Energy Update: Week of April 17

Friends,

Hope everyone enjoyed some family time at Easter/Passover.  And congrats to Energy Daily’s Chris Holly who correctly identified my secret locale last week: Cancun, Mexico.  Yes they did hold a UN COP meeting there at the Moon Bay Palace Resort.

Welcome to Marathon Monday, better known as Patriot’s Day.  It is the day the Boston Marathon runs and you can see the Boston Globe’s coverage full coverage here.  Good luck to all who are running for themselves or others.  Marathon Monday has special meaning this year for us as Hannah is reporting live from the “Wellesley Scream tunnel” at Mile 13.  A few folks from NBC Sports Network joined college organizers for the sign-making event at Wellesley’s Davis Museum last week for a Boston Marathon Segment today on the Scream Tunnel.

It is also a day remembered for a 2013 terrorist attack and the amazing strength and healing the city showed as a community.  The days surrounding that fateful attack were depicted very well in the recent movie Patriot’s Day.  Also, it was 50 years ago today that the first official (registered) woman ran the Marathon: Katherine Switzer, who is running again this year.  The first woman to unofficially run it was Roberta Gibbs one year earlier.

Today’s focus in DC is on the White House Easter Egg Roll, the 139th version.  It started in 1878 when President Rutherford Hayes allowed kids to play Easter games on the South Lawn.  It is the first major event of the new President’s ceremonial agenda after Inaugural events and always is a great time.  In fact, our friend Sean Spicer at one point donned the Easter Bunny outfit during the Bush Administration.

Not much action this week given the second week of the Easter/Passover recess, but the major focus will be on a White House meeting of minds tomorrow on the future of the US involvement in Paris.  As you know, there has been a lot of action on this issue over the last week including a memo from my colleague Scott Segal outlining several key issues, reports that EPA Administrator Pruitt has taken a stronger stance for exiting the agreement and recent backtracking in the hardline stance from conservative, former EPA transition official Myron Ebell.  Seems like Myron and I may have been following this issue longer than just about anyone.

For you FERC nerds, the Federalist Society holds a panel discussion tomorrow on the state of competitive wholesale electricity markets, WCEE holds a lunch forum on Thursday and Friday, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Obama Science Advisor John Holdren address a science and security forum.  Also starting Wednesday, the offshore wind community comes together in Annapolis for a major series of meetings to discuss OSW, the supply chain and the future.

Our friend Amy Harder rolled out her first column at her new Generate gig, The Harder Line.  Nice word play!!!  Column #1 is focused on corporate unity on climate change, Paris engagement and is worth the read.

Congrats to our friend, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold on his 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.  Congrats to all the other winners as well, including our friends at ProPublica and Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette.

Finally, more on this below, but this morning, our friends at the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report that tracks the tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control because of the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism.  See it below.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling. This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Here is some of Hannah’s posted video from the Wellesley Scream Tunnel at Mile 13 on the route of the 2017 Boston Marathon.  Here is more video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gss2i7xFaHg

 

IN THE NEWS

Air Regulator Release Report – The Association of Clear Air Today, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control.  The publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

A few of the key statistics from The Greatest Story Seldom Told:

  • As of 2015, combined emissions of the six criteria air pollutants for which there are national ambient air quality standards were down 71% since 1970.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, reported toxic air releases were down 56%, or more than 851 million pounds, and AAPCA Member States accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total reduction.
  • In 2016, states performed full compliance evaluations for more than 14,500 facilities, 80 times the number conducted by U.S. EPA, and from 2010 to 2014, AAPCA Member States performed full compliance evaluations at nearly 47% of facilities annually, well ahead of the national average.
  • According to U.S. EPA, AAPCA Member States in 2016 were more efficient in permitting, with only a 15% backlog for renewing Title V permits among states with more than 100 Title V sources.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, AAPCA Member States saw nitrogen oxide emissions fall more rapidly than the national average.
  • As of 2014, AAPCA Member States had reduced sulfur dioxide emissions in the power sector by more than 8 million tons compared to 1990.
  • From 2000 to 2014, per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 18.1% on average nationally, with AAPCA Member States averaging a 19.3% reduction.
  • The U.S. has far exceeded international trends in air quality, with some of the lowest levels of average annual fine particulate matter and the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the world over the last decade.

Indiana Releases State View Report – In addition to the AAPCA Report, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently released the 2017 edition of The States’ View of the Air report. The report highlights the air quality in counties and cities in the United States. Like a report card, IDEM has graded areas on the state of their air quality under the federal standards for ozone and fine particles. You can find the full report here, and individual state reports here.

Gas Expert Returns to Bracewell – Former Bracewell staffer Christine Wyman has returned the firm as a senior Counsel.  Wyman will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s industry and non-profit clients on a broad range of issues and matters.  Prior to joining Bracewell, Wyman was Senior Counsel at the American Gas Association where she advocated for natural gas utilities on federal environmental, energy, and pipeline safety matters.

Ringel Named to EPA Congressional Affairs – Speaking of Bracewell alums, Aaron Ringel, another Segal protégé Aaron Ringel heads to EPA Monday to begin work as deputy associate administrator for congressional affairs.  After working as an assistant to Segal, Ringel moved to the Hill where He worked as legislative director for then-Rep. Mike Pompeo and then deputy chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson.

DOE to Review Grid Policy – The Department of Energy will conduct a review of how policies supporting wind and solar energy are pushing the early retirement of coal and nuclear generators our friends at Bloomberg report. Perry on Friday ordered a study of the U.S. electrical grid, aiming to ascertain whether policies to boost renewable energy are hastening the retirement of coal and nuclear plants and threatening power reliability. The review comes as a number of states move to subsidize baseload generation, particularly nuclear plants, which cannot compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy in wholesale power markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference on the state power subsidies at the beginning of next month.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held tomorrow through Thursday in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

White House Paris Meeting Set – Several key environmental and energy cabinet official and staffers will meet tomorrow to discuss the future of US involvement with the Paris Treaty, according our sources and several media reports.  Those attending include Dave Banks, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Panel to Look at FERC Wholesale Markets – Tomorrow at Noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies holds a panel discussion at noon at the National Press Club on the state ‘Around Market’ action and FERC.  The panel will look at whether it is the end of competitive wholesale electricity markets.  Panelists will include Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, PSEG’s Larry Gasteiger, former Colorado Commissioner Ray Gifford, Calpine’s Steven Schleimer and others.  The event will be moderated by former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark.

Forum to Look at Global Energy Reform – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on a new report Reform of the Global Energy Architecture tomorrow at Noon.  The report will be presented by task force co-chairs Phillip Cornell, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group. They will be joined by task force member Neil Brown, director of policy and research at KKR Global Institute, and Richard Morningstar, founding director and chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center. The discussion will look at current energy governance challenges, the importance of international and multilateral collaboration, future policy priorities, and the path forward on energy governance for the new US administration.

Forum to Look at Sustainable Energy, Water Issues – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Sustainable Capital Advisors holds a discussion on securing energy and water access for vulnerable communities.  This forum focuses on how policymakers, researchers, activists, developers, investors and others can use the levers of public policy, finance and technology to increase true access, ensuring greater energy and water security for all.  Among the panelists will be NAACP’s Derrick Johnson, Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore, Yasemin Erboy Ruff of the Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation and ELI’s Brett Korte.

Industry Leaders, Experts Flock to Offshore Wind Business Forum – The 2017 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum  will be held on Wednesday to Friday in Annapolis, Maryland at the Westin Hotel. The event brings together leaders in a small, personal setting, and creates dialogues and relationships that move the U.S. offshore wind industry forward.  Among the speakers will be all major players in the wind industry from experts like UDelaware’s Jeremy Firestone to CEO like Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski.  MD Sen. Ben Cardin will also be a keynote speaker.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host its 3rd annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on Wednesday. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector. The forum examines the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions. The two keynote speakers will be Admiral William J. Fallon (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.

Forum to Look at Energy Innovation in Middle East – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council holds a discussion about how energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the government and private sector are reshaping the Middle East and creating economic opportunities in the region. Joining us are Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaid, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company.

Forum to Look at Grid Modernization – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Wednesday at Noon on the importance of grid infrastructure modernization and resilience.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Job Henning, CEO of Grid Energy and Athena Power CEO Raj Lakhiani.

Webinar to Look at Offshore Wind – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance hold a webinar, beginning at 12:00 p.m., on the U.S. offshore wind boom.  You can call ACORE for details www.acore.org

AEE Webinar to Look at State Policy Questions – The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will host a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at creating markets for advanced energy at the state Level.  Whatever might be happening at the federal level, states are taking the lead in creating markets for advanced energy. AEE’s State Policy Program seeks to maintain this momentum by working with our coalition of State and Regional Partners and our business members to promote advanced energy legislation in statehouses around the nation. During this webinar you will hear from policy experts who have intimate knowledge of the latest legislative developments in the following states: California: Cap & Trade, Storage, Transportation; Nevada: Retail Choice Issue, Legislative Update; Texas: Legislative Tax Issue, PUCT Regulatory Proceeding on Data Access; Virginia: Access to Advanced Energy, Legislative, and Regulatory Update.

JHU Forum to Look at Food, Ag, Climate – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on food, farmers and climate looking at a new report from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project.  The main speaker is Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climatologist and Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group.

Brookings Panel to Discuss Carbon Pricing – On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., the newly-launched Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host a panel discussion on the role of carbon pricing in the implementation of the Paris goals, with opening remarks from Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, the co-chairs the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices. They will share their thoughts on carbon pricing and other policies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the objective to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” After the discussion, Brookings Vice President Kemal Derviş will moderate a panel discussion and take questions from the audience.

JHU Forum to Look at Climate Diplomacy – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds a discussion at 4:30 p.m. on climate change diplomacy in the Post-Paris Agreement era. Ambassador Selwin Hart, current Barbados’ Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the OAS, will be giving a talk on climate change and diplomacy in the post-Paris Agreement Era.

GU Mortara Center Forum Looks at Deepwater Oil Production – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown, GU’s Institute for Global History and the Mortara Center for International Studies hold a discussion on the Deepwater golden triangle of the oil economy and its role in energy production.  The Deepwater triangle includes the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa and will be led by Tyler Priest, an Associate Professor of History and Geography at the University of Iowa who studies the history of oil and energy.

Forum to Look at Media Focus on Energy, Renewables – CARMA International Inc. holds a discussion on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, looking at energy supply, climate and renewables.   The event will focus on media coverage and implications for business.

Aspen Forum to Look at Rural innovators – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on Thursday at Noon on reframing natural resource economies.  The event will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources to create jobs and businesses.  The 3rd America’s Rural Opportunity panel will focus on rural innovators who steward the nations’ natural resources and use those resources to create jobs and businesses. The presenters are among those who are restructuring the natural resource business sector, one that in many parts of the country has been disrupted by globalization, the declines of extractive industries, and changes in environmental policy.

WCEE Looks at Carbon Capture, Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE)  will continue it Lunch & Learn Series, together with the U.S. Energy Association on Thursday at Noon with a forum on carbon capture and storage meeting CO2 reduction goals.  The event will focus on the Illinois Basin’s Decatur Project and feature Dr. Sallie Greenberg.  Greenberg will discuss how carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) can provide the scale necessary to limit increase in global temperature by 2°C and help the US meet its Paris target of reducing GHG by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) – a million ton deep saline CO2 geologic storage demonstration project led by the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium, and funded by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is unique because it is one of the only full-scale bioenergy CCS (BECCS) demonstration projects to-date.  Dr. Greenberg will highlight the results and challenges of upscaling carbon capture and storage projects, touching on issues, such as permitting, public engagement, policy implications for CCUS, and the vital role this technology holds in meeting emission reduction targets.

Forum to Look at Africa Climate Risk – The US Agency for International Development’s ATLAS Project holds a discussion on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. focused on preparing Africa for climate events and looking at its risk capacity.

Meserve, Holdren, Others Address Science, Security Summit – On Friday at Noon, the Federation of American Scientists hosts its Science & Security Summit, focused on the topic of scientists’ and engineers’ roles in security and in the current political landscape. The forum will address where scientists and engineers belong in the current political landscape and what roles they play in global security and safety.  In addition to three distinguished graduate-level scientists and engineers from the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, and Texas A&M University, the summit’s speakers will include former Obama science advisor John Holdren, former NRC Chair Richard Meserve and Sandia Labs Director Rodney Wilson.

JHU Forum to Look at Women Climate Leaders – The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) holds its 2017 Global Women in Leadership Conference on Friday at 8:00 a.m. looking at women as leaders in a changing climate.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.

Renewable Midwest Conference Set – The Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference will be held April 24-25th in Columbia, Missouri. The purpose of “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference is to identify, display, and promote programs, policies, and projects that enhance the use of renewable energy resources in the Midwest for the economic benefit of the region. The focus of speaker topics and agendas are large scale projects, either through direct installation or through amalgamation of small scale projects.  The two-day conference is held in the spring at the University of Missouri. It is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Columbia Water and Light. It has been an ongoing annual event since 2006.

Forum Focus on Trump Nuclear Budget – The Global America Business Institute holds a discussion Friday, April 28 on what the Trump Administration budget may me for the future of nuclear power.  The event will look at new opportunities under the Trump Administration.  Speakers will include Victor Der, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.

People Climate March – April 29th

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of April 10

Friends,

Now THAT was a riveting finish to the Masters.  It was incredible how each played down the stretch until the very last regulation putts on 18 when each missed shorties.  That pressure is just crazy…  As a long-time golf watcher, it is great to see Sergio Garcia finally pull one out on the first extra hole  Another great set of days at Augusta National.

And with the close of the regular NHL season yesterday, the real season begins: the Chase for the Stanley Cup.  But before we think about that, there is one matter of business with the Detroit Red Wings missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.  It means that the last game was played in the Joe Louis Arena, one of hockey’s new/old sacred barns.  Proud to have been there for many games from 1980 until I could take my kids in 2015.  As for playoffs, I like the caps, but the Rangers and defending Champs, Pittsburgh remain factors…and who knows what Columbus is capable of in the East.  As for the West, Chicago is strong and St. Louis is probably the hottest team in the NHL since Mike Yeo took over as coach. In the end, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won an NBA title and Sergio Garcia has won a major in golf. It seems like this lays the ground work for the Washington Capitals or St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup.

Happy two-week long recess. Passover begins today at sundown and Easter is coming up on Sunday.  It has been a crazy trip since late last year.   And this is our first real break (maybe, who knows).  My whereabouts are unknown this week, but I’m still monitoring the action from my secret locale.  Hints: I will not be close to Rick Perry, who is at the G-7 energy ministers meeting in Rome, but they have held a UN climate meeting here…  Winners can get a souvenir.

In DC this week, not much, but today, Neil Gorsuch formally becomes the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Chief Justice John Roberts swears in Gorsuch at 9 a.m. at the court, followed by Justice Anthony Kennedy doing the honors at an 11 a.m. event in the Rose Garden.  Keeping our eyes on FERC as the delay in getting new Commissioners is starting to have some Impacts according  to a number of media sources.

There has also been a lot of banter this past week about the Paris Climate agreement (small “a”) and its relationship to the Executive Order dealing with the Clean Power Plan and any potential change to the Endangerment Finding.  In response to several questions, my colleague Scott Segal produce a great analysis that I am happy to share with you in memo/pdf form.  Let me know if you want to see it and I will forward.

Finally, our friends at EIA today said U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell 1.7% in 2016. U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totaled 5,170 mmt.  In 2015, the same emissions dropped 2.7%.  EIA says the recent decreases are consistent with a decade-long trend, with energy-related CO2 emissions 14% below the 2005 level in 2016.  See more charts/data here.

Enjoy your family time on this holiday week.  Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Widespread public sector investment in basic energy technology is critical to complement private investment and drive long-term economic growth in America and globally. With new energy markets only set to grow, technological breakthroughs can generate enormous economic dividends while providing the lower cost, cleaner energy the world needs.”

BPC American Energy Innovation Council member Michael Graff, chairman and CEO American Air Liquide upon the release of AEIC new Innovation report last week.

 

IN THE NEWS

Innovation Report Highlights Role As Driver of Growth – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Energy Innovation Council released a new report saying America must embrace its unique abilities to innovate as a way to revitalize our economy and enhance its security.  All-the-while it will also help American industry play a stronger role in providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy. The report says access to reliable, affordable energy has such a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives. Yet unlike many other technology sectors, the energy sector in particular has suffered from underinvestment in research and development (R&D). As a generally low-cost commodity, it is often difficult for an energy supplier to differentiate itself and charge a premium, the way products in other markets can. Energy infrastructure and technologies are also generally high cost and long lived, leading to large amounts of inertia and, in some cases, risk avoidance. Further complicating these challenges is the fact that energy markets are highly fragmented and often face a significant amount of regulatory fracturing and uncertainty. The AEIC was formed in 2010 and consists of ten corporate leaders who share a common concern over America’s insufficient commitment to energy innovation.  Among these CEOs include Air Liquide’s Mike Graff, Southern’s Tom Fanning and Dominion’s Tom Farrell.

Matheson Names to FCC Advisory Board – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today appointed National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson and 28 others to serve on a newly created Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).  “Access to high speed Internet is a key ingredient for a healthy 21st century economy, particularly in rural America,” Matheson said.  “I’m honored and excited to sit on this committee, and I look forward to representing the interests of rural America as we work to close the digital divide.” The committee will meet for the first time on April 21, 2017.  Its mission is to advise and make recommendations to the FCC on how to accelerate the deployment of broadband by reducing and removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment. A full list of BDAC members can be found here.

ACI praises Legislation to Remove Animal Fat Tax – The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) praised legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) that would permanently put a stop to federal tax credits for biofuels produced with animal fats, according. ACI, the trade association for the cleaning product supply chain, says the bill (H.R. 1866, the “Animal Fat Tax Act”) would prevent the renewal of tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel that is produced from animal fats, which until the end of 2016 were eligible for a $1 per gallon tax credit. ACI’s member companies include the producers of oleochemicals, such as fatty acids and alcohols made from seed oils and animal fats, historically used in soaps and detergents. The biofuel subsidy in question distorts the domestic market for animal fats by diverting this important raw material away from use in the manufacturing of cleaning products and towards the production of biodiesel. As a result, animal fats have seen a 116% increase in cost since 2006, the year the tax credit first became law.

CCS Group Praised Legislation Sponsors – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) praised Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) for introducing bipartisan legislation to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies at power plants and industrial facilities. Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Marc Veasey (D-TX).  The Carbon Capture Improvement Act will authorize states to use private activity bonds to help finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture equipment. Private activity bonds are widely used to help develop U.S. infrastructure, such as airports and water and sewer projects, including through public-private partnerships. The bonds will reduce financing costs for carbon capture projects because interest payments to bondholders are exempt from federal tax and the bonds typically have longer repayment terms than bank debt.  Access to private activity bonds, together with extension and reform of the Section 45Q tax credit, will give carbon capture project developers another important incentive in what NEORI members hope will be a toolkit of financing mechanisms enacted as part of comprehensive tax reform legislation expected to be considered by Congress later this year.

Advance Energy Report Underscores Gains – The 5th annual Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report focused on the size, growth, and trends in the advanced energy market, globally and in the United States. The report features 17 stories on the trends that are driving advanced energy growth – and making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. This year’s edition shows global growth of 7% from 2015 to 2016, nearly twice the rate of the world economy overall.  In 2016, advanced energy represented a $1.4 trillion global market and a U.S. market of $200 billion. The advanced energy industry is also a major employer, supporting more than 3 million U.S. jobs. That’s equal to the employment provided by retail stores, and twice the jobs in building construction.

Global Renewable Growth Strong – New research by the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance says countries added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016 even as investment fell.  Most of the success has been due to reduced costs.  While the investment of $241.6 billion in renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydropower) was the lowest level since 2013, it was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generation.  New renewable capacity accounted for 55% of all new power.  According to the new report that is the highest percentage ever.  Renewables including wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy added 138.5 gigawatts to the global power capacity in 2016, up by 8% over last year.  Solar investment was down by 34% from 2015, while capacity additions rose to an all-time high. Wind investments were down by 9%, and capacity additions fell to 54 GW from a high of 63 GW in 2015. A bright spot was Europe’s investment in offshore wind.  The share of renewables grew to 11.3% of electricity worldwide, from 10.3% the previous year, excluding large hydro. Winning bids for solar and wind “at inconceivably low” tariffs in auctions gave another boost to renewables, said the report.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago today through Thursday at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Atlantic Council Report to Look at Oil Theft – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a forum today at 12:30 p.m. for a discussion about how hydrocarbons crime impacts global security, the market, the environment, and communities around the world, and how stakeholders can work together to address this under-recognized issue.  The will also release a report, Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends, and Remedies, by Dr. Ian M. Ralby, is the first major study of refined oil theft around the globe. Launched at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in January, this report explores the many ways that hydrocarbons crime presents a threat not only to local and regional prosperity, but also to global stability and security. Following up on this study, Dr. Ralby has written an additional report outlining the steps that need to be taken to effectively address this issue.

EESI Forum to Look at Foreign Aid, Climate Help – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a briefing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in 485 Russell discussing benefits to the United States from deploying foreign aid to vulnerable regions to help them become more resilient to climate change impacts. The briefing will also explore the inner workings of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a multi-lateral effort to mobilize $100 billion in public and private financing for adaptation and mitigation projects in developing nations.

Wilson Event to Look China Energy Finance – The Wilson Center will host a forum on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to look at China Energy Finance investments.  Since 2000, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have emerged as major global funders of energy infrastructure providing upwards of $160 billion in energy finance to governments across the world. To better understand the size and types of this energy investment, Kevin Gallagher and his research team at Boston University have launched a new interactive China’s Global Energy Finance database that tracks international energy investments by Chinese banks.  The database has revealed that nearly 80% of Chinese bank investment goes into power plant construction -two-thirds of which were coal plants. Besides presenting insights from the database, Dr. Gallagher will discuss how Chinese energy finance compares to other global energy financiers. Dr. Wang Yan (Peking University) will put this energy financing in a larger context by explaining the non-concessional finance approach China’s global banks are taking to promote industrial and infrastructure development around the world. Paulina Garzon will provide examples of positive and negative impacts that Chinese energy investments are having on communities in Latin America.

Forum to Look at New Fuel Economy Approaches – The R Street Institute will host a panel discussion of these recent developments in fuel economy regulations, the existing triune approach to it and what alternatives the future might hold on Friday at 12:30 p.m.  Speakers will include CEI’s Marlo Lewis, AAM’s Chris Nevers, Rod Richardson of the Grace Richardson Fund, Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute and R Street’s Ian Adams.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host its 3rd annual Global Development Forum (GDF) on Wednesday April 19th. The GDF will feature over 40 speakers, including key stakeholders from U.S. government agencies, leading multilateral and non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and the private sector. The forum examines the role and purpose of official development assistance against a backdrop of rising incomes, economic growth, youth unemployment, and other continued complex challenges in many parts of the world. To address these challenges, the next U.S. administration will need to apply new approaches and remain highly flexible in a rapidly changing development landscape. In particular, this conference will explore ways in which the next few years will shape the role of the United States in international development, and how the United States can work with official donors and key partners, including the private sector, civil society, and multilateral institutions. The two keynote speakers will be Admiral William J. Fallon (ret.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.

AEE Webinar to Look at State Policy Questions – The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) will host a webinar on April 19th at 1:00 p.m. looking at creating markets for advanced energy at the state Level.  Whatever might be happening at the federal level, states are taking the lead in creating markets for advanced energy. AEE’s State Policy Program seeks to maintain this momentum by working with our coalition of State and Regional Partners and our business members to promote advanced energy legislation in statehouses around the nation. During this webinar you will hear from policy experts who have intimate knowledge of the latest legislative developments in the following states: California: Cap & Trade, Storage, Transportation; Nevada: Retail Choice Issue, Legislative Update; Texas: Legislative Tax Issue, PUCT Regulatory Proceeding on Data Access; Virginia: Access to Advanced Energy, Legislative, and Regulatory Update.

Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

 

Energy Update: Week of March 27

Friends,

Now that was a great weekend of basketball and hockey. Closed by the unbelievable (and clutch) ending to the North Carolina-Kentucky game, we are left with the hoops Final Four set for Phoenix next weekend with South Carolina, North Carolina, Oregon, and Gonzaga. Not to be outdone, we had an unbelievable NCAA hockey weekend to get us the Frozen Four with Harvard, Notre Dame, Minnesota-Duluth, and Denver heading to Chicago. Half of the women’s hoop bracket is complete with two big upsets: Mississippi St upended Baylor, and Stanford toppled Notre Dame. Undefeated top seed UConn takes on Oregon (who upset University of Maryland) and #1 seed South Carolina takes on Florida State tonight.

Well is this really the week?  It seems that we may finally get the White House’s climate executive order. Now, we have heard this before, but it seems more likely since EPA head Scott Pruitt said it would be released tomorrow on This Week with George Stephanopoulos yesterday. So, please call if you have questions as Jeff and Scott will be happy to discuss. I already have a statement which I will be sharing with you individually.  The Chamber, rural coops and others will also be available.  We are also hearing that FERC nominees may be moving up in line at the White House, with the expected nominees (Powelson, Chatterjee, and McIntyre) perhaps being rolled out in the very near future. And our friends at Bloomberg hear Scott Angelle, the Louisiana Public Service Commission member and the state’s former interim lieutenant governor, is being vetted to lead the Interior Department’s agency in charge of offshore oil and gas development — the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

On the Hill, tomorrow, a House Energy panel takes up self-driving car technology while Senate Energy takes up foreign minerals and the energy supply chain. Wednesday will feature the closest thing you find in the Science community to an MMA fight: House Science will hear from scientists Michael Mann, Judy Curry, Roger Pielke Jr and John Christy about climate change. Also, Wednesday, House Energy looks at energy tax issues.

Off the Hill, there are two great events today when WCEE hosts its annual look at the BCSE-Bloomberg NEF Sustainable Energy Factbook at Noon; and at 1:30 p.m., the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) will co-host a forum to explore the best approaches to address energy issues in the new Congress featuring our friend Jim Connaughton, Cass Sunstein, Brad Plumer and others. Tomorrow, the NatGas Roundtable hosts their monthly lunch featuring DOE Fossil Office official Robert Smith.  Also early in the week, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ holds its 2017 Spring Meeting in Tucson, Arizona featuring Jeff Holmstead.  Finally Friday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt delivers remarks to the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

One side note/issue to keep on your radar: Today, security expert and former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to urge the Japanese government to keep Toshiba from declaring bankruptcy or risk the intellectual property of nuclear power giant Westinghouse going to China.  Something to watch…I can send the letter if you are interested in checking it out.

Congrats to our great friend Rosemarie Calabro-Tully, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s longtime Democratic spokeswoman, who is leaving to be the National Biodiesel Board’s director of public affairs and federal communications.  They’ll need her help as they try to impose tariffs on Argentina and Indonesia.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“There are 18-months to focus on keeping a national program that promotes medium- and longer term stringency while updating the system to integrate new technology and business models that offer the promise of a stronger economy, more jobs, and an improved environment. The parties will realize that a deal can get done when they sit down and work together to balance the short and long term needs of the companies, the states, and the country.”

Robbie Diamond, CEO of SAFE discussing questions about California fuel economy waivers

 

COOL QUOTIENT

The Chamber’s Energy Institute can tell you have much you electricity prices are and how they rank.  Here is the chart that details how your rates compare to consumers in neighboring states

 

IN THE NEWS

Keystone Approved – Trump administration approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, recommending the pipeline is in U.S. interests, clearing the way for the White House to grant a presidential permit to TransCanada to build the $8 billion pipeline.  The pipeline is permitted in Montana and South Dakota and now needs to be permitted in Nebraska.

Chamber Weighs in – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said after many years of unfortunate delays and partisan posturing, Keystone XL pipeline finally got the green light it has long deserved.  “We applaud President Trump’s decision to approve the project and prove to the world that America is capable of tackling the major infrastructure improvements necessary for a modern economy. This pipeline, and countless other projects around the nation, will improve America’s energy security, create jobs, and help get the economy back on track.  The Obama administration’s action to delay and deny Keystone had a negative impact far beyond just this pipeline. It sent a message outside our borders that the United States was no longer open to investment, and that the long-established process for reviewing these kinds of projects could be thrown out the window when it is politically convenient. Today’s action should send a clear message to investors, and important strategic partners like Canada, that things have changed in Washington. This decision is another step toward regaining that confidence, re-establishing the rule of law, and rebuilding trust that America will act in the best interests of consumers and our allies.”

Chamber Electricity Map Shows Shale Impacts – Speaking of the Chamber, they also released their updated electricity price map. The overall good news is that the national average electricity price is trending down. This is in large part due to the shale revolution that has made the U.S. an energy super power. The national average of 10.28 cents per KW.  Higher rates can place states and their businesses at a competitive disadvantage, especially against the states that enjoy lower electricity prices.  If this Administration enhances access to shale and the many other abundant sources of energy found in the U.S., the next few years have the potential to continue 2016’s trend toward lower retail electricity prices for consumers.

Fuel Econ Issues Bouncing Around – Late last week, 10 states and D.C. sent a letter to Scott Pruitt asking EPA to maintain GHG vehicle standards pushed by the Obama EPA in January.  The letter also urges Pruitt to respect California’s Clean Air Act waiver because he has often spoken of the importance of states’ rights.  But while California does have a case on some pollutants from autos, they really don’t have special circumstances related to GHGs. I have the pdf if you need it.

Auto Alliance Sets a Marker as Well – At the same time, the Auto Alliance sent the White House a letter Thursday asking the administration to begin the process of reconsidering its midterm review of fuel emissions standards “as soon as possible.” It said a coordinated national program, including California, is “critical to smart, coherent regulation.” Mitch Bainwol, the automaker group’s president, added “there will be an appropriate opportunity to inform the final determination with updated relevant data that more closely approximates a ‘mid-term’ in the truest sense of the word” after Trump’s action last week.   I can send a pdf of the letter if you need it.

SAFE Weighs In – Securing America’s Future Energy head Robbie Diamond called for affected parties to meet soon to discuss next steps for the midterm review. “Now that the midterm review has been put back on the original timeline, the clock is ticking for a positive outcome so it is time for the stakeholders meet without delay. There are 18-months to focus on keeping a national program that promotes medium- and longer term stringency while updating the system to integrate new technology and business models that offer the promise of a stronger economy, more jobs, and an improved environment. The parties will realize that a deal can get done when they sit down and work together to balance the short and long term needs of the companies, the states, and the country.”  SAFE’s proposal that reconciles all interests is here: http://secureenergy.org/reforming-and-strengthening-fuel-economy-standards-2/

CA Nuke Plants Closure Hurts Environmental Justice Cause – A new report by Environmental Hope and Justice Founder Norris McDonald and Environmental Progress closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and the planned closure of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant represent an environmental injustice because these actions will increase air pollution in vulnerable communities and nonattainment areas. McDonalds says Environmental justice groups and other environmental groups throughout California and the nation should support the continued operation of the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon because they represent the largest clean air assets in terms of environmental justice in California. The plants are largely emission free and do not contribute smog forming gases or greenhouse gases in California.

Bailey Letter Raises Reliability, Valuation Concerns – In a letter to PJM CEP Andrew Ott, Paul Bailey of ACCCE wrote an important letter that highlighted three issues 1) avoiding the retirement of a large number of coal-fired electric generating units (EGUs); 2) consider likely changes in Federal environmental policies; and 3) market rules that do not properly value baseload coal-fired generation.  Overall, the letter urges PJM re-evaluate its policies in order to ensure that the reliability attributes of coal-fired generation — during all seasons of the year — are properly valued relative to other less reliable sources of generating capacity.

Evidence of the Need for it: Dominion’s Yorktown – With a month to go before it has to pull the plug on the two coal-burning units at its Yorktown plant, reports in the Newport News Daily Press say Dominion Virginia Power was under orders this week to run them to make sure that its Peninsula high voltage lines weren’t at risk of the kind of failure that could spark widespread blackouts. Those aging units can’t meet tough new federal standards limiting emissions of mercury and toxic acidic gases, and special permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to run them if necessary to avoid the risk of blackouts expires April 15.  But this week’s unseasonably cold weather prompted the manager of the electric grid serving 13 mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, PJM Interconnection, to worry about overloading the high voltage transmission lines feeding power into the Peninsula. PJM ordered Dominion to fire up the units on Sunday and run them through the week, spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said. They’ll remain ready to operate, or in operation, until EPA’s April 15 deadline, she added.  “PJM makes the decision based on reliability needs as to when we run the units,” Anderson said. “Our role is to ensure that through April 15, the units are maintained so they can operate and that we have sufficient fuel.”

Moniz Named New CEO of NTI – The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-profit group that works to prevent attacks and accidents from weapons of mass destruction, has named former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to be CEO.  The announcement was made current CEO and Co-Chairman Sam Nunn and Co-Chairman Ted Turner, both of whom will remain as co-chairmen of the Board alongside Moniz.  Founded in 2001 by Nunn and Turner, NTI works to protect our lives, livelihoods, environment, and quality of life now and for future generations from the growing risk of catastrophic attacks with weapons of mass destruction and disruption (WMDD)—nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber.

BSCE Celebrates 25 Years of Advocacy, Market Growth – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) kicked off a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary at its annual Clean Energy Forum late last week. The event concluded with a reception on Capitol Hill that featured special remarks by Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  The BCSE was founded in 1992 by executives of the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors who had a vision of a diverse, sustainable energy portfolio for America.  Guided by that vision, the Council has spent the past two and a half decades advocating for policies at the state and regional, national and international levels that advance the deployment of commercially-available clean energy technologies, products and services.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WCEE Event to Discuss Energy Factbook – The WCEE event featuring the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BNEF Factbook has been rescheduled for today at Noon.  The Speaker panel includes BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, Calpine’s Yvonne McIntyre, Johnson Control’s Elizabeth Tate and Katherine Gensler of SEIA.

Murkowski to Headline Arctic Forum – Today at 1:00 p.m. the Wilson Center will hold a forum on the North American Arctic and the energy issues surrounding it.  Mike Sfraga of the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and John Higginbotham of the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Arctic Program will discuss the economic development opportunities, infrastructure needs and investment strategies.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski will keynote the speech.

Chicago-Hamilton to Look at Energy, New Congress – Today at 1:30 p.m., the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) will co-host a forum to explore the best approaches to address energy challenges in the new Congress. The forum will begin with opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. A fireside chat and three roundtable discussions will follow featuring panelists including: Ted Halstead (Climate Leadership Council), Mindy Lubber (CERES), James L. Connaughton (Nautilus Data Technologies), David Schwietert (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers), Cass Sunstein (Harvard University), John Deutch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Trevor Houser (Rhodium Group), Ellen D. Williams (University of Maryland), Steven H. Strongin (Goldman Sachs), Alice Hill (Hoover Institution), and Brad Plumer (Vox).

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona today through Wednesday at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  Our friend Jeff Holmstead will be there.

JHU to Host East Africa Energy Forum – Johns Hopkins will host an all-day event tomorrow that will focus on recent political and economic changes in East Africa and its implications on oil and gas development. By bringing together representatives from government, private sector, civil society, media and the international donor community, it seeks to review what progress has been achieved in the last few years and what governance challenges lay ahead.

House Energy Looks at Self–Driving Cars – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold the hearing tomorrow on self-driving cars looking at the levels of automation and new technological developments.  Witnesses will include SAE’s Bill Grouse, Continental’s Jeff Klei, Bosch’s Kay Stepper and IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby.

Senate Energy Look sat Minerals Supply Chain – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing tomorrow to examine the US’s increasing dependence on foreign sources of minerals and opportunities to rebuild and improve the supply chain. With the administration focused on infrastructure, the hearing will examine how to make sure the iron, copper and other minerals needed to build those roads, bridges and rails come from the United States — not overseas.  Witnesses include USGS’s Murray Hitzman, Rio Tinto Aluminum CEO, Ucore Rare Metals VP Randy MacGillivray, National Electrical Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and Roderick Eggert of the Colorado School of Mines.

House Resources Looks at ESA Consultations – The House Natural Resources Committee’s oversight and investigations subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow on ESA consultation impediments to economic and infrastructure development. American Public Works Association president Ron Calkins, Hecla Mining’s Doug Stiles, Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation and Defenders of Wildlife expert Ya-Wei Li.

House Transpo Panel Looks at Brownfields – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will look at brownfield issues in a hearing tomorrow.  Local officials will testify on the Needs of the program.  Witnesses include   Christian Bollwage, mayor of Elizabeth, N.J.; Matt Zone, councilman, city of Cleveland; John Dailey, commissioner, Leon County, Fla.; Amanda LeFevre, Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program; Jonathan Philips, managing director, Anka Funds LLC; and Deborah Robertson, mayor of Rialto, Calif.

DOE Oil, Gas Office Expert to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that Robert J. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow at the University Club.  Smith administers oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation. Most recently, Smith was the Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy. In this capacity, Smith helped the Assistant Secretary with policy and management issues across the office’s research and development, energy security and regulatory missions.

Senate Energy to Look at Grid Security – The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing tomorrow that will examine the cybersecurity threats to the U.S. electric grid and technology advancements to minimize such threats, and to receive testimony on S. 79, the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act.  Witnesses FERC Office of Electric Reliability Director Michael Bardee, John DiStasio of the Large Public Power Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Thomas Zacharia and Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke.

Senate Environment Looks at Water Infrastructure – The Senate Environment Committee panel on water will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on legislation to help cities update their water infrastructure. Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer’s “Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act” codifies EPA policies on integrated planning and financial capability in an effort to make compliance easier for cash-strapped jurisdictions.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties and National League of Cities endorsed the legislation in a letter to its backers.

Forum to Look at Canada, US Infrastructure – The Hill and the Competitive Enterprise Institute will hold a forum at the Newseum on Wednesday morning looking at infrastructure modernization. As American leaders turn their attention to infrastructure issues, the forum will discuss what lessons can be drawn from the experiences of Canada.  Key officials from the United States and Canada, infrastructure experts, and industry leaders for a policy briefing on infrastructure reform and finding solutions that will work for all communities.  Speakers include Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Building America’s Future President Marcia Hale and Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Scientists Head to House Committee for Climate Battle – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to challenge consensus climate science. The hearing is set to feature some of the field’s most vocal critics and one of climate science’s most controversial defenders: Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University known for his iconic “hockey stick” analysis of global warming trends, retired Georgia Tech expert Judith Curry, John Christy of Alabama-Huntsville and Roger Pielke, Jr. of Colorado-Boulder.

House Energy Panel to Look at Tax Issues – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. on Federal energy related tax policy and its effects on markets, prices and consumers.  The hearing will focus on how the federal government uses the tax code to provide support for energy development, production, and use of fuels and energy technologies.

Forum to Focus on Oil Market Movers – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for an in-depth discussion on how investor and corporate flows are impacting oil production, inventory disposition, and investment decisions going forward.  Significant challenges remain – from both a fundamentals and policy perspective. Just as the industry emerged buoyant from its week-long gathering in Houston, concerns over the extension of the OPEC/non-OPEC reductions and large stock builds in the U.S. caused investors to rebalance their positions, driving oil prices to their lowest levels in 3 months. To frame this timely discussion, we are pleased to have Ed Morse, Global Head of Commodities Research at Citigroup, Albert Helmig, CEO of Grey House LLC and former Vice Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Kevin Book, founding partner of ClearView Energy and a Senior Associate at CSIS.

Forum to Look at Defense Energy Needs – Booz Allen Hamilton holds its 2017 Directed Energy Summit which focuses on the potential impact of direct energy issues on the Department of Defense and emerging defense Needs.  The two-day event will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

FERC to Hydropower Conference – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds a workshop Thursday at Noon on the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Forum to Look at Report on Developing County Power Sectors – The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion Thursday at Noon on a new report, “Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries.” The discussion will discuss policy directions for advancing China’s power transformation, regional and global aspects of Chinese energy policies, and the implications for the Trump Administration’s approach to China. The event features for a conversation about Robert Ichord’s new report on the critical role of China in post-Paris implementation, the latest in the Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries series. Ichord will be joined by experts Jon Elkind, former DOE assistant secretary for international affairs and Clara Gillispie, senior director of trade, economic and energy affairs for the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Friedman to Discuss Climate at GW Planet Forward Event – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., NY Times Columnist Tom Friedman will join GWU School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno for a conversation on the current state of politics, the news media and climate change under the Trump Administration. The event will include a screening of Friedman’s new National Geographic documentary on climate change and the migrant crisis. His latest book, Thank You for Being Late, will be available for purchase and signing following the event.

GW to Host Risk Forum Report – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at the Marvin Center, the GW Environmental Resource Policy Program and the GW Sustainability Collaborative will host Karl Hausker, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, and leader of the analytic and writing team for the latest study by the Risky Business Project: From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy.  The project is Co-chaired Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Thomas Steyer.  They tasked WRI with conducting an assessment of technically and economically feasible pathways that the U.S. could follow to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.  Hausker will present the results of the study and draw some comparisons to the US Mid Century Strategy report submitted to the UNFCCC.

Senate Energy to Look at Alaska Energy Issues – On Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the full Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine the potential for infrastructure improvements to create jobs and reduce the cost of living through all-of-the-above energy and mineral production in Alaska. Witnesses include Alaska State Geologist Steve Masterman, Sitka Alaska Deputy Mayor Bob Potrzuski, Port of Nome Executive Director Joy Baker, Alaska Oil and Gas Association head Kara Moriarty, Chris Rose of the Renewable Energy for Alaska Project and Della Trumble of the King Cove Native Corporation.

ELI Conference will Focus on Climate – The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and Vanderbilt University Law School are convening a special conference on Friday looking at innovative ideas from the academic literature on climate change law and policy.  The articles and comments discussed at the conference will be published this summer in the Environmental Law & Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), a joint publication of ELI and Vanderbilt University Law School. ELPAR presents and discusses the best ideas on environmental law and policy from the academic literature each year.

Pruitt to Address Federalist Law Group – On Friday at noon, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies hosts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for remarks at Tony Cheng’s restaurant in Chinatown.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on April 3rd– 5th in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold the next event of its nuclear energy roundtable series on Tuesday April 4th at Noon. Although the predominant use of nuclear energy worldwide is electricity generation, nuclear can be utilized for a broad range of applications, including but not limited to: district heating, water desalination, hydrogen production, and industrial heat. Given present trends and future uncertainties in global electricity markets, there has been growing interest in exploring non-electricity uses for nuclear. Development of advanced nuclear designs, many pushing the envelope on passive safety and temperature output, may further expand the horizon of possibilities.  The speaker will be Jeff Harper of X-energy.  Harper is Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at X-energy, where he directs long-term business plans specifically focused on customers, partners, and markets.

Press Club to Host AFL-CIO Head – Richard Trumka, Head of the AFL-CIO will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon on Tuesday April 4th at 12:30 p.m. Trumka will assess opportunities around trade and infrastructure that could create jobs, as well as possible threats to workers’ rights. He will also talk about the labor movement’s strategy to create a unifying agenda for workers and their families, as well as collective bargaining right for all workers to achieve better wages and working conditions.  Since 2009, Trumka has served as president of the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country.

BPC Forum to Focus on Innovation – On Wednesday, April 5th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the power of innovation.  With smart federal support for research, advanced energy technologies represent another potentially transformative moment for the American economy.  BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council will host leading experts to discuss how to make the most of this opportunity.  The forum will feature a conversation with Norm Augustine, the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, who also served as the Undersecretary of the Army.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg will also moderate a panel with NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, former MIT Washington Office Director William Bonvillian, Ames Laboratory Critical Materials Institute Director Alex King and GE Energy Financial Services investment expert Alta Yen.

WCEE to Host Energy Journalists Panel – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a panel of energy journalists from E&E News, S&P Global Platts and Politico on Wednesday April 5th to discuss the trends in the energy sector today and for the next four years. Some of the trends that will be discussed are NAFTA and oil and gas pipelines in North America, FERC enforcement and the changing political outlook for CFTC, the fate of the Clean Power Plan, rollback of regulatory efforts by the Trump Administration in the energy sector, future of renewables, and energy industry and Department of Interior’s public land use management debate.  Speakers will include E&E News Jenny Mandel, Platts’ Jasmin Melvin and Maya Weber and POLITICO’s Esther Whieldon.

GW to Host Timor-Leste Diplomat – Wednesday, April 5th at 12:30 p.m., the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs will host Natercia Coelho, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Timor-Leste, the smallest country in East or Southeast Asia.  Timor-Leste is already subject to numerous extreme weather events every year, including cyclones and typhoons that result in intense flooding. Climate change is exacerbating these issues, with rising sea levels speeding up soil erosion, damaging crops, and leading to food shortages in a country which still ranks 120 out of 169 in the U.N.’s Human Development Index. This talk will cover the Timor-Leste’s Government Plan for Development and its legal framework for addressing climate change.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday April 6th, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include our friends Tom Pyle of IER, ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro, among others.

SEIA Forum to Look at Women in Solar – On Thursday, April 6th SEIA’s Women’s Empowerment committee will hold a summit that focuses on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Key industry leaders will cover topics including Women Leading Solar- Executives Spearheading the Industry (led by our friend Abby Hopper), Women Running for Office & Careers in Public Service; Diversity – The Bottom Line ; Making Solar a Story – Energy Journalists Shaping the Industry; Interactive Speed Networking and Regional Policy Update – What’s Happening in Capitol Hill.

GW to Host Planet Forward Summit – The George Washington University will holds its Planet Forward Summit at GW on April 6-7th that will focus on how we can communicate to inform, inspire, and act.  The summit will look at how we tell the story of our planet and how we communicate to inspire action.  Speakers will include SMPA Director Frank Sesno, my friend Andy Revkin and many more.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on April 6th through 8th. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Bloomberg New Energy Summit Set – The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit will be held on April 24th and 25th in New York. The Future of Energy Summit is the premier invitation-only forum at the nexus of energy markets, industry, finance, and policy. It is a year-round, global experience powered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s cutting edge research team, as it explores the shifting forces in the energy system and defines the implications for the energy community.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of March 20

Friends,

We can’t start today without talking about one of the most important musicians passing over the weekend, Chuck Berry.  He was a legend and trendsetter, but you know how he got the idea for his song Johnny B Good???  From his cousin Marvin

I hope your NCAA pools are going fine.  On the Men’s side, I did get the Middle Tennessee State upset and also called Xavier over MD.  Not doing too much else though. In fact, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan have pretty much made it tough on everyone.  No real surprises on the Women’s side with top seeds UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Baylor all winning first round games by 50 or more points.  Sweet 16 starts on Thursday, but even before then, we had a bunch of NCAA Champions crowned this past weekend. Kudos to Babson College (Wellesley’s cross-town rival for women’s sports) who took the D III basketball Championship in Salem, VA over Augustana.  And congrats to Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY who shut out Wisconsin 3-0 in the Women’s NCAA D I ice hockey Frozen Four to win their 2nd National championship in 4 years. Don’t forget Penn State, who won their 6th NCAA Wrestling title in 7 years in St. Louis over as well.

This will be another crazy week, but much of the big ticket focus will be outside of our energy and environment area.  Hearings for SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch begin today (with likely some discussion of Chevron deference) as well as FBI Director Comey coming to Capitol Hill to talk about Russia and the election.  Add the health care debate and an expected vote on Thursday, and much of the oxygen is gone.  We still have the budget though and we may finally get the long-awaited climate/CPP executive order, which was reportedly going to be released as early as today – although there is really no evidence of that yet.

If you are interested in palace intrigue, then you’ll love today’s Washington Post story which shows rough edges between the Pruitt team and the beachhead folks like Don Benton and others.  As well, if you like Chocolate Chip Cookies, you may want to consider applying for a job at EPA.

On the Hill, there are a series of infrastructure hearings this week that will build off last week’s Senate Energy hearing on the topic.  Tomorrow, the House Government Reform Committee looks at offshore drilling issues, and on Thursday, Ag nominee Sonny Perdue finally takes center stage at his Senate confirmation hearing.

On Thursday evening, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy will host a Capitol Hill reception honoring their 25th anniversary in Dirksen G-50 at 5:30 p.m.  This will be a great event and will feature comments from Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Please feel free to join BCSE at the event.

With Spring launching today, I’m adding my own new beginning in the update that I hope to continue called “Cool Quotient.”  In it, I will feature really cool, innovative things that folks are doing in the energy sector. My first effort features a great Twitter video from Energy Secretary Perry that features a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  Send me nominees for the future.

Finally, 25 years ago this week, the legal classic, My Cousin Vinny, hit theaters, leaving us with a series of one-liners and quips that will always be part of our attitude toward the legal system. With a great cast and great writing, the Wall Street Journal looks back at the comedy and compares it to other legal classics.  They are not:  IDENTICAL….

We are all over it this week, whether it is silly FOIA requests from environmental activists, science questions, CPP, Paris, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Safe roads are important to our families, communities, and our businesses and TSR is more committed than ever to improve road safety and reduce deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes globally.  Greg Martin adds leadership, across the road safety landscape, which will be critical to scale and sustain our efforts as we embark on our third year as a coalition.”

Carlos Brito, chairman of Together for Safer Roads and chief executive officer of AB InBev.

 

COOL QUOTIENT

Thanks to Twitter and new Energy Secretary Rick Perry for this video of a drone inspecting a wind turbine.  You can see more on the drones and how they are used to collect data at wind sites here.

 

IN THE NEWS

New Report Examines Costs to U.S. Industrial Sector of Obama’s Paris Pledge – Meeting the commitments President Obama made as part of the Paris climate accord could cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040, according to a comprehensive new study prepared by NERA Economic Consulting.  The study was commissioned by the American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy.  The report, “Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Industrial Sector,” explores several potential scenarios under which the United States could meet the Obama administration’s international emissions pledge as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Existing regulations fall well short of achieving former-President Obama’s goal of a 26% to 28% reduction in net emissions from the 2005 level by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2040. The study provides the first detailed analysis of the costs and impacts associated with the additional measures that would be needed to close this “gap.”

Actions to Meet Paris Costly – The report’s central scenario projects that additional regulatory actions necessary to meet the Paris target would by 2025 reduce U.S. GDP by $250 billion, reduce economy-wide employment by 2.7 million jobs, and lower household income by $160.  Industrial sector jobs would fall by 1.1 million, with the cement, iron and steel, and petroleum refining sectors suffering the largest production losses. Under the study’s core scenario, the industrial 2025 output declines by about 21 percent, 20 percent, and 11%, respectively. Higher energy costs also hurt domestic demand and the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, leading to a greater share of industrial demand being met by imports.  The study also examines the potential longer-term impacts of placing U.S. emissions on a trajectory to achieve the Obama administration’s long-term emissions goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050. It found that in 2040, the last year of the model run, GDP would be reduced by nearly $3 trillion, industrial employment would fall by 6.5 million jobs, and average household income would decrease by $7,000.  Another finding is that emissions “leakage” to other countries is a significant factor, and ultimately renders the U.S. regulatory approach ineffective at reducing global carbon emissions. In 2025, 33 percent of industrial sector emissions reductions are transferred to other countries as production shifts from the United State to other parts of the world. The industrial products produced in these plants would then be imported back into the United States.

States Also Impacted – The study includes specific state impacts for four key manufacturing states: Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  In Michigan, state GDP would decline by 0.8 percent in 2025, household income by $180, and employment by 74,000 jobs — including 13,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel, and refining, with output declining by 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively.  In Missouri, state GDP would decline by 1 percent in 2025, household income by $190, and employment by 53,000 jobs — including 7,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement, with output declining by 20 percent and 18 percent, respectively.  In Ohio, state GDP would decline by 1.2 percent in 2025, household income by $390, and employment by 110,000 jobs — including 24,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be cement and iron and steel, with output declining by 16 percent and 13%, respectively.  And in Pennsylvania, state GDP would decline by 1.8% in 2025, household income by $1,000, and employment by 140,000 jobs — including 26,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be iron and steel and cement production, with output declining by 16% and 15%, respectively.

NC Offshore Wind Auction Completed – Avangrid Renewables won BOEM’s auction for an offshore wind lease of 122,405 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina.  The winning bid was $9.07 million. Nine companies were cleared to bid in the auction but only four ended up participating.

Statoil Signs NY Offshore Wind Lease – Statoil, the winner of the recent NY offshore wind lease sale, has formally executed a lease with Interior’s BOEM for 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm in the lease area to provide New York with a significant, long-term source of clean and renewable electricity. The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).

IEA Data Shows Global Emissions Flat for Third Year – The International Energy Agency said global carbon dioxide emissions were flat for the third year in a row in 2016, despite growth in the global economy. Increases in renewable power generation, the switch from coal to natural gas and higher energy efficiency drove the continued decoupling of emissions and economic activity. IEA found emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatons in 2016, the same as the previous two years despite the global economy growing by 3.1%.

US is Biggest Success – IEA said the biggest drop came from the United States, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3%, or 160 million tons, while the economy grew by 1.6%. The decline was driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power that displaced coal. Emissions in the United States last year were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80%.

ACCF Pushes for Methane CRA – The American Council for Capital Formation launched a new campaign last week calling on the Senate to adopt a resolution of disapproval to repeal the BLM’s methane venting and flaring rule. ACCF says the rule is a classic example of federal bureaucrats implementing a solution in search of a problem. The federal rule is both redundant and unnecessary given existing regulations at the state level and ongoing improvements by industry. Instead of further reducing methane emissions, the BLM rule drives up the cost of producing natural gas, endangering our nation’s energy renaissance and one of the primary drivers of falling U.S. carbon emissions.  ACCF’s campaign will run a series of web and print ads focused in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana, and North Dakota, urging the Senate will follow the example of the House and repeal the BLM rule by adopting a resolution of disapproval.

Martin Lands at Auto Safety CoalitionTogether for Safer Roads (TSR), a coalition of global private sector companies, announced Greg Martin has joined TSR as chief operating officer and executive director. Martin is a seasoned transportation professional with deep transportation and road safety experience within the private sector and government.  Martin worked for many years at General Motors, both in the policy shop in DC and in Detroit.  He also worked at the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. He earned a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Political Science and Communications from Mount Saint Mary’s University

ECOS Releases Report on State Enviro Budgets – In case you missed it last week, ECOS released its Green Report on Status of Environmental Agency Budgets. State environmental agencies operate the majority of federally delegated and authorized programs and manage funds to implement related environmental regulations. In July 2016, ECOS sought state environmental agency budget data (EAB) for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. ECOS received 48 responses.  The ECOS Green Report provides information on state EABs for fiscal years (FY) 2013, FY2014 and FY2015, and focuses on changes and trends in these budgets, including analysis of changes to the three main funding sources: state general funds, federal funding, and fees or other sources.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Carnegie Nuclear Forum Set – Today and tomorrow, the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference will bring together over 800 experts and officials from more than forty-five countries and international organizations.  The conference takes place on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s conclusion. Most observers credit the treaty with playing a pivotal role in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Today, however, its continued efficacy is in doubt as disagreements grow over the implementation of each of its three main “pillars”—nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A number of panels at the conference will focus on debates surrounding treaty’s core articles, as well as on questions of how to manage its nonmembers and sole former member. Other panels will consider the future of global nuclear order, as well as emerging trends in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear energy.

House Climate Rs to Hold Briefing – House Republicans who introduced a resolution last week advocating action on climate change will hold a press conference today at 6:00 p.m. to discuss that effort and their priorities for addressing the issue. Participating in the event are Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello, Brian Mast, Mark Sanford, John Faso and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

HVAC Industry to Host Fly-in, Visit Offices – The HVAC industry will invade Capitol Hill tomorrow and Wednesday.

Forum to Look at Future of China Solar Power –Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host an event featuring the launch of “The New Solar System,” a major new study from Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint initiative of Stanford’s law and business schools. The result of two years of research, “The New Solar System” illuminates key and little-understood changes that are remaking the solar enterprise in China—and, as a result, solar power around the world. Based on the authors’ analysis, “The New Solar System” recommends changes to U.S. solar policy that would put solar power on a more economically sensible course and would help meet global carbon-reduction goals. Report authors Jeffrey Ball and Dan Reicher will present key findings before engaging in a broader conversation with Brookings Senior Fellow Emeritus Kenneth G. Lieberthal. After the discussion, the participants will take questions from the audience.

Senate Energy to Continue Look at Infrastructure – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in 366 Dirksen.  The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony on opportunities to improve and expand infrastructure important to federal lands, recreation, water, and resources. Witnesses include Marcia Argust of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort President Bob Bonar (Chairman of the National Ski Areas Association Public Lands Committee), Jill Simmons of the Washington Trails Association, David Spears of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Chris Treese of the Colorado River District and Brad Worsley of Novo Power.

House Resources to Look at Infrastructure, Buy America – The House Natural Resources’ Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow on the importance of domestically-sourced raw materials for infrastructure projects. Witnesses will include Michael Brennan on behalf of Associated Equipment Distributors. CAP’s Cathleen Kelly, Martin Marietta CEO Howard Nye (On behalf of National Sand Stone and Gravel Association) and Rio Tinto’s Nigel Steward.

House Science to Look at NSF – A House Science Committee panel will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the agency’s budget and how they determine the worthiness of grant recipients and projects.  Witnesses will include NSF COO Joan Ferrini-Mundy, National Science Board chairwoman Maria Zuber, Jeffrey Spies of the Center for Open Science and Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for science policy and strategy at the University of California, San Francisco.

Forum to Look at Innovative Vehicles – The Global America Business Institute and the Korea Institute of Energy Research will hold a roundtable tomorrow at Noon on disruptive automotive technologies and the implications of their deployment and commercialization. The guest speaker is Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Fellow for Energy and Technology at Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Europe, and the Americas at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  The potential for innovative vehicle technologies to decarbonize and reduce fossil fuel consumption in the transportation sector is generally understood. Less appreciated is how widespread deployment of such technologies may facilitate major changes to the energy system of the future, and consequently, society overall. For instance, wide scale adoption of electric vehicles could foster greater utilization of distributed energy resources through the provision of ubiquitous energy storage. Further, the advent of autonomous cars could lead to significant improvements in fuel efficiency, traffic patterns, transportation networks, and land use in cities, thereby dramatically transforming urban landscapes.

Forum to Look at Indonesia, Australia Energy, Security Challenges – The CSIS Southeast Asia Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to discuss Australia and Indonesia and the energy, resource, security and diplomatic issues they will face in the coming years.  In the past decade Australia has emerged as a resource superpower. It is the world’s leading exporter of iron ore and will soon be one of world’s leading exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A recent PwC report indicates that by 2050, Indonesia – which is already the largest and most populous economy in Southeast Asia – will become the world’s fourth largest economy. President Joko Widodo visited Canberra in February and this week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in Jakarta to participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association Summit.   Speakers include Darmawan Prasodjo, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Widodo, as well as a panel that includes Paul Griffiths of the Embassy of Australia, Dino Patti Djalal of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, Perth USAsia Centre Energy Security Program Director Andrew Pickford, Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake and Mark Stickells, Director of the Energy and Minerals Institute at the University of Western Australia.

Oversight to Look at GAO BSEE Report – The House Oversight Committee’s Interior, Energy and Environment subcommittee holds a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. examining GAO’s findings on deficiencies at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Forum to Look at Water Data – In commemoration of World Water Day, the Millennium Challenge Corporation holds a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on water investments and using data to drive decisions.  MCC’s WASH experts join together with research partners for a discussion on bridging data gaps in the Water & Sanitation sector.

Ethanol Group Hosts Fly-In – The American Coalition for Ethanol holds its 9th annual DC Fly-In on Wednesday and Thursday.  The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel and on Capitol Hill.

House Energy Discusses Clean Air Act Reform – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to look at reforming parts of the Clean Air Act aimed at implementation of EPA’s ozone standard. The topic will be H.R. 806, introduced last month by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) with the immediate goal of halting further implementation of U.S. EPA’s 2015 ozone standard until 2025.  Witnesses will include UCSF medical professor Homer Boushey and CARB’s Kurt Karperos, as well as many others.

DC Bar Hosts Climate Forum – The Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar hosts a forum on Wednesday looking at the climate policy outlook for 2017. Speakers will include Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center, NRDC’s David Doniger and Karen Florini, Former Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Department of State.

CFR to Release New Report on Arctic – The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) holds a discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to release a new report titled “Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America’s Fourth Coast.”

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Senate Ag Takes Up Perdue Nomination – The Senate Agriculture Committee will host Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday for a confirmation hearing to be Agriculture secretary.   Perdue’s hearing was long-delayed because of paperwork issues related to his business arrangements and financial disclosures.  Of the all the items expected to come up, ethanol may be an interesting one given Perdue’s background in agribusiness, which has been in a longstanding fight over ethanol.

BPC to Look at Energy Trade – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on expanding the benefits North American energy trade.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have long been strong partners in energy cooperation and trade. Over the past several years, those ties have deepened as energy trade has increased substantially, and Mexico’s energy reforms have created new opportunities. As the administration pushes forward with potential changes to NAFTA, what might be the impact on energy trade across North America? The panelists will include Mexico’s Former Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons Lourdes Melgar, Wilson Center’s Canada Institute Director Laura Dawson and Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Forum to Look at Extractive Industries – The Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) holds a discussion on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on the opportunities and risks coupled with the extractive industries in the Americas. The event will feature a briefing by Ramón Espinasa, senior oil and gas specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on their new extractive sector initiative. Espinasa will provide an overview of the IDB’s work to promote investment in the sector. He will also offer his insights on the potential for extractive industries to drive broader sustainable economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with the IDB on the key issues facing the sector and explore ways that your organization can help shape and launch this new initiative.

Chevron CEO Addresses DC Econ Club – On Thursday evening at the JW Marriott, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. holds a discussion with John Watson, CEO of the Chevron Corporation.

Former Energy Sect Abraham to Headline GU Lecture on American Energy – The Georgetown University Library holds a lecture on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Murray Room focused on America’s energy challenges and solutions.  The group will focus on the post-election issues.  Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will be discussing the energy challenges America faces and possible solutions we could pursue as we move forward under this new administration.

 

IN THE FUTURE

WCEE Event to Discuss Energy Factbook – The WCEE event featuring the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BNEF Factbook has been rescheduled for next Monday at Noon.  The Speaker panel includes BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, Calpine’s Yvonne McIntyre, Johnson Control’s Elizabeth Tate and Katherine Gensler of SEIA.

Murkowski to Headline Arctic Forum – Next Monday at 1:00 p.m. the Wilson Center will hold a forum on the North American Arctic and the energy issues surrounding it.  Mike Sfraga of the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and John Higginbotham of the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Arctic Program will discuss the economic development opportunities, infrastructure needs and investment strategies.  Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski will keynote the speech.

Chicago-Hamilton to Look at Energy, New Congress – Next Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) will co-host a forum to explore the best approaches to address these challenges. The forum will begin with opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. A fireside chat and three roundtable discussions will follow featuring panelists including: Ted Halstead (Climate Leadership Council), Mindy Lubber (CERES), James L. Connaughton (Nautilus Data Technologies), David Schwietert (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers), Cass Sunstein (Harvard University), John Deutch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Trevor Houser (Rhodium Group), Ellen D. Williams (University of Maryland), Steven H. Strongin (Goldman Sachs), Alice Hill (Hoover Institution), and Brad Plumer (Vox).

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

JHU to Host East Africa Energy Forum – Johns Hopkins will host an all-day event next Tuesday that will focus on recent political and economic changes in East Africa and its implications on oil and gas development. By bringing together representatives from government, private sector, civil society, media and the international donor community, it seeks to review what progress has been achieved in the last few years and what governance challenges lay ahead.

DOE Oil, Gas Office Expert to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that Robert J. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon on Tuesday, March 28th at the University Club.  Smith administers oil and gas programs, including research and development, analysis and natural gas regulation. Most recently, Smith was the Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy. In this capacity, Smith helped the Assistant Secretary with policy and management issues across the office’s research and development, energy security and regulatory missions.

Forum to Focus on Oil Market Movers – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Thursday March 30th at 10:30 a.m. for an in-depth discussion on how investor and corporate flows are impacting oil production, inventory disposition, and investment decisions going forward.  Significant challenges remain – from both a fundamentals and policy perspective. Just as the industry emerged buoyant from its week-long gathering in Houston, concerns over the extension of the OPEC/non-OPEC reductions and large stock builds in the U.S. caused investors to rebalance their positions, driving oil prices to their lowest levels in 3 months. To frame this timely discussion, we are pleased to have Ed Morse, Global Head of Commodities Research at Citigroup, Albert Helmig, CEO of Grey House LLC and former Vice Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Kevin Book, founding partner of ClearView Energy and a Senior Associate at CSIS.

GW to Host Risk Forum Report – On Thursday, March 30th at 2:00 p.m. at the Marvin Center, the GW Environmental Resource Policy Program and the GW Sustainability Collaborative will host Karl Hausker, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, and leader of the analytic and writing team for the latest study by the Risky Business Project: From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy.  The project is Co-chaired Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Thomas Steyer.  They tasked WRI with conducting an assessment of technically and economically feasible pathways that the U.S. could follow to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.  Hausker will present the results of the study and draw some comparisons to the US Mid Century Strategy report submitted to the UNFCCC

Grid Forum Set for Chicago – The 2nd  Grid Modernization Forum will be held on April 3rd– 5th in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Key technology innovators and executives will come together to share perspectives on how best to leverage AMI investment, engage the customer, and take the smart grid to the next level. Case studies of improved network performance, resiliency, outage restoration, and distributed energy resource (DER) integration will be examined with an eye toward determining best practices and technology advances for today’s energy ecosystem.

Calpine CEO to Headline Energy Conference – On Thursday April 6th, the NCAC and George Mason University will host its 21st Annual Washington Energy Policy Conference at GMU’s Founders Hall.  The conference will focus on conflicting forces in the energy space.  Former EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will moderate the event and keynote speaker will be Calpine CEO Thad Hill.  Other speakers will include ClearView’s Christine Tezak, former Bush NSC official Bob McNally, FERC Energy Project s Director Terry Turpin and BNEF expert Steve Munro.

ECOS to Hold Spring Meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will hold their spring meeting at The Mayflower Hotel on April 6th through 8th. ECOS meeting will focus on budget questions and its impact on state environmental agencies and their leaders. ECOS is the national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.

Electric Power Conference Set for Chicago – The 19th annual Electric Power Conference will be held In Chicago on April 10-13th at McCormick Place.  Sponsored by POWER magazine, the event provides a platform for power generation professionals to meet, network, and address the critical issues facing the power industry.

Energy Storage Conference Set for Denver – The 27th Energy Storage Association annual conference and expo will be held on April 18-20 in Denver, Colorado.  Keynote speakers and expert panelists on the program include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, RES CEO Ivor Catto, former CO Gov Bill Ritter and NextEra Energy exec Michael O’Sullivan.

Water Power Conference Set for May – Waterpower week in Washington will be May 1st through 3rd, providing three great conferences into one when IMREC, METS and NHA’s Annual Conference are held at the Capital Hilton.  The event will discuss policy changes in the hydro and marine industry in an all-in-one event. The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydro, explores issues affecting hydro and marine resources, and helps participants develop a future game plan to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of the hydro and marine industry.

Energy Update: Week of January 23

Friends,

This has been a very exciting weekend with the Inauguration on Friday, the Women’s Marches across the nation on Saturday and Super Bowl LI’s lineup getting finalized Sunday, which set for Houston in two weeks.  Also the 33rd Sundance Festival opens up this week featuring Al Gore’s climate sequel and several other climate-related movies.

The new Administration started with a bang Friday with a memo from new White House CoS Reince Priebus holding all regulations.  The Washington Post had a great article by Chris Mooney over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  Our friends at AHRI (703-600-0355, fdietz@ahrinet.org) and former DOE Counsel Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718, salo.zelermyer@bracewelllaw.com) are watching DOE actions closely.

Today, we are likely to see a blast of executive action.  Already, we saw the web page change of the Obama Climate approach which led to several stories.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg and I have come to the same conclusion: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months, it should be obvious that the Trump administration takes a different view on climate change to the Obama team.  (And BTW, the Obama pages have been just moved to the archives.) As for actions, there seems to be a lot of interest in a transition memo that was reported by Axios today.  While it is interesting, just like the budget memo rolled out from Heritage/Republican Study Committee last week, I would encourage all of you to be careful chasing these items before Pruitt lands at the agency.  We are looking for focus on the White House Climate Action Plan, a pullback on CEQ climate guidance on NEPA and readjustment of the Social Cost of Carbon as immediate potential actions.  We are happy to help provide insights, information and resources.

We also know he is moving on trade issues including NAFTA and TPP.  My colleague Josh Zive (202-828-5838, josh.zive@bracewelllaw.com) is one of the best trade policy lawyers in DC and is happy to give you background information, perspective and even on-the-record comments.

On the Hill, we also expect more action on the nominations for EPA, State, Energy and Interior.  At 4:30 p.m. the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet to discuss the Tillerson nomination to be Secretary of State which seems to be assured now that Sens. Rubio, McCain and Graham will support him.  Senate Energy Chair Murkowski suggested hotlining the Zinke and Perry nominations so they can get floor votes early this week.  As for EPA, nominee Scott Pruitt will face opposition but is certain to be approved.  In fact, the most interesting story on the EPA nomination vote is what key Democrats facing tough re-elects in Trump states (Tester – MT, Donnelly – IN, Heitkamp – ND McCaskill – MO) will do.  Manchin is already supporting Pruitt.

As for events this week, on Thursday, my Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead joins other tax experts at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss the viability of carbon tax.  Other events include the Washington Auto Show Policy Days on Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday a CSIS holds an event that presents IEA’s Global Gas Security Review.

Finally, two events to put on your radar screen for early February besides the Grammys and Super Bowl LI.  On February 3 and 4, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) will hold events in Washington focused on the 2017 Environmental/Energy agenda and covering the Trump Administration.  Finally, on February 8th, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release its 2017 Sustainable Energy Factbook.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned here.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“it is clear that self-driving cars will make it possible for millions more Americans to have better access to healthcare, live more independently and achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.”

Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the disability advocacy group Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco

 

IN THE NEWS

New CoS Memo Slows Regs – White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus released a memo on Friday to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations — giving the new administration time to review them.  The action is a fairly standard move for a new administration taking over from the other party. It effectively halts any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized.  For any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.  For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn. For regulations that have been published but have not reached their effective date, the memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review — with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.  The memo makes an exception for “critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can’t be delayed for other reasons.

AHRI Sees Benefits, Concerns with Memo – A great article by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post over the weekend highlighted potential challenges in the memo.  Mooney looked at several DOE regs that were either finished or close to be finished to see how the rules will be impacted.  AHRI, who worked on both the walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF) rule and its accompanying test procedure rule and the commercial boiler rule, were recently submitted for publication, but delayed under the 45-day review rule.  The memo would appear to force the withdrawal and review of the rule by new personnel at DOE.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the action provides an opportunity discuss with the new DOE staff the various processes by which energy efficiency rules are developed.  “The walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated and its provisions were agreed to by all stakeholders, including AHRI.  The rule establishing the test procedure for WICFs, however, was not negotiated, and neither was the commercial boiler rule — both were developed with minimal interaction with stakeholders.  Consequently, we have many concerns about those two rules and will likely be seeking significant changes if and when they are redeveloped,” Yurek said.  This moratorium does not mean these and other rules will never be issued, only that they will be delayed for review and potential alteration. But Yurek said that, “Under the law, DOE is only required to review these and other rules, not make changes to them.  It is entirely possible that this administration will choose to merely leave current efficiency levels in place for some products,” he said.

Propane Rule Creates Burden – On the first working day of the Trump Administration, a rule imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) during the Obama Administration is set to impose $125 million in new costs on propane consumers.  To date, NPGA’s petition for an emergency stay to protect the industry and propane consumers has gone unanswered.  Today, approximately 5 million propane cylinders, including many that are used for home heating, forklifts, and even grill cylinders, are out of compliance with DOT regulations.  In 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) made a major change to a decades-old regulation that, without explanation or justification, reduces the time propane marketers have to initially requalify a propane cylinder from 12 years to 10 years.  This action is an unlawful violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires that affected parties have an opportunity to comment on any changes that might create new obligations for stakeholders.  DOT misled the propane industry in the initial notice of proposed rulemaking saying, “Costs associated with the rule are estimated to be negligible annually…. [T]hese requirements would not impose new requirements on current non-holders of SPs [special permits].”  In the rule PHMSA cites the number of affected business at 50.  The reality is this rule affects thousands of companies, starting with approximately 3,000 propane marketers.  In addition to the significant financial burden, this regulation will cause small business owners to choose between delivering fuel to more than 5 million homes that rely on propane for winter heating or keeping staff at the business to comply with this rule.

SAFE Report Says AVs will Help Those with Disabilities – A white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) has revealed that an astonishing two million employment opportunities could be opened and $19 billion in annual healthcare expenditures could be saved if people with disabilities had access to the basic transportation needs that could be provided by autonomous vehicles. The paper, titled The Ruderman White Paper on Self-Driving Car Technologies: The Impact on People with Disabilities, also encourages a greater dialogue surrounding the potential benefits that these emerging transportation technologies can offer to people with disabilities. Despite those with disabilities representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population, the most recent government transport survey indicated that six million individuals with a disability have difficulty accessing the transportation they need. The transportation sector is one of the largest industries in the United States, interacting with nearly every facet of the economy, however this system still remains off-limits to many in the disability community, leading to much lower rates of employment, health care, and income. The report, co-authored by Henry Claypool, Policy Director at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Amitai Bin-Nun, Director of the Autonomous Vehicle Initiative at SAFE and Jeff Gerlach, Senior Policy Analyst at SAFE, calls on an urgent need to develop a common agenda at the intersection between autonomous vehicles and disability policy, requiring broad political organization, and eventually action, in order to make progress and ensure the voices of individuals with disabilities is heard.  The report’s authors also noted a legal commitment to be upheld as autonomous vehicles are developed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that if a private company offers such transportation services, equal access to public accommodations must be made to provide the same services to people with disabilities as those without.

Cramer Bipartisan commission to Limit OPEC – U.S. House of Representatives members Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) introduced legislation to establish a one-year commission to better understand the role of OPEC, its member nations, and other national oil companies (NOCs) in contributing to an unfree global oil market. OPEC, whose member nations along with other NOCs control 90% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, have the ability to exercise outsized influence over global oil supply, and therefore prices, to the detriment of non-members like the United States. The full text of H.R. 545 is available here.  OPEC’s decision in late 2016 to interrupt the low oil price environment by freezing crude production was reached after two years of the cartel maintaining record levels of production to consolidate market share. That policy placed significant strain on U.S. producers and the global economy, delaying nearly $400 billion in investment in future production capacity, causing thousands of domestic job losses and setting the stage for higher prices in the future. Unable to meet their fiscal obligations with declining oil revenues, major exporters are instead burning through billions in accumulated foreign reserves to maintain their social and defense spending, with the potential of amplifying already growing geopolitical unrest in the world’s most unstable regions. OPEC’s strong influence over the oil market translates to severe economic vulnerability for the United States, which depends on petroleum fuels for more than a third of its primary energy demand and for 92% of the energy used by the transportation sector. This singular dependence on oil, a resource whose price is frequently volatile and unpredictable, threatens the American economy with the specter of price spikes and undermines the nation’s ability to conduct effective foreign policy, including military action, in its own interest.

AHRI Announces HVAC Scholarships – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), announced scholarship awards totaling $55,000 to 35 students, including six veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  Each year, the Foundation provides aid to an increasing number of recipients, helping to promote careers in the industry and fill good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Defense Energy Forum Set – Today through Wednesday, the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement holds its Operational Energy Summit, with the theme “Enabling Global Power Projection at the Sheraton Pentagon City.

Mexican Energy Official to Address Challenges –Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace holds a forum looking at Mexico’s energy reforms.  Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has faced myriad challenges and opportunities since its first open licensing rounds in 2015. What can an independent regulatory agency achieve in a country that just opened its petroleum industry to private investments? Join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for a discussion with experts on global resource transparency. CNH’s Juan Carlos Zepeda will deliver a keynote, and Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon will moderate the discussion.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held starting Friday to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on Wednesday and Thursday.  The events of the Wednesday will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

SAE to Host Forum at Auto Show – SAE International holds its 2017 Government/Industry Forum in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show on “how technology, regulations and legislation affects the design of light and heavy duty vehicles.

Energy Expert to Address NCAC Dinner – The National Capital Chapter of the US Energy Economists will hold its annual dinner on Wednesday evening at Clyde’s Gallery Place.  The guest of honor and speaker is energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

WCEE Forum to Look at Solar Integration – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum Wednesday on solar Integration.  In the past six years, U.S. photovoltaic capacity has expanded rapidly.  The FTC also recently held a public workshop and invited comments on this issue, including a discussion of “competition among solar directed generation or DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies.” The discussion will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.  Robert Ivanauskas of FERC’s Office of Energy Infrastructure and Security will address what role competition law may have in the market for the generation and distribution of electric power. We will consider both federal and state/local regulation, and consider arguments presented by advocates on either side of the issue.

USEA to Look at ND’s Carbon Management – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss carbon management issues in North Dakota.   The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is internationally recognized for its expertise in fossil energy research, and North Dakota’s state government and industry are interested in private / public partnerships in research that will allow the state to continue to develop and use its natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner.  EERC’s John Harju and Bill Sawyer from ALLETE Clean Energy will discuss new and exciting activities in North Dakota that are examining an integrated energy and carbon solution platform. The goal is to demonstrate that the electric utility industry, both regionally and nationally, can utilize our nation’s most abundant fuel while providing the foundation for the beneficial use of the CO2 produced, and do so in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  Participants will include my colleague Jeff Holmstead, Heritage’s David Kreutzer, AEI’s Aparna Mathur, Roger Sant of the Summit Foundation RFF’s Roberton Williams, Resources for the Future; University of Maryland and AEI’s Benjamin Zycher.

Forum to Look at NatGas Diplomacy Strategy – The Energy Diplomacy Initiative (EDI), as part of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. featuring a discussion with conversation with former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly on her recommendations for the US administration on the role of natural gas, energy policies, and impacts on international diplomacy.

CSIS to Present IEA Gas Security Review – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Global Gas Security Review. Providing more transparency for LNG markets, the report assesses the degree of flexibility the global gas markets can provide in the wake of a demand or supply shock. Among other issues, the report seeks to address how much slack there is in the global gas system and the flexibility of LNG markets in practice.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Former Sect of State to Address Smart Women Forum – On Monday, January 30th at 5:30 p.m., CSIS will host a Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (WELLESLEY Alum) to discuss America’s place in the world.  The event will be moderated by Nina Easton, chair of  Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International.

CSIS Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a forum on Tuesday January 31st looking at deep decarbonization scenarios.  Speakers Jeremy Bentham, Global Head of Strategy at Royal Dutch Shell; Philippe Benoit, former head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and current Senior Associate (Non-resident) with the Energy & National Security Program; and Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist at the World Resources Institute, will hold a discussion on the topic. Bentham will present Shell’s new Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions. The report explores possible ways in which the world’s energy system could evolve to meet future demand while simultaneously mitigating climate change. Benoit, formerly of IEA, will discuss the IEA’s 450 Scenario, a 2°C scenario in which concentration of greenhouse gas emissions are limited to 450 parts per million CO2. Kaufman will round out the discussion with a comparison of the Mid Century Strategies, prepared for the Marrakech climate talks by the Council on Environmental Quality.

USEA Holds State of Industry Forum – The US Energy Assn will holds its 13th annual State of the Energy Industry forum on Tuesday January 31st at the National Press Club Ballroom.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will come together to engage in dialogue and deliver presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry for 2017.

Forum to Look at Climate Risks in Latin America – The Inter-American Bank will hold a dialogue seminar on February 1st to look at climate risks in Latin America.  The discussion on these questions will include climate and energy experts.  There will also be a presentation of the Inter-American Development Bank’s new report, “Stranded Assets: a Climate Risk Challenge.”

CSIS to Host BP Energy Outlook – CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host a discussion on Wednesday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. looking at the annual BP Energy Outlook with BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale. The BP Energy Outlook considers a base case, which outlines the “most likely” path for energy demand based on assumptions about future changes in policy, technology, and the economy. Beyond the base case, the Energy Outlook examines some of the key issues that will shape energy supply and demand through 2035 and explores possible alternative outcomes.

WM Host Annual Sustainability Forum – Waste Management will host leaders from global companies, representatives from municipalities across the country, experts, innovators and influencers, on Thursday, February 2nd at their 7th annual Executive Sustainability Forum at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day-long event will feature renowned speakers and panel discussions on the e-commerce revolution and the conundrum of complex packaging and it launches a great week of golf with the WM Phoenix Open.  In addition, just one week after the presidential inauguration, keynote speakers Dana Perino, former Republican White House Press Secretary and now co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic Party strategist and regular Fox News Channel contributor, will delve into anticipated changes in U.S. environmental policies and the possible implications for businesses and local governments.  An afternoon workshop tackling the emerging dialogue around Sustainable Materials Management and Lifecycle Thinking will facilitate a dynamic results-oriented session around changing goals to reflect broader environmental benefits.

Forum to Tackle 2017 Environ Agenda – On Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00 p.m., SEJ and the Wilson Center hold their annual what to expect in the year in environment session. SEJ will launch its new report, “Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment 2017,” presented by SEJ Board President and Climate Central Senior Science Writer Bobby Magill. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with AP’s Seth Borenstein, Politico’s Elana Schor, John Siciliano of the Washington Examiner, BNA’s Amena Sayid and several others.

Segal, Others Address Trump, Environment at SEJ Forum – The Society of Environmental Journalists holds a mini-conference Saturday Feb.4 (and perhaps 5) in Washington DC on covering the Trump Administration on environment and energy. Speakers include EPA Transition Chief Myron Ebell, former EPA water chief Tracy Mehan, Bracewell energy expert Scott Segal, former EPA deputy administrator and climate change activist Bob Perciasepe. There will also be an all-star panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson.

Annual Sustainable Energy Factbook Set for Release – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy Fact book Feb 6th.  More on this as we get closer.

Transmission Infrastructure Summit Set – The National Electric Transmission Infrastructure Summit will be held on February 9-10th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  The Summit is a one-and-a-half day gathering focused on the challenges and merits of extending, modernizing, and integrating the high-voltage electric transmission system – necessary to enable access to the rich but currently remote resources of renewable energy required for a clean-energy future, while mitigating the cost and variability of those resources.  Speakers will include our friend Jimmy Glotfelty of Clean Line Energy Partners, as well as Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown, National Electric Manufacturers Association CEO Kevin Cosgriff and several others.

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held on March 6th through 10th in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Southern NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held March 6-8th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – On March 7th, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

New Year’s Energy Update

Friends,

Welcome to 2017!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  We sure saw some great football (topped by the Rose Bowl) and hockey (the Outdoor Centennial Classic in Toronto) games.

While 2016 was a bizarre political year, 2017 looks to be a brave new world, so let me lip-synch my way through a few bars to remind you that we will be on top of it all for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in the energy and environment arena for 2017.

The 115th Congress launched today with quite a stir. While new members were being sworn in and Speaker Ryan was being elected, the House was backtracking on the outside ethics committee change after pressure from the Presidential Twittersphere.  Anyway, while a dumb way to start, it did create some fun just 17 days before the Inauguration.   Sounds Like they will be busy right away though passing Midnight Rules Relief Act, which allows the use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act that requires explicit congressional approval for major executive branch regulations. (H/T POLITICO ME) Good luck getting passed the Senate though.

While a short week, there are a few great events set for the week.  Tomorrow, our friends at API hold its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center at 12:30 p.m.   Also this week, the Consumer Electronics Show starts in Las Vegas.  On Thursday, SAFE will release its autonomous vehicle report recommendations.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving AV industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  You may also expect to hear more about this topic at next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show.  Also Thursday morning at JHU, EIA’s Adam Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices.

Finally, congrats to our friend Sean Spicer, taking over the WH flak Jacket.  Also, check out the recent opinion piece on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt from former White House Counsel C Boyden Gray, who helped author the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the last time it was updated.  As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

TEN ISSUES FOR 2017

  1. Roll Back Vs Reform – We have already heard the enviro community talking rollbacks, but there is a serious question about what a roll back is and what is a much-needed, long-overdue reform.  This battle will be one of the key fights for the year, especially with the big tickets items headlining the list.  While the Clean Power Plan, WOTUS rule and other oil & gas rules will attract most of the attention, smaller rules like last week’s DOE EE rules and other low-profile, but costly rules will likely be on the hit list.  In the end, the fight will be less about the real policy substance and much more about messaging.
  2. Infrastructure = Projects = Pipelines = Jobs – We all know the role jobs played in the political campaign, which moves this to the very top of the new Administration’s agenda.  And don’t think the infrastructure bug will just hit projects that weren’t favored by the Obama team.  In fact, a rising tide lifts all boats so I expect clean energy projects will also see numerous opportunities.  But the most obvious translation to the energy issue is through infrastructure.  The last-minute, parting gifts handed to the environmental community over pipelines projects will likely fall away, but going forward, transmission lines, pipeline infrastructure, project development and road/mobility development will all be front and center priorities.
  3. Not So Much Confirmation, But Lots of Agency Reform – While Democrats are girding for battle on Trump Cabinet appointees, they are unlikely to stop any – especially the energy and environment picks – without an epic fail by a nominee at their confirmation hearing.  What is more significant is what they will do when they land at the agencies.  DOE’s Rick Perry, Interior’s Ryan Zinke and EPA’s Scott Pruitt will have significant structural reform on their plate and the question remains as to how that will go.  Pruitt will likely face the most significant plate of big issues from the RFS to the Clean Power Plan to the waters rule.   Perry and Zinke will face more lower-level structural reforms to their agencies.  Between the confirmation battles and the new approach for the agencies, look for this fights to take up a large part of year one.
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris, REPRISED – Last year, this was our first issue, and it re-emerges as major issue again, but this time for a different reason.  It is one of the most interesting questions of 2017 because of the new Administration’s unclear position.  While enviros say that we must continue pushing the Paris agreement to maintain environmental progress and our credibility in the international community, opponents of the Paris agreement are largely split on it going forward.  That disagreement centers on the fact that Paris doesn’t actually REQUIRE the U.S. to do anything.  Some want to send a message by pulling out, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth.  As with all issues now, it is becoming more of a message fight than an issue of substance and should reach a head in late 2017 at COP 23 in Bonn.
  5. Big or Small Ball on the RFS – The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is always a policy fight magnet.  Don’t expect 2017 to be any different starting tomorrow when API does its “State of American Energy” event.  While the major fight over larger overall reform of the program has never been more live, there are smaller battles that played a major role last year that will likely resurface, especially with Carl Icahn leading the Administration’s Reg Reform effort.  Either way, the fight over this program continues both in the policy and political arena.
  6. Looking at the Power of Rural America – Rural America played a major role in electing Donald Trump, and while always powerful on Capitol Hill, look for the rural economic agenda to play a more prominent role in many policy fights.  Clean energy will also be an important piece of this effort as many rural communities see energy projects, efficiency programs and fuels policy as a form of rural economic development.  From Rural electricity to broadband to credit union policy changes, rural economic development will likely be closer to the front burner, especially since rural voters stepped up, know they are powerful and will want to be heard.
  7. Offshore Winds Finally Blowing? – As the nation’s first offshore wind farm finally opened off the coast of Rhode Island, it seems that the long freeze for offshore wind in the US is finally thawing.  The Deepwater Wind success was quickly following up by a major announcement by the Interior Department naming Statoil as the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of just under $42.5 billion.  While the anxious wait seems to be over, watch for key policy questions and potential roadblocks from a new Administration that hasn’t exactly been a supporter of offshore wind.
  8. Clean Energy Staying Strong But Smarter – Speaking of clean energy, as I mentioned a rising tide lifts all boats so we expect clean energy projects to also see numerous opportunities, especially if the expected infrastructure build-out takes hold.  But, expect the projects efforts to be less random.  Projects that improve reliability, create jobs, are economically feasible and promote environmental goals will likely be able to garner bipartisan support and move forward.  Projects that are a stretch and are reliant only on favorable tax policy or a constrained GHG mandate may struggle to get off the ground.  As well for 2017, new CCS projects will finally make it to commercial operation, another positive step forward.
  9. Innovation Agenda Essential for Technology, Climate Future – For the past century, the US has lead on virtually every energy technology, from solar panels to clean coal.  Common sense reforms that enable and inspire American ingenuity are essential to creating an energy future that will reduce emissions and advance the next generation of technologies that will continue to change the way we use energy.  Private-public partnership can also add new value. Exciting efforts like Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center, which looks for better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value, can play an important role in the overall effort.  Southern is also a prime example of innovation leadership promoting several bold technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass, improved gas infrastructure, new wind and solar and new generation nuclear. We also saw technology innovation’s emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative, which were borne out of international discussions in Paris last December.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  10. New Nuclear is Hear and Now – Nuclear energy is an essential and reliable part of any modern electricity grid. It keeps the lights on regardless of the weather – and does so with zero air pollution. The current construction of new reactors at Plant Vogtle which will run through its final stages before operation starts in 2018, hopes to create a new age of nuclear energy. Vogtle is part of the next generation of reactors that are significantly upgraded from those built in the 1970s. And many companies are innovating further on advanced reactors that will be far more versatile than today’s technology.  In addition, new leadership at NEI will likely also make nuclear issue and more interesting read in 2017.   Georgia Power has an ongoing photo timeline of progress/activity at Plant Vogtle that you can see here.

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“When Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he will inherit an agency that should be declaring victory in its 46-year battle for a cleaner, healthier environment. The next administrator must focus on reining in an agency that has far exceeded its original mission. Fortunately, Pruitt understands the EPA’s proper role and is the right man for the job.”

 2007. Boyden Gray served as White House Counsel during the George H.W. Bush administration and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 2006-2007. He was one of the architects of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

 

IN THE NEWS

DOE Finalizes Energy Efficiency Rules – DOE issued five new rules on December 29th that cover an eclectic mix of products, including the first national standards for uninterruptible power supplies, portable air conditioners and swimming pool pumps, which are based on a consensus agreement. For pool pumps, California has led the way with pool pump motor standards and Arizona, Connecticut, and Washington have followed. California and Oregon have previously set standards for uninterruptible power supplies as part of their battery charger standards.  For walk-in coolers and commercial boilers, DOE’s latest actions would update existing national standards, originally signed into law by George W. Bush and his father, respectively. Manufacturers and installers of walk-in coolers negotiated the walk-in cooler levels with DOE and other stakeholders after a lawsuit invalidated some earlier standards.

Interesting Twist to Rules – Under the terms of an agreement developed as part of the settlement AHRI reached with DOE in its 2014 lawsuit concerning the original rule for walk-in coolers and freezers, there is a 45-day waiting period before the rules can be published in the Federal Register.  This means that they will not be issued in final form during the Obama Administration and are, therefore, subject to review by the incoming Trump Administration.  AHRI President Steve Yurek said the walk-in coolers and freezers rule was negotiated with AHRI member input and AHRI approved the negotiated provisions of the rule. Yurek added the commercial boiler rule was not developed through negotiations, but through the notice-and-comment process under which AHRI provided comments.  AHRI continues to have significant issues with this rule, including our opposition to the proposed minimum efficiency levels for both oil and gas boilers which we feel overestimate the energy use of commercial packaged boilers, underestimates their installation costs, and overestimates the future shipments of commercial packaged boilers while underestimating the level of higher efficiency commercial packaged boilers that are currently in the marketplace. Yurek: “We continue to have concerns that the efficiency levels for these products has been set at a level that the margin of safety to properly vent the products of combustion has been significantly reduced.  We look forward to working with the Trump Administration as it reviews recent DOE rulemakings prior to their being finalized.”

Analysts Report: Shale Drillers Expected to Recover – Shale drillers are set to ramp up spending on exploration and production next year as recovering oil prices prompt banks to extend credit lines for the first time in two years.  The credit increase is small, but with major oil producers worldwide aiming to hold down production in 2017, U.S.-based shale drillers are looking to boost market share to take advantage of higher prices, and greater availability of capital will make that easier.  Analysts at Raymond James North America-focused oil and gas producers are expected to increase capital investments by 30% next year.

Southern Moving on Larger Wind Strategy – As part of the company’s renewable development strategy, Southern Company recently rolled out a joint development agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to develop and construct approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) across 10 projects with commercial operation dates between 2018 and 2020. Additionally, Southern Power has signed agreements to purchase wind turbine equipment from both Siemens and Vestas for use at the facilities.   Already, Southern owns more than 2,700 MW of renewable generation across 33 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction. In total, the Southern Company system has added or announced more than 4,000 MW of renewable generation since 2012.

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

MI Wind Farm Begins Operations – DTE Energy has started commercial operations at its 50MW Pinnebog wind farm in Michigan. The 30-turbine facility, which is in Huron County, started construction in early 2016. The wind farm is an expansion of the existing Echo wind park and employed more than 150 people during construction.  DTE now has 30 full-time employees working at its Huron county renewable energy center in Bad Axe. In 2015, more than 10 percent of the energy provided by DTE was generated from a renewable source in Michigan.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

API’s Gerard to Hold Annual State of American Energy – API President and CEO Jack Gerard will deliver a major address tomorrow at the Reagan Trade building Atrium tomorrow at Noon to outline priorities for America’s oil and natural gas industry with New Congress and Administration.  The United States is leading the world in the production of oil and natural gas while also leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. This game-changing milestone coincides with the start of a new administration and Congress. Voters from all parties want our nation’s leaders to address economic growth and accelerate job creation while developing an energy future that benefits all Americans.   Gerard will deliver his annual address followed by a news conference for credentialed members of the media.

EIA Presents Updated Long-Term Energy Projections – The Johns Hopkins University SAIS Energy and Environment program will host EIA’s Adam Sieminski on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  Sieminski will present the findings of EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2017” with projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, world oil prices, and the Clean Power Plan.

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on Thursday in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.  Due to the unique challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, the report outlines clear and actionable best-practices for industry designed to increase collaboration between developers and regulators and ultimately improve public trust in AV technology.  The event will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Room S227A and will explore the details of these recommendations and strategies for implementation. Members of the Commission and SAFE staff will be available to answer questions about the Commission’s work and its implications for American energy security, including former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Mark Rosenker, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Paul Brubaker of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, former GM exec Robert Lange and Cuneyt Oge, President of SAE International.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.

Transportation Research Board Hosts 96th Annual Meeting – Next Sunday, January 8th through Thursday, January 12th, the Transportation Research Board hosts its 96th annual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC.  The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.

Report Looks at Energy Storage Opportunities for Emerging Markets – Next Monday morning at the IFC Headquarters, IFC and ESMAP will present a new report on Energy Storage.  Energy storage is a crucial tool for enabling the effective integration of renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power for emerging markets.  The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. Technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center.  The presentation will feature the report’s findings, followed by insights on trends in energy storage technology and the financing landscape for this sector.

Forum to Look at Economics of Germany’s Energy Transition, Transatlantic Relations – Next Monday at noon in Fairfax, the Greater Washington Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will host a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance.  The event will focus on the economics of the German Energy/Electricity transition.
Stanford to Host Clean Energy Forum – On Tuesday January 10th at noon at the National Press Club, Stanford University’s leading energy and environmental research institutes, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will convene a panel session  that will highlight clean energy innovation as a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and ask how the United States can lead global efforts to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies.  The panel will include Stanford’s Sally Benson, John Dabiri and Michael McGehee.
WRI to Detail Stories to Watch for 2017 – Next Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute hosts its Stories to Watch for 2017 forum.  Stories to Watch is an annual go-to event for DC’s top policymakers, business executives, thought leaders, and media who want to get ahead on the coming year.  As we enter what looks like a dynamic, unpredictable year, WRI President & CEO Andrew Steer, will share insights on global trends and emerging issues related to climate, energy, economic development and sustainability. He will help to unpack the connections between rising populism and nationalism, and what this means for people and the planet.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on January 11th.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Forum to Look at Better R&D Methods – The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Brookings will hold a forum on Wednesday January 11th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss how the incoming administration and Congress can bolster technology transfer and commercialization policies to ensure that federal R&D investments yield stronger commercial results. ITIF and the Brookings Institution have recently proposed 50 innovative policy ideas to more quickly and effectively get technologies out of the laboratory and into the private sector.

Forum to Look at Korea/Japan/US Nuclear Cooperation – On Wednesday, January 11th at 10:45 a.m. in 902 Hart SOB, the Global America Business Institute (GABI) will hold a forum on the prospects for nuclear energy following the recent U.S. presidential elections and the opportunities for trilateral civil nuclear cooperation among the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Speakers will include Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy John Kotek and a panel of experts.

World Bank Forum to Look at Mobility – The World Bank and the EMBARQ mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will host Transforming Transportation 2017 on Thursday, January 12th and Friday, January 13th.  Physical and virtual connectivity is a critical factor of today’s competitiveness and economic growth. By facilitating the movement of people, goods and information, the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice enable economic and social development, and increase access to jobs, health, and education services. Transport is also at the heart of the climate change solution, as one of the largest energy users and emitters of greenhouse gases.

GCs to Discuss Key Issues – On Thursday, January 12th at 11:30 a.m., the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum moderated by Assistant Attorney General John Cruden.  Cruden will lead a discussion with the General Counsel of various federal agencies to discuss the future issues likely to arise for the new Administration.  Other speakers will include EPA’s Avi Garbow, USDA’s Jeffrey Prieto and several others.

Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – The US AID’s Atlas Project will host a forum on Thursday, January 12th at 4:00 p.m. discussing the role of decentralized governance for climate adaptation. Dr. Tim Finan and Dr. Mamadou Baro of the University of Arizona share the results of a research case study from rural Mali, where a system of decentralized governance was introduced almost three decades ago. The study draws upon evidence from villages, communes, and regions of south-central Mali to examine the effectiveness of local governance institutions in building community-level resilience to climate change stresses. This research was conducted for USAID’s ATLAS project.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

AEI to Host Carbon Tax Discussion – AEI will host a panel discussion on carbon taxes on January 26th looking at whether the standard “efficiency” arguments offered by some conservatives in favor of a carbon tax make any sense at all given the various incentives of Congress and the bureaucracy.  More on this as we get closer.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room. Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

Holiday Energy Update

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

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

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Statoil Wins NY Offshore Wind Auction – Statoil has been declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  Statoil submitted a winning bid of $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters).  Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Electoral College Vote – December 19th

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

 

IN THE FUTURE

SAFE to Roll Out AV Policies at CES Las Vegas – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will roll out its autonomous vehicle report recommendations on January 5th in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show.

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

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Out – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will roll out from January 8th to 22nd at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.  Official press conferences begin with Disney Pixar on Sunday  January 8th as the 2017 NAIAS Press Preview will host a series of events until Tuesday January 10.  With over 300 exhibitors all under one roof, ranging from global automakers to suppliers to tech startups, NAIAS will truly be the mobility epicenter and will showcase the full automotive ecosystem. NAIAS expects to have over 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ different countries attend Press Preview, keeping NAIAS strongly in the lead among domestic shows in terms of global media coverage.

Donohue to Discuss State of Business – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host his annual “State of American Business” address as well as the Chamber’s 2017 Open House on January 11th.  Donohue outline the top challenges and new opportunities facing the American business community and introduce the Chamber’s 2017 policy agenda.

Smart Cities Conference Set – The Smart Cities International Symposium, will be held on January 24-25 in Chicago.  The conference examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

INAUGURATION DAY – January 20

POLITICO Sets Inauguration Hub – On January 20, POLITICO will transform the top floor of The W Hotel into its 2017 Inauguration Hub. With prime views of the Inauguration Parade route from our all-day networking lounge, the Inauguration Hub will be the premier destination for DC influencers to experience this historic moment. Live programming will include a full day of newsmaker interviews and discussions offering first-hand insights from new players in politics and policy, and an in-depth look at the changes ahead in the new Washington.   Full schedule of programming and speakers to be announced. Check out www.politico.com/inaugurationHub for updates.

Washington Auto Show Set – The Washington Auto Show will be held on January 27th to February 7th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  As the “Public Policy Show” on the auto show circuit, the 10-day public show is preceded by two Public Policy Preview Days of special events and announcements for officials in government, industry and the media on January 24th and 25th.  The events of the 25th will be on Capitol Hill in the Kennedy Caucus Room..  Speakers will include Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Rep Debbie Dingell, Our friend Joe White of Reuters and GMU’s Adam Thierer and the Chamber’s Matt Duggan. The Washington Auto Show is also the largest public show in Washington, D.C. Over the course of its many years this beloved and historic D.C. tradition has attracted Washingtonians of all stripes – and political affiliations. Along with the engineering prowess on display among the more than 600 new models from over 35 manufacturers, the 2017 show will feature VIP tours led by award-winning automotive writers and a special exhibit area for live painting of “art” cars.

Energy Update: Week of December 12

Friends,

Starting today with news about the Golden GlobesNominations are out and after seeing Manchester-by-the-Sea, I have to say it has got to be a frontrunner.  It is not a feel-good movie but it was so well acted.  And last night, 60 Minutes ran a an outstanding piece on the story behind Lion.  The 74th annual Golden Globes Awards is hosted by Jimmy Fallon on January 8th.

While this year we did not go, it is always exciting to see one of our country’s most tremendous events: the Army-Navy Football game, this year in Baltimore. Army broke a 15-year losing streak to claim the game with a late touchdown and an overpowering rushing offense that Navy just couldn’t slow down.  I don’t doubt there was a little bit of fatigue from Navy playing Temple in the AAC East Final the week prior, but it is Army-Navy and that should be enough.  Whatever the outcome, there is nothing in sports like watching the post-game festivities where both alma maters get sung by the entire stadium.   Not to be overshadowed (but it was), the MLS Soccer Champ was crowned Saturday when Seattle beat Toronto in penalty kicks. (Ouch, just broke the Champ Kind rule about “No Soccer”!!)

Last week in Transition was a blur, with sources seemingly confirming OK AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Washington Rep. McMorris-Rodgers for Interior and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for State.  And today, we are starting to hear sources talking about former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Energy.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer, a former DOE Senior Counsel can address many of your questions about Perry.  I have included a few statements below.  I fully expect the official announcement on all of these appointments sometime this week.

Oil has risen to an 18-month high after OPEC and non-OPEC countries have reached separate, but related agreements to jointly reduce output to try to tackle global oversupply and boost prices.  Our friend Robbie Diamond at SAFE and his experts can discuss the details.  In fact, they already spoke with Capitol Crude on the topic.  CC’s Brian Scheid and Meghan Gordon talked to Diamond on President-elect Trump’s plans to take on OPEC, the fate of fuel efficiency standards and what energy independence means in today’s global oil market.  And tomorrow, CSIS hosts OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo to discuss its 2016 World Oil Outlook.

Finally, special congrats to Melisa Klem, who will be the Society of Environmental Journalists’ new executive director.  Klem has spent more than 13 years working in development for conservation and human health nonprofits, and is the group’s second leader, replacing founding executive director Beth Parke who is stepping aside after nearly 24 years of leadership.

We are monitoring all transition activities and especially the cabinet du jour issues, so don’t hesitate to call on this and any other issues.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As Governor of the State of Texas for 15 years, Rick Perry led a state that has, for decades, been critical to our domestic energy policy.  During his time in office, Perry embodied the type of “all of the above” approach to U.S. energy production that many have advocated on both sides of the aisle.  Rick Perry’s Texas was not only a world leader in oil and gas production; it was also a global leader in wind power and renewable energy investment.  This approach is a big reason why Texas experienced such enormous job growth during Perry’s tenure.  This track record will serve Perry well not only in leading DOE but also in becoming a significant part of the new Administration’s approach to issues like regulatory reform and infrastructure investment.  As Texas has shown, it is indeed possible to successfully balance appropriate environmental regulations with domestic energy production and use.”

Salo Zelermyer, former DOE Senior Counsel and partner at Bracewell’s PRG on Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is being considered to head the Department of Energy

 

IN THE NEWS

Pruitt Named for EPA – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is said to named head of EPA.  Pruitt has a long record of opposing EPA actions that he deems a legal over reach.  He Is not alone in some of the major challenges of the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Plan which both have more than 30 states joining him and were both stayed by Courts.  My colleague Scott Segal, said he has watched Scott Pruitt develop over his six years as Oklahoma attorney general and called him “a measured and articulate student of environmental law and policy.”  The office he headed was present and accounted for in the battle to keep EPA faithful to its statutory authority and respectful of the role of the states in our system of cooperative federalism.  Segal says these skills will serve him well not only in leading EPA but also in participating meaningfully in the legislative and regulatory reform efforts promised by the next Administration.  Segal added some have suggested that Pruitt’s hands might be tied because he participated in litigation against the Agency, but “when you add up all the states that have participated in litigation on the Clean Power Plan alone it amounts to almost the entire United States.” Segal added Gina McCarthy herself sued the EPA as a state official only to eventually lead the Agency.  There is no conflict in faithfully representing your state on litigation dealing with rules of general applicability and then serving your nation as a federal administrative official.

McMorris-Rodgers for Interior – Washington Rep. Cathy  McMorris-Rodgers is reportedly being named to head the Department of the Interior Mc.  My colleague Eric Washburn (202-412-5211), a former Senate staffer and westerner who works on many lands, species and other Interior, said President-elect Trump is following the tradition of naming an elected or former elected official from the West.  This tradition exists because most federal lands are located in the West its elected officials are continually faced with balancing the need for natural resources conservation with economic development, which essentially describes the job of Interior Secretary.  Washburn: “McMorris-Rodgers has had to grapple with these challenges regularly and so knows the laws, regulations, and issues that will now cross her desk every day on the job.  While it is a tough and often controversial job, if you come from the West and love the wide open spaces, and the outdoor recreational opportunities afforded by the federal lands estate like hunting, fishing, hiking, off-roading and are not afraid to mix it up from time to time, then it can be one of the best jobs in Washington DC.  Her plate will be full from the minute she takes office.  OPEC just got agreement on a supply cut that will raise oil and gas prices and likely lead to more demand to drill on federal lands.  Renewable energy projects, transmission lines, and pipelines will continue to be sited and built there.  And all this will need to be balanced with the need to conserve mule deer, elk, pronghorn, greater sage grouse, trout and hundreds of other species that rely on those lands, and which sportsmen spend billions of dollars each year chasing after.  She certainly knows all these interests and hopefully will be able to chart a course for the agency that allows for conservation and development to proceed hand in hand.”

Something about CMR – McMorris-Rodgers is known as a competent and respected legislator.  She also has been a long-standing member of the House Republican Leadership.  She was one of Trump’s 13 co-chairs.  Given her district in eastern Washington, she has stressed collaboration on forest management issues.  This is what she said on the occasion of passage of Interior approps back in July:  “Eastern Washington is home to some of the greatest natural resources in the world,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Our local communities and their leaders know how to manage their own land and the resources around them better than federal bureaucrats. This legislation includes key provisions that will help keep our communities safe from wildfires, protect farmers from overzealous EPA regulations, and maintain our beautiful, abundant public land as a recreational outlet for all walks of life.”

Tillerson for Secretary of State – Our friend Steve Mufson is among those reporting President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name as his secretary of state Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil.  Tillerson has worked extensively around the globe and built relationships with such leaders as Russian President Vladimir Putin and for years has worked in Russia and the Middle East on behalf of the multinational petroleum company.  Tillerson is a very sophisticated international player and has been a leader in global discussion and negotiations.  Our friend former NSC advisor Robert McNally of the Rapidan Group said, “The closest thing we have to a secretary of state outside government is the CEO of Exxon.”  Tillerson started at EOM in 1975 and has spent his entire career there, going from Oklahoma and Texas to Yemen and Russia.  As CEO, Mufson reports he has cultivated relationships, meeting regularly with world leaders such as Putin, the Saudi oil minister, and the emir of Qatar.

Non-OPEC Countries Agree to Cuts Too – Recently, OPEC countries agreed to “limit” their production (by 1.2 MM bbl/d starting in January 1, 2017) and which also referenced that non-OPEC countries would contribute an additional 0.6 MM bbl/d of supply reductions.  On Saturday during OPEC’s joint ministerial level meeting with non-OPEC countries in Vienna, Austria, agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd, short of the target of 600,000 bpd but still the largest contribution by non-OPEC ever..  The joint meetings were the first since 2002.  Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan and South Sudan all also agreed to reduce their combined production by 0.558 MM bbl/d. Similar to OPEC’s November 30th agreement, these reductions will commence January 1, 2017 and have a duration of six months, extendable for another six months.  My friends at SAFE can address your questions about the deal and how it relates to OPEC’s original Nov 30 deal.   Please feel to call me or email Leslie Hayward should you have any questions or want to speak with SAFE President Robbie Diamond.

Report: Global Coal Use to See Slight Drop, Remain Significant – IEA new coal report today that coal demand growth will stall in the years to 2021 as other fuels become more popular.  At the same time, it added that coal will remain a significant International player.  Lower demand in the U.S. and China, fast renewables growth and greater energy savings will reduce the share of coal in the global power generation mix to 36% by 2021, down just 5% from 2014.  Emerging economies mainly in Asia are expected to drive future use.  Asia has become coal’s key market as Europe and the U.S. cut its use, a geographic shift that will accelerate, the IEA said. By 2015, Asia accounted for almost three-quarters of coal demand. China will “continue to be the largest coal consumer by far” by 2021, even if consumption has likely peaked.

Chamber Blog Posts Hit Energy Issues – The Chamber Energy Institute released blog posts from energy experts Steve Eule and Dan Byers last week.   Eule unloads on an NRDC report that says the groups sees tankers expanding in the Mississippi River to move Canadian oil sands.  Eule asked has it occurred to NRDC that maybe, just maybe, its opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline was a bit, ah, shortsighted? It’s not like these new transportation arrangements weren’t anticipated. The Department of State gets it. Its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the pipeline concludes that approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project would be unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the U.S.  Meanwhile, Byers tackles the narrative in the media about coal’s demise no matter the results of the election.  Byers: “There is no question that President-elect Trump’s commitment to scrap the CPP and end the War on Coal will save millions of tons of coal production, and in doing so, save the jobs of many miners (while helping to keep electricity  affordable).  He adds a multitude of other job-killing rules are likely to be repealed or reformed as well, thereby providing an additional boost to coal’s prospects. And while more of a wild-card, Trump’s commitment to prioritizing economic growth, if successful, could also provide significant relief. If infrastructure, tax, regulatory, and other initiatives can help the U.S. economy escape this seemingly endless period of sub-two percent growth, demand for electricity—and coal—will also see a boost.

SEJ Brings on New Executive Director – The Society of Environmental Journalists, one of the nation’s leading associations of professional reporters, has hired Melisa Klem as its new executive director, effective January 3, 2017.  Klem has spent more than 13 years working in development for conservation and human health nonprofits, and raising millions of dollars. The SEJ Board of Directors selected Klem to serve as the group’s second leader, replacing founding executive director Beth Parke who last summer announced her plans to step aside after nearly 24 years of leadership.  “I hope to encourage others to pursue this critical professional calling through shining a light on the best journalists who are covering the environment and all it encompasses,” Klem said. She also said the work of SEJ’s 1,200 members – reporters, writers, academics, filmmakers, authors, photographers, and students in every state and dozens of countries — will take on even greater importance as America heads into a Trump presidency.  Klem previously served as the development director at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the national director of development at the Izaak Walton League of America, and senior director of development at the Potomac Conservancy.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held today through Thursday at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

State Official to Address Climate Agenda – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing today at 2:00 p.m. discussing the outcomes of the recently concluded international climate change summit (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco. The summit drew representatives from more than 190 countries to discuss the implementation of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, making it a vital discussion that will impact everything from global commerce and foreign relations to electricity generation and agriculture.  The speaker for this forum is Christo Artusio, the State Department Director of the office of Global Change.

Forum to Look at Latin American Energy – The Institute of the Americas and the Inter-American Dialogue will host a panel discussion tomorrow at the National Press Club looking at the energy relationship and evolving energy collaboration in the hemisphere, timed to coincide with the political transition in the United States.  Natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico have tripled over the last five years, while the first ever liquefied natural gas exports from the US Gulf Coast shipped to Brazil. Many countries, including Venezuela, have increased imports of US refined oil products. Meanwhile, the United States has engaged in multiple technical cooperation agreements in renewable energy development. There is ample evidence that Latin American countries and the United States can benefit greatly from boosting commercial energy ties and expanding bilateral energy cooperation.

Forum Looks at Climate Technologies – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., Information Technology & Innovation Foundation is hosting a forum to release a new report that assesses the Obama administration’s efforts and considers how this record might be extended and improved upon in the next administration.  Achieving the ambitious goals set in the Paris climate negotiations will require large-scale private investment in technologies that to date have only been shown to be feasible technologically, not economically. That will require overcoming the second “valley of death”: the lack of confidence among potential investors in the affordability, reliability, and practicality of these innovations. Public-private technology demonstration projects are one important means by which the second valley of death might be crossed. But such projects have frequently been plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays, and outright failure. The Obama administration, like its predecessors, has pursued such projects with mixed results.

OPEC Minister to Address CSIS – Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum featuring His Excellency Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to discuss OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2016.   The event will begin with opening remarks by H.E. Barkindo, followed by a presentation of the World Oil Outlook 2016 by Dr. Jorge Leon Arellano, Energy Demand Specialist of the OPEC Research Division. The report addresses  OPEC’s outlook for medium and long-term oil supply, demand, and downstream out to 2040, including their view on the challenges and opportunities for the oil industry. This World Oil Outlook sees opportunities presented by a growing global population, and economic growth in developing countries leading to an increase in energy demand, but also comes at a time of continued uncertainty in the oil market.

WCEE Forum to Look at Energy Communications – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum tomorrow featuring Loretta Prencipe, to discuss insights from the report, “How Americans Make Energy Decisions” – and what that means for energy communications in the changing energy and policy landscape.  An attorney and former journalist, Prencipe serves as Group Vice President in Makovsky Communication’s DC office and has more than 15 years’ experience in media relations, marketing, communications and public affairs in energy, manufacturing and sustainability issues. She manages project deployment, workforce and employee engagement programs, crisis communications, public affairs and corporate risk and reputation issues for publicly traded companies.

Forum Looks at EV Infrastructure Challenges – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum at the D.C. Bar Conference Center looking at infrastructure challenges for Electric Vehicles.  The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is creating a need for increased charging infrastructure. The development of this infrastructure brings significant challenges. Come hear our panel discuss the ways in which these challenges are being solved.  The panel will discuss the legal issues facing the development of infrastructure for electric vehicles and the potential impacts these vehicles may have on our environment and energy security. Speakers will include DOE’s Kavita Patel, GM’s Alex Keros and Sierra Club’s Joe Halso.

Moniz to Speak at Third Way Event – Third Way will host a town hall featuring U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at the Glover Park Group.

Report to Look at Energy Security – On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in B-369 Rayburn, the National Bureau of Asian Research will release its 12th annual Energy Security Report, “Asia’s Energy Security amid Global Market Change,” as well as recap findings from NBR’s seventh annual Pacific Energy Summit that NBR held in Singapore earlier this year.  This high-level event will examine how a range of factors – including market volatility, efforts to accelerate lower carbon transitions, regional geopolitics, and Paris Climate Accord commitments – will shape energy security outlooks in the Asia-Pacific. It will also feature timely discussion of the implications of the U.S. leadership transition for U.S.-Asia energy ties.

Forum to Look at Climate Opinion in US, Canada – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a panel on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the results from national-level surveys on public attitudes toward climate change in the United States and Canada. Expert panelists will highlight key findings from the 2016 comparative study, draw analyses from the differences and similarities between Canada and U.S. public views, and provide insight into how this could affect existing climate change policy and potential future policy approaches on both sides of the border.

Expert to Look at Electricity Industry Change – The US Association for Energy Economists in the National Capital Area, will host its monthly luncheon on Friday at Noon looking at change in the electric industry.  Through its 51st State Initiative, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has been tackling these questions with utilities, trade associations, industry analysts, tech-start-up entrepreneurs and visionaries over the past two years.  Smart Electric Power Alliance CEO Julia Hamm will speak. Hamm has more than 15 years of experience advising and collaborating with utilities, manufacturers and government agencies on renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies and programs.

Energy Policy Lunch Set – Friday at Noon, the Ecologic Institute and ELEEP will host an Energy Policy Luncheon focused on the energy future ahead.  Questions will look at how the incoming new administration will impact the transformation of the US energy system; What – if any – impacts will we expect to see on electricity generation and grid, on transportation fuels, and on heating; and what future may lie ahead for coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables.  Panelists include Julia De La Cruz of Bulletin Intelligence, R Street’s Catrina Rorke and ACORE’s Scott Clausen.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Electoral College Vote – December 19th

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

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

Energy Update: Week of December 5

Friends,

Welcome to the holiday party season.   And of course, on Wednesday, Southern Company hosts its annual holiday party at Union Station which always launches the season in style.

And now at least we know who the best four college football teams are…or maybe not.  At some point it seems the hybrid playoff format that keeps in the place the lucrative bowl game scene, just isn’t workable.   Either way, on New Year’s Eve we will see Alabama play Washington and Clemson take on Ohio State.  Too bad I guess for Michigan, Penn State and many others, including the 13-0 Western Michigan Broncos.

Let’s also get one other big thing out of the way.  Late yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers reversed itself and blocked a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While our friends in the protest community are calling it a “historic” victory, it really seems to be nothing more than a “game-show parting gift.”  There is no doubt this will remain a rallying cry for fossil fuel opponents, but with the incoming administration focused on infrastructure and the jobs, economic benefits and reliability it creates, it is likely that we will finally be building many of these projects in the near future.

A lot going on this week both on the Hill and in the Trump transition. On transition, we are hearing officials may try to couple the energy/environmental cabinet appointments for an announcement as early as this week.  For timing and planning, keep in mind that on Thursday, Heritage and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are holding a forum featuring one rumored possible nominee, Karen Harnett-White.  White will speak along with Sen Jim Inhofe, House Science Chair Lamar Smith and House Energy committee member Pete Olson.  Of course, our friends at the WSJ weighed in over the weekend with an EPA-related story about Trump-supporter Carl Icahn.   Finally, while this will probably drive some inside the Trump Transition bonkers, Ivanka Trump (And also apparently the President-Elect) just met with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss climate change.  Should you have any questions about who what or when on any of this, we are happy to discuss.

On the Hill, it is “go time” for the CR, WRDA and/or the energy bill.  The pressure continues to increase on members regarding the expiring energy tax credits.  Last week, advocates were at the National Press Club pleading their case and when President-elect Trump went to Indiana to promote keeping Carrier’s jobs, geothermal heat pump industry advocates said not renewing the tax credit could cost Indiana thousands more jobs.  Legislative language is expected this week on the CR.  Expect WRDA language as soon as later today as they get to final agreement.  Finally, while energy is a long shot, we have heard they are scrambling to get a stripped-down conference report signed over the weekend.  Controversies still exist so keep your eyes open for a last push this week.

Already today, Gina McCarthy, Scott, Jason Grumet and Bob Perciasepe all spoke at the CSM Inhabit Forum and Jeff Speaks at an Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) EPA policy forum in Chicago.  Tomorrow,   House Transportation will hold a roundtable panel on self-driving cars and House Energy’s Oversight panel tackles the VW settlement with EPA officials; SEIA hosts its tax policy forum and CSIS hosts Jonathan Pershing on Wednesday; and Thursday the Heritage event goes off and BPC hosts a forum on Decarbonization.

Finally, on Friday, the President announced that he would act on the recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) and block the acquisition of the company Aixtron by a Chinese company.  The move may represent the beginning of a new era of the White House using CFIUS as both a security and economic weapon.  My colleague Josh Zive, a great expert on the topic, can discuss what this may mean for foreign investment in sectors such as energy.

 

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Capture of CO2 from power plants for use in enhanced oil recovery can provide economic, environmental and national security benefits long into the future.”

Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock

 

“We have the resources in this country to become truly energy independent. I have advocated for an all-inclusive energy mix and believe that the responsible development of hydrocarbons is critically important.”

Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead

 

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Blog: Coal Can Be Helped – Chamber Energy expert Dan Byers authored a blog post that tackles the ubiquitous but incorrect post-election narrative that President-elect Trump can’t help coal country. Byers writes Trump’s victory may not result in a comeback for coal, but his efforts to halt EPA’s crushing regulatory agenda should save countless coal jobs and ensure that coal continues to bolster the American economy with affordable, reliable energy.

OPEC Curbs Production – Last week in Vienna, OPEC members agreed to curb oil output for the first time since 2008 in a last-ditch bid to support prices.  The members agreed to cut its oil production from 33.8 million barrels a day (b/d) to 32.5 million b/d.

SAFE Says ‘Here We Go Again’ – SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said “Again, we see the OPEC cartel engaging in blatant oil price and supply manipulation which would never be permitted by western companies. Today’s decision is just the latest move in a long line of destructive decisions that contribute to oil price volatility—which harms businesses and consumers—and undermines a fair, free, and transparent oil market.  Policymakers have sat idle for far too long, allowing the status quo in which a cartel and national oil companies can whip oil prices around through production cuts or even mere rhetoric. It is time for action that protects U.S. interests.”

SAFE Issue Brief Hits Saudi Market Influence – SAFE also released the latest in a series of Issue Briefs focusing on the future of the cartel. The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  The Issue Brief finds that Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom. These problems, the paper adds, could be exacerbated by a range of domestic issues ranging from subsidy reform to Saudi royal disputes. The Issue Brief concludes that oil price volatility created by Saudi Arabian policies has created a highly uncertain investment environment, and has significantly affected American jobs. The best way for the United States to protect itself from this uncertainty is to reduce our near-total dependence on oil in the transportation sector, increase fuel efficiency and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas.

Western Govs Call on Congress to Pass CCS Credit – The Western Governors’ Association sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday urging them to attach legislation (S. 3179) expanding and extending a carbon capture and sequestration credit to end-of-year bills.  Montana Gov. Steve Bullock also sent his own letter to House and Senate Leaders urging their support for efforts to increase utilization of enhanced oil recovery.

Report Highlights CCS Opportunities – Speaker of Western Govs, Wyoming’s Matt Mead and Bullock, along with colleagues and officials in 12 other states, released a new report on Friday outlining growing opportunities for capturing carbon dioxide for use in enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) with geologic storage.  The new report – Putting the Puzzle Together:  State & Federal Policy Drivers for Growing America’s Carbon Capture & CO2-EOR Industry – includes detailed analyses and federal and state recommendations of the State CO2-EOR Deployment Work Group, which consists of representatives from 14 states, leading private sector stakeholders and CO2-EOR experts.  The report notes that market forces and federal and state policy are driving the energy industry to reduce carbon emissions and that carbon capture with CO2-EOR compares cost-effectively with other emissions reduction options.  States can also assist by optimizing existing taxes commonly levied by states to complement federal incentives in helping carbon capture projects achieve commercial viability, the Work Group says.  Analysis undertaken for the Work Group shows that an optimized approach to state taxes can add the equivalent of roughly $8 per barrel of oil to the economics of a carbon capture project.

Capital Crude Aims at RFSPlatts Capitol Crude looks at the Obama administration’s work on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Now, questions turn to President-elect Donald Trump’s plans. Will Trump move to lower the amount of biofuels in the US fuel supply? Might he look at moving RFS obligations away from refiners? Tim Cheung with ClearView Energy Partners walks us through the possible outcomes and Josh Pedrick, a Platts biofuels editor, talks RINs prices.

Ryan Targets Regulations on 60 Minutes – If you watched 60 Minutes yesterday, Speaker Paul Ryan said the new Republican-led Congress will go after a host of regulations that are “crushing jobs” from “day one” of the Trump presidency.  While he didn’t get to the specifics, Ryan mentioned “coal miners in the Rust Belt that are getting out of work” as suffering under Obama administration regulatory efforts.

Conservative Energy Group Set Energy Blueprint – The American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research released a list of energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration. The recommendations are their own blueprint which I think represents the most recent thinking of conservatives within the transition on the e/e issue space.  It’s short but definitely worth a look! You can view the full list of recommendations here.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum Launches USAID Climate Review – The Wilson Center launched USAID’s Climate Action Review this morning.  For many years, USAID has been a leader in assisting partner countries to pursue low-carbon economic growth and build their resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Through investments in clean energy and adaptation and support for sustainable forestry and agriculture, and by integrating best practices across its development portfolio, USAID’s approach to building the capacity and confidence of partners has yielded major achievements as well as lessons learned. Please save the date for an exploration of the successes and lessons learned in a time of rapid technological innovation, policy evolution, and environmental change.

CSM Hosts McCarthy, Segal – The Christian Science Monitor held a breakfast briefing this Morning that will feature exiting EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal at the St. Regis Hotel. She will be interviewed by Deputy Energy and Environment Editor, Zack Colman.  The discussion will be looking back on the current administration, and thoughts for the future of the EPA as we transition to a new administration in the coming months.

Rep. Blumenauer Addresses AVs at Brookings Forum – Also this morning, the new Brookings Institute Center on Regulation and Markets hosted an event releasing new research on the congestion reducing benefits of autonomous vehicles and the consumer surplus stemming from the sharing economy.   SAFE Amitai Bin-Nun attended and call provide Insights should you need them.  The panel discussion focused on the benefits, costs, and prospects for autonomous vehicles. Rep. Earl Blumenauer also delivered a keynote address focusing on what role Congress plays in transportation and how autonomous vehicles can fix the nation’s infrastructure.

Holmstead to Discuss Energy, Enviro Policy at Chicago Forum – My Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead will lead a panel of experts in Chicago today at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.  With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, most observers are expecting a significant shift in U.S. energy and climate policy in the coming years. President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised a review and rollback of U.S. climate regulations and increased access to fossil fuel resources on public lands. He has also suggested he will renegotiate or withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Yet, clean energy enjoys widespread support, and market forces increasingly favor lower carbon sources. Moreover, the two parties have worked together on common priorities such as reduced oil dependence and tax credits for renewable electricity in the recent past.  Holmstead will be joined by former CEQ head James Connaughton.

Forum to Help Climate Digital Media – The Connect4Climate DIgital Media Zone is holding a three day-long communication initiative today through Thursday at the World Bank. The event, complementary to the LJD Week 2016 and the Annual Meetings for the Climate Investment Funds annual meetings, will offer an interactive media hub and gathering space for conference attendees, students, NGOs and private sector representatives. The People’s Media Zone is designed to facilitate interaction and engagement between the high level policy sessions/discussions and relevant mainstream media and civil society. The overarching narrative for the People’s Media Zone will be climate action and implementing solutions, as viewed through a legal and youth lens.

Briefing to Focus District Energy, Micro Grids – Tomorrow, the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) are hosting a briefing in Dirksen G-50 providing policy guidance and showcasing proven technologies and exemplary cases that illuminate the potential for more robust U.S. investment in district energy microgrids.

House Panel to Look at AVs, Policy – The House Transportation Committee will host a roundtable tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on self-driving cars and how could impact the nation’s transportation system during a policy roundtable next week.  The Highways and Transit Subcommittee will hear from experts like Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Policy Blair Anderson and David Strickland, former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator who is Now with the group Self-driving Coalition for Safer Street.  Other Panelists include David Zuby of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and City of Pittsburgh chief development officer Kevin Acklin.

House Energy Panel to Look at VW Settlement – The House Energy Oversight subcommittee is holding a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with regulators to discuss the $14.7 billion agreement.  EPA Enforcement chief Cynthia Giles and Air office head Janet McCabe will testify.  I care because I am waiting for my pay out for our 2013 VW Jetta Diesel.

SEIA Holds Tax, Empowerment Events – The Solar Energy Industry Assn continues its Empowerment Series on Wednesday with an panel focused on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Speakers Include Hunton & Williams Laura Jones, Partner, Angelin Baskaran of  Morgan Stanley, Vickie Dalsanto of Morgan Capital Corporation and SolSystems Jessica Robbins.  This event is taking place the evening before SEIA’s Fall Finance & Tax Seminar which is on Wednesday and Thursday.

DOE’s SunShot to Outline 2030 Goals – Speaking of solar, also tomorrow at Noon, the SunShot Initiative will host a webinar to discuss the recently-announced 2030 goals, which set a target to halve the cost of solar from 2020 to 2030 to achieve a levelized cost of electricity of just $0.03 per kilowatt hour from utility-scale solar. The webinar will discuss the importance of moving solar energy into the next decade and the role SunShot plans to play. SunShot director Charlie Gay will lead the discussion as SunShot begins to focus on the next decade.  The webinar will provide more detail about how the 2030 goals were formulated and how they will impact future work.

Forum to Discuss Ocean Policy – The Center for American Progress will host a discussion Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. that will feature distinguished experts from government and the private sector for a discussion on the next chapter in U.S. ocean policy. Leaders will inherit a unique governance structure built to balance the needs of ocean industries as well as the priorities of state, local, federal, and tribal governments. The forum will discuss opportunities to enhance these developments in ocean governance and ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems.  Speakers will include Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), U.S. Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Michel and Deepwater Wind official Aileen Kenney.

Pershing to Address COP-22 Results – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Dr. Jonathan Pershing, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the evolving risks of climate change, the outcomes of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) recently concluded in Marrakech, and the future of international climate cooperation. Pershing previously served as the Senior Climate Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on Thursday and Friday at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

Conservative Groups to Host Climate Forum – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday to discuss energy and climate policy issues.   “At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” will feature national policymakers, leading energy experts, and the field’s most innovative minds to explore what’s next in energy policy, what’s coming in climate science, and how you may affect both. Keynote Speaker will be Jim Inhofe.  Among the other speakers will be Sen. Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith, potential EPA administrator Kathleen Hartnett White and Rep. Pete Olson.

Webinar to Look at Energy Toolkit – The Worldwatch Institute will launch a webinar on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the newly updated Energy Toolkit produced by the Low Emissions Development Strategies Energy Working Group (LEDS EWG) of the Global Partnership (LEDS GP). The LEDS Energy Toolkit is a collection of leading instruments and methodologies for sustainable energy planning. The Toolkit aims to provide energy practitioners, policymakers, and experts a quick reference guide to some of the best established energy planning instruments that are available at no or low cost.  The result is a compilation of 26 tools from agencies around the world. This webinar will present an overview of the newly updated publication of the toolkit and feature some of its leading tools: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s Jobs and Economic Development Impact Model (JEDI) and the Natural Resources Canada’s RETScreen Clean Energy Management Software.

BPC Forum to Look at Energy Transition – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on Thursday at the Marriott Marquis to bring together a broad range of stakeholders for a discussion on shared objectives and the best way to achieve our goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The viability of pathways for “deep decarbonization” — generally defined as reaching at least an 80 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050 — are increasingly coming into focus as the key to managing this transition. But from the “keep it in the ground” movement to the “embrace energy abundance” viewpoint, energy and climate policy stakeholders across the spectrum have very different ideas on the policies, strategies, and tactics that will best chart the country on a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades while also ensuring continued supplies of reliable and affordable energy.

 

IN THE FUTURE

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

Forum to Look at Latin American Energy – The Institute of the Americas and the Inter-American Dialogue will host a panel discussion on Tuesday December 13th at the National Press Club looking at the energy relationship and evolving energy collaboration in the hemisphere, timed to coincide with the political transition in the United States.  Natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico have tripled over the last five years, while the first ever liquefied natural gas exports from the US Gulf Coast shipped to Brazil. Many countries, including Venezuela, have increased imports of US refined oil products. Meanwhile, the United States has engaged in multiple technical cooperation agreements in renewable energy development. There is ample evidence that Latin American countries and the United States can benefit greatly from boosting commercial energy ties and expanding bilateral energy cooperation.

Forum Looks at Climate Technologies – On Tuesday, December 13th at 9:00 a.m., Information Technology & Innovation Foundation is hosting a forum to release a new report that assesses the Obama administration’s efforts and considers how this record might be extended and improved upon in the next administration.  Achieving the ambitious goals set in the Paris climate negotiations will require large-scale private investment in technologies that to date have only been shown to be feasible technologically, not economically. That will require overcoming the second “valley of death”: the lack of confidence among potential investors in the affordability, reliability, and practicality of these innovations. Public-private technology demonstration projects are one important means by which the second valley of death might be crossed. But such projects have frequently been plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays, and outright failure. The Obama administration, like its predecessors, has pursued such projects with mixed results.

OPEC Minister to Address CSIS – Next Tuesday, CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum featuring His Excellency Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to discuss OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2016.   The event will begin with opening remarks by H.E. Barkindo, followed by a presentation of the World Oil Outlook 2016 by Dr. Jorge Leon Arellano, Energy Demand Specialist of the OPEC Research Division. The report addresses  OPEC’s outlook for medium and long-term oil supply, demand, and downstream out to 2040, including their view on the challenges and opportunities for the oil industry. This World Oil Outlook sees opportunities presented by a growing global population, and economic growth in developing countries leading to an increase in energy demand, but also comes at a time of continued uncertainty in the oil market.

WCEE Forum to Look at Energy Communications – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum featuring Loretta Prencipe, to discuss insights from the report, “How Americans Make Energy Decisions” – and what that means for energy communications in the changing energy and policy landscape.  An attorney and former journalist, Prencipe serves as Group Vice President in Makovsky Communication’s DC office and has more than 15 years’ experience in media relations, marketing, communications and public affairs in energy, manufacturing and sustainability issues. She manages project deployment, workforce and employee engagement programs, crisis communications, public affairs and corporate risk and reputation issues for publicly traded companies.

Forum Looks at EV Infrastructure Challenges – On Tuesday, December 13th at 12:30 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute will host a forum at the D.C. Bar Conference Center looking at infrastructure challenges for Electric Vehicles.  The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is creating a need for increased charging infrastructure. The development of this infrastructure brings significant challenges. Come hear our panel discuss the ways in which these challenges are being solved.  The panel will discuss the legal issues facing the development of infrastructure for electric vehicles and the potential impacts these vehicles may have on our environment and energy security. Speakers will include DOE’s Kavita Patel, GM’s Alex Keros and Sierra Club’s Joe Halso.

Forum to Look at Climate Opinion in US, Canada – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute will host a panel on Thursday, December 15th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the results from national-level surveys on public attitudes toward climate change in the United States and Canada. Expert panelists will highlight key findings from the 2016 comparative study, draw analyses from the differences and similarities between Canada and U.S. public views, and provide insight into how this could affect existing climate change policy and potential future policy approaches on both sides of the border.

Expert to Look at Electricity Industry Change – The US Association for Energy Economists in the National Capital Area, will host its monthly luncheon on Friday, December 16th at Noon looking at change in the electric industry.  Through its 51st State Initiative, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has been tackling these questions with utilities, trade associations, industry analysts, tech-start-up entrepreneurs and visionaries over the past two years.  Smart Electric Power Alliance CEO Julia Hamm will speak. Hamm has more than 15 years of experience advising and collaborating with utilities, manufacturers and government agencies on renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies and programs.

Energy Update: Week of November 28

Friends,

Hope you all enjoyed a little free time over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We were in West Palm Beach – not to meet with Trump – but to attend (umpire) USA Field Hockey’s National Festival Tournament over Thanksgiving.  We did see the “Trump Force One” plane (as my son Adam called it) every day though on the trip from and back to the umpire hotel each day.  I guarantee you that I would have loved to have the Trump Plane (or any other) get me back rather than engaging in the 18-hour drive on Thanksgiving Sunday…Ouch, we need improved infrastructure (3-lanes), especially in North Carolina on I-95.

Also, I hope you to watched that Michigan-Ohio State game.  Wow, that was an instant classic.  And even as a Michigan guy, I am certain the Head Linesman was right on that 4th down spot that gave J.T. Barrett the first down in OT.  I am hopeful it is the start of a good playoff/bowl season.

OPEC meetings begin Wednesday in Vienna.  SAFE’s Leslie Hayward is on the ground in Austria and SAFE President Robbie Diamond is available to comment on the latest developments and sentiment on the ground before, during and after the meeting.  SAFE also released a new brief that provides an analysis of Saudi market power and its impacts.  The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  Also, this week’s Capitol Crude from Platts discusses the best and worst possible outcomes of this week’s OPEC meeting and what they will all mean for future production, geopolitics and prices.

This week, Congress returns to the post–election legislative session, which is expected to wrap up a budget so lawmakers can end early. The current CR expires on December 9th, and the text of the legislation is unlikely to be filed until next week according to reports. That leaves time for discussion about a couple things: 1) expiring energy tax credits and 2) the House/Senate energy bill negotiations.

Speaking of expiring tax credits, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, current Congressional tax staff and former Hatch Sen Finance counsel Curt Beaulieu will discuss the issue and its possible inclusion in the Budget package.  They will be joined by industry leaders whose tax provisions were mistakenly left out of the 2015 wind and solar tax extension.  Panelists will include Doug Dougherty of the Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) industry, Billie Kaumaya of the National Association of Home Builders, Lloyd Ritter of the Distributed Wind Energy Association and Dale Louda of the Combined Heat & Power Association.

Finally, there is still a lot of movement with Transition issues, especially with today’s rumored focus on EPA/Energy.  Over the weekend, the New York Times had a nice piece on President-elect Trump’s options on the Obama climate agenda.  We are happy to discuss what we know.

 

Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“Through its vast ethanol plant footprint in the United States, Valero provides countless benefits to consumers by helping to clean the air, increase energy independence and boost local economies.”

RFA Board Chairman and Commonwealth Agri-Energy General Manager Mick Henderson.

 

“Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom.”

SAFE Issue Brief, Saudi Arabia: The Power Behind OPEC

 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Announces 2017 RVOs – The EPA released its final rule to set 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), along with 2018 RVOs for biomass-based diesel. The RVO for conventional fuel has been increased to meet the 15 billion gallon congressional target for conventional fuels. Overall renewable fuel volumes grow by 1.2 billion gallons from 2016 to 2017, a 6% increase. The rule finalizes RVOs proposed in May.  The final nested volume for total renewable fuel has been set at 19.28 billion gallons, up from a proposed volume of 18.8 billion gallons. On a percentage basis, the final standard for total renewable fuel has been set at 10.7% of the total transportation fuel pool, up from a proposed 10.44%. In 2016, the renewable fuel RVO was set at 18.11 billion gallons, or 10.10%.

Valero Joins RFA – RFA announced that Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, has joined the group.  Valero is one of the largest biofuels producers in the United States. Valero owns and operates 11 corn ethanol plants throughout   Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Valero is the third largest ethanol producer in the United States with a total annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year, in addition, it is the largest renewable biodiesel producer in the U.S, and the world’s largest independent refiner.

SAFE Brief Focuses on Saudi Arabia: The Power Behind OPEC – In light of this week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is releasing the latest in a series of Issue Briefs focusing on the future of the cartel. The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  The Issue Brief finds that Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom. These problems, the paper adds, could be exacerbated by a range of domestic issues ranging from subsidy reform to Saudi royal disputes. The Issue Brief concludes that oil price volatility created by Saudi Arabian policies has created a highly uncertain investment environment, and has significantly affected American jobs. The best way for the United States to protect itself from this uncertainty is to reduce our near-total dependence on oil in the transportation sector, increase fuel efficiency and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas.

DOE Program to Improve Electric Motors – DOE today announced nearly $25 million for 13 projects aimed at advancing technologies for energy-efficient electric motors through applied research and development. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Next Generation Electric Machines projects will address the limitations of traditional materials and designs used in electric motor components by cost-effectively enhancing their efficiency, improving their performance, and reducing weight. This effort will support innovative approaches that will significantly improve the technology in industrial electric motors, which use approximately 70 percent of the electricity consumed by U.S. manufacturers and nearly a quarter of all electricity consumed nationally.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum today looking at disaster losses and climate change.  At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.

McCarthy to Address Issues at Post Live Session – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., Washington Post national political correspondent and creator of The Daily 202 James Hohmann will go live with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The California Republican will discuss top policy priorities for the Republican-led 115th Congress and how GOP leadership hopes to work with President-elect Trump.  This is the third program in a live interview series tied to Hohmann’s Daily 202 newsletter, which has become a go-to for Beltway insights and analysis. Each month, Hohmann interviews D.C. power players and political operatives about the issues and news shaping Washington.

NatGas Roundtable to Host Resources Staff DirectorThe Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Bill Cooper, staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Senior Policy Advisor on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow.

WCEE to Host Discussion on Energy Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch panel tomorrow at the Solar Foundation on energy storage and its role for the solar and energy industries. As solar costs continue to decline, increased emphasis is placed on energy storage. Get a primer on different types of energy storage applications and which ones are economically viable now, why energy storage is critical in the long-term and lessons learned from real projects that are currently operational. Kerinia Cusick from Distributed Energy Innovation will give an overview of the storage activities around the globe and Chris Cook from Solar Grid Storage will talk about solar and storage integration.

NPC Newmakers to Host Forum Energy Tax Credits – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss extending energy tax credits provisions.  The panel will feature current Congressional tax staff and former Hatch Sen Finance counsel Curt Beaulieu will discuss the issue and its possible inclusion in the Budget package.  They will be joined by industry leaders whose tax provisions were mistakenly left out of the 2015 wind and solar tax extension.  Panelists will include Doug Dougherty of the Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) industry, Billie Kaumaya of the National Association of Home Builders, Lloyd Ritter of the Distributed Wind Energy Association and Dale Louda of the Combined Heat & Power Association.

JHU Forum to Look at Energy, Climate Plans for New President – JHU’s SAIS will hold a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. looking at energy and climate policy proposals for the next Administration.  Speakers will include former State Department Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn, RFF expert Roberton Williams and NRDC’s Ben Longstreth.

Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on Wednesday.   Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others.  Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.

Forum Looks at State RPS Implementation – The 2016 National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The forum focuses on developments and trends related to state RPSs and to network with many of the people from across the country who are most engaged in implementing and analyzing state RPSs.  The annual Summit is hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), with funding support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

PPI to Host Climate Forum – The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will hold a forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the Willard InterContinental in Washington featuring Harvard economist Joseph Aldy, author of a new report, Long-Term Carbon Pricing: The Great Swap. The report proposes an economy-wide carbon tax as the most effective and efficient way to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while also encouraging investment in clean fuels and technologies. It also explores the intriguing possibility of a “great swap”- a carbon tax and regulatory streamlining as part of the tax reform- that could create the basis for bipartisan negotiating and compromise to break the current impasse in climate and energy policy.  The conversation will also feature a cross-partisan roundtable moderated by Hannah Hess of E&E News and panelists including John Larsen, Director of the Rhodium Group, Jerry Taylor, President of the Niskanen Center, Catrina Rorke, Director of energy policy at R Street and Todd Wooten, Senior Counsel on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

ITIF to Host Energy Manufacturing Forum – On Wednesday at noon, ITIF will host a forum to discuss how smart manufacturing will shape the future of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and what policies are needed to keep the United States at the global forefront of this emerging manufacturing revolution. ITIF will also release a new report on the importance of smart manufacturing in the future of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.  Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) will deliver opening remarks.

Forum to Look at Climate Legal Issues – The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) the Center for American Progress Action Fund holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon looking at the battle for climate change accountability.  Panelists will discuss the legal foundations for seeking accountability from fossil fuel companies, as well as the importance of state attorney general investigations in the face of federal opposition or inaction.  Climate Wire’s Ben Hulac will moderate a panel of experts and Keynote speaker will be former Maryland AG Doug Gansler.

CSIS to Look at Renewable Energy – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the outlook for the electric power sector and the future role of renewables. The U.S. electric power sector is in the midst of a transition. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) both produce annual outlooks that asses long-term trends in renewable energy, which help understand the changes to this sector. Doug Arent and Wesley Cole will outline the scenarios developed by NREL Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler will summarize the key findings of the BNEF study published earlier this year.

USEA to hot Coal Council Head on Carbon Capture – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellucci.  At the event, Gellucci will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”

WRI Hosts Book Launch of Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a book event looking at climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh.  Like most developing nations, Bangladesh emits a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet it is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, facing increasingly severe flooding, droughts and cyclones. Climate scientists estimate that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million people by 2050.  David Hulme will launch his co-authored book, Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change: Keeping Our Heads above Water, and discuss the findings of the book with a participants and a panel of experts.

Energy, Water Infrastructure Conference Set – Today Water 2.0 will host a discussion of public policy changes as it relates to energy, water and manufacturing industries as they prepare for the most significant changes since 2008 with the election of President-elect Trump.  President-elect Trump has made a call for an ambitious $1 Trillion infrastructure program – “highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals” – a key part of his acceptance remarks on Wednesday, November 9th.

Brookings to Host Forum on Sustainability, Internet – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will host a panel to discuss the future of intelligent and data-driven cities. A panel of experts will examine the potential for technology to create sustainable urban environments through data from billions of sensors, the intelligent management of advanced networks, and sophisticated learning using real-time data analytics.

Wilson to Launch Report Launch on Climate, Migration, Conflict – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center the launch of a new report with USAID called “Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World,” which goes beyond the headlines to explore these connections. A panel of experts from across the lanes of climate, migration, and conflict will discuss practical advice for policymakers and how to think about these interlinked dynamics. Climate change and migration present major challenges to societies that policymakers have a responsibility to grapple with, but their relationship is rarely direct, conflict is not a common outcome, and migration is not always evidence of failure.

AGA to Host NatGas Roundtable with New Board Chair – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media roundtable for Pierce H. Norton II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas, Inc. and AGA’s Chair of its Board of Directors for 2017.  Norton will Be joined by AGA head Dave McCurdy.  Norton became the first president and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. after it separated from ONEOK Inc., in January 2014. Prior to ONE Gas becoming a stand-alone publically traded company, he served as executive vice president, commercial, of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners.

Forum to Look at Drones in Energy Sector – The Atlantic Council will host a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to look at drones in the energy sector. The Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a conversation with key stakeholders to explore the intersection of national security, safety, and privacy issues with energy-related drone use, and the role of regulatory frameworks to help realize the economic and environmental potential of drones.  Speakers will include FAA Special Rules Coordinator for Unmanned Aircraft integration Robert Pappas, Chevron’s John O’Brien and Southern Company’s Dexter Lewis.

Saudi Oil Minister to Address CSIS Forum – On Friday, CSIS is hosting His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reflect on a career that spanned more than six decades in the Kingdom’s energy work, including 21 years (1995-2016) as Minister of Petroleum.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Forum to Launch USAID Climate Review – Next Monday at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center will launch USAID’s Climate Action Review.  For many years, USAID has been a leader in assisting partner countries to pursue low-carbon economic growth and build their resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Through investments in clean energy and adaptation and support for sustainable forestry and agriculture, and by integrating best practices across its development portfolio, USAID’s approach to building the capacity and confidence of partners has yielded major achievements as well as lessons learned. Please save the date for an exploration of the successes and lessons learned in a time of rapid technological innovation, policy evolution, and environmental change.

Rep Blumenauer to Address AVs at Brookings Forum –Next Monday at 10:00 a.m., the new Brookings Institute Center on Regulation and Markets will host an event releasing new research on the congestion reducing benefits of autonomous vehicles and the consumer surplus stemming from the sharing economy. Following the presentations, the authors will participate in a panel discussion with other experts on the benefits, costs, and prospects for autonomous vehicles. After the panel, Rep. Earl Blumenauer will deliver a keynote address focusing on what role Congress plays in transportation and how autonomous vehicles can fix the nation’s infrastructure.

Holmstead to Discuss CPP Status at Chicago Forum – My Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead will lead a panel of experts in Chicago next Monday at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

Briefing to Focus District Energy, Micro Grids – On Tuesday, December 6th, the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) are hosting a briefing in Dirksen G-50 providing policy guidance and showcasing proven technologies and exemplary cases that illuminate the potential for more robust U.S. investment in district energy microgrids.

SEIA Holds Tax, Empowerment Events – continues its Empowerment Series on December 7th with an panel focused on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Speakers Include Hunton & Williams Laura Jones, Partner, Angelin Baskaran of  Morgan Stanley, Vickie Dalsanto of Morgan Capital Corporation and SolSystems Jessica Robbins.  This event is taking place the evening before SEIA’s Fall Finance & Tax Seminar which is on Wednesday and Thursday, December 7th and 8th.

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on December 8th and 9th at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

Conservative Groups to Host Climate Forum – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday December 8th to discuss energy and climate policy issues.   “At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” will feature national policymakers, leading energy experts, and the field’s most innovative minds to explore what’s next in energy policy, what’s coming in climate science, and how you may affect both. Keynote Speaker will be Jim Inhofe.  Among the other speakers will be Sen. Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith, potential EPA administrator Kathleen Hartnett White and Rep. Pete Olson.

BPC Forum to Look at Energy Transition – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on Thursday, December 8th at 9:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis to bring together a broad range of stakeholders for a discussion on shared objectives and the best way to achieve our goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The viability of pathways for “deep decarbonization” — generally defined as reaching at least an 80 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050 — are increasingly coming into focus as the key to managing this transition. But from the “keep it in the ground” movement to the “embrace energy abundance” viewpoint, energy and climate policy stakeholders across the spectrum have very different ideas on the policies, strategies, and tactics that will best chart the country on a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades while also ensuring continued supplies of reliable and affordable energy.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.