum to Look at Nuke Energy Trends – Next Monday at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics hosts a lecture on the topic of “Energy Trends: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear” with Professor Henry D. Sokolski.  With the Trump administration’s proposed financial relief of the coal and nuclear industries in the name of national security, energy economics has re-emerged as a topic for national debate. So far, much of this discussion has been cast as a contest between market economics and national security.

Duke CEO, CARB Chair, Others Headline POLITICO Summit – POLITICO is hosting its second Pro Summit on July 17th at the Renaissance Hotel. The Pro Summit brings together Pro subscribers, expert reporters, key decision-makers, and others who are shaping the policy landscape for a full day of incisive conversations. Summit speakers include Rep. Joe Crowley, Duke CEO Lynn Good, FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Amy Myers Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations, Coal CEO Bob Murray, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols and many others.  Duke Energy is the main event sponsor.

EPA to Hold RVO Hearing – EPA is announcing a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI on July 18th at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti to look at the proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020.

Forum to Look at Digitalization in Energy – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and the Technology Policy Program host a discussion on Wednesday July 18th at 10:30 a.m. featuring Timothy Lieuwen (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Barbara Humpton (Siemens USA) about the new services and opportunities created for companies and regions as the energy industry continues its trend toward digitalization.  The session will begin with a presentation by Dr. Lieuwen, who will explain the findings of Georgia Tech’s recent study, Industrial Data in Power Generation.  The study is the first phase of an ongoing study of industrial data and regional economic development.  Following the presentation, Barbara Humpton will join Dr. Lieuwen to provide perspective on the ecosystem emerging around the digitalization of the energy industry, examining digitalization’s potential to simultaneously help increase reliability, decrease cost, and reduce environmental impacts. Speakers will also explain the behavioral standards for those firms handling data from the industrial sector, the role policy plays in the regulation of data transparency/ownership, and which actors have the most influence to establish and define values in this emerging sector.

Forum to Look at Iran Oil Issues – The Atlantic Council hosts a panel discussion on Wednesday July 18th at 1:00 p.m. focused on a goal of drastically reduce Iran’s oil exports is realistic and the impact the US campaign is having on global production and prices as well as on Iran. This event is jointly sponsored by the South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative, the Global Energy Center and the Global Business & Economics Center.

Health in Buildings Forum Set – The Department of Environment at the National Institutes of Health will gather government leaders and experts on Friday, July 20th across the health and buildings sectors to discuss new developments in research about health in buildings in our HiBR 2018, Health in Building for Today and Tomorrow conference.  Speakers and attendees will examine the many developments in this sector through lively conversations about buildings including innovation, energy, policies, building practices, community solutions and emerging technologies.

Grid Forum Set for Iowa – The TransGrid-X 2030 Symposium will be held on July 26th in Ames, Iowa. The event will showcase the long-awaited NREL Seam Study—a concept featuring bi-directional high-voltage transmission; 600 GW of wind, solar and gas-fired generation; and a trillion-dollar economic event, if fully built.  Our friends Rob Gramlich and former FERC Chair Jim Hoecker will be among the speakers.

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

Energy Update: Week of 10/30

Friends,

Now that was a crazy World Series game last night…At two separate occasions, I thought the Dodgers had the game well in hand.   Welcome to Halloween week.  As many of you know, I have finished a batch my “annual treat” – home-made, uniquely-flavored pumpkin seeds.  This year so far: the usual Old Bay Special and a Cool Ranch.  I plan another round soon, maybe Buffalo-wing Flavor and Maple Bacon.  I must say with sadness that this is the first year we won’t be trick-or-treating with Adam and Hannah gone and Olivia now too “high school” cool.  The only ones who suffer are me and my colleagues who have grown used to the largesse of Snickers, M&Ms, etc…

Another big week on the Solar Tariff front.  Not only did USTR announce a public comment process with a hearing on Dec 6th, we will get a vote tomorrow at the ITC on remedy issues.  While we won’t expect to see the full details until November 13th, there will be action.  Our friends at SEIA will be all over it, as will our group of end users in the Energy Trade Action Coalition.  On Thursday, the experts at GTM will hold a webinar to help make some sense of it all.  Finally, the Wall Street Journal editorial page weighed in again on the topic saying “the solar industry doesn’t deserve punishing tariffs.”

On Capitol Hill, the ethanol battle wages on after it appeared the ethanol advocates scored.  But late last week, nine senators demanded a meeting with the President on RFS reform.  The Washington Post’s Energy 202 had a great synopsis of the action as of Friday and today Axios picks up new developments including a new ad campaign run by unions at NE Refineries.  Always happy to help you find sources on this one as it looks to be ripe for another Red-team/Blue-team discussion at EPA itself.  Or maybe it should be called a Black team/Maize Team exercise.

As for hearings, tomorrow Senate Energy discusses building efficiency with AHRI member Emerson and DOE’s Dan Simmons and Wednesday, Senate Commerce hosts nominees like Oklahoma Rep. and NASA appointee James Bridenstine (and other nominees from Transportation and the Consumer Product Safety Commission).  Our colleague Ed Krenik is all over the CPSC nominee issues if you or your colleagues need any additional Information.  Finally, on Thursday, Senate Energy meets to consider development in ANWR’s 1.5-million-acre coastal plain.

This week on the Hill is also TAX WEEK, with House Republicans unveiling details of their tax code overhaul plan on Wednesday. Again, our friends at Axios discussed some of the energy implications and we’ll soon find out how Congress intends to solve its revenue Rubik’s cube, as well as whose ox will be gored to make the math work. With the rate cut candy already on the table, it’s time to see what the veggies look like.  Our tax expert colleague Liam Donovan (202-828-5847, liam.donovan@bracewell.com) is in the middle of the discussion should you or your colleagues on the case need insights, background and quotes.

Around DC, the Bipartisan Policy Council starts thing off tomorrow with several ex FERC Commissioners, as well as experts like our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath talking about the recent developments in the DOE-FERC grid issue.  And on Wednesday, the National Science Foundation holds a meeting of its Large Scale Networking-Middleware and Grid Interagency Coordination Team.

Speaking of Powell, check out his great video released late last week that discusses the widely-popular and successful federal advanced energy agency now has its sights set on a new potential breakthrough: next-generation nuclear technologies, the Energy Department’s ARPA-E.  Powell explains how this new development is part of ARPA-E’s venture capitalist approach to addressing some of the biggest and toughest programs in the energy space.

Finally, I have added our Bracewell Podcast, the Lobby Shop, to the update, hoping you will check it out each week like you do the Update.  It is often fun, great Information on topics of the day.  This week, the podcast focuses on tax reform, NAFTA, Congressional retirements, the state of the GOP and Midterm elections.  See the various links below…

COP 23 Starts next Monday in Germany…Coincidently, the World Meteorological Organization released its latest report on GHGs which shoes that world CO2 levels are at their highest level ever.  Most interesting because the US (while not in Paris now) is actually reducing its GHGs because of renewables and natgas…Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

THIS WEEK’S LOBBY SHOP

This week’s new episode of The Lobby Shop is live on iTunes, SoundCloud, and now Google Play Music!  This means that Android users can open their built-in “Music” app to listen and subscribe.  The episode is in the Friday Five format with Liam and Josh hosting discussions on tax reform, NAFTA, Congressional retirements, the state of the GOP and Midterm elections.  Also, we’ve created an email address for listeners to reach out with topic suggestions, feedback, etc. – thelobbyshop@policyres.com.  Check it out!

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“This combination represents a transformative opportunity to create the leading integrated power company in the United States. Combining Vistra Energy’s leading retail and commercial operations with Dynegy’s leading CCGT fleet and geographically diverse portfolio is expected to create a company with significant earnings diversification and scale.”

Vistra Energy CEO Curt Morgan, announcing the merger of Dynegy and Vistra.

“As someone who has been the head of the Air Office, I am particularly happy that Bill Wehrum is one step closer to taking over that job.  Bill will be a huge help at the Agency and is the ideal person to shepherd Administrator Pruitt’s reforms through the regulatory process.  He has the trust and respect of both the political leadership and the career staff and will make sure that that all the reforms are done thoughtfully and in accordance with the law.

Former EPA Air Office head and Bracewell attorney Jeff Holmstead on Senate Environment Committee approval of EPA nominees including his former deputy Bill Wehrum.

 

IN THE NEWS

Vistra, Dynegy Merging – Vistra Energy, the parent company for TXU Energy and Luminant, and Dynegy Inc. announced today the companies will merge with Dynegy moving into Vistra Energy.  The move is a tax-free, all-stock transaction, creating the leading integrated power company across the key competitive US power markets.  The combined company is projected to have a market cap in excess of $10 billion and an enterprise value greater than $20 billion. The combination of Dynegy’s generation capacity and existing retail footprint with Vistra Energy’s integrated ERCOT model is expected to create the lowest-cost integrated power company in the industry and to position it as the leading integrated retail and generation platform throughout key competitive US power markets. Together with Dynegy, Vistra Energy will serve approximately 240,000 commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and 2.7 million residential customers in five top retail states, with estimated retail sales of 75 terawatt (TWh) hours in 2018. The combined company will also own approximately 40 GW of installed generation capacity. Of that capacity, more than 60% is natural gas-fueled, and 84% is in the ERCOT, PJM, and ISO-NE competitive power markets.

Wehrum, Other Noms Approved – The Senate Environment Committee today narrowly approved several EPA and other nominees, including EPA air office head Bill Wehrum and chemical office head Michael Dourson.  Other nominees were given the green light with a voice vote: Matthew Leopold to be EPA’s general counsel; David Ross to run EPA’s water office; Jeff Baran’s re-nomination to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and Paul Trombino to head the Federal Highway Administration.

US Offshore Wind Momentum Sparks Competition Among State Leaders, Businesses – Close to 1,000 business leaders, academics, environmental specialists, and high-ranking officials from around the world gathered in New York last week for the AWEA’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference. The conference comes at a time when the offshore wind industry is gaining traction in the U.S., fueled by the desire of many states and companies to scale up the industry and harness a new job-creating ocean energy resource.  The economic development potential of offshore wind can generate benefits nationwide. There are 17 U.S. offshore wind projects in various stages of development off the East and West Coasts as well as the Great Lakes, representing over 9,100 MW of capacity. And developing an American offshore wind manufacturing supply chain, factory jobs and shipbuilding further expands the scope of opportunity.

Statoil Names NY Project – The first major announcement from the conference was from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s opening remarks when she said she was proud Statoil named its NY project “Empire Wind.” The project site is located off the southern coast of Long Island, New York.  The 79,350 acre site, secured by Statoil in a federal auction in December 2016, has the potential to generate up to 1GW of offshore wind power, making it a key part of New York State’s plan to deploy renewable energy sources to meet the state’s electricity needs. Statoil also announced the launch of the Empire Wind website www.empirewind.com where members of the public can obtain information on the project and register to receive updates. Statoil is in the early stages of developing the offshore wind farm with the potential to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  The Empire Wind project team is currently conducting an extensive evaluation process, gathering detailed information about the seabed conditions, grid connection options and wind resources characteristic to the area.

Several Key Manufacturing Announcements Also Made – Leading offshore wind turbine manufacturers General Electric, MHI Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa were well represented at the conference. MHI Vestas announced a $35 million investment to test their most powerful 9.5 MW offshore wind turbines at Clemson University in South Carolina, a significant step that signals confidence in the U.S. market. Steel foundations for Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, the first U.S. offshore wind project, were made-in-America by Gulf Island Fabrication. And another Gulf Coast-based company, Zentech Inc., recently announced plans to build the first U.S. offshore wind installation vessel.

AWEA Also Announced 3Q Capacity Growth – In its third quarter report, AWEA said US had wind farms with a combined capacity of 29,634 megawatts under various stages of development at the end of September.  It marks a 27% increase year-over-year and the biggest quarterly pipeline of projects under construction and in advanced development since the American Wind Energy Association began tracking the statistic in Q1 2016. The AWEA Market Report provides a snapshot view of U.S. wind industry activity and trends, including new wind capacity installed, wind projects under construction and in advanced development, along with new power purchase agreements signed and project acquisition activity.

BLS Says Solar, Wind Jobs will See Largest Growth – Speaking of capacity and jobs, new jobs data from the Bureau of Labor statistics shows that jobs in solar and wind are projected to grow fastest over the coming decade. Employment for solar installers and wind turbine technicians is expected to roughly double.  Solar leads the way with expected growth of 105% while wind jobs growth will grow by 96%.  See more charts and info here.

USTR to Take Comment on Solar Tariff – The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced they will take comments on the solar tariff recommendations expected in November from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).  ITC has determined that certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) are causing of injury, or the threat thereof, to the domestic industry.  The Commission will make a recommendation of a safeguard measure for the President to apply. USTR’s Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) starting a process so that, once the ITC makes its recommendation, domestic producers, importers, exporters, and other interested parties may submit their views and evidence on the appropriateness of the recommended safeguard measure and whether it would be in the public interest. USTR will hold a public hearing on December 6th and will take written comments until November 20th.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations today that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

IPCC Chair to Join RFF to Talk Climate – Today at 12:45 p.m. Resources for the Future hosts a conversation with Dr. Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Endowed Chair Professor at Korea University Graduate School of Energy and Environment in Seoul. Dr. Lee has chaired the IPCC since he was elected to the position in October 2015. His research encompasses the economics of climate change, energy, and sustainable development.

Atlantic Council to Host Climate Forum – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Future Europe Initiative and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany host a conversation about the current state of US climate action, as well as the transatlantic relationship more broadly. The expert panel will also discuss the challenges and opportunities of climate finance and overall economic imperatives and benefits of climate action. Panelists include former EPA official and MDE head Ben Grumbles, Dennis Tänzler of Adelphi and DC Environment head Tommy Wells.

BPC to Discuss Grid Options – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Sofitel Lafayette Square’s Paris Ballroom.  The featuring former FERC commissioners and stakeholders that unpacks the proposed grid reliability and resiliency pricing rule under consideration at FERC. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services – particularly some coal and nuclear plants.  Panelists will discuss what the Trump administration has proposed and how FERC might respond.  Speakers include our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath, API’s Marty Durbin, NRDC’s John Moore, and William Murray of Dominion, as well as former FERC Chairs James Hoecker, Pat Wood and Betsy Moler.

Senate Commerce Hosts CSPC, NASA, NOAA Nominees – The Senate Commerce Committee will hold two hearings tomorrow and Wednesday to hear from nominees at NASA, NOAA, the Department of Transportation and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The first hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. features Transportation nominees former Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, as well as Bruce Landsberg and Raymond Martinez.  Wednesday features NASA’s Bridenstine, CSPC’s Dana Baiocco and NOAA’s Neil Jacobs.

Senate Energy to Look at Efficiency in Buildings – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to examine new efficiency opportunities provided by advanced building management and control systems.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Dan Simmons, Pacific Northwest NL’s Jud Virden, Southern‘s Tracy West, Bruno Grunau of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and John Wallace of Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions.

Forum to Look at Global Energy Markets – The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security holds a forum at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow on the geopolitics of energy and the nexus of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the global oil market. The energy geopolitics of Russia and the Mideast have changed considerably since the lavish years of the mid to late 2000s, to the more recent, leaner years of lower global oil prices. The panel of military and business experts will examine some of the recent consequences of the new reality.

Forum to Look at SE Renewables – Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy 2017 is being held in Atlanta at the Downtown Hilton on Wednesday through Friday.  The entire southeast renewable energy community gathers to get the latest insights into the market and to learn about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in the Southeast, as well as meet with utility procurement and interconnection managers.  Key speakers will include Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Atlanta City Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey, Walmart’s John Federovitch, SC PSC Commissioner Elizabeth Fleming, Georgia Power’s Robin Lanier, Duke’s Gary Freeman and several others.

House Science Look sat Low Does Radiation Research – The House Science Committee will convene a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the future of low-dose radiation research.  Witnesses include GAO’s John Neumann, Northwestern University’s Dr. Gayle Woloschak and Dr. James Brink of the Harvard Medical School and radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Wilson to Look at MENA Region Energy, Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum looking at the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.  Experts will discuss fulfilling political, economic, and security objectives. Infrastructure investment decisions being made today will largely determine the region’s future vulnerability and should be informed by a comprehensive understanding of the region’s risk profile. MENA faces growing risks of instability and is highly vulnerable to climate impacts, food, and oil price shocks. Development strategies need to focus more strongly on building economic, climate, and social resilience alongside broader-based economic growth.

Expert to Discuss Financing EE Programs in New Markets – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum featuring a practitioner’s approach to financing energy efficiency in emerging markets.  Lack of national project-based financing represents one of the primary global barriers to energy efficiency. Drawing on her experience at the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Ms. Madeleine Varkay, Principal Private Sector Development Specialist, will discuss how upgrading regulatory frameworks can enable long-term investments in infrastructure and industries such as clean energy. She will examine the case study of ADB’s recent partnership with Indonesia Ex-Im Bank, which pioneered an attractive energy efficiency financing program for export-oriented industrial enterprises.

Forum to Look at Electric Vehicles – The Electric Drive Transportation Association continues its Beyond the Beltway series on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club.  Beyond the Beltway brings together state and municipal leaders, regional coalitions and private industry experts from across the country to talk about regional strategies to accelerate the growth of electric vehicles. The discussion will feature innovative public private collaborations, consumer education initiatives, plans to expand the national fast charging network, and the latest growth projections for electric vehicles in the U.S.

Forum to Look at Carbon Programs in Latin America – The Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at efforts to move toward a fossil fuel-free future in Latin America.  Wilson will hold a conversation with Walter Vergara, the author of the 2016 report and an expert on climate change mitigation efforts in Latin America. Vergara will present actions that could be taken to achieve net decarbonization – including in energy, transportation, land use, and industry – assess projects already being implemented across the region, and discuss the combinations of policy, technology innovation, and economic conditions that will impact this process.

ELI to Host Women in Energy Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and WilmerHale are co-sponsoring a conference featuring women thought leaders in energy and infrastructure on Thursday. This one-day event will provide a forum for discussions on policy and legal issues impacting the energy industry, as well as an exchange of ideas for powering the future of our nation’s infrastructure development. The keynote speaker for the conference will be Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Former US Trade Representative, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky will also lead a session featuring a discussion on US Energy Dominance on the World Economic Stage.  Speakers include Interior Acting Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management Kate MacGregor, OMB’s Angie Colamaria, API’s Stacy Linden, Amanda Neely of Sen. Portman’s Deputy Chief Counsel at US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, Dominion’s Ann Loomis, former Maine PUC Commissioner Carlisle McLean, and Interior’s Associate Solicitor Karen Hawbecker.

Senate Energy Tackles ANWR – After a 12-year delay, the Senate Energy Committee returns to ANWR in a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to consider development of the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain.

GTM to Host Solar Outlook Under Tariff – With the US International Trade Commission (ITC) set to vote on recommended safeguards for U.S. domestic solar manufacturing on October 31, GTM Research’s analyst team will hold a webinar on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. as they dissect the USITC’s vote and provide their immediate reactions to what the future of US solar under recommended remedies might hold.  GTM’s Shayle Kann, MJ Shaio and Cory Honeyman will tackle the subject.

Whitehouse to Appear at AU – American University’s School of International Service hosts the 2017 Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lecture on the Environment, featuring keynote remarks from U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

GWU Energy Conference Set – The Energy Club at George Washington U, the GW Net Impact Chapter, and the F. David Fowler Career Center holds the GW Energy Conference 2017 on Friday.  The conference will begin in the morning with registration and breakfast, followed by opening remarks and a keynote speaker. After the keynote speech, there will be two panels and a networking lunch. Each panel will have a moderator and 4-5 energy professionals encompassing a wide range of industry experience.  The first panel will examine the new U.S. Administration’s energy plan and its implications for the energy sector, with a focus on non-renewables.  The second panel will discuss the viability of a 100% U.S. renewable energy economy by the year 2050, considering the current political climate, effects on the environment, grid capacity, and job and skill considerations for the future workforce, among other factors.

WCEE to Discuss Markets with FERC Staff – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Lunch & Learn forum at FERC on Friday at Noon.  FERC staff Robin Broder Hytowitz will provide an overview of electricity pricing focusing on broad concepts that apply to all ISOs/RTOs. The overview will explain the concepts behind Locational Marginal Prices, uplift, and an extension used in some wholesale markets today.  Broder Hytowitz works in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC in the area of Operation Research Analysis. Her present focus is on current and proposed pricing models for wholesale electricity.

JHU Expert to Look at Eastern Nile Energy Issues – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University SAIS Global Agriculture Seminar Series and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) will present Dr. Ben Zaitchik on water, food and energy in the Eastern Nile Basin.  Zaitchik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research includes work on regional climate variability, water resource monitoring, disease early warning, and climate change adaptation. To address research questions in these areas, Dr. Zaitchik employs a combination of satellite data interpretation, atmospheric and hydrological modeling, and meteorological analysis.

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Look at Energy Trends – Next Monday, the German Marshall Fund of the United States hold a conference that will examine energy trends through three different lenses. The first session will examine the recent efforts, supported by the U.S. and the EU, to reform energy sectors in Black Sea states, notably but not exclusively in Ukraine and Georgia. Second, a panel of experts will discuss the ever-shifting energy politics of the broader Eurasia region, from Central Asia to the Black Sea and beyond. Finally, the conference will feature keynote remarks by Ambassador Mary Warlick, Acting Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Bureau of Energy Resources.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

Climate Change Meeting Set for Bonn – The next UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held starting next week, November 6th and run through November 17th in Bonn, Germany, which is home to the climate change secretariat and 18 other UN agencies that will be hosting the conference.  Presided over by the government of Fiji, COP 23 is slated to be a “working COP”, as negotiators continue to develop the Paris rulebook—the rules and working processes that will underpin the Paris Agreement’s implementation. With respect to the rulebook, no major decisions are expected to be made before 2018.

House Energy Panel to Look at ENERGY STAR – The House Energy Committee will look at ENERGY STAR and other efficiency programs next week on Tuesday.  Expects experts from enviro groups, AHRI and other sustainability groups to weigh in.

NEI’s Korsnick Headlines Stimson Forum – The Stimson Center hosts a forum next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. on re-energizing nuclear security.  Nuclear security is out of the spotlight since the end of the Nuclear Security Summit series. This forum will look at the future of nuclear development and how can industry, civil society, and international organizations facilitate the outstanding Security Summit commitments.  This event is an on-the-record discussion of trends in the nuclear industry and security and marks the official launch of a new Stimson publication: “Re-energizing Nuclear Security: Trends and Potential Collaborations Post Security Summits.”  Panelists include NEI CEO Maria Korsnick, Canadian Nuclear Association CEO John Barrett and Frank Saunders, Vice President of Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs at Bruce Power.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th, AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

SAFE Forum to Highlight Release of Trucking Report – On Thursday, November 9th at 9:30 a.m. at The Loft at 600 F, Securing America’s Future Energy hosts a forum and releases its trucking industry trend report, “Heavy-Duty Innovation: Energy, automation, and technology in the trucking sector.”  The trucking sector is a backbone of the American economy. 70% of the nation’s freight, representing more than $725 billion in annual revenue, are moved by the trucking industry. Freight levels are forecast to grow more than 40% by 2045, and energy and oil use are set to rise by 20% in the next 25 years.  New technologies offer an opportunity to dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking sector. Connectivity and platooning, advanced driver assistance systems, and design modifications are already creating opportunities to save lives and fuel while reducing costs, but regulatory changes are necessary to enable the industry and American economy to benefit.  SAFE’s Jeff Gerlach, as well as a number of industry experts including the American Trucking Assn’s Bill Sullivan will discuss how the trucking industry is changing, and the regulatory measures that should be taken to enable a safer and more efficient trucking future.

CSIS to Host Africa Power Panel – CSIS hosts a public panel discussion next Thursday, November 9th looking at the lessons that can be learned from Power Africa.  The Obama Administration’s Power Africa Initiative was arguably one of the more intriguing innovations in development in recent years. Described as an initiative that brings “together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power”, Power Africa has been an attempt to work more effectively between various government agencies. It also operated under the assumption that Africa presented both development challenges and business opportunities for American workers and companies. Following the welcome remarks from Daniel F. Runde, and the opening remarks from Jennifer G. Cooke, our expert panelists will assess Power Africa’s progress and look for opportunities to scale and replicate the initiative to other sectors and geographies.

THANKSGIVING – November 26th

CCS Report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch on November 28th, 2017. This year, the Institute is partnering with one of the top think tanks in the city, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to promote and discuss the release of the Institute’s signature report, the globally recognized annual guide to the current progress and prospects for carbon capture and storage.

RFS RVO Deadline – November 30th

USTR Hearing on Solar Trade Tariff – December 6th

The Last Jedi Hits Theaters – DECEMBER 15th

Energy Update: Week of September 18

Friends,

Our friend Sean Spicer was the hit of the 69th Emmy awards last night working with host Stephen Colbert to offer a great, light political moment, fresh with a moving podium in an event dripping with political intrigue.  The big winners were SNL, Hulu and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose win for best actress in a comedy for her “Veep,” performance tied Cloris Leachman’s record for eight prime-time acting Emmys.  See all the winners here.

Also, proud dad moment: this weekend we traveled to Wellesley to watch Hannah’s first NEWMAC field hockey game and she didn’t disappoint, getting a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick,” by scoring the game winning goal, setting up her team’s first goal and then getting a yellow card late in the second half.

This week, the UN launches its meetings so climate change events are all around.  First, let’s address the weekend dust up over the Paris agreement.  In case you missed it, the WSJ reported that the Administration was considering backing off its pledge to pull out of the Paris Agreement.  The Administration pushed back aggressively on that issue.  My take: I just don’t think there is anything different than we’ve heard before.  For now, it looks and sounds to me like they are still on the same page as back when he made announcement.  They only seem to be wiggling on is their strategy to approach discussions at the upcoming UN meeting. Substance seems the same.  Happy to discuss in more detail.

Climate Week events started with Gary Cohn this morning hosting a meeting on energy and climate change in New York before the United Nations General Assembly convenes and continues with Columbia Law School hosting an event tonight at 7:00 p.m. on offshore wind in NYC featuring our friends Amy Harder of Axios, Statoil’s Megan Kesier and Michael Gerrard of the Columbia Law School.  The Concordia Summit also is happening in NYC with speakers like Scott Pruitt (interviewed by Dana Perino), Laura Bush, a bunch of POLITICO moderators and many others.  Finally, Yale holds a Climate Conference today and tomorrow hosted by John Kerry featuring Ernie Moniz, Heather Zichal, James Baker, Sens. Graham and McCain, Govs. Brown and Inslee, Hank Paulson, GE’s Jeff Immelt and WAIT FOR IT… Leo DiCaprio, tomorrow to close the event!!! See the full Climate Week line up here.

So with another hurricane lingering in the Caribbean, it is important to report that as of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, more than 90% of customer outages have been restored.  Still, about 850,000 customers are without power in Florida and Georgia as a result of Hurricane Irma. At Irma’s peak on September 11, there were more than 7.8 million outages.  In Georgia alone, power has been restored to 99% of customers, or 990,000 customers, impacted by Hurricane Irma.  For those who are still without power, an army of more than 60,000 continues to work around the clock in support of one mission—to turn the lights back on as safely and as quickly as possible. This includes workers from affected companies, as well as mutual assistance crews, contractors, and other support personnel. See this mutual assistance in action in a social media recap.

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee will vote on White House nominees for two open slots FERC, as well as picks for senior roles at the Interior and Energy Departments.  Then Wednesday, the Senate Environment Committee will hear from nominees for several senior positions at the Environmental Protection Agency, including Bill Wehrum to head the agency’s the air office.  EPA GC Matt Leopold, EPA chemical office head (and TSCA implementer) Mike Dourson, EPA Water office head Dave Ross and NRC’s Jan Baran also on the agenda.

Finally, on Friday the US International Trade Commission will vote on whether to move the Suniva 201 solar case forward by determining whether the petitioners were injured.  The company is seeking import duties of 40 cents per watt for solar cells that currently sell for 25-33 cents per watt, and a floor price of 78 cents per watt for panels.  The U.S. solar industry – as well as outside interests like utilities, contractors, co-ops, retailers, manufacturers and conservative groups have rallied to oppose the bid for protection, arguing it would undercut a thriving sector and harm employment in other areas, particularly installation.    Lots of action on the issue including the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board hammering the case, conservative groups sending a letter to ITC opposing the case and a new paper from Heritage trade experts on the case.

Today is National Cheeseburger Day!!!  Let’s celebrate…Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Bill is well-respected and well-liked by the career staff at EPA – and by anyone who has ever worked with him. During his almost 6 years at EPA, he worked closely with career staff on a wide range of issues and was known for rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the details of the Agency’s regulations and permitting programs. From his work as an environmental engineer, his time at the Agency, and his many years of counseling clients, he has a comprehensive understanding of EPA’s regulatory programs and the many technical issues involved in implementing the Clean Air Act.”

Former EPA Air Administrator and Bracewell partner Jeff Holmstead in a letter to Senate Environment Committee Chair John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper supporting Bill Wehrum to be EPA Air Administrator.

“The reductions in solar costs — I did not foresee them, I also did not foresee the reductions in the cost of natural gas.  I did not foresee that we would have the price of oil around $50 a barrel or wherever it is today. I admit that I didn’t see the cost of solar and wind decreasing as fast as it has.” 

Daniel Simmons, Department of Energy staffer who helped draft the DOE Grid Reliability Report in an interview with PV Magazine.

IN THE NEWS

Wall Street Journal Ed Board Hits Trade Case – You might have missed it given the WSJ’s other story this weekend, but the editorial board called the Suniva case a “Solar Power Death Wish”.  The Journal says the marketplace is driving the potential harm for the petitioners, noting the “U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules.”  They add the potential tariffs would be another “destructive exercise that benefits a handful of Suniva and SolarWorld investors at the expense of everyone else—including the rest of the solar industry. This is protectionism at its worst.”

Heritage Paper Details Group’s Concern About Solar Tariff – The Heritage Foundation released a paper that challenges the need for the solar trade petition filed by Suniva.  They say acquiescing to Suniva and SolarWorld Americas’ petition for more tariffs would do deep damage to the rest of the U.S. solar industry.

Conservative Groups Weigh in on Solar Tariff – Several conservative groups sent a letter last week urging members of the US International Trade Commission to reject the relief requested by Suniva and SolarWorld.  The groups wrote that the tariffs and minimum price floors requested would double the cost of solar products in the United States, lead to retaliation by our trading partners and face a challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Letter signatories include R Street, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, the National Taxpayers Union and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Energy Innovation Discussion Spurs Progress –  Clearpath’s Rich Powell and former Oak Ridge National Lab Director Thom Mason wrote in a new op-ed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press how clean energy innovation has been an essential part of Tennessee’s fabric for more than eight decades, including contributing to some of our nation’s most significant breakthroughs. But they also issue a word of caution ahead of the busy budget season on Capitol Hill: We must have sustained federal energy innovation investment or risk losing much of the promise being built in the Volunteer State and elsewhere.

Nuclear Plants Withstand Hurricanes – Nuclear plants were among the most resilient of energy infrastructure in the path of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.  Two reactors near Houston operated at full capacity despite wind gusts of 130 mph, which along with flooding, shut down refineries and disrupted wind and solar generation. And while several Florida reactors were preemptively shut down ahead of Irma, they suffered no damage and were powered back up this week.  Here is some of the coverage in Florida and additional coverage on Texas.

ALEC: State Nuclear Emerging Trends – Speaking of nuclear, our friend Sarah Hunt at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released a new paper on the emerging trends in state nuclear power policy.  Research reveals several developments have combined encouraging states to take a fresh look at nuclear energy policy. The survey of the state policy landscape suggests that moving forward, state nuclear policy discussions will focus on policy interventions to preserve existing nuclear power plants instead of policies that promote new construction. Given the relevance of energy subsidies, mandates and federally regulated wholesale power markets to nuclear power, these policy conversations will hopefully encourage states and the federal government to take a fresh look at unraveling the “Gordian knot” of existing market distorting policies.

SAFE Brings in New Policy Expert – SAFE has brought in a new Senior VP of Policy and he’s a heavy hitter. Jonathan Chanis is an expert on oil markets and energy geopolitics and is available for comment on these topics, as well as the upcoming OPEC monitoring committee meeting on Wednesday.  Chanis is responsible for planning and directing the research, analysis, and writing of SAFE’s policy team. Before joining SAFE, Jonathan taught graduate students at Columbia University about energy security and scenario planning, and he consulted on petroleum and natural gas security, and supply and value chain management. For the 20 years prior to this, Jonathan traded and invested in energy and emerging market equities, and commodities and currencies as a Senior Trader at Caxton Associates, a Vice President at Goldman Sachs’s commodities division ( J. Aron & Co.), and a Managing Director at Tribeca Global Management (a division of Citigroup). Chanis has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1988, and an Associate Member of the Columbia University Seminar on the Middle East since 1997.

CAP Report Outlines State Offshore Wind Best Practices – The Center for American Progress has a new report today that examine state policies that helped launch offshore wind projects in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. Among the items they recommend states consider for the policy toolkits: Strong renewable energy requirements, legislation guaranteeing demand for offshore wind power, comprehensive ocean planning, competitive and reasonable long-term power purchase agreements and infrastructure investments in areas like ports.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

TX Renewable Summit Set – The Texas Renewable Energy Summit will be held today and tomorrow 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.

POLITICO Reporters to Moderate Key Panels at Key Event – The Concordia Annual Summit will be held today and tomorrow prior to the UN meetings launch in New York City.  The event is the pre-eminent nonpartisan forum taking place alongside the UN General Assembly, and convenes more than 2,000 influencers and decision-makers through action-oriented programming that aims to build partnerships for social impact. The Summit will feature over 250 speakers, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (interviewed by our friend Dana Perino), Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, former first lady Laura Bush, former State Department climate negotiator Paula Dobriansky, and United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes, of.  As the official media partner of this year’s summit, our friends at POLITICO – Anna Palmer, Nick Juliano, Matt Kaminski, Helena Bottemiller Evich and Ben White – will moderate discussions on major issues affecting the U.S. and global community.

Kerry Hosts Yale Climate Conference – Former Secretary of State John Kerry will host a climate conference today and tomorrow at Yale.  Speakers will include former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, State Dept climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing, Obama Energy Czar Heather Zichal, former Bush Secretary of State James Baker, Sens. Graham and McCain, Govs. Jerry Brown and Jay Inslee, former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, GE’s Jeff Immelt and Leo DiCaprio, who will close the event tomorrow.

CSIS to Host Trade Discussion With Lighthizer – CSIS will host US Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer this morning at 10:30 a.m. to discuss US trade policy priorities.

Columbia to Host Offshore Wind Discussion – The Columbia Law School will host an event tonight at 7:00 p.m. in NYC as part of its Climate Week events on offshore wind in New York.  The Keynote presenter is Michael Gerrard of the Columbia Law School.  Then our friend Amy Harder of Axios will moderate a panel which includes Statoil’s Megan Kesier and others.

FERC Nominees to Get Energy Vote – Following last week’s delay, the Senate Energy Committee meets tomorrow to vote on Kevin McIntyre to be chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Richard Glick to be a member of the commission.  The committee will then lead into a hearing that will look at the vegetation requirements this week for electricity infrastructure on federal land. Witnesses include USDA’s Glenn Casamassa, BLM’s John Ruhs, Mark Hayden of the Missoula Electric Cooperative, Scott Miller of The Wilderness Society and Arizona Public Service Forestry Manager Andrew Rable.

IEA World Energy Report to be Detailed – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), tomorrow to discuss the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2017. Energy investment in 2016 totaled 1.7 trillion dollars, around 2.2 percent of the global economy. The report covers critical details about energy investment across various energy sectors, sources, and regions. It also includes a special focus on a wide array of topics, including how digitization is impacting investment and employment, global investment in innovation, and the impact of emerging business models. The report assesses the importance of energy policy driving investment into energy efficiency and into facilities that ensure adequate levels of energy security.

WCEE Event to Feature Marriott Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee will hold a reception tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. At the Brattle Group featuring Dominica Groom, Senior Director, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity at Marriott International, the world’s largest global lodging company.  Dominica provides global leadership through strategic direction, planning and execution for these important operational platforms. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the top “Leading Women”, under the age of 40, in the state of Maryland for her tremendous professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, she was also recognized as a “Top Influential Leader in Diversity” by the National Association for Minority Companies for her unwavering commitment to diversity & inclusion. Domenica will share her insights on her path to leadership, and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the sustainability and supplier diversity sector.

Senate Environment to Consider Wehrum, Other Noms – The Senate Environment Committee hold a hearing on nominations Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Nominees under consideration Michael Dourson to be assistant EPA administrator for the chemical office; Matthew Leopold to be General Counsel; David Ross to be assistant EPA administrator for water; William Wehrum to be assistant EPA administrator for air; and Jeffery Baran to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Forum to Look at Shale, Energy Security – On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host a lecture on the topic of “Energy Security: New Market Realities” with Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International.  The rise of North America’s shale oil and gas production has changed the market dynamics, energy trade flow, and the elements of energy security.  In this talk, Vakhshouri will cover the changes in market fundamentals, energy trade flows, energy prices and policies, and their broader impact upon global and regional energy security. We will also touch upon the current political risks treating the oil and gas supply from countries such as Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Napolitano to Discuss NAFTA, US-Mexico Relations – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. , University of California President Janet Napolitano and Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey Alejandro Poiré will speak at a forum that will address the current state and prospective future of U.S.-Mexico trade relations in light of the current policy and political climate. Other speakers will include Sen. Mark Warner, California Senate President Kevin de León, Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez and former Custom/Border Patrol Commissioner David Aguilar.

WAPA to Feature Ford Product at September Event – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and the staff of Ford’s Washington, D.C. offices will hold a networking event that highlights Ford’s best-selling vehicle on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.at Ford’s offices are located at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue in Suite 400.

ITC Solar Trade Petition Injury Determination – FRIDAY

Statoil to Focus on Climate Roadmap – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.

IN THE FUTURE

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEKSeptember 25-29th.  Hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Sects. Perry and Zinke will launch event on Tuesday, September 26th at the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill in a discussion moderated by former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Wharton DC Hosts Innovation Summit – The Wharton DC Innovation Summit will be held on Monday September 25th at the Marriott Bethesda North Conference Center.  The Wharton DC Summit has a rich history of getting at key questions for venture capitalists, a seasoned entrepreneurs, an aspiring entrepreneurs or the intellectually-intrigued by innovation.  Interesting panels on transportation, (AVs), drones and many other topics.

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference on September 25th College for Creative Studies in downtown Detroit.  The global market for mobility solutions is growing rapidly, building on innovation, information technology, and new transportation business models. Focusing on this convergence, the event, sponsored by our friends at DTE Energy, will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. While other conferences have explored these issues independently, the Michigan Energy Future Conference will be the first comprehensive look at the synergies between sectors, exploring opportunities for the U.S. to benefit as the pace of convergence between these sectors accelerates.

Cato Forum to Look at Flood Insurance Program – The Cato Institute holds a forum next Monday at Noon in 122 Cannon looking at the National Flood Insurance Program, Zoning Regulations, and Hurricanes.  The event will look at lessons for lawmakers working to reauthorize the expiring National Flood Insurance Program (NFIB). A panel of experts will answer questions on hurricanes, floods, and their aftermath, as well as offer suggestions for what Congress should, and should not, do regarding future disaster mitigation efforts.

WCEE Event to Look at MD Offshore Wind – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a lunch forum next Tuesday at Dentons looking at the latest insights into the Maryland PSC’s work on offshore wind and energy efficiency, the political challenges faced and the businesses opportunities created. Marissa Gillett, Senior Advisor to the Public Service Commission’s Chairman, will be the speaker.

ELI to Look at Ocean Energy – Next Tuesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) under development.  Wave and tidal energy developers claim that federal subsidies and tax cuts are insufficient to promote research and development, and some of the most successful ocean energy companies have moved overseas.  A panel of experts will look at key questions to improve development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.  Among the panelists, Annie Jones, FERC Energy Projects advisor.

Gas Tech CEO to Address Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host that David Carroll, president of the International Gas Union at its next luncheon on Tuesday, September 26th.  Carroll is the President and CEO of the Gas Technology Institute. He oversees the company’s operations and directs its programs for developing technologies, products, and services for customers in the natural gas and related industries.  Carroll assumed the additional role of President of IGU for a three-year term in 2015.

Forum to Look at Future of Nuclear – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a special workshop on Tuesday September 26th looking at the future of nuclear power globally, focusing on technological, security, and geopolitical considerations.  Achieving progress towards decarbonizing and reducing the environmental impact of energy generation is arguably impossible without a significant expansion of nuclear power internationally. However, improving and strengthening the global nuclear governance system and maintaining high international standards in nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are essential for nuclear power to become a more integral part of the world’s energy portfolio. Speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Kenneth Luongo and NEI’s Everett Redmond.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

Wilson to Hold Energy Forum – The Mexico and Canada Institutes will host the Wilson Center’s 2017 North America Energy Forum on Wednesday September 27th. The Forum is now in its fourth year and will focus on the major challenges and opportunities facing energy producers and consumers in the region, with a strong focus on innovation in the energy sector.  Chamber Energy President Karen Harbert and NOIA head Randy Luthi will be among the speakers.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on September 27-29 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The event focuses on trading, legislation and regulation of environmental markets. The agenda includes panel sessions covering Carbon / RGGI, what’s next after the Clean Power Plan, update on current developments and trends in other existing environmental markets such as the SO2 and Nox programs and a general REC Market Overview that provides an update on supply and demand as well as estimates on potential growth as the market faces pricing pressure.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on September 27th and 28th at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The event holds the most important discussions on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. Influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders will work through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.

Smart Mobility Forum Set – The C3 Group hosts the 3rd annual Smart Mobility Forum on Capitol Hill on September 27th at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center.  The Forum will include presentations by experts on the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on automotive, transportation, society and policy followed by an interactive Q&A.  Featured Speakers include C3 Group President and smart mobility expert Doug Newcomb, Autotrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs and Dushyant Wadivkar of Bosch Automated Vehicles.
CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday September 29th at 9:00 a.m., the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative holds a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).  The topics will include North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and other global hotspots with Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.  The event is – as always – moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune.

Geothermal Conference Set for Utah – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is holding GEOEXPO+ on October 1-4th at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT.  The meeting will be held in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting.

CCS Forum to Look at Norway Success Story – The Global CCS Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 3rd at 9:00 p.m. in National Press Club’s Zenger Room on the Innovation and low-carbon policies that are driving the development of clean energy technologies around the world.  The discussion will explore how Norway has fostered the development of its carbon capture infrastructure, as well as the emerging business case for carbon capture in the U.S. and globally.  Featured speakers Gassnova CEO Trude Sundset, Rich Powell of ClearPath Foundation, Thina Saltvedt of Nordea Bank Norge and Statoil VP of New Energy Solutions Steinar Eikaas, who operates the world’s most successful carbon capture project in the North Sea.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for October 4-8 in Steel City.

Vets in Energy Forum Set – Veterans In Energy will hold a forum on October 5th through 7th at NRECA in Arlington. VIE provide transition, retention and professional development support to the growing population of military veterans who have chosen energy careers.  Speakers will include Chris Hale of GI Jobs and Gen. John Allen, former Dep Commander of US Central Command.

CSIS to Look at Electricfication – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday October 5th at 9:30 a.m. looking at the future of electrification with Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  Mansoor will provide an overview of the recent EPRI report, The Integrated Energy Network: Connecting Customers with Reliable, Affordable and Cleaner Energy, which calls for a more interconnected and integrated energy system through greater electrification. Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research and Analysis at the MIT Energy Initiative, and Ken Colburn, Principal and U.S. Program Director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, will follow with views on the opportunities and benefits, as well as obstacles and potential drawbacks of a path to a more electrified economy.  This event is part of CSIS’s ongoing work on Electricity in Transition, which surveys the current landscape of the U.S. and global electricity sector.

ACORE Finance Forum Set – The American Council on Renewable Energy will hold forum on the state of the renewable energy public policy, financial markets and corporate renewables strategy when they hold ACORE Finance West on October 12th at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco.  This annual conference convenes senior investors, industry executives, and other top transactional professionals to address market trends in the context of renewable investment opportunities in the Western U.S.

Bloomberg Hosts Sustainability Forum – Bloomberg holds its 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit on October 12-13th in its New York offices to discuss how companies are yielding positive returns for investors, creating sustainably valuable products and processes, and developing innovative sustainable business models.  Uniquely positioned at the intersection of sustainable business and sustainable investing, the summit will explore the challenges and even greater opportunities emerging across industries.

WAPA to Host Road Rally – The Washington Automotive Press Association holds its 2017 WAPA Rally on October 12th.  This year’s event will be a drive event on the roads just beyond the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the scenic Eastern Shore of Maryland. The event provides the opportunity to drive or ride in the latest and greatest cars, trucks and SUVs provided by WAPA’s automotive partners.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

Energy Update: Week of September 11th

Friends,

This week, we first start with thoughts of the importance of 9-11, remembering the loss of that day 16 years ago, and thinking about how it changed us.

Now, we face our latest challenge at the peak of hurricane season (which was yesterday), Hurricane Irma, which slammed into Florida Saturday.  We still are unsure of what the full damage will be but it looks like it may be better than expected given the initial size and speed of the storm, as well as the damage in caused in the Caribbean.  Still another day or so to go as it moves up into Georgia and South Carolina.  Just as we did with Harvey and refinery outages, we will likely be able to help with impacts as it moves into Georgia.  Let me know if you need anything.

As we deal with Irma, we are still helping with Harvey in Texas.  I wanted to pass along the good work of the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association, which has set up a relief fund for energy-related needs of Harvey’s victims.  CFEBA is working with the EBA’s Houston chapter to assure the money all goes straight to helping people. Any and all tax deductible contributions are appreciated can be made to the CFEBA’s Relief Fund through the CFEBA online store or by mail or fax using the Hurricane Harvey Relief Donation Form.  There are many opportunities to help both Texas and Florida through the Red Cross and others, so please do.  Texas oil and gas companies have contributed $27.3 million toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with Valero among the donors.

Back in DC, official Washington really cranks back up this week.  Last week, Congress easily cleared a package today to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months.   This will likely clear to decks for a discussion of tax reform which is expected to see behind-the-scenes work at least until around Columbus Day.  Energy issues will play a role in the discussions and we will have all the bases covered.

After last week’s FERC nomination hearing for Kevin McIntyre and Rich Glick, it seems we may have a vote on them in the Senate Energy Committee as soon as late this week.  We also saw Bill Wehrum finally being named to head EPA’s Air Office late last week.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead is happy to discuss Wehrum should you need background and comments.  He also sent a letter to the Senate Environment Committee Leadership recommending Wehrum.  (Can forward if you haven’t seen it.) Remember, Wehrum worked for Jeff when Holmstead headed the EPA Air Office.

On the hearing slate, tomorrow, House Energy holds the biggest action in a hearing about the electric grid reliability.  The follow up to the recent DOE grid study will feature an all-star cast of energy sector experts, as well as FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee, DOE’s Pat Hoffman and NERC’s Gerry Cauley.  Other hearings include Senate Energy on the National Labs tomorrow and House Energy looking at small business energy reg reform, Senate Commerce looking at AV Trucks and Senate Energy on carbon capture, all on Wednesday.

If you are following trade, tomorrow at the National Press Club at 2:00 p.m., the leading voice for the steel supply chain, the American Institute for International Steel, will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  And, on Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017.  POLITICO also holds it Pro Policy Summit all day Thursday.

Speaking of trade petitions, I’m sure the solar trade petition will be a hot topic at the biggest event outside the Beltway, Solar Power International, which runs in Las Vegas today through Wednesday.  The event is the solar Industry’s biggest event and given Friday’s Q2 installation success story and  the Axios blurb about the White House leaning toward imposing solar tariffs (which mind you, seems to be a bit premature), folks should have a lot to talk about out in Vegas.

As many of you know, our friend Scott Segal has launched on a long-term Europe/Israel excursion. While he is out, (we will hear from him occasionally), please note that our full team is available for comment, political/policy insight and background.  Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Bill is well-respected and well-liked by the career staff at EPA – and by anyone who has ever worked with him. During his almost 6 years at EPA, he worked closely with career staff on a wide range of issues and was known for rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the details of the Agency’s regulations and permitting programs. From his work as an environmental engineer, his time at the Agency, and his many years of counseling clients, he has a comprehensive understanding of EPA’s regulatory programs and the many technical issues involved in implementing the Clean Air Act.”

Former EPA Air Administrator and Bracewell partner Jeff Holmstead in a letter to Senate Environment Committee Chair John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper supporting Bill Wehrum to be EPA Air Administrator.

“This report shows once again that solar is on the rise and will continue to add to its share of electricity generation.  Last year, solar companies added jobs 17 times faster than the rest of the economy and increased our GDP by billions of dollars. We are going to continue to fight for policies that allow the industry to continue this phenomenal growth.”

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, speaking about GTM Research’s Q2 report on solar installations.

IN THE NEWS

Wehrum Nominated to Head EPA Air Office – The White House nominated Bill Wehrum to serve as the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at EPA.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, who has known Wehrum for more than 20 years, worked with him previously at EPA when he headed the Air Office previously.  Holmstead said praised Wehrum as the only person ever to have worked on Clean Air Act issues as an environmental engineer at a major chemical plant, a young attorney in private practice, a senior policy maker at EPA, and the head of the environmental group at a major law firm.  On Friday, Holmstead sent a letter to Capitol Hill (which I can send): “Bill is committed to the goals of the Clean Air Act and to the rule of law. He is also a person of the highest integrity. I am confident that, within the framework established by Congress, he will work to protect public health and the environment while at the same time pursuing regulatory reforms that will reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.  Truly, there is no better person to serve as the Assistant  Administrator of EPA for Air and Radiation.”

Q2 Report: Solar Growth Strong, Trade Barrier Puts Growth At Risk – GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said the US solar market continued its years-long expansion in the Q2 of 2017 as the industry installed 2,387 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV), the largest total in a second quarter to date. This tops Q1’s total and represents an 8% year-over-year gain, said in the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.  All three U.S. solar market segments – commercial, residential and utility-scale – experienced quarter-over-quarter growth in Q2. The U.S. installed 2,044 MW of capacity in Q1. The non-residential and utility-scale market segments also posted year-over-year growth. The report did not change its forecast that the American solar industry would triple cumulative capacity over the next five years.  However, trade relief, which is being considered by the International Trade Commission, could radically affect the solar outlook and “would result in a substantial downside revision to our forecast for all three segments,” the analysis said.

Oil, Offshore Industry Pushes Back on MD Offshore Wind Amendment – Oil and Offshore groups are pushing back against an amendment from Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris to a Congressional spending bill.  Harris’ amendment would bar the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from processing site assessment plans and construction and operation permits for offshore wind projects that would fall within 24 miles of the Maryland shoreline. These groups have joined opposition from wind groups who see the Harris effort as a NIMBY move.  The Harris amendment faces opposition from Senate Democrats and may not make it into a final spending deal at the end of this year.  But the oil industry worries that it will create a troublesome precedent for the sanctity of federal offshore leases. The National Ocean Industries Association, for one, says if Congress interferes at this late stage in the process (years after BOEM issued leases for the projects) it could have a definitive effect on the wind industry — and broader energy industry as a whole — that is looking to develop in federally controlled waters. “If Congress can simply decide that the valid leaseholders’ rights can be violated by a whim, you have billions of dollars of investment that” may be at risk, said Tim Charters, NOIA senior director of governmental and political affairs.

Conaway Preps Carbon Capture Bill – Texas Rep. Mike Conaway is preparing to introduce bipartisan legislation this month that would extend and expand the Section 45Q tax incentive for carbon capture facilities. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are leading a similar effort. The bipartisan push is a crucial part of a multi-pronged financing effort for carbon capture projects that also includes private-activity bonds that would be authorized in bills from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas). While the bonds provide low-cost financing for carbon capture development, the 45Q credit can further complement that by driving equity investment in the projects. Together, these incentives have the potential to dramatically boost commercial carbon capture deployment in the U.S., which can lead to significant increases in enhanced oil recovery and other economic benefits.  Conaway’s bill would increase the value of the credit for new projects, while limiting eligibility to projects that would begin construction within seven years or who haven’t yet received the credit, according to his Sept. 6 letter to colleagues. The bill would also expand the range of projects that could receive the credit to also include carbon monoxide capture and other facilities.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Solar Power International Set for Vegas – Solar Power International (SPI) will be held today through Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  SPI is a four day conference packed with education sessions, networking events and a wide range of exhibitions. The education sessions are led by industry leaders who share their expertise and ideas on prominent topics in the industry. As solar continues to evolve, SPI will keep you up to date on emerging technologies and policy changes.

Mayors to Look at Climate Locally – Today at 3:00 p.m. in 122 Cannon, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing about what cities throughout the United States are doing to protect their communities by investing in resilience. In addition to providing security, their actions are resulting in multiple side benefits: lower monthly expenses for households, businesses, and the city itself; the protection and restoration of natural resources; and local economic growth and job creation.  This briefing’s speakers will showcase some of the defensive actions their cities are taking to reduce the impacts of extreme weather, as well as lessons learned.  Speakers include Pittsburgh mayor William Peduto, Flagstaff (AZ) Sustainability Manager Nicole Antonopoulos Woodman and Cooper Martin, Program Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the National League of Cities.

Book Focused on NatGas Geopolitics – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a launch of Dr. Agnia Grigas’ new book, The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas.  As the world’s greatest producer of natural gas moves aggressively to become a top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the US stands poised to become an energy superpower—an unanticipated development with far-reaching implications for the international order. In this new geopolitics of gas, the US will enjoy opportunities, but also face challenges in leveraging its newfound energy clout to reshape relations with both European states and rising Asian powers.  In her new book, Dr. Grigas examines how this new reality is rewriting the conventional rules of intercontinental gas trade and realigning strategic relations between the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, and beyond.

UN Climate Meetings in NYC – The United Nations hosts its 72nd General Session starting tomorrow and as usual, climate change discussions will likely be part of the conversation.

CSIS to Look at NAFTA – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., CSIS and the George W. Bush Presidential Center host an event on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Speakers will discuss how lowering economic barriers has enabled North America to outperform other regions, and examine how an updated NAFTA could further improve the continent’s trade and competitiveness.  Keynote speaker will be Sen. Rob Portman, while a panel discussion, led by Andrea van Vugt, Sergio Gómez Lora and Matthew Rooney, with CSIS expert and Scholl Chair of International Business Scott Miller, will examine the potential impact of the ongoing NAFTA negotiations on the Americas and present key policy recommendations.

House Energy Panel to Look at Grid Reliability – The House Energy Subcommittee hold a hearing tomorrow on electric grid reliability. Witnesses include Acting FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Patricia Hoffman, NERC CEO Gerry Cauley, API’s Marty Durbin, Enel’s Kyle Davis (for SEIA), AWEA’s Tom Kiernan, ACCCE’s Paul Bailey, NEI President Maria Korsnick and a National Hydropower Association rep Steven Wright.

House Science to Tackle Grid Resiliency – The House Science Committee holds a hearing on electric grid resiliency tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses include Carl Imhoff of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bill Sanders of the University of Illinois, Gavin Dillingham of the Houston Advanced Research Center and Walt Baum of the Texas Public Power Association.

Forum to Look at Carbon Pricing – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions releases a new brief and hosts a webinar featuring business leaders on how and why companies are putting an internal price on carbon emissions. The webinar will also review key opportunities, benefits, experiences, and challenges drawn from the upcoming C2ES report, The Business of Pricing Carbon: How Companies are Pricing Carbon to Mitigate Risks and Prepare for a Low-Carbon Future.

ELI to Look at Hydro Energy – The Environmental Law Institute host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. on the future of hydrokinetic energy in the United States.  While off to a slow start in the United States, ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) are already at an advanced phase of development in other parts of the world.  Wave and tidal energy developers claim that federal subsidies and tax cuts are insufficient to promote research and development, and some of the most successful ocean energy companies have moved overseas.  Though the current cost of hydrokinetic energy is higher in the US .compared to other fuels, and harnessing tidal and wave power poses technical challenges, some backers assert that tides are a more predictable source of renewable energy. Should more resources and subsidies be put into hydrokinetic energy research? What environmental impacts do these technologies pose compared to other renewable energy sources? What regulatory barriers need to be addressed to support the development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.?  Panelists will include FERC’s Annie Jones, Meghan Massaua of the Meridian Institute and Seán O’Neill of Symmetrix Public Relations & Communication Strategies.

Steel Users Group To Release Tariff Impacts Report – Tomorrow at the National Press Club 2:00 p.m., America’s leading voice for the steel supply chain – the American Institute for International Steel – will release a new report that measures the impact of the 232 steel tariffs on the US economy, including impacts on manufacturing and agriculture.  Drawing from a newly released report, economist John Martin will detail the impact that steel tariffs pose for U.S. ports, which make an outsized contribution to the U.S. economy. According to Martin’s report, 1.3 million jobs are currently supported by port activity related to imported steel, feeding nearly $240 billion in economic activity, or 1.3% of U.S. GDP in 2016.

Senate Energy to Tackle Energy Labs – The Senate Energy Committee’s Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. looking at fostering innovation from contributions of DOE’s National Laboratories.  Witnesses include WVU Energy Institute director Brian Anderson, Argonne National Laboratory interim director Paul Kearns, Duke Energy’s Anuja Ratnayake and NREL associated lab director Bill Tumas.

API Hold Discussion on State NatGas, Oil Industries – The American Petroleum Institute holds an event Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the natural gas and oil industry’s impact in all 50 states. State-specific information will be provided along with brief remarks on the current state of the industry from API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

Senate Enviro To Look at Carbon Capture – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on expanding and accelerating the deployment and use of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. Witnesses will include NRG’s David Greeson, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead policy adviser advisor Matthew Fry and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, now with former Energy Secretary Moniz’s Energy Futures Initiative.

Senate Commerce Looks at AV Trucks – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at automated trucks and our nation’s highways.” The hearing will examine the benefits of automated truck safety technology as well as the potential impacts on jobs and the economy.  Including or excluding trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles has been a topic of discussion in ongoing bipartisan efforts to draft self-driving vehicle legislation. Witnesses include Colorado State Patrol Chief Scott Hernandez, Navistar CEO Troy Clarke, Ken Hall of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman, and American Trucking Associations CEO Chris Spear.

House Energy Panel to Look at Small Business Energy Reforms – The House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee holds a legislative hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on relief for small business.  The legislation focuses on reducing regulatory burdens on small manufacturers and other job creators.

House Resource to Mark Up Native American Energy Legislation – The House Committee on Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to markup several bills including to facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands, and for other purposes.

Groups Aim to Save EPA – A group of Environmental activists will hold a press briefing on Wednesday at Noon in the Zenger Room dubbed National “Save the EPA” Day.  The effort will be led by AFGE National Council 238 President John J. O’Grady, who will serve as the national spokesperson for the Save the U.S. EPA campaign. In addition to O’Grady, speakers will include Rep. Debbie Dingell, Mary Anne Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and NWF CEO Collin O’Mara.  After the event, they will march to EPA.

National Biodiesel Board Holds BioFry event on Hill – The National Biodiesel Board holds its annual BioFry event Wednesday at lunch on Capitol Hill.  D.C. food trucks will serve french fries and provide information about how the oil used to cook the fries can be recycled to make clean-burning biodiesel.

TNC to Discuss Electric Grid – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in 106 Dirksen, the Nature Conservancy holds a stakeholder dialogue to explore critical issues on the future of the electric grid.  Within the past decade, the electricity sector has seen advances in renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, microgrids and other new options for planning and operating the grid. These tools and resources are attracting hundreds of entrepreneurs – as well as their investment and jobs – into the electricity industry while increasing reliability, enhancing efficiency, and integrating modern distributed energy resources. As a part of our series of regional forums, we will explore the impact these changes are having on how we deliver electricity in the 21st Century.

Forum to Look at Japanese Nuclear Industry – CSIS will host a conversation on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with Japanese Diet members and US experts on Japan’s plutonium policies, their regional implications, and the prospects for continued US-Japan nuclear cooperation beyond 2017.  Speakers will include Kyodo News Senior Editorial Writer Masakatsu Ota, House of Councillors Member Masashi Adachi, House of Representatives Member Seiji Ohsaka and former Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman.

House Panel to Look at Venezuela Crisis – The House Foreign Affairs Panel on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. looking at the crisis in Venezuela and its impacts, one of which is energy related.

POLITICO Hosts Pro Policy Summit – On Thursday at the Omni Shoreham, POLITICO holds its first Pro Policy Summit which will bring together key players from the executive branch, federal agencies and Congress as well as key innovators whose technologies are driving large-scale policy shifts. Among the Speakers will be our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Mike McKenna, Energy Editor Nick Juliano and many others.  A full agenda for the event is here and a list of speakers is available here.

Senators to Address CO2 Capture Forum – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will host a forum Thursday in 902 Hart Senate on innovations on carbon capture and use.  Experts will provide updates on these breakthrough technologies, and lawmakers will discuss ways to speed up their deployment.  Speakers will include C2ES President Bob Perciasepe, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, Sheldon Whitehouse, Shelley Moore Capito, John Barrasso and former DOE official Julio Friedmann, among many others.

EPA Panel Tackles NAFTA Issues – The EPA holds a meeting of its National Advisory Committee and the Governmental Advisory Committee Thursday and Friday to provide advice on trade and environment issues related to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

Great EE Day Set – The Alliance to Save Energy will host the Great Energy Efficiency Day (part II) on Thursday morning at the Columbus Club.  The event will reconvene energy efficiency’s leading influencers for another full day of advocacy and education.  Our friends Ben Evans of ASE, Daiken’s Charlie McCrudden and GM’s Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy Director Britta Gross will also speak, as well as keynoter Greg Kats, former Director of Financing in DOE’s EERE office.

CSIS to Host EIA Outlook – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ian Mead, Assistant Administrator of EIA’s Office of Energy Analysis, to present the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017).  The IEO2017 includes long-term projections of world energy demand by region and primary energy source; electricity generation by energy source; and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Among other topics, Dr. Mead will discuss EIA’s view on long-term petroleum and other liquids fuel supplies, prospects for global natural gas markets, regional energy demand growth, and key uncertainties that may alter long-term projections.

USEEE to Look at Battery Storage – The US Assn of Energy Economists will hold its monthly lunch on Friday at Carmines that will feature Jason Burwen, Policy & Advocacy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  While battery energy storage has long been sought as a “game-changer” for the power sector, rapid cost declines and increasing deployment in recent years suggest that the game is already changing.  Burwen will provide a general overview of the U.S. battery energy storage market and economics, as well as describe the core services and value to the electric grid that storage provides. Jason will also discuss the policy barriers to greater storage deployment, both in RTOs/ISOs and at state PUCs, and offer some thoughts on future policy discussions for enabling the power system to realize the full value of flexible battery storage.

IN THE FUTURE

National Drive Electric Week – Launches Sunday, September 17

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.

IEA World Energy Report to be Detailed – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), next Tuesday to discuss the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2017. Energy investment in 2016 totaled 1.7 trillion dollars, around 2.2 percent of the global economy. The report covers critical details about energy investment across various energy sectors, sources, and regions. It also includes a special focus on a wide array of topics, including how digitization is impacting investment and employment, global investment in innovation, and the impact of emerging business models. The report assesses the importance of energy policy driving investment into energy efficiency and into facilities that ensure adequate levels of energy security.

WCEE Event to Feature Marriott Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee will hold a reception next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. At the Brattle Group featuring Dominica Groom, Senior Director, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity at Marriott International, the world’s largest global lodging company.  Dominica provides global leadership through strategic direction, planning and execution for these important operational platforms. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the top “Leading Women”, under the age of 40, in the state of Maryland for her tremendous professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, she was also recognized as a “Top Influential Leader in Diversity” by the National Association for Minority Companies for her unwavering commitment to diversity & inclusion. Domenica will share her insights on her path to leadership, and some of the “lessons learned” for women in the sustainability and supplier diversity sector.

Forum to Look at Shale, Energy Security – On Wednesday, September 20th at 4:00 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host a lecture on the topic of “Energy Security: New Market Realities” with Sara Vakhshouri of SVB Energy International.  The rise of North America’s shale oil and gas production has changed the market dynamics, energy trade flow, and the elements of energy security.  In this talk, Vakhshouri will cover the changes in market fundamentals, energy trade flows, energy prices and policies, and their broader impact upon global and regional energy security. We will also touch upon the current political risks treating the oil and gas supply from countries such as Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

ITC Solar Trade Petition Injury Determination – September 22

Statoil to Focus on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.

EMA Sets Annual Forum – The Environmental Markets Association holds its 21st Annual Meeting on September 27-29 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  The event focuses on trading, legislation and regulation of environmental markets. The agenda includes panel sessions covering Carbon / RGGI, what’s next after the Clean Power Plan, update on current developments and trends in other existing environmental markets such as the SO2 and Nox programs and a general REC Market Overview that provides an update on supply and demand as well as estimates on potential growth as the market faces pricing pressure.

WAPA to Feature Ford Product at September Event – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and the staff of Ford’s Washington, D.C. offices will hold a networking event that highlights Ford’s best-selling vehicle on Thursday, September 21 from 5:30 p.m.at Ford’s offices are located at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue in Suite 400.

CSIS to Host Statoil on Climate Roadmap – On Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Statoil, to present Statoil’s Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explains how Statoil will develop its business in support of the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Statoil believes the needed energy transition to a low-carbon society represents business opportunities, and Sverdrup will discuss how the company is reducing emissions, growing in renewables, and developing the portfolio and strategy to ensure a competitive advantage in a low-carbon world.  This event is part of the Climate Change and the National and Corporate Interest series, featuring speakers to foster insightful discussions on a variety of corporate and country perspectives on the costs and benefits of their respective climate strategies.

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEKSeptember 25-29th.  Hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Biomass Power Association, Clean Energy Business Network, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

AEE Holds Michigan Energy Future Conference – The Advance Energy Economy will hold its 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference on September 25th College for Creative Studies in downtown Detroit.  The global market for mobility solutions is growing rapidly, building on innovation, information technology, and new transportation business models. Focusing on this convergence, the event, sponsored by our friends at DTE Energy, will dive deep into the intersection of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. While other conferences have explored these issues independently, the Michigan Energy Future Conference will be the first comprehensive look at the synergies between sectors, exploring opportunities for the U.S. to benefit as the pace of convergence between these sectors accelerates.

Ideas Conference Set – The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute holds its 9th annual Washington Ideas conference on September 26-28.  “Washington Ideas” convenes the nation’s leaders in politics, business, health, science, technology, arts, culture and journalism for three days of can’t miss conversation and connections. In the heart of the nation’s capital, we will tackle the most consequential issues facing the country and the world.

Coal Event to Hear from Alpha CEO – The 40th annual Coal Marketing Days forum will be held on September 26-27 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The event hosts a variety of coal suppliers and buyers, coal transport companies, and industry-wide analysts who exchange in-depth knowledge on the current state of the global and domestic coal-producing markets and focuses on the current trends and challenges shaping the business. Alpha Natural Resources CEO David Stetson is the keynote.

PA Shale Conference Set SHALE INSIGHT 2017 will be held on September 27th and 28th at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.  The event holds the most important discussions on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. Influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders will work through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.

CSIS, Fortune Smart Women Conference to Feature Ernst – On Friday September 29th at 9:00 a.m., the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative holds a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).  The topics will include North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, and other global hotspots with Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.  The event is – as always – moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune.

Geothermal Conference Set for Utah – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is holding GEOEXPO+ on October 1-4th at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT.  The meeting will be held in conjunction with the GRC Annual Meeting.

SEJ Set for Pittsburgh – Speaking of Pittsburgh, SEJ’s 27th annual conference is set for October 4-8 in Steel City.

Vets in Energy Forum Set – Veterans In Energy will hold a forum on October 5th through 7th at NRECA in Arlington. VIE provide transition, retention and professional development support to the growing population of military veterans who have chosen energy careers.  Speakers will include Chris Hale of GI Jobs and Gen. John Allen, former Dep Commander of US Central Command.

Bloomberg Hosts Sustainability Forum – Bloomberg holds its 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit on October 12-13th in its New York offices to discuss how companies are yielding positive returns for investors, creating sustainably valuable products and processes, and developing innovative sustainable business models.  Uniquely positioned at the intersection of sustainable business and sustainable investing, the summit will explore the challenges and even greater opportunities emerging across industries.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

 

Energy Update: Week of June 19

Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed your Father’s Day as much as I did.  I was completely out of control running a 10K with Adam in the morning (he smoked me in the last two miles: 39:00 to 41:50), officiated 6 lax games with Hannah, then went with all three (and sat in the prime seats with Olivia) to the Third Eye Blind/SilverSun PickUps concert at Pier 6 and finally a late visit to Ra! for sushi.  I even was able to take in a little of the exciting and amazing finish by Brooks Koepka as he ran through the final few holes en route to his US Open victory.

Back to the work week (which may actually seem like rest compared to the weekend). Last week’s budget questions were not as tough as some expected given Congressional appropriators have pretty much disregarded the “Mulvaney” budget…as some of his former House colleagues chided during hearings.  This week, the action hits its stride as Energy Secretary Perry returns to action off his recent trip to Asia.  Because of the trip, Perry is pulling a trifecta with testimony tomorrow at House Approps, Wednesday at Senate EPW Approps and Thursday at Senate Energy.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also hits a triple starting tomorrow at Senate Energy, Wednesday afternoon at Senate Interior Approps and Thursday at House Resources.  In each case, they will continue the effort to explain the administration’s budget request.

This biggest event this week is the Chamber’s Energy Institute 10th Anniversary “Energy Strong” forum tomorrow morning focused on energy progress made over the past decade, as well as ways that continued energy innovation can drive future economic growth.  Speakers will include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, among a number of others.

Also tomorrow, with the Trump Administration close to completing its Section 232 trade investigation of whether imported steel poses a “threat to U.S. national security,” steel folks will hold two events: At Noon the Washington Auto press hosts the Steel Market Development Institute at the Press Club while steel consumers in the US will hold a briefing at 2:00 p.m. in the Club’s Zenger Room to discuss the impacts of trade tariffs.

Then tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on energy innovation featuring Sen. Lamar Alexander and a panel moderated by Axios’ Ben Geman that includes ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Air Liquide’s Mike Rosen and Southern’s Steve Wilson.  The event is a follow up on a recent letter from 14 CEOs including major corporations and Chamber CEO Tom Donahue that urges Congressional support funding for energy innovation programs. We also expect to see another letter this week on the same topic from a wide array of “strange-bedfellow” groups.  In addition, former Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz will discuss energy innovation projects at a National Press Club Newsmaker Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. hosted by me and moderated by our friend Rod Kuckro of E&E News.

Speaking of Moniz, later in the day he will join a forum at the Atlantic Council on the climate energy balance that includes former Defense secretary Chuck Hagel, former EPA head Christie Todd Whitman and Statoil Chief Economist Eirik Waerness.  Waerness also briefs at CSIS on Thursday on the US release of Statoil’s new 2017 Energy Perspectives report, which summarizes narratives about global energy demand and energy mix for the future decades.  CSIS also hosts the launch of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017 on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

After delaying another week, we might see RVOs this week, but not really holding my breath given the history here…  There is a LOT of interesting news out there this morning.  If you have any questions about any of it that I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to call…  Wednesday at 4:24 p.m. is Summer Solstice, so enjoy the longest day of the year…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“These new estimates show the potential damage to the solar industry as a result of this petition.  Rather than help the industry, the trade action would kill many thousands of American jobs and put a stop to billions of dollars in private investment.”

SEIA President Abigail Ross Hopper on the impacts of the 201 trade case filed by Suniva now being reviewed by the US International Trade Commission.

 

IN THE NEWS

SEIA Says Trade Action would Cost 88K Jobs – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) projects that 88,000 jobs would be lost, about one-third of the current American solar workforce, if Suniva gets trade protections proposed in its petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).  Among the states standing to lose the most jobs include California with an expected job loss of 15,800, another 7,000 jobs would be lost in South Carolina, and 6,300 in Texas, according to preliminary estimates by SEIA.  Despite Suniva’s claims that its move is meant to protect domestic manufacturing, SEIA found that U.S. solar manufacturing jobs will actually decline if the petition is granted.  The case comes after a record-breaking year of solar energy growth in 2016 when industry jobs grew by 25% year-over-year and electricity generating capacity nearly doubled.  SEIA forecasts that solar jobs would be lost in all segments of the market. The utility-scale market, which has paced the industry’s growth for years, would see jobs shrink by 60%, while residential and commercial employment would fall by 44% and 46%, respectively.

AHRI Group Offers Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants Testing Results – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), the research arm of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), released the first research report as part of its ongoing testing of flammable refrigerants, many of which were identified as possible replacements to high global warming-potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons that will be phased down under the Montreal Protocol. The research and testing program is part of a $5.2 million commitment on the part of AHRI, ASHRAE, U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Air Resources Board to further test in real-world settings low-GWP, but mildly flammable or flammable, refrigerants. The report, Benchmarking Risk by Whole Room Scale Leaks and Ignitions Testing of A2L Refrigerants, was developed following testing at UL, which began in June 2016. The objective was to conduct refrigerant leak and ignition testing under real-world conditions to develop data and insight into the risk associated with the use of A2L refrigerants, which are mildly-flammable, but have a low-GWP. Room scale tests were performed for commercial and residential scenarios, including a packaged terminal air conditioner in a motel room, a rooftop unit in a commercial kitchen, a walk-in cooler, a reach-in refrigerator in a convenience store, a split HVAC unit in a utility closet and with servicing error, and a split HVAC unit with hermetic electrical pass-through terminal failure. Further testing is planned as part of this effort and results will be released when they are available.

EIA: Wind, solar Account for 10% of U.S. electricity generation for first time – The EIA said last week that for the first time, wind and solar power installations provided about 10% of total U.S. electricity generation in March and likely exceeded that level in April.  EIA added that the share will likely fall below those levels in the summer, largely because output fluctuates based on seasonal changes.  On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation in 2016. Texas accounted for the largest total amount of wind and solar electricity generation. Nearly all of this generation was from wind, as Texas generates more wind energy than any other state. As a share of the state’s total electricity generation, wind and solar output was highest in Iowa, where wind and solar made up 37% of electricity generation in 2016. In addition to Iowa, wind and solar provided at least 20% of 2016 electricity generation in six other states.  See the EIA charts here.

Wind Runs Adverting Campaign About Jobs – Speaking of wind, AWEA’s partner American Wind Action launched a multimillion-dollar digital, TV and radio advertising issue advocacy campaign in Washington that features workers at an Iowa wind turbine manufacturing facility who say the industry “powers American jobs.”

AHRI Pushes Back on Energy Efficiency Lawsuit – Eleven states, led by California and New York, have sued the Trump administration for failing to finalize energy-efficiency regulations for portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and other products. AHRI’s Francis Dietz said while the HVACR industry is just as anxious as others to have some certainty about these delayed rules that affect its members’ products, it is not unusual for there to be a delay in getting rules out at the beginning of an administration.  “As much as they would like to see decisions made on these, the odds are, these rules will be out long before this suit sees the inside of a courtroom.”  He added it’s important to remember that these products are already available for anyone to buy, so the argument that this delay is somehow keeping consumers from saving money/energy is simply not true. Having said that, manufacturers thrive on certainty, and that has created uncertainty and the new legal actions only create more.

SAFE Weighs In On AV Hearing Discussions – Following last week’s Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on autonomous vehicles (AVs), Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) head Robbie Diamond said he is encouraged by Congressional action to advance autonomous vehicle (AV) policy.  Diamond says the technology “will improve the lives of countless people, prevent deaths, and mitigate our nation’s oil dependence. Congress has an important role to play in expediting the safe deployment of these vehicles on public roads by judiciously establishing a single, national regulatory framework.”  He added that AVs are a national issue which requires a national policy, and while it is critical to avoid overregulation, not being clear about basic performance standards creates a situation in which developers do not have a clear understanding of safety standard to build towards, and a policy vacuum forms that invites states to continue to create a messy patchwork of regulations.  Diamond: “A unified national framework, that includes federal preemption of conflicting state standards, would address both of these growing challenges—and we urge lawmakers to continue moving forward swiftly.”  Until a unified national framework is in place, SAFE believes that states should refrain from imposing AV regulations that may create unnecessary delays in deployment of the technology. Federal preemption has the ability to provide the much-needed certainty to automotive and technology companies, and will spur increased AV development across the country.  In January, SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, a panel of experts and former public officials committed to the safe and timely introduction of AVs, released its best-practice recommendations for AV deployment. These recommendations emphasized the need for a modern regulatory environment, as well as industry-government communication.

House Committee Approves Crucial Nuclear Incentive – Last Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved bipartisan energy legislation from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) modifying the 45J production tax credit to allow more time for the nation’s four new reactors under construction to receive the credit, and to allow transferability of the credit to other partners of the utilities. ClearPath Executive Director Rich Powell said: “This effort is vital to any real hope of expanding our nuclear fleet.”  The legislation changes current law by removing the 2021 deadline for the new reactors to be placed in service. It may also affect facilities that would use other advanced nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors being designed by NuScale Power. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced a companion measure.

Congressional Baseball Game Raises $1M For Charity – Speaking of ClearPath, they were a proud sponsor of Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game, which brought both teams together in a bipartisan display of collegiality that raised more than $1 million for charity. The record number of tickets sold -nearly 25,000 – and other proceeds benefit the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literary Center and the Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Ukraine Gas Leaders to Address Forum – Next Monday at 3:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center will hold a conversation on the future of Ukraine’s energy sector with Naftogaz leadership.  On May 31, Ukraine’s Naftogaz won a victory over Russia’s Gazprom in the international arbitration court in Stockholm. Naftogaz won on all three counts the court considered. On the heels of this extraordinary development, the Atlantic Council will bring together Naftogaz Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, Andriy Kobolyev and Yuriy Vitrenko, and fellow energy experts, to discuss Ukraine’s energy sector – Nord Stream 2, implications of the arbitration between Naftogaz and Gazprom in Stockholm, and energy reforms.

Chamber to Host Pruitt, Zinke – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy will celebrate its 10th Anniversary tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with an “Energy Strong” forum that will examine the remarkable progress made over the past decade, and the ways that continued energy innovation can drive future economic growth.  Speakers will include Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy CEO Karen Harbert, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Sen. Dan Sullivan, former National Security Advisor General Jim Jones Jr. (Ret.), IHS Markit’s Dan Yergin, EEI President Tom Kuhn, NuScale Power CEO John Hopkins and several others.

Zinke to Talk Interior Budget at Senate Energy – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing next Tuesday to examine the president’s budget request for the Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2018.  Secretary Ryan Zinke will appear.   Later in the day, The Committee’s panel on Public Lands, Forests and Mining’s will hold an oversight hearing on restoring watersheds and large landscapes.

Perry to Testify at House/Senate Approps Subpanels, Sen Energy – Energy Secretary Rick Perry is scheduled to testify next week before three committees on the budget.  Expect lots of funding questions but also a number of questions about the reliability study.  Tomorrow, Perry heads to the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water.  On Wednesday, he hits the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water and Thursday, he moves over to the Senate Energy Committee.

Forum to Look at AVs – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Washington Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany will hold a forum next Tuesday, June 20th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss key policy and commercial issues and insights on how enterprises and policymakers from the U.S. and Germany are enabling the future of mobility.  Emerging digital technologies are enabling connected and autonomous vehicles (AVs). These technologies will reshape the future of mobility, reducing accidents and producing an estimated $1 trillion-a-year economic benefit in the United States alone. But to achieve that vision, policymakers will need to create a regulatory environment that encourages experimentation while ensuring high standards of road safety, as Germany has recently done by developing a policy framework for autonomous vehicle research and experimentation.  Speakers include Michael Bültmann of HERE Deutschland, ITIF’s Stephen Ezell and German Federal Ministry of Transportation’s Tobias Miethaner.

House Science Dems Hosts Climate Advocates – Democrats on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will host a roundtable discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to showcase the threats posed by man-made global warming.  Ranking Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson has invited heavy hitters in the climate world to the four-hour event, which will feature two expert panels on science and the UN Process.  Among the witnesses include climate scientist Ben Santer, former UN Environmental Chair Christiana Figueres and several others.

Forum to Look at OPA Reform – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, June 20th at 12:00 p.m. looking at updating the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in 1990.  OPA was passed following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, to strengthen the federal government’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills, establish financial resources to aid response, and raise standards for contingency planning. The program will cover OPA issues raised by pipeline projects, and by the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase production from offshore and federal lands and to restrict the definition of waters of the United States in ways which may reduce the scope of contingency planning requirements for inland locations.  Speakers will also discuss key decisions from the past year involving the OPA and related federal statutes, including decisions about recoverable damages, citizen suits, and presentation of claims to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, as well as decisions in enforcement cases against vessels involving the use of “magic pipes” to deal with oily bilge water. The expert panel includes NOIA’s Randall Luthi, Cyn Sarthou of the Gulf Restoration Network and Richard Udell, who serves in DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section.

WAPA to Host Steel Discussion – The Washington Automotive Press Assn is holding a forum at the National Press Club Tuesday June 20th at Noon featuring the Steel Market Development Institute. Dr. Jody Hall, vice president of the automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute, will discuss advancements in steel grades and how their application in the vehicle structure helps protects occupants in the event of a crash and is easier to repair than vehicles made with alternative materials.

Steel Consumers to Address Tariff Issues – Steel consumers in the US will hold a briefing on Wednesday at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the Impacts of trade tariffs. Speakers include American Institute for International Steel President Richard Chriss, Chief Commercial Officer of the Port of New Orleans Bobby Landry, trade law expert Lewis Leibowitz and Stuart Speyer of Tennsco, a family-owned manufacturer of quality storage products.  The event will feature U.S. steel supply chain, voices from ports to steel-using manufacturers, speak out about the potentially destructive impact of steel tariffs on their own economic viability. The U.S. steel industry directly employs 142,000 workers, compared to an estimated 6.5 million who are employed by steel-using manufacturers.

Senate to Look at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee’s Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on innovative financing and funding to address America’s crumbling water infrastructure.

BPC Innovation Forum to Feature Sen Alexander, Southern ClearPath Experts – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Innovation Commission tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in 430 Dirksen about the energy innovation process, with leading industry voices discussing whether smart, targeted approaches for limited federal resources can complement private sector investments in pursuit of advanced energy technologies. President Trump’s recent budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 has sparked a conversation about the appropriate federal role in supporting the nation’s innovators. As the congressional appropriations process begins in earnest, energy research programs within the Department of Energy are among those under scrutiny, despite a history of broad, bipartisan support.  Sen. Lamar Alexander will offer Keynote remarks, followed by a panel discussion with ClearPath’s Rich Powell, Air Liquide’s Mike Rosen and Southern’s Steve Wilson moderated by Axios’ Ben Geman.

WCEE to Host Litigation Roundtable – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment hold its Third Annual Litigation Roundtable Wednesday with the women Administrative Law Judges of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Judges will discuss their experience as Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and who they themselves mentored, and share the “Dos & Don’ts” regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

BGov to Look at Infrastructure IssuesBloomberg Government will convene a conversation on Wednesday morning looking at the latest innovations for America’s infrastructure and the public and private sector partners bringing these ideas to life. Federal, state and industry leaders discuss the nation’s infrastructure priorities – funding, connectivity and sustainability – and where the public sector should focus infrastructure efforts to have the greatest impact.

Moniz, Whitman, Others to Discuss Climate, Energy – The Atlantic Council will host a forum on Wednesday looking at the energy and climate balance.  The conference convenes 150 rising leaders from around the world to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing the next generation: finding a balance between mitigating and adapting to climate change while also providing secure and reliable energy to fuel our future. The bipartisan agenda includes a cross-generational lineup of senior speakers alongside future leaders and represents a range of views on energy and climate from both sides of the Atlantic. Confirmed speakers include Founder of Sun Edison and Generate Capital Jigar Shah, Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA Leila Dean,  President and Co-Founder of OPower Alex Laskey, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, CEO and Founder of Merdiam Thierry Deau, Manager for Environment and Policy Planning for ExxonMobil Peter Trelenberg, former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, former EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman,  Chairman and CEO of the Libra Group George Logothetis, and Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of Statoil Eirik Waerness, among many others.

Wilson Forum Look at Arctic Relations – The Wilson Center hold its Arctic Circle Forum on Wednesday and Thursday beginning each day at 8:30 am and looking at the U.S. and Russian roles in the Arctic.  The Arctic is a region of international dialogue and potential competition, of varied challenges and diverse opportunities. It is also a region that is gaining in both geopolitical significance and public awareness every day. The complex relationship between the United States and Russia, along with the approaches of the six other Arctic nations, will continue to shape the region’s social, economic, political and environmental issues far into the future.  The event will explore the crucial Arctic relationship and the implications for all Arctic nations, the communities that call the region home, and the countries and organizations that have a vested interest in a peaceful and sustainable Arctic.

House Resources to Look at Linking Helium, NatGas, Oil Leasing – The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a Wednesday 10:00 a.m. legislative hearing on discussion drafts of the Helium Extraction Act of 2017.  The legislation focuses on amending the Mineral Leasing Act to provide that extraction of helium from gas produced under a Federal mineral lease shall maintain the lease as if the helium were oil and gas.

House Science Looks at Advancing in Enviro Techs – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. examining advances in environmental technologies. Witnesses will include Saildrone exec Sebastien De Halleux Dr. Neil Jacobs of Panasonic Avionics and Oregon State University Professor in Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry Burke Hales.

BNEF to Release Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting the launch of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017 on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The report is BNEF’s annual economic forecast for the world’s power mix to 2040. Built over nine months, it is the result of a major collaboration of more than 65 market and technical experts from BNEF’s 11 offices around the world.  Seb Henbest (NEO Lead Author and Head of Europe, Middle East, & Africa; BNEF) and Elena Giannakopoulou (Lead Energy Economist; BNEF) will present on the NEO 2017 findings, followed by Q&A and discussion.

Press Club to Host Former Energy Sect Moniz – The National Press Club will host a Newsmaker on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Lisagor Room featuring former Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz.  Moniz will propose ways to maintain the American leadership edge on energy innovation. Moniz also is expected to announce the formation of a new non-profit organization “The Energy Futures Initiative,” that aims to foster innovation in global energy systems. According to the creators, EFI will be a non-partisan, think tank and advisory firm working across all energy sources to provide evidence-based analysis on decarbonizing energy systems, creating high-paying energy jobs, and finding ways to make energy infrastructure and supplies more secure.

Forum to Look at Innovation, EU Climate Challenges – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Delegation of the European Union to the US will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. addressing current trends in innovation and economically sound decarbonization efforts across key sectors. World Bank Group CEO Kristalina Georgieva will keynote.

CA Energy Forum Set – Advanced Energy Economy’s (AEE) annual California energy policy event, Pathway to 2050, will be held on Wednesday in Sacramento.  The event brings together an influential group of advanced energy business leaders and state policy-makers to discuss opportunities to accelerate California’s economy through the growth of advanced energy.  Speakers will include our friends Caroline Choi of SoCalEd, Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee and Greentech’s Katie Fehrenbacher. Other speakers include SoCal Ed CEO Kevin Payne, GE’s Deb Frodl, Cal Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, CPUC President Michael Picker, Cal Energy Commissioner Janea Scott and Tom Steyer.

AHRI Hosts CA State Summit – The HVAC industry will also hold a California State Summit on Wednesday and Thursday looking at energy and efficiency issues relating to the industry at the Hyatt in Sacramento.  Speakers will include CARB member Dean Florez, House Assembly Republican Leader Chad Myers and Senate President Kevin de Leon.

Senate Energy to Hear from Perry on DOE Budget – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the president’s budget request for the Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2018.  Secretary Perry will testify.

State to Launch New Arctic Book – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at George Washington University, the State Department releases a book containing excerpts from the blog and book, Our Arctic Nation. The forum will feature a selection of Our Arctic Nation contributors discussing their experiences exploring their state’s Arctic connections and for discussion about national Arctic identity and the importance of the region to America’s future. Robert Orttung of GWU’s Elliott School of International Affairs and Representatives from the U.S. Department of State will speak.

WAPA to Host Ride/Drive of Ionig – WAPA also will host a lunch and drive on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at River Farm in Alexandria, VA featuring the all-new Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Hybrid line of vehicles.

CSIS to Host Statoil Energy Report – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum on at 1:00 p.m. featuring Eirik Wærness, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2017.  The Energy Perspectives report summarizes different narratives about global energy demand and energy mix for the future decades, scenarios, based on different assumptions about regional and global economic growth, conflict levels and implications, technological development and energy and climate policies. In the 2017 version, models have been adjusted with last year’s developments in the energy and climate policy area, technology costs and maturity, more thorough assessments of GDP forecasts, as well as included adjustments made to historic global CO2 emissions. The modelling runs to 2050 with 2014 as baseline year, and provides a forecast for global energy demand and energy mix, economic growth, CO2 emissions, and more.

Forum to Hear Energy Demand Expert – On Friday at Chinatown Garden, the National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will host physicist, venture capitalist, author, government advisor, and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Mark Mills.  Mills will discuss energy demand disruptions and the aspirations versus the reality. Mills says we are nearing an era of ‘peak energy demand’ requires believing that innovation is over, and similarly that we’ve seen the end of normal economic and social behaviors.  Technology and demographic trends in fact suggest that the recent past is in an interregnum, not a ‘new normal’ when it comes to energy demand.

 

IN THE FUTURE

EIA Energy Conference Set – The 2017 EIA Energy Conference is scheduled for June 26-27 in Washington, DC.

Smart Cities Conference Headed for Austin – The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference will be in Austin, TX at the Convention Center on June 27th.  The event convenes more than 200 global city leaders to prospect and partner with innovative technology and service providers.

Global Security Forum Set – The Center for a New American security hosts its 2017 Annual Conference in partnership with The Washington Post on Wednesday, June 28th at The Mayflower Hotel. This year’s conference will bring together U.S. national security policymakers and experts to highlight major divides and identify potential bipartisan solutions. CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.

CSIS to Host IEF Head on Energy Markets – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program on Wednesday June 28th at 10:30 a.m. will host Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), for a presentation and discussion on the forces impacting the security of global oil and gas supplies. Adam Sieminski will moderate the session that will focus on three key aspects of current markets: (1) why the volatile nature of the energy markets continues to pose many challenges for producers and consumers and (2) how, despite policy shifts in Washington, tightening greenhouse gas emission thresholds around the world could continue to shape many long-term decisions made by policy makers.  Dr. Sun has over 30 years of practical industry experience in oil & gas production, trading, and pipeline construction. He was elected Secretary General of the IEF in August 2016.

CSIS to Discuss Energy Efficiency Issues – On Thursday June 29th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Philippe Benoit, former head of Energy Efficiency and Environment Division of the International Energy Agency, to discuss some of the benefits and pitfalls in shifting the focus of energy efficiency from savings to growth. Ariel Yépez, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will discuss how the IDB is working to increase the appeal of energy efficiency as a development tool for its client countries by also emphasizing its potential to support expanded service delivery. Laura Van Wie McGrory, Alliance to Save Energy, will discuss how energy efficiency also brings important benefits other than just energy savings to the U.S. and other developed countries.

JULY 4th Recess – June 30th to July 11th

Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 20th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Tuesday, July 11th from at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Rayburn.

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  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.

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CONTINUES ON

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

Some Specific issues –

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

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

 

EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MORE RESOURCES

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

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update: Week of July 27

Friends,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You know what to do…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

THE BIG NEWS: RFS DEADLINE

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Energy Update: Week of July 20

Friends,

 

The British Open seems to be the tournament that just didn’t want to end.  After a major delay, we were able to get an extra day of golf this morning with a delayed final round.  While Jordan Spieth came up 1-stroke short, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen headed for a 4-hole playoff that Johnson took to win his 2nd major.

 

Some sad news: There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know…As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him. Later on he had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast. That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town! Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this…is the business…we’ve chosen; I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!  RIP Moe Greene (Alex Rocco).

 

After last week’s Iran Deal, this week is still about what happens when Congress starts the 60-day clock.  There will be an important briefing sponsored by Iranian-American groups  tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate Kennedy Caucus room that will raise concerns from the Iranian people about the agreement. Senator Blunt will open up the panel that will feature former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former CIA director Jim Woolsley and many more.  A Persian Lunch will be served so please join us in the Russell Building.

 

On Wednesday, the National Press Club is hosting a morning news conference at 9:30 a.m. to mark the first anniversary of the imprisonment of Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief, Jason Rezaian with Wash Post Exec Editor Martin Baron.  As well, House Financial Services looks into Iran Nuclear Deal and its Impact on terrorism financing.  On Thursday, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Muniz, and Secretary Jack Lew will defend the Iran nuclear deal before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  And next week, the Senate Armed Services Committee is planning to take up the issue of Camp Liberty and the issues related to that in a hearing.  A lot going on with the Iran Nuclear Deal and we have excellent resources on the topic that can discuss politics, policy, implications, and Iran’s negotiating tactics.  If it’s not you, please let your colleagues covering know that we can help.

 

In non-Iran news in Congress, tomorrow, the House may take up a rule to bring the both the State GMO labeling ban and the McKinley Coal Ash legislation to the floor.  On Wednesday, House Resources takes up the Social Cost of Carbon and the hearing will feature my expert colleague Scott Segal.  Our friend Bridgette Bourge of NRECA testifies at Senate Homeland Security on energy infrastructure issues.  And another big House Science hearing with take pace Thursday when they look into the EPA’s RFS.

 

Speaking of GMO Labeling, later this week look for specific state opinion polling on requiring labels for foods that have been genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients. The Environmental Working Group and the Just Label It campaign will have data from a handful of key states.  The legislation mentioned above in the Rules Committee consideration not only restricts the FDA’s ability to develop a national GMO labeling system, but would also block states from establishing their own GMO labeling laws and regulating the production of GMO crops.

 

This is also that last week is for you to exercise your voting rights… for the SAFE Energy Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  Vote for your favorite technology at www.secureenergy.org. This morning, Cleantechnica ran a five part “op-ed” about the Prize and then 250-word pitches from the semifinalists. Please check it out.

 

Finally, Congrats to our friends Lauren Gardner and Matt Piotrowski.  Lauren is moving from CQ-Rollcall to POLITICO to cover transportation and Matt moved on from Energy Intelligence and just started at SAFE’s new site The Fuse.

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Rural Coop Execs Meet With OMB – CEO’s and Generation and Transmission Managers representing electric cooperatives met with OMB on Friday to address concerns with the Administration’s soon-to-be-released Clean Power Plan.  They addressed the following issues the importance of preserving the remaining useful life of co-op power plants and avoiding stranding those assets, shortcomings in each of the 4 Building Blocks and the need to modify the interim goals, the importance of including a dynamic Reliability Safety Valve and ideas for how one would work and the impact of 111(d) on co-ops (i.e. prematurely forcing existing plants to retire) and the impact on co-op member consumers.  Member-owned co-ops are an integral part of America’s rural communities, providing power to approximately 42 million people in 47 states. There are nearly 850 distribution co-ops and 65 generation and transmission co-ops in the United States.  Electric cooperatives are private, independent, non-profit electric utilities that are owned by the customers they serve.  They were established to provide at-cost electric service, mostly to rural communities that are underserved.  Electric co-ops reach 12 percent of the nation’s population cover 75% Of the country’s land mass.  They also include 93% of the counties that are persistent poverty counties.  The Cooperative Executives attending today’s meeting included Seminole Electric (FL) CEO Lisa Johnson, Arizona G&T Cooperatives CEO Patrick Ledger, Hoosier Energy CEO Steve Smith, East Kentucky Power Cooperative CEO Tony Campbell and South Mississippi Electric Power Association CEO Jim Compton.

 

Keep Voting…for Energy Tech Prize – The voting continues for the SAFE 2015  Energy Security Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil. The winner of the 2015 Prize will receive $125,000, the first runner up $35,000 and the second runner up $15,000.  SAFE is imploring the public to cast their votes for one of four semifinalists–FreeWire Technologies, Momentum Dynamics, Peloton Technology, and SeaChange Group—to determine the winners. Vote for your favorite technology at www.secureenergy.org. This morning, Cleantechnica ran a five part “op-ed” about the Prize and then 250-word pitches from the semifinalists. Please check it out.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

ACCF to Hold Climate Forum – The American Council for Capital Formation will hold a briefing tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at the Cosmos Club on the impacts of limiting greenhouse gases.  A panel of experts with the American Council for Capital Formation will provide their views on domestic economic, legal, and political issues that are crucial in determining the success or failure of the U.S. pledge and other climate-related commitments. Panelists will include the Chamber’s Stephen Eule, former EPA Counsel Roger Martella, McConnell climate policy advisor Neil Chatterjee and Derrick Freeman of the Progressive Policy Institute.

 

NatGas Roundtable to Host FERC Chair – Tomorrow, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Norman C. Bay will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club.

 

Forum to Look at Middle East Energy – Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at Energy markets in the Middle East.  The event will feature a discussion with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

 

Forum to Look at Middle East Issues – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Wednesday with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

 

Senate Homeland Security Looks at Grid Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will convene a hearing protecting the electric grid from the potential threats of solar storms and electromagnetic pulse.  Witnesses include former CIA Director James Woolsey, FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Joe McClelland, GAO’s Chris Currie and NRECA’s Bridgette Bourge.

 

Segal to Testify at House Resources on the Social Cost of Carbon – The House Resources Committee will conduct an oversight hearing on Wednesday looking at the Obama Administration’s use of the Social Cost of Carbon.  Bracewell’s Scott Segal will be among the witnesses.

 

WCEE Event to Look at Mexico Energy Reforms – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will continue their Lunch & Learn Series on Wednesday at Noon looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  These reforms provide an historic opportunity to revitalize its state-owned energy sector and bolster the overall economy. No Mexican assets will be privatized, but the nation’s vast oil resources, including offshore and unconventional fields, will open to international players. Offshore deep-water areas have generated excitement in the investor community, as has the potential for unconventional development. The electricity sector is also poised for major change, new investment and expansion. The essential elements of the reform will be discussed at this event.

 

CSIS to Look at Future of Russian Gas Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a program on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the future of Russian gas exports. Isabel Gorst, Moscow-based Foreign Correspondent and Edward Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS will speak.

 

EPA, CHP Groups Hold Webinar – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the EPA CHP Partnership (CHPP) and the CHP Association (CHPA) will co-host a webinar about the LEED® point impact CHP can have on buildings seeking LEED® certification.  CHP, also known as cogeneration, has a long record of providing buildings with reliable electricity, steam, hot water, and cooling with lower cost and emissions than grid-supplied electricity and an on-site boiler. New modular CHP units, absorption chiller improvements, and 3rd party ownership models have also made CHP more viable for a wider array of applications. And, because of its superior energy efficiency and lower energy cost, CHP can earn buildings seeking LEED® certification significant LEED® points.

House Science Tackles RFS – The House Science Committee panels on Energy and Oversight will hold a joint hearing Thursday entitled on EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Mandate.  Witnesses will include Matthew Smorch of CountryMark Refining, Jason Hill of the University of Minnesota, Chuck Red of Applied Research Associates and Mercury Marine’s Tim Reid.

 

Cato Book Forum Looks at Environmental Progress – The Cato Institute will hold a Book Forum on Thursday at Noon featuring authors Ronald Bailey, Science Correspondent, Reason magazine and Indur M. Goklany, Author, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet. Throughout the past five decades there have been many forecasts of impending environmental doom. These projections have universally been proven wrong. Those who have bet on human resourcefulness, however„ have almost always been correct. In his book, Bailey provides a detailed examination of the theories, studies, and assumptions currently spurring forecasts of calamity and shaping environmental policy.

 

House Foreign Affairs Looks at Mexico Energy Reforms – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. pursuing North American energy independence by looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Witnesses include former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, Thomas Tunstall of the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development, Rice’s Tony Payan of the Baker Institute for Public Policy Mexico Center and Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.

 

White House to Hold Rural Council Meeting – The White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will hold a meeting on Friday focused on advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in rural economies.  The discussion will include a broad range of federal resources that can potentially be leveraged by rural electric cooperatives for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment as they consider important investment decisions about their generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

NJ to Host Upton – The National Journal and Fawn Johnson, National Journal’s domestic policy reporter will host an in-depth conversation with Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  The discussion will focus on the energy and commerce priorities for the committee— including a conversation about the possibility of a bipartisan energy bill this year. That measure would address energy production, regulatory issues, workforce development, energy efficiency and environmentally sound infrastructure upgrades. On the commerce front, we’ll ask the Chairman about his 21st Century Cures Act which seeks to encourage health care innovation. Other topics of discussion will include next steps for Obamacare, and transparency at the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Co-Ops to Highlight Renewables – EESI and NRECA will hold a briefing On Thursday, July 30th at 10:00 a.m. featuring rural electric cooperatives which are taking significant action on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Member-owned, not-for-profit electric co-ops are typically smaller than investor-owned utilities, and they are less likely to have significant capital reserves or other resources to implement clean energy programs. But their small size and strong relationships with their member-consumers allow co-ops to be nimble and innovative, particularly with programs directly involving co-op members. As a result, many electric co-ops around the country have become successful clean energy laboratories.  The briefing will feature Great River Energy Gary Connett and Roanoke Electric CEO Curtis Wynn (G&T) co-ops discussing their clean energy innovations, including community solar programs, demand response initiatives, energy efficiency financing, and more.  Other speakers will include MN Sen. and Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus co-chair Amy Klobuchar, Kenneth Colburn of the New Hampshire Electric Coop and NRECA’s Martin Lowery.   Speakers will describe the impacts and challenges of each strategy, and why these strategies work for their members.   NRECA found that co-ops had 95 megawatts of solar capacity online in 34 states as of October 2014, with another 144 megawatts in development. EESI has identified at least 50 co-ops in 23 states offering residential on-bill financing programs, where members repay their co-op for energy project investments via their utility bills, often using the savings achieved by the project. While many older programs targeted heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) replacements, newer programs include broad energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Abundance, Strengthening U.S. Leadership – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday, July 30th looking at US energy issues and its impact on global leadership.  The forum will feature Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Mark Warner as they launch the task force report: Empowering America: How Energy Abundance Can Strengthen US Global Leadership.  Over the past few months, with the Senators as the Co-Chairs, the Atlantic Council convened foreign policy, defense, and energy experts to assess the foreign policy considerations of the US energy boom. The task force details the nature of our energy abundance, the importance of deploying our prowess in energy innovation and technology to others, and the ways in which we can pursue our responsibilities as a global leader on energy and the environment, while leveraging our supply abundance at the same time. It unequivocally determines that America must embrace this new tool to advance our global leadership on trade and security.

 

Webinar on “Industrial Energy Efficiency, CPP – On Friday, July 31st at Noon, efficiency advocates will host a webinar on how industrial energy efficiency can make manufacturers more competitive, enhance electric reliability, and reduce emissions.  It will look at NACAA’s Menu of Options, ACEEE’s State and Utility Pollution Reduction (SUPR) Calculator, compliance templates, and State 111 (d) Resource Hub and the CHP Pathway report produced for the American Gas Association, American Chemistry Council, and American Forest & Paper Association

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

August Recess

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Energy Update: Week of July 13

Friends,

Last week was pretty bizarre on Capitol Hill, marked by the pulling of the EPA-Interior funding bill.  We’ll see if it returns, but most experts expect to see it only when the Senate takes it up.

This week and last have been European Sports weeks.  Last weekend, the Tour d’ France launched only to get a massive crash in Stage 4, which knocked out the leader.  Stages roll through July 26th with the run into Paris.  Secondly, Wimbledon wrapped up this past weekend with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic both adding to their world tennis domination.  Williams has now won the last four majors and is currently holding the title Grand Slam.  She goes for the Calendar Grand Slam in September at the US Open.  This upcoming Thursday, the British Open kicks off from the historic St. Andrews, so I may not be paying attention much on Thursday and Friday morning.  Oh and don’t forget the trip to Spain for the running of the bulls.. it really gores me when people forget about that historic event.

Despite the delays in the Iran Nuclear Talks, this week is still about what happens with Iran.  We have excellent resources on the topic that can discuss politics, policy, implications, and Iran’s negotiating tactics.  If its not you, please let your colleagues covering know that we can help.

Also important this week is for you to exercise your voting rights… for the SAFE Energy Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil.  Vote for your favorite technology here.

Secondly, the comment period for the infamous DOE Furnace Rule ends on Friday, so I have responses and information from AHRI, AGA, and many more “hot furnace” items.

Several important hearings this week, including a House Energy grilling of PHMSA over pipeline issues tomorrow.  That feature new, interim Admin Stacy Cummings and our friend Andy Black of AOPL.  Also tomorrow, the House Resources Committee will host BOEM Director Abby Hopper and others to look at the use of seismic testing to explore for oil and gas deposits in the Outer Continental Shelf.

The House Agriculture Committee will vote tomorrow to advance a controversial bill to block state initiatives to label foods made with genetically modified organisms.  To that end, advocates for national, mandatory labeling including Stonyfield Farms Gary Hirshberg, will host a press call tomorrow at 1:30 PM ET to discuss the latest developments and next steps.  The latest version of this bill would overturn state GMO labeling laws, prevent local government from regulating the production of GMO crops, keep FDA from ever creating a mandatory GMO labeling standard, and create even more consumer confusion around the word “natural” on a food label.  EWG’s Scott Faber is great resource on this topic (202-939-9127).  They have a number of resources and experts who can address both the state labeling issues and other pesticide issues.

Wednesday will also feature a Resources Committee hearing on natgas drilling plans on public land while the Judiciary Committee will host OIRA’s Howard Shelanksi. On Thursday, Shelankski heads to the Senate Govt Affairs/Homeland Security panel on to improve the regulatory process, while two Foreign Affairs subcommittees will review renewal of the U.S.-China civil nuclear agreement.

Finally, start getting your GHG rule things together as there are only four weeks until August recess and we expect they will roll it out before.  And one bit of history:  Yesterday in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed former  Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in one of the most famous duels in American history.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

Excising your Right to Vote…for Energy Tech Prize — Voting is underway for the SAFE 2015  Energy Security Prize, which will award a total of $175,000 to companies whose innovations are poised to advance American energy security by helping to end the United States’ dependence on oil. The winner of the 2015 Prize will receive $125,000, the first runner up $35,000 and the second runner up $15,000.  SAFE is imploring the public to cast their votes for one of four semifinalists–FreeWire Technologies, Momentum Dynamics, Peloton Technology, and SeaChange Group—to determine the winners. Vote for your favorite technology here.

AHRI Says Furnace Run Impractical – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) late Friday filed comments in response to the DOE’s rule for Residential FurnacesFor many reasons, AHRI cannot support the proposed revised minimum 92% AFUE standard for non-weatherized and mobile home gas furnaces.  AHRI says the NOPR and associated Technical Support Document has identified significant errors and invalid assumptions that lead us to conclude the proposed standard is not economically justified.  They point to 1) DOE’s decision to use randomly assigned variables rather than actual market conditions to determine potential energy savings will result in 40 percent less energy saved, in our estimation; 2) DOE underestimating projected shipments of condensing furnaces in the absence of a new standard by 10%, while overestimating the percentage of the population that would be positively affected by the proposed new standard; 3) DOE’s estimate of the life-cycle costs to consumers for purchase and installation of these products is 2-3 times lower than what those costs would actually be, based on real-world cost data; 4) DOE’s estimate of the increase in manufacturer costs to comply with the proposed rule is too low by approximately 35%; and 5) In 15-20% of situations nationally, there will be installation issues that make it impractical and even impossible to install units that comply with the proposed standard.

AHRI President Says – “Since the passage of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, our furnace manufacturer members have worked continuously to include models at the highest levels of efficiency as part of expanded product lines that provide cost effective choices to meet the diverse heating needs of American consumers,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek.  “Even though the federal minimum efficiency standard for residential furnaces has been essentially unchanged since 1992, today one out of every two residential furnaces shipped by our members is a condensing model utilizing the most efficient technology currently available. It is apparent that consumers are making energy efficient choices, based on their own economic situations, rather than responding to a federal mandate,” he added.

AGA Hits Furnace Rule in Comments – AGA filed comments on DOE’s Furnace rule. The proposed rule would mandate that natural gas furnaces meet a 92 percent or higher specification for energy efficiency. At first glance, the rule appears to be a positive step forward for energy efficiency. In reality, DOE’s proposal would create a number of counterproductive and unintended consequences that could increase energy use.  “Natural gas utilities support energy conservation standards that are technologically feasible, economically justified, based on reasoned analysis and will result in significant conservation of energy as laid out in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act,” said Kathryn Clay, vice president, Policy Strategy for the American Gas Association. “This rule does not meet those standards. Due to flawed analysis and a raft of unintended consequences, this rule, if implemented, would place an undue burden on low-income customers and lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. We have laid out this analysis in detail in our comments submitted today and we urge the Department of Energy to rethink this rulemaking.”  Most furnaces in the U.S. are non-condensing and generally vent through the roof or chimney of a home. Furnaces that meet the 92 percent annual fuel utilization (AFUE) efficiency requirement are condensing furnaces and cannot be connected to the existing venting in a home. They require a new venting system and possible relocation of the equipment. In some homes this is impossible and in others it greatly increases the installation cost of the more energy efficient natural gas heating system options. On average, condensing furnaces cost about $350 more than non-condensing furnaces, along with an additional $1,500 to $2,200 in installation costs.

Complaints About DOE’s Economic Analysis in Rule – Both AGA, APGA and AHRI have complained loudly economic justification and energy savings has significant methodological and data flaws. A corrected analysis shows that a 92 percent AFUE standard is not economically justified and would impose significant costs on American consumers.  DOE’s analysis underestimates the number of consumers that are likely to switch away from natural gas heat and misidentifies which consumers are likely to switch due to the Proposed Rule. These methodological flaws have led DOE to overestimate the benefits, and underestimate the costs, of the proposed standard. Their analysis estimates that its proposed 92 percent AFUE standard would drive 16.3 percent of affected consumers that would otherwise purchase natural a non-condensing gas furnaces to shift to electric heat.  Such fuel switching increases primary energy consumption.  Under DOE’s analysis, the direct energy savings and emission benefits of increased furnace efficiency requirements are offset in very significant part by increased electricity usage from fuel switching caused by the rule.  Moreover, after correcting for DOE’s analytical errors, the proposed standard results in increased source energy use and increased carbon dioxide emissions.  According to DOE’s life-cycle cost analysis, many consumers are worse off under the proposed standard.  DOE projects that the “middle” 41 percent of American consumers would receive no benefit from the proposed standard while 20 percent of households would face higher costs.  In the replacement market, fully one quarter of all households would see a net cost increase. Low-income families and consumers in the Southern U.S. would be the hardest hit, with 39 percent of low-income households in the South bearing higher costs as a direct result of the proposed rule.

The Evidence – A recent study by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) that provides strong technical analysis and demonstrates that DOE’s economic and energy impact analyses use a materially flawed methodology to estimate the costs and benefits of the proposed standard.  These methodological flaws lead DOE to overestimate benefits, and underestimate the costs, of the proposed standard. GTI also conducted a study in June 2014 to evaluate the potential impact of fuel switching if new minimum efficiency standards for natural gas furnaces were to require condensing equipment in the replacement and new construction markets.

White House Praises Community Solar in Larger Rural Pitch – The White House announced a new initiative to increase solar access for rural America, highlighting a number of state, community and private efforts to expand solar.  One of the items highlighted in the White House materials addressed the more than 30 member-owned, not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives in 17 states across the country are committing to install community solar projects by the end of 2016.  This builds on the nearly 20 co-ops nationally that have already brought online community solar projects in the last year.  One of those key places where community solar is having an impact is in Roanoke County, NC where the co-op lead by Curtis Wynne has been a leader in developing solar options for local members.  See more here.

Senators Introduce Offshore Wind Legislation – Sens. Tom Carper and Susan Collins introduced legislation late last week to provide critical financial incentives to encourage investment in offshore wind energy. This legislation would create an investment tax credit that is redeemable for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, amounting to approximately 600 wind turbines.  In the past, Congress has offered a temporary credit for investments in wind power, the last extension of this credit expired December 31, 2014. This credit has been a lifeline to the nascent offshore wind industry, but it has only been extended by periods of one and two years at a time. This leaves the offshore wind industry without the predictability it needs to fully take advantage of the incentive. The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would give the industry the certainty needed to plan investments and maximize deployment of this clean power technology.  The legislation defines offshore facilities as any facility located in the inland navigable waters of the United States, including the Great Lakes, or in the coastal waters of the United States, including the territorial seas of the United States, the exclusive economic zone of United States, and the outer Continental Shelf of the United States.

Groups Urges State Commissions to Protect Consumers – The Institute for Energy Research is sending letters to public utility commissions in all 50 states urging them to protect American families from the imprudent costs of the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.” The letter highlights the findings of IER’s new report on electricity costs. Using data from EIA and FERC, the report finds that existing sources of electricity generation are more affordable than new sources. Electricity from even the least expensive new sources is nearly double the cost of that from existing coal power.  Public utility commissions, which have a responsibility to keep electricity rates affordable, should protect the American people from unnecessary electricity hikes by rejecting policies like the Clean Power Plan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Senate Energy Discusses on Islanded Energy Systems – The full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to receive testimony on islanded energy systems, as well as energy and infrastructure challenges and opportunities in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Territories.

Forum to Look at Global Oil Issues – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a forum tomorrow morning global oil issues. The sharp drop in oil prices is one of the most important global economic developments over the past year. While oil’s long term price outlook remains highly uncertain, a substantial part of its decline is expected to persist into the medium term. IMF’s Aasim M. Husain will discuss implications of these developments for the global economy and financial markets, as well as recommended policy responses for key country groups. He will be joined by BP’s Mark Finley and Carnegie’s Uri Dadush to discuss market trends as well as their economic and political implications for oil-exporting and oil-importing countries.

House Energy to Hear PHMSA Chief – The House Energy & Commerce panel on Energy will host Stacy Cummings, the interim head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, at a hearing tomorrow.  The hearing will explore PHMSA’s progress in implementing mandates included in a 2011 pipeline safety law.  Other witnesses will include Carl Weimer of the Pipeline Safety Trust, Santa Barbara planning director Dianne Black and AOPL head Andy Black.

House Resources to Look at Drilling – The House Resources Committee will host BOEM Director Abby Hopper and others tomorrow to look at the use of seismic testing to explore for oil and gas deposits in the Outer Continental Shelf.  The witnesses include BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper and Robert Gisiner, director of marine environment for the International Association of Geophysical Contractors.  Jim White, the president of Houston’s ARKeX Inc., which provides geospatial subsurface data, will also testify, along with Richie Miller, president of Spectrum Geo Inc., another seismic firm servicing the oil and gas industry from Houston.  Douglas Nowacek, a marine conservation professor from Duke University’s schools of engineering and the environment, will round out the panel.

DOE’s Kenderdine to Discuss QER – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host DOE’s Melanie Kenderdine tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss energy security in the first installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER).  The QER focuses on energy infrastructure and identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions. This discussion will highlight energy security in the QER, while examining ongoing work in the next installment.

Senate Small Biz to Look at Energy, Manufacturing – The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on the challenges and opportunities for small businesses engaged in energy development and energy intensive manufacturing.  Witnesses will include SOWELA Technical Community College Chancellor Neil Aspinwall, ASE’s Kateri Callahan, Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance CEO Toby Mack and Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen’s Energy Program

EWG’s Faber, Others to Discuss RFS – The DC Bar and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum tomorrow at Noon looking at the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program.  A panel of distinguished government, private sector and non-profit experts will explore recent developments in RFS. Topics will include an overview of the RFS program, the impact of EPA’s recently proposed 2014 and 2015 RFS production targets, the impact of fraud in the renewables fuel market, the so-called blend wall and legislative developments.  Speakers will Include EWG’s Scott Faber, API’s Erik Baptist and several others.

Forum to Look at China Climate Moves – EESI and the ChinaFAQs Project of the World Resources Institute will hold a briefing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. looking at China’s actions on climate change and clean energy and U.S.-China cooperation. Now the largest greenhouse gas emitter, and with a fast-growing economy and the world’s largest population, China will play a unique and vital role in the effort to address climate change.  University, government, and business experts will discuss the results of the recent U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as well as current actions and future prospects for China’s shift to low-carbon energy-including China’s recently announced contribution (“INDC”) to the international climate agreement in Paris this December.  Among the speakers for forum will be the State Department’s David Vance Wagner, China Counsellor at State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.

USEA Forum Looks at CO2 Storage – The US Energy Association will host a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at recent achievements of monitoring onshore CO2 Storage, as well as the prospects of offshore CCUS in U.S. & China.  The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin has been a leader in CCUS research for over a decade.  The GCCC gained extensive experiences in site characterization, project design and execution, and monitoring from several CO2 injection and EOR projects in the Gulf Coast Region. The GCCC has also been studying the prospects of CO2 sequestration and EOR in Texas offshore and recently completed a characterization project for site characterization in Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a proposal of integrated carbon capture and storage in the offshore Pearl River Mouth Basin in China is recently selected under the framework of US-China Climate Change Working Group. The GCCC, as one of the partners of the project, will provide technical support to the Chinese colleagues. This presentation reports the recent developments on these fronts.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE Event to Look at Mexico Energy Reforms – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will continue their Lunch & Learn Series on Wednesday July 22nd at Noon looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  These reforms provide an historic opportunity to revitalize its state-owned energy sector and bolster the overall economy. No Mexican assets will be privatized, but the nation’s vast oil resources, including offshore and unconventional fields, will open to international players. Offshore deep-water areas have generated excitement in the investor community, as has the potential for unconventional development. The electricity sector is also poised for major change, new investment and expansion. The essential elements of the reform will be discussed at this event.

EPA, CHP Groups Hold Webinar – On Wednesday, July 22nd at 2:00 p.m., the EPA CHP Partnership (CHPP) and the CHP Association (CHPA) will co-host a webinar about the LEED® point impact CHP can have on buildings seeking LEED® certification.  CHP, also known as cogeneration, has a long record of providing buildings with reliable electricity, steam, hot water, and cooling with lower cost and emissions than grid-supplied electricity and an on-site boiler. New modular CHP units, absorption chiller improvements, and 3rd party ownership models have also made CHP more viable for a wider array of applications. And, because of its superior energy efficiency and lower energy cost, CHP can earn buildings seeking LEED® certification significant LEED® points.

White House to Hold Rural Council Meeting –The White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will hold a meeting on July 24th  focused on advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in rural economies.  The discussion will include a broad range of federal resources that can potentially be leveraged by rural electric cooperatives for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment as they consider important investment decisions about their generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

NatGas Roundtable to Host FERC Chair – Next Tuesday, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host FERC Chairman Norman C. Bay will be the guest speaker at its next luncheon at the University Club

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

Forum to Look at Middle East Energy – Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10:00 a.m. looking at Energy markets in the Middle East.  The event will feature a discussion with Majid Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Petroleum, as part of the Global Energy Center’s CEO Series. Mr. Jafar will discuss how conflict and security issues in the Middle East coupled with the low oil price environment have impacted hydrocarbon producing countries in the region.  He will also address the steps that countries like Iraq should take in improving energy infrastructure, tackling subsidies, and reforming oil laws and regulations to improve investment in the oil and gas sector and bolster domestic stability.

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

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

August Recess

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